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how would you answer this?

Old 09-02-2013, 04:46 PM
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how would you answer this?

Not surprisingly xAH bailed on taking the girls on a day trip to an amusement park that he said he'd bring them to. I took them instead and made the most of it.

But on the way home D5 said "Can I ask something?" and I felt this sickness like I knew what was coming... This is what she said:

D5 "why does daddy say he loves me but didn't come get us to go to __________ (name of place identifies where I live) like he said?" * and she said this sounding really angry at first then got quiet and just looked sad

D8 piped up and said VERY angrily "he loves us and just got busy- it's not a big deal and don't be a baby and cry for once"

I told D8 to stop, told D5 it was very confusing wasn't it and that I was so sorry she was sad and confused and disappointed and said that it wasn't okay Daddy didn't come and that she had every right to be sad. Then I told D8 that it was possible to love Daddy and still be upset with how he acted today and that D5 and her could be upset and it was ok.

I could not bring myself to say that I knew for sure Daddy loved them and maybe that was wrong but I was fighting back tears and frankly he doesn't act like he loves them so I wasn't about to lie.

So then D5 said "I know why he didn't come" and I said "why's that?" and she said "I know it- he doesn't love me".

So THEN I said of course he loves you but reiterated that it was okay to be upset and that it is confusing when someone says they love you but disappoint you. And I said that it wasn't their doing or for them to fix and that their Daddy did love them but has some issues to work on and that those issues make him unable to always be reliable...

I have no idea if I royally f'ed it up or not... I have never been so sad as I was to hear D5 say what she did and once they were in bed that night I just sobbed... NO child should EVER have to question whether their Daddy loves them and I realized that no matter how much I offer them and provide them with and how much I am there for them, they need and want their Daddy and there is not a solitary thing I can do about giving that to them and I hate it..

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Old 09-02-2013, 04:56 PM
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Don't have kids, don't have any idea how best to answer in that situation, but I am so sorry you are in this situation. It is just wrong that anyone, kids or adults, should have to go thru such things.

WTBH, just sorry, sorry and sad for you and your girls. Wishing you wisdom, love and strength in taking care of your little family. That's all I can say.
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Old 09-02-2013, 05:01 PM
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One of the biggest lessons I've learned through all of this is that I don't have to have an answer. It's okay to answer a question with "I don't know." What a relief it was to discover that.
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Old 09-02-2013, 05:05 PM
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Thanks LTD... I need to remember that... I did start with I don't know and then, well, felt guilty like I needed to try and make it better so I said more-- I wish there were a parenting manual for how to help your kids not be hurt by a dirtbag dad...
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Old 09-02-2013, 05:40 PM
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I think you did a great job in a tough situation. You were honest without being negative about Dad.
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Old 09-02-2013, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post

I have no idea if I royally f'ed it up or not... I have never been so sad as I was to hear D5 say what she did and once they were in bed that night I just sobbed... NO child should EVER have to question whether their Daddy loves them and I realized that no matter how much I offer them and provide them with and how much I am there for them, they need and want their Daddy and there is not a solitary thing I can do about giving that to them and I hate it..

I have a friend with a kid with Spina Bifadi. He says the kid does not know the difference. What he has observed it is the parents who have the hard time.

============

When Mrs. Hammer weirds out, the topic (to and with the kids) is never about love or the lack of. There are emotional reactions, but we just down the hardware details. Like a car is out of gas. Not going to go. Does not mean the car loves you or does not love you.

It is just today she is a little whacky and tomorrow is another day. Now then little chilluns . . . what can Hammer-Daddy do for you today? Pretty much the same thing you did -- off to the park.

But like mentioned on other threads, we (well -- hell, no -- ME) has been very open, we have looked at typical brain scans and those which are not. People with problems (such as Alcoholism, Addictions, Mental Illness) do not tend to any happier in their problem than those around them who have to deal with it.

I guess I am trying to say -- leave the Love part out it. jmho.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:22 PM
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Oh my goodness

Big, big hugs to you. I'm so sorry.

I don't have children myself but I think you did a great job, you were asked a heart wrenching and difficult thing and you answered on the fly.

How difficult when directly confronted with "I know it...He doesn't love me..."

What a tough spot to be in.

My heart breaks for you all.

You did good, mama.

Peace.
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Old 09-02-2013, 06:53 PM
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I grew up with an alcoholic dad and I also have two kids so I can see this from both sides. I can relate to your agony as a mother but I think you handled the situation beautifully. It was that kind of love and consistency I got from my mother that I have always been grateful for, so don't sell yourself short, one stable, loving parent can make a gigantic difference.
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:08 PM
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You're a flipping rock star as far as I'm concerned! Those questions are hard; I think you did great!
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Old 09-02-2013, 07:19 PM
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I do have children and can sympathize with how painful those questions must have been, IMHO you answered beautifully. I hope when my son asks questions such as those I will be able to answer as well as you did under pressure and with your heart breaking.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:20 PM
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I think you did fine. This parenting thing is a lot harder than it looks. There isn't any good response to your daughter's question, there's nothing that can make his behavior okay.

In similar situation I told my daughter that there are two kinds of love: the one you feel and the one you do. Her dad can feel love okay, but he has problems with the doing part of love. This was in regards to a situation in which her dad has failed to act in her best interests, and she knows it. And I'm sure he knows it too and reaches for the nearest bottle when it bothers him.

I don't vilify her dad, but I don't sugarcoat him either. His weaknesses are something she has to come to terms with eventually and I can't protect her.

hugs

BG
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:23 PM
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My first husband was not an alcoholic, but he was not very capable of understanding other people's feelings, including our 2 children. He would do what worked for him, and when it didn't work for him, he didn't do it. I divorced him because there was no there, there.

I felt bad, and tried to cover for him thinking my children would be so hurt if they knew he hadn't gotten them a good birthday present, or whatever it was. But, now, with them grown, I realize it would have been better if I hadn't interjected myself into their relationship with their father. The truth was that he often failed to meet their needs, and whether they could articulate it or not, they knew that. My trying to "make it better" just confused them - - they knew what they knew, but I wasn't corroborating it, and then they didn't know if what they sensed was true or not.

Shakespeare wrote "true compassion is ruthless", and I think it is best to call it as it is. The truth is that he did let them down, and that was their gut reaction and intuition. Better that they suffer the disappointment that is happening and learn to deal with it than doubt the truth of what they know.

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Old 09-02-2013, 10:10 PM
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I don't tear down my AM (my children's grandmother), but I certainly don't dress her up in Sunday clothes to the kids. She has disappointed them often, but always managed to win them over with packages full of gifts. We recently moved and she doesn't have our new address. If she gets it, I will refuse packages at the door. Anyway, I try to steer away from the love thing because I don't want to lie to my kids. I've told them that Mimi's sickness doesn't make her capable of understanding love, but thankfully I only had to say that once. I emphasize that people can disappoint us and that's ok. It's how we respond to those disappointments that counts. Who knows, maybe I'm screwing my kids up for life. I didn't exactly have the vest parenting example growing up.
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Old 09-03-2013, 12:21 AM
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It seems to me that you did a brilliant job in a tough situation. You acknowledged and validated their feelings while not lying to them or being dishonest or negative about their father's behaviour.

I'm impressed that you gave them the message that they are not responsible for causing or fixing their father's behaviour. I think you gave them a strong life lesson there.

Much as they miss their father, I honestly think that with a parent as strong as you, they'll do very well in life.
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Old 09-03-2013, 06:57 AM
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I like BuffaloGal's response. Alcoholics ARE capable of "feeling love" but they are woefully incapable of the "doing love" thing. And I'm sure in his own way, your ex DOES "love" his kids--but his priorities are all screwed up. Your ex is abusive, too, and he treats his kids like property, not like people with feelings.

I think you did fine. It's confusing for them, and for us.

Hugs,
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Old 09-03-2013, 08:37 AM
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I think you handled it just great!! There are no perfect answers to questions like that so for me it is always a balance of truth (even if the truth is "I don't know") and making DD feel OK about being conflicted. I also let her know that even as an adult, I get confused & unsure of my feelings sometimes & that it's okay to take time to figure it out.
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Old 09-03-2013, 09:29 AM
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It's so bizarre to listen to a grown man talk about how much he loves his kids and even get teary about them (this is over the years not recently) but not see that his BEHAVIORS don't reflect that at all... One of the things I continue to struggle A LOT with is trying to not think or be upset by how hurtful his behavior is toward his kids...

I can understand that he's not well and it's not about me... But the girls don't understand that and I get stuck being frustrated internally with the fact that they shouldn't have to put up with his insanity.

It would be better if he just disappeared altogether... Instead he makes grandiose promises, shows them a good time at unpredictable intervals and they are constantly left hanging on the edge of their seats wondering when he will next show up and be super dad.

I swear he enjoys disappointing them bc it makes them crave his attention all that much more and when he does spend time with them they can't get enough of him and he of course thinks this is because he's the worlds best dad and doesn't see it's bc of his rare appearances so they're desperate for his attention....
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:06 AM
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I think you did brilliantly.

D8 was protecting him, but she is older so she probably sees it more clearly.

I agree with MrcDarcy it is not fair but you need to be stable and loving for two.

Take care.
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
NO child should EVER have to question whether their Daddy loves them
In an ideal world, this would be the case.

I'm so sorry - I have been there with my own kids, and it was painful.

I think you handled it well. Good job, Mom!
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Old 09-03-2013, 10:26 AM
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Wanttobehealthy,

I think you did great! I struggle with this same issue all the time. My XAH can now go to the boys sports events outside of his supervised visits (I think that will change this afternoon at the ex parte hearing) anyway, he uses those few unsupervised minutes to promise the boys the moon. Telling them all about their room at his new house. How he cannot wait to have them staying with him.

This sounds so great on the surface, but he is not even close to being able to see them unsupervised let alone stay over with him. They are so confused by what he is saying to them and what reality is that my older son has started his lip licking stress tic again. He chaps the heck out of his lips. And my younger son is acting out in school. They act so excited to see him but he misses all the supervised visits now. They are confused as heck.

It is an awful spot to be put in as a Mom. Just be honest. I try to take the "If you can't say something nice" approach. You answered how I would have, Honestly but it is not your job to try to cover for him any longer......

Good luck, I know how hard it can be.

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