Any advice for my sister?

(15 Posts)
onlysettleforbutterflies Wed 30-Oct-13 20:01:00

She is struggling to make peace with her decisions and choices, I personally agree that she was right to end things and staying together for the sake of the children never works, but she is beating herself up for ending things because she was desperately unhappy, she feelsseselfish for putting herself first and can't see what she did was for everyone.

I think the new relationship has been great for her, her personality has been buried for years and it is resurfacing, I think it will be a testament to them if they can work through all of this and come out the other side together.

Since being more blunt with her today she has really started to open up and is going to make an appointment with a counsellor, which is great news.

Thanks all, I feel we're making some headway.

DinkyMole Wed 30-Oct-13 18:05:12

Poor woman. I'd also recommend counselling. She sounds unhealthily attached. It's so hard letting go of your children when they are so young, but it doesn't sound healthy at all. Check out the BACP or UKCP website for properly qualified counsellors who will be able to support her through this difficult time smile

mumandboys123 Wed 30-Oct-13 17:59:09

sorry to be blunt - is it her fault that the family isn't still together? did she leave for someone else?

I can only speak from the other side of the table, but if that's the case, my ex suffers (still) with terrible guilt about what he did but he struggles to face up to it and so the bad behaviour with it kind of rumbles on in the background, never-ending. Counselling may help - saying it out loud, apologising to whoever needs to be apologised to (and meaning it) might be all she needs to move on from it?

If she's struggling just because she wanted to leave a relationship that didn't make her happy - even if able to recognise he was a good man and essentially nothing 'wrong' with him - she again perhaps needs to make peace with that. That's life, it happens, you don't have to stay in a relationship that makes you unhappy. In fact, you don't need to have great googling skills to find plenty of info that says children don't do well in families where there is unhappiness and resentment and ultimately conflict but that they do do far better where parents are able to work together - whether that be as a tight-knit, living together or as separated parents able to put aside their differences and parent together. I would hazard a guess a mother's constant distress is more of a problem to her children than the relationship having broken down (however that might have happened).

She sounds depressed. Her GP would be able to help with medication which I would advise taking as it would probably lift her mood and help her see the wood for the trees. A friendly health visitor would also be helpful and without judgement - when my ex walked out on me mine kept a friendly eye on how I was doing and provided emotional support at a very difficult time as my dad died at the same time.

Is the new relationship, in your opinion, a good and healthy relationship?

starlight1234 Wed 30-Oct-13 17:10:32

I do think maybe she does need some counselling...If this cloud is dropping before they go it is affecting her time with her kids...It is also not good for her current relationship.

This is a chance to recharge her batteries... I do think it is understandable to miss them but they are with someone very important in their life..

I remember crying every time I left my son at nursery he was crying, I was crying then I realised I was the one that had to change this..I stopped crying and he did cry sometimes still but I knew he was happy once I left...

She needs to refocus instead of feeling guilty get the stuff done you can't when two kids that need a lot of attention around, plan to do something fun with new partner..Don't set herself up for a sad time

onlysettleforbutterflies Wed 30-Oct-13 15:57:35

cestlavielife - Thanks, I’m find all of this so useful and great to have a different perspective on things, a lot is what I have been kind of thinking, but perhaps not had to the courage to say for fear of not understanding very well, as I’m not in the same situation or upsetting her more.

She doesn’t like feeling this way, I don’t think she is doing it for effect, it isn’t really her style and she can recognise that it isn’t ‘normal’, she knows it could be worse and knows that millions are in the same boat and manage okay. I think guilt is the problem and is what is stopping her from moving on. She feels it is her fault the family is split and is weighed down by it all.

She is responding really well to what I'm saying to her (from your post - thank you).

cestlavielife Wed 30-Oct-13 15:38:08

they in a routine.
she has been doing this for months.
she knows they will come back.
she doesnt have welfare concerns.
they are only away for 48 hours.
the dad is without them fo five days as was said above...

it makes no logical sense .
she needs some help whether counselling, therapy or meds...

unless she actually likes to feel this way as it legitimises herself as a parent who has to live apart from her kids two days per week. so by weeping and wailing she tells the world poor me look i am without my kids .... even tho they coming back in 48 hours.

ie if she didnt feel upset she might feel guilty?
so she needs to feel this in order to not feel guilty?
would she feel bad if she felt that those two days somehow she wasnt missing them? would that make her a bad person in her view?
will she be this dramatic when they go to school? it's ok for the first day or two maybe - but not ok if it carries on all thru their school days...

(yes i know the two year old is little but two days isnt huge amount on a regular basis for both toddler and her to get used to it)

she needs to tell herself - it is ok to have fun and get on with life without them for two days per week .
they are having fun without her. that is ok too.

it is ok to miss your kids (we all do when they away for whaatever reason, but we dont usually weep about it, we might do something to remind us of them or think ahh if they were here right now...or plan something for when they get back...something positive... ) but if it takes over your life - so hat you crying about it - when it is a routine and they ARE coming back - then something isnt right.

unless she likes to feel this way. does she?

challenge her to think about what she and DC gains from her crying.
what would it be like if she didnt miss them so much? would that be so bad for them or her? would people think she was a bad mother?

onlysettleforbutterflies Wed 30-Oct-13 14:56:58

Mumandboys123 - I do agree with you and worry about too much too soon etc. I did air my views when it all happened but now just trying not to judge on that and doing my best to help with the practical side of things. Her ex does keep threatening 50/50 (whenever they have a disagreement) which perhaps is not helping her feel secure with things but yes she does feel very grateful it isn't 50/50 or less for her at the moment. She works, so tends to do longer hours on the days not with the children.

She has just told me that although it doesn't cloud her whole week, the cloud starts to arrive the day before they leave, is at its worst at bedtime on day 1, day 2 is bad because it feels so long since she has seen them and day 3 is spent wishing the day away until she picks them up. So that is basically 4 days out of 7 feeling rubbish.

mumandboys123 Wed 30-Oct-13 14:45:37

maybe suggest she sees it from the father's point of view? how would she feel if she didn't see them for 5 days out of every 7? she has the better end of what is a rotten stick to be holding and sometimes it helps to get perspective by putting ourselves in other people's shoes.

I would question whether living with someone else so soon is sensible - I'm 5 years down the line and the thought of having someone else in my life is...well, it's not for me at the moment. She perhaps hasn't given herself the time and space needed to 'get over' the breakdown of her relationship? I do think you need to be comfortable with yourself before moving into a new, live-in relationship, particularly when children are involved. Is she able to be busy when the children are not with her? Does she work? If not, could she work the two days that they're not with her? or study? or just do something different that has nothing to do with her previous life or her children and is just something for her?

onlysettleforbutterflies Wed 30-Oct-13 14:03:32

cestlavielife - thanks you are so right in everything you are saying, I am basically going to cut and paste your post in an email to her, I think she needs a bit of straight talking to.

I think at the moment, the days with her DC are being clouded with the thought of the days with their dad coming up.

Thanks again everyone.

cestlavielife Wed 30-Oct-13 13:40:22

if she did a get a text or phone call would she reallly stop crying?
i dont think she would, really - she is focusing too much on that.
does crying help her kids at all? answer no.
does crying and missing them help her be a better parent - no
does crying all day help her deal with her day to day lfe? no

does she ONLY cry on days without the kids? ie she is joyful the rest of the week? or does she have build up of anxiety towards the day they will go to stay over?
if generalised she really does need to go to gp and get help. some cbt type work. might really help. meds if she needs it.

if she can actually flip into being the joyful happy person on the other days then she needs to start thinking that the only person she hurting with her crying is herself and those around like you . it doesnot help the dc in anyway . it wont get the dc back on those days.

of course the ex is being a twat and it wont hurt to send a text saying all fine - but if she knows they fine with him, then no text is good news. they having fun.

onlysettleforbutterflies Wed 30-Oct-13 13:16:51

She has no worries about their welfare, its just her missing them so much. I will suggest therapy, she can't go on like this.

cestlavielife Wed 30-Oct-13 13:11:05

she needs help eg a counsellor to find strategies to deal with the boys being away fom her.
if she trusts her ex with them, knows they come back fine and happy then she needs to work thru it.
she needs to tell herself they are fine they are looked after they will be ok.
they are probably fine.
so she needs to work on her own anxieties find new strategies

if she believes they are not fine with him that there are welfare issues that is a different story.

so long as he would tell her if there was anything wrong or urgent.

addictedtolatte Wed 30-Oct-13 13:10:56

No good advice here just sympathy. My dcs go once a fortnight and it tears me apart. I do understand there father has rights to see them but i am still human and miss my children dreadfully when there not here. Has your friend tried explaining that the phone calls isn't about control it's just about being reassured there ok. While mine are away I put all my time into doing stuff for them like reorganising there toys and decorating and improving there rooms ect.

lostdad Wed 30-Oct-13 12:57:21

Simple question - does she want to phone them up because she wants it or because she thinks it is in the best interests of her DC?

onlysettleforbutterflies Wed 30-Oct-13 12:22:48

My sister split up with her DH last year, they have two young boys (4 and 3) together, he has them for 2 nights a week.

She is living with a new partner (its a complicated, long story), so isn't alone but is really struggling every time the boys go and stay at their dad's house with missing them. She has tried asking her ex if she can speak to the boys whilst they're there or if he will text her and let her know they're okay, he has refused both of these requests.

She keeps busy by working long hours and doing things with her partner, but she basically seems to cry for 2 days every week and with time she seems to be getting worse rather than better each week.

She was so unhappy with her ex, we all hoped that she would find happiness now, but she seems to be feeling worse than ever.

Is there anything I can say, suggest, advise that may help her come to terms with things?

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