I need better/different words to explain why Dad is gone

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by keista, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. keista

    keista New Member

    DD1 had a mini depressive episode tonight (forgot her melatonin, and the intrusive thoughts attacked) She was talking about how EVERYONE leaves her. She wouldn't open up about who r what she meant, so I took a deep breath and asked if she meant Dad. Yes, she said, oh, and her friend A. Well, A is a kid and her mom had to go somewhere else to make a better life, so A had to go too. Dad, well dads aren't supposed to eave their kids, are they? No Sometimes they do leave the moms, but they still shouldn't leave the kids, huh? No

    So I discussed the fact that just how she and I and son have odd 'issues', so does Dad, but I'm not exactly sure what they are, and it isn't right, but that's the way it is, and even though he doesn't show it like a Dad should, he does love her (lame, but true). Went through the whole spiel of how she's allowed to feel anything she wants, but I know sometimes we feel things we think we shouldn't, and that it can be scary, but it's OK, and that's why she goes to the therapist and can talk about the feelings when they are not overwhelming her.

    Then she asked specifically why he left? I only have one answer for that - He was doing something REALLY, REALLY, REALLY unacceptable, and I told him to stop, and he didn't want to, so he left so he could continue ding that thing. But what EXACTLY was he doing????????????

    I can NOT tell her. Not now. If I ever do decide to tell the kids, it will be with a therapist at a family session, after I have thoroughly discussed it with therapist privately.

    They only asked once about having an extended visit with him, over vacation, you know, like other kids get? I told them that it's my job to keep them safe, and Dad's living situation is not acceptable at all because he is still doing that REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bad thing. If there ever comes a time when he stops it, they will get to go visit. Do you kids trust me to do what's right for you? Yes Mom.

    tdocs have told me that these are perfectly fine answers because they are indeed true. tdocs know the whole scoop. I have not yet had the opportunity to discuss the ramifications of telling/not telling the kids the whole story. (was going to take some time today to discuss it because it was supposed t be just me and therapist, but today's appointment got canceled, and next one is in July)

    I'm very sorry, but at the moment I cannot spill the beans here either. Although I'm very comfortable saying almost anything here, and the "secret" doesn't affect me directly, I am concerned (paranoid) about the kids finding out (being told) in an inappropriate manner.

    There is no 'made for TV' movie about my situation, and extensive internet searches got me some fringe information, but nothing on how it would specifically affect my kids. I'm in uncharted waters, and therapist probably won't be much help either, but that's the best Ill be able to do.

    So, I know I'm shooting in the dark here, but does anyone have any ideas of how to reword, rephrase, or restate my vague but true answers? I just need to buy a little time until I can have a serious chat with therapist about this.
  2. Whether you're Christian or not, the book (it was a movie, too) called The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom has a couple of good scenes you could poach for your own use. One is when the little girl asks her father about sex and he asks her to pick up a suitcase. She says it's too heavy. He tells her, yes, and that information is too heavy for you right now, too, so you'll have to trust your father to carry it for you until you're older. Maybe you could find a similar analogy that would work for you.
  3. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    I think Running's suggestion is a sound one.
    Children are like any other humans: if you say someone has done something REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bad but I'm afraid I can't tell you what, they are agog and insistent to know more. I would personally tend to downplay it at this stage. He did something you couldn't accept (spoken quietly, without particular drama) and that is the important thing they need to know.
  4. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    What RFTS said.
  5. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I like the "heavy information" idea.
    While our situation doesn't involve anything that heavy, Kiddo used to ask, too. Something I learned from a former co-worker was "You'll understand when you're older," and not a word more. It took a while of sounding like a broken record with that, but she finally got that I wasn't going to answer for him or about him. One day, he'll have to answer to her.
  6. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    It sounds like you are doing great and Running's suggestion is a good addition.

    If you stop to think about it, her pushing and pushing and pushing for answers is common in EVERYTHING our kids do. She is accepting what you are telling her but she wants more details. Then when you do give her another level of details, she will push for more. I think that is one reason we get weary, that constant push for why, why, why, of EVERYTHING we say.

    It would be so easier if kids would trust us when we tell them that time will provide the answers when they are ready for them.

    I think you need to call therapist's office back and try to get that next appointment sooner. Ask to be put on a waiting list or something. That appointment will give you strength in sticking to your own plan and not be "beaten down" emotionally by her questions to give up and spill the beans.

    It is really hard for kids to understand that parents are human. I remember thinking that by the time you are a grown up you were always doing the right thing. I am getting so discouraged by the wrong doings of government leaders, the unethical practices of business leaders because I grew up believing they were doing the best for everyone, they were looking out for everyone because they were adults. Now I know they are human and greedy and are often times just out for theirselves. Not all of them of course but enough to pop my bubble of that image of how the world works in real life.

    It is hard for kids to grasp that concept that adults do struggle to make good choices.

    "Dad and I disagree on something that is too important for me to continue to allow him to do. I really believe that he is hurting himself and that in turn hurts all of us. He is unable to see the results of his actions. He and I both hate that he is unable to see you more often. We both love you very much. I hope one day he will be able to understand what is really happening in his own life and see that it is not what he wants for you. It is too hard to explain it to you right now. One day when you are ready for the information, we will talk about it. You just have to trust me when I say that Dad doesn't like being away. He misses you just as much as you miss him."
  7. keista

    keista New Member

    RFTS Thanks for that great analogy idea. I might switch it up to something more relatable for her, like driving. She's not old enough yet, but when she is, she'll get to do it. Same with the info. This way if she keeps pushing I can g into the details of the analogy like, she's seen me drive, so she can do it, right? Ah, no. that's right she needs more maturity and information. OHHHHHHHHHHHH thanks so much! I"m liking this analogy thing!

    Andy, she does trust me, I have no doubt, but she also desperately misses her dad - at least when the intrusive thoughts start up. She also has Mood disorders, and anxiety, so I do have to calm these questions for her so she doesn't *create* her own crazy scenarios in her head. As it is, shortly after he left, ALL her bad behavior was at school, and NONE at home. Previously it was reverse. Yes, It could be the coincidence of age because I"ve seen many here say similar things, but I'm not taking any chances on it. Her father is half of her heart, her self esteem, and the core of her being. I'm dealing 'delicately' with this issue.
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I used to really hate being told, "You will understand when you're older," or worse - "You're not old enough for that information." With hindsight, I think I often was old enough. The suitcase analogy would have helped a lot.

    A short phrase can be, "He's making bad choices that are not good for you to be around." I do like what others have said.

  9. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Actually his phrase was "One day you will understand." This is what he always told his daughter when she would ask about the divorce. Nothing specific about when that one day would be. He got a call when she was 21. "Dad, I understand." She had figured it out on her own. I'll grant their situation wasn't too complicated, though.
  10. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    An important message for kids in any parental marriage break up - "This is between your parents, it is not your fault in any way. It is not your responsibility, you do not own any of this. I am sorry it is hurting you, but you did not cause this and you did not fail to do anything to prevent this. Not. Your. Fault."

    My eldest nephew felt personally responsible when his parents' marriage broke up, because he felt he had failed to help them save the marriage. But I think now, 20 years later, he finally realises that his father was never really 'married', he was too ready always to have his flings. My ex-brother in law is a sleaze and his sons have not spoken to him since they realised it. Very sad.

  11. keista

    keista New Member

    Thanks Marg, I do reinforce that message. Unfortunately in this situation, he didn't just leave me, he left the kids as well - little to no contact. What's funny is that he admits it. In his "answer" to my petition for divorce, his very first sentence was "When I left the family....." Not wife, not spouse, not petitioner, but family. I found that very telling.

    And yes, she (they actually) will understand about divorce when she gets older. Might even be able to understand that he's a gfgDad and he was not ABLE to be the dad she wanted/needed. These general things I am not concerned about.

    We had a different breakthrough today, but I've got a good analogy in my head to pull out next time she brings it up.

    Thanks again, everyone.