I never saw it coming.
Actually I unconsciously knew not to stand up to him for the twelve years of being his ex but I unleashed a passive aggressive pathology.
I questioned him on paying for his portion of our teenage children’s post-secondary education.
Note, until this point, I had never received a dollar from him in child or spousal support. He did not believe he had to pay it. I did not have money to legally fight it. Also, I knew in my inner recesses that somehow pushing this would negatively impact my sons.
I was so terribly accurate and it would later cost me my children and the relationship I worked so hard on building while co-parenting.
Until this point I didn’t know this subliminal fear of rocking the boat had an actual name: Covert Narcissism. As defined in this article:
Covert narcissism is a more discrete form of narcissism displayed by a person with a more shy and reserved personality. It’s characterized by grandiose fantasies and thoughts, a perception of entitlement, and a general sentiment of being better than others. Covert narcissism is typically expressed in a more passive and indirect manner than overt narcissism. It’s conveyed with a condescending attitude, defensiveness, hostility, insincerity, and passive aggressiveness.
The definition exemplifies the above noted catalyst experience which went something like this:
Me: (in good spirits during a regular casual conversation) ‘Hey J’s in Grade 11, we’ve gotta figure out the savings situation for his college’.
Him: (a complete 180 degree turn on demeanour) ‘You can go fuck yourself’.
My incredulity was witnessed by my spouse who was pulled out of his hockey watching by the statement.