Is my ex's goal to have the kids, to have power over them or is it because he truly loves them? In this phase of 'no man's land' for the kids I have decided that I will do what is best for them (not back away, I can't do that to the kids), but at the same time I will not worsen the tense situations the ex creates.
To him it is about control and power and who wins, that's the way it has always been. There has never been gentleness or compassion before now, yet he displays it now in a very restrained fashion. I read the 'disbelief' in the kids' faces but I know they play a survivor's game, almost like 'keep the brute happy so he keeps calm'.
They have attempted to speak and he walks over them. Soon it will be settled and I have to be patient and so will they. He makes comments to the boys about what he believes I feel or what I'm doing to thwart him. All I'm doing is trying to balance their relax time and outing time. But the ex has strange thoughts that I'm manipulating them, when it is he who seems to be doing that on his time with the boys.
I know this because the boys convey some of these strange statements and comments my ex makes.
He tries to grab as much of the public holiday time and keep the boys out all day. The kids grumble to me but the boys have to speak up for themselves and I hope they find the courage to do it eventually.
It took me years, I cannot expect more from them.