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What do I say to DD? She's started to notice how her Dad behaves

(42 Posts)
Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 09:32:55

DD is just about to turn 13. She and I had a conversation this morning and it's become clear that she is realising very clearly exactly what her Dad (my ex) is like. And the stuff she's picking up on are some of the main reasons my marriage ended.

Do I keep to the line I've had since we separated of never mis-calling him or do I give her the validation of acknowledging that she's absolutely on the money and completely and utterly right?

slartybartfast Sat 22-Sep-12 09:35:12

no, she is too young. she needs to get her own opinion about her dad.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 09:36:36

How do I tread the line of acknowledging her view and giving her the validation that she's right and her instincts and judgement are spot on, without it seeming like I'm being horrible to him though?

Iwillorderthefood Sat 22-Sep-12 09:37:23

Marking my place niece just about to turn 11 going to be the same shortly.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 09:39:15

I want to support her, and make her secure in her judgements - think red flags, she's spotted them - I don't want to make her feel that her judgement is off iyswim?

slartybartfast Sat 22-Sep-12 09:41:16

but he is her dad. she has his genes. and if you criticise him she will possibly rebel against you - just remain non commital

chocoreturns Sat 22-Sep-12 09:41:57

can you validate her feelings without saying anything about your marriage? eg, What your dad did/said wasn't very nice and I dislike it when people behave like that too, so I realise you must be feeling hurt/sad/angry, would you like to talk about it? That way you are allowing her space to discuss her own experience and saying you support her but not intruding on her feelings by heaping on more negative stuff. Its important to teach children their own perception of reality is valid, especially if your ex was controlling or you think he puts her down/dismisses her point of view.

Romilly70 Sat 22-Sep-12 09:41:58

Well how about about if she asks specifically, say "you are correct" but do not get into slagging him off.
I think you are right about her trusting her own judgement, she wants to learn from the situation you have been through, not repeat it.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 09:42:17

I know that. But if I remain non-commital then I'm not giving her the reassurance that she's right in her judgements. Do you see what I mean?

wannabedomesticgoddess Sat 22-Sep-12 09:43:03

I think if shes saying about individual situations where her dad has done something she thinks is wrong then agree along the lines of "I agree, that was out of order." or "He shouldnt have done that." but wait a few years until you say anything about the whole picture and why you left him.

DoubleYew Sat 22-Sep-12 09:44:15

There is a good bit in How to Talk... about listening. Bascially say as little as possible, nobbing and Hmm, uhuh noises - the more they tell you. I would just let her express her feelings right now so she knows she has a place to let her disappointment / frustration out after seeing him.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 09:44:45

As an example, part of what she said this morning was "Dad always thinks he's more important than anyone else and what he's doing has to come first and he never considers anyone else's feelings"

She's right. She is absolutely spot on. But if I say she's right then it's an implied criticism of him.

Arion Sat 22-Sep-12 09:45:17

Please tell her, I grew up thinking I was the problem, now I'm an adult loads of my mums friends make comments about her behaviour. It would have been a big help growing up to have known that her behaviour was 'off', as an only child I couldn't see her being unfair to another child so thought that I must be really awful for her to behave that way to me.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 09:45:28

Double - that's what I did, kind of nodded and ummmed and she ranted grin

slartybartfast Sat 22-Sep-12 09:45:35

he cant have been all bad op or you wouldnt ahve had a relationship with him in the first place.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 09:46:19

And Arion - that's exactly what I don't want. Plus I think it's important before she starts to have relationships of her own that she realises that her instincts are right.

Or something blush

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 09:47:22

Slarty - I was very young, very foolish and very pregnant.

And I didn't say he was all bad - I said she was picking up on the things he did that she thinks are wrong and they happen to be the same things that were a major factor in my marriage ending - how is that saying he's all bad?

crazygracieuk Sat 22-Sep-12 09:47:30

Like others I'd stick to sympathy like "In your shoes, I'd feel angry too." rather than "That's typical of your Dad" and bring up incidents when he'd done the same to you.

chocoreturns Sat 22-Sep-12 09:48:16

I found this on a blog written by a mother with a confirmed narcissistic exH. Best advice ever. I kept it to remind myself when the going gets tough...

"Associate as little as possible with the ex, preferably by e-mail and keep it all business. The children will recognize what you are doing by the time they are pre-teens. You need not say a thing.

Compliment your child daily, even over the phone when they are visiting with their father. Ask questions about their day and how they feel and what their opinions are on different subjects and issues. Let them be HEARD; the narcissist will never really hear their sweet voices. Hug them and display closeness by holding hands, smiling, laughing and joking with them.

Criticize when necessary, but only in private. Make sure they know it is the action you do not care for, but you still love them, no matter what, period, and SAY this to them. Praise them in public and not just for their accomplishments, but just for them being who and what they are. Soften your tone and voice, they need to hear kind words and thoughtful manners to wash away the strident harshness of their father's cruel, acerbic and almost always critical voice.

Let them know, in the most non-offensive way, that you do not approve of their father's actions, as they are disrespectful to others. Make sure they SEE YOU behaving in a loving, accepting and respectful way to all others. Let them see you being kind frequently, no matter how small the kindness. Show them how to do the right thing under all circumstances and to be kind, no matter what. Teach them that all they can truly control is themselves and live this one (especially) by example!

Tell them each day that you love them, and I mean every day. Admire their accomplishments, encourage them to be frank, open, honest and to speak their minds, even to their father. Assure them that you are 100% behind them at all times. Teach them not to be afraid of this man or anyone else, and that they are worthy of the love they receive from you and others.
Lastly, when the time is right, let them watch you and include them often in a loving relationship with a normal man. They will discern what is right and what is narcissistic behavior."

PurplePidjin Sat 22-Sep-12 09:48:33

Use impersonal language "That wasn't a nice thing to happen", "It can be very hurtful when people act like that" and reflect her feelings back (even if she swears) "It sounds like that really pissed you off?", "You sound angry". Keep questions open ("So then what happened?", "What did you say to that?"), and do lots of nodding and hmm-ing - pretty much anything to avoid expressing your own opinions of Twatface your ex wink

Meglet Sat 22-Sep-12 09:49:13

Tell her, without slagging him off. The DC's (5 & 4) know their Dad was 'angry' and didn't like doing family things (adult translation, he was an abusive asshole who threatened to kill us and preferred the pub to his kids). As they get older I will tell them more. Obviously we don't see him anymore.

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 09:49:43

Choco - that just gave me a lump in my throat.

chocoreturns Sat 22-Sep-12 09:50:10

obv your ex may not be that bad but i still thought it was handy advice and better put than I can say it myself!! smile

slartybartfast Sat 22-Sep-12 09:50:47

he cant have been all bad - it is an expression. just let her talk and go umm and mmm sounds like a good plan op

Mydogsleepsonthebed Sat 22-Sep-12 09:51:27

The thing is, I DON'T want to slag him off. I never have, I wouldn't start now. Honestly. But by the same token, I have to validate her feelings and let her see that she's right, that what she's picking up on is exactly spot on. Otherwise I'm sending her the message that he's right and she's screwed up in the head to think like that (which is what he did to me and I do not want that for her because it has taken a lot of effort and tears to get him out of my head)

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