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stbx letter to DS15 ~ I need your insight ...

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dmari posted 2/13/2014 00:45 AM

Hi Friends,

Quick recap: DDay early october and stbx walked out 2 weeks later without saying goodbye to kids. DD18 has not spoken or seen stbx for over a year and DS15 has not spoken or seen stbx for a year.

I guess stbx has been trying to get them to communicate with him by texting them once every few months. Whatev's. Stbx communicates with each child's therapist every few months, I think to prove he is doing something.

A few weeks ago, stbx made a homemade rating survey for my DS15 to fill out in therapy. For example, on a scale of 1 - 10, how mad are you at your father. Then at the bottom, he wants DS15 to sign it.

DS15 therapist said that she would leave it up to DS15 to do the survey but she would not let him sign it. DS15 told me later that he agreed to do it otherwise stbx is going to keep bothering him.

Of course, stbx did not like answers on his homemade survey and proceeds to write a three page letter to DS15. The letter is left with the therapist for her to give to DS15 at the next session which was today.

The therapist and I knew that it was going to be a difficult session but we did not know what DS15's reaction would be. Well, at first he was sad and then he was pissed. And he still wants nothing to do with stbx.

Here are some of the parts that were shared with me: "You deserve a happy dad", "I wasn't happy", "If I stayed, I would have gotten worse", "People say I'm a selfish asshole for leaving but I wasn't happy and couldn't stay", "Sometimes I cry myself to sleep because I miss you", "I left mom not you", "I'm not completely happy now but I'm better" and again "You deserve a happy and healthy dad".

DS15 finally FINALLY got an apology from the time stbx pushed him out of his way to get in the house to yell at me. Well, stbx said "I'm sorry I disrespected you by not asking to come in the house." The thing is, I KNOW he didn't apologize without being prompted by DS15's therapist. Stbx still claimed that he didn't push DS15 and the therapist told him it did not matter what he (stbx) thinks what happened, she said your son FEELS like you shoved him aside. It could be literally shoved aside or even figuratively. That's the only reason why he apologized. Whatev's. I'm glad my DS15 got one as he has been waiting for one for over a year.

After reading the letter, the therapist told me that DS15 had a couple of questions for me. DS15 didn't really ask a question but more wanted a confirmation. He asked how could dad be unhappy when we did everything he wanted to make him happy. He wanted a man cave ~ I built him a man cave. He thought the apocalypse was coming so we spent hundreds of dollars on apocalypse supplies. He wanted to move neighborhoods ~ so we moved. He wanted to go a comic convention ~ so he went ... two years in row. He needed a new car ~ I figured out how we could buy it. I acknowledged that I did do those things to make him happy ~ I enjoyed making my family members happy. But I asked him where do you find real happiness? He answered "inside".

DS15 asked why wasn't stbx going to therapy. I said he was going to therapy for over 6 years but he was not honest with his therapist. So he ran away from his problems. (Don't worry ~ I didn't label his actions as "ran away" until either the therapist or the letter stated that was what stbx did).

What are your thoughts about the letter? I have mine but I wanted to hear of others opinions in case mines is biased. I don't even know how I feel about DS15 getting that letter. Pissed? Disappointed? Don't give a shit?

Thank you for listening to my rantings! dmari

careerlady posted 2/13/2014 01:05 AM

Sounds like typical wayward talk/reasoning to me. Full of excuses. Seems like DS saw through it. Unless your STBX gets his head on straight he could lose his kids forever. He realizes that but his attempts to "fix" the situation are lousy. I feel bad for your DS

HurtsButImOK posted 2/13/2014 01:28 AM

Just what the ever loving fuck was that survey going to accomplish!

The only survey your x should send is a one question one asking to rank him against asshole level 1 to 10. No other answer than 10 (maximum asshole) can be entered as an answer.

All he is doing is trying to guilt DS. That shit needs to stop pronto. Daddy is unhappy, too fucking bad. Grow the fuck up and sort your own shit out douche.

Sorry but his actions make me feel so mad for you and your DS.

I think all you can really do is validate your son's feelings and let him know you are there to support him.


stronger08 posted 2/13/2014 04:35 AM

Personally I'd tell the therapist that his relationship with his kids is on him. He fired you from the job of cleaning up his messes when he walked out the door. Your kids are old enough to decide what type of relationship they want with their father. Also that therapist should have known better then to put you in the middle of this. How the hell are you supposed to know why he was not happy ? That's for your XH to answer. I understand being supportive of your kids and wanting them to be as adjusted and happy as possible. But don't allow him or the therapist dump his issues on your back. Seems to me that XH has been talking into therapists ear and like a typical WS is bullshitting his way back into the kids lives. And he is using the therapist as a conduit for what he wants. His A was not your fault, his walking out was not your fault and his reasoning behind his decisions had nothing to do with you. I would have a conversation with that therapist ASAP and ask him/her not to involve you in the XH insanity ever again. All you can do for your children is to gently tell them the truth. This whole thing stinks of manipulation and I for one would not stand for it.

hummingbird8 posted 2/13/2014 04:49 AM

I think your ex is right that in a lot of cases they leave the spouse not the children. Children should not be in the middle of marriage issues, it's something they don't have the capacity to understand yet. So unless your ex walked away and never attempted contact or to see your children, he didn't leave them.

It bothers me when BS say WS abandoned all of us etc. If someone chooses to divorce because of an abusive situation does that mean they are abandoning their children? No divorce is not abandonment.

Like we BS expect the WS to put the kids first, if the WS leaves its our job to help the kids foster a good relationship with their parents no matter why the marriage ended. If we don't, we aren't putting kids first either and only being selfish from our hurt.

If you want your son to heal, sit him down and tell him thank you for being angry on your behalf, but look you are just fine. And if he wants a relationship with his dad you will encourage that and want him to be happy.

Holly-Isis posted 2/13/2014 04:50 AM

It sounds a lot like the letter my mom wrote to me my senior year. Everyone was at fault for our non-relationship except her. It messed me up though I tried to act like I thought it was ridiculous.

I'm glad your son is in IC.

What I don't get is why IC is basically passing notes between your DS and his dad. It seems like she is allowing him to be PA. I guess at least your DS gets to deal with it with her. Still seems odd to me. Does she have plans to work towards them talking in person?

The letter was totally self serving and typical WS drivel.

sparkysable posted 2/13/2014 07:04 AM

"I wasn't happy",

"Sometimes I cry myself to sleep because I miss you",

"I left mom not you"

This is all the same shit that my XWH said to his kids from his first marriage, and these kids have not spoken to him in years, and as far as I know, they still want nothing to do with him.

I doubt my XWH's sincerity. I think he knows when he is supposed to say things, because society would call for it, but I don't feel that they come from the heart. He says it like someone reading a script. And that's also the feeling I get with your XWH, especially if he has to be pretty much railroaded into an apology from the therapist.

[This message edited by sparkysable at 2:24 PM, February 13th (Thursday)]

nekorb posted 2/13/2014 07:39 AM

I just wanted to chime in about the WS leaving the spouse, not the children.

As a child of a very quiet and peaceful divorce I can tell you that no matter how many times I have heard "your mother didn't leave you, she left your father", it feels like she left me. Know why? Because she LEFT. She moved out. She wasn't there. Phone calls and visitation only go so far.

I would validate your son's feelings. I would also tell the therapist you aren't getting in the middle of the WS/DS relationship anymore.

If anyone should be sitting in that office going over the ridiculous questionnaire and responses with your son, it should be WS. It's not your responsibility to mend his relationship with his dad. It's WH's.

solus sto posted 2/13/2014 08:34 AM

This can't be healthy. I'd try to limit what your DS receives from your ex. You can't control/direct the relationship in its entirety, but you can make sure a therapist does not share a gross, self-serving, blame shifty, game-playing letter with him.

And as for, "he left you, not the kids," he has demonstrated that's bullshit. As it is for many of us.

Edited to actually be in something resembling English. Weird autocorrect. Yep, autocorrect... That's the ticket.

[This message edited by solus sto at 1:30 PM, February 13th (Thursday)]

million pieces posted 2/13/2014 09:06 AM

First of all big giant hugs to your sons and you!

Divorce does not have to equal abandonment, but it can and it will if both parents don't support their kids and make themselves available. If the WS leaves and only sends texts every couple of months, that is abandonment.

This is why all the therapists I spoke to and books I read were very clear about how to leave/and tell the kids. My ex was on a "long business trip" until we sat the kids down and told them he was moving out. Never was him not loving me any more, loving someone else, etc mentioned because kids will internalize and think if daddy can replace mommy, stop loving mommy, could he do the same to them. He didn't even give the explanation of "I was soooooo unhappy" (which of course he told me he was unhappy for months, no years, no since I met you, etc). If daddy was unhappy, the kids could think they played a role in that. It was just said that daddy was confused and need time and space and being alone to figure things out. Of all the shit my ex did and continues to pull, this was the only proper thing he did (thanks to the IC he saw for a whopping 2 times before he was "fixed"). Side note, ex was not happy to be as he said, taking all the blame by being confused. He wanted to tell them too that he was sooooo unhappy. He said I got off easy in that conversation.

Anyway, he worked to make it clear he left me/the house and not the kids. I never doubted his love for the kids (just knew that he loved himself more). I think the kids saw that, saw his actions, how he was always around, etc. If he had not done that, he would have been abandoning the kids just as surely as he left me. And many WS do leave their family without a backward glance.

I work to help my kids have a relationship with their father, in the same proportion as he works to see/spend time with them. If he didn't work to maintain a relationship, I wouldn't help at all.

Like another poster said, divorce is hard on kids even when the parents work together. It can be awful when one is a complete shit and yes, does abandon the family.

In your situation, I would talk to your son's IC and find out what her goal/thoughts on all of this note passing and see how you feel about her explanation. And I would try to approach it as how to heal your son and not worry about it being your job or not. Yes he is older, but still needs your guidance. Even if it is just to say (like another poster said) that you are ok and he should have no guilt in wanting a relationship with both of you.

[This message edited by million pieces at 9:12 AM, February 13th (Thursday)]

Dreamboat posted 2/13/2014 10:15 AM


if the WS leaves its our job to help the kids foster a good relationship with their parents no matter why the marriage ended.

I completely and whole heartedly disagree. When a parent (WS or not) leaves then it is up to THAT parent to foster a relationship with their children. It is not the responsibility of the parent left behind to foster the realtionship, but it is there job to nor put obstacles in the way.

And yes, sometimes the WS does abandon both the BS AND the kids. They walk out and do not look back. Months go by until they finally deem the kids important enough to take some of the WS's precious time so they contact the kids and get angry when the kids don't jump up and down like a damn puppy. Then they blame the BS. This happened to me and my DD and it is what has happened to dmari and her kids. And I have seen it happen to countless others on SI and in real life. And the kids are angry because the WS left THEM, not on behalf of the BS. One day the WS is an involved parent, the next day they are gone and don't even call.

Don;t go blaming the BS if kids are angry and don't want a relationship with a WS who walked out on them.

I am not saying all WS's do this. Some move out of the house but stay very involved with the kids lives. But many do not and the blame goes fully on their shoulders, not the kids and not the BS.

End T/J

Dreamboat posted 2/13/2014 10:18 AM


This letter reads "me me me me, poor pitiful me" WS is completely focused on his own happiness and does not seem to care about DS's happiness, let alone his emotional health. WS is supposed to be the adult, but is acting like a spoiled 5 year old.

(((dmari & DS)))

Nature_Girl posted 2/13/2014 10:32 AM

I'm having a hard time responding because the letter is making me upset, the fact that the counselor seems to be letting your WH triangulate to continue being an asshole to you/your son is upsetting me, that your son had to read such self-serving drivel is upsetting me, and some of the responses in this thread are upsetting me.

The IC may have had good intentions with how this has been handled, but I think it's gone off the rails.

SurelyNOT posted 2/13/2014 10:41 AM

OMG this could have been written by me.
The OW posted on her fb that "A woman puts her kids first. Maintains a relationship with her children's father. Encourages her children to be close to their father. Anyone who breaks down that relationship is not a mother" He left us for you and your two children, you silly woman. Could it be that the "anyone who breaks down that relationship" is himself and yourself - but then you guys merely found love and to hell with the consequences for his children
My ex texts our children very sporadically, but leading up to Christmas, he texted that he had "pressies" for them. They replied back that they "were not interested" but of course the story out there is that I am the one replying to his texts. The ow texted me on Christmas Eve to say "Are you really going to keep them apart tomorrow?" How on earth is it my fault that his children (17 and 13, daughters) DON'T WANT TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH HIM!!!!!!!!!!!
May we all find the strength to get through this pile of crap
((( HUGS ))) to ALL

dmari posted 2/13/2014 10:51 AM

Thank you so much for your responses! I did not even think of some of the points you all had mentioned so thank you! It has given me a lot to think about especially regarding having DS's therapist be the in-between.

It has always been a goal to eventually start family therapy between stbx and each child. He has stopped trying to reach out to DD18 so his focus is on DS15. DS15's therapist volunteered to be the future family therapist that is present if/when they meet face to face. The reason for that is she did not want someone random being assigned to him or for DS15 to see stbx's therapist as a family therapist. She wanted to be able to advocate and protect DS15.

careerlady: Thank you! I feel bad for DS15 too

HurtsButImOk: Thank you for your strong response! I didn't think about the guilt factor. The survey was so weird! It was in 52 sized font and looked like a 8 year old made it. The whole thing was just weird.

stronger08: I am suspecting that what you say about talking into the therapists ear may be true. It does look like some passive manipulation. I hope not intentionally but that shit still needs to stop. Thank you!

hummingbird8: The kids feel that they were abandoned and I can't change that no matter how many times in how many different ways I try to explain that they are not the reason why stbx walked out. A few texts every few months was not enough to heal the pain of his absence. I have talked to my son regularly about keeping the door open to reconnecting with stbx one day. Thank you for responding and your insight!

Holly-Isis: Hugs and I'm sorry you had to go through that pain when you were in high school. Thank you so much for sharing!! It has warned me to be aware of the after effects of receiving the letter. Last night was pretty shitty for him.

sparkysable: Thank you! Just thank you! I think that if WS's owned their shit, kids would be more willing to rebuild.

nekorb: Thank you for responding and for understanding and explaining your view on abandonment.

solus sto: I'm beginning to see that this method of DS15's therapist being in the middle is not healthy. I am going to have to talk to her. Thank you for pointing that out.

million pieces: Thank you for the response and hugs! I had asked stbx to see a MC/therapist to help us tell the kids in the best way possible under the circumstances. He wasn't interested and didn't want to wait. I'm glad that you and your ex were able to do present it in the least harmful way. I will be talking to DS15 therapist and reexamine our goals when it comes to stbx.

Dreamboat: Thank you! Thank you for understanding and for putting my thoughts into words! I also only heard me me me me in the letter. I wish stbx had tried to be in DS15 shoes and go from there.

Nature_Girl: Thank you for sharing your feelings! I was really upset last week when I first knew about this letter. I was so fucking upset that I had to book an appointment with my therapist the next day to process why I was so upset. I couldn't even label my feelings. This letter is under the disguise of being sincere and loving but all I heard was bullshit. YET at the same time, if my son interpreted that as sincere and loving, I was going to go along with it. The fact that it made my DS15 angry has made me think that DS15 read through the bullshit.

Thank you friends! I am so grateful for each of your responses! I have some things to think about.

gonnabe2016 posted 2/13/2014 11:08 AM

DS15 told me later that he agreed to do it otherwise stbx is going to keep bothering him.
And he still wants nothing to do with stbx.

Is your DS' therapist working with him and giving him healthy coping strategies? I think she dropped the ball on this whole situation. She started off well by leaving the choice about responding to the survey off to him -- but from there she gets a big "F" from me. It would have been one thing if your son did that immature survey because he WANTED to as a way to express his feelings to his father in a non-confrontational way......but he didn't. He did NOT want to do the survey and only did it he because he felt as if he *had* to. Did the therapist NOT *see* that? The choice should have been do it if he truly wanted to and not do it if he didn't. When his true motive for doing the survey came to light, he should have been given strategies for getting dad to stop 'bothering' him ...... instead of having your DS *bend* to dad's desires and wishes.

Your stbx's response letter was just awful. The truth is that he DID leave his children. Your DS hasn't seen or spoken to dad in a year.

Your stbx is acting like a child. He is treating your DS as if *he* is the parent. It is ass-backwards and it is a pretty sad state of affairs when the child is more mature than the parent.

The parts of the letter that you posted have made me feel a lot of contempt and disgust for your stbx. What a horrible, horrible message to send to your child......{{{DS15}}}

Vulcanized posted 2/13/2014 15:50 PM

The only grain of truth I saw it that letter is this

You deserve a happy(strike that) and healthy dad

And I'm guessing that it was inadvertent. DS does deserve a healthy dad.

I'm not a parent, but that whole thing seems very childish to me. If your XH was so damn concerned, wouldn't he try to talk to DS in person? Over the phone? I dunno, that letter reeked of those notes you passed in 7th grade: do you like me? check yes or no.

I don't get why the therapist thought this was a good idea passing this along? Did she screen this before giving it to DS?

I feel bad for your DS. His dad is acting like his peer, not his father. (((DS)))

BAB61 posted 2/13/2014 16:45 PM

Imho you might think about firing that therapist and getting a new one. Your son is old enough that his wishes should supersede XWH's .. and the therapist should be only concerned with how DS is coping.

I agree that children optimally should have 2 parents, and that optimally their relationship should be healthy. However when one parent is a lying, cheating, narcissistic sob then

dmari posted 2/13/2014 22:10 PM

gonnabe2016: Thank you for responding and for your insight. Especially your perspective regarding the therapist. Thank you for reaffirming my feeling that there is some role reversal between father and son. I remember about a year ago DS15 told me "it feels like I am his parent".

Vulcanized: I also felt like the survey was juvenile and just strange. I wish he would run these surveys and letters through HIS therapists before giving it to DS15's therapist. DS15 will not talk to stbx which is why he is attempting to communicate with DS15 through his therapist.

BAB61: Thank you for your opinion! You are absolutely right. The main reason I wouldn't fire her is she is great (minus this situation) and DS15 is comfortable and honest with her. I think I need to talk to her to get things back to, as you also say, how DS is coping.

You know how it is when the situation looks differently from the outside? I feel that is happening to me. Thank you so much for your perspectives and opinions and support!! Please know that your responses are so helpful in helping me be the best momma I can be. Bless each of you!!

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