WOW. I wish you could be a fly on the wall during our last session with our Parenting Coordinator. It was amazing.
The Parenting Coordinator (PC) is a person assigned by the courts to help couples going through a high-conflict divorce do a better job at co-parenting. The PF can help negotiate changes in custody time, interpret custody orders, settle disputes regarding parenting issues, suggest better means of communication between the parents, and do a variety of other things that the court has defined as their duties. This helps keep issues out of the courtroom and legal system.
I am soooo grateful we have a strong, bold, experienced PC. I was nervous going to our first few meetings. I did everything I knew to do to prepare for a tough meeting. I exercised, prayed, reviewed my favorite scriptures, texted my friends to cover the meeting in prayer, and wrote down a few key points that I wanted to discuss. I printed out some email and text exchanges between us that were particularly difficult, hostile or harrassing. I walked into the meetings not knowing what my narc X2B would say or what route the conversation would take. But I also walked in with a peace that passes understanding because I trusted God was good and sovereign and that he loved me and my kids.
I usually walk out of our PC meetings tired but grateful. Grateful that the PF has spoken bold truth, grateful that someone else is seeing what’s really going on here. The narcissist may not change much, but at least I have a credible professional who has seen the patterns and can try to help.
In the last few meetings, the PC told my narc X2B a lot of tough things. He said he was controlling, negative, manipulating the kids, and needed a therapist. To be totally fair, our PC had feedback for me, too. He told me to try to use the words “parenting time” instead of “custody time”. Check. I’ll work on that.
Here are things that were helpful to me in my meetings with the PC:
- Be prepared. I had copies of emails or texts that I believed to be important or reflective of a pattern of negative behavior. I also had my phone with the texts between us in case it was one I didn’t print out. At one point, I pulled up a text conversation to show that he was not telling the truth to the PC.
- Be assertive. Not aggressive, not passive. Speak your truth and speak it in a firm, yet calm, tone. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve said in our meetings, “That’s not true. The facts are X.” I say it in a non-emotional tone that is assertive without being aggressive. Most of the time….
- Envision God’s armor. I pray Ephesians 6:10-18 before I walk into meetings, and mentally put on the armor of God. From my past experience, my narc X2B will likely say things to me that are mean, untrue, contemptuous, mocking, berating and intimidating. I often silently pray during the meeting and say to myself “Jesus help me. I don’t accept or receive that.” I also envision God’s armor protecting me from the fiery arrows of the enemy. Kind of like Marvel’s Ironman character. Those arrows wouldn’t make a dent in Ironman’s armor. God’s armor is even stronger. I know.
Love and blessings,