Dear Readers - Sometimes the Readers’ Commentaries on a previous letter-writer’s problem, contribute compelling insights. The following writer’s account about a mother’s determination to estrange her ex-husband from his children, is a striking follow to the original column of May 14, 2021 when a mother fears her ex-husband’s turning her son against her:
“My parents split when I was 15, and three younger siblings included an infant. Their marriage had been very acrimonious and the separation/divorce were equally bad if not worse.
“My mother never accepted any responsibility for her part in the marriage breakdown. My father was always to be regarded as an ogre, evil monster, etc. If we kids didn’t take her side, God help us.
“One Sunday, Dad took my seven-year-old sister and our baby sister out for the afternoon. He returned an hour earlier than agreed upon. My mother, having seen him through the window, told me to hide in the closet with her and not answer the door!
“She said, “What if I wasn’t home - he can’t just bring them home when he feels like it!” I realized then just how spiteful, vindictive and childish she was.
“Every chance she got she bad-mouthed my Dad to us kids. When they returned from visits (I never went), she’d interrogate them mercilessly about what they did, where they went, who was there.
“This woman (in the previous column) needs to intervene on behalf of her son now. People like her ex-husband don’t change, they only get worse. Their bitterness/hatred twists them, and the innocent children suffer.
“My mother is 92 now and not one of her children want anything to do with her.”
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the wife’s surprise job announcement and whether she feels unsupported (May 21):
“If she feels unsupported after 10 years, that’s a serious problem. In spite of having young children, she’d (privately) accepted a position with travel and overnight stays.
“Her husband will return to his office (post pandemic) and these children will have no parent on some (or many) nights, but his wife either didn’t factor them into the equation or had arrangements in mind and didn’t tell him. Both are concerning.
“I was in a similar work situation when offered a promotion with a sizeable pay increase.
“Although excited, and very flattered, I spoke to my husband before deciding. We discussed childcare arrangements for when I’d be gone, homework help (his first language isn’t English), cooking of meals, sports league commitments (my husband was a coach as well as my children being enrolled in school and outside sports teams) and family and social commitments.
“It was quite a juggling act with me running off a plane, sprinting to a cab and showing up in high heels and business suits to a soccer or football field, or hockey arena.
“Or, leaving one of those venues to hop into a waiting taxi to the airport or train station. I couldn’t have done it without my husband’s (sometimes grudging) support.
“In spite of his having helped me make the decision, and being glad of the welcome extra money, he was sometimes understandably resentful of the greatly increased workload he had to shoulder at home on top of his full-time job (thankfully regular hours).
“If the wife didn’t include her husband in this huge decision, ignoring any impact on his life and the children’s, the couple need serious help if they’re to continue this relationship.”
FEEDBACK Regarding the man, feeling the loss of his father’s death, who’s considering whether seeking a girlfriend as his future life partner can also provide him with a great father-in-law (May 22):
Reader – “I think this guy needs to mature some more, though I’m not diminishing the impact on him of the loss of a parent.
“However, he’s 33-years-old, so should have some life smarts. He also needs to start realizing that his mother will soon, if not already, be needing to get more support from him herself.
“From personal experience, given that one mishap and that transition could happen overnight, and he becomes his mother’s support person.
“To focus on a father figure when looking for a life partner could be a disastrous mistake. I had terrific in-laws. But they left my life as soon as I separated from my now ex-wife.
“But my mother still needs my support.”
Tip of the day:
Bad-mouthing an ex-spouse to your mutual children usually harms their relationship with you at least as much as with him/her.