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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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I am leaving a lot out of this narrative, but the key issue

Customer Question

I am leaving a lot out of this narrative, but the key issue is this: My son and his ex split when she was 8 months pregnant. He was “invited” to the birth of his daughter and told that no matter what happened between them, he would always be “daddy.” The divorce caused my son to have to move to another state, since she made more money. They lost the house and his only recourse was to move in with me. Since that time, two and a half years ago, he has gone to see his daughter faithfully every two months (he was in the military, subject to their schedule) and is allowed four days with her during that time.
Ex does not work with him and stays strictly to the parenting agreement that was skewed in her favor because the child was an infant at the time. She gives him exactly what is on paper and not a minute more. He Skypes with my granddaughter three times a week, and pays child support willingly each month. He loves his daughter and is devastated each time he has to leave her. When the child was 11 months old, ex moved in with her boyfriend. We are not privy to whether or not they are actually married or just living together (they have bought a house). Boyfriend has an 11 year old daughter who visits. My granddaughter informs us that she has “two daddies.” Of course, my son is devastated and feels very disrespected, and wants the ex to put a stop to the boyfriend/daddy thing. He feels that HE is daddy and the boyfriend should be referred to by his name. The ex-wife seems delighted at my son’s devastation. As you can imagine, I am on the receiving end of my son’s vitriol regarding this. As much as I try to be the voice of reason, I am appalled that this behavior is being condoned. What to do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 1 year ago.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Seeking expert testimony is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Dear concerned mother and grandmother,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I can understand your strong feelings on this matter, and on your son's anger and pain over the disrespect he has received not only from the mother of his daughter, but from the courts as well.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Unless he can successfully challenge the court order, it cannot change.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He may have to be better situated financially to give him more of an edge.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

In the meantime, he is at the mercy of the law.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He should, however consult with a top attorney in the state where his ex and his daughter reside to prepare him.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

As for his ex's horrible behavior and delight in his suffering, he must never give her the satisfaction of showing her that he is hurt. That will only encourage her.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He will always be her daddy, and one day, hopefully sooner than later, have better visitation and custody terms. They are not set in stone.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I see you are typing and I await your response.

Customer:

He is in the process of trying to gain employment where his daughter lives, and then hopes to be able to appeal to the court, etc, for more liberal visitation. No real money for an attorney. My real issue is, can he stop his ex from teaching their daughter to call the boyfriend "daddy." I HAVE tried to get him to show no emotion toward the ex, but this is very difficult for him. I have tried explaining that she is too young to differentiate "blood" from some guy who lives in the house, but she is being programmed to call this man daddy. He is visiting her now, and when he took her home, she went searching for the "daddy" who lives in the house, calling "daddy, daddy." My son was in agony.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

This is very sad, but it is also something that he can overcome. His daughter is too young to know the difference and your son feels as if he is being replaced. He is, in fact, sharing a role as dominant male parent, and the bright side is that this man is not abusive and evil and is someone that is not a threat to her, even though he seems to be a threat to your son's position as sole father.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He will have to work his way back, as he is already beginning to do

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I recommend a workbook that will help him to deal with his thoughts that are tearing him apart.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He cannot change the reality, but he can change the way he reacts to the reality in thought and deed.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I strongly recommend this book for him.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :



He cannot change the actual situation except through the courts. However he can change how he responds to the reality of the situation.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

How a person frames their situation makes the difference between one who can cope with a situation and deal well with harsh realities and one that is overwhelmed by the same situation.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

It does not make the situation less severe, but only how the person deals with the situation becomes less severe.

Customer:

yes, we are very thankful that the man seems to be good to her. My son feels the boyfriend should be the one to put a stop to the daddy thing, as he has a child himself and my son feels he should know how my son feels. Ex won't give them time alone, as she doesn't want any unpleasantness. Son feels boyfriend should be empathetic.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Being more able to cope with a situation gives a person more strength and security.

Customer:

As for how my son reacts, I can talk until I'm blue in the face, but he does what he WANTS in the moment. I will look into the book, it sounds like it could be very helpful.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

I do have one suggestion for both of you when you talk to your granddaughter. Refer to the other man as "daddy 'Bob'" or whatever his given name is. That is a nice neutral way of dealing with it.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

The problem will only change when your son changes his approach and comes to term with the situation as it actually exists.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

He is deeply in denial about what is going on and must come to face the current truth.

Customer:

That is NEVER going to happen on my son's part. I have tried explaining that the child will be enhanced by having many people who love her, but he feels he should be accorded the title of "daddy," since he has tried everything to be one. There are so many dirtbags out there who don't want anything to do with their child, yet here is a man who WANTS to be involved. He is fully accepting of his ex having another man, he just doesn't want this man taking his rightful place as dad.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Alas, he cannot change the current court ruling except by litigation; he cannot change his ex's disposition and lack of empathy, and he cannot change his daughter's affection for a man that is nice to her..

Customer:

I understand, unfortunately, HE doesn't. Feels I am taking a side against him in this. Of course, many children can't seem to believe that their parents know anything about anything, but I keep trying. He is hurting and I am trying not to say the wrong thing to add to his distress. I think in his heart he knows I'm right, but it is very hard for him to share the one thing in his life that "makes his heart beat."

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

If it will NEVER happen then the problem will always exist. I believe that at a certain point he will understand that this position needs to be modified if he wants thing to feel better.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You are not taking a side against him. You are supporting his in the only honest way you know how to. If there is an obstacle in his path and he cannot break through it he can either remain stuck or walk around it.

Customer:

I agree--just get tired of beating my head against the wall, you know?

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Sometimes when a person is stuck they have to stay in that position until they see for themselves that they must try something new.

Customer:

True enough. Thanks for your help, guess I just needed to get this off my chest.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Stop beating your head against the wall and suggest he speak to a professional family counselor who will be a neutral party who will tell him to his face what you and I already know. He might accept that.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

You are very welcome. I wish all of your family great blessings and shall keep you all in my prayers.

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Warm regards,

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

Customer:

thanks!

Elliott, LPCC, NCC :

:)]

Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 7663
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC
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35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.