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#1 of 12 Old 09-23-2012, 03:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all. I haven't posted in a really, really long time, but I'm having a lot of trouble deciding what I should do.

 

My ex is "off", but I've always tried to include him in all of my son's activities. I practically beg him to go to school events, baseball practices and games, etc. But a few things have happened that makes me think I should seriously reconsider. My ex's problems include being impulsive, explosive (yells at me and son a lot), and is an addict. I do my best to finesse his behaviors with my son, and just point out to him that his dad never learned how to handle himself, but that my son can learn how to better manage his feelings.

 

But the fact is that my ex is embarrassing and potentially harmful. He was asked by my son's baseball coach in the Spring to step back as a parent volunteer, which is unheard of. I've never heard of a parent who volunteered to help coaching be asked to step down. But my ex was really wacky. He acted irritable and angry and would do stuff like talk under his breath and yell at the kids.

 

My son is continuing to play baseball on another team. My ex was a no-show for the first game because he was gambling (his addiction) even though he claimed it was important for him to go. I was mad, but little did I realize that it was probably for the best because during his second game, I drove my ex to the game, and my ex acted bizarrely. He would come to me every few minutes fuming that my son's team was over-matched and that he was going to pull my son off the field and leave. Other parents were staring at him. BTW, he is very much capable of that because once he did in fact yanked my son off the course of a golf game my son was playing because he thought my son was getting too frustrated. My son cried for hours (he was 6 or 7 at the time). At another point at the second baseball game, my ex told the coach who was pondering whether to fit in another inning or not (he wanted to show the kids that they should persevere), my ex told him "I can make the decision easy for you." He meant that he would call it quits. Ugh!

 

My son doesn't know what's going on because I never tell him about all the bizarre behaviors. I don't want to diminish his father because that would hurt him, I think. But I no longer want to actively make the effort to include my ex, like driving him to the games. He wouldn't be able to go if I didn't because for one thing, he'd get lost. In fact, he did get lost on the way to a very important pracitce. My son was devastated. He's like, 'my dad keeps getting lost." I don't think it's healthy for my ex and I to spend any more time together. The problem is that my son wants his dad at the practices and games. He does know that my ex is explosive, but he doesn't realize how embarrassing and uncomfortable his dad is making people feel behind the scenes and that his dad could do something that would psychologically harm him, like yanking him off the field in the middle of the game. I don't want to tell him anything negative about his dad, but now that my son is 9 years old, I have to have a good reason for not trying so hard to include him.


Single, working mom to 6 yo ds, who may have spd, but is a happy little camper .
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#2 of 12 Old 09-23-2012, 06:40 AM
 
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My X was abusive, and had to have supervised visits for a year and a half with his kids.  It really straightened up his behavior.  I think you need to separate from you X, quit being co-dependent with him, and let him get himself to the games.  Get your kiddo some counseling so he can understand that dad's erratic behavior doesn't have anything to do with him...Many mamas here hold the opinion that a relationship with dad should be maintained at all costs.  As a victim of domestic abuse, verbal and emotional and some physical, I completely disagree.  My X is mentally ill and an addict.  I wished that I could erase him from my kids lives...but that didn't happen.  He figured out after the supervised visits, that he could play the good parent and use the kids as a pawn in his social life, which he has done, and it has been to their benefit because he plays happy dad (this was a man who rode his bike to work every day, but only took the kids on 2 bike rides in 8 years).  Blah, blah, blah with my story!  But time to cut your X off to sink or swim on his own.  Get a copy of Codependent No More and read it, stat.

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#3 of 12 Old 09-23-2012, 12:02 PM
 
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Unless its visitation time EX does NOT need to be there.  This man sounds unstable - at best- and harmful to your DS.  He's already been asked to leave a volunteer position!  

I agree with Provocativa- you and kiddo need counseling.


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#4 of 12 Old 09-23-2012, 12:58 PM
 
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I agree, stop helping him get there. You son needs to get used to how he is. Better it be at baseball games then his graduation. Maybe your ex will figure it out if you stop enabling him. And figure out some function.
 

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#5 of 12 Old 09-23-2012, 07:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I didn't pick up my ex for the game today, and instead of worrying the whole time about what he's going to do, I enjoyed the game and had fun cheering the team on with a bunch of nice parents.

 

Thanks for your responses. I needed to hear that. I kind of knew I was enabling my ex, but getting feedback that I definitely am is really helpful. Provocativa, thanks for the advice and book reference. I'm going to read it. I need to get straight in my head what my boundaries are going to be. Your ex sounds like a real jerk, but it sounds like you have a good handle on how to approach him.

 

My son has been in play therapy for 4-5 years, and I've been in therapy for a long time. People consider my son pretty well adjusted, and he seems to have a good attitude. He tolerates my ex's yelling and behavior because he really wants a father-figure in his life. I feel like he is taking the good with the bad, and can tolerate my ex because it's only every other weekend.

 

Zebra, yes, he's unstable. More so over the years because he's not doing anything about it. LLQ1011, good point. My ex is who he is, and there is nothing I can do to change him. I finally realized that my good intention of shielding my son from his dad's insanity is making me insane. Why am I bending over backward?

 

I wanted to ask, but forgot - should I tell my son details about his dad's behavior behind the scenes? If I stop picking up my ex for practices and games, and my son wants to know why, should I reveal that he wanted to yank my son from last week's game? By telling him, would I be just unloading on him for no reason? By not telling him, would I be protecting my ex and therefore enabling him?


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#6 of 12 Old 09-23-2012, 08:05 PM
 
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Just reading this thread for the first time. Glad you took the advise to stop helping your ex. I would just tell your son that you realised that you needed to let his dad look after himself and you needed to put some space between you and your dad. Don't tell your son about past behaviour unless he specifically asks, but don't shield him from everything that his dad does, because one day you might not be there to do so, and your son will not be prepared for it, and will have more diffivulty dealing with it than if he had some idea of how his dad can behave. If dad goes to a game and pulls your son out, or does something inappropriate, then discuss it with your son and be there for him. that is all you can do really.

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#7 of 12 Old 09-23-2012, 09:14 PM
 
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IDK if you are in the 'lounge' or not but my backstory is over there.  I really didn't shield DS from what a piece of work his father was.  I did put things in age appropriate terms however.  Gently easing the facts and reality to your DS could be something you bring up to the play therapist.  Sometimes its easier to bring the truth to light w/a bit of help - ya know??

 

Something else that helps me keep my backbone is doing something for me.  Meetup has been great with listing things that I like to do - I just recently found a great knitting club in the area and I'm anxiously awaiting my first afternoon alone.  There is nothing wrong w. going to the games by yourself, sitting with the other parents and HAVING A GOOD TIME!  Odds are if you start going to things w/o ex you and kiddo might even be invited to after game activites (ice cream, park outings etc)

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#8 of 12 Old 09-23-2012, 10:45 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mamafuko View Post

 

I wanted to ask, but forgot - should I tell my son details about his dad's behavior behind the scenes? If I stop picking up my ex for practices and games, and my son wants to know why, should I reveal that he wanted to yank my son from last week's game? By telling him, would I be just unloading on him for no reason? By not telling him, would I be protecting my ex and therefore enabling him?

 

That is a tough question. Its a fine line. My dad was a total wreck and I am glad now as an adult that he was not interested in us. Even though I loved seeing him as a kid it was stressful and caused a lot of heartache for us. My mom was over the top with all of the things my dad did. It sucked cause I already knew he wasn't awesome she didn;t need to rub it in my face.

 

Don't underestimate how much of your son's interest in his dad is more cause he feels bad for the guy and not so much needing his fatherly presence. I would just let him know if he asks. But I bet you he wont ask, and if he does a quick answer will suffice. But whats a good answer?

 

"Your dad couldn't get transportation here?"

" I'm not sure why he didn't come."

"Your dad isn't good at being around other people and makes them uncomfortable so he doesn't want to come."

"Your dad wont come to your game unless I drive him."

"Lets see how this game goes without him here and if you decide after that you really want him to come to your games I will let him know for next time."

" Your dad is going to spend today at home."

"Your dad is emotionally unstable and I am afraid that it will effect you and your team negatively."

"We were running too late to pick him up."

"Don't ask questions just play baseball!"

"He is here but he is wearing the invisibility cloak from harry potter."

"He is in the restroom"

 

I don't know. Obviously Those suggestions are not all serious. What ever works for you. I would trust your instincts if you feel having him there causes you both and the people around undue stress then you are making the right decision beyond just his burden on you.

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#9 of 12 Old 09-23-2012, 10:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hillymum View Post

Just reading this thread for the first time. Glad you took the advise to stop helping your ex. I would just tell your son that you realised that you needed to let his dad look after himself and you needed to put some space between you and your dad. Don't tell your son about past behaviour unless he specifically asks, but don't shield him from everything that his dad does, because one day you might not be there to do so, and your son will not be prepared for it, and will have more diffivulty dealing with it than if he had some idea of how his dad can behave. If dad goes to a game and pulls your son out, or does something inappropriate, then discuss it with your son and be there for him. that is all you can do really.

 ^^^ This too

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#10 of 12 Old 09-24-2012, 03:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LLQ1011 View Post

 

 My dad was a total wreck and I am glad now as an adult that he was not interested in us. Even though I loved seeing him as a kid it was stressful and caused a lot of heartache for us. My mom was over the top with all of the things my dad did. It sucked cause I already knew he wasn't awesome she didn;t need to rub it in my face.

 

 I find this really interesting that you have said this. I wonder how many of us do that to our children not realising they might feel like this. I would be interested in hearing other adults giving their impressions on their divorced fathers so we can get some insight as to if it is a good idea to be so positive about dad visits etc, or if it actually backfires in this way.

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#11 of 12 Old 09-25-2012, 05:55 AM
 
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None of us even wanted to see my dad when my parents got divorced, (high school),  but it still really hurt that he didn't try to see us more.  Fast forward 20 years and he is a great father...but he was a great father before he started drinking, so he had the ability unlike our exes.

 

The threat of losing his kids really made my X step up his game.  He is not crazy with them at all now, and doesn't yell at them...but of course he has broken his court order and drinks alcohol in front of them.  He doesn't get shitfaced though, and I worry that he will start doing drugs.

 

Just don't enable your X.  Do nothing for him...if he can step up to the plate, then he will.  If he can't then your kiddo may be better off without him.  I do wish my kids had a positive male role model though.

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#12 of 12 Old 09-28-2012, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all! I've been so busy that I haven't checked back and am glad I did! I feel so ragged, working full time, taking care of a special needs child full time, and now I have out of town guests that I'm cooking for and chauffering. Ugh. I'm glad they're here, but I almost want to ask them to take care of me and not vice-versa. :)

 

I want to reply more in depth later. But I just wanted to write a quick note that I needed this advice, and I especially appreciated LLQ1011's list of things to say - my favorite: "He is here but he is wearing the invisibility cloak from Harry Potter." I laughed about that one. But I thought the list was very helpful and will keep in mind that there are lots of ways to tell my son the "truth".

 

More later...


Single, working mom to 6 yo ds, who may have spd, but is a happy little camper .
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