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Post Info TOPIC: Need ESH re: boundaries with children


Senior Member

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Need ESH re: boundaries with children


Hello all. Iām hoping for your ESH once again. I recently had a situation with my bf (the one who treats me quite well but wonāt tell me what his job is) that I am feeling turned around on. * My 4 year old recently said that my bf showed him a game to play with his body I found concerning. Now I know this child is not a very reliable answer-er of questions or reporter or events yet, but I felt like as a parent I could not just ignore the situation. * So after thinking about it for a number of days I approached the bf, told him what had happened but said I know this may or may not have happened and may or may not have been you but just to be safe I would like to set some stricter boundaries with what kinds of physical contact I allow with my children. And I laid out a few ground rules. * Anyway what has happened was we broke up (unsurprisingly) and he has spent a lot of time and enery telling me that Iām wrong, that Iām overreacting when there was no threat, that Iām going to run any man off with my rules, that my mind is thinking terrible things and my rules are sick. All my rules dealt with was not allowing child nudity with unrelated adults present, and restricting a couple kinds of touch that arenāt necessarily anything bad but just made me uncomfortable. * My question to you all is āis he right? Am I going nuclear here?ā I felt like my response was very cautious and restrained and non-accusatory but maybe I am only seeing my own perspective. *For anyone wondering he no longer has contact with my kids by his choice. He has no history of any kind of criminal behavior (I checked.) And heās generally been awesome to me and my kids but then this...

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~*Service Worker*~

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As a mother my immediate sense is trust your gut ... children don't just make up stories to make them up .. as soon I read your story my radar went up. I'm also coming from the stand point of having that line crossed as a teen. If the situation doesn't feel right to you .. that's all that matters. I still think outs weird he isn't upfront about what he does. The whole idea is odd. I can tell you my kids safety and wellbeing come first before any relationship. I don't like the idea he's telling you .. you have the problem. Hugs s

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"I cannot learn other people's lessons for them.  They must do the work for themselves, and they will do it when they are ready." - Louise Hay



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Im not a mom, but I do teach this age. Kids make up stories, but something of this nature, Ive never found that to be true (Ive been teaching for over 20 years and usually these cases there is abuse involved). You were right to address it. You are not overreacting.  You seemed to approach it with gentleness and giving him the benefit of the doubt.  The fact that he lost it is a red flag. I probably would have blown up If it were my kid. Hugs to you!



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Butterflies can't see their wings.  They can't see how truly beautiful they are, but everyone else can. People are like that as well.  Anonymous



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My daughter is 4 and has had inappropriate contact with others already. At first we began relating her experiences to a set back in potty training when she was 3, however when the second incident occurred she also had a set back in potty training. This is the moment when I was certain my little had been telling me the truth in her own way. I do believe that kids make up stories however in that story I find most of the time there is some truth involved with what they say. My sister's children also experienced this and low and behold a former caretaker of theirs is now being charged. Some people call it gut, or instinct but for me it is a whisper from HP that something is up. After the first incident we had a chat with her about touching and what was good touch and bad touch and how important it was for her to be able to say no and find an adult to help her. One thing that was helpful for me was using the swimsuit coverage. If its a part that your swimsuit covers no one is allowed to touch there. The second time SHE did just that! She ran and found a teacher and told! SO BRAVE for a 4 year old! I got a call right way and was able to work through the situation with the school system. I took her out for ice cream and told her how proud I was and that she did exactly the right thing and that she was VERY BRAVE. We hope our children never have this kind of experience and I thought at 4 she was to young to understand but she does and did the exact right thing. She gives me hope that she will be stronger and braver than I have ever been.

{{hugs}} I know how scary it is to work through the what if's or maybe's. Trust your HP, gut, instinct what ever you attribute that feeling to. Better safe than sorry for me in my mind.

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~*Service Worker*~

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You've already gotten some superb shares on this subject, but being a mom, I could not let my comment stay in my head!
You were absolutely right!!! Regardless of whether or not your child was telling "stories" - IMHO I think NOT - ANYTHING that doesn't "sit right" with you in regards to your children is cause for you to take notice & act! On top of that, you approached it sanely, with compassion and intellect. The response you got? Overreaction and deflection (YOU are the one over-reacting). Do you see it? HIS abnormal behavior? Huge red flag for me.

No relationship is worth the safety of your children...NONE. Don't doubt yourself for one minute!!

PS: Try to make sure that your child does not think your break-up was in any way due to his speaking out - like HIPS pointed out... you WANT your child to feel strong enough to have a voice. You may not even have to address what he said to you... just that sometimes adults aren't right for each other.

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"The TRUTH is like a lion; you don't have to defend it. Let it loose; it will defend itself." St. Augustine



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Thanks so much for the ESH that has been posted so far. I welcome more if anyone else has anything to say. I will be re-reading it frequently and may answer a few things but the main thing I want to say right now is I totally noticed the deflection going on!! Of course he is going to want to defend himself thatās only natural but deflecting the problem onto me is unnecessary. * I was hoping for a response more along the lines of I never did that and never would hurt your kids. I think these rules are unnecessary but if thatās what you need for your kids Iāll go along with it. (He did say the first part but not the second. He thinks Iām just nuts to be handling it this way. He actually said I was āgoing nuclearā). But I donāt see any way I could handle it and be LESS confrontational to him. * Thanks also to those of you who posted your experiences with 3 & 4 year olds. That is very helpful. I know my 4 year old is sometimes accurate and sometimes not. But when this first happened I asked him several times over a period of three days who showed him that game and he said my bf every time. I did not give any kind of reaction when he answered. I know from work trainings youāre not supposed to ask leading questions or react to what the child says if you want a true answer. After about three days he started throwing out every name under the sun when I asked him even family members who live out of state. So I felt like at that point I had asked him too many times and his answers could no longer be given any weight at all after that point.

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Thanks for all the ESH. I welcome more if anyone else wants to say something. I will be re-reading it and may respond to more points but I wanted to thank everyone who posted about their experiences with 3&4 year olds. That is very helpful. * Also PNP I totally noticed the deflection going on!!! Of course itās only natural that he will want to defend himself but the deflection onto me is unnecessary.

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Senior Member

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I didnāt realize I posted twice. I thought the first message was lost.

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Veteran Member

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Please listen to your child!   If your gut tells you something is wrong it is!  There may have been something done to your child already.  I am not trying to scare you, but I am a survivor of childhood molestation by my A stepdad.  I think it has contributed to me being a teen mom and allowing myself to be treated terribly my entire life.  I am just now at 46 coming to terms to what happened to me and my adult son has 2 little girls that he allows around my step dad who I fear is now molesting them and no one will listen because I couldn't remember the terrible events until my first AH died when we were 37.  My best advice is talk to your pediatrician or a trusted health care provider and be sure that your child has not been harmed in this way.  You have done nothing wrong by trusting someone you thought loved you and cared for your children, but please don't; take this wrong if you don't do something and risk the safety of your child and it does turn out to be something bad then you will feel tremendous guilt and your child will have had something so precious and innocent about their childhood taken from them.  As for many of us dealing with people that we care about who have addictions and possibly mental health issues we cannot just believe what they say or trust that they mean us good.  I am wishing you well as you try to sort out what is and what is not right for you and your children.  I only wish my mother would have believed me.  I am not allowed on their property and my step dad has threatened to shoot me if I come near my own mother.  The other time this happened was when I was 14 and met my first AH.  My A stepdad pulled a gun on him and said I was his property and when my first husbands mother called my mother out of concern, my mother said to her "my daughter is sleeping with my husband."  My step dad had here convinced that I was seducing him.  How disgusting I was 14 and he was almost 40, fat and bald.  He gave me alcohol and must have put something in it because I blocked it most of my young adulthood, occasionally having nightmares and not enjoying an intimate relationship with my first husband for most of the marriage.  If you have any further concerns or questions please ask.  It was not easy sharing any of this and I hope something in my post speaks to you to do what is needed for the safety of your children. 

Kat



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Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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You are right!!! You are a mom and you have to protect your child at all costs. IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT HE SAYS, what he accuses you of, his opinion about your rules...all of that is BS!!! When it comes to a child...you err on the side of caution. Period.

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God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



~*Service Worker*~

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Joining in that you are absolutely right.  The appropriate answer from him would have been something like "Although I would never behave inappropriately with your child, but you should take all precautions to make you feel safe, and I fully support you in that."  His reaction sounds like another red flag to me.  And you already know that he conceals things, because his won't tell you what his job is.  Not just red flags but sirens going off.  And good mother instincts on your part!



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Bo


~*Service Worker*~

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By the way, I don't and would never see this as overreacting in any way, shape or form. This is a person who is not open and honest. This is a person who can't be trusted. This is a person who doesn't believe in transparency.

And, most of all...you made a decision, as a parent, about "restricting a couple kinds of touch that aren't necessarily anything bad but just made me uncomfortable"

Conversation over!!! What you say goes. Period.

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Bo

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God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



Senior Member

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Thank you everyone for your replies. Kat I know that couldnāt have been easy for you to share all that. I appreciate it. I wonāt bend on my rules regarding my kids. You all have helped me feel stronger about that.

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(((Jayla)))

I have to Agree with all above, You did Great... Being a Child of an Alcoholic Home, and Never Feeling Like my Voice was EVER Heard, I'm Proud of you for Standing up for your Child, and Taking Action... I Agree His Response was a def. Red Flag, and with me Growing up with Trust issues to begin with, the fact that he can't share the simplest Info with some he is to love (Like his Job) Would Just make things harder. Trust for me is Huge, and Without I can't Move forward with any relationship.

So Yes, Go with your Gut.... Because I have Never Found a Day that My Gut was Untruthful, and it has saved my Arse More then Once... and that Of My Child... So Good for you :)

Keep Coming Back
Hugs & Prayers

Jozie

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Thank you everyone. The ex-bf said something today I wanted to add in the interest of fairness and getting everything out there. He said I wasnāt giving you the full picture without this information. So let me know if this changes the picture. *Some of you may remember my first husband was an abuser who threatened me and later my middle son (who has a different father). This ex also threatened his first ex-wife and several other people but has not pulled the trigger on any of it so to speak as far as I know. *So I am afraid of him and especially became more afraid when he committed an act of aggravated assault and threat of my child and NOTHING ever happens to him. He gets away with everything and I learned that the people who are supposed to protect me and my child will not. *So the part of this that is relevant to this thread is that yes I do live with a lot of fear. Some have even called me paranoid. So the bf says that the reason I canāt trust him when he says he didnāt do anything is because my fear is driving me. He is a fellow Al-Anoner who has done the steps twice and I am stuck on 3 and still donāt have a sponsor. I have been diagnosed with anxiety and ptsd from surviving abuse and I readily admit I am hypervigilant. So that is as fair as I can put things out. Does this change anyoneās assessment of the situation I related above? I appreciate all your ESH.

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Jayla .. this confuses me .. he's been in alanon and keeps secrets when one of our sayings is you are as sick as your secrets. He won't share where he works .. red flag .. your child is coming to you expressing something is not right .. red flag .. he is gas lighting you making this your issue .. nothing about him needing to address the behavior that you have nicely addressed .. red flag. Let me explain .. he thinks you are over reacting .. lmao .. my friend .. he wouldn't want to be in the same city with meif my child cameto me making those statements. Sometimes iI is asked for guidance from my higher power and not received the responses I wanted so i bargin for the ones I want and do so to my own detriment .. exactly how many red flags do you need before it becomes ok for you to trust yourself?? That's something not to work out with him .. to work out with your sponsor. In the meantime providing a safe space for yourself and your child which for me would equate to without him in it. Nothing you said changes my original thoughts on this manner and I am so sorry you are dealing with this .. a red flag is a red flag and whatever alanon program he's worked I am baffled. Big big hugs s

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"I cannot learn other people's lessons for them.  They must do the work for themselves, and they will do it when they are ready." - Louise Hay



Senior Member

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Thanks Serenity. I have mentioned that exact phrase about secrets to him several times but he always has some justification for why it doesnāt apply to his situation and I am misunderstanding it. I thought it seemed pretty clear though. He said his sponsor told him he didnāt need to know anything he didnāt want to tell and so I guess he thinks that applies to all relationships now. And your question about how many red flags does it take for me to trust myself is a good one. Usually I ignore all red flags until life runs over me with a bulldozer. That is something Iām trying to change.

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No change in my view or response. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

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~*Service Worker*~

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You can be paranoid and he can be untrustworthy.  Not saying you are paranoid, just saying that that's irrelevant to whether he's untrustworthy.  Yeah, maybe you're too quick to suspect wrongdoing - although in my experience, Al-Anoners err in the other direction and are often slower than other people in catching on, maybe because we don't trust our instincts.  But maybe he's right and you're too quick to distrust him.  A kind, understanding reaction would be to say, "I know you've had some bad experiences and you need to be extra sure that your child is safe.  I'm going to respect your fears and do everything I can not to worry you."  MAYBE EVEN "And just so you're as sure as you can be that I'm on the level, I'll tell you what my job is and let you see all kinds of proof that I'm truthful."  After all, why not?  Why the heck not?  What is he, some kind of CIA operative?  Even they have cover stories about having normal harmless jobs!  (Although claiming they're secret CIA operatives is also another dodge that deceptive people try on, so don't believe it if he tries it.)

I remember the pattern of abusers I've seen so many times - they try to get away with stuff, and if we call them on it, they argue till they're blue in the face about why our suspicions are wrong.  I had exactly the same argument from my A, except it was "Why do you think a little harmless drinking is so bad?  Don't you think you should go into therapy to get over that paranoia of yours?"  That was the little harmless drinking that killed him, as it turned out.  So much for my "paranoia."

Keep on taking good care of yourself.



-- Edited by Mattie on Thursday 14th of June 2018 12:49:35 AM

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Bo


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My sponsor once asked me...is it paranoid, if everyone is after you? LOL. Yes, it's partially a joke, but point being -- NO!!! No change.

And, now that I hear the additional, and weigh all of this -- far too many red flags!!!

Another point, the red flags are not for him! They are not for you to collect, accumulate, and then go talk to him, trying to show him, prove to him, get him to change, and so on. Nothing like that! The red flags are for you!!! For you to get better, get healthy, and improve you and your life. You see, for me, the old selling not telling doesn't change anything. He drinks but he treats me well. He drinks but he's a great provider. He drinks but he loves me. He drinks but he's great with my kids. How far we go, denial? Deflection? Blind-spot? Co-dependence? I've done a lot of work, reading, research, etc., in and around "battered wife'" syndrome. So much of this dynamic comes into play. The very intentional, but unaware, line of question is justification, rationalization, vacillation, etc. We use it to reinforce and justify bad decisions.

Anyway, I so much admire and respect what you have done.

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Bo

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God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



Senior Member

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Mattie. Wow. That rings so true to me. The response I was hoping to get from him was exactly like what you posted but it looks like that wonāt happen. And thanks Bo also. Youāre right I have been trying to talk to him about red flags and itās not going anywhere of course. I met with my therapist today and she says I shouldnāt settle for a relationship full of secrecy if that isnāt what I want (it isnāt). So itās good that we are not together. She also agreed that I am not being paranoid about my rules for my children. He is the only one saying the things heās saying. Otherwise you guys, my therapist and my trusted friend are all saying the same thing. Thatās very helpful.

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Bo


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Jayla wrote:

Mattie. Wow. That rings so true to me. The response I was hoping to get from him was exactly like what you posted but it looks like that wonāt happen. And thanks Bo also. Youāre right I have been trying to talk to him about red flags and itās not going anywhere of course. I met with my therapist today and she says I shouldnāt settle for a relationship full of secrecy if that isnāt what I want (it isnāt). So itās good that we are not together. She also agreed that I am not being paranoid about my rules for my children. He is the only one saying the things heās saying. Otherwise you guys, my therapist and my trusted friend are all saying the same thing. Thatās very helpful.


 

In my experience with relationships, being in them, coaching, professional, etc. -- your therapist is right in that why would you accept being treated this way, secrecy, a lack of openness, honesty, and living with accusations and deflections. And, you are not being paranoid, so stop trying to make your case to him. Stop trying to prove to him, rationalize, etc. It doesn't matter if he's the only one saying these things or not. Stop looking at him, focusing on him, etc. Focus on YOU. 

Good riddance. You should be grateful he's not in your life any longer. Work on you, get better, get healthy...and then you will be emotionally satisfied, fulfilled, and available to meet someone who deserves you and couldn't be happier because he's with you.



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Bo

Keep coming back...

God, grant me the serenity...to accept the PEOPLE I cannot change...the courage to change the ONE I can...and the wisdom to know it's ME...

 



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So true! Thanks Bo.

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(((Jayla))) You certainly did the right thing. It's easy to talk ourselves out of or go into second guessing in things like this. Trusting your gut was spot on. Way to go!

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