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Manipulation or attempt to repair relationships?

Old 02-06-2011, 08:22 PM
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Manipulation or attempt to repair relationships?

Sorry, to post so much on here lately. I feel like a board hog. I'm very appreciative for the honesty here and I feel like the dose of reality is helping me to process things more quickly. And I want the pain to be over soon.

For those who don't know, AH and I are separated but living in the same house. He is actively drinking and seeing a therapist for other issues of his own (not alcoholism).

Since we agreed we would divorce he has become more responsible and has started reaching out to our kids age 15 & 17. He's doing his laundry and taking care of his elderly dad (I used to do this). He's cheery while he used to be gloomy and negative. He's talking to the girls and I, he ignored us before unless necessary.

My youngest daughter is just eating this up. She got her permit this week and he took her out driving for the first time, not once but twice today. He couldn't be bothered to take our oldest out when she got her license and many times refused to let her drive when he was in the car because it was too stressful. My youngest daughter has always tried to reach out to her dad, letting him know she loved him and making sure to try to connect with him. Now they're talking and joking when no talking occured before.

He's also started to hide his drinking, taking it outside and scrambling bottles from the fridge to the car so I can't tell how much he's drinking-I shouldn't even be keeping count. I think this is so they won't see him drinking.

I know I should be glad he's trying to reach out in a positive way to them. Maybe he's trying to build a positive relationship before the divorce. Something in me just doesn't trust this though. I feel like he's trying to win them over to take them away from me (real mature I know). I also don't want him to be there for them now and then drop down into his dark hole and disappoint them later when he becomes emotionally unavailable as he always has been. He couldn't be bothered with them before, unless it was something he wanted to do. Birthdays, softball games and recitals were only attended grudgingly.

Am I wrong to be suspicious? Could this be for positive reasons only? He's still ignoring my oldest though. Probably because she is quiet and doesn't reach out to him like the younger one does. This breaks my heart, because if she catches on to the""new relationship" her dad has with her sister, I know she'll be crushed.

I feel sick for suspecting anything. If he knew I was upset he would say 'm d*amned if I do, and D*mned if I don't. You complained when I didn't do things with them and now you're upset that I am."

Any thoughts?
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:28 PM
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In the interest of full disclosure, I answered "manipulation" before I even opened your post. But that's because I've read your other posts, and because my RAXH is such a world-class manipulator that my attorney considered him a sociopath.

My take on it is that he's trying to show you what an amazing guy he is, hoping that you'll change your mind on the whole divorce thing.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:31 PM
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Manipulation. Just what active alcoholics/addicts do.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:46 PM
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Thanks,I was feeling really sick, mentally ill, for thinking that he could possibly have manipulitive intentions that would involve my children.

The best thing for me to do would be to ask him to leave as soon as I find a job which will hopefully be this week, that way I won't have to watch this and expose my girls to it.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:47 PM
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I can only share my experience.

When our divorce was back underway we were still living together. We put our house up for sale. He began to hide his drinking. He worked very hard getting some things done in the house to make it ready to sell. He was pleasant and better with the kids. It lasted two weeks. The house was done. We still had it for sale. I was not withdrawing the divorce petition. He turned into a man I'd never seen before. He ranted and raved at me at the top of his lungs all night long - hours and hours and hours. I deleted a bunch of other stuff because my details are not important. Just sharing that it did not last and when he realized it wasn't chaning anything it got bad. That part of my seperation is the part I regret most because my children are much younger and they were traumatized. If I would have had more sense and more strength I would not have let it happen.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:53 PM
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Hi Lilamy, I don't think he's doing it for my benefit. We agreed to try to work things out a week ago. I lasted 5 days, until I said I can't work this out, it's too painful. The whole time we were supposed to be working on things he ignored me. I made 2 attempts to go out on a date with him and was turned down so he could sit home on the computer and drink. He seemed relieved when I said it wouldn't work and the next day is when he turned into an angel. I don't think it's for me, but for the girls or an attempt to hurt me by trying to divert their attention from me (we're very close).

I almost wish it was to win me back, then at least I'd have the comfort of knowing that he cared (but that's sick too).

Thanks for listening. I feel so bad/torn about this.
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Old 02-06-2011, 08:59 PM
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Thumper, I don't think you can blame yourself!! You couldn't predict how he would react and you were being practical by staying together until the house sold. You probably had no idea he was capable of that. Even if you or he had left he could have still came after you with the anger.

I think it's hard on the kids at any age. If they're young it's sacry and if they're old enough to understand then they see they parent in a light they should probably never see them in. It's hard either way.

Hugs to you!!
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Old 02-06-2011, 09:03 PM
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manipulation. Game over. What did I win?
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Old 02-06-2011, 11:51 PM
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Bloody h-ll. I'd typed out a whole response, which I think was pretty good and thoughtful, and then tried to insert a smilie.... Gone. I'm not sure I can catch it all again.

I'll start by saying that I said manipulation before opening the thread too. Knee-jerk reaction right now.

However, IMO, some one who is willing to accept responsibility for his action and the pain they've caused, accepts it across the board. If his actions have hurt one daughter, they've hurt the other daughter, too. I get that every child has a different personality and a different relationship with their father. But making up to the daughter who reaches out to him and not his other daughter is thoughtless and cowardly, at best, and manipulative at worse. It doesn't say that he's truly trying to change to me. IMO it says "I'm going to take the easy way to look like I'm trying to change."

Big hugs for you and your daughters.
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Old 02-07-2011, 12:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Chelle3 View Post
Thanks,I was feeling really sick, mentally ill, for thinking that he could possibly have manipulitive intentions that would involve my children.
Oh man, something I almost forgot about, some of us are sicker than others.

Speaking of myself, of course.

Early on in the relationship, less than a year, her ex-husband had moved out IIRC she wasn't getting formal legal support for her two kids-not my children.

I had left-again-and she sent the foamy text message to me, all caps:

'WHOSE GONNA FEED MY KIDS!!!'

I can admit now without embarrassment that I did go to the local Krogers' and get her a $100 gift certificate which I left at the service desk for her to pick up.

Instead of the healthy response, text her back 'You and the childrens father'.

Alcoholics/addicts say the darndest things.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:32 AM
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Is he manipulating the younger daughter so that he has a new enabler?
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:12 AM
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Hi Chelle3

I think its great that your posting regularly on here. It helps everyone who reads/posts not only you.

I still live with my active AH. It was upsetting me a lot that my AH wasn't managing to have a reasonable relationship with our daughters 20 and 23 yrs. When I brought it up with him, he pulled the classic blame shifting, and then reverted the discussion so that it became about me and my own relationship with my parents. Since then, he has been trying a bit harder although more so with our youngest daughter than the other.

I discussed this with my therapist last week, that his negativity about our daughters hurts me so much and she said sure, that's because they are so important to you, but you should be important to you too. I am working through that.

My youngest daughter had quite a few nasty conflicts with her dad when he bullied her and upset her. She even went for some psychotherapy which helped her a lot. Then my AH got sober for a few months and became 'wonder' dad. He apologized to her and said that he realised how wrong he had been. My youngest DD and AH were getting along really well and then he started drinking again and bullying her - again! She moved out of home at 19yrs due to her dads bullying and emotional abuse when she could finally take no more.

Now she no longer lives at home, she doesn't have to put up with his negative behaviors and can decide when to interact with him or not. Its been much healthier for her. However, she knows what he can be like and sees him being nice to her as 'false'. She has some trust issues with her dad because of his past bullying behaviors. She also cant understand why I stay and put up with him (as she sees it) but that's a whole other story.

When I read your thread, I immediately thought that your AH sounds like he is afraid to be alone and is putting some effort into repairing a relationship with his daughters. Will he be able to sustain this - I doubt it. It doesn't sound like he is doing it out of 'realization' of the damage he has done (by ignoring them) in the past, more like he is doing it for himself so that he doesn't end up all alone. Manipulative and selfish!

Please get some help for your daughters either through Al-anon or therapy, it helped my daughter a lot to know that she wasn't to blame and that her dads verbal abuse had nothing to do with her. I do feel that both of my DD;s have definitely been effected by their dads drinking in many ways and also by their mums issues surrounding the drinking (I have been mental with it all) and its a relief to know that they are able to discuss this with a third 'rational' party and feel at peace with it.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:32 AM
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You can't protect your daughters from emotional disappointment--alcoholics let people down on a constant basis. Al-Anon or Alateen would be good for them, most likely.

It really doesn't matter "why" he is behaving the way he is. You're already planning to divorce him. You can make yourself nuts analyzing his motives, or you can appreciate the fact that he's making life a little less difficult right now, knowing that it most likely won't last.

Hugs, you're doing great.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Eight Ball View Post
Hi Chelle3

I think its great that your posting regularly on here. It helps everyone who reads/posts not only you.

I still live with my active AH. It was upsetting me a lot that my AH wasn't managing to have a reasonable relationship with our daughters 20 and 23 yrs. When I brought it up with him, he pulled the classic blame shifting, and then reverted the discussion so that it became about me and my own relationship with my parents. Since then, he has been trying a bit harder although more so with our youngest daughter than the other.

I discussed this with my therapist last week, that his negativity about our daughters hurts me so much and she said sure, that's because they are so important to you, but you should be important to you too. I am working through that.

My youngest daughter had quite a few nasty conflicts with her dad when he bullied her and upset her. She even went for some psychotherapy which helped her a lot. Then my AH got sober for a few months and became 'wonder' dad. He apologized to her and said that he realised how wrong he had been. My youngest DD and AH were getting along really well and then he started drinking again and bullying her - again! She moved out of home at 19yrs due to her dads bullying and emotional abuse when she could finally take no more.

Now she no longer lives at home, she doesn't have to put up with his negative behaviors and can decide when to interact with him or not. Its been much healthier for her. However, she knows what he can be like and sees him being nice to her as 'false'. She has some trust issues with her dad because of his past bullying behaviors. She also cant understand why I stay and put up with him (as she sees it) but that's a whole other story.

When I read your thread, I immediately thought that your AH sounds like he is afraid to be alone and is putting some effort into repairing a relationship with his daughters. Will he be able to sustain this - I doubt it. It doesn't sound like he is doing it out of 'realization' of the damage he has done (by ignoring them) in the past, more like he is doing it for himself so that he doesn't end up all alone. Manipulative and selfish!

Please get some help for your daughters either through Al-anon or therapy, it helped my daughter a lot to know that she wasn't to blame and that her dads verbal abuse had nothing to do with her. I do feel that both of my DD;s have definitely been effected by their dads drinking in many ways and also by their mums issues surrounding the drinking (I have been mental with it all) and its a relief to know that they are able to discuss this with a third 'rational' party and feel at peace with it.
I am in 100% agreement on this!!!!
I am an adult child of an alcoholic and I purposely ditched many guys over the years because I recognized the signs of problems to come w/ alcohol but the sad thing is that my husband didn't have any problem (that I knew of) but there was something about him that drew me in....and well, you go to what you know. It's my personal motto.
I can tell you that the hardest thing for MY mom wasn't dealing w/ my DAD (drunk A$# Dad) and having him leave her when he got sober and was still on a dry drunk (he's on wife #6 now btw!). But to watch ME going through the same thing she did for all those yrs. She says if she had known she would have left him when she first realized what he was.
Get them help now....you may not think they need it but they do. Their future may depend on it.
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Old 02-07-2011, 01:54 PM
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You are doing great, Chelle! I forgot in my last post to mention AlaTeen. If there are meetings in your area, they would be wonderful sources of information and support for your girls.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:17 PM
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please get the girls in Alateen and you in al anon....its the bestest!
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:36 PM
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Thanks all, I am in alanon. When I go to my meeting this Friday I will mention Alateen to them as an option.

It's a weird dynamic to bring it up now, when it seems like their dad is doing so well: being friendly and cutting back on his drinking.
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Old 02-07-2011, 03:40 PM
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I forgot to add.... my vote is manipulation.

I am NOT saying he is doing it on purpose. I think it's part of their disease. I'm sure he doesn't realize that he is most definitely working on creating a "codie".
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by blwninthewind View Post
I forgot to add.... my vote is manipulation.

I am NOT saying he is doing it on purpose. I think it's part of their disease. I'm sure he doesn't realize that he is most definitely working on creating a "codie".
My vote too, but see above. I don't think he's doing it on purpose either - out of malice and spite. I, in my compassion today, think he may be genuinely trying, just in the wrong way. As long as he's actively drinking, though, none of this will matter because alcohol reigns over everything else in their world. Would be interesting to catch him in one of those feel good moments and calmly say, "this is what our life could look like all the time if you would get some help". Because it is a disease and he needs help.
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Old 02-07-2011, 04:45 PM
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Originally Posted by blwninthewind View Post
I forgot to add.... my vote is manipulation.

I am NOT saying he is doing it on purpose. I think it's part of their disease. I'm sure he doesn't realize that he is most definitely working on creating a "codie".
boy, i felt a chill in the wind when i read this.
no, i dont think it is on purpose, it is the only way he knows to relate now.
wow blwninthewind.
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