How to Unbrainwash My Kid

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survivingscott

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How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« on: January 11, 2016, 04:34:40 PM »
My Narc XW left me for a neighbor about 1 1/2 years ago.  We officially divorced in June.  I am quite happy to be free from her emotional abuse.  We were married for 20, but the abuse, at least what I was aware of, did not start until the last 4 years of the marriage when she started her affair.

Two of my three children have my X's #.  My oldest son has little to do with his mom.  He is 14 and has his own life.  He leaves her house to be with friends, especially when her boyfriend and kids come over.  It is hard to get him to stay in when he is with me, but we have a good relationship.

My 9-year old daughter also is very aware of her mom.  She knows she is a cheater and people really do not like her mom.  She just accepts her mom for what she is.

I am incredibly worried about my middle child, a boy, who is 12.  He says things to me like "you need to move on and get a girl friend" or "mom is happy now - you should be happy for her."  I never bad mouth my wife but do not give her the time of day in public.  He says it hurts him that his mom and me cannot be friends and I need to forgive her and "enter the next phase of our relationship as co-parents."  He clearly is being coached by his mom.  I just change the subject.  I worry he thinks his mom's behavior is acceptable and may parrot it someday.

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Stepping lightly

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2016, 06:11:41 PM »
Hi Survivingscott,

Does your 12 year old specify what he thinks that next phase of "co-parenting" involves?   Does he want you to chat it up with his mom at school functions? 

Good Luck!
SL


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survivingscott

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2016, 09:03:58 PM »
He says he would like us to do things, such as go out to eat or have birthday parties, as a family.  He can tell I tense up when I am around his mom.  I can walk with her in a group to the car or sit on the opposite side of her, but it is a struggle.  I don't do this out of spite, but I cannot look my XW in the face.  She is always trying to dominate the conversation, etc.  My kids will never know what type of monster she was to me, but I cannot be fake to someone who abused me for many years.  It is hard, because I cannot explain to my kids what my feeling are without hurting them.

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closure_with_clarity

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2016, 11:09:06 PM »
He says he would like us to do things, such as go out to eat or have birthday parties, as a family.  He can tell I tense up when I am around his mom.  I can walk with her in a group to the car or sit on the opposite side of her, but it is a struggle.  I don't do this out of spite, but I cannot look my XW in the face.  She is always trying to dominate the conversation, etc.  My kids will never know what type of monster she was to me, but I cannot be fake to someone who abused me for many years.  It is hard, because I cannot explain to my kids what my feeling are without hurting them.

Kids are intuitive and pick up on body language, facial expressions and such. Maybe make a one-on-one bonding time with this particular son and discuss it with him in age appropriate terms.  Validate his observation that you're uncomfortable and have been deeply hurt. And, can't just pretend or deny your feelings. Let him know you may be his dad, but you're also human. He likely has an ideal image in his head of everyone post divorce being like one big happy Brady bunch.

Reassure him that you're doing your best to be civil and respectable and will remain that way. But, that being best buds w/ an ex spouse isn't always possible in the real world.

It is good that you have a full grasp to not triangulate, proxy recruit, or verbally dish their mom to the kids. She is likely doing that in some form herself. It can be tough to be the grounded parent, but in the long haul your kids will be much better off. As they mature they'll begin to understand and respect that too. They need one parent that can be trusted to have their best interest at heart :cheer:
Let go of the people that dull your shine. Poison your spirit. And bring you drama. Cancel your subscription to their issues.  :)

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kiwihelen

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2016, 11:20:46 PM »
It sounds like she's doing some low level alienation with her golden child. I strongly suggest you read divorce poison if you haven't already and find a T who knows about parental alienation - your son needs support to realize he is being asked to deal with stuff that is not his business (or any child's business) in your divorce.
In our case this kind of comment escalated to a 2.5 year bout of extreme alienation by Eldest, all because she felt she had to take sides (and her mother offered her the easier path). At nearly 20, she's now smart enoy to know it was neither healthy or in her best interests, but she has lost both opportunity for education and self I determination by her own choices.

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survivingscott

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2016, 12:22:54 PM »
He is definitely a momma's boy, and I think she is using that to her advantage. 

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thesanewife

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2016, 02:24:45 PM »
In our case my oldest SS (10) has recently started defending his mom, out of the blue, when we aren't really accusing her of anything.  I get the idea that there are a couple of things going on.  Your son may be feeling the same:

1. Step son hates confrontation, wants everyone to just get along, but like in your case my H can't just have a friendly relationship with BM.  She's gone way too far and done way too much damage for my H to just be chummy with her.  But you can't tell a kid that "Your mom has called CPS and the cops on me and filed a restraining order, so it's best we not be buddies."

2. Step son is smart and has started to see that his mom puts him in the middle, that things don't add up with her, that she lies a LOT and that she makes excuses for lots of things.  Because of this and his love for his mom he doesn't want her to get in "trouble".......not that we would ever try to get her in trouble unless she was putting the kids in harms way.  So he makes excuses for her, when we all know the real truth.  It's been kind of bizarre the last year.

3. By this age they have figured out in their brains that "co-parenting" means things should be worked out between the adults, not the kids.  Time and time again BM puts my step son in the middle calling him directly to arrange change in pick up or drop off times or "ask you dad this question for me."  In his brain he absolutely DOESN'T want to be in the middle because he inevitably feels like any kind of a disagreement between mom and dad is his fault.  Shame on these parents for doing this.

Sadly, no a whole lot can be done with the courts.  I'd say just continue doing what you are doing.  Follow previous advice to have an age appropriate conversation with him about it.  My H finally did this last week when BM threw SS in the middle of something, then tried to say he was lying.  My H just explained that sometimes BM doesn't keep her schedule and doesn't keep her promises, but that he is in no way to blame for it and that he (my H) will do everything in his power to work things out directly with BM.  I think this gave him a lot of reassurance that the BS and oddness he is feeling is coming from one side.

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A_newlife2014

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2016, 09:35:47 PM »
Surviving Scott, I think you are handling things well. It sounds like your ex is doing a number on your son, taking advantage of the fact that the other two children are on to her, and he isn't yet.

I think the most important thing for kids is security and stability, and (age-appropriate) truth. This becomes even more important if kids are involved with the shifting-sand landscape of the distorted realities and manipulations of a PD.

Whether the idea of having you and your ex-wife play happy co-parents together is truly originating with your son, or whether it was planted there by the ex, I think it's OK for him to understand that these are adult issues that are for adults to deal with, not 12-year-old boys, and that that's OK; and that some exes, like you and your ex-wife, simply do not interact with their exes in that way, and that that's OK too, because there are many different types of people and relationships.

He's going to absorb a lot more from observing you than from what you say. Right now he's got a mom constantly harping on him about how his dad *should* be acting, and all the ways he's failing to do so. ...... and he's got a dad who's just rising above, calm and steady, above the fray. Consistent. Over time.

I think it's just a matter of time before he not only fails to parrot her, but comes to understand -- on his own -- what the real deal is.

Plenty of kids grow up just fine without their divorced parents being best friends. I think if you don't validate him -- which is really validating the ex -- by sharing his/her concerns that this is a problem, then her harping will eventually be the problem, not your supposed lack of co-parenting.

Just my 2 cents.

-ANL

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confusedstepmom

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2016, 01:33:20 AM »
I am having the same problem in my household...except it's a SD and she is 5. She has some developmental delays and I know the things she says are not coming directly from her brain, they are coached by her BM. We are looking into a counselor for her to try to help her deal with the abuse she in enduring when in her BMs care. Maybe some counseling for your son would be helpful. It's hard for a child to hear those types of things from a parent and not believe them. Even though the parent has a PD. Children do not understand PDs and they don't know how to cope with them. I'm hoping that counseling will help my SD become unbrainwashed.

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Hoolio

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2016, 12:59:24 PM »
I fear my newly exW uBPD will really "work over" our kids.

But for warned is forarmed I guess.
I am an ex husband of uBPD wife. Co parenting 2 children. Good luck to us all here!  Glad to be OOTF and rebuilding my life!

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hhaw

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2016, 04:55:07 PM »
When I look at situations like this I see it from the child's POV.

We made children with a pd, and the adult stuff is for the adults to handle. 

The children need permission from the stable non parent to ignore the adult conflicts and focus on what's their business.... chores, school, and discovering what they love in this world, and how they;ll go about building a life around that passion, IMO.

It's not up to the kids to KNOW what their mother DID to you.... no matter how terrible it is, at least not till they're older, and they want to know, ask to know, are of an age that requires you set something straight for the right reasons at the right time, kwim?

Until that happens it's up to us to suck it up, present positive comments we interject about the pd in our daily lives with the children, and do what we can to shield the children from the adult struggle.

As your other children already figured out, so will your 12yo iMO.  That his mother including him at all in the adult stuff is wrong, and you can give him permission to withdrawal from the adult conflict, not pointing fingers at the ex, but letting him know she's going to be just fine, just like her new husband will be, and so will you.

That's sets you up as a safe person that isn't making the child feel defensive about the pd, which is what the pd banks on, IME.  The child can then come to you later on when the pd is manufacturing chaos, confusion and pd Ker A ZEE in the child's life... which is likely, IMO.

Don't let the pd trigger you when the kids are around.  Set reasonable boundaries around social gatherings that don't give the pd ammo to use against you, but that make it possible for you to just get through it.

I'm very proud of you that you attend anything with hte ex considering what she's done to you.  You've already done a terrific job protecting your children from the adult conflict.... it's heroic really.

Soon hte 12yo will figure it out too, and you'll continue to be the rational, sane, consistent parent the kids know they can always count on to be safe.
He won't be 12 forever, and I think you're doing a terrific job.

hhaw
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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kiwihelen

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2016, 05:45:37 PM »
Thing we hate most: the family court by saying a 15 Y/o can decide their living arrangements is chucking the child into the middle of an adult conflict.
We repeatedly say to Y "we support your right to make decisions, but we will ask you to explain your rationale so we know the decision is well thought through."
So far none of them have been and we can't get her to see that she's avoiding the elephant called her uPDmother

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hhaw

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #12 on: March 30, 2016, 12:52:01 AM »
kiwi:

Again, I look at your sd's position through her eyes.

All kids want and need their mother, no matter how bad that mother is.  This child likely knows her mother isn't stable..... is a very punitive person, and possibly trauma bonded already.

What do you think your  sd would face if she chose to live with you and her father far away from her mother?  What do you think her visitation with her mother would LOOK like?

You won't be there to protect her from the pd crazeee and the pd crazeee would  likely be ramped up to a point sd would be living under siege, in duress with very little respite.

How would sd handle her mother, and how do you think her mother would handle losing custody?

Even if it was the Judge making the decision, the biomom would be all over sd with rants about you and the father.  It would be another hell for ds.  Would the benefits of living in a stable home most of the time justify the pd chaos manufacture if bm lost custody?  It might absolutely balance out, and be the best option.  SD won't have an easy time no matter what hte Judge decides, IMO.

hhaw

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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kiwihelen

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2016, 01:44:29 AM »
We know this. We also know Youngest has failed the first two assessments of her high school certificate year and 85% of those who fail to get the qualification associated with this year are unemployed and remain so in the next 5 years. We also know that BM enabled Eldest to leave school without this qualification and she is working because she has a social adeptness Youngest lacks - Youngest would not survive 10 minutes in a commercial kitchen.
So do we wait until she's 20-25-30 and we are picking up the pieces of a damaged adult, or keep going with what we do now? It's a no win either way.
At least a judge deciding would mean she had "someone to blame" other than Youngest.

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Freedomfromabuse

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Re: How to Unbrainwash My Kid
« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2016, 04:34:21 AM »
It is a real challenge deciding what to tell your children about the abusive parent. I understood from the parenting class I was ordered to take, not to put the children in the middle of adult conflicts. So I told my daughter positive things about her mother. I tried to prevent her from learning about all the ways her mother was abusive. Then, when she turned 14, she was summoned to court and the judge wanted to hear from her what she thought about her mother and what kind of contact she wanted. This amazed me. My daughter had not seen her mother since she was 3. To make a long story short, now I am trying to educate my daughter about the truth and I put her into counseling to learn about emotional manipulation and how to establish healthy boundaries to protect herself from abuse. I wish you well at this difficult task. It is worth all the effort though when your children have the tools they need to build healthy relationships.