January 1, 2023 Stacey Mendelson 0 Comments

My ex had finally left our home.
This was 3 months after declaring he had a girlfriend who was
“way smarter, way nicer, and far prettier than you”
He even showed me bikini photos. (I can’t make this up!)
She was prettier. She even had a tattoo.

I was cocooning at home with my pre-teen son,
focusing on keeping him unscathed.
Trying to keep his life as normal as possible.
Crying myself to sleep, and wondering how the heck my life had come to this.

I had not yet given my lawyer a green light to start legal action.
Instead, I was trying to manage the situation
by communicating by text with my ex.

Depending on the day, and his mood, the texts would be nasty.
Dripping with unwarranted commentary and veiled threats.
I will take Ben to tennis and dinner this weekend and I will see you in court.
You are a despicable human being. Even your nanny thinks so.

Even my Nanny thinks so? Seriously?
Is he conspiring with our nanny?
Holy shit. Even though he is gone, my house is still unsafe!

I would get that sensation of my heart beating in my throat,
as tears flooded my eyes.
I was being terrorized by text and I had no idea what to do.

So, I did what seemed like the right thing at the time.
I texted him back. 
I placated. I begged and pleaded for him to be reasonable.
Because I thought that would help keep my son and me safe.

This went on for months, and I acquired 800 pages of texts.
I downloaded it for my lawyer.
Evidence that made him look like an asshole, but also made me look pretty stupid.
And cost me loads in legal fees for my lawyer to read.

I thought I was doing the right thing.
I thought it would obvious to anyone who would read the texts.
But I was actually not communicating strategically
In the way that would get me to my goals of sole custody and child safety.

It turns out that the normal rules of communication
don’t apply when divorcing a narcissist.
You need to be one step ahead
So that every email (not text) that you write
is clever enough to elicit what you need.

Effective communication with a high-conflict ex
Is a skill you did not learn in college.
Done strategically, it provides the clear evidence you need
for a custody assessor and judge.

If you think you are doing it right,
by texting with your ex.
Think again.
Make sure it clearly demonstrates who is the problem
and who has the halo on straight.