To feel so upset regarding contact.

(1000 Posts)

Some of you may know my backstory from the nature of my post. I namechanged a while ago and have been trying to put the past behind me and move forward with 5mo DD.
Me and my ex have a rather volatile relationship. He didn't want me to keep DD. since she has been born he hasn't provided physically or emotionally. He pays half the maintainence he should.
I tried to keep him seeing DD, him coming here, me there (2.5 hour drive). Supervised by me.
I don't want or agree with any child been taken away from their father but he is so inconsistent and to put it bluntly useless it had crossed my mind that it may be better if he goes away.
He has had a new girlfriend who seems to have taken priority since when I was 5 months pregnant.
It's now 22 days since any contact with him. He's ignored my attempts to send pictures and updates and is like to know if I am BU by thinking this is not acceptable and letting it upset me.
I'm a bit of a wreck today. I know this is AIBU but please try to be gentle.

But he won't do it and in years to come will tell DD it was all my fault, he will manipulate her how he did to me for the duration of our relationship.
The worst thing is I know you are right, i am just so desperate

SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 10-Feb-13 20:01:48

Make I've read the whole thread and you're doing really well. You know how I know? Because I've been in a similar situation. The fact that you want your ex to be a dad to your DD and you're willing to do all you can to accommodate that, shows just what an amazing mum you are. However don't let that lead to him walking all over you by calling all the shots and emotionally blackmailing you. I agree with the poster who said to tell your ex to book a regular slot at a contact centre near to you (important so your DD doesn't have to travel far - in her best interests) and if contact is regular and sustained, after three months you'll discuss contact outside of the contact centre. Ensure you send him this message in writing so you can prove you've offered this as a viable option, should you need to in future. If he declines your offer, that's his problem. If he sends abusive messages, texts and emails, keep them in case it all goes to court. If the abusive messages continue, report him to the police for harassment.

If he's interested in building a relationship with your DD, he needs to make the effort. He can't expect to have her for half a day by himself when he hasn't seen her for over a month! But then I don't think this is about him having contact with your DD, it's about fucking with your head and trying to control you - hence him refusing the contact centre because a/ you're in control of that and b/ he'd actually have to make an effort to see your DD. If he refuses the contact centre and demands to have her half a day on his own as he has today, politely decline and reinstate your request for him to arrange a contact centre. If he has the gumption he may well go straight to court but that's for him to do, not you. I very much doubt he'd do that tbh. A friend of mine has a great saying that fits well here - you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink. You can't force a man to be a dad.

Like you, my ex buggered off with the OW when I was 4 months pregnant. I wanted him to be involved with DS and once DS was born I did all I can to facilitate that. I sent letters and texts telling him he could see DS when he wanted, sent photos to both my ex and his mum, spoke to him on the phone offering to meet him with DS etc. He once rang and we arranged to meet but guess what? He didn't turn up. I just couldn't understand why he didn't want to be involved with DS, why he didn't want to get to know this amazing child and be a dad to him - quite honestly it took a few years before I was able to come to terms with that. I stopped chasing him when DS was about five or six months old and I went back to work, because quite frankly I had enough to juggle and it was more than obvious that neither him nor his family were interested in DS. To this day his 'dad' has never seen him and doesn't pay a penny in maintenance but you know what? DS is a happy, well-balanced 6 year old. We are a family, the two of us, plus our cat smile. I very rarely give that loser a second thought. You'll get there too.

Kitty, thank you for sharing my story. I feel and act just as you did and you last paragraph was beautiful, really touched me and gave me tears.
I want to get this sorted and help other people who heaven forbid have to go through this hmm

SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 10-Feb-13 20:17:44

I cross posted with you OP. Your ex is relying on you feeling desperate so he can manipulate and bully you like he used to. You're not with him now, so don't let him get to you with his empty threats and ramblings. Just tell him about the contact centre and rinse and repeat as necessary.

As for him manipulating your DD, please dont give in to his demands based on this fear. For a start, he's got to bother to see her regularly in the first place and he clearly isn't winning there is he? He hasn't bothered with her in over a month and is only doing so now because the CSA have contacted him and that reminded him that he has a child hmm. Also as your DDs main carer, as she grows up you can let her know in an age-appropriate way, what her dad was like - she'll most likely ask questions anyway. You'll also have the evidence from the texts and emails going backwards and forwards now, which you'll keep in a safe place, maybe all together in a folder won't you?!. He will not manipulate her - kids aren't stupid, they see through shite.

I kept everything wink

Casserole Sun 10-Feb-13 20:31:28

So here's what you'll tell your DD, when she grows up. You'll say that you stood up to a man that was trying to bully you, because you knew that you were worth more. That you acted to protect her, because you knew she was worth more. And that you hope that she will know that in life SHE does not have to be bullied or pushed around by a man or in fact by anyone. That it is ok and MORE THAN OK to take steps to protect yourself and those you love against emotional abuse and manipulation. And you tell her for those reasons you are PROUD of all your choices and you make them again tomorrow.

Casserole Sun 10-Feb-13 20:31:55

you would make them again tomorrow.

catinboots Sun 10-Feb-13 20:41:29

Hi make.

Please read SoftKitty's story again and again. She is a wise lady.

Men like your XP and my XP and SoftKitty's XP are sooooo predictable. All follow the same script.

I just want you to know all your support is so gratefully received. Your helping and supporting more than you will ever know

ProphetOfDoom Sun 10-Feb-13 21:07:21

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SoftKittyWarmKitty Sun 10-Feb-13 21:11:12

What Casserole said at 20:31:28. Exactly what she said.

I'd do anything to protect that little girl, she is my DD.
I think speaking to my doctor first thing is a good start, as I think my thought train and perseptions are wrong towards myself.
I can do this. I can do this for DD smile

littlemisssarcastic Sun 10-Feb-13 21:43:21

OP, I could have written so many of your posts.
Your xp doesn't appear to be interested in consistent contact to benefit your DD. You have offered him that and he didn't want it.

My xp and I split when my DD was 6 months. I took the matter to court, gave xp the contact he asked for in court. He stuck to it for as long as he had access to his mothers car, then he stopped.
There was absolutely nothing I could do to make him see DD. He could have done, but he didn't bother. He put so many obstacles in the way, he was too busy, he was working, he couldn't get to mine to pick DD up, he didn't have the things he needed to look after her for contact.
I agreed to drive DD to him and pick her up, I agreed to supply him with everything she needed, I agreed to change the days/hours to suit. It wasn't enough. He ended up saying 'Oh it's just too much bother.' shock

I continued trying and trying. He continued playing headfuck games with me, so I returned the matter to court again. The judge knew he had let DD down consistently for about 7 months at this point, yet not a word was said by the judge to tell xp that it wasn't acceptable, not a word. The only person who had an opinion on xp's behaviour was my barrister, who asked me, in all seriousness, 'Has he always been such a clown?' XP was merely offered different days/times that suited him. He chose every other weekend, all weekend. It was seen to be usual for a 13 month old to have contact overnight with a father she barely knew. Court order granted.

Contact resumed for approx a year, then XP just stopped bothering again. He had split with gf and met another woman. He didn't contact me to arrange seeing DD for 10 months.

By this point, DD was almost 3.

Contact resumed sporadically, and has remained sporadic until this day.

I never wanted to deprive DD of her dad when we split. That's why I bent myself into a bloody pretzel shape to facilitate contact. DD bonded with xp and I thought she missed him. It must have been strange for her to suddenly wake up and he wasn't there at 6 months old.

I didn't realise that at 6 months, her memory would be short, and by facilitating contact with a man who isn't interested in DD very much, (although he could fool anyone he loves her to bits) all I actually did was create a situation where my DD knows her daddy well enough to crave his company, well enough to cry for him, she does remember daddy for a very very long time now (think 6+ months at least), talks about him every day and waits by the window for him. sad

I have merely postponed the pain for DD, until she was old enough to understand how much it hurts even more if that makes sense.

If I had my time again, I would let him make the effort, knowing he would probably never take me to court (too expensive) and wait until he had proved himself to be interested in building a relationship with his DD that was consistent and regular, regardless of what else he has on.

I definitely would not take him to court myself. It will not make him stick to contact if he doesn't want to.

Thank you for your stories.

I sat up last night. I've got a old recorder message from before she was born saying abuse to me, pictures of unco operative texts, pictures of character assassination texts, my diary of records regarding contact.
I have my phyciatrist reports, saying I don't have typical PND, I have it mild and am suffering EA, counselling reports, midwife reports asking him to only be involved if I say yes and to keep making checks. Doctors reports (seeing her Wednesday, sobbed down the phone and she's already on the phone to time to talk and maybe CBT)
I could get witness statements more recent up to date too.

They will never take me to court your all right. They want to scare me into doing whet they want. So ill offer contact centres, write up another mutual contract to sign shall I? And see my solicitor again.

Any thoughts? <before I crash>

Whocansay Mon 11-Feb-13 08:49:01

You're still trying to do it for him. Let him arrange the contact centres, etc. But yes, see a solicitor.

littlemisssarcastic Mon 11-Feb-13 09:08:17

What are your main concerns OP?

If you think your DD is better off without your xp in her life at this moment, why would you make any effort at all to arrange contact centres or write up yet another mutual contract for him to sign??

If your main concern is that you don't want him to take you to court, because you fear he will get more contact than you are mutually happy with, he could still take you to court, even with a mutually agreed contact agreement in place, even if he is not sticking to it.

If your main concern is that the court will berate you for not facilitating contact, should he take you to court, that just wont happen. You have offered contact (do you have evidence of this?) and he has declined.

It is up to him to arrange contact and for you to make your DD available for that contact.

What are your main concerns OP?

My main concerns is that he bullies me into doing things so if I go
To court it's in place then.
I don't feel he can look after my DD, she doesn't know him.
I'm scared this could go on for years. Everytime I stop everything and jut breathe that sigh of relief he comes back.
I'm scared that if I text him back with the number of a contact centre and a time he will some how manipulate that to make me look bad should he ever take me to court.
I'm mostly scared that this is going to go on forever unless I go to court because just when I think he's gone and we are safe it's better he's back.
He's wont be dictated to by me. And he doesn't understand the law. I want a end to it, if I go to court, waste my money and he doesn't stick to it- I tried I did it the right way, I have proof and peace of mind I did.
I don't want to see him or hear from him but I cannot explain what he does to me.... I just don't understand it myself. I can feel him dragging me down again, that's no good for DD.
I want Dd to be treated with the respect and care she deserves.

Am I making sense? I just see court as a kind of final thing. Stay and stick or fuck off.
I'm scared I'm going out of my mind. I just want the best for DD and it consumes me. I am a introvert at the best of times.
I am scared of him. I know what he can do. I don't want him keeping coming back. I don't want my 3 year old to not see him for a month then him come back,
I don't want to answer the daddy questions with I don't know I want to answer with I did all I could for you.

littlemisssarcastic Mon 11-Feb-13 09:58:05

I know this may sound like a stupid question, but what is the court going to put in place that will stop him bullying you when you are going for a contact order?

Court ordered contact is not 100% rigid. There will be a few sentences on there that will say something like 'And contact as mutually agreed between the two parties'.

If you don't feel he can look after your DD because she doesn't know him, that doesn't mean the court will agree with you. Courts tend to bend over backwards imo to accommodate fathers who claim they want to see their DC. RP's do not always bend over backwards, but a court will ime.

It could go on for years even if it does go to court. It is not a case of one appearance in court determines 18 years of contact. It can be brought back before court many many times, by either you or your xp, to be adjusted.

If you spend lots of money and take this to court, the court are going to give your xp contact that suits him, contact where he picks up your DD at the door and drops her off again later. More than likely it will be little and often at the moment because of DD's age, but within a year, if he returns the matter to court, they will almost definitely grant him overnight access.
If xp doesn't stick to that court order, it doesn't end there. He or you can return the matter to court, and the court will do whatever they can to facilitate contact between DD and xp again, even if he has failed to stick to the court order, the court will give him many many more chances than most RP's would.

I don't want him keeping coming back. I don't want my 3 year old to not see him for a month then him come back,
A court order will make no difference to whether he does this or not.

If a court grants him access, lets say...saturday 10 - 5 and wednesday 10 - 5 (just as an example), lets say he turns up to collect DD every saturday and wednesday for 5 months, DD builds up a relationship with him, then he disappears off the scene, and doesn't appear for another 6 weeks, when he returns on a saturday or wednesday in the future, he will say 'but we have a court order that is still active so I want to see DD now it suits me.'

By taking it to court, I think you are expecting the court to enforce something they will not enforce, yet your xp will have a further stick to beat you with.

If I was in your situation, honestly, I would tell xp what you are prepared to offer (even if that is nothing at all) and if he is not happy with that, then he needs to deal with that.

Just out of interest, has your xp ever been violent to your DD? Has he ever put her in a position of danger? Do you have evidence to back this up?

littlemisssarcastic Mon 11-Feb-13 10:10:28

I have probably rambled, sorry. blush

I understand exactly what you are saying hmm
He's not been violent towards her but she has been shouted at: what do
You want now! Why won't you just shut up!
But I have no evidence hmm

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 11-Feb-13 10:24:25

Make, if you have been referred for CBT I strongly recommend you go ahead with it. It will help enormously with your thought process and help you shift your focus from him, and your fear of him. The thing that you will need to come to terms with is that unfortunately he is your DD's dad and you have no way to ensure he either steps up and shows willing or stays away all together. You need to find a way of coping with that reality, and I think the CBT will help you with that. Being able to talk this through with someone will also help, along with maybe some medication that will help when you feel at your lowest.

I really think you need to let your mum/dad take over the means of contact and let them tell you when he's made arrangements re contact centre, or just keep you away from the abuse he sends. See a solicitor to get your situation clarified so you know what to expect if he does take you to court and then file that away until it happens. You also need to accept that the daddy questions will happen eventually but the fact he makes no effort is his responsibility not yours. The way to handle difficult questions like that is to reassure your DD just how special and loved she is, and then tell her something close to the truth that she can take in and digest. All you can do with that is manage her possible upset, you can't prevent that and you can't change who her dad is. Accepting that that is your DD's reality and being committed to helping her with that is the job you have to do because your ex behaves this way. I've no doubt that you and your family's love will be enough for her, and will help her come to terms with who and what her dad is, when the time comes.

The way I dealt with my ex disappearing out of DD's life when she was quite small was to fill her days with plenty to do and with people who love her. She sees her dad sporadically now and is content with that as she's got too much going on to wonder about her dad. She doesn't ask for him, she doesn't miss him but goes happily to see him when he remembers she exists. She's old enough to speak up if not happy, and she's never once questioned how things are.

You need to stop worrying about how a grown up or possible teenage DD will react to what you decide now because of your ex's behaviour. What you need to concentrate on is being the best mum you can be, to help your DD grow up loved and secure so that what you think will be a devastating realisation will in all honestly not be the great upset you might think. You are doing all you can and that's without you doing anymore as far as he's concerned. Start believing in yourself as a mum and as the person tasked with being your DD's advocate. Being the one to stand up for your DD means not letting someone who clearly does not care for her the way he should decide how she is treated. That is entirely your job.

Also that I would be happy with in time the over nights etc
What I can deal with is the texting on a tue night asking for wed one week and next week a thurs and when I offered different days being told IAMBU.
I'm going back to college and work in April, that's why I want and need set days and times so I know where we are all at moving forward

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Mon 11-Feb-13 10:40:05

Make, the reality here is that the set days you want are unlikely to happen as your ex knows that's what you want. He revels in making life difficult and if he knows this suits you, he will simply not comply because he's just an arse who thinks its more important to mess you about than it is to be present or consistent with contact. The thing is, when you accept you cannot do a single thing to make him see your DD when it suits, and just get on with raising your DD without his input or presence, you will be much happier in the long run, not worrying if/when he'll turn up. I used to get so wound up and angry with my ex when he just wouldn't agree to set contact up in advance, but it was all wasted energy. He reacted to my anger by just doing it more cos he enjoyed that power. When I finally decided to leave him to it and just get on with things myself, without thinking of or relying on him, the stress lifted off my shoulders. He eventually changed his ways after about 2/3 years of me not giving a shiny shit about what he did or said or thought.

littlemisssarcastic Mon 11-Feb-13 11:00:30

What contact are you prepared to offer your xp for now?

Decide what contact suits you and DD.

littlemisssarcastic Mon 11-Feb-13 11:07:56

Agree with the other posters who say you cannot make him be the dad you want him to be for your DD.

When your DD gets older and asks you why her relationship with her dad is rubbish, the truth is that you can't make him have a good relationship with her. You gave him opportunities and he didn't take them. You have never been against contact, you clearly set out days and times he could see her, and he chose not to.

What more could you have done?

I really think you need to be firm with him.

A shop may only open from 8am - 5pm, but is it the shops fault if you run out of milk and show up at 9pm and they are shut? Of course it isn't. It would be your responsibility to get to the shop in time.
Similarly, if you arrange contact through a contact centre, and the time is 10am-11am and your xp shows up at 5pm, is it the contact centre's fault that he can't see his DD on that day. Of course it isn't, it is his responsibility to get there on time.

You are extremely accommodating to your xp, to your own detriment. He is playing you like a fiddle. Don't jump to his threats or demands.

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