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Can we revisit Skid journaling her visits?

momjeans's picture

Because it really has me reeling lately.

MIL is really ramping-up her fake niceties with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner and all, wanting to ensure I engage with all of them, and it’s amplifying my anxiety that skid will be journaling DH’s (and mine?) every move, every word spoken, over Christmas.

Remind me again why this is not okay. I mean, she’s basically journaling just to hand it over to DH before she leaves. Like a “Gotcha!” of some sort. It’s also the subject of her visits with her therapist back home, per skid. She states her therapist is telling her to do this.

For me, this feels like an invasion of privacy and I’m not okay with giving her “material” for it.

How do I tactfully and constructively tackle this with him? DH was in agreement that this issue needed to be addressed upon her next visit via counseling (he and skid), but that looks like it’s not happening at this point.

Here’s that blog entry: https://www.steptalk.org/blog/momjeans/skid-documented-her-summer-visita...

Comments

tog redux's picture

Back when I was a kid, journals were PRIVATE.  Her keeping a log book of all the things that make her unhappy and then handing it over to DH (I assume so he can read and change things to her liking), gives her way too much power.  DH needs to speak to the therapist who suggested this. It might be that she just thought she was giving SD an outlet for her feelings and it's turned into something else entirely. And does she keep a journal at BM's as well? Or is everything just perfect over there?

momjeans's picture

Thank you for posing that question - if skid keeps a journal at home. I think this is a good question for DH to ask her.

DH states he has tried to reach skid’s therapist by phone, and has left messages, but hasn’t received any callbacks. 

Adding: The things she journals are absolutely ludicrous. Like, her overhearing DH say “hell” while conversing with another adult within earshot of her, etc. 

tog redux's picture

If the therapist works for an agency, call her supervisor. If not, send her a certified letter with a copy of any custody order and demand that she speak to him or he will be retaining an attorney to enforce his rights to information.  She may have consumed the BM Kool-Aid, and may think DH is some horrible monster.

futurobrillante99's picture

I would put up cameras in the house while she's there to record all conversations and activity.

You can't really stop the SD from journaling, but I think it would be best if you guys met with a family counselor so your DH can understand that some of what she's writing is childish and manipulative. But still cover your butts.

futurobrillante99's picture

Well, the worst of it is she isn't being taught to TALK about how she feels. She's being taught to store up a list of grievances and then dump them on his head as she's walking out the door.

That's dumb and abusive.

momjeans's picture

Thank you! I’ll convey this to DH. 

I can only put so much kindling under his arse to address things with her therapist - the rest is on him, obviously. 

I’m just feeling resentful and bitter this is what I’m facing next month.

Winterglow's picture

I've been wondering about this journal thing... Is it possible that skid misunderstood the whole point of journaling? Maybe the therapist wasn't clear enough that it was for HER not for anyone else? How old is she, by the way?

momjeans's picture

I’ve wondered this too. But no one will pose this question to skid, because they handle her with white gloves, careful to not upset her.

I think it’s highly possible that skid misunderstood the therapist.

Skid is 12.

Winterglow's picture

Yep, it actually sounds as if she interpreted it as being akin to a school report card, monitoring "progress".

momjeans's picture

Right? It’s utterly ridiculous. In skid’s defense she’s quite the airhead, ditz.

advice.only2's picture

Well since nobody will do anything and they all want to handle SD with kid gloves and give her all the power, I think the only thing you can really do is just live your life, and who gives a rats ass what the little brat is writing..."today momjeans got up and cooked pancakes, when she knows I only love my Eggos!! This is why I hate my Dadddeeeee!!!"    

I mean yeah I get it, its intrusive and annoying to have a kid pretty much tattling on you all day in a binder, but if DH isn't going to do anything and the in laws are just going to spoil her and encourage it, not much you can do.

 

 

Livingoutloud's picture

Buy a cute little journal with little lock and a key. They are sold in ton of places.

Sit in where she can see you and write something or pretend, periodically looks at SD and then look down again. Keep fake journal locked.  IF she ever complains to whoever  listens, tell them that I write poetry but too embarrassed for others to see. Or tell them you are writing your feelings down. Whatever.

I know it’s passive aggressive but what the heck. All bets are off at this point.

My DD always had a diary. She likely complained about me and her dad too but who cares, that was private. She has diary now, she likes to write. So what. Why show it to others? Dad should tell her not to show him private journals. I’d refuse to read it. Pitch it if she gives it to you two. Dad should tell her that if she has something to say she should say it directly not dump on him when she is leaving. I’d not touch that journal 

Cover1W's picture

Sorry to say your whole situation doesn't sound good and is stacked against DH. 

Similar thing happend with my DH and SD14. We found a therapist who was great on the phone, works with troubled kids from non-traditional families. Had a good plan. Then after SDs first session we heard silence. DH couldn't get an answer out of her after multiple contacts. 

Several months later he finds out she was still going and that even BM had talked with her. And DH miraculously had a text from therapist about payment! Holy H-ll nope. He told her you go to BM for everything, period. And he was done with worrying about therapist.

We think SD14 was spinning her story of woe pretty good. You would think that a good therapist of teens would listen and talk with ALL involved persons to get a fix on actual situation...

SD14 left our home in April and hasn't been back. Only talked with DH once to essentially tell him how horrible he is. 

momjeans's picture

Oof. This is my biggest fear. DH being strong armed into flipping the bill for all of this BS.

I think the only positive out of DH is that he acknowledges this is a way for BM to stick it to him - the consequences of skid seeing a Kool-Aid drinking therapist.

Exjuliemccoy's picture

"You would think a good therapist of teens would listen and talk with ALL involved persons..."

YSD went through FOUR therapists between the ages of 14 & 18. None asked to speak with BM. The first three were female, and YSD was easily able to fool them by playing on their heartstrings. Only the last (male) therapist recognized the pathology, but by then YSD was legally an adult and skipped appointments.

momjeans's picture

This is good to know.

As far as DH and I know, the therapist skid is seeing welcomes him to contact her. And as far as I’m aware, DH has made several attempts.

The spiral notebook that skid handed him as she was leaving had “Daddy” written really big on the front, with her therapist’s name and phone# on the inside. 

Survivingstephell's picture

DH needs to respond " what a nice work of fiction, should get you an A in your English class".  

This is one of the stupidist things going on right now in this forum.  I feel for you, not much advice for you but you have my sympathy for this SD crap.  

I do wonder what SD will do when her fantasy world comes crashing down around her, BM is hands off from fixing it and you end up with a whole new level of SD drama.  Can you sue your old therapist, who messed you up in the first place, to pay for the new therapist  who will try to fix it all?   Hmmmm.....

If I was in your shoes, I'd bow out of as much time around SD as possible.  Everyone else might entertain this crap but I couldn't.  Which would be reason enough to keep me away from her.   I also have a crazy SD22, and I am the only one who holds on to the truth and not afraid to say when needed, which keeps her away from me.  Nice how the works out for me.  

ndc's picture

Maybe skid should spend all time when DH is not home (which is most of the time, right?) with MIL.  Give MIL a starring role in skid's journal.

momjeans's picture

She does spend a lot of time with her while DH is working.

It would behoove MIL to encourage skid to talk to her dad, or at least not drop this journal bomb on him, reiterating that journaling is for ones self, but where’s the fun in that, right? 

I blame MIL as well. There’s no way she can claim ignorance to this journal thing. As an enabler, she’s enabling it. 

Harry's picture

Through what ever SD was writing and try to find the main cause of SD problems.  Her jealousy, her anger, her unhappiness.  What a child said to a therapist is tainted, they have to get to problem before you can fix or try to fix it.  There something wrong with this child ,  you have to give it time 

amyburemt's picture

journaling, its actually a complaint list. so if she is going to invent all these complaints then what are her solutions for fixing them instead of just listing complaints? Maybe your dh should call her therapist and see what its really supposed  to be about. I get that sometimes it's good for kids to write down the things they need help solving, what i don't agree with is just endless complaints with no solutions or goals towards solutions. on a different note, when my sd's were young, bm kept giving them journals to fill out so they had lists of complaints about my dh and mainly me and my kids  she could show the judge. we won majority custody, but before it went to court we confiscated 26 journals from them. With the help of their therapist we showed them what real journalling is but bm was having them do it as a weapon and bm was also a bigtime Parental Alienator. In the long run we lost one of them to the alienator but the other one started to see what was going on and is determined that she won't go down that road.

momjeans's picture

Apparently, DH has attempted contact with this therapist, but it is just that... what he says. I have no proof.

And you touched on one of my issues with this - if she starts journaling about me, or our young kids, I’m going to have issues with it, and I will call her out on it, and nobody wants that.

Her complaints are petty. A lot of entries like: “I saw Daddy this evening, but all he did was talk to other people. He didn’t seem like he was in a good mood. I don’t understand why he is so sad...”

She journals if he had a beer or two. She journals if he uses adult language with other adults. 

It’s like, really child? Your dad works 70-80 hours a week. He’s not Mr. Happy 24/7. 

theoldredhen's picture

I can’t help chuckling over the absurdity of this ‘journaling’. Back in my day, a parent would have used the journal to whack the kid across the back of the head before tossing it in the trash. How times have changed!

It’s hard to believe that parental authority has altered so drastically, in a relatively short period of time. And, that a child is encouraged to unjustly criticize a parent, in writing, with the expectation of ramping up parental coddling.

Momjeans, you have the dubious distinction of inheriting the 2 worst in-laws known to ST and, as if that isn’t bad enough, a SD who is shaping up to resemble her paternal grandma. Urg! 

 

momjeans's picture

You nailed the family dynamics, Red.

Oh, my mom would have beat me to a pulp if I pulled this, with a loud enough “Who in the hell do you think you are!?” for the whole neighborhood to hear. Smile

Survivingstephell's picture

If she likes writing so much, Daddy could make her right sentences, like Rags did with his SS.   

I will not lie in my journal.   Daddy is a good man.  Momjeans knows best.   

All good things to write sentences for.  LOL  

What 's left in the situation but the find or make humor about it?   

momjeans's picture

Ooooh, I like this idea. DH would never, though, because “she’s just a child, momjeans.”

I agree, the absurdity of it all is laughable at best. 

Maxwell09's picture

I think your dh needs to “accidentally” misunderstand her when she hands it to him. He needs to respond with something like, “okay honey I’ll save this up in your room for you until you get back” as if he has no intentions on reading it. In fact, I’d go as far as suggest he doesn’t read it if he is letting her get to him this easy. It’s a power trip she’s on and he’s hanging on like, as others said, it’s his report card for parenting. No. Take the value of the journaling away by letting her think it’s pointless. I would actually keep those pesky things for her to come back to after she has a stepbrat of her own so she can gain some insight on how ridiculous she was at this age. And how could she even deny it if it’s from her own journals? And if she tells him he’s suppose to ready it then he should respond with something like “wouldn’t it just be easier if you just said what you were feeling instead? Because that’s what grown up do when they’re uncomfortable/upset—they talk their way through it...” 

momjeans's picture

Oh, I did tuck it away for a rainy day. Despite whatever DH’s feelings are about it, I’m holding on to it. She’s not going to get off that easy.

The entries... they’re so freaking ridiculous.

 

momjeans's picture

Best part is: Skid waited until after we were finished eating dinner in a restaurant to give him the journal.

I can only imagine how THAT conversation went down on the way there.

Skid: “I can’t wait to give this to daddy.” 

MIL: “No, let’s wait until we’ve eaten and we’re ready to go. LEAVE IT IN THE CAR, skid!”

 

Mominit's picture

New here - This thread is what made me sign up.

So even though it's been a week I wanted to chime in.  As much as we'd probably all love to tell her to just knock off the journaling, it's not 'PC'.  So it's really about taking away the power trip.  I think you're right in trying to find out WHY the therapist suggested journaling.  Perhaps it's because she doesn't talk to her father easily?  In which case your DH should be able to tell the therapist that this is not working, even as a temporary method, and that he and his DD will go to counseling together to work on their communication.  But that this list of every transgression is not actually helping their communciation.

Otherwise I would suggest you tell her that journaling things that are bothering her is very healthy.  Kind of like writing a letter to get it out of her head.  But what most adults do is NOT send the letter.  Delete it, burn it, shred it - get it out of her head, and then release it and let it go.  SO....if she wants to write it all down, and then keep it private,  never to be shared - that's fine.  If she wants to write it all down to collect her thoughts and then TALK to Dad about concerns that's fine too.  OR, they can burn it together at the end of each visit.  Neatly cut/tear it out of the book, supervise the burning (so she doesn't burn the house down!), but he will NOT be reading it.  She releases her concerns to the universe, and he only addresses the ones she talks to him about.  It takes the passive agressive journaling and turns it back into private journaling which is what it should be!

I don't believe a therapist would suggest long term writing letters rather than working on communication.

momjeans's picture

I am 100% on the same page with you here.

I am almost positive that skid misconstrued her therapist’s recommendation to journal her visitation thoughts and feelings, because she’s just that dense, and she was ending each and every day with an entry about it, making note of daddy’s behavior. A report card of sorts, a list of grievances, like other posters pointed out. 

I take issue with her behavior being rugswept until they attend therapy together. Avoiding conflict and consequences is a big part of DH’s family, and the rest of us suffer.