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danny541, Parenting Answer Team
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My wife and I are beginning a divorce. There has been a ...

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My wife and I are beginning a divorce. There has been a great deal of emotional abuse and manipulation on her part towards me such that I can't even speak to her alone. My problem though has to do with my 8 year old daughter.

Right now she lives with me, but I let her call her mother anytime she needs to. My wife went out of state on a trip that was planned for months before this all happened with my step-son. They left for the trip after my daughter and I moved out of the home.

I try as hard as I can to make sure my daughter feels safe and loved and that she knows both I and my wife love and care for her and will do the best we can to see that she's happy and taken care of.

But almost every night this week, my wife tells my daughter things like "daddy is never going to let me see you again" and "he's telling you lies and will make you lie in court just so he can keep you". The only night something like this Didn't happen was when my step-son was in the room with my wife so her could talk to his sister also.

Exactly the opposite is true of what my wife says, but my daughter is already hurt and confused enough right now and this gets her so twisted up, it sometimes takes 2 hours to assure her that my wife is mistaken, and probably just worried, without calling my wife a liar. My wife is out of state until this weekend, and I'm afraid of what might happen when she gets back because my wife already sent me an email that said in part "I know there are no papers giving either of us custody I could go to get her, call the police, and they would say you have to let her go with her mom. But I am not going to do that to her or you." I'm very worried about what my wife might try when she gets back this weekend, but I recently hired an attorney and wrote him a 9 page letter detailing this and other things for the legal part.

Mostly I just don't know how else to handle my daughter except to just listen and try not to say anything negative about my wife. My daughter doesn't deserve to be used as a weapon between my wife and I, but right now my wife is trying to make my daughter "pick sides" and I don't know if there's any other better way I can deal with this other than what I've been doing.

My wife has manipulated me for years and I was never truly aware of it, or at least capable of doing anything about it, until very recently and I will never put myself in that position with her again, but my daughter is only 8. I can't hardly bear to see my daughter hurting so much, I expect she'll need a counselor to help her deal with it, but right now it's only been a week since this started, so I need to know what I can do for her in the meantime till I can arrange something like this.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer !

The only things you can do, is make her feel safe and keep reassuring her that mommy is mistaken, she will alway's be able to see mommy, but right now, mommy is up set and not thinking straight !

Get that councelor as soon as possible ! Both kids are going to be hurt when this goes down, and apparently she is not above using manipulation ! If she really loved her daughter she would not use her in this way. Check with your lawyer also about whether you can record her conversations to prove in court and for the councelor to hear what she is doing to her child, that way they will know how best to deal with the situation !

You are a brave man, and very wise to be carefull, your daughter's well being and mental health depend's on it. Just keep understanding and and listening !

If you want to discuss this more I will be back around 9: pm


danny541 and other Parenting Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thank you. My friends and family have said that's all I could do for now, and I have written my attorney about some of the problems with the calls, but I'll mention the part regarding to what extent that can be recorded, etc and see what he says.

I've been trying to give my daughter the same privacy to speak with her mother that I currently have while my wife is away, but most importantly for me with this question is just some confirmation that I'm doing the right thing from someone without personal bias from having known me personally. If I could afford more right now, I would give you a tip ;-) but until my next paycheck I'm pretty much running on empty as you can probably understand.

Thank you again.

I understand totally, my first wife and I had some problems in this area also, but we both loved our three girls and were able after counseling was able to work through it ! And don't worry about a tip I am so glad to just be able to help !

If you need any thing else or just to talk I'm here for you !

Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Thank you very much for the offer, and if I felt I was alone in all this I would probably come back and unload more problems on you ;-) but I have Many close friends and family that are all very supportive of me, it was really just this one sticky point that I was most unsure of and felt I needed an unbiased opinion on.

I have written my attorney about the phone calls, and am looking into getting individual counseling for both me and my daughter.

I also emailed my wife and essentially asked her to stop. I explained how hard this is on our daughter and that I'm not doing anything to try and "make her pick me over her" and I asked for the same consideration, stressing how much this will hurt our daughter if my wife continues to behave this way.

But certainly if I have other questions I'm stuck on later, I know where I can come ask ;-)

You are making excellent decisions, for yourself and daughter !

With your kindness and consideration, this will be worked through !

Good Luck, to you !