As a Left-Behind Parent myself, I have spoken to dozens of other Left-Behind Parents. Although our stories can be vastly different, spun off in hundreds of different directions like the cracks in a windshield, there are always similarities. One of them, I’ve discovered, is that the abductor is narcissistic.
LBP to LBP, we tell our stories, desperately wanting to be heard and understood – how can you blame us when our own government and legal system refuses to hear our cries? – and as we listen and share, it becomes obvious that the ones who have taken our children from us are eerily similar.
Similar in the way they speak to us, threaten us, belittle us.
Similar in how they are charismatic before the court system yet reveal their true faces to us.
It’s almost like listening to our own stories. We are all linked by our experiences, stuck in a web of deceit that we unknowingly stepped right into.
I have personally read multiple articles and psychology articles on the subject. Articles on being in relationships with narcissists, articles on co-parenting with narcissists. I’ve bought books written by professionals, one being Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People. I’m in Facebook groups for survivors of Narcissistic relationships.
To be honest with myself, and to stop blaming myself, even if I had known all that I do now, I doubt it would have saved me from my own narcissistic relationship. They are that good. You don’t see it until it’s too late.
So, don’t beat yourself up. It’s not your fault. You didn’t ask for this. You don’t deserve it.
I’ve had this blog in my draft for a week now because I don’t even know where to start. This subject is so vast there is no easy place to start or even one pool of information to choose from.
I used to think that You-Know-Who was a simple narcissist. He fits all the behaviors. However, he fits better in the category of Narcissistic Sociopath.
As if a simple narcissist weren’t bad enough.
You-Know-Who played the victim role very well, crying to anyone who would listen to him, hashing up old arguments until he felt everyone was on his side…only for him to turn around and throw it in my face. Here’s one of many [nicer] excerpts from him:
“I am not a fool I know that half the time your mother disagrees with what i say and think, Amber sympathizes but she is your sister, so anything short of you killing her will result in her backing you up. Even though you are as cuddly as a cactus on fire”
He messaged friends that I hadn’t spoken to myself for over a year. He did a very good job at turning my entire family against me. When it comes to friends & family, be prepared for the reality that they will fall for a narcissists manipulations. I fell for it. They fell for it. I was of the mentality that I wanted it all to be over. I wanted the nightmare to be gone, thinking that distance and divorce would solve that. Little did I know that the abuse doesn’t stop because of that. My relationship with my immediate family members and some of my closest friends was destroyed because of his smear campaign. That destruction of loyalty and trust is still there to this day. One by one, they all saw the truth for themselves, but the damage was done.
When it comes to Narcissists, DOCUMENT EVERYTHING. Keep a diary and notate everything very clearly, “February 3, 20XX – I told xxxx to call between X-X. xxxx failed to call.” No matter how small, notate it. Keeping everything and organizing our emails helped me prove the lies in the Hague trial. Anytime he called, it was notated. Anytime my Mom set up Skype webcam, she notated it. So when it came time for him to accuse me of never letting him communicate with Zander, I was able to prove these accusations were lies.
Eliminate or LIMIT communication: Keep it short and unemotional. They are experts at wheedling their way into your emotions to elicit fiery reactions, only to turn around and make you look like the crazy one for getting worked up. Narcissists feed off of control, intimidation and eliciting emotions that they themselves are incapable of experiencing. Do not satisfy their twisted and selfish hunger by giving them what they are requesting. I’ve lost count of all the emails where he’s being a “typical narc” and I would get worked up, only for him to tell me to “Relax.” A Narc Sociopath will insult, belittle, and criticize you (sometimes in a teasing/joking way), pushing your boundaries until you finally speak up. Then they use your reactions to make you seem crazy. Within weeks, they can turn an easy-going person into a hot mess of insecurities and self-doubt.
ACCEPT that you will never win in the mind of a narcissist. You will not be able to change their distorted thought process regardless of how many times you remind them of the real version of the story at hand. You need to accept that you are not dealing with a rational, healthy person because acceptance is the key to moving forward. I recall back when I was getting Zander evaluated for early intervention at 3 1/2 years of age because we had concerns he had autism. During the psychologist meeting (in school), she informed me that You-Know-Who declared that Zander’s delays were due to instability of early childhood, thanks to me. I had several emails of him refusing to believe Zander had any delays, any issues, and simply blamed me. Then when Zander was diagnosed, he turned around and declared [he]always knew Zander had some issues, he simply said they weren’t that bad. When I then forwarded him all the emails and quoted him, he still was unable to ADMIT the things he had said despite throwing the proof in his face. You CANNOT win; ACCEPT this.
Do not expect a narcissist to follow the law, rules or protocol of any kind. Expect lies, vicious attacks, bizarre behavior and the unexpected. In Court, they thrive off the element of surprise to make you look bad.
Unfortunately, I’m not dealing with just a narcissist. Here are the traits of a narcissistic sociopath:
A driven quest for power: this could be control. You-Know-Who felt out of control because I had taken it from him as I healed over the years. I became strong enough to take that from him. Kidnapping Zander was a quest for the power of control. For example, he had me convinced that I had to inform him of every dollar spent of HIS money [child support]. It took me FOUR YEARS to heal from that mindset to stand up to him.
No apologies, no guilt, no remorse under any circumstance. His calculated, cruel actions are always justified. In his mind, I am the cruel one, so it is “justified”. He is not sorry one iota for doing what he did to me, to my family, to Zander, etc. Just like he has done since 2009, the blame gets placed on everyone but himself (screenshots to follow).
Invincibility. He believes he is indomitable. Even prison and punishment can’t stop him. When my lawyer threatened him with the FBI and prison time, citing the legalities of it, he was not scared at all and boasted to my mother that they couldn’t touch him.
Wholly self-serving. The needs and wants of others are insignificant and undeserving of consideration. He only listens to the wants of another IF it suits his desires.
And so much more…
Here’s an example (I feel these screenshots truly capture the sociopathic traits of his narcissism):
Another example, September 14, 2017, the judge ordered Zander’s return. September 15, 2017, You-Know-Who handed Zander over. THAT SAME DAY he was messaging the President of iStand attempting to smear my name, my success, and the legal facts “in the best utmost interest of my son.” The war was over; it was done. How is setting the record straight with an organization that helped me be in the best interest of Zander? The simple fact is that narcissists cannot stand to be the “bad guy”. They cannot stand being wrong, so they have to say and do whatever it takes to one up the other party, to turn anyone and everyone against the other party. Luckily, iStand was aware of all the facts, and they were already quite used to these tactics from previous abductors. Same old tactics.
There are legal and psychiatry journals stating these same facts. Inside this journal states “Lewis (1978) believes ‘the true motive for child snatching is spite or revenge’“.
In this Scholarly article, this quote drives my point home: “Most custody violators do not consider their actions illegal or morally wrong, even after the involvement of the district attorney’s office.”
These abductors require psychiatric care, however getting the legal system to see and enforce this is another war in itself.
Facing off against a narcissist can be a very lonely road. Education is empowering. The more that you know and learn, the more you can handle these individuals until they fail to hold any control over you or your reactions.