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Shineonme81

Can someone help me find the info about how they use the kids?

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Shineonme81

I know that I read somewhere about how they use the kids to manipulate you or guilt trip you into coming back or making you feel bad for leaving the situation.  I can't remember the exact reasoning behind their actions.  They say that the kids are struggling when they aren't.  My husband is doing that and I know I read about it somewhere-I just can't find it now.  I know I've shared with you guys how he's sent me texts in the past about how the kids are struggling when they aren't.  When I dropped the kids off at his house on Friday, he sent me a text about an hour later that we need to get our youngest two into counseling because our 7 year old hit our 9 year old and he's not a hitter.  These two butt heads and it isn't new behavior for them. They are brothers and they'll grow out of it.  My husband said he thinks they are getting worse. I've had them all week and their behavior is not "getting worse" and it's not concerning.  They definitely don't need counseling.  Then he texted me last night:

"This is tearing the boys apart. If this is what you want they need help to get through this. "Middle brother and little brother" said that they don’t feel like "big brother" is there brother anymore.

We have spent 13 years building amazing children and it’s has fallen apart in a month. They need help."

He's making something out of nothing and I don't know how to handle it.  I've talked to both the kids' principals and teachers and they are doing well in school. No issues.  Our oldest will be a teenager in a couple of weeks and his behavior is typical. He's actually a really good kid, but isn't super fond of playing with his little brothers all the time. Normal and is nothing new.  His brother's making comments about how he doesn't play with them or doesn't like them isn't new and again, it's normal.  My husband seems to be stretching the truth to fit his agenda and I just don't know what to do.  I've always been the primary caregiver for our kids. I know them and I know they as doing okay. Yes, we may eventually have some issues, but for now, we aren't and in the long run this is what's best for them. I don't want them to be like their father when they grow up and have girlfriends and wives of their own.  I just don't know how to respond to this.

He's really been trying to get into my head lately. I had thought he was going to be civil, but he's showing me that it may not be that way.  A couple of days ago, he was trying to scare me into thinking he had something on me.  I'll share those texts at a different time, but right now, I'm just at a loss on how to handle this situation regarding the kids. It's so hard not feeling like I have someone to truly open up to that will understand. 

Edited to add:  It's been tough coming to realization that even though we may not live under the same roof, he can still reach me.  I'll never be able to fully get away from him because we share children.  I can't go no contact.   I fear I'll never be fully free from him.

 

 

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percolate

Once your kids reach the age of 18, you will be free. Once your children are adults, the only reason you'll need to interact with him will be ceremonial occasions e.g., a wedding or graduation. Although it seems like a long way off, but it will come. I divorced my xh when my son was 2.5 years so it was a long time until I was free, and once he turned 18, there was a wonderful sense of relief because my son was legally an adult and his father could no longer cause trouble about splitting medical bills, visitation, etc. 

As long as the kids are doing fine, it doesn't sound like there is any reason to consider counseling.  However, you might want to let him know that you've checked with your kids teachers and they're doing well and that you haven't observed the kind of behavior he's reporting.  That way if he tries to pull something on you e.g., claim that you refused to get your "troubled" kids counseling, then you have it in writing that you considered the issue and that you've checked with others who interact with your kids and that they're doing fine.  

And yes, a preteen isn't likely to enjoy  playing with younger siblings.  

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Shineonme81

Reached out to my dad and this is what I get.  

"Do not take what he is saying as a way to pull you back, however, these boys will need to be able to talk to someone to work through this. Their world, as they see it, is falling apart. Divorice,  as my third graders tell me, sucks."

It's incredibly difficult not having people that understand what you're going through or understand the way the mind of your abuser works.  I feel so alone... 

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Shineonme81

On Friday I sent my step-mom an article on emotional abuse with 30 signs.  I could relate to everyone of them except one and I told her that.  No reply...

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Quaddie

What Perc said, re: your h's manipulations.

It's possible that your kids may need someone to talk to because of the divorce, it can be difficult for them. But that doesn't mean your h is "right" and that they are indeed acting out.

You may have to eventually consider not sharing everything with your dad/family. If they repeatedly show themselves to not be fully supportive, it's its own special kind of pain to keep banging your head against that brick wall. People see and believe what they want to see and believe.

Ultimately, boundaries are about where you put your "you." If you put your "you" into unsafe places, it's bound to hurt you. So even though family may love you, they can still be "unsafe" in certain ways - so maintaining your boundaries about what you share with whom, is actually self-preservation and self-protection - it honors your self.

If you can, it might be helpful to have your own counseling or group support system so that there is someone you can talk to who understands and is supportive. 

If you haven't read "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft yet, now might be a good time. Also, books about boundaries. I like "Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin" by Anne Katherine, but there are tons of 'em.

 

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AZ-home

The book "Divorce Poison" will help, too. 

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Curly

"The Batterer as Parent" by Lundy Bancroft and Jay Silverman may be worth a read. Don't be put off by the label batterer as it applies to verbal and emotional abusers as well.

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Shineonme81

Thank you ladies! I just ordered "Why Does He Do That?" to start out. 

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Shineonme81
On 12/3/2017 at 10:40 AM, Quaddie said:

What Perc said, re: your h's manipulations.

It's possible that your kids may need someone to talk to because of the divorce, it can be difficult for them. But that doesn't mean your h is "right" and that they are indeed acting out.

You may have to eventually consider not sharing everything with your dad/family. If they repeatedly show themselves to not be fully supportive, it's its own special kind of pain to keep banging your head against that brick wall. People see and believe what they want to see and believe.

Ultimately, boundaries are about where you put your "you." If you put your "you" into unsafe places, it's bound to hurt you. So even though family may love you, they can still be "unsafe" in certain ways - so maintaining your boundaries about what you share with whom, is actually self-preservation and self-protection - it honors your self.

If you can, it might be helpful to have your own counseling or group support system so that there is someone you can talk to who understands and is supportive. 

If you haven't read "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft yet, now might be a good time. Also, books about boundaries. I like "Boundaries: Where You End and I Begin" by Anne Katherine, but there are tons of 'em.

 

I don't have anyone else to share with besides family which makes it even more difficult to deal with.  I feel like I really need someone in person to share with, and like I've said, I just have no one that I'm close to.  I've tried to locate support groups but I've had no luck.  I'd like to eventually get into counseling, as well, but I'm not sure where to start with that.  I spent most of Saturday in a bawling heap, with no one to go to.  I don't think people realize how important friendships are. He did a good job isolating me and messing with my self-esteem so much that I fear talking to people and sounding like an idiot.  

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Quaddie

For counseling, if you have health insurance and/or an employer EAP, that's a good place to start looking for providers. There are usually directories with information about their specialties and if you find one you just feel like you might like, you can call and ask.

Also, a local DV agency may have recommendations to counselors who understand abuse.

I do understand how it feels when there is nobody who understands. I went through several abusive relationships without even this forum, or friends. But just so you start to think about your own safety and the responses you're going to get...   trying to change people's minds and trying to get them to understand and be supportive is ultimately going to do you more harm than good, in the long run. It's overpowering to try... I do understand that. But think about how much you think about how to get them to understand, to see, to be supportive - that's pieces of yourself and your energy that you'll never get back, that could be going inward to try to help heal yourself, learn and grow so that you're not as needing of them and can validate yourself and feel strong and secure in your own reality. Even if it's lonely, you're not alone, because there are millions of people who experience this, too. I hope that helps.

Another book I really liked that helped me a lot was "Healing Your Emotional Self" by Beverly Engel.

 

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Confused714

I can’t provide to much info as I have not left yet and my son is still very young. I do work with kids and sometimes divorce can be tough on them but I do see others that do surprisingly well and they actually do better once out of a toxic environment. I guess would be a judgement call on your part if they need someone to talk to. Can’t hurt even if they just want to vent frustrations I guess. Some schools offer in school counseling too where they can just talk with someone about how they feel if they need too 

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Grabforjoy

Shine,

As I was reading your post, I wondered if he is creating a paper trail to utilize in a custody battle.  I don't want to freak you out, but I want you to be prepared, just in case.  

If this is his plan, I suggest the following:

  1. Document the dates and times of any meetings you have with your children's teachers, principles, doctors, etc. , including the date you make the note, Be as specific as you can about the subject of the meeting, and what the person tells you in regards to your children.  If you remember verbatim was said, feel free to put in quotes.  This will help to contradict his opinion that the children are falling apart.  
  2. Even though you don't believe your children need counseling, the courts look favorably upon any attempt made by a parent to help a child through the divorce.  I suggest looking into any child and teen divorce support groups, lead by a qualified counselor, social worker, or clergy man, and if you feel comfortable with the group, taking your kids for one or two sessions (or more if they like it).  Even though this is a good thing for them, they still will have to navigate difficult emotions. This will look good in the courts' eyes and will help your children through the divorce. My concern if you do nothing, is that your ex may say "Look at all the times I raised a concern about our kids, and she just ignored them".
  3. If you fear that the battle might get ugly, I suggest "spying on the enemy" and I don't mean spying on your ex.  There are many father's rights organizations that teach divorcing dad's tricks that will position them for a better custody outcome and many of them are dirty tricks.  When I was going through my custody battle I read up on some of the most popular and it was very helpful in anticipating, and responding to some of the shenanigans my ex tried to pull.

I hope this is helpful Shine.  Again, I don't want to frighten you, but I do want you to be prepared,  Good luck to you!

 

Grabby

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Quaddie

Hi Shine,

I was kind of thinking the same thing as Grabby, although she very wise and experienced, and a lot more eloquent and helpful than I am. ;) I think it would do well to heed the advice. If it doesn't hurt you but makes you "look like you are doing all the right things," then the internal ethical battle (e.g. "it's not fair he's doing this!") is not worth the outcome in the long run of - forgive me - what the "optics" will look like for you.

This unfortunately becomes a "game" that isn't played out above-the-line. It's won with anticipation and covering your own butt while giving him the rope to show his true intent. 

For what it's worth, using as a guideline the concept of "clean hands" will go very far in these cases. You do "all the right things." Your hands are clean. This will help anything he tries to bring up, bounce off you and stick to him. Just like the elementary school adage.

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