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Exh keeps bad mouthing me to our dc's

(16 Posts)
doughnutdolly Sun 05-May-13 16:59:33

We have been separated for 3 years. In that time we've had our ups and downs but have kept all our animosity hidden from the dc's. That is until recently. My ex is now going through difficult times and has started talking to our ds about being very angry with me. A lot of what he tells our ds (7) isn't actually true but my problem is this - how do I help my ds cope with all this? I have asked exh not to inflict his bitterness on our dc's but the way things are at the moment, the more I ask him to do one thing, the more likely he is to do the opposite. I also asked him to attend family mediation but he has refused. My ds now comes home after contact with his dad, very low and often becomes tearful. When he tells me what dad is saying, there seems to be very little I can do to make him feel better. If I disagree with the comments his dad has made, he says he doesn't know who to believe and becomes more upset. If I say nothing, he is resentful towards me for the things I've 'seemingly' done according to his dad. Exh only has the dc's for one weekend every two weeks (his choice). He also spends most of the time playing inappropriate PS3 games with them when he does have them. And yet my ds worships him and will not have anything bad said about him, which I can totally understand but find so difficult when his dad is spouting all this nonsense about me.
How do I deal with my confused, upset little boy? My dd (5) seems far less affected by it all and just skips about in a wee sunshiney world all the time - it's a blessing. But my ds is far more sensitive and I worry that all this negativity from his dad will create resentment from him towards me. As well as making him a very insecure, troubled wee soul. Help!

jkklpu Sun 05-May-13 17:04:55

What's the status of your contact agreement? Can you tell your ex that your 7yo isn't going to see him next time because the ex keeps upsetting him so much? How would he react to that?

doughnutdolly Sun 05-May-13 17:30:54

I'm loath to go down that road as my ds really looks forward to seeing his dad. Worried it would upset him even more. My ex would go mad. He would probably then tell my ds in the future that I had stopped him seeing him. Damned if I do, damned if I don't.
More concerned at the moment about how to deal with ds's feelings.

PurpleThing Mon 06-May-13 00:07:26

This book is good for helping you understand things from dc's point of view when they are going through this kind of thing. Has lots of positive stuff about what you can do and the fact that being the decent parent will work in the long run.

I think it is good he can share with you what he is saying. Just go gently with him, supporting him in developing his own clear thinking about things in general. This will pay off, for example, ex will say to him that you wouldn't let dcs come around to see him and he'll realise actually that can't be true because xyz.

If you criticise ex for telling ds this stuff, say his behaviour is wrong, not him as a person. That kind of thing shows ds that it is not a tit for tat but that you are worried for HIM having to listen to this.

A horrible thing for you and ds to live through. Can you speak to his school in case they can support him (and you) in some way?

doughnutdolly Mon 06-May-13 17:48:56

Thanks for the book recommendation purple, I'm going to order it, hopefully it will help. Just find the whole thing so heartbreaking for my ds and can't actually believe how much of a lowlife my ex has turned out to be. Never thought it would get as bad as this........ I keep trying to rationalise things and hope that one day both my dc's will realise I was always doing the right, decent thing by them. Just so hard at the minute when dealing with the confused emotions of a 7 year old.

Samebod Mon 06-May-13 22:03:22

I'd Recommend 'divorce poison' book also

Completely agree with purples approach.

veryconfusedatthemoment Tue 07-May-13 01:15:50

Divorce Poison is an interesting book. Covers parental alienation. But you do have to stop being the better person ie not bad mouthing the ex. To counteract alienation you need to put the record straight. I find it very hard to do.

NicknameTaken Tue 07-May-13 14:45:03

I'm in the same situation. Is there any neutral third party your ds could talk to about his feelings? I looked into a play therapist, although decided not to go down that route, but my dd sometimes talks to people in school or my parents (which they find quite painful, tbh). It can help your ds to air stuff without feeling he has to choose sides.

doughnutdolly Tue 07-May-13 20:47:13

Yes, nickname, that is a good idea. My brother is good with my ds so he could probably have a word. We've actually had another flare up tonight. Ds phoned his dad, resulting in more venom from him and more tears from ds. I am utterly gutted at how horrible this mess is. How do you help dd when she is upset? And how do you cope with your own feelings? Although my bro will be good for ds to talk to, I wouldn't want him to bring it up incase ds wasn't thinking about it at that time - no point upsetting him if he's not already iyswim?

PaperLantern Tue 07-May-13 20:57:41

do you know what he's saying?

This is what I figured loosely speaking- lies than can be disproved are answered by I'll show you the paperwork when your old enough to understand. Lies that are opinion, point out the sequence of events that leads to you and dc arguing ask him from his own eyes whether it looks true. keep going whenever you encounter a lie that causes a problem. lies that don' matter "well that was an odd thing to say"

TigerSwallowTail Tue 07-May-13 21:00:38

Ex used to do this to DS and he would come home just as upset as your dc, but we were going through court proceedings at the time so I raised it in court and the judge told him not to say anything nasty about me to DS. Could you do something similar?

TigerSwallowTail Tue 07-May-13 21:05:19

Fwiw your ex is just proving to his dc how nasty he can be by doing this, I never say anything negative about ex (although there is certainly a lot to say!) to DS and he appreciates it a lot. He has told me he likes being home with me as I don't say 'mean things or lies' and he doesn't like his dad for the things he says.

PaperLantern Tue 07-May-13 21:06:00

I'm envy my ex wouldn't listen to a judge if he ordered him not to do that, court orders are enough of a struggle

PaperLantern Tue 07-May-13 21:07:18

yes it is important to put to record straight. no comments at any other time

NicknameTaken Wed 08-May-13 09:27:39

It's great that your dear bro has a good relationship with him. I'd ask him to ask your ds some gentle questions about the situation, and take the lead from your ds. If he doesn't want to talk about it, fine, but it's important to give him the chance. And I wouldn't be put off by the fact that it might make your ds upset at a time he's not thinking about it - chances are it's still bubbling away underneath.

When Dd is upset - I let her be upset, and tell her I know it's sad that things are the way they are, and of course I wish she had parents that are happy together. It is sad, so she's allowed to feel sad. She's allowed to cry and shout for her daddy. I find it tough, but I try to focus on compassion for her.

We've had a few occasions when she's been really aggressive with me - kicking and hitting and really hurting me - I'm looking at a bruise on my arm as I type where she bit me (egged on by her father). I haven't found all the right solutions yet. Very practically, I find it helps to get her to bed early when she's back with me after being with her dad, because adding overtiredness to emotional upset leads to horrible scenes.

Fleecyslippers Wed 08-May-13 12:54:56

I have some ongoing health issues which Dd must have been talking about to daddy and OW. I have finally managed to get to the bottom of the conversation which distressed her so greatly. Apparently if mummy dies, she can go and live with them hmm

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