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VIDEO: "What is parental alienation?" Parental alienation is when a parent allows a child to participate or hear them degrade the other parent. This is not uncommon in divorces and the children often adjust. In severe cases, however, it can be devastating to the child. This video provides a helpful overview.
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Frankee
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« on: June 12, 2019, 11:00:35 AM »

I am in a bit of a dilemma.  Father's Day is coming up this Sunday and I have been thinking about this before I left my H.  I have been milling over this for some time and trying to decide what I want to do.  Even with things being the way they are between my H and myself, I still want to do what is right.  Even though the youngest is 3, I know he would still like to see his Daddy and looking back, it would haunt me if I prevented him from seeing his father on Father's Day.  My H went out of his way for mother's day, even with us being a bad terms at the time.  (At least from my perspective).

My H has been quiet during this separation.  I saw his brother yesterday and his brother wasn't going to say anything, but said my H was pretty beat up about it. 

I know that my H will need to return our 3 year old.  He has to work the next day, doesn't have daycare, and has nobody else to watch him, especially since he leaves at 3am for work.

As much as I am thinking of staying with my little one for supervision, I have a feeling my H would spend the entire time trying to "work things out" instead of spending time with our son.  I was thinking of meeting up at a public place to let him pick him up for a few hours without me.  I am treading carefully and thinking a lot about this situation.
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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2019, 12:12:59 PM »

Evidently there are no orders yet but all states surely include Mothers Day and Fathers Day in the list of holidays that are structured in parenting plans.

A meet or exchange at a neutral or public place would be wise.  Whether it be one of his relative's homes or a public place such as a park or child-friendly restaurant is up to you to determine.  It sounds like he's unlikely to cause incidents — and hence probably no actual need for supervision? — and your biggest concern is not getting Fathers Day morphed into Spouse Day.  So I agree that parsing it in your mind as structured child exchanges is the better way to go.

Is your concern that dad probably won't be able to handle a long visit?  Then when you set a return time just be sure to let him know that's flexible if the visit turns out to be shorter.  Around here we try to make sure that our members don't force the other parents to parent.  If it turns out to be less, that's okay.  We can't and shouldn't make the other parent feel stuck parenting if that's outside their comfort zone or ability.

If shorter visits are better for dad, then that's something to be worked out and then recorded in any temp orders.  In my temp orders (I had two) I was assigned long 3 day (72 hour) alternating weekends.  Many ex-spouses can't handle that much.  Ponder what makes sense for your family's circumstances.  Maybe a Saturday or Sunday with no overnights?  Maybe Saturday to Sunday PM?
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livednlearned
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2019, 12:32:11 PM »

Has he asked to see S3 for Father's Day?
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Frankee
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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2019, 03:31:42 PM »

Has he asked to see S3 for Father's Day?
He hasn't yet.  I have been wondering if he is waiting for me to initiate the exchange.  I feel like he doesn't want to push anything.  I told him I would never prevent him from seeing either of the kids.  The older son is on summer vacation.
It sounds like he's unlikely to cause incidents — and hence probably no actual need for supervision? — and your biggest concern is not getting Fathers Day morphed into Spouse Day.  So I agree that parsing it in your mind as structured child exchanges is the better way to go.

Is your concern that dad probably won't be able to handle a long visit?

If shorter visits are better for dad, then that's something to be worked out and then recorded in any temp orders. 
I want to give him the benefit of a doubt and let him spend unsupervised visit with S3.  He hasn't acted crazy or angry since I left (last Friday).  He's just been saying that he loves me, he won't come after me, he's worried, he's not angry, just sad.  I hope he is true to his word about not becoming angry or causing a scene.

I am not too concerned about the length of the visit, I know he could handle over night or two.  I am worried he is going to try to talk to me, try to work it out, make more hallow promises again how everything is going to be different, spout off empty I love you's.  He needs to worry about our son, not me.   Then again, I may be surprised and he might just leave it alone.  I honestly don't know what he would do at this point.  He hasn't behaved at all like I expected, which has made it easier to move forward, but harder to anticipate his next move.
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livednlearned
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2019, 04:39:20 PM »

How would you feel about letting him initiate the request?

And letting it go if he doesn't?
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2019, 04:53:01 PM »

It's not like a 3 year old child will be devastated to miss Fathers Day.  That's probably a holiday and concept that's not in his world.  Has he been asking for dad?  If it's not a big thing for him , then it's not a big thing for you.

I recall my own separation.  (My spouse was removed by the police for Threat of DV charge.)  I had my 3 year old son that first week.  Twice he woke up and asked about his mother, I simply said she's not here.  That was it.  Nothing more.  He was just fine with that.  In fact, in those early days I was freaking out, tried to be overly-fair and so I mentioned her, but he immediately changed the subject.  I didn't block her but realized I could just let it go.

Just be prepared for whatever happens, or not.  However you already know that if you go back things will return to how they were sooner or later, regardless of the promises he makes.  He will have to make deep changes to his behaviors and underlying perceptions.  Can you make that your "boundary"?  As in, You will need to start therapy, stick with it indefinitely (even years) and apply it diligently in your life, thinking and perceptions.  Since he is likely to downplay any issues, another condition may be that you should have some input to the therapist so the therapist doesn't get led down he wrong path.

Here is a prior post about boundaries, just switch the 'her' for 'him'.

Have you read Henry Cloud's Boundaries?

Boundaries are for you, not her.  You already know you can't tell her what to do or not do.  You can't force her to do or not do something, your power is in your response.  However, what can and does work (though there are limits) is something like this... .
"If you do or don't do ___ then I will do or not do ___."

Examples:
If you start blocking me from our kids... .
... .then I will enforce the parenting schedule, in court if that's what it takes.
If you want extra time for ___... .
... .then I may allow it but with a trade for equivalent time for ___.

When done right "if... .then... ." is powerful.  It took me years to figure how to make boundaries such as these.

Oh, and since this would be a change to your behavior pattern, expect her to flame out with extinction bursts in attempts to make you retreat back into prior compliant, appeasing actions.  She may never fully accept that you will run your own life, but in time she ought to realize you're not acquiescing to her demands as before and not push your boundaries as relentlessly.
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Frankee
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« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2019, 09:54:38 PM »

Has he been asking for dad?  If it's not a big thing for him , then it's not a big thing for you.
There were a couple times he saw different men that looked like his dad and he shouted Daddy and pointed.  Once he saw it wasn't, he carried on.
However you already know that if you go back things will return to how they were sooner or later, regardless of the promises he makes.  He will have to make deep changes to his behaviors and underlying perceptions.
That's not going to happen.  I already left him once a year and a half ago.  The saying.. fool me once, shame on you.. fool me twice, shame on me.  Would definitely be written on my forehead if I ever went back.  I emotionally checked out of the marriage months ago.  Just took me that time to accept my reality and finally do something about it.

I've been posting on the Conflicted/Tolerating board for a couple years and then just a few days ago switched to the Detaching board.  I am so much more happy now that I have left him. 

I tried for years to help him.  He drove me to such severe depression, I attempted suicide  almost 4 years ago, he's beaten me, given me a black eye, held me hostage for days and made me miss work because of it, etc. etc..  Not to mention all the emotional and mental abuse, and causing me to have anxiety attack that put me in the hospital, right before my cancer surgery..... Nothing he can say now could ever change my mind, it would just be a severe aggravation to have to listen to it.
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« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2019, 11:40:01 PM »

My custody stipulation in California didn't mention father's or mother's days. But you're not there yet.  Feelings are raw on both sides and I think FD's suggestion to be wary about this turning into "spouses' day" is valid. That's a real concern at this point. 

Even so,  if you trust him with S3, let him have the day, and exchange in a public place like you are thinking.  If you don't, then supervise in a very public place.
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« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2019, 01:12:57 AM »

My caution is without a legal custody arrangement, your h is free to do what he wants once he has your son. He wouldn't have to return your son if he didn't want to, and he could also legally leave the state. You would have no legal recourse if that were to happen.
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livednlearned
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« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2019, 06:49:17 AM »

Like empath points out, right now there are some legal pieces not yet in place. Even if your ex keeps S3 longer than you expected and eventually returns him, he has engaged you and turned it into a spousal issue.

What do you think about healing up a bit and giving yourself some breathing room before giving freely.  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)

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Frankee
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« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2019, 01:09:17 PM »

He wouldn't have to return your son if he didn't want to, and he could also legally leave the state. You would have no legal recourse if that were to happen.
This has crossed my mind more than once and I am not really sure whether or not he would do something that crazy to be honest.
Like empath points out, right now there are some legal pieces not yet in place. Even if your ex keeps S3 longer than you expected and eventually returns him, he has engaged you and turned it into a spousal issue.

What do you think about healing up a bit and giving yourself some breathing room before giving freely.  Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
I haven't received a reply about the visit on Father's day.  I know he received the message because after I messaged about a bill, he sent this.

I'm sorry to bother you, I know you need space. I'm just having a hard day. I agree with you that we need time apart, and I'm not angry at you. But your my wife, and I know this is worth fixing. I'm never going to give up on that. I have some ideas when your ready to hear them. I know we can overcome our past, we've made such great strides. I'll do whatever it takes, whatever you need. I love you with all my heart and soul. And no matter what we have to overcome, that'll never change.

Now I am having second thoughts about visitation on Father's Day.  He clearly ignored the message asking him if he wanted to see our son and skipped right to that.  I am not going to say anything else about it.  I sucked it up and try to be the bigger person to let him see S3 and he has said nothing about it.  My conscience is clear because I put it out there and he has not replied or acknowledge it.

I also felt nothing when he sent it as it all fell on deaf ears.  I gave him so many chances and I am not giving anymore because I no longer love him.  I care about his well being, but that is about it.
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« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2019, 05:20:47 PM »


Hey Frankee,

I'm going to say that without a legal custody agreement (approved by your lawyer)...I can't imagine it being wise to let him have alone/unrestricted time with your son.

I say the following not to "doubletalk"..but to explain my point.  The first time would likely go fine, then another reason...likely fine too.  At some point he will dysregulate....as you know, the sky is the limit.

Yes...that could happen with a legal custody agreement too, yet there is legal backing and less legal cost involved to you to "undo" things.

Is the risk worth it?

Asked another way...what benefit would accrue from giving him access?

Is that benefit worth the potential cost?

Best,

FF
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« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2019, 06:13:21 PM »

I was on the fence until I read he went straight to the relationship promises...probably not a good idea to put your son in a position of being used as a pawn in a bigger game.
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« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2019, 02:26:23 PM »

Is the risk worth it?

Asked another way...what benefit would accrue from giving him access?

Is that benefit worth the potential cost?
I decided against it.  I have put it out there, he ignores it, case closed.  That and after that message, I am deciding against it.  He hasn't asked one time about S3.  Not how is he doing, is he okay, when can I see him.  My S3 hasn't been having a difficult time so it's made it real easy.

I have Monday off.  I am going to see if I can meet with legal about getting a custody arrangement set in motion.  S8 isn't even here, so he wasn't spending father's day with him either.  The part of me that wants to be mature about this is a bit upset that H will be alone on Father's day.  But I made the offer, no response, that's all I can do.
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« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2019, 04:52:46 PM »

The part of me that wants to be mature about this is a bit upset that H will be alone on Father's day.

He is alone on Father's Day because of his own actions, not your's.

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Frankee
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« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2019, 10:24:00 PM »

He is alone on Father's Day because of his own actions, not your's.
I appreciate that reassurance.  I was thinking that way, but I wasn't trying to be Petty about it.

It is honestly crazy how little I think of my H.  I think I actually went all day without even wondering how he was doing.  I have been so busy trying to get myself settled and set up to be on my own.  One of the biggest feelings I have is not constantly worrying about something I am doing that might set him off, not having to always be on guard I won't upset him for whatever small infraction he felt.

S3 has been doing well.  I know when S8 comes back, it will probably start to be more challenging.  He is more outspoken and verbal when he doesn't like something.

Either way, Father's day is now shut down.  Still haven't heard anything, so it will just be another day S3 and myself.
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