That seems to be the age old question, doesn’t it? We seem to be hit over the head repeatedly to NOT ever tell our children any of the “bad stuff” of divorce. We are NOT to bad mouth the other parent. We are to keep the children out of the middle. We are to turn on the smile, even if it is just plastic, and act like nothing is wrong. EVERYONE says this will keep the kids from being screwed up even further.
But what do we do when the other parent is the far opposite of the spectrum? What do we do when our children are brainwashed and manipulated to lie? What do we do when our children are manipulated to have the feelings of the parent doing the damage? All of the experts will sit there and tell you “nothing, just offer support and love and they will see.” And, for the most part, I agree, but these so called experts have never had to live like this.
My greatest fear is that my children will grow up thinking this it “normal” behavior from an adult, that men are completely entitled to behave and treat people however they wish, and women just need to accept it. I read that many children of narcissists grow up to be narcissists. I need to know in my heart, once Grant and Kristy reach adulthood, that I did everything in my power to prevent this.
Kristy will tearfully climb in my lap and share stories of ways Ted looks the other way when at dad’s house, Grant yells and puts Kristy down with ease. She tells me stories about how her dad “tells” Betty, his new wife, what opinions to have, what to say and how to act. She is told this is how good Christians act.
I do not want Kristy growing up ready to be a door mat to a monster who tries to extinguish her light. I continually tell her I want her to have the best relationship she can with her dad. I tell her he loves her and she loves him, and because he has a different kind of personality, she needs to learn to work with his personality. It takes great strength to do this, because I know how he has begun to strip her of her light already. His emotional abuse is taking its toll. I also tell her when she starts dating as she gets older, to only accept a man treating her with respect and as an equal.
How do the parents with less parenting time teach a good work ethic when the other parent embraces laziness and lets children stay home from school with nothing more than “headaches”?
Grant had an orthodontist appointment today. I met them at the office, channeling every positive vibe I could on the way to the appointment. I happily talked with Grant, while Ted sat with his face in his phone. Grant told me he had a headache with sinus pressure this morning, so just stayed home from school. I suggested, as I did on the phone last night, that maybe he should try allergy pills. I radiated positivity. I was not going to be knocked off track by this annoying tidbit of poor parenting from Ted.
We both went back with Grant. I happily greeted the techs I remembered from the last appointment I attended. (which was the FIRST appointment I knew about even though he has had braces about 6 months, because Kristy had been texting me when she found out about it.)
The tech explained to Grant that at least one wire would be changed today. Ted ignored everything with his face still in his phone, so I explained to Grant that his “headache” may get worse with the bigger wire, so to be sure to take some ibuprofen tonight.
I watched as both wires were replaced and the tech was just finishing banding the bottom wire when Ted looked up and asked “So, are you going to replace the wires today? How much longer is this going to be?”
I wanted to look at him and say “Yes, she already has and if you gave a rat’s ass about what was going on you would have seen it.” But, I just pretended he wasn’t there. She explained the wires were replaced and he may need ibuprofen. The positivity was still flowing, I was feeling it. I was as cool as a cucumber, and I know Ted hated every minute of me being there.
So, what will Grant take from today? Will he grow up and ignore everything at doctor appointments for his children then ask stupid questions? Will he be engaged and listen? I just don’t know since Ted walks on water and Grant always expects the worst from me. I’m not so sure the experts even know.
When the appointment was over, I waited until they were gone, again, and asked the receptionist for my own appointment card. She remembered our conversation from the last time, smiled really big and replied “I printed two, one for you as well.”