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So down, is it him or me

(33 Posts)
skippy84 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:04:14

Background: I have a 3 year old DD, split with her dad 2 years ago. It was difficult but very amicable now.

I feel hurt because Ex refuses to acknowledge anything I do with DD. Just recently he got annoyed because I wasn't excited when he he took her to the pool and 'taught her how to swim'. This is despite me having been swimming with I her on a very regular basis since the split. I've seen her do what he 'taught' her many times but he was angry because I dismiss him and his parenting because I didn't get excited enough

Second thing is that I've noticed many mild put downs that he keeps delivering even in the short time when he drops her off. Eg today I was cleaning all day and I have to admit things have been a bit slovenly because I have been working ft and just finished masters on top of parenting alone. But he came in with her and said 'it actually smells nice in here for a change' which was really hurtful because even though I've been busy I hardly think the place was condemned.

Finally my daughter does seem to show a preference for him over me a lot. The rational part of me thinks this is cause he has her one night a week and one day and it's super fun and I suppose she gets bored of me but he seems to play on this all the time in my presence. Eg asking who she loves more mommy or daddy and she always says daddy and then we laugh. I don't find it funny tough. I'm exhausted and I find it really really sad that she prefers him.

wouldbemedic Sun 12-Jan-14 00:48:39

Your ex sounds passive aggressive/clueless/cocky. The relationship doesn't sound amicable at all. It sounds like you're putting up with a lot for the sake of your daughter having parents who are united. Which I massively respect smile However, you're making a mistake in putting up with 'games' that are going to spell difficulty for your child in the long run. At some point - you don't know when - this game of asking for her preference is going to start making her feel caught in the middle. So your ex has to wise up. There are no comparisons. There is no better. There is only difference. He should have the maturity to recognise that if one of you is 'down', it can only wind up spelling hurt or a less stable environment for your child. Perhaps you could put this to him (if his ego really is overly large and couldn't cope with the idea that he's being hurtful) by pointing out that children are simplistic and it will come across to the child as if she's being caught in the middle by being asked to betray one of you. Also, point out that little girls are incredibly perceptive and she might well pick up on the hurt you personally feel at never being chosen as 'favourite', even though you know, rationally, that dads are usually the superhero parents, especially if they have a slumber party once a week! Regarding the comments about your house smelling unpleasant etc., that doesn't need to be happening. There are choices - your ex could stop entering the house and having conversations on that level, or you could ask him not to say things that hurt you. Up to you what you think he will respond best to. Armchair speculation but could he be playing a cocky role because he feels deeply insecure about his role as a parent, evidenced by the importance of the preference game and his need for you to give him a round of applause for 'teaching her to swim'. If so, I would feel that the approach described above could backfire unless you surround it with words of affirmation. He sounds like he loves his girl and in a different life, that would have deepened your love for him. It's a loss, for all of you, in that sense. Surely it wouldn't hurt to let him know you can see how hard he's trying.

JapaneseMargaret Sat 11-Jan-14 23:20:09

His behaviour is grim.

I would have loathed being asked that question by one of my parents as a child. And I know for a fact it would not make either of my own DC happy to be asked it.

He needs to stop it. Not because it upsets your, it because it's an awful way to be around his child.

Bettercallsaul1 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:55:47

It's so easy being the "fun" parent when you only have the child one day a week - everything's much more intense and exciting. I bet it would be a different story if he ever had your daughter for weeks, or months, on end.

He's definitely using your daughter to get at you, and he must be very insecure to set up all these competitive "choices" to invite her to "prefer" him. Part of his attitude will stem from resentment that your daughter spends most of her time with you, while he has been relegated to the "weekend Dad".

Not allowing him over the threshold, as other people have suggested, robs him of the chance for prolonged conversations and jibes about the house and, just as importantly, gives you back a sense of control.

Well done for completing your Master's while coping with your daughter on your own -that is no mean achievement.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 11-Jan-14 22:55:29

Hmm - my dd screeches when dd gets home from work. She is much less enthusiastic to see me when I collect her from school. It doesn't mean anything at all. If anything, it is a thing of routine, of acceptance, of normality, of comfort. I arrived late once - dd was distraught and crying. She doesn't get like that when dh has gone to the pub after work or is travelling somewhere.

JackNoneReacher Sat 11-Jan-14 22:47:22

Don't let it get to you by not giving him the opportunity to do it.

Don't let him in. Have a reason ready why he needs to drop/pick up and leave. Say you're just on your way out, going to a friends, expecting visitors/exhausted.

skippy84 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:41:41

The whole thing is ridiculous. I need to find a way to not let it get to me. But it does

skippy84 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:23:53

God I don't find her ungrateful in the slightest, she's 3. I'd just love to see her face light up like that for me sometimes that's all. I don't think id care at all but for how much he highlights her reaction to him vs me.

complexnumber Sat 11-Jan-14 22:18:22

^ I just feel like the dull rule-enforcing person.^

I bet you will reap what you have sown.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 11-Jan-14 22:18:17

Think of it like this - your ex is so shallow he NEEDS to have the gratification that he is fabulous. He can't get it anywhere else - as he is a cunt - so he is using your 3 yo to make himself feel better about himself. How SAD is that? Your dd loves and trusts you absolutely and has no need to TELL you that every 5 minutes as she knows that you love her absolutely. She is not ungrateful. She is 3.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 11-Jan-14 22:14:24

I am the dull rule enforcing person. I make pack lunches, sort out homework, insist on showers etc. I am also the one dd depends on absolutely if there is an issue. She KNOWS.

skippy84 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:11:46

I agree - 'Its not you- he's a cunt' will be my new inner mantra in these situations

skippy84 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:09:50

Thanks so much, I already feel better. I do feel a bit like the wallpaper sometimes though, I'm the only person that's been constant for her whole life and that's nice but I just feel like the dull rule-enforcing person. I know it's so important but would like some of the gratification occasionally smile

complexnumber Sat 11-Jan-14 22:09:18

Its not you - he is a cunt.

Mumsnet at its best!

JackNoneReacher Sat 11-Jan-14 22:03:56

He's a twat.

What a cock saying those things to his 3 year old in front of her mum.

Don't let him in then you wont have to let your daughter see him disrespect you like that.

So glad to hear he's your ex.

jacks365 Sat 11-Jan-14 22:03:49

She doesn't prefer him! I have a 2yo who adores her big sisters, they are fun and exciting but boring old mum is the one who makes all the rules etc however it's me she wants when she hurts herself or feels ill or gets too tired and wants to cuddle up. I'm the rock that she trusts and your llittle girl will be no different dad is fun but mum is always there, always realiable, always dependable no compliment gets better than that.

RandomMess Sat 11-Jan-14 22:00:03

Being friendly doesn't mean having him in your home at all ever. It means polite handovers at the door and being reasonable about contact arrangements and not badmouthing him.

phantomnamechanger Sat 11-Jan-14 21:57:56

she doesn't actually prefer him, but she is canny enough to realise that she needs to say this to him to keep on his good side. He probably drills her in this at his home and acts all hurt at the "wrong" answer/rewards the right answer with lots of fun/attention. What a scum bag! I bet if she did one day say you, he would be all petulant and sulky and try to guilt trip the poor thing! I am certain she much prefers that she knows you love her lots and she is secure in that without being given silly "tests" to "pass".
A child should not be expected to "pick" between its parents. He is a jerk.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 11-Jan-14 21:55:53

She doesn't "prefer" him. She is 3 and dancing to his tune is all. Don't let him in, ignore any shit he comes out with and get on with your life. Based on the brief posts on this thread, I can work out who is the better parent. And so can your dd. Believe me, give it a few years....

skippy84 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:50:11

Thanks I've been so exhausted trying to make everything ok for DD and friendly between us that I've started taking his shit again. Wish I wasn't so weak. Was his choice to split, I've done my best, I'm still a pushover. No wonder she prefers him hmm

chalchalchal Sat 11-Jan-14 21:44:02

what an arsehole.

I agree with RandomMess; don't let him in anymore. And don't get into any conversations with him. Keep handovers as brief and quick as possible, with as little conversation as possible.

He is using your dd to belittle you and knock your self confidence. Probably because he knows you are far more capable than him. Next time he starts games about who dd loves most (she Will have no idea what this actually means at this age) just smile, say to dd 'that's silly -I love you very much' then ignore completely and change the subject. He will soon get bored of these games when you show him you it has no effect on you.

And like another poster said, don't let him in.

RandomMess Sat 11-Jan-14 21:29:06

I wouldn't let him in anymore.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 11-Jan-14 21:23:58

And don't take to heart anything a 3 yo says to keep her dad happy either. My 9 yo probably "prefers" her dad as he is the fun one who is happy to play Wii games whilst I am making pack lunches or something. She KNOWS though that it is me that makes everything tick.

Rosencrantz Sat 11-Jan-14 21:18:24

My post still applies, only to the ex then!

He's an emotionally manipulative toolbag. I have one too.

Wish I knew what to do about him.

PortofinoRevisited Sat 11-Jan-14 21:16:47

Its not you - he is a cunt. He is trying to big himself up. Just ignore him.

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