When a terrific DEX turns into a difficult child x 10 (I'm gobsmacked)

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Mattsmom277, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    easy child is now 11 1/2. Her bio dad and I parted ways in her infancy. Twice in the earlier years he took me through court. First time was just the normal post break up custody/access thing. he fought for full custody, lost of course (I'm sure he knew he would) and access was very reasonable as despite his "fight" I want whats best for easy child, and that means having her dad. Second time, she was a few years old. He had moved 2 hours drive away (I don't drive). I got a new job and my hours were weekends. I requested with him to change his weekends to accomodate my work hours, and he would end up with one less trip per month back and forth for pick up and again for drop off, and actually gain an extra 4 days per month access in the process. He not only said no, 2 days later I get served court papers saying I was reneging on our court agreed access (Umm, by improving your access???) so he wanted full custody to him and I would have her every other weekend. No holidays, summers, etc. He honestly spent a good 10K plus in legal fees ( I represented myself, the whole "common sense" defense approach I called it) and dragged it out for 18 months, demanded easy child have her own lawyer etc. In the end? THe access was changed to what worked for him and me, the exact terms I had asked to switch to. He was told off royally by the judge who saw in him the following :
    1) He loves easy child and is a terrific one on one dad (I concur)
    2) He is rigid, refuses flexibility, sees black and white, resists any change that isn't his decision to change, and gets mentally "Stuck" to a point where he will hurt others and bite his own nose to spite his face to prevent change he doesn't personally initiate (I concur)
    3) easy child was going to grow up and as she hit age 10,11, 12 and up she would get her own hobbies, activities, friends, boyfriends, etc and no court order is going to force a kid to a schedule that isn't flexible based on their needs (I concur)
    4) easy child would one day resent her dad if he refused to learn to go with the flow provided of course he still had active access to her, and he would jeopardize the chance he's been given to have a fantastic bond with his daughter (I concur)
    5) That if he returned to court for such stupid things again, he was in for a wake up call because she wasn't going to have her court used for his ridiculous issues. Come to her ONLY if he fears for his daughter at my home or if he is prevented from a relationship with her (I concur)

    Anyhow, his access agreement from all those years ago? Meant nothing. i was always content and open about it, that he was welcome to share half and half etc but in doing so, flexibility for BOTH of us is going to come up, so if he wanted complete shared parenting, we just both have to know sometimes "our" days with her would end up spent at the opposite home because , well, life can't be managed years ahead on a paper document just because it has a court seal. He agreed.

    We've had no problems, but her activities were always same days and we've not really had to face adjusting days all this time. With the exception that he often asks for extra nights to keep her for "special activities". I have always said "Sure, have fun" and end of story. I have never asked in return, I plan things for when she is home. It's easier because I know his previous reactions to a slight change (that benefited him) and I've had zero big issues with him since but still, once bitten twice shy.

    Sooo, now easy child is a tween and mature and busy. She quit her hockey team for the first time. She has professional art classes and swim nights. So her busy nights changed, so our schedule needed to change. Literally the change I had to ask for, I never feared bringing up. I mean in 8 years I never once asked to change even one night for a holiday or anything and he gets her 50% of the time when court gave him every other weekend and one night a week. All that had to change, was he would need to take her for a sleepover Thursday nights instead of his usual Wednesday nights. It's complicated how we split her time between us but it works well for her mentally, and too much to explain, but basically without this change, she'd have a 7 day period with only one night home with me after school, then a divided week the next, then again a 7 day period with only one night here etc.

    Obviously that isn't going to work. Personally I can't handle that kind of seperation. Nor would I expect him to handle it in reverse! And the biggest part is easy child. She was devestated, it lasted one week on the schedule as "he" saw it should be, and cried every night after day 3 to come home. He didn't let her even call me once to say hi or goodnight or hear I love you from her mom.

    So I brought up changing the nights. It was a fair swap, it just works based on what nights she has actual activities vs time at night for family time etc. He lost nothing. He simply had to do it Thursday night and not Wednesday night. And he had seen easy child bawling for 4 days after that 3rd night, until she finally could come home.

    So what did he do? Wednesday he picked her up after school in violation of the change. ARGH! She arrived home Thursday and this poor girl. She's NEVER been subject to schedule things, adult stuff, etc. She's had a fantastic 11 years with both parents, tons of love, no tension or fighting etc. She was bawling after school last night. DEX told her it was NOT happening. That in fact he'd be by to pick her up for Thursday nights as well! (Instead of picking her up for swimming lesson and returning her here) And that would be a sleepover at his place night on TOP of the Wednesday. Thus making one week straight no mom, one week shared, one week no mom, one week shared. Basically, her living with him and me getting some access, far less than he's been handed on a platter all of these years.

    He had phoned and riled up me that day. First cross words exchanged since all those years ago at court. All over switching one night for another night????? He never at all mentioned this new "deal" he'd told easy child was going to begin that night, which obviously isn't happening. Just sent her to school Thurs. am. thinking her dad just took her away from her mom to move in with him and I'd see her "sometimes". WTH?????????????????

    I can't say here what was going on in my head. He was also recording our call and trying to trap me into saying something absolutely wrong, by trying to have me say to him that I was preventing him from access. He'd obviously seen a lawyer. Then he hung up on me when I wouldn't say that because its a lie. Imagine how much worse it got for me when she arrived home to announce her horror (while sobbing and hyperventilating and hives broke out on her beautiful face) that dad told her basically he's taking her away and that it was starting when he picked her up in an hour from then for swim class. WTH???

    Finally I got hte story from her. Without her present I told him at pick up for swim class that if she was NOT back at end of swimming, police inforcement on our court papers would be used to arrest him for kidnapping and how DARE he ANNOUNCE to a CHILD that he was moving her in and giving me "some visits". I refused to speak to him, said go speak to your lawyer you'll need him. easy child was back 30 minutes later. No swim class. They made it 2 blocks away and he had to pull over to speak to her and they turned back here after 30 minutes. He dropped her, didn't get out of his truck (nor did his wife) and they left.

    easy child was a mess. She told him she knew he could NOT take me away and she won't be part of this. That if he wants to see her, we do as always but add the change of nights. That if he takes me to court, leave her OUT of it except she will attend once to tell the judge "Her dad is being a idiot and has "stuck thinking" and please make him stop" and that she loves BOTH of us and 50-50 is whats healthy and makes her feel safe and she never wants him to do this to her again and wants the judge to tell him to get unstuck about making changes because if he can't she at some point won't be wanting to go anymore cuz she's getting older and busier and things are going to be changing a lot now until she moves out. (Insert proud mom for such a brilliant and smart daughter)

    A email was sent (at easy child's request) laying that out and offering him the opportunity to ("ake your head out of your rear dad " t(o quote easy child). Enclosing all that I said above and that she doesn't want to hear the word "court" or another word about the schedule change because she is 11 and didn't choose parents who couldn't keep their family together so its OUR jobs to make HER happy, not HER job to make HIM happy. And she made me add that he makes it impossible to be honest because if he doesn't like it, he punishes her with his disapproval. She made me tell him he's been teaching her how to stand up to bullies at school and that he's being one and she's using what he taught her against him. (Insert chuckle in the middle of this madness, imagine this from my 11 year old??)

    She also told him that he needs to respect her as a HUMAN with her own personality and thoughts and needs. And that he has no right to shame her for not always wanting what he wants. She told him that she loved him and wants things to be as they always were but with the changes she is asking for and she wanted him stop pretending she is a boy or ever wanted to be a tomboy. that HE wanted a tomboy and made her be one or face his disapproval and lack of input from him. But that she's a girl and will not wear those ugly boy clothes anymore to make him happy and he needs to let her be a young woman and not a infant to be controlled anymore.

    WHEW!!!!!!!!!!! I NEVER knew it was pressure from him about the "boy" thing. I've wept for how severe it got because it affected her socially horridly over the years. I thought she was just a huge tom boy though and wasn't going to make her feel ashamed of who she is. I mean, I even wondered if it was a gender identity thing or a sexuality thing. So obviously wasn't going to tell her there was something wrong with how she dressed etc.

    She packed up all the boy clothes her dad ever bought (I have let her wear what she wants but I've only purchased girls clothes for her that she picks out, never bought one boys item, that was my personal line). Told me to donate it somewhere because she's done being what her dad wants her to be and its time for her dad to love her for who she actually is if he can actually do that. And if not she'll cope. OMG! She adores her dad. But I'm so proud because I didn't know she was bullied about the clothes and never wanted to be a tom boy and craved girly stuff and it was down to her dads wants. For years!!!!

    I told her that IF he files for court even knowing how she feels, she and I will NOT take it personal or let anger set it. We will accept that he loves her and that it isn't personal to her or to me even. It is just that he's got flaws like everyone, he gets stuck in thinking and about change, and that he can go to court and we won't think twice about it because he wont' win and maybe the judge saying this all to him too will help him get unstuck. But regardless, nothing is going to change. I promised her to never fear that I'd withhold her from her dad or take away their time together even if I do feel angry at him for something he does.

    Unbelievably she fell asleep after watching a comedy with me last night. Woke up this morning happy and when she hugged me on her way to school she said thanks for last night mom, I didn't tell you that other stuff about dad and the boy clothes and stuff because I didn't want him to hate me. But he has to love ME mom. And keeping secrets from you when it hurts me isn't how we do it right? So I'm glad you listened. And I'm ok if dad takes you to court, I just won't let him talk to me about it and i'll just visit with him like always and let him do his temper tantrum until the judge tells him to grow up.

    Amazing kid I have. Both of them actually. I've worked very hard to instill fairness in them and adult crud is just that, ADULT. Not their problem, and they come first always. It seems it has given her the confidence to still love and see her dad but stand up for herself when push comes to shove.

    As for how I'm feeling about DEX today? I loathe him. I want to slap him and then shake him until he can comprehend how darn lucky he is. No barriers to a full life with his daughter. I never fight. I take no money. I speak well of him, I even protect him because otherwise last night easy child would have stopped going to him at all at this point. But she's ok now after I explained things the way I did, and sees she can just love him in spite of his craziness at the moment and just tell him to keep her out of it without losing him. She'd have been devestated if she decided she couldn't go there anymore. She needed to hear things from me to make her okay with going back.

    How can someone be so phenomenal for her for so many years, and than pull this kind of koi?????

    I expect court papers in the next few days. Nothing changes him when he's unstuck. And when dropped her off last night he told her was going to take me to court. So I doubt the email she asked me to send him last night with budge him.

    So he's going to drag me through court for ages, spend another 10K plus on the lawyer to request full custody, lose anyhow, devestate the daughter who idiolized him and thought he would always put her first. All because of taking her thursdays instead of Wednesday. And he told her he'd ensure she has her own lawyer again.

    Before he said all this she had NEVER been told he'd put me through this before. She didn't need to know> I never would have told her. Last night, at minimum , he lost his daughters respect and disillusioned her about how she sees him as a man, a father, a person.

    Me? I'm horrified easy child is going through this. I'm proud of her though. I'm hating him and want to claw his eyes out. Of course I'll just refuse dialogue about it and let hte court process do its thing. I don't feel threatened, I know the judge is going to blast him at the end of it all and what I want is what will be the result of court. I don't think it, I know it. But I'm livid and disgusted and stressed at being put through the ringer again. And this time with a child old enough to understand it all. I'm tired of being treated like dirt on his shoe unless I give him everything he wants, when he wants it, how he wants it. I have also determined to request the court charted amount of support based on his income instead of the 11 years I pursued none. Feels like the only way I can make him man up and do something to compensate for the 3rd time doing this to me. I'd never use easy child in any fashion or their visits or relationship with each other as a way to make him feel the effect of his actions. So I guess the only way to make him feel he lost big time this time around is to go after his pocketbook. Not one penny more than the court guide allows. But not a penny less. And I will have it enforced. He can't fight it, law is law.

    I feel sick still and didn't sleep last night. I cried three times today. I feel like being the bigger person all this time just enabled him to build easy child up for this kind of devestation now. I regret it yet at the same time wouldn't change it. Know what I mean??

    Sometimes putting a child first is tough. Instinct? First time ever I had a moment in my head of "To hades with HIM, he does this I'll counter for severed rights". I'm glad that feeling passed, but the associated upset is just growing since yesterday.

    Soooooo sorry this was so long. I have no idea who to vent it out to. S/O is fantastic and always has my back. But he's gone all day and I'm over tired and over stressed and alone. I just needed ears ( or eyes here) of those who might understand my need to "let it all out".

    Rant over. Heart broken. Mama bear instincts raging. Mournful almost. :(
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2010
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip


    I understand... I keep watching BM take husband to court over stupid stuff - last time, it was a missed visit - that was made up BEFORE she filed - judge said she was being stupid. Now again, and this time it is because Jett didn't want to play football, and husband did not pay her $8,000 (the amount keeps changing) in bills that, on review, he does not owe!!! (What about the $2800 she owes us in medical bills, plus the marital bills she chose and still hasn't paid a dime on, 8 years later?!) It's all petty. In a way you're super blessed to have a decent judge and a easy child that "gets" it. on the other hand, if he wants to spend that kind of money to alienate his child... Well, BM did it to Onyxx... It's amazing what divorces do to people - if we weren't living it, we might not believe it!

    More hugs, and some for easy child as well. But - life is ugly - and it's all in how you react. Sounds like she's got a good grasp of how to truly be happy...
  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Um sweetie................does idiot bio dad got even a clue that at this age it's daughter who gets to decide where she lives in a custody battle? That if he pushes her too far, not even the COURT will force her to visit with her Dad?

    And um while he wasn't a horrid father by far............that whole let's make you into a boy right down to wearing boy clothes thing is more than a bit disturbing. Plenty of warped thinking there to make a judge think twice about him seeing her at all.

    I applaud your ability to make nice and do all these years what was best for easy child. It's not easy to do and it takes work. Any chance the wife would talk to you then talk to him before this obsession of his drives a wedge between him and his child?

    He has a amazing daughter. It's a shame only you know just how amazing she really is.

    No worries on the court case, he's just throwing money down the drain again. ugh

  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Wow-your daughter is amazing! She has her head on straight. You are also amazing for being so nice through all of this. I'm sorry you are having to deal with him being such a jerk (that's a nice word for it). Gentle hugs.
  5. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Thank you all for listening (reading) and understanding and your words.

    I'm not feeling at all nice Wiped Out. I'm simply not wanting my daughter to keep hurting and I don't think hating him will benefit her, bottom line is, he's her dad. I guess I dont' fee my loathing should be shoved into her psyche, Know what I mean?? But inside? I'm livid, I don't understand him, don't like him, don't respect him, I want to tell him what I really think of him, I regret a lot regarding him. Glad I have my daughter because of him, wish it could have been immaculate conception or something.

    As for the boy thing, OMG. I'm still kind of really that it was never at all about easy child feeling tom boyi'sh. I knew he was influencing and encouraging, I didn't know it was all about him. Disturbing doesn't cover it!! Those days are done as of the other night. Never will that touch her life again. She has a right to be herself and that apparently was never her. My cousin who is like a sister, lets just say he doesn't want to run into her in the near future. I may have to keep zipped for easy child's sake. She doesn't need to. I am so glad to have some people close in my life who understand and are supportive (including this board!).

    easy child had a dream last night about court papers, and I was laughing when they came and said oh no they aren't for me to go to court they are for you easy child. She said it was horrible. Dreams don't always mean anything but I did anyhow reassure her that I wouldn't ever be heinous like that and that while we're putting this situation into a context that makes it livable for her and I, it is not funny and I am far from impressed with our situation. She seemed reassured so perhaps the dream really was a fear in her that maybe it was no big deal to me and her feelings weren't that important. Nothing could be further from the truth.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Wow. Kudos to your daughter! Way To Go! She is awesome! I am so sorry that she had to go through this, but you know, in trial by fire, some people emerge even better. She is one of those. Give her a hug for me!
    So sorry about the dream. She is still processing things. It will be a while. Give her time. There will be other dreams, too. Sigh.
    Pooh on your DEX. Don't know what else to say about him. Sheesh.
  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    You are an AWESOME mom raising an AWESOME daughter!!! ALL it will take to have a judge sever his rights is to show how he made her dress and act like a boy for so many years, to her social and emotional harm. in my opinion he was ONLY "phenomenal" over scheduling and THAT was because he got her half the time instead of what the judge ordered. He was "winning" by getting more from you on a regular scheduled basis than the judge ordered. The way she acted over the boy stuff shows you that he did little long term harm emotionally with the boy stuff, though she may suffer socially for a while, possibly a long while depending on the other kids and how she lets them treat her. She obviously has been afraid for many years that if she did NOT do what he wanted, even when she was with you, that he would not love her.

    in my opinion that is NOT NOT NOT being "phenomenal" as a father. I am very willing to bet that if you had kept the schedule to what the judge ordered then he would have had you in court over and over during the last years.

    I see a whole lot of awesome in your parenting and flexibility and the way easy child felt she could do what she wanted/needed while at your home, even if it was to keep to what her father insisted she do/wear/act like. in my opinion now is the time to take her out to buy some new girly things - expect that he will NOT contribute one penny toward clothing for her now that she won't dress the way he wants.

    I am glad she is such a strong, insightful young woman, and that she now has the strength to fight against his bullying - it says a LOT about how she will stand up to peer pressure!
  8. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    As others have pointed out, he wasn't as phenomenal as you thought, because he was all this time, trying to turn her into something she was not. And Susie, her being able to discard all this now does NOT mean he did little long-term harm. There is no way that did little harm. She has been harmed socially over the years and keeping a secret like that even from her mother, a secret about something so basic as personal identity and personal preferences, is NOT healthy.

    Pushing someone to wear clothes of the opposite sex is not what causes gender identity confusion or homosexuality, although it can cause other problems. But far more than the gender stuff, is the really bad message it has sent to easy child, about her daddy not loving her for who she is, but for who (or what) he wants her to be. Or wishes she had been born as. Very bad, very unhealthy.

    Seriously - go for the support, as you probably should have years ago. Go for the level of custody that is ordered, has been ordered in the past. All the nasty stuff you did not know about, is clear justification for finally stepping in and saying, "This is what is ordered. Therefore this is where the borders are."'

    And on top of it all, dump him right in it on the subject of his long-term coercion of her, to be as masculine as possible. A father who sulks because his daughter chooses to look like - well, a daughter - he has serious problems that a judge needs to know about.

    The other thing to consider - you know about the tomboy clothes now. But she kept that secret from you. What else has she kept from you? I'm not saying he has done anything illegal, but he sounds like a bully and master manipulator, so it's almost certain that there are other secrets he has made her keep, in terms of his bad behaviour towards her, and his manipulation.

    Time for it all to come out.

  9. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Awful on his part for making her want to please him by wearing boy clothes. In fact, just feeling like she has to please him at all....ugh!

    However, I feel like he is still a person in her life that loves her and would die for her. He was teaching her about bullies and I am sure there have been other good-dad moments.

    Who knows, maybe her acting like she liked it made him buy those clothes feeling like it was her preference. May never know.

    The point is he is unreasonable and 'stuck' as easy child put it. He just can not stand for you to have your way - even if it is better for him. Funny, I am sure he has never thought about what 'your way' would have been all these years. Selfish man.

    Your daughter expresses herself well. I hope she learns from this that she should not keep it all inside in the future. She is perfectly capable of having a conversation with a rational adult. I guess that is why she kept it deep down inside - he is not rational.
  10. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    Thank you again everyone.

    Re: the boy's clothes ... I've spoken quite a lot this weekend with easy child. Most definitely it was a 'subtle' process that her father used and yes, she did enjoy the whole "tom boy" thing ... for a while. She was in hockey at age 4. It became a huge bond between her and her father. Three times a week at least they'd be at the rink and he volunteer coached each season. He also volunteered as the photographer for the entire league as well as throwing a end of the year team party including paying for ice team for a team skate before the party (to let them skate for fun before the season was officially over and the girls would all be on new teams the following season). easy child says she really has enjoyed those years doing this, and it seems normal for her to dress more tom boy'ish as she always bonded with boys and not much with girls, and she was always interested in the sports with boys at recess instead of dolls or skipping rope with girls etc. However she said that the past year or two she's tried to get her dad to recognize that she is no longer feeling that way, and that while she tried to become more girly, her father increasingly purchased more boys clothes etc. She said he clearly knew this was no longer her preference and she was embarassed to wear some stuff he bought her. She's pretty miffed about that and I don't blame her.

    All the boys clothes are gone. I had forbidden (first time I stood ground) any back to school shopping that included boy clothes, and for the first time her father did buy her clothes in August that were girls clothes. But the past few weeks she'd wear girls clothes to his house, he'd bring her to school next morning and she'd come home wearing boys clothes he wanted her to wear. She and I are going out this coming weekend to do more girl clothes shopping. I put a sealed envelope in her school bag this morning for her father, since she will be picked up by her father after school tonight. In the envelope is a copy of a short email I sent him, to ensure he gets the letter but have email proof as well as to what was said. Basically it just stated that all boys clothes he'd purchased have been donated to charity and under no circumstances should easy child ever be given or asked to wear or at all implied she should wear, boys clothes. That he should never discuss this with her unless and limited to a brief conversation where he apologizes for not seeing her as the beautiful budding young woman she is, and i encouraged such a apology as easy child has been very hurt and deserves to know she is valued as his daughter and not required to meet any personal desires for a "son".

    easy child had a good weekend. My mother in law drove down in her car from out of town Saturday along with S/O's aunt and uncle (who never travel so was a delightful gift almost to have them travel to see us). They followed behind my brother in law and nephew who drove down my new VAN that I purchased and brother in law was kind enough to transport since it came from his area. My first ever vehicle, at my age to boot. I'm quite thrilled to say the least! easy child enjoyed the visit and she is super excited that we'll finally have our own transportation. She asked me if this means we dont' have to "rely" on her dad for picking her up for swim classes on her nights home with me etc. I assured her that once I do the change of ownership, get my own plates, certify the van etc most definitely I will enjoy taking her to and from her activities. She then asked if she stands up to herself to her dad if things seem wrong during a visit, if I can pick her up, then she asked if she could get a prepaid cell phone for calling home if she needs to without having to ask her father to use the phone to call me. *Gulp* I picked up a cell cheap today at Walmart and put some minutes on it.

    She didn't want to go to her fathers tonight. Problem is she has to. It is not his night as per our court order, this is a additional night among several we added in over the years. However since the precedent has been there for years, a judge will look poorly on me for stopping the visit if/when we end up in court. So I had to talk with her about going for the visit. She can call home if he crosses a line and we also discussed that she really should come to me when something feels wrong etc. That there is nothing she can't tell me and no problem I can't help her sort out so long as I know it is a problem. We have a understanding that I feel good about and she seems relieved to once again be assured she has a open line of communication with me.

    I of course have had no response to either email I had to send DEX. I didn't expect one. I suppose I will know this week what he's planning but since its in the open with easy child anyhow, I have thought it out and really hope he files for court. I would appreciate a judge to speak to and a change to our court order. I plan to also limit his access to the court documents if we go back to court. Any additional days can be added as per easy child's wishes but not as a permenent thing that must happen each week and this way we can change our plans when we need to without this hassle.

    I am fairly confident that there isn't much more going on that easy child isnt talking about. She did open up that she is concerned her father and his wife are struggling (relationship wise) and she feels tension when visiting there and it really bothers her.
  11. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I completely understand your anger. Like you, I spent years maintaining a good working relationship with the kids Dad
    and repeatedly he did or said things that really hurt their feelings. Finally after thirty years I lost it with him and told him how I really felt. Even though it was nice to vent it still makes me sad that my adult children don't have a set of civil parents....they communicate with him when they want to and don't mention him around me almost at all. It's very sad
    when biological parents put themselves above their chilren. There is comfort in knowing you did (and are doing) the best you can. Your daughter is secure in your love. DDD
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hugs to you and your daughter. We still have fallout from the open warfare that began about 8 years ago...