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Divorce/Separation Post Reply     Print Topic    
User Topic: Conversation with 13
Dreamboat
♀ Member
Member # 10506
Default  Posted: 1:33 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

4. Tell him that we have to keep the current living situation, but tell him why. This is what I did

You did WAY more than that, that is the point that other posters are trying to make. You did this while throwing in a ton of pot-shots at his mother. The pot shots could be considered parental alienation. That last thing you need right now is for the Princess to bring you to court and reduce your visitation because of parental alienation. Plus it is just wrong to bad-mouth your kid's other parent. It is one thing to listen to his complaints and validate his feelings, it is quite another to heap on your own complaints and tell your kid that YOU think his mother is a total bitch.


And it's hard to dance with a devil on your back
So shake him off
-- Shake It Out, Florence And The Machine

Posts: 17605 | Registered: Apr 2006 | From: A better place :)
Pass
♂ Member
Member # 38122
Default  Posted: 1:37 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I really do disagree with most of what you said, Undefinabl3. This being the biggest:

You are also currently NOT the dicipline in the house. You are not the chore enforcer, you are not the homework enforcer. You are not the daily 'bad guy' THAT makes a huge difference to a child.

His mom enforces nothing. He does all his own homework, and she doesn't make him do any housework. He goes out of his way to find jobs to do around the house, in hopes of making her treat him nicer.

The kids may only be here on the weekends, but I make sure they do the following:
- Help me cook.
- Help me clean.
- Help me grocery shop.
- Go for daily walks for exercise.
- Practice their music lessons.
- Spend at least a minimum amount amount of time reading.
- Limit their electronics time.

Their mom does none of this stuff - none at all. She doesn't even enforce homework. She is quite happy to have them "earn the natural consequences of low marks".

Yes, it is the weekend, so I have time to spend with them. And I spend the whole weekend with them. But with all my reading on SI, I have become determined NOT to be Disney Dad.

I am the only discipline these boys get. I am also the only parent they talk to about hard issues: Friendship, girls, sex, religion, politics. I work very hard at this. The Princess thinks that all she has to do is provide a home and meals.


Loyal spouse: Me; Disloyal spouse: The Princess
Two sons: Now 11 and 14
DDay: Nov 15, 2012
Separated: Mar 2, 2013 after married 17 years, now divorcing!

The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that everything after that looks fucking fabulous


Posts: 1694 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Pass
♂ Member
Member # 38122
Default  Posted: 1:47 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I do see that, Dreamboat. Gaby's rewrite of my response really was WAY better than what I had written, and is what I should have written.

But when 13 comes to me and tells me of the rotten things his mom has said and done, I think it is much more meaningful to say, "I understand. She used to do that to me, so please don't think it is your fault." than it is to say, "I understand. I wish I could make this better for you."

Kids want to be understood, and they want to know that you're not just talking out your arse. They want to know that you have been there, and that this is through no fault of their own.

I don't know how I can give him that without introducing the idea that this is not new behaviour on her part. It is very important that he doesn't think he has caused his mommy to become a bitch.


Loyal spouse: Me; Disloyal spouse: The Princess
Two sons: Now 11 and 14
DDay: Nov 15, 2012
Separated: Mar 2, 2013 after married 17 years, now divorcing!

The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that everything after that looks fucking fabulous


Posts: 1694 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
ajsmom
♀ Member
Member # 17460
Default  Posted: 1:48 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

In all honesty, you really have no idea what goes on with them when they're with her.

You're getting reports from 10 and 13 year olds - a.k.a. the "Highly Dramatic Kid Versions."

I hope you understand that.


Fidelity isn't a feeling...it's a choice.

"Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now - always." - Albert Schweitzer
____________________________________________
Me: BW - Him: 200+ # tumor removed 7/09
DS - 31 - Yikes!


Posts: 21032 | Registered: Dec 2007 | From: Been Through Hell...On My Way Back
Undefinabl3
♀ Member
Member # 36883
Default  Posted: 1:50 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Ok, so its the other way around with her....She's just not present in their lives. Still, not much that you can tell them to do about it.

However, when he is directly complaining about how his mom treats him and 10, what do I do.

You are in between a rock and hard place. Princess is apprently not adult enough to handle the issues, and your son is not adult enough to handle them either.

Until you are actually ready to take action and try to gain custody, then you need to mind what you say.

Your son already has a bad view of his mom, but that is still his mom. Support and listen - if action is needed, it comes from you only, he's not involved.


Me: 31 MH
Him: 37 MH
New online find 6/19/14 - shit

Posts: 1693 | Registered: Sep 2012
GabyBaby
♀ Member
Member # 26928
Default  Posted: 1:50 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

But when 13 comes to me and tells me of the rotten things his mom has said and done, I think it is much more meaningful to say, "I understand. She used to do that to me, so please don't think it is your fault." than it is to say, "I understand. I wish I could make this better for you."

No, no, NO!
It is NOT better to tell your minor child that mommy used to treat me like crap too. YOu do not commiserate with a 13yr old. He is not your buddy, Pass!

Yes, you COULD say, I understand. I wish it could be better.
Yes, you COULD say, "I understand. I've had things like that happen to me and it sucks".

Please do NOT actively engage in putting down his mom, no matter how softly you word it.


Me - 42
SorryInSac - WH#2 - 47. DDay 7/12/14
Married 4yrs, together 7yrs total

DD(21), DS(18, PDD-NOS)
5 Furkids (3 Dogs, 2 Cats)

WXH (serial cheater, 12+ OW)
Legally married 18yrs, together 16.5yrs

Note: I edit often for typos/clarity.


Posts: 6075 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: California
Newlease
♀ Member
Member # 7767
Default  Posted: 1:51 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

You do have to stop editorializing your responses to your son with your feelings. He is 1/2 your XW, so if you spew this hate about her, you are hating half of who he is as well.

How would you feel if she said to him, "You can't live with your dad because he's unbalanced. You never know what could push him over the edge. He can't afford a big enough place for you because he can't work because of his mental issues." Now from what you have said this would all be truthful, but her saying it to your son falls under the heading of hurtful and vindictive.

If things are as he says they are at her house, he doesn't need you to pile on (and that's really what you are doing). You can be truthful without being spiteful.

I can tell you love your sons so very much. It is your job to help them navigate these waters with the least amount of damage possible. Try to give him coping strategies that will help him. Listen to him. Assure him you love him and you are always there for him. Leave out the parts where you reinforce his thoughts and opinions about his mother.

Sending strength and peace.

NL


Even if you can't control the world around you, you are still the master of your own soul.

Posts: 7644 | Registered: Aug 2005
Pass
♂ Member
Member # 38122
Default  Posted: 1:51 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Yep, ajsmom. I can appreciate that, but everything 13 says about her behaviour fits with how she has behaved with me.

And when I tell her about all those things they do with me, SHE says that they don't do all that. I know that she has a history of lying, but I'm pretty sure she would want to take credit for making them do what they were supposed to.

When I lived there, I was always the one who made all those things happen, and that hasn't changed.


Loyal spouse: Me; Disloyal spouse: The Princess
Two sons: Now 11 and 14
DDay: Nov 15, 2012
Separated: Mar 2, 2013 after married 17 years, now divorcing!

The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that everything after that looks fucking fabulous


Posts: 1694 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Pass
♂ Member
Member # 38122
Default  Posted: 1:59 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

He is not your buddy

I understand that he is not my buddy, my peer, my contemporary. I love my kids, and there is no doubt in their minds that I'm the dad in the relationship.

Kids are told so much shit that they're just supposed to accept at face value - it begins to lose all meaning. If I want them to believe that they don't deserve to be treated like shit, I think it is very important that her behaviour is established as something that has been happening for years, not just that "Mom treats me like shit since she and Dad separated."


Loyal spouse: Me; Disloyal spouse: The Princess
Two sons: Now 11 and 14
DDay: Nov 15, 2012
Separated: Mar 2, 2013 after married 17 years, now divorcing!

The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that everything after that looks fucking fabulous


Posts: 1694 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Pass
♂ Member
Member # 38122
Default  Posted: 2:04 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

How would you feel if she said to him, "You can't live with your dad because he's unbalanced. You never know what could push him over the edge. He can't afford a big enough place for you because he can't work because of his mental issues." Now from what you have said this would all be truthful, but her saying it to your son falls under the heading of hurtful and vindictive.

Of course this would wound me to the core. But we're talking about the difference between my mental HEALTH, and her behavioural CHOICES.

"Choices" is the key word there. 13 knows that she is choosing to behave that way, and he doesn't understand why. I'm offering sympathy and empathy.


Loyal spouse: Me; Disloyal spouse: The Princess
Two sons: Now 11 and 14
DDay: Nov 15, 2012
Separated: Mar 2, 2013 after married 17 years, now divorcing!

The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that everything after that looks fucking fabulous


Posts: 1694 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
GabyBaby
♀ Member
Member # 26928
Default  Posted: 2:07 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

But we're talking about the difference between my mental HEALTH, and her behavioural CHOICES.

If you're advocating giving your kids the TRUTH, both of the above is the truth, correct?
But you wouldn't want her feeding THAT truth to your son.

Ultimately, you should not put your kids in the middle of adult problems.


Me - 42
SorryInSac - WH#2 - 47. DDay 7/12/14
Married 4yrs, together 7yrs total

DD(21), DS(18, PDD-NOS)
5 Furkids (3 Dogs, 2 Cats)

WXH (serial cheater, 12+ OW)
Legally married 18yrs, together 16.5yrs

Note: I edit often for typos/clarity.


Posts: 6075 | Registered: Dec 2009 | From: California
WeepingBuddhist
♀ Member
Member # 39139
Default  Posted: 2:12 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Pass, you are in a terrible situation. I think most of the folks here want you and your kids to get to a better place; you deserve kudos for NOT becoming (too) defensive. You're getting good advice and I hope that it gets better for you and your kids.


Me: BS 46
Him: LCB--lying, cheating bastard 50
D-Day 4-27-13
DIVORCED!!! 2-20-14

Posts: 532 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Columbus
Pass
♂ Member
Member # 38122
Default  Posted: 2:14 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Yes, and I do share the truth of my mental health with the boys. They were exposed to it full bore when I attempted suicide, so I feel I owe them explanations for that too.

While I would rather I was the one to discuss that with the boys, I would understand if they might go to their mom with those questions instead - except that she has never been good at talking to them about anything.

And I certainly don't anticipate that she will share any of her behavioural choices with the boys. When 13 first started to complain about her, shortly after I moved out, I suggested that he say to her, "I notice you've been unhappy lately. Are there things that 10 and I could be doing to help you feel better?"

Her response was, "Oh? I think I've been in a GREAT mood lately."


Loyal spouse: Me; Disloyal spouse: The Princess
Two sons: Now 11 and 14
DDay: Nov 15, 2012
Separated: Mar 2, 2013 after married 17 years, now divorcing!

The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that everything after that looks fucking fabulous


Posts: 1694 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Pass
♂ Member
Member # 38122
Default  Posted: 2:18 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think most of the folks here want you and your kids to get to a better place you deserve kudos for NOT becoming (too) defensive.

Thank you for making me laugh, WeepingBuddhist. I needed that.

I have spent most of my life assuming I'm wrong, and that everything was my fault. Defensiveness is new for me. How am I doing?


Loyal spouse: Me; Disloyal spouse: The Princess
Two sons: Now 11 and 14
DDay: Nov 15, 2012
Separated: Mar 2, 2013 after married 17 years, now divorcing!

The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that everything after that looks fucking fabulous


Posts: 1694 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Undefinabl3
♀ Member
Member # 36883
Default  Posted: 2:36 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I hope a little Dr. Phil is ok to post

Co-Parenting with Your Ex

Dealing with an ex when you have children together can be difficult, especially when negative emotions are involved or you feel a desire to never see your former flame again. Unfortunately, being a parent means putting your child's best interests above your own, and that means finding a way to form an amicable relationship with your ex as co-parents. Dr. Phil has advice for beginning this new relationship with your ex:

Embracing the dos and don'ts helps considerably to normalize your children's lives. The key is for you and your ex to take the high road and truly make sacrifices for your children. It isn't only self-indulgent, but self-destructive for you to thrust your children in the middle of emotional crossfire. What's more, they simply don't want to hear it. I've talked to so many children in divorced homes who tell me they are so sick to death of listening to their parents complain and whine about each other that they could just scream. So don't be a tedious bore. You wanted children, and now you have them. The fact that your relationship didn't work out is unfortunate, but it's not their fault.

If your ex simply won't get in the game and adhere to the guidelines I've set forth, you must do so anyway. The only person you control is you. Let me appeal to your greed by saying that, if you do take the high road, in the long run your children will admire you for it. The day will come when they'll look back and say, "My mother [or father] behaved with such class, dignity and respect that I can see how much he or she loved me and wanted peace and tranquility in my life. I'm so grateful for that gift. I only wish my other parent had been so selfless."

As hard as it may be, sit down with your ex and make a commitment to set boundaries about your new relationship as co-parents.

Don'ts:
•Never sabotage your child's relationship with the other parent.
•Never use your child as a pawn to get back at or hurt your ex.
•Never use your child to gain information or to manipulate and influence your ex.
•Never transfer hurt feelings and frustrations toward your ex onto your child.
•Never force your child to choose a side when there's a conflict in scheduling or another planning challenge.
•Never turn family events into pressure cookers.
•Never depend too much on your child for companionship and support because you're hurt and lonely.
•Never treat your child like an adult because you're lonely or just want help.
•Never become so emotionally needy that your child develops feelings of guilt if he or she spends time with others.
•Never convert guilt into overindulgence when it comes to satisfying your child's material desires.

There are two important rules concerning children during times of crisis and instability in your family:

1. Do not burden your children with situations they cannot control. Children should not bear such a responsibility. It will promote feelings of helplessness and insecurity, causing them to question their own strengths and abilities.

2. Do not ask your children to deal with adult issues. Children are not equipped to understand adult problems. Their focus should be on navigating the various child development stages they go through.

Dos:
•Commit to learn, adopt and apply all the principles set forth in Family First.
•Sit down with your ex and make an affirmative plan that sets aside any differences you may have and focuses instead on meeting the needs of your children.
•Agree with your ex that you absolutely won't disparage each other to your children. Further, forbid your children to speak disrespectfully about the other parent, even though it may be music to your ears.
•Negotiate and agree on how you can best handle such things as handing off the children for visitation, holidays, or events.
•Agree on boundaries and behavioral guidelines for raising your children so that there's consistency in their lives, regardless of which parent they're with at any given time.
•Negotiate and agree on the role extended family members will play and the access they'll be granted while your child is in each other's charge.
•Communicate actively with your ex about all aspects of your child's development.
•Recognize that children are prone to testing a situation and manipulating boundaries and guidelines, especially if there's a chance to get something they may not ordinarily be able to obtain.
•Compare notes with your ex before jumping to conclusions or condemning one another about what may have happened.
•Although it may be emotionally painful, make sure that you and your ex keep each other informed about changes in your life circumstances so that the child is never, ever the primary source of information.
•Commit to conducting yourself with emotional integrity.


Focus your efforts on what your children need most during this difficult time: acceptance, assurance of safety, freedom from guilt or blame for their parents' break up, structure, a stable parent who has the strength to conduct business and the ability to just be a kid.

For more, read Post-Divorce Parenting Mistakes and Strategies or pick up your copy of Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family.



Me: 31 MH
Him: 37 MH
New online find 6/19/14 - shit

Posts: 1693 | Registered: Sep 2012
SBB
♀ Member
Member # 35229
Default  Posted: 2:37 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I second the suggestion that you post responses here first.

Pass, gently - he is only 13. I know he is really mature and all that but his brain and emotions are still developing. Is he doing to them what she did to you? Probably. But he is a different person to you and is not yet grown. My mum overshared with me and it made us close but also created a co-dependant situation. We are no longer close because I started moving away from her and she from me and neither of us had the skills to cope with cutting that emotional umbilical cord without severing all ties.

I resent her for not allowing me to be a kid for as long as I could have. I grew up way too fast because my dad was a POS but my mum had a hand in it too. It is too much power for a child who doesn't yet understand how to use it.

Can you talk to the school about using the guidance counsellor from another school given it is not appropriate to see his own mum?

Read and reread Gaby's rewrite and absorb exactly why it is different to yours. Text, tone, content.

Your intentions are good but your decision making is clouded by your own feelings about what happened/is happening to you and those are clouding what is happening to your sons.

Please remember that the husband/wife dynamic is very very different to the parent/child dynamic.

No-one here knows your boys or what this is like for you. But all of us have been or will be in similar situations in future. I'm learning as I go along too - this thread has triggered some self-reflection for when I'm standing in your shoes. Given I have two teenage girls coming my way I may even be standing in XWs shoes.


Buzz- The word you are searching for is 'Space-Ranger.'
Woody- The word I'm searching for, I can't say, because there are Pre-school toys here.

Posts: 5440 | Registered: Apr 2012 | From: Australia
HurtsButImOK
♀ Member
Member # 38865
Default  Posted: 2:46 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

pass, I am a huge fan of yours.

I don't have children so feel free to discount my opinion.

Stop, just stop. You are being defensive and justifying your actions despite the majority of posters disagreeing with your email.

I do understand wanting to be honest with your child. What doesn't work though is dissing his mother to him. Could it be possible that 13 feels or observes more of his mother's behavior because you gave encouraged him to? Not saying it's deliberate but is it possible that he views her interactions with him through your filter?

You know 13 is protective of you, so you should be even more sensitive to how your response to the Princess' actions may affect him. My concern is that he feels obligated to support you incase you feel like emotionally 'checking out' again.

Strength pass.


Me: Awesome - 35

"I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel". –Maya Angelou

"When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be". –


Posts: 722 | Registered: Apr 2013 | From: Australia
PhantomLimb
♀ Member
Member # 39668
Default  Posted: 2:52 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I think you are getting some very good advice here. While I don't have children, I work with them and study cognitive development. What you are being told by others is correct: your children simply lack the skills and ability to process fully the situation they are in. They literally lack the brain function to do so for several more years.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if what you are seeing from 13 is him mirroring your actions/speech/attitude toward your ex in an attempt to create a stronger bond with you. From what I gather, your children have lacked stability for some time now, and 13 could have all kinds of reasons for wanting to relate to you in this way. And, at the very least, he is looking to you as a model of behavior because you are his dad. He is taking cues from you... from his attitude towards his mom, to his use of profanity.

I hear you on why you responded to him the way you did. I hear you on your explanations on this board since you've received push back. But the bottom line is that you are modeling behaviors that, when boiled down, suggest several things that are likely not productive to healing. These include that his mother is someone to feel adversarial against. In the way you describe how he talks about his mom, he also seems free to treat her with a great deal of disrespect. This may seem warranted given her actions and what seems to be poor mothering instincts. But it is not something, IMHO, you should enable.

You are in a really shitty situation. But to whatever extent you can put your own feelings aside to support your kids, I think it's the better path in the long run. Just think stability, stability, stability...

And I agree both boys need counseling. They need to forge their own way in understanding the events around them and need help from the outside to do so.


BS / D

Posts: 863 | Registered: Jun 2013
hexed
♀ Member
Member # 19258
Default  Posted: 2:58 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

I cannot emphasize this enough. Get the kids in counseling even if it is only 1 once a month. They need someplace that is safe to vent about BOTH parents with someone who has no horse in the race. Having that outlet has saved my SO's 14yr old's life probably literally.


But that's just a lot of water
Underneath a bridge I burned
And there's no use in backtracking
Around corners I have turned

“Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves - regret for the past and fear of the future.” -foulton oursler


Posts: 8407 | Registered: Apr 2008
Pass
♂ Member
Member # 38122
Default  Posted: 3:06 PM, February 25th (Tuesday), 2014View ProfileEdit MessagePrivate MessageHomepage

Thank you, everyone. Just sitting here weeping from the last few warm responses.

I just don't know what to do. I don't want my kids to be fucked up and think they deserve abuse like I did.

After my suicide attempt, it took me a while to even admit that I had depression, and it took WAY longer to admit that while she didn't hook up the dryer vent or turn the ignition key - and she couldn't have foreseen that as a result - she was a huge factor. She definitely made it worse, and hurried me along to deciding to kill myself.

I know she would never want to do that to my boys, and she wouldn't have wanted to do that to me either. However, if I were ever to try to discuss this with her, she would fight me on it (if you think I'm defensive, you ain't seen nothing). There would be no convincing her of anything.

My boys are not as worthless as I thought I was.


Loyal spouse: Me; Disloyal spouse: The Princess
Two sons: Now 11 and 14
DDay: Nov 15, 2012
Separated: Mar 2, 2013 after married 17 years, now divorcing!

The best thing about hitting rock bottom is that everything after that looks fucking fabulous


Posts: 1694 | Registered: Jan 2013 | From: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Topic Posts: 67
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