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Don't Project Your Personal Issues Onto Your Child

Uncategorized Aug 25, 2017

In family law cases often one party will move on with a new partner leaving the other feeling betrayed, bitter, hurt & angry & projecting those negative emotions onto the child.  This is a super huge topic and I know that therapists probably work for years with people on this topic and it's not something that I can cover in a 3-minute video.

 I'm a perfectionist and when I'm helping with my daughter with her homework I can see myself really wanting to force her to do everything perfect and make every letter perfect. That’s not what I want to do and I check myself and I'm sure I'm doing it in ways that I'm not aware of.

 What I see in these family law cases though is people who are aware of what they're doing and they do it anyway and they do it in a way that's harmful to the child.   Let me give you an example and this is kind of a it's a comprehensive cumulative example of a lot of cases that I've had over the years.  It is where two parties separate and one party moves on sometimes fairly quickly, they find a new partner, they may move in with that person or get married to that person.  They start having other kids and have a new family and the person who is left behind is feeling still rejected.  They’re feeling betrayed, hurt, bitter, angry, a whole host of negative emotions.

Which this is normal and people heal at different rates so you know you can't judge a person by how long it's taking them to heal.  But what I often see is with the person who's having the negative emotions over the partner because that partner's moved on with somebody else, I see the person left behind transferring that negativity to the child by making snide remarks about the new partner. 

They will also interrogate the child about the new partner making little jabs about the new partner or just outright saying you know I don't like the new partner because of X Y & Z so you know this is a touchy situation but what my observation is that by putting the child in the middle this way and kind of poisoning the well poisoning the child against the new person especially if the new person might actually be a good person what you do is what you're doing is driving a wedge between yourself and the child.

 Children as young as two and three years old can sense this and they'll go to the parents house who has a new partner they may have a great time but they won't share the great time that they had when they come back to the person who's still in pain, because they know it causes that person more pain.   In my mind it encourages secrets between the child and the person who has been left behind and most of us want to have this free-flowing conversation with our children.  We want to know everything about what they're thinking and feeling and hearing and by poisoning your child against a new partner you may be discouraging your child from sharing with you everything that's going on in the other house. And this could become an issue if something really negative happens in the other house someday because your child's not going to tell you and that may be the only way you find out.

 What kind of relationship do you want to have with your child?  Do you want a relationship where your child feels free to share everything with you?  Especially things that are going on in the other parents home.  If so, you really need to be aware of how you're talking to your child about what's happening in the other parents home and how you're talking to the child about the other parents and the other parents new partner.  Because this could make all the difference in the world.  If you're really having a hard time as a side note there's nothing wrong with therapy.

There’s nothing wrong with counseling to help you work through these feelings and emotions. Sometimes people feel like counseling or therapy has a negative connotation associated with it.   There are so many people I see that are in therapy and it's helping them a lot so don't be ashamed if you're in pain.  Above all really be aware of what you're communicating to your child verbally and non-verbally and do your best to keep those lines of communication open with your because that's what you want as a parent you want to know what's happening in their lives.