So what on earth is this?
This is a mechanism that I would like to recommend – It has saved me from doing something rash and stupid more times than I can remember.
Practically from the start my soon-to-be ex-wife was provoking me in e-mails and generally being antagonistic. I tried not to be the same but I am only human, and there is only so much goading that one can take without giving in kind. I am talking here about e-mail and telephone contact by the way. Not physical contact.
I used to react almost immediately to e-mails and she unfortunately played me like a well-tuned Stradivarius. After a couple of e-mails I pushed back and the e-mail exchange abruptly stopped. This e-mail was then used later, sometimes a couple of years later as ‘proof’ that I had an ‘aggressive nature’ and was ‘uncooperative’. As they were obviously taken out of context and there was no evidence of a systematic ‘aggressive’ or ‘obstructive’ nature they were ignored by social services (and eventually the judge) every time.
After a while of being stupid – yes stupid to allow myself to be played this way! I introduced the 24-hour rule. If I received an e-mail that did not need an immediate response (planning to pick the kids up for instance) I waited. I usually called a friend and discussed the matter with them before answering. In this way I was sure that I reacted unemotionally, and in that discussing this with friends I was in fact acting in my best interests, and also in the best interests of my children. I can also say that my ideas and arguments where sometimes taken apart by my friends, and I accepted this criticism and revised my opinions.
Some may say that I was weak, and depended on others to make important decisions ‘for me’. This is not the case – talking helps, and is in the best interests of all actors. In comparison my ex-wife never accepted a different point of view, whether it be from a judge or social services. She – even while we were married – never changed her point of view after listening to her friends or me. I believe this is part of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
I always wanted to believe that she – as I did – had the best interests of our children in mind, and that we could work together. I found out later that she did in fact have their best interests in mind – her mind! In her plan for our childrens future I was not part of their best interests and she,pro-actively supported by her new husband had other plans.
© lost dad 2017 – all rights reserved
A readable (non-scientific) description about NPD can be found here.