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DS #1 says, "I'm getting used to it."

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tryingagain74 posted 4/14/2014 13:23 PM

Sigh. Just a vent.

I'm glad that my eldest is "getting used to" his new, forced family structure. The last thing I want is for my children to be tormented and unhappy. This mess was forced upon them; they have been nothing but pawns in the ex's sad cheater game. Under the circumstances, I'm very grateful-- my kids are holding up well. I know it could be far worse.

However... when DS #1 said this to me, I admit that I said, quite sternly, "That's fine, but I want you to know that in NO WAY are your father's past actions acceptable. I don't want you to 'get used to' that and to think that it's okay for you to do this to someone who loves you in the future." He told me that he understood.

I mean, it sort of sickens me that he's "used to it." That's why I felt I had to speak up. Cheating on your spouse and rending your family in two is NOT okay. It's NOT right to go outside of your committed relationship and hook up with someone else. It's NOT right to rush into marriage and force a bunch of little kids into a blended family with light speed. He's done EVERYTHING wrong with this situation. Everything. Under the best of circumstances, blending a family is a sensitive situation that requires the adults to be very patient and thoughtful. He's been none of that. He and CommandOwife charged on ahead, thinking of nothing but their own selfish need for instant gratification.

I know we're supposed to stay neutral. I wasn't angry when I said it. But DS #1 is the same child who once said that he wouldn't leave his wife "unless he met someone prettier." I managed to keep my cool then as well, and I calmly explained to DS #1 why that attitude was completely wrong, but that comment has been in the back of my mind ever since. I don't want my kids to "get used to" shitty behavior that is all about living in the moment while damaging the lives of loved ones. I'm pretty close-mouthed when the kids say things about the ex, but now and again, I feel like I have to say something. I don't want my kids to take my silence or lack of reaction as condoning what he's done.

What a charming way of life for my children to "get used to." The sad thing is, as many of us have been posting about lately, my XWH doesn't care one bit about how he's influencing our children. He has no conscience, no sense of morality. I'm left to continually fix things so that my children hopefully don't end up behaving as disordered as he has.

thebighurt posted 4/14/2014 13:57 PM

That really is a sad and scary thought, TA74. You *should* speak up to your children when they voice such things, to my mind. You, and unfortunately your ex, too, are the places your children will learn the most about family, interpersonal relationships, and life in general. You cannot stand by and let him think this is acceptable behavior.

In one sense, he needs to "accept" the new reality of daily life, but should never think that this is the way honorable people live. It is nothing to strive to emulate.

norabird posted 4/14/2014 16:02 PM

I think your response was perfect. This is his new normal now...but you don't want him to make it his future wife and children's normal later.

stronggirl72 posted 4/14/2014 17:47 PM

Yes, it is so hard to change the (not so silent) negative messaging of the fall-out from being exposed to their screwed-up actions.

I am glad you said something, TA74!!

However, did you tell you DS that you were proud of him for handling things the way he has? Did you say that you are glad he's "getting used to" things (which really means moving forward with a happy view of life and actually feeling okay amongst all of the changes)?

My IC has stressed over and over again that being a cheerleader of sorts for my kids is so important in helping them heal. That means that every time my kids come home from their dads I am excited to hear what they did, and even when they leave me on a Friday, I say, "Have Fun!" I need to do anything I can in order for my kiddos to find happiness either with me, or with him (no matter how hurt I might still feel from time to time).

Yes, it's difficult because you might feel that by doing so will give him a message that what his dad did was okay...BUT it's really, really important to push aside your own feelings of abandon and anger. According to my IC, THOSE things from YOU are what helps them heal the best. Nearly two years in, and I'm handling things better and better each day -- and so are the kids, but it's hard sometimes.

Just a thought.

suckstobeme posted 4/14/2014 18:09 PM

I think there is a fine line between acting as though all is fine and dandy and what dad/mom did is okay, and helping the kids to adjust to this new normal. I think you are on the right side of that line.

Part of being a parent is giving guidance about life and how kids should conduct themselves when they grow into adults. Marriage is a huge commitment and starting a family is an even bigger one. DS needs to know about the value of family and loyalty. He needs to know to take marriage seriously and understand that it's supposed to mean for life.

I understand the concept of not wanting your kids to always be hurt and angry and to teach them that there are some things they need to accept. They have to learn that some things are outside of their control and they need to learn to navigate situations even when they are less than ideal. As parents, we have to swallow a lot of shit and manage our emotions when the kids are around so that they can survive the biggest change they likely will ever endure. There are times when we even have to push them toward acceptance more than we would like. You've never faltered with that.

However, when they one day get control over their own situations, they should be guided by the morals and integrity and dignity that you showed them. Raising healthy, well adjusted kids doesn't mean that you can't show them that their father's choices don't align with the way you see the world.

StillLivin posted 4/14/2014 23:09 PM

Honey, sometimes all we can do is show our children what right looks like by our deeds and actions.
(((tryingagain74 & DS)))

dbellanon posted 4/15/2014 08:19 AM

I absolutely relate to this kind of ambivalence. My daughter is only 4, and she has no comprehension of what has happened. She's young and adaptable and has adjusted to all of the changes amazingly well. I'm glad for this.

But at the same time, I don't really want her to grow up thinking that all of this is perfectly normal. I am honestly terrified that history will repeat itself some 20-30 years down the line. That's a long time to live with that kind of anxiety.

Like you, I want to try to teach my daughter the kind of values that will contribute to a successful family life in the future. It's really all we can do, knowing, unfortunately, that ours are not the only values they are imbibing.


Caretaker1 posted 4/15/2014 15:08 PM

My heart sank when mine told me this too. At some point, you need to put your needs in front. If they eventually want to live with him and his AP , you have life also. It gets worse before it gets better I hear. I'm no where near that and waiting for the engagement announcement. Never again will I stay when my gut tells me it's wrong. No compassion and meaness I never experienced before. I try to smile and be a cheerleader but it's not a way to live.

She gets off on rubbing her new man in my life. She's trying her best to get that new ring.

[This message edited by Caretaker1 at 3:13 PM, April 15th (Tuesday)]

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