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access - how to cope with a mess?

(11 Posts)
PurpleThursday Mon 04-Jul-16 21:12:02

Please be gentle with me, I'm feeling so fragile.

I just wondered if anyone out there could advise me on how they coped with access arrangements when the ExH and their family have very dysfunctional and destructive relationships and you know without a shadow of doubt that your children are going to get damaged by spending time with them. I mean that genuinely not just an emotional over-reaction. Alcoholism, affairs, lies, family constantly lying to/about each other and falling out. All of my motherly instincts are telling me to keep my children out of the mess.

Does anyone have any experience of similar?

Fourormore Mon 04-Jul-16 21:18:09

They have you. That's all they need. You are there to offer them a model of healthy relationships, to help them manage the negative experiences with other members of their family.

Holz2429 Mon 04-Jul-16 21:22:44

Hi don't know if it's much help but if I was u I would encourage the kids to talk open and honestly with u about it knowing u will not confront there dad or his family it's very hard to stop contact in these situations but showing them the positive family life and letting them know they can be honest in there feelings to u with u being impartial will really help them (I was the kid in this kind of family and wish someone could have done this for me) xxx

PurpleThursday Mon 04-Jul-16 21:32:20

Thank you.

The hardest thing is the family seem so presentable and respectable unless you get close to them. They have spent their lives fighting and undermining each other and have issues on so many levels. I worry that the children will be taken in by all the presents and treats thrown around to woo them and the subtleties of the emotional bullying, mind games, lies etc will go over their heads for now... But down the line the damage will be done and I won't be able to undo it.

Holz2429 Mon 04-Jul-16 21:38:38

I'm hoping this isn't to honest but if they are younger they may be taken in by it and the act but if u are a constant and when they do mention things let them vent without opinions or judgement then they will realise the truth how often does he have the kids?

OnTheRise Tue 05-Jul-16 08:27:57

If you're consistent and loving and kind, and are open about the times your ex's family screws up while remaining non-judgemental about it, your children will learn good behaviour from you, and will learn how to not go off on a dysfunctional rampage every time things go wrong.

You might find counselling worth considering, just to work out how best to respond each time things start to wind up. Just remember: your children have two parents, and will learn from both of them--not just from the dysfunctional one.

I'm not clear if your ex has any custody of your children, but if they spend more time with you than with him you have more time to model good behaviour to them; and it might well be that they will begin to not want to see him if everything's chaotic and upsetting when they're at his place, compared to the calm nurturing environment you're going to provide for them.

I hope it works out for you. This must be so hard, but you can do it.

PurpleThursday Tue 05-Jul-16 14:04:34

Thank you for kind comments. Ex has no access at the moment. Not what I would like but he has broken agreements made at Mediation and counselling consistently and the children are suffering. It has kind of forced me into taking a stand I didn't want to have to take, I have taken legal advice. I am having counselling, have been for over a year - took me a long time to get out of a very damaging marriage with him and slowly I am trying to move forward with the children's needs a priority. It's just very hard to do when the children's needs are the last thing he considers and hurting me is high on his list of priorities.

PurpleThursday Tue 05-Jul-16 14:07:11

The children are 12 and 3 and are a lot happier when he isn't emotionally pulling them around. I don't want to give too much info as worried about privacy on here - sorry I know that's not very helpful to the thread. The older child is struggling to cope a lot and seems much happier when no contact.

AcrossthePond55 Tue 05-Jul-16 14:30:30

If your older child (DC1) is struggling, you may want to consider counseling for him/her. DC1 is old enough to be able to work things out and to understand dysfunction, and that it has nothing to do with him/her, with help from a good counselor. Then when/if access resumes DC1 will be in a stronger position to put his/her father's family's behaviour 'where it belongs' iyswim. DC2 is probably too young right now to be too much affected, but as with most younger siblings, will probably take his/her cues from DC1.

PurpleThursday Tue 05-Jul-16 14:35:45

DC1 has refused counselling a few times over the last year. I have tried to persuade gently but very reluctant, I feel it could only help and be a positive thing but DC1 is adamant. My counsellor said that perhaps just knowing that there is the option there will be some support for now.

OnTheRise Tue 05-Jul-16 16:21:57

I'm glad you're getting counselling. It's often really helpful. And as has been said, just knowing the option's there might be a help for your older child.

So long as you're loving and kind and considerate--which I bet you are--you're doing a great job of looking after your children, and giving them the help they need to move on. I hope things work out well for you.

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