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Dad bad for son?

(9 Posts)
maparole Wed 06-Nov-13 20:26:46

Hello All ... I'm new on here and looking for thoughts about my ds and his dad.

I have (very recently) left a horridly toxic relationship. We were married for 12 years and he was always ghastly to me. I am deeply ashamed to admit that towards the end I was equally abusive in response. We have a 10 year old son who, sadly, has witnessed far too much nastiness in his short life.

The ex has three adult sons who are all very likeable young men, all lucky enough to be smart and talented in various ways, but nothing truly remarkable. To hear the ex talk about them, though, you'd think they were The Second Coming. He also has a daughter, now a beautiful young lady with a babe of her own. She was 7 when I first met her dad and he took every available opportunity to tell her how she wasn't a patch on the boys. It really used to break my heart to see her trying so hard to please him, but nothing she ever did was good enough. This has done severe damage to her self-esteem, which she struggles with daily.

So now to our son, who is caring and sensitive and thoughtful, not very laddish and doesn't like football or rugby, all of which is beyond the ken of his dad. Generally, though, he has been a good dad to him and they have some great times together.

However, a couple of days ago, when ds and I were having a bit of a heart-to-heart about various things, he suddenly got tearful and said that his dad doesn't love him. He then went on to say that his dad had said he was "feeble and pathetic and nothing like his other sons".

I am so angry and so sad and I see the whole whole cycle of the damage done to dsd starting all over again. Of course, I tried to reassure ds, but the things have been said and he will take them to heart probably more than many kids. I don't know what I can do about it: if I raise it with the ex, he will ridicule me (and ds) for being over-sensitive. I don't want to stop contact and anyway wouldn't be able to without dragging ds into another war between his parents (ex would fight tooth and nail just for the sake of winning, regardless of what effect it had).

At a loss; any ideas?

wontletmesignin Wed 06-Nov-13 20:31:09

leave - accept the first few weeks will be extremely difficult. but it will work out for the best in the long run.

you know his behavior is unacceptable. you have already seen the damage it does. you know the answer deep down. you just need the strength to follow your heart.

i hope you can find the strength, and get the support you need in order to help you on whether you do decide to stay, or leave xxxx

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 06-Nov-13 20:36:38

Definitely raise it with your ex and go straight onto the offensive. Tell him that you know what he's playing at and that, if he belittles your DS again, you'll remove all contact. At the same time do everything you can to boost your DS's confidence. Tell him Dad has been unkind and show DS that you are sticking up for him (the way you would with any other bully basically). Appalling man.

wallypops Wed 06-Nov-13 21:43:13

My toxic ex-husband used to do this to my daughter and I explained to her that he was trying to manipulate her by putting her down. And as long as he was never pleased with her she would keep on trying. Even though she was only six at the time she really understood and it made it much easier for her to cope with. Now when her dad tries to manipulate her she doesn't let it get to her. It makes her cross and that is a much healthier response to manipulation IMO.

maparole Thu 07-Nov-13 09:56:37

Thanks all; wise words

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Thu 07-Nov-13 10:49:12

How upsetting, OP. He will feel that his father has rejected him in favour of his more grown up sons. Just because ex hasn't been the kind of H to you that you'd hoped he'd be, he could so easily maintain a good relationship with DS.

I guess ex knew DS would tell you and he enjoyed the thought of you hurting for DS. Ultimately it is really DS and himself that ex is hurting in the long run.

I do think you should raise this with ex pronto, phone, write or see ex in person. Even if it comes to nothing, later on if DS says "Mum, did you ever tell him how upset he made me", you can say you did:
"Dad did know - he was lashing out at me through you".

From his treatment of his DD, your ex is quite capable of playing favourites with his own flesh and blood. It must be heartbreaking seeing your child crying and repeating such negative things about himself.

Fwiw, should you ever meet anyone else, if ex continues this spiteful nonsense he risks losing DS completely if there is another male figure in his life.

Maybe this weekend do something special with DS to spell out how much you love and appreciate him just as he is.

Dahlen Thu 07-Nov-13 11:04:28

Definitely consider removing contact and threaten your X with that if his behaviour continues. Also, make a log of this behaviour somewhere, such as telling your DS's teacher what has been said (which will also help the school keep a caring eye on him).

So what if your X thinks you are being over-sensitive. Criminals usually think the law is wrong, rather than their behaviour. Doesn't stop them being made to face up to the consequences, even if they don't 'get it'. All your X needs to know is that you find his behaviour unacceptable and that he will lose contact if he continues with it. He doesn't have to agree with it, he just needs to know it will happen.

Please do not fall into the trap of thinking you must maintain contact at all costs. While the research suggests in the main that children suffer from the absence of a parent, it's also pretty clear that inconsistent or damaging contact can do more damage than being completely absent. Also, strong, loving parenting in an environment that provides other good role models and encourages self-esteem through personal development trumps it all. One parent doing that is better than two who are together but can't. A parent who actively undermines their own child doesn't deserve to have that input into their child's life.

bongobaby Thu 07-Nov-13 11:33:28

I agree with Dahlen as it can become very damaging this type of behaviour shown from exp. In the long term as your dc grows older he may become angry at this treatment and lash out.
Because my dc would not steal from shops when going out on contact visit with his Dad he told him that he was no son of his for not doing it. Horrid thing to say to your own child. And no sort of role model. He will say things like your are being over sensitive as he jealous of your parenting skills and his lack of them. He needs to grow up , man up and stop being a dickhead.

firesidechat Thu 07-Nov-13 12:40:03

leave - accept the first few weeks will be extremely difficult. but it will work out for the best in the long run.

The OP has already left.

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