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My dilemma- Can a horrible person be a good parent?

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sleepless34 posted 9/2/2013 13:46 PM

Okay, So here is what I am struggling with....bear with me if you have had to hear my story already, but I want to share the details so you understand my questions about parenting....thanks!

My WH/STBXH/life ruiner is NOT at all the person I thought he was. He presented as a well adjusted, successful, happy, kind, sensitive, loving husband and good Dad.

He was having a sordid affair for 16 months with a woman in an open marriage that he met in a sex chat room and then fell in love with. Why would I even believe she was the first person he met there, probably had casual sex with many before falling for one more deeply...wouldn't you think? He also admitted a ONS in Vegas in 2007.

So that is nuts already. When he dropped his bomb, he said "I want to have you and I want to have her. I was deluded into thinking that I could have her in my life and you could find someone that makes you happy too..." Okay, well that is insane. I said, what did you think would happen when you told me? First he said I don't know 1000 times, then finally, "well, I thought exactly what did happen would happen. You would be livid and we would start planning for separate lives" He wanted to move back into house and live in guest room and talk and co-parent the kids. I said there is no way you and I are ever living together again.

Over the LTA, He hung out with this woman and her husband, who supported that his wife was having a love affair- but did support that he was a "married man" cheating on his wife. THis OW's H was telling them, this will be train wreck. End it. Because, you know, there are rules in open marriage and you can only mess around with other open marriage people and not cheaters or singles- because it isn't "honest" ahhem ((crazy))

He was seeing her on all his business trips, texting and Instant messaging constantly- saying it was sports talk with his friends and brothers. He said he was going to work dinners and meetings, and he was at her house hanging with her, having sex, then drinking beer and watching football with his H. And selling out all the details about me and the kids to them.
He has basically rewritten our marital history to the point where we haven't been happy for 5 years. Though I did not know this nor did anyone else that knew us. Most people thought we were the BEST couple they knew, mostly because we enjoyed eachothers company and seemed like Best Friends.

He said, "I thought you didn't desire me or that you weren't attracted to me, and I was too weak to try and put the effort into doing the things you needed me to do to make myself attractive. Then I ceased being attracted to you. I failed you. You already deserved better. This is not fair to you. I have ruined this. But, with her it is a totally different dynamic. I was not living within integrity, I was living a double life, but now I am being honest and living with integrity."

He is still in a relationship with her apparently, but not seeing her now. He is living in apartment and focusing on our kids, and maybe himself, who knows, everything he says sounds like bullshit.

Nonetheless, My WH had this LTA with this woman- and he shared EVERYTHING about me, my kids, our life together with her, and then she shared that with her H. So, these morally despicable people know everything about me, my life, my kids.

He arranged for her to come into my home and meet me by saying she was his friends wife who was dropping something off for us. He also arranged for her to meet my kids, again by accidently bumping into her and her H at a restuarant.

He was more withdrawn from family life at home, but he is kind of introverted anyway, thought it was stress from new job- and I had quit my job and had more time to give to being the primary caretaker of kids, so while I didn't like that he was less engaged, I didn't really question it because I had more to give now being SAHM.

He spent LOTS of money on this affair as I have been reviewing the cc statements from the last year and half.Wow, he put lots of effort into her. He declined to come on family trips with me and the kids so he could be with her. He had many alibis about trips to see his college friends when he was with her. He even took her on a trip with his friends to Vegas while I was away this summer. SHe was hanging out in my home while I was away with our kids. He called us 2x a day and acted sweet like nothing was wrong.

SO the OW's H left her a few weeks before my DDay. The OW H told me that he left her because my H and his W were deeply in love and she made my H her priority over him. He said that his W even tried to talk him into having a polyamorous relationship with the three of them (she does both of them, they don't do eachother I guess.) WTF??

This OW H, also a crazy, morally bankrupt yet high minded and condescending (I don't except you to understand it is very complex...he said to me) He tells me that THEY- my H and his W- were planning a life together and that my H was going to tell me as soon as I got home from vacation. This freak knew- even though he is already separated from his W- that I missed my plane coming home from vacation, where on the Cape I spent 2 weeks, who my friends were, EVERYTHING About me!I almost threw up.

MY H on the other hand claims he had NO PLANS, he just couldn't live like that anymore and had to tell me. "If I did have a plan, it was the worst plan ever," he said. Yes Dumbass, because there is no easy way out of this....I don't know what to believe bc he is bat shit crazy and so are all of them.

So....Long story longer....He is clearly not who I thought he was. I don't know what my marriage was. I don't know who this person is or what he is capable of. How do I know he isn't super into porn? child porn? Maybe also did some swinging? My IC thinks there is probably more I don't know and that scares the living bejeegees out of me.

He didn't just cheat on me, he cheated on the kids by depriving them of his time and attention.

Now he is already trying to say, "well you kicked me out. You don;t love me you hate me. You told me you wished I was dead. You decided the marriage was over too. It is irreconsilliable (sp?) We just need to move on and figure out the next steps with the kids.' I did not choose this. He has No empathy. Some sorry type words, but no real understanding of what he has done and how far reaching an impact to all of our lives.

<<<<<Finally, my dilemma>>>>
How do you co-parent with someone like that? How do I reconcile all that crazy behavior, poor judgement, betrayal, lying and filth and still hanging out with this freak of a woman who has convinced him that they are now "living with integrity" - and not have a REAL problem with his ability to be a good dad or parent?? I freak out everytime he has the kids and they think he is their same old daddy. Not a pig, and I won't take that from them, but I need to protect them too.

In my state, custody is default to 50/50. Originally I wanted sole custody, with some liberal visitation- not that I could even get that anyway without a miracle. But realistically, I will have to go back to work. I will have to get another professional job, my kids lives will change from 2 parents, lots of money, lots of attention and after school activities to me working until 6pm or later, probably having to travel a little, and I will be exhausted because I will still be the primary caretaker-playdate maker, birthday party planner, homework helper.

So, just for my own survival I will need him to have some custody and legally he will get it---but I simply do not trust him. I have these two beautiful, wonderful little girls who are so innocent and special and I don't trust him to be a good parent because his behavior shows he is a lier, a cheater, some one possibly with a personality disorder (to be able to live two lives and be two people)


[This message edited by sleepless34 at 1:50 PM, September 2nd (Monday)]

Phoenix9572 posted 9/2/2013 14:45 PM

I wish I had some great advice for you but unfortunately I don't. I did want you to know that you have been heard.
I look forward to seeing what some of the wiser members can shed on this. My WH is most likely a sex addict. I kicked him out of the house last week when I caught him soliciting call girls. He apparently has been doing the random sex thing for quite a while and I'm scared to think for how long. I still have access to his texting and know that he's activity asking 2 different women out for dates and was trying to hire another call girl the other day.
We have 2 wonderful boys together and I do not want them to grow up thinking this is what marriage is about and/or how you treat people especially in committed relationships. I stress about all the crap he is filling their heads with when I'm not around.

Nature_Girl posted 9/2/2013 15:38 PM

How do we handle it? Here's my impression:

Here is my impression of how well it's going with my STBX, who, BTW, is personality-disordered and cruel:

My last bit I cannot find a clip for. It's from the movie "The Stand". Laura San Giacomo has just been raped by the devil & is being taken to his lair. She walks past a group of people and tells them, "We are all in hell". That about sums up what it's like to try and share parenting with a horrible person. Hell.

solus sto posted 9/2/2013 16:44 PM

I don't really think a horrible person can be a good parent.

Trac-Fone is horrible. He can fake otherwise---and therefore can be, very superficially, in the very short term, an adequate parent. If "parenting" means taking the kids to lunch and a movie every once in a while qualifies as parenting.

What I've come to conclude is that there is NO such thing as "co-parenting" with a parent who is either personality disordered, SA, or ...well, just plain "horrible." Instead, PARALLEL parenting becomes the modus operandi. You can't control another parent. You can't make him a good person, or a good parent. You CAN do your best to mitigate the damage done to your kids. If there is real threat, you do your best to limit contact. If it's more a "he's an asshole" thing, you let him do things his way----then you do things your way. In other words, there's no real collaboration. You parent in a parallel fashion.

Sure, you give the heads-up about important medical issues, school issues, etc. But you lower your expectations. They won't be met.

Will he ever be Father of the Year? Quite likely not. But with a strong mom with good boundaries, your girls will be okay.

Ashland13 posted 9/2/2013 17:48 PM

Yes, I agree with the "Parallel parenting" ideas, because I, too, find it difficult to do anything "together" or "co" with someone who thinks and behaves so differently than me.

The thing is, that for each of us there are core issues and I like to think that when it comes to our child(ren), their safety and well being will still be important to him. If nothing else, bare minimum, he chances getting in trouble and perhaps that will keep him in line because he won't want to hear from me.

Slepless, I've struggled with the same issues and questions and I worry what our child(ren) will learn from this man who is their father, but doesn't act like one in the ways that he used to...he doesn't act in a leadership way, rather just wants fun and to be "on" and glittery and then off he goes again.

Yes, Nearly Exh did the same thing with OW as your Wh did/does...OW had a lot of information about me and this was frightening and messed with my sense of security and I picture them laughing it up about me nowadays.

He also rewrote our married life and IC and MC said it's the way he lives with himself and gets up every day, kind of like a coping mechanism. He made up horrendous lies about me and some people in my life I don't have any more because of what he did and said. But I guess maybe they weren't meant to be long-term people in life if they gave me up without hearing both sides, like other people did.

He's brought OWs relatives to our house and he's brought supplies here from there, which I will not use and he doesn't understand. Completely doesn't get it. If I tell him I'm looking to buy something for DD, he'll say he can get it there where OW lives, but I just can't accept things from "there" could he think so?

So to end my long answer of shared experience, the way I do the parenting thing is to keep it to a minimum. If it's things that are doctor related, I include him and if it's behavior related on the part of DD, I weigh each and every behavior problem and step back from my reaction to it and that's helped me include him less.

For a time when he was first gone, I was leaning on him for behavior help, but as time goes on and "fun dad" grows, his true colors are coming out and he shows less support for me in that regard, too.

If it's a really bad behavior problem, I may tell him and make a request of one less food treat while she goes with him, but I can't ever know if they honor it or just tell me what I want to be told.

OW apparently will have an open relationship with him, at least according to rumor, and I haven't heard of too many instances where this idea or set up can still keep cheating away. I think if it's in a person's mind to do, like Nearly Exh set out to do, no matter how few boundaries or rules there are, it still may come to pass.

Sleepless, your story-or your WH's story-has such a familiar ring.

sleepless34 posted 9/2/2013 19:12 PM

Thank you- It is pretty sad that there are other people going through this....or worse.

I thought my story was "lifetime movie of the week" worthy, but the worst part is that it is just so common. People are selfish, and I guess you can be together 15 years and not know someone.

He has the kids today. Bringing them home soon. They will tell me about the day, and that makes me feel better. I guess I will have to get used to it.

The books about kids and divorce all say that to make it best for the kids- you have to be very collaborative, amiable, almost "friend-like." I am sorry, but I do have ACTUAL INTEGRITY and right now I can not be friendly around him even for the kids. He doesn't deserve to get off that easy.

What do your kids think? Say? when it first happened? Now? Any advice on what you would do different?

Nature_Girl posted 9/2/2013 19:35 PM

My kids do wish that their father & I could get along. However, they have witnessed him yelling & screaming at me right in front of them since we separated. Over & over & over. To the point that they've tried to intervene (and I've stopped them) just to get him to shut up. They've listened to him rant & rave against me to them when they're out with him during visitation. They listen to him tell lies or twist the truth about me. They are aware that he's full of shit. So they know that it's just not possible for us to get along or even be in proximity to each other. I see my kids pain, hold them when they cry, dry their tears, answer their questions as best I can. But yeah. It's gut-wrenching to have to witness their faces fall when their dad yells at their mom, or when their dad deliberately sabotages their visitation in order to hurt mom.

At this point in time I cannot "be friendly". Our marriage was highly abusive. All those parenting classes & parenting after divorce books are pie-in-the-sky for situations like mine and some of the others here. I don't even consider what I do to be parallel parenting. Someone else here uses the term "re-parenting", and that comes close. Still doesn't quite capture the damage control & restoration that has to happen, though.

sleepless34 posted 9/2/2013 19:41 PM

Oh, Nature girl, so sorry.

That sounds just awful. You are left cleaning up the mess over and over again. And what can you say to your kids, except "I am sorry, I hear you, I know, I am sad too...."

It is so unfair to the kids. And you are doing the best you can. WHAT A DOUCHE!

Strongmama posted 9/2/2013 20:15 PM

No. My ex is a horrible person and an equally horrible parent unfortunately.
He's never had any patience or care for the kids, and while we were married I tried to hold it together on egg shells so things wouldn't upset him.
When someone is a horrible perso. It's usually an all around kind of thing.
My opinion at least. I agree on the parallel parenting. It's about the only way to survive these creeps. Sorry:(

Kajem posted 9/2/2013 21:01 PM

Awes Nature Girl you used my phrase, Thank you.

I can't take credit for it - my therapist used it. At the time we were discussing the fact that we learn how to BE parents from our own parents. I was concerned with what XH was teaching them. Her answer was to re-parent and to do damage control.

I trust my XH to keep the kids physically safe and to feed them most of the time. That's it! That is where my trust for him ends. My expectations of him as a father have been lowered thru the years to the bare minimum. I expect he is capable of taking care of my kids with as much effort he does the family dog.

Anything else will usually have an agenda attached. At least that's been my experience for the last 10 years.


Housefulloflove posted 9/2/2013 21:23 PM

Trac-Fone is horrible. He can fake otherwise---and therefore can be, very superficially, in the very short term, an adequate parent. If "parenting" means taking the kids to lunch and a movie every once in a while qualifies as parenting.

This pretty much describes what is going on with my Ex. He can play the good-daddy role in short bursts. Paying his child support and taking the kids out for a meal or to play once or twice a week makes him father-of-the-year in his disordered mind.

What I've come to conclude is that there is NO such thing as "co-parenting" with a parent who is either personality disordered, SA, or ...well, just plain "horrible." Instead, PARALLEL parenting becomes the modus operandi. You can't control another parent. You can't make him a good person, or a good parent. You CAN do your best to mitigate the damage done to your kids.

^This. After the last overnight visitation (which is the last for the year thank God!), my son came home upset and cried himself to sleep that night. It turns out he saw his father blowing kisses to some random woman on a webcam. The week before that my kids complained that their father spent most of the time with him talking to someone on his webcam. I asked him to respect the kids feelings and not do things like that in front of them. His response: "I don't, I only use the webcam in my room"

The kids don't have x-ray vision and didn't see through the walls so obviously not, dumbass!

Talking to him about the kids is about as effective as talking to the dog. He tells me what he thinks he is doing right and then doesn't respond to anything else. Instead, I do damage control with the kids when he does yet another inconsiderate/hurtful thing . My son and I had a long talk about how he felt and even though I encourage them to talk to their father, they are smart enough to get that their father's responses never actually acknowledge anything they say so at this point they don't even bother.

Ex told me that he was going to have a father-son talk. You think he even attempted that? Ha!

dbellanon posted 9/2/2013 22:10 PM

I have many of the same fears.

I have a 50/50 custody arrangement with my STBXWW. It is extremely difficult to share my daughter with someone whom I no longer respect.

What kind of parent was he before all of this happened? This will be the first step toward answering your question.

I think it also might help to put into words what your specific worries are. You say he deprived your kids of his time and attention, so obviously that is a concern going forward, that he will not make them his first priority the way he should.

I know that in my case, I don't really find myself worrying that my daughter will lack for any of her basic needs, nor will she be starved for time and attention from her mother. I'm much more concerned about the creeping influence of her rotten values over the long-term. I fear that she is not a good role model, but that my daughter will naturally look up to her as she grows older.

These are just some examples, but if you can figure out specifically what you are worried about, this can help.

Another question to ask is: What is the worst-case scenario when it comes to the negative effects of your WH's parenting? What is the worst that could happen?

I wish I had answers for you, but maybe these questions can help you focus your thoughts somewhat.

sleepless34 posted 9/2/2013 22:35 PM

I guess my fears are that he has used such poor judgement in carrying on this discusting affair with a woman he met in a sex chat room who was in an open marriage...and acted like a normal person.

So, what else do I not know? Was there really like 100 chat room whores he slept with? Is he into porn? Is he a swinger?

He seems to think chat room whore open marriage lady (from here on in referred to as Mrs. Integrity) walks on water and is still in a relationship with her. He will likely want to introduce this homewrecker to my kids, and she has be pretty messed up too...promiscous, they met in sex chat room. Needy, narcisstic.

My husband lies and deceives so easily...what is that teaching the kids. What will they be exposed to with him? If he is insane or on verge of a mental breakdown of some sort, will he put them in harms way.

the morning after DDay night, He more or less told my older daughter about the potential divorce and alluded to another woman- putting all this emotionally laden bullshit on a 10 year old. He lacks any empathy. He is completely selfish.

They have fun going to movies and stuff, but I don't trust him for the real life stuff too much....

I guess it is mostly the stuff I don't know about him- which could be anything at this point- that scares me. I have always been the primary caretaker, so who knows what shitty judgement he will have when I am not there.....

Nature_Girl posted 9/2/2013 22:41 PM

This is the worst part of divorce as far as I'm concerned. You're right, when your entire reality & belief system about a person is completely destroyed, you're left wondering what else don't you know, how much worse are things than I know now. Suddenly nightmarish scenarios are very real & possible because there's just so much that's unknown and unknowable. Whereas previously no one in their right mind would dream of sending their children off to be cared for by a complete stranger, now we are forced to do that very thing because yes, our spouses are complete strangers to us. We don't know this person after all. We don't know what they're capable of, although the things we DO know are already bad enough.

It's a nightmare. And we're supposed to do it with a friendly smile on our face and act like nothing could possibly go wrong.

Jer2911 posted 9/2/2013 23:15 PM

This sounds so much like the situation I am dealing with. My stbx WH has no remorse and has even justified his poor choices. My kids and I are strong in our faith and he looked them in the eye and said he was going to hell anyway.

The intial decision was for him to see kids on his days off and every other weekend. Well he moved in with OW and the counselor requested the kids not go there while we are still married. He is abiding but is now pouting and punishing the kids for it. He makes very hurtful manipulative comments to them. The counselor has diagnosed him as NPD. He now pretends I am dead so very little chance of coparenting with Mr personality disorder. Even my youngest DD 13 has figured out his narcissism.

He is ruining his relationship with his children which was pretty superficial to begin with. I am quite sure when OW sees him flip out and curse his kids out or put them into a wall he won't look like such a great catch. He only goes through the kids for visits so I never know unless actual plans are made and they tell me.

I like the suggestion of the parallel parenting. I feel like every time they see him I am doing damage control. He even told our dd 15 that he wouldn't help them buy dresses for homecoming because he left child support and because they didn't want to spend time with him only wanted his money. If I was talking to him I would tell him to grow the hell up. Stop sending kids texts saying I am available so and so let me know if you want to do something. He needs to validate them not the other way around.

My heart goes out to the ones with the younger kids. Mine are 13, 15, 15, 17. They are old enough to realize for themselves what is really happening. I just pray and hope now that I have seen the light I can try to undo some of the damage.

SBB posted 9/3/2013 06:47 AM

What I've come to conclude is that there is NO such thing as "co-parenting" with a parent who is either personality disordered, SA, or ...well, just plain "horrible." Instead, PARALLEL parenting becomes the modus operandi. You can't control another parent. You can't make him a good person, or a good parent. You CAN do your best to mitigate the damage done to your kids.

^^THIS. I've largely surrendered to it but boy did I rage against it in the early days.

Some of it was him needing to learn (disgraceful that he didn't already know) but a lot of it is a by-product of his innate selfishness. This is who he is. He is nowhere near even adequate IMO but I can't do anything about that.

I actually noticed the girls had a harder time of things when I was trying to make him a better father.

XMIL said something to me many years ago about her own deadbeat POS X's "You never know what kind of father they'll be until its too late". Quite prophetic - astonishing, really.

Change what you can control/influence - surrender to the rest.

I don't deal with him anymore - he is a lost cause. I deal with my girls - they are worth the investment.

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