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"Mommy, I like Daddy more than you."

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numbandnauseous posted 6/29/2013 15:22 PM

This is what I am hearing from both my kids today (son and a daughter, under 6 years old).

This, from my children who love me with all their heart; I have not heard such language from them before.

Background: I filed for D a week ago. SA NPD PA WH has secured a condo and plans to move soon. We plan to tell the children that we are getting D'd in the next day or two (coming up with a script now).

Previously, WH barely saw the kids during the week - for a few minutes in the mornings and he was never home for dinner - just for prayers and bedtime.

Since I filed, he has been home every night for dinner. I have been trying to avoid him, so I let him spend time with the kids while I get housework done. This morning, I went to yoga and both kids stayed with him. (An aside: my daughter usually goes with me to yoga; today she was still sleeping when I left for yoga. When I came back home shortly after I had left because I forgot my yoga mat, I said, "Hello, Sleeping Beauty" to her. She said, "don't call me that!" and ran away. This is unlike her; she is usually really cuddly with me, especially when she first wakes up. She then said she didn't want to go to yoga with me.)

My son said to me, "I like Daddy more than you. I don't like you." I'm not sure how I'm supposed to respond to that, so I said, "it's okay, you can like daddy more than me." and then, "you don't have to like me, but I will always love you." Probably wasn't the right message - that I am like a doormat, but I didn't want to invalidate his feelings.

My daughter just went down for her nap and she knows that Dad will be running "errands" while she is sleeping. (He is acutally moving into his new place). She said goodbye to him several times, asked if he was coming back, when, what errands he was going to run, etc. She asked me to read her a book, but then said that she was going to stay in her room until Dad came home because she only wants to see him. This, from my girl who adores me and chooses me over her father. Until now.

Of course, WH is being the model father: patient, kind, focusing only on the kids when he's with them. AND, he's been spending a shitload more time with them than he usually does.

I, on the other hand, have laundry, cooking, camp forms to fill out, etc. and so am not able to be as attentive and WH is being with them. I am also the one that enforces boundaries like bedtime, teeth brushing, etc. and so I am not popular for that. WH doesn't enforce many boundaries.

I think the kids are sensing something is up since Dad is sleeping downstairs and we are acting slightly differently.

So, what do I do? Is this normal behavior? How do I turn this around? I'm trying so hard not to take this personally, but it is just another hurt in the shitstorm of D. My WH has taken so much from me; I don't want him to alienate my kids from me as well.

P.S. I am reading "Divorce Poison."

[This message edited by numbandnauseous at 3:23 PM, June 29th (Saturday)]

Nature_Girl posted 6/29/2013 15:25 PM

I'm glad you're reading that book. I think you know what I'm about to say.

He's fucking with your kids' minds.

You've been leaving him alone with the kids, so he's turning them against you. I beg you not to leave them alone with him again for another second. I also want you to contact their counselor, your lawyer, the pediatrician, your pastor/Sunday School teacher, every single adult who knows you, your kids, and tell them what you just told us. Do this right now. Please.

thenon-goddess posted 6/29/2013 16:13 PM

He's fucking with your kids' minds.

While that *could* be the case, it doesn't necessarily have to be the case and I don't think legally you can prevent your STBXH from being alone with his kids.

My kids are 11, 10, 6 and 2 and I have gone through something similar, but it switches. Some days they are pissed at their father and call him a jerk (he is one!) and give him a hard time about leaving. I do not bad mouth him to them or mind screw them. Other days they act that way to ME and my kids are not alone with their dad (hell, he barely ever calls) so I know he is not mind screwing them. They are kids and their world is turning upside down a bit. They have fears and emotions that they don't know how to express and it is actually pretty common for kids to lash out at their most trusted parent/person. They feel safe with them, like they can have a little break down or let it all out, and that person will still be there to love them.

Either way, your kids will benefit from counseling as they go through this. I would start looking in to that right away. Kids are perceptive. They may be acting out because they do know something is up and their trusted parent (you) is not talking to them about what is going on? Time to get things out in the open so the kids can start to feel a little less confused.

nomistakeaboutit posted 6/29/2013 16:37 PM

Well, something has clearly gone very wrong. I'm not an expert on NPD, but I have seen one particular NPD person be VERY manipulative. It would seem that your H has been guiding (manipulating) your children is his direction and away from you. If so, that's a huge problem. What are your custody arrangements going to be. I hope you're getting primary physical custody.

Also, if this happened to me, I would be talking to my kids, carefully and casually, to find out where all of that was coming from. In fact, I would unilaterally decide to take them to a therapist to help them through the upcoming D and to explore this topic.

Good luck.

numbandnauseous posted 6/30/2013 00:39 AM

Update: I spent time with them the rest of the day today and they were back to their normal selves with me. My son actually told his dad that he likes me more than him tonight.

So thenon, I think you are right on - they sense that somthing has shifted, are confused, and don't know what to do with it. When my son woke up from his nap today, he immediately asked for dad and when I told him he was gone doing errands, he started crying. He didn't want to be with me initally, but then he let me comfort and soothe him.

I still contacted my L, kids' IC and my IC and they were helpful in case this pops up in the future.

Thank you!

Bluebird26 posted 6/30/2013 06:08 AM

Is the OW still on the scene as it could be a nice show he is putting on for them, "see look at me I am a great parent".

Is IC an option for you and your children?

I really hope he is just stepping up to the plate to help you care for the children.

My ex is a classic NPD and was 'mindf**king' our kids. I think they also knew he wasn't going to be around very long and were clinging on to their father as well and clinging on to the family unit. Maybe this is what your children are doing?

wanttogoforward posted 6/30/2013 08:42 AM

Your poor children know deep down inside something terrible is wrong and their lives are about to shift....

What sicks out to me is how they seem to be clinging to him... almost like they know he will leave them and they are hanging on for dear life... they are so scared of losing him that they have turned their needs to him only temporarily.....
Please do not take what they do or say at their age personally.... they love you more than life itself and you are their rock, which is why they can turn to him.... they know you will always be there for them and have no fear inside of that...
I feel they are deeply fearful of losing their dad and know it is inevitable and has sensed the change esp. with him spending more time with them... children are intuitive that way.... remain supportive of them... don't take any hurtful words to heart... they are confused and angry... they don't know what each day will bring and they are trying to control their tiny world as they know it.... They know inside MOM will always be there and so they are not concerned with you right now... it's not at all personal... it's just the way children (and even adults) react when stressed and know things aren't right... think about all the adults who become clingy and watchful when they fear something in their relationship has shifted and they aren't sure what it is or how to fix it... kids are the same....

Hang in there... love them as you always do... support them as you always do... cry with them if you need to .... do the best you can to reassure them in this time when their lives have been turned upside down.

little turtle posted 6/30/2013 08:55 AM

I agree with wanttogo.

I think the kids are sensing something is up since Dad is sleeping downstairs and we are acting slightly differently

The kids know something is up. They know more than we think. My DS7 was an angel around XH about 2-3 years ago. I think because he feared losing his dad completely. DS5 always has behaved the same because he doesn't remember what it was like when we were one family. He wasn't born when the A started, I was preggo.

Be there for your kids. Reassure your love for them. Try not to take their harsh words personally. It's a roller coaster for all of you. (((nan)))

Kajem posted 6/30/2013 10:13 AM

Poor babies,

They know something is up. And like all perceptive little ones they sense he is leaving. So they are going to love him into staying.

When you do talk to them please say over and over that this is not their fault. In fact get used to saying need to say it to them often over the next several years. It's been 10 years since NPDX left and I still say it to my kids.

Good luck, and do not give up your time with your kids for him. He isn't leaving the country, he is moving across town.



damncutekitty posted 6/30/2013 10:37 AM

My son said to me, "I like Daddy more than you. I don't like you." I'm not sure how I'm supposed to respond to that, so I said, "it's okay, you can like daddy more than me." and then, "you don't have to like me, but I will always love you." Probably wasn't the right message - that I am like a doormat, but I didn't want to invalidate his feelings.

Actually it was the perfect message. The kids know something is up so they are testing the waters. Little ones are always going to act out more with the parent they consider to be "safe". You said the exact perfect thing to let your son know he doesn't have to be perfect and always try to please you. My guess is he's already figured out he has to be on best behavior with dad.

HardenMyHeart posted 6/30/2013 10:58 AM

Of course, WH is being the model father: patient, kind, focusing only on the kids when he's with them.

This is what matters most to young children. Your son only understands that you are angry at his Father and treating him mean. He does not understand why.

My advice...treat everyone with patience, kindness, and compassion; even your WH. I understand that you are hurt and angry, but this is a terrible situation for the children. Having both parents remain calm, even in this bad situation, will help the children cope better.

So sorry for what you are going through.

Mousse242 posted 6/30/2013 18:11 PM

You have no idea what he's telling the kids when he has been spending time with them. It needs to stop. Question your kids why they would say something like that. Tell them that it hurts you and it isn't good to say hurtful things to people and see what kind of responses you get from them. You may also want to get them into counseling with someone who deals with young children and divorces, and get them in fast.

debbysbaby posted 6/30/2013 18:34 PM

I'd plan a VAR to see what is being said to make them feel like this all of a sudden.

numbandnauseous posted 6/30/2013 22:42 PM

To clarify:
-there is no OW

-I am not being mean to my WH. We don't argue and we have been emotionally distant from each other for quite a while. My WH has been sleeping downstairs and I don't make dinner for him anymore, so this is what the kids have been noticing. And he has been spending way more time with them and I haven't been around when he is spending time with them.

I asked my DD about it and she said, "I don't know; sometimes I feel like I like you better and sometimes I feel like I like dad better. Sometimes I feel like I like you both the same."

I didn't get the sense that WH was puposely planting anything in their minds. There was no "Daddy said that you (insert mean thing here)."

Thanks again, everyone!

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