Effects of divorce on children needed

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Whiteheron

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Re: Effects of divorce on children needed
« Reply #20 on: December 21, 2016, 11:29:05 AM »
Shantishanti, i was telling myself i was staying for the kids too till a couple ofnweekks ago when they asked me if we could kick dad out  :wacko: didnt know what to say

My son asked if our new house was ready yet   :flat:
We've had discussions on the divorce process, how it works, how we would have separate houses - he's approached me because he's worried about what happens when/if his dad pushes me to file (which DS approached me about earlier and told me was his strong feeling - not a frequent topic of discussion around our house, but the kids are feeling something is really off with uPDh). I'm telling him it takes a lot of time to sort out. I hate that I can't wave a magic wand and make it all better for them.

Just need to maintain the status quo for a few more weeks...
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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TooLongInWA

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Re: Effects of divorce on children needed
« Reply #21 on: December 21, 2016, 03:08:32 PM »
:hug: to everyone who is posting on this thread and dealing with children and splitting or potential splitting during the holidays.

We'll make it through.
"Throughout life people will make you mad, disrespect you and treat you bad. Let God deal with the things they do, cause hate in your heart will consume you too."    Will Smith

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LeavingtheFog

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Re: Effects of divorce on children needed
« Reply #22 on: December 24, 2016, 04:31:37 PM »
Shantishanti,
This was my big question as well.  For years, I stayed for the sake of the kids.  Inside I was miserable.  Your story caught my attention.  Similar parallels: I started down the same path of healing from codependency,  started standing up to his behavior and refusing to placate his moods. When I became healthier his verbal abuse towards the children escalated. 

Like one of the other respondents, I had been reading on this forum for a year.  Especially the adult children of PDs , the coparenting, and this one. 

But, the verbal abuse became physical abuse of our son. Similar to your situation, previously my husband had been "safe" with them.  I had read on the forums that verbal abuse leads to physical abuse, but I naively thought it wouldn't happen. Similar to LOES,  my kids begged me to kick him out.  And other people were noticing and told me they would call CPS if we didn't separate.

I'm not telling you this to scare you, just want you to think about it.  What you believe won't ever happen may in fact become reality.

What is somewhat different is our kids ages.  Mine were 13 and 16 when we separated.  They are teenagers and teens have normal differences of opinion with their parents.  His PD didn't like being disagreed with.

What has been interesting is hearing the calm in their voices.  My ds now 14 is calm and patient.  He used to snap back at me over reasonable requests to do chores and be generally disrespectful.  He was responding the way his PD Dad had treated him.  He used to be such a strong willed child and hard to parent.  All that has changed.  He's become the great kid I always knew he could be.

My daughter had struggled with an eating disorder.  Now that she is well, she has articulated that much of what drove her into the eating disorder was her Dad's behavior and demands of her.

In short, I wish I had done this sooner.

We are over a year out now since the separation.  Our lives are calm and peaceful and happy.   We still have some struggles.  Both kids have some element of ADHD.   But, it's so much easier to manage now that we aren't always walking around with frayed nerves.

Echoing TooLonginWA:  We can do this.  If I can do it, so can everyone else here that decides that this step is best for their family as well.

These forums got me through it.  So thank you to everyone here who asks great questions and to those who respond with such well thought out answers.  I have learned so much and continue to learn so much more.  Here's to all of us growing and becoming healthier in every way in 2017

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Kit99

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Re: Effects of divorce on children needed
« Reply #23 on: December 24, 2016, 06:16:42 PM »
ShantiShanti- divorce was never a consideration for me until I felt I had no other choice. For some of us, it finally gets to that place. The other day my five year old was sad/angry and told me he was going to "throw himself out of the house and kill himself."  My son heard that from his father when he was only 4 yrs old and now a year later I am still dealing with the repercussions. I probably should have left sooner but I kept hanging on trying to "save our family" (i.e. Get my husband psych help so he would stop destroying our family). I've learned from this experience that you can't save anyone but yourself (and children if you have them).

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turtlemama

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Re: Effects of divorce on children needed
« Reply #24 on: December 25, 2016, 12:02:21 PM »
Hi ShantiShanti-

Like others have posted, from everything I have read it is better on children to be in one stable home 50% of the time, then an abusive one 100% of the time.

I have one child who is 5.  I moved out over a year ago.  I had decided to leave my ex because of his drug use, infidelity (with prostitutes), and his lifestyle.  During this time in our marriage my ex would yell and scream, and curse at me in front of my son about anything and everything (when he was around and he did travel a lot).  I was so beat down and felt worthless that I would let him and not defend myself.  DS saw my ex push me around, "spank me", threaten me, etc.  DS who was only 3 at the time, could see that this was wrong and would yell back at his father.  I couldn't have that on my conscience- letting an innocent child try to defend his mother.  I could see where my life was headed.  I left my ex in secret and I don't believe he had any idea.

Since that time- it has been very hard on DS and me.  My ex went from not being involved at all in childcare to having our son one night a week and EOW.  My son exhibits a lot of aggressive behaviors, says troubling things, and the transitions have been difficult (like can not leave the house he is so miserable the Monday he comes back from Dads). 

However, I am hopeful that DS will see his mother live a stable, happy life.  For my own mental sanity I had to leave and build my own life.  It would not have been a happy home if I had stayed.  It was clear that I was past the point of "staying for my son".   

 I saw my ex yesterday to exchange our son, and I wished so much that he could "get better".  That he could be cured of his PD, but it is such a part of him, just like the abusive behavior is.  It was bittersweet to see him and have a civil exchange (at the police station of course) and know they were going to have Christmas Eve dinner like I've had with him and his family for over a decade.  But I know that nothing would heal him.  I still cried when I got home.  But keeping that in mind- that he will NEVER change - really just sealed the deal for me.  And I don't regret it.  I believe 100% I made the right choice for my son and myself. 

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Whiteheron

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Re: Effects of divorce on children needed
« Reply #25 on: January 02, 2017, 06:26:13 PM »
This is all very helpful. Thank you all for sharing!

LtF - It never really sank in with me that verbal abuse leads to physical abuse...do you know offhand if that's the case in the majority of situations? As d-day approaches, I am increasingly concerned how stbxuPDh will react. Even though it seems like he's pushing me towards divorce being the only option, once I file, I think all he!! will break loose.

His verbal abuse is getting worse again, likely because he's weaning himself off of one of his mood stabilizers - apparently he's convinced doc that he's doing fine and doesn't need them anymore.  :o  Just yesterday he was insulting DS calling him a drama queen simply because DS was having trouble following uPDh's instructions - which were very convoluted and changed halfway through the task, leaving DS confused and unsure of what to do. DS was telling this to me in the car today and DD asks me why is daddy like that?  :-\ I admitted to her that I didn't know.

I can't wait to file because I know the kids need stability, they need time away from him, but at the same time I'm terrified of how he will react. Part of me feels like a coward - like I'm just burying my head in the sand hoping it will all go away. Only a few more weeks to go...
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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Latchkey

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Re: Effects of divorce on children needed
« Reply #26 on: January 11, 2017, 07:20:38 PM »
I just wanted to let you all know that we decided to make this topic a permanent post at the top of the Separating and Divorcing Board because it resonated with many and offered good insights for those considering or in the process of separating and divorcing.
Thank you!
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anilynn

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Re: Effects of divorce on children needed
« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2017, 12:46:21 PM »
I found the book "The Good Divorce" helpful when I was going through my divorce 20 years ago.

I can also offer some insight. It is challenging for kids to pack up their things and go back and forth between homes, but it does make them more organized and in many ways more independent and mature.

I made many mistakes after my divorce by starting to date someone whom I thought was the OPPOSITE of my ex, but turned out to be very much the same, and then marrying someone who is uPD. If you do decide to divorce, my advice is to stay strong and heal and not introduce anyone new/unhealthy into their lives.

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Siren

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Re: Effects of divorce on children needed
« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2017, 11:49:44 PM »
This is my second divorce. My first happened when my children were babies, and now, they're teenagers. I can tell you that I thought my kids would be better off if I stayed in this crazy marriage; however, they would have been much better off had I left a long, long time ago, and to be honest, a dysfunctional marriage marred by constant tension and fighting is much worse than a functional single-parent household. Trust me on this one.
"Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate."

"One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."

― Carl Jung

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Shantishanti

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Re: Effects of divorce on children needed
« Reply #29 on: June 08, 2017, 03:48:46 AM »
Hello all!
I haven't been on the forum in a long while, but wanted to check back in.

After trying to get him to really dedicate to working on us and that not working, seeing our finances looking more and more grim, and the continuing splitting between his clinging and hatred towards me, I moved out in January with the kids.

For a while, I would go spend weekends at the house with them all instead of leaving the kids with him alone. I was still hoping things would get better, thinking the distance most of the week would help. His behavior was just as bad though. In March, he told me he couldn't give me the space  I needed to heal from his sexual and emotional abuse while still thinking of me as his wife, because his wife should be there to fulfill him and give him all that he wishes for... So he wanted to open our relationship so that he could be with other women and feel loved. I told him that was a divorce. We did a private ceremony to mark the end of our relationship that month and told the kids we were not moving back in with dad and that when they went to his house, I wouldn't be spending the night there.

I just today filed the supporting documents and request to set the final hearing for the divorce. I often struggle with wanting to rescue him still, especially when he's begging  me to stay and fix things, sobbing and telling me I am the one who gave up, but I've made it my mantra to remember that I choose happiness over rescuing someone who treats me poorly.

Prior to my decision, in addition to this thread, I read a bunch of articles and research on divorce, finding that yes, it was better for kids to be in divorced families than to be in a high conflict marriage. I also found  that it is worse for kids to be in a high conflict divorce than a high conflict intact family (with caveats for degrees of conflict, of course). I resolved, then, to appeal to my ex's compassion for the kids well-being in reminding him that we could not at all discuss anything stressful in front of them, as well as resolving to honor my own boundaries, not engage, walk away, hold firm, etc.

It's been hard to do but I my kids are doing better now than before. My child who previously had emotional instability issues has been in counseling and finished, being able now to express himself and not fall into despair as he used to. It has been months since I last saw him melt down like he used to with his dad. My eldest is seeming depressed, but not as bad as before, and I am getting him into his own counseling soon. My 6 year old is acting rebelliously, but also not too bad. My 3 year old has been very upset with visits to dad's, but luckily dad is aware and respectful enough of her mental well-being to agree to her staying with me all but one night  per week. She also has made statements about wishing to be dead, which breaks my heart, and I'm watching that  and will get her pro help if it continues (I'm planning in all my kids getting counseling at intervals in their childhoods to help them cope).

My biggest concerns at the moment are the frustrations of feeling  they won't really be well cared for while they're with him and how to keep from being taken advantage of. Luckily though, I will  now have legal backing to enforce him paying support, which you can't get when you're not divorced or separated. In the first four months I was gone, he didn't give me a penny and I had the kids at last 2/3 of the time, yet he still tries to gaslight me into feeling like he did. The divorce gives me hope for enforceable accountability and validation for what is our due. I know that I can give these kids more stability with me and teach them to watch out for each other and gain a stronger sense of self to hold inside themselves in the face of a PD that would try to tear  them down. It hurts that I cannot be there to buffet and protect them while they are with him, but I can give them more tools to be stronger and I can hold onto my daughter while she is still so young.

Thank you to everyone who responded on this thread and inspired me to dig deeper and reconsider the approach that was killing me. I chose happiness. And I am far happier now,  and healthier in mind and body, which makes me a better mother to my children and gives them a glimpse Out of the FOG we all constantly lived in for too long.