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Wife Using Children As Emotional Blackmail

We decided to split in April, since then x2b has dragged her feet over mediation postponing it from September to January, which indicates to me that she doesn’t want it to happen. She uses emotional blackmail on me by painting my future life as bleak, lonely and penniless whereas she and the 2 kids will be having a whale of a time. She tells me that the kids will be “devastated” if they don’t get 6 days at their grandparents this Xmas instead of the 3 days I propose or the kids are “desperate” for a particular new toy and if they don’t get these things then “you” will have to explain it them. When she uses the kids in this way I find it difficult not to give in to her demands.

She has not confided in her mother or sister (or anyone else) who have both gone through divorces and who I’m sure would offer her the support she needs. It must be difficult going through this alone and I do care about her well-being even though we are separating. I have been considering a quiet word in her sister’s ear in the hope that it would bring things out into the open and stop my x2b using the blackmail by injecting a bit of reality into the situation. What I mean is if she has someone to confide in and support her would she be less inclined to use these tactics? I’d appreciate any comments. Ta Freddie

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4 thoughts on “Wife Using Children As Emotional Blackmail”

  1. Freddie, I have had this for a couple of years. I have tried to deal with it as best I can by ignoring it. It is hurtful when the kids want something and they are told that they can’t have it because daddy won’t pay. I doubt that your wife is as bad as my ex-wife (There could be no worse) but she just cannot see the harm she is doing, or accept that she is not 100% right. Nobody can talk her round because if they don’t support her they are cast aside. I suggest you push for what you want, because for example if they see their grandparents for 3 days and you for 3 days, they are unlikely to be that upset are they! They need their dad more than grandparents. You have to believe that you are doing the right thing for your children, but be careful not to fall to her level. If mine say that on my contact day they want to do something she has already arranged, I ask them if they want to do that, or what I had in mind. If they say the first thing, then so be it. They need to learn to trust you and that you are on their side and not causing them grief. It is difficult to follow that route when they tend to do what the parent giving them grief wants, but deep down they know you are fair, and as I have discovered they will love you more for it.

  2. I hear what you say. What I’m about to say might not please you but it’s offered in love and friendship. You seem to be describing a set of circumstances (no doubt there are others) outside of your immediate control (if she did that, they did that, etc., then my life would be sorted). Sorry! Forget about changing her. And start to change YOU! It’s all about breaking old habits and patterns of behaviour between the two of you that clearly haven’t served you well. Only then will you begin to find any lasting peace of mind. In other words, (and you already know this), put your children first and foremost in all that you do and say and then do the next “right” thing. Even if that isn’t what your ex2b is asking you for. And even if that isn’t always what you may wish for. You don’t say why you split? Or whether or not you harbour any hopes for getting back together?

  3. Thanks guys, We are still together at the moment so the 3 days would be all 4 of us camped out in the grandparents house (which is still not good enough for the x2b) while we are playing out this charade of happy families ‘cos she’s not big enough to upset her mother by telling her we have problems. It seems she will only believe something if it comes from a third party e.g. a counselor referred us to mediation so she accepted that, this is why I thought she may benefit from her sister knowing we are separating. You are correct in saying they cannot see what they are doing and I sometimes think she doesn’t know that it is blackmail – all that matters is things going her way. I’ve had the “I’m gonna screw you for every penny you’ve got” along with bequeathing the kids to her family in the event of her death and I understand some of these remarks come out of fear of an unknown future but they are nevertheless surprising at the time. As another post said “it’s remarkable how they become taken over by aliens” Regards

  4. You will never see your children again and I will screw you for every penny you’ve got. I had that one. It is said when the person saying it doesn’t understand the basics of what happens, and should just be ignored outright. You have to do what feels right for you and not be pushed to satisfy her demands. It isn’t easy as I did everything I was told for 20 years. Maybe that’s why she is so aggressive now because I have actually broken free and don’t need her.


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