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    • #134030

      Hi, I was wondering if anyone has problems with their kids after they’ve been to stay with their ex?

      My child and I really have a good relationship and are very close, even though my ex has called me a liar and badmouthed me to them and done everything possible to cause problems between us. I try not to get drawn into it but even though I’ve been out of the relationship for quite some time, my ex just keeps on. I drop my child off for a visit and it’s all fine with us; when I pick them up they’re off with me. Maybe I’m being paranoid because I’m the only person who really knows what my ex is like and how much he lies and manipulates but I think he’s trying to paint himself as the victim at every opportunity and me as the bad guy so my child sides with him (I’ve seen text evidence of this very recently).

      I don’t want to play a game of t*t for tat and I don’t want to involve our child even though my ex says everything about me; there is so much I could say about him but I don’t as it’s wrong to do that to a child. I should say I have absolutely had zero contact with my ex since the day I left and all contact is done via 3Rd parties. I’m really proud of this and think it really gets to him that I haven’t backed down. So he uses our child instead. I’m also involved in legal stuff at the moment where some indisputable facts about my ex are coming out and I think he’s furious he might start getting found out fir what he really is; an abuser. So the ante at the moment is ramping up.

      I don’t even know what I’m trying to ask really but has anyone else experienced this with their kids? How do you cope with it? I’m seething today and I know I’m going to have years of this ahead. No point thinking about parental alienation angle. My child will never admit that my ex has said anything and wouldn’t forgive me if tried to stop visits. So I’ve got to endure it. I just need advice on how to do this? And how to defend myself to my child when I can’t say well actually your dad did this, this and this. In truth I do think that my child does blame me and seems to accept everything their dad says as gospel. It’s a hard pill to swallow when it’s you that have been the victim.

      Anyway, if any of you ladies have any advice/experience to share it would be most appreciated x*x

    • #134034

      In the long term the best thing you can do is keep recording incidents of your child saying things about you that are incorrect. Just a quick note of date, what was said, any behavioural/anxiety issues related to it etc. You will need to build up a pattern of when these things have occurred for court. Never use the PA terminology though as that is a very controversial concept which is most commonly used by men accused of abuse. The best way to phrase is is post separation abuse / coercive control.

      My children are exactly the same, and what I do isn’t directly challenge what has been said but encourage them to think for themselves. So as a random example, if a child came back saying you are a horrible mum because their Dad says you are always angry, ask the child if they think you are angry, when did they last see you angry etc. Teach them how to assess the things they are being told, and you can practise these sorts of critical thinking skills in other ways too (e.g. discussing news headlines or stories online). Over time they will realise that you are the calm, kind and rational parent, unlike your ex. Its slowly starting to work for my child, but its a slow process and also not nice for them to realise their dad is lying to them.

    • #134038

      Hi Cakepops, thanks for the response. I think using the critical thinking skills approach is a great idea. I’m definitely going to try that. Thank you xx

      Yes I agree it’s hard for kids to realise that their dad is lying. His behaviour took me in for years and I believed everything he said so why should a child who loves and trust them, doubt them. My child called me a liar about the abuse to my face; facts afterwards proved otherwise but it’s so awful to have your child say such a hurtful thing. We’ve moved on from that now thankfully but it is an example for my child of one occasion where his dad has been caught out.

      I just want to get to a point where what my ex says doesn’t bother me and he is unable to forge a wedge between me and my child, whatever he says. He will never stop as that’s who is. I need to change how I deal/react to it. 💪💪💪 xx

    • #134044

      “I allow you to make up your own mind about your Dad. Please make up your own mind about me based on what you know about me and not based on what anyone else says about me.” worked for my son.

      He was an older teen at the time and it turns out that I hadn’t needed to say it.

      He was so much wiser about his Dad than I was.

    • #134069
      Wants To Help

      Hi lifebegins,

      I sympathise with you as I had this too.

      When I look back, I think I was always trying too hard to ‘do something’ to ‘set the record straight’. I could never see my ex in the same way as my son would see him, so I always thought that my son would see him in the same way as I did. However, I realise now that that wasn’t always the case. Don’t get me wrong, there were times when my son would come back and tell me some horrendous stories of what he’d witnessed/been subjected to, but there were also times when I’d see things as a ‘dig’ at me that weren’t necessarily so. For instance, if my ex took my son on a day out that I couldn’t afford to do I’d assume he’d done that to spite me and do it to rub my nose in it that I couldn’t do such a thing with him. So my son would come home excited after he’d had a genuinely nice weekend and I’d see the negative in it. I wouldn’t say this to my son, but it would leave me with negative, resentful feelings, that I now see were not good for me. I looked for the bad in him with everything he did, which was always easy to find!

      Our children don’t have the same relationship with them as we did. They will defend them, as they may well defend us to them (but we just don’t hear about it) as they want to keep the peace at all times. If you think back how many times we defended our ex’s to other people because we didn’t want anyone thinking badly of them then we can understand why our children do it. So, it was okay for me to think/know my ex was an abuser, but if anyone else told me that then I’d always have an excuse to hand that he was stressed/tired/under pressure at work.

      I remember from your posts last year the age your son will be now. I’m pretty sure that he’ll be getting a good idea of what his dad is like but he’ll probably not want to admit this to himself, let alone anyone else. He’ll look for the good in him, just like we did. There will be times when he has genuine good times with him and there’ll be times when he doesn’t like what he’s saying but he’ll be too scared and inexperienced to call him out on it.

      The balance I found was accepting that what happened when my son visited was out of my control. If my son came back with certain opinions or accounts of his visit I would listen but not react in any negative way that could be construed as me always putting his dad down. After one visit, my son did thank me for ‘running away’ with him and told me he knew what his life would have been like if I’d have stayed with his dad. I have to admit that was such a nice moment for me. It was like the affirmation I needed to know that I’d done the right thing.

      My son is an adult now and his relationship with his dad is now fractured. My son has seen him in his true colours and has decided to sever that relationship all by himself based on his dad showing himself for who he truly is. In the end, the truth comes out without any input from us at all.

      Just keep on doing what you are doing and stay dignified until the end. You have done amazingly well and I’m really proud of all you have achieved, you have endured so much but have kept your head held high and stayed so strong in the face of adversity.


    • #134089

      Thank you ladies for your wise advice. It was comforting for me to hear that I’ve not been alone with this (although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone else).

      I put my feelings to one side yesterday as my head felt like it was going to explode and concentrated on other things and had a really good night’s sleep. I feel so much better today.

      Reading what you’ve said today has been a light bulb moment for me; I don’t want to be this angry resentful person (like my ex) and I don’t want my child to feel torn when they’re with me; they have enough to deal with everytime they see their Dad with that behaviour. As I said he will never stop and he will always trying to paint me as a liar and the one causing trouble and trying to get my son onside. He pits people against each other in other relationships too.

      So I’ve decided I’m going to do my level best to not rise to it, carry on being there if my child wants to talk and encourage them to use their own thinking and not feel that I have to justify myself or expect my child to agree that I’m in the right . Does anyone have any exercises/therapies thar they use to help with not rising to things? I’ve had counselling which has been great but could do with some other tools in my box if you have any suggestions?

      I hope the day comes very soon that I’m not so bothered by my ex’s words and actions! I already feel 100 times better than when I left. I guess this is just another step in the journey xx

    • #134152

      I had CBT via the NHS recently. I was rather cynical it would help as I’ve done online CBT before and I know all the techniques. However, I found that it has made an enormous change to how I view things. Not so much the CBT techniques itself, but I think the discussions really challenged me to reconsider the way I was viewing some issues.

      The biggest change is that I am now feeling more acceptance of the situation. My ex will continue to try and cause issues. My children will continue to be affected by it. I am doing what I can to try and help (via getting support for myself and my children, and also via court) but there is no more I can do. I am the sort of person who always likes to do something, to find a practical solution. I have had to accept that this is just outside my influence. Bizarrely I have found that accepting things may not change for a long time has helped my stress levels. I suppose its because I am no longer on edge trying to find a solution that doesn’t exist.

      Another thing I find helpful is that I sometimes reply to my ex’s ridiculous emails with exactly what I feel like saying. Then I delete it all and reply using the yellow rock technique (like grey rock but better if there is or is likely to be court involvement). If you do this always make sure you take out you ex’s email address first just in case you hit send too early. Its therapeutic to have a rant even if you can’t send it.

      Finally, they way I view the things my ex does/says has changed over time too. I am not religious and forgiveness isn’t on the agenda. But I no longer feel hatred/anger etc for the things he has done (except when reading emails/solicitors letter accusations sometimes). I actually feel sorry for him. He has a new partner and yet all his focus is on making accusations against me, telling the children lies, making up ‘incidents’, contacting professionals with complaints etc. He clearly doesn’t enjoy his time with the children when all this is eating him up inside. He hasn’t actually moved on despite it seeming so in theory. He is going to ruin his relationship with the children as they start to pick up on all the lies. I will continue to be the kind, loving and consistent parent, and in the long-run this no douby be far happier than him.

    • #134215

      Thanks for the response cakepops. A lot of what you say resonates with me; we have a lot of similarities with our situations, unfortunately. It’s actually like we were with the same man! I too am always looking for solutions but you’re right sometimes there just isn’t anything we can do.

      Im going to look into CBT now. I need something just to get me to the next step in the journey. I really want to stop feeling angry and stressed with his antics. Very hard at the moment with all I have going on but I don’t want to waste any more of my precious energy and life on him than I absolutely have to.

      Onwards and upwards 💪 xx

    • #134259

      It took me about a year to get CBT so get on the waiting list as soon as you can. I know some areas offer services really fast – its just pot luck sadly.

      You can also look into getting support for your children if that’s an option locally. Women’s aid sometimes run courses for kids, or have support workers etc. They are child led services and really good.

    • #134394

      Hello everyone,

      First time posting here. I looked for a topic relating to children as my son today told me for the first time that he doesn’t love me but he loves his daddy. We were waiting for his father to arrive and collect him. It’s a crushing feeling as I’ve put my whole life in parenting him for the last few years and my ex was mostly missing. I was alone and stretched beyond recognition. My ex has been the fun-dad, all actual parenting or difficult process was left to me.

      As of the last few weeks my ex has finally stepped up and has our son for a couple of days a week (probably with the help of his family). It’s more than he has ever parented while we were together. And it’s always intense and fun when they’re away from the house, full of family and friends, from what I hear. I do wonder why my ex couldn’t be there in that way in the last few years.

      I’m a quieter person, and with everything that’s been going on my light is dimmer than usual. I still have a long way to go to be free but I feel desperation when my child has been coerced out of our usual strong bond. My son is still a toddler and probably has a hard time processing the change. How do I deal with his emotions? How do I deal with my pain when confronted with his reactions?

      I don’t want to compete by just upping the intensity of our time together as I like to foster a calm and gentle environment.

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