Seeking Advise/support Groups/stressed Child...

Updated on August 18, 2008
K.F. asks from Westminster, CO
5 answers

My situation is very difficult. I have been going through a stressful divorce (redundant)for 19 months with my two young sons, 4 and 5 years old. My oldest is experiencing increasing stress, major melt downs, and panicking when it is time to go to his dad's. He is a very smart little boy, very playful and happy demeanor. He is a great big brother. Our custody is not finalized yet, and we have engaged a Child Family Investigator, due the the strong disagreement my ex and I have on division of time for the boys between homes. My ex wants a 50 50 split, having boys come back and forth every 3 and 4 days. I have been a stay at home mom until we separated last year. Now I only work on the weekends when the boys are with their dad, so I can continue to give them full time care. We live an hour apart, so this is a lot of time in the car going back and forth for these little guys. Currently our arrangement is every other weekend with their dad is a three day weekend, then one weekend is a two day weekend and one weekend is with me, but they stay with their dad thurs and fri that week. So he has 10 nights a month and I have 20. This is still a lot of back and forth, too much I think. This summer their have been more activities their dad has requested they participate in, so I have been driving the boys too and from the activities in the town their dad lives in. The increase in chaos of our schedule is where the problem has developed. They boys have been very stable this year. This increase in back and forth has resulted in my 5 year olds total break down when having to go to his father. My ex is determined to take them no matter what. He has to rip my son out of the car. I have called the police on one occassion recently, because my ex started screaming and preaching to my mother and I about the destruction of divorce, and how we are causing my son's stress, (all of this in front of the boys). He is very controlling, manipulative, and intense. Although I think the boys mostly enjoy their time with him, lot's of activities and toys, I think he interrogates them, and tells them I have to come back and live with him, based on what they say to me. My ex recently got baptized, and has gone from a man who shunned any formal religion since teen age years, to a very very "fanatically" religious man. Although he is on a more positive path than before, his personality is even more controlling, intense and manipulative now. This all sounds so extreme when I reread, but it is our reality. Has anyone experienced anything similar or have advise. I definately plan to have my boys begin play therapy of some type. I am getting counseling to help me deal with this situation. My ex is so difficult to deal with, and is not focusing on the boys needs at this time. He blames me and says I am not mentally preparing the boys for the transitions. I am just exhausted and so concerned.

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E.N.

answers from Denver on

I have no answers as I am in a simular situation. But
just keep on focusing on your children, document everything, on a calender every day, it will help you see patterns & see if there are ways to prepare. Also, when he is not upset & safe with you talk to yur son about how is he feeling & why it stresses him out. I find my son can't tell me in the moment, but we can talk about it calmly a couple days later & he is better able to explain, we then try to role play other things he could do int he same situation, he plays dad & I play him....its interesting when you ask the kids to "play" the parent.

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S.

answers from Denver on

Sounds like a very challenging situation. Have you thought about consulting with a mediator. Steven Wolhandler is phenomenal at what he does. He's in Boulder; you might want to give him a call ###-###-####. Depending on where you live he might be able to refer you or work with you. He may also bring some perspective on what your boundaries are and how to keep your boundaries set. Tell him S. Tessier sent you. I wish you well with this situation. Please don't think you have to figure this out by yourself. If your husband is as controlling as he sounds; he will find ways to get his way every time.

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O.L.

answers from Denver on

I'm sorry that I don't have any useful advice for you... it sounds like you're making some good decisions & figuring out ways to help your boys adjust. I hope that the Child Family Investigator gets a realistic picture of how things are and can get you a good legal solution.

I was mainly writing to congratulate you on putting the happiness of your children (and yourself) as your #1 priority. I know it's difficult to make those kinds of decisions, but your boys certainly deserve better parenting than your ex seems capable of providing.

Rock on, strong mama! I hope it gets easier soon!

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E.G.

answers from Denver on

K.,
I am really sorry to hear of this situation. Sadly this situation happens way to often. I was a child of a difficult divorce, and your situation reminds me a whole lot of what my older sister and her ex-husband went through. Especially the part about the ex-husband finding religion. You see when humans read the bible, we do not always interpet it's meanings correctly. In your ex-husbands case as with my sister's ex-husbands case, When it comes to marriage the bible says Men are the kings of the house and the woman should love, honor, and obey her husband at all cost. (This is how your ex is interpetting it) This is true however, if he interpets it correctly, The woman is his queen and the husband should love, honor and protect her and putting her and his families needs above his own personal needs in order to keep them happy safe and protected. Sadly that does not sound like the interpetation your husband will see. I do see a little light for you. With him turning towards religion, most religions have family counciling. You sons are getting to the school age so, unfortunately your husbands ideas on the 50/50 split with him living 1 hour away will not work. If you go to his church for couseling he will feel that the ball is in court, basically the control freak in him will think, " Ha Ha I have the upper hand." However, The agreement needs to be for the good of your sons you will go to his church/ minister if he can arrange it for family counciling, but you want to start off going separtely since neither of you can see eye to eye on pretty much anything. (Both of you seeing the same minister, but separtely will give the minister both sides of the story without disaggreements or interuptions from the other) , for at least a month or until the minister or counselor thinks that it would be okay for you and your ex-husband to talk together, and that the minister/councelor can controll the conversation. You need to tell the minister/counselor pretty much everything including what you have written here at mama source. He may also want to eventually talk to your children seperately which could help the kids as well. Even though they are young, Your ex and yes even yourself are putting these kids into your adult relationship problems and because they do not understand adult relationships (most adults don't understand adult relationships) the kids get confused, scared, may think it is their fault, or it is them, and every other emothion you can think of which can be damaging in the long run when they grow up and try and start adult relationships. So talking to the minister or child cousilor will help your kids to get out their fears and confusion. This is going to seem like a lot more time you do not want to spend with your ex, but you need to think of your children (both of you do) They deserve to be loved and protected by both parents even from the parents in these tpe of situation. You both brought them into this world, you both love them more than life itself. Right now your children even though the arguements are about them, are not coming first in either of your hearts like they should. So tell your ex that you are willing to go to his church for the couseling for the sake of your children and it would be great if he could get it set up for all of you with his minister or if the minister suggests it a professional. But you need to make it so he thinks he is getting the control he wants. Even though in reality you are only giving him this little bit of contol for the sake of your children.
I really hope everything in the ends turns out happily ever after for you.
Remember your kids are first in your life, but with your situation you need to stay happy and in control of your emotions even if it means hiding your true feeling in front of them. They are not adults and should not be but in you and your ex's adult troubled relationship.
Good Luck
And Nothing but Best wishes for you and your children
E.

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S.M.

answers from Denver on

I would suggest seeing a family counselor for you and your boys. It is so hard not to include our kids in the problems. Seeing how your husband likes to control the situation and does his best to manipulate it would be great to start play therapy ASAP. There is a great play therapist here in Denver her name is Stacy Noland (fka Klapper) she is great, has helped us so much! I would start sooner than later with an impartial party who can see the whole picture. I wouldn't see his pastor, or even go to his church until boundries are set and the kids are emotionally healthy.