When You & You S/O Aren't On The Same Page

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by ChickPea, Aug 25, 2019.

  1. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    My husband has very recently taken the viewpoint that, despite no reasonable effort to change, we should be giving our CD child more privileges/responsibility. I totally and completely disagree with him. We've ridden these waves before with negative consequences.

    Every single time it was a fail. Every time. I'm not happy about that, it's just factual. I feel like a broken record, but he believes that if we give our daughter more responsibilities she will stop drinking, hold down and job, and turn a miraculous corner. She won't kill herself, prostitute, use copious amounts of cocaine, and will show up to work like a regular old worker bee.

    I'd love for him to be right. Lord, would I.

    But my continuing attempt at detachment and common sense feels like it should be the other way around - prove you're in a better place to gain the privileges and responsibilities that you should inherently have, but have lost.

    Current disagreement: he wants Difficult Child to "babysit" her child (that we have been 100% raising) more often. Why? Because he feels like we should be doing more things and going out more. Not because she's stable, or in a better place, or has made gains and seems responsible. Just because. He feel like - give her privilege and she will rise to the occasion (or something like that). I just don't have the energy to feel like that anymore.

    What do you do when you are looking at things from different angles? Are any of you in a same boat?
  2. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am a single parent who for 10 years has been in a relationship with a man who has taken on the role of a step-father. I have deferred to his judgement many times. Not necessarily because he is right, but because I became so tired and overwhelmed. By the time he came around I just didn't know what to do.
    Right off the bat I will tell you this: This scares me.

    I think the decisions you make that involve your daughter and the baby need to be made from the point of view of the safety of the baby, especially protecting you and the baby legally. To decide to involve your daughter in the baby's care just so that you can go out more, to me, presents a hornet's nest of risks.
    One thing that has been proposed to you here on this forum is the idea of a mediator, I remember. If you were to decide to be open to more involvement by your daughter with the baby I would only do so within the context of a strict and detailed legal agreement and with oversight by a professional third party.
    The contrasting viewpoints of you and your husband remind me of the contrasting views about addiction. There is the 12 step model. And there is Harm Reduction.

    Your husband's view sounds like Harm Reduction. Where the addict is supported while he drinks or uses. Your view sounds like the 12 step model. That complete abstention and active recovery is the essential start and bottom line.

    You haven't asked me, but I can really see your husband's point of view. I just disagree with it. Why? I think your daughter seems as if she is unsafe, acts unstably and puts her own needs in front of the baby. As I recall she is dramatic and self-centered when she visits. She comes up with really, really scary plans. And she herself does not seem to think that she rises to the occasion of being an adequate parent. It sounds like she is choosing her present, dangerous and self-destructive lifestyle. And she is choosing that instead of her child. That's how I see it.

    What should you do? The options I can see are, one a mediation plan, supervised by attorneys and a trained mediator in child custody, with spelled out provisions about custody. Your husband would participate too and he could as part of this process put forth his ideas.

    Or you could go to counseling and work it out there with a professional.

    I would hate to see you in a position where you are more vulnerable to your daughter, and the baby is more vulnerable. I would hate that for you.
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  3. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Copa, I wish I could sit down and have a lengthy conversation with you. You seem like a good brain to pick.

    This scares me as well. What you said is what I explained to him. I'd LOVE to go out more and feel the semi-near retirement air run through my hair. But that doesn't trump the logic of the situation for me. I keep telling him to separate the two.

    Date nights.
    Grandchild safe from harm.

    What trumps? Seems pretty clear cut to me.

    If we want to go out, we can get someone else in our family to babysit. I don't need to go out bad enough to put our grandson through crisis. Or, after all, what is this all for? She is skipping work, snorting coke and boozing until daybreak. That is not getting better. Yet he insists that what she needs is more responsibility. That will turn 'er around and make her realize the error of her ways!

    We see a lawyer in 3 days. I'm hanging on. I'm just frustrated by this new turn-of-approach thinking he has. It's not helping.
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  4. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Try to be calm. Your husband may just be spouting off, without thought. But then, again...

    Does he really want to see the baby with your daughter, who is doing all of these risky things. Because what he is proposing really, is this. As well, if he is suggesting that she care for the baby in your home, is he okay that she drink and drug in your house, and speak with and text her compadres and hook ups from your house with the baby there, and perhaps even bring these people to the house, with the baby there? Is this what he wants? Or conversely is he suggesting that she bring the baby to her house, and do these things with the baby there, and bring those people around the baby? Is this what he is suggesting?

    If that's what he wants, is he thinking of surrendering the baby to your daughter, that she take the baby back? Is that what he wants? And if that is the case, is he prepared that your daughter lose custody of the baby for neglect and that your grandson go into the system? Is he prepared for that? Because if your daughter blows it, Child Protective Services will take over and they will control the baby. Is that what your husband wants? Because that is the risk he would be taking. I would for sure let him know what he is dealing with. Because in my mind this is where his position could well lead.

    Your daughter is not equipped to parent or to care for a child if she is drugging and drinking and prostituting. She has the legal right to do so, now, to take custody of the baby. But if she takes the baby and continues these behaviors there is a big chance she will either harm the baby or lose the baby. I would let my husband know that. Up front.

    He has every right to want what he wants. But he needs to take responsibility for it, for what could come down the pike.

    I really, really understand your husband's position. But I think it is a risky, risky proposition. Without an upside. If there was not a baby involved I would say go for it. But the baby is here. The baby can't be wished away. The more I think about it, the more concerned I get.

    Still, please try not to worry. I will worry for you. I don't like this one bit. I feel for you.
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    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  5. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Literally the words you typed are what I've said/explained to him. I don't think he's thought that through, honestly. I think he's just in a dip of emotions, working through them like we all do. He reads here every now and then when I send him a link. He's been amazed reading about other CD kids and saying that ours is "just like that" or "jease we could have written that" - so he's not 100% blind to what's going on. But he's also not to the point of posting on the forum, eh.

    Like you said, I understand his position. Maybe it's coming from a point of grieving. I think I'm past that point a bit with the grandchild and responsible single mom stuff, whereas maybe he's stuck there right now, thinking it could happen soon.

    Today as I sat outside, staring at the tree leaves, I pondered on surrendering and just let things fall (my husband's way). What if I just left for a couple months and she had baby, and chips fell where they were? I could do that. Legally, physically... I could. But I just couldn't live with myself and the consequences of that surrender. If she rips him away - then it happens, and it's out of my control... but she hasn't. So if I just surrender (the baby to her), then I feel like it's on me, and the consequences of that are part my doing.
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I get what you are saying here but I don't agree fully with it.

    The consequences are fully your daughter's. This is her baby. She had him and she chooses to be unequipped to care for and raise him. You have taken responsibility on an interim, provisional basis. You did not sign on to raise this child, although many of us here on the forum wish you had legal standing, either temporarily or permanently.

    But all of that said, I do agree with you, really. It's one thing to accept that she decides to take the baby. You acknowledge that you do not have legal rights, and you have accepted this, at least until now. If she took him, she would be the driver here.

    But to say, okay, I give up. Or okay, do it your way. Or, okay, it's too much hassle. That is another story. I agree. You love this baby. He's yours, really--whether as grandma or mother-substitute. That can't be overlooked.

    From all of what I have experienced of you here, you would be stricken, overcome with grief and loss and worry, if this baby was in peril. I can't even type more, with the thought of this.

    We are going someplace where we don't need to go, this worrying. This will not, cannot happen. That's how I feel, but I recognize I don't get a vote. But you do.
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    Last edited: Aug 25, 2019
  7. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    We are trying to assume we can control your husband here and that this will work.

    I think the only solution, if one exists, os to accept that you have different views and no judgmemt because judgment doesn't work. it just causes strive and your daughter may try to triangulate.

    Do nothing for 24 hours and think.

    The best solutions are somebody who can talk to and accept you both with respect and to compromise. Has your daughter hurt her baby? Sounds like your husband wants his life back. I can't blame him. Or you.

    Marriage counseling to me is good. We did it as my husband and I were not always on the same page. I catastrophized and felt he glossed over things. With enough therapy we came togetjer and I came to see that my husband was being calm and I wasnt and that both of us had valid points of view. It was the only way we coupd have come together. In truth, we have no control over Kays parental rights to Jaden. We will step in ads will others in an emerhency but my fears have not happened.

    Mediation is in the courts with no legal teeth and you don't have custody anyway.

    The possibilities of disregarding hisbands wish of freedom, which is reasonable, could be divorce. If so you will be the bad guy and your daughter could side with him and your worst fears could be realized. Or not. Again, can your daughter not sit for her child for one night a week?

    If not, its lawyer time and you need to attempt legal custody and try to take away hers. Will your husband fight for this in court?

    The fact is no matter how logical you feel there are many X factors here and no chance without compromise. I have been there. Absolutely no offense to Copa, but fathers trump stepfathers of ten years, when the child was already an adult.

    Dad will continue to be dad forever and he has a strong voice, even if you don't agree with it. Your daughter may be very dysfunctional but she has parental rights of this child. So everyoneust be respected and compromises made.

    I, as an Al Anon member, learned not to judge others nor to believe you r answers are the best ones or even possible to put into place.

    Therapy to me makes sense. If you want to hear how right you are, go to therapy alone. I did this once but it didn't touch my husband. Therapy with real solutions includes your hisband too. Maybe daughter. Lay would not go.

    Your daughter and husband are adults who will do what they like or leave. You are not a single parent and your daughter is not a minor. You can not control them. Not even if you feel 100 percent right. They think they are right.

    Try therapy. If you divorce then you will have no control at all. Or if you don't divorce but are at odds.

    Pleaise know my intention is my experience and not meant to hurt you. i just want the best solution for ypur family.

    Warning: It will npt be pergect in any of your minds. Bit compromise beats conflict.

    Be well and God bless.
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  8. JayPee

    JayPee Sending good vibes...

    I feel that you probably shouldn't make any decisions before speaking with the attorney. You could voice your concerns to him/her and then let the voice of logic from a third party be heard.

    I'm sure some good counsel will be given.

    Just looking from the outside in, I think I would definitely get either a relative or a another babysitter and even go out alittle more oftenthan usual, to start. I think it will give your husband the attention he seems to be asking for and also will provide you some time away to detach from the situation a little bit and feel more refreshed and rejuvinated from all the draining decisions you've got ahead.
  9. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Giving your daughter more responsibility/privileges is the same as giving your daughter more control over your lives (you, husband, baby).

    Every aspect of your lives.

    Giving her more control sounds like signing up for more of what you are already getting with regards to her—chaos, irresponsibility, drama, fighting, etc. except with her in the driver’s seat.

    If the goal is really just so that you can enjoy your impending retirement, it seems a better idea would be to have more babysitters or relatives so that you can do these things.

    I agree with Copa, except I believe the Harm Reduction Model presupposes that the addict uses substances occasionally and in a responsible way before they are supported, not that they continue their destructive ways. I don’t think she is there, yet.

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  10. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Sorry for the typos. I was about to edit, but work called and my 15 minutes to edit ran out. i hope my typo ridden post is readable! I put my heart into it.

    Basically, I meant that you may need a marriage or family therapist to come together. A neutral third party who sees all sides. We had a man and woman team and loved them. They saved our marriage.

    Compromise will be a must. Nobody is all right or all wrong. You are all in this together.

    You both have good points and need to find common ground. Your daughter, unless you go for full custody and actually get it, is also part of this. Nobody is going to get to make all the decisions about this baby. Unless you commit to full custody, if you can get it, your daughter WILL be able to control you. Also, you have a right to enjoy retirement. There is a lot going on in your lives and your differing opinions are causing chaos. I was in the same boat.

    This is a summary of my attempted post above.

    God bless.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2019
  11. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Agree with the others. Yes your hubs needs some attention too. All of this while dealing with all your dealing with right??! I remember those days. Thankfully our marriage survived it. Barely.

    There is no reason you cannot have a phone conversation with someone on this forum if they are in agreement. I have met 3 ladies here and we are on a group messenger and chat continually and have supported each other for over two years!!! First it was two of us and then three and now there are four.

    I am the only one out of the four that continues to read and post here. I am able to due to the fact that I have a desk job. They are all well known here as well. It really has helped the four of us tremendously and continues to. We have talked each other off cliffs and rejoiced at the positives with our boys.
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  12. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Such good, supportive info here. My thought is (and believe me, I do not have answers, this is just as I see it.)

    What behaviors have changed to suggest your daughter is now capable of caring for her daughter?

    As far as hubby goes, I think men are wired different for a reason. He may not be offering a safe counter-balance this time, but those of us thrust into these situations dont always think clearly.

    Thinking of you.
  13. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    Thank you all for your feedback. I feel like I was given a big pot of stew and need to pick through it and mull it over a bit, haha.

    Yeah. I feel like I've lived so much of my life around her moods, manipulation, circumstances, that I just am fed up with no more left to give in that area. Just tired and need to enjoy my life a bit without this constant need to look over my shoulder.

    Answering some Qs while I have a quick second...

    I 100% think we need marriage counseling.

    Nothing at all has changed with my daughter's behaviors that suggest she is ready to take care of her child. She was evicted in July and for 2 months has staying at an older man's house, driving his car as if it were her own (no license). She hopes to have her own place by fall, which would be helpful, but I don't know if it's realistic or not.

    Yes, I would be in peril if she just decided to take the baby and go (who knows where). But, if she wanted to, she could. She has every legal right to do that.

    Yesterday she said maybe she should just terminate her rights, have us raise him and have the baby think she's a sibling (because that's how she feels). Then, an hour later, she said if she can't have him full-time, she's going to move away and try to forget that she's a mom. Then, a little bit later, she said that she was going to get out of here with the baby, that they need each other, and she was going to move away from all of us.

    I need a break from her. I used to get those breaks and it helped me cope.

    Thank you all for reading and commenting. I do appreciate it.

  14. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    It's been very, very difficult for Hubs and me to be on different pages as far as interacting with Son.

    Hubs went to a couple of counseling sessions once, a few years ago. Our issue was trying to get on the same page as far as interacting with Son. I wanted to limit or curtail contact and Hubs wouldn't commit to a path either way.

    When we met with the counselor, Hubs told the counselor he thought I was 100% right in cutting off contact with Son and told us that was what he was going to do...then continued communication and (in my opinion) enabling Son behind my back. Obviously, counseling wasn't going to help if he couldn't participate in it honestly...

    Hubs will bitterly recall all the times Son has hurt us and others in one way or another. He readily acknowledges that Son would likely target him if he were in a weakened state, especially if Son was drinking or using (or even considering drinking and using).

    Yet Hubs continues to communicate with him.

    I don't understand it and our daughter doesn't understand it. The rest of the family all say they have lost respect for Hubs because of it. To be honest, daughter and I are beginning to feel the same way. And Hubs agrees with my decision!

    Yet here we are...

    I think it boils down to my core beliefs vs. Hubs's core beliefs. Normalizing Son's bad behavior seems wrong to my core. I would rather have no relationship at all than to gloss over what he's done. Plus, I've come to believe that in stepping away from Son, I am allowing the world to become his teacher, and that might be the only chance he has.

    Hubs would prefer SOME relationship, even if it's built on lies and manipulation.

    So do I demand Hubs cut off contact with Son?

    That's not my place. That's not my choice.

    My only choice is to let this play out in its own time, and that is very, very hard sometimes.

    Having a grandchild in the middle of the disagreement would make it that much harder, I imagine. So many issues to parse through, one of which is parenting decisions all over again.

    Not to generalize, but I think overall men tend to parent differently than women, which reminds me of a funny story.

    We had friends whose 2-month-old daughter (like ours) was also not sleeping through the night. Hubs and I had been taking turns on night patrol. Our friends decided to give it a try.

    On Dad's first night of patrol, when Baby woke up hungry, Dad (unbeknownst to Mom) cut most of the top off a nipple, filled the bottle with oatmeal, and fed Baby the whole thing. Problem solved!


    Fortunately, it all worked out (and Baby definitely DID sleep through the night THAT night).

    On one hand, I can (kind of) see your husband's point. From your posts, I see some glimmer in your daughter of appreciation for her role as mother and her insistence on that role being acknowledged, even though she is not accepting the responsibilities that go along with it. Perhaps your husband believes that would be enough to inspire her to rise to the occasion?

    On the other hand, that seems like a huge gamble, with an innocent on the table.

    And then there's this, which clearly points to her not being ready.

    Your love for each member of your family, as well as your family collectively, really shines through, Chickpea. You certainly don't need or deserve to be pulled in different directions.

    I think counseling is a really good idea. Even if your husband won't go, are you going yourself? Or would you be willing to go on your own?
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  15. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    When I can't find words or logic to explain what I feel in relation to my son or to explain what I choose, I fall back on this: The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. I read the book more than 50 years ago, and all I remember is that it has to do with the wildness of the human heart. That's enough for me to use the title, one size fits all, for all of the inexplicable things I do and say and feel, that I can't justify to myself let alone somebody else, that have to do with love.

    I identify with your husband Albatross, who I sense from your writings is a good and loving and honorable and loyal man.

    Maybe another shortcut way to understand our differences is through the Jungian pairs of typologies used as the basis for the Myers Briggs Personality test. You know the one: extroversion/introversion, sensing/intuitive, thinking/feeling, judging/perceiving.

    Maybe your husband like me is an ENFP. He thinks with his heart. He understands where he is based on intuition not data. He has a hard time putting things into black and white, and thinks instead in shades of gray. He needs people. He needs your son.

    The way I feel about life is that there are deep currents that nourish and guide us, of which we are seldom conscious. These are inexplicable to others but extraordinarily powerful. And they are not logical.

    Love is love but the way each of us feels it, relates to it and acts on it, makes us uniquely us.
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    Last edited: Sep 1, 2019
  16. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Thank you, Copa.

    Hubs is strongly extroverted, quite confident in most everything he does and led by logic 99% of the time. But when it comes to Son, he is completely led by his heart. Until your post, I never really connected those dots.

    You have given me much to think about, and what you said helps me see him in a little different light. I really appreciate it.

    Chickpea, sorry for the hijack. Back to your thread!
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  17. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    There is a common thread here for many. I am reminded of:

    "Men are from Mars Women are from Venus".

    Women experience different symptoms of a heart attack.

    We are different, we have different perspectives.

    I think its proactive to have relationship counseling. My husband would say he didnt get much out of it. Lol. The truth is, if he really didn't get much out of it, we wouldn't still be together. That was nearly 20 years ago.

    I understand you want a united front. Totally on board with that. But only the two of you can work that out.