Wednesday, April 15

the borderline parent

i read years ago that if you think that trying to make a relationship you want to be in is difficult, then try having an effective relationship with someone you dont want to have any relationship with but have to because you are co-parenting children. Now thats hard work. So true.

Having the house to myself over the last few days has been so wonderful; relaxing, peaceful and very replenishing. I needed it, its why my posts have been so indulgent. I have been looking to the aesthetic in my environment to bring happiness. It worked, warmth and light are very beneficial in generating a happier disposition. So, if co-parenting after seperation is difficult, co-parenting even from a distance, with someone with a personality disorder is something i wouldn't wish on anyone. I found out on the weekend that i had sent my girls up to a father who had changed not only his place of residence without telling me but also all of his telephone numbers. Apparently its beeen this way for months. The sheer irresponsibility of this behaviour is staggering, not to mention disrespectful, arrogant and just plain stupid. What was he thinking? maybe not much... does he do this just to piss me off or can he really be that careless? So what do i do? I say nothing. Experience has taught me to wait until the children are home before i confront him about issues. He takes it out on them, ranting about their terrible mother who is single handedly responsible for his current miserable state.

To top it off, the huge promises of fun he'd made the girls these holidays (yet again) but backed up with the 'facts'..'yes were going, great huh? so exciting, we have bought tickets already...' poof!

It breaks my heart to see the girls time and time again believe in their father and then have his actions and words strip that misplaced trust right back to nothing, well, back to the raw truth of his condition.

Watching your children experience having their faith and love twisted and broken over and over again it so difficult and then they protect him, taking the full brunt of the experience on themselves. He consistently makes them empty promises and for me its become a very fine line between preparing them for dissapointment and potentially generating negative feelings towards him and making him out always to be the bad guy, incompetent. I tend to just make a brief comment about preparing themselves for something going 'wrong' and then move the conversation on.

So, its happened yet again. They've gone to visit and their hopes and dreams about this time with him, which were fed by his promises, have now become yet again, conditional and his outright lies to them have been exposed. Its breaking my heart (hmm, i think Ive said that before). Im hoping that a miracle will occour and he will get his act together before their time is up and make it happen. For them. Show them that he can make a mistake and correct it.
I think Im dreaming...


Kerrie said...

Oh Kel, I'm so sorry that he has yet again let the girls heart aches for them. I can't imagine what it must be like to try and co-parent with him. I imagine you do a lot of picking up the pieces when they come home.

I grew up with a very similar father, full of promises but never following through. Eventually we saw through his bullshit and lies and discovered him for what he really was. I don't see him at all, neither do my siblings.

Eventually the girls will decide for themselves whether they maintain a relationship with him. He needs to smarten up or he will lose them...that time is quite likely not too far away either.

I feel for you all, I wish you didn't have to put up with this crap.

Kel said...

kerrie- i must confess to be very curious to see how their relationships work out in the next 10-20 yeas. Poor kids..they really are the meat in the sandwich are they? no choice about parents and abilities. sigh. one of lifes lessons i suppose. we all have something to contend with.

Kerrie said...

Thankfully they have you and Simon to provide the counterbalance.

In so many ways John and I are lucky in that our children don't have another parent (and all the drama that goes with it) they see every second weekend & holidays. It certainly aided in a smooth transition from sole parents to a two parent family.

It must be so difficult for children who are constantly carted around from one place to the many sets of "rules" to adapt to...poor loves. I see what goes on with friends and am so grateful that I do not have to contend with it

Suzanne said...

Maybe this is a great teaching opportunity for the girls, a way to redirect their feelings of disappointment and rejection into something about tolerance and compassion for those who don't have the capacity to get it together.
You can reinforce that this has nothing to do with them, that it's all about his stuff and whatever he has to work out in his life without putting him down. Every one has demons and you can try to explain that in life, whatever someone does to themselves or another is rooted in something they've lost or never developed. This could be an opportunity for them to look inside themselves and learn from his mistakes and how to cope with them, and others in the future whom they may encounter who have junk to work out.
The silently, at night when the kids are ticked safely in bed you can pound the pillow as if it was his face and call him a shithead!

elburro said...

I am in a similar sort of situation. Yesterday, I noticed that I've developed a Tourette's-like tic. I think about how shitty he's being to the kids and then something along the lines of "f**king **hole" slips out of my mouth, but this just happens at odd times, when I don't have them with me and so far it's been under my breath and I don't think anyone's heard me.

Kel said...

kerrie- yes it is difficult for everyone. Im now very thankful that their dad has moved interstate so the weekly visit drama is no more! just holiday drams-much easier for everyone to cope with. Likewise, marrying a man who had no 'baggage' was a dream start to a reltionship; twas just me n my baggage!

suzanne- youre right, the only way to deal with menyal illmess/personality dosorder is to use their behaviours instructively, that however to do well is easier sid than done, but we do try and hence the girls do have empathy but its more difficult when it comes to trying to get them to see that his behaviur is not their fault nor is it ideal.

elburro- fucking asshole is a very useful term to be used discreely. so ive found also is 'oh god!, he's such a bastard'

Jen said...

oh god kel....i cant believe he can do this to you all, and then to do it AGAIN...and AGAIN and AGAIN....its unbelievable

blue milk said...

You're right, I think this is a very, very tough way to co-parent. I haven't experienced it as a parent, but I certainly experienced something of it as the child.