The past…

I thank you for your kind words in the last 24 hours.

I have also had support, in real life, from my friends J and K and my brother. J phoned my ExH today and told him that his behaviour was unacceptable. The “issue” is apparently that my ExP was mean to the children.  the children have told their father some things… and I am to blame. Hence the tirade of abusive words. Are you seeing this? The logic? No, me neither.

Apparently he (ex husband) thinks “it needed to be said” although since ExP is not living here and has NO contact with the children, it’s pretty hard to see why it needed to be said ! It’s also pretty hard to see why anything needed to be said at 3am, using that language. I am left with the conclusion that either a) he was drunk /drugged or b) he’s been storing up a load of black bitter thoughts in his heart – saving them for when I would be vulnerable … or maybe it’s both…

either way, I have done nothing to provoke this, I am his children’s mother and have done 95% of everything for those children, including maintaining their relationship with their father despite his drug abuse, and significant provocation. I deserve to be treated with respect.

He also conveniently forgets that it was HE who hit son #2 with a remote control, over the head, resulting in a police caution for domestic abuse; he who left the children alone in a sweet shop and drove off when they were 8 and 5 leaving them hysterical until his mother went to rescue them;  he who threatened me with a knife; he who kicked son no #1 down the stairs;  he who caused me to flee my home in terror with three kids as he was so aggressive. I do not think ExPs treatment of the children was ok – and ultimately that split us up, but he was not physical with me or the children and I never once felt as scared of him as I did of ExH’s violent, irrational, vindictive outbursts.

I’m more angry than tearful today. More indignant than upset. Apparently one other thing I have done wrong is deciding to send son #3 to school B (selective state, so free) rather than school A (private) when son 3 would have preferred school A.. since he (ExH) would not have offered to pay one penny for that education I think it’s a bit rich that he critisises me for this …

the unfairness if it all really stings. I hate being blamed for things I have not done, and I hate being criticised unfairly. I hate that my children will have to listen to him slagging me off because he’s too emotionally immature to understand that this is BAD FOR THEM. I hate that he’s seen a weak spot and ruthlessly gone for it with a stiletto blade. The caption at the top? That’s him, for all he pretends to be a Christian, and he has got VERY churchy and preachy – no true Christian would behave as he has.

So, for the record … ExP did not treat son #1 as he should have. It was wrong the way he behaved and our relationship ended largely because of this. BUT there were also good times, both between him and son #1 in the early years, and between him and the other boys. Ultimately being a blended family didn’t work, but it was not ALL bad, and not all exP’s fault.

I know I’m not really vulnerable, there are two dogs here – I’m pretty sure Lola would go for anyone who tried to harm me. My two eldest sons are bigger than him… but he scares me. I think it’s because he’s totally unpredictable and has no limits beyond which he wouldn’t go. Once in the past when I fled the house during a violent rant, I was terrified he would kill the children (who were upstairs) to get back at me… he is, or can be, that unstable. Yesterday’s totally unexpected tirade has brought it all back..

So, wise, sober people .. help me. I need some advice about how to discuss this with my children. Firstly how to help them see that their father is not an emotionally safe person to confide anything in… without making him sound like the devil… and secondly to help them discuss and reflect upon and put into context their relationship with ExP, the good and the bad. Help them to express their emotions about it, allow them to be angry (with me too) but not OTT … it’s too close to me, I’m lost … but we all need some help ..

 


9 comments

  1. It’s always been my opinion that physical care and protection takes precedence over anything else. It seems like you are doing that.

    I would advise against making them see what he is like. I would advise providing love, support, positive feelings towards your children. Always, always, always be on higher ground….
    …they WILL form their own opinions.

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  2. Lily, have you thought about going to family counseling with your children? Is there a family member or friend you could confide in who would be willing to step up to be an ear for the kids? Someone that they would trust? Kids need to learn to talk about things and work through issues just as we do, but it is hard for them to find someone to confide in a lot of the time, so they just talk to who they figure they should be able to trust.
    My ex husband was extremely volatile and abusive and I didn’t think that I would ever get out of that relationship alive. Someone told me years ago that the best thing I could do was never say anything negative to the kids about their dad because they are 1/2 him and to a child they can take that personally and feel that you think the same way about them. Let his actions speak for him. One of the hardest things I had to learn to do was stay calm and detached when talking about him to the kids, when I wanted nothing more than to protect them from him.
    Good luck.

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  3. I believe it would be worth bringing in a counsellor to help broach this topic.
    Your kids are fairly old. I expect they all know all this….perhaps #3 thought he would win some points complaining about school. He is probably shocked and scared if he knows his words were used against you. In fact, they all probably feel torn between parents and as much as they recognize you are the reliable one, sometimes people do strange things. An outside party may help you immensely. Otherwise it is hard to not take everyone’s actions personally, which is not healthy for you.

    You may never get the respect or care you deserve from your ex. That’s ok. You don’t need it. You respect yourself enough to let others believe what they want.
    Continue to build your boundaries.

    Hugs

    Anne

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  4. I’m utterly unqualified to comment on the subject of parenting so I’m not going there. On the personal safety thing, our self defense options are pretty limited legally but one thing I have done is have a small jar of salt and maybe a bit of black pepper mixed together and leave it near the front door. If trouble arrives a handful of that in the eyes will leave them vulnerable. I also have a mini pot of the same in my handbag and car dashboard. I hope to never need to use any of them but in a pinch I’d try it. It’s very unlikely to come to that, as you say, it sounds like a mid night drunken rant. Take care x

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  5. Are the children repeating conversations that they have overheard? I remember when My parents were going through marriage issues my brother and I would listen outside their door to every conversation. We were so worried they were going to divorce. But we often got the wrong end of the stick and it caused us more pain than was necessary. Children are like sponges, soaking in everything. I have a tumultuous relationship with one of my relatives but whenever I talk about her in front of the children I speak of her in a positive manner. I don’t want them going to her and telling her everything I have said if it is not friendly! I have been burned before. If you truly think that the children have been hurt by the relationship with ExP then it might be time to seek counselling.

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    • I think they are processing a lot of unspoken ‘stuff’ from the last 18 months. I have spoken quite openly with son 1 about the stress for me of living with him and ExP, and he (son 1) is honest that his own behaviour was extremely difficult. (Obviously as he is my son, I forgive this, and tried to accommodate him as far as possible but he was very very challenging) Son 1 says he feels guilty the my relationship broke down in part due to his behaviour and we have talked about how I do not blame HIM – it is between the adults. The boys are close to each other, and talk amongst themselves. Son 2 loved ExP in many ways, although he was angry with him for being ‘mean to my brother’. ExP was good with son 2 (mostly) and helped him., shared interests with him and encouraged him, took him to music gigs etc. Like many of us, son 2 struggles with reconciling the nice side and the nasty side… I am sure this increased talking and reflection within our home has spilled out and they have now said stuff to their father. I don’t think I have done wrong discussing it – but they are young to manage all these complex emotions…

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  6. I agree with the suggestions about family counseling-a place that’s safe for your kids to express themselves-for all of you to heal from this. I also agree that they will form their own opinions. At the very least they have witnessed all of the hard work that you’ve done this past year and the changes that have taken place because of it. It’s a lot for an adult to process and even more so for children.You are trying so hard-facing so many scary things-and while it’s hard being in it-I think it’s good that things come to the surface. That’s when they can be worked through.

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