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Old 06-18-2013, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
So, it angers me that he thinks and would accuse me of finding joy in his f' up because I felt nothing but sadness and hurt all day-- I wish I'd felt joy or even anger. That would have been more comfortable I think...
But WTBH, this is what he DOES.

With all due respect, I am surprised at this point that you still react emotionally to his BS. That he still has power over you to make you doubt yourself and your judgement.

And I say this kindly, because I know recognizing the big shiny steel hooks coming our way is challenging. Often, we don't see them until they are hanging off our lip.

He's good at hooking you. You need to be better at seeing them coming.

Sure, I have moments where I wish my girls' Dad would be more accessible and available, but in the end, their relationship with him is none of my business nor within my control.

You handled the situation perfectly. Who gives a sh!t what he thinks?!
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:36 AM
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Dear Tuffgirl---it was HAMMER who used the phrase: "Don't take your diagnosis form an alcoholic". I loved it so much that I "stole" it for myself and plan to use it whenever it is suitable.

Dear wtbh----Does sound like he is NPD. Of course it hurts to see your children sad--OF COURSE. Just don't give him any more credibility by buying into the sh** that he spews. Don't give him any more real estate in your head.

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Old 06-18-2013, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
But WTBH, this is what he DOES.

With all due respect, I am surprised at this point that you still react emotionally to his BS. That he still has power over you to make you doubt yourself and your judgement.
Yeah that's what I said at the start I think.... that it surprises me too that usually it can roll right off me and this week it's making me crazy and I have real self doubt.

I'm tired, I have been sick, my boss sucks and I am ready for some down time with my kids so I am overly emotional I have no doubt...

Maybe it just has been a while since he so blatantly hurt them and didn't care and it caught me by surprise how sad I am to know they will be hurt so many more times...

I think it's about a lot more than just letting him get to me... I have been in therapy and taken time off largely bc I can't manage to get there and I think all my self doubts and questioning myself is a pretty clear indicator I need some help!
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:51 AM
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IMO, you handled the situation perfectly. Covering up for him only undermines your relationship with your kids. Kids are intuitive and know what's going on. Never lie to your kids to protect him and his addiction. What they need is a parent they can trust, and a mother who shows them by example how to deal with unhealthy people and situations, not the fantasy of a father in shining armor that does not exist.

I have spent my entire adult life trying to fill up a hole left in me by a father who essentially didn't give a crap about me. The way my mom always told me he loved me, and covered for him, really effed with my head. I wish she had just been straight with me and told me the truth-- that he was incapable of really loving anyone. Then I could have begun addressing the problem at an early age in therapy. Instead, I learned denial and mistrust from my mother, and still had a dad who didn't love me.

I know your girls are too young to be told their dad is an alcoholic with NPD, but they shouldn't be lied to either. They know he is unreliable and unavailable, just like they know you are reliable and available. If you were late picking them up somewhere, I doubt they would stare anxiously out the window waiting for you because they have confidence that you are there for them. Telling them some BS excuse like his car broke down when he stands them up, is bad for them, bad for you, and bad for your relationship with them.

You can not let a narcissistic alcoholic's comments about your parenting have any effect on you! Consider the source!!!!

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Old 06-18-2013, 10:55 AM
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Our posts crossed..


It does sound like you are having a little codie moment. Being tired always makes me more vulnerable. Take care of yourself, you will feel better.
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Old 06-18-2013, 10:59 AM
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Dreams of Serenity-
Thank you! I needed to hear that-- that you were lied to by your mom who must have thought as I did in years past that that was best-- and the impact it had... I am so sorry for what you've had to deal with...

I had a mother who put on a good "love" act in public and abused me in private and my xAH has the same MO. He is super dad in public and ignores the girls and is nasty in private.

I have spent my life f'ed up bc of my sick family of origin (or at times I feel like that) and I worry so much about my girls being messed up since I can not control or change what their father does...

Thank you all for your posts and trying to help me get my head screwed on straight again...

Tired, sick, sad, overwhelmed= recipe for overly emotional-ness!
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:03 AM
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Scardey Squirrel---if therapy will help---well, then, BRING IT ON!! Whatever it takes.

There is an old saying in psychiatric circles: "The client makes most progress when in pain"(more motivated to work).

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Old 06-18-2013, 11:11 AM
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I tried to read through the whole thread before responding, until I got here:

Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
I guess I have no one to blame but myself and mostly have regrets for covering for him for so long...
And I had to stop and catch my breath. Because I remember feeling the same way when AXH would no-show and I'd have to deal with the fall-out with DS and then deciding whether or not to cover for AXH again.

No. You're not to blame. You've done an excellent job in a very difficult situation. Their father is the one who is no-showing or showing late; _he_ is the one who wants to lie to the kids and he is the one who wants others to lie to them for him. Not you. Odds are, WTBH, that even if you had covered for him, your kids would still be hurt and they'd still let their father know and he'd still be throwing cr-p your way.

I stopped covering for AXH when DS was about 5, I think. Climbing under the bed to try to console a heart-broken 5 yo who's screaming and crying "Daddy doesn't love me!" was, I think, the last straw. I got the same load from AXH when he learned that DS knew that work wasn't the reason his father wasn't picking him up: "Don't you EVER do that again! You tell him I'm working. You tell him I'm sick. Don't you EVER say you don't know why I'm not there! Don't you EVER .... You make him feel better!" And so many denigrating comments about how I was mothering DS...

It was no longer a job I was willing to hold: Cover-er of AXH's lapses. Liar to keep AXH looking good in front of others. Not even his son.

When I stopped covering for AXH, it didn't feel good. And I'm sure seeing the truth about his father with out the veil I was throwing over it didn't feel good for DS either. And it will never feel good, even when he's older. He knows that his dad doesn't keep his promises. He knows his dad lies about where he was. But, I don't want DS to feel that way about both of his parents. I don't want him to feel that way about _me_.

Kids learn from what they see, not what they're told to do. IMO DS saw his dad lie. When he saw me cover for him, he got the message that it's OK to lie - or at least bend the truth a bit - to make it hurt less. He was learning that behaviour is what to expect from the significant people in his life and that that's how he can be towards them.

I know how hard this is. I struggle with it still. Hang in there.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:17 AM
  # 29 (permalink)  
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wtbh, I think you taught your daughters the lesson of oneself being responsible for their actions and how our actions can cause pain, so you did good!
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
Yeah that's what I said at the start I think.... that it surprises me too that usually it can roll right off me and this week it's making me crazy and I have real self doubt.

I'm tired, I have been sick, my boss sucks and I am ready for some down time with my kids so I am overly emotional I have no doubt...
H.A.L.T in action here, I suppose. It's ok - last night I had a terrible fight with my 16 yr old as she was leaving for 3 weeks to her Dad's. She brought up the XAH and talked about how it still hurt, how disappointing it was, how much he let her down...and he was only her Step Dad for a brief period of time. It has weighed on me since then...even though I know I have done the best I can with what I had to work with.

We aren't perfect parents - stuff happens. Kids get let down and hurt by things that may or may not be within our control. For me - the hardest thing is the sense of choosing unwisely to begin with, but I know that is irrational even when it feels so powerful.

You have a lifetime of watching your kids get hurt. The best thing you can do is what you did - and you did it very well. The rest is out of your hands, unless you want to live a lifetime of lying to try to salvage their feelings. But believe me - this won't work in the long run either. As others have said, kids aren't stupid just because they are inexperienced.

Plus, it is a learning lesson. People don't always live up to our expectations. And funny this happened to me last night because it was the very point I was trying to make in regards to her Dad and having realistic expectations for this visit. The time will come when you have the same conversation with your girls that I had last night...and I no longer excuse his behavior or sugar coat it. The most I do is remind them that he is an imperfect person too, but he loves them in the best way he possibly can.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:34 AM
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the uncertainty-- your post made me tear up... my littlest one is 5, her older sister is 7. they were so so sad and showed it in different ways...

d5 looked forlorn and kept asking where he was and when he'd get there

d7 actually broke my heart more because she was angry and first blamed her sister and said some very mean things which amounted to her repeating what her father tells me and she tried to project her hurt onto her sister and blame her for it. I tried to talk to d7 gently but firmly and made it clear she couldn't be mean to her sister and that it was okay to be sad or mad or whatever she was feeling... then d7 kept running into the bathroom and saying something was in her eye and clearly she was crying but didn't want to show it... d5 wound up crying and d7 called her a baby and said so what that he wasn't there it wasn't something to cry about...

It was a train wreck. I watched them and saw myself reacting to their dad in each of them and saw their dad and his nastiness in the things d7 said...

I put an end to it all the best way I knew how by distracting them and we went to breakfast and talked a bit there about how they felt...

It just I guess is the first time I really, really saw them both deeply hurt by him at an age where they are old enough to know the truth. I think if they'd been younger maybe I would have glossed it over as I have for SO long and made excuses for him as I did for so long...

But whether I had lied or not, they KNEW. That's what he doesn't get.

I am getting sad all over again thinking about it all...
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:37 AM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post

For me - the hardest thing is the sense of choosing unwisely to begin with, but I know that is irrational even when it feels so powerful..
This. This is it. Knowing I chose unwisely, knowing I stayed too long, knowing I can't disappear and will have to deal with seeing him hurt them many more times and that I chose to marry him and have kids with him and now can't do anything to stop the runaway train that is his life and how it impacts the girls -- that is what is hard...

And yes it is pointless to be upset about bc I can't do a thing to change it. But you nailed it. It does feel so powerful.

And yes, HALT stuff going on for sure... Pollen levels are crazy and my body's response to it is to get congested, my chest hurts and I lose my voice.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:46 AM
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HUGS. Big ole bear hugs, WTBH.

I get that, too, seeing a bit of AXH and a bit of me in DS's coping habits.

But whether I had lied or not, they KNEW. That's what he doesn't get.
Nope. AXH doesn't either. And until he's had quite a bit of recovery under his belt and done quite a lot of introspection, AXH's not likely to get it. In AXH's mind, no one sees through the lies and when they do it's all someone else's fault. And the kids will see that too.
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Old 06-18-2013, 11:56 AM
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WTBH. You are still getting hooked in and spinning a bit, it must hurt! How is your life outside of all this? Are you able to relax? Have fun with a hobby, go for a hike, spend time with good friends? It may help for you to invest time in yourself in this way. As you enjoy these activities whatever they may be, all of the sudden you won't have the energy, or the focus to dwell on this so much. It may help!

The problem I see is when you mentally exhaust yourself with all of this it debilitates you. Imagine yourself stronger =)
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
And my friendship/family circle has become virtually empty for much of the past year because apparently I did SUCH a good job of convincing others he was great that no one can believe what I've said or why I don't want him back and he in the meantime is spreading every nasty word he can about how crazy and mean and terrible I am and literally friends and family have turned their backs...

I predict he will go on a smear campaign with my kids next and try and get them to hate me too.

Sometimes I think that it would be better to just be in denial again.
I am in the same position. I sometimes think it would be less lonely if I just let him come home. Maybe my "friends" would like me again? However, if I did that he'd wait until the front door was closed and all the "friends" had gone home and then he'd start abusing me, again.

Even my best girlfriends have turned their backs on me, they say they don't want to be "caught in the middle" of anything...yet they pay for him to go on holiday, to stay with them etc and ignore me 100%. One had the gall to send, via him, via the kids a Xmas gift to me! I packed that sh*t up quick smart and sent it back. Nothankyouverymuch!

I can't believe my friends refuse to believe he abused me! It's very painful. DV counsellors say to confide in your friends, perhaps I left it too late and did too good a job of faking that everything was OK?

One of my closest friends, years ago, came to my door and heard him abusing me and threatening me and told some other people. I confided in her properly, well I tried to, after I kicked him out and she claims it never happened! Oh well, nothing I can do about that or the fact they have all dumped me. More will be revealed...

My kids are teens and they are learning what their father is like by his actions - nothing for birthdays or Xmas from their father or their father's family, no contact from their father's family, heck, even their father doesn't call them any more.

I try very hard not to bad mouth my kids' father. If they ask "why" he behaves a certain way all I say is: "He's an alcoholic and a drug addict, it's just what they do."

If I'm out and about with my kids and I see a drunk person or someone off their face on drugs I'll quietly point the person out to my kids and ask them why they think the person is doing XYZ. They always know the answer, ALWAYS.

Anyway, I know what it feels like.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:05 AM
  # 36 (permalink)  
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Lulu- the friends who you are supposed to confide in and have as a support system turning their backs bc it's too uncomfortable I guess to know the truth is what is really hard...

Part of domestic violence is isolating us and I think that bc I put on an act for so long I played a large part in the isolation I now feel-- I totally get your confusion and hurt about friends turning away when you confide in them... It's hard. Really hard.

Thank you for sharing your experience Lulu... while I am sad to know others are in the same boat, it is comforting in a way to know I am not alone. I am sorry you are in a similar situation.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Lulu39 View Post
I try very hard not to bad mouth my kids' father. If they ask "why" he behaves a certain way all I say is: "He's an alcoholic and a drug addict, it's just what they do."
I do the same about the XAH; I have no other reason to explain his behavior other than to say this above.

WTBH - I don't doubt you will struggle with forgiving yourself over the years. I wish I could say I have forgiven myself for my lousy choices and bad judgement, but I know I haven't completely surrendered to that yet. I know I owe it to myself to do so, but its the hardest thing I've had to do yet.

My daughters are 16 and 19. And they are often terrible to each other, so don't think the meanness you saw was because of you and your A. It has a lot to do with simple sibling rivalry, too! I found turning them against me creates solidarity between them! Remember that little trick - girls can be especially vicious to each other.

And in spite of our life's challenges, both girls are thriving. So be careful when you get down over these things to find the gratitude in what does work. My daughters are growing up to be amazing young women, and it is one of my biggest and best accomplishments.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
I do the same about the XAH; I have no other reason to explain his behavior other than to say this above.

WTBH - I don't doubt you will struggle with forgiving yourself over the years. I wish I could say I have forgiven myself for my lousy choices and bad judgement, but I know I haven't completely surrendered to that yet. I know I owe it to myself to do so, but its the hardest thing I've had to do yet.

My daughters are 16 and 19. And they are often terrible to each other, so don't think the meanness you saw was because of you and your A. It has a lot to do with simple sibling rivalry, too! I found turning them against me creates solidarity between them! Remember that little trick - girls can be especially vicious to each other.

And in spite of our life's challenges, both girls are thriving. So be careful when you get down over these things to find the gratitude in what does work. My daughters are growing up to be amazing young women, and it is one of my biggest and best accomplishments.
Thanks for this, TG! I struggle every day beating myself up over choices I've made and things I've done - I'm my biggest and harshest critic. And I worry constantly that I'm not being the best parent for my 3 yr old son. And yet - day after day I'm amazed by how good of a kid he is, and how polite and caring toward others he is. But I can't stop myself!

I'll keep re-reading your post, I guess.

C-OH Dad
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:19 AM
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Thanks TG... I know that a lot of my girls getting at each other is typical sibling rivalry stuff... But it's equally clear to me that a lot of the ways they interact and express hurt/sadness/anger is a direct result of the patterns they have grown up seeing. I have them in therapy and their therapist is great and helping them as am I, use appropriate ways to express their feelings... They tend to revert back to old ways after interactions with their father such as his nonsense directed at me on Sunday... Finally this morning, several days and a lot of patience later, they are back to being okay with one another and me and acting in ways that are healthy....
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Old 06-19-2013, 02:58 PM
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I have a little ESH to share regarding this topic. For many years, both before and after I was divorced, I tried to manage my kids relationship with their dad. I had their best interests at heart, no doubt. As a parent, it's very difficult to see my children angry, disappointed, sad, or any other non-happy emotion you can name. As a codependent, however, those maternal instincts turned into a desire to control. I learned that just as I cannot control the alcoholic, I cannot control my children either. They will, unfortunately, get hurt, angry, disappointed and experience the other unpleasantness life flings at them. Best I can do is be their safe place, someone they can trust and count on, and help them deal with it.

It really, really sucks when one parent hurts their own children emotionally. But, it's not on you to fix that. When my kids asked me why their dad did something, or didn't do something, or whatever, I told them I don't know. Only he knows why he does what he does.

This did not come easy. Not only was I accustomed to answering all their questions, but they were accustomed to it also. We all had to learn new ways of behaving and coping and it took some time. When I began making changes in my behavior, nobody close to me was happy about it. Change is hard. It's especially hard when the changes temporarily seem to make things worse.

Keep practicing your new, healthy behaviors and I promise you it will all work out for the best. But, it won't happen immediately. Sometimes the right thing is also the hardest thing.

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