No Response Is a Response

Here’s another one of those drafts I never published. Maybe it will help you on your journey.

No response is a response…and it’s a powerful one.

It’s common for the ex to not answer me.  In fact, I rarely communicate with him unless it’s through lawyers these days and half the time, he doesn’t answer them either.  It’s frustrating, but I know it’s a power thing with him.  I try not to let it get to me, but sometimes it does.  But, I’ll never let him know it if I can help it.

However, he does the same thing with our kids and they’re hurting from it.  They’re trying to make excuses for it.  They try to make sense of it.  They try to understand him.  They’ve initiated conversations, trying to get him to connect with them, that fell flat.  And while one of them has just accepted that this is who their dad is now (even though he wasn’t that way years ago), the other one is still wrestling with the reason their dad doesn’t communicate with them, nor supposedly with his family.

The ex ignores the kids’ texts and phone calls, yet throws a fit if they do it to him.  His cell phone is with him 24/7 and yet, he repeatedly refuses to respond to them.  He’s giving them the silent treatment.  He’s been known to lie outright to them only to have the kids realize that his story doesn’t add up by looking at his social media.  Yet because his wrath can turn ugly, they don’t normally question him.  They just file away the truth.  They’ve learned not to question him because he’ll continue to lie even when they have the facts.  Years ago when they were younger, they would want to believe him, but now they’ve realized too many lies.  But that desire to believe him has never died and that need to excuse his behavior comes and goes depending on what it is.

When you don’t respond, it’s a powerful message and depending on the situation, the people involved and the relationships, the message can be taken in different ways.  One kid is taking it as he’s not enough so his dad refuses to answer him.  He’s trying his best to initiate conversations and connections with his dad, but there’s no response.  He longs for his dad in his life, but the ex doesn’t answer.  I’m watching my kid wrestling with the question that I have had since the ex said he didn’t want to do this anymore…

What changed him?

And while I have plenty of theories, and some facts, they are not mine to share.  But it saddens me that the kids are hurting so I’ve gotten them a therapist who can help them.  They’re making great strides, but one is much like me.  I never wanted to give up on the ex until I had to surrender to his NPD.  And while I don’t discuss that, the kids have been researching and are beginning to see the narcissist in their dad.  It explains so much when they can see behind the mask.

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10 Responses to No Response Is a Response

  1. LA says:

    Excellent piece. I agree with you…non response is just as powerful as a response. I had a conversation with Deb the other day about what’s more important…what we say out loud, or what we don’t say. Both sides of the same coin…

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  2. Paula Light says:

    Perhaps the most powerful…

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  3. The V Pub says:

    That’s awful. Ghosting someone is bad enough, but ghosting your children is disgusting.

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  4. Ainsobriety says:

    As the child of a narcissistic parent I can only add that no matter how much you know it isn’t you, that it is them and that it won’t change, it still hurts.

    There is an expectation in life that ones parents love them.

    I’m so sorry for you kids, and for my kids. Mine seem to recognize Craig as a flawed person, but it must still hurt sometimes. I hope my love makes up for it.

    Anne

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    • janieleeds says:

      I’m sorry about your childhood Anne and about our kids’ situations as well. I pray that our love makes up for it for all of our kids. Mine want to see but don’t want to see at the same time and I understand that…
      Hugs to you Anne!

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  5. So much, when you can see behind the mask. What advice would you give to your younger self about understanding personality disorders in a spouse? Behaviours and responses?

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    • janieleeds says:

      Oh my, this is a huge can of worms to open Lafieta. There’s so much to say. Perhaps I should do a post on it, but the short story is: The ex’s NPD was familiar to me because of my upbringing so I didn’t know there was anything different.

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