STBXH causing friction between DD and I(3 Posts)
Hello mumsnet, long time no see. Had to make a whole new login and everything. But I need your collective wisdom again, so hoping you can hand hold me a bit here.
We home ed.
DD is 10, and getting pretty adolescent with it.
STBXH is a cheating, lying, emotionally abusive wank stain. Finally shook myself free of him March this year. After a particularly nasty post break up online exchange I have limited my interactions with him to text only, and about arrangements for DD only. This has been working pretty well for me, but I can tell STBXH frustrated by it.
We had always agreed to do 50/50 if we broke up, both being children of divorced parents.
Since he got a place in June we have been figuring out what configuration of access works best for DD. Initially we tried half the week me, half him. We recently increased this to a week on, week off at her request. She's now requesting two weeks on, two weeks off, which is all fine with me. DD is visiting family overseas with STBXH and his new gf for a month in the middle of October, so I thought we'd just begin the new schedule after that. She finds the transition between houses difficult so 2 a month is better than 4, right?
DD has been devastated by the break up, but is getting there. We talk regularly about feelings and I check in with her whenever she seems to need it. Generally, we have always had a good and loving relationship. I have always been primary caregiver til now.
Her passive aggressive behaviour has increased since the break up, lots of huffing, tears employed to get her own way etc. But I've been trying my best to be patient yet firm with it.
Twice now though, the day after she goes to her dads she'll message me online and start having a go at me about little problems as if I were some kind of awful bastard.
So, for example - we went swimming last week. I was packing up afterwards and she wanted me to put he goggles in the bag, so instead of saying "can you put the goggles in the bag?" she just waved them about under my nose imperiously as I was busy doing something else. I was indignant and harassed, so I said, "Rude! That's very rude, use your words!". And today I got told off for that (amongst other things). Even though she seemed and behaved pretty normally the rest of the time after swimming, and it wasn't brought up again the whole time she was here. Little things like that keep getting blown out of proportion after the fact.
Now as I said DD is 10 and v adolescent so I'm trying to give her leeway, be compassionate, particularly given the circumstances. But during these online conversations, after listening to her, I usually end up saying "what do you need from me/what do you want?", and she never answers me, just ends up changing track to a different complaint. Cos of this I'm doubting that her complaints are really about her complaints, I suspect them to be (subconscious obviously) ploys for attention, a general registering of dissatisfaction, boundary pushing etc. Perhaps she's even playing us off against each other, who knows?
I feel like STBXH is milking her for every little problem we come up against and then urging her to have a go at me about it. It feels like him trying to assert control over me through her. Particularly in the phrasing she uses at me during these discussions, it sounds just like him.
My suspicion is that the only way she's getting him to pay attention to her is by bad mouthing me. He's very self-absorbed, and between the break-up self-pity and new gf (gfs? who fucking knows) he's been distracted until now. I'm pretty sure from what DD says that he's been letting the new gf do most of the childcare whilst he stews in a corner. Now I'm assuming the shine of the new relationship is off and he's coming out the other side of the break up. Things aren't looking too great for him and he's the resentful sort who'll blame everyone but himself for his problems so doubtless I'm being lined up for that atm.
Upshot of all this is I decided to tell DD that I didn't want to have these discussions online because it's too easy for miscommunication to occur. I also wanted to stop having these discussions online because I suspect her dad to be involved in them and I'm not comfortable with that. Didn't tell her that though obviously.
DD got angry and abusive at me at that point. Said she didn't want it hanging over her. But I was firm about us speaking about it when I saw her next. I have had enough long drawn out arguments over text that could be resolved in 10 minutes in person to know that when things get messy, in person is the only way to figure things out.
SO this morning STBXH texts me putting his oar in, offering to help (puke), saying that she's "begging to stay with him now". Which is probably true, was very hurtful and most likely the result of his head games. I was firm and said we are sticking to the usual plan, but if she's really desperate then she can come over this evening for a couple of hours and we can work it out. She refused, so that's how things are for the time being.
What can I do? How can I stop him driving a wedge between us? I've shut him down in every avenue of my life, just removed him from my google calendar and everything, but it seems like he's gonna use this now to fuck with me My relationship with my daughter I say NOTHING about him to DD. He was a total bastard to me and I say NOTHING. I know bad mouthing the other parent is bad for kids. It sucks to take the high road.
Gimme tips, how do I deal with this? She must be feeling like she needs to control the situation right? He lets her, and I don't, maybe that's it?
UGH! Sorry for the long post, TIA for your help x
you cannot do anything about what your ex says or does. you need to disentangle and let him out of your mind even more. your house/his house. dd has to get used to that. does she get a month half term or is she taking time out of school?
you can only focus on yourself and stick to your boundaries and beliefs.
there is the teen version of "how to talk so kids will listen" (recommended to me by psychologist) - worth reading for ideas.
you could go get some counselling for yourself to let it all out/consult a child psychologist/ or go to a parenting teen course. seek support for you and leave ex as you cannot change him - unless you all agree to sit in family therapy together to thrash things out....
how about telling her that you love her and want the best for her. we can discuss deatails like this when you are back at this home. (be careful as she has two homes)
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