It had always been an issue of ours. I was the one who always fixed her hair for as long as she had enough to fix
until she was two and a half, when we left him. Fixed it, washed it, changed the diapers, took her everywhere I went, etc. I didn’t even go out to the grocery store without her. Naturally, as the mother, I thought it was my choice on how I fixed her hair, as I’m the only one who DID the job. I politely declined his suggestion that she should have bangs. He didn’t like that I didn’t obey him. When they were within half an inch of the rest of her ponytail, and after we were separated, he cut her bangs himself- thick and WAY back her head. I found out when I picked her up from his visitation. I was livid because I felt that he was doing it to get back at me, but as kindly as I could muster, I said, “You should have talked to me about this first.” He responded, “You shouldn’t have lied!” I asked, “What did I lie about?” He said, “You’ll find out!” I still to this day don’t know what I lied about but I THINK he thinks I called the child protection agency on him. I didn’t.
Anyway, he has continued to chop her bangs off as he wishes, and it’s almost always a butcher job. I think he goes home and “evens them out”, makes them shorter, and chops off the baby hairs on the sides so she has sideburns. I have cut them before to save him from doing it but he always seems to do it (and do it shorter) when he is mad about something. For instance, if I ask him to NOT cut them for a dance recital when they are to be pulled back, he chops them off to a mere inch in length at the shortest part. I achieved great satisfaction however when I successfully managed to pull those babies back and clip them so they wouldn’t go anywhere. I have perfected the art of hiding those bangs so I don’t have to be reminded. Our daughter’s hair is long and smooth and beautiful. It goes halfway down her back. I’ve trimmed it several times and he has too.
Recently, after the last two visits, she has come home saying, “Daddy said he was going to cut off my ponytail.” She said he held scissors up to her ponytail. She said “and he wasn’t joking! He wasn’t smiling or anything.” She didn’t want him to do it but she said she didn’t say anything to him. She’s 4 and is very concerned that Daddy will be mad if she stands up to him.
How a haircut can be used as emotional abuse:
Background: In short, my sister cut off my pigtail when I was 3 or 4. She was 5. My mom had to have the rest of my hair cut off to match, so I had a pixie. I HATED it. I thought I looked like a little boy. That has always bothered me. I wished my mom would have left it crooked or something. My ex knows how much that bothered me as a child.
Fast forward to today: Our daughter is 4. He chopped off her bangs as a punishment to me because he thought I lied. He told me that himself. (I still don’t know what I “lied” about.) The last 2 times she has come back from his house, she has expressed concern that Daddy wants to cut off her ponytail. She has long beautiful hair. She said he actually held the scissors up to her ponytail as if he was going to cut it off. She was visibly upset about this. She told me she doesn’t want her ponytail cut off.
Today she called asking if she could get her hair cut. She NEVER asks permission to do anything at Daddy’s so I was suspicious. I asked her how she wants it cut. She said she wants her ponytail cut off. She says it will be cooler. I said, you told me that you DON’T want your ponytail cut off. She says she changed her mind. This child NEVER complains about being hot. What has he said to her to get this done? And why use the phrase “ponytail cut off” if this is not a direct form of emotional abuse? Wouldn’t a normal person who wants to get their child’s hair cut just say, “I want to get your hair cut?” Why would you say, “I want to get your ponytail cut off”? Funny how that’s the phrase I used when describing how my pigtail got cut off. This is a form of mental abuse if I ever saw it. Not sure if I’m describing it well enough for the rest of you to see it. I know it’s there! A judge would never see what I’m saying without knowing the background. An outsider would never see it this way. To them, it looks like a Daddy that’s trying to keep his daughter cool. Narcissists will take any weakness you have and use it against you.
Today, when she called, she asked if she could get her hair cut. This is very unusual because he never asks permission for anything and wouldn’t usually allow her to. I’d guess he has put her up to asking so he can say that she WANTS her hair cut. To me, she’s obviously just appeasing Daddy. She can sense his instability and at her young perceptive age, knows that if Daddy’s not happy, life can be rough. Will she have hair when she comes back? I don’t know, but I’ll be holding my breath until I find out!