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Need some advice on the relationship with my son/custody

 
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Cali98



Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 3
State or Province: California

PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:44 am    Post subject: Need some advice on the relationship with my son/custody Reply with quote

Hi all,

I just found this forum and joined because I was hoping to find someone who is (or was) in a similar situation and could offer some advice. I'll have to go through quite a bit of background, I hope you don't mind...

I have been divorced for 3 years now and my ex-husband and I share custody of a 15.5 yr old boy. We do not have a good relationship and we are not even on speaking terms at this point. It's a joint custody but I have more time with out son as he sleeps in my house every night during the school year, and in summers and on weekends we alternate. This also means that I have so much more responsibility than my ex husband - I take care of everything school related, all dr appointments, all needs, etc. I also have a very demanding full time job, but I adjust my schedule so that I can always be with my son and then often end up working nights/weekends.

My son and I always had an absolutely wonderful relationship. I was the parent who stayed home with him and raised him while going to school at night. I was the parent who worked nights so she could be with him during the day for the past ten years. I always helped him with the school and did everything with him. My ex-husband was always "the buddy", when it suited him to be, never a parent, as his own lifestyle needs came first. During the past few years my health has taken quite a beating (due to the horrible levels of stress I've had) and I am no longer able to do as much as I used to because of heart problems. I am still able to do some fun things, like vacations, but they cannot involve crazy high levels of activities that teenage boys like. I try to compensate for that the best I can (last summer when I took my son to Europe I also took his best friend with us and made sure that some other children would be there as well so that it's fun for him - my son complained the entire time how bored he was).

My ex-husband is living a very different lifestyle from me. A year ago he married a woman who is exactly like him, and they are constantly out and about or entertaining at home. Their life style involves a lot of parties, a lot of alcohol, and a lot of fun (if that's your definition of fun - for me it's not because I live a fairly quiet lifestyle and I don't drink). She has been married twice before and has a lot of experience being outgoing, laughing, and being a "pal" to her husbands' kids.

Lately, I feel like my world has been crumbling. My son has been telling daily how much he hates me. I am not fun. I am not funny. When I try to be funny, he tells me I shouldn't bother trying, I'm not funny like his dad who is hilarious (mind you, his dad's jokes are 99% of times aimed at putting someone else down - a habit that is developing in my son too and breaks my heart). I am not interesting. My house is boring. It's so much more fun at his dad's because his house is more interesting. He never sees his dad because of me (which is not true, I never stopped him from seeing his dad and always accommodated his dad's requests to see him even during the time our son is supposed to be with me. Lately, his dad no longer even asks me, he just goes behind my back and asks our son to hang out with him or to come to his house even if it's my time with our son).

Every single day I try to make my son's life interesting and fun, he has always been my primary focus, but he doesn't even want to do anything with me. I took him to an amusement part today - I was told it was lame and he was horrified his friends would see him with me. I want to take him on a getaway for Labor Day - I offered rafting, jet skiing, a dude ranch...he doesn't want to go anywhere. The only time he is nice to me is when I am buying him itunes gift cards so that he can play some game that he likes - I've spent half of my paycheck this week on that game. I not once think about what I want to do - it's always about what he wants - and nothing is ever good enough. I even get put down for buying him nice things because "he never asked for it".

Also, as background, he is doing very poorly at school or with anything that requires rules/discipline. Every single night I have horrible struggles: I can't get him to go to bed until 1am or later. Every morning I cannot get him to wake up and go to school because he is too tired. He hates school, everyone there is stupid. Teachers are stupid. He doesn't need to study. ... I am so tired and so drained. Some days I feel like I have no life left in me. My mom came to stay with me for a month to help me out, but even she is unable to do anything about him. He was nice to her at first, but now he is starting to treat her the way he treats me.

He told me today that he wants to start sleeping at his dad's house on school nights because it's more fun there. I pointed out to him that he'll have issues at his dad's too because things don't go great there either, and he told me that's true but at least they (his dad and his wife) don't cry all the time, he is sick and tired of my constant crying. And it is true that I cry a lot, but it's very hard not to cry when your child, whom you love more than anything in the world, treats you like a piece of s$%^.

When I divorced my ex-husband I gave him everything and the only thing I fought for was more time with my son because I felt like he would be much better off with me (I am the responsible one who cares more about him than anything else in the world - my ex husband only cares about himself). I am the only divorced woman I know who not even get a child support (even though our son is with me 75% of the time). I pay for everything for our son myself, including his health care, even though my ex-husband is an executive at a very successful high tech company and makes 4 times what I do. He didn't even buy him a Christmas gift. I always end up buying way too many gifts to compensate for the fact that he gets nothing from his dad. Even the laptop that he uses for school - I had to get him two, one that he took to his dad's house. Yet I'm always the one who is not good enough.

I am so tired of feeling inadequate. I've given my son everything under the son, even when sick and unwell I did everything for him, and all I get in return is being told that he hates me, that I'm crazy, boring, and not fun. He has called me a *&%# in the past, he has told me to "*&%# off" so many times I lost count. He tells me that I stress him out even if I haven't done anything at all. He completely and utterly refuses to have me around him. He has been in therapy for the past 8 months, and for some time prior to that too. His dad wanted therapy because of poor performance in school. He is also currently on anti-anxiety medication (which I really don't like but I was forced into it and I can't do anything about it. His dad wants him on medication and my son is insisting that he is on it).

I don't know why and how I have suddenly become the enemy, but I feel like I've lost my son. I feel like I don't even know him anymore. We were so close his whole life and now he has completely turned against me - I feel like he has been brainwashed or something. They (my ex husband and his wife) present this "happy happy joy joy" household and I feel like they have completely turned him against me. They are fun, they are interesting. I've thought of giving them the custody, despite the fact that I know that would not be good for my son because they are completely irresponsible (when my son states that he hated school, his dad's wife made a comment that "make he should take a year off" and "chill". my son was in the 7th grade at that time). At the same time, I don't know how much longer I can take being told how boring, uninteresting I am and how much he hates me and doesn't want to be around me. The stress is literally killing me and most days I just want to run away from my own home. Some days I even think of just killing myself and no longer feeling this constant pain. I love my son, but right now I feel like my son is gone and I don't know who this person is anymore. I feel like I can't take any of this anymore - I divorced my ex because he put me through 15 years of horrible psychological abuse. He made me feel worthless. I feel like now our son is doing the same. I am seriously considering giving up my custodial rights.

Before I do anything that will be "final" I was hoping to hear what someone who might have been or is in a similar situation? Or at least have someone tells me if I have lost my mind or if what I am feeling is justified?

My heart is completely broken and I feel completely lost. Sad Thank you in advance for any thoughts or guidance...sorry this was so long.
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Cali98



Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 3
State or Province: California

PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

we just had another shouting match...it's 12:30 and he is showering and playing ipad games...and the school starts tomorrow. i feel like i am literally losing my mind. tomorrow morning he won't be able to get up and function in school. tomorrow night he won't want to come home because he doesn't want to be "yelled at here" like he always is. i think that he wants to be there to punish me more than for any other reason.
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ecotime47



Joined: 19 Aug 2013
Posts: 3
State or Province: Colorado

PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cali, thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry you are going through this with your son. Please don't be so hard on yourself! He is at a weird age and yours is not an easy situation. Could you please elaborate on why you and your ex are not on speaking terms? Are you still dealing with the pain of the relationship and divorce or was it something else?
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Cali98



Joined: 18 Aug 2013
Posts: 3
State or Province: California

PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Eco,

Thanks very much for your response... It's really hard to explain why we are not on the speaking terms. Maybe the best explanation is that he and I cannot communicate at all, on any level, and any communication ends up escalating into something ugly.

We have done parental counseling but it was pointless. This was an issue even prior to the divorce - we did marriage therapy and the therapist ended up firing us as patients and clearly stating that she could not work with him because he did not want to make any attempt to become aware of what he is doing wrong. His attitude towards me has gotten worse since the divorce and has put me through so many years of psychological abuse that it's really difficult for me to even be next to him because I start to relive it all again and it ends up hurting me. I sought therapy and my therapist feels that my ex has sociopathic tendencies when it comes to me and that I should not engage with him in any way. We also had a big falling out over the family (my son's) dog (the dog always went with my son but my ex's his current wife nearly killed the dog and my son wanted him removed from that house and to stay only with me only - that did not go over well with them at all as she wanted the dog to use him to get closer to my son). With all of that in the picture, it's really hard to be able to co-parent - not to even mention that we have completely different parenting positions. He liked to call me a "helicopter parent" in order to mask the fact that he is completely negligent as a parent (this was the opinion of the marriage counselor). We simply cannot agree on anything at all and there is no respect nor trust.
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ecotime47



Joined: 19 Aug 2013
Posts: 3
State or Province: Colorado

PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that background. That type of volatile relationship with his father makes things very difficult. In a perfect world, you guys would be able to sit down together and develop a parenting strategy that would have your son's best interest at heart. Under the current circumstances, as you've described, this is really impossible to achieve.

You are going to have to find another plan. It might be a good idea to let him move in with his dad for a little while. When he becomes the one responsible for all the food, clothes, school, homework, and dishing out all the money it takes for all those things, he may change his approach toward parenting.

Moving him out would also give you a chance to work on you for a bit. It sounds like you have been so focused on your son that you may be neglecting your own health and wellbeing. Looking out for your son and for yourself is something that you have to learn to balance in your life. That balance can be hard to achieve for any mother but when you have suicide thoughts sneaking into your mind, it is TIME to make some changes.
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ecotime47



Joined: 19 Aug 2013
Posts: 3
State or Province: Colorado

PostPosted: Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How are things Cali?
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