I don't know what to do. Adivce please!

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Whiteheron

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I don't know what to do. Adivce please!
« on: November 23, 2018, 08:49:39 PM »
It seems as if DD11 is at a breaking point. She will not open up to her T, or the law guardian. Only me. I had to drop her off at her PD dad's house late afternoon yesterday. She was miserable and crying the entire day. She didn't want to go, she wanted to stay with me. I validated her feelings and gave lots of hugs. I also told her I had to drive her over to her dad's but I couldn't make her get out of the car. (this is something DS14's T also told her - but she was more blunt about it).

DD opens up and tells me that she knows her dad loves her and will keep her safe, but that she feels invisible when she's over there (currently DS is the gc). She says she feels invisible and not supported or heard. I validated this and explained that in addition to food, shelter and feeling physically safe, there is also emotional safety. She responded that she only feels emotionally safe around me. I responded that I was sorry to hear that. (I'm afraid to say too much for fear stbx can claim I'm alienating her). I let her know that this is something the GAL really needs to know about (the kids had met with her last week)- would she feel comfortable sending the GAL an email? She says no because other people can read her email. I ask about in person? No. Over the phone? Maybe but probably not. She then tells me she doesn't want less time with her dad, but feels she can only be herself with me.

Right as the kids are getting ready to head on over to stbx's house they have a sudden nasty argument. It continues for most of the 15 minute ride. Any effort I make to smooth things over doesn't work. I have no idea what sparked the argument or really what it's even about. All I do know is before DS let loose on his sister he had been texting his dad.

We get to stbx's house and DD is refusing to get out of the car. I tell this to DS, so he can let his dad know (if he bothers). I sit on the edge of the backseat next to DD and hug her tightly as she's hysterically crying that she is miserable, wants to die, isn't happy, wants to go home with me, is depressed, can't take it anymore, she can't be the way she wants to be because she's miserable, she goes on repeating all of the above. I'm comforting her as best I can, and at the same time am acutely aware that we are being watched through the window by stbx.

stbx eventually comes out and tells DD she needs to get in the house. She says she's not going in because her brother is there and begins to act like her upset and crying is because of the fight she just had with her brother. (she later tells me on the phone that she just said that so he wouldn't get mad at her for not wanting to stay at his house). I calmly explain to stbx that as the kids were getting ready to go to his house, they suddenly started fighting. I then tell DD that the three of them will need to sit down and talk this all out (it had something to do with a thing stbx promised DS).

stbx then says more sternly that DD needs to get out of my car and go into the house. DD doesn't budge so stbx tells me to unbuckle her seatbelt (I'm still holding DD who is still crying). That felt beyond wrong, so I tell stbx, in a calm neutral voice, that DD can unbuckle herself. He says a few more words to her, at which point she unbuckles and leaves my car. I help her get her bags and say goodbye. The entire thing took about ten minutes.

Later when she calls me to say goodnight, she tells me she wishes she wouldn't have gotten out of my car. She also tells me that DS and stbx are acting like she was only upset about her fight with DS. DS also tells stbx that DD had been crying all day and that it was about the thing stbx is doing for DS (which is untrue). DD tells them that isn't true, but they don't listen to her. She doesn't tell them the real reason. She also tells me that there would have been consequences for her if she hadn't left my car.

I am heartbroken for DD and don't know what to do. I plan to call her T on Monday and let her know what happened. She has T next week, but stbx is taking her. I will also email my L - because stbx will attempt to spin this against me 1. because I spoke to him in front of one of the kids, 2. I got out of my car to comfort DD (I was half in, half out of the car) and 3. I didn't just drop and go as he insists (he is convinced I'm surveilling him when I "linger" at his property). I hate that I have to think of these other things...I just want to focus on DD.

What do I do??
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: I don't know what to do. Adivce please!
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2018, 10:56:56 PM »
I think you have a good plan in place and you are doing all you can. Slow and steady and calm in the face of a lot of chaos and providing comfort to your DD.

When dealing with the T and the GAL and attorney you can say things like she was very distressed, refused to leave the car, reported fear of retribution. At no time did you block her or try to interfere etc.

Is this the first holiday season separated for you and your stbxPDH?
My exH's were the most dysregulated around the holidays as well. It's really a difficult time. I wish I had more to offer by way of advice but hopefully between the 3 professionals you can get a plan a place that makes sense to support your kids.

 :bighug:

Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
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There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
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When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.

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lightupthere

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Re: I don't know what to do. Adivce please!
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2018, 11:53:25 AM »
Could you tell her that you will look into applying for her to spend less time there (IF that is what you feel is best)?. Try to show empathy, but also be a bit matter of fact about the current situation??  Offer to send her with some busy work? An adult colouring book,  some craft, or puzzle.  She says she loves her father and feels safe there. Those are important details.  Emphasize that time will change things, and that you hope she can have a good relationship with her dad, and she will have more control over visiting him in the future. Things will change as time passes. It won't always be this way.

so sorry you all have to go through this

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MaoMeow

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Re: I don't know what to do. Adivce please!
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2018, 08:47:28 PM »
In my opinion, for what itís worth, is that in this particular incident your poor daughter could have coped with going to her dadís place but add on a big fight with brother who is no longer a supporter and as Latchkey says, a first holiday without you, it was all too much. It sounds like a one-off situation. And things could go back to normal next time

Itís the relationship between your children which is the issue here (again in my opinion). If they are arguing (constantly?) then how can they relax and de-stress at your place. Is itís just another negative relationship they need to manage? Maybe this is something you can discuss with their T. Maybe their father is triangulating them - if so, see how PD people can make us unhappy even when they are not there!

My two kids (DS17 and DD14) fight like cats and dogs, so I donít think itís unusual! At this age they have no manners or respect for each other. The treat everyone else better, the slightest thing and they are at each otherís throats. I have resorted to keeping them separated them at either ends of the house and if fighting in the car, then I pull over until they stop it. I have been known to take them both back home and cancelling the outing.

As I said, I think your poor daughter feels like itís two against one there and she does not have a supporter. Although with PDs, if he feels like he is losing his daughter then he could switch the gc again, who knows!

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Whiteheron

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Re: I don't know what to do. Adivce please!
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2018, 12:16:12 PM »
Yes, this is the first holiday season we've been separated. That being said, we don't make too much of a fuss over Thanksgiving. It's very laid back and relaxed. I'm not sure how much of a role this played in DD's emotional state.

Yes, stbx triangulates the kids all the time. He's most comfortable when they're divided.

No, DD and DS don't constantly fight...at my house. A few weeks ago, at DS's T's suggestion, we came up with a list of house rules. Those rules have worked wonders - the tension in my house dropped considerably and the kids seem happier and more cooperative. I was having a lot of trouble getting the kids to 'reset' after their weekends with stbx...these rules seem to have helped a lot with this. (the rules are based on cooperation, respect, love, supporting each other, etc).

If I would have pulled over the car to talk to them both, which I wanted to do, we would have been late to stbx's house.

They hadn't been fighting until they were literally putting their shoes on. DS had thrown down his phone and let loose on DD. Prior to that, she had been with me and nothing had been said. This is the second time stbx has started a fight between the kids via text when they've been with me. After the first time, I started monitoring computer texts...now I'll have to start monitoring  phone texts.

This has been something that has been building with DD. Each time they have to go to stbx's she progressively gets clingier and more upset. Yes, currently stbx is trying to win over DS and ignoring DD. It's usually the opposite, since DD is more malleable and willing to play along. It will switch again, likely after next week's court date (which has nothing to do with custody, but stbx doesn't miss a chance to scream about 50/50)

DD went to sleep over at a friend's house one night this past weekend. She was trying anything to get away. Over the phone she is begging me to come with her when she has to go to her dad's. Internally horrified at the thought, I just told her that couldn't happen. She's told me before that she wants to see him, just not sleep over at his house. She doesn't want less time with him, just wants me to be there when she does see him.
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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athene1399

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Re: I don't know what to do. Adivce please!
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2018, 04:50:02 PM »
Part of it could be she's still adjusting. Maybe try to come up with something she can do at stbx's to cheer herself up. Like she can draw a picture of you to make herself feel better. Or go in her room and have alone time away from DS who is giving her a hard time. Let her know that you will be thinking of her and she can talk to the T or you about her feelings when she gets back. Maybe let her know it's tough on you for her to be at stbx's, but it's important for her to see both her parents. 

Do you think she feels unsafe (physically)? or just feels no one is on her side when she's there? I'm just trying to gauge the situation. If there's something occurring where she isn't safe, then work on changing the custody agreement. But if it's more of an emotional thing, unless she opens up to the T you'll have to make the best of a bad situation.

I'm glad the house rules have been working for you at your place.  :)

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Whiteheron

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Re: I don't know what to do. Adivce please!
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2018, 09:50:08 PM »
An update:
DD is furious with me for speaking with her T...I told her I was worried and concerned, that's why I spoke with her T (I told DD the other night so she wouldn't be blindsided in T).

I heard from my L, who had been speaking with the GAL on an unrelated matter. Somehow it came up that when the kids met with the GAL, DS was saying "certain day" with his dad was too much but that he didn't want less time with his dad. When the GAL tried to probe further, all DS would say was "certain day" was too much. I believe my L brought up what's been going on with DD - my L wants the GAL to speak with DD's T and has sent the contact info to the GAL. Both are seeing something isn't quite right with the kids and stbx. We have an upcoming court date in a few weeks (not custody related).

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: I don't know what to do. Adivce please!
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2018, 04:56:04 PM »

I'm glad you've done what you did and that the professionals involved are on alert.
I think our kids don't realize this "fear of telling the T" stems from their being used to hiding their PD parents behaviors and normalizing their reactions to it.  Understanding that their fear and emotional response did not just come out of nowhere is something that hopefully the T can help with.

Hopefully things have calmed down with your DD this week.

Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.
-Mother Jones
-
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
-Maya Angelou
-
When we have the courage to do what we need to do, we unleash mighty forces that come to our aid.