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My daughter's mum is absent again on mother's day

(64 Posts)
mumdad1973 Sun 26-Mar-17 22:35:09

Mother's day is always a bit difficult. I have still been living with my wife (although leading separate lives) these last 6 years in order to look after my daughter and try to ensure stability for her.

Today my daughter was looking forward to spending mother's day with my wife. She asked her eagerly what they could do together. But, my wife left the home in the morning with barely a look at the card my daughter had made and spent the whole day away, only arriving home after 9pm.

My wife never attends parent's evenings or gets involved in out of school activities. Any attempt to try to encourage her to do so is met with stern resistance. My own mother passed away 30 years ago and I seem to act as counsellor to my own dad who suffers with depression and my brother who suffers with aspergers. Both of them are generally doing well but are vulnerable and can't help or support me as both have autistic tendancies and can't navigate social situations well.

I am orgainsing an amicable divorce and negotiating a shared childcare arrangment (although this sometimes concerns me a little, given my ex's hands off approach to childcare). I know I can achieve much more by negotiation than making an argument over these problems.

But it seems such a shame for my daughter to miss out on what I had from my own mother. I've talked to the school about it and will continue to monitor the situation to look for any anxiety in my daughter. Fortunately I can cheer her up most of the time as I'm an optimist and see 'the glass has half full'.

I use yoga and music to keep myself going. Days like today make me feel really sad for my daughter though and remind me of the other times my wife has been absent e.g. when my daughter when I were in a car crash and went to hospital & my wife didn't come home for a couple of days. After which she expressed little interest in what had happened (that's almost literally what she said actually).

My sister-in-law is a real God-send and often helps out with clothes, school pickups. Without her, I would definitely struggle.

Just wondered if anyone else has experienced anything similar?

Peaches77 Sun 26-Mar-17 22:43:25

Why have you stayed take your Dd and leave the bitch

nonameinspiration Sun 26-Mar-17 22:47:11

No similar experiences but I would remove my child from emotional abuse like that as soon as possible

WorraLiberty Sun 26-Mar-17 22:50:46

Why would you want to negotiate a shared childcare arrangement? confused

SleepWhatSleep1 Sun 26-Mar-17 22:51:42

My mother never had the slightest interest in me. Never had a birthday cake, never went to parents evenings, never allowed friends round.
I'm sure both parents would say i am fine and it never affected me. But it did. Very badly.
Take your dd away from this.

donajimena Sun 26-Mar-17 22:53:07

Lovely stable environment? Time to leave OP.

ILoveDolly Sun 26-Mar-17 22:59:17

Oh my goodness, some of these incidents are so awful. How are you so nice about it? I think in all respects your daughter will be better off without this sort of mother.

mumdad1973 Sun 26-Mar-17 23:19:41

Thanks for the responses.

Well these are isolated incidents. Which obviously are seriously wrong. However, they don't paint the whole picture.

My daughter is a happy and bubbly person who tells me how she feels a lot. I help out, discuss and try to resolve e.g. friendship group issues at school.

She loves spending time with her mother when she is there as she has an instinctive need for it. And sometimes my wife can be very affectionate toward her. Just other times, she is absent.

When I went to relationship councilling (on my own). They described this as emotional neglect. But not something that warranted intervention.

My wife sees things as black and white without shades of grey. And in my opinion does not seem to read emotions or subtle situations well.

So most of the time, its an incapability to see the detail that's the problem as far as I can tell. There is a difference in my view, between malicious intent and being oblivious to the need to be there (which is one of the most important bits of parenting)..

mumdad1973 Sun 26-Mar-17 23:22:29

I should mention - I called myself mumdad - beause that's what my daughter sometimes calls me :-)

I asked her how she felt about today and said that as long as I was doing the 'mum' role today, she was happy.

Isadora2007 Sun 26-Mar-17 23:22:58

Is your wife autistic?

LevantineHummus Sun 26-Mar-17 23:25:34

This will sound harsh, but I'm not trying to be horrible. I'm wondering if you are staying with her and leading this amicable life and divorce because you want to avoid conflict? This is awful emotional abuse and I'm not sure you see it. You're too busy trying to keep everything g smooth when you need to get your daughter away from her DM asap.

Does your wife actually want to have your DD staying with her at all?

We need our mothers, but that's with a caveat: mothers who know how to show love. This mother doesn't and that's highly destructive to the DD you clearly care so much about.

Please imagine that every time her mother does something like this it's the equivalent of giving your DD a massive physical bruise. If it were physical, I'm guessing you'd respond differently?

At the moment you're waiting until she shows signs of anxiety. Why wait?! Divorce is hard and sad, but less damaging long term that living with this mothering.

LevantineHummus Sun 26-Mar-17 23:27:05

Emotional neglect IS neglect!

mumdad1973 Sun 26-Mar-17 23:28:08

SleepWhatSleep1 - I'm sorry to hear you had to face this too. I worry its all too common in varying degrees.

With my wife its a mixed bag. She does birthday cake, but not necessarily christmas presents or christmas. No parent's evenings, but will buy clothes and shoes.

Today upset me though and brought back some bad memories.

noitsnotme Sun 26-Mar-17 23:31:14

God forbid anything happen to you, OP. Your poor daughter. flowers

mumdad1973 Sun 26-Mar-17 23:35:48

HI Isadora2007 - I think its is quite possible my wife could be on the autistic spectrum.

Hi LevantineHummus. I am in a the process of a divorce. I stayed this long because my daughter would probably be out of my primary care if I had iniitated it earlier. Also, when my daughter was younger she was less able to express her opinions and wishes like she does now.

For example, she has spoken to her school about this and I have discussed it at length with them.

Also, I was taking care of my orphaned neice (on my wifes side) for a few years who was living with us. She is now 20 this year and has left home. She and I are very close, but needed a more stable family unit than she had..

Most of the time my wife is not around so I'm effectively a single parent and look after my daughter together with my sister-in-law.

This discussion is only one side of a snapshot of a relationship. The detail is always more complicated.

But it helps to talk. So thanks.

mumdad1973 Sun 26-Mar-17 23:40:34

Thanks noitsnotme.

My sister in law is always there for her if something did happen to me. My health is on the up though (high blood pressure gone. heart-rate back to normal, asthma under control) . Mainly thanks to Yoga and not bottling up my stress etc. Finally learned how to do that after 43 years.... better late than never :-/

I can't process the bit about my daughter. Love her too much.

WorraLiberty Sun 26-Mar-17 23:40:40

How old is your daughter?

ImperialBlether Sun 26-Mar-17 23:43:34

OP, hope you don't mind my asking, but are you male or female?

Ojoj1974 Sun 26-Mar-17 23:45:50

You sound such a kind and thoughtful man. Don't let your wife walk all over you though please.
I hope your DD moves in with you after the divorce x

Isadora2007 Sun 26-Mar-17 23:53:03

I wondered if you're just very used to doing everything for others and with your brother on the AS also saw that as more normal than someone with no autism experience might? The way you excuse your wife as almost being unable or blind to the need rather than upset by her actions or behaviours also suggests an inability of her to be held responsible. Is that fair or true?

Or are you making excuses for her rather than face the truth that she is deeply unkind and uncaring. And if that is so then you are complicit in the abuse of your daughter.

I sincerely hope that the latter is not true but if it is then I am certain you know what you must do next. And I am sure you will as you sound like a wonderful father. You can live up to your username and be both the nurturing mother-type parent and the strong father as well. You know you can.

mumdad1973 Mon 27-Mar-17 00:15:43

Hi WorraLiberty - My daughter is 10 going on 11.

I'm a dad/male, ImperialBlether.

Thanks Ojoj1974.

Isadora2007 - There are many times I've seen deep feelings from her. For example, it was her idea to take in my niece - however she didn't want to look after her or listen to her problems (that was my job).

Talking it about it with friends and family, we think its more likely something like autism or possibly something else. I'm not a doctor so I'd rather not guess. According to another one of my sister-in-laws (who is very supportive) there is an anxiety problem that runs in her family.

I should mention that after my mum died, my dad was married for 3 years to an abusive person who treated us all very badly.. In that case, her behavour was malicious as far as I could see involving a certain amount of physical& emotional violence to my dad and us. My current step mother is lovely, fortunately.

"Or are you making excuses for her rather than face the truth that she is deeply unkind and uncaring". This is something I've worried about a lot. "The way you excuse your wife as almost being unable or blind to the need rather than upset by her actions or behaviours also suggests an inability of her to be held responsible. Is that fair or true? " . I believe that she is not unkind deliberately. Its just that she does not understand why I would find her actions upsetting.

Thanks for raising this point. I am trying to always re-assess this and look at what I'm thinking critically. Really the key determiner is my daughter's inner feelings and what she wants. I honestly believe my wife loves my daughter deeply. She tries to help when there's a problem socially at school, but does so almost in the form of an interrogation. That acts as a key example. So rather than listening and understanding , the concern was framed more as a demand. That reminds me a lot of my Dad, who also has some autistic traits too.

SandyY2K Mon 27-Mar-17 02:41:28

What kind of upbringing did your wife have? It sounds like she lacks the emotional side that most instinctively have.

Her behaviour is either due to mental health problems or outright uncaring. They may be isolated incidents, but *no normal mother, or father doesn't give a damn when their child is involved in an accident.

The SIL who helps out, is that your wife's sister or brother's wife?

I do hope your DD will be reside with you once you're divorced.

SeriousSteve Mon 27-Mar-17 02:58:46

You should leave and take your daughter with you. Make no mistake the scars from emotional neglect run very deep.

Aquamarine1029 Mon 27-Mar-17 03:05:01

Your wife sounds like a narcissistic sociopath. And I'm not joking.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 27-Mar-17 03:17:32

A question; did your wife actually want a child?

I'm only asking because I know of a situation where the wife wanted a child but the husband didn't. He 'agreed' that she could have one but made it clear that he would do little to no parenting. And he certainly kept up his end of that 'bargain'. But even though he made it clear to her from the get-go, she massively resented him for not being involved.

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