Pd taking kids on his own for the first time

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CagedBirdSinging

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Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« on: April 10, 2021, 07:38:13 AM »
stbxpdH has taken the kids on his own for the first time. I'm in bits.

I have been putting this off for months. 2 months now since we left, I have been able to stall on pdH having the kids on his own. But he has been ramping up the pressure recently, ever since I made it clear that I am never going back to him. I'm trying to stay out of court, because he could be awarded much more custody. What he is actually asking for is fairly little (one day at weekend, with a few evening visits of 1 hour during the week). If it went to court, he could get awarded far more. So, in this stupid tactical game, I have decided to let him take them on his own for one day at weekends - starting with a few hours and building up to a full day + one overnight.

I am in pieces. It feels so counter-intuitive to leave them alone with a man I've been protecting them from for years. But if I denied him time with them, he will take me to court. It could be costly and extremely stressful, and would likely result in him being awarded increased custody. I have no faith in the system. PdH is well able to fool any psychiatrist. I have seen it with my own eyes.

Am I doing the right thing??
For today, he has only taken them for 2 hours. I will be a nervous wreck until they come back safely.

Also, I have been reading a couple of books lately which have really upset and confused me. The main one is 'Raising Resilient Children' by Fjelstad. The first chapters were great, described exactly how living with pdH felt - unpredictable atmosphere, mystification, denial, hostility and intimidation. I could relate to all of it. She describes the devastating emotional impact on kids. GREAT, I thought. This reaffirms why I left. But then in the second half of the book, I felt she comes down heavily on the side of staying in the marriage. To be honest the book has really upset me. The tactics she suggests involve; leaving the house if the pd is spiraling into an episode, staying away for the day or overnight if neccesary (WHERE? Staying where? She described in previous chapters how it's likely you have been cut off from friends and family because of pd). Basically she seems to advocate a lifetime of grey rock/ MC, followed by eventual leaving once the kids are grown. Now I just feel... should I have stayed? Should I have put up with pdH, stuck to MC, just endured it for the sake of the kids? At least I would never have experienced the stress of situations like today, watching them drive away from me, worried sick...

But if I had stayed, I couldn't have protected them forever. He would have turned on them eventually.
Right now he is acting like Dad of the Year, posting wildly on Instagram, rallying his family and friends around him - they all think I left for no reason, POOR HIM. It is truly sickening, when I think of the moody, sullen, hostile jerk I lived with for years. When we were together he rarely bothered with the kids. Now he is obsessed with them. I've heard this is quite common among newly separated pds - is it an ego thing?

Anyway this is fairly rambling and incoherent, but I would so appreciate any words of wisdom from other people who have been through similar.
I'm off to make a cup of tea and try to do some deep breathing!!!!

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Stillirise

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2021, 10:41:28 AM »
How did it go?  I can relate to all of this.  I’m one year out, and can say it has gotten easier.  In our case, he agreed to EOW and 1 night per week, with no hesitation.  I was afraid to ask for even more time on my side, because as you say, in court, he would be awarded significantly more time.

In our case, he is still playing up the awesome dad bit on his EOW.  That’s not the worst, I suppose, though there have been some accidents due to lack of supervision on his time, as well as the fact that he lives in filth.  He has a myriad of excuses about why this is, and how it will improve with time. 

He has only shown up maybe 2-3 times all year, for his one night per week, and those were just for a couple hours, never a weekday overnight.  I keep a shared calendar with all of the children’s appointments and activities. He occasionally shows up to part of a sporting event or practice on my time, portrays himself a hero for being there, then leaves.

The Raising Resilient Children book...When I got mired in that part, I skipped to the chapter toward the end, about raising them in separate homes. After that, then went back and read the parts I found relevant and useful to my situation in other sections.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2021, 10:43:53 AM by Stillirise »
You may shoot me with your words,
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But still, like air, Iíll rise.
óMaya Angelou

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CagedBirdSinging

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2021, 10:57:32 AM »
They got back ok - such a relief.

Thanks for sharing your experience stillrise. I'm trying to avoid the EOW scenario because that would mean Friday night till Sunday evening, and it would be too much - for pdH and for the poor kids. He could not handle them for that length of time. At the moment he is admitting to that. He says he only wants them for one full day, one overnight, and short weekday visits. Currently 3 nights during the week  :'(

You're fortunate your ex was happy to settle for one night. I don't think pdH will agree as easily. He will keep pushing for more and more time. I will never get away from him. I feel like I have made things worse for my kids. I feel totally bullied, intimidated and afraid of him. I live in fear of him demanding and being granted increased custody. His OCD is very severe, and the kids are now his obsession.

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SparkStillLit

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2021, 11:18:00 AM »
I don't want to be stepping in and blabbing where I don't belong, but every time updh has pushed me (we are together, one kid is grown and one is mostly grown) on something I DID NOT want to give him, he gave up pretty quickly when it turned out to be *work*.
I think we can all agree that kids on your own are definitely work.
It was more about pushing me around and getting his way than about the actual....whatever it was, and he didn't like putting himself out or being inconvenienced (and again, kids are pretty damn "inconvenient"). I think and hope the bloom will get off the rose pretty quickly in your situation, and he will stick to the low amount of time with the kids, maybe fading to NO time as he gloms on to a new interest.

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CagedBirdSinging

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2021, 11:32:05 AM »
Thanks Spark. Let's hope you're right. He definitely has an aversion to work, so hopefully he will be happy to keep a fairly low amount of parenting time. I don't think he will ever disappear off the scene though. He is a narcissist, and the kids are definitely an ego thing.

This is how I predict it will go: pdH will soon meet a new woman. He will tell her his sob story about how he isn't getting enough time with his kids. He will show the kids off to this new woman. She will think they are so cute, will encourage him to seek more custody. We will end up in court, he will convince the judge he is mentally stable, he will be awarded EOW custody... I just don't know how I will cope.

On the good side, he is not asking for whole weekend at the moment- but that could change.

Having one of those days I feel like I shouldn't have left! Hurt and scared. Wishing I had never met him. Angry at myself for marrying him so quickly without taking time to figure out what he was really like.

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SparkStillLit

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2021, 12:35:42 AM »
You definitely should have left. Now you can model one stable and sensible home.
I personally see all the damage done to the YA and I could kick myself in the ass, and yet I STILL remain fairly foggy with F being a big part.
You don't want to be me.
Narcs hate to be put out.  You'll see. For now just breathe and don't project too far ahead, you'll just get your mind all knotted up. There's people here who have got you, they have been through this nonsense and out the other side.

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CagedBirdSinging

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2021, 05:05:43 AM »
Thanks Spark. I had a bad day yesterday, but today feels better already. The days when I don't have to see stbx are easier.

I know it's better for the kids to have a peaceful home, free from pd weirdness. I just worry so much about him having them on their own for longer periods, or overnight.

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Penny Lane

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2021, 03:12:53 PM »
Hi, I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. I'm glad the first visit went well but I understand your anxiety about this. And I think your instinct about him getting a girlfriend and trying to push for more custody, unfortunately, might be right. However, hopefully you can get everything signed and finalized before he has a chance to change his mind! Judges are often reluctant to undo a signed agreement.

I want to suggest a mindset shift for you. But first I want to acknowledge that this is not an easy shift. I think probably every divorced parent has to go through this to some degree, and I know it took my DH years to internalize this. But I think moving in this direction will help you to make better decisions and agonize less.

So, here is the shift. You can't fully protect your kids from your ex. No matter how limited his time is with them, and how closely you supervise it, he is still their dad. And if he is determined to hurt them, sometimes he might succeed. This is terrible! It's really not OK. But it's true.

Where you are at right now - trying to limit his visitation and his decision making power - is just the first step. It's a very important one that will set the stage for the rest of their childhoods.

But once this is done, you'll have to live with the fact that he does have some control, and he is going to use it badly at least sometimes. While you can't control what he does, what you can do is make the kids more resilient about it. This is very important! The kids need the emotional and logistical tools to deal with whatever he throws them.

What does this look like? For us some of it is making sure they take can take care of themselves, get fed and showered, when their mom is in a neglectful stage. When they were younger it was like, helping them realize when they're tired and being able to articulate that they need to go to bed. In a more sophisticated sense, it's giving them emotional tools that their mom doesn't promote or in some cases actively undermines. Practicing saying no. Teaching them the fact that just because someone else is upset doesn't mean you need to internalize it and become upset yourself. Working on conflict resolution skills between everyone in the family - how do you get what you want when someone else wants something different? (Spoiler: it's not throwing a tantrum, which is what BM does!) Giving them big and small opportunities to make good decisions for themselves. And so on.

At some point it will be time to redirect your energy toward these things. The more you can start that shift - while still spending enough energy on court stuff - the better equipped the kids will be at times like this. And the more skills the kids have, the less you will have to engage with your ex, because you can trust that the kids will know what to do. That will put you in a better position to heal - which is ultimately the best thing for you and for the kids.

This is a roadmap that my therapist sort of laid out for me and DH. It has helped tremendously. I hope that focusing your energy and anxiety on these areas might help you too. Either way we are here for you and we understand your stress!

 :bighug:

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Medowynd

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2021, 06:01:55 PM »
I can definitely testify about interfering girlfriends that encouraged the ex to get more visitation etc.  I had to give in to overnight visits because the ex threatened to take me to court.  During his day visits, my daughter would be returned, not wearing diapers and having not been fed all day.  But that didn't matter, he had to have his visitation.  I started packing diapers and sack lunches for her.  It was a real challenge to let her go with him. 

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Rose1

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #9 on: April 14, 2021, 07:41:17 AM »
Penny Lane's comments are unfortunately very true. My exbpdh loves to have attention and his rights but is work averse so a lot of his stuff was about his rights and threats because he wasn't getting his perceptions met, but it was rare because kids interfered with his life style.

Once he got involved with current wife things changed a bit because he had convinced her to fix the relationship with his kids which didn't exist. I had a very strong and unexpected emotional reaction to that.

In the preceeding years as oldest hit her teens we had a number of discussions around mental illness , management of pd behaviour (because ex started to threaten suicide to her and started to treat her badly) etc. We had a plan. She had a mobile phone, cheap call only,  instructions that she was to call me from the toilet and walk out of the house if she felt threatened or unsafe,  not to let him see the ph because he would likely destroy it in rage, and not to go back for her stuff.  We'd get it later. Interesting this last one was the difficulty, giving herself permission to leave her stuff, not go back.

This was all for worst case. She was very uncomfortable around some of his friends and he told her that was her problem basically.
Interesting she never used it.  But it was her security blanket and she learned how to manage bpd behaviour.  She also learned she didnt care for it and went nc at 24. She has some ptsd from some of the stuff that happened which I feel bad about,  but as Penny said, you can't control the pd. We were very lucky that he didn't want much to do with the kids and that I had good legal advice not to pursue time with him for the girls.
But I know that now. At the time I had this idea kids need both parents. Well they don't need  pd.

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Stillirise

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2021, 11:39:21 AM »
This is such great advice in the posts above.  As I look back on my journey, I can now see how I was almost subconsciously preparing my children to be independent, from a young age.  Itís a good practice for any family, I suppose, but itís like my mind knew these particular children would need to know how to hold their own even sooner than they should have to.

It started with things Penny Lane mentioned, but also, things like, running a bath thatís not too hot, dressing themselves appropriately for the weather, proper dental hygiene, that granola bars are better than hostess cakes in a pinch, confidence in pouring milk....you get the picture. I started these practices with them at 2-3 years old.  Now they are 10/12, and can do laundry, prepare a complete meal, manage their sleep, take care of pets, etc.  I hoped if they had the confidence and skills to meet their own physical needs, it would make building the resilience in managing PD behaviors a little easier.  Yes, I still occasionally baby them at homeóIím their mom.  At least I now know what they are capable of.  The verdict is still out on my methods,  but Iím hoping for the best!

Youíve got this. 
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, Iíll rise.
óMaya Angelou

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CagedBirdSinging

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2021, 09:48:34 AM »
Thanks everyone. I appreciate you sharing your experiences (some of which quite frankly terrify me). Some of this stuff sounds awful and makes me want to go back to the marriage, just so that I can protect my kids. People whose pds just disappear after separation don't know how lucky they have it. My pd will plague me FOREVER. There will never be any peace. I just hate this. There is no winning.

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hhaw

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2021, 10:25:24 AM »
CBS:

My first divorce attorney gave me some good advice....
"Don't let the PD know it upsets you when he has the kids."

My ASPD went from threats to refusing time with the kids when I'd pack weekend bags for them and ask ASPD to take them, keep them.....I acted cool as a cucumber and, just like the attorney said, ASPD couldnt give the girls back sooner.  He actually called 10 minutes after leaving for the water park and as ked to bring back youngest DD.  I said NO, and pretty much he never took them again our side the house.

I made sure to offer them up regularly, documenting at that point, to show he didn't take the visitation.

It's a terrifying dive, but it was the best advice an attorney ever gave me.  It completely unhooked PD's ability to toy with me. 

My PD had a busy life scuba diving and dating....planning to flee the country, etc.
 Children are work.

I will say, my fear was the PD would take all the visitation I offered and the kids wouldn't survive it, or it would be evidence in a custody case.  PD didn't know anything about parenting or care to.

For me, it was the right decision.  I had to find a way to mask my fear and I did it by packing bags and blathering details of childcare at PD.....like I expected him to listen and retain it.  He pretty immediately got that long distance stare and lost visible interest in seeing the kid's.
Then he seemed irritated when I offered the girls up, which I did often.  I think babysitting, whilegiving me  time to play, like he played, was zero fun for him. 

I also told PD I'd support him to be the best possible dad he could be.  This puzzled and disarmed him.  He wanted to fight and the kids SHOULD have been terrifying leverage, but weren't.  I could see him wonder what went wrong.

It was grand.

Stay strong.  Document notes you write for meds and care.  Don't let the PD see you sweat.



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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GentleSoul

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2021, 11:18:52 AM »
Just sharing my experience here, I hope it helps.

I worked in Child Support for about ten years. 

Very commonly people would make big big fuss about access to the children.  Demanding their rights etc.  Ok, so access would be set up.  Then quite often once the person realised what hard work it was, it would just fizzle out.  They just wouldn't bother. 

Of course, often access was used as a weapon against the other parent.  So again, if the parent didn't appear to be upset or give the reaction wanted, access would fizzle out.

These people tend to be good at shouting and making a big fuss. But it ends there.  They don't have the commitment to follow it through.

So in your case, it might take care of itself.

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Penny Lane

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2021, 06:54:43 PM »
I'm sorry we scared you CagedBird! It's a lot for sure, and it is a huge change from what your life was like before.

I would argue that you actually are protecting the kids from him, in the long term, more when you're apart. You're going to be amazed at the kind of relationship that will develop without your ex getting in the way. There will be peace! He won't want you to have it, but you will be able to claim it for yourself - and more of it than when you were together.

When I met DH he was constantly, constantly talking to his ex, dealing with her, exchanging several emails a day. (I think you will have less interaction right out of the gate anyway, since your ex has much less parenting time than BM did/does). Now he talks to her maybe a couple times a week? She's mostly learned that she can't really get a rise out of him, so the communication is much less harass-y. And even when she does cross the line, DH is in such a better mental state that it mostly doesn't bother him.

The kids have made great strides emotionally from where they were when I met them. I don't think that their mom is on track to mess them up permanently. I also think that DH is in a much much better position to prevent that when he's not spending his emotional energy trying to deal with her. I'm biased, obviously, and I didn't know DH when he was married to BM. But DH and others who knew them all when he was married before say the same things.

You will get to this place! Your life will be so much better! Your kids are going to thrive! It will take some inner work and some boundaries of steel, but you and your kids have so much good stuff ahead of you with your ex mostly not around.

 :bighug:

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Rose1

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Re: Pd taking kids on his own for the first time
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2021, 08:55:15 PM »
I found too that when I expected ex to take kids it didn't last long. He gave himself away when he said he was helping me out. Which he had no intention of doing.
I wonder if you tell him what an awesome time you had with your freedom and you're really looking forward to getting regular time to yourself, what would happen? In my case visits went almost to 0, but the complaints didn't. Only you can know.
Ex stirred occasionally when his ubpdm guilted him or when a new gf was on the scene. He tried the I'll just take one of the kids at a time. I said absolutely not.
But like hhaw he had a scuba diving,  motor bike riding lifestyle and kids didn't fit.  Once I asked him to look after oldest when she was sick and once when I went with friends to the beach for a couple of days. Both times were dramas for him because he had other plans and he just dragged the kids with him, even with a fever.
It was always about making my life difficult,  never about the kids. He has reaped what he sowed and has no relationship with them as adults