DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her

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Whiteheron

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DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« on: August 11, 2019, 01:34:48 PM »
It keeps on getting worse over here. Kids had their one overnight with stbx a few days ago. There isn't usually anything to talk about after just one night, but in the car with me, they really let loose. DS15 reported that stbx was "just awful!" Both kids have pointed out to me that DS is the favored child and that DD12 is a 'problem' for stbx. They both agree that it's because DS will go along to keep the peace, but DD will stand up for herself and shows no fear of stbx. stbx will buy DS necklaces and posters (neither of which he is interested in) and gets DD nothing. stbx will have conversations with DS in front of DD and act like DD is not there. Some of the topics of conversation are highly inappropriate, even for a 15 year old. stbx has also taken to telling sexist jokes to DS, which are also completely inappropriate.

When they met up with stbx for their overnight, stbx greeted DS with a warm friendly greeting, but just grunted at DD when she said something to him.

Understandably, DD is getting the feeling that her dad doesn't love her. That her dad has chosen DS and she's just there. She is very angry about this and keeps asking "aren't parents supposed to love their kids no matter what??" She tells me she doesn't care that her dad doesn't love her, but I know deep down it must really hurt to feel this way. She's brought it up several times over the weekend, and I mostly just listen and tell her I'm sorry this is happening. I also suggested that her dad does love her, but isn't able to always show it. She doesn't believe me, but I'm not sure what else to say. We've already had the conversation that actions speak louder than words (in relation to a situation with a boy at school), and she tells me that her dad's actions say he doesn't like her. Even though he will text her and tell her he loves her, she doesn't believe him. It makes her angrier.

I asked the kids if they thought all of this was because of their upcoming move - they both firmly stated, "NO!" DD continued asking questions about her dad's behaviors and DS turned to her and said, "think of it this way, dad has the mental capacity of an eight year old. when he doesn't get his way or you don't do what he says, he throws a tantrum like a toddler."  :blink:

I keep telling DD it's not personal, she tells me she doesn't care, she's just so angry. I can't believe this is happening.
As a poster mentioned in another thread about the GC/scapegoat dynamic, they are both suffering and they both feel horrible. DS (GC) sees the inequality and feels bad about it - he even told DD it isn't worth it because he feels like there are higher expectations on him to maintain this good standing in his dad's eyes, whereas DD can just be herself, even if her dad doesn't like it (I see it as she's not controllable and DS is)

I am praying that DS opens up to the GAL at his upcoming meeting. Things keep getting worse. I'm so thankful I haven't signed the mediation agreement yet. Maybe this is why stbx is escalating? He thinks it's all said and done, so he can drop the act?

My heart is breaking for the kids. Thank you for reading. I just needed to get this off my chest.


 
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Poison Ivy

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2019, 08:41:49 PM »
And my heart breaks for you and your children.  Your stbx is behaving horribly. 

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athene1399

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2019, 09:04:51 AM »
I am so sorry, WH. You have been having a rough go of things, but you are being very supportive of the kids. I think you are making the best of a bad situation. It sounds like your kids are supportive of each other, too. Hopefully you can use this all as good reasons why you need more time with the kids.

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notrightinthehead

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2019, 09:27:21 AM »
Sounds like your children are coming Out of the FOG too. And they seem to trust you and open up to you. This might be a good time to introduce some strategies from the toolbox for their use.
You remain their rock and stable home. In my eyes these developments might be a step forward towards healing for all of you.
I can't hate my way into loving myself.

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Penny Lane

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2019, 11:50:12 AM »
White Heron, everything you've been posting lately is so concerning. I would be beside myself too. I don't blame your DD for being angry at her dad and for not believing him when he says he loves her. I am so sad for her that she has to go through this.


But I actually see a real silver lining here which is that it seems like your kids really, really get it. They understand that their dad is in the wrong and that they don't need to accept his behavior. That will serve them well in the future. It doesn't make it easier for them right now though.

I think you're right that he's escalating because he thinks he can drop the act. I just posted this in another thread but we saw that with BM too. IMMEDIATELY, like as soon as the agreement was reached, she stopped even the very minimal amount of good behavior she had. She really went off the rails. It was like a switch flipped.

A question, do you think once the order is signed he might stop exercising his visitation? I always thought that BM wanted to have the kids more on paper so that she could get more child support. But when it comes to actual parenting stuff she will happily leave it all to H. And the only reason she doesn't give up more parenting time than she already does is because she knows H would like it and so would the kids. I wonder if your ex, once he knows child support isn't at stake, will lose interest?

I'm really glad they have you, it sounds like you really are their rock/safe haven. They're going to be OK, I really do think so.

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Stepping lightly

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2019, 02:49:22 PM »
Hi WH,

This is so tough!  The SG/GC dynamic is really hard to navigate.  It does seem like your kids are fully aware of the dynamic and they are talking to you about it, which is really and truly huge.  They also don't seem to be turning on each other because of the SG/GC labels, which is also really amazing.  The really important thing will be for them to support each other in the face of dealing with their father.  So although they may have different roles with him, they can work to protect each other. 

We have the dynamic where both kids are vying for the role of GC with BM, so telling lies about the other, selling them out....works out to their benefit at her house.  It also means telling lies about us, whether consciously or not..I don't know.  DSS is the SG, so at BM's....he has absolutely nobody on his side...they all team up against him- it's truly horrible.

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Arkhangelsk

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2019, 04:15:05 PM »
Oh, I am so damn sorry.

I think it is most excellent that the kids are talking together like a team.  You have done a good job fostering their understanding.  I hope I am eventually able to manage the same.

I just keep telling myself that even though it is awful to see them hurt, I am glad I get to be here right now working to support them as they go through it.  No one was really able to be there for me when I was stuck in the fog, so I hope to make the path just a little easier for my kids.  It sounds like you are doing your best to do the same. 

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Whiteheron

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2019, 09:30:41 PM »
thanks everyone for your support. This really sucks. On a positive note, DS finally opened up to the GAL about everything. Hopefully something good will come out of this mess.

We have the dynamic where both kids are vying for the role of GC with BM, so telling lies about the other, selling them out....works out to their benefit at her house.  It also means telling lies about us, whether consciously or not..I don't know.  DSS is the SG, so at BM's....he has absolutely nobody on his side...they all team up against him- it's truly horrible.

This is the way it was in stbx's FOO. The teams were: his sister and dad, stbx and his mom. They told secrets and ratted on each other, tried to get the other in trouble, etc.

stbx keeps trying to recreate his childhood and FOO in our family. It got to be downright creepy. He'd get this faraway look on his face, his voice would change and he'd tell me exactly what kind of house we needed to have (just like his parent's house), that we needed to get a camper and go RVing (just like his parents - kids were horrified at the idea), what kind of foods I needed to cook (using his mom's fat laden cream of X soup recipes - gag), he tried to establish the same alliances and drive a wedge in between myself and DD, the list goes on.

Around the time I filed, DD was the GC and DS the outcast. Now stbx has needed to work on DS because he was afraid of what DS was saying about him in T. It's backfiring, but stbx can't see it. His attempted divide and conquer is actually enabling the kids to develop a stronger bond with each other. They see what he's doing. They don't like it.

Penny -that's the same conclusion everyone is reaching, since we have a mediation agreement that was essentially done (but thankfully not signed), he can drop the act and be his true self.

I also believe that he would eventually see the kids less and less. They don't provide him with nearly as much supply as his GF(s). I think his initial fight for more custody is about appearances - looking good and "stable" for his parents and his GF (the one I know about has kids he was trying to bond with). I think he would have used the excuse "need to travel more for work" to see them less and less. I believe he will eventually retire and move out to the midwest, where the kids believe he has another gf. 

I have tried teaching them some of the toolbox skills (MC, greyrock, LC, not JADEing) in terms they can understand. DD employs some pretty well (she had plenty of practice with a classmate last year, and sees similarities to her dad's behaviors so knows what to do), DS is afraid to even try. He's getting bolder, I think opening up to the GAL was the first step for him, and hopefully it will get easier from here on out.

Thank you all for your support.
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: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2019, 10:20:14 AM »
Quote
I think his initial fight for more custody is about appearances - looking good and "stable" for his parents and his GF
I hate how everything they do is really for them. BM wanted custody so she could play the victim more. She loves to say how she's a struggling single mom who's exes don't pay child support (because both of the exes have custody!). It's all a show isn't it.

And for how challenging things have gotten for you and the kids lately, I think there's a lot of good going on too. Your kids look out for each other and support each other. You support them too. Maybe DD and DS can practice skills from the toolbox together? Maybe that will help DS gain the confidence to use it on stbx. And DS opened up to the GAL. That will be good in the long run IMO.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2019, 11:36:06 AM »
Wow, youíre going through so much!!! Catching up, and glad to hear you and your kids are on a team and making use of the resources available to you.

I do want to say one minor thing though, about the ďDad loves you but doesnít know how to show it.Ē I think you know thatís BS. And your DD knows it too. You donít have any obligation to defend him. People with no self-awareness go on and about their good intentions while destroying everything in their wake. His behaviors have been the very opposite of loving. We canít judge intentions, only actions. Intentions are ultimately irrelevant.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #10 on: August 13, 2019, 12:21:18 PM »
I echo Cordelia's comments.  When talking and thinking about my ex-husband's behavior toward me and our daughters, I prefer to say, "Ex doesn't do [whatever]," not "Ex can't do [whatever]." I think he is capable of much better behavior than he exhibits. Although I don't know for sure, I try really hard to avoid his own conclusions about situations:  that he is incapable of certain things.

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Rose1

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2019, 08:03:17 PM »
Although painful, it's excellent your kids are coming Out of the FOG and seeing pd for what it is. It minimises long term damage.

And its great they can vent to you. I found my d's needed to get it out. I agree with the ops about not saying "your father loves you in his own way" etc. It sets up cognitive dissonance. I remember each time ex told me his emotionally and verbally abusive parents really meant well thinking "are you on another planet?" No need to defend him. That's his job.

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Whiteheron

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2019, 08:43:38 AM »
OMG. All of you are completely right. I never thought of it that way. I felt like I had to say something...and I know preteen girls need to feel loved and supported. Ugh. Ok. Lesson learned. I won't be doing that again.

Both kids are dreading going to his house tomorrow. We have a long road trip when they get back. I can only imagine what they'll be saying. Maybe stbx will back off and just let them be for the weekend (insert unicorns and rainbows here).

Thanks again for all of your support. There's so much going on I feel like I can't think clearly.
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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Stepping lightly

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2019, 10:53:57 AM »
WH- I may be repeating myself, but definitely reinforce the idea that they have each other, they aren't alone when they are going back and forth.  Between the 2 of them, they can help each other make it through.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2019, 11:12:16 AM »
I'm sorry, Whiteheron.  I wasn't trying to make you feel worse.  Helping my children through the ordeal of them having a disengaged, dysfunctional father is the hardest, worst part of my situation and I am by no measure an expert at it.  I really have no idea whether the things I do and say to them are the best things I could be doing or saying.  I think you are doing very well in your really challenging circumstances.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2019, 03:37:56 PM »
Sorry for what became something of a pile-on. And thank you for taking the criticism graciously. Iím supporting a dear friend going through a somewhat similar situation and it is so stressful. Youíre being superlatively classy under enormous pressure you canít control nearly as much as youíd like.

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Whiteheron

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2019, 04:48:51 PM »
I feel like I'm just out here completely winging it. I appreciate the different perspectives and advice. I did what I thought was right in the moment, but after hearing other perspectives, I can see how it could be confusing to her - especially since stbx's actions do not come close to matching his words.
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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Stepping lightly

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2019, 05:20:04 PM »
You are doing a great job- and I don't think we can judge whether a PD feels love or not.  It may be important for your daughter to  believe her father loves her, but is too disordered to understand what that actually means in practice.   You know what your kids need- keep following your gut- it seems like it's been doing right by all of you :-)

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hhaw

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Re: DD struggling with the feeling stbx doesn't like her
« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2019, 02:46:19 AM »
Keep asking your kids what they think about their father's behavior and words.

Validate them. 

Explain that everyone is pretty much doing their best.   Some people are broken.  They can't do any better, even though your kids are worthy of a good father capable of behavior appropriately.....
it's just not within his reach right now.

It's him, and his illness, not the kids.

Maybe you can have the kids imagine themselves as younger children... how vulnerable, and easily hurt they could be.

Then have them imagine their father as a young child, as easily hurt, and vulnerable.  He likely had a troubled childhood, or at least trouble.... something that hurt him, he didn't understand, something confusing.... like your kids are hurting, confused about.

Maybe they can see their father as someone who's sick, and in need of compassion..... but not at the kid's expense.  Just to understand there are broken people in the world,  how to manage their own feelings and emotions around them, which their father never learned.....
 would be very powerful and healing?

I pray your children don't blame themselves.

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.

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