Carolyn Hax: ‘Obsessed’ ex insists their daughter have lengthy hair

Expensive Carolyn: My ex-husband is obsessive about our 7-year-old daughter’s hair. I as soon as had it minimize a number of inches under her shoulders, and he threatened authorized motion. He mentioned it induced him hurt — that he couldn’t take a look at her for days. I’ve requested him to keep up getting her hair trimmed since he’s so involved about her size. She simply had it minimize, and it appears good and wholesome. My daughter likes her lengthy hair, and I’m okay with it so long as it’s taken care of.

However tonight we discovered that her pal minimize her hair. It was the primary time I’ve heard our daughter categorical curiosity in slicing her hair. I instructed her dad, and knowledgeable him that I’m okay with permitting her to make the choice on her hair size. He’ll push her to maintain it lengthy.

Recommendation on the right way to co-parent with one of these particular person? Many occasions I “give in” as a result of if I don’t, he takes it out on our daughter within the type of yelling, speaking badly about me, and so on.


Nameless: You co-parent “with this type of person” below the common care of a therapist outfitted to deal with somebody as harmful as he’s, to develop methods for shielding your daughter and your self, and for mitigating the harm he has already finished and can proceed to do, a minimum of within the close to time period.

You additionally co-parent with an legal professional backing up your effort to doc all the pieces for the needs of demonstrating to the courts the urgency of defending your daughter from him in the long run. The Nationwide Home Violence Hotline,, can get you began on discovering native help inside your means.

As described right here, your ex demonstrates a level of preoccupation and management that’s merely past a benign rationalization. It’s unhinged. Plus he’s prepared to punish a toddler psychologically — which is out of bounds for any motive, however actually so for actions you took, and particularly so for such a trifle as hair size.


That his fixation is about his youngster assembly a standard commonplace of female magnificence ideas it into creepy.

Even with out all that, even when we take the creepy hair factor out of the dialog — you say “many times” you alter the way you strategy parenting as a result of he’ll act out to and/or round your daughter when the particular person he’s upset with is you. Wow. That pegs his maturity degree at adolescent or much less, and his precedence as his ego above all.


With both of those problematic habits patterns, he creates an surroundings that’s deeply unhealthy for a kid. With each he’s a human emergency.

Appeasement is ill-equipped for that process.


I assume you’re conscious of this however face the actual and demoralizing downside of getting your palms tied, a minimum of for now, by custody preparations. However I’m typing it out loud anyway as a result of a way of urgency is well dulled below the grind of necessity and every day routine — and what you describe requires a way of urgency that’s morning-fresh and renewable every day till you’ll be able to restrict your daughter’s publicity to the poisonous surroundings she is aware of as “dad.”

Get the psychotherapist on board as quickly as attainable (sources right here:, speak with a seasoned legal professional and begin treating this as far more critical than the size of your little woman’s hair.

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