As the children get older, and in fact are becoming young adults, attempting to co-parent with a personality disordered ex has becomes less of an issue for me. Not because the ex has improved, or seen the errors of his ways, or realised his behaviour is affecting the children. But because the young adults are starting to lead independent lives and are not so reliant on either of their parents.
That is why I haven’t posted much about this and why my life has got more peaceful (in this aspect anyway!). I also got new orders 18 months ago that cut down the need for communication with my ex to the bare minimum and allowed the children to make all the arrangements with him.
The only downside is that it has meant I have to rely on them to let me know what is going on – and teenage boys are never good at communication – well not my two anyway!
On the rare occasions that we still have to communicate – only by email – it is difficult, nasty and he always gets some sort of dig in. And for the last two years he has never ever started his emails with a ‘Hi Katie’ and his name at the bottom. It always starts straight in and there is no sign off. It bothered me because it has such a deliberately ‘rude’ feel to it. I started out thinking I would do the same back to him, but my own conscience prevented me from doing that.
So I was completely taken aback when the most recent email response from him to a question I asked about Easter Holiday dates started off with Katie’ and finished with’ Thanks James’! I forgot to think ‘ what does he want this time’ or ‘is he sweetening me up for the kill later on’. Instead I stupidly thought ‘maybe he is being nice and we can start having a civil co-parenting relationship!’
Why on earth did my head go there? Because that is what I want for my boys. To know their parents can be civil and that when big decisions have to be made I can discuss them with their other parent. That I can share joys and fears with him.
How did I get to that point from a simple ‘hi and thanks’? Because I am desperate for that civility. Because it is just not his style. Because not having to communicate with him very often meant I had momentarily forgotten how nasty he can be. And I also had in mind that I have just taken the boys on a huge overseas trip and thought that maybe he realised he can no longer make passive aggressive comments about me not wanting to spend money on them!
Then I gave myself a mental slap around the face and reminded myself not to be so silly as to accept any small crumb of politeness from him and magnify it until he becomes normal in my eyes.
He isn’t normal. He has a personality disorder and can never be normal – only put on a mask of normality.