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Divorcing a Narcissist

The marital dissolution agreement is signed. Every detail has been attended to and it’s all wrapped up. Well I thought it was. I agreed to give everything up. I wasn’t trying to fight over anything. I even gave up back child support and have agreed to keep ongoing payments of child support at less than $75/kid {so yea less than $225-3 kids} I don’t want money or things. The only thing I am fighting for is my threefold.

Everything was set and the parenting plan was arranged and worded to make sure that my threefold could continue with recommendations from their respective treatment teams and abiding by their safety plans. I want my threefold to be taken care of and I’m the person that takes care of them. Every therapy appointment, every doctor or dentist appointment, the medication management appointments, I’m the one making each one and taking them to those appointments. Every school function, parent conference, open house, performance and awards ceremony, I have been in attendance. I’ve planned the birthday parties and mended broken hearts. I’ve called hospitals twice a day when inpatient. I’ve never missed a phone call or a visitation. I buy the clothes, shoes, school supplies and everything else they need. I’m the one at family dinner talking about their days. I help study and fill out college applications. I do it all, with very little help from him. So why is he fighting now?

My ex has pushed our court proceeding seven times. SEVEN. Each time he has played the victim. First he filed for full custody so I was forced to contest. Then he wanted 50/50 and I agreed. That wasn’t good enough, he needed to fight. Next it was he wanted to fight over a car debt that was repossessed because he stopped paying for it after we split. Then my retirement benefits that he feels entitled to. Then my truck that he wanted that I was given as part of a severance from the company I worked at for ten years. Then he said he was trying to care for his ailing grandmother and couldn’t get a job. After all of that he said he needed treatment for his mental health, but never got treatment. Here I am two years post separation and he now decides he wants for us to make decisions jointly on education, healthcare, extracurricular activities and religious upbringing. I don’t think so. Two years I’ve played nice. I’m done being railroaded and giving in to keep the peace. If he wants to fight me on this I will fight.

Let me explain. This isn’t a control issue. I don’t want ultimate decision making just because I’m being stubborn and don’t want to compromise. I want sole decision making rights because he doesn’t see two of three girls at all. He doesn’t contact them and has nothing to do with them. They ‘turned on him’ and told the family secrets about the abuse had endured. The girls {the oldest two} refuse to subject themselves further. Guess what? The judge granted the girls that right of refusal. the youngest of my threefold sees him four days per month. Four. The court ordered that he seek continuous therapy and provide documentation to the court of that treatment to be allowed his four days. The remainder of the time she is in my care.

Tell me how someone can make decisions for their children when they have no clue what goes on in their lives day to day? How can you handle making decisions when you don’t even know what medication they take and why, what their diagnoses are, or who their teachers are or the classes they take? Not only can he not tell you the teacher’s name of our youngest’s 4th grade class, he can’t tell you what grades the girls are making in school. I’m not giving in, not on this issue.

Tomorrow I am supposed to have court. I’ve been pleading for this to be finalized for over a year. I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring. I could get a settlement, a finalization or yet another continuance. This is happening amidst my youngest being hospitalized for C-PTSD and major depression. This is on top of my truck breaking down and scheduled to be towed in the morning. This is all happening while I’m up for a promotion at work. I owe $2000 to the hospital for treatment. Right now I’m on my last dollar. I’m doing everything I can to keep this whole family together. He is doing nothing except stirring up more problems. it’s his goal to see me suffer and pay for leaving him.

My ex is a narcissist. It’s a fact. That’s not speculation. I’ve had two different mental health professionals tell me he is a narcissist. He doesn’t want full custody or 50/50. He wants as little responsibility as possible physically and financially, but what he wants is power. If I were to give in and give him decision making rights he would fight me on everything. He would make sure that he got his say so. It would be something to hang over my head as a way to manipulate. When he gets angry he would find everything to disagree on and threaten me with court action. He doesn’t have a job, so he claims no income, but he has inheritance to live off of. He can’t pay child support, but he can buy a $30,000 motorcycle and guitars, guns, computer equipment and anything else he wants. He is manipulative and very psychologically abusive. He can slither out of a situation even when you think you have him pinned against a wall. That’s why I’ve chosen not to fight with him in court over the things I know are rightfully mine. It’s not worth the energy.

This fight, the fight for my threefold, is worth every bit of fight I have left in me. I won’t back down. I may lose, but I can’t give away their medical and educational decision making to someone who doesn’t have anything to do with them on a daily basis. I definitely won’t let that right fall into the hands of their abuser without telling the courts why he is unfit. I have nothing to lose by going to court except for time and more of my money. If it were anything else I would give it up to keep from fighting and drag this out any longer. I can’t in good consciousness let this happen without first telling our story to the court. In the meantime I’m going to try to stay positive. We’ve got this. ☮️❤️😊~M

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Real Talk Realizations

Normally I’d have some inspirational post to start off the month. It would be part of my ‘Goal Getters’ series. It would mention all the goals I made and how I reached each one. I would give little hints to how you can also accomplish your goals with a ‘Goal Getter’ mindset like mine. It would be a fluff piece, full of positivity. It would have promised that with a few changes you can live the life you’ve been dreaming of and you can be the person you aspire to be. It would be inspirational.

THIS is NOT that piece. I’ve warned you. I have no inspirational tales of how I accomplished my goals and manifested my dream life during the month of January. I have no motivational speeches where I spit all the shit you should’ve done and shouldn’t have done. My positivity push was completely flushed down the drain when the new year began. I’m not sure why I had such a rocky start. I’m not sure where my ‘Goal Getter’ attitude and my motivational mantras went. I guess I left them in 2021 with everything else I learned last year. I know my negativity is not needed in your world either, but I promised to keep it real and this is as real as it gets. Real talk.

I had high hopes and high expectations for 2022. It was going to be the year everything started falling into place. It was supposed to be the year that I took the lessons from 2020 and 2021 and found my purpose. My plan was big, but is it too big? Maybe I still have a lot to learn if I’m going to give up on my dreams and my goals after 30 days. Who the hell am I? That’s not the girl with the grit and grind goal getter attitude. I’m NOT a quitter. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a quitter. What the hell is happening?

I wrote three pieces, THREE, about my funked up attitude. I was aware that I was not on the right path to achieve my goals. I wrote eleven pieces in January. Seven blog posts of the eleven were not positive entries. The others could be positive, but mainly focused more on the past. I posted on Facebook for my page ‘My Threefold’ more than 30 times in January. Most were snarky posts I made about mom-life and men. They did well when it came to getting likes. They had a lot of humor, sarcasm and relatable anecdotes, but they were mainly negative.

So here we are. A month into the new year and I’m pissed off. I’ve failed miserably at making this year the year I found my peace of mind and my happy ending. I’ve been patient. I’ve been positive {mostly} for a whole year. I’ve made the right decisions and done my best even when I was at my worst. Yet here I am, still. Searching for the lesson in all this stressing! I feel, defeated. I feel, cheated. I feel most of all like maybe I’m not ever going to get to the good part. I feel like something is missing. What have I missed? Why do I feel like this?

After a long time of self reflection and trying to find the missing piece I was still none the wiser. I know I’m impatient. I know I have been asking for a lot over the past year. I’ve received a lot, so I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I just need to know what gives? What do I need to do to make this year THE year? What more do I have to do to prove that I’m a good person who deserves to get to the good part? When do I get back some of what I’ve lost and get to live out my happily ever after fantasy? When? I’m asking with all the faith I have left!

I was sulking and pouting about life. I was mad at the world for not working with me. I was sitting in the cold, in my truck alone, feeling sorry for myself away from the eyes of my family and the ‘calm down’ that I would receive as a well meaning reply from ‘E’. I didn’t want or need him to tell me ‘it will all work out in time.’ No, I wanted my happiness now. I deserve it. That’s when I found it. The answer. The missing piece. Alone in my truck. With no one to blame for not realizing it but myself. It was obvious. Too simple.

What was I not doing? I realized I had been too busy worrying about what hadn’t happened. I was constantly waiting for the next thing to fall into place. I was setting all of these goals. I was even accomplishing many of them, but I was quickly moving to the next one. ‘What now? What next?’ I was doing everything I was supposed to do and I was getting everything I wanted. I was working for all of it. That is all true. I was going through all the motions, but I wasn’t allowing myself to feel the emotions. I wasn’t celebrating my accomplishments. I wasn’t looking at all the good that came with my accomplishments. I just went straight into my next challenge. I couldn’t see all the good that is right here, right now. I was too busy searching and waiting for the next thing to give me that quick fix of happiness. The truth is I wasn’t enjoying what I do have.

I’m not going to have it all at once. Hard happens even when we feel like we are doing everything right. Good happens even when we don’t see it. I don’t want to be so caught up in the grit and grind of goal getting that I forget the good that is happening all around me. So I’m skipping my ‘Goal Getter’ post for February. I will never stop working to be better, but I will start enjoying the person I am right now and the person I am becoming. I will celebrate my successes. I will be humble with a hint of Kanye about how there may not be an I in awesome, but there is me! I will choose to be happy with everything I have now and stop waiting for the good part. The good part is happening, and I’m too focused on the future to enjoy the present. That’s my new goal for 2022. When I accomplish that, I will have the year I set out to have. Stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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This is YOUR Journey!

I’ve seen the mommy blogs with the cute craft projects and the vegan recipes. I’ve read the posts about connecting with your kids and loving them through bad behavior. I’ve read books about how to be a better parent and even paid for a parenting coach. I’m not one of those moms who can pretend that that mom life is easy. It’s not easy. We’ve established that. There wasn’t a rule book handed to us when we peed on the stick and found out that two lines means two people. Basically, we are all out here raising tiny humans hoping that we don’t screw them up completely. All we do is the best we can.

I definitely don’t have all the answers. I’ve got teenagers and preteens. I’m amazed that I’ve survived this far. With #1 about to turn 18 and graduate high school, I’m realizing I’ve successfully raised one kid to adulthood somehow. Hell, she’s even going to a fancy university with scholarship money and a future goal for life. That’s more than I had at 18, I was not that kid. I must’ve done something right, though I’m not sure what that something was. Ive got two more kids to get there and honestly, I’m not sure how the first one has gotten here. It’s been a hell of a ride. One I won’t be getting off of anytime soon.

My threefold is my heart and soul. Theses girls all are so uniquely different and they all need different things from me as their mom. I’m just winging it. Sometimes I hit it out of the park. On those days I feel like I’m super mom and that no one can top my momma magic. Other days, I’ve been told ‘I hate you and wish you weren’t my mom’ or ‘you are just like dad!’ Those days make me feel like I’m a momster. Kids can make us aim to be our best and they can also bring out our worst. It’s a balancing act.

I have learned a few things from the moms who have it all together. I have implemented a few plays from my parenting coach that have won the day. I also gained a little insight from the books and posts that I found helpful in my mom journey. I’ll save you the money you would spend and give you my informal reviews of some of those that stuck with me through the years.

  1. “You can’t pour from an empty cup”
    • My interpretation: take care of yourself. Self care is NOT going to the Walmart alone to get groceries, stop acting like it is!
  2. “Even the best parents lie to their kids”
    • This is so true! Telling your child your food is spicy because you don’t want to share is a lie. We all lie to our kids to save our sanity, at least a little bit.
  3. “You’re the boss”
    • We wrap our worlds around the needs of little people. At the end sometimes we forget who runs the show. Hold your ground. Don’t negotiate with tiny terrorists.
  4. “Maybe in mom language is ‘no’, but for kids it’s ‘yes’. Don’t get that twisted.”
    • We’ll see and maybe almost always means no or a lack of decision for a parent. Kids however, turn that maybe into a blood oath. They will take that maybe as a way to pester you to the yes they want. Kids know how to manipulate you. It’s better to just say no if you don’t want the harassment.
  5. “Master the art of blackmail and bribery”
    • I can already hear the comments of how little Timmy doesn’t have to be bribed and how we shouldn’t be bribing our kids to get them to do what we want. It’s consequences and rewards. Simple as that blackmail=consequence and bribe=rewards. If little Timmy doesn’t clean his room he doesn’t get ‘x’ if he does clean his room he gets ‘y’. It’s just the sugarcoated version of that. Learn what works to motivate your kids and use it.
  6. “Presence trumps presents”
    • When your child grows up and is looking back at their childhood what do you think will stick out more? The parent who bought them (fill in the blank) or the parent who played barbies on the floor? There are few things that I remember that stand out in the gift department, but I remember the Wednesday night ritual consisted of takeout, watching ‘Survivor’ with my dad just hanging out and laughing.
  7. “Perception is reality. Validation required”
    • Feelings are feelings. They may not be based in truth, but they are uniquely the interpretation of an experience. Being a parent means being understanding and compassionate of a child’s feelings an perspective even when it’s hard to see how they got there, they did. Accept it and help them navigate through their feelings. They can’t be changed just because you disagree.
  8. “You are their advocate and their voice”
    • Speak up and standup for your kids. Sometimes they aren’t able to do it themselves. Show them it’s important to stand firm in what you feel is right. You fight their fights with them.
  9. “You can be their parent and their friend”
    • This one is so controversial. I remember seeing this and it went against everything I had ever heard or thought about parenting. You have to parent them, not placate them. Then I thought about my real friends. The ones who stood by me in the thick of it. They didn’t just coddle me and hold my hand. They told me the truth. Even when I didn’t want to hear it. They smacked sense into me when required. True friends don’t tell you you are right and make you feel better all the time. Sometimes friends make us see how we’ve contributed to our own mess. If you’re a true friend to your child you can parent and be their trusted friend too.
  10. “Every great mom thinks they are screwing it up!”
    • If you are thinking about screwing it up, chances are you’re doing pretty damn good. The fact that you’re worried you aren’t doing well shows you are a good mom who wants to be great. Keep going!

Whether or not my threefold make millions of dollars, become the first woman president, marry a king, or become a famous TikTok influencer means nothing in the way of success. Not to me. I just want my threefold to grow into strong, confident, brave women who know their worth in this great big world. To me, that’s successful parenting. It’s a journey. Last piece of advice…stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

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Pay it Forward

I don’t think I realized how much faith I had lost in humanity until this past year happened. Acts of kindness me doubt the ‘why’ behind the actions. I’be never been someone who admitted they needed help. I’ve been the type of girl who figured it out since becoming an adult. I became resourceful and I pride myself on my ability to always find a way. That saying ‘if there’s a will, there’s a way’ was written with me in mind.

If I need something or want something bad enough I am next to unstoppable. I’m persistent and stubborn as hell. I almost always get my way. That sounds like I’m an entitled brat, but what I mean is I work for it. I will grind and hustle. I will possibly pester the shit out of you about it, but eventually I will have what I want.

If you’ve been following and reading for a while you know that my family has faced some unique challenges over the past year. With a lot of strength and perseverance we made it through the hardest of times. When I say it’s been a struggle, I mean a struggle. There were times I doubted I was cut out for this job called mom. It’s not easy. That’s an understatement.

I found my faith in humanity this year. I found support in places I never would have thought. Even now, when things have begun to settle back to a manageable level of chaos, I am still receiving that support. Maybe it’s manifested, maybe it’s good karma, maybe it’s my mom looking out for me or God, I’m not sure. I just know that whatever it is I can only say that I am so grateful.

When we were at our lowest, my company donated $2000 to our family to help with expenses. A ‘go fund me’ campaign raised another $2000. My company also provided our family with over $500 in gift cards so that we would have gas money, groceries, and be able to afford to go out to eat on occasion. My boss has paid #2 every week for the little bit of work she does at our office after school, since she has to come to work with me in the afternoons after school due to her safety plan. My boss also bought #2 a homecoming dress when he and his fiancé found out we would going on our thrift shop scavenger hunt.

Last but certainly not least, is our new friend, Karthik. There was a time before the ‘go fund me’ and before the company donations that I was struggling and in a bad way. I had gone to a gas station and crossed my fingers as I swiped my card. Declined. That day Karthik put $20 of gas in my car. I didn’t ask. He just saw my desperation probably. I just needed to get to the day patient program #2 was going to at the time to pick her up. I was too prideful to ask for help, even from my own family. Karthik, just did it. No questions asked.

We frequent this gas station regularly now. We go nearly every afternoon after school on my way back to work. #2 says Karthik is her best friend. He is an amazing friend to us. He always make #2 get herself an extra treat, he asks if we need anything, he gives us hot plates, and we are always the first people he asks to try his latest creation. He refuses our money more often than not these days. When I try to pay he just voids my sale. I don’t know why he is so nice to us. He is always friendly and happy to see us. He never asks for anything in return. #2 even had me take her the night of homecoming so she could get a picture with him before the dance. He was ‘honored’.

These strangers that have come into our lives and lifted us up when we were at our lowest have restored our faith in the goodness that people have. I pay it forward as often as I can. I don’t think it’s right to receive without giving it back. I feel you have to put it back into the universe, that good it gives to you, as often as you can in order to keep the good flowing. Not everyone has an ulterior motive. Some people are just kind. Pay if forward. Stay Positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

Karthik and #2 on homecoming wearing the beautiful dress my boss purchased for her.
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Dating my Daughter…

We’ve established Mommin’ ain’t easy. With my threefold and our extremely complicated circumstances surrounding mental illness means my parenting approach needs to be in line and on it’s A-game as much as possible. I’m not the perfect Pinterest mom who is building replicas of Rome with cardboard and crepe paper. I’m a below average cook. I’m also not really into fitness, hair, or makeup. I’m more of the trauma momma chaos coordinator extraordinaire. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for connecting and having one on one time with my threefold.

As much as I wish I could just be an amazing mom, I know I have room for improvement. If nothing else, I always am looking for ways to be better for myself and especially for my threefold. It’s important I have a grasp on my parenting approach for consistency and balance. With mental illness and some challenging behaviors mixed with the change in family dynamics, I have to be able to be effective and understanding. Hold my ground and hold their hands when necessary too. It’s a balance.

It’s just really freaking hard to find that balance alone. So I got a parenting coach. Yes, a parenting coach to help me navigate how to handle my crazy, chaotic, ever changing crew. I’m raising little humans here! I don’t want them to be total assholes and so I need help. The goal is to raise confident, motivated, and compassionate people. Or something that isn’t resulting in a menace to society or crime filled gang life. I don’t know, I’m trying!

My parenting coach, whom I don’t quite buy into just yet, gave me a challenge this week. I was supposed to establish my expectations for my threefold and explain them clearly in a calm manner. Ok. I get that. Then I was to establish set consequences for not meeting those expectations and hold their feet to the fire. Ok. I can maybe do that one too. The last was to plan a ‘date’ with my daughters individually and spend quality one on one time with each. Sounds easy? IT’S NOT! I’m in a ball of anxiety surrounding this challenge.

First of all my threefold range in age. Youngest {#3} is 10, my middle {#2} is 13, and the oldest {#1} is 17. I’m not sure what to do with any of them. That sounds awful, but it’s true. I don’t know of anything that I can do for a few hours with my own kids! Go ahead and bring on the judgment, I’m judging myself too right now.

The thing is that I don’t want to have to say no and cause their day to go straight down the drain. I don’t want to end up with a pouty and irritable kid, because it’s just not something doable today. Not everything can be money related and we don’t have privacy at home with 6 people in the house to make plans at home.

Of course my challenge today is #3 of my threefold. Ugh! Why the hardest one to please is the first date pick, I don’t know! I must like self torture. She isn’t hard to please, but her list of ideas for her mommy time consists over Starbucks, Walmart, Target, 5 Below and a craft project. I can already picture me telling her that I’m not buying a shit ton of useless crap and her pouty face. It’s all shopping and shopping is not my ideal day even on a day when the money moves right.

I’ve scoured the internet looking for something inexpensive and fun we can do outside of the house. It’s below freezing, so anything like picnics, parks, bike rides and nature walks are out of the question. I’m lost. I have zero clue as to what to counter her shopping spree with. I’ve come up empty.

I know she needs this special time with me. I do understand the premise. Also she did have her first four day good behavior streak in months at both school and home so she also earned a reward for her improvement and efforts made. I just want it to go well. I think I’m more nervous about this date than any other I have ever been on. I feel like it’s a make or break it kind of thing. It’s not, but I’m going to overthink this until it’s time to go.

Today from 3pm-5pm this kid has me to herself. We have 2 hours to go bond just the two of us today. I’ve got to go manifest some money and some magic mom mastery. Seriously though, I know this is supposed to be fun. I’m just unintentionally overthinking the fun out of the experience. I know, relax! It needs to be special, but whatever we do today, it’s got to be something that makes her feel special not just a shot in the dark. I’m hoping I can conjure my creativity and find the fun on a cold winters day. I’m staying positive. I’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M