Divorce often brings with it hurtful, confusing feelings that young children cannot understand.
I’m going through a messy divorce where my ex is not using the visits with our seven-year-old daughter; he just does not want to see her. When he does not pick her up she gets very upset and says, “I want to kill myself!” and “My head is going to explode!” She has a therapist at school but my daughter’s behavior is very demanding and out-of-control and is not getting better. I tried talking to her father but he will not listen to me and he continues to leave his visit schedule blank since he refuses to see her. He has his lawyer send threatening letters to me that are upsetting. What can I do?
You have a lot to deal with: court, your ex-husband, school issues and your daughter. Your hands are both full— if you had four hands, they’d be full too. Do whatever you need to and postpone things that can wait, laundry or other household chores. Take care of your daughter first, then yourself.
Lawyers or attorneys get paid to threaten and bully in communications (posturing). The judge in the courtroom will have the last say— remember that. Stick to facts and keep your emotions in check. Be sure to keep good records of every penny you spend on your daughter. Record or write down conversations, dates and outcomes of any call, letter, message, etc. You have your daughter’s best interests at heart. Most judges can see through the smoke and mirrors and will recognize that.
My concern is with your daughter, when she starts with, “I want to kill myself,” I think it is because she has terrible, hurtful feelings she does not understand. It could help your daughter to explain her feelings to her and give her the words she needs to express her feelings like this:
• In pain
Give her words to express the feelings:
• “I feel like Dad does not love me.”
• “I feel like Dad threw me away.”
• “I feel like Dad doesn’t want me.”
• “I feel like my head will explode.”
• “I feel like nobody loves me.”
• “I feel like I’m empty.”
• “I feel like I’m being torn apart.”
• “I feel like the pain will not stop.”
• “I feel no good.”
• “I feel unwanted.”
• “I feel frustrated.”
What your daughter wants:
• “I want Dad to love me.”
• “I want to see my Dad.”
• “I want my Dad to care about me.”
• “I want the anger to stop.”
• “I want to be loved.”
• “I want to feel special.”
• “I want to play with my Dad.”
• “I want to feel my Dad’s love.”
• “I want my Dad to be proud of me.”
Try to remain positive during your daily activities with your daughter. Give your daughter a lot of affection and attention. Try to remain nearby and reassure her that you will be there for her.
You must be exhausted— you’re stuck in the middle dealing with the worst of everything. That must be so stressful for you. Things will get better; try to focus on next year when everything will settle into a more peaceful routine.
Dealing with divorce can be difficult. Take one day at a time and skim back on household chores to give yourself more self-care time.