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Children and inlaw advice please

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ruby44 posted 11/10/2013 11:29 AM

My WH left us a month ago. In that time, his connection/communication with our DDs has been sporadic and superficial. 2 minute phone calls at night etc. In the month he has picked them up for 1 four hour visit and according to my kids, he took a nap and let them play with the Xbox. Speed up a little and he sent me an email with some requests regarding visiting our DDs. Apparently, his lawyer has told him to maintain contact. The first weekend was my birthday weekend. I told him that would not work. He apologized and said that he did not want them the whole weekend then, just part of it. I said no again since we were traveling to be with my family. Second weekend Thanksgiving. He agreed to let them go with me for Thanksgiving dinner as has been our tradition for 13 years at my sister's house but wanted to take them for the weekend to visit his family 8 hours away. I said as long as the kids agree, that would be fine, they are 12 & 10. So there is the background. 2 issues. My kids are really suffering with the abandonment of their father. When he calls and asks them how they are they say "I'm OK" he tells them he loves them and end of conversation. They hang up and the hurt and anger is palpable. It of course is mine to deal with. When I ask them why they don't tell their dad they miss him or they are hurting they say they are afraid he will blame me. I guess the older one tried and she said he looked really angry and shook his head so she stopped talking. Should I have them write him letters? Just keep taking it all on? How do I help the kids deal with this? The older one is seeing a counselor but the younger one refuses.
Second question. My in-laws know of my WH affair his moving out etc. They have made no attempt to call their grandchildren, talk to their son, (it is his business and they do not want to get involved) especially since my WH mother was a BS in her first marriage with 2 small children, so she could give him first hand knowledge of the pain. MIL sends me a birthday card telling me how sorry she is that I cant find it in my heart to let her son have the kids for Thanksgiving because it has been months since they have seen them. I wanted to call her up and just rant. The only reason he wants to take them for Thanksgiving is so he can show his family that he is still a loving and giving daddy and so that they can tell him how much he deserves happiness at whatever the cost. They pretty much idolize him. So do I just ignore her attempts at guilt do I cc her on all the communications between her son and I to show he has NO interest in maintaining a relationship with his daughters right now. Do I respond at all. My anger wants to just go off on her but I know she is as broken as her son so what would be the point. Please help how do I deal with this along with everything else failing to pieces.

nowiknow23 posted 11/10/2013 11:32 AM

Ignore the MIL. Her complaint about not seeing the kids is misdirected - it's between her and her son.

As for the kids, are they in counseling?

courageous posted 11/10/2013 11:45 AM

Do you have any temporary custody orders yet? If so I would tell wh. "Your days of visitation are x, y, and z. This is your visitation time and choosing to exercise those rights are up to you". If not I would suggest thinking what kind of visitation you might like. In my case I told exwh, prior to temp custody orders, that in order to have help the kids have some sense of security and consistency I would be setting up visitation that mirrors my state's standard visitation including holidays. This way there was no discussion of withholding visitation or wondering when he was going to disrupt our lives. This way he can't come back and say that you are denying him access.

My ex was very attentive to making all visitation visits during the D process, probably because his lawyer recommended it too and it really made me angry because he was being so fake.

I think it depends on what kind of relationship you have with mil. If you were really close, I would let her know that he has chosen not to exercise his visitation rights and that when he did he has ignored them and you don't want to give up time the kids have with your family so the kids can be ignored.

If you don't have a close relationship I would ignore her letter. He has more than likely been feeding her lies and you can talk to you are blue in the face but she won't admit her son is bad.

selkiescot posted 11/10/2013 12:36 PM

Both kids belong in counseling. if he young one refuses then find another way to get her some help. How about a school counselor or maybe clergy. he needs help dealing with the anger.
As far as MIL goes, ignore her. You have enough on your plate without MI interference. If she is siding with your Wh she is as broken as he is. You can use the 180 on more than Wh's....KWIM?

gonnabe2016 posted 11/10/2013 12:41 PM

So your MIL sends you a birthday card and uses that as an opportunity to try to lay a guilt-trip on you? How *lovely* of her.

Ignore her. If she wants to see the kids then she can talk to her son about it.

meplusfour posted 11/10/2013 13:18 PM

So your MIL thinks that a birthday card with a guilt trip is the best way to foster a positive relationship with the mother of her grandchildren? I would not engage her in any way. In fact, keep the card as proof of WH's lack of interest in fostering a relationship between his children and his family. Ignore her and do not give her anything she can use against you. Do not cc her on any communications between yourself and her son, she has no standing to be involved. Keep your position strong.

Sending you and your girls hugs. Take care of them and yourself.

hardtimesinlife posted 11/10/2013 13:46 PM

I'm going against the grain on this one.
I divorced 22 years ago, when my dd was 5, and it was important to me to keep my inlaws close for the sake of family harmony. Years later my MIL became one of my dearest friends, even though she got on my nerves while I was married to her son

I am of the opinion that anyone who can influence your children should be kept as close as possible. This is a case in point. Your MIL got wrong information from your ex and is under the impression that you are withholding the children on TGiving. Who knows when that little nugget will be brought up in the future. There might come a day when your kids hear something like that and believe that you were the cause of their father not seeing them enough.

If it were me I would send a letter or email saying something like this:
Dear MIL
Thank you so much for remembering my birthday. These past months have been difficult at best and your card brightened my day.
I'm glad you mentioned the kids because I think it would be good for them to know they haven't been abandoned by their grandparents. As I'm sure you know, they aren't seeing much of their father these days and a phone call now and then from you would make a world of difference. I had already made our TG plans by the time WH mentioned taking them to see you. Besides, the kids really need to spend more time with their father before they will be comfortable traveling alone with him.
With time the dust will settle within our family and things will begin to feel normal once again. I do hope you and FIL will continue to be an important part of our family. Please call us anytime.

I remember making it clear that I was the anchor parent and my XH was the peripheral parent. I like to think of it as marking my territory

momentintime posted 11/10/2013 14:34 PM

You already made plans, so her issue is mute. However, just because her son can't seem to make the kiddos a priority on a regular basis doesn't entitle them to a big holiday at your expense. Ignore her or tell her if her son availed himself to visitation she could see the children then on his time. She shouldn't be trying to have a holiday family. Period!

gonnabe2016 posted 11/10/2013 14:50 PM

I really like hardtimes suggestion.

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