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Am I still being petty about my concern? How should I proceed?

Posted by on Jul. 13, 2014 at 5:23 PM
  • 27 Replies

Okay, so recently I posted this:

http://www.cafemom.com/group/118667/forums/read/20078273/Summertime_visitation_drama_7th_year_in_a_row

And, I received a lot of replies that said I was being petty and had to just accept my ex's style of parenting, and I'm woman enough to accept that, though like I said in the post, I don't even consider him doing any real parenting... But a new situation arose, so I'd like some input.

My DS has been with him grandmother in another state instead of with my ex because they decided to send him to a camp (it's an academically gifted thing with a concentration in flight and aerospace engineering) - sounds great, right?  Well - I won't go into the catch, but he had a good time and whatever, so that was great for him - but I digress...

My DD has been home with her dad and stepmom for nearly a week.  She's been calling me on her Dad's phone that he leaves with her when they leave the house - and she's only been calling me when he's not home.  Things seem to be going okay except the other night I talked to her and asked her how things were and she said "well this morning was pretty disasterous."  I asked her to explain - She told me that her dad took her to the pool but wouldn't get in after he said he would, so she asked her stepmom to talk to him.  Her SM went and told him that since he said he would get in, he should.  He told SM that he wasn't going to be forced to get in the pool if he didn't want to and SM "cussed" at him.  So that made her dad really upset so he slapped SM which embarassed my DD as they were at an apt complex pool, so my DD brushed past him trying to leave and go back to the apt, which made him mad and he accused my DD of "shoving by him" on purpose and slapped her too.  So she ran back to the apt and just sat their by herself - my ex and SM came back at some point and were at the store when my DD ended up calling me. 

Here's the deal - my ex has already mad-texted me accusing me of telling my DD that he abused me and beat her when she was little (not exactly true - she overheard something she shouldn't have because she was eavsdropping when I was trying to have a kid free conversation and then she dramatized it) and my DD (who had just been hit by my ex) was upset and saying that he never changed and he's still an abuser.  She didn't feel like she was being spanked - we haven't spanked her in god knows how long - hell, she's as tall as I am!  And I'm not 100% sure my DD is being absolutely truthful - I'd like to think SM wouldn't put up with that kind of stuff, but I know I did at one point in time...

Now, my DD can be manipulative - she doesn't usually just straight up lie, but she does stretch the truth.  BUT, my exhusband was abusive to me, though only physically once as I didn't give him a second opportunity.  He did spank the kids hard enough when they were little to leave marks (this was brought up in court and it helped me aquire full custody when he was trying for joint, but it didn't prevent visitation.)  I am afraid if I say something to her about hitting his wife in front of her, it will be a losing situation for my DD either way - either he will beat her for lying if she made it up, and he will beat her for telling someone if she didn't.   

What do you suggest I do?

EDITED to add - and obviously, this heightens my concern about them being in that situation - but in the past, he lies, lies, and denies ever doing anything wrong or harmful.  I had him on voice recording during a custody drop off one time telling my kids that "mommy has to go take the weekend to be a whore" and stuff like that - like he did EVERY TIME - and he still denied to the court that he ever called me names or tried to pick fights with me during every interaction.  Even if he slapped his wife, I wouldn't even expect him to admit to it...

by on Jul. 13, 2014 at 5:23 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 on Jul. 13, 2014 at 5:31 PM
How old is DD?
MomMomMomMama
by Member on Jul. 13, 2014 at 5:44 PM

She's 11.

peggysiouxb
by on Jul. 13, 2014 at 6:42 PM
1 mom liked this
If your Daighter got hit by her Father, bring her home like yesterday, you cannot leave her in a abusive situation, if it were in the apt pool then I'm sure there were witnessed to his abuse, She needs to be in a much Safer invironment, it's so sad they way kids of divorce have to suffer. From parents divorces.. I am a child of divorce & it was awful.
Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Jul. 13, 2014 at 7:31 PM
2 moms liked this

I wouldn't confront him either since he lies and denies.

Make an anonymous call to Child Protective Services about the incidences. Referring to you a "whore" is emotional abuse to your child. Also, he needs to keep his hands to himself and stop slapping people! Just remember if this incident happened at the pool there were probably many people that could've reported his ass, so he might now suspect you at all.

CPS will probably question your daughter regarding if he ever hit her or not, or if she witnessed abuse towards her sm. Good luck.

If they find him to be abusive he could end up with supervised visits which might be better for your daughter.

MomMomMomMama
by Member on Jul. 13, 2014 at 11:01 PM


Quoting Anonymous:

I wouldn't confront him either since he lies and denies.

Make an anonymous call to Child Protective Services about the incidences. Referring to you a "whore" is emotional abuse to your child. Also, he needs to keep his hands to himself and stop slapping people! Just remember if this incident happened at the pool there were probably many people that could've reported his ass, so he might now suspect you at all.

CPS will probably question your daughter regarding if he ever hit her or not, or if she witnessed abuse towards her sm. Good luck.

If they find him to be abusive he could end up with supervised visits which might be better for your daughter.

Well, the "whore" stuff was 9-10 years ago - he still says stuff to them "can't buy this because mom takes all my money" and "you're being rude which means your mom isn't a good parent" - which is crappy, but they're old enough to understand that he's being ridiculous and it just makes him look bad in their eyes. As far as I know, they were the only ones at the pool...but you also have to realize, he's going to claim he was disciplining our daughter.  

I'm not against spanking, but she's kind of outgrown it to the point where it feels more like violence than discipline.  I remember getting mad at my dad (who is a fantastic dad) when I was like 15 and threatening to open the car door and reached for the handle and the only thing he could think to do as he was driving to prevent me from opening the door was to punch me in the arm.  I was so shocked that he had hit me that I just sat there and did nothing - I don't even ever remember getting spanked when I was little.  He actually later apologized and explained that he went into panic mode and it was a knee-jerk reaction.  Since I haven't witnessed the 'hitting' or 'slapping', I am not sure of the real situation - and I don't want to cause a lot of drama over something I cannot prove.  But on the other hand, no kid needs to see that kind of toxic relationship - I divorced him because I couldn't bear to have my children grow up witnessing that kind of crap.

In the long run, we live 8 hours from him.  The summer is the only time they are with him more than a couple of days - I think the most that may happen is they'll eventually just decide they don't want to go visit anymore.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Jul. 13, 2014 at 11:10 PM

 How's your relationship with his wife?  Is there anyway you can mention nicely about your dd getting into trouble at the pool while there?  Maybe she'll tell you what happened especially if she knows he abused you too.  I can't imagine anyone being happy in that situation so she may just tell you the truth (if you have a decent relationship).

jackiewal10
by Member on Jul. 13, 2014 at 11:14 PM
1 mom liked this

I would make it known to her that she will not be in trouble is she calls 911 if she feels like she is in danger or is being hit.

MomMomMomMama
by Member on Jul. 13, 2014 at 11:28 PM


Quoting Anonymous:

 How's your relationship with his wife?  Is there anyway you can mention nicely about your dd getting into trouble at the pool while there?  Maybe she'll tell you what happened especially if she knows he abused you too.  I can't imagine anyone being happy in that situation so she may just tell you the truth (if you have a decent relationship).

We're cordial - I mean, we live a distance away from each other, but we've never had a problem or anything. I was pretty happy that they got married (just in May) because she's been the first consistant female face my kids have seen with their dad, I think she's a nurse, so I know she's educated, she has a 16 year old DD, so I know she has experience raising kids, and she seems to ensure they are fed/clean/have a place to sleep...you know, basic child care stuff.  Heck,   I'd much rather deal with her than him anyway, but we keep our conversations to things like "DD only came home with one sandal - have you seen it" or "I'll talk to DS and ask him about what he wants for xmas and get back to you".   And then, I always copy her on emails/texts about visitation times and stuff.    

I thought about reaching out and just letting her know what my DD said, but in the beginning of this visitation, my DD was not listening to her about getting laundry together which compelled my ex to text me to complain that DD was being rude and disrespectful to SM - so I don't know if he did that on his own or if she was part of that - but that made me feel a little less confident in her ability to be successful as a SM - and my DD is telling me that both my ex and SM say she's not allowed to call me or my parents anymore when she visits. I just don't know how "loyal" she is going to be to him if I start prodding and what kind of backlash that will have on my kids...

bestefforts
by Member on Jul. 14, 2014 at 10:03 AM
1 mom liked this

I'm not a big fan of spanking, but I really don't approve of hitting in anger - which is what your daughter is describing. Further, a man hitting his wife for any reason is completely unacceptable. But you sound like a very reasonable person who thinks before reacting. That is probably wise in this situation.

I would wait until DD came home, then sit down and talk with her about what happened. My main goal would be for her to understand that hitting is not an acceptable way for anyone to handle their frustration. I would want her to understand that I had left my marriage to her father because I was not willing to live that way. But her SM will have to make her own choices for how she wants to be treated. I think that talking to children empowers them to make better choices for themselves. I would make clear that lying or embellishing about situations like this is not going to be a win for anyone. I would also give her a heads up to be aware of her surroundings if and when such things happen. Take note of who witnesses the event and where it happens. That may be helpful if you really need to pursue anything.

Letting my child visit an abusive father would make me a little crazy. My own mother had to live through it when my brother and I visited our dad. Thankfully, it was very rare. I hated going with him. Even though he never touched me, he just moved through the world making everyone miserable. He could make the waitress cry because a biscuit had broken into 2 pieces. Eventually, I realized that was all on him. And I made my own choices about having a relationship with him...he doesn't get to have me in his life.

Just give your daughter the gift of conversation and support as long as there is not a truly dangerous situation. She will grow up able to stand up for herself if and when the time comes.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Jul. 14, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Is your daughter in counseling? I know you stated that she exaggerates and manipulates. I would think that these two issues alone are enough to warrant some type of psychological counseling before it escalates. If your daughter reports any abuse to the counselor, the counselor is required by law to report it to the authorities and hence, your ex husband will be in big trouble.

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