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to find this so bloody hard to rationalise

(148 Posts)
Castasunder Sat 23-Jul-16 20:04:27

My ex and I have a 9yo
He has remarried and has other DC
Ex and his wife , to put it mildly are critical of me in DD's hearing. Their criticism ranges from who I am as a person, to the kind of upbringing I am providing for DD. The latter is the most prevalent and of course, affects DD the most. She is of an age now where she resents it and complains on occasion to her DF when she musters up the courage. I have tried so many times to raise it with him, but he couldn't care less and mostly refuses to correspond. EA relationship- you get the picture.
After lots of fire fighting, trying to reason with him, and even taking advice, I reached the only conclusion I could , and that was to give up on him and try to work on my DD, by building her up from within and encouraging her at every opportunity not to let their words upset her. I've tried so very hard never to criticised ex or DW , although admittedly have succumbed to occasional comments such as telling DD they were daft/unkind, that I didn't approve of what they said or that they were wrong/they don't know everything. Mostly I stick to saying things (upon advice from MN) that we have no control over what other people say but that we have control over how they make us feel. I absolutely never say anything nasty.
The issue I seem to have found myself with however, is not one I anticipated. My DD herself in the last 18months or so, has become hyper vigilant to any perceived criticism of her DF and DW, and regularly jumps on me for the most inane of comments. She then tells her dad or DW what I said. To give you an example, DD asked me yesterday if I liked her dads new car. I replied that it was nice. She then asked if it was something I would like to drive, and I said it wouldn't be my first choice, no. DD then proceeded to tell me that I was having a go at her dad, and that I was a 'hypocrite' because I tell her that it's unkind when she hears bad things from her dad. She then told her dad I didn't like his car.

This is just one example, and it's like she's lost the ability to tell the difference between a difference of opinion and a criticism. She is vastly less confident in telling her dad what she feels/thinks ( it's a whole other thread tbh) and so it's like she saves it all up for me and lambasts my every word. I sometimes feel like our conversations are like walking through mud because she's looking for something she can pounce on. I am really aware of how much she's having to deal with, and how all of this stuff should be far beyond her radar. If I could change her situation I would, but I am dealing with an EA ex, who is helped along with his partner, and feel powerless to change it. I feel very down about how our relationship is going , and although I can rationalise it somewhat that it's a coping mechanism, I can't get away from the fact that my DD is 'lumping me in' with DF. She has repeated some truly awful things that he's said about me- things he has never denied, and it has taken every fibre of my being to swallow them down and 'reframe' them for DD . I regularly excuse him and his DW and say they didn't mean it etc...because I am trying to protect her from it all.

This time though....I don't know what to do- at the moment it's hard to even have a day out without it descending into some kind of imaginary row about how I've just been horrible about her dad and his DW. I have to regularly leave the room because I am so upset at the things she comes out with. She wants and needs me to be her sounding board when she comes back from a weekend at her dads, yet spends the days in between raging against me for things I just have not said.sad

BenguinsMummy Sat 23-Jul-16 20:21:14

Your DD is suffering EA at the hands of your ex, your ex is playing the bad father, using criticism towards you in front of your DD, and this is affecting her, I'd seek some advice, how often does she have contact? The environment sounds pretty toxic and needs addressing before she becomes even more confused and open to more EA at the hands of her father and his DW....

Castasunder Sat 23-Jul-16 20:28:00

EOW. I've taken advice...it came to nothing. I don't want to give too much info but it they just weren't interested. I've decided that what I needed to do was work on my DD myself...and build her up from the core. She is the most lovely child, but it's so hard at the minute. Ex is clever, he doesn't lay into me with bad words or insults...it's more insidious than that. For example they tell DD they are 'deeply concerned for her welfare....wish they could 'do something' to help her, offer to let her live there and encourage it constantly, tell her her 'family' are waiting on her whenever she decides the time is right....you get the picture.

BenguinsMummy Sat 23-Jul-16 20:35:25

I can relate, but no amount of building her "up from the core" will help her in the long run, your ex is abusing her by doing what he is doing, and this will impact on her emotionally and affect her personality as she grows, she's already at a vulnerable stage by virtue of the fact that she is at an age where her self awareness and independence are developing, you wouldn't want her to end up with her own version of your ex for a partner would you? I recommend speaking with your GP, they are able to refer to other agencies who can and will assess whether she needs input to prevent her suffering in the long run....

Castasunder Sat 23-Jul-16 20:44:12

He would prevent her accessing services though? I've approached him before and said I felt she needed someone to talk to , just moderate help, such as a school mentor, and he said he would veto that at every turn. That I was attempting to 'medicalise' her for my own warped reasons

Castasunder Sat 23-Jul-16 20:45:07

Also, my DD presents fairly normally in that she's a cheerful little girl most of the time. It's just that she's so very difficult with me- no one else.

BenguinsMummy Sat 23-Jul-16 21:03:56

Ah, the old "I'm going to attempt to assert my rights as her father" card.... What a c***. I feel that you are getting the responses you do from DD due to the venom ex is spouting and he is slowly brainwashing her... Get her some help, you are the PWC, you make the choices here.... Not him....

Castasunder Sat 23-Jul-16 21:21:56

She is definitely brainwashed. She comes home all strung out from a weekend with them, wants me to agree with her that they're awful ( actually gets angry when I make platitudes about his behaviour) , yet somehow, jumps and rallies against my every word in conversations that have nothing to do with him. It's exhausting and I cannot imagine how conflicting it just feel for her.

BenguinsMummy Sat 23-Jul-16 21:35:28

This is a sign that your little girl(because in reality, she doesn't have the maturity to process what is going on) is not coping with the demands and criticism being placed upon her by ex and his wife, one day she will feel so strung out that she will stop communicating altogether for fear of rejection and criticism. I urge you, please, protect her, she needs you to stand up for her, to go and speak with the GP, the School, social services and get some help, this can and will only escalate into something much harder to fix in the long run.

Castasunder Sat 23-Jul-16 21:55:01

Thanks for your help. I'll see my GP again. I tried her school once before and they said it wasn't within their control as she was fine at school. I'll see the GP and hope for the best. I could afford therapy for her but am so afraid I would need his permission

BenguinsMummy Sat 23-Jul-16 22:34:32

You're welcome Hun, therapy will help, but it's always better if you can get it endorsed by your GP or another professional, ask for a CAHMS assessment, once kids are given someone safe to talk to (I'm not saying that you're not, but she has an emotional bond to you and a loyalty to both you and her father) she could be that way with you because she knows you won't hurt her emotionally. So therefore needs someone totally unconnected who can listen and help her thru this, also, if her therapy does uncover something sinister, then the therapist is in a position to involve the agencies they feel need involving... Good luck x

Castasunder Sat 23-Jul-16 22:51:37

Thank you so much

Castasunder Tue 26-Jul-16 11:37:35

I want to get this moved to relationships. Anyone know how?

Missgraeme Tue 26-Jul-16 12:33:49

I doubt he can stop u arranging for her to see a therapist.

Castasunder Tue 26-Jul-16 13:18:57

He said he would be to as they need both parents consent

IWantAMooseCalledDominic Tue 26-Jul-16 13:38:59

Could you get legal advice on that? I'm going through something similar with my ds (although my ex did consent in the end) and was told by the therapist that I could challenge him in court if he refused consent.
I'm not in UK so might be different of course, but it would be worth seeing what options are available to you.
I really feel for you, it is a horrible position to be in.

Missgraeme Tue 26-Jul-16 13:47:06

Initially u would both be in the room but them she would get one to one. And incidently my daughter saw a therapist with no mention at all of dad /permission etc.

DrinkingFromJamJarsIsWanky Tue 26-Jul-16 13:56:23

My armchair psychologist interpretation of this is that she knows on some level that her dad is wrong for criticising you. But if she can reassure herself that you're as bad as he is, that will make him less bad if that makes sense?

I don't see how he could block you taking her to a therapist. I agree that you need outside help, she is being emotionally abused by him.

Castasunder Tue 26-Jul-16 13:57:21

Yes I guess I could get advice legally - good point. He's also threatened in the past to get her therapy without me knowing, and then be able to use the outcome of it to show a judge how bad I was for DD

BeautyQueenFromMars Tue 26-Jul-16 14:03:37

OP, to get this thread moved you just need to click the 'Report' button next to one of your posts, and ask HQ to move it to Relationships.

I really hope you manage to get this resolved, it sounds soul destroying flowers

Thomasisintraining Tue 26-Jul-16 14:13:10

Jeez he is a real piece of work. I don't know that a therapist is going to have much more luck than you on this one but it might be worth your while getting yourself advice from a therapist on how you should handle the situation rather than waiting for permission for your DD to visit one. I can only imagine what your DD's underlying reason for this behaviour is, but Drinkinhfrom has an excellent hypothesis there.

MovingOnUpMovingOnOut Tue 26-Jul-16 14:17:22

I'm not sure it is hugely helpful to try to deny her experience "with platitudes". If she tells you something horrible happened and it was horrible or upsetting I think you should agree rather than minimising it.

She is trying to work out what is a healthy relationship and you are telling her that her feelings are wrong. That's not going to help her, no wonder she's confused and trying to test you.

I would try to avoid getting drawn in to discussions about ex unless it relates specifically to your daughter and only in response to her bringing something up. In those instances I would say things like "yes, I can see why you were upset by XYZ that your dad did/said" or "I can understand why you were upset but I would have done the same as your dad because it was dangerous/time to go/too expensive/too late.".

Be honest with her, be circumspect in what you say and I agree finding someone for her to talk to sounds like a really good idea.

Castasunder Tue 26-Jul-16 14:20:37

Drinking- that's a good interpretation, thanks.
I've reasoned it similarly- that she's knows he's wrong but needs to believe otherwise. I feel so sorry for her. It's hard though when I am living on a knifes edge waiting for her next comment. She regularly asks me if I 'feel guilty' about various things. For example if she gets to bed later than usual or I found to remind her about her homework, she'll ask me if I feel guilty about it or whether I think I should feel bad. It's odd. She also challenges my parenting of her - involving herself in things other children don't care about, such as the type of shampoo I use or whether the medicine I've given her is suitable.

Castasunder Tue 26-Jul-16 14:27:18

Moving- sorry I do actually do some of those things you've suggested. For example if she says 'dad said your job is not very good', I would say something like 'in sorry you had to hear that....it's an unkind thing to say. I DO let her know when something is blatantly unkind or horrible as I do not want her to think it's normal. On the other hand, if the comment directly related to my DD herself and was hurting her, ie- 'Dad said I'm lazy at sports', I admittedly try to reframe it for her - as in that moment i want to minimise the hurt she feels. So I'll say, something like...'perhaps dad just meant that you didn't push yourself on sports day as much as you usually do' ....or something like that . Hope that explains it.

IWantAMooseCalledDominic Tue 26-Jul-16 14:37:15

What a feckin knob he is. So he can go behind your back but somehow you need his permission?! Obviously that's not true, do try to ignore him (so much easier said then done, I know). And no self respecting children's therapist would give him ammo to use against you, they are there to help the child. My ds's specifically states that they don't get involved like that, any assessment on welfare is carried out by a specialised person, usually through the courts. Again, not in UK but I'd imagine it's similar. He's still trying to control you and using your daughter to do it, all that stuff re shampoo and medicine, feeling guilty, its coming straight from his mouth. Your poor dd. And you. flowers

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