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Daughter and Ex Run-in. The littlest things?


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#1 Kokoca

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:32 PM

So tonight at the school there was a performance on that both my daughters were involved in. D16 is with me full time and hasn't spoken to her mom in just over a year. D15 is still back-and-forth 50/50.

I went. Ex went. Both girls did well at the performance. I went home. Had to walk by Ex once and she gave me the evil eye the second time out. I really just try to ignore her (especially after calling the police about her repeated trespassing a couple weeks ago) but accidentally caught a glimpse of her when I walked into the foyer. Whatever..

D16 came home shortly after me (within an easy walk). She was really upset.

Apparently her mom came up to her during a part of the performance that she wasn't involved in. Ex asked her how she was doing and then asked her to sign a page of a book D16 had contributed to. D16 was completely in a panic and said No.

Ex walked out a bit then turned around and said "I don't know what they're telling you there but I'm not the bad guy here".

Apparently Ex circulated around the building a bit while D16 had a meltdown and hid with a teacher and some friends for awhile until a friend's family drove her home. D15 heard about it of course through friends and apparently was crying (she's with her mom this week so I haven't seen her in the aftermath).


On the surface, it seems so trivial: "please sign the book" but D16 has made it clear she doesn't want to talk to her. So Ex takes something trivial and pushes through the boundary.

Now D16 doesn't want to be involved in things at the school in case her mom does something like that again. I think she'll get over it but I don't know what to do for her.

And I sure don't like being blamed for being the "bad guy" (not the first time Ex has said this; she said it in an email to D16 recently too). Not much I can do about it.

Anyway, mostly just venting right now.

Thanks for listening everyone!

:)

#2 PrudenceB

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 10:37 PM

This too shall pass-

everyone will get stronger, D16 will go on to do more things, and this will pass as another event in a string where x digs her own grave.

D16 in therapy, learning about boundaries and people who push past them etc?

#3 Kris

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 07:39 AM

(((((Kokoca and D16)))))

Yes, I think Pru is right... counseling could be very good for D16 to help her feel more confident about setting boundaries and feeling strong about being true to her own decisions and not feeling like she needs to justify them to anyone (including her mom... though of course internalizing that concept probably takes a lot, lot, lot of processing to get to that point!!)

Likewise you also sound like you need to not feel like you have to defend yourself or justify your actions. (I know, I know -- I feel like a total hypocrite writing this since I am probably the worst offender about feeling like I "need to be understood" and I have trouble letting it go if I think someone is misunderstanding me or my intentions. But I've read the books!!! I know what the theory is supposed to be!!!!)

Maybe if D16 can think about this more carefully once she has calmed down, she can come up with strategies for what to do if she were ever blind-sided again in the future. If she had some "generic responses" in her toolkit, then she wouldn't need to fear accidentally running into her mom in the future. She should definitely not limit her own possibilities just because of the possibility of running into someone else, so she needs to have strategies for dealing with the situation should it arise. (Otherwise, to take it to an extreme level, she could find herself never even being able to leave the house lest she run into ex on the front sidewalk!)

One thing, for sure, is that she should never feel "pushed" into doing something on the spot. She can always defer it and just say, "i will need to think about it but I can't talk to you about it now" and remove herself. Especially if she has the tendency to freeze when she feels overwhelmed (that's my problem) and so has previously been vulnerable to being pushed into things before she really is ready or wanting to mentally accept them, it is even more important that she realizes that she does not have to do anything until she is ready. And even if the other person tries to make her feel totally shamed for not acting on the request right away, just telling herself, "No, my 'new rule' is that I will not make any decisions until I can think about it in a place of calm, and I'm not calm as long as I'm getting pressured this way" will do her a lot of good. (That's what I'm trying to do right now... every time stbx is pressuring me to agree to his various schemes about settlement issues!!)

But it's tough. But it also can be a great learning/growing opportunity that will benefit her greatly in all of her future dealings, especially in business or negotiation settings. So... there is a positive side to it, too!!

#4 Kokoca

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 11:45 AM

Thanks Prudence and Kris! :)

Great advice Kris. I think D16 pretty much figured it out on her own that she shouldn't shut herself out of her own life experiences because of this fear. I like the idea of having some stock answers that can be used in such a situation.

Like you, she (and I) can feel pretty overwhelmed in the moment. I freeze up and seem to stop thinking. I tend to get overwhelmed and quickly give in to demands so I can get out of the situation without anyone's feeling getting hurt. I think D16 froze up too but she'll push back and has no problem hurting someone's feelings which is sometimes a curse and sometimes a blessing. I could learn from her in that respect.

Honestly, I think it was a no-win situation for her. If D16 signed the book she'd allow her mom to push right through a boundary that D16 has tried to enforce. That would just have led to more substantive attempts. Saying "no" opened her up to an attack because her mom can't accept hurt feelings without it being someone else's fault. I don't think there was a gracious way out but I think there is a place to get to where you protect your own emotional self interest: so that you know your boundaries are clear and that anyone violating them knows the consequences which then gives you the freedom to act with integrity. And maybe D16 did just that.

We're all doing pretty well this week. We live, we learn, we grow.

Thanks :)

#5 PrudenceB

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 12:38 PM

:1087: No wins.

But for a no win, D16 did pretty well.

I think the younger we are, the less beaten down, the more strength we have to push back-

we also typically have less responsibilities that can be used to bring us down and someone to protect us-

I think in a no win, D16 did well. I think she made a win out of the no win. she stood her ground. The fallout is something she should not care about (easier said than done) as it's on her mom.
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#6 Kokoca

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:58 PM

Prudence, you are so right. D16 did really well. She seems to be rolling with it.

Thanks :)

#7 PrudenceB

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 05:50 PM

I wish there were some magic pill that made it easy to feel good about rebuffing another human being - especially one's who are supposed to be there for us -

(((D16)))




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