PD is really stressing the kids

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Whiteheron

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PD is really stressing the kids
« on: July 27, 2019, 09:41:34 AM »
All of this talk about moving into a new house by stbx is really stressing the kids. He's taken DS15 as his confidant - sharing info about the house with him exclusively - which makes DS upset, because he and DD have already spoken about DD feeling left out of the entire process...and stbx keeps excluding her by having private conversations with DS. It looks like the move is happening - fast.

DS started having a lot of anxiety right before heading over to stbx's for their one night last week. It's because of the house and the 'secrets' stbx is keeping from DD. DS has gone from doing well and attending T about 1-2 times a month to having to go weekly.

DD loves to bake. She's been begging me to get the ingredients she needs for her recipe. I told her we could do it this weekend, which she was fine with. She was very excited, then when it came time to go to the store, she completely shut down. She didn't want to go, wasn't going to bake, there was not enough time, etc, etc. I assumed it was a preteen mood swing until she kept going on about how her dad ruined baking for her because when she bakes at his house (something she feels she can't say no to) he makes a big deal about how wonderful and fabulous everything tastes (he is over the top to the point of embarrassment). She was nastier than nasty to me. I told her I'd get her the ingredients anyways, just in case she changed her mind. She told me not to bother. She was a pill to deal with for the rest of the night. I finally told her I was sorry she was upset, but that I did not appreciate her taking it out on me.

Then she started crying because her dad was pressuring her about the move. Apparently on the phone last night, stbx told her they would be packing during their next weekend with him. She's upset because she doesn't want to move and doesn't understand why they are moving - especially since all of the reasons he gave her she can easily see through.


I'm worried for two reasons - first, the kids are very stressed, anxious and upset all of the time. second - this move was sudden and is happening fast. Based on the 20+ years I've lived with stbx, this is signalling to me that he's having some serious mental issues. I've mentioned this before, but when he's having mental issues (bordering on a breakdown), he blames me, his job, and the house we're currently living in. His job is going fine, so that's out, I'm gone, so that's no longer a reason, therefore it must be the house that's the problem. So moving will make it all better. This is his cycle of about every 3-5 years or so. This time I'm not there to shield the kids. This time there is no one I can call to let them know this is going on. I've told my L, but that's it. I used to call our primary doc and stbx's T, now I'm sure with trial looming (assuming we can't agree on the mediation terms we already agreed on...), that this would only make me look like I'm trying to undermine/alienate/whatever buzzword he can come up with.

I am at a loss. I feel like a helpless bystander and my kids will be the collateral damage. I've let the kids know I hear them, I validate their feelings, I am trying to be stable and strong for them. But this time I'can't fix it.
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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hhaw

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Re: PD is really stressing the kids
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2019, 11:34:49 AM »
Nope, you can't fix it.  That's the truth.

What you can do is what you've been doing.  Discussing it with your children.  Letting them know you hear them.  Their experience is real, and they're going to have to learn how to deal with their PD father, without you, for the rest of their lives.  Suggestions for distancing the turmoil, and not taking it on board will be helpful. 

Teaching them proper boundaries will help them throughout their lives.  Maybe that's the one bright spot in all this.  That they have the chance to really SEE how boundaries can fail,  succeed, and shield us. 

I hope the T is helpful.  Does DD see a T too?

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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athene1399

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Re: PD is really stressing the kids
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2019, 10:27:34 AM »
Feeling out of control can feel terrible. Especially when you want to be able to do something, more, anything, and we can't always protect them. I think Hhaw has great suggestions. You can't protect them from the craziness, but you can teach them how to deal with it or maybe who to talk to. Is there someone in stbx's life they can talk to ? like on of his parents?

And I'm with DD on the over the top praises. It drives me nuts too. Maybe you two can brainstorm a way for her to navigate this? Maybe have her try to say "no" to baking next time. And if he still makes her do it, maybe come up with ways she can feel better about it. Maybe she can control what she bakes, even if she can't control the baking on general.

Maybe you can also talk to them about how to process their anxiety about the move. Things they can do to feel better. Or maybe give them something to look forward to at your house. Like "After you do all this work helping dad move, we can sit around and do nothing at my place."

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hhaw

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Re: PD is really stressing the kids
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2019, 05:26:24 PM »
If our kids learn healthy coping strategies, bc of the adult turmoil in their lives, those are life skills they'll use forever.

I never heard the term "healthy boundaries" until I was in my 30s, for Pete's sake.  I never understood how my body responds to thoughts and words, and how to calm it down, and name what's going on.

I often became confused when I didn't want to know or understand a hard truth. 

Maybe our kids come out stronger, wiser, and more resilient after living through the chaos of FOO dysfunction.     
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