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Emotions and Using Children as Weapons - Part 2

Part 2 - Concentrate on two styles when they are not operating well - Responsible and the Achiever

Emotions and Using Children as Weapons - Part 2

This is a continuation from Emotions and Using Children as Weapons Part 1 and it needs to be read first.

When you first meet they often will be reserved, maybe quiet, careful and systematic in how they approach life. You will have a sense they are stable. The 'rock' you can hang on to as they will be very responsible.

Often partners will attract their opposite and the opposite to responsible is adventurer; it is like two polarities are attracting as magnets and it is in the relationship that each can move closer in skills to the strengths of their opposite as they choose to learn new skills.

What they can do in a crisis?
Can be either passive or aggressive depending on second style - can become very pedantic, can close down emotionally and be considered cold, aloof and calculating. What is a primary need is to stay in control of the situation. The fear of losing control emotionally or of anything happening in the crisis often means they become insensitive to the hurt or pain of the other parent and in some cases their own children.

How do they use children as weapons?
Because these people are very capable and good planners they consider the future as well as the present easily. What this means they will spend the time to make sure they have all the correct details and facts to be used in a court case and they generally will be perfectly presented. They often will control situations because they have analysed the situation and planned responses long before the other person have thought out some possible repercussions.

With children they will have their hand on the pulse; knowing exactly all their rights and all the conditions. There is often an inflexibility around their rights so they can use the child as a weapon to upset the other parent; when a child becomes upset with the lack of flexibility around new arrangements for their care the Responsible style parent often will not meet emotional needs of the child as they try to adjust to the separation of the parents. The Responsible parent is often dealing with suppressed feelings of being inadequate because of the breakdown of the relationship; their reaction with their child can be seen to be insensitive and cold even if they really love their child; because regaining a sense of control is what is so important for them to feel adequate once again. The second style will determine if they will generally shift to a more nurturing role or angry role. The child may have difficulty staying attached to this parent as they can feel shut out and not realise the parent emotions are often so controlled that this parent is not doing as well emotionally as what appears on the surface. It not uncommon for older children to align more with the overtly emotional parent as they seem to need them more!

How does the 'Balanced' parent help to break the pattern?
Start to come from a compassionate heart. (Impossible if your unresolved emotions are getting in the way).
Make sure you receive professional help to move through your emotional issues.

Assist your ex partner to feel in control of the situation by having clarity about arrangements and keeping to agreed conditions and plans. Their need is to feel they have some control; if they feel out of control or inadequate/helpless their child could not be the sensitive focus of their attention rather it could become a battle over right and wrong; agreements; responsibilities; and even over routines and behaviour management issues. This style respond cautiously to change and will be disorientated for a long period of time. If you choose to end the relationship and they feel rejected they will still be dealing with fear of being inadequate and not perfect and this could mean they become over controlling. Speak to them in a friendly but clear manner giving clear information about arrangements or write out arrangements in a listed manner. They respond well to lists. They find it hard to judge and criticise if you play everything by the ?book?. Difficulty is if you are the opposite style this is not how you would like to or even maybe have the skills to respond. Don?t get caught up into too much emotion, they will become more clinical and build a case against you as being irrational or unstable.

With regard to children give them evidence of the effect stress and family conflict  has on children and how they need care, nurturing, love and reassurance and plenty of hugs and praise. Don't talk at them; simply find the facts and give to them!

When you first meet they often will be clear and precise and have a feeling of strength about them. You may feel you can rely on them because of their clarity about where they are going and how they are going to get there. When something needs doing they just get on with it and often will seem to take some of the load off you.

Often partners will attract their opposite and the opposite to an achiever is a harmoniser; it is like two polarities are attracting as magnets and it is in the relationship that each can move closer in skills to the strengths of their opposite and choose to learn new skills. Look for an 'energetic' relationship if you have two achievers together.

What they can do in a crisis?
(Remember we are only referring to the style when it is not working from the positive; many achievers have a high level of skill to negotiate and consider others needs.)
Can be aggressive depending on their skill level - can become very dominant, blunt, abrasive or in a few situations physically violent. The emotion they are experiencing is anger when they want the situation to change and they are not getting their way. Their primary need is to keep the power in the situation; especially if in the relationship they have always been the ones to call the shots and hold the power. The fear of losing power means they can't do what they want; the courts may be holding the power and this could intensify anger if the courts appear to treat them in an unfair manner.

How do they use children as weapons?
Because these people can be very strong they can demand a child to do what they really do not want to do; it may simply be in the way they speak. The child may be trying to 'protect' the other parent or minimise the anger in the battle of the parents. This can cause enormous stress in the child and it will depend on their emerging personality how they will be able to handle this situation - if the child is also this style they could be angry but if they turn it on themselves it will be deep resentment and eventually possibility illness. In extreme and limited situations the children may be fearful of this parent if they keep the volcanic tension of anger fuelled when around the child. The child can be a weapon as the battle could be over the wellbeing of the child or other parent because of the anger of one parent.

With children when they are operating well they will simply be very clear, firm, give easy to follow boundaries and expectations in a very loving manner. However when the anger is not dealt with the child may even be intimidated or fearful of when the parent will next be angry and what will that mean for them or the other parent. A child caught in the battle of the parents can always be on watch to see if the situation is safe and this can result in many different behaviours and emotions; if the parent is very powerful in a negative manner it may mean they will suppress, be quiet and generally not communicate with this parent.

How does the 'Balanced' parent help to break the pattern?
Start to come from a compassionate heart. (Impossible if your unresolved emotions are getting in the way).
Make sure you receive professional help to move through your emotional issues.

If this parent is out of control with anger it is often best not to be present when they are in extreme rage as the anger can get dumped on you. To be able to know how to manage a person in rage takes many skills. The Harmoniser and often the Responsible generally cannot handle this behaviour and becomes exceptionally hurt and defensive by the intensity of the anger directed at them. They may as they grow older learn to be more assertive and stand up to an angry achiever; however many people do not manage well anger directed straight at them and really you need training to be able to help with this situation. To be able to stay in the presence of an extremely angry person you need to be able to be centred and have the ability to be appropriately assertive no matter what is thrown at you. This takes real skill.

Sometimes the reason for the breakdown in the relationship is the intensity of anger and the effect it can have on children.

Often in this situation it is best to have an advocate to talk for you or after everything has gone through the courts to set arrangements up so there is no contact of the battling ex-partners.

With regard to children the angry parent needs to be given evidence to strongly show what affect their anger can have on the welfare of their children. They still love their children but have allowed themselves to get out of control; anger controls them rather then they feel anger and use it constructively as a passion for change. They need to really recognise the importance of care, nurturing, love and reassurance and plenty of hugs and praise for their children.

They generally do not try to use their children as weapons (can change if a second style is very strong) they simply have become insensitive to the damage anger can do to their children.
Hi sage it's Paddy here.

Have been told about your site and have read your posts with interest. How do you resolve 'conflict' with your ex in a way that doesn't effect you kids? I mean by way of  contact of sending letters and texting each other?

I mean my conflict with ex seems to always end in cancelled contact of this kind with kids. If you read some of my posts you will see that I am gettin help to deal with myself but it is true that all solutions are easyer said that done (in means of a daily weekly thing)

Interested in your advice. Or if you need more info on my situation.

Hi sage,

I don't want to take away from the thread but I thought a good place for this judgement would be here.

The mother has definitely taught her daughter to hate her dad. Too bad that he will die soon without the love of his daughter.

This is an update on the father who made a time capsule for his daughter.

Last edit: by Sage


Han Solo routine "We're all fine here, thanks. How are you?" *weapons fire* "It was a boring conversation anyway!"
As usual I read your topic with interest and started to see similarities between myself ' Responsible ' as I read I became a little disheartened that I may indeed be causing problems, but as I read on I assimilated with the other character types until it came to the crisis situation or the actual use of the child in the manner stated, don't get me wrong when it all comes down to it I have been guilty of some of the techniques mentioned in a limited manner when I was pushed into a corner, to this I wonder if we all do this until we learn other methods of dealing with the situation by use of a better structured view.

Before my relationship took a nose dive I was never like this and wonder if it is natural to retaliate towards the person in the same manner as they attack and basically mirror their actions but with one upmanship ? luckily for myself I did not take long to change my thoughts before it become a habit but still have to check myself at times to ensure that responses are not in like.

It seems that balance is a full time job and will be for the rest of my life whilst the other parent simply does as they see fit and assume no responsibility for much of the associated good habits that help all children, this always seems to reflect a cautious outlook to approach the parent about balance especially when nothing comes from discussions.

Can it be that some people only act from those triggers they use against the other parent such as shame and indifference and will this help or hinder the situation or is it simply the best you can do to ensure stability in your environment ??

How do you encourage change if the person does not see what they are doing is not helping the child but causing them problems especially if these problems are used to align the child ????  
Out of interest how do you mean 'you have done some of these things when pushed into a corner'?

What manner have you been pushed?    Paddy
I have long thought that most of my ex wife's problems and the problems she caused for myself and my children were due to her need to be in control, and most of what is posted above seems to confirm that.

She is the responsable type and has always needed to be in control as well as the need to attach blame to others for things that went wrong in her life instead of looking at how she may have contributed, justification for her actions/decissions/outcomes is how I discribe it.

Tis all "spilt milk" now so I suppose it really does not matter any more but what has been posted has helped me understand more about me, re my situation and her, for that I thank you Sage.
For what I have read makes me understand that although my ex was controlling with everything and most of all money in our marriage even though it has continued into divorced I ahould not be belittled into the fact that even though I am making something in myself in my future I am forever endebted into her bank account!

I already knew that so why the fact that I can't contact my kids through the phone I bought? Expecially without her high jackin it and texting herself? Where is the self guiding growing up towards our kids?

There have been all sorts of ways Paddy I've been pushed most of which centre around emotional and mental abuse, as well as having my daughter used as ransom to achieve her mothers goals, there have been times when threatened with associated violence by her inlaws as well as an off the cuff comment suggesting possible false allegations, if she thought she could physically abuse me with out hurting herself no doubt that would have also been on the cards.

When you are followed as you try to escape being verbally abused and hounded till you have to listen then you do tend to retreat to dullness of emotions and much more, for a time there I simply wasn't there for anyone because of this. I had been taught never to strike a woman and to respect them so although I could argue the points I just got fed up of repeating the same things every time there was an argument so closing down was all that was left.

There is much more to the story of course but simply at the time I was not the one in control and was trying to resolve issues to continue the marriage, as I was the one trying to save things the X could then use other tools to control things.

Like Aussie suggests it is ' spilt milk ' and you move forward but at times you do revisit similar behaviour, it can be frustrating knowing that things could improve for your child if you could find a way for the other parent to see the possibilities but the truth is they do not find any fault or need to improve the way they interact, you end up accepting what you can't change and emphasising what you can being careful not to over emphasise.

As time goes on I think most people recover from the financial strain although may remain a bit bitter as is understandable but it's a lot harder to get over what has been done to a good relationship between parent and children when the child is used as a weapon, the issue of control can be raised in many defensive situations as well as aggressive so it becomes easy to admit the use of such techniques if you are honest with yourself, perhaps not to the extreme or intensity and maybe even through application of bad role models, simple fact is that if you have changed your behaviour because you have found you are doing things that just do not sit happily with you it may be because of the use of such tactics and your personality and morals just can't do it.

As far as text through your sons phone it eventually becomes little more than a joke or inconvenience if you disempower the strategy and remove the trigger. Perhaps best expressed as ' idle hands do the devils work '.

Finding things that help cope and help you understand some of the problems may be a lot deeper than just you in regards to our childrens mothers or fathers can also defuse some conflict.

It's not easy but with support it does get better.   

Entrenched Conflict

Sorry I have not been responding to the posts over the last week. Exhaustion caught up with me and I have been 'bush'; to rest; no telephones and no computers; only returned last night.

Reading the posts in the last week highlights the crisis of entrenched 'stuck' conflict.  We get back to the situation where one and sometimes both partners will not look at their behaviour and emotions or that they are using their children as their weapon to get even for all the real and suppose 'hurts" the other person has inflicted on them in the marriage. The difficulty for all of us is seeing our part in the escalation of the situation to the crisis we are involved in; this could be simply be by being too compliant and constantly giving our power away through our whole relationship. Relationships that have been in operation, sometimes for many years have enormous complexities to what is really happening. I have been recently working with both men and women in entrenched conflict over children.

It strikes me that in one case of domestic violence it is the first opportunity for the 'victim' to take revenge and retaliate by using the court system to the full affect and then take delight in their new ability to force the old partner to do things they could never do when they were in relationship. Challenging someone who has been in an abusive relationship to 'play' fair has its limitations in this case they simply did not return to look at what they were now doing or even how they were part of the game in the first place most domestic violence victims find it hard to acknowledge they have also created this situation from their behaviour. (Sometimes people are simply not ready to move forward because they cannot let go!) Yes they are victims and at the same time they draw to them the experience of violence to learn that they can move forward and do not have to receive this type of behaviour.

The harder the challenge you are in; the more strength is needed to stand up for the moral, fair and honourable way of behaving; most people will find this hard to achieve and it can take years to be able to shift and learn new skills to do this.

The first step is to have the INTENTION to continue to move forward and do what is right for yourself and your children. To do this will mean you will be willing to learn new skills. If you do not learn new skills your next relationship may be OK for a few years and then you will more then likely start to encounter the same challenges unless your new partner is very skilled in helping you move through your "stuff'. If you do not learn new skills you will simply keep doing the same thing that is probably not working or you will give your power to the courts to make the decisions and many people will need to do this for their own sake, and the welfare of their children.

The need for self awareness is highlighted in a crisis so you know you are on the right track. I started my work in conflict resolution in the early 1980's because of my own divorce; I knew that I needed to learn new skills; especially for me the skill of assertiveness. Every relationship I have been in has eventually shown me a skill I need to learn to make that relationship stronger; my strength has always been my willingness to be a learner. I know that I am still a learner and probably will be all my life because that is who I am. It is not an easy journey but I can look back and know I have tried to live by values that are important to me and learn to build relationships not destroy them.

With children and the situation of a parent starting to use the child as a weapon; it is important that you decide you will try not to damage your child and keep to your values of fairness, integrity etc. When you can't see the way forward it may be necessary to use what ever help you can to make sure you have your rights and the rights of the child upheld. If you have learnt how to communicate appropriately and you are doing everything you can correctly under your existing agreements and it is still not working you need to take the situation to an advocate. This is why the Family Relationship Centres and the courts are being used.

When one parent becomes entrenched and takes delight in using the courts and you have children involved unfortunately they force you to also use the courts or mediation. As someone who many years ago  trained some of the early mediators for Life-Line in QLD; one thing that is important is to always try to refocus the parties involved in doing the best for the children. When someone cannot focus on the welfare of the children they are totally in their "stuff'! Yes you do need to put your needs forward but you also need to be able to balance the situation so the children will come through with minimum "scars".

So Paddy if something is not working; e.g. telephone; disengage from the battle  and ask the question is their a new way of achieving what I need to achieve. Some partners will keep you hooked in by constantly using what ever you set up with your children to get back at you. In this case you do need to work with professionals to release your emotion build-ups and also to have new eyes looking to see what a possible solution is available; every situation will be different. If something is not working and you can't make it work through constant conflict look for help to find a new way.

Find on my posts the Mapping and Options and start by working your way through this exercise; it can be good when you have done the exercise to talk it out with a friend so they will ask questions for you to see possible new insights. There is no magic answer to entrenched conflict; just a willingness to learn the communication skills; work on exercises like mapping and when you have done this then seek help; clever mature friends or professionals to give you insights. I don't know enough about your situation to give you a strategy. You need to develop strategies based on the skills. Start by reading a basic communication, conflict resolution book (not entrenched conflict, but a beginning) Everyone Can Win by Cornelius and Faire.


That's Ok I hope that you had a well deserved break? Everyone needs them!

Well I am still thinking about what you have posted I suppose you might mean that the way I am able to communicate with the kids might need rethinking? I know I can find a new way. The thing is what will it be?

The post means the ex will get it first? But then the normal registered post I would send would be vouchers or money? So why not try mail but with messages? Do you think that's a good first thought?

just tryin Paddy
monster said
Hi sage,

I don't want to take away from the thread but I thought a good place for this judgement would be here.

The mother has definitely taught her daughter to hate her dad. Too bad that he will die soon without the love of his daughter.

This is an update on the father who made a time capsule for his daughter.
 Monster I have removed your reference to an actual case; I am not involved in this part of the forum; the legal nature  of cases; but I am sure you cannot put present cases on the site. I will get back to you.
Paddy said
That's Ok I hope that you had a well deserved break? Everyone needs them!

Well I am still thinking about what you have posted I suppose you might mean that the way I am able to communicate with the kids might need rethinking? I know I can find a new way. The thing is what will it be?

The post means the ex will get it first? But then the normal registered post I would send would be vouchers or money? So why not try mail but with messages? Do you think that's a good first thought?

just tryin Paddy
 Hi Paddy

I was actually meaning you need to consider your communication skills with the ex so you can contact your children. I need to know a few things; as you may need to be asking this question in another part of the forum with those who have had to use the leagal system. How old are your children? What is your agreements at present about contact; have you been to  Family Relationship Centre or court? Have you spoken to a Family Relationship Centre?

Why do some parents hate so much that they will damage their own child to get even with their ex-partner?

Why do some parents hate so much that they will damage their own child to get even with their ex-partner?

The case of Wen versus Lam shows a very deep level of unresolved emotions which most likely involve hate by one parent to another.

Hate as an emotion is made up of a number of other emotions; anger bordering on rage; extreme hurt and under that most likely fear and possibly sadness! It is generally unresolved emotional pain that prevents people forgiving; letting go; accepting and moving on in their lives. When children are involved they can become the pawn of one or both parents.

In the above case even where the child would meet the father in a monitored situation so that nothing could possibly happen to the child and no conversation that was considered unacceptable could take place the mother did not want the father to have contact with the child.

When some people leave a relationship they simply want to put it behind them and have nothing to do with the ex-partner again; children are the connection that means the relationship is on going even if there is little direct communication. When someone moves on from a relationship it does not mean they have managed the personal growth lessons the relationship presented for the person; they still may be very unskilled as communicators or have any combination of behaviours that eventually are detrimental to a relationship.

The new relationship will go through it's honeymoon period and unless the person has grown they will often find they are in exactly the same situation as they were in their first relationship; they have not changed; the characteristics that led to the down fall of the first relationship will now come to light to be given the opportunity to learn and develop and possibly this time stay in the relationship.

Many people 'kid' themselves about their own motives when they try to keep a child away from an ex-partner; or destroy the relationship with a partner through lies and fear. They did not handle the challenges in their relationship so they blame this on the old partner and then they see the new relationship as perfect and better for the child. When you have a child together you made that choice; (or it was both peoples responsibly for the 'accidental' pregnancy). The child does have a father and a mother and both have right to see their child. When domestic violence is involved a parent still has the right to see the child; they may have forfeited the right to see the child without supervision. The courts will find cases as the above case where it is obvious that the hate and anger of the mother is influencing the child.

In the past when working with children from domestic violence and sexual abuse backgrounds it never ceased to amaze me how much these children still wanted to be with their parents; this does change put not usually until they are teenagers. Children can be 'brainwashed' from a very early age about the lack of qualities of one parent. If a small child is continuously told a parent does not love them and is selfish this is what the child will be looking for. Some parents can be very convincing to an adult let alone a child about their condemnation of another person. When you are told something often enough that is what you are looking for even if it is not true; we do this about other members of our families as well as to children.

The mother in the Wen versus Lam case shows no empathy, compassion or forgiveness. This is not uncommon. We all have the capacity to shut off from our own pain and hurt and turn it around in a self righteous manner to be seen as the one who is protecting our child. (Sometimes we will need to protect our child; but we will have moved to empathy and compassion and be thinking of the child needs not our own.)

We bring all sorts of beliefs and values to a relationship from two different family backgrounds; if these beliefs, values and eventually behaviours are not compatible there will be conflict. Being in relationship is about taking the time to communicate and negotiate about beliefs and values you want your child to have. In many families one parent tries to impose their family background onto the children and dismiss the other parent and their family values and beliefs. This leads to unrest, confusion for children and conflict and often breakdown of relationship even if you stay together.

When two people come together in relationship it is like they both have their own set of rules; often these are hidden and only emerge after children are born. A relationship is doomed if one person imposes their beliefs and values on the relationship. Both parents need to negotiate to form a new set of values and beliefs that both parents and then the children can live by. It's like one person grew up in family where the rules were Rugby League and the other grew up in a family where the rules were AFL; conflict will demonstrate that the parents have different ways of looking at a situation. Through communication and negotiation a new rule like Soccer has to be developed based on mutual respect, communication and negotiation.

Sometimes, after the honeymoon period in a relationship, you will realise that you really have very little in common with the other person and also you have different values and beliefs and no matter how much you communicate you will not be able to negotiate a mutual agreement. This is often when people will separate; however for many they continue this conflict even in different homes!

The intensity of emotion and beliefs and values when not acknowledged is often pushed into the 'shadow' side of the personality; this is triggered in the ongoing conflict of many separated and divorced couples over their children. Both people need to be able to learn and grow or you will have cases such as above. We all are called on in many incidents in our life to resolve the unresolved issues of the shadow side of the personality. It is our daily life that gives us the opportunity to do this.

Every child access case is complex and these words are just a few words that would have no hope of capturing the truth of the complexity of any one case. The more unresolved our own emotional pain is the more we will attract these type of situations; we don't heal our past by simply deciding to; we often  have to make choices with regard to people that are different to what we have done before but also are compassionate, forgiving, constructive and self freeing.
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