I think one of the greatest issues I have had to overcome is healing from all the invisible wounds. The scars left from the verbal and emotional abuse seem like they often ran deep into my core. My first emotional abuser was not my ex-husband, he was my father. So this is where the abuse cycle began for me and somehow I married a man who behaves so much like my father.
I believe my daughter is finally able to see my ex-husbands behavior for what it is. She has to go to his each summer for (2) two week periods or for the entire month of July. Her step-sister is going to her mother’s house from the end of June to the beginning of August. So my daughter and I discussed the possibility of her staying for the entire month of July so she won’t be as bored. Initially she thought that was a great idea and had planned to discuss it with her father.
Maturity & Awareness
However, when she came home from that weekend visitation she told me she didn’t think she could handle 30 days straight and really needed a break. I was very surprised by the maturity of her response and simply replied, “Fair enough.”
When she came home from her father’s house this weekend I gave her a hug and said I was glad she was home. I asked her if she had a good time. Then I asked if there was anything she needed to discuss with me. She said, “Nothing worth talking about.”
Are we out of the woods yet? I seriously doubt it. However, I am very moved by her mature responses As much as I dislike my ex-husband’s abusive behavior, I do not want my daughter to hate him. I doubt she could even if she wanted to. I do want her to learn to understand him well enough to plan her comments and responses better. It would truly shock me if my daughter could explain her father’s behavior anymore than I can. His behavior is often beyond reason.
Planning Comments & Response
One thing I have been working on with my daughter is teaching her how to plan her comments with her father. For instance after the entire cell phone issue where we thought he had bugged her phone. We decided electronics were not to be taken back and forth.
So when she was at her father’s house she said she wasn’t allowed to take home the Nintendo 3D DSI because my husband and I said not to. Well that immediately had her step-mother and father upset about that. Never-mind the fact that my ex-husband was the one to originally make this rule that nothing comes back and forth.
Encouraged to Lie
So her step mother actually advised her to bring the Nintendo in her backpack and take it to school and just not tell us about. Basically encouraging our daughter to lie to us. Amazing! This woman is an assistant teacher at school in charge a little kids. Honestly, where are her morals.
My daughter told them no and then told us what they had asked of her. We told her that we were very proud of her for saying No and for telling us. We said that was a very mature thing to do.
So I did advise my daughter to be more careful with what she says to them. I told her in the future she could avoid some of these conversations by planning her response better. For example, if she had simply told them she wanted to keep the Nintendo at their house so it would be there whenever she came to visit that might have avoided that entire conversation.
Stop & Think
My advise to my daughter is to actually visualize a Stop Sign in her head and Stop & Think before answering. She does want to be honest and I told her she can still be honest in her response and perhaps not give information to create this uncomfortable discussions.
I guess one of the things I am learning is to give my daughter the tools she needs to handle what she has to deal with. By learning how to think before she replies she might be able to prevent some of the outbursts. I no way can she control how they behave but she might be able to bypass some of the conversations. It does seem my abusive ex-husband and his wife are ready to disagree with anything I tell our daughter. So perhaps she should not say ‘My mom said’ and avoid the discussion all together.
I hope I am doing the right thing. It is always hard to know when dealing with insanity of abuse. My prayers are simple, please do not let my daughter go through years of healing from invisible wounds inflicted by her father and even myself.