Things are getting nasty...
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21-04-2014, 09:21 AM
RE: Things are getting nasty...
Unfortunately, I feel like I don't have much to add at present.

There are a combination of factors at work here. One is just my outlook/philosophy on parenting in general. Another is the fact that I felt supressed during much of my marriage.

Growing up, I saw my mom put herself on the backburner and do "all the right things" that a mother was supposed to do. She put us first. But I do not believe that anyone can truly put themselves fully on the backburner. What she did is that, she "put me first" but she would get me into activities that she never got to do as a child.

And so it feels that she simultaneously assuaged her conscience which told her that "kids come first" while also getting to vicariously (through me) do some of the things she wanted to do as a child. Which, sorry to say, comes off as extremely selfish to me. I would rather her have just gone and done the things that would have made her happy, and encouraged me in the things that I actually wanted to do. It was always "Oh, I always wanted to do this as a kid," and the next thing you know, I'd be doing it. I spent so much time trying to make her happy with me, and the things I truly wanted to do did not make her happy. She was only proud of me if I did the things she wanted. Classic fucking control freak.

I do not want to be that kind of parent. I encourage my children in the things that they themselves have shown an interest in. My daughter? She loves to draw and is good at it. She likes taking pictures as well. I don't have any inclination to do either of those things myself (though I admire those who can) but I don't sit there and say, "Wouldn't you rather write?" simply because that's what I like to do. She took me outside the other day for an impromptu photo shoot so I did that with her. And she'll ask me sometimes if I'd like for her to draw something so she can practice, and I'll give her some ideas of what I might like to have a picture of.

So a lot of my approach to parenting is a sort of "Whatever you do, don't be like mom" because I do not agree with the way my mom parented. My dad was more distant (I'm more like him, personality-wise) but when it really, really mattered, he showed me that he loved me no matter what. While my mom continues to only truly "love" me when I do what suits her. I went from one controlling relationship (my mother) to another (my ex). I am tired of playing into these people's hands. Angry with myself for having done it at all.

I spent so many years catering to my mother's wishes, just to gain some sort of approval or affection from her. And then when I finally asserted myself, it was to launch myself into the arms of a male version of her. Dodgy

So you can understand, I hope, why I'm so stubborn about not wanting to bend to my ex's expectations or stick with the supressed model of life that he held me to (no friends, no time for the things I have an interest in, etc. - in short, wanted my life to revolve around him). I suppose part of this could be me acting out. Wanting to do things that I've wanted for so long. Only, I have kids to think of.

I don't want to compromise who I am, what I believe in, for anyone. But, I love my kids. This is where it gets difficult, you know? How can I be who I am, without losing my kids? Do I gain my children and lose myself? Do I gain myself and - satan forbid - lose my children?

I'm looking at it too black-and-whitely right now, I am sure. Just trying to figure all this out. It's a toughie. Hobo

I do suck at time management and achieving balance in things. Maybe that's all this is. Maybe I need to say, "Okay, this much time for daughter in the evenings; this much time with son; this much time to do my own thing" and that might help things and make me feel better. And I think, truly, that they'd care more about me spending time with them than spending money on them.

Sigh. I feel a little better now. Sorry for the outburst earlier. Blush

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21-04-2014, 09:23 AM
RE: Things are getting nasty...
I am not a parent and my parents were never divorced. All I can say is that I have had friends who have been brought up by a divorced parent and who later in life in their twenties came to realise that their other parent was actually OK and re-established a relationship with them.

If the ex is trying to get the children to live with him for reasons other than their primary welfare then it will become apparent to them soon enough once he thinks he has got his way. The children then may then decide that they want to live with you instead. If someone is trying to poison people's perception of you then the best thing to do is to be true to yourself.

Personally I would just make sure to be there for both children (the 9 year old looks like he isn't getting a say in the matter), let them know this and don't do anything to help reinforce the picture the ex is trying to paint.
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21-04-2014, 10:47 AM
RE: Things are getting nasty...
Much to black and white EA, there is a balance. You also have to remember that even though their your kids, they have to respect that you are you're own person and do not have to solely devote every moment to them. You need to find a balance Smile

Atir aissom atir imon
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21-04-2014, 11:10 AM
RE: Things are getting nasty...
Don't assume your ex is coaching the kids. They are smart enough to try and wrangle things and will say whatever they feel might work. If they wish to live with their father, then support their decision. They may learn that it's not working out however they may have fantasized, but they need to find that out for themselves. It's often a case of "things will be better with the other parent". My younger son thought that for a long time until I sent him to live with his father. The honeymoon stage lasted about two weeks then his father's true colors came thro. and my son came home.
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21-04-2014, 12:24 PM
RE: Things are getting nasty...
Sorry you are going through this rough time EA, it sounds very tough.

13 year olds are so smart. Children are really good at being resilient and helping themselves to get what they feel they need for their situations and problems they encounter in life. Unfortunately, as much as they know what they'd like they are not always the best at judging what is best for them (maturity).

I would thank your daughter for being honest with you and let her know you appreciate that. (Much better than coming to court in a few weeks and hearing all this on the stand for the first time). It is great (although it may not feel that way) that there are open communication lines between you two. That is an excellent foundation to build on.

I would continue this conversation in a calm and private moment and tell your daughter you've had some reflection. I would explain that although I were her Mom and want to do the best for her, that I may not be perfect. I would empathize with her feelings and express how I'm sorry she is going through a difficult time, too. I would try to explain how we all are (having a hard time) and that I'd like to try to solve everything we could together. I would say that I am not prepared to let her go because she is important and that instead I'd like to work with her experiences and needs in your home. I'd explain how I'd like to provide a safe house, but also one where we are responsible in helping each other. I'd ask her what does she think that home would look like? What would people be saying and doing? This would give her the sense of control she is craving and needs in the turmoil-like feelings she is expressing. I would call her out on unrealistic ideas (i.e. mom and dad are back together), but ask her to expand on the productive ones (Icecream dates on Tuesdays, 20 minutes of one-on-one conversations before bed, kids choose the supper meal and cook together on Thursdays or whatever regular traditions she, you or your son come up with). I would explain I heard her complaint about the 'always on the computer' and I'd explain that although I cannot stop that all together (internet is a brilliant tool for relaxing and zoning out amoung other uses) that I would decrease my time on it. (This shows you are willing to help or change to build on your relationship, but also that you are not going to be controlled or manipulated- a technique she may be learning from others, or one she has discovered as a form of resilience- into doing her every whim, which also provides safety to 'count on' in your relationship). I'd then follow up on my promise.

I think one of the worst things you can do is ditch TTA, or the computer altogether. You *need* support during this time, you need to do things that help you cope and move on to your own greener pastures. Of course (being Escape artist) it is not good to totally escape and 'check-out', but it is imperatively helpful to have self-care so that you can have the energy and focus to problem solve, which will lead you through and to a better outcome.

Just a suggestion if I may, you and your ex (if he's open to it) might benefit from a service where you are counselled or guided through your separation as parents. If you both go, you can be on a same-page basis, or if just you go it could help, as well as it looks really good in a judges eyes.

Sorry this is overwhelming. You can get through it (you will) and hopefully you can find the easiest possible solutions as you go. Hug
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21-04-2014, 01:32 PM
RE: Things are getting nasty...
I will say that my daughter (despite even the separation and all) has been handling her business so well this year. She's been very responsible with her homework, has been given a new puppy by her dad that she's been taking good care of, keeps her room clean, gets herself up in the mornings and gets ready all on her own with no prompting, etc.

I don't know if that would be of any use to anyone who has thus far given advice, but I thought I might mention it. I want what is best for the kids, whether that's to honor their wishes and be with their dad (much as I don't agree with his controlling/manipulative tendencies and the plethora of other problems that I dealt with during the marriage) or to fight for them to end up with me.

Summer is coming up, and that might be a good time to let them spend some extended time with their dad. So far the ex and I have been able to get along fine with swapping weekends when necessary and I feel I've been quite generous with visitation. He calls them whenever he wants. He's welcome to (though he usually doesn't) visit them during the week. My goal is not to estrange them from their father - again, much as I may not like him myself. However crappy of a person I deem him to be, he is their dad and I do not want to alienate them from him.

I just don't know. My mother is of course pushing for me to get custody of them, and says she will "lose her mind" if he ends up with them. While that is an annoyance, she is not the parent, nor the final decision-maker. I told her that if he ended up with them, if that's what the court decided, then that is how it would be and I would make the best of it. She seemed as if that was unacceptable. But that's my mom for you. She thinks that you can control anything, any situation, any person, if you try hard enough.

Anyway, just thinking some more things out loud here.

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21-04-2014, 01:37 PM
RE: Things are getting nasty...
There is this thing called joint custody, you know. Is it possible for her to go to one school and split time between you? Will you and the ex live close enough to make that type of arrangement work? I have seen divorced couples that live in the same towm make an almost 50/50 time split work. Some did a 7 and 7 split and some of the others had a more creative schedule where there were three and four day spans in a two week repeating schedule. It may not work in your situation, but custody does not have to be all or nothing.
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21-04-2014, 01:39 PM
RE: Things are getting nasty...
I don't have a whole lot to add EA, unfortunately. I'm not a parent and I haven't had much experience with divorce.

What I will say is that I know you're smart, and strong. You'll figure out what to do and you'll handle it with confidence.

I know everything seems ridiculous right now but I think there's alot of great advice in this thread, especially when it comes to your Hex not being able to keep up the facade of super-dad forever.

Eventually his old behavior will resurface, and even if they choose to live with him, it won't take long before they see that he's a fraud.

And remember, your children will ALWAYS be your children. Even if the court rules that they'll live with him, that won't make them not your kids anymore. You'll still get to see them grow up, and love them, and as they get older and they're better able to understand the situation you were in and what their father did, they'll be able to appreciate what you had to go through and what you did for them.

You can only win someone over with toys for so long.

Anyway, you know I'm always rooting for you! Hug Hug

Good luck!
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21-04-2014, 01:42 PM
RE: Things are getting nasty...
Can I ask you a question?

Do you want to keep them?
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21-04-2014, 02:05 PM
RE: Things are getting nasty...
when you do talk, remind her that she can always change her mind. If she goes with him, she is always welcome back. That its not set in stone forever & ever.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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