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Please Identify This Behaviour Pattern(16 Posts)
Hi, I'm calling on those of you in the know because I've done a search on my ex's behaviour pattern and I'm not finding one.
If I criticise the way he talks to his daughter he returns with 'so you think I'm a bad parent?'
If I get mad because he hid an important piece of financial information he comes back with 'so you think I'm a failure?'
If I point out that he's lost the last three jobs he had because he went off sick for 30% of the time he comes back with 'thanks for spitting in my face'
The real reason for this post is because we split up nearly two years ago and all this time I have walked on eggshells with him just to maintain a civil relationship for my daughter's sake. She spends 4 nights with him and then 4 nights with me.
Every single time I am near him either to collect my daughter or to spend time with her whilst she is in his care I have to play dumb. It winds him up. He doesn't like me to purse my lips and look away. He gets annoyed that I don't like something he's said or done. He pretty much wants me to blow up so that he can justify a hot reaction.
Today I texted him to tell him he needs to sort himself out and until then my daughter stays with me. He does this weird magic charm thing? Sending me pictures of her toys asking my opinion on whether to keep them or sell them? Completely ignoring the ultimatum I just gave him. He's all smiley faces and 'welcome over!'
I'm not sure I wrote this right... basically we had a heated row for the first time in ages where I got fed up of walking on his eggshells and all of a sudden he's giving up my daughter to me and acting as though we've not had a cross word with each other.... what?
Just to be clear, because of my last paragraph, he does love his daughter and we have managed a 4 on 4 off routine for a long time. I once intimated that I'd like to take her to live in the UK with me (living in Sweden cuz of him) and he panicked big time so I know I can't take her (need his written permission to get her over the border)
I'm just super mad because the whole time I've been with him he throws himself down as the victim and me as the bad guy as soon as I call him up on anything after WEEKS of staying SILENT so that I don't upset him!!!!
Have you read Lundy Bancroft's book? There is a profile of an emotional abuser called The Victim. It might ring some bells with you.
He is emotionally abusing you
He want you to feel sorry for him. He wants some sort of validation. He's very hard work from what you say and I'd be tempted to go minimal contact and do handovers somewhere other than his place or yours to minimise the negative effect he has on you.
It sounds as if he's got a 'script' and you have to respond in the correct way. When you don't, it upsets his equilibrium, makes things difficult. I don't know what its called but its pretty weird when you think about it. Maybe someone will come along in a minute with more knowledge on psychological profiling.
Thank you both, I will look up that book. Alarm bells started ringing before I'd even had my daughter but it was too late by then. It really got bad after she was born and I moved out nearly three years ago.
More examples: shouting at me and then later asking why I didn't explain myself. Unless he wanted me to shout over him then he didn't give me the chance.
Telling me he's told me something 'weeks' ago when in fact it was a few days ago, it was said in the direction of someone else and he didn't use my name so I wasn't listening. Or he's told someone else and didn't remember. For a while I used to believe him.
Telling me that allowing my daughter to use a dummy is ruining her life. Getting very defensive when I point out his erratic mood swings, aggressive, loud manner and his physical violence towards doors and cupboards etc is probably doing her more harm. Ends with the usual 'so you think I'm a failure, thanks for your support, I'm a terrible parent' etc.
He doesn't seem to be able to process things the same way I do. If you actually want answers you have to shut up and listen. I suspect he simply doesn't want answers, he just wants to be able to quickly say that I don't tell him anything, he has to work it out himself (and come to a completely different conclusion) and make me look unreasonable.
Sorry. I find it hard to explain what I really mean. I am a forthright person and I'll speak up for myself and my friends. The only time I act meek and mild is around him because I have to keep things neutral to make sharing our daughter easier. That gives him the upper hand though and allows him to take control of her upbringing because he knows I won't say anything in front of her.
And because the only times we see each other is when we are handing over my daughter or I'm visiting because I miss her, of course I don't allow an argument to happen because I don't want her to witness it. He knows that too and capitalizes on it.
What's that old saying? 'You can't change other people, you can only change the way you react to them'.
He's irritating you, undermining you, but you can counter that by bringing up your child to be kind, caring, strong and independent. Sooner rather than later, she'll work it out for herself how things really are. Kids are amazingly clever and see far more than we give them credit for.
Have you thought about moving away maybe? Is there a new relationship on the horizon? Any plans for a holiday? I ask because i think you're in real need of a break away from your ex. A week or two of no contact where you and your daughter can just be together, have a good time and shake off all the worries you currently have and make plans for the future.
I also think that if you had something or someone else in your life, a new partner maybe, that would make a huge difference to the current dynamic. Your ex is used to the status quo: its comfortable, predictable, unchanging. If you shook things up a bit, it could prove interesting and it could prove to be a game changer for you and for him.
Either way, your ex is trying to exert what bits of control he has left and you are smart enough to see it for what it is. I'm sure that when your daughter is older, she'll see it too.
Why can't your daughter witness you standing up for yourself?
Society teaches girls that keeping the peace and being meek and mild and never raising your voice is the most important thing, no matter what is being done to you. It is a bad and damaging lesson.
Show her how a strong woman reacts to bad behaviour. Be her role model for becoming a strong independent woman. Don't be her doormat role model.
If it helps, think to yourself what would Judi Dench as M do? Or Professor McGonagall? Whoever you think is a good female role model.
The problem with standing up for myself is the reaction. He will get louder and more aggressive. What do I show her after that has happened? My reaction is always to walk away, to avoid further reactions in front of my daughter. He hates it when I do that, but it stops the altercation and my daughter doesn't have to see what her daddy does when he really loses it. I'm a firm believer that a child must always think her parents are heroes because I don't want her confidence broken.
Sadly, there's no chance of a new romance. I'm not a catch physically, financially or socially, and after a few failed relationships I just don't think anyone is going to be good enough for me or my daughter.
He's unstable and manipulative. The only thing you can do is to have as little contact with him as possible, and to only have contact over practical issues, where you remain emotionally detached.
He wants to drag you into emotional discussions about his worth, because he feels deep shame about himself, and prefers to blame others. Sidestep these discussions.
The only thing you need to have any contact with him about is time and place for pick-up / drop-off when he has your daughter. Do you have a formal used (court) agreement for this?
I'd really recommend he has her as little as possible, as he will also be using his manipulation tactics on her in order to boost his own ego.
Get a formal decision on when he gets to see her, stick to that, and don't have any interactions with him beyond the practical aspects of his contact with DD.
Just stay away from him. He's your ex. You don't have to have emotional conversations.
The one time you shouldn't be meek & mild & let anyone else have the upper hand is relative to your daughters upbringing.
I understand you don't want a row in front of your daughter but also don't let her witness her father speaking down to or goading you. Only way to achieve this is only discuss drop offs/collections etc, don't spend time with her on his days and vice versa, if that means making it 2 & 2 etc (as 4 days is a lot away from either parent) then so be it
He is defensive. You say "why don't you do X" he says "I am a crap parent". That is what he heard.
Very difficult to live/deal with.
You did not cause it and you cannot cure it.
However, you can stand firm regarding how you want to be treated. If he shouts turns aggressive etc have the same answer every time: eg " Do not shout. We will address it later when you have had time to think. " Walk away.
Practice it. Have it ready. And walk away. Every time. After a few times, he will stop.
RiceCrispie's nailed it. He's controlling you and your DD. His biggest thrill must be knowing he controls whether you can take DD out of the country or not.
Ignore as far as possible. Sending you the pics of the toys is attention-seeking behaviour. The less time your DD is in his company the less opportunity he has to manipulate her.
And don't drive yourself nuts trying to make sense of what he says and does. He's unstable so there is no logic, it's just crazy-making nonsense
Thanks again. I have not involved the authorities as we've managed to get by for a few years like this. The main thing we argue over is how our daughter is growing up. How to parent her, and things like decisions regarding her future. I live in Sweden, a country which prides itself on equal parenting responsibilities and I'm actually worried that being a foreigner with none of my own family around will make the courts decide she is better off with her father. There's no point saying anything about his behaviour as they have no record of it.
He's kept his distance since the argument, which I'm pleased about. I think he's worried about my sudden change of heart.
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