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Disney Dad on the ropes

Mr. Starla's picture

Blog in comments and that is what is supposed to happen.


Mr. Starla's picture

I keep doing the same thing over and over again. I will visit my kids and forget the plans and strategies that my DW and I made when seeing my kids. For example, I went up and visited bs18 and bd16 last Friday. They were smelly and looked unwashed. If DW were with me I would have had them change their cloths and wash their hair but this didn't even cross my mind. I took them to a Chinese restaurant and fed them since they hadn't eaten supper and neglected to get anything to go for my DW (Chinese is one of her favorite).

I have not gone up to see my kids since April and had been making excuses for it every time my DW would bring it up. I have been distant from them for several reasons. My bd16 displays passive aggressive behavior toward my DW when ever I am around. She literally pushes between us when we are anywhere out and about. After a few pushing episodes in stores I now literally have to stay between them in order for my DW to feel safe in her company. My bs gets along well with my DW but he gets on her nerves with his ramblings trying to describe things that we are clueless about. I also stall over visiting them because I know we will be talking about it for at least a week bc it takes me that long to get over my painfulness about it. We also get sick after most of these visits (as I am now, DW didn't go).

I guess that I just feel like a failure as a father and as a husband. I can't hold my head up and look my wife in the eye. I generally come around and see the wisdom of my DW's critism of my parenting though it might take weeks for it to sink in. Then I feel shame over the time wasted and the resentment that I have fostered in her.

Sorry for the whining but I need help trying to work this out.

DW is usually right so here I am at her suggestion. HELP!!!

furkidsforme's picture

Hey, you might not have done it perfectly, but at least you are trying and you recognize where your weaknesses are. That's a pretty big step in the right direction.

Now to figure out why you keep repeating the pattern. It must serve you in some way, or you would not do it. So now it's time to figure that out.

Mr. Starla's picture

Actually that is quite helpful, thank you. I think it has to do with my defensive reactions toward those to whom I am emotionally attached. This bares some thought.

Mr. Starla's picture

It is not acceptable in my mind that the kids smell. That being said, I work day in and day out repairing machinery, dealing with paint fumes, and I grew up on a farm plus working in the agriculture industry. I have a very poor sense of smell and what offends others is a mere footnote to me. What bothers me is the way that they look. Stringy greasy looking hair and stained clothing. I tell them to change when they look like what they are wearing looks like they picked it up off the floor but I can't determine if their smell is offensive unless it really and truly is foul.

As far as choosing bm I had a very low opinion of myself and I settled for someone that was pursuing me. There were a lot of red flags that should have warned me as to the character of bm but I ignored them. I have been going to counseling but not consistently.

I cannot say that I did the best that I could for a few years now because I can clearly see in hind sight things I could have done differently that did not occur to me at the time or I felt unworthy to accomplish. My regrets are numerous and they weigh heavily upon me.

arjuna79's picture

Naming all that is a really good start, you know. And even naming the emotional stuff is important, too. Because under all that emotional charge and all those old toxic patterns is clear-cut information. So take a deep reorganizing breath and land in you, you deserve the respect of kids cleaning up for you. Dinner out together? Clean clothes, wash up. No stories. Set a reminder on your phone. Breathe. Hold your space. Keep returning to breath and focus in the moment. This is how you create new patterns and the healthy stories that go with them.

furkidsforme's picture

I think you shouldn't be so hard on yourself. Yes, it wasn't perfect. But there's people out there that can't even recognize that something is wrong. You do, and that's huge. And you want to change it, and that's huge, too.

Maybe do you enjoy the moments of feeling good and feeling together with the kids, and engaging them in anything that critiques them or upsets them ruins that moment of fantasy and escape?

Mr. Starla's picture

I think that the fantasy and escape part hits the nail on the head. I want the time that I spend with my kids to be positive and running them down doesn't seem to achieve that. On the other hand it is my responsibility to provide them with guidance and education to live in the world. My mind sees the intellectual necessity but my emotional side feels for them and consequently I end up saying nothing.

cant win for losin's picture

The part i cannot get past is the physical reminder of smell! Now i am not trying to beat a dead horse on this subject, and truly hope that you can shed light on this matter. I can understand patterns, routines, old habits etc... of ALL those other things men bury their head about (like kids bad behavior, forgetting to bring home food for wife, yada yada) i just dont understand ignoring SMELLS. I meanvthat is really something to me. If dw was there, you wouldve cleaned them up. But you said because she wasnt the thought didnt even cross your mind. How can this be? How can someone smell and it NOT cross your mind to remedy it at that moment?!!
My mind is blown right now.

Mr. Starla's picture

To be honest with you the smells that come off of my kids are the same as those that permeate the whole apartment that they live in. The ex is allergic to most artificial scents used in air fresheners and detergents so none of those are used in her household at all. She is also into the extreme of the environmentally friendly movement and goes for the natural alternative. If she has that option she uses it. She always has pets (cats) and as far as I can tell the litter box does not get changed enough, so they have a tendency to do their business else where.

Cocoa's picture

you don't sound like a failure to me, either. I think you made these decisions. you DECIDED (gave yourself permission) that you weren't going to remember the plans/strategies you made with your wife. you saw and recognized the kids were dirty, but you CHOSE (gave yourself permission) to ignore it because wifey wasn't there. it DID cross your mind or you wouldn't have even noticed. would you have felt like too much of a "team" with your wife if you had insisted on cleanliness? wanted to be the good guy? as for the Chinese, did your wife call you on it or did you make the decision to not bring her some of her favorite food when it was right there in front of you? sounds like you have a lot of anger/resentment with your wife and are passive/aggressive. you agree to her face and do what you want when she isn't looking. it's easy to fix...just stop it. and get to the root of why you are so afraid of being seen as a team with your wife.

Mr. Starla's picture

Your questions seem to be spot on and you have given me more food for thought. Do you have any recommendations as to how I might go about getting to the bottom of this? Do I take this to my psychologist?

LuckyGirl's picture

I cannot understand any parent who permits his or her children to be dirty. As parents we are supposed to teach our children to live happy and productive lives in the society we live in, and hygiene is a huge part of this - nobody wants to be around someone who stinks.
Being and smelling dirty will make them outcasts - is this really what you want for your children? As for "what to do", words fail me - just get on with it and make them clean up!
And by the way your exwife is not "into the environmentally friendly movement" - she is a filthy, lazy, dirty excuse for a person.