On some days, I feel very sad and on those days I allow the regrets to plague my thoughts. My regrets are that I choose to marry an abusive man and now our daughter is affected by his psychological abuse. However, since I cannot change the past, it does no good to think of past choices.
Yesterday is gone, there is only today. Although we can make plans for the future, we have no control over what happens in life. We must trust that everything that has happened or will happen is for a reason.
More than ten years ago, I remember one night laying in bed, thinking I was going to die one day. Living with my abuser had profound affects on my health and I continued to get sicker by the day. The doctor’s had no idea what was wrong with me and therefore there was no solutions.
My ex-husband seemed to be unconcerned with my illness and would often bring home Starbucks or food. At some point, I wondered, “Maybe he is doing this to me?” My ex-husband seemed to hate being married to me, but had no desire to get divorced. He also had made it clear that he would get custody of our daughter if I decided to leave. I had thought that I was rather crazy to think of such things.
Who thinks their husband is poisoning them? Today, I doubt he was actually feeding me poison, but once I got away from him I began to feel much better. Dealing with my ex-husband is so toxic, I realize that living with him would have eventually killed me. I would have ended up with some debilitating sickness or cancer due to the stress.
So on one day when I felt incredibly sick, I remember thinking, “God, please come into my life and show me how to believe in you.” Looking back now, that is when my life began to change in a way that would allow me to leave my abuser and start a new life. That day I began to take steps that would make me a stronger person. This is a day I would begin to grow in my own personal faith and spirituality.
Dealing with abuse is too much for one person to handle and it is so comforting to believe there is something greater than myself that can help me and guide me. This trust I have in God also helped me overcome the fear that made me sick and often kept me paralyzed and unable to get away.
They say that Religion is for those who do not want to go to hell and Spirituality is for those who have already been to hell.
So, am I sad that my teenager decided to go live with my abusive ex-husband. Of course! On occasion I feel like I must have done something wrong for this outcome to happen. The truth is, I was simply outmatched in a game I wasn’t playing. Teenagers can be challenging in the best of circumstances. So, when you have a person who is working against you and providing a teenager’s dream life (no rules, no responsibility, freedom, a car), you are simply outmatched.
Now, I can only hope that our daughter grows up and can determine when she is being manipulated. That she hopefully won’t make too many bad choices or perhaps avoid any permanent consequences. The truth is, I have no control over our daughter’s choices and this point. Now, it it time to keep her in my prayers and hope that she realizes the truth. I also must trust that this same God is watching over our daughter and protecting her too.
It is easy to excuse games the Narcissist plays as potential ‘oversights’, however past behavior really predicts present and future behavior. Time to rise above the games. Time to think ‘game over’.
So, it has been one week since my daughter left to live with her father. This week has been full of sadness, relief, peace, pain, grief, and some anger.
First, at times I feel sadness, because letting her go was the last decision I ever wanted to make. It was bad enough before with her visiting every other weekend and being subjected to his psychological abuse. Now she is there 24/7 and only gets relief every other weekend. The relief and peace come from not having an angry and defiant teenager living in our household. The anger is definitely directed to my ex-husband who helped create this mess.
Last week, we asked about picking her up for dinner and it was okay and we went to eat Sushi. My daughter was distant. She continued to talk about her driver’s license and her car. I realize in her teenage mind, that is a very important issue. One thing I realized today is that my daughter’s beautiful smile went away around Spring of this past year. This was when she began hanging with a group of friends that drink and smoke pot. Perhaps that is when we lost her? Only time will tell if this was a temporary thing or something more.
Today, I called her new school and found out that my ex-husband did not even list me as an emergency contact. So, I drove there today and she added me to the list and gave me logins to access her grades. She said she had thought they were in a hurry, but she wasn’t so sure that was the case. Then she said, “I think the order of contacts should be Dad, then you, and who is next?” I said that his wife should be next because she lives closer to the school and then my husband.
I did briefly discuss the problems we had with the school district in 2010 and she assured me that would not happen at this school. Lets hope we don’t have a repeat of the school hell from 2010 (What a Tangled Web They Weave). This new school is part of the district that created hell for our family with my ex-husband and his wife. This situation was one of the reasons we chose to move away from that city.
After, I found out that he did not list me as a contact, I was very upset. My mother comments, “What did you expect?” She is right, yes I often expect him to act like a normal person, but he is not a normal person, and never has been. He has a double standard that exists. When she lived with me, he said, “I should have constant contact with my daughter.” Now that she is with him, she has a cell phone, but I do not have that phone number. Interesting.
I would love to think this was all just an oversight on their part. However, past behavior is often how you can predict future behavior. My ex-husband has been consistent for all these years and not much has changed. However, I will say nothing and now I am on the list and can stay connected with her grades and how she is doing.
This is all super sad and frustrating. You would think everyone would be tired of playing games by now.
What became increasingly frustrating about this entire situation with my daughter was that the courts do not consider Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) a real thing. The attorneys said that although they all know it does exist, they are not allowed to talk about it in the courts. She said they will often use code words to describe this syndrome instead. There is an ongoing debate about PAS in the court system. It sounds as if it has become a tool in the court that can be abused by either the father or mother
First, let me say that I believe Parental Alienation is a real thing. During my childhood, I was a victim of Parental Alienation by my father who was constantly tearing down my mother. I will never know how much his comments factored into my anger as I became a teenager. Not only did this anger affect my mother, but it also helped influence some very poor decisions that would affect my life for years to come.
Now, my father’s criticism of my mother backfired for several reasons. My mother was not the awful person my father tried to describe. Also, as a young girl, his criticism of my mother eventually led me to internalize his comments. I had actually made many of the same mistakes that made my mother so awful in his eyes. To this day, my father will still say hateful things about my mother and his behavior has factored into my decisions to limit the amount of contact with him.
My abusive ex-husband has spent years talking negatively about myself and my husband to our daughter. I had truly thought I was doing a good job of countering these comments, but once she became a teenager she began to become more openly defiant. She absolutely refused the follow the rules and even claimed our rules were extreme. There are differences between my ex-husband and my father. My father’s verbal assaults on my mother were very direct and he would flat out say she was promiscuous or refer to her as satan. My ex-husband is very subtle and passive aggressive in his comments.
During the years, my abusive ex-husband and his wife were very good and coming across as the supportive and understanding parents. My ex-husband managed to convince our daughter that I am the one who won’t leave her dad alone. Over the years I sent my ex-husband several emails, asking for him to stop talking negatively about myself and my husband. We also requested that he contact myself or my husband if he had any questions instead of asking our daughter.
Even if the courts considered PAS a real thing, I do not know how you would prove such a thing. My daughter thinks I am a awful mother and my ex-husband ‘hung the moon’. Her memory of events has been altered to fit a plausible narrative that paints me as the bad guy. So now, at the age of seventeen, we agreed to let her go live with her father. He has offered a house with few rules and consequences. Plus, he has promised her a car. Moving to live with my ex-husband sounds like a teenager’s dream come true.
Now, I accept that I was not always perfect and at times I definitely ‘reacted’ instead of ‘responding’. However, I always tried to teach our daughter right from wrong and it included apologies whenever I reacted in a way I shouldn’t. It was very difficult hearing my teenager talk to me like my ex-husband would speak to me and I should have done a better job of not taking it personally. Teenagers are also pretty good at playing both parents, even in the best of circumstances. My advice to anyone else, is hold your tongue and wait until you can ‘respond’ and avoid ‘reacting’. Easier said than done I know.
We will see over time if my daughter gains a different understanding living with her father full time. I was only 21 when I met my ex-husband and it took me the longest time to figure out our relationship was one of emotionally and psychologically abuse.
Today, I feel rather sad and it is difficult to write when I feel sad. Yesterday, I watched my seventeen year old get into the car with my narcissist ex-husband to go live with him. Everything about this truly breaks my heart. There is a new pain I feel that is so deep it is hard to even describe. Sending her to live with her dad is really not what I think is best for her.
However, she is seventeen and if she stays she will continue to be resentful and have her fantasy picture of what it would be like to live with him. Visiting him every other weekend versus living with him full time is very different. My ex-husband exhibits all the behaviors of a classic narcissist. Also, his ultimate weapon has always been gaslighting. He has done everything he can over the years to convince me that I am the crazy one here. Sometimes I do feel like I am the crazy one, but thankfully I have twenty years of documentation and a wonderful support network of friends and family to confirm it is not me.
Turning Children Against Other Parent
The worst was when my daughter came home in July, from her summer visitation at her dad’s house, and began telling me that it is me who won’t leave her father alone. She literally believes the story in reverse where I am the person who is harassing her father for all these years. Over the years, he has told her twisted versions of the truth and some outright lies. In 2012, he told her that he always took care of her while I was just on my computer all the time (Abuse and Coparenting – Rising Above the Games).
So, he has managed to turn our daughter against me and she believes he is telling the truth. In the article Abusers and Leveraging the Children, they say that abusers will use anyone to do their bidding, including turning the children against the mother (or father). She was determined living with him would be better and was extremely angry and hateful for the past three months.
This hurts me that my child would see me as the abuser in this situation. Doesn’t she know me better than that? I thought I did a better job at raising her in this difficult situation. When your ex-husband turns your child against you, it leaves you wondering if you failed as a parent. Wondering if you failed to teach your children right from wrong. Feeling like you must have failed in your parenting. Perhaps the biggest problem isn’t me, but that I am coparenting with a person who is not doing the right thing. Just maybe being countered at every step helped shape this outcome in an unfortunate way?
Lawsuit for Custody
In July, we were served papers where my ex-husband was asking for custody of our seventeen year old. This absolutely made my stomach sick. We had to hire an attorney and answer their suit. His attorney also set it to go directly to court when our 2008 modification clearly states mediation must happen first. So, we had to answer his request and reschedule mediation.
On Thursday, my husband and I attended the mediation and we decided to let her go live with her dad. He asked for the custody arrangements to flip and he become primary conservator and they would negotiate the child support. My attorney asked for and we received the following:
Nobody is primary, it will be joint custody
My ex-husband has to take and pass a drug test or everything revert to the previous orders
Weekly therapy for our daughter until the therapist determines it is no longer necessary
Our daughter has to take and pass three drug tests for three months before she can get a drivers license
Nobody buys a car for her until she is 18 (due to getting caught smoking pot in June)
Our daughter needs to take a psychological evaluation
No child support
Attorney fees, we asked for all, but we got $1,500
As we discussed with our attorney and mediator. At seventeen, it didn’t make sense to fight for her at this point because we would just have an angry teenager who is absolutely convinced she wants to live with her father. She is practically an adult. Even if we had her stay, she would want to leave as soon as she turned eighteen. We did the best we could to put some safe guards around her and had to let her go.
Rose Colored Glasses
Right now, our daughter sees her father through rose colored glasses. Over the years, they have let her do whatever she wants and bought her a lot of things. She constantly came home with expensive gifts like pandora bracelet, expensive clothes, and has been promised a car. They often ‘joke’ about our unfair or extreme rules. Plus, she has been hanging out with friends who have too much freedom in their households and can confirm how we are too strict. We are definitely not overly strict, but when comparing a permissive household to our house, it probably does seem extreme in our daughter’s eyes.
The Mask Will Come Off
Perhaps living with her father 24/7 will allow the mask to come off. Just maybe, she will eventually believe the ‘truth’ she has been told may not actually be the whole truth. I have not shared with her all the details of our relationship because she does not need to know. Although, maybe this is wrong. You do not want to involve children in adult business, but maybe this just further perpetuates the false narrative the abuser tells children?
My father was very much like my ex-husband and spent years trying to make me hate my mother. The difference is I didn’t see my father as often as my daughter visits her father. Plus, my father was a bit more direct than my ex-husband’s subtle manipulation. My father would outright say my mother was satan. My ex-husband is much more convert and manipulative.
My mother and I did have a lot of problems when I was a teenager and I am not sure how much my father’s comments played into that or not. Eventually, I became aware that my mother was not the problem. To this day, my father still says hateful things about my mother and our relationship is very much estranged because of it.
Truth Will Prevail
I have to believe that eventually the truth will prevail in this situation. What I don’t know is how long it will take before my daughter realizes that I am not the abuser here.
My uncle, my father’s brother, did turn all three of his children against their mother. They wouldn’t have anything to do with their mother for years. It was a case of true parental alienation. Now, that they are all adults and married, they realized that their mother may not have been perfect, but it was mostly their father that was the problem. My cousin said she won’t even stay at her father’s house when they visit him and would rather stay at her in-laws house.
Ending the Cycle of Abuse
This has been an incredibly difficult journey. I see this story from so many levels; as a child of abuse, as a victim of domestic abuse, as a parent of a child being emotionally abused. This is so sad and I truly hope my daughter can see the light, get healthy and maybe this cycle of abuse will end with my generation. I do not know what the future will bring or what our relationship will be like in the future.
When I read the story about Megan Short’s murder, it really struck home for me. This relationship ended tragically with her husband Mark Short shooting his wife, their three kids, their dog, and then shot himself. It was reported that this relationship was a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship. Physician violence has not been reported in this tragic situation.
The reports say the police had been called on more than one occasion and Megan’s family was aware there were problems. Megan Short was advised to file a protective order but she made the decision to leave the relationship instead. The day she was supposed to move into her own place was the same day her husband shot her, her family and himself.
The reports say on her Facebook page she clicked an article titled He Didn’t hit me. It was still abuse. This article tells a story about a verbally abusive relationship where there are no visible wounds. Movies and television show do a good job of painting a picture of domestic abuse as physical violence.
However, in the situation with Megan Short, they say she had never been physically abused but her husband wound up murdering the entire family. Just because the abuser has not hit you yet, does not mean he won’t. I do not mean to paint a dark picture of emotionally abusive people, but I do believe they are unlikely to change. Just read Why Does He Do That by Bandcroft Lundy for more detail about abusers.
Another case that ended tragically was the case with Jessica Gonzales. She was able to obtain a restraining order against her estranged husband. The report does not state whether he was abusive or not. However, on one day her husband picked up the kid at her home without her knowledge. She called the police multiple times and asked them to go get her children. That day, he took them to an amusement park and then murdered the three girls and then fired on the police station and was killed. You can read more about this case at Gonzales Vs. Castle Rock.
I have admitted that my relationship with my ex-husband was domestic abuse, but then I say, “But he never hit me.” Why do I feel the need to state that? Why do I feel a verbally abusive relationship is less abusive because it was not physically abusive? Did he really have to hit me?
He prevented me from leaving the house, he used our daughter to control me, he threatened to take custody of our daughter, he kicked a hole in our bedroom door. His comments would constantly make me worry about what he ‘could do’ to me. When he was happy with me, it was ‘our house’ or ‘our car’, but when he was upset it was ‘his house’ or ‘his car that he let me drive’. Plus, his drinking and drug use often led to extremely unpredictable behavior.
The day I told him I was getting divorced I really believed he might kill me. After leaving him I do remember feeling so afraid to leave my house. His harassing phone calls and emails would consistently keep me on edge. Then he would grill our daughter for information and then leave those messages on my phone. He would talk to my friends and try to get them on his side. I eventually stopped talking to them because I didn’t want him having any insight into my life. He has used our child as a pawn for so many years.
So, does it matter if they hit you? His verbal assaults were often damaging enough. If you are in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship and you are thinking about leaving, be sure to protect yourself and take extra precautions. Even if they have never hit you, think about safety first and read articles like Getting Ready to Leave.
Today, I had to make a super difficult decision. It is likely I am going to have to let my daughter go live with my abusive ex-husband and his wife. I do not believe this is the best decisions for her, but she will just resent me if she stays, and will likely move in eight months when she turns eighteen. My heart is absolutely breaking over this decision.
She is a casualty of the parental warfare my ex-husband is waging on our family. It is so sad, because I feel like nobody wins here, everybody loses. Unfortunately, he has waged war and our daughter is a victim in this horrible situation. She is a casualty of parental warfare.
Sending her to live with my abusive ex-husband seems like the worst thing for her. His permissive parenting will not be good for her, but she is almost an adult and may have to learn the grass is not always greener.
She has been absolutely hateful since June, ever since she was busted smoking pot. As soon as we took away her privileges, she threw a tantrum and called her dad, her dad swooped in and picked her up didn’t discourage her behavior. Plus, he took advantage of her anger to help turn her against me. In the end, I am not sure if it made any difference all the decisions I made or the lessons I taught. In then end I feel like I lost our daughter anyway.
The problem is, that I chose to marry this man all those years ago, and he would never stop being abusive. No matter how I responded, he just continued to user her as a pawn in his personal game. Perhaps God is working some miracle here for all of us. Only time will tell.
I have begun writing a book because there must be a reason for this journey. Perhaps my book can help someone understand they are not alone and can help them validate their experience. Maybe a book will help someone avoid a few minutes or learn a few lessons quicker. This book will dig deeper into my insights and choices while with my abuser.
There is no understanding why I wrote this journal entry and then continued trying to have a relationship with this man. However, he was so good and making me believe the truth wasn’t what I saw. My journal post really says a lot, even though it is written from a victim’s point of view. Less than a year later I would give birth to my daughter, I wasn’t pregnant yet when I wrote this entry. My old me just couldn’t stay away even though there was no absolutely no reason to stay with him. At this time in my life I was able to verbalize all that was wrong and there was no reason to continue subjecting myself to him. I believe during this time, I would rather have been miserable with him than miserable without him.
May 7, 1998
I just wanted to thank you, Sam. Thank you for showing what an asshole is. Someone who cares more about themselves than others, some who takes, yet does not give. Someone who chooses not to learn anything or feel they know everything.
Thank you for showing me what it is like to be used. Someone who takes and does not give, takes for granted, and makes not effort to try. By showing me using I have learned that is not something I will accept by someone nor will I deliberately do to other people.
Thank you for showing me unhealthy love. In a relationship that has so many problems that it exhausts energy more often that giving any. Thank you for showing me manipulation, of one form, making promises that are not kept. Saying things for your own benefit rather than that of others. That it is selfish to think of your unhappiness without the other person, than their happiness without you.
Thank you for showing me things I want in a man, yet more than I do not want. Thank you for giving me that strength from experiencing something I do not want. I cannot thank you for my ability to hate, the anger that takes a while to heal and burn out.
Thank you for this rotten experience of love, pain, using, manipulation, and anger. From all these things the experience and change it brought to me, hopefully I have learned to be a better judge of people. So I will not wasted time with anything that is wrong, so I can learn eventually be the right. Thank you for being a person
My ex-husband and his wife have managed to turn our daughter against us, especially me. It is hard to say what was the tipping point exactly, but we think it was when she was busted for smoking pot and her father’s promise of an easy life with him. My ex-husband and his wife are in constant contact with my daughter. When our daughter speaks, she no longer sounds like herself.
Today, we were supposed to go to school to get her class schedule. She said she didn’t need to go pick it up because she would be going to a new school. She said it would be as simple as telling the judge she wants to go and it will happen, just like that. She said she will have her license by January and will be driving her car to school. At this time, she does not own a car or have a license, so she must be referring to the car my ex-husband is promising her.
Today, I made her go up and change into longer shorts. She told me that she is seventeen now and can do as she likes. Today she said, we can’t make her get into the car; she has civil rights, lives in this country and is a citizen. She was referring to the day, earlier this month, when we made her go to counseling and she was refusing. We had at least ten minutes of back and forth of my saying ‘you are going’ and her saying ‘I am not going’ before she got in the car. During this exchange, she said if we touched her it would be considered child abuse. We were quite surprised she agreed to go in the end.
It is sad to see a child you raised behave so badly. This breaks my heart to see her behave so hateful towards me. We are visiting her counselor regularly and at first she felt like this counselor’s purpose was to change her mind. I think she realizes now that this is just someone for her to talk to.
My ex-husband has only had access to her every other weekend for years, but somehow she believes the twisted stories he is telling her. Some of what she has said sound like some twisted version of the truth and other things are just flat out not true.He actually told her that I have been harassing him for all these years. He told her, that I will not leave him alone. It is amazing. I have done everything I could to separate myself from my ex-husband and his abusive behavior. He has never allowed any of us to live in peace after all these years. Honestly, is my ex-husband tired yet? I know we are! In 2010, we moved to get away from this stuff and distance ourselves, and it helped a little. Looking back, there is no protection from verbally abusive men (or women I am sure).
This is completely sad; it is like all that I taught her over the years has been completely forgotten in the past few weeks. I am not sure I completely under why she feels the need to be so hateful to me. TheBrainwashing children article suggests that the child will believe what the other parent says and actually team up with them. So maybe this is just part of that? Perhaps this is some sort of parental alienation? They do say women are usually the ones guilty of this with their children. However, I think this is also quite common with abusive men.
My husband commented that it is almost like we lost her the day we caught her smoking pot and my ex-husband was ready to manipulate that situation to his advantage. Plus, she is a teen who is rejecting rules and my ex is providing her an out she wants to get away from the rules. It is like she has one foot out the door and feels like she can just be as hateful as she wants. Today, her behavior was so bad; I asked for her iPhone and iPad and told to get her room clean. She has been working on her room, so I am hopeful the daughter I know is not completely lost.
Also, now that she has blonde hair, she really looks like a different person too. She is wearing so much makeup and the clothes are really too revealing. On her phone she has her father telling her how pretty and grown up she looks. Her stepmother is saying that is just doing what seventeen year olds do, spread their wings and becoming independent. This is dangerous what they are doing. Plus, my husband took her to the mall last week for new shoes and said I should have seen all the guys at the mall gawking at her.
Although my husband and I would love to believe her father is doing all this because he loves his daughter, we find that incredibly hard to believe. My husband thinks my ex-husband still has a thing for me? I certainly hope not. However, it has always seemed like my ex-husband is always using our daughter to get to me. This truly seems like some sick game he is playing and at the expense of our daughter. I have been posting for years about how I think she is justpawnfor some game he is playing. There should be laws to protect children against verbal and psychological abuse.
I hope my daughter will get through this okay and come out okay on the other side. We are worried she might end up at his house and drive high and wreck her car or end up pregnant. I am not sure what they were thinking when they let her go blonde. Her Instagram comments went from people saying she was beautiful to people saying she was hot. I am not so sure we want a rebellious teenager looking ‘hot’ to the boys. I hope she will figure out what is really going on without too many permanent consequences.
So today, I was in the car and Johnny Cash song Hurt came on the radio. This song was originally written and sung by Nine Inch Nails. When I was younger, I listened to that album over an over, and I must have heard this song 100 times over the years and never paid too much attention to the lyrics.
Today, when I heard the first few lyrics it made me think of reasons my daughter chooses to cut herself. Songs are interesting in that way, we all hear different things based on our personal experiences. So the verse, “I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel” just makes me think about reasons someone cuts. It is suppose to be a release to strong emotions. Some deep emotional pain that could have happened many years ago. The pain could be so deep that my daughter may not even be aware of it.
I do not believe my daughter has cut lately, but from what I understand is this is not something to be taken lightly. She still needs to dig into whatever emotional pain is driving this need to self-harm. I will certainly help her get all the support she needs and continue researching the topic to gain a better understanding.
There are so many articles about the reasons why people cut themselves. They say that cutting is a temporary release from deep emotional pain. They also say that the cutting itself can become an addiction. I had not realized how many young girls are cutting today, this is more common than I would have ever thought.
According to Song Facts about this song Hurt, they say “This song is about realizing consequence and regret. It sends a powerful message that we should all proceed through life wisely, because there is nothing worse than being stuck with a label, a pain, a sickness, or a death, that we know beforehand will leave us only wishing things had been different and that we could change the choices we made.”
Johnny Cash certainly dealt with some struggles and addictions. The movie Walk the Line shows that his brother died when he was younger and there were struggles with his father that happened over many years. So pain can stay with us a long time. I also know this because of the struggles I had with my father throughout all these years.
It still very much pains me that my daughter is cutting and I really hope her therapist can eventually help her figure what emotional pain is driving this need to self-harm. I will continue to research the reasons why girls cut to continue gaining understanding about this issue. My mother had told me many years ago that one of my younger cousins was cutting herself. Unfortunately, after speaking with the school counselors and our daughter’s counselor, this is not as uncommon as one might think.
It is difficult to deal with a manipulative abusive ex-husband. Co-parenting with my abusive ex-husband has been more than a little difficult. In fact, it has been downright painful at times. Time to make smarter choices when dealing with my teenager.
There are times I have felt hopeless, like this is some sort of game that he is winning. Plus, he does often treat our daughter like a pawn for some game he is playing. The problem is manipulation does seem to be pretty powerful tool that is working with our daughter.
Here are the issues:
She never gets in trouble at his house. How is this, well there are no rules, or the rules are opposite of our rules. So if you don’t have rules, you really can’t do anything wrong. So what would you get in trouble for?
When she gets in trouble at our house, for failing a class, lying, or smoking pot (recently)… she can call him and he will be understanding and we are overbearing.
When she isn’t trying in school, we are constantly on her, and he can praise her for bring her F up to a D at the last moment. They tell her they are so proud of her.
Having no rule at his house, makes our house look like a strict household where we are just unfair parents who won’t let her do anything.
She goes to his house and tells her “They said I don’t deserve to eat food”, something we never said, and then he calls up and yells at us for saying something we didn’t say. So when she is angry, she uses this tool to create additional conflict.
He and I do not communicate, not that I wouldn’t like to co-parent with her father, but that I really can’t co-parent with a combative parent. So, our teenage daughter takes full advantage of this opportunity to spin the story however she likes to both of the households.
His wife has told my daughter that I am crazy, or have ‘borderline personality disorder’. Keep in mind that she is an assistant teacher and not really qualified to diagnose anyone, especially since we have never met.
He has spent years telling our daughter passive aggressive comments, like; your mom is going to be mad at you, you only have one real dad, he isn’t your real dad, you need to listen to your mom ‘no matter how she acts’, we aren’t the food police here, ….
So, I would like to say the truth wins, but it doesn’t always. I was really thinking today I need to rethink my approach. So, over here we do get on her too much when she lies, doesn’t do what she says, or does something she shouldn’t. So I realize, we need to pull a little Alanon tools into this situation. No matter what she does, at her dad’s house they praise her for everything so they look better.
My best guess at this moment, is she is 17 and almost at the age where she could drive. If she hadn’t been lying, failing school, and being so untrustworthy… we probably would have already have completed driving school, gotten her a used car and had her working by now. My ex-husband wants her to get a license, and this is even after being caught smoking pot in a car less than three weeks ago. He is determined to get her in a car.
He has never wanted to put the work in throughout her entire childhood. He did not help her with homework on weekends, would say that she doesn’t have homework on weekends. He almost never took her to any birthday parties that fell on his weekend. He stopped coming to see her during the week and just did visitation every other weekend. So, what is this big push now for her to come live with him.
Well, until she graduates from high school, he is supposed to pay child support. He made the max amount of money, so he owes the max amount of child support. So, if she came to live with him, he could possibly stop paying child support. If she had a car, she could potentially drive herself to school. He may even think she could drive herself to the school by us and not even change schools. He also says he wants to buy her a car, and of course she wants that vehicle.
What he doesn’t realize is that she can’t choose until she is 18, but he believes she really can choose at 17. So, by him telling her this, she of course is really rebelling against the rules. She doesn’t want to follow the rules and so it is easier to go live with dad, where she can do what she wants.
What do I do about this? It is definitely a tough situation. If she has an attitude and we are constantly on her, and they are constantly praising her, then she feels life would just be better at her dad’s house.
So, perhaps we need to approach this in a better way. First, I do have her signed up to see a new counselor, because her old one just didn’t seem to be getting anywhere with her. Probably will have to make a deal with her to see the counselor every week until she is 18, then if she still wants to move out at 18, well I can’t stop her. I am hoping the counselor will possibly be able to reach her between now and then.
At home, I think we need to be more loving. Continue with our boundaries, but speak more about love and how much we want her to succeed. Try to release the tension, but at the same time keep our rules. This new territory and will require plenty of Alanon meetings, Co-dependent meetings and church. Hopefully, she will pull through this okay and survive her childhood.
Accept the fact, that this might be all wrong and I might have to change my approach again. In Alanon, one of the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ is ‘Do not be discouraged by the mistakes you make’. These same rules should probably be applied when dealing with teenagers.
Al-Anon Family Groups
Do’s and Don’ts
Be honest with yourself
Be Humble Take it Easy – Tension is Harmful Play –
Find recreation and hobbies
Keep on Trying whenever you fail
Learn all the facts about Alcoholism (or Teenagerism)