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telling all the 'bad' stuff

Posted by: Anonymous
Thu 16, Mar 2017 at 11:09am
After Separation

sorry for this long post.
My daughter is 10. She spends half her time with her father, his partner and their 3 year old and the other half with me my partner and our nearly 2 year old. my ex and I have a very difficult in fact almost impossible relationship

My ex and I have been separated for over 7 years. He will not divorce me, sell the family home which he no longer lives in but did untill just before christmas and refuses to give me any timescales for moving foward. It is a very sore subject.

In addition, he is expressing high levels of concern for our daugther due to her recounting how terrible her life is with us. I can totally understand that he is concerned as I would be and have been in the past when she has been upset about going to stay with them. We have been invovled with CAHMS due to transition anxiety but are now discahrged after she found it very difficult to engage.

My daughter gets upset quickly when demands are placed on her (demands such as do your homework now rather than after dinner, have a shower, take the recycling out) She is 10 and will say no, walk away and close herself into her bedroom to avoid these requests. She is 10 and i see this as 10 year old behaviour in the main. I would say that I am a firm but fair mother. We are a busy household and she needs to have some responsibilities which are age appropriate.

She constantly thinks I am shouting at her and am angry. I do not raise my voice but admit I can have a firm tone. My concern and the reason for my post is that when she is staying with her dad she is telling him she is scared to tell me things (recent episide with falling apart gym shoes that she couldnt tell me about because she was too scared?), that I am always angry and most recently I got a questioniong message to raise concern that she is hiding in our wardrobes. That did happen last week after she refused to do something I asked her to do (i cannot even recall what this was, I let her go to her room, not pushing whatever it was further and when her brother went looking for her a few minutes later he found her in the wardrobe. he, as a two year old would, thought it was a game and she did come out and that was the end of it? I didn't make a big deal about it as didn't see the issue as being anything to get bothered about - hence why I cannot ever recall what it was all about.

a lot of the time we have such a lovely time but the household is stressful due to me feeling constantly like a failure towards her. Nothing I can do appears to be making her happy. we read bedtime stories together every night she is with me, we bake cakes together, go out for walks. when we do these things she IS happy, laughing, mucking about, fun etc but then at a drop of the hat she is quiet, sullen, upset, hiding,accusing me of shouting etc.

I fear I will lose her to her father, he is seeking help but I do not know what this means and he wont tell me. What she is telling him is her perception of the truth I appreciate that but it is so far from being the whole picture of her life with me. I feel so hurt that I am doing my best but its clearly not enough.

I am an educated and reflective person. I work with people with communication support needs and mental health. A lot of what I am involved in is around personalities, thinking styles, psychology etc so have some awareness but I feel out of control and helpless of how to support my daughter with this.

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  • Pc jaybee (moderator) Flag

    Well this certainly is a long story; 7 years is a very long time to be in limbo. For your daughter, it's now most of her life!
    You've mentioned your own emotional state - your tension and anger - and how your daughter reacts to this. Looking from her point of view, I'm guessing she may be finding it difficult to experience your mood and not feel that this is somehow her fault and/or fear that sooner or later the anger will be directed at her.
    Talking to her dad about it is also hazardous for her if that's felt to be a form of betrayal. On the other hand, children caught up in the middle of parental conflict sometimes develop an awareness of saying what each parent wants to hear and this may be part of her motivation for opening up to him in this way.
    Clearly you've felt it important to prioritise her needs and find help for her, albeit with limited success.
    What occurs to me is that maybe the focus now needs to shift. I'm concerned about what support you can access for yourself. You've battled with a wish for things to be different and have been longing, I'm sure, for your life to move on. However, your power to change others is very limited. So, I would suggest, the place to start may be with yourself by getting some help and support over your feelings of frustration and resentment. I think you can be reasonably hopeful that if some of your intense and justified feelings can be heard, let out and processed elsewhere, life at home will become more comfortable for you and maybe for your daughter as well.
    I would be glad of your feed back about this.

    Sun 19, Mar 2017 at 2:43pm