every time my daughter spends time w/her father she comes home crying . . .

Debi - posted on 08/02/2014 ( 1 mom has responded )




He went to jail about 6 months after she was born, then came home when she was almost 3. At age 4, he left and moved in w/a girl he had just met. There was much hostility, as you can imagine, and unfortunately my daughter witnessed a lot of "roller coaster" behavior from me, crying, anger, depression, etc. It only took one time when she overheard me saying something bad about her dad and she yelled at me not to say mean things about her dad, and I stopped. He stayed with that girl for a few years and eventually moved out of state w/her. Throughout the time, my daughter did not see or talk w/him because the girlfriend didn't allow it. Eventually, they broke up and he moved back to town when she was 8.

Occasionally, he saw her (birthdays, holidays, stopped by a few minutes here and there, etc.) but never spent something. enough time to really get to know her and every single time he saw her, he criticized her. Whether her hair was too messy, or she looked dumpy, or her clothes weren't right, or something. He never came w/compliments or positveness, always negative. He says she's lazy, get's mad at her when she doesn't participate in things she fears, and yells at her for not trying.

My daughter has severe balance issues which stems from her ears (long story), from this, she fears falling and getting hurt. He wasn't around to teach her things like riding a bike, sports, etc. like most other fathers do w/their children, so he get's angry because she's scared which only makes it worse for her.

So now he has a different girlfriend; she's more into children and family. He has 4 kids, all w/different moms, ranging from 29 to my daughter being the youngest at 12. The girlfriend has 4 kids and 2 grand kids. So when the girlfriend came in the picture, she wanted to meet his kids. I thought it was good because it gave opportunity for my daughter and her father to form a relationship but every time she goes w/them, there's a huge group of people she barely knows and she's extremely shy. Her half siblings are much older than her and she hadn't spent much time w/them and the girlfriend's family doesn't pay much attention to her neither leaving my daughter feeling awkward and uncomfortable.

Last week, they took her boating, her dad got mad at her for refusing to go on the tube and be towed around the lake behind the boat; she was scarred. So he made her pack everything up and they left the lake and dropped her off early. She was supposed to drive w/him but he was so mad he told his girlfriend to take her home. During the ride, my daughter asked her why her dad always yells at her, the girlfriend tells my daughter that she frustrates him.

Today, the girlfriend picks my daughter up to go school clothes shopping. When they finished, the girlfriend brings her back to her house to see her dad. They want her to stay the night but my daughter doesn't want to. She calls me and I try to convince her it would be good to spend more time w/her other family but she insists she's not comfortable. I advised her to explain it to them so they can understand why she feels this way and the next thing I know my daughter storms into our house crying her eye's out and said she tried to explain her feelings to her dad on the way home. She told him she barely knows these people and wants to spend a little one on one time w/him to get to know each other and ease into the new family and he told her that was bull crap that she was making up excuses and that if she REALLY wanted to spend time w/him like she claims, she would have spent the night and that he doesn't have to put up w/her nonsense, etc. He also threw in her face that they spent all kinds of money on her new clothes and she didn't stay.

What kind of person acts this way to a 12 year old child? Shouldn't he do what ever it takes to ease her insecurities? He expects her to just jump right into a family she hardly knows; is this right? Please advise if there's anything you can recommend I do.

Thank you!


S.L. - posted on 08/05/2014




Hi Debi!

I don't know the kind of relationship u still maintain with ur ex, if u are in talking terms or not, and if yes, if dialoge is easy between u, but honestly if i was in ur situation, I believe that I would talk directly to him; the child's father and expose to him exactly what u wrote in here.
Try to teach him, gently, but assertively, that his daughter is a child, not a mature adult, and that is his job, her father, to sometimes play psycologist and help her (exactly as u said, do whatever it takes, within reason) to ease her insecurities around him and his other family.
The man, by what u describe, apparently does not have huge emotional inteligence, so I imagine, It's not gonna be easy to make him understand what I honestly believe he needs to understand, if he truly wants to get closer to his daughter.

Of course that approaching him with this (in the case that he might be sort of short sighted, and jumps into conclusions without thinking) could delve into him thinking very erroneously, that u might have something to do with her insecurities, in the sense that it might be u, that is putting things in her head.
I'm saying that because I've dealt with my share of overreactional, stubborn, quick tempered people, that deal with frustration with explosions of anger, and don't have the talent to put themselves in other peoples shoes. Sometimes its a case of being ignorant, and lacking perspective, and consequently not being able to understand and have empathy/compassion. Then I make it my job to make them less ignorant, and see if that resonates with them.

Good luck.

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