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Rafael M.T.Therapist
Rafael M.T.Therapist, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience:  MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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I divorced my ex a year ago. We have a 6 year old boy who sometimes

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I divorced my ex a year ago. We have a 6 year old boy who sometimes I believe he likes spending more time with his dad than with me. It was my decision to separate and since my ex could not afford rent, it was me who left the house we bought together. He now has his girlfriend living there - even though he denies having a relationship with her and claims she is only there renting a room and to split the bills - we had a huge argument about it but he still didn't anyway. This however is not my biggest problem. Since he stayed in the house - the house that my son has know for his whole life (he was in fact born in there), i feel that he feels more comfortable being there rather than the new house I got. I feel like I shoot myself in the foot by trying to have peace with my ex and let him stay in there. He is also buying and doing everything for our son - I cannot say he was ever a bad dad, in fact I like them having a nice relationship, but it does hurts me that I he is the good parent who allows our son to do whatever he wants and have very few rules when I am a bit more strict . I don't want to just start buying everything for my son just to compete with his dad. We have custody 50-50 being 2 days with me and 2 days with his dad. We sometimes move the days around depending on things one of us may have to do, but if my son stays one extra night with me he is already asking me when is he going back to dad. It hurts me so much and i have actually once asked my son if he wants to go with dad earlier, he always says no, but i truly believe that he could happily stay a lot longer with his dad and wont even question it. My ex has a very big influence on our son - it is actually a bit too much - I don't know what he says to him but everything he says he believes. I need some help please.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Rafael M.T.Therapist replied 1 year ago.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am very sorry to know about this really concerning situation you have been facing.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

What you describe here shows a typical dynamics where a parent gains more trust, attachment and becomes the preferred one because of being spoiled by one parent, who does not set adequate and necessary healthy boundaries, limits and discipline, where affection becomes distorted since it lacks wisdom to raise, educate and share.

Customer:

My ex changes moods all the time. Right at the beginning (when we broke up) he would not even face me. His house is on a 3rd floor and he used to send our soon by the stairs by hims self - he now faces me, but it is very frustrating that he does not care what kind of image this is foru our son.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I see you had the best intention when you decided to leave your house, but in real life it has not worked for you since it seems obvious he is not being respectful nor accountable about it. You own this house, does you have the right to set what happens with it, assessing what you are willing o afford or not, since sooner or later he'd have to admit his new relationship, and she is already living there with them.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Both of you have the responsibility to raise and take good care of him, and if he does show lack of ability and accountability to play this adult-parental and healthy role, you have the right to do your best to request real changes since it is your son's integrity and well-being which are under risk here.

Customer:

if i dont try to contact him - he never does. We agreed to shared everything concerning our son (mainly schools stuff) but he sometimes does, sometimes doesn't. He is a freelance (reason he cannot afford a thing) and has lots of free time and he is very involved in our son school. I try to be more involved but my time is more limmited.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

If a parent is unable or unwilling to take good care of a child, then the other parent needs to take consistent action to promote concrete changes to protect and support the child.

Customer:

since he is always at our son school all the parents think he is the best and basically my victim - because he has also told about our situation to some parents at school which embarrass me.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sure, he does not have to pay rent, I could say that it was in some way a mistake for you to give him the house without setting clear conditions and setting boundaries, once he is the way he is, it could have enabled his deficiencies and distortions even more.

Customer:

what can i do to make it more balance? i want my son to be happy when he is with his father, but I also want him to want to be with me in our new house. How can I make the new house feel like home?

Customer:

I actually have the right of the 50% of the house - if I claim my part we will have a huge fight and I am afraid my son will get stuck in between.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Such behaviors are unacceptable. Anybody responsible and aware of reality in his shoes would show gratitude and express through concrete actions his efforts for giving his best while respecting you and showing appreciation for all the support you have given to him, but instead he has got a partner, uses your house, enjoys the benefits of no responsibility about it and not only neglects but abuses the freedom and power he has

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Unhappily it seems that your fear about not getting any conflict because of your son may have been enabling all these dysfunctional situations instead of helping your son and your relationships.

Customer:

also, i recently started dating a guy - which my ex does not like at all and I am afraid he may influence my son to not like this guy

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

It seems like a vicious circle since you expect his father to become assertive, responsible, respectful and mature while what he got enables his deficiencies and the distorted way he lives, sabotaging you while abusively gaining your son's attachment through spoiling, and let me tell you that spoiling a child like that could be worse than any form other forms of abuse, because on this one, the parent uses the child for his own benefit, disregarding how much he's damaging his mental, emotional and whole well-being.

Customer:

i completely agree with you but he thinks that he is the best and he is doing absolutely nothing wrong.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

There you have another real life situation showing you how your approach is not working and would not make things easier but worse with time, since it disregards XXXXX XXXXX boundaries, limits and rules for him to respect.

Customer:

what can i do for my child to feel more at home in our new house?

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I bet he thinks that and feels proud about it, but if you continue to take that as a valid approach, you would have to afford further consequences, since the situation would not get easier for you and your son but worse.

Customer:

how much can I tell my son about the situation??

Customer:

i dont want to hurt him but I want him to know why things are happening.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

As long as he keeps spoiling your child as a way to buy his affection, preference and attachment, your son would continue to develop a distorted view or love, reality, sharing, of what is good and healthy, and it would continue to undermine your relationship, his personality, present and future personal life.

Customer:

my son actually seems quite content - he has told me of course that he does not like having 2 houses but that was right at the beginning, now he seem to understand that mom and dad live separate. This gives me peace, but I dont want him to suddenly blame me for everything as I know his dad influences him a lot.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I am afraid that your approach has already enabled and fueled this situation which is not healthy at all for your son, and if you want to protect and take good care of your son, you need to start facing reality and confronting everything that happens to be unacceptable, unhealthy, abusive or neglectful. You have the right and responsibility to do this, your custody means that you should do your best to protect and guaranty your child's well-being and integrity and never to allow or enable any form of neglect or abuse in his life.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Sooner or later that would happen based on the patterns he has already presented all this time, and to expect things would be OK or get better by themselves or from a sudden and dramatic transformation in his father's ways would be unrealistic and counterproductive.

Customer:

my ex cannot deal with confrontation... he actually has hidden from me many times

Customer:

which leads me to frustration

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I believe you should seriously consider assessing the pros and cons of allowing him to keep the house, versus selling it in order for him to truly take full responsibility for his life and start maturing as an adult, otherwise anything he does, even if it appears as nice, could lead to unhealthy patterns-influences in your son's personality and life.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then please come to terms with reality that there is no way your son's father could provide healthy and necessary parenting, education and life experiences your child needs and deserves unless somebody starts holding accountability and prevents dysfunctional patterns to get even worse.

Customer:

yeah, he keeps acting like if I owe him and has not showed gratitude at all for anything...

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Your son's personality, sense of self-worthiness, self-esteem, level of assertiveness and everything he are literally shaped by everything you and his father are and do as individuals, ex-spouses, adults, parents and by any other role you play.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then if he is this distorted you need to start facing reality and the unavoidable challenges it presents in order to take good care of yourself, your child and your relationship.

Customer:

he has a great influence in people - one friend of him even wrote me an e-mail telling me that I was a horrible person - it very much surprised me since she only had one side of the story - this is another example on how he influences people...

Customer:

how much can I tell to my son??

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You and your child need, deserve and have the right to be healthy and happy, and allowing his father to manipulate and control things these ways is not wise but very unhealthy; and you have to decide if you want this to continue avoiding necessary confrontations, conflicts and crisis affording the consequences from it, or do the hard necessary work to take good care of yourself and your child.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You should tell and explain to him everything necessary in simple language for him to understand and differentiate what is healthy from what is unhealthy, whether it comes from his father, you or from other people. It is not about pushing a child against a parent but about raising and protecting your child for him not to be victimized and suffer serious distortions because of the other parent's serious personality and mental health problems.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

I suggest you to consider getting support from a marriage and family therapist, a competent and experienced one, who could support you and your child through this situation and the unavoidable, challenging and painful process you need to face in order for you to be and feel good, regardless of the serious issues and limitations his father presents, but well aware and capable of taking necessary actions whenever he does not respect core basic boundaries, limits, neglecting, using, abusing, or manipulating your son in subtle or obvious ways.

Customer:

thank you very much Rafael.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. Thank you for your trust.This is not easy but tough, but also necessary and worthy for sure, since it is about your son's well-being and your own health and happiness.

Customer:

do you have any tips for me to make my son feel more comfortable in our new house? i dont want to spoil him, i just want him to know that I love him and I will always be there for him.

Customer:

i want him to trust me

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Be yourself, caring, empathic, affectionate, implementing healthy and consistent discipline and rules, promoting his insight about everything, sharing as much as you can with him at every level, to create real intimacy and trust, deep affection and caring for each other, showing him through actions that you live in consistency with the worldview, norms, values, beliefs and ideals you try to teach him through words and discipline.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Then acknowledge his individuality, promoting it, his full and healthy grow and development offering the best possible good modeling and support through the way you talk, share, express your emotions, educate, discipline him, cope with problems and set priorities.

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

Your boyfriend-partner should support you showing the same consistent and healthy approach for your son to get the best parenting, experiences, affection and education from you.

Customer:

Thank you so much again. I hope to talk to you again :)

Rafael M.T.Therapist :

You're very welcome. I wil be here glad to support you. Take gentle care and consistent action! Bye for now :o)

Rafael M.T.Therapist, Family Counselor
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 3189
Experience: MHT-MHRS-MS-MA Integral Psychotherapist & Life Coach
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