My son’s (who has ODD and mood disorder) father is quite simply nefarious and immoral. Two days ago, there was an incident at my home involving my son who was being extremely defiant and destructive. Please read my post called “When Co-Parenting ODD Isn’t An Option” for the background.
Yesterday in a very challenging family therapy session between me and my son, my son revealed that during that incident – when the police called his father instructing him to intervene by calming my son down over the phone – his father did not in fact try to defuse the situation. Instead, he told my son despicable things about me – all while the police were there.
Living with and managing ODD is hard enough in an intact, peaceful home. It is immeasurably difficult when one parent continuously undermines the other and sabotages everything done to help children with this disorder. Not only did he speak viciously about me, he continued (like he has done for years) to tell my son that he is perfectly normal, that his diagnoses are all lies conceived by me and that nothing is wrong with him or his behaviors. Worse, he continues to tell my son that the issues are my fault because I am a terrible mother.
Four days in and I feel and look exhausted. The emotional and mental drain is starting to beat me (and I’m a fiercely tenacious person). It is so hard managing my son by myself; imagine the setbacks when someone like this is in the mix.
I am struggling to motivate myself to get up, dust off and keep going. Because I have been doing this for over ten years. That my son is conflicted and is now beginning to believe his father’s lies scare and dishearten me – because I feel betrayed and am beginning to lose hope for progress and healing between us.
Last night I talked to a dear friend who helped process all of this with me. Many times after that and today, the only thing left to do, that I could do, was pray. Pray that someday the consistency of my parenting & values, my stable physical presence, my commitment to responsibility and my integrity (because it is REALLY hard to bite your tongue when someone is saying nasty, damaging things about you to your own child) are all apparent to my son. So that he can formulate his own conclusions and recognize who has always been the principled and decent parent.
2 thoughts on “The Weariness of ODD & Detrimental Co-Parenting”
Wow! This is my story exactly. Every word. Even the timeline of 10 years. My son is 14 and his father just won custody. Everything is terrible. Our relationship is damaged beyond repair right now. I currently have my son at my house (I only get him for 48 hours every 14 days) and we’ve ready had a huge fight. He spews his father’s insults at me and it’s more than I can handle.
Hello. I am very sorry that you don’t have custody of your son. Before anything else please know that you are not a bad parent. I don’t know you but I know that. For now please just think about that and repeat it every day, even of you don’t yet believe it. There will be a day when you do. I know because several years ago I almost lost custody and it was the lowest point of all and I felt like I was just horrible. Over the years with therapy and support I know I am not. And you should believe that too. Pleaee continue to follow me so that we can support one another. You aren’t alone in this.