The other thing I’m finding hard to work out is whether I’m being over-sensitive.
My ex does this thing where he will say something negative about me to the children but say its a joke and when I get upset or say something I’m told I’m too sensitive, take things too seriously etc. But now my teens are doing the same behaviour and if I say any thing I get the same response it’s just joke and then we all end up falling out with each other. Has anyone been through any thing similar?
It’s called alienation and it’s abuse. Your ex-partner is teaching your children that it is ok to belittle you to your face.
The next time your teens do it, bring them up sharp. Make it clear it is not acceptable and they are bullying you. Bullies don’t get to use broadband. Turn the router off until they treat you politely. And stick with it.
Record details of each comment and then send an email to your ex saying that if this pattern continues, you will consult a solicitor. It is not ok.
I understand you very well as i am in a very similar situation. After 20 years together, we separated 3 years ago and i finally realized what a narcissist person he was . His behaviour mirrored on my teenage children , and now trying really hard to show them what empathy and respect are. Its very challenging, as he is still very much in our lives but i hope in years to come they will see things more clearly. I think giving them a positive role model is the key even if now it may look they dont care
Like the previous comments, I wanted to emphasise that this is a form of abuse. Abusers will often use the tactic of claiming that they’re “just joking” or you’re being “too sensitive” in order to get away with putting you down, alienating your kids from you, and eroding your self confidence. You could look into mediation/counselling to try to reach an understanding and agreement with him, or consider Relate’s “separated parents” course – this might only be available to parents going through court, but perhaps there’s relevant info/behaviour guidelines on their website? If your kids are teenagers, it might be worth printing out some information from the internet about emotional abuse/alienation so that they can see that it’s not okay to behave in that way. I’d also agree with setting firm boundaries so they know they will lose privileges (WiFi!) if they speak to you in that way. It’s only a joke if everyone finds it funny- otherwise it’s not a joke, they’re making fun of you.
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