A few months ago my kids’ dad started stepping up to the plate every once in a while. It shocked and surprised me. The first time he voluntarily paid for something for our daughter I admittedly was suspicious and waited for the real motivation to appear.
Ten years of anything positive being followed by a big negative had me suspicious. However, a few weeks passed and due to a health issue with another child he and I were thrown into a high stress situation. Much to my amazement, we co-parented through it very well. I began to sing his praises to friends and family. He was stepping up to the plate, we were co-parenting, agreeing on things, able to talk instead of everything needing to be in writing. Imagine that!
It was so awesome. He still wasn’t paying court ordered child support or his half of medical bills for our children but I’m used to that. I was so grateful he was being more involved in our daughter’s life. I thought maybe his girlfriend was having a positive influence on his life. When he needed money for something, he didn’t run to his mom. For the first time I know of in his life, he went to the bank and took out a small loan. It seemed he was maturing, standing on his own, growing up and working at a relationship with our daughter.
Our daughter went through a week of outright rebellion, completely out of character for her. We co-parented and I thought we were doing well. I left town for a family funeral and our boys went with me. Our daughter stayed with her dad (the first time in her life she has ever chosen to stay at her dad’s). I was happy. Overjoyed actually. I thought it was a sign of their relationship improving.
I was wrong. So, so wrong.
The bomb dropped one week after she spent the weekend at her dad’s. Due to her choices during that week of outright rebellion, she was grounded. This was the second time in her life that I had grounded her, and the first time she lost use of her vehicle, her phone, and her life. I restricted which friends she could see and under what circumstances. The weekend the boys and I were out of town, her dad and his girlfriend allowed her to have one of those restricted friends and one forbidden friend spend the entire weekend at his apartment.
They went shopping every day, out to eat, and to the movies. I wasn’t happy but there wasn’t really anything I could do about it. He decided to give her the keys to her car without discussing it with me. Then she told me she needed to tell me something; she had decided she was going to go live with her dad.
The same dad she had absolutely wanted nothing to do with the past seven years, the same dad that called her a whore in front of her and her brothers. The same dad whose best friend’s son molested her and he did absolutely nothing about. The list could go on and on. However, I found the timing of her “decision” very interesting (first time in major trouble with me, first time dad is being a Disney dad). I told her this wasn’t her decision, she could certainly voice her opinions to me, we would discuss it, and if I felt it was a healthy balanced decision I would consider it. So now she and her dad are telling everyone that I said she is emotionally unhealthy, and unbalanced. SOOOOOO not what I said at all.
The next day, the kids had visitation with their dad. My daughter came home and told me that her dad said that I needed to let her move in with him sooner rather than later or she would rebel and I would lose complete control over her. Funny thing to tell a rebellious teenager isn’t? I assured her I am not a fair weather mom. Whether her behavior is good or bad, she is stuck with me.
The following day, I made a surprise visit to her school and discovered her dad and his lovely girlfriend have been helping her skip school and hang out with the one friend I said I don’t want her spending time with .
I never dreamed the man I would be trying to protect our daughter from would be her father. All the credit I was giving him has been destroyed by this recent behavior. For reasons yet unknown he has decided to wage war and our daughter is the only one losing. Now I am carefully choosing my words when I speak to her. I am certain everything I say is being repeated, with a twist, to her dad. I’m certain my text messages are being forwarded. I am not certain what the point of this war is, he cannot take me to court – he is in contempt of court and has to pay thousands of dollars before they would consider giving him a court date. There is no way we would get a court date before she turns 18. It seems he is trying to woo her but not truly love her.
I wanted this leopard to have changed his spots, but it doesn’t look like there was any miracle. What have I learned? Be careful if your high conflict ex turns over a new leaf and starts stepping up to the plate. He might just be trying to manipulate you into doing something that can be damaging to your child.
How do you manage a high conflict ex?
- 4 Ways Divorce Affects A Teen’s Ability To Trust
- 7 Secrets To Co-parenting With A Difficult Ex
- Negotiating With Someone Incapable Of Negotiating
- How To Respond When Divorce Brings Out The “Angries” In Him
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