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Old 06-18-2013, 07:15 AM
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Remind me...

Some days the stuff xAH spews (rare these days) rolls off my back...

Other days, not so much...

I think I handled the debacle he made of father's day well and still made it an okay day for my girls.

Last night and again this morning D5 told her father he should keep his promises and asked how he'd like it if she let him down (in 5 yr old lingo)... She is REALLY hung up still on the not showing up for breakfast thing and I am not encouraging her remaining upset but am not telling her to just forget it either.

His response of course was to text me immediately after hanging up and tell me that I am a bad mother, that I "should be mitigating their hurt" by telling them that he didn't feel well, was caught in traffic etc...

He is telling me that I found joy in letting them think he blew them off and I should have protected them by telling them something to make it better.

And honestly? I am sitting here today wondering if he is right.

I THINK that what I did was healthy-- I validated their hurt, I let them be upset, then I did something with them myself. I did not make excuses for their dad and they DID know that he just didn't show up not because I said that but because of his actions.

But is xAH right at all? Did I not cover for him in order to punish him? Did I cause the girls more hurt?

I thought I was behaving healthily and felt good about it but am really confused right now.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:22 AM
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I hated being lied to by a parent when I was a kid. Remember those times when you just knew by instinct that you weren't getting the truth or the whole truth?
Kids want to feel that there is at least one parent that they can trust!

Does that answer your question? I hope so
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:22 AM
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Just my thoughts: I don't think you should cover up for him - let him deal with his actions on his own.

Now, if you were sitting there quietly whispering nasty things in their ears about what an a-hole he is, that would be different but you're not. You gave him a chance to do the right thing, he didn't, it's up to him to make amends and explain himself.

As long as you are not egging them on to trash their father, I see no hurt in it.

COD
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:23 AM
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No, you would be messing with their heads if you made excuses for him.

You COULD tell them that he loves them as best he can, but because he isn't well he can't be the dad he would probably like to be. I think it's important for kids to feel that their parents do love them, even if they are unreliable. It's not too early to teach them a little bit about detachment--that sometimes people we love will disappoint us, and that it's OK to feel sad but not to think it's our fault that it happens, or that they are doing it on purpose to make us feel bad.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:25 AM
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I try so hard to do what is right and my entire family of origin and the man I chose to marry have spent my life telling me that when I speak the truth it is wrong, harmful and bad and today I am really questioning whether the problem is within me...

I do know that gut feeling of being lied to and hate it and want to protect my kids from feeling that way but it seems that they are getting treated worse by their father when I am honest with them than he would treat them if I lied.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:27 AM
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I think you handled it the right way, WTBH. After all, why should it be up to YOU to make excuses for HIM? HE is the one who should be doing whatever he can to make his kids feel better because HE is the one who let them down. NO, I do not think he is right - I think he is just trying to further manipulate you into doing his dirty work for him. Why lie to your kids and make excuses for their father? As they grow up, they are going to see him for what he is and I think it may cause more problems down the road, because you'll have painted a false image, so to speak, of who their father really is and they're going to have to reconcile who they 'thought' he was with who he actually is. It's not that you're badmouthing him to them all the time or anything like that, you're just not lying and covering for him, and why should you? I think you're doing great and I think you handled it just fine!
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:30 AM
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I have been having a hard time telling them "I know Daddy loves you" because then I get questions about why does he do x, y, z... The girls have a book about alcoholism from their therapist so I have explained that he has a disease that sometimes makes him not be able to make good choices (that I think angers him even though HE years ago is the one who told them when he went to rehab that he was going to learn to make better choices)...

I am just tired of being blamed for HIS choices... Ugh.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:31 AM
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He is telling me that I found joy in letting them think he blew them off and I should have protected them by telling them something to make it better.

And honestly? I am sitting here today wondering if he is right.
WTBH, simple question, why are you second guessing yourself on what he says?

Your friend,
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:31 AM
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"Dear XH,
No, I didn't cover for you, neither did I knock you down to them. The kids are disappointed, and it is your job to tell them why you didn't show up for the breakfast you promised.
I am staying out of it as much as possible. They need communication from you on this issue, not me, as I have nothing to do with you showing up or not."

He can accept reality or reject it....
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by m1k3 View Post
WTBH, simple question, why are you second guessing yourself on what he says?

Your friend,
I really don't know. And unfortunately I feel like for every 2 steps forward I take, I always wind up back doubting myself and feeling like maybe it is me and maybe he and my own family are right... After all how can so many people telling me the same thing be wrong?

I have answers that are logical and analytical and from therapy that answer that and should believe it is not me and that my family is toxic as is my xAH, but I find that when I am most honest with myself I really, truly do doubt myself and think that maybe they are all right....
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:39 AM
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WTBH ((((hugs))))

This has got to be a tough issue to deal with. My wife didn't go off the deep end until my girls were in their teens.

A hard lesson to learn is to trust your instincts. You did what you thought was best for your girls at the time. It's not an issue of right or wrong, it's an issue of caring and being there for you girls and you were, he wasn't.

How can you fault yourself for that.

Your friend,
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:43 AM
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I guess I have no one to blame but myself and mostly have regrets for covering for him for so long...

I did it with our kids, my friends, our friends, my family, his family... 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.
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:52 AM
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I know you're feeling down and that's ok. There isn't any need for you blaming yourself here.

You did the best you could with the information you had at the time. You tried to protect him and the girls and that isn't a bad thing.

But now, you have been exposed to a lot of knowledge and wisdom and it is changing the way you look at things and this is good. You have shown huge amounts of growth over the last couple of years I have been here.

So, don't regret the past, learn from it (which by the way I think you have been doing) and move on.

He will do what he does. Your being there for the girls, your providing them with a home and a safe place to live and grow says it all to them. They may not have the words but they see his actions as they really are. I know, I am an ACOA.

Be proud of the growth you have made, trust the fact that your girls know who is really there for them and hold your head up high.

It's not a failure to fall down, the failure is in not getting back up.

I think you are doing a great job.



Your friend,
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Old 06-18-2013, 07:55 AM
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Dear wantobehealthy, I am guessing that even though you have made great strides, you probably still have some remnants of low seldf-esteem from your growing-up years as well as the effects of being steam-rolled while living with an alcoholic. I think that would just make sense.

ScaredySquirrel is going to have to continue growing a skin as thick as an alligators when it comes to the QUACKING and blame-shifting of the toxic people in your life. ScaredySquirrel is going to have to get some big nuts!!

Also, the more you bring healthy people into your environment--the easier it is to detach from the ones who are trying to dive-bomb you.

Keep your eye on the prize, I think your are doing great. Practice;practice.

dandylion
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:35 AM
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I absolutely second Mike here. He will do what he does. So you do what you do; continue to be authentic to yourself and then to your girls. They will appreciate it when they are older.

I also think there is nothing wrong with feeling some sweet vindication in his screw-ups. So what if you took some "joy" in his Father's Day debacle anyway? Here's a good response to that crap: "perhaps" with a wicked grin. You neither confirm nor deny.

Keep feeding him the proverbial rope, WTBH. He's tying his own noose right now - its only a matter of time before he is dangling from it.

And lastly, I must steal the line used in a recent thread (and my apologies to who said it because I don't remember now, but it was pure brilliance!). Don't take on a diagnosis from an alcoholic.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:35 AM
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I THINK that what I did was healthy-- I validated their hurt, I let them be upset, then I did something with them myself. I did not make excuses for their dad and they DID know that he just didn't show up not because I said that but because of his actions.

But is xAH right at all? Did I not cover for him in order to punish him? Did I cause the girls more hurt?
Was this a one-time thing and you were maybe being petty and resentful? Or is this one of a series of events that add up to a pattern of irresponsibility, neglect, and coercion that your daughters are now old enough to see, be hurt by, and want an explanation for?

His response of course was to text me immediately after hanging up and tell me that I am a bad mother, that I "should be mitigating their hurt" by telling them that he didn't feel well, was caught in traffic etc...
Hoo hoo, this guy. How dare you not back up his lies, woman?!?!?

The only thing -- and I mean the ONLY thing -- that pulled my out of my wealth of self-doubt and low self-esteem, was a mixture of anti-anxiety medicine (to pull me out of the negative feedback loop of adrenaline and panic permanently) and long-term therapy to rebuild and "reparent" myself into a more confident adult.

I don't like talking about woo-woo therapy stuff, but it changed my life. Really.
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Old 06-18-2013, 08:45 AM
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(WTBH)

During the early stages of my divorce from my now exAH ~ he did a very good job of playing the sympathy card and said many things that were not true about me and the reason why I left.

I decided with the help of my sponsor to not respond, after all I knew I would get more results talking to one of the many Louisiana Pine Trees in my yard than trying to reason with him or try to defend myself against his many creative stories.

I took comfort in "More will be revealed" to those who really cared to look beyond and that the truth has a funny way of making itself known.

But even if it didn't - I learned that all that matter was that I KNEW the truth

Just like you do ~ regardless of what anyone in your family, neighborhood, work environment, city, or the entire world says - YOU have to know in your heart the things you do are the right things to keep you and your girls healthy and safe ~

You have worked hard to find that with the help of your HP ~ trust that guidance and turn off the noise from unhealthy sources would be my suggestion ~

Pink hugs!
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
I absolutely second Mike here. He will do what he does. So you do what you do; continue to be authentic to yourself and then to your girls. They will appreciate it when they are older.

I also think there is nothing wrong with feeling some sweet vindication in his screw-ups. So what if you took some "joy" in his Father's Day debacle anyway? Here's a good response to that crap: "perhaps" with a wicked grin. You neither confirm nor deny.

Keep feeding him the proverbial rope, WTBH. He's tying his own noose right now - its only a matter of time before he is dangling from it.

And lastly, I must steal the line used in a recent thread (and my apologies to who said it because I don't remember now, but it was pure brilliance!). Don't take on a diagnosis from an alcoholic.

What bothers me most with his venom and nastiness is that I'd have been THRILLED to have him show up and make the girls happy. There was a time several years ago that I did have a few moments of being glad that he acted like a scum bag bc it gave me "evidence" that he wasn't being a good guy...

NOTHING hurts like seeing my kids hurt and I got no happiness at all out of seeing him screw up because the girls are the ones who suffered. Not him, not me. Two little girls who stood at the window thinking every car that went by was him until I finally suggested we go to breakfast ourselves...

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...
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:38 AM
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Was this a one-time thing and you were maybe being petty and resentful? Or is this one of a series of events that add up to a pattern of irresponsibility, neglect, and coercion that your daughters are now old enough to see, be hurt by, and want an explanation for?
No, not a one time thing by far. It was the first time I have so blatantly NOT made excuses for him. I have always, always, always made excuses for him and told myself it was best for the girls to do that.... And in the past few months I have not done that and his rage has grown tremendously. He refused to come see D5 on her birthday, refused to come see the girls on Easter, has blown off visitation days and when they express hurt to him he turns on me and tells me I am encouraging their sadness and highlighting his "mistakes" and that he's only human and AA tells him not to beat himself up if he stumbles. Vomit emoticon anyone????

So, no not a one time thing at all. No petty or vindictive feelings on my part. Just deep sadness at knowing I'd have to try and put on a happy face and deal with 2 sad little girls. D7 already is starting to be disgusted with him and didn't even want to give him her gifts she made at school (she did finally because I told her they were great and reminded her she'd loved making them and told her he'd love them for sure-- I made her giving them to him about her and not him because when she thought it was about him she did not want to give them to him or interact with him at all)

He thinks that giving anyone an explanation for anything is akin to controlling and abusing him. He refuses to answer for himself or give explanations or apologize and when I refuse to lie to the girls and DO give them a truthful explanation he calls that "parental alienation".
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Old 06-18-2013, 09:45 AM
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That's what I thought.

He's accountable for his relationship with the girls. If he doesn't like what he sees, the rational thing would be to double down and recommit himself to fatherhood. Alas, if he's NPD, and it sounds like he is, that's unlikely to happen. In this case, per my therapist, it's vastly more responsible to deal with it in the open than try to pretend his bad behavior isn't happening. For all of you.
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