True or False? Since narcissists are so concerned about what people think and keeping up appearances they will be careful about making their child support payments.
If you have divorced a narcissist and you have children you know that the answer to that is, more than likely, false. He has better things to do with his money than give it to you, even if it is court ordered. Quite frankly, your ex-husband doesn’t spend much time at all worrying that the kids might not be able to continue on in karate or go to camp. He doesn’t really care if hot dogs are now considered gourmet fare at your house. Truthfully, he isn’t sitting around thinking about how to make your life more difficult – it really doesn’t occur to him that you exist. Well, at least not until you create problems by saying something.
You Have More Money than Me
This is my ex-husband’s argument and technically it’s true. If you compare his income to my income then I really am, most months, making more than him. Of course, he had a part time job while he was working and I worked 12 or more hours a day and didn’t take weekends off. I am pretty sure that my exhaustive schedule had something to do with the income ratio.
It doesn’t matter to your narcissistic ex-husband that you are working two jobs, or in my case taking on a ridiculous work load, to put food on the table as long as he isn’t inconvenienced. He may be buying cars, going on regular vacations, and spending serious cash on his hobbies and interests but he can’t afford to keep up with child support. If you say something about it he will get defensive and you will be the evil one yet again. Get used to that job description, you are going to have it as long as you have to deal with him which is probably until your youngest child turns 18. You might as well enjoy it.
But It’s Court Ordered!
Yeah, that and $3,000.00 for a lawyer will get you some back pay, maybe. There is a brilliant article in the Huffington Post about how a narcissist views child support. The author, Christina Pesoli, points out that narcissists do not like to be told what to do. A court telling them that they have to make child support payments is not going to go over well. She theorizes (correctly) that eventually they will pay it because they have to but they will develop the attitude that they are paying it out of the generous nature within themselves, that it is a gift to you, and you should drop to your knees and kiss his feet (or whatever) because of his kindness.
Here is an excerpt from an email my ex sent me a couple of years ago. At the time he owed me $5,000.00 in back child support (the arrears has been as much as $9.500.00) and the Attorney General’s office had liens on every bit of income he got, including tax returns. His tax return had gotten re-routed to me and you can be sure he wasn’t happy about it. I had asked him for financial help with youth camp for three of our kids and his answer was a predictable no. “I sent an extra $1226 + $274 a few months ago in addition to my regular child support… I spoke with (his new wife) upon receiving your e-mail and she said no, she is trying to pay for our cruise right now."
Yep. He had sent extra money – sort of. Those amounts were his Federal tax refund and his state tax refund. He didn’t send them to me, the state wrested that money out of his tightly clutched fist. I have no words to rationalize going on a cruise when you owe several thousand dollars in back child support – I won’t even try.
He will have to pay court ordered child support eventually. Narcissists don’t do real well in jail and they know it. The thing is that it will cost you time and money to get it unless the court puts a lien on his income and he continues to work.
And that’s another story.
He’s Working Where?
Underemployment. It’s not unusual for a narcissist to try to beat the system by taking lesser employment than he is capable of. It, in a weird sort of way, allows him to remain in control of how much money he is giving you despite what the court may order. He can get around his lack of funds by getting paid under the table or living off his new victim’s income. After all, you know how very sweet and charming he can be as long as he is getting the admiration that he wants.
If you think your ex is taking smaller salary than he is capable of, or that he isn’t truly looking for work, you’ll want to talk to a lawyer who specialized in family law and see what she thinks. Sometimes the first consultation is free and it’s always good to get another opinion.
Do what you need to do for the well being and happiness of yourself and your children - and let the courts handle the rest.
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How Do You Deal with It?
You know, what he does, or doesn’t do, makes no real difference. The important thing is how you can learn to move forward in an emotionally healthy way while he is doing his narcissistic thing.
I tend to want to protect him, believe it or not. After all of these years and all the talking crap he has done, after all of the things he has lied about, accused me of, and done to hurt the kids I still want to protect him in some weird way.
After all, I did it for almost three decades, right?
I hesitate to go to lawyers because, as much as he thinks he isn’t doing anything wrong, the court is going to see his actions in a much different light than he does. He may not think so, his girlfriend, friends, and family might not think so but the truth boils down to the fact that he has been ordered to pay child support by a court and he is in direct defiance of a court order. They don’t really care that he isn’t working.
While I may feel guilty for a time I do get over it. After all, I work long hours and take care of my children. If I can do it then I don’t see why he can’t.
It’s called entitlement. It’s a very useful word when you are dealing with a narcissist.
It’s important to accept that he isn’t going to change and you probably won’t see any child support without legal intervention. You probably won’t get child support regularly even if the state is involved because he’ll change jobs, do cash consulting, and find other ways of beating the system. Accepting that he isn’t going to do it without being forced is the first step to peace of mind. Forgiveness is for your mental health – not his.
Once you’ve accepted that then the next thing to do is to get the legal system involved. Usually this is through the Child Support division of the Attorney General’s office but they are overwhelmed with cases of deadbeat dads and it can take a lot of time and be very frustrating – especially if he has moved out of state. It’s best to get a private lawyer and handle it that way if at all possible. I can’t stress this enough.
Staying angry and frustrated is easy to do but if you are going to move on you need to be able to let that go and find your own peace. Let the legal system enforce the court orders, don’t argue with him or even discuss it with him.
It’s a waste of energy.
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