What do men do when the marriage is over, but the ex-wife uses the kids as a permanent, go-to method for continuing her vindictive and vengeful behavior? For many men, there is no good way out. They are, out of love for their children, locked in to a lifestyle of continuing abuse. Frequently the children are enlisted by the mother to share her hatred and animosity for the father, and what was once a broken marriage becomes a broken family.
Some men are forced to consider an almost unthinkable solution, which is to say good-bye to their children. It is a problem that no man wants, yet many face.
Some men live by a code as fathers that no matter what the circumstances saying good-bye to their children is not an option. Unfortunately, in some cases, that position results in more chaos, for him, and for his children.
Sometimes staying in the mix is the wrong thing to do.
If you are a father feeling trapped in an endless pattern of destruction by your ex-wife and dealing with children whose minds have been poisoned and turned against you, you may find this discussion helpful.
Counseling with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
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I won’t join tonight as I am taking on of my children to his baseball game. So the good news is that I have not had to divorce all my children. BUT – it does seem that I have divorced one of them. And so I want to get my question in if you have time to discuss.
Situation: I have 4 children. Oldest is 13. 3 of the 4 children will come to my house during the “decreed time.” This is always a pleasant event for all – no issues. There was at first but these have been worked thru. The oldest will not come with me and I have given up trying. I do see him at the games of the other children and we occasionally speak, but it is tense, I get the “stink eye” etc. I do go to his events and he sees me and notices if I am there or not. He will not speak to me or acknowledge me at those events. I can tell that he knows he is supposed to act that way toward me.
My opinion – he is the “surrogate” husband. I have researched a little about this – where the mother basically uses one of the children as her emotional crutch. I believe this is what is going on. In fact, now that I really think thru my last few years there, the signs we there that this was already happening. Basically, I traveled alot, my ex-spouse resented the travel (along with alot of other things) and so when I returned from a business trip- the oldest son was just as “pissed” at me as she was.
Anyway – I guess my first question is: Can one child be “turned” against you while the others are not? Or is this an all or nothing thing?
Second – Any thoughts on what to do about this?
One child can definitely be turned against you. My ex tried it with our oldest from the time our oldest was 13. Fortunately, it didn’t stick. Unfortunately, she succeeded with our oldest son; I think because he’s very much like her in personality. Ironically he doesn’t trust his mother, but trusts me less. I now wonder if some of his behavior toward me was a failed attempt to appease his mother, but that was impossible due to her BPD, which made his animosity worse.
Read up on children of a narcissistic parent, specifically on the golden child and the dumpster child. I started life as a a golden child, but got relegated to dumpster child when I became a teenager. My just younger brother is my mother’s golden child (she’s the narcissist) while my youngest brother is my father’s golden child (he’s the enabler.)
I watched my ex torture her former husband through their kid (my stepkid) for years. Watching the man deal with her, and drink himself nearly to death, was THE reason I got snipped. I can remember her screaming at him on the phone…while I kinda snickered in the other room. Little did I know that I was soon to be the target of her histrionics.
Over the years she bilked him outa countless dollars for the “little precious one” who, basically showed neither me, or her father any respect. After we divorced, she alternately ordered me to, or forbade me from, having contact with the stepkid. Today, they are both dead to me. The kid and her are lost causes, and just bring me down…they don’t, and never have truly cared a damn about me. Really, they worked in tandem to destroy my life.
The biological father? Well, he is still in love with the ex, still drinking…and still forking over the cash. Ya can’t fix crazy (her)….and in his case…ya can’t fix stupid. Cluster B is burning through boyfriends, and the bio. father/ex gets a pat on the head now and then…and lectures on his drinking….the drinking that el whacko is mostly the cause of. Should he have divorced the kid as well? From my vantage point, HELL YES!