Tag Archives: Being a Single Mom

Challenges and rewards of being a single mom

We Owe It To The Kids

Sometimes we get so involved in the drama and trauma of our lives with the narcissist we forget about how it is affecting the kids. We may think they aren’t listening or aren’t damaged by what is going on because kids have amazing resilience and ability to hide their feelings. When there is tension in the house they may act out, school grades may drop, or they may withdraw and become very quiet. We assume that ; if we don’t see a change in their behaviour or personality, that they are unaffected. But there are kids who have learned how to adapt just like you, where the bizarre and unacceptable has become the norm, or maybe its all they know so to them it is normal.

The older ones may be able to discuss dad’s moods with amazing insight and even humor, so you assume they are coping well. But, if you think about it, isn’t it heart wrenching that you are talking to your children about their father (or mother) in these terms? What does it teach them about healthy families, respect, love?

A parent should never criticize the other parent to the children but with a narcissist how do you not discuss the other parent when they act in totally unacceptable ways or treat the children poorly. Do you allow the child to be criticized and not intervene in some way? Do you quietly bite your tongue until the tirade is over and then take the child aside and try to repair the damage?

When children are involved the adult has to make choices based on what is best for the child not what they “wish”, not based on what they want, but based on what is reality.

Is it ever good for a child to live in fear of a parent’s wrath? To have to walk on egg shells? To never measure up to impossibly high standards?

I’ve said that I had never been in an abusive relationship before I met JC, but that is a lie I suppose because I was married 3 times.

My 2nd marriage didn’t last 6 months. I met the guy in the gym weight training. My dad and step mom loved him, he was infatuated with me. It was a whirlwind romance, he moved into a place just down the street from me shortly after we started dating. I didn’t like how he wanted to occupy all my time but he doted on Kris, Kris loved him, he read Kris bedtime stories, Kris followed him around like a little shadow.

Kris was missing having a dad in his life like his friends had and I did a stupid thing; I married the guy thinking it was best for Kris.

Shortly before the wedding the guy’s mother took me aside and said, “You don’t need to marry him, you don’t need a man in your life, you have a house.” She was Hungarian and spoke broken English and I wasn’t sure what she was trying to tell me and the wedding was only a few weeks away.
On the night of the wedding the guy started criticizing the fact that I smoked, (he did too), said I drank too much, was irritated by Kris. But the next day he was fine again.

I had a small cabin at Cultus Lake and he blamed his moods on the fact that he felt less of a man because the house was in my name and I controlled all the finances, so I sold my cabin and we bought a bigger place and put it in both names. As you can all guess his moods did not improve.

I watched how he was with Kris, I started getting a knot in my stomach when we pulled in the driveway. We were both walking on egg shells when we got home. Then one night after Kris was in bed we were arguing and Kris came out of his bedroom with his baseball bat. The guy had never laid a hand on me but Kris had never heard arguing before and he was afraid of the guy. It broke my heart that my little 5 yr old son had come with his baseball bat to protect me. What must he have been feeling in his gut, what a brave little guy to be willing to face off with a muscle bound asshole who was screaming at his mom.

The next day I kicked the guy out. He wanted 1/2 of the house and I gave him $6500. We had agreed on $10,000 (every birthday & special holidays I had requested some home improvement as a gift now he was counting that as his investment in the house). But the house needed a new roof so I deducted the cost of the roof and he got $6500. I drove over to where he was living and handed him the cash. When he saw it wasn’t the full $10,000 he started spouting off and I told him.”You had better take it and get the fuck out of my life, you don’t want to push me.”
And he did. People have told me that when I am really angry something happens to my eyes and its enough to put the fear of God into a person. I guess that day it worked.

I never talk about the guy because we were divorced before our 1 st anniversary and I never spoke to him again. In my mind he was a glitch, a mistake that I corrected as soon as I recognized it and that was the end of it.

That is why my son and family could not believe I tolerated the abuse from JC. But there were a few things that were different with JC; for one thing and the biggest reason; I had no one but myself to protect. I was going to say the other reason was with JC I didn’t have the house, money or available credit but then I remembered Allen, JC’s son.

Actually, the reason I am even discussing this today is I got a message from Allen the other day.

Allen and his mom are on my FaceBook. We don’t chat much any more, just “Like” and “LOL” mostly. He has a great lady for a mom, she is very attractive, she was just a child when JC got her pregnant, he hit her once and her mom and stepdad took her out of there and went back east for 14 years.

When JC found her he and I had just gotten back together the last time. We got back together at the end of Dec 2008 and he found her and Allen at the end of January. I have a feeling he found her sooner but waited to have me firmly hooked as his backup in case she didn’t bite the bait.

As it turned out her and I both thought he was a changed man, he was playing both of us but she didn’t fully take the bait, she got involved with another man. Anyway, to make a long story short, Allen came to live with us in BC.

At first everything was great, JC played the role of perfect father. Allen was in teenage boy heaven, he had the father all teenage boys dream of. He was cool, played guitar, they liked the same music, JC dressed cool, had a bit of a laid back dude kinda way about him. Had a Harley, a really dressed out semi, and a stock 1970 Impala with low profile tires;  that rumbled along and a JC could smoke the tires for a full block. He let Allen drive the semi, they stayed up all night listening to music and polishing the chrome on the semi. JC let him smoke, spent money on him like there was no tomorrow. What more could a 14 yr old boy want? All his buddies thought he had the coolest dad around.

But he wasn’t with us long before JC started criticizing the kid, it didn’t matter what the kid did it was never good enough. Allen was ADHD with a bit of OCD mixed in to keep it interesting but he was a good kid. You just had to know how to relate to him. I would have him ride with me and pay him to work. If he worked hard he got paid cash if he didn’t work we still had fun; I bought him lunch but he got no cash, before long he was jumping out of the truck when we pulled into a job site, he knew what to do and did it. He got excited about different things we’d find, he was eager to help. I was building a pond in the yard and he helped me, we always had a lot of laughs. We talked about God, work ethic, what he wanted to be when he got older, he even surprised me by cooking supper a few nights.

I kept a supply of greeting cards that said, “thanks, way to go, keep it up, congratulations”. And would slide one under his bedroom door once in a while when he did something noteworthy.

JC had lost interest in parenting pretty quick after Allen arrived and Allen stopped idolizing him. He was a resilient kid, I would ask him how he felt about things his dad said or did and he would just say, “That’s dad”.

JC stopped coming home some nights, refused to buy groceries, Allen and I bonded even more through adversity. Him, me and Kato.

I never criticized his dad to him and never discussed how his dad treated me but I knew Allen saw it. I think JC’s plan was to have Allen come out, force me out of the relationship and bring Allen’s mom out to BC. But his plan backfired, with his son and his sister.

I found a letter he had written Allen’s mom saying he had been waiting 15 years for her so another year or two didn’t matter. He said, “You never expected I would be raising our son someday and look where he is, and I’m doing a good job of it, even if I say so myself”. Not one word about me. ( do they not realize people are not stupid? She knew he was living with me and she talked to her son regularly. She knew the truth. How can you say you were waiting for someone 15 years when you were living with a woman for 10 of those years?)

Then came the day Allen ate JC’s donut and JC called him a “Fucking pig!” and punched him, started pounding on him. I stepped in between them and Allen ran out. JC yelled after him to never come back.

I went out and found Allen at the neighbors where he had just called the cops. He and I were interviewed separately by the cop and our stories matched exactly. I overheard JC talking to the cop and he was his usual calm, lying self; blaming it all on Allen.

Allen refused to press charges and the cop told me to call if there were any more problems. Allen asked if he had done the right thing calling the police and I reassured him “Yes!! He did exactly what he should have”. He said, “I just want Dad to know he can’t do that. I just want him to stop being mean to you and to go back to the dad I met. I don’t want him to go to jail.”

He went back to the neighbors and I went in to see how JC was. He seemed calmed down, a few hours passed and I saw Allen at the patio door. He came in like nothing had happened. I thought, “good kid, no attitude.” JC came flying out of the bedroom screaming,”I told you to not come back”. And pushing Allen backwards. I got between them again and I guess my eyes did that thing that they do because when I told JC to back off or I was calling the cops, he did.

Allen was crying and JC told me I was babying him and I told him to ” shut the F up and leave us alone”.
He did. I packed Allen, called a friend and asked them to pick Allen up asap. The friends called when they were almost there and Allen and I walked out to the road to meet them. They asked if I wanted to come along and I said no. Allen and I hugged and said I love you and that was the last time I saw him.

I called his mom; explained the situation and arranged for her to book a flight for him to go home.

I have always felt bad. I know I did the best I could and I have never blamed myself but I always thought, “How sad for Allen, to meet his dad after 14 years and he is everything and more than you ever hoped for and then have it end like that.”

So, back to the other day while I was in Facebook, a message came in from Allen asking how I was. I told him about being published and he asked what I wrote about and I said domestic violence. He said he’d like to read it.
He told me he’s got the most awesome girlfriend, still lives at home with his mom and little sister and he has a job working in a warehouse.

Then he sent another message that brought tears to my eyes.
He said,”I still miss you and think about you and Kato. I want to thank you for all you did for me. I’ll never forget it.”

So, all I have to say about children and a narcissistic parent is this; if you can’t do the right thing for yourself. Do the right thing for the kids. And the right thing is to never allow anyone to hurt them, even if that person is their parent.

Do the right thing for your child, we owe it to the kids to protect them; we brought them into this world. That makes it your duty to protect them.

There is life and light after the narcissist, I promise! Hugs Carrie

Thankful For The Memories

I used to love all of the traditional holidays, and as much as I love Christmas and the decorations I think my favorite holiday has always been Thanksgiving. It was my favorite because you got the big turkey dinner, the family get-together and none of the commercialized gift crap.

I started a tradition at my Thanksgiving table that as we ate we would go around the table and everyone had to say what they were thankful for. It didn’t matter what had gone on in someone’s life they were still expected to come up with some thing.

Years ago before Kris was born Victor, my 1st husband had lost his brother in a tragic fishing accident. They had been fishing and drinking out on the lake in early spring so the water was extremely cold. The boat flipped, there were three of them and only two life jackets. Victor was going to swim for help, he was the most physically fit. Don was a big guy, couldn’t swim and was panicking so they got him in a lift vest first. Victor’s brother, Micheal,  was wirey and probably weighed 75 – 100 lbs less than Victor and had the other life jacket on. They decided Victor should stay with Don because he was stronger and could keep Don from drowning and Micheal would swim to shore for help.

Michel and he argued about the life jacket, Victor wanted Michel to wear it and Micheal wanted Victor to wear it. Micheal agreed to keep it on but he swam a ways and then turned and threw it back to Victor.

They waited and waited; it wasn’t that far to shore; but it was dusk and they couldn’t see if Micheal made it. Finally after calling out and not getting a reply Victor left Don and swam to shore. He ran down the road calling for Micheal, nothing. Then a truck came by and they hadn’t seen any one.

They got Don out of the lake, but they had to drag the lake the next morning and found Micheal, he had drowned only a few yards from shore; they figured he had succumbed to the cold. Victor had a horrible time dealing with his brother’s death and at the reception we had at our house after the funeral he ran off down the street so consumed with grief I imagine he was trying to out run it.

I went to go after him and my older brother John (a weight trainer, who was solid muscle) stopped me and said he’d go. A while later I saw the most heart wrenching scene I have ever seen; coming across the front lawn was my brother with tears running down his face packing Victor in his arms like a baby. He packed him into the bedroom and tucked him into bed.

That Thanksgiving my mom was cooking the Turkey and she thought it would be too painful for Victor to say what he was grateful for so she didn’t do it. When we got home Victor said,”We didn’t say what we were thankful for this year” I told him my mom didn’t think we should because it would be too hard on him. He said,”But I’ve been thinking about what I was going to say for weeks.” I told him to phone my mom and tell her.” So he did. Micheal loved the thankfulness thing and would have been proud of his brother.

Another favorite Thanksgiving was while I was living at Cultus Lake. It was a fall similar to this year, very warm sunny days and brisk cold nights. The salmon were spawning, the crowds of summer had left until next year, the lake was like glass and the full time residents were out walking enjoying having their lake back. I wasn’t going to do a big dinner, my mom and step dad were on vacation, my cousin had plans, it was just Kris and I and I was quite looking forward to not having a house full. Then my brother called and asked if he could bring a date for Thanksgiving dinner.

Me: Oh! uh! sure! See you tomorrow, whenever you get here will be fine.

I jumped in the car and ripped down the hill to buy a turkey. There was no time to thaw a turkey so I had to spend the extra money and buy a fresh one. It was bar none THE best Thanksgiving dinner I have ever eaten or cooked. I kept it simple, Brussels Sprouts in a cream sauce, home made stuffing, no sausage, or nuts; just good old fashioned bread stuffing with fresh herbs from my garden. mashed potatoes, sweet potato broiled with brown sugar glaze, corn, and my favorite casserole of broccoli, cauliflower and Durkee onions. I had everything prepared the night before so it was just a matter of popping things in the oven.

I put the bird in the oven and walked to the lake, stopping to have a chat with my girlfriend Tina on the way. She joined me for a glass of wine on the dock. It was such a beautiful day, so warm I decided to take a dip in the lake with my clothes on,and was just going up to the house looking like a drowned rat when my brother pulled up with his “flavor of the week”, a gorgeous model. I got changed and we went for a long walk, played in the playground.

My brother pushed me on the merry go round until I couldn’t walk and thought I was going to be sick, then we wandered home. I had no idea how long to cook a fresh turkey but before we even opened the door we could smell its deliciousness. Dinner was flawless and we ate until we had to undo our pants moaning and groaning asking each other,”Why do I always do this?” They stayed the night and I sent home leftovers for both of them. It was a glorious day.

This year I am thankful I have memories like that; so many wonderful memories.

Even the last year JC and I were together; he had told me he wanted me to move out, his sister was still staying with us and his mom had given us a turkey. The bird wouldn’t fit in our tiny oven so I decided to cook it on the barbeque. As always I made my own stuffing and this time I kept dinner really simple but it was so tasty. I wrote JC and his sister each a letter saying what about them I was thankful for. It was a very nice dinner, bitter sweet because it was like the last supper but we had good conversation even though JC had to say it was nice to finally get a decent meal. I went to bed alone.

In the morning there was a letter from JC on the table for me and he had shoved one under the door of his sisters bedroom. They were nice letters; too bad he didn’t mean what he wrote. Mine was blank on the first 1/2 and he started by saying,”I have no idea what I was supposed to write above.” Then he said he needed to change his attitude and promised he was going to change, things were going to change……for the better. Two weeks later he made us miss his nieces wedding.

Ah well. I am thankful I no longer hold false hope that he will change. I recently heard he has not changed at all. I’m not surprised but it is little consolation.

I am thankful I have healed as much as I have and I actually go days without crying.

I am thankful for everyone who visits my blog, them sharing their stories has helped me more than I ever thought it would and more than they could know.

I am amazed and thankful that I have had almost 43,000 hits and almost 200 followers. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would reach that many people.

Every time I check messages and there is one that says “thank god I found this site” or “You literally saved my life” I am thankful I started the blog and I am accomplishing what I set out to do.

I am thankful my son is working and happy, although I miss him horribly.

I am thankful he messaged me yesterday and said, “Everything is going to be ok. I love you” .
I messaged back. “Why do you say that!? Are you ok?? I love you too Honey”.
His reply: Lol I was being supportive; I know you’ve had a tough couple of years.
Me: Oh! Thank you but stop it! you had me worried.

I am thankful that my puppies love me.

I am thankful that I am not sleeping in my truck.

I am thankful I have hope for a better future because last year I didn’t have any hope. And without hope life isn’t worth living.

I am thankful I laugh regularly now.

I will be thankful when this weekend is over and I don’t feel so lonely.

     HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! to my friends all over the world. Tell me what you are thankful for this year or share a Thanksgiving memory.

Heaven on Earth

The kiss of the sun for pardon,
The song of the birds for mirth.
One is nearer to God in a garden
Than any place else on earth.

Dorothy Francis Gurney

The above is an exert from a poem by Dorothy Francis Gurney; I used to have a wooden plaque hanging in my garden with that verse on it.

Through the worst times of my life I have found comfort in my garden. When JC and I were at the resort I spent hours tending my garden, crying, praying for answers, praying for strength, praying for my son and my brother, praying to be given one more chance to save my boy, praying for serenity, and sometimes cursing God for giving me too much to handle.

I always came away from my garden feeling calmer, stronger; it was my refuge. It has been for most of my life. When I lived at the lake before I even met JC I would be out there with a flashlight and a glass of wine tending my garden. It seemed the harder the time I was going through the more beautiful my gardens were. Every year I dug up more sod for more flowers. The little English lady that lived across the street and could barely walk made her way across the road slowly with her walker and came up to where I was pulling weeds and she said, ” I want to thank you for your lovely gardens. I look out my window and your gardens take me back to my childhood and the lovely English gardens. You have a loving touch; I’ve watched you. I just wanted you to know you have given this old lady much pleasure with your gardens.” and she shuffled back to her house. I’ll never forget it and of course I cried.

When we were at the resort I couldn’t afford plants but all the neighbour brought over plants and bulbs as they thinned out their gardens, one brought over a filing box with tons of different seeds for me to pick from. It was a tough year emotionally, like I said, I did alot of praying. It was the most beautiful garden I’ve ever had.

Gardening is so community minded, it brings people together, gives them something to talk about. A person can be talking by and feel free to say, “Your garden is lovely”. Or gardeners are always so willing to share plants, advice, and ask questions. Somehow a garden removes fences, class distinction, age, and even gender, gardeners are all on the same team.

I missed my gardens this year, I planted gardens last year and got compliments but I didn’t take the time to enjoy them because I was on borrowed time there and was trying to work as much as possible. This year I did plant some, but lack of water took its toll.

I pray that someday I have a tiny place, nothing fancy, I’m easy to please. 400 sq ft would do me just fine, with a fireplace (there is nothing like coming home from a long walk on a brisk fall day and the house is toasty warm from a crackling fire) There are few things more rewarding than getting up in the morning to a cold house and finding a few red embers still in the wood stove because all that’s necessary is to pull ghetto damper and throw on a few dry pieces of wood and in minutes the house is warm again.
I want a kitchen big enough that I can cook a pot of soup or chilli or maybe a pot roast and have a few friends over to share my fire and a bottle of wine.  lots of windows to let the sun shine in and hang crystals in. And a covered porch to hang wind chimes and a wooden rocking chair so I can sit out there even when it rains. One wall of book shelves for all those books I keep moving with me and some day want to read, but they look good until then. 🙂 I love books.

A place I can paint. A freezer I can fill with baking at Christmas and maybe even some cabbage rolls and tourtierre. A bath tub I can fill with bubble bath and keep adding hot water to until I am pink and wrinkly.

And a tiny yard trimmed with gardens.

And never have to move; just grow old there, Grandma’s house. Where my son and grand daughter can come to visit and know there are cookies in the cookie jar and my son will go to the freezer and grab some frozen cookies and I can give him shit for eating them before Christmas.

That is what I pray for. Not much, nothing fancy; not a knight in shining armor to save me, no trips around the world. Just a little bit of heaven on earth. The sun for pardon, the bbirds song for mirth.

What for you pray for?