Thursday, January 15

be careful what you wish for

I used to say about my ex husband that life would be so much easier if he just got hit by a bus. Not very karmic or Zen i know, but at the time the children were experiencing so much pain and confusion that my rational and 'big' self got consumed by the emotional and insular self that exists within me.

But the guy has gone and driven over himself with his very own mini-bus for hire jam packed to the roof with narcissism, selfishness and a huge lot of emotional baggage! Flattened himself and the kids with so much parental incompetence that they came home shocked, depressed and full of confusion brought about by the huge amount negative feelings towards him that spending a month with him engendered.

What do you do when your child speaks about divorcing their dad? about having no respect left and thinking him stupid and incompetent to the degree that they say they no longer like him? I wasnt ready for that conversation with B1; it winded me, made my heart race and my brain shut down. In these moments of honesty spoken by a child you have to put aside your feelings of rage, hurt, whatever leftovers you may harbour and current circumstances you have to navigate and just hear their words and help them ,without agenda. Its hard. it takes clarity and linearity which just dont come easily when im talking about their dad and his incomprehensible, bipolar, personality disordered ways. But, for them, i have to be detatched from myself to some degree in order to respect them and their relationship with him, which exists independently of me.


He has enough rage towards me without having this situation come about, where he will no doubt believe to some degree that i may have had something to do with the current dilemma.

The girls dont want to tell him themselves that they never want to go visit him again, that they were so bored out of their brains and felt deeply disrespected by his lack of planning, interest and maturity that they dont really care if they see him again this year. The guy banned them from visiting the only friends they have in QLD, friends they have had since birth, because their mother is a long time friend of mine. He banned them from hanging out with their step brothers while he went to work as he thinks they are a bad influence, so they stayed home, alone, on weekdays, for 4 weeks and went on out to the movies with him twice. I cant send them back to experience neglect like that. So they want me to do it, tell him they refuse to visit again. Im so unsure about the best way to approach this problem. Im damned if i do and they are damned if they do.

Its difficult when you co-parent with some one who really isn't capable or competent of filling the role.


Em said...

Oh Kel. I'm heart aching for you. My ex is capable of those things, he's been there in the past; he's ok right now, but I can always feel the eggshells under my feet. I know that it will come sooner or later, the time when he hurts the boys, confuses and rejects them so that their world changes shape. I have wished he would disappear; in my mind I think "keep smoking mate, just keep on smoking..." and I know it's childish, but I don't want him to hurt them. Their grief is there anyway, so his disappearing would only change the shape of it. Whether he was dead, or absent, or just a *rick, their grief of not having an adult loving father in their lives will need to be dealt with at some point.

I haven't any wise advice. You're doing such a great job as a parent. Hold onto the love you have with your kids. xxx

elburro said...

I've got to think this one through. It's a toughie. Fraught with all sorts of complications, and no one perfect solution. At the very least, it affirms all of those hard decisions you made when the girls were smaller, so you can feel good about that anyway...

Junebug said...

Ki Kel,
Bloody hell...When i read the first paragraph I thought poor Simon had literally got himself squished under a bus!

Just an idea, but it might be that the girls might feel OK about writing their Dad a letter, telling him in their own words how they feel. He will probably think you put them up to it, but at least they get a voice in a way that might feel safe for them.

Julie said...

Ah geez Kel. I can't offer any words of advice or experience as much as I would dearly love to, but my heart aches for your girls and rages for you having to deal with such a sucky situation... As unfair and unpleasant as it is, I'm guessing you'll end up telling him yourself, if for no other reason than having him think you're a b*tch (as opposed to him thinking they were put up to it and possibly lashing out at them to "get back" at you) is the lesser of two evils... Fark, indeed.

naturewitch said...

Hi Kel

This is a tough one. Like Junebug, I thought he'd actually squished himself.

My partner often has flurries with his ex over the kids and her incompetence. Standing on the sideline I try to let it wash over me unless it is hurting the children in some way. As it often does. Kids need to be able to be kids. They do not need to be adults before their time.

I'm guessing your ex is still very angry and is taking it out on your children. I'm also guessing he doesn't like himself very much if he can treat his own children in that manner.

In your position, I would be very tempted to ring him and tell him they're not coming back to visit. Slam down phone, etc, etc.

However, my higher self (and this would be very hard to access in such a situation!) would tell me to ask him what happened and try to find some common ground, ie, find out what was happening for him. Ask him (empathetically) about why he was working while his children were visiting and if there was something stopping him spending time with them.

In an ideal world, he would either admit that the visits don't work for him (for whatever reason) or admit that he was out of line or give some very good reason as to why things happened as they did.

You do need, in any case, to tell him how your regard actions like leaving them home alone for protracted periods of time. That sort of thing is not just a boredom issue, but also a safety issue.

However, I'm the first to admit that the world is not always ideal and that you may not get a favourable response. Sometimes the New Age stuff just doesn't cut it and you need to have a good rant or you may find yourself at the end of one.

Are there any professional counselling services near you where you might seek advice? They might have some ideas as to how to approach the situation.

You'll probably have to end up broaching the subject if the beans don't want to. Please do so when you are calm and have thought it all through.

Very good luck with this one! xx

Sarah said...

I am no expert in this but my thoughts after some contimplating is this.

Yes you are mum and the adult but also with you and ex relationship you need to avoid been the meat in the middle and the person to blame - as he is likely to do this and maybe get worse etc.

I suggest a neutral party, a service, family mediator etc children and you all meet up. Mediator does that keeps the level of fume low and the children are safe to debrief to him safely. You there to be there and so they know you know what has been said and are the debriefing adult when you all go home...

This way the children are the ones to are honest and he sees it comes from them rather than you. I really dont think it is good coming from you. BUT also dont think them writting etc will work as he with always think it is your words. With the mediator idea he sees it clearly it is from them and may listen better???

Any help?

Kerrie said...

Oh heart goes out to you and your daughters, how utterly devastating for them to feel this way about their father, I'm so glad that B1 felt that you would listen, she really needed to get that out.

I would love to respond but the lateness of the hour and a few nightcaps under my belt does not make for clear thinking. I will think about this and write in a day or so. Sadly, I have first hand experience of this, my father was just like this, your words could have been about him.

In the meantime I send you and the girls my love...please know I am thinking of you all.

Kel said...

Thanks everyone. theres lots in here! too much to respond to individully! i could write a thesis on sharing children with someone who is borderline personality disordered with many other spectrum traits! someone hit it on the head- it will be me who broaches it- he puts too much guilt on the childrens shoulders for them to do it. Mediation has been tried in the past by me- but the court mediator recommended litigation not mediation as he was not capable of 'negotiation'- too much anger and blame, even they found him beyond reason. An adage i keep coming back to is to remember with each circumstance 'whose problem is it' and when it becomes my problem (issues of safety for the children) then i will step in, for most other things the children are responsible for their own relationship with him and i cant meddle despite certain misgivings i may have. I gave him a lot of rope...