Narcissus and ‘Time Out’

Narcissus and ‘Time Out’

The use of the ‘time out tool’ was another way my narcissist manipulated and twisted everything for his own gain, ultimately leading to the demise of our relationship. We were in couples therapy for two years and, in hindsight, things never got any better despite us seeing four separate therapists, the last of whom was recommended by my neighbor and beloved friend, and had a PhD from a very prestigious program with 20 plus years of professional experience. Upon reflection, we never got better because my narcissist never wanted to change or make things work. He would take every solid and sensible recommendation the therapist gave us and twist it for his own gain.

One tool our counselor shared with us was the ‘time out.’

It is based on the idea that, once a conversation becomes too heated, we as humans are not thinking logically and, instead of responding, we are just reacting. At this point, one or both parties should call a ‘time out.’ When a ‘time out’ is called, the two parties are to give each other space and time to regain composure and process their feelings. The time out should be somewhat quick – maybe 15 minutes to an hour – and you are not supposed to communicate with each other during this time. It is a sensible way of allowing the temperature in the room to settle and, then, to come back together without having said mean, untrue, and hurtful statements. 

Like everything good that might have worked in our relationship, my narcissist found a means of sabotaging the time out.     ~Ekho

As I have shared in previous blogs, my narcissist had extreme issues with drinking to intoxication. After the first arrest for assaulting me, he promised that he would not drink and certainly would never drink and drive again with his kids in the car (I never left him alone with my kids because he was not trustworthy, but he always left me alone often for weekends at a time with his kids even before we moved in together). Anyway, he was not the sharpest tool in the shed, and I mostly knew when he was planning on sneaking off to drink (although sometimes he was able to make up such a good story about his whereabouts that I believed him). Whenever he was going to ‘take the kids to hang out with friends,’ I knew that meant that he was planning on drinking and, then, driving home with the kids. I would tell him that this was unacceptable and, can you guess what he would do? Of course, he would call a time out and say that I was breaking the rules if I continued to talk or text him. After calling the time out, he would leave to go drinking. I would text him worried and scared, and he would say that I broke the time out. Our counselor told him that this was a gross misuse of the ‘time out’ technique and not at all its intended use. Still, each time I got upset because he planned to drink with the kids in tow, he would use the time out as a means of getting his way and not having to face the consequences. I never let this slide and, ultimately, it was something similar to this that resulted in his assaulting me pretty bad. (read: The First Assault

This is just one more way that my narcissist tried to manipulate and reframe the entire situation. He tried to show that I was the bad and unreasonable one for not respecting his space and time during the ‘time out’ instead of taking responsibility for his poor life choices and behavior that compromised his children and our family. 

A lot of people have asked me why I didn’t tell his first wife, Prissy, the mother of his children about this. Surely that would have been the right thing to do – right? The answer is two-fold. 1) She too was part of the culture of drinking and had no problem taking her children multiple times per week to a bar or brewery so that she could drink with their mutual friends 2) More importantly, my narcissist had triangulated us so badly by this point that she hated me and, truth be told, I did not like her much although I felt more pity than hate towards her. I would threaten sometimes to tell her,

but my narcissist would always say ‘she will never believe you, she will side with me…’ and he was right.

When I finally did tell her the truth about my narcissist’s drinking problems and how they impacted the kids, she did not believe me and went along with his ludicrous story that I was the problem, not him.

Stay tuned, I will explain all of this later in a longer post.

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