...to be so angry I can barely function

(41 Posts)
Punkatheart Tue 10-Sep-13 08:33:05

I know that men leave and relationships break down. I am a realist. But when my ex left two years ago, I had cancer (still have) and I had been very ill for ten years, having had some horrific treatments. It means I haven't been able to work - although I have tried. My daughter reacted to her dad's leaving in a really horrific way - she had to be seen by a cardiologist for the physical shock, then she developed some mental problems which are now really serious - inlcuding severe depression, an eating disorder and some involvement with drugs.

I am pretty ill still (incurable lymphoma) and it has been suggested that I go on another chemo clinical trial. I will have to come off my current medication - be pretty unwell - to take the risk for this new drug.

My ex is currently supporting us by paying the bills and £250 per month for me on which to live. He earns over £2,500 per week in a very high profile industry.

I have told my ex - pretty tearfully - the really horrific troubles with our daughter. I am finding life in general truly horrible and one night I even went to a train station where I know there are fast trains. I just wanted all the bad stuff to stop - but the knowledge that my daughter really really needed me, stopped me - as did the thought of the train driver's family.

My daughter refuses to speak to her father but she is very ill and refuses to speak to a number of people. Every day is difficult - I can't tell you how difficult. We are all mothers (or fathers) here - we know how tough children can be. Add to the mix an exhausting form of cancer that is also disfiguring - then imagine how I felt getting an email from the ex fundamentally bullying us out of our home and wanting to relieve himself of any financial burden. Yes, he has a new girfriend and there are lots of lovely pictures of them in holiday photos. He says he wants a future for himself and there is never a mention of his daughter. Sometimes he says 'I would love to help and be supportive.' That supports includes turning off his phone and when our daughter attempted suicide he told me she was just a stubborn teen. STUBBORN TEEN! She is currently in the mental health system and has regular and horrific meltdowns.

I feel so shaky I can hardly get out of bed. I find I have to force myself to smile, to try and get stability for my child. It's also making me so much more ill.

But meanwhile in his world he is greatly respected and loved. He is well known for what he does - he plays the kind cuddly man in public but I have never met such a hard individual. My daughter is everything to me and I want to stay in my home, try and get my illness under control and then get a future for her and myself.

I have never wanted to kill someone as much as I want to kill him. He never asks about his daughter, he ignores any updates which contain information that upset him, he says that seeing me has a distressing effect on me. His phone is always off - so he sends the email 'I don't want to seem hard but...'

Thank you for listening - even if you think I am over reacting. A number of lovely people helped me previously when I was so very low that I didn't want to go on. I cannot get to that place again. But if we sold our house, the way he has managed the money (badly) will mean that we will barely have anything left. I have nothing on which to live.

I guess I am frightened really. I have tried to be a good person but now I don't feel very good. In fact, I feel quite evil. And ill. I am desperately looking for writing work - I know that is my only talent and I am very accomplished at it. You wouldn't tell from this post though....I am all over the place.

RedHelenB Tue 10-Sep-13 08:43:33

It is hard on you, without a doubt but unfortunately when people leave a relationship they often only think of themselves in their new environment. my ex didn't seem to get thast I wasn't particularly bothered about rushing through a divorce when i was pg, just so he could feel happier!

On a practical note, he can't just drop the amount he pays for you just because he has a new girlfriend, he will have to go to court & request a variation.

I do however think it very unfair to blame your daughters mental health problems on him - cardiologist for physical shock - really? It must be hard on her having a mum who is very ill & a dad who doesn't seem bothered. Is there anyone else she is close to?

I suppose what I am saying is YANBU to feel the way you do but YABU to expect more from ex, you know that he won't deliver so try not to waste head space, you have so much else going on.

kungfupannda Tue 10-Sep-13 08:47:27

I don't know what to say. Do you have anyone in real life advising you on any of these different issues?

To focus on a practical matter, can you go to the CSA about your ex's contributions? Is the £2,500 a week provable? If so, that might sort out some of the financial problems.

Are you claiming everything to which you are entitled?

Please don't go back to that train station. There are lots of people on here who can advise on the different problems you are facing.

Fairylea Tue 10-Sep-13 09:09:57

I can only imagine how awful things are for you at the moment. You must be completely overwhelmed. My heart goes out to you.

But I do wonder if you're expecting a little too much from a man who clearly doesn't have or want to give much in terms of support. This is very hard, I understand that (been married a couple of times myself and a dd from a previous relationship).

I think distancing yourself completely unless it's regards to financial matters (which should go through solicitors) or about contact for your dd (even if that isnt happening right now) might make you feel better in the long term. I don't think he should be providing the emotional support you need right now. Do you have any other support?

As a teen who went to a psychiatrist myself I'd also be wary of putting the majority of her problems down to your marriage. Teens are generally resilient, she will come back from this but she just isn't very well at the moment.

Punkatheart Tue 10-Sep-13 10:00:25

Thanks for the input.

I know that the cardiologist thing sounds over-dramatic - but it is not me who recommended her to one. When her father left - a previously very loving dad she adored - she did indeed go into shock. She would pass out, particular after walking or any exercise. She was sent for a heart scan and because the physical reaction was so very severe, my cousin who is a professor of cardiology was very convinced that she had a heart problem. However - it was not he who recommended us - but a GP.

When we had to go to A & E because she had passed out again - I rang her dad and he had turned off his 'phone. So I called his mother and let her know - I didn't hear from him for over a week later. I then negotiated with him - more than once - to call up once a week just to ask how she was, so that it would help her to know that he cared. He didn't. He missed her sixteenth birthday.

Yes, I know I am blaming a lot on him but I have seen a very happy secure girl descend into hell. I only wanted him to call once a week - I asked him for no more emotional support than that. Unfortunately that has contributed to her feelings of abandonment, as has his mother stopping to call to ask after her.

I do have some emotional support - a very lovely family but they are quite some distance away.

I am just terribly frightened for the future and every day, I look at the world a little tentatively - I never know what to expect. Lymphoma is a particular consuming disease and I know that if illness wasn't adding such a complication, I could do something to help myself more. I hate my illness and I hate myself.

I would love to think that teenagers are tough and that she will come out the other side of this. But we all know our children best and I have seen more and more worrying traits, particular the eating disorder, which is becoming more and more entrenched.

Yes, I realise not to expect anything from him in terms of emotional support - he has shown himself to be cowardly in that respect. But I am asking for time to get her through college, some stability and not to sell our home. I don't feel that is unreasonable but I think that my very emotional angry reaction is.

The problem with problems is that on paper, they do seem so black and white - and I don't mean the print on paper. In the flesh, they are often more layered and complex. I know he has his perspective on things and his way to justify anything he does - but I am right in the middle of a shitstorm. I'm breaking, really - trying to keep strong.

RedHelenB Tue 10-Sep-13 10:15:08

So how old is your daughter now? Harsh as it is to say I don't think your ex wants you "interfering" (and I know & you know you're doing it for the best but he really won't see it like that) & is being stubborn. Let your daughter contact him or not as she chooses, at 16+ she can do this by herself.

See a solicitor, if you haven't already, & get the money situation sorted out. Do it through them or emails to your ex if necessary. As your ex is a high earner I am sure there will be a way for you to stop in your home, for a while at least.

StanleyLambchop Tue 10-Sep-13 10:19:32

Firstly, I am really sorry for your situation. You sound like a brilliant Mum though, throughout your post your love and concern for your DD comes through, despite being in an awful situation. Your ex on the other hand.... Well, I do think that regrettably he is never going to be the supportive father you hope for, so would it be more of a relief to you to just stop trying to make him? Let it go, have no further contact unless it is for practical matters concerning finances. Get everything from him in writing, then make sure you get legal advice.

I know it is easy for me to say as emotional matters are as you point out, very complex. But you have proved you are strong & capable- you have been battling illness for many years and you are still here to fight another day. You will find a way through this.

Concentrate on yourself & DD and ignore the crap from your ex. Good luck!

Therealamandaclarke Tue 10-Sep-13 10:27:06

Sorry. I don't have any practical advice but your anger is natural and justifiable.
thanks

mignonette Tue 10-Sep-13 10:28:34

It is time to step back from your DD's relationship with her Father. You don't neecd to be involved. If he doesn't make arrangements to see her then that is his responsibility and she is old enough to make those arrangements herself. It may be that she chooses not to for the time being because it is too much for her to cope w/ at the moment.

Take legal advice if and when your Ex tries to reduce maintenance. But don't waste emotional energy thinking of what he may or may not do. You do not need to have phone contact w/ him and nor should you. If she is unwell, you can let him know via text message or email what hospital she is in, text him the relevant numbers to contact then let him get on with it.

You do need to step back. I have been there w/ an ex who paid not a penny ever and my children are grown now. But at 16 I started to leave contact in their hands as a private matter between them.

quesadilla Tue 10-Sep-13 10:29:12

I don't have much practical advice to give you, I just want to send you deep sympathy and to let you know people are thinking of you.

You are still working through a lot of justifiable anger which is exacerbated and prolonged by your illness and your
daughter's pain. This is a process you need to go through but it will pass and you and your daughter will emerge at the other side.

Wishing you love and strength.

Punkatheart Tue 10-Sep-13 10:29:44

Yes it does sound harsh. I am not interfering at all. I have left it to my daughter to call him - but I asked him to call up once a week to ask about her, not to her. He has agreed many times to that - promised and agreed that it would help her just to know that he was out there and he still cared. It is surely a simple thing and he also agreed to it - so I don't really see his problem. Not to ask ever about his daughter?

Thank you, Stanley - for your encouraging words. I have done a lot to try and forge a future for us. I think it's just the contrast of his life and ours which makes me angry now. Illness is a fucking drag.

mignonette Tue 10-Sep-13 11:02:43

Please just let him get on with it. Give him enough rope and let him hang himself with it. You focus upon you and your daughter.

Good luck.

Dahlen Tue 10-Sep-13 12:03:01

I don't really have any useful advice, but I couldn't read this and ignore it. I'm so, so sorry you're going through this. Sometimes life can seem unbearably cruel. sad

Your resilience and perseverance is quite frankly awe-inspiring. You say you hate your illness and yourself, but you really shouldn't. Your illness is fair enough, but you should feel proud of yourself. You've been dealt an unimaginable degree of shit and you've kept on going despite the enormous cost to your wellbeing because you want so much to do the right thing for your DD. That's a wonderful parent. If anything gets your DD out the other side of her problems, it will be the knowledge that she is loved by a mother who has never, ever not been there for her.

I think you have to go into survival mode to get through this, rather than concentrating on what's fair, moral and right. You can have a go at appealing to your X's better nature one last time, but it doesn't sound like it will help much. Instead, use the law to protect yourself. Isn't there some law that allows dependent children and the parent with care to stay in the family home even if it's in the non-resident parent's name? Given your incurable illness and your DD's MH issues, I think you'd have a damned good case, especially with an X who has that degree of income. Make sure you're getting the maximum CSA. Are you getting all the benefits you are entitled to?

As another parent whose X takes very little interest in the DC, I understand your pain and anger. I'm not going to tell you it's wrong because anger is a perfectly healthy response to an unjust situation. It's how you channel it that counts. Direct it to fighting to make your X step up to his legal and financial responsibilities even if he won't meet his emotional and caring ones. You can't make him step up, as you know. All you can do is keep reassuring DD that none of it is her fault. I"m not going to pretend that she'll come out of it unscathed because we both know that's not true, but hopefully with enough reassurance, her heart will eventually come to realise that what you're telling her is true. Her father's inadequacies are for him to own; they are not of her making. He is a coward. It's not that he doesn't care probably. It's that he knows what is expected of him to do the right thing is greater than he has the capacity to give. That's a character flaw, although it doesn't necessarily make him a bad person; just a weak one who can manage to hide behind other good deeds to convince the world (and himself) that he's a decent person. That may come back to bite him severely in later years, but that's not your problem.

You are doing a great job in truly shitty circumstances. I hope you find some light at the end of the tunnel soon. flowers

cantspel Tue 10-Sep-13 12:11:48

How old is your daughter now? you say teen but there is a lot of difference between a 19 year old and a 13 year old. Is she still a minor and so he has a responsibility to pay maintenance?

Have you divorced yet and sorted out the financial settlement?

Punkatheart Tue 10-Sep-13 12:30:25

We are not married, cant. She is 16. The house is at least in half our names but due to his bad money management (investing in a useless company at £30,000 and buying a very expensive car) we have a huge mortgage. There would be little left if we divvied up.

I know it is an unconventional situation but there are complicated factors.

Thanks you dahlen. Your words touch me. I am off shortly for a blood test, hot on the heels on a not very good blood test previously. Bit overwhelming. At least daughter has gone to college today after depression and non-attendance yesterday. I am trying to make her environment here as carefree as possible. I really do have to be an actress.

cantspel Tue 10-Sep-13 12:47:47

At 16 i would leave your dd to sort out any relationship she wants with her father and just support her it that decision.
I would also sort out formal maintenance either via csa or a formal agreement with your ex. It is unlikely he is going to keep paying the bills and mortgage so i would get the house sold even if there is very little left over as i wouldn't want a ex to have that sort of hold over me.

olgaga Tue 10-Sep-13 13:11:05

Sad as it is you cannot force him to have a relationship with his daughter.

Would selling the house allow you to move nearer your family for support for you and DD, and give you both a fresh start?

SmiteYouWithThunderbolts Tue 10-Sep-13 13:26:28

I am sorry things are so shit for you. The cancer is not fair, neither is your ex's behaviour and the contrast between your life and his.

I think, for your sanity, you need to let go of what is "fair" and do whatever it takes to move away from any sort of dependence on him, both financial and emotional. It may well be necessary to sell the house and start over, but try to turn that into a positive new start for you and your dd, perhaps closer to your family. It cannot be making things any easier for you to still be tied to your ex via money.

Punkatheart Tue 10-Sep-13 13:40:39

If I move towards my family, I move to Wales and then I cannot be seen by my specialist in London (Guys). That's not an option for me.

Yes, part of me does want a whole fresh start but my illness is so erratic and if I start this new chemo regime, I will become very sick. Ironically, the one I am on at the moment gives the superficial maintenance that makes people think I am really well - shiny hair, bit more energy etc. But it's not doing the job and preventing tumours, which are now appearing.

Really, I need rest, calm and as little stress as possible. To be well is doubly important - to cope with my daughter.

You lot are fabulous though - as ever. A kind, wise practical bunch of people. I am tremendously grateful for you taking the time to respond to a stranger.

fabergeegg Tue 10-Sep-13 14:26:34

I don't have anything to add I'm afraid but just wanted to reach out with sympathy. You're in an impossible situation and it must be agonising to watch your daughter suffer unnecessarily. You haven't said if your ex gives a reason for refusing to meet up with/call his daughter - I'm not accusing you of being interfering for one moment but do wonder if there might be another family member who could act as a go-between, leaving your ex free to interact with his daughter only? If he's making some silly excuse about it being a hassle to see his daughter, that would knock it on the head.

I quite understand why you wish to kill him. So would I. But often selfishness brings its own punishments eventually...you are the one who is getting to know your beautiful daughter. Focus on that. And her.

FreudiansSlipper Tue 10-Sep-13 14:35:33

how awful for you sad sadly for whatever reason and their is not one good enough he has decided to turn his back on his child this will take time to deal with

in the meantime if you can get yourself to a solicitor please go

he is a high earner. the csa do not deal with maintenance issues once someone is earning over 102k a year. he is expected to keep his children in a similar standard of lifestyle as he is living regardless what your relationship was with him

my ex earns similar money and i get a lot more from him. sadly this will need to be done through a solicitor as he is not being reasonable and that i am afriad you are going to have to get your head around and it hurts but try and keep the piratical side separate and do not bother to try and reason with him he has gone beyond that

FreudiansSlipper Tue 10-Sep-13 14:38:02

practical .....

not piratical

olgaga Tue 10-Sep-13 15:26:10

Your treatment is obviously a priority but I would urge you to talk to your consultant on a 'what if' basis. She/he may be able to help you.

This continuing dependence/reliance on your ex for accommodation, the instability and stress of the situation you're currently in can't be doing either you or DD any good.

It does sound as though your ex has firmly decided to move on.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs it sounds as though it will become increasingly difficult for you to deal with the situation, your illness and your DD's need for support without your family nearby.

FloraFoxley Tue 10-Sep-13 16:44:56

Is your daughter maybe feeding off your reaction to all of this?

Fairylea Tue 10-Sep-13 20:02:52

I think for your own sanity you need to speak with a solicitor and remove your ex from your finances. He needs to be paying maintenance towards your dd until she is 18 but that is all. I think all this paying you maintenance and so on is not allowing you to let go and move on properly.

Could you rent out a room in the house to enable you to pay the mortgage off without having to rely on your ex?

Could you sell and rent, claiming some help with the housing cost under your own health grounds? Use some of the equity money as a deposit on a private rental? Go on a good holiday with the rest??

I know it's awful and scary but this situation with your ex is dragging you further down and you have enough to deal with. The man sounds like an arsehole. An arsehole is always an arsehole. You need to stop expecting him to be anything else.

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