Jump to content
  • Announcements

    • Curly

      Replying to PMs

      Please note that you can not reply to a personal message by replying to the notification email. Recently admins have received some email responses to personal messages. This is because some members have replied to the notification email. You can not reply to a personal message via the email. What replying to the notification email does is send a copy of the original message and the reply to the admin email address. It does not send your reply to the person who sent you the message. The email notification of the personal message does request "PLEASE DO NOT REPLY DIRECTLY TO THIS EMAIL!"
    • Curly

      New Members and validating your account.

      New members registering please do not hesitate to contact our admin if you do not see a validation email within a few minutes of registering. Yahoo and some other email addresses tend to block the validation email and without this part of the process your account remains in limbo. Our admins are more than happy to help you complete the validation process should this automated system fail. We can be contacted via admin.our.place@gmail.com Please note that you may experience a delay between registering your account and validating before you are able to post as we do also manually process all registrations to keep this forum free of spam. Your account should be activated within 24 hours of you completing the validation process. Thank you.
mistreated

Done covering for EX but...what about the kids?

Recommended Posts

mistreated

Hi all!

An issue arose this morning when Son came home after spending the night with Grinch and asked why he didn't get an advent calendar gift.  I replied that he partakes in Grinch's traditions at his home and my traditions at my home.  He got angry and stormed out after replying "why do you have to be like this??  I am still your kid."  Grinch/Son were just picking up Daughter to go to school.  So...I am once again torn, once again made out to be the bad guy.  Whaaatttt???!?!?  I am sooooo sick of covering for EX.  I have done it for over a decade and I am flat out sick of it and it just makes me sooooo angry that I ever married this person I thought was an adult, had kids with him and that I have to deal with this mess for the rest of my life when I just wish he would drop off the face of the earth.  Son feels sorry for Grinch and covers/bonds with him over being the...wait for it...the victim.  It is sick and I always look like the bad one because I "take all of Dad's money," etc.  So here we are.  again.  Any insight?  Son has no memory of how poorly Grinch treated him while we all lived together.  It is too difficult and all blocked out.  It's weird.  So, he feels like he loves his Father but he really just pitys him while he messes with Son's head and makes me look like the mean one.   I know I need to get rid of the anger, but I can see what Grinch is doing to Son plain as day-20/20 hindsight becasue he fooled me for so long.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
percolate

How old is your son?  As they get older, many kids will realize who was there for them, that you weren't taking all of his father's money, etc.

Yes, he is still your kid but you aren't obligated to give him an advent calendar gift nor is his father. And you have no idea what his father's been telling him. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AZ-home

I too went through this phase with my son. The abuser is filling his head with his "woe is me" stories and you are taking the high road and not doing that. My therapist warned me over and over NOT to join in or even defend myself. The one time I tried to tell my side of the story (defend myself), he was SO aligned with his dad he defended him and got angry with me and stormed out. His dad was mega proud of him and bragged to everyone how his son did that "for him". So that backfired, like the therapist said it would. You just can't feed that monster. Starve him out. Don't give him any material to work with. What I had to do is sit back, let him blow everything up, and then wait and wait and wait, until people started to see his true colors. My son is back in my life. To this day I don't ask him about his dad, I don't ask if his dad is dating, we don't discuss him unless he brings it up first. And if he brings him up I do gray rock and keep my answers calm and non accusatory. Which is what it sounded like you are doing. It make take him a while to sort through all this and depending on his age will determine how long it takes. My son lives solely with my ex (over 18) so he gets daily doses of 'me bashing." It took him about 6 mos to sort it out and come back to me. I'm not even 100% sure what he believes about me but he is back and that's all that matters for now. Maybe in the future if I get brave, I may try again to dispel the lies he was told. I'm not in a hurry to do that.

My ex also sends me messages via our son designed to upset me and cause me to bad mouth him "Dad wanted me to tell you [insert thing to make me angry]." Anticipate these and remain calm and don't give the knee jerk reaction. Because he is TRYING to get me to mess up in front of our son. I don't bad mouth his dad so the ex is trying to provoke me to do that! So I look equally as bad as him. If you don't take the bait, you will look like the non-abusive one, which you are. But your son will start to see it. I suspect that's what the whole advent gift conversation was all about. It might have been to bait you into a negative reaction. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mistreated

Thank you, Percolate and AZ.

Son is 13.  He went from scapegoat to now golden child and does not remember anything about the panic attacks that started when he had to see his father alone and be with him without me to protect him.  He now feels sorry for his dad, defends him and tries to protect him.  Whaaatttt???? It finally clicked this morning-I was so dumbfounded that Grinch was on such good behavior-it even crossed my mind that I did make him the monster, maybe he wasn't that bad *until* I remembered this is how he was when we met.  He was well behaved when we met.  He can act like a caring human in random short doses but it will not last. So, yes, AZ, I will try to be patient and take the high road even though it is one of the hardest things I have ever attempted to do. And trying to not stand up for myself after finally finding my voice and standing up after years of being so submissive is even more difficult because I am like a raging volcano to anyone who tries to control me and/or make me submissive.

Thing got really bad last night.  I think it was because I was trying to explain & defend myself to kids about how divorce got sooo, sooo horrific.  I will not be the victim.  I flat out refuse to identify with Grinch and his "the world is out to get me" perspective but, yes, I felt like the kids should hear the truth and I started talking about the divorce and a lot of anger and pain surfaced-mostly from me when I realized I am so angry at Grinch for what he put the innocent kids and my innocent self through. I told them how he took me to court over 8 times trying to have me thrown in jail, etc and every.single.time. this court ruled in my favor. 

So, how do I take the high road and not tell the children the facts when Son cries to me about how I ruined his dad's life?  How do I get my son to stop trying to protect his father?  Daughter told me last night that she is flat out afraid of him and how he vents all his anger on her now. So, the real him is starring to seep through.  It's like waiting for a bomb to explode.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AZ-home

Don't vent to the kids. They don't need that burden and if both you and Grinch are doing that a there is no safe place for them to land. I KNOW you're mad, rightfully so, but vent to friends and other adults. Try to get their lives back to normal at your house the best you can as soon as you can. I just don't talk about my ex to my son. At all. We talk about him (son), me, his week, school, etc. I think they find that a welcome change of pace and escape from all the negativity. Even if you have to fake it a little, do it for them. Go to your kids and apologize for the past rant(s) and explain that you are hurting too and you didn't mean to take it out on them and you will try to do better. This will go a LONG way in helping them.

It's been 2 years and my son won't move out of his dad's house because I think he feels he has to keep an eye on him. He worries about him!! He wouldn't let me have a visit with his dog the last time I asked because he said his dad NEEDED her for comfort!!!! 2 years later!!! What about MY comfort? I haven't seen the dog since summer! Oh brother! I'm not sure if he's suicidal, acting suicidal, or what he is saying to make our son feel like he can't leave! I had to find my way out and our son is too old for the courts to get involved so he has to find is own way out. I have told him a hundred times he is welcome at my house and I have an extra bedroom. But that would be the ultimate betrayal to his dad to leave him for me and he won't/can't risk pissing his dad off that way. Ex and I are no contact. But I can tell by what my son says that he is still acting the same abusive way, it still comes in cycles or seasons, and now he feels safe enough to vent to me which is HUGE!!! I never ask for dirt. He either volunteers it or he doesn't. He suffers from multiple migraines a week and I wish so much he would leave that house! My ex is killing his soul like he killed mine! And I am powerless to stop him. 

So the high road, for now, is going back to being mom. Not divorcing mom. Just mom. The mom that asks how their day is, helps with homework etc. And let them be kids. They don't need the details. Remove the drama. You don't need to win their approval over the ex. It's not a competition. If it were a competition and you feel like he is winning now just remember, slow and steady wins the race. I like to think of me as a straight line and my ex as a line that spikes up and down like a roller coaster.  Ignore your ex and all his antics. If you can't, pretend to. The more I pretended, the more ignoring him started to become natural. Then go out with your best friend and tell them all your frustrations!!!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mistreated

I feel for you AZ, this is soooo hard!  The whole patience thing while waiting for kids to stop taking care of the ill parent and hoping things turn out with our kids is crazy.  I will try my hardest to be the straight line and take the high road.  I took your advice last night and I simply kept my mouth shut.  Thank you for setting me straight!  I miss just being mom.  I used to be a stay at  home mom and now I am (happily) back at work, but frantic and stressed and exhausted and full of anger towards ex.  So thank you for the friendly reminder to get back to the one part of me that I liked about when I was married-being just mom.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AZ-home

Aw thanks! You're doing so good. It's hard. I'm just a few steps ahead of you. This does get easier and less dramatic little by little. My son has NEVER stopped taking care of his ill parent. Be prepared for that. Ex has done such a thorough job that I don't think my son considers that I am hurting too. That's been the hardest part. I was portrayed as skipping off into the arms of my new rich lover (huge lie) so that no one would support me. And it worked. And I have to acknowledge that ex is doing such a thorough job of getting ALL the sympathy that no one is considering that my son is ALSO hurting!!! One day I said "but I'm hurting too!" He said, "I'm hurting too!!!"

Ya.

Huge wake up call!

We are all victims of "them."

Your kids shouldn't have to "take care of their parent." This WILL cause resentment eventually. One of my adults friends experienced this when her brother died. Her mom "checked out" when she was about 16 and she became her caretaker and her mom never snapped out of it. It has affected her negatively forever! She had to be the adult and missed having an involved mom. I don't want to be that parent. If your H wants to do that, that's on him. I have learned that I can not control what he does. Just love and support your kids and it will counterbalance his crazy. My friend didn't have a dad to be that stable parent. It was hard on my son at first (when ex was suffering the worst) but he's doing MUCH better now. (except for the migraines)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quaddie

Emotionally caretaking the parent is a huge boundary issue. The guilting and feeling like they have to is horribly destructive. It's utterly inappropriate for the child to feel they have to. It's yet another form of abuse.

Learning about boundaries and being able to teach your children about boundaries will truly help everyone be a lot healthier.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
whitebutterfly11

My son is the same age as yours, and he represses a lot of his hurt. I think it's common for this age and because of the fact that your son might actually be quite afraid of his dad and uses siding with him as a way to protect himself against his abuse. When the abuser is on his side, he doesn't feel nearly as threatened. Also, since you are the nonabusive safe parent, he will feel safe lashing out at you and blaming you. It's all evidence that you are actually healthy and safe, because he can't do the same to his dad. I think, like others have mentioned before, he will grow up and see his dad's true colors eventually, but he's right at that age where it's important for him to align with the stronger, more assertive force to make himself feel stronger. I see my son do this in school, too, where he mimics the tactics and behaviors of the bullies who tease him in order to align himself with them because it helps him feel stronger.

Not sure if any of that made sense, lol.

You are doing a wonderful job. It's difficult to navigate the ways abusers use their children to build up their own supply. What we know for sure is that if we are consistently safe for them, the time will come that they will realize their dad's tricks and true colors and they will see that all along we were stable and strong for them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AZ-home
5 hours ago, Quaddie said:

Learning about boundaries and being able to teach your children about boundaries will truly help everyone be a lot healthier.

Yes. Very good advice. I'm trying to do that now. I hope it's not too late. 

 

2 hours ago, whitebutterfly11 said:

your son might actually be quite afraid of his dad and uses siding with him as a way to protect himself against his abuse. When the abuser is on his side, he doesn't feel nearly as threatened. .

WB your whole post is a fresh perspective I hadn't considered .this part is especially good. Brilliant response. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kanga

 

3 hours ago, whitebutterfly11 said:

I see my son do this in school, too, where he mimics the tactics and behaviors of the bullies who tease him in order to align himself with them because it helps him feel stronger.

Do you worry that he is learning and copying bullying and experiencing a positive feeling from acting that way? If he doesn't learn alternative ways to feel strong he will continue to join the bullies. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mistreated

Yessss, WB.  Yes.  Somehow my son has gone from scapegoat to golden child.  I think you nailed it.  When he spoke up, he was the target.  But if he morphs into Grinch's friend, he flies under the radar.  Control at its sickest level.  He is hurting so much and he lets it out every now and then to me in deep heartfelt sobs and then he tells me how he does not remember anything about being afraid of his dad. Your perspective is brilliant and helps me to understand a little bit more of my twisted life.  Thank you.

 

AZ, yesssss-when the kids and I were talking the other night, I did tell them I have not been at my best because I have never been hurt so badly in my life and I do think it helped them that I was so real. I also told them that the one thing that I could never forgive him for was when the kids needed me most, he repeatedly tried to have me thrown into jail, sanctioned, fined, etc-constantly taking me to court so I was forced to defend myself and ultimately the court ruled in my favor every,single.time. but the result was I had to keep myself out of jail instead of caring and nurturing the kids at the most difficult time in their lives. I had been trying so hard to pretend like everything was good and we were going to be fine.  But, I think it helped them to know how much I was hurting over the whole thing too and then I reassured them we were going to come out of this stronger and happier.  But the reality is that we lived through hell and they were suffering alone thinking they were the only ones having a difficult time with all the changes, loss of hopes, etc.

 

Quaddie, yes.  Exactly, yes.  Caring for a victim parent is indeed a boundary issue amongst other issues. My kids and I definitely need to learn to set boundaries for ourselves and our family.  It is actually something we work on a bunch and we will need to continue working on for sometime.  I will try to teach this in a more relevant manner.  Good perspective that will help me navigate the future.

 

What I am gathering from all of the advice is that things will be dicey for the unknown future.  I need to believe that goodness and taking the high road will prevail. I keep hearing other stories that the mother said nothing bad of the abusive father and the kids finally figured it out on their own, in the long run.  Quite honestly, waiting to see what happens is very challenging for me because I just want to scream what he did to all of us but that makes me look like a victim.  So I will keep trying to enforce boundaries with my mouth and stop myself from blurting out how I married such a donkey. My ultimate goal is to get to a place where it simply doesn't phase me, but I am not there yet.  I am still so very, very angry at him and myself and the situation that I got myself into.  

I caught myself yesterday when my daughter was going over to a friend's home that I offered craft supplies, food, more clothes, everything for a sleepover.  Somehow I simply cannot do this yet when she goes over to her father's for the weekend.  It is his responsibility to spend some of his money on the children.  I do not want to support him and his selfish controlling nature with money by sending the kids with everything that I buy them because he refuses to spend money on them.  But the kids end up suffering and I end up feeling guilty...again.  Is this something I just accept as having married him?  That I will pay for everything for the children forever because he won't?  I want to get to  a place where I can simply accept this and to do it for the kids, but I am not there yet.  I mean, he makes considerably more money than I do.  But, yes, thinking out loud, this is not about him.  I need to simply make more money and do it for my kids.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kanga
12 hours ago, AZ-home said:

Aw thanks! You're doing so good. It's hard. I'm just a few steps ahead of you. This does get easier and less dramatic little by little. My son has NEVER stopped taking care of his ill parent. Be prepared for that. Ex has done such a thorough job that I don't think my son considers that I am hurting too. That's been the hardest part. I was portrayed as skipping off into the arms of my new rich lover (huge lie) so that no one would support me. And it worked. And I have to acknowledge that ex is doing such a thorough job of getting ALL the sympathy that no one is considering that my son is ALSO hurting!!! One day I said "but I'm hurting too!" He said, "I'm hurting too!!!"

Ya.

Huge wake up call!

We are all victims of "them."

Your kids shouldn't have to "take care of their parent." This WILL cause resentment eventually. One of my adults friends experienced this when her brother died. Her mom "checked out" when she was about 16 and she became her caretaker and her mom never snapped out of it. It has affected her negatively forever! She had to be the adult and missed having an involved mom. I don't want to be that parent. If your H wants to do that, that's on him. I have learned that I can not control what he does. Just love and support your kids and it will counterbalance his crazy. My friend didn't have a dad to be that stable parent. It was hard on my son at first (when ex was suffering the worst) but he's doing MUCH better now. (except for the migraines)

Your son will never stop being the caretaker of your ex because that's the only option for a continuing relationship. He will wait and wait and keep waiting for his parent to 'snap out of it'. It is a waste of time and emotional energy - all that hoping. And he will be experiencing and gaining understanding that he must put aside his feelings as there is no space to express them. He will then feel detached and alone within that relationship. And it is a significant relationship because it's his parent. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Quaddie

Kids trauma bond, too

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kanga

Thanks Quaddie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mistreated

Well, life is nuts.  Grinch's mom died earlier today from a heart attack.  It actually brought the kids , Grinch and I together as a family because kids wanted to see me right after they received word and stopped by my home.  For the first time, I let Grinch into my home, into my safe place, my sanctuary.  It felt ok.  It really helped the kids and that felt really good.  Made me realize how important family is, what matters most, and so forth.  I actually cried.  We were never close, but at one point in my life, we were family.  So, some good came out of something horrible.  Then, Son asked to speak with me privately.  He asked if I could pay for Grinch's international flight because he feared his dad could not pay for it.  So here we are.  I told Son everything would work out and we will figure something out.  And as he left, I simply was flooded by all of your comments about how 
Son will care for his dad hoping to one day fix him, he will get exhausted when he realizes there will always something that is victimizing his dad, kids trauma bond...this stuff is hard.  This stuff is real.  This is my life and my kids' lives and they have already been through so much.  Of course I am not mad or upset that she died right before Christmas and yesssss-I realise how selfish and obnoxious it sounds, but I just wanted my kids to have a little peace.  A happy holiday.  A fun and carefree childhood, but life keeps getting in the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Bennu

It's pretty sick that Grinch is using that opportunity to manipulate son into asking you for money. Did you tell son that he earns more than you do?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mistreated

Grinch's job ended up giving him an early Christmas gift and bought the tickets for him.  I do not think Grinch asked Son to ask me.  It is just Son is always caring for Grinch-he has taken over my role as the caregiver/trying to get/keep Grinch happy.  Breaks my heart.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×