Short Version: I need guidance on how to help my children deal with their psychopath father.
My daughter is very young, but very aware, alert and communicative. She returned from her time with her father VERY disturbed, and she could not stop talking about, essentially, her growing awareness that her father is a liar and a creep. This is the first time I haven't been able to console her and get her back to "herself" in a few days. I'm very concerned. I listened and sympathized. It was about HER experience - not mine. I said "I'm sorry honey" a lot. I was appropriately honest with her.
She is expressing herself with a lot of Anger and Arguing.
I continue to maintain the boundaries and expectations that I have as a mother. Consistent.
But she is really pushing the boundaries, and when I correct her she goes to a manipulative place of "you don't love me".
I feel like she may be overstimulated and need quiet and alone time. So I am going to try that. I also just want to hold her and hug her so that she knows it is okay.
I'm concerned about his mind games (that he has always played on the children) and his ignoring her, and his overfeeding her, and the lack of proper bedtime routine, etc. I'm teaching my children to ACTIVELY engage in self-soothing behaviors. They KNOW what to do to take care of themselves in that regard, and they have a LIST of what to do when they need to get peace.
Any pointers you all can give will be appreciated.
FYI: counseling for my daughter is not really appropriate since her father gives and receives referrals from within the medical community. If my daughter went to therapy, he would just manipulate that too.