DEAR ZELDA

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - CONTENTS - He is us­ing the chil­dren to pun­ish me

I sep­a­rated from my hus­band three years ago as he be­came an­gry so eas­ily that he was in­tol­er­a­ble to live with. I thought that it was best to take our sons away from the toxic at­mos­phere. They are now 14 and nine. He did not take it well and since then he has been di­rect­ing his anger at my new part­ner and me with abu­sive emails. He uses the chil­dren to rile me and tells un­pleas­ant lies about my part­ner that un­der­mine their re­la­tion­ship with him. He de­lib­er­ately misses their med­i­cal ap­point­ments and changes ar­range­ments at the last minute. He brings them home well after bed­time, even though I have begged him not to as they have school the next day. He won’t help with home­work or take our younger son to Cubs and he has taken our elder son away from his foot­ball club and en­rolled him else­where, where I am not al­lowed to watch him play. They are show­ing lev­els of anx­i­ety be­cause of this be­hav­iour, de­spite me try­ing to keep things con­flict-free. He re­fuses to go to fam­ily coun­selling. I am ter­ri­fied and up­set that I have put them through more tur­moil than I ever imag­ined. He will not rest un­til I have been pun­ished and it scares me. It is un­der­stand­able that you left your hus­band, as you were try­ing to pro­tect your chil­dren and your­self. His be­hav­iour shows that you did the right thing, so please don’t blame your­self for putting them through this. Di­vorce is hard enough for chil­dren, but so is an un­happy mar­riage. A truly lov­ing par­ent should try to build an am­i­ca­ble re­la­tion­ship with their ex-part­ner for the chil­dren’s sake and it is health­ier for the par­ents, too. How­ever, your hus­band’s anger with you has blinded him to the needs of his chil­dren. Could an­other fam­ily mem­ber or a close friend talk to him about it and ex­plain that by try­ing to get back at you, he is hurt­ing the chil­dren? If noth­ing changes, get in touch with Me­di­ate Ire­land (me­di­ateire­land.com) for ad­vice, or you may need to con­tact so­cial ser­vices. You should also con­sult a di­vorce so­lic­i­tor about su­per­vised ac­cess.

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