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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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Author Topic: You can go but you better not!  (Read 9916 times)
Guts42
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« Reply #180 on: June 26, 2021, 09:51:57 AM »

GaGrl... my wife recently pushed for a neuro evaluation on my D.  It came back with some minor diagnosis that supposedly affects her ability to understand and respond to social queues... I'm beginning to think that she just been conditioned to doubt herself so much she freezes and doesn't know what to do.
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« Reply #181 on: June 26, 2021, 12:11:40 PM »


Have you discussed this manipulation with the kids counselors?

Best,

FF
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GaGrl
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« Reply #182 on: June 26, 2021, 12:17:06 PM »

GaGrl... my wife recently pushed for a neuro evaluation on my D.  It came back with some minor diagnosis that supposedly affects her ability to understand and respond to social queues... I'm beginning to think that she just been conditioned to doubt herself so much she freezes and doesn't know what to do.

That's a good insight. I agree that is probably what is happening. Your D has been given social cues by your wife for years, and she now has a different set of social cues coming from teachers, friends, dance instructors, etc. But if she knows her responses won't meet with her mother's approval, or will result in the type of manipulative conversations you describe, then R will question every interaction or request of decision she makes.

My H was married to his uBPD/NPD ex for many, many years. His daughter was shy and timid about decision-making, lacking in self-confidence.  In her teens, she shifted to a defiant attitude with her mother -- then the fireworks started. She is 40 years old now and has learned to have a workable relationship with her mother. Her mother has not changed in the least (if anything, she has deteriorated and become more paranoid) -- the only change came from my SD's ability to define and hold boundaries.
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Guts42
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« Reply #183 on: June 26, 2021, 02:12:42 PM »

Have you discussed this manipulation with the kids counselors?

Best,

FF

I was privy to a bit of information I don't think I should have been told but nonetheless...
Apparently my uBPD wife is known between a few therapists (mine, the kids', and perhaps one other) as an "emotional f@cking vampire."
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« Reply #184 on: June 26, 2021, 04:05:35 PM »

Guts, I am sorry you are dealing with this. From the mom perspective this doesn't make sense. Does your wife have any friends who are your kids' friends' moms? Because I did most of the child care and activities on my own when the kids were young. At something like a game or camp as you described, there would be other moms there and we'd hang out together. Yes, there were also some dads too so it's not making sense this "not allowing you to go".

Looks like your wife played the same thing as she did with you about the dance camp. "It's up to you but you better not go" And how does a kid come up with being concerned about "overdoing it" if she does dance camp a few days in a row? Kids that age are energizer bunnies. They don't stop. And if they do get tired, they sleep it off and are fine the next day. This did not come from her.

Sounds like your kids have some allergies and maybe exercise induced asthma? But this doesn't stop kids. It's treatable. They bring their inhaler with them to sports and dance events. Unless they are truly sick and need something more, they can do things other kids can do.

As to the evaluation. I think there might be some investment in there being "something wrong" with the kids for their anxiety because, that way, nobody would think it was her. My BPD mother has presented me as "the problem" between us, even convincing her relatives there is some kind of issue with me. She seemed quite pleased when I went to counseling, because that gave the premise it was me. However, the counselor knew the reason was the issues at home between my parents.

I am glad your kids are in therapy. Seems the therapists are "on to" your wife. If she gets that idea- she is likely to paint them black. Preserving the illusion that "mother is fine" was the #1 goal in our family. We did not dare insinuate she might be the reason for any issues. Therapy has failed with her because she convinces the therapists that she is a victim of her family members' issues.


It might help to not focus on the issue at the moment, but the patterns- the way your wife manipulates, and how she does it. In addition, your patterns in this- how you respond to your wife's behaviors can be revealing as then you can decide on your part in this.

I think it's also important to be aware of the effect of these manipulations on your children.
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« Reply #185 on: June 26, 2021, 05:05:54 PM »

It is absolutely manipulation.

In addition, your wife is planting seeds of self-doubt in your daughter, such that your D won't trust her own judgement and inner voice, or even what her physical body is telling her (am I sick of not). This is a critical period for your daughter -- she needs to be able to live her own authentic life.

Right now, no one in your household is being allowed to live an authentic life.

In case you missed my prior movie recommendation...
Have you ever watched the 1944 movie Gaslight?  This clueless young woman is romanced by this man who she doesn't realize is a criminal, he adjusts the gas lights up and down and questions her sanity when she remarks the gas light did dim up and down.  He's got her to the point where she even doubts her own sanity.

Sound familiar?  You can't continue living like that.  You really are "reasonably normal".  It's her, not you.  You have to decide what to do about it because your family life is becoming dysfunctional and there's no indication here she'll change.

The kid's T's have a big task ahead of them.  Are they making any suggestions?  This is why so many here, faced with a spouse who won't change poor behaviors or even ramps them up, end up divorcing.  In such cases that's the only way to get distance from the damaging dysfunction.
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Guts42
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« Reply #186 on: June 26, 2021, 05:33:56 PM »

ForeverDad, I'm hoping to carve out some time to watch it in pieces on my phone/computer over the next week!

And I feel like I've made my decision... just waiting for the ebook version of "Splitting" to come out on July 1st.
Thinking back, she's been playing this 'game' with me the entirety of our relationship.  My friends even had a running joke that my wife only asked for my opinion because she wanted another opportunity to tell me I'm wrong.

I should be getting a call from my case manager early this week to figure how to move forward.

In a blood curdling exchange she asked how my friends were doing at the cabin and wanted to make sure I wasn't having too much "FOMO."  Apparently that means "fear of missing out."  She said it slyly with a very thinly veiled smirk.

NotWendy - it's like that scene in "Labyrinth" were Jennifer Connelly sees the illusion of the wall in front of her.  A slight camera shift to the right and you can't see the illusion anymore.  I feel like all the years of manipulation are becoming very clear now and it's heartbreaking.  I thought that things had just escalated to 'abuse' just recently.  While there's some truth that she's been more confrontational as I've put up boundaries this is the way it's "always" been with her.

Playing an adult because you're scared of being alone is one thing... heck even using the kids to an extent is understandable (not okay but it makes sense from her perspective).  However between convincing the kids they're sick and then gaslighting my daughter into not doing something she wanted to do... that's unforgivable.  That's sick.

At this point, she's either totally unaware of what she's doing and needs serious inpatient care.
Or she's totally aware... I'm not sure which is worse.

Keeping this sort of public journal here as a record for me.  Apologies for rambling and generating a thread this long.  I didn't intend to I really thought this would blow over and I'd go on my trip.  I never imagined she'd go this far.
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« Reply #187 on: June 26, 2021, 07:22:42 PM »

Guts-  it’s a shock to see the manipulation. It’s very easy to slip into denial - especially when it’s a learned response from childhood. ( your family pattern growing up). It’s also hard when the “good “ side of them appears.

My own discovery was in increments. It was hard to realize just how far my own mother could go in her manipulations.

Self care is important. It’s good you are standing up for your kids.
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Ventak
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« Reply #188 on: June 26, 2021, 09:14:34 PM »

Guts, this isn't aimed specifically at you, more of a general question that pertains to your experience so I'm framing it as a question to you... if that makes sense.

On one hand, as you are writing the events of your life, you are constantly bullied into the most accommodating behaviors.  I can relate as I am easily led into accommodation.  Manipulation doesn't work that well on me, but if she asks (or demands) I will find a way to say yes.

On the other hand, you write about having "made the decision", that it is "only a matter of time".  Which implies that you plan to separate and/or divorce.

These two seem incompatible to me.  I would expect that once a person resolves to leave they would no longer be accommodating to the bullying... I'm hoping you and others can help me sort that out.

The reason I bring it up is that with my first wife (NPD not BPD) I was always resolved to leave when the time was right (After the holidays, after her birthday, after the Vikings win the super bowl, etc.).  Twenty-six years later the time was finally right... and I'm hoping you aren't in that same cycle I found myself in.

Best,
Ventak
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Guts42
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« Reply #189 on: June 26, 2021, 10:39:52 PM »

Hi Ventak,

I know, it seemed conflicting and to be fair when I started this thread I really was flip flopping.

It may not be the best mindset but I'm in data gathering mode, building my case while trying to stay out of the of incoming trains and minimize the damage where I can, especially for the kids.

Her rage and manipulation are inevitable.
After this episode with the children's health it's time.
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« Reply #190 on: June 26, 2021, 11:12:24 PM »

I agree... and I wish you luck.
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Guts42
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« Reply #191 on: June 27, 2021, 05:57:57 AM »

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4843908/

Both kids had low grade fevers for about 24 hours... then my son had an acute panic attack about getting sicker and the got sick.

Just realized she makes them a homemade cough syrup.  She made the first batch while I was at the Aunt's.  She made another batch yesterday while I was home and both kids said this new one tasted different (worse)... they slept through the night just fine.
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« Reply #192 on: June 27, 2021, 06:51:28 AM »


What is in the homemade cough syrup?

I think you  should explicitly ask your doctor about the wisdom of creating remedies like this and only go with store bought cough syrups and other things.

 Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post) Red flag/bad  (click to insert in post)

Again...I think blood tests are in order...


Best,

FF

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« Reply #193 on: June 27, 2021, 07:29:23 AM »

I'd want to know what is in that home made cough syrup.

Recipes like only honey and lemon or other fruit juice are fine but I would want to know there isn't anything else in it -especially any medication as there is no dose control with home made syrup.

As to the wavering back and forth- both staying and leaving are not easy decisions. Each person makes their own choice in their own time. I do get what Ventak says- waiting for the right time- there may not be an easy time- I think it's more about making the decision and then following through with it.

Keep in mind that anything you work on yourself for- gaining better skills to manage drama- are going to benefit you whatever you decide. The two of you are still in a parenting relationship whether or not you remain married.

However, I would suggest looking into issues involving the children and their safety.
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« Reply #194 on: June 27, 2021, 07:53:56 AM »

Hi Guts42, I mainly lurk, but have been following your story from the beginning.  What I'm going to say does not negate the fact that I completely agree with the other posters that it is vitally important to find out what was in that cough syrup.  I did want to mention my experience growing up and getting sick often...  My dad developed a drinking problem when I was around 9* (he had no PD traits at all, "just" drinking).  He didn't drink all the time, but when he did, it was binging for 3-5 days at a time.  By the time I was 10-ish, I was so sensitive to everything going on in the house.  I could tell what was going on based on the cadence of the hum of my parents voices downstairs when I was in bed; the way my dad would walk down the stairs, etc.  Anyway, when I could tell things were going downhill, I would get sick.  High fever, sore throat, nausea.  Can't tell you how many times my mom had me at the doctors getting step tests (always negative).  I believe the anxiety from the fear of my dad's drinking, or the thought that he might start drinking, triggered a physical response and I got sick.  When I was 11, I missed 37 days of school due to illness (they only let me pass to the next grade because the good little perfectionist in me got straight As).  When I finally told my mom years later all the little things I would listen for and observe, she was shocked - I did it very quietly and kept it all to myself.  I don't remember how old you said your kids were, but I wouldn't put it out of the realm of possibility that they're a lot more in tune to what's going on.  Even more so, the extreme manipulation you describe could make their little bodies have a physical response to the anxiety they feel and not fully show.  Again - in NO WAY am I suggesting you don't get to the bottom of what is in that cough syrup.  I just wanted to add my experience in case it helps any.

*I do want to add that my dad got sober for good in my early teens. Still, when I look back I laugh at myself for wondering how I ended up with an H with BPD traits...  The seeds of my hyper-awareness of others feelings and trying to sooth them had been sowed when I was little.  I wish I had taken up my mom on her offers to send me to Al-Anon.  I'm so glad your kids are in therapy!
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« Reply #195 on: June 27, 2021, 01:13:47 PM »

Lemon juice
Olive oil
Honey
A few essential oils...

As is typical, she's not processing her own emotions so she's hounding me to sort them out for her.
"I just want to make sure you're not mad at me!"
"No, I'm just sad.  My friends are sending updates and pictures which is fun but it also kinda sucks."
"Yeah fair enough - I just want to make sure you don't blame me for this!"
"No... I don't know how you could've given the kids a fever"
"Well even if I could, I wouldn't make them sick!"
"I know you wouldn't, I'm just saying that on top of that, logically there's no way you're responsible for it"
"Okay, you know what?!  I'm just going to back off!!" (and she puts her hands up as her voice turns a bit shrill)
I shrug, "I think I'm allowed to be a little sad, I'm fine, just a little sad that's all"
"Well you're scaring me and I'm worried.  This is how YOU get before we fight and I'm worried we're going to fight.  I don't want to fight!!"
"Me neither- that would suck.  I don't think that's what's happening here."
"I'm just feeling insecure and scared and I want you to hold me."

... black belt level reversal there...
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« Reply #196 on: June 27, 2021, 01:45:28 PM »

It just occurred to me that the coincidental timing of your kids' illness with your planned departure may not be coincidental at all. And it may have been their mother who made them sick, but not in the way you're thinking.

If they're having a stress response, it makes perfect sense for them to get sick right when you were planning to leave. I agree with other posters who have commented that they may know more than they let on. They likely knew that dad going away might trigger dysregulation for mom, and they were stressed about it. In a way, they might have wanted to keep you home as well, so you can continue to manage mom's emotions so they didn't spill out on the entire family. I don't think this was deliberate or malicious on their part, just a trained response. It seems your whole family has been conditioned to revolve around mom's moods and anxieties.

I wonder if their therapist could get your kids to talk about what their emotions were like when you were on the verge of leaving.

I am confused about what happened with your daughter's dance weekend. I get mom canceling it initially, because mom has no faith in her ability to cope when you aren't around. But when you ended up staying home, I don't know why mom didn't let your daughter attend both days of camp. You could have driven her there, right? It seems malicious on mom's part to manipulate daughter out of the second day of camp, unless there's some other element to it that I am missing.
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« Reply #197 on: June 27, 2021, 01:45:36 PM »

I would be sure to check on those essential oils. Some people see them as safe, healthy substances but when used incorrectly or in small children, they can cause problems — like triggering asthma attacks.
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« Reply #198 on: June 27, 2021, 03:11:03 PM »


I don't think you should be dishonest with your wife about your feelings when she asks.

You are mad..right?  In addition to being sad? 

Lots going on in this thread.    I can't imagine that it is any good for you guys to keep giving "concoctions" to the kids...even if the "should" be safe.

Can you get your doctor to weigh in on this?

Best,

FF
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« Reply #199 on: June 28, 2021, 05:24:03 AM »

Sometimes the big blow ups serve as an emotional release for uncomfortable emotions. She may actually try to incite one "are you sure you aren't mad at me?" because if you said "yes" you know what happens next.

After a blow up, things seem better for her when the emotions are released, but you likely feel like cr*p for loosing control and she feels like a victim because you got angry at her.

Again I don't think it's harm she seeks but the emotion relief.

We call this in our co-dependent 12 step groups " an invitation to the crazy party" that we also are responsible for participating in.

You don't have to accept the invitation and you can keep your cool if you deal with your own feelings and let her deal with hers.

The acronym "HALT" tells us when not to engage in emotional discussions and to take on self care. Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. You can add sad and upset to this. When you feel these feelings- it is time for you to back off and take care of you.

Phrases to say when "invited" like this are:

"I am not able to discuss this right now"
"I need to collect my thoughts."


The key is the "I" statement- do not use the word "you". The "I" is about owning your feelings. "You" is very triggering and will send you both off to argue.

You may have to repeat yourself several times and a good rule of thumb is to leave the room if you start feeling agitated.

This is not the expected pattern- the two of you are probably used to a big blow up and then a kiss and make up. This is one step to change that.

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« Reply #200 on: June 28, 2021, 07:49:20 AM »


Maybe some nuance here...

1.  Notwendy's point is critically important.  Collect yourself so that you are no part of crazy party..when expressing your emotions.  Your pwBPD may still try to have a party...but that's on her..not you.

2.  To my point of being honest about emotions, especially when asked.  If you are angry..it's important to say so..but not in an angry way.  Anger is another way of your emotions showing you something that is really important to you.

3.  My point about not letting her off the hook for YOUR emotions...(saying you  were "only sad"...and no anger) is perhaps part of you trying to manage her emotions by "being dishonest" about your feelings.  Circle back to point 1.  Timing does matter..but "hiding" her or "protecting" her from the natural consequences of her actions is likely not wise.


Best,

FF
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« Reply #201 on: June 28, 2021, 08:37:04 AM »

Yes, anger is nuanced.

First you must be honest with yourself- if you are angry, own that.

Don't say "you made me angry".


If you are angry in the moment, think of HALT. That is not the time to say anything. Keeping honesty in mind, don't deny your anger, but know that NOW is not the time to discuss it because you don't have a complete grip on yourself.

Anger is said to loosen our inhibitions and when we are angry we don't have good emotional control.

You deal with your anger. Take a walk, listen to music, calm down however you can.

Identify the feeling more clearly. Yes, you are angry but she's going to make the premise that it isn't her fault the kids got sick, then accuse you of being an ogre for blaming the kids as it's not their fault they got sick.

Consider these "I" statements:  "I am disappointed to not go on the trip. I am angry that it didn't work out" Don't use the word "you" or "the kids".

Expect her to dysregulate and go into victim mode. Be prepared to stay calm when this happens. Victim mode absolves her of any responsibility. Her main goal is to not have you blame her. Keep this in mind. Do not expect her to own any of her behavior or apologize. You need to stay calm while she gets upset and blames you. She may say anything in this moment, really hurtful things. You can not let them get to you. This is the invitation to crazy. When you don't join in, she is left with her own feelings. This is how she handles them- but if you don't react, they will be left in her realm.

You need to have calmed your own emotions down first before you consider this.

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« Reply #202 on: June 30, 2021, 03:42:19 PM »

This'll be my last post on this topic since I think it's run its course...

My uBPDw suggested I reschedule for a specific weekend.  Last night she asked how 'set in stone' those plans were.
She and her friends want to do a girls' weekend and it just so happens that the only weekend they can all do is... that weekend.
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« Reply #203 on: July 01, 2021, 06:22:18 AM »

I think it's clear what her intentions are ( for you to not go on the trip)

But you can't blame her of course, so she will find other ways to do this indirectly. ( kids, kids get sick, trip...)

I think you have seen this, and know how it goes. Your trip would need to be planned without relying on her as she can always come up with some reason for you not to go.


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« Reply #204 on: July 01, 2021, 11:17:36 AM »


Please don't validate or participate in any way in "she goes on trips and I bend over backwards for this to happen and she torpedoes all my trips."

You have to be careful how to handle this because "tit for tat" isn't good either.

Best,

FF
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« Reply #205 on: July 01, 2021, 11:01:42 PM »

I think it's clear what her intentions are ( for you to not go on the trip)

And if you plan to defuse her obstruction by taking the kids with you (which I had been thinking as an option) then she 'd likely still try to sabotage you.
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« Reply #206 on: July 02, 2021, 07:08:30 AM »

And if you plan to defuse her obstruction by taking the kids with you (which I had been thinking as an option) then she 'd likely still try to sabotage you.

Oh yeah, I brought that up earlier in the trip discussion.  Her response was a simple heated statement through her gritted teeth: "You're NOT taking them away from me!  I go where they go!"
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« Reply #207 on: July 02, 2021, 07:36:54 AM »

I don't think a sense of fairness on your part is achievable in this situation. When someone is in victim position, their sense of fairness and reciprocity is skewed- to being unfair to them no matter what. So if you did the dishes 364 days in the year and on one day asked her to do them, it would still be unfair to her.

So no matter how much you accommodate her trip, your trip plans will be an imposition in her mind.

In addition to victim thinking, there can be a hidden agenda, not related to the trip but a fear that may be enhanced by the trip. You may not ever know what that is.

However, shared parenting and reciprocity can only happen between adults.

It may be that shared parenting is not possible because it takes an emotional adult to be a parent. This trip may not be possible while your children still need parental care. Consider that you are the only adult in the home ( on an emotional level) and you can not leave your children without adult supervision.
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Relationship status: Married
Posts: 148


« Reply #208 on: July 02, 2021, 10:03:32 AM »

NotWendy, you are precisely correct!
She is does not have the emotional capacity of an adult and I cannot leave then in her care for longer than a few hours.

That's ultimately why I canceled my trip.  It would be irresponsible of me to leave them in her care overnight.

I won't be making any visits anytime soon.  I'm not even going to fein making plans for my trip.
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Gender: Male
What is your sexual orientation: Straight
Who in your life has "personality" issues: Romantic partner
Relationship status: Married
Posts: 19039



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« Reply #209 on: July 02, 2021, 10:17:35 AM »

Oh yeah, I brought that up earlier in the trip discussion.  Her response was a simple heated statement through her gritted teeth: "You're NOT taking them away from me!  I go where they go!"

So...what does this mean?

Have you ever gone somewhere with the children and WITHOUT her?  If so..for how long?

On this proposed girlfriend away weekend, what is the plan for childcare?  (apologies if I've missed it or perhaps misinterpreted earlier stuff)

This seems like something to discuss openly with the children's therapists.  In a sense of curiosity. 

Best,

FF
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