All in Child Abuse

When I divorced my Ex Husband 20 years ago, he threatened to make sure our daughter knew who "I really was."  Not surprising his view wasn't particularly flattering.  Several months later he jumped into a relationship with his now former Wife and Elle's former Step Mom, Malus.   In short order, Malus self appointed herself the enforcer of my Ex Husband's promise and took over 99% of his parenting duties. Which by default meant I was co-parenting with a narcissist that was not my Ex.

Co Parenting With A Narcissist That Is Not Your Ex

I didn't immediately see that Malus was a narcissist. Initially she seduced me into thinking she was my friend, greatest ally - bringing me into her inner circle. The circle that the outside world never sees because otherwise they would be total outcasts. The circle that becomes a nightmare once you're inside. 

"She turned the lights off - we were in complete darkness."  Michele(Dance Instructor) said "close your eyes - relax your body - go to your happiest memory." "It probably sounds corny, but my mind immediately went to the day I saw you walk out the doors of the airport."

Elle didn't have to say another word - I knew exactly what she was talking about and I my eyes filled with tears.  The scene from an airport

Last week Dylan Farrow set off a fire storm when she penned an open letter about the abuse she suffered at the hands of Woody Allen.  Woody responded with a letter of his own defending himself. Dylan responded with her response to his response. The he said/she said brought back memories of my daughter's journey five years ago after suffering emotional and physical abuse in her Dad's home.   Although, not played out in the court of public opinion - who you believe becomes an issue in any accusation of abuse. You can read about Elle's by clicking here.  


Children of divorced parents - perhaps living in one or two blended families have yet another layer of complication to navigate if abuse is suspected.



My daughter Elle is now a Senior in High School - busy filling out College applications - dreaming about the next phase of her life. Last week Elle's high school emailed a picture of Elle in her graduation gown. Turns out the school emailed the picture to my Ex - Elle's Father. It prompted Dick to leave me a very long winded message.  In a nutshell he said;  

  • "WE did a good job of raising her - even though he hasn't seen her or talked for over two years
  • He believes that Elle hasn't been involved in his life for two years because of what went on between Elle and Malus.  Elle just used him as a gateway to get out of his home -  that's ok though that's what he's there for

Before last week I had never heard of Me Ra Koh. I know, I know -  I live in a box. Elle's camera on top of Me Ra Koh's BookHer name was not even on my radar screen.  Flash forward to today.  I'm lovin her! big time! For those of you like me, who have no idea who I'm talkin about - she is a famous photographer, motivational speaker now appearing on the Nate Berkas show, appeared on Oprah.  

None of the above has anything to do with why she has made such a huge impression on me. Me Ra has lived through some unbelievably hard times; date rape, miscarriage, almost near death of another child.  And yet, there she was standing on a stage with a huge smile on her face.  A number of times during her speech I wanted to let out a huge wail -350 people surrounding me - so I sucked it up.  While her story is extremely moving, it was the very real and deep connection I felt with her that got to me. Judging from the crowd there were many people who felt the same connection.

The loss Me Ra felt after miscarrying her son, the fear a few years later when her daughter almost died from an infection they both picked up in their travels.  Wanting to scream enough is enough already! How many times had I said those very same words. In an instant, my feelings from my own experiences; almost losing Little Hart from freak infection a year ago, Elle's scoliosis surgery two years ago - one mis-step she could have been paralyzed or worst dead on the operating table, my brother's death from a extremely rare form of cancer. As much as I tried to contain my emotions, the tears were rolling down my checks like a river.  I realized I didn't care!

I've been divorced from Dick for 16 years now. Up until the past few weeks I don't remember the last time he's said a kind word to me. Instead every word out of his mouth has been laced with negativity about; my parenting, my life, my family and that I'm just a POS. He's varied it from being said to my face, behind my back or directly to Elle. I'm a big girl and can handle the talk, but Elle, well that's a different story. For as long as she can remember, Dick has lobbied her pretty much non-stop to see the "truth" about me, with the sole intent to build up his own ego "thank god Elle that you have me!" He has never been able to grasp the point that Elle is apart of me and thus, all of his negativity toward me, directed at Elle has had a direct correlation on her own self worth and self esteem.

Elle's Reflects

When Elle left Dick's house almost two years ago, my initial thought was this is temporary. This isn't Dick, he's got a drinking problem, he'll get help and this nightmare will be over.

I was out of town and had called to check-in with Elle. I cried as Elle told me what had happened from the bathroom stall of a local restaurant.

The first thing I said is "This isn't your Dad, this is a person with a substance abuse problem." Second, why are you in the bathroom of a restaurant telling me this? Elle said "Malus doesn't want me to tell you or anybody else what happened. I'm supposed to keep it a secret." And right there was the biggest problem not only for my child, but for her Dad.