“My ex-husband has turned my kids against me.”
Dear Annie,My two kids (15 and 18) are so angry with me for divorcing their dad. He is verbally abusive, manipulative and says horrible things about me to them.
I've dedicated 18 years of my life to being a great mom, a role model, and a good citizen.
Due to circumstances, I was forced to move out of the family home while my kids still live with their dad. My kids refuse to visit me and consider me the villain and their dad the victim.
What can I do? I feel as though they have erased me from their lives. What can I do?
Broken Hearted Mom
Dear Broken Hearted Mom,
This sounds like a very painful situation and my heart goes out to you for what you have suffered in your marriage. And now, with your kids being influenced by their dad, I'm sure it is incredibly difficult for you to maintain your balance throughout.
If your kids won't visit you at this time and they are fixed in their attitude about who is at fault here, then there is little that you can do right now to rebuild your relationship with them. That is not to say, however, that healing will never take place. My guess is that by continuing to reach out to them (without trashing their dad) that they will, in time, respond to you with love.
They have suffered their own hurt from the huge change the divorce has brought into their lives. They are, by nature of their age, totally egocentric. It would be unrealistic to assume that they would be fair-minded in assessing what has happened. Be patient, though. You will have your children's love again. The love and devotion you have given to them is not 'erased'... They are just trying to figure things out. When they get some distance from this event, they are likely to realize that things are not as black and white as they may have perceived. Keep reaching out to them, though, in neutral ways. Don't pressure them to take sides.
In the meantime, I strongly suggest that you find yourself a family therapist and/or licensed psychologist who specializes in helping individuals in your situation. You have a lot of work to do to reclaim your self-esteem from the bad treatment you experienced during your marriage. A counselor could help you with that piece. As for helping you deal with the temporary loss of your kids love, I believe a counselor would be very beneficial there too.
I hope this helps. Write to me any time. I care about you.