Fathering through the FOG

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Grahamcracker

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Fathering through the FOG
« on: January 09, 2017, 05:52:47 PM »
Hoolio talked a while back about trying to parent well against a background of verbal and emotional abuse.  I concur.  My judgment gets cloudy as I try to figure out, not what makes sense to me, but rather what she wants.  And I do stupid things because I am off-balance.  But more fundamentally I lose my emotional balance and patience.  Sh*t rolls downhill and the kids are at the bottom of the pecking order.
"Wisdom's a gift, but you'd trade it for youth, Age is an honor but still not the truth"  Vampire Weekend.

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Stepping lightly

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Re: Fathering through the FOG
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2017, 04:56:51 PM »
Hi GC,

I agree with that statement.  I've said to my DH that we are not the best parents we can be because we are always on guard for the next attack, accusation, upheaval.  When situations pop up, first thought isn't "what's my parental instinct?", it's "what will cause the lead amount of drama from BM".  It's debatable that that is indeed parenting in the best interest of the kids, to attempt to keep them out of the PD line of fire, but sometimes it seems to make it worse.  The PD will always find a way drag the kids straight into the middle and cause the collateral damage. Of course if you parent as you see appropriate, they will somehow twist it and deem it "emotionally stunted parenting".  And around and round we go...trying to dodge the sledgehammer.

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Findingmyvoice

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Re: Fathering through the FOG
« Reply #2 on: April 24, 2017, 11:48:49 AM »
I could write for days on this.
My PDw would frequently text or call me at work to tell me about how badly behaved our children are, It was usually the first topic of discussion when I arrived home from work and when I was home I would be faced with "come here and make child do this or that " or "get up here and yell at child". 
PDw would then say "I can't deal with this" "they (kids) have to change" " I need your support" to make me feel like punishing the kids for every little thing was necessary.
My wife would try to make me responsible for anything that our children did to displease her.  I was expected to "fix" problems that happened when I was not around, and I was expected to always support her punishments.  Not agreeing would result in accusations of bad parenting, undermining her, not supporting or respecting her, causing the kids to disrespect her and so on, so forth.
As a result I was hard on our kids.  I found that I was becoming upset at them for little things.  Really, I was just trying to avoid the abuse from PDw.
I had a lightbulb moment about 6 months ago when PDw was upset with D and I supported her punishment. 
I felt bad about it afterwards and PDw said "Wow, I can't believe you made her do that".  I thought WTH?, this was your idea so I called her out.
Of course PDw denied any involvement and that it was all my idea, she had nothing to do with it.
I realized that I was responsible for every interaction that I have with my kids.  My wife will not take any accountability so I must be 100% OK with everything I do.
Even if PDw did take accountability for her part, what I was doing was against my values.  I can not feel good about doing things that I don't agree with.
This following 3 or 4 months were very difficult because every little parenting decision became a power struggle.
I was accused of being checked out, unsupportive, undermining her, bad parent, bad father, not a real man, playing the favorite, playing the victim etc. etc.
This was unbearable for me.  My health deteriorated.
Now rather than fighting with my wife, I focus on supporting the kids.  I can't make her change, I can only change what I do.
When I get a text at work saying children are rude, disrespectful brats, I know that they have suffered verbal abuse.
When I get home I focus my attention on them, I make sure that they get to talk about the situation and have their side heard.
PDw can't be in the room otherwise they never get to tell their side.  Then we talk to PDw together.
I reinforce to my children that they are good people, that they don't deserve to be called names, that this treatment isn't right and that mom is working on this.
(she actually is in anger management FWIW).
I realize that I am still being used, that I am still having to "fix" the situations she creates but at least I can sleep at night knowing that I am helping my kids cope and that I am not contributing to the problem.
I still have a very long way to go with setting boundaries with PDw.  I still have guilt that I can't draw a line in the sand and say "no more abuse".
I'm getting there though.

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notrightinthehead

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Re: Fathering through the FOG
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 04:04:58 PM »
Applause for supporting your kids. I agree with you: ultimately we are responsible for our own behaviour and we cannot blame someone else for the damage we do to our kids or partners. So bravo for doing the kind of parenting that you consider goes with your value system in spite of getting critizised by your wife for it.