I’m very sorry to say that I don’t have an answer. I have one very close friend in this predicament with a school age child, and know other people who have struggled with this situation.
I consider myself lucky in that many years ago, when I was twenty two years old, I realized that my husband was severely screwed up. I took the baby and I left. I did not give him a forwarding address but wrote to him telling him to contact me through my father when and if he got his shit together. I heard from him once, a couple months after I left. I had moved to another state. This was before the days of the internet and I felt safe and secure that he would not be able to find me. I did not have my name on a lease, nor did I have a telephone number listed. My father forwarded me the letter from my husband. In it, he threatened legal action against me for having taken our child out of state without his permission. As he was up to his ears in dealing drugs, I ignored the letter, as I knew that he would not contact the police.
I did not hear from him again for eighteen years. Many people insisted that I was foolish for not ‘going after’ child support from him. A couple of these were state workers at the welfare office. I figured out that I could get the state health insurance for my daughter and myself and also food stamps without involving my husband. But these well meaning social workers insisted that I needed to get the child support. I did not understand why people wanted me to get child support from a drug dealer as that would instantly give him knowledge of our whereabouts. It was the best decision I have ever made, to leave, take the baby and not seek child support.
So I guess that is the best advice which I can give. If there is any way to cut the person out of your child’s life, do so. If you can sign away child support in exchange for no visitation, and you can afford to live without it, then do it. My daughter and I lived on fumes for years. Lentil soup and oatmeal. No car. We took the bus everywhere. Of course it was very hard. I was able to do it because I was in my twenties and physically very fit. Not everyone could live the way we lived in order to go without child support. Now, in my forties, I do not have that kind of energy.
Eventually we moved to the other side of the country. I continued to get food stamps and medical assistance but to never apply for welfare. I told my daughter what I believed was the truth: that her father was a drug addict and that’s why I had left him and why we did not see him. I did not know at the time that underneath the drugs was the darker side of his personality disorder.
The only positive aspect of my story is that my daughter was able to meet her father when she was an adult and form her own opinion of him based on his actions during the three years he was recently involved in our lives. She has decided, after this trial run, to not include him in her life, based on his actions, deception, lies, lifestyle, choice of activities and associates.
I am proud that she was not subjected to his manipulative personality disorder so that he did not have a chance to warp her emotionally.
My heart goes out to all of you who have children with a Cluster B type, and I hope that you are able to make the best possible outcome in the situation.