Sam was going through a divorce. He didn’t like it, but it was happening. Today, Sam was going to mediation. A chance to sit down with his ex and figure out what they were going to do with their stuff, and more importantly, the kids.
Sam really didn’t want to do this but had no choice. The last couple times he had to talk with his ex, she had yelled and screamed and got very insulting. He hoped that things would be calmer with the mediator.
Once they sat down and started discussing things, it took a turn for the worst. She said that she didn’t feel comfortable with him at her house getting his stuff because the last time she saw him he raised his voice and threatened her.
Confused, Sam yelled, “What!?” That had never happened.
In response his ex broke down crying and told the mediator that she was a nervous wreck because that’s what she had to put up with.
After getting lectured by a mediator that wouldn’t listen to his claims of innocence, Sam agreed to keep a civil tongue.
They proceeded to discuss items and a particular chair was mentioned. Sam was told that she already got rid of that.
“What!?” he almost yelled, but remembered to keep his tongue. “We talked about that and I said I wanted it.”
“No,” she said, “I told you I wanted it out weeks ago and you said just to get rid of it.”
That had never been said.
The rule of no contact
This is a fairly common type of occurrence when dealing with someone that has a personality disorder, both men and women. Lying to ‘win’ is common for a Narcissist. They can’t help themselves and don’t see it as doing anything wrong. Their philosophy is to get what they want and besides if they don’t do it first, the other party will. If the person has Borderline Personality Disorder they may justify their earlier outburst as the other parties fault, no matter why they were arguing or why they started yelling. Throwing temper tantrums is common with Histrionic Disorder.
So now what? In court, they tend to not believe either party, but if someone is pointing the finger and accusing the other of yelling and screaming and threatening, etc, the court will take that seriously. Even if there is no proof.
Other things that may happen:
- the PD (personality disorder) person may claim you never told them about one of the kid’s sports activities, even if you did.
- they may say you added an event to the shared calendar AFTER the event, just so the PD person couldn’t attend.
- They may have grabbed your arm, threatening you, and said you are lying just to get them in trouble.
- They may claim you didn’t send the kids medicine for visitation, even though you did and it wasn’t returned.
This and many other things can be said and done. The PD individual may make false claims and outright lie to get you in trouble.
What to do
The solution is pretty simple – the No Contact rule. To help save your sanity and provide proof of what you say, there should be no face to face contact. You shouldn’t discuss anything with the ex that isn’t through written communication.
Simple, but obviously not simple. Refusing to talk to them face to face will definitely set them off. They may fly into a rage. They may try to keep the kids from you or some other trick because they know that if they can’t twist what was said, they won’t have as much power. Plain and simple. They need the ambiguity of a spoken conversation to be able to make the false claims later.
In today’s world, using email and text can be a godsend in these cases. Yes, those can also be abused, but you have more control over answering. You don’t need to respond immediately. That’s what the PD wants, you to be thrown off and emotional and respond in some way that will get you in trouble or allow them to twist things. If they are sending a nasty text or email, you can choose to cool off before responding. You can also get someone else to look at it and give you some advice on a response. Anything except fire back a heated rebuttal.
An obvious problem is getting the courts to agree to this no contact rule and enforcing it. The courts think that divorced adults should still act like adults and be able to discuss things without resorting to child like tactics. The court also won’t recognize someone that has a personality disorder, so you need to protect yourself.
Talk with your lawyer. Try to explain the continuing problems. It may not work right away and you may have to tell them more than once. If have examples of text or emails, show the lawyer. When in mediation, one of the items to ask foris the no contact rule be enforced. It may get shot down, but keep trying.
How to handle it
There are a couple ways that this can be handled, once the courts agree to it.
- Just use text and email, no phone calls. This will be on you to ensure that is the only ways you communicate. Don’t answer the phone if it’s the ex, don’t agree to talk with them face to face just this once. That’s what they want. They will try to hoover you back into their control.
- Get a third party to be the go between. Some districts have a court appointed middle man. This service will take the kids for exchanges and will relay messages back and forth. Yes it costs money, but you never have to see the ex, you know the kids are safe, and any emails and messages are filtered through a human being before reachingt you. It is much harder for the PD to say something mean and nasty and then claim they didn’t
- use Our Family Wizard. This is what I finally was able to get the courts to agree to. It’s a wonder ful system. You can send messages which are timestamped. There is a shared calendar, and any items added or edited are timestamped. You can also track expenses and when things are paid. Since I’ve used this, I don’t feel like I’m going crazy and several times I’ve been able to prove that something was said or that I did add to the calendar when I said I did. Plus, there’s no disputing what bills I told them about. I would highly recommend this.
The link below will take you to their website
Simple & effective online joint custody tools, so effective it is ordered by courts in all 50 states
That’s the no contact rule. When you feel like you are going crazy, this can be a life saver. It will drive your PD ex nuts, because they can’t manipulate and control if they can’t talk to you face to face.
It may be some work to get the courts to agree to this, but you can save yourself a lot of stress if you do.