I'm new to this group so I'll share some background. I divorced my ex of 14ish years after learning not only was he cheating on me with a woman he found on Craigslist the last couple of months but he had also been having affairs behind my back the duration of our marriage, having slept with at least 11 other women (that he could remember.) How I never noticed this was ever going on I can only chalk it up to blind love and his really damn good acting skill. Anyway, we have 2 kids together: 15 y/o son and 8 y/o daughter. The last 3 years of our marriage he was barely a full time student and refused to work. When I kicked him out, he was finishing school and still had no job, so in no position to argue for custody of the kids (and in all honesty I think parenting would have cramped his new open social calendar.) I have full custody of both kids, he has 13 hours of visitation and is supposed to pay $500/month in custody.
The issue I am having the most difficulty with has been the manipulation & emotional abuse of my ex to my son. My son loves his father, despite knowing what he did (my son unfortunately knows too many of the details). He doesn't see the hurtful things his dad says, in an attempt to illicit guilty feelings to love him more, as being hurtful. This weekend I got fed up when I found out he had guilted my son over having homework with this: "You're 15 now, you're not a baby. You need to manage your time better if spending time with me is important."
This is my son's first year in HS and he has been struggling with the change. He is failing half of his classes. I've been trying to support him and help him to study and get tutoring. The LAST thing he needs is his father feeling upset over having to do homework on his Sunday-Funday he has planned with them. The man can berate me for not taking them out to do anything fun - (sorry, I work 40+ hours weekly on top of all the other responsibilities parenting entails and at the end of the day, I don't have a lot of disposable income to go take them to fun places. Maybe I would if he paid his child support?) - and say anything he wants to to me and I will deal with it, but I draw the line at him directing it to my kids. When this happened, Mama Bear came out and it wasn't pretty.
We got into a really nasty shouting match in my doorway and my son tried to intervene, siding with his dad, and putting me in the middle, literally. My ex usues opportunities like this to manipulate his emotional 15 y/o and will deliberately say and do things to get to me, as was the case this Sunday. My son flat out refused to do anything I told him and would not leave to the other room no matter what I said, asked, did, or threatened to take away.
I've grounded my son from just about all of his privileges. He's generally a good kid but he doesn't seem to understand I am his parent first, not his friend, and there are certain times that his defiant behavior is unacceptable. I know he will see his dad's true colors eventually after growing up some and I don't feel right bad-mouthing him to my kids because that IS wrong, however, in my house it's my rules and they are not up for discussion or debate, especially in situations that if not controlled, could not only be very stressful and hurtful, but have potential to be dangerous.
Any thoughts in reigning in teenage boys and handling sticky spots with their dad?
December 10, 2012 at 4:33 PM
God that sucks !!!!! I don't have a teenage boy so I can't assume to relate to what you are going through. I have you tried speaking with him away from his father, I agree you should speak ill of their dad but maybe you can discuss the fact that when you and his dad are having a discussion especially one that is heated, he has to understand that it's not his place as child to come interprut. I would futher explain to him that while his father is in ther lives, you are they main care giver, both financialy, emotionally, and physically, so your rules avoid all is in his best interest and ones that have to be obeyed if this doesn't work maybe family therapy ?
I HATE how some men are able to manipulate any situation and anyone they please. I am so sorry you are going through this. The only thing I can say, is keep doing what you are doing. Make rules and stick with them. Try not to engage in his "father" no matter how mad he makes you, especially in front of son. Your ex will just use that as ammo against you in his manipulations. I know at 15 the last thing he wants is to talk to someone but I think counseling would be a god things for him. Don't talk bad about his dad either, it is up to him to figure out that his father is a pos. I know how hard it is, but if he thinks you are bad mouthing his dad it will only put more distance between you two. Again, I am sorry you are going through this. Just keep your head up and know that you are doing what is best for your son by being a strong, independent working mother. And if you are having a bad day, go in your room and beat up your pillow :) Always helps me!!
My ex does the exact same stuff to our daughter(13). He whines and cries to her about his financial and physical hardships. She's actually begged me to not make him pay child support. Thank god she only has to see him once a year.
Counseling would probably be good for your son. He will see his father for what he is one day.
December 11, 2012 at 2:16 AM
First, I would like to welcome you to this group!!!
Second, Wow!!! You have a lot on your plate!!! I may not be in your situation but I am hurt that you are going through this. (One of the many reason why I am pursuing to be a child advocate and family lawyer.) You are doing the right thing about not bad-mouthing the father of your children to them. You're son will eventually learn the true colors of his father. Right now, being the mom that you are is the only thing you can do. Be open to showering your children with extra love and care because as much as this situation is hard for you to manage, your son is obviously hurting and it is hard for him to understand the situation. Give him the chance to express himself when he is ready to. When it comes to your sons education, tell your son that you are proud of him and that you know that he is trying his best!!! Let your son know that you are there to help him with homework and with studying so that his homework will be done before spending time with his dad on Sunday. Keep the communication open between you and your son!!!!
Hope this encourages you.... Stay strong!!! I"m here for you!!!
by kenziessmomDecember 11, 2012 at 7:21 AM
This sounds like a topic I'm all too familiar with.....PARENTAL ALIENATION....
Do yourself a favor and look into Dr Warshak's Welcome Back Pluto DVD. I believe if you manage to get your son to sit and watch it with you, it will greatly improve your relationship with him. You may also want to mention it to your ex, who I'm sure wants no part of the backlash of the abuse.
Time will heal this one in the long one. Don't pressure your son to make a choice but show him you're sustained, gentle love. He'll come running back eventually.
I know exactly what you are going through. It's hard NOT bad mouthing my ex. He's done so much stuff to me and my DD it's literally incredible. Not sure if you have read my posts about my ex but he's a piece of work. Very manipulative with our DD. He tries to go backhandedly to try and win her over. He's tried to get her to accept his new life - he married the homewrecker and they have two kids together - born out of wedlock. The ex has stopped paying our DD and me the money he agreed to according to our divorce settlement. He gave nothing to our DD for her 18th b-day and graduation. My ex is a bonafide financial loser and always will be. We are going back to court for a contempt of court charge. My ex has failed to prooperly pay us the money he owes and we have no choice but to go after it. I spent the entire 26 years battling my ex about money and him not being a good provider. He's moody, lies, and has severe mental problems. Factor all of this into an almost daily relationship of ups and downs and you have the same life I have. My DD used to stand up for her father - feel sorry for him about his constant money problems, felt bad that she forget his b-day after he berrated her for doing so. Like your son, my daughter will eventually start to see the true light of her father. I wish that I could have given her a better father. I feel bad about this. My DD (and I for that matter) deserve a better father/husband. We got what we got. If my ex can't get his life together he will end up being divorced for a third time and eventually alienate his two kids he has with wife number three. I see the writing on the wall. Ex knows what he's doing. He just ignores it and thinks everyone is against him.
Family counseling or coparenting classes would help. I have to disagree with you bad mouthing the dad in front of him. IMO that is never appropriate. He can be made to understand the rules at home are different than at dads without bad mouthing his father.
by kenziessmomDecember 12, 2012 at 8:33 AM
That's very upsetting to hear. Have you ever thought about raising awareness and sharing your story? There's some out there but still very little input from adults who were victims as children. Sharing this info is vital to understanding and helping end the abuse to children.