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Discussion Starter #1
I have been split from my kids dad for 5 years now, they are 11 and 14.

He said to me 6 months after we split that if I didn't get back with him, the pleasantries would stop. They did.

He has done everything in his power since to put me down, undermine me, and make every little tiny thing as difficult as possible for me. Dealing with him on every level is like wading through treacle. He avoids making arrangements til the last minute, breaking arrangements of kids return to me, not giving maintenance (1st year til I got csa on to him), he has allowed my son to run down to his house to avoid punishment here for bad behaviour, kept him overnight, ignored my calls in this situation when I am trying to find out if my son ran to his house and is safe, he has spoken to me like I am aggressive on the phone and I am being blindsided by what he says, wondering wtf, then realise he is speaking while the kids nxt to him, he played with their heads when I started seeing someone new 2 years after our split, when I say played with their heads I mean very actively. He totally screwed my daughters head up. He accuses me of anything and everything, he allows the kids to stay up til stupid times so they think they then have a right to at my house too, and when they come back from his they are shattered and behave terribly, he hasn't made them do homework, music practice, so when I do I am the slave driver, I get all the kids anger pointed at me and he says nothing, I have had my son getting physical with me (at 13 he was bigger than me) and he says nothing.......the list goes on.

I realise how this sounds, I wish I had stopped him seeing them. But these are things that in the beginning were incomprehensible to me and I thought they would die down, that he would 'get over it' and see what he was doing. And this is 5 years condensed into one post. They obviously trickled out over a long period. Then I realised they wouldn't stop. But my kids love their dad and as far as they are concerned he is doing nothing to them. If I stopped them seeing him, they would blame me. And much of what he did directly affected me and my relationship with my kids. None of what he did was actively at them (except for when I started seeing someone). He is and was a master manipulater and so they saw none of it and experienced the repurcussions of all of it.

All his actions in the 1st 2 years were shocking but subtle. He is master at manipulation and subtlety. And he silently (silently for the last year or so, it used to be actively) bolsters their righteous attitude over me and their behaviour. His passivity (before it was unpassively) gives them a feeling of confidence and power over all I say. I ask them to do their homework, they tell me when they will do it. I ask them to do 1 small job a day in the house. They tell me when they will do it. I ask them to do a 10 minute tidy in their room every day. They refuse. I have to bear with a 10-30min argument with them for nearly everything I ask. On a bad day. On a good day they are great. They are really good kids. All who know them say how lovely and polite they are. I am the person that has brought them up, I did all with them when they were babies, as they grew up. I took them out everywhere, did nice things with them, had fun with them, while their dad sat on his lazy arse at home and did f*ck all. He was my 3rd child when we were together.

Also, he has big health problems. So he has been the victim for quite some time now. He is very ill, and they worry over him. All he asks of them, they do. They practically look after him.

I got to my final straw when I stopped them going overnight about 2 months ago. They can see him whenever they like, just not overnight. Then he went into hospital about 2-3 weeks later and is still there now. About 5-6 weeks. Even in hospital he undermines me at every opportunity. They go to visit him, I ask they be back for 6 pm for their tea, he sends them back at 7.30. I ask they be back at 7, he sends them home, through town on a Saturday night when all the night weirdos are out, at 9pm.

My kids now swear freely at me, refuse to do as I ask. Are rude and more disrespectful than ever. I have just experienced 3 days of them shouting, swearing, slamming doors, generally kicking off. I give them punishments and repurcussions for their behaviour but it is getting to the point where they don't even care.

What do I do? I feel I am losing my mind. Does anyone else experience this total manipulation of you and your children? Does anyone know what I could possibly do to get through the next 5-7 years?
 

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Well, I have been through some trying times over the past 4 1/2 years. My struggles were similar; it's on thread,http://talkaboutmarriage.com/family-parenting-forums/15730-why-does-non-fun-parent-finish-last.html .

With the current behavior, I think you should send them to live with dad 24/7. He's getting to be the "fun parent" as things stand now. Let him get enough of them, and he will want to send them back. Either that, or move away from him. Move far enough to make visits inconvenient.

Hope things get better soon. It did take awhile, but my children now see things completely different. We have a very close relationship now. I used to think things could never change for the better. However, things can and do get better.
 

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I'm sorry to hear that your ex is making parenting so difficult. It doesn't sound good for you or the kids or even him. What a shame that he is choosing to privilege his spite over his good sense.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, I have been through some trying times over the past 4 1/2 years. My struggles were similar; it's on thread,http://talkaboutmarriage.com/family-parenting-forums/15730-why-does-non-fun-parent-finish-last.html .

With the current behavior, I think you should send them to live with dad 24/7. He's getting to be the "fun parent" as things stand now. Let him get enough of them, and he will want to send them back. Either that, or move away from him. Move far enough to make visits inconvenient.

Hope things get better soon. It did take awhile, but my children now see things completely different. We have a very close relationship now. I used to think things could never change for the better. However, things can and do get better.
I am glad to hear you have a close relationship now and that things have improved. I hope there is a light at the end of my tunnel too.

Certainly when we have prolonged periods like this I do consider seriously them going to his 24/7. I just worry what the future of that will hold. Additionally, he is unwell and in hospital. He can't look after himself, never mind 2 children. And then what happens when he goes into hospital again?

I did send my son there permanently a while ago after he got physical with me, his dad was angry about it, until he realised he could get money for him (he has not worked for the last 2-3 years due to health problems). The deal was that I would hand over the child benefit so he could claim other benefits and if he found that he couldn't support him to the same level I could then he would hand them back and I would remain financially responsible for him (I work part time and on a fairly low wage so I was getting working tax credits for my children too, I lost that for my son when I handed finances over). As soon as the money was in his bank account he changed the goalposts. If he couldn't look after our son in the same way I have been, I would then have to contribute more seeing as I work. But that is the money I have for me and my daughter, and my big worry when I handed it over was exactly that scenario. And he has never been good with money, and he is a liar. Whether he had money or not he would be asking me for more, and using bribery and motherly guilt by telling his son he cannot afford this or that and he would have to ask me for contributions. And so making my son ask me, therefore if I say no it would be my fault he cannot have something or go on some exciting school trip, and then if I say yes to my son, their dad is taking away from his daughter too. He has never sacrificed for his children. Ever.

I have thought very seriously about moving away over the last 3-4 years. It is such a huge decision though. All my friends and family are here, I would have to move the children's school, and at this point in their education I think it would have a damaging effect, my job is here, my house is unbelievably cheap and I would never find another, with my cheap house it means I can afford more to give to my children. In the last couple of months I have started to think seriously again about the prospect of moving away. But it is scary.

And thankyou for the link to your thread. I will read it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm sorry to hear that your ex is making parenting so difficult. It doesn't sound good for you or the kids or even him. What a shame that he is choosing to privilege his spite over his good sense.
No, he obviously doesn't care enough for his kids though he pretends he does. I hope the penny drops for them one day. His bitterness and anger at me precedes his love for his own children! What kind of a sorry man is that!
 

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Ok, so, I have grounded my son (do you Americans use the word grounded? Basically he is not allowed out) for 2 weeks. He called me a fuc*ing idiot several times, went totally against my wishes more so, and since last Sunday eve I have had the most horrendous week ever! Every morning and every night I have had my kids treating me or each other like sh*t. I have revoked all their priveleges, I have grounded them, and I refuse to back down on them swearing at me and fighting against every little request I make of them.

My son was grounded for a week on Monday. This weekend was his friends birthday party and I told him he could not go. However, their dad has been in hospital for the last 6 weeks and I have never stopped them seeing their dad no matter how difficult he makes it for me.

I said to my kids yesterday I have planned a nice day out for us tomor (today). We are going on a magical mystery tour. He wants to know where we are going so he can decide. My son said he was off to visit his dad today. It is a surprise, I won't say where we are off to or what we doing, so that is fine if he wants to visit dad. An argument ensues as he NEEDS to know where we are going. I say it is a surprise. He can come out with me or go to Dads. Either way is fine.

He goes to see Dad. My daughter comes with me.

I find out tonight that he never went to see his Dad at all. I did wonder if it was all a ruse due to his friend's b'day. But I called his Dad, say about time I want him back (bearing in mind that over the 6 weeks he been in hospital the kids have visited him once, or twice, a week and he has only made sure they back on time ONCE!) and he says yes. I tell my son what time I want him back. He agrees.

So, my son never went to visit Dad. He went to his friends b'day party. His Dad met him in town to give him money so he could go. He knew all along, enabled our son to lie to me, go behind my back, and belittle the rules I put in place....again....and to nullify the sanctions my son has received for his behaviour. His Dad has NEVER asked why he is grounded.

What do I do?
 

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And 827 Aug, I read your thread. I am glad to see things are better. I am glad to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I hope there is one for me. My only worry is that you had a very obvious thing happen with your girls that made them 'see the light'. I know I won't ever have anything like that for me. I can only hope that once they have kids of their own that they will see how they would be with theirs and see why I am as I am. I do hope so.
 

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I agree with Aug. I would let dad have them for a bit. Explain to them, that you love them but the level of disrespect will stop. Since they feel the they will do better, over their dads, then you are giving them their wish. Also, let them know that you more than want a relationship with them but they are to be respectful.

The grass is greener at dads now. Wait until they are nursemaids....
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Corpus wife, I think I probably would have done that this week had he not been in hospital (and I am glad I could not. I am glad he is in hospital and I was not given the option of giving up). This week has been utterly utterly horrendous. I would not wish this week on my worst enemy. The thing is, he is in hospital. Has been for 6 weeks as of last Thursday. So I cannot do that. Even in hospital he still manages to undermine my every move.

This morning my son kicked off again. Then my daughter too. My son was angry because I dared to be cross, I say cross, actually I was just looking for calm retribution, about his going off to the birthday party yesterday when he was grounded. And I dared to have a punishment for him, which was to help me out, do jobs for me, for a few hours, and then hopefully as the weather is nice today, I wanted us to get out for an hour or two before tea time. Clear the cobwebs.

He kicked off good and proper. Told me no he would not get dressed just to do jobs for me. He denied he had done anything wrong, and that his Dad basically said that he should be able to go. Dad allowed him to go, Dad is his other parent, therefore it is ok. I took his new trainers off him. Whatever else ensued was all in the mist (my calm mist, his angry) now but he started swearing at me. A lot. Called me a fu*king c*nt.

My daughter was also refusing to get ready, I can't even remember now what she was kicking off about. I think because I told them both they were not visiting their Dad today. She was very upset. I told her she needs to thank him for his behaviour and how it has finally got to this stage. I have never stopped them seeing their Dad, ever! But now I am. And it is not my actions, bit his. He has caused this situation. Not me.

I told them both as they were kicking off that if they were not going to help out today so we could get out and enjoy the sunshine that they can get dressed to go and visit Dad. And they would not be coming back. If Dad is so great then he will sort out arrangements for them and whatever they need. They can come and see me, come every week for Sunday dinner or something. But I will not have this continuation of behaviour. I have had enough and I cannot take any more. He can sort out his children from his hospital bed. I was deadly serious. I was deadly upset. I cried. A lot. I went to my room and cried like I have not done in a very long time.

Really, I felt like I was going to crack up today. I felt at my lowest, 7 full days, solid, of them arguing with me, shouting at me, rude to me, so very rude, slamming doors, swearing at me, blank refusals on anything and everything I ask, no pleasantry, no nice, nothing. Just total and utter sh*t all week. 7 days. Solid. No let up at all. And their Dad enables them, OK's their behaviour, undermines me, belittles me, makes out that my strategies are wrong, that my intentions are wrong, gives them a righteous attitude so they have to listen to nothing I say and do nothing I ask. If I was prone to any mental illness whatsoever, and I am lucky I am not (both my father and my sister have serious mental health problems), I would have had a mental breakdown well before now. And now, I feel I have been on the edge, on the brink, all week.

After my threat, they both calmed down a bit, got dressed, my son washed my car inside and out, a big job!, my daughter put clothes away and hung washing out on the line, hoovered the dining room and the stairs. I made them cooked breakfast, for lunch, and we managed to get out and go for a stroll in the woods for an hour or so. They both wanted to come too, which for anyone who has teenagers and likes to go for a walk in the countryside will know, teenagers DO NOT like walks in the countryside....boring! A good afternoon we had! Thank god!

I have stuck to my guns all week, we have had a horrendous week, and I have felt like crumbling many many times, I have felt like giving up many many times. I hope Monday, tomorrow, next week, will be better. I hope I have put myself in the pecking order this week where I belong. At the top.

I know it will not last, and I will have to reaffirm my place, but I hope I will not have to go through this week ever, ever, again.

Finally, I have told my kids, after 5 years of being undermined to such a degree that my kids hear nothing of any importance or interest that comes from my mouth, and do nothing that I wish and ALL that they want, I told them that after yesterday they will not be seeing their Dad anymore. That I cannot take anymore undermining, and I cannot take their behaviour anymore as a result of this. They have their father to thank for this, and I have done everything possible to enable them, while he has done everything to undermine me, e.g. in 6 weeks of being in hospital he has got them home on time once!, and he has sent them home through town late at night when I requested early, on a weekend when all the desirables and undesirables are out...and much much more. I cannot take anymore.

My daughter called him. She cried. She said he cried. She put him on to me. I spoke for 2 minutes, he didn't even ask why, I asked him if he would like to iron out the issues? Put things in place? Discuss? He said there is no point and he will talk later. I know later will not happen. My daughter told me later that he said he will take me to court. I said fine. He should not be saying that to his daughter!

I hope he does bring it on. He has no leg to stand on. He has done so many things over the years. I have periodically kept records of it, I wish I had been more proactive at keeping records. But a lot of things are official too. I got a solicitor to write to him and ask not to send abusive texts anymore, he sent them continuously, I saved the whole 'conversations', the start, the replies, his retorts. There were some that were disgusting. She said they were sexual harassment. He has also exposed himself to me twice. I reported him to the police when he dragged me by my hair and kicked me in front of my daughter, I arranged mediation for us and he was reasonable until the final appointment which he didn't show up for and blamed me by pretending he got the wrong end of the stick. I said I was going to try and rearrange, but I couldn't, and let him know I couldn't and that it was still on, he didn't turn up and I called him to find out if he was on his way, he shouted at me saying I had done it on purpose and MADE him miss the appointment! I arranged a co parenting course for us. He became 'normal' for only 5 weeks. Him? He has done nothing.
 

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I'm so sorry to hear about your horrible week. That was good strategy to reward the kids for proper behavior. Sometimes that is an option. Unfortunately, that will probably be a short lived thing--as long as dear ole dad is interfering. I couldn't imagine kids being that disrespectful. Personally I think their dad should be responsible for them or stay out of things. How sick is he anyway? If he's sick enough to be in a hospital, he needs to quit meddling. Otherwise, he needs to go home and keep both kids on a regular basis.

Hope life is easier on you this week.:)
 

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Thank you 827 Aug. I agree if he is in hospital he needs to stop meddling, but he will NEVER stop. It has been over 5 years now! He really makes an active effort to interfere in absolutely everything. He does all he can. Even in hospital. I ask that they be home for 7, he gets them home for 8.30. The bus they get goes through a rough part of town, and then the town centre itself, then over to my area. So they go to visit early, I ask that they come back before night time on a weekend, so, early evening. Going through town about 7pm. 7.30 latest. Leaving his place on the bus that leaves before 7. I want them to get back to me by 8. He gets them back for gone 9 pm. This has happened on a school night too! I ask that they are back for tea by 7, so that means they get a bus by 6 ish. They are home for 8.30. On a school night. He takes the piss at every and any opportunity, and then all the fall out is blamed on me. He twists it all to the kids that it is me who is causing the problems. I am the one putting down unreasonable rules and regulations...he is their 'mate'.

My son said this morning that he is more of a mate than a parent. How they get on so well. And that just says it all to me. Your parent is supposed to be the one who puts in the boundaries that you fight against as u think you are an adult but still a child....he has only JUST turned 14...., the one who makes you do the little they ask of you to try and prepare you for adulthood, as you get older then more responsibility is asked of you, and yet he is just Mr Mate all the bloody time.

And now I have the fallout of my kids not seeing him....am I right in saying they are not to see him anymore?

Please give me your opinion on that. Should I do that? I have continuously tried my all to keep the kids out of it. But time and again they are dragged into it. Will I make it worse or easier by saying and trying to enforce that they do not see him anymore? If they continue to see him, I can only see that I will continue to be undermined and I will get to a point anyway where I will say to him, you have them both because I cannot do it anymore. And so I lose them.

But if I say they cannot see him anymore, I have only the fall out of that. That seems a preferred option. Though it also means that they tell me to f*ck off and they are off to see him anyway, then I call the police?

So....do I deal with the power struggle of me not wanting them to see him and them ignoring me anyway? Or do I just continue for the next 5-6 years of him undermining me and having this continual battle of them ignoring me and me either pushing my authority, as thin as it is, and at the bottom of the pile, or just accepting that I am at the bottom of the pile and ignoring and accepting for the next 5-6 years.

Bloody Hell! I am between a rock and a hard place. I just don't know. Does anyone have experience?
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Ok, so, I said above that the last coupla years has been a more passive undermining and before that was more active. I was wrong. As can be seen by what happened with my son at the weekend. Additionally, I have just found out another. Today. My son bought a stereo a few months ago. His Dad said to him 'your mum had better not use that as a punishment too', i.e. remove it. And he no doubt gave my son all the ammunition he could use if I did try to remove it as my son has repeatedly said to me how I cannot use that as he bought it with his own money. And he has given me lots of argument that sounds like it comes straight from his dad's mouth. Not that I have wanted to use it as a punishment. But I have been told I cannot! By my son! BTW, his Dad has never asked, as mentioned above, what the behaviour was that deserved any of the punishment I have ever given, however he has frequently turned round and told (in his behaviour and his actions) the kids that they don't have to take the punishment, and he has given my kids the right to refuse it, fight against it.

So yeah, last week on my utterly horrendous week, my son blasted the music, was asked to turn it down. Blank refusal to do so. Rude. Obnoxious. So I removed the speakers.

Another crap evening with my kids refusals, rudeness, them fighting with each other. I didn't even get dinner finished in the end. I have had no tea and they have got themselves a sandwich. Finally gone to bed. Peace at last. My head is totally done in. I do not see how I can break out of this cycle with them. It is torture. Totally and utterly torturous.
 
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