A Weekend of Crying: Refusing Visitation

My 8 year old daughter is having a tough time lately.  She was crying fiercely about having to go with her father on friday for the weekend.  He picked them up quite late (which was good, right?), but she rode away in his car with tears gushing down her face and her hand on the window reaching to me.

My ex even asked me to take them some the next day while he worked – so it was a short time gone with him before the kids and I reconnected.  Again, my daughter was bawling and begging me not to leave her with him.  She wouldn’t say more than being afraid of his raging anger.  However, since CPS has been watching again, his anger has been at bay.  This time, she was on the floor by the door of his store in a crumbled crying mess.

That evening, he said no to a bedtime call because he didn’t want them to be upset again.  I responded that his withholding phone calls would likely make the way she feels worse.  He let us speak, and I made sure it was no more than 1 minute and 7 seconds.  I could hear the break in my daughter’s voice again and tried to help keep it at bay by moving her along.

I asked her the next day when they returned home what her dad did to help her when she was crying.  She said he came over to speak with her and she told him “I’ve never wanted to go with you in the first place!”.  He then walked away and left her be. She cried for another 20 minutes.

Anger is flowing out of her frequently these days.  She screams at me how it’s all my fault for having married him in the first place.

It’s amazing to me that this is how it has been for 3.5 years, and yet my ex fails to care.   She has cried so often, and he just gets mad at me and says it’s my fault.  It isn’t surprising that he can’t see it or accept it, and it fits with his disorders and issues.  It’s just truly unfortunate.

I pray for all the kids who are in this situation, and whose parents can’t hear them or acknowledge their voices and feelings – married or divorced.

7 Responses to “A Weekend of Crying: Refusing Visitation”

  1. Barb says:

    I was wondering if anyone could offer some insight. My fiancé and I separated 6 weeks ago, he moved out and our 2 year old has been spending every other weekend and 2.5 hours 1 night a week with him. When she comes home from her weeknight visit, she cries. I know it’s because she misses him, that is not the problem. When she came home this past Sunday from her weekend visit, she just sat on my lap. She didn’t play with her toys, didn’t want to read a book or any of the activities she always loves, just sat with me. I figured she just missed me. However, yesterday morning when I took her to the babysitter she cried frantically, wouldn’t let go of my neck and clung to me like her life depended on it. Later in the day the babysitter sent me a text saying that randomly my baby would just cry, in the middle of playing would just cry hysterically and wasn’t easily calmed. After I picked her up, 6 times last night she climbed in my lap, put her head on my shoulder and began to cry. not provoked by anything, not physically hurt, etc. I told my ex about this and he blamed me. Stating she doesn’t act like that around him, it has to be because I’m sad and I’m rubbing it off on her. Now, I do not cry in front of her, I do not discuss the situation in front of her, etc. I tried to explain to him that this is her way of dealing with this at the moment, she just feels more comfortable to express herself to me and her babysitter as we are the ones that see her every day. He insists that is not the case and there is no way that is possible, that this is all made up and my fault. HELP, does anyone have any similar experiences?

  2. JenelleMarie says:

    Thank you for the reminder!!! I grew up Christian, then fell away the first time I filed for divorce (6 years ago) when I chose my marriage over God. But I’ve always been open to other beliefs and religions and even now as a re-practicing Christian cant help shake the instinct that they all fit together somehow. So I take bits and pieces of everything. One strong one I’ve always believed is the theory you just shared. That my little ones chose us for their own purpose. It’s been far from my mind the last year, and you serve as a great reminder that just as I grew up (and chose) to be born the middle child of a dysfunctional family there was great purpose in it. It will be the same for my children, I just need to focus on the positive.

    I also realized that the ex is ricocheting right now. It’s been months and months of non emotional, non engaging interactions from me. We are in the midst of a court case (awaiting the mediators recommendations now) and yet he’s still involving the kids, missing visitation, introducing the gf and has stopped paying support. I had to stop and realize, it’s the reaction he’s after. He has been unable to shake me up, something foreign and new ground for him in all our time and so he is amping up. That’s where your reminder of acceptance and coming to terms remind me again, we can only control our own bubble. If I dont let him hurt me and I refuse to react, it will eventually simmer down and be easier on the kids.

    It also opened the discussion between me and my daughter today that my own reaction to the gf was not Christ-like and I apologized to my daughter as I knew she clearly sensed it. I think it was eye opening for my daughter to hear me admit to my weaknesses and fears and ‘sin’ so to speak and admit that I need to work on it and that I was going to work at accepting her father and his gf as children of God no matter what they did. I explained I don’t condone the actions, but I also wont use my words to speak negatively again. She really lit up after that conversation.

    Thank you for the reminders!! Much needed and the prayers are greatly appreciated too. I think the key to co-parenting with these people is in fact the massive amounts of self work we have to be willing to confront and engage in. It is truly not easy nor does it always make sense at first. It is so helpful to have found another mother who is focusing on that vs being the victim. You’re absolutely a Godsend through your words, so thank you!

    • Such wonderful good points! And HIGH FIVE for your non-reactions to his nonsense over the past few months. It’s his life to continue screwing up with the stuff he is doing while the court case is pending. (Make sure to do lots of positive affirmations, visualizations and reminders to yourself about how you and your children are worthy of a supportive recommendation from the mediator 🙂 Go to sleep each night imagining the wonderful surprise of a recommendation that is even better than you could have imagined!)

      Also kudos to you for showing your human, vulnerable side to your daughter. I think that it matters even more to our kids than the average child because of the fact that they don’t get sincere apologies, discussion or reflective thoughts when something crappy happens at their dad’s. Of course she lit up… you validated for her how she knows that you’re awesome by admitting that you reacted in a less-than-perfect way. We’re all human 🙂

      Thanks for the sunshine today!

  3. Julie says:

    This is a very tough situation. I am having the same problem except like Jennelle my child is much youger and is not cabable of telling me. When my child came home last from dads it was really frightening, hitting, screaming, biting, I have scars! I am very depressed about the visitation causing such serious psychological damage. I am looking at getting therapy for my child. I wish my child was older and could talk and cry instead of having a rage fest. I wonder though is it better to be angry then depressed? I have been around other women survivors and most get very down and had a victim mentality I got very angry and took as much action against the NPD as possible. Something is wrong at the NPDs house so of course the children are reacting to it by acting out. We can’t change the NPD, hopefully visitation will change, but what is the healthiest reaction a child could have? I don’t know. But I console myself with the thought that my child is a fighter and some day the anger will be properly directed and then the NPD will know this is my child and like me cannot be defeated or intimated.

    • I would love to have he answers to the questions that you are asking.. what’s the healthiest reaction a child could have? I don’t know either. I would think that a healthy older child’s reaction would be someone who stays grounded in who they are, is able to draw boundaries with their parent, recognizes and doesn’t dismiss crappy behavior and is able to let it impact them the least possible. A young child – especially as young as your’s… they don’t have the capacity to understand or make sense of it, but at that age they pay a lot of attention to how they feel around someone. Clearly the “feeling” intuitively for a young child isn’t good.

      When my son was that age, he did as your’s does. He raged, hit, screamed, and dear Lord… he would BITE me incessantly. My daughter’s therapist at the time described him as a completely changed child – a “personality change”. She said he went from happy go lucky to raging angry (this was when overnight visitations started). My son then, around he age of 3 to around 4, developed an imaginary house which he would go to when he was away with his father. He didn’t realize at that time, however, that it was imaginary. I remember the timeframe when he came to realize it wasn’t actually real and how upset and disappointed he was by this. Now, just 6 years old, he still ‘goes” to his imaginary house, but he knows that it’s in his head.

      I guess the upside is that your son is getting the anger out and not sucking it all into his body in a depressed state. Nonetheless, it’s hard as heck to see.

  4. JenelleMarie says:

    So, so, so very heartbreaking. I am so very sorry for you all. Big giant hugs and prayers are all I can offer. IT’s so hard watching, especially as a parent. My own oldest is the opposite, she is so fearful of her dad she says whatever he wants and then comes home and cries to me and feels guilty. My middle daughter is more like yours. She cries when she is with him, she cries when she comes home and occasionally it will boil to the surface and I am her target.

    We’ve spent 3 days straight of raging, weeping and pain all directed at me since the ex spent the entire visitation time with his gf and her kids call him dad. The upset that my girls’ feel is so overwhelming they are having a rough time dealing with it. I am thankful they are verbalizing it here and there, but I want to make it better. They angry that they are being ‘replaced’, they are hurt that he treats them so badly when no one is around, they are confused and don’t know what to expect from him because he changes depending on who is watching. My 2 year old is the worst from all of this, his sleep is off, he cries most the day and hits none stop.

    As adults we have a hard time with it, I cannot begin to comprehend how damaging this must be for small children. So relieved therapy is this Thursday for all of us, praying to come up with some tips to help them find empowerment and acceptance for the situation. Praying for these men to grow hearts, courage and brains is a waste of time (please read slight sarcasm in that at an attempt to laugh lol) so it’s time to find a different coping mechanism as a parent.

    • Thank you so much for sharing. There are so many facets of emotion in your situation… the children’s feeling of not wanting to go, associated guilt, jealousy at watching him act like the father that they wish they had towards someone else’s children, plus your own feelings of resentment for hurting them, the non-surprise at his behaviors, the feeling of being at a loss for. How to help when really they just need to process the emotions as they are doing. It sucks, doesn’t it?

      One of the things that has helped me lately is that there is a premise that we are born into this life having selected our parents based on what we want to learn or accomplish in that lifetime. I hadn’t previously looked into the beliefs of the religion I was raised in to understand what the thought is regarding reincarnation of anyone beyond Jesus. I tried a little to gleam what it might say in the bible. There isn’t much from what I can tell. Anyway…. religious aspects aside, I like the theory. It also helps me to remember that our kids have their own life journeys and lessons to learn too. Like ours, not everything will be perfect.

      This part of the journey is coming to terms with and understanding, for them, who their parents are. We aren’t perfect. We are mere mortals like they are – and along the path of forgiveness is the acceptabce of who a person really is whether we like the answer or not. Our kids need to discover and accept who both their parents are. My opinion is that this is part of the path for them (and us) to find inner peace about the situation.

      God knows it is hard as hell though…. the pain in the pit of my tummy to watch my daughter be upset sucks and I pray for the knowledgeable to know how I can help her to process it.

      I am praying for you and your little ones too! Sending you calming hugs of love and understanding back…. and gratefulness to have connected too!

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