Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.
Teen Daughter and divorce(20 Posts)
Absoblumminlutely. I agree. I must make sure I don't fall into that trap. I guess its added to by the fact that she is a good 10" taller than me!!
thank you for reminding me.
She is a very mature 15 year old.
Yes but remember she is still 15. She's still a child. She's still doing the emotionally immature thing of seeing the world in quite black and white terms ("I don't think I'll both if all men are like that"). Emotionally she still has another ten years to go until she's fully matured. Remember that when you relate to her. Don't fall into the trap of so many divorcing parents and think your teen DCs are "mature" and can handle everything or that you can lean on them the way you would a firend.
Goodness me. I didn't think that so many of us would have done the leaving of the kids in the home. So brave all of you and thanks for giving me hope that it will all come out in the wash.
I collected her from guide camp yesterday and she has been just sooo lovely. She's with me almost constantly now until middle of August so I feel it is time to do a bit of bonding. It seems she had an inkling about the other woman but didn't want me to find out and get hurt. What a sweet child.
And I can tell she very much knows how much I love her and why I did what I did. I would go so far as to say she's almost behaved like one of your girlfriends that has encouraged you to do the leaving. When chatting yesterday evening she was most emphatic that, under no circumstances, did she want us to be together. She says that although she loves him she can see how selfish he is and didn't treat me very well. I felt sad when she said I don't think I'll bother if all men are like that. She is a very mature 15 year old.
Neelie I had to leave my home and my 3 teenage DC to get away from my EA XH. I missed them desperately and he played every trick to manipulate them. I couldnt afford to rent somewhere big enough for them and they love their home.
At first they were very angry and raw, but I tried to keep up communications and a weekly family meal for whoever was home. Also I took them shopping and sent them parcels at Uni with lots of treats and told them how much I loved them. Gradually it came out that DD2 was being made XHs confidant and he was crying in front of her and telling her his woes. She hated it while feeling loyal to him.
Fortunately he met someone only 3 months later and she has been his emotional support which has helped. The DC fly in and out and see me as much as they seem to want (which is nowhere as much as I would like). And if I get my social life sorted and plan something I invariably get a call "Mum can you pick me up/feed me/take me to something" and as I can't do it I feel guilty.
Is there a solution? I don't know. But I have assured them I love them, that I didnt break up the family on a whim and that we are all better off without the arguments and the miserable mother they saw before.
Inspired by this thread I am going to invite DD2 to stay next week as she is home and all the others will be away.
Hello Neelie your posts remind me so much of my own situation when my DD was 15 (almost 3 years ago now) and her DF whose ability to manipulate our DD is outdone only by his mahoosive lack of empathy.
I had horrendous times, had tons of support from MN and we saw it through. Now she is almost 18 and things have really settled down as she came to the very painful realisation that her DF is who he is.
But those early days - well I stuck to my guns when he was openly trying to separate me and DD and there were times when I was the devil incarnate as he sold her a "dream life" and I actively opposed it. But I did have to fight both of them for her sake even though it made me the most unpopular gal on the block. I was honest at all times and I think you need to be too. It will pay off in the long term because your DD will know that you are in her corner and want what she needs and not what he tells her she wants. If you don't she will feel like she's fallen between the two of you and neither of you will catch her.
As well as repeatedly reassuring our DD that I was doing what I felt was in her best interests (even though she didn't like everything I did) I also asked our DD never to discuss me with her DF, nor to pass messages from him to me, nor to answer any of his questions about me/our relationship. That was all I asked and she was able to do that as it 1) freed her from feeling like a go-between and 2) gave her a mechanism for dealing with manipulation. It worked (eventually). Nowadays she just gives him a 'look' if he asks anything about me.
If he won't be reasonable about the separation arrangements I think you should consult a sol about residence and access so that there's a framework for you both to stick to for your DD's sake.
And keep posting here!
thanks for that lovely take on it whitesugar. she is still pretty angry with me i think. I haven't seen her since Friday as she's been on Guide camp. Picking her up tomorrow. In the meantime I've had a bit of a melt down. I have discovered that himself has been seeing other women for quite a long time. I am told that they were all platonic but it explains so much of his behaviour over the last year now. But what shocks me is just how much it has hurt. I have been crying like a baby for three days now. Finally relented and went to the doctors. He has given me some tablets which I might actually take this time. I don't think it's entirely down to finding this out though. I think I had been so together about moving out I hadn't left enough space to deal with the loss if you know what i mean. It's all hitting me now. I have to stay calm and level for my DD. She needs me to be strong and happy - not dilerously happy but most certainly not falling apart like I have been the last week or so.
My DD is 16 and has had regular contact with her father since I left when she was a toddler. EXH behaves exactly like yours. All along I was the wicked witch whilst raising DCs, DS now 14. When kids became teenagers EX could no longer seem like Mr nice guy as they challenged him. He actually assaulted both of them during rows. They no longer want to see him which caused them both a massive amount of guilt and conflicting emotions.
DC fought with me over usual stuff, state of room, homework, make up, time to come in, rudeness etc. EXH never once backed me up. Rows were awful & they would gang up on me so all in all high tension in the house. After serious melt downs it was apparent things had to change. Took advice from various sources including MaryZ threads on MN for troubled teens. Changes include being really really nice and loving to them, don't bother about make up at school or homework they are are the school's problems. Jolly them along wrt bedroom, dishwasher, cooking etc say come on & I will help you. These small things radically improved relations. Take them out for drives, coffee & cake and chat away about non confrontational things. Don't push the issue but chat openly in non critical way about EXs behaviour saying things like that's just how dad gets on and its not our problem it's his. Tell them how great they are. These things keep them on your side.
Your DD will undoubtedly be completely torn although relieved as well. She is only 15 and hasn't got the tools to deal with with a manipulative father and an upset mother. She knows exactly what her father is like. She needs you to guide her because he won't. It will always be all about him. Don't let that tool affect your relationship with your DD. Make your relationship stronger. Being mean now but he will hate that! Take her out shopping when you can afford to. Teenagers are very easily persuaded by hard cash. Above all treat her kindly and make her feel valued. I was too angry to remember to do this. She might even benefit from counselling so long as it's with someone who comes recommend to you. Bad counselling IMO causes more trouble.
Please don't think we are now the Waltons. Trust me they are both very surly at times and still slam doors, tell me they hate me, smoke, drink, stay out late, don't pick up their phones when I ring and don't clean up. The difference is I don't panic and go into melt down everytime this happens & when I do I recover quickly. We are closer, more loving & like each other better. Shouting and ranting at teenagers didn't work work in my house & only made us all resent each other.
I would highly recommend searching for MaryZ threads. Although threads can focus on serious issues Mary's advice to parents on staying sane and loving your DC is invaluable. I really wish you well. With a few changes you can have a great life with your DD. Well done on leaving after so long. Don't hesitate to join divorce group or find a good counsellor, you need support too. Good luck.
Do not allow him in your house. Tell your DD that you want her to live with you, tell her that you love her, but also tell her that you need to be treated with respect - as she also deserves.
If you two really need to communicate about your DD, do it by email/text. He can phone her on her own phone if he wants to talk to her. She can sort out when she goes to see him.
Have you spoken to her school about the situation? Could you get her some counselling?
You poor thing. It seems you could do no right here.
I am on my phone so can't type much, but I essentially agree with cogito (as per)
I would fight a bit harder though.
OK so she has been manipulated into thinking that Dad is on her side because he lets her do exactly as she pleases and wades in against anyone that doesn't..... and, by default, that means you're against her. The enemy.
What teenager wouldn't want a life with no restrictions and access to a pool? But I strongly suspect that, now you're out of the picture and there's no satisfaction in undermining you any more, she's only got a few months of this indulgent stuff to go before he shows his true colours and starts controlling her. He's 'won' DD with his Sugar Daddy act but chances are that a woman-hater like that is not going to tolerate a girl calling the shots for long.
So I'd say be consistent. Don't change personality. Keep asking about the homework. Keep telling her not to wear make-up. Don't beg her to live with you. Just keep presenting it as something you'd be really happy with.
Thank you all so much for your sound advice. I did sit down and chat with her before I decided to rent the house. He moved out for a few months 4 years ago but came back saying he loved and missed us. I really wanted to call it a day then but didn't have the courage and was, if I'm being really honest, afraid of her coming the conclusion that I was the one that broke up the marriage.
Roll on 4 years and it was soon back to how it was before. Emotional abuse interspersed with absences and indifference. He has always blown hot and cold with her but she seems to like the way he just leaves her to do her own thing and not "bother" her. He leaves her to her own devices a lot I think.
When I talked to her prior to looking for a house I asked her what she really wanted. She said she really wished we would separate because she was fed up with the constant shouting. I told him this and suggested that one of us move out. He flatly refused saying why should he be driven out of the house - he had done nothing wrong as far as he was concerned. Things just got worse and worse so I started looking.
I told her I was looking for something near to her school and big enough for the both of us. I bought her to this house and asked her if she liked it and should I rent it. She was very excited. I told her I really wanted her to come and live here with me but she was certain she wanted to stay where she was. Her best friend lives immediately opposite and her bedroom is three times the size and there is a swimming pool etc etc.
She loves her dad. She often says how selfish he is but no more than that. It's almost like she's been conditioned to accept the behaviour as normal. I don't think she realises how manipulative he is being. I most certainly didn't. He would always accuse me of being a control freak etc etc. I spent many years believing all he said until I went for lengthy counselling sessions and it all came out. He would shout and be rude to me in front of her. He would spend long periods of time not speaking to any of us. He has spent many months working overseas also. She's grown up with that and knows no different. He treats his mother in the same way, so where are any other examples going to come from?
I cried and told her how much I loved her and that I was moving out because I felt she needed some peace in her life but that I would be here and wanting her to be with me. She spent the first two weeks with me but went back to his house after a couple of weeks, saying that daddy might be missing her. I know she believes him to be the victim because I'm the one that has done the moving and caused the change.
I know the sage advice is to leave her to come back to me when she is ready, but equally I get (and agree) with other's view that my welcome may be a bit too luke warm. On the few occasions I've tried to be a bit more insistent she spend time with me she really kicks off and he interferes and steps in.
I am hurting like hell. I am so afraid I have done completely the wrong thing against my own judgement. I really believed that the shouting was doing more and more damage as it got worse and worse. He was getting more and more aggressive. One of the main things that tipped the balance was recently, as she's got older, she has naturally become more opinionated. Something like how is your homework going? Why is this teacher not happy with your work? Can you not wear make up to school you know its agains the rules. Can you please clear some of the dirty stuff out of your room etc etc. Now that is normal stuff but what started to happen was that I was getting too scared to say anything to her about anything. Every time I did, she would start to argue and he would come wading in and shout at me to leave her alone. Never once did he say "don't speak to your mother like that" or "I agree with your mum, you should ......." etc etc. This was playing havoc with her emotions and her behaviour. She started to realise that she could play one off against the other and also began to realise that almost every time we argued it was about her. I tried so desperately to get him to stop arguing in front of her and to stop undermining me all the time, but it cut no ice with him. Scoring points against me won over keeping her on an even keel.
I am truly at a loss to know what to do next.
Saying she's old enough to choose for herself means you think she's old enough to see through the crap and weigh up the right and wrong in your and XDH relationship. Clearly this is not the case. She is being run ragged by your XDH, but she sticks by him because he's stuck by her.
She needs to know that she is your priority; that you love her and miss her and want her with you; that you will fight for her to be living with you; that the house you chose was chosen to suit her. Tell her you want a life for her that is loving and calm and supportive, not a life full of slammed doors and shouting and accusations of madness. She also needs to know it's appalling that he is involving her in your destructive, horrible relationship breakdown.
And never, ever, ever let her witness any 'discussions' between you and XDP.
15 is difficult enough; this sounds like a nightmare.
This is difficult to read. I think you need to explain more fully why you didn't take your daughter when you left your abusive husband
When I was this age I willed my mum to leave my dad, but would have been even more damaged if she had not insisted I go too
Can you elaborate ?
When my mum left my dad, I was 17. She decided I was old enough to understand. My dad was hurting big time and worked offshore. I saw my dad 1 day every fortnight.
I tried living with my mum but the funny noises at night and the snogging infront of me kind of put me off ( she was with another woman).
Both my parents fucked my head up. My sister was no help either.
As a consequence I got married to the wrong man who was EA.
Years later, after 2 failed marriages and a couple of doomed relationships I have decided that I'm crap at choosing men and will be single for the forseeable future
My step sister at xmas, summed it all up perfectly. They abandonned us.
Why on earth did you not take your dd with you?
You know what her dad is like. She's angry because her world has been shattered and her mum doesn't seem to care
I agree with the posters above.
This will sound equally harsh but you've escaped from this horrible violent bastard, why didn't you take her with you?
You're brilliant and strong for leaving, and sound so together and sure of yourself but there's still a lot of being manipulated by him as you are trying to be reasonable with someone who is not reasonable. After 20 and 15 years of living with this crap you and your DD need to be together and get some counselling to recover.
Have you started in the divorce? Spoken to a solicitor? You really should asap.
I don't think you should avoid criticising their father when it's relevant. Bad-mouthing is one thing, and is usually malicious, exaggerated and designed to manipulate. Telling a kid (who after all has grown up in this abusive environment, so it's no secret) that their father's abusive behaviour became intolerable is hard but the truth. You see so often on these boards the stories of children of abusive relationships who are furious with parents because they either meted out the abuse or tolerated it and failed to protect them. The worst criticism is levelled at the ones that tried to minimise it. So don't minimise it. Be honest.
I am bracing myself for this scenario. We, too, have the triangle you describe (but a lot more subtle and civilized).
She has always been Daddy's little girl and he will turn on the devotion now so I am expecting her to want to move schools etc.
HOW do you sit down with a confused adolescent and talk about abuse and unfair treatment (which manipulation and no boundaries is)? It involves criticising their father. I am with you in spirit OP.
Your mistake, I think, was to put the responsibility on her shoulders to choose between you. She's only 15 and she may look/talk/act grown-up but she's still a kid. I think she needs a lot more guidance and control than she's currently getting. Between your laissez faire approach and his combination of manipulation and indulgence, she's left to steer her own course, probably with just a few similar-aged schoolfriends to sound for advice. She could come out of it unscathed but if she's grown up witnessing his abuse of you and is now getting zero parenting in the middle of this battleground, I think the chances of her not being damaged by the experience are very slim.
She has to believe you want her. I'd start there. Make a much stronger case for her to come and live with you.
Frankly, I think your moving out like that might have done tremendous damage.
Did you speak to her about the house beforehand, as in "I think I'm going to get somewhere to rent...?" Your offer for her to live where she wants sounds very halfhearted. Of course it might not have been, but that's how it sounds.
She's 15. She's still a child. You have left her and her dad (who you know was a manipulative bastard) has stepped in and taken her over, as you could have predicted.
I just don't know why you did it like that.
A bit of guidance please.
Background. Married 20 years but a lot of arguments and shouting. I think I suffered emotional abuse. He thinks I am too demanding etc etc blah, blah.
Anyhow after 20 years of this the straw that broke the camels back, as it were, was the death of my dear dad. It hardly registered on the bastard's radar and having members of my family at the house after the wake was considered too much for him and yet another huge row erupted because I was apparently not considering his feelings and respecting the fact that it was his home. He also accused me of being moody. I had just had the funeral that day FFS. Row escalated to him chasing me round the house to shout and eventually kicking me when I tried to shut a door to keep him out of the room. That was a regular scenario in the house. I get to thinking, our daughter is 15. She's had 15 years of this. On top of that he has taken to going against me if I ever tried to discipline her in any way to undermine me and hurt me by trying to alienate us from each other (daughter and I).
So a few weeks ago I took the drastic step of renting another house and moving out. Made sure the house was near to her school so she can decide where she wants to be on a daily basis. Told her that she was welcome to come and live me if she wanted but that she was old enough to make up her own mind.
It has been very hard for her. She has been very moody with me but OK with him. He is spoiling her rotten and pretty much letting her suit herself and being a taxi service and personal bank.
But more disturbingly whenever I have spoken to him about something I'm not happy about - be it about something to do with her or something to do with the house, he is repeating it to her. Tonight he did it and it has resulted in a huge row with her being very angry with me. I had deliberately telephoned him when she was not with him so she wouldn't be party to the resulting inevitable shouting match. He always insists that it is me that starts arguments but it is always his voice that gets louder and louder and I end up hanging up because he is shouting. A later conversation starts up when he brings her round to my house to "discuss thing". This is always a bad sign when he says that. It means, he's going to say what he wants to say and if I say I don't agree then he will shout and then I will be accused of starting an argument. i then ask him to leave and i am seen as the aggressor. This was the case this evening. But something he said sent a chill down my spine. It went something like this "Of course I'm not trying to take her away from you, I just want to be sure that she is having a good relationship with you, I keep asking her if everything is OK between you two and that you are getting along alright".
Now call me Mrs Paranoid. But knowing this bloke, I think that this is the power of suggestion at work here. I know how manipulative he can be. It is the reason I moved out. It is the reason the rows went on for so long and often, because I didn't believe most of what he said as it was more often than not a lie.
Surely if someone asks you often enough if everything is OK and if you are getting along with a person you might start to wonder if you aren't meant to be. Also at the weekend she said that she thought I had some kind of mental illness I have never heard of and didn't even know what it mean. She refused to explain where she got the name of the illness from and why?
I have to say that at the grand old age of 56 there has never been a hint of mental illness in me. No post natal depression. No problems with PMT. No issues going through the change etc etc. No mental health issues in my family either. I work full time and have run the house and done the lion's share of the work on houses we have done up. Gardening has always been my responsibility as has bills, bank accounts and daughter's education. I have run everything and looked after my daughter single handedly whilst he has worked overseas, so clealry mental health was not an issue then.
I cannot say the same for his lineage. He spent several weeks in hospital diagnosed with alcohol induced paranoia in his mid twenties. His mother is a child like attention seeker and flaky to say the least and his uncle spent his adulthood in some kind of institutions but I don't know the details. The pattern with him is one of rages if felt maligned or treated unfairly but can be charming when it suits. Most people see through this pretty soon and he has no friends to speak of, just people that he works with.
My question, at 15 is there anything I can do? Or do I just have to ride the rough ride and hope that she comes out the other side relatively unscathed? What are my powers? Or am I treading a dangerous game if I challenge this? Or should I threaten to move back into the marital home and hope he might move out?