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When family dynamics change(2 Posts)
I apologise in advance for the length, but context and history I think are needed to get the full picture. I really would appreciate thoughts and ideas of how to move forward with a difficult situation that I can't seem to find a happy way forward for everyone.
Earlier this year, XP emigrated to Asia. I thought we had a good joint parenting relationship of our DS (age 12), though we'd split up and I brought DS up alone from day 1, he saw XP regularly.
DS told XP in a family counselling session how he felt abandoned and his thoughts about him going, unfortunately XP didn't give any re-assurance, but went on the attack and tough luck for DS. DS wanted another family counselling session, however XP decided to leave the country sooner than he'd said and was gone before anything could be arranged. It also transpired XP had been writing a blog for 2 years in which he was less than complimentary about me and in some parts DS. This upset DS immensely.
DS won't communicate with XP. XP emails him weekly, he has sent a birthday present, card, spending money for a school trip. But DS still feels he wants nothing to do with XP. Of course, XP believes I am not allowing DS to communicate or at least am influencing him not to/blocking emails etc.
DS has had counselling and it transpires there was some mental/emotional abuse, not enough to cause the Counsellor to report it, but there had been small pieces of evidence that looking back, I should have picked up on years ago. (During the relationship he was emotionally abusive towards me).
Whilst XP isn't diagnosed, there is much to suggest he is a narcissistic sociopath and he continues to act/write in the same manner. I have never felt freer of XP since he emigrated - no contact, no control, no emotional blackmail, etc.
Now, the problem! The GPs and XP's SIS still want to have a relationship with DS and of course, the dynamics have changed. XP not mentioned until we last saw them and SIL acting as go-between for XP wanting to see DS. DS was still a firm no. DS still wants a relationship with GPs/SIL, however whatever DS or I says to them has gone back to XP (about life in general, DSs activities) and then XP has mentioned them in his emails to DS. DS doesn't want this - he doesn't want XP to know about his life. This is starting to make things uncomfortable for DS and I and of course, they want to see DS for Christmas and he is their only grandchild.
I am going through counselling myself and am at a cross-roads. My usual 'keep the peace' stance isn't workable in this situation. I don't want to keep putting DS in a difficult situation (and each meet up with GPs is). I don't see how I can say to GPs 'Please don't tell XP anything we tell you' either. Just to complicate matters further, DS has ASD - the grudge he holds against XP in his black and white world is impenetrable.
So, given all that, what would you do, how would you manage things? Any ideas and thoughts would be much appreciated.
I think you have to be very open with the ex in-laws on this one. Explain about the blog and the misuse of personal information. Explain how upset DS is. Be completely frank. They need to know all of this so that they can exercise their own judgement about what to tell him of their contact. In subsequent contact, obviously be careful what you tell them
Unfortunately if your XP is the bitter and twisted type he will use any piece of information, however benign or trivial, against you. Nevertheless, do not shy away from making it clear with the in-laws that, if you find anything important has been passed on for misuse, you'll have to reconsider contact because it's upsetting DS. They should be able to understand this. Most GPs that I know will jump through reasonable hoops rather than risk losing contact with a grandchild.
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