What God would … ?

The “I don’t want to go to Papa’s house, I want to stay with you” drama I wrote about in Check Mate continues … and intensifies, seemingly, with every episode. Tonight it took one hour of reasoning, reassuring, pacifying and putting his mind at rest that I’m not just ‘shoving him out’ before he decided to go, of his own accord. It has to be his decision in the end, but we have to guide him there … I refuse, point blank, just to open the door in a grumpy strop and push him away saying ‘this is how it is’. I could never. And he wouldn’t understand. The potential consequences of him not getting it are unthinkable.

In some ways I’m toughening up and finding new ways of gently ‘manipulating’ his state of mind so that he actually makes the definitive decision himself to go, but in other ways this is dragging me down with such a weight in my heart that it physically hurts.

And once again, I come face to face with my past, my upbringing and with any belief I ever had in a higher order … What omnipotent being, … what God, could allow two actually very  well-meaning adults to inflict such trauma on a young child.

Perhaps, when all is said and done, it is my agnosticism which is toughening me up … an increasing belief in the fact that we really are bloody well out here on our own.


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7 Responses to What God would … ?

  1. onlydads says:

    MJM. I commented before that there is nothing unusual about a child not wanting to go to his/her “other” parent. But this seems to be really getting you down.

    Is there any scope for tyring more consolidated time with Dad. Not sure what arrangements are in place now – but perhaps long(er) weekends rather than the midweek hop? Not sure if that may help?

    And I appreciate how difficult it is with 4 y/o’s, but have you been able to glean what it troubling L to the point that he makes this drama?

    Sorry for stating the obvious – what I really want to say is “hats off” to you MJM for making the efforts you do to keep this relationship alive and consistent with his Dad.

    I know I speak for many in the UK who read your blog and understand what you are doing, and virtual hugs don’t really do it – but they are what we can give and I hope they mean something x

  2. Hi. Thanks for the comment – I know you are very close to this from the other perspective so I really value any input you may have.
    L sees his Dad for tea Mondays and Wednesdays. On Frid’s he has tea there and stays overnight every week – and until Sunday every second weekend. Logistically it is difficult for him to stay overnight at his Dad’s during the week as M goes to work at 5am. We are already doing as much as we possibly can with regard to access.
    We experimented by cutting down on the midweek tea thing back in November when this all really kicked off, as that is what L said he wanted, but this then made things a million times worse at the weekend so M is making a massive effort to get home from work early to see him on Wednesday again.
    Tonight he has gone to M’s until Sunday as M has taken tomorrow and Friday off. It is exactly this that triggered the drama as L knows he’ll be away from me for a while and doesn’t want to be. The answers are simple, the solutions a whole load more difficult. We’re not giving up, but I think we still have a long way to go.


  3. watchsnapper says:

    My experience is very different – my ex does not support my relatonship with my son, except insofar as it gives her time to herself. The effects of our split on him are evident – he has less confidence, he is argumentative, weepy and often morose. But my ex hasn’t even cottoned onto the fact that he misses me(!) and therefore makes no effort to help him with his feelings. There has been some negative briefing by her 16-year-old daughter against the people with whom I live, which threatens to sabotage his enjoyment of his weekly overnight stays. I worry that he is unhappy, but conversations with my ex about him are pointless and achieve nothing. So I would like to congratulate you on your enlightened, compassionate and realistic reaction to the situation in which you, all three of you, find yourselves. Wish you were my ex-wife! J/K
    Our circumstances differ hugely, but all situations are fluid and when bad must be endured if they cannot be changed, in the hope that with perseverance and love they will get better. Perhaps L is not enjoying the back-and-forth and needs to just be with you for a while, so that he can be sure of the solidity of that relationship at least. Perhaps M can visit, to play with L in his room – I do that with my son sometimes.

    • Hi Hun,
      Thanks for taking the time to write … my heart really goes out to you in your situation. You deserve so much better and I’m sorry things went so wrong for you all in the end. I really thought you guys had it in the bag.
      With regard to your last question, actually, during the week M comes to us for tea as there isn’t enough time once he’s home from work to take L back to his. L seems to be much happier with this arrangement. I just get the feeling he hates been taken away from his more established environment, even though he has been doing it consistently from the age of 9months. The past year has been more and more about the fact that he doesn’t want to go there without me. If I go with him he seems at peace with the situation. That is what worries me the most as obviously that can’t be the way things are.

      I hope you manage to sort things out Hun and that you manage to achieve more quality time with your boy.

      MJM. x

  4. Him Up North says:

    Is it the “getting there” that is the problem? Is L okay once he is there? I just wonder who is manipulating who. :-)

    • It’s an interesting view, thanks, and not one I have not already considered greatly over the past year. There was a long comment on Check Mate which emulated your question and made me think a lot about whether it is really not just me being weak and pandering to my child’s whims. However. Although I give him a lot of room for experimentation of his own (ie. he does get to try a lot of stuff out for himself to see what happens) I am actually quite strict with my son when it comes to him messing me about – I have to be or I wouldn’t get anything done in my mad life and in that respect he doesn’t get away with much. I therefore wonder really, if he IS, as you imply trying to manipulate us as parents, why to this extent and why for so long? We haven’t given in in the past year and he still see his father’s on the days I outlined above to OD, so surely if this was just a game, he would have given up long ago. My take.
      The question I’m asking really, is IF he is just trying to manipulate us now, after a whole year, why? And why does he get this emotionally involved (to the point of hysteria) pretty much every time. There must be something behind it. There is a distinct difference in his attitude during the week when his Dad comes to ours for tea, than when he has to go there.
      Thanks for raising the question again though. It’s always present in my mind, but I have to consider the whole picture … not just the fact that I may be being made to look a fool by my own 4yo.

      • Him Up North says:

        Of course, I used the word “manipulate” because you did too. Maybe “influence” is better? Having had 2 four-year olds myself I know they can and will use whatever means necessary to influence decisions.
        I take your point that it has been going on for so long. I guess his view could be, “mum, you’re not getting the message!” Children can be terrier-like with their tenacity if they really want to be.
        I would also point out that no parent is a fool when it comes to reacting to their children; the kids just think they are :)

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