Little girl missing mummy & possible manipulative Ex(13 Posts)
Basically I am looking for some advise how to best deal with my little 4 year old girl who is missing her mummy very much? So I with give you the background, what my little girl is doing at the moment and what I think may have triggered it.
So I am a single dad raising a 4 year old girl and a 15 month old baby boy. Their mum (and soon to be ex wife) left us and moved 100 miles North to live with her new lover in Aug 15. My little boy was about 5 months old at the time. At the time I tried my best to save the marriage and forgive her because I truly loved her with all my heart. But she was not interested, all she wanted was this new life with the new bloke. Over time I came to realise what a huge liar she was and how manipulative she was. It’s fair to say now in my heart there is no way I could have her back now I truly see who she is. Funny I think love makes you bling somehow. She see the kids twice a month. Normally a weekend up North with her staying at her grandmas house and day or two down here at my house in the month.
So the last couple of nights my little girl has been crying at bed time for me mummy every night. She also cries for her mum at the school gate every morning which is difficult. Sometimes see just breaks out in tiers randomly. She never did this before she went to say a week with her mum at her grandma’s house in the holidays and couple of weeks back. I was completely heartbroken tonight. We had a little chat as she went to bed upset again. She said why don’t I have a mummy like all my friends. I said you do have a mummy who loves you very much but works a long way away. I didn’t know how else to explain it. I could hardly say you mum preferred to move a hundred miles away for some man than be near you. She said no why don’t I have a mummy that lives with me, I want mummy to live here with us again. Honestly it cut me in two and I nearly broke down. None of this is her fault but yet it is her who is suffering.
Now I said this has only been happening since she came back from a week in the holidays with their mum. I have a feeling her mum has been saying things to her that she shouldn’t. First of all it would appear that things have fallen through with this man she left us for that she believed to be the love of her life (he’s a lot older, an ex boyfriend from before we were married and her step cousin). From what she has said (not that I ever believe her) and other sources this is true and they are over. This worries me because she does seem to be buttering me up lately. I am worried that she now wants to come back. I talked to my little girl who keeps saying she wants her mummy home. She told me one night her and mummy had a little chat and her mummy said she would try her best to come home. At first I thought my girl may have got the wrong end of the stick but now I am not too sure. I have this awful feeling my ex has said that she will try and come back. There is no chance in hell this would happen.
So is it likely that my ex has said things to my daughter about coming back and could this have triggered these upsets every day now?
If so what could be my ex’s motives? To pave the way for coming back, to make me feel guilty or some kind of misguided attempt to bring my daughter comfort?
How am I best to talk to my ex about this as she I very poor at telling the truth?
Most importantly how best am I to deal with my little girl? How do I explain why mummy doesn’t live with us and sooth her pain over missing her mummy?
I'm sorry I have little practical advice, but couldn't read and run, hoping someone else will see this and advise accordingly.
Having a 4yo myself, they're so intuitive at this age but also very easy to coerce, so could have had this idea planted I guess, if that is the case I really feel for you both.
Could you mention this to your ex, as in what DD has been saying to gauge whether she is surprised or whether it sounds like she's planning on moving back to the area now the relationships over?!
Poor little girl, if your ex has planted this in an effort to return she's a really awful person, let alone mother.
Sounds like shes planting the seed in your little girls mind and its quite a manipulative thing to do I think. She surely knows it will upset her and get her talking to you about it...maybe to make you feel guilty and take her back.
Its difficult as my ex is hard to know these days. I don't know how to discus it with my ex as she has turned into a compulsive liar and as I have come to realise she is a very manipulative person. But you could be right. If I ask her maybe I could possibly be able to gauge if this is a surprise to her or not. Because is she is saying things like this I want it to stop. Although I have no way of making her stop if she was.
I just hate my daughter being so upset. I just don't know what to say to make my daughter feel better?
It must be very hard seeing DD upset and not knowing what to say to her. It must also be hard to work out what is a normal reaction for a 4 year old whose Mum has gone, and what has been potentially planted. You've also got your own emotions about the situation, and difficulty communicatng with your ex.
You're probably never going to get the truth of what your ex has said to her.
I wonder if there are any books you could read with her that would explain family breakup to her In a way that's appropriate for her age? The library usually has a section.
Are there any separated Dads support groups in your area? It can be useful to hear how others have dealt with things.
Great advice Emarelda.
It must be heart breaking seeing your DD upset, and also feel like a slight hint of rejection but you sound like your doing an amazing job. Does your DD have any friends who are being brought up by single mothers, just so you can compare it in that sense initially, as in such a friend also being part of a one parent family so your DD doesn't feel she's the only one?!
With regards to the ex, has there ever been hints of pnd at all which could have explained the lying and behaviour?! Doesn't excuse what she's done but may rationalise slightly?!
I wouldn't assume it is mum somehow trying to put ideas in her head. It is pretty normal for young children (and no so young) to want their parents together, even when they have enough understanding to know it will never happen. It is unusual not to have mum around, however, and this is probably what's upsetting her because it will be singling her out from other children. Showing her that other people don't have one of their parents around may help her normalise the situation, at least a little.
You should focus on being the best parent you can be (whilst managing your own pain - it is still very much early days). It may also help to realise that children need at least one of their parents to be sane and working in their best interests - both would be desireable but it isn't necessarily essential - and if that is you, that's enough.
As a final thought, I would agree that walking out on a 5 month old baby is very unusual and would suggest there was a bigger picture. PND being the obvious one. Don't be scared to offer a way back in terms of the children - if she is willing to move locally, look for ways you can jointly parent the children which would ultimately be in their best interests. Using a mediator would really help you facilitiate that process and avoid her manipulating you to get whatever it is she wants.
She does have a few freinds who come from single parent households but as you can probably guess they all live with their mums. She is sadly the only one who doesn't have a mum to come home to.
But I do try and explain that having one parent looking after her is normal and that her mummy does love her very much. But she says it's not the same. Lucky on the whole (bar these episodes) we are all very happy. They are both great kids and we have a lot of fun.
Me and her mum get on fine every day. How can we not? We know each well and have so much shared history. I never saw the use in getting angry and putting things on bad terms. It just makes life harder plus she is easer to manage when her guard is down. She was always a bit odd I knew this when I married her. But I loved her with all my heart and looked over this. I made up so many excuses for why she did this at the start, PND, a personality disorder, other depression. She was for ever changing her mind and making big plans that she never followed through with and she still does. It funny spending time apart from her I realised how minipulative she had always been and years of deceit in an attempt to isolate me from my friends and family. She would often be moody with me and did hit me a couple of times plus throw crockery. So I am not saying that she ain't got something wrong with her like depression or a personality disorder but she is her own person and makes her own decisions. I tried my hardest to repair things because I loved her. I have always put up with her temper and abuse because I loved more than anything. But she just continued to lie to me and walk away. Eventually I realised how bad she was for me and how horrible she had been to me at times. Sadly I no longer feel any love for her any more. So I am not saying she is horrible but she definitely seems to be on a different wave length to everyone else. I don't know if she has something wrong with her but I do know she choose a life with a new man and new drinking buddies over a life with the kids. She told me she regrets getting married so young so I guess now she is living the life she felt she missed out on. All I can do is do my best for the kids and make sure Captain Chaos (as I now call her to myself) crazy life doesn't impact on my kids.
I want her to be more involved with the kids lifes and it would be great if she moved back down here. Although harder work for me because she is chaotic and it would almost be like having another kid to keep an eye on. She sometimes suggests it but like I said her plans in life change like the wind. At the moment she seems more concerned with partying with her new friends.
I was also thinking about setting up some Skype chats with her mum. Would this help do you think?
My little girl is very truthful and I would say that deliberly or not the things my ex has said have planted a seed. Maybe another one of my ex's ever changing plans. Like I said it odd because my ex has started to talk a lot about our happy memories from the past (there were some very good times once) and almost a bit flirty and suggestive. So I do have my concerns.
I have noticed and indeed in my own ds when they start school seems to be the toughest year in terms of understanding..They see lots of mums on the playground..Biff, chip and Kipper are a nice family.. I think they are aware of how many other families are...
Despite the fact it is far more often dad that is absent..It is an absent parent.
Focus on your parenting role. For my DS I needed to reassure him I would always be there for him no matter what..Although his dad dropped out of his life when he was 3.
I think you are getting all your conclusions based in no facts at all. Your DD has spent time with her mum and is now missing her. That is NORMAL. Your ex might not have anything to do with that, for what is worth your DD may have spent a good part of the time with her mum missing YOU.
I think that the best you can do to protect your children's happiness is to stop assuming their mum is trying to use them to get to you. If she really wanted to come back, she would be already moving back to your area, not coaching your DD to help her open the doors to you.
One of the problems of communication breakdown between parents is that you start reacting on what you believe is happening, without a single proof, which ruins the communication further and make the children more unhappy.
I remember one day my MIL had a go at me as according to my exh, I was poisoning my son towards his new partner and her child. MIL accused me of putting ideas on my DS head to the point that he had told his step brother that he was a racist. I was totally CLUELESS about why DS would have done that, so I asked him he had done that, his response. "oh yes! He is a racist, he loves races! He is running all the time!" All with a big smile on his face, he really liked the other boy.
So there you go, when it comes to children, sometimes it is better not to read too much into their comments.
PS: you also need to be very careful when question your DD about her time with mum.
It is better not to grill them about the contact with the other parent, but if you are going to talk about it, ask open questions. If you ask leading questions, it will be a few minutes before they tell you exactly what they think you want to hear.
I do take real care when talking to her about what mummy has said. To be fair I don't really ask much about it because I don't want her to be aware that it's an issue if that makes sense. I wouldn't have been worried if wasn't the fact that my DD came out with it out of the blue. I didn't ask anything about mummy. She just come out with mummy told me she would try to come back and live with us. I asked her what see ment. She said mummy wants to live back in our house. I don't think she made that up. It's very hard not to worry when you have a ex who is a compulsive liar. I say that not out of bitterness it's just the way she is and her plans change like the wind. I know if I was to talk to my ex I wouldn't get any truth. To be honest in her mind I not sure if she thinks she's lying half the time. I just try my best to make everyone happy and shield my kids from her chaos. I always get a little concerned when my ex's mood or attitude changes. Lately my ex has been talking about the happy parts of the past alot more, been a bit flirty (thats strange) and started to say she regrets the choices she made (she never admits blame). You have to understand that she minipulated me and pulled the wool over my eyes for years. So you can understand with our history and the way she is my default attitude towards her is one of suspicion. You mix that with her breaking up with her lover, her change in tone towards me and what my daughter has said you can see my concern. Plus my gut is telling me something is odd. I have learnt to listen to my gut these days. Plus on a materialistic angle me and the kids have a good life and a nice house, she has lost all that. Her life unfortunately I'd a bit grim these days. The guy she left us for was a total slob who just used her I think (the irony). No one around her could see the attraction for her. That has now crashed and burned. I fear for her the grass was not greener and she misses the good life we once had with a husband that loved her more than anything despite her faults.
So no I don't grill my DD over it because there would be nothing I can do about it anyway. I can't control what my ex says to her when they are with her anyway. So I don't see the point of asking DD loads of questions. But the difficult thing is managing DD's aspirations if she has it in her head that mummy is coming back? Just to clarify this is never going to happen. Do you think the way ex and my ex still get along, talk and have a joke is confusing things? Or that my ex sometimes comes down to see them and stays in the spare room? Or the fact we shared christmas together and all going to Blackpool together in Oct (I planed it for me and the kids and my ex invited her self along)? I want them to see that both of us are dedicated to working together on raising them but worry that this may be sending the wrong messages?
Also do you think this is just a phase that will pass. I hate seeing her upset. I must admit deep down seeing the way my ex walking out on us is hurting the kids makes me so angry. All I can think of to say is mummy loves you but she has live up there because that's where her job is. Does that sound an ok way to explain the situation? She ask why can't mummy work in the mcdonalds down here once? So I told her they moved mummy to the one she works at up there. What else can I say? I can hardly say mummy wanted to be with another man rather than live you and your brother? I just wish there were words I could say that would make everything OK again. She never used to get upset till a couple of weeks ago at the same time I noticed a shift in my ex's tone to me.
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