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narcissism

Prolonged Exposure Therapy: Session 8

although it's been nearly a month since I recorded this session, I want to finish the series of blog posts because I won't feel like I'm done processing the Prolonged Exposure Therapy experience until I've written about it. I'm going to cover session 8 in two sections: the first half during which I finished processing my relationship with Scott, my ex; the second half, which I'll write later, starts the process of dealing with the damage done by my mother. I blogged a little about her in doors without doorknobs.

after listening to session 7 in the days preceding this session, I was left feeling a deep sadness. sadness over lost opportunities for myself and for my children. I also recognized deep feelings of self-doubt, of feeling afraid to start homework projects for the class I enrolled in because I feel sure I'm doing it wrong and that I don't understand what I'm supposed to do.

I was also dragging the ball and chain of feeling discouraged because the legal battle I thought had been resolved in court was still ongoing. six weeks past the hearing date and the judgment hasn't been submitted to the judge for signature and legal fees are mounting. therapy bills have taken a huge bite out of my limited resources, and buying groceries and gas the same day overdrew my bank account. everything added up felt overwhelming and I wondered (for about a minute) if taking the plunge into Prolonged Exposure Therapy had been a bad idea. I chose this time to do the Prolonged Exposure Therapy because my next chance would be this fall. I want to be able to do other things this fall, like take more classes at the local college, work toward a new career, and live my life as a free person. I took the risk of signing up the extra therapy sessions and I'm not sorry I did it. still, finding myself flat broke, with maxed out credit cards and huge legal expenses, is depressing.

the high cost of endlessly riding the legal merry-go-round

the custody issue is settled. my children now have a court-appointed parenting time advocate: their therapist. I feel like that's a huge win in this resource-sucking war.

I have no illusions about how this is going to work out, however. I used to dream that my narcissistic ex would consider the kids feelings. that he would try to get to know them. that he would realize, maybe, that the world doesn't revolve around him.

mother, brother, sister, me

yesterday was Mother's Day. I taught my small one how to slice strawberries so she could make me breakfast. I spent time with my kids planting corn and landscaping and did my best to be gracious about Mother's Day sentiments.

I'm not a fan of most holidays. I find the overwhelming requirements of any holiday that purports to recognize someone based on their role in your life to be fairly unreasonable. we're all told who we should honor and how, setting up expectations on both sides that aren't practical. still, yesterday I wished I had a mother to honor. I have a mother, but I haven't spoken to her in a dozen years and I don't plan to in the future.

in spite of my no-contact policy with her, the simple fact that she exists has led to several interesting developments this past week.

I wish there was a Solomon

my narcissist has got a game on. it's so good I think his lawyer told him how to play it. he's filed for full legal custody of our son. if he wins, that means the support system I built for our son goes down the toilet. he won't have to take our son to his therapist. I won't get to give any input on my son's education or mental health treatment.

all it takes in our state is for the parents to have an uncooperative relationship for the court to terminate shared legal custody. so, he's being an asshole, telling me I'm too difficult to communicate with, ignoring my email requests for information about my son's activities and treatment. I even tried calling him to find out why he wants full legal custody, and he hung up on me.

the art of war

I've been reading Sun Tzu's Art of War. In it, he says:

"Ground on which each side has liberty of movement is open ground."

I realize that's where I had deluded myself into thinking I stood at one point, both during and after my divorce. I simply could not conceive of parenting children with someone unless we both had liberty of movement. I believed that although we were, at heart, enemies, co-existing on open ground meant safety from attack because it would be foolish for either of us to do so.

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