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My DD read text messages on her dad’s phone

Biostep7777's picture

Please tell me how to handle this! My DD apparently found an old phone of my ex's and went through it and read all sorts of stuff during the time him and I were splitting up. There were things in there neither one of us wanted our kids  to see. Things were said, accusations, mistakes were made, name calling. It was BAD. But, that was 5 years ago and him and I are in a really good place now but she read all this (she's 15) and  is now falling apart. I'm upset that she snooped and now she is hurting and feels "lied to" which of course isn't the case. We just didn't tell her details obviously!!! My ex thinks I cheated on him and accused me left and right (this wasn't the case) but now my DD thinks this because of him accusing me. This was just one of the hundreds of issues going on with us. There was financial abuse on his part, he was already with his now wife before he even moved out. I don't care. The marriage was far over but of course he deleted their conversations and left the ones of him accusing ME of crap. I was no angel either. I said some really nasty things to him but divorce is ugly. We are completely over it and have both moved on and have a great coparent relationship. In fact, we get along way better now than when we were married! But It's a damn mess and I honestly don't know how to even begin to tackle this. 

Biostep7777's picture

I should add! She is in therapy and I have already contacted her therapist. I haven't heard back yet. 

advice.only2's picture

This is a good teachable moment for your daughter that marriage and relationships aren't always pretty and sometimes people fight bitterly, but can come out the other side and be better for it.
Also a teachable moment for her to be prepared when she goes snooping in other peoples stuff she might not like what she finds.
Also remind your daughter you are a human, just like she is, just because you carry the title of mom does not make you exempt from failure. Too many kids idolize their parents and think they are saints.

SteppedOut's picture

Does your ex know? Why is he leaving something lile that (that conveniently makes him look like he wasn't the cheater...) laying about for your daughter to see? Perhaps since he mucked things up, he should be a big part in cleaning it up? 

Biostep7777's picture

Nobody cheated. Well not that I know of but it doesn't even matter at this point. We stayed in the house together for a while as most people do because we were making preparations and finalizing things. He was already with his now wife before he moved out but I didn't care because it was already over. He had accused me of stuff earlier on but it was after we had already talked about separating. (There was harmless flirting with one of my potential clients but again, we were going through a divorce and people act stupid!) I never cheated but I think he might think I did?? I honestly have no idea. He should have just said we were over whether he believes me or thinks I screwed half the town! I still have not mentioned that he was already with his now wife for weeks before he moved because it truly doesn't matter and it would only hurt my daughter more! We were both in a bad place. Divorce is painful, ugly and people's act like dumb asses. Lol. 

lieutenant_dad's picture

You both need to sit down with her together and explain the situation: you both were angry at the time, and you both have moved on, and there is a reason why these details weren't shared with her (and were never going to be shared with her). If you can address it together with her, then she may be more likely to believe what actually happened versus the edited version of what she read.

Biostep7777's picture

We pretty much did this. She still doesn't believe that the cause of the divorce was not infidelity. We had both moved on before he even moved out (him with his now wife and I wasn't dating anymore but moving on with my life going back to school) we were just getting things settled before he actually moved but it was over. We were making  preparations to move out. 

Gimlet's picture

I agree with sitting down and talking to her, like LD said.  Your ex needs to show up for this and be honest about the fact that he was wrong in his accusations.

I also agree that this is a teachable moment.  You were protecting her for a reason and now she's brought herself pain because she chose to violate her dad's privacy.

Definitely engage the therapist, but I would not give her any sort of adult power here.  That kind of role distortion does more harm than good because she is not ready for that.  She is still your child and she doesn't get to hold YOU accountable for private conversations from your divorce, period. 

Biostep7777's picture

We did both sit down with her and told her that things are said during divorce and that it's over and we have moved on. She won't let it go. She has a very victim mentality and it drives me crazy sometimes. I know a lot of it is her age but she can't violate privacy than expect people to cater to her feelings about it instead of apologizing for snooping 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

I say tell her that, then. If you have already discissed this with her together, and she still won't let it go, she needs some tough love. If you show that you are apologetic, or if you cater to her feelings at all, or show any weakness, that will ne seen by her as proof her indignation is justified. Plus it feeds the drama. I have a 15-year-old daughter, too. Give them an inch of drama and they turn it into miles! 

Rumplestiltskin's picture

Also, i would tell her that if she wants to involve herself in adult problems, it's time for her to start acting more like an adult than a toddler throwing a tantrum. 

Mominit's picture

This may be a bit out there...but I would take the phone and add some messages about how you can't believe that she stole money from her Grandmother, and kicked a puppy and stole her best friend's boyfriend.  Then, any time she brings up your imagined crimes, I would say well at least I didn't steal my best friend's boyfriend. At least I didn't kick puppies.  When she gets incredibly frustrated because that's not true, ask her how if feels when the shoe is on her foot!  Reading something doesn't make it true. 

And I highly agree with the poster above not to surrender your authority on this.  When she gets into one of her poor me moments I would't coddle her.  I would get down right angry with her.  How dare she put her child nose into adult business, stir a pot of untruths and play victim.  I would tell here in no uncertain terms what she can do with her lies, her attitude and her belief that she has ANY say in rewriting the history of her parents' lives. 

Coddling continues to give her permission to bring this up and wallow in it.  Make her a puppy kicker, and then tell her to shut it! (sorry, that makes me angry for you!)

Thumper's picture

Tell her she should keep her hands off of adult things. So let me get this straight? , she found dh's old phone, found an applicable plug, juiced it up and read about private matters between a husband and wife. That took thought and effort.

SHE knows better unless she is 2. IF she was 2 it is unlikely she could read it. I doubt if she picks up her teachers phone and read those messages.

Teachable moment? Hell if my own bios did this, trust me we would not call it a teachable moment. WHY do we soften stuff like invasion of privacy with steps?

 It was rude AND she has no business reading messages between adults, married adults.

Hopefully she did not copy it and hand it over for BM to use in court against you and dh...like some bm's I have heard of.

 

Biostep7777's picture

This was my bio daughter. She's 15. She found one of her dad's old phones and wanted to play games on it. She charged it, turned it on and found a bunch of old texts between her dad and I from when we were going through a divorce 5 years ago. I'm pissed. Trust me. 

IDontCare3117's picture

That's ... an odd story.  She remembered specific games on that specific phone?  She cranks up the phone and just happens to come across these ancient text messages?  Call me cynical but I think the girl went snooping (in more ways than one), and found things that were absolutely none of her business.  

Rags's picture

Time to show her all of the text conversations from your phone And... to share all of the facts of the divorce with her.

No, she should not have snooped, and now that she has screwed herself up by making that wrong choice, she will need the facts. Or.. you will remain the villain.

Part of the picture can be far more damaging than the whole picture. 

Fill in the gaps for her.

IMHO of course.

As for the relationship with your X.... what relationship?  You are divorced. Once  your daughter turns 18 or otherwise ages out from under the CO, the X becomes completely irrelevant.

Biostep7777's picture

Thanks. I'm talking to her therapist this morning. 
I said we have a good coparenting relationship. 

Sandybeaches's picture

are very valuable lessons to be learned here.  I don't agree that you need to fill in any more details than she already has.  

She snooped and as any one who has snooped before knows you have to de prepared for what you might find out.  While at 15 she may not have realized it she will be sure to know now by 25.  I agree that it is an odd story that she found it by accident.  Quite frankly most snoopers say they stumbled upon their information by accident but it is usually not the case.  More than likely she found it on purpose.

I hope the therapist addresses her role in how she is feeling now.  If she really found it by accident she made the choice to continue reading personal conversations that you nor you ex ever intended her or anyone else to see.  That is a pretty big part of this.  

You should feel zero guilt for this.  You are human and people say and do a lot things when they are hurt and going through a divorce.  You obviously did a very good job hiding it from her which is great because she had no idea and wouldn't unless she snooped.  I would cut myself some slack here.  Tell her she found and continued to read conversations that were never intended for anyone else to read.  That you and your ex even though you are adults, you are human and you said things that you didn't mean.  You have worked hard to co-parent and move on which many never arrive at that point.  You are sorry if she is upset but it wasn't for her eyes.  People say things when they are upset.  When she stumbled upon it, she should not have read it.  It wasn't her business to read.  Just because you are her parents, doesn't make adult business her business.  Her dad and you get along well now and leave it at that.  

I understand how you would feel, but you have done nothing wrong.  

Biostep7777's picture

Well apparently her dad told her I cheated on him. He is convinced I cheated because of some flirty texts with a potential client AFTER him and I already had the conversation about separating. Nothing happened with this person but her dad told her he and I were in therapy trying to work things out and that I cheated. Not true! Now she thinks I'm lying to her. She said she saw texts of me admitting it. I know that's not true because nothing happened! I think she's referring to when he said "I know you cheated" and I said "I'm sorry you are hurting and I'm sorry for any pain I caused you" she feels this was me admitting but honestly I was just trying to keep the peace and move on. He was "friends" with his now wife at this same time so I don't know why he cared what I was doing anyway. After 12 years of a pretty much sexless marriage I SHOULD  have been out having all the sex! Lol! But I didn't so much as talk to anyone until way after he moved out. I'm so furious and I told her I'm not discussing this with her anymore and she's taking that as me admitting it. I'm so so sooo frustrated with both of them!!! I'm not explaining all of private life to her. It's funny how he left out how he didn't pay me child support when I met my now husband because he made good money. Or how he hired a private investigator to try and allege my now husband was living with me at the time so he could get out of alimony (again....this wasn't true and he did not get out of alimony) or that he lied to her and told her he had to sell the house because I wanted my money. Ummm he had paid me out of the house months prior. He sold the house to move on with his girlfriend (now wife) and he didn't want the kids to be mad because they don't like her so he blamed me. I truly just let this crap roll off my back because we have got to a good place coparenting and I want to keep it that way but he's going too far now and no matter what she truly believes I cheated. I'm livid! She asked him if that is why we got divorced and he said it was a big part of it. What!??? We were over way before this silly texts! I mean my god. It's ridiculous. 

Winterglow's picture

I think it's time you told her that the subject is closed. Honestly, you shouldn't have to defend yourself. She is a child and has no right to pry into your private business with your ex. Your ex is a shit for lying to her. Just drop the subject and every time she brings it up tell her the subject is closed. 

SteppedOut's picture

I thought yiur coparenting relationship was good? Why is your ex starting all of this - is he trying to obtain majority custody? 

Biostep7777's picture

It's good because I choose to ignore the stupid crap he tries to pull. This however is NOT OKAY. 

Sandybeaches's picture

It helped me more to understand that this is a horrible no win situation for you.  I would feel just like you do and I often waste a lot of energy defending myself for things that I shouldn't have to.  I get why you feel the need to do it especially when it is your child's view of you.  

Listen no matter what you wrote in text messages 10 years ago, it shouldn't be held against you now or ever.  It was never supposed to be shared with anyone but your ex.  In reading down farther a few of your other responses, I might add to my earlier comment.  

First you need to have a conversation with her therapist about the consequences of what she did.  (reading messages not for her eyes and snooping).  It plays a huge role here.  and certainly the therapist can address how she feels but she also needs to address the snooping and where you were coming from in the middle of a divorce.  I think the therapist needs to make you human and not her mother in the scenario.  She needs to explain what people in divorce go through.  Your daughter put herself in that situation and so now she may need to hear more than she wants to.  

I also think I might add in a conversation to your daughter, that a lot happens and get said when people are hurting during a divorce.  Just because you are adults doesn't mean that you don't say or do anything that you regret.  It was personal between you and her father and you worked through it and moved on and will continue to co-parent.  but you do not feel it is right to go through private situations with her. 

If you really do have a good relationship with your ex, since it was his carelessness that started this mess I would ask him to clear this up with her and tell her it was a long time ago and it is not right or fair to let her think this. I would certainly do it very friendly as you get more bees with honey.  I think he is key to getting this cleared up!

Rags's picture

This is exactly why when kids are being victinized by a characterless lying POS parent, that the quality parent has to step up and provide the kids with the facts.  Facts are the Kryptonite for manipulative parental bullshit.

IDontCare3117's picture

I'm at a loss for words.  I can completely understand why you are furious with her - I would be, too.  What happened between you and your ex years ago is none of her business, especially since you were trying to protect her from the animosity swirling around at the time.  

My only advice is to put the fear of God into her if she tries to bring up the subject again.  She can believe what she wants to believe, but she's going to do her accusing and pouting silently in her room, and without electronics for entertainment.  

Biostep7777's picture

What I'm upset about is that neither her dad or therapist has said anything about her reading private texts! Like it was completely acceptable to do that. Then she said I later said I didn't want a divorce. That was because he told me he would leave me with nothing. So, yeah I was scared and said that I actually didn't want a divorce even though I did. Should I freaking tell her all that too??? She is not understanding how divorce effects the people going through it as well and his it's not so black and white. He thinks I cheated because I spoke to another man while we were in the separation process but he was already intimate with his now wife and I'm the bad guy?? But if I tell her about her dad he will just deny it and tell her I'm just saying that to take away from what "I did" and I'm not going to ever tell her that because it will hurt her so I guess I'm going to just take full blame and be the shit parent. I will not tell her about  her father. She hates me right now. I rather her hate one of us than feel like she can't trust either of us. 

IDontCare3117's picture

If neither one of them are going to address reading private texts with her, perhaps you should.  What she did was completely wrong, and she has no right to be copping an attitude now.  She's being a teenage drama queen - don't let her get away with it.  

BTW, your ex is being a spineless wimp by not telling your DD the truth.  I'd have a few choice words for him if I were you.

Gimlet's picture

It's a shame her therapist isn't holding her accountable. I would talk to the therapist about that, she might be getting a very filtered version of events. 

I mean this gently, but she sounds like one of those kids who sees herself as a victim.  My OSS was like this, he also tried to blame DH for everything with the divorce and now he's a stunted failure to launch at 24.   The victim narrative is hard to shake once it's established.

She doesn't get to demand that anyone cowtow to her about anything.  She's a child and she has no business making these demands and making you relive a painful divorce so she can cause drama and feel sorry for herself.  Letting kids believe that divorce is the end of the world does them no favors in life.

As far as your ex is concerned, I would stop telling yourself you have a good relationship.  Clearly he cares more about his own narrative (victim again, just like our BM was) than he does about the mental health of his child.  He is not your friend or ally and I would stop giving him anything to keep the peace and treat him in a civil fashion and nothing more.