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Comments for Divorcing Kid(s)

Comments: Divorcing the Kid(s)

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 1998-2001. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

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HEY WAYNE DID YOU GET MY LETTER, THANKS VETA AT THEOCEANBLUES@HOTMAIL.COM

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Monday November 19, 2001

This is all very sad. I hope my children will be ok after the divorce.

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Wednesday November 21, 2001

Dear wayne, I agree with you wholeheartedly about parents who abandon children either physically or emotionally.I have just come through the most difficult period of my life. My soon to be ex launched a terroristic humilation smear campaign against me during our divorce which is in it's second year. He is an emotionally immature 47 year old who has been mentally abusive for many years. One of his favorite ploys is to GET ME in front of the children. You are correct hurt the kids hurt the loving parent. I suffer from some codependency issues & right now have found that staying out of relationships with men & just rediscovering myself is the only way that I feel Ok. I don't like most of the men I meet, controlling behavior, cigarette smokers, alcoholics or just plain hostile. I discovered that I am so much happier,focused & productive alone. I do not like bringing strange men into my 8 year olds life either. We are doing ok since I left my marital home in early April.But in the long run I am much better off being away from the reminders of my terorist husband. Anyway I will buy your book at Borders if it is there. Nancy

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Wednesday November 21, 2001

Hi Nancy, you’re, “rediscovering myself” is the answer. Too many of us run to find another person to help us forget our pain and to reassure us we are lovable. Take time to heal, and to help and the children heal. They might not be expressing what they feel (might not know how or what the confused feelings are all about) but, they need you to be strong and keep some form of structure. They also need to know you will be there and will not abandon them. Most of all (and this is so hard to do) do not speak badly about your x no matter what he is saying or doing. What is confusing to the children is they love both of you and even if you two do not get along, within the minds of the children they want both Mom and Dad together and in the same house. Tell them to love their Father. You might want to find a women’s group to help support you over the next year. Wayne L. Misner

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Thursday November 22, 2001

You're absolutely right to urge fathers not to abandon their kids or to bad-mouth the other parent! I wish my daughter's father would get the message-he's been told by several people not to bad-mouth me but his response has been to tell our mediatior, our marital counselor, etc. that he believed it was very important to tell our daughter everything that I've done wrong so she won't make the mistake he made and marry someone like me. I've been divorced from my daughter's father for almost 10 years now, and he's still bitter. He professes to love her (and tells her so on the phone), but complains constantly about paying her child support (he has no choice, it is withdrawn automatically from his paycheck), spliting her medical expenses with me, etc. And ever since we've moved out of state, has been gradually decreasing the number of visits she makes to his house-telling both of us he can't afford the plane fare. He makes over 70K a year, we split her airline tickets 50/50 and he can't afford to have her visit him 8 times a year (yea, right). As a teen, she's seen through his act and feels like he values money more than her presence-unfortunately she's right. She'll joke about his cheapness at times, and sometimes admonish him not to be so cheap, but his behavior hurts her feelings. She's working with a counselor and the effects of counseling and anti-depressant medications are really starting to show. Her mood is improving, she's concentrating better, and her grades are starting to improve (slightly). But they're still pretty terrible (she's normally a straight A student), and I've asked her father to show some interest in her schoolwork and to talk to her about her grades. He refuses-and she says he never talks to her about her schooling or grades. She believes he doesn't care what she gets in school. It may be-the only things he seems to react to are the things that cost him money i.e., her airfare, his share of her medical expenses. She doesn't know it, but he's even accused me of having her in therapy simply to run up the medical exenses (yea right-she needs help and I cover half of what the insurance doesn't pick up). She's visiting him this weekend, and dreads having to hide who she really is. She's gay and is open about her sexual orientation around here. But her father's homophobic, and she's worried that he's going to figure out that she's not interested in dating (when I told him she was depressed and needed treatment, he hypothesised that her grades were poor because she had her mind on boys, and wasn't depressed at all). It must feel really terrible to feel that your father won't accept you if he knows that you're interested in girls not boys. Frankly, I think that when he figures out she's gay, he will blame me more than he blames her. He's already told her that I'm the cause of her depression (never mind that both of us have family histories of depression). I wish I could wave a magic wand and improve his attitude. But I can't! The only thing that I can do is support our daughter, make sure she knows that she is loved and accepted for who she is, and to remind her that her father is decent person who has flaws (like I do).

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Friday November 23, 2001

You wrote --You're absolutely right to urge fathers not to abandon their kids. NO, I did not say fathers only! Mothers are doing the same thing. My point was both parents get into the hate, anger, and I’ll get back at the other parent. They use the children. I do agree and support your statement---The only thing that I can do is support our daughter, make sure she knows that she is loved and accepted for who she is, and to remind her that her father is decent person who has flaws (like I do). It is possible that your daughter, as he said-- her grades were poor because she had her mind on boys, and wasn't depressed at all, was looking and is looking for love, understanding, and acceptance from others. That’s what we all do. However, her being depressed is a warning to him and you. Please read the book by Polly Joan. (Preventing Teenage Suicide, NY: Human Sciences Press 1986) This is a difficult time for her (and you). Don’t give up on him. Encourage him to attend therapy with her. (Only if invited). If he can become part of her healing process and work with her over the next few years they can bond and have a healthy relationship. Wayne L. Misner

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Friday November 23, 2001

Wayne, Thank you for your encouragement. Although her father denies that she's depressed-she fits all the high risk categories (she has a postive family history, she's gay, has mild ADHD and is profoundly gifted). Fortunately, she was never sucidal and we caught it before she lost interest in all her activities (she managed to make it into all-state band despite her depression). As a health care professional, I feel very comfortable about her progress. And best of all, D's noticed the difference too. Unfortunately, there's no chance her dad will participate in therapy. He isn't about to waste his valueable time on something he doesn't believe in (therapy). Nor is he likely to make the effort to join her in a therapy session-we live on the east coast now and he lives in the midwest. Even when we lived an hour away from him, he refused to participate in any of her activities because it wasn't worth the time to drive back and forth to his home. He has never attended any of her sports events, school programs, parent-teacher conferences, etc., or taken full advantage of his visitation periods. He even refused to visit his then three-year old daughter when she was hospitalized with a severe asthma attack. When I called him and told him she was hospitalized, he was surprised, but came up with his usual excuse for not visiting-he was "busy with work and didn't think it was important enough to take any time off." And most damning of all, when we separated, he told me not to count on him if something happened to me and I couldn't care for our daughter; that he "would put D. in foster care because she would interfere with his ability to work." Needless to say, she has a guardian. I hope that she'll never be needed, and I also hope that D. never finds out that her father cared so little about her that he'd even consider putting her in foster care.

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Saturday November 24, 2001

Foster care! Foster care! Unfortunately there are people in the world that have the compassion of a rock. I’m happy to hear that she is doing well even with a depression. Therapy is helpful just to have someone to share the hurts and understand the emotions that bounce within. Sorry that your X and your daughters father is lost. He validates why you are not with him. However it does hurt your daughter to know (and she does know) how little she means to him. All you can do is continue doing what you have. Love her, be there for her, continue therapy, and if her father does come up in a conversation just help her sort out the conflicting emotions she has. Does she have any males in her life that may be a good, healthy role model? Maybe an uncle or grandfather that loves her and she may relate to. It is too easy for her to carry a deep scar with all men and have problems trying to find approval from them. However I’m sure you and the therapist are already aware of this. Wayne L. Misner

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Tuesday November 27, 2001

Dear Wayne, My husband and I separated when my daughter was six years old and I was three months pregnant. During our separation his visits, phone calls, and monetary support payments were few and as the years passed and we finalized the divorce they became non-existent. He has no knowledge of his son, and only recently has 12 year old daughter been able to come to terms with the fact that her father has abandoned her and refuses to put any effort in establishing and maintaining a relationship with her. However, this process took about six years and it was a difficult one. The past six years were full of hope, anticipation, hurt feelings, anger, hate and much crying and suffering. Many times she would claim she was stupid and she constantly battled within her the negative thoughts that you describe in your article of her not being lovable, and she would even ask what did she do that made her father not love her anymore. Eventually she became withdrawn and depressed. I placed her in therapy where with the help of her doctor she established short-term goals, was able to place the events into perspective, and eventually learn to accept and most importantly recognize that she is not the one responsible for the choices her father has made. As the loving parent, it was not easy to have to see her go through this. I was constantly hurt by his disregard for her feelings and the mental mind games he played with her. Yet, I stayed strong and supportive. Today, although she may have her lows, she is a happy, normal, and bright young lady. She has made me very proud and recently she confessed that she had once feared marriage because she did not want to end up divorced. However, after seeing how strong and happy I was she knows she will be alright no matter what happens. And that is what recovery is all about isn't it? It's about knowing that sometimes things don't go as we planned, that unexpected things happen that can hurt and affect our outlook in life, however, we must pick ourselves up, learn and grow from it, trust in ourselves and continue enjoying and living life without fear. Michelle

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Wednesday November 28, 2001

Michelle what a great outcome. Be proud. You did a great job. It is not easy seeing someone you love hurting. You bleed for them (and with them). We all must learn as we face the world that nothing in life is fair. Also she may have to let go and forgive her father for who he is. It is difficult to let go but, it is a big part of her healing. The following writing I came across many years ago. I don’t know who the author is--- To let go doesn’t mean to stop caring; it means I can’t do it for someone else. To let go is not to cut myself off; it’s the realization that I can’t control another. To let go is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences. To let go is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands. To let go is not to try to change or blame another; I can only change myself. To let go is not to care for, but to care about. To let go is not to fix, but to be supportive. To let go is not to judge, but to allow another to be human being. To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all outcomes, but to allow others to have their own outcomes. To let go is not to be protective; it is to permit another to face reality. To let go is not to deny, but to accept. To let go is not to nag, scold or argue, but to search out my own shortcomings and correct them. To let go is not to adjust everything to my desires, But to take each day as it comes. To let go is not to criticize and regulate anyone, But to try to become what dream I can be. To let go is not to regret the past, but to grow and to live for the future. To let go is to fear less and to love more. Hope this helps. Keep up the good work. Wayne L. Misner

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Friday November 30, 2001

Hi Wayne!! I found this to be an intersting article but I have a question. In my situation with the kids, their father still wants to see them, but due to his emotionally and verbally abusive behavior toward them, they don't always want to see him. My 12-year-old son refuses to see visit his father at all and the last time he was with his father, his dad drug him into his house kicking and screaming. There are obviously some major issues here that the kids are working out in therapy. So my question is this: is a father such a necessity if he's only abusing and not nurturing his children? Is seeing him and dealing with his abusive behaviors causing more harm than benefit?

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Saturday December 01, 2001

Dear, “so my question is this: is a father such a necessity if he's only abusing and not nurturing his children? Is seeing him and dealing with his abusive behaviors causing more harm than benefit?” First, since the kids are working in therapy, I would rely on the therapist recommendation. Sometimes when a parent has no respect for the children or their issues are so extreme the therapist may recommend not seeing the parent. This procedure may push that parent to get therapy of his or her own. The outside parent has a difficult task trying to balance seeing the children, wanting the kids to love them, and trying to discipline the children all in a short time period. The kids themselves could be trying to create the problems believing that this may bring the two parents back together. Everyone believes today that if the children can see both parents it is a healthier environment. Ask the therapist to help you make the right decision. Wayne L. Misner

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Saturday December 08, 2001

Wayne, What does it do to children when there father insists on one week at his house and one week at my house? He is doing this because he thinks he will not have to pay child support. Of course this was said in front of the children by him. Also my 5 year old wants to come home when I see him at the kids activities. I feel like he is torturing me. Gayle

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Sunday December 09, 2001

Gayle, be thankful that he wants to be with the children. More important is what is his behavior with them? If he wants to be a big part of their life I support that. Children need both parents in their life. Of course it would be better if the parents lived together. We know that in too many situations this does not happen. So the next best would be that both parents are in the kid’s life and they do not talk badly about each other. Tough but best for kids. If his house is set up that the kids can stay be all means agree. This arrangement gives you a break and gives time for the kids to be with Dad. Child support, or any money between both parties is an emotional war. That war should not bring the kids into it. Wounded kids don’t recover like adults. Adults can get into a war one year, out the next, marry some else and write off the old as a bad mistake. Not so for the children. You are both in their life forever and those children love you both. Next year they don’t have a new Mom or Dad. Your Ex used bad judgment in stating his feelings of child support in front of the kids. Gayle try not to make this a tug of war. For your pulling the kids (for their love and him for their love) will pull the kids apart. The scars will remain with them into adult life and maybe help destroy their relationships in the future. Most problems adults have are traced back to their own childhood. Work with your Ex for your kid’s future not his. Wayne L. Misner

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Sunday December 09, 2001

Wayne, Thank you for the response. I am greatful that my husband wants to be in the kids lives. I have been there primary caregiver at least 98% of the time. He would not take care of them unless I planned three days in advance. He would come and go as he pleased. He would tell the kids that I didn't want them to go with me. The way it was said implied I didn't want to be around them. It is a great shock to not have them for a week. My 5 year old was crying today that he wanted to be home with me. I think he is probably okay with the kids. Although the first weekend he had the kids my 11 year old came home saying why do you hate Dad. I told him I didn't hate him. I will work towards being ok with this arrangement if the legal system agrees with him. I just think it would be nice for the kids to have a set routine and be in the house they have always known as home. I do agree that a war between us will do great harm to the children. My husband is a power over person. Looking at him when we try to discuss the kids or issues involving the kids he has the look of wanting to win at all costs. It is hard having to be adult like and realize my actions will impact these kids the rest of their lives.

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Sunday December 09, 2001

Wayne, Thank you for your response. I will try to not make this a war. I was my kids caregiver 98% of the time. He would not watch them unless I planned a couple days in advance. He always came and went, I did not get to do that. He would tell the kids I didn't want them if I asked to go out to the store by myself. The first weekend he had the kids my 11 year old came home asking why I hated his Dad. I told him I did not hate him. I just think the kids need a routine and stability. My 5 year old was crying he wanted to be home with me today. I never imagined that my husband would decide to take the kids 1 week at a time after he moved out. I think for me I am in shock. I have really missed them. Gayle

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Wednesday January 02, 2002

What about children that abandon a parent after a divorce? What should you do? I was married for 22 years and for the last five years of the marriage my daughter(in her teens) was told that her mother was severly mentally ill and that she did not have to listen or do anything that her mother requested. No the mother was not mentally ill, and finally went through with the divorce. The daughter now in college, with the support of her father, has not spoken or seen her mom in two years. She returns any gifts, and cards. She continues to tell her friends her mom is "nuts". I am heart broken at the loss of my daughter. I feel that I was a good, caring, loving mom to my children and my daughter especially.

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Thursday January 03, 2002

You said, “I feel that I was a good, caring, loving mom to my children and my daughter especially”. Apparently your daughter feels differently. Correct or not. We all know that feelings are sometimes irrational and illogical. Not based on fact, science, common sense, etc. I don’t know the history of the relationship. If your ex abused you, it’s possible that your fear of him made you retreat and not stand up to him neither for your own sake nor for your children. The children get a sub conscious image that the victim cannot be depended on. So you become the victim again in the eyes of the children. Just a guess. Continue being a caring loving mom to all your children. Send the gifts, cards etc to all of them. Do you see them? Do you write? Have you asked them what they think? How they feel? Do they agree with you that you were, “a good, caring, loving mom to my children”? Ask them what they need from you. How you can have a better loving relationship with each one. How they answer the questions may give you the reasons your having problems. Be a detective. Get the information and if it is you that is wrong try to correct your mistakes. However continue your effort to get close to all of your children. Wayne L. Misner

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Tuesday May 28, 2002

Very important aspect of separated/divorced parenting: being enough of an adult and parent to put children's needs in forefront where they are concerned. One's own feelings are raw and confused, but dealing with the children at a loving level is crucial as either parent.

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Thursday May 15, 2003

Unfortunately, I am a parent who left my sons life when he was just 6 years old. I can come up with every line in the book but the truth of the matter is I was not willing continue the hurting in my life. I was to weak and self center to realize the value of the very little time we had together no matter under what circumstances. I am now trying to re-establish a relationship with him. He has voiced his opinion of "Why now, why could she not just stay away". Although, it hurts and still need to admit my poor decisions and ask for his forgiveness. I just want him to know it had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me. I have not seen him as of yet but with the courts approval I hope to soon. Any advice, I would more than welcome.

 

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