Soon after D-Day, when I found out the kids had been involved with MOW and he was having them lie to me about it, we had sat the children down, and he confessed to them that he had been "kissing" MOW and that he was sorry to mommy and he was sorry to the kids for having them lie to me. When we separated not long after when I found out the affair was not really over, he started changing his tune and saying she's just a "friend."
He continues to call MOW a "friend" to this day and tells the kids to tell me that she is just a "friend," but they notice them being romantic and sleeping together on the couch, and the fact that she's there every time they go there..
And since he's cheating on MOW with twink, whom he's told the kids about and showed them pictures of and had told them she was his "girlfriend" for a while (they are now back to just being "friends"), he told the kids to lie to MOW about the cat he has that twink bought for him. He told them to tell MOW the cat is from a store.
He is constantly telling the kids I'm evil and a liar and crap like that. From the way he talks to me, telling me how the kids hate me, hate spending time with me, that they will choose him in the future, I can totally tell that he at the very least encourages them to have negative feelings towards me.
I know we aren't supposed to tell the children about the affairs, at least not until they are old enough and it would be age appropriate, but I'm so ready to blow a gasket here and tell the kids what a lying sack of shit he is. And he pretty much told them himself anyway! But I think he sensed the kids would be upset if they were really "girlfriends," so he's trying to convince them they are just "friends." My older son still asks if there's any chance STBX and I will get back together and not go through with the divorce, so obviously they don't want to believe these are actual girlfriends as they still hold out hope for us..
So how do I correct the lying issue without explaining why?? I don't want to get in trouble with my lawyer or judge or counselors or whoever for telling the kids too much information, and I realize it's a bad idea to involve them so much anyway, but I can't take all these lies and bullshit anymore. He's mind-fucking them, and I don't know how to stop it..
I keep just listening to their concerns and trying to be comforting without giving out any extra information or details and change the subject, but I feel like I'm doing something wrong by NOT telling them what's really going on, and that they don't have to keep secrets for him. He had them lie to me about MOW, and now he's having them lie to MOW about twink, and this is just all too much for me sometimes.. I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing here.. I just don't know if the IC is helping them enough to sort through all this. I feel like they should know the truth! Or I feel like they do know the truth, but they are scared to admit it..
I'm just so lost, questioning what my next move should be here, if anything. Talking to STBX about it is impossible. He just curses me out and tells me what a horrible mom I am and to go fuck myself and get over the jealousy..
I just don't know if I should be quiet on the subject and let the kids continue figuring it out on their own or if they will resent me later for not being more honest. I just can't believe he expects me to keep his secrets for him. It's ridiculous..
I totally agree with keeping the kids shielded from marital problems, but he keeps confusing them and involving them in his dating life, and I don't know how to handle all the twisted games anymore..
Anyone ever deal with this? Advice??
I think you should talk to their IC about your fears. You can be honest without giving details.
They will realize the truth of all this without you saying a word. You should stress that they can tell you ANYTHING and it will be ok. Reinforce that they should not lie about things to you.
You should also stress that no matter what, you and Daddy will be getting this divorce. And that you BOTH still love them very much.
Sending strength and peace.
I have no real advice, I hope someone who has BTDT can give you better direction. But if it were me, I would just focus on ensuring the kids know that *I* would never lie to them, they could tell me anything, and have frank talks about what is a good secret (like what you are getting for a birthday present) vs. a bad secret (if anyone ever hurts you and tells you not to tell) since your youngest is so young. And if they ask you something about WH point blank, it is totally okay to say I don't have that information (because you don't have "proof" of it) and only relay to them what is age-appropriate and within the legal limitations. Somebody correct me if I'm wrong.
But that is a shit sandwich, I am so sorry he is putting you in this position.
That way you have it in writing, and it can go before the courts if need be.
WH says marriage is over: May 15, 2009.
EA#2 July 20, 2009. Legally sep: Aug 16, 2009. DIVORCED!!!! Signed Nov 23, final Dec 24, 2010, adultery listed.
It is what it is.
What do you tell them when they ask why you are getting a D? Or do they ask?
They know daddy hurt mommy, and that mommy does not have to forgive him for it, but they don't really ask much about why anymore. When my older son asked again recently if there's a small chance we would get back together, I just told him "no" and told him the above again. I also stressed to him that if he hurts people very badly, they do not have to forgive him; and if people hurt him, he does not have to forgive them.
I think you should talk to their IC about your fears.
I have certainly stressed this with her. As people say that some IC's don't seem equipped to handle infidelity, sometimes I wonder about this IC being qualified to handle this situation. She seems great at working with them when it comes to handling tantrums and other issues, but not specifically this issue. But I speak with her at the beginning, and then she works with each of them individually, and then we leave. She doesn't really tell me what happens.. I don't know if she's allowed to or not, but I'm kind of hoping she can build a rapport with them and they can feel safe opening up to her without me having to know about it at the end. I've told the kids the counselor won't be telling me what they say in counseling in the hopes that they will open up to her without fear.. Like the fear of mom getting mad at dad or dad getting mad at mom. Just giving them someone they can talk to who is not involved in the situation..
You should stress that they can tell you ANYTHING and it will be ok. Reinforce that they should not lie about things to you.
I have told them this numerous times, but I think they have kind of backed off wanting to tell me things. I've told them they should never lie to me, but STBX has stressed to them that they don't have to tell me what happens over there. Obviously he is telling them I'm a liar and wants them to keep secrets from me. I don't want to interrogate them and force them to tell me things, so I have kind of been taking the approach of just letting them discuss with me what they want when they want to..
There have been a few times there's been an issue like STBX tells them I cursed him out through text, and I tell them that didn't happen, so then they get mad and say that they feel like, "Mom is telling me dad is a liar, and dad is telling me mom is a liar." And then they get angry and just don't want to talk about it anymore.. Sometimes they just refuse to talk to me about dad or anything they did while they were gone; and though I want them opening up to me, I just tell them that is fine.. I keep stressing that they can tell me anything, but I think I need a new line. Older son said one time, "Dad told me if I tell you some things, you won't let us see him anymore."
I told him that's not true, but I'm don't feel right forcing him to tell me whatever secrets he might be keeping..
You should also stress that no matter what, you and Daddy will be getting this divorce. And that you BOTH still love them very much.
Yes, they've heard plenty of times that no matter what, mommy and daddy are not getting back together. And though it's frustrating he does not reciprocate, I always tell them we both will always love them very much.
My son's phone has been an issue as well as STBX almost always has him "lose it" or let the battery die when he is over there, and my son will tell me that dad doesn't want him to text me while he is there. I encourage him to text dad while he is here, and I tell him, "Dad wants to hear from you while you are here, and I want to hear from you while you are there, so please just text your dad. We both miss you while you are gone, so you should keep in touch with both of us." Older son actually said one time that he had to go in the bathroom to text me back so STBX wouldn't know..
what is a good secret (like what you are getting for a birthday present) vs. a bad secret (if anyone ever hurts you and tells you not to tell)
We've had that exact conversation, using the exact same analogies..
I would document it, and tell your lawyer that you want a letter sent to his lawyer telling him to stop alienating the children telling them lies about you, and to stop telling them to lie to other people.
The letter is a good idea. STBX does NOT respect me or my opinions (or his mom or the laws or the rules or anyone else really, so I won't feel special), but I do feel like some of this would be better come out of someone's mouth, anyone's mouth but mine. He just doesn't listen to me when I tell him my concerns about the kids.
I've told my lawyer about this and discussed parental alienation, but a big component of proving that particular charge is that the alienation actually works, and the child no longer wants to be with the alienated parent. While I have a lot of proof of him attempting this using a lot of the tactics the alienator will use, he has NOT been successful as I still think I have a very strong bond with them. Sometimes I think it affects our relationship, especially when they first get home, but overall, he has not been able to actually alienate them from me.
Otherwise, I have given my lawyer proof of tons of his other mistakes and violations of the administrative orders, including sending messages through the children (constantly ), refusing me contact when he has them, being rude and unreasonable in his communications with me, picking them up late from school, not giving my son his asthma medication, not doing homework, not taking them to Boy Scouts or completing Boy Scout activities, the list goes on and on.
He actually just tried to deny me Mother's Day because Sunday is his normal day and "it's not a real holiday," but I forwarded all the emails to my L, who forwarded them to his L, who told STBX it was a BAD idea to refuse me Mother's Day (well duh, you stupid POS)..
I guess I'm just ready for all my proof to starting counting for something. I had fired my old L a few weeks ago and just hired my new one (I like him already), so we had to delay mediation to give my new L a chance to get up to speed and to give STBX time to produce his pension plan, which he tried to hide.. Sometimes I think I'm just ready to go to court, cause I don't see any way a judge would look at all of our communications and all my proof and think that he's the reasonable, stable parent who encourages contact with the other one..
But that is a shit sandwich
Yeah, I'm just tired of eating it already. Sorry for the long rant. I just could use any advice or words of encouragement, cause I'm feeling at the end of my rope with this crap..
Over 12 years with this guy, and I can't believe he's like my mortal enemy now. It's just shocking sometimes the way he's treating me. Maybe it was the abuse cycle when he still thought he could have me back if he wanted, and every once in a while he would be pleasant, but for quite a while now he has known that there is NO WAY IN HELL I would even consider being with him again. It's probably all the no emotional contact and ignoring everything not related to kids/finances. And having to answer all his rudeness about kids/finances with politeness. I know I shouldn't go off on him, but I'm so sick of being calm and professional. It's really too good for him. I know it's probably helping tremendously for a possible custody battle, but I'm tired of ignoring him when he curses me out..
I just want a chance to be sad about it, too, like the sex and the touching and the kissing and the "i love you's," but my anger and disgust for him is too great..
[This message edited by ButterflyGirl at 6:47 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)]
He is alienating them and each time he does it, you (potentially) loose a little bit of ground. He is undermining your honesty and integrity to them.
Keep telling them the truth as much as is appropriate for their age level and maybe the next age level. What they think is going on may be much worse in their head than what is actually happening. Keep telling them that they did not cause this divorce. My kids (and I think all kids go thru this) thought it for a long long time.
You can not let this slide by. Keep a journal of things.. get a dated ledger and document, document, document. everything that happens. Do it as unemotionally as possible. Keep to just the facts. although I did put in a side note -wondering what certain behaviors would teach my children.
It sucks.. I wish you well... it won't be easy... put on your bitch boots and take charge of the damage control to your kids.
have frank talks about what is a good secret (like what you are getting for a birthday present) vs. a bad secret (if anyone ever hurts you and tells you not to tell)
I have always stressed that we don't do secrets. There is a difference between a secret and a surprise. Surprises are good. Surprises are happy. Everyone is let in on a surprise eventually. If there needs to be a secret then somebody is doing something they aren't supposed to.
It's worked well for us so far.
My ex has also tried to tell the kids how I am a liar and this horrible person. I've always just responded to them with "I'm sorry he is saying that, can you think of a time I have lied to you?" They can't, but they can think of a few dozen times he has.
The only thing is, with the "no secrets" rule is that it goes for everybody. That means, I never ask them to keep anything from their father or anyone else for that matter. I think that works in my favor though, because they see that I am not hiding anything.
One thing that has been hard is I have had to make telling me things very safe for them, so, while they tell me quite a bit that does make me furious, I don't bring it up to their father unless I have to, because if I go talking to him about everything, then he takes it out on them, and ramps up the bashing me, which is hard on the kids, because they have to sort out the truth.
And, I have never understood this whole "don't tell the kids" thing. I wanted the kids to know marriage was something you take seriously. I didn't want to make up excuses for our divorce. I didn't trash him, I didn't go into huge detail, but, the kids knew that when people get married they promise to only love each other and not date other people. Their dad dated other people and that is not ok, so we are not together anymore.
It will all be ok in the end. If it's not ok, it's not the end
Happily remarried to a wonderful man (Aussie). I think I found the right guy and the right finger this time.
I'm sorry for your frustration. You sound like a great mom and it sounds very confusing for your kids, like our DD.
I will share a little about us in hope something will light a spark or be any little bit useful.
She is starting to open up a little more with me, which brings a host of emotions, mostly glad.
She said several times, "Daddy lies to me!" and for me to keep being me, I simply nodded to validate her feelings. I also said, "He lies to me, too.", in hope of her feeling less alone. I asked IC about this and she said it was okay, just stay very simple.
IC stresses validation for kids, above all else. It's her opinion that some of what they lose with a WP (Wayward Parent...hey, a new text word!) is some of their feelings of being valid people, because they were walked out on, too, if S or D comes.
I also tell DD some of the advice I follow myself, like focusing on things I can actually do something about. Like you, I can't do a darn thing about what Perv does or says, but I can attempt to comfort in some small way and be as consistent as I can, which is also majorly important.
It's my thought and IC's that DD is looking to poke holes in Perv and things he says because she's wanting to believe in him but can't, if that makes any sense at all. She wants to believe so much in that man and I get so angry at him for hurting her so.
I'm sorry for your kids hurt too, Butterfly Girl and for their confusion. I think keeping open channels for you and kids is about the best you can do and the advice about documenting the conversation and giving to lawyers is good.
I've wondered what Perv says about me to DD even though he claims to say only good things or nothing, but his words have no credence now.
Yes, he tells DD he is "staying at a friend's house", but it is OW. Maybe your WH knows they know they word and is trying to make a more vague situation for them out of what he's doing and hopes if he says "friend", maybe they won't ask anymore? "Friend" for a title is like another box to put the OWs in and minimilize his ...activities, if you ask me.
I'm sorry, but shame on him for that behavior in front of them. That's not thinking of your kids at all, only him.
It makes me so angry at times, when things don't matter that should in the face of an A...like children, rules, boundaries, right and wrong...but especially children getting caught up in the drama or used as pawns.
It seems like life is hard enough already.
You gave me nothing and now it's all I've got - Bono
A person is a person, no matter how small. -Dr. Suess
Perserverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.
Keep being a safe place for them. When it comes to his games, don't play. If you have to, when STBX tells them a lie like the texting thing, talk to them about what behavior they have witnessed from you. Does this sound like the as mom acts? Or you can say that it's inappropriate for adults to bring kids into their arguments and you see how upset it makes them so you won't discuss it. The only adult issues you will share are the ones that directly affect their lives.
His cussing at you and maligning your mothering is why so much of the time keeping communications to text or email is important. You have a record...and unless he's really off his rocker, he will refrain from the worst of his verbal abuse if it has to be written down
I know it has to be torture to watch your kids go through this.
ETA- and what Ashland said...
[This message edited by Holly-Isis at 8:51 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)]
I haven't posted in forever, but your concerns touched me. My kids were 11 and 7 when this all started; they are now 19 and 15. So I want to share what I learned along the way.
Lesson 1: You have to let go of some control. This is so frustrating because most likely up to this point you've pretty much kept everything bad and ugly out of their lives. But, you can't do that forever. Life is going to happen to them; like it or not. All you really can do is be there for them when it does. Try to step back and take into consideration that eventually someone (it sucks that it is Dad who does the 1st) is going to put them in this exact same situation. Arm them with the ability to say "No". It is a time and opportunity to teach life lessons. Use the examples (TV, etc.) around you to "imply" rather than "apply" the values you want them to carry.
Lesson 2: Not all therapists are created equal. If your not getting the results or communication you need within a few visits, find another one. My youngest still goes a couple times a month. Look for someone who does a lot of social services (DSS) work because they will have more experience with domestic violence/abuse situations/trauma; getting kids to talk.
Lesson 3: Learn to smile and nod. Sometimes this is all they need. Listen to them as they work through it outloud. Validation is key and doing it without speaking badly of the other parent sounds like "I'm glad you were able to talk that through (or about that)" or "sounds like you have a good point. You should talk to your Dad about it" or even as basic as "I'm sorry you feel this way/are going through this/are being told this."
Lesson 4: Don't hide everything. Sure kids do not need the details, but they do need to know that your sad, upset, and confused. Because that is exactly how they feel and not showing it invalidates their feelings. It is ok to cry - even in front of them.
Lesson 5: This one probably should have been closer to the top. Never, ever state the reason for the separation/divorce in such general terms that a child could even remotely (and remember they have vivid imaginations) think they could find themselves in the same position. Statements like "Dad broke a promise" are dangerous 'cause kids are kids and might think if they break a promise, you will leave them. You have to stress that there is no way ever, not even possible, that they could "break marriage vows" to you. Keep it out of their reach.
Lesson 6: For much later down the line when things are not so painful. Keep the past good times alive for them. It happened. It was real for you and for them. Don't throw it all away. There was a time you were a happy family. I haven't a positive absolute conclusion on this, but I believe it keeps the hope that it is possible there for them. Remember to point out the good things they got from the other parent - artistic ability, ease with math, any thing. Try to say it as you would pointing out that they must get that from Grandma/Grandpa/Uncle/Aunt. At some point, you are going to have to say that infidelity is not hereditary. (((hugs)) ahead of time for that day.
Lesson 7: Repeat often: It will be ok. It might even be better. This too shall pass. The more confidence you have the more they will have. Encourage them to talk at therapy or bring subjects that you're uncomfortable with to therapy. Keep life as stable and consistent as possible. Remember there is no such thing as a perfect parent - your going to get blamed for alot one way or another (divorced or not)! Have fun! I'm sure you've lost a lot of the desire to have fun at the moment but coloring, playing with clay, loud music, building tents,legos, etc. are the blessings of having kids. Grab onto that while you can.
Stay strong, keep breathing and many positive thoughts for you and the kids.
[This message edited by downfall at 9:41 PM, May 8th (Wednesday)]
Ah, but she can't take you any way
You don't already know how to go ~ Eagles
I will also add, I know it seems so gut wrenching right now, it won't always feel like this. The kids will eventually work out who the parent is that lies. All you can do is keep reinforcing with them that you don't lie and proving it to them and let them know they can tell you anything, there should be no secrets.
For a time, I would try to "work with" STBXH abut parenting and how his actions affect DD, but what he does is work extra hard to blame me, rather than work on it with her.
But, now I am really trying to lose that habit-it's "Mama Bear", I think? and especially now, he is very quickly losing face in DD's eyes all by himself-this is the advice part, that kids will see who is "real" with them and who isn't.
He is a really big personality-loud, fun, energetic, boisterous, silly, with her, always "on" and that's how he wants it-but now he's broken so many promises to her that she is starting to see that he is only glittery on the surface.
This is my reference to "All that Glitters is Not Gold." My mother is the same way when we are together-gives so much attention DD gets no persnal space, constantly plies her with treat food and new things and outings, but then BAM!-gone again from her life.
DD has grown up believing that this type of personality is so cool and she thrives on those people, but now, at long last, is seeing that Mom's type of personality and rules I live by aren't really so bad after all.
This is some bit of validation for me and for my father as well, who I take after and who has never hurt us. He is a "steady" rock as well albeit an extremely quiet person, who firmly sticks to his beliefs and life's rules.
It may not be right away, Butterfly Girl, but your kids will sort out who is "real" and going to be constant in their lives-their own Mama Bear, you-and they will see right through their dad and OW, if they haven't begun to already.
It only takes one or two lies or changes, it seems-at least for DD here-to pop that glittery bubble they try to create.