attending grandkids parties etc when abusive ex will be there

KjoOMay 11, 2013

HELP!!!!! I need advice!! I've been married twice. First time for 10 yrs with 3 kids and have been divorced for 16 yrs now. He was mentally and physically abusive to both the kids and I. The older two (son 29, daughter 25) remember some of what happened to both them and I, but obviously they don't know everything and I don't think they need to. Some of the abuse I went through were things that I've rarely spoke of if I spoke of them at all. They are things that I would just rather bury and leave alone. When we divorced, he rarely saw the kids while they were growing up, spent som,e time in jail for not paying CS and emancipated them as soon as he was legally able. It wasn't until they were adults that he attempted to have a relationship with them. My 2nd ex were together for 7 years and have been divorced for almost 8 yrs. We had 2 girls 9&12. Our problems were mostly due to his drinking which led to infidelity with a good friend. But after about 11/2 yrs we managed to move on and put our differences aside and put our girls first. He's a good dad, see's the girls on a regular basis, we parent the girls together. On occasion we do things together with the girls as a family, like Great America, taking them to the zoo. I get along great with my ex's family, so we have absolutely no problem sharing holidays and birthdays etc. The problem I'm having is with my older two. Now that they have children of their own they they all of a sudden I should just put the past behind me ( even though we were just in court last Dec. because he didn't want to help with the younger ones college expenses) , not to mention that he stole my car for 3 days last year. ( my son made him give it back) But it has been non stop with him. ( my therapist believes he may be a sociopath) I was really hoping that the last time in court in November would be the last time I would ever have to see him. I would get physically ill when I would have to see him. ( I only saw or talked to him if we went to court in the last 10 or more yrs) I was soooo ready to put that part of my life behind me. But now my older two are very serious that " if I love my grandkids enough I'll let it go" that its" not about me". They said they shouldn't have to go out of their way just because their parents are divorced. I've offered to have another party at my house, another day, all they have to do is come over. I suggested that maybe we alternate b-days. My daughter replied with" when her daughter gets old enough to talk, she'll let her decide who she wants to invite to her party. You would think my kids would be happy that their should never be a reason for their parents to ever have any more reason forconflict. There can be peace now. He has vowed to make my life hell and he does whatever he can to stir the pot regardless of how hard I try to stay away from the fire. I know for a fact he hasn't changed because my younger daughter and her friend witnessed him hit his girlfriend upside the head with a hairbrush. If I went to any events for the grandkids, that means I would have to bring my younger two (12&9) I don't want them anywhere around him. Now of course when my son married I was there, and my daughters graduation, but with bigger events its different because we're talking about a big church/ reception hallaand a football field. So there was quite a bit of distance, I didn't have to even be anywhere close to him. But at my granddghters b-day for instance, it was at his house because my daughters house is too small. On top of all of this, about 5 yrs ago I became very ill with a rare brain disorder. I've had 11surgeries , 5 of them being brain surgeries and facing more. I have absolutely no family around besides my kids. During all this time I remember only twice my daughter helping me. Once she babysat her little sisters a couple hours while I was in the hospital and another time she came over and helped me clean the house. My son, I cannot recall one time him ever helping me at all. Luckily I have very good friends and I'm just stubborn. I have babysat countless times, I took my grandson on vacation with my younger daughters and I, all of the clothes that the kids had were all by me (according to their mom,)all that I would gladly do 100 times over. Yet I just want to stay away from anywhere their dad is going to be and they say to me" its not all about you mom, its about them" I would do just about anything for those babies. But I have to draw the line somewhere. I need some peace in my life now. I deserve to focus on me a little bit know I think, so I can continue to get better. I still have two little girls to raise. I haven't seen my sons kids in a year now and just a few days ago I was told I can't see my daughters baby because I wouldn't attend her b-day party today at her dads (my ex) house. I can't tell you how much it kills me not seeing those babies. But I also can't tell you how many horrible memories this has brought up again that I wanted left alone, forever. I've been dealing with anxiety, hard time sleeping, I don't want this. I have worked too hard to find peace in my life. I've tried talking to them, I know my son still has issues since the divorce. He would do anything to please his dad. And I'm sure my daughter finally feels like she's getting attention from her dad. (She was also diagnosed with bipolar) I'm hoping time will heal things, but I would like to hear your opinions. I found this site and thought this might be a good place to ask. I'm just tired and worn out.

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yep, he sounds like a narcissist/sociopath, & those people are excellent manipulators.

I think I might make a sampler to hang on the wall:

"Abusers are people who run you nuts & then tell everybody you're crazy."

I'd guess that your children's father has told them his own version, in which you're irrational & crazy & a drama queen, etc (abusers are very convincing when they tell stories like this, because they're always calm & "rational" & sound sincere, even regretful).

& now you've come very close to getting away, drat the luck, & that's no fun.

but if he can get the kids to blackmail you into coming to these parties, he can get on your nerves, & you'll be jumpy, & he can point out to the children how "irrational" you are, *& they'll see it for themselves*.

Tell them the extent of the abuse;
since I suspect that they already disbelieve you & would roll their eyes & sigh big exasperated sighs & do other infuriating things that indicate that they think you're just trying to "make it all about you", write them letters,
*& then don't do anything else*.

Even if they're the smartest cookies in the world, it'll take time for them to realize the truth in your letters, & many times people just never do believe it.

No matter what you do, don't go anyplace where your ex will be.

Tell them, in your letters, that you hope they realize the depth & seriousness of what you're telling them, & that you love them & you love the grands;
tell them that you'll be sorry to miss them, but you divorced this nut because he made your life miserable & you aren't coming back for seconds.

I wish you the very best.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2013 at 7:01PM
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I agree that you need to tell your children about the abuse. You can write them a letter but something I think would be much more effective is if you got court documents and other official records that support your case. You say he served time in jail for not paying CS, I would get that court record. Was the abuse documented in your divorce statement? I would obtain those records as well. Anything and everything you can obtain from official sources to back up what you're saying.

I would obtain these documents. Sit down with your children and tell them the reasons why you do not feel comfortable being in the same house with your ex. I understand for graduations and things like that you're not in close proximity so it's not a problem, but I don't blame you for not wanting to be in the same house as someone who abused and hurt you.

Explain how upsetting it would be for you to be in the same house as him, how just seeing him brings back the memories of all the things he did to you and your children. Your focus should be on the mental and physical abuse he did to you and your children. Don't talk about him stealing your car or things like that, because that's going to make them think you're just being vindictive. Show them the court documents you have to back up what you're telling them.

I have a feeling that you've done such a good job of burying the abuse that happened your children probably don't remember it. Perception is a strange thing. My mother abused me and my sister. One time, I lied to my mother about something to get out of a beating by telling her I told her my sister had done it. As a result my sister got the beating intended for me. My lie haunted me for years. Many years later I talked to my sister about it and she didn't even remember the incident happening. It could be the same for your children, they may not remember the events the way you do.

Good luck to you.

This post was edited by Amber3902 on Mon, May 13, 13 at 15:50

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 9:39AM
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It really is about you.

Your children are perpetuating the abuse their father initiated by insisting you accept more abuse and trauma for the sake of your grandchildren's company.

Your children are using their children as bargaining chips. It's a form of extortion, and that in itself is abuse (not just of you but of your grandchildren, even though they don't yet realize it).

If you succumb to this blackmail you'll further damage yourself and continue the cycle. You'll also potentially put your younger daughters at risk.

I am so sorry. I know this is a terrible dilemma, but your health and your daughters' well-being must take priority. If you give in to this, at some point the demands will escalate. That's what abusers do.

As far as trying to convince your son and daughter to change their stance by producing evidence, I probably wouldn't waste my breath. I think this is about control and facts aren't going to make one bit of difference. Not to mention it would be excruciatingly painful to re-live those memories.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2013 at 9:30PM
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Readinglady hit a bunch of nails on their heads!

I focused on the likelihood that your ex has his hand in this plan, so much that I forgot that other family members often take on the same role as the abuser.

Take care of yourself,
protect yourself,
don't submit to emotional blackmail.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 7:26PM
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I want to thank everyone for taking the time to read my 3 hour post and also sending me some advice. Sometimes I just start to question myself and I do want to do what's right, so your advice really means a lot to me. Its kinda like like being able to take in a deep breath in and exhaling. I do have plenty of court documents and police reports and reports when he was ordered to visit ( when he actually did ) through family house (supervised visitation for drop offs and pick ups). My kids we/ are old enough to remember enough things to know that there was abuse. They remember some of what happened to them. My older son has unfortunately had to call the police before.I do feel in my son case its more of a control case. Like he's going to prove he's in control now. Their dad used to tell the kids it was always my fault he didn't visit. (Everything was my fault) so its kinda nice now sitting back and watching things play out as they are older and he's still not around. But it seems as though my son is trying to prove something to him. My son and I have talked and agreed that we don't speak of his dad ( unless its something he really needs to of course) but he's 29, plenty old enough to understand my feelings about him. I told him that I respect any relationship he has with his dad but that's HIS BUSINESS. So we never speak of him which is nice. But my son still has this need to run to his dad about my personal life, even some financial things. When I ask him why he tells his dad he says" well don't tell me anything anymore then". And I just think that's being very immature and disrespectful. He NEVER specks of his dads personal life, which is how it should be. So, throughout all these years I've learned that my ex husband is dedicated to hurting me but in actuality it was always the kids who suffered. Well now, its going to include the grandkids. But my two older kids are grown adults. I cannot control what they do or think. I know I raised them well, with a lot of love and with good hearts. I'm just stepping back and letting them sort out what ever it is they need to but I just know their dad is not going to be a part of my life what so ever. My goal in life is to find peace and happiness in my life. I know I'm in control of who/what is in my life to maintain that. I've worked so hard to become the stronger person than I am today than I was when I was married to that man. And I don't like going backwards.

But its crazy how much it can mean to a person to get advice from a complete stranger. Because I know they are completely biased. You guys have given me a little more strength to get through my crazy life!!!!!!!! Thanks a Bunch!!!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 10:23AM
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>>I do feel in my son case its more of a control case. Like he's going to prove he's in control now.Control is a sign of an abuser. Readinglady is right that your two eldest children are abusing you as well. Looks like the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I thought about it some more and after reading your reply I don’t know if showing your children court documents and police reports are going to help anything. People believe what they want to believe.

You say your oldest son even called the cops on your ex before, so maybe it’s not a matter of proving the abuse happened, but a case of your children following in your ex’s footsteps.

I’m so sorry you had to go through abuse from your ex, and now are being emotionally abused by your chidlren. You have to take care of yourself. You are right, you can’t control them or how they think. I hope you can move on and find happiness with your two younger children.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 3:02PM
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smart people on this forum.

I once dated a guy whose father was a brute of an abuser before we even had the term.

Don told me that when he was a little boy & fell off the porch & ripped his ankle open on a rusty nail, his dad told the doctor not to use an anesthetic when he stitched the wound "so he'll remember not to do this again & cost me all this money & time".

This husband & father would come home drunk on payday, having spent most of his paycheck at the bar, & beat his wife & sometimes beat Don & the other 2 "older" boys.

When the dad came home drunk one night & went after the baby crawling on the floor, Don's mother pointed his own hunting rifle at him & told him she'd shoot him if he touched that child.

That was it.

Dad moved out, & since it was the 1950's, never paid a dime to help the kids (4 of 'em).

Back then, no mother dared to ask for child support;
if you were a "divorcee", you were assumed to be of low moral fiber, & your ex-husband could take the children away from you on that basis.

Don's mother worked 2 & 3 jobs at a time to take care of the children, & they lived in an old, cold rented house in a poor part of town & often had to rely on his mother's parents for food from their garden & their pantry.

So Don was very bitter about his father, very condemnatory.


I was around him for a couple of years, & I learned that he didn't treat his mother well himself, he used her financially, felt contempt for her for having been victimized, blamed her for not having provided him a better, happier, more prosperous childhood.

& he admired his father for having gotten away with it.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 7:39PM
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To sylviatexas, that is such a sad story. I appreciate your post, and as sad as I am to say it, I can see my son being like that. I do have another child with my ex, she is 19 years old and lives with me and works and is a fulltime college student. ( her dad emancipated her as soon as he was able and wants nothing to do financially to help out with her college) But she sees clearly what is going on and it makes her so angry. Her father never contants her. I feel so bad for her. I know for the longest time she was hoping he would change and start coming around but he never has. She was only 3 when we divorced so she was not abused and really did not form much of a relationship with him since he did travel a lot.

But after hearing from all of you its made me feel better about how I'm handling the situation and as much as it rips my heart out I'm just going to let go of the older two and let them learn whatever they need to. And in the time being, I have my other daughter that I'm still trying to steer in the right and my two little ones that I want to enjoy their childhood with. All of you seriously have made me be able to be at peace with myself. Even though my kids are adults, the feeling of them still being your children never really goes away. I still "want" to do what's right by them. But I'm going to also do what's right for me and my other daughters. THANKS TO ALL.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 12:10AM
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I know we all are glad you found the support and "vision" you needed. Please come back and post any time.

One of the things abusers are really really good at is making you doubt your own reality. Validation from objective observers can be very helpful.

If it helps, think of yourself and your vulnerable younger children as passengers on a plane. You put the oxygen mask on yourself first, then you help them. No one survives unless you give your own needs priority.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 1:49AM
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