My DC and their dad... (please be gentle)(8 Posts)
"I hate to think I've poisoned them against him"
you probably haven't. He is responsible for his actions - not you. You didn't behave perfectly, but that's okay as you are only human and not perfect. Now you're sorting things - which is fantastic, a sign of your newly found strength.
The stiff upper lip idea has its uses but it has its problems too. It sounds like you have a close relationship with your DC. They will know you as a mum and as an adult. IMO many people some people never get to know their parents in any way other than as their parents. That's not good.
Very good advice from Flow4 and the other posters IMO.
Please try not to feel bad about the things you've said - FWIW I've always thought it must be incredibly difficult to manage to not bad mouth a DP who turns out to be awful. Your DC would have noticed plenty of his bad behaviour anyway and the fact that you want to be fair now that you have had some time to recover from his behaviour is fantastic. As Alertmind says you will be demonstrating to your DC that you were very hurt and angry but are recovering and trying to be fair and reasonable, which will be an important life-lesson to them.
My DF behaved very badly and subsequently left the family home. My mum had a very useful phrase about him which was, 'He's not cut out for family life'. Covers a multitude of sins in a sort of neutral way. She was amazingly good at not bad-mouthing him, but I still have little respect for him now. I decided to cut my losses with him when I was 16. I still feel sad that I haven't had a father in any meaningful sense of the word, but I do understand that he is unfortunately unable to be a 'family man' and consider that I have just been unlucky with him.
I think if my mum had 'ranted and raved' about him I would have been even more upset at the time he left home but even with her amazing strength and ability to shield me from things I still struggle with feeling ashamed of my DF's behaviour. Be kind to yourself - you deserve it - and it will help you to see him in a rounded way and communicate it to your DC too. He will have good points that your DC will have inherited and they can learn from his mistakes.
It seems a good sign that you are thinking like this - perhaps you have turned a corner in your recovery from the fallout. No need to beat yourself up, your feelings and reactions were completely understandable but now it's time to move forward.
Since the divorce hasn't actually started yet do you think there will be more upset ahead? Perhaps you can start now trying to communicate with your ex in a more calm way, without getting dragged in emotionally so that at least you are on speaking terms. That in itself will show the dc that you are feeling stronger and that it's possible to regain some sort of normality.
What was their relationship like with him when he was still there? Ultimately I think it will be up to them and to him to try to rebuild and the best you can do is keep the lines of communication open without forcing anything.
(Oops, those italics are a bit of a mess there, sorry!)
It's understandable Jenzy, but your instinct to do something about it now is good, I think...
The thing is, it isn't about him, or whether he deserves it... What's important is that children identify with both their parents^; that's why it's best to avoid slagging off your ex. Each child takes their identity/self-esteem from ^both mum and dad. So if one parent says to a child "Your dad/mum is a sh*t", then the child unconsciously thinks "Oh, then I must be a sh*t too"
If you can find it in you, it's probably worth telling your kids about some of the good qualities their father has. You don't have to contradict anything you've said before, but you could maybe move on to say things like "He really hurt me, and I have been really angry with him, but I can remember that at first what I really liked about your dad was X"...
Funnily enough, I have noticed that when one parent says something positive about the other, that's when children seem to feel most free to express their own negative feelings... Maybe that's because when they don't feel they're having to 'defend' a parent, they feel more able to talk about their own hurts...
I have three teenage DC and their father and I split up three years ago. We aren't really on speaking terms, haven't started the official divorce process and the whole thing has been very messy to say the least. Still hurting all of us now.
I know I am to blame here, I have really beaten myself up over it, but my DC all live with me and have heard me ranting and raving about all his wrongdoings.
DD1 in particular knows everything (he used to be abusive to me and had at least one affair). But even the other two are very biased. I feel I have created this- sometimes I think what does it matter, he doesn't deserve their unconditional love, but then again, he's their dad and I hate to think I've poisoned them against him.
Anyone else dealt with something similar? Do I try to repair things or let my DC sort it their own way?
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