General chatter - Family drama: WWYD dealing with ex?




fitness4life
05-03-2012, 10:14 AM
I get my kids every Wednesday and like clockwork, every Wed has drama.

I chalked it up to the kids still getting used to the back and forth stress. You know, living with dad half the week. Living with mom the other half.

I left my husband because he was verbally and emotionally abusive. I hate that that's the catch-all excuse because it deminishes the true mental anguish of being involved in that type of relationship. It's like emotional torture. No one really gets it.

Anyway, I have long suspected that my ex has waged an emotional war to get my kids to hate me. They have always complained that dad says bad and mean stuff to them about mom. Constantly.

It's been 4 years.

So yesterday, I pick up my 3 boys from school like always. We weren't in the car for more than 1 minute when the two older ones started verbally attacking my every recent decision.

Mind you, I recently had a court victory against my ex.

It got SO bad. Too long to post details here. Please know I truly believe I parented in the most righteous ways. Firm, understanding, empathetic but again: FIRM. I didn't freak out. I didn't yell. I just stood my ground.

Then my 13 y.o. said, "Now I know why dad divorced you.".

O.M.G.

First of all, I left. I AM THE ONE WHO LEFT. He didn't divorce me. I rejected his sorry arse.

Secondly, the kids said, "The only reason you have your house is because dad paid for it. All that you have is because of dad. You OWE him." I PAID for my $500,000 home when I moved out of the $2 million dollar house he still resides in.

Third, I have a full time job and now by choice, solely carry the $500/month family health insurance. My ex trades on the computer and his tax returns show he has lost $80,000 a year for the past 7 years.

Do you see where I'm going with this?

I cannot prove it beyond a reasonable doubt but doesn't it sound like their dad is successfully alienating the kids from me with his verbal garbage and out right lies?

There are laws in the states about it but going forth with a trial would mean putting the kids on the stand and formally forcing them to choose sides. That is just SO horrible, I won't do it. They are half their dad and half their mom. I refuse to force them to demonize half of who they are.

What would you do?


bargoo
05-03-2012, 10:24 AM
That is a tough decision. I would try and take the high road and not try and defend myself against his lies. You are right he is trying to alienate your sons against you. In time the boys will see what he is doing and what he is doing is hurting the boys more than you. Is it possible or even advisable to get counseling ? This is so unnecessary on his part, unncecessary and cruel. I wish you the best, PS I know from personal experience that it doesn't have to be this way.

XLMuffnTop
05-03-2012, 11:13 AM
I had a rough adolescence with both of my parents. They FINALLY divorced when I was 12 or so. My father sounds a lot like your ex except he was a financial and emotional leech and never took care of us or bought us items we desperately needed. His wants always came first and he left my mom saddled with mounds of his debt and two kids to provide for.

Anyway, he always bad mouthed my mother and still does to this day I'm sure and they were divorced in 96. I eventually got tired of it. My (older) sister stopped talking to him when she was 16. I gave it a little longer and still dealt with him until I was 23. He would always say crap like my mother turned my sister and I against him, you know, because we're incapable of independent thought. Every time he called there was stress and it caused a knot in my stomach. He wouldn't call because he wanted to talk to me but because he wanted something. When I found out I was pregnant, I knew I didn't want him to have contact with my kids so that was that.

My point is, you have to be the bigger person and the kids will eventually see that, hopefully sooner than later. But I still think therapy is in order to help the kids through their emotions and so they can understand how your ex treats people isn't the right way.


98DaysOfSummer
05-03-2012, 11:13 AM
You have two separate issues here:

Your ex is talking smack about you to your kids.

Your kids think they can talk smack TO you.

You can have a very truthful conversation with them without going into the gritty details of your divorce. You can ask them to remember they are only hearing one side and remind them that these things are between the adults involved and you refuse to burden them with details.

You can also let them know that you will not be discussing these things with them in the future (and for me, that would include the divorce, your current issues with their dad, and any recent decisions they seem to be giving you crap about). If they keep hitting a calm wall of, "I know you're upset but I am not going to discuss this with you" they may eventually stop using that particular jab.

I'm sorry you are dealing with this. I've only dealt with divorce from the kid's POV and while it is hard, it doesn't mean you can start talking to one of your parents like trash.

djs06
05-03-2012, 11:22 AM
You can have a very truthful conversation with them without going into the gritty details of your divorce. You can ask them to remember they are only hearing one side and remind them that these things are between the adults involved and you refuse to burden them with details.



I agree with this... and everything else in your post.

I think you should you should also sit down with your kids and tell them that you want them to be kids, not having to be caught up in tension between you and their father- and if they feel that way, you hope that they feel safe enough to tell either of you what's going on. Just don't fall into the trap of defending yourself by saying negative things about their father. True they may be, that would make it even worse. Eventually they will get sick of hearing their dad badmouth their mom and will start questioning "hey, she doesn't do it, why does he?" And certainly, address those issues of respect- because no matter what, kids should not talk to their parents that way.

I'm so sorry you're going through this. It sounds like you're dealing with it the best way you can, and it couldn't hurt to look at your legal options in the even that this does escalate. :grouphug:

mahtha
05-03-2012, 11:34 AM
I went through a very similar thing, though I had sole physical and legal custody. EVERY time the kids saw him or talked to him they'd be spouting "It's not fair". I smiled and nodded for a lot of years and did my best to show by example that I wasn't the awful person he wanted to portray me as. I didn't explain why they lived only with me and I didn't defend my financial (or other) decisions except to say "Dad and I couldn't agree so a judge and GAL decided what was best for you."

Fast forward about 5 (long!) years and my oldest announced that dad was not invited to her HS graduation or party. When I asked "are you sure?" she told me she was sick and tired of everything always being about him. "He's so bitter and mad at the world he ruins every occasion and I'd like to celebrate this without all his drama." Younger daughter followed the same path a couple of years later. In BOTH cases it was their choice based on their responses to his actions.

As much as I'd like to have fueled that fire over the years, I was pretty sure it would take care of itself (and having divorced parents and a father who did EXACTLY the same thing, I was pretty confident of how it would turn out.)

I wish I could tell you they'll come around quickly, but that would be a lie. I can tell you if you don't join the games they will see things for what they really are. :hug: to you, you'll be biting your tongue a lot in the years to come.

Are you a member of any divorce-related boards? I found having a safe place to vent about X really helped me to keep from spouting off to the kids what I really thought about him. PM me if you're interested in a recommendation.

Beach Patrol
05-03-2012, 11:48 AM
Just don't fall into the trap of defending yourself by saying negative things about their father. True they may be, that would make it even worse. Eventually they will get sick of hearing their dad badmouth their mom and will start questioning "hey, she doesn't do it, why does he?" And certainly, address those issues of respect- because no matter what, kids should not talk to their parents that way.

^^^THIS, THIS, THIS, A THOUSAND TIMES, THIS!!!!^^^

I know it's hard for you, but please take the high road here - your boys need to be able to look back at this when they're adults and KNOW that you did what a parent is supposed to do- protect the kids from the ravages of a divorce- and they'll know that their father was being the petty, fight-mongering one. In the years to come, they will grow to respect you so much more than they do their father. And it's sad, because a boy needs to be able to look up to his father. Sometimes the mother has to take the reigns when the father is clearly failing the children.

That's what my mother did. No matter how ***holeish my father was being at times, she was always the "better person". In fact, I remember a specific incident when I was 12 years old, and I was so mad at my Daddy, and I said something horrible about him - and my mother instantly jumped to his defense "Don't you EVER let me hear you talk about your father like that again!" - she went on to explain to me that kids don't see/know half the things that adults go through and that it wasn't my place to know certain aspects of their relationship, married or divorced. It made me respect her 10x more. AND BONUS! - I have a better adult relationship with my father because of it.

fitness4life
05-03-2012, 01:54 PM
To each and every one of you, thank you. Thanks for sharing and thanks for your sound advice.

I waited hours after the drama boiled down before I sat down with each son individually to talk.

I asked more questions. I listened. The questions I asked were formulated in a way that they're answers *had* to point out what they know as fact vs what they heard their dad say.

For instance. I said, "I've heard you complain that you don't like me being absent more than usual because I work full time. Why do you think I'm working so much?"

They'd answer, "To make money."

I'd ask, "Why do I need money."

They'd answer, "To provide for us." (In their words, a bit different but that's the gist.)

Then I'd ask, "Well, if I'm working so much and providing for you, then how is it that I don't own my purchases and own the pride of a single mom providing properly for her children?"

They were silent.

They got it. They know that dad doesn't have a "real" job. They're dad complains constantly (incessantly - it's his trademark) how he's "going broke". He even said that when he made millions of dollars a year. Unfortunately, now, it's actually true. But why do they even have to know that? That must be fairly scary for them!

What they do know now is that Mom is secure. Mom has a job. Mom has not said a nasty thing about dad. BUT mom also won't be spoken to in that manner.

The only time I got very stern with them is when I said in an elevated tone, totally in control, just elevated for emphasis, "I WILL *NOT* BE TREATED IN THIS MANNER OR SPOKEN TO IN THIS WAY BY *ANY*ONE. THIS TYPE OF TREATMENT LED TO DIVORCE AND IF I CAN GIVE YOU *ONE* LESSON TO HELP YOU IN YOUR LIVES IT'S THIS: *NEVER* TREAT ANYONE ELSE IN YOUR LIFE THIS WAY. BECAUSE IF YOU DO, YOU RISK BEING JOBLESS AND HAVING A BROKEN FAMILY."

And guess what? Today was better. The kids all got along. The kids were acting like normal again.

I like the idea of therapy - been there, done that. There's nothing but carppy therapist in this small town, though - besides therapy, what would you do legally or otherwise about the ex?

I have 99% no contact with him. The 1% is emergency only. There is no speaking with him. There is no rationality. He is a master at his craft (abuse) and all things are not as they seem. He treats me as enemy #1 even after all these years. Even with his girlfriend and friends (many of whom share inside info with me, which to me is so weird) who tell him he must stop this behavior. They say that all he says in response is, "I just can't help myself. I *have* to make her life in every aspect as miserable as I can."

And please... don't offer a hit-man. I have refused many of those offers. But that's how bad it is. People just want to off him and I cannot let my kids go through any more pain. I say that in jest, but I also say that I seriously have had people offer to hurt him. LOL

fitness4life
05-03-2012, 02:07 PM
I went through a very similar thing, though I had sole physical and legal custody. EVERY time the kids saw him or talked to him they'd be spouting "It's not fair". I smiled and nodded for a lot of years and did my best to show by example that I wasn't the awful person he wanted to portray me as. I didn't explain why they lived only with me and I didn't defend my financial (or other) decisions except to say "Dad and I couldn't agree so a judge and GAL decided what was best for you."

Fast forward about 5 (long!) years and my oldest announced that dad was not invited to her HS graduation or party. When I asked "are you sure?" she told me she was sick and tired of everything always being about him. "He's so bitter and mad at the world he ruins every occasion and I'd like to celebrate this without all his drama." Younger daughter followed the same path a couple of years later. In BOTH cases it was their choice based on their responses to his actions.

As much as I'd like to have fueled that fire over the years, I was pretty sure it would take care of itself (and having divorced parents and a father who did EXACTLY the same thing, I was pretty confident of how it would turn out.)

I wish I could tell you they'll come around quickly, but that would be a lie. I can tell you if you don't join the games they will see things for what they really are. :hug: to you, you'll be biting your tongue a lot in the years to come.

Are you a member of any divorce-related boards? I found having a safe place to vent about X really helped me to keep from spouting off to the kids what I really thought about him. PM me if you're interested in a recommendation.

I'm a long time member of a verbal abuse board. I don't visit there as much due to the fact that I've healed so much, visiting that board just feels stagnant and unhealthy.

I have a journal on that board. Actually, two. The one dates back to married life in 2005 when I first became enlightened that I was an abused woman. Hard to swallow. Then I started another journal at the time of leaving.

Both are about 100+ pages chronicaling the entire f*ck fest. I will eventually post this latest. But I don't feel like it yet.

BTW, I have that there because if I wind up dead, I figured the ex can destroy any paper evidence and even my computer (which also has documentation on it) but he can't destroy cyber journals. A few peeps in my life know about my journal and to look for it if something happens.

I do think I'm past the point of danger. Most women are killed at the point of leaving. I left 4 years ago. However, one of my ex's psych triggers is money. His parents had a nasty divorce. He came home from school at age 12 to all his home furniture on the front yard and a bus full of children laughing at him because he didn't know he and his mom were evicted. He lived him a SRO (single room occupancy) hotel with his mom until age 19 in the inner city. He knows poverty and struggle. He knows nasty divorce.

He has gone through the divorce. Now he faces losing money due to the unwillingness to actually get a real job a work. He's going to have to sell his home. He's going to have to step up, like YESTERDAY, or face that same bad reality when he was 12.

Who will he blame? Me. Does that make me certain he won't hurt me?

Not. At. All.

That is why I pray for him. Every single day.

mahtha
05-04-2012, 03:00 PM
Who will he blame? Me. Does that make me certain he won't hurt me?

Not. At. All.

That is why I pray for him. Every single day.

This terrifies me. Be safe. :hug:

jules1216
05-04-2012, 05:08 PM
This terrifies me. Be safe. :hug:

me too...ditto the be safe!

My parents never talked bad about each other, we were filled in by others and made our own minds up by the actions.

I made my Mom's life **** for a while, I was mad she didnt get back with him when he got sober....by the time I was 18 I was glad she didnt.

Your kids will see the truth...