Deal with the Devil

Forming Self

Forming Self

I am traveling and went to an art museum today! yeah! (I am actually staying at an Art Hotel -which is awesome in and of itself). Some of the quotes on the museum walls stayed with me. One in particular spoke about how art preserves and defends.

I have always liked the image of art as defender. Art defends the truth and forces us to see what we would prefer to ignore.

I saw this in action this past weekend with my stepson, Henry. After several months of conflict with his Mom, Henry has been in therapy. For the first time in months, he was able to stay with her and made no phone calls about coming to our home, etc. I was happy that he had this bit of healing.

When I picked him up from practice Friday night, the “switch day”, he ended up crying in my car for approximately 40 minutes- referring to himself as “stupid” and “slow”. Henry cries a lot, so sometimes you just need to roll with it and be supportive.

When I arrived home that evening, Henry’s mom had sent us an e-mail about all of Henry’s missed school assignments. Apparently, while he was with her for 2 weeks, they did NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING in regards to Henry’s homework.

Henry is not the type of student who can direct himself at school. But, his Mom thought is was best to lie. She told us that Henry had said he didn’t have any homework. Any one who spends 12 minutes, let alone 12 years with Henry, would know he is likely to lie about homework.

But, Henry was not just telling lies about homework, he was signing on the dotted line a symbolic deal with the devil.

When we asked Henry about his homework situation, he stated, “Don’t say anything to my Mom. She is finally being nice to me. I don’t want her to hate me again.”

And that is the deal with the devil you make with any narcissist. You agree to give up HUGE parts of yourself, so they will not reject you.

Henry denies and discounts an entire aspect of his life (school) so his Mom will still love him.

And narcissists force each and everyone of the people in their lives into these “bargains”. Narcissism, as I have written before, is, at its core an existential crisis. The narcissist is forever and always in a life-threatening survival mode (in their minds).

So they take- ruthlessly and fearfully- because if you don’t give, they cease to exist (in their minds).

So Henry signs the deal with the devil, symbolically denying his Life, so “Mommy” can live.

If you have ever had interactions with a narcissist, and felt you had lost pieces of yourself, you most likely did. it was the price you were expected to pay.


13 thoughts on “Deal with the Devil

  1. This rings true. as a child I learned to hide things when they broke as I was terrified of being punished. Long experience has taught me it is exactly as you say a terrible pattern to get into. And comes at a great cost. Great post.

  2. Joint custody needs to end. Over the years I’ve read how joint custody needed end at some point in the past but, for any number of very bad reasons, has yet to end. Joint custody in most cases is NOT good for the children, rather it serves to fulfil any number of parental wishes that do not take into consideration the mental health of the children involved.

    The bottom line is this: if a parent or parents see that one or other member of the now-extended family is causing a problem, beyond reason, than they need to seek to end joint custody or otherwise recognise that they are complicit in the damage being done to the child.

    In a situation like mine, where not one member of my family, school, child services, or even the local police elected to do something, it was the case that they were all complicit in the decade of physical and mental abuse I was forced to suffer at the hands of my step-father as well as the mental abuse that results from purported loved ones forcing me to remain there. In a situation where there is not one family but two, where the family is more ‘extended’, the same stands to reason and if one or more parents recognise the situation and do not remove the child/ren from it for their own safety they are complicit in the damage.

    • I so agree with you. You had me at the first sentence. Joint custody often serves the parents more than the children. Both of my stepchildren would benefit from having one “main” home, rather than trying to handle the logistics of their lives as they switch back and forth every 2 weeks.
      As I have written before, I have been surprised how everything is in place to protect and help the parents, not the children.

      • If you and your husband have not talked seriously about sole custody before, it’s certainly the time to do just that. You have stepped out of the ‘step’ role and elected to become their bona fide mother, just as you should have.

        Notions of warm parenting are not natural to the species, only notions of protection are and like in a great many other animal species. But humans have created the notion and it’s a very positive thing: it’s something we all deserve. Your children don’t deserve a family and a fuck story -they have the rest of their lives to see just how terrible people choose to be and they need parents to educate and, within reason, protect them.

  3. I know, that you are doing your best to be a great bonus mother Kimberly. Could it be possible for you and the kids father to get them at full time? I can imagine that their physical mother will protest, but the kids best should be the most important.

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