We had an eye-opening session with the girls’ play therapist, and the things she was discussing helped me feel better about our situation. No, I’m not going crazy for seeing and reporting Exie’s emotional pressure on the children. Yes, I am doing the right thing for validating the girls (esp DD1’s) feelings about things—i.e. I’m sorry daddy feels that way vs. a flat out, he’s completely wrong. And then softly influencing her to form her own opinions—i.e. how do you feel about that? What makes you feel that way? Do you know it’s okay to have feelings that are not the same as mom or dad? (great, can’t wait when that backfires at 16, but whatever, lol). Yes, we continue to let her have the space and time to figure this inner conflict out—what is her stuff and what is her dad’s stuff. Yes, we are allowed to intervene if said conflict escalates at our house and behavior needs to be corrected, but we do not use the blame game. We allow her to have feelings yet at the same time give her structure. Easier said than done. Like, how the heck do you DO that? I’ll keep reporting back on what we discover. (And I’ll keep looking at and listening to what you discover, too).
And yes, DD1, especially my sensitive and smart DD1, will one day figure this out, and should this continue, Exie will be the one who pays for it. And truthfully, introspection notwithstanding, of course I do not want him to ‘pay’ for it or have DD1 resent him (ok, fine. maybe a little, with a big BUT ONLY if he continues acting like a douche). What I KNOW is best for the girls is that he stops his crazy bull$**t and acts like a mature adult. Here’s to hoping that the people involved in our case can assist—who see the bird’s eye view like this, can influence him towards change. I know that it’s not my job anymore to discuss, placate, wish, talk, demand, beg changes from him.
So regarding boundaries and what’s ahead: yes, we need to put something in place that gives structure to the phone calls—they are not for HIM to push his agenda on talking and length of talking and to guilt the children about. The phone calls or for the CHILDREN, not the parents. Secondly, no, I do not escalate the ballet class, because of his stance on it at the moment—it has turned into a battleground, another tug-of-war, another conflict area that is not in DD1’s best interest. Instead, our job is to help DD1 make her own mind up about things like this, and give her the strength to assert her voice and her boundaries.
Exie will be Exie. We can’t change him and hopefully, he will improve—or not. In the mean time, we do know what we’re dealing with and facing, so the journey into blended family life continues on. One step at a time. One laugh at a time. One tear at a time. Don’t give up. Patience. Be kind. Wait, this is what I told our leaders to do in my last post. I have to remember to give myself the same advice. Look both ways before crossing the road, hold hands and stick together.