Wedding Woes

I'd be interested in your partner's side of this story.

Dear Prudence,

My partner and I have been together for almost five years, and we’re talking about having a child soon. We’re both in our late 30s, and work and instability have prevented us from really considering it until now. My partner comes from a home that had a lot of narcissistic and emotional abuse (both narcissistic personality disorder), and physical abuse between her parents. She’s done a lot of work over the years trying to heal, grow, and find ways out of these learned patterns but it still pops up occasionally. I feel I’ve supported her in her healing journey, but now we’re at, what has come to seem, a more serious crossroad. We got into a silly argument recently that escalated very quickly and she went into a kind of trauma loop, becoming fixated on the notion that what I had said in passing was extremely hurtful (I casually said I didn’t get a meme she shared, didn’t find it that funny). This loop reminded me of past arguments and made me worried about the plans we are making to have a child. I brought this up later with an earnest desire to be able to talk about how we envision parenting given her past, and echoes of experiences that we’ve both had to navigate throughout our relationship.

Naturally, this wasn’t taken well and I was accused of calling her a (potentially) bad mother. I’ve noticed I’ve developed my own coping strategies to deal with my partner’s outbursts, but I worry about our potential child, and how their experience navigating a parent with narcissistic tendencies might be much more damaging than my own experience of being in a relationship that has prioritized healing and growth but is still subject to the occasional calamity. Am I deluding myself or is it possible for this potential child to have the kind of happy and healthy home I grew up in?

— Hope Beyond Narcissism

Re: I'd be interested in your partner's side of this story.

  • No there’s no hope. Throw away your own life if you want but don’t knowingly bring children into it. 
  • What kind of outbursts are we talking here? Being upset or crying because she’s  sad or hurt? That’s a normal response to something painful or upsetting. Or are we talking throwing things, yelling, being unable to control herself or her feelings? Because that’s a different story. 

    There’s also a difference between inferring she can’t be a good mother because of her past (ridiculous and insulting) and talking through how you will parent together when triggers inevitably arise in the family. It sounds like LW led with the former and honestly if that’s what you think then you shouldn’t have a child because you will forever be judging the way your partner parents. 
    mrsconn23Casadena
  • I don't think they should have kids together mostly given the level of contempt for LW's partner that is just oozing out of this letter.  I really hate this LW and hope the partner finds someone better. 
    charlotte989875banana468MyNameIsNotmrsconn23
  • I feel like LW is lording their 'happy, healthy' childhood over their partner and looking at their partner as 'damaged'.   Also, 'supporting' your partner's healing journey =/= being a part of it.  LW frames all this as their partner being the problem instead of seeing the whole of it as how to make their relationship the best it can be so they can have a child together.  

    LW, your partner is a human and not a robot.  I've worked in therapy for years to get the tools to manage my anxiety, but it doesn't make it go away.  I just know how to recognize and deal with it faster, but also to apologize when I let it get away from me and it causes a problem in my relationships.  And my partner recognizes when I am reacting out of anxiety and when we talk about it afterward, he is understanding it was momentary and that I recognize what I am doing and the work I've put in to make these things fewer and farther between.  But it will always be a part of my life and personality.

    And a fight over a MEME is immature AF.  Y'all shouldn't have kids because of that.  
    charlotte989875CasadenaVarunaTT
  • This absolutely reads that the LW is seeing themselves as a caretaker and lead in the relationship with doubts over the partner's temperament and instability.

    I think LW needs to consider what kind of a partner they are and what they define as partner.  Right now partner reads as , "Person I will live with and make babies with but I doubt." 
  • Casadena said:
    I don't think they should have kids together mostly given the level of contempt for LW's partner that is just oozing out of this letter.  I really hate this LW and hope the partner finds someone better. 
    this LW should have kids with the one we had recently that was doubting their partner's ability to care for a kid now and judged them for not being able to take care of their sibling when they were barely out of HS and the sibling ended up in the system.  They can be 'perfect' parents and fuck that kid up because they have such a rigid worldview and need to look down upon someone who's life didn't follow the path theirs did. 
    Casadenacharlotte989875VarunaTTkerbohl
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