I mostly just listened, but she wanted to talk. A lot. A few relevant things came up.
- She feels unimportant, like nobody wants to play with her. Both at school and at home. She told me when WW is home she mostly deals with our Autistic son. And when she gets babysitting she doesn't take her with her, leaving them both with babysitter, who of course also has to deal with my son. So she's super lonely. I told her I'd make sure when they are in my house and I got babysitting for them it would be only for my son, and during that time DD and I could go out. I told her let's do half the babysitting time I hang out with you, and half by myself. Deal? She liked that idea. She then said WW had promised Wednesdays would be WW+DD days, but she's never actually done it.
- I knew about the issues she has at school (she's a sweet kid, but tends to get bullied, just like I was growing up), but now of course they have taken a larger dimension, as her home life has become difficult. She would talk about it but didn't use to cry about school friends being mean her. Yesterday however, she was crying a lot (and she's on vacation!)
- She loves spending time with me. She said "you and grandma (MIL) are the ones who really understand me. Momma interrupts me when I want to talk and doesn't want to talk about things". Very sad for my little girl.
- WW and MIL are fighting. A lot. A lot of yelling. In DD's words "they fight about things I can easily resolve with my friends by talking". Of course DD doesn't know what they are *really* fighting about. DD tries to go upstairs when fights start but apparently WW asked her not to because "then MIL yells more" (and I'm sure probably brings up the A and how stupid WW is being). I told DD it was ok to run upstairs, and to tell them both "I don't want to be in the middle of this" if she was asked not to.
- She says she thinks she wants to live with me.
Things have certainly not calmed down over there since I left. And I'm so sad for my little girl. I promised her we'd go to IKEA to pick my furniture and she could shop with me and make some of the decisions - certainly for her room, but also for some common areas (I don't know when this will happen yet as I haven't gotten keys for my place yet, but it may happen this weekend).
The "don't go upstairs because then your grandma will yell at me more" thing really bothers me. I just don't think it's right hiding behind the kid, making her hear the fighting, just so WW can avoid the brunt of fights and being reminded of her adulterous and unrepentant actions. Is she really that callous that she'll put our daughter's psyche at risk to save herself some temporary trouble (because she will eventually have to deal with this)??
I haven't brought it up to WW or MIL, but I'm thinking about shooting an email to both of them regarding this. It's hard because I don't want to be getting into her shit (WW's term), and I'm already out of the house, so I don't want to intrude in their self-implosion. But as it concerns my daughter, I think I should stand up for her.
Should I only email MIL regarding this topic? I think it's important my daughter be kept from their fighting, but I know bringing it up will only be taken as picking a proxy fight through the kids by WW.
Let me know how you would proceed. DDs happiness and mental stability matters. That's not something I'm just going to ignore.
You may also want to set up some DD + a friend activities so that she can get one-on-one time with friends. Often that goes better than group activity or recess time, especially if she's expressing friend troubles.
I'm outraged that your WW puts DD in the middle of the fights. It's completely inappropriate and damaging. I'm sure you won't make any progress by trying to address this directly with your WW. What is your relationship with MIL like?
There's always failure. And there's always disappointment. And there's always loss.
But the secret is learning from the loss, and realizing that none of those holes are vacuums.
- Michael J. Fox
Just wanted to give you and DD hugs ((GotPlayed + DD))
Don't bring anything up with WW. And it depends on your relationship with MIL on whether you bring it up to her. I think the more important thing is to provide your daughter with tools to navigate the situation -- and you've started to do that with letting her know she can walk away and say she doesn't want to be in the middle.
MIL was the OW a couple of times when she was young and drinking. She's been clean and sober for over 25 years and knows it's wrong; she paid for her behavior dearly. Today MIL is distraught and terribly sad to see the behavior she exhibited in her daughter, WW. Many of the FOO issues on WW are due to MIL's behavior when she was "not well", abusing alcohol and drugs.
WWs father had an explosive temper, and WW as a child was in close quarters with them during much of the fighting. That's another reason I can't believe she'd put DD through this.
And that's essentially the fight in a nutshell. It's essentially a "listen to me, get your head out of your ass/you're the last person who should be talking"/"it's because I've been through this that you should be listening to me, get your head out of your ass" circular argument. From hearing my MIL, every time WW behavior comes up she blames her for her childhood. WW has dropped IC and doesn't want to talk to anybody, or see a psychiatrist.
MIL is a nice enough lady today (even though she has a harsh manner at times) and sees what's going on - siding with me not on everything, but on most; she knows all I know about the A and more (most of the "extra info" I know about the A is from MIL and I know she's keeping more stuff from me, which I'm ok with since we're headed for D and WW is unrepentant anyway). She thinks of WW's behavior in terms of addiction and in a sense she's correct. She knows she will not change until she hits rock bottom, but she doesn't know when that will happen. I can talk to her about the kids without much problem. She loves my little DD and will protect her with her life. She has told me "you're both my kids" and "you will always be my son anyway". I won't let my guard down as we go through lawyers, but I can trust her with the kids stuff forever.
MIL is scheduled for surgery that will leave her convalescent for a few months. She has nowhere else to go. She's in a hard situation herself.
I did tell DD yesterday I would talk to her teacher as soon as school was back to explain her what's going on at home. She said "just don't talk about my writing" (her handwriting needs work).
Good idea on the shared activities. I will talk to a couple of parents to set it up. Thanks!
You need to get your daughter into IC ASAP. You can ask your pediatrician for a referral. If you cannot get her into IC, you should consult with a pediatric counselor and get some parenting advice for how to handle this kind of situation.
Let your attorney know about the fighting in front of your daughter, and how she's reported to you that she's being forced to witness it. Your attorney can send a message to your STBX's attorney with a request to cease & desist. This will be FAR more effective than if you try to be the voice of reason. BTDT
Be your daughter's safe parent. Listen, try not to judge, don't get involved in her relationship with her other unless there's imminent danger involved. You certainly can and should offer limited advice on how she might resolve some issues herself, but you do NOT want to come across as triangulating.
For instance: he came home really upset one night, it seems his Dad took the son of the OW and my 2 sons fishing. OW son got to be in the boat of XWH and my two sons were pitted against their Dad and OW's son in the fishing "tournament". When I tried to explain to XWH that this hurt my son's feelings, he told me son was upset because I made him come home early.....then, he and OW told my son I talked about this to XWH and that I was the one who caused the divorce because of my lies, and that they were NOT seeing each other until we got a D... and on and on.....
So, let your daughter know she has a safe place to live/talk. It's more important than setting any issues over there.
In my opinion....
I *did* tell her she'd always be safe and without fights at my home with me. It's part of why I want her involved in picking out the furniture. I want her to feel a part of it, know it can be a refuge when things get difficult over there. I told her she could pick two "fluffy" toys at Ikea - one to take with her that can go back and forth along with her to remind her of her new house and one that will stay in my house waiting for her, keeping daddy company while she's not home.
After all, the FOO issue adults, the ones with real problems, are over there. I just work, see my kids, love them. Other than having to be the one who left (because WW doesn't have anywhere to go and refuses to face any responsibility at all), it's not like anything has changed for me with regards to my relationship with my kids. I've always been the stable parent who is available, and at home (I've worked from home more than half the week for years).
I probably won't mention it then (I have the same suspicion, it will probably get twisted around no matter how I try), but I'll just keep a log of it in my journal for when the custody stuff starts happening in case it's needed (I hope it won't be). I did tell her to state simply "I don't want to be a part of this, it's not my fight" and to leave the room. She has rights and she should learn to stand up for herself. I hope she is strong and can do it, my poor baby.
Will look into getting a child counselor, she can go see him or her when she is with me. I'll check to see if the school can recommend someone.
I think you are doing the right thing, and you obviously love your kids to distraction. Does your dd have a phone? If not get a TracPhone and load it with 10 or 20 bucks so she can call you when she needs to talk, without using someone else's phone.
She already is, incredibly loving and patient. And I definitely attribute that to my beautiful little son. There's a lot of things she goes through she just doesn't deserve.
I'll look into those groups. One of her friends, a boy her age, has a sibling with down syndrome. He's also a sweet little boy. They hang out together at times because they both have that connection, that compassion that is lacking on everyone else in that classroom. You can totally see it. But of course as boy and girl at that age, their play interests aren't very close (action figures vs dolls)
BAB61 , I'll have her practice using the home phone to call me for now, and I'll check on the Tracfone idea. She's not very good at keeping gear charged yet - she's always forgetting to charge her Kindle. A single purpose phone probably would end up never being charged. Maybe in a year or so. I could get her an iPod and set it up with Facetime. That way she'd have me right there..