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Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord #97486
04/23/11 07:39 PM
04/23/11 07:39 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,505
Amadahy Offline OP
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Amadahy  Offline OP
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The purpose of this thread is to brainstorm ideas on helping our children become hole following an affair, abuse cycle or other damaging event that can damage a family:

The intent is NOT to bash waywards or former anthings (alcholics, abusers, workaholics)..

it is about building our childrens security, boundaries and sence of self worth following any of the many misteps we as human parents may make.

It is a constructive discussion.
You may share your own child hood trauma and receive care and kindness.
You may share your worries of your own children and offer advice.

you may not bash, generalize or speak with a harmful intent.

Thank you.

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Amadahy] #97495
04/23/11 07:49 PM
04/23/11 07:49 PM
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flowmom Offline
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Here's a belief I have:

When a parent speaks ill of the other parent (not their actions), children experience this as an attack on themselves because their identities are still evolving and tied up with their parents'.

When STBXH has behaved inappropriately, I have tried to role model setting boundaries and naming the actions as inappropriate. I validate their hurts with STBXH without getting emotionally involved. I am not proud of having called STBXH names occasionally in the past, but I have not done that since the separation. I remind myself and my children that we all make mistakes.


we: me44 + my husband Pookie :9: + S9 + D6
Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: flowmom] #97499
04/23/11 08:22 PM
04/23/11 08:22 PM
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LadyGrey Offline
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LadyGrey  Offline
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L
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As an adult, I think the thing I most resent my mother for is her refusal to take care of her own mental health. All four of us have seen psychiatrists who have diagnosed her, albeit in absentia, with severe depression and narcissistic personality disorder (that's the real killer -- my IC says daughters of mothers with NPD fund his lifestyle.)

I have no way of really knowing what issues my parents had in their marriage, but I would imagine that in a crisis mode, that would be even more critical.

Which is not to say that a parent who falls apart, weeps, wails, lashes out, checks out emotionally, sleeps 18 hours a day, stays in bed with the blinds closed adn refuses to speak, or does any of the things we instinctively do when we are hurt are "wrong" or "bad" or anything but humans doing the best they can.

I think when I was in my deepest, darkest depression, telling my children exactly what I was doing to get myself better conferred a sense of safety they might not otherwise have had -- "I don't have to worry about mom -- she's getting the help she needs". I was also EXTREMELY careful to let them off the hook for my moods -- I constantly communicated to them that my moods had nothing to do with them, and they were the delight of my days. I think children tend to take personal responsibility in an information vacuum.

Certainly, I was not a model mom in those days -- some might even say "bad", but I was doing the best I could, communicating to the kids what actions I was taking to improve the situation, and relieving them of any responsibility for my illness.

My mom did none of that -- the disconnect between what I was told was going on -- "we are happy and perfect" and what I was experiencing "we are a toxic, anxiety ridden mess" taught me not to trust my own experience, a problem that plagues me to this day.

Sort of "put on your own oxygen mask first" concept.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: LadyGrey] #97600
04/24/11 03:16 AM
04/24/11 03:16 AM
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Posts: 2,681
Carolina Blue Heaven
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peppermint Offline
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My husband and I did a few things right (and probably many wrong):

We were honest with our children in an age appropriate way.
We assured them that we loved each other and them, and that the situation was in no way their fault.
We apologized to them for hurting them.
We did not talk to our children about each other in a negative way.
We committed ourselves to protect them as much as possible.
We never put them in a position of having to choose sides.
We went to counseling, and our daughter went to individual counseling, though our son chose not to.
We showed them that recovery is possible, that forgiveness is vital, and that when you do something wrong there are consequences that you must take responsibility for.
Hopefully we helped them to see that failing does not make you a permanent failure.

We saved our marriage and our family. And I am so thankful that we did.

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: peppermint] #97877
04/25/11 02:41 AM
04/25/11 02:41 AM
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LadyGrey Offline
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I find it interesting how many people were willing to weigh in, immediately and vehemently, on just how bad of parents us "infidels" are, and how few have been interested enough in that subject to post their thoughts on how to heal the very children they claim to care so much about.

I would have assumed that those who had such strong opinions on how "evil" us "infidels" are would have at least SOME opinion on how to deal with the affected children going forward.

The silence suggests an agenda to me that has not one thing to do with the kids, and everything to do with the parents.

Very telling, in my opinion.

And not one bit surprising.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: LadyGrey] #97890
04/25/11 02:57 AM
04/25/11 02:57 AM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 743
Indianapolis
hoosiermama Offline
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no, that's not it at all.

some of us poured out our hearts and shared some very painful stuff, with absolutely no intent of hurting anyone, and not only were our experiences not acknowledged, our motives were questioned because we didn't read every page of the thread and didn't understand there was some history between posters. apologies were unacknowledged as well.

and now someone who questioned my motives starts another thread where it's more "appropriate" to post because, well, because YOU say it's more appropriate. unfortunately, those experiences involve remarkably insensitive parents who abandoned their families for affair partners, so I don't feel comfortable posting here for fear of being accused of being intentionally spiteful.

no thanks.

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: hoosiermama] #97918
04/25/11 04:58 AM
04/25/11 04:58 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,505
Amadahy Offline OP
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Amadahy  Offline OP
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I never questioned your motives hoosier and I am this threads starter.

If you read all of my threads on the other thread...they were
1) specifically about setting boundaries for children and making them feel secure and helping them heal
or
2) specifically directed towards certains posts that painted broad strokes, asking for clarification and clarity on the purpose of thread and perhaps a little sensativity...and one where i took issue of the use of the word infidel.

I, on several occasions, said I was sorry that those bad things happened to KL and you and many others. I also said that it was important to look beyond labels and focus on helping families.
I am a wife and mother. I am also a women who cheated on her husband. I am also a victem of abuse at the hands of my husband. And I know that some FWW are VERY sensitive to the word thrown down generally (betrayer, infidel, cheater) because despite being repentant and working damn hard to make amends, they still think those labels apply to them. They dont, but its a mantel they struggle to put down.

What my posts on the thunderdome thread were an attempt at was to take the controversy out of the issue of helping children.

It appeared the thread starter did not want to take controversery out of the thread and so I left and started a new thread...this one in peer counseling...

here you, and anyone else, is VERY welcome to share your experience and help brainstorm on how to move forward and heal. You are safe always on my threads. I try not to attack and I always try to see the many shades of grey that are out there.

But what I ask that you not do is paint broad strokes about "evil infidels" etc. Because it serves no purpose other than one of wallowing in bitterness and hurting others on this forum. I firmly believe there is no benefit to "venting" and reliving anger. Reliving and talking about angry and hurtful things only breeds more pain and anger. when ever possible i try to put the nasty stuff behind me and move forward. I try to focus on things that bring me joy. and this is what I want to see in any of my threads.

Life is like my kitchen cabinet - i have everything I need to make a horrible dish that tastes awful.
and I have everything I need to make something wonderful...its all in the choosing of what I use.

I choose to select those things in life that will make a beautiful and wonderful dish.

I invite you to share, and help us make our children's world a better one.

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Amadahy] #97920
04/25/11 05:29 AM
04/25/11 05:29 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,505
Amadahy Offline OP
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Amadahy  Offline OP
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What I think a good parent is, the impact of wayward behavior (affairs, alcoholism, workaholic, rageaholic), what do we do after we fall flat on our....face as parents.

A good parent is a one who provides all the love, encouragement, structure and boundaries that a child needs to become an adult that contribute to society, doesn't leech off society.

A parent helps a child grow into a good adult...that is a good parent.

When you are wayward - you damage the structure and boundaries that you have created for your child. When you take love and attention away from the family unit and put it outside the family unit, be it pursuit of another person, a drug or a career that consumes you. Would you feed your childs food to a stranger...would you give your childs medicine to a stranger...thats what wayward behavior is and what it does, deprives your child of the things they need.

For all have sinned and fall short.
we are human. We screw up. As parents, spouses, friends and employees...heck as PEOPLE, we fail.

So you are here. You have fallen flat on your tush as a parent. Now what?

I believe to some extent child ARE resilient, and just like new growth after a fire or drought, children can come back from the damage done to their family if you provide for them and rebuild - like any marriage.

But that means you need to clear out the damaged parts and plant new seeds of life.

So how do we do that. How do we help with the hurt, fear and insecurity and plant new seeds of self confidence, structure, boundaries and love.

A parent failing can teach a valuable lesson to a child. It can teach forgiveness. It can teach mercy. It can teach a child that even if you screw up (and our chidren will fail and screw up someday. Not because we nursed them to long or cheated or worked to much...but because they are human)...when they fail, they will get up and dust themselves off. They will refocus on what is right and they will move forward. They will not be destroyed when they fall because they were taught that failure and mistakes are not the end of everything. They can learn in how WE respond as parents to pain, betrayal and hurt, how to cope when pain, betrayal and hurt comes there way.

we would like to protect our children as best can. I never wish the pain and hurt my husband has experienced through my infidelity on my sons. I would never wish the fear and loneliness I have felt on them. But I know, that some hurt will come to them, because that is the world we live in.

So if I can not wrap them in bubble wrap and protect them from everything, I can do the next best thing.

I can teach them how to over come pain and hurt through my actions
I can show them that even though I failed and sinned I did not let it define me.

I can give them the tools to be the men I would want my sons to be.

I am honest with my kids about what I am feeling.
I am open about my love for my husband.

I explained why daddy didnt trust mommy and why it would take time for him to trust again.

My youngest son said about two months after DDAY, "You said sorry mommy...why doesn't daddy love you again?"

I explained.

Its like your brother asked to hold your favorite toy. You gave it to your brother and he smashed it to the ground and broke it. Then you got another one and he asked to play with it. He promised not to break it...would you believe him?
My son said - no. I think he would break it again.
i said - right...because he broke your trust.. I broke daddys trust and heart with my actions and it will take a while before he believes I wont break his heart again...it takes time honey."

I takes time for a family to heal from any wayward activity ...and being honest about it can help kids understand. Explaining that our love for them was just as strong was key I think to my childrens healing as well.
spending time with them
we eat dinner together,
play board games
and do more family activities.

Be open about your affection (if possible) with your spouse.
I think having my sons see me giving their father a back rub...seeing their father giving me a hug or kiss or heck even smacking my ample assets affectionately is good for them. They claim its gross, but they smile at each other when we kiss.


One of the MB rules I really ran with was the 12 hours UA time..and 12 hours family time. No TV, not video games...one on one and family time. I have extended that to one on one time with my boys too. Each night one boy helps me cook dinner and clean up. They talk with me, we share thoughts and fears and silliness...and we work side by side. At least once a week each boy goes with daddy to the home imporvement store and gets a project for the home to do. One on one, learning and talking time.

Its late, my thoughts are rambeling. I am no mark or just learning...My non linear brain means everything comes out jumbled and sometimes I suprise myself by what I type.

As I write a book I have to go back over and over to fill in places I skip over. so I apoligize if this post is a bit jumbled. Maybe a good editor will come along and make my stuff look like its worth reading... who knows.

I know I am a good mother. star*fish once asked me if I would contribute to this forum in more than just whining, piss n moan, blog. She felt I had something special to offer to this forum. star*fish saw something in me long before I ever did.... I am beginning to thing this might be it. I dont know, maybe not.

but if you guys would hang in there, I would like to explore this topic with you, get your thoughts, stories, pain and experiences and see if we cant create something helpful.

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Amadahy] #97945
04/25/11 11:39 AM
04/25/11 11:39 AM
Joined: Nov 2010
Posts: 743
Indianapolis
hoosiermama Offline
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Amadahy--sorry I didn't acknowledge who started this thread. and yes, you're correct--you didn't question my motives on the other one.

Quote:
But what I ask that you not do is paint broad strokes about "evil infidels" etc. Because it serves no purpose other than one of wallowing in bitterness and hurting others on this forum. I firmly believe there is no benefit to "venting" and reliving anger. Reliving and talking about angry and hurtful things only breeds more pain and anger. when ever possible i try to put the nasty stuff behind me and move forward. I try to focus on things that bring me joy. and this is what I want to see in any of my threads
.
I never did this. I wrote of my own experience as a child, and my own child's experience. I judged no one except my mother, my xH, and all those who supported each of them rather than their children who were struggling. nor have I ever judged anyone here who has returned to their families; in fact, I've reached out to a few and been ignored.

Quote:
If you read all of my threads on the other thread
no, I have not done this. it never occurred to me that I needed to read through pages of material and research who's said what to whom about what over several months' time before I posted anything, lest my motives for posting be assumed to be hurtful.

life, and these forums, have taught me that I am pretty much on my own in healing and in helping my daughter heal. the vast majority of the time I do focus on the positive, and vent about the painful or negative on forums I considered safe. I will just keep to my own thread whenever I share anything about my own life.


Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: peppermint] #98061
04/25/11 05:00 PM
04/25/11 05:00 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,505
Amadahy Offline OP
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Amadahy  Offline OP
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Originally Posted By: peppermint
My husband and I did a few things right (and probably many wrong):

We were honest with our children in an age appropriate way.
We assured them that we loved each other and them, and that the situation was in no way their fault.
We apologized to them for hurting them.
We did not talk to our children about each other in a negative way.
We committed ourselves to protect them as much as possible.
We never put them in a position of having to choose sides.
We went to counseling, and our daughter went to individual counseling, though our son chose not to.
We showed them that recovery is possible, that forgiveness is vital, and that when you do something wrong there are consequences that you must take responsibility for.
Hopefully we helped them to see that failing does not make you a permanent failure.

We saved our marriage and our family. And I am so thankful that we did.

Add to what LadyGrey stressed which was COMMUNICATION. Open and Honest and clear.

a child who does not know what is happening will fill the void with horrible ideas of not being wanted and it being all their fault.

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Amadahy] #98116
04/25/11 07:26 PM
04/25/11 07:26 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 2,309
Colorado
LovingAnyway Offline
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I'd like to be clear on something...

To those who couples who are recovering or are recovered from infidelity, even if one of the spouses left...

they came back.

That may be an assumed part of helping our children heal from infidelity...I want it out there, anyway, because it changes the experience of those us who experienced infidelity as children, too.

So it will with our children.

Very much of the same guidelines to have to help our children heal post-infidelity will be the same for those here who are in personal recovery when the marriage ended in divorce. I think it's important to note this same exception, because it has bearing.

I also believe that our most important role as parents is to example how to act during adversity. Requires adversity as a main ingredient.

Most important change I made in my parenting post-infidelity is the same one I made in my marriage...owning what is mine separate from theirs or his (spouse).

- Good parenting, with or without infidelity, requires marital business (partnership) to stay within the marriage, not parenting...so not speaking negatively or positively of your spouse is important. Even moreso after infidelity. Not healthy to include a child as a confidante at any time. For the same reasons Flowmom pointed out. And how peppermint did.

I believe children learn self-worth as a choice, self-esteem and self-respect as resulting from their own actions. Not ours.

Helping our kids means exampling choosing to know we're worthy. Treating ourselves as worthy and equal, in the moment, right now. Like peppermint and her husband did, acting awareness, forgiveness, that repairs/amends are as impactful and important as the harmful preceding action.

Amadahy, I fully support the honest and open communication and believe ownership is implied in it. I believe we learn as children that we are more powerful than we are because parents say "You made me have to punish you!" When it was our boundaries which required us to enforce them. Oddly enough, so is kissing a booboo to make it all better, emotionally or physically.

Truly open and honest has ownership...emphasis on our choice for our actions; a great relief for children who think they drove one parent or both to the brink of divorce, or an affair.

I believe showing our children is more important than telling.

I think infidelity parallels significant life lessons...where a WS says "you're not at fault" and continues to act as if the BS is at fault...so, too, do our children hear "You're not to blame" and then over hear or see blame coming at them. I think ownership in recovery...FBS/FWS owning their triggers, keep themselves acting intimately even when they don't feel like it, takes practicing the O&H moment to moment, day by day.

I believe healthy boundary enforcements example love, respect, consideration and acceptance to children more potently than any words said, at any time. Honesty requires us owning our choices...even when we don't choose to stay within our boundaries.

And to see their parents come together again, getting to a point where they are in love again, forgiving what is the unforgivable, in and of itself, examples to children that acting from love and not fear is how we thrive in life.

I also believe in working through, doing our part in healing the marriage and the family, does help us heal our past selves, no matter how little. I appreciate anyone willing to do so on this public forum. I don't take silence as judgment...can't know. I am deeply grateful to those who post, share, go to the mat to get what they need, because in doing so, others do also.

LA


The Paradoxical Commandments

Married 28 years/Together 30
Recovered 10 years
MALovingAnyway@gmail.com
Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: LovingAnyway] #98163
04/25/11 08:50 PM
04/25/11 08:50 PM
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 137
J
Just Learning Offline
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Just Learning  Offline
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J
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Amadahy,

Asked that I look at this thread and offer something if I had anything to offer. Frankly, what everyone has said seems to be very much on point. Honesty with the children helps, modeling things for children helps if the model is good, not much if it is bad.

I am reminded of my childhood which did not include infidelity..that I knew/know about. But, perhaps it is telling with regard to what others have said. My father was my hero as a kid. He was a combat pilot in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. He and I were on active duty together during Vietnam. So as a kid he like I think most fathers was my hero.

As I got older, and he and I talked about life and things I came to realize that he was not perfect, in fact he told me he was not perfect and why he felt that way. Yet, in his life, he changed many others in very positive ways, and at the end of his life, he was my hero, not because he was perfect but what he accomplished despite his imperfections.

I have told this story to WS and BS alike, FWS and FBS alike, why? I feel that child learn when their parents learn. Child learn when honesty prevails and children learn when their parents overcome their own failures and for the sake of this discussion this means affairs no matter which side the individual parent is on.

More than anything I believe (based on my and my siblings childhood, lots of acquaintances, and my children and their friends experiences) that flourish in honesty, they respect their parents when they fail, but overcome this failure, and they appreciate learning from their parents how to do better. Although I will admit that as a parent you have to put up with rolling of eyes, feigned indifference, and a general show of not paying any attention. My child are now old enough, that I am starting to hear my words come out of their mouths and it is both fun and terrifying to realize that they paid far more attention than I thought. smile

I think to help children heal from Marital discord, the parents have to heal, and then be honest. As LadyGrey said, even if one is not perfect, it is important for them to know that they were not the cause of the imperfection.

I am not a huge believer in the "self-esteem" at all costs movement but I do think children even young adults need to be made aware of their innocence in these matters.

Just thoughts, I am sure you all have far better ones.

God Bless,

JL

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Just Learning] #105669
05/13/11 09:53 PM
05/13/11 09:53 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 932
Texas - that narrows it a bit ...
Vibrissa Offline
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Texas - that narrows it a bit ...
Just now catching up and reading this thread. So much of what is here I agree with. As my parents divorced due to my mother's infidelity, that is more of where my experience lays.

I grew up in a world shattered and torn apart by my mothers infidelity. I agree with JL - honesty was my rock. I came to depend and lean upon my father because he was the parent I could trust to be honest with me. He wasn't perfect. I saw him lose his temper, I saw him make mistakes, but I was always assured that HE was the one that was going to handle it. Unlike my mother, he never blamed me or my brother for ANYTHING that went on in his life.

I just wish someone had thought to actually TELL me how my mother ended her marriage with my father. I pieced it together as a young child, and since no one told me my childish mind figured I wasn't supposed to know. Thus I couldn't reveal to anyone that I knew. It was a terrible secret I had to keep, twisting inside me. I had to consistently monitor and check my behavior to be sure I wasn't going to make anyone suspicious about the fact that I knew. No 8 year old should have to bear that kind of weight. I had a right to know. I had a right to honesty.

One thing I appreciated was though my father was a BH and was forced to send me off each week to live with the man that had stolen his family and the woman who destroyed it, he constantly insisted that I respect my mother. I was never wrong in loving her, in fact he constantly reassured me it was ok to love her, and the children they had, my sisters. They and my brothers, who were born from my father's second marriage were just that: brothers and sisters. No halves, no steps. Just siblings who I should love and care for.

When I and my brother decided to leave my mother, when we decided to stop seeing her he protected that choice. He never forced us to be with her. He allowed us the space to make that decision for ourselves.

Quote:
When a parent speaks ill of the other parent (not their actions), children experience this as an attack on themselves because their identities are still evolving and tied up with their parents'.


I wish I could quote this a thousand times. It is so true. To this day I doubt my mother's love - because I grew up seeing her undisguised hatred of my father, who I am half of. I cannot describe how tormenting it is to experience this. To wish you could rip half of your soul out to make your mother happy. To wish you just didn't exist... at the age of 6.

The person who hurt you so terribly is the foundation of your children's world.

Finally, understand that if you do divorce, your children are growing up, literally, in two different worlds. Your values and those of your ex-spouse will diverge, and the conflict between the two will be fought in the heart of your children.

The simplest things caused me anxiety as a child: at my mother's you asked for food and if it was the last of something and you ate it, you got in trouble because the last was always reserved for my step-father. At my father's food was always readily available, if you asked for food you were derided because you shouldn't have to ask for food, it was a renewable resource.

So I was constantly anxious, over food. I took to stealing and hoarding food, as did my brother.

I experienced anxiety over so many things: the television, brushing my teeth, answering the phone. It was stressful to say the least.

So understand that if you do divorce (whether to infidelity or not) your children are being raised with conflicting sets of values and beliefs and to a young child, it DOES feel like picking sides. Go easy. Yes you have your values and beliefs, but so does your spouse and your child will have to find a way to negotiate between the two sets of values and some of those they settle on may be those of your spouse and that is ok. You may think that they've made a horrible choice, that they will find nothing but misery for choosing your spouse's values, but though you no longer share your life with them, your spouse has an equal right as you do to impart their values and beliefs onto their children.

Up until a few years ago I refused to engage in politics. My mother is staunch republican and my father staunch democrat. I remember voting in my first election and feeling overwhelming guilt: I'd chosen a side. I didn't tell anyone who I voted for so my parents couldn't figure out who's side I'd chosen, which parent had 'won'... silly and stupid I know, but the habit of seeing everything as mom's side and dad's side is so ingrained it me it has taken time to let go. It's getting easier now, to not feel so stuck between the two of them. To make my own choices and own them, for better or worse.


Moi: 33
DH: Kenichi 33
M: 8/2005
DD 6 yrs
DS 3 yrs
Ze Blog
Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Vibrissa] #105766
05/14/11 01:12 AM
05/14/11 01:12 AM
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J
Joined: Jan 2011
Posts: 137
Vibrissa,

That was such a profound post and so painful to read. I do hope that now you can see your life defined by yourself and not which "side" you are on.

God Bless,

JL

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Just Learning] #105813
05/14/11 02:51 AM
05/14/11 02:51 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,657
L
LadyGrey Offline
Professional Attorney
LadyGrey  Offline
Professional Attorney
L
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 4,657
Vibrissa,

I watched this happen in my husband's family. I live, daily, with the damage it caused him -- the food thing -- well, it never went away completely. His first stepfather would get very angry when this 6' and growing skin and bones teen age boy raided the frig after dinner because he didn't think he was getting enough child support to pay for a late night grilled cheese. My husband came to our house every night after his dinner to eat again -- a home where ham and cheese wasn't counted out.

To be clear, his first stepfather was a very wealthy man and it was an "affairage".

I could move on to step father number 2, step mothers numbers 1 and 2 and half sisters, step siblings, ex step siblings, etc. Mom and stepfather number one and Dad and stepmother number 1 had half sisters within a month of each other, and they were not allowed to know each other existed -- they found out when husband I started dating when they were about ten.

I could go on and on and on and on.

I feel like screaming at these people who I feel are criminally cavalier with the "kick 'em to the curb" mentality "YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT SORT OF HOME THESE CHILDREN ARE GOING TO END UP IN OR HOW IT WILL DAMAGE THEM FOR LIFE."

Thank you for saying that which, for obvious reasons, I never could.

And thank you for the kindnesses you have shown me. It has not gone unnoticed. I'll admit to be a bit skeptical about you, but I was just flat wrong. You are a priceless gift to this place.


Bidden or not bidden God is present.
Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Just Learning] #105835
05/14/11 03:50 AM
05/14/11 03:50 AM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 932
Texas - that narrows it a bit ...
Vibrissa Offline
Member
Vibrissa  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 932
Texas - that narrows it a bit ...
Originally Posted By: Just Learning
That was such a profound post and so painful to read. I do hope that now you can see your life defined by yourself and not which "side" you are on.


With your help, and my husband's patience and wisdom, and tons of prayer it has become much easier. I've started becoming comfortable with being me and my choices.

Quote:
I feel like screaming at these people who I feel are criminally cavalier with the "kick 'em to the curb" mentality "YOU HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT SORT OF HOME THESE CHILDREN ARE GOING TO END UP IN OR HOW IT WILL DAMAGE THEM FOR LIFE."


I think the biggest lie we've told ourselves, as a society is that "Children are resilient". It's given us a free pass to do whatever we want when coupled with the other lie: "My kids just want me to be happy."

Yes, children can adapt, they can learn to live and find a measure of happiness even in ugliness and pain... but it comes at a cost, and the scars are etched in their heart. It can be done, I did it. And really my lot in life wasn't as hard as it could be. I know it sounds rough, but I was so blessed: I did have the love and support of much of my family. I had people who would advocate for me. I was able to create my own stability, I created my safety, but it matured me beyond what I feel is healthy for a child.

Just because children CAN be resilient, just because they CAN adapt shouldn't remove from the parents the responsibility to create a stable, loving environment for them - be it a divorced family or not. Stability is key, if changes have to happen, introduce it slowly and reassure the children that the PARENT will take responsibility for the changes, not the child.

As a child - I was not aware of my parents' happiness or unhappiness. It didn't matter to me. I just needed to know my parents loved me, were going to take care of me and were going to make the big decisions so I didn't have to worry about them and those decisions would be made with my best interest at heart. Basically I needed them to be adults. I didn't care if they were happy or not... I really didn't - sounds harsh but thats how it was.

LG - I 'get' where your husband is at. The anxiety that kind of life creates has far reaching repercussions - and growing up that way it's hard to realize that the way you are isn't necessarily the way everyone else is, or that the way you are is healthy. It's hard to see those repercussions, it's hard to see that some of the basic coping mechanisms you have developed are making your life harder. It's hard for me to grasp that not everyone grew up with the same level of hyper-awareness, anxiety and stress.

My poor husband has to deal with mine. He tells me he has to remind himself that I didn't grow up in the same kind of world he did. He has an amazing amount of patience with me.

Also, I don't want everyone to get the idea that my childhood was misery. I know it is hard to read, but there was a lot of love and joy in my life as well. I had a great family, I really did. The part of my blood relations that I call FAMILY are amazing people.

I will suggest again, a good read for any parent of a divorced child is "Between two worlds: the Inner lives of the children of divorce" I've reviewed it in the Book Reviews Forum. I have never read another book that gives such a complete and comprehensive, honest view of the kind of world I grew up in, the challenges I faced. You have to KNOW what these kids are going to feel and experience if you want to have a CHANCE at helping them navigate it, process it, overcome it.


Moi: 33
DH: Kenichi 33
M: 8/2005
DD 6 yrs
DS 3 yrs
Ze Blog
Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: LadyGrey] #105838
05/14/11 03:57 AM
05/14/11 03:57 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,505
Amadahy Offline OP
Member
Amadahy  Offline OP
Member
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,505
A) Thank you Vibrissa for coming and sharing your story. My heart aches for you. I echo JLs hope that you have learned you are you. Not half of anything. In the novel I am writing about, a young woman seeks to find where she belongs. She is bi-species and there fore doesnt feel as if she belongs anywhere. Not human enough to be human nor is she enough alien to be accepted amoung them. You bring to light that even in families where race is the same, religiion is the same.. morals can diverge and cause confusion in a child. Something I never thought about. Thank you for sharing and opening your heart.

B) Lady, thank you for sharing your Hs story. I am not really a big doctor laura fan but one thing stuck with me. Until your children are grown, they need to come first. If you date, then you choose a man or woman that is good for your kids too. You arent just getting a boyfriend, your bringing someone into the family.

C) This brings to light another issue however. Finding harmony in the discord if two decide to not divorce. My husbands parents never divorced. But they stopped sharing a room when he was a child. They fought and drank and physicially abused each other...mother often the aggressor. A mother, passsed out on the kitchen floor was a common occurrence when he got up to make his breakfast before school. They are still married 50+ years. He learned early to defend against unfair blamed levied against him, the youngest boy of five. Anger was the only safe emotion to show, the rest were a source of teasing. Even today they fight and and pick on eachother more than anything. They complain as a past time. Being angry is the norm. Fighting is the norm. Emotions are not safe there.

I try to work everything into a lesson with my boys.
I encourage them to let their anger go, because it steals their happiness. I encourage them to be happy, silly and sad. Love is expressed by my boys several times a day. They love each other, they love us. Being angry is safe too. Explaining the anger, what happened and making amends is important.

Being consistant is important to. A divided home of a divorce can not be consistant in its very nature. heck we have problems with it and we arent divorced.

Current issue in my home is the violent video games.
I hate them
H loves them
he plays them with the boys
HE flat wont stop playing them even though I believe they lead to poor behavior.
The boys want to play so I end up looking like a controling wet hen.

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Amadahy] #105839
05/14/11 04:00 AM
05/14/11 04:00 AM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,505
Amadahy Offline OP
Member
Amadahy  Offline OP
Member
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 3,505
V - just read your most recent post - and I say again brava!

The friends who currently encourage me to divorce my H say those lies...kids are resilient...they will be okay. You should be happy...you should do what you need to do to be happy... look at me...my parents were divorced. Note: the friends that say this are pushing forty without a single long term succesfful relationship under their belt...yeah they walked away from their parents divorce just peachy!

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Amadahy] #105881
05/14/11 02:12 PM
05/14/11 02:12 PM
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,681
Carolina Blue Heaven
P
peppermint Offline
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peppermint  Offline
Member
P
Joined: Feb 2011
Posts: 2,681
Carolina Blue Heaven
I grew up in a home with two parents who very clearly struggled to keep the marriage together but loved my brother and me dearly. My husband grew up an only child in an unhappy home. He was ignored and neglected. In 1999 his mother died when my husband was 47 years old. He told me that she had never once hugged him or told him she loved him, and then he fell apart. Four months later the affair began. No one will ever convince me that those two things are unrelated.

Children can be amazingly resilient. They just should not have to be.

Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: peppermint] #106148
05/15/11 09:02 AM
05/15/11 09:02 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,407
Not quite here
Squeaky Tree Offline
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Squeaky Tree  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,407
Not quite here
Thank you for posting here Vibrissa.....this has really given me slightly more insight.

My parents are together- they have never really seemed in love to me but get on well for the most part.

They kind of antagonise each other from time to time

As I was growing up, I always thought mum was really clever and dad stupid, when I was about 14/15 I suddenly realised that actually dad wasn't stupid, he was probably a similar level to mum and me and my sister.....this because of the contempt mum showed dad.

I wonder if my feelings of never being good enough come also from her relationship with him - she would accuse us of ganging up on her, once I started pointing out the dad wasn't useless, hadn't done it wrong etc


I am so aware of making my children feel "good enough" and loved...but sometimes I still see DD8 on wednesday, feeling not good enough and putting more pressure on herself....

I now wonder whether this is because of the years of contempt I have shown her father (while living with him)....and maybe to a lesser extent, him: me.

More motivation to get this relationship stuff really properly fixed.


I think the best thing I did with the healing from the A was to explain the deal to them age approrpiately (S was 18months to 3 and D was 4-6 during the A) they were at home in the afternoons when he was here. Explained to them that mummy's special friend should be daddy and that they would never see OM again, answer any questions and reassure them that we loved them.


And when J moved out to get on top of his aggressive and abusive tendencies (kids aged 6 and 3) we explained to them again why. And have looked at a book about dealing with anger with DD because she did and occasionally still does deal with her anger in the wrong way.


I'm always looking, always analysing what affects any of this stuff has had on them.



Married 22years (this year) ~13y since dday(?)
DD17 DS14
Which way do you like yourself? ~ Stosny
Re: Helping Heal our Children following Marital Discord [Re: Squeaky Tree] #107039
05/17/11 11:02 AM
05/17/11 11:02 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 8,808
NewEveryDay Offline
Advocate
NewEveryDay  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 8,808
Thanks for this topic and all the honesty shared here. I agree that the daily weekly family commitment (FC) time, including plenty of light fun playing is critical. How else are they going to pick up your values, like thoughtfulness, and share who they are? I also try to make time alone with each kid every week. To see through your actions that they are special and worth making time for.


"I have everything I need." and "I am exactly where I am supposed to be." ~Louise Hays

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