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Dishonest Divorcé

My abusive ex spoils and manipulates my son to dislike me.

(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)


Dr. Kenner:      Cynthia, you’re having difficulties with your ex? He manipulates your son?


Cynthia:           Yes ma’am.


Dr. Kenner:      How old is your son?


Cynthia:           Well, I hate to say, but he’s 21 now. But this has been our history and now that he’s older, I’m thinking, is this the time to really lay it out on the line and share my feelings on this or should I just forget it and let it ride and just let him figure it out on his own?


Dr. Kenner:      So tell me one thing your ex is doing that made you want to call me?


Cynthia:           Well, like I said, this has been going on for way too many years.


Dr. Kenner:      What does he say about you? In what way is he manipulating him?


Cynthia:           He will tell him that I left him. He will tell him that I have interests elsewhere, other than with our family. He will tell them that I don’t really care about either of them.


Dr. Kenner:      So you have two children? More than one child?


Cynthia:           No.


Dr. Kenner:      You don’t care about the ex and –


Cynthia:           And our son.


Dr. Kenner:      Your son, yes.


Cynthia:           And I don’t care about the home.


Dr. Kenner:      Okay. So who is living in the home?


Cynthia:           We’ve been living with this for years.


Dr. Kenner:      Who lives in the home right now?


Cynthia:           He lives with his father.


Dr. Kenner:      And why does he live with dad?


Cynthia:           Actually we shared custody in the beginning, but it didn’t work because when he would go to his father, his father would buy him four wheelers when he would come home, he would buy him things when he came home. He’d say, “How can you stay with your mother when you know how she is? She left us.” So rather than argue about that between us, my ex, and put our son in the middle, I conceded and thought it would be healthier for our son if he went ahead and stay with his dad, even though that wasn’t really what I wanted.


Dr. Kenner:      So right now, you’re trying to come clean with your son and tell him accurately, you want to give him some facts. He’s 21 years old.


Cynthia:           I just wonder if I should or if I should just go ahead … he was 16 and he bought him two cars.


Dr. Kenner:      Kids know that their parents are buying them. I’ve had kids come in and say, “My mom is so nice and she’s really the good one. My dad tries to buy my love and I let him!” Kids are not dumb. They know the dynamics. If I were your son, and you wanted to come clean for the next minute, tell me what you would say to me. Just pour your heart out to me for about a minute.


Cynthia:           I would tell him that I didn’t really want to leave, but I didn't think that it was healthy for me to stay in our relationship because the way his dad treated me. I didn’t want him to see that a mother and a wife would be treated this way, so I thought if I left that I could at least, we could share our son and he would not have to witness all of this. People make mistakes. Maybe I made a mistake in his eyes, but I went to several counselors over a period of time and asked, “Am I right? Am I wrong?” And each time they would tell me that I was right and that for my own stability and sanity, I better do something or I’m not going to have the emotional strength to do it. So I opted to leave.


Dr. Kenner:      So you left the marriage. There wasn’t another man involved, you weren’t cheating or anything?


Cynthia:           No, I wasn’t. He was!


Dr. Kenner:      Was he beating up on you, or when you say he wasn’t treating you well, was he abusive?


Cynthia:           He was very emotionally abusive and he was quietly physically abusive.


Dr. Kenner:      What would he do physically?


Cynthia:           We got into an argument one time, I can’t even tell you what it was, but he put his hands around my neck. That scared me to death. Before we were married, he said some very insulting remarks to me, and somehow he got me down on a concrete floor and put his hand over my mouth and smashed my mouth so hard that it gave me a black eye.


Dr. Kenner:      Okay, so here’s what you can do – you can say to your son, this is something to think about and I can’t tell you what to do obviously, but you can say to your son something along the lines of, “You might have sensed over the years that the story that you’ve heard all these years is not quite accurate and that is true. And if you want some of the facts, I will gladly give them to you. I went to counseling for several years. I can tell you just in brief that I was abused and this may be difficult to hear and I left because I didn’t want you to observe that abuse. I wanted you to have a shot at being a good person and hopefully a good husband someday.”


Cynthia:           Exactly.


Dr. Kenner:      You could say something along those lines. If your son invites you to talk more, you can talk. If he says, “Mom, that’s not true, dad always called you a liar,” you can say, “You know, I can’t change that. I know what happened. I know I was in counseling for this and I’m sorry that that’s the way you’re feeling right now. If you ever do want to talk, please go ahead. I’m here to talk.” Make yourself available. I know we’re at the end of time, but I think he’s old enough that you could open up gently at the beginning. Offer him and invitation and if he takes it, you can tell him some of the details. Thank you so much.


Movie clip

Female:           You’re going to forgive me when you find out the wonderful thing I’m doing for you. There’s this great woman who lives in my building. She’s beautiful, and funny and …

Male:               Just stop right there, Roz. I do not go out on blind dates. They’re demeaning and a hideous waste of time. No thank you. No.

Female:           It’s not for you. It’s for your father.

Male:               Oh! What time can he pick her up?


Dr. Kenner:      That’s from Frasier. You probably recognize the voices. Now, what about blind dates? I can tell you, I broke up with a boyfriend, or he broke up with me – it’s so many years that I don’t even remember, which is good news for those of you who are going through the pain right now. Wait a while and you may not remember who broke up with whom. But I broke up and my parents were very concerned that I would go back with this gentleman. He was a nice man, but we were definitely not a good match. So my mother put out an all points bullet and she just had all her friends calling all their friends and trying to find sons that were my age and for about a week, this was during the Christmas holidays, vacation from college, which is about a month, my mother got me fixed up with all of these different guys. I’ll tell you, the first one was a complete dud. It was a bummer. The guy was so insecure. He dressed to the hilt. He dressed to impress, and so what do you do? Do you just give up on blind dates? I’ve got to tell you, my last guy, I’m going to tell you about this guy. He comes to the door and he is not dressed to the hilt. He’s wearing Dungarees. And he’s got his little puppy in the car, but it’s not a little puppy, it’s a huge dog and I’m not a dog person. And the dog is in the front seat and he takes me out to eat and at the end of the meal, he tells me to order whatever I want – order a steak. That’s not typical for me, but I ordered a steak and he did too, and at the end of the meal, without batting an eye, he hands a two for the price of one coupon to the waitress and he had no awareness that this was not how to impress. But he also had no awareness that that’s exactly how to impress me. I thought he was the coolest man on earth. And he did other things. He came back to my house and my family doesn’t drink coffee, and so he came in and found some instant coffee and just went though the cupboards and made his own coffee. That is my husband. That is my husband of several decades now, and I adore him. So if you’re poo-pooing blind dates, you may just want to try the next one. It may work out for you.