I was reflecting today on Easter a few years back, just before my girls took their GCSEs. We rented a cottage in Cornwall which provided uninterrupted peace for a couple of weeks and my ex and I helped them remember things or practise their Maths. We tried to set a good example and life was sweet back then, simpler. I think I may be getting one reason why fellow Wiki Eliza and others and myself struggle with the fallout of divorce. We tried to protect our children, teach them right from wrong - the family was safe and bad things were to be found elsewhere. Divorce seems to blow all this apart. Our kids may witness one party having an illicit affair, becoming insensible with substance abuse, trying to copy them (body-building, tattoos etc), stealing the marital and family money, one parent being left with all the responsibility and kids, lying and fighting in court. It's the complete opposite of how we started out with our children and I think that's part of the reason that it's so hard to get over. Perhaps we should prepare our kids more for the potential of nastiness..how someone can change when under enough pressure and grow fangs. It's hard to believe in a good world when there is all this fall-out around. Then there's the disparagement of the other parent that can go on and I am guilty of that. I have grown fangs and am full of bile on some days. I never used to be. Imagine having to construct a world-view after you have seen all of this going on. I am 51 and my world view has been altered. I do think people should be able to separate but why does it have to be so damm savage?
I find there's a certain amount of anger and blame directed at me and I don't blame them. Only one is really exhibiting it but I think it's normal. I did have a part to play in this mess, for one thing. And also I'm the one that's there to kick against, which is also par for the course for teenagers.
What's more, I think that if ours had just been a 'normal' divorce, or shall we say one of those rare mutually agreed and amicable parting of ways, it would have been bad enough but tolerable. The kids could have maintained relations with both of us. Sure there would have been times things got fraught, but by and large things could have been OK. When he first left even though his manner of leaving was always going to make things hard, I worked hard to facilitate their relationships with their dad. Now the whole thing has gone tits up. They perceive that his behaviour towards them is absolutely appalling. And that he is entirely to blame for all of the upheavals in their lives because of his selfishness and ineptitude. And I weep for them. I used to be fascinated by stories eg in the news of people who had committed crimes, whether fraud or murder or war crimes, and often wondered aloud what must it feel like if that was your father? How confused and conflicted you would feel. Torn between love and revulsion. Now my stbx is no war criminal or murderer, but on the other hand his bad behaviour has not been directed at the enemy, or faceless strangers, but precisely at his children themselves. I could understand if it were just directed at me. I can believe he hates me. But his children??? Don't get it.
Why bother sheilding it from the kids? I think that does more harm than good. Its a reality, its happened, its the effect of one person make a unilateral decision to break a familiy up. By hiding the behavior aren't we saying 'this is acceptable'. As for the blame game, I think there is a connect between that and the denial behavior because without an admission of guilt or an adult saying 'yes its mum or dads fault' and pointing the finger children will come to their own conclusions and blame someone.
LXB71 I like your image of being in a boxing ring slugging it out alone with your ex, I feel like that too except I'm fighting a mirage because he is fully immersed in his new life and I minimise contact. Stemginger I'm not so sure that your girls (or anyone's children) would really blame you? I know they take it out on us, but surely they know who chose to end it and who is there for them now? I feel really sorry for our kids that they have such disappointing and selfish parents - it must be gutting for them to lose faith in their all=powerful and wise dads so early (or mums if they have done a runner)
Thx wikis for hearing me out, I feel better for blogging some new thought out and can see others feel a similar way. LBX71, I think you hit the nail on the head about the sense of a deteriorating relationship with your son post separation. I feel that my girls look at me with disappointment as well and that's hard. I guess they are disappointed with both parents even if it takes one to end a relationship. They probably transfer some of their anger with the abandoning parent onto the remaining parent. It sounds hard for you too LBX...we have to did deep in all of this and find something inside us to help us navigate a way forward.
Please don't ever feel bad about expressing your thoughts and feelings. Before actually joining wiki I spent many many hours reading posts and blogs. I was back then a total wreck unable to construct a sentence but the views of others helped me to get through some very very dark times. Just knowing that you are not alone with some of this stuff is so very very helpful.
Just take a look at the number of hits your blogs have had and how many of those people will totally relate to what you have said. What you write about is painful and the injustice of it is incomprehensible to all. My heart goes out to you as a mum.
Warmest wishes to you and your children stemginger
Stemginger or anyone,Humbly I would say never feel bad about blogging your feelings/reflections/thoughts or views on here.
I agree with everything Sunflower says but could never express it so well.Even if I don't always feel I can comment fully I always read and consider.
Hi Stemginger - I relate to your post. I feel like since all this began nearly 10 months ago, STBX and I have entered into 'crazy season'. I honestly feel like I am wackadoodle most days and my STBX like many others has become cold, indifferent and quite frankly a real s***t towards me and our son. I keep having this vision in my head of me and STBX in a boxing ring continually slugging it out while all spectators have long since gone home. Battered and bruised but neither giving way and not stopping. Sorry that does read a little melodramatic but I am having a low few weeks.
I hate the fact that our son through no fault of his own is in the middle of this. He does not have any relationship with STBX and has not seen him for many months now. He is by nature a quiet, reserved young man who adored his father and I think his dad living with a much younger woman and taking on her young children has really affected him but I can't get him to talk about any of it, divorce, dads GF etc, If I try and talk to him he completely shuts down and will not engage. I have suggested counselling for us both, again a resounding no.
I also worry about the effect on his future relationships. STBX's father also cheated on and abandoned two wives, although he does seem to have settled down and is happy with Wife No.3 who is a lot younger than him. I worry that my son will also follow the pattern of STBX and his grandfather, I hope he will have enough morality and principles to be faithful and to be truthful to his future partner and can turn the tide.
I read other wiki's posts saying that all this has brought them closer to their children but I feel as though this has put a wedge between me and my son, I can't really explain it but I feel as though he is disappointed in me as well as his father and although I wanted to hold the marriage together and did everything I could (I never knew about OW until 4 months in), I wonder if he holds me accountable for this mess and feels I didn't fight hard enough to save our marriage, or is it because his father has made himself unaccountable for his actions with his disappearing act and therefore I am next in line. I have read this back and I have put my feelings badly but I hope you know what I mean. XX
Please don't feel bad about blogging re this - quite the opposite - I find one of the most important benefits of wiki is a place where I can explore my views with others and realise that I (and my childre) are not alone. Sometimes other wikis reflections allow a small shift in my own view or helps unblock or clarify an emotion I haven't quite got my head around. I am glad you riased the subject. Take care
I feel bad about blogging my reflections as it is not a hopeful piece but I am trying to grasp what disturbs us so much or what disturbs me. Give up - your story made me sad for your son yet it is good he is getting some support so he can talk to another adult. I have booked a counselling session for my 19 year old next week with a divorce counsellor as she feels 'confused' about right and wrong. Eliza, she too can't believe anything her father says anymore - last December he pretended to the girls he was working in Essex on a project when abroad with the ow in Africa. Now I suspected the holiday and I could have shut up about it but I was annoyed that he was telling them he had no money. In the end he told them the truth but they didn't forget the lying.
Like you say Eliza and sunflower, some of the things we have taught them is blown up, reversed and what then? Vastra1, I think your son was def talking about his father in a parallel way...clever him. It's easier talking about another Dad isn't it.
In a way it's good lesson i think, at least for the teenager, and as long a you can talk. It's taught my son that people you love are not infaillible, that you can get extremely angry at somebody and still love them, therefore find a way to talk. That you can't abuse somebody's trust without consequences, that respect and communication are the basis of every relationship. That made our relationship so much better.
But it's only valid because their dad is very much around and in their life.