But what about our kids?

When the ex-husband’s a narcissist, mom has good reason to worry. Our elder suggests he just might be incapable of loving anyone but himself.

Dear EWC:

My ex-husband repeatedly cheated, lied, and emotionally abused me. But I stayed for the children and tried to make it work. He has done so many horrible things. He went on a work trip while our daughter was struggling with an eating disorder. I asked him not to cheat, but I found out he had started a relationship with a woman he met on a trip to Ukraine.

At the time she was married to her second husband. She had recently got her Visa and then immediately started cheating with my husband. I divorced my husband and the other woman left her husband. That was a year ago. Since then, he has taken her on 5 expensive holidays, bought her expensive jewelry, etc. He does all of this for her, but completely neglects our kids! He only sees his children when she is in Ukraine or traveling.

Why does he seem so obsessed with her and put her above his own children?

Papa-Smokey replies:

Although it may not seem like it to you, your ex-husband is not actually putting his girlfriend above his own children. Rather, he is putting himself above them. He apparently cares more about indulging his own pleasures than he cares about seeing his kids. From your description of him, he sounds like a very selfish, self-centered man. In my opinion, the reason your husband neglects his own children is that he is a narcissist. As such, he has zero capacity to love anyone, including you, his new girlfriend, and even his own children.

Being a narcissist, your ex isn’t motivated by doing things for others, not even for his own kids. His love for them may even be contingent on how well they meet his needs or enhance his image. He may ignore and neglect them, but at the same time, he may nonetheless expect them to be there for him at his convenience. This sort of indifference can be very detrimental to children, so it is a very good thing that they have you as a mother to give them the love and attention they need.

I am so sorry that your ex is the person he is. But however angry you are with your ex, I suggest that you try to remain as calm and positive as you can for your kids’ sake. This is a Herculean task if ever there was one, but with a narcissist for a father, someone’s got to be putting the kids first, and by default, that someone, in this case, happens to be you. This means not criticizing your ex in front of your children—no matter how appalling you find his behavior. When your children get older, they will be better able to understand the kind of man their dad is and to deal with him, but for right now, you may have to do double duty to compensate them for his thoughtlessness and neglect.


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