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Can't shake off gratitude for my XH even when DA was involved

(14 Posts)
user1475501383 Wed 19-Oct-16 15:16:30

Broke up with XH 2 years ago, currently involved in custody battle over DS. Recently it has appeared that there was some DA/DV involved, you MNers have been very helpful in trying to point this out. However...

However, I still feel gratitude for XH because I was in my early 20s when we got together, he was in his 30s and he effectively became my 'second father', and in many ways a much more emotionally sensitive and supportive DF than my own DF has ever been capable of being.

I still feel that in many ways I would not be the person I am today or have the career I have today if XH hadn't encouraged me. He was effectively like a father in many ways - he kept giving me 'guidance' and -often- sometimes I found this patronising and irritating, yet he was also right on many counts, and gave me lots of helpful life advice, as in actual fact he had lots more life experience than I.

I'm currently compiling a schedule of DA/DV occurences for our court proceedings and yet I can't help but feel sorry for him, that he kind of lost his 'daughter' (me) and that is why he is now clinging onto trying to get sole custody of our DS, because he needs to feel that importance of being that guiding authority, parent, in someone's life, and that he is probably unaware of this dynamic.

Separately, of course my DS is 50% my XH so I kind of see XH as a bit of a 'future self' of DS in some ways, by the fact they're of the same gender. And that brings out the maternal feelings in me. I feel really quite terrible listing the DA/DV incidents, as mild as they are in comparison to many.

adora1 Wed 19-Oct-16 15:28:13

Even one incident of DV is unacceptable, no matter how many you compare it to, it simply should not happen in a normal functioning and happy relationship so don't feel too sorry for him, we all make choices and have consequences, I am sure he had opportunities to change his behaviour and chose not to, losing his family in the process.

No such thing as a `mild` domestic incident.

I'd not give him any more of your head space OP, he's an adult, not your responsibility, and ok, he helped you and guided you, is that not what partners to do for each other without questions, I would say so.

PersianCatLady Wed 19-Oct-16 15:32:54

he kind of lost his 'daughter' (me) and that is why he is now clinging onto trying to get sole custody of our DS
I can't get my head around you describing your Ex-H in that way.

Bettydownthehall Wed 19-Oct-16 15:39:57

Someone doesn't have to be all bad or all good.

It's hard to reconcile these things though.

Gymnopedies Wed 19-Oct-16 15:47:30

Your son is not 50% your ex-H, he is his own unique person.
i think that a father-daughter relationship is very different to husband-wife and for good reasons.

idontlikealdi Wed 19-Oct-16 15:49:49

Have you had any counselling? I really don't think that think of it as a father daughter relationship is healthy.

Yourarejokingme Wed 19-Oct-16 15:55:53

Why are you describing your relationship as father/daughter? That doesn't make sense at all. Why do you think it was this kind of relationship as that's wrong and you may need counselling to overcome these thoughts. Was there a power balance at all? In fact have you been to counselling or even offered it. Would you be willing to go.

Plus your son is his own person and won't turn out just like his father because he is the same sex. That's like saying all DV/DA sons become abusers and you'll be glad to know this isn't true.

user1475501383 Wed 19-Oct-16 15:56:14

That's true, adora1, ok, he helped you and guided you, is that not what partners to do for each other without questions, I would say so. That's a very good point! I did also support and help him which he used to acknowledge sometimes. You're right. I think before meeting him I was used to being so unloved for years that my standards were pretty low as if it was some kind of miracle that someone would treat me nice. That said, seeing how much dysfunction goes on in relationships, I still think it's a miracle when it occurs. But I'm starting to realise that it's something that possibly happens a lot more than I realised - a happy decent relationship.

PersianCatLady, love your name btw. Not sure what you mean by my description. I have tried to analyse and understand XH's current custody battle attitude and I believe he feels very threatened if he doesn't get deemed the 'superior parent' by the courts. I think he has, the whole time I've known him (a decade), derived a lot of his self-worth from being this ideal responsible authoritative mature person, in comparison to both me and our DS. Does this make sense?

His mother is a textbook narcissist so I assume that's got something to do with it too. Feeling fragile deep inside but hiding it and overcompensating by making a huge song and a dance of how she/he is such a responsible supermum/superdad in comparison to every other family member. Sustaining this narrative naturally involves putting other people's contributions down in some way.

Thanks Bettydownthehall, you're absolutely right. I do not wish to demonise him as sadly he has in recent times been demonising me to the court. I do find it hard to reconcile, especially as DA/DV seems to be such a clear cultural code for 'this person is all-bad' and I do not think he is all bad. I think he is unaware and unwilling to see that he has some clear personal issues and that they probably relate all the way to his childhood being brought up by his clearly narcissistic DM.

user1475501383 Wed 19-Oct-16 16:01:34

Thanks Gymnopedies, you're right - DS is his own unique person. What I meant was that I feel empathy for XH as I see that inside he is just a little boy not a million miles from what my DS is currently, and that it's possible my DS will grow up in some ways similar to his father. Hopefully exhibiting the more positive sides rather than the negative but you can never tell in advance.

Thanks idontlikealdi and Youarejokingme, yes I had quite an intensive period of counselling after the marital break up. It was my counsellor who in many ways helped me identify that our marriage dynamic was more that of father and daughter than that of equal partners. In this way, it is perhaps healthy to think of it as what it was, if it truly was that.

Thanks for all your views flowers

user1475501383 Wed 19-Oct-16 16:05:25

Yes youarejokingme, there was a power imbalance, he was much older, he was the one with the money etc. This undoubtedly helped to reinforce the father-daughter dynamic. He did help me a lot financially etc with my career things, like many a father would.

Of course I didn't understand this at the time, I was in my early 20s when we got together. My DF is clearly the dominating one in relation to my DM so I probably didn't see that much wrong in the dynamic initially because it mirrored my childhood family environment.

Slashtrophe Wed 19-Oct-16 16:10:25

I think it can be hard to leave someone like this as you are still enmeshed with looking out for them and caring for them like a normal person, whilst they are fucking you over, and you are used to that and don't have enough distance to see that their behaviour is awful.
I felt terrible pity for my ex for a number of years even though he was behaving really badly but now with a good amount of distance I can see that he is just an utter twat. It took putting proper boundaries in place and seeing that the dynamic was all for his benefit, not mine, and that other people behave a lot better.

Slashtrophe Wed 19-Oct-16 16:11:37

And that my dynamic was giving others power...

PersianCatLady Wed 19-Oct-16 16:39:10

Not sure what you mean by my description
Sorry I didn't explain that very well.

The bit I found weird was you referring to yourself as your Ex-H's "daughter", the rest of what you said I totally understand.

LesisMiserable Wed 19-Oct-16 17:19:14

I think during a divorce all feeling go up in the air, scatter around and eventually they settle again. I split amicably with my exh - then it got awful with his on/off (they are currently on but divorced) wife after me doing all sorts of awful things to our daughter - I now have no relationship with him at all. I still feel 'grateful' for the life I had with him (again he had money, was supportive of me in that way etc) and guilty also that I ended the marriage. I did not take anything from him financially in the divorce as I felt morally that wasn't right as I'd broken the marriage and he was a good dad. Now however he's a terrible dad and I wish I had took him for everything I'm owed. I still bizarrely feel grateful though for the life I experienced with him, so I totally get it.

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