DP, EXH and Christmas

(156 Posts)
NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 08:42:05

This could be long and I am in work so I may not reply quickly so I will put in as much as I can to cover any questions...

EXH and I seperated almost 3 years ago just before christmas. This coming christmas will be the forth since we split. We were together seven years but it was a stormy relationship due to domestic violence from him to me. Regardless the state of our relationship at the time we always managed to spend christmas together with the kids, including the first one after we split.

I moved DP in with us very quickly so the second christmas after EXH and I seperated DP was there. He refused point blank to let EXH come round on christmas day as it was the first time he had had his DD overnight on christmas eve. This caused a lot of problems between EXH and I, he was not happy that he didnt see the kids untill boxing day.

Last year EXH put his foot down and said since I had the kids the previous year he was taking them for dinner and over night. I still had christmas morning with them until 11am but the rest of the day was terrible for me. I missed them so much. we also only had DSD for an hour or two last year.

This year EXH has said that he would like to come round on christmas morning and watch the kids open their presents and spend an hour or two with them before leaving us to get on with the day.

I don't think that is unreasonable, I think the kids would love it (8 & 5) and that as grown ups we should be able to manage a couple of hours in each others company for their sake.

We don't know when we will be having DSD this year as her mum hasn't decided yet.

I have spent lots of time with DP's ex for the sake of keeping relations easy. we have many times eaten a meal together at MILs etc.

Would I be unreasonable to expect DP to allow EXH a couple of hours with his kids on christmas morning?

He doesn't get to 'allow' it - it's your house too.

Where is step daughter this year?

DontmindifIdo Wed 11-Sep-13 08:51:44

Not your DPs decision. He sounds like an arse. Inform your DP your exH is coming over, he can go elsewhere if he doesn't like it.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 08:52:08

We're not sure yet Laurie, DP's Ex is avoiding the issue but she had a baby with her new partner this year so I suspect they will want to spend their first christmas together. I am assuming we might get her christmas evening.

Unexpected Wed 11-Sep-13 08:52:09

No you wouldn't be unreasonable and your DP needs to remember that you are the three grown-ups here and you should all be trying to do what is best for your children (yours and his). Have you discussed this year's arrangements with your dp? Do you think he will still refuse to have dh in the house? I think he is the one who needs to be the bigger person here.

Hegsy Wed 11-Sep-13 08:53:35

YANBU, its not down toyour DP to 'allow' anything this is about your children. If he's not happy he can stay in his room or go out. WHats best for your children comes first.

somersethouse Wed 11-Sep-13 08:56:25

It sounds perfect that he comes round in the morning to watch his children open presents. YANBU at all.

Your DP has to remember this is about the children. You sound very accomodating towards everyones needs to be honest.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 08:56:32

I thought you were all going to come on and tell me that I was being unreaonable thinking about having the EX round for christmas morning. I am glad you didn't.

I've not broached it with DP yet as I wanted some impartial views first.

raisah Wed 11-Sep-13 08:59:13

Do you think it is the domestic violence issue that is influencing his refusal to allow your ex over? You seem to have accepted that your relationship is over & are keen to maintain a civil relationship for the sake of your kids. Your dp needs to grow up a bit aswell.

wannaBe Wed 11-Sep-13 09:00:16

no yanbu at all. Your dp needs to grow up. when you get involved with someone who has kids that means there is also an ex who needs to be considered. Clearly you have made these allowances for his ex, so the same applies here too IMO.

somersethouse Wed 11-Sep-13 09:01:05

Crack open a bottle of fizz and a bowl of olives or something and for two hours concéntrate on the children, as you have both moved on it should be possible. Could also be a new tradition. Shame DSD can't come too.

I know it is hard though smile

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 09:07:43

I don't think the domestic violence plays a part in it, I think DP and EXH just don't like each other. Well they don't have to, a cheery smile and a hello merry christmas is all I am asking for. Then EX can play with the kids, see their excitement, they won't be children long after all!

DSD will be very missed but if we don't make a fuss and let them enjoy their first christmas this year then she is more likely to be generous with the time we can have next year. It's all give and take and I am hoping we will get to see her for the evening/overnight at least.

Ezio Wed 11-Sep-13 09:10:53

Your DP needs to accept that maybe your DC's will wont their dad there.

If you are accepting of his ex, then he should be of yours, regardless of what went on, you've obviously moved on from that.

Lampshadeofdoom Wed 11-Sep-13 09:21:46

If you can be grown up enough to have your ex there then he should also.

Your DP must know how your Ex feels as he has a child too - tell DP to stay in bed and have a lie in with a cuppa and a bacon sarnie for the couple of hours your Ex is round to see the children.
Use the phrase "be the bigger man" wink

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 09:24:20

Pom I like your style.. Be the bigger man will indeed be trotted out. Nothing like a bit opf gentle manipulaton grin

PoppyFleur Wed 11-Sep-13 09:26:56

YANBU in fact I think you sound like a very good mum for putting the best interests of your DC at the heart of your decisions.

It cannot have been easy to remain cordial with ExH after abusive relationship. Your DP should respect your decisions & follow suite.

HangingGardenofBabbysBum Wed 11-Sep-13 09:28:36

I don't think that is unreasonable, I think the kids would love it (8 & 5) and that as grown ups we should be able to manage a couple of hours in each others company for their sake.

Good for you. It's entirely about the children and any adults who cannot put themselves second on Christmas morning should get coal in their stockings.

The kids will love it, and it will mean the world to them having everyone there.

Just assume your OH feels the same way about making it a time for the children, then maybe have a couple of days away allne afterwards so he knows he gets you to himself too. Shame more people can't be as sensible and big-hearted as you. I wish you a happy day!

PrimalLass Wed 11-Sep-13 09:31:01

Can't you send your DP round to his ex's house to watch his daughter open her presents too?

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 09:37:57

Primal he wouldn't want to, he can't stand his ex and would rather just wait and see her later on. We have spent a lot of time with her but usually at his mums, not through his choice iyswim, I will suggest it though.

Thanks for all of your replies, I think mumsnet is good for getting perspective as being in a situation can squew your vision at times!

Dawndonnaagain Wed 11-Sep-13 09:49:13

We had exh for Christmas dinner the year both his parents died within a couple of weeks of each other, just before Christmas.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 09:57:35

Your poor ex DawnDonna what an awful thing to happen anytime but just before christmas too. Glad he had you for support.

BlackeyedSusan Wed 11-Sep-13 10:06:20

if ex wants to come round, and you ant ex to come round, so you both get the children on christmas day, I would go with that. AS LONG AS YOU ARE SAFE.

I disagree actually, sounds like a bit of an unhealthy thing to do given the age of your children, it could confuse them with the blurred boundaries. Your children need to see two different family units. It's also disrespectful to your DP and DSD, it is their home and their xmas too, so yes, he should have a say actually. If this was a man 'laying down the law' that his XP should be allowed into the family home on Xmas day there would be different reactions, I'm sure.

Is it really for the benefit of the kids? Your OP suggests its now for your benefit when you say about last year "The rest of the day was terrible for me. I missed them so much".

I grew up in two separate family units, I had two Xmas days every year, Xmas day with mum and family, then boxing day with dad and family, then vice versa the next year- it was our thing, and we all loved it!! We do the same thing with DSS now, and he loves it too!!

I would consider alternatives to be honest. Things change when break ups happen, and Xmas is a major one!

DaddyPigsMistress Wed 11-Sep-13 10:07:53

Yanbu do it for the kids.
We have the stepsons mum and gran round 8-10 for breakfast otherwise they wouldnt bother seeing dss till his contact hours after the christmas holidays.

Dp really cannot stand the pair of them but it means alot to his son so we suck it up,paint on smiles and crack on with it.
We have a dog so if things do get abit tense I send him out for a long walk

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 10:30:56

PorkPieandPickle I admit it would benefit me too as it means for the sake of an hour, two at most I can spend christmas with my kids the way I want to. It is for Exh benefit too, as he can see his children on christmas morning, boxing day just isn't the same. But the fact that we benefit doesn't detract from the fact that it would make the kids happy.

I have spent many many hours with dp's ex to keep the peace. She is not my favourite person by a long shot but I manage to be friendly and not make things uncomfortable because it is best for dsd. She would often turn up at MILs when we are there, eat a meal together, celebrate occassions etc. I don't know why I can't expect the same from DP to do what is best for my DC.

I respect that it is his home too which is why I didn't cause a fuss the first year as it was his first time spending christmas morning with his DD. This year it seems unlikely that DSD will be with us on christmas morning but even if she is why should my childrens wants/needs be sacrificed for the sake of DP's, who is a grown up.

OnTheBottomWithAWomensWeekly Wed 11-Sep-13 10:35:04

Isn't the bigger issue here that you went instantly from one controlling man to another?

TheProsAndConsOfHitchhiking Wed 11-Sep-13 10:41:22

PorkPieandPickle I completely disagree.

My ex spends every christmas with myself, dp and dc. He will stay for christmas dinner and will often sleep on the sofa christmas night after sinking a few beers.

My dp would not dream of saying he couldn't come. Its about the kids and what they want, They love their Dad and I wouldn't make them choose who to spend christmas with.

YANBU op smile

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 10:43:31

DP is generally great but no one is perfect and there are issues we disagree on, as I am sure all couples do. Relations between ex's is one of our sticking points.

I don't think him not wanting to spend christmas with my ex automatically makes him controlling. There are lots of things I would refuse to do and depending how important it is to dp he may or may not ask me to compromise.

AmberLeaf Wed 11-Sep-13 10:44:03

I think its nice if people can have this sort of arrangement, if it suits everyone. But I don't think I could do that with someone who had been violent towards me.

I agree with whoever it was that said about blurred boundaries and better to have the two seperate homes thing.

Your DP could possibly be a bit controlling, but is there a possibility that he doesn't like your EX because he was violent to you? I think that would put me off someone.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 10:53:31

I would think it certainly doesn't make him any more inclined to be pally with him but if I can get over it then I don't see why he can't. We will always have children together and they will always love their Dad.

Can I ask about the blurred boundaries thing, what exactly do you mean by that? Why is it better to just have two seperate homes than to see their parents getting along (step parents included). We are after all, their family and I wouldnt want them to ever have to choose between us etc. There are occassions such as graduations, weddings, christenings that we will all have to be there, better to be on good, civil footing before then.

StuntGirl Wed 11-Sep-13 10:55:53

I disagree, and I personally wouldn't do it. I also grew up with divorced parents and two seperate Christmases was very much the norm and did not traumatise me in any way. Furthermore given the abusive nature of your relationship drawing clear and firm boundaries which keep your lives as seperate as you can would be my main aim. If he lives so close it will be no hardship to organise your own Christmas celebrations. My parents lived 3 hours apart and we still managed it.

However...the precedent has kind of been set with his ex. It is hypocritical of him to demand you send your ex away when you frequently have to socialise with his against your wishes.

Tl;dr - I wouldn't, but you have an in to argue your case if you're insistent on going ahead.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 11:04:43

How did the two christmas thing work, did the parent who didn't have you on christmas day celebrate christmas twice of just ignore it on christmas day and have one on boxing day?

The main reason I posted on AIBU is because when EX suggested it I thought yes that would be nice for the kids, makes my life easier, it's a good idea. But I didn't trust my instincts to not be coloured by who it is easier to disagree with if that makes sense.

Basically I would find it really difficult to not let Exh have his own way. It is much easier to try and ask DP to compromise. If everyone had said oh yes that is ridiculous I would have realised that Exh still had control of me and I couldn't see the wood for the trees so to speak but because lots of people have said oh no your not being unreasonable I think my instincts were right and it is the right thing to do for the children.

I don't know if any of that makes sense?

StuntGirl Wed 11-Sep-13 11:11:44

I do see what you mean and I can see how it colours your thinking. Personally I think that the fact you'll appease your ex to the detriment of your partner because it's 'easier' shows he still has control over you anyway.

I don't actually know what she did and she's dead now so I can't ask. I think she probably went to my grandmother/uncles house (we alternated who hosted Christmas) on the day and we had a 'second' Christmas Day on Boxing Day. We loved having
two Christmases but obviously everyone's different. My father also did two Christmases because he remarried and I had step siblings who lived there.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 11:16:52

So did the step siblings get two christmases?

I am thinking logistically how it could work. Did you alternate years on who had you on the actual christmas?

I don't see it as appeasing the ex to the detriment of DP though, thats why I posted, in my eyes I am doing what is best for the kids and sometimes as grown ups we have to do things we don't want. I spend time with dp's ex and he should return the favour. I just wasn't sure if I was kidding myself....

AmberLeaf Wed 11-Sep-13 11:23:29

Can I ask about the blurred boundaries thing, what exactly do you mean by that? Why is it better to just have two seperate homes than to see their parents getting along (step parents included). We are after all, their family and I wouldnt want them to ever have to choose between us etc. There are occassions such as graduations, weddings, christenings that we will all have to be there, better to be on good, civil footing before then

Its possible to be on good terms but still have defined boundaries.

yes, given the DV history, even more important to have very clear boundaries.

My parents were divorced, we had christmas day on christmas day at Mums and then boxing day was christmas day part two at my Dads. It worked well and I have nothing but good memories of it.

This is what I have seen some people do: one partner has the kids christmas eve, christmas day morning through lunch. Then the other partner picks up the kids around 4 or 5, has them for christmas dinner and boxing day. Each year they rotate who has which day.

This seems pretty fair to me, and I think is less confusing for the kids. Yes it means you won't have the kids for christmas evening but it's only a few hours really and you could see if your DSD could come over then, or just have a relaxing evening with your DP.

I think it's good to have some kind of plan like this, otherwise every year you will be discussing and arguing.

Tbh I would not expect my DH to be pally with a man who used to beat me. Strained smiles and civility for a few minutes, yes, but spending christmas morning with him? No way. But then I don't think I could manage doing that myself. Putting the kids first does not have to extend that far.

medhandthekiddiesvtheworld Wed 11-Sep-13 11:40:44

Ive spent the last 13 years having my exh over for dinner, I have since had 3 child with DH and exh still comes, I cannot believe DP insisted on what suited him and his Dd best.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 11:41:48

dreamingbohemian I think that could possibly work, the only problem with that plan being that our children have all of their presents at my house, bought by me and only one or two presents at their dads house which he buys them, but his step children would have lots of presents and presumably just a few at their dads but I have no idea.

I know there is more to life than who gets the most presents but the dc would feel left out if there was an obvious imbalance. The way he gets round it at the moment is by telling them that santa leaves their presents at their mums house. Obviously he is going to have to rethink when they stop believing in santa!

I obviously know that it's not fair and we don't do this with dsd but I can't control what goes on in other people homes, I can only make sure that in my home all children are treated equally. I wouldnt want them to not have a proper christmas and be the poor relations.

disclaimer I know christmas is about more than presents but they are young children!

WilsonFrickett Wed 11-Sep-13 11:45:38

Your Ex used to be violent towards you, that I think is what people mean by blurred boundaries. I don't think my H could play happy families with someone who used to beat me, tbh (and he is not controlling, he just loves me). I know the standard line here is 'think of the kids' but what message are you really sending to your kids? Your dad used to hurt me, but hey, we all get on fine now? That doesn't sit right with me.

Surely you could work out the presents? If your ex had the kids on christmas morning, would he not buy them more presents? It would only be every other year.

I think the kids would be less upset about geting less presents at your ex if they know they have a whole other round of presents waiting for them at yours.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Wed 11-Sep-13 12:16:26

I think I would struggle to play happy families with someone who had been violent towards someone I loved.

I also would not be keen to let my dc be exposed to them.

I also don't think that Xmas day has to be December 25th. When you think about leap days etc dates are pretty meaningless. We generally have Xmas with each family (ie my parents and ILs) on either 25th and 26th or 25th and 27th and it seems to work pretty well. On years when we are not at my parents for Xmas day usually my mum cooks the turkey and does the trimmings for my dad (and brother and his girlfriend if they are there). They have a few presents and then we all turn up on Boxing day and we all wear silly hats pull crackers, have all the trimmings, play Xmas music and generally behave Xmassy. More than once we have gone to turn on the Queens speech before realising that it was on the day before! (Yahoo!)

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 13:37:39

I think having two separate Christmases could work if ex is prepared to make the effort to treat the dc equal to his dsc, eve if that means me helping him out in someway but I think I need to sit down with dp and decide what works best for all of us. We could do with knowing what dsd is doing too.

Inertia Wed 11-Sep-13 13:58:56

Lots of different issues here...

- The fact that your Ex was violent would make me very wary. Are you 100 % sure that he is safe to be around the children? To be honest I can see why your DP is reluctant to spend time being hospitable to Ex, knowing that he was violent to you- and I can certainly understand why he wouldn't want him around his own child. How has the issue of his violence been resolved- or has it just been brushed under the carpet?

-Your comment that it's easier to accommodate Ex's wishes and get DP to compromise strikes me as odd. You don't have to accede to your Ex's demands. You can try to fit him into the plans that best suit your children, but your Ex's feelings are not the prime concern here.

-Your DP doesn't get to have control over you either. Do you spend time with his Ex at his insistence, or is it because you feel it's the right thing to do, or because he values your support when Ex is around? It shouldn't feel like a tit-for-tat deal.

- Many children of divorced parents celebrate Christmas twice- we did. We alternated which parent we spent Christmas with, and had a second celebration with presents on Boxing Day with the other parent. It can work as long as you are all willing to co-ordinate things.

I don't think there is a single right answer here.Maybe one solution would be to take the children to meet their dad somewhere neutral (his parents maybe?) for an hour at say midday, once the children have opened presents with you and DP. The children could then come back with you for the rest of the day, Ex could spend time with the dc and the rest of christmas with his SC (not sure how he gets away with treating his SC better than his bio children, but still avoids the presents issue), DP could look into visiting / collecting his DC then, and Ex doesn't have to come into your home.

BrokenSunglasses Wed 11-Sep-13 14:03:07


My ex always spent Christmas with us while I was single, and now that I'm married we share the day, but ex is always at our house for a while so the dc get some time with both of their parents together.

It's your children's home as much as it is your DPs, maybe more so.

StuntGirl Wed 11-Sep-13 14:05:00

This was how it worked at ours: Christmas Eve/Christmas Day at one parents, then the other would pick us up around tea time and we'd spend the evening and Boxing Day there. Then alternate the next year. It wasn't done for the parents, but for the sake of the children so we always got a chance to wake up on Christmas morning with both parents, albeit alternate years.

Presents ended up being divided, so half each (i.e. mum and maternal family presents at mum's, dad and paternal family presents at dad's). We would do the big main Christmas lunch at whoever's house we were at on Christmas Day; Boxing Day my family do big buffets anyway so no second Christmas lunch as such, but still a big party with family.

It worked very well and all the children were happy with the arrangement. I'm sure it was much harder for my parents who had to alternate Christmas mornings without their children but I'm glad they put us first.

Given the abusive background I don't find it appropriate to bring him into your home and expect your partner to play happy families with him, so I would be keen to keep him away from the celebrations themselves. I don't think it's wrong of your partner to be angry at and dislike a man who used to regularly beat up the woman he loves. I wouldn't want him in my house either.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 14:08:52

The violence was never really dealt with, we separated and it was just not really mentioned again. Hr has always been ok with the kids.

the easier comment just meant it is easier to deal with dp who doesn't get his own way than exh who doesn't get his own way. If exh doesn't get to come for Christmas morning he will kick off.

I spend time with dp's ec because she turns up when we are there. If I demanded to leave it would be uncomfortable and cause problems.

I don't let him get away with treating his sc differently, more that I don't see what I can di about it. I cant dictate how they spend their money. I don't like it of course.

What would his kicking off entail?

I agree it's not really fair to ask DP to do something he doesn't want to, simply because he's a nicer guy than your ex and won't kick off. That's kind of backwards, rewarding the guy who's difficult.

Inertia Wed 11-Sep-13 14:24:14

Well I'm clearly going against the grain here, but I actually don't think you should be inviting your Ex round because he will kick off otherwise. If you had all got together and decided that was the best way forward for the DC, then fair enough. However, it seems to me (and I appreciate that I seem to be at odds with everyone) that Ex has decided it suits him to rock up at yours, control what you do at Christmas by telling you when he's coming to your house, play at being loving dad watching his children open presents that you and DP have bought, and throw his weight around a bit by sidelining your DP in his own home- all the while suffering no consequences for that fact that he violently abused you.

Sorry but I don't see how this benefits the children or indeed anyone except Ex. There are solutions, including what you've actually planned if done for the right reasons- but none of them should be based on having to tread on eggshells to stop Ex kicking off. What would he do? Is he likely to be violent again? You don't have to appease a violent criminal, and you don't have to use your children's happiness to cover for him.

Inertia Wed 11-Sep-13 14:24:55

YY Dreaming*

WilsonFrickett Wed 11-Sep-13 14:27:41

Absolutely what Inertia said. He beat you, got away with it, now everyone plays nice in case he 'kicks off' again. Don't blame DP for not wanting to play along, tbh.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 14:33:53

When you put it like that dreaming it paints a very very different picture. I think my op is how I would like it to be and how I have convinced myself things are but your post is most based in reality and you have seen right through me when I didn't want to see it myself.

I just want my kids to be happy and have the best of all worlds and to me, my original post seemed the answer and a lot of people agree.


NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 14:34:59

Sorry my post was to inertia nit dreaming.

Inertia Wed 11-Sep-13 14:43:30

Nacho, only you know the extent of your Ex's violence. Only you know whether he is actually safe to be in charge of his children (or his stepchildren). But you don't have to let him control what you do now. You can negotiate with him - but you don't have to allow him to bully you. And if he does threaten you or the children or DP , then you should involve the police.

If you do want to look at a shared-time arrangement for Christmas day, then I really urge you to consider meeting somewhere safe and neutral after present-opening. You haven't all moved on from this as grown-ups, which is what the earlier part of the thread indicated- he is still trying to control you using the unresolved threat of violence.

Teeb Wed 11-Sep-13 14:44:35

To be honest your current dp doesn't sound great, and he was moved in pretty quickly as you say. He sounds as if he has abusive tendencies in him as well, making you believe he should 'allow' things to happen. I wonder if you partly feel you've jumped from one abusive relationship and this one isn't great but feel it's better than the violence.

I agree with inertia.

I think you are still stuck in the mode of appeasing. That's not the same thing as compromising.

kinkyfuckery Wed 11-Sep-13 14:45:26


This will be the 6th Xmas we have spent separately since going our own ways. He comes round for an hour or so Christmas morning to give the kids a gift and have me wait on him hand and foot. In all fairness, though, the past couple of years he's left as soon as possible. Last Christmas he announced "well, the kids are obviously having a great time, I'll get going" and left after 15 minutes... with the new girlfriend he'd brought along in tow!
It makes me seethe internally, but he asks for it (no idea why, probably just on the small off-chance that there may be a man spending time with his DC on Christmas Day? I don't know) and the kids don't dislike it (I don't think they'd be fussed either way to be honest) so I grin and bear it.

kinkyfuckery Wed 11-Sep-13 14:45:56

Oh, he has them Boxing Day, usually mid-afternoon and overnight. Only if he doesn't have any other plans though!

StuntGirl Wed 11-Sep-13 14:47:42

I think bohemian is spot on.

AmberLeaf Wed 11-Sep-13 14:47:44

If exh doesn't get to come for Christmas morning he will kick off

Thats awful.

So this is more about placating your violent EX than what is best for your children?

I would put a stop to this now and if your EX 'kicks off' call the police.

pantsjustpants Wed 11-Sep-13 14:49:49

I think that if you're able to pull this off then it's a great idea!

I can see this from both sides: my xh (we split up 10years ago) was violent towards me. I just wouldn't be able to spend that much time with him in my house. I've tried in the past, and failed. Luckily our ds's are grown up now, makes things much easier!

I can also see this from your xh's side, as my dh is not "allowed" by his xgf to have their dd at Christmas. Not Christmas Eve, and not Christmas Day. Sometimes we don't see her until several days past Boxing Day now. I know it hurts him a lot, so we have the best day we can with our 2 dc's together. Which is easy as they're young!

I think you're setting a great example to your children.

kinky So what if he asks? Say no!

Honestly, you shouldn't have to seethe on Christmas.

kinkyfuckery Wed 11-Sep-13 15:03:21

I know bohemian <<sighs>> I am in incredibly independent, feisty woman really, but always end up bending over to shut the ex up!
He's incredibly manipulative, and whilst I KNOW the kids couldn't give a shiny shit about seeing their father on Xmas morning, he would make them THINK that they do! Does that make any sense?
Seriously, it's 15 mins/an hour out of my day, then I get to close the door on him and spend the day with my family.... it's worth it to me, at this present moment in time.

FairPhyllis Wed 11-Sep-13 15:05:18

Everything Inertia said.

I think I wouldn't be at all OK with spending my Christmas (every year?) accommodating the violent exH of my partner in my own home and exposing my child to him. And I wouldn't be at all OK with this: Basically I would find it really difficult to not let Exh have his own way. It is much easier to try and ask DP to compromise.

I don't think this is about what's best for your children at all. I think this is about what's easiest emotionally for you. I see no reason why they can't celebrate with you and your exH separately.

KittenCamile Wed 11-Sep-13 15:15:34

I agree with the posts about boundaries ect. Your DP lives in the house he can have an opinion and his opinion is just as important as your EXH's.

We only get boxing day with DSD and have xmas then, I don't see how you being together on the day the way you explained it is going to benefit the DC's and I'm sure they aren't going to worry about the present share. We say Santa couldn't fit them all down our chimney so we asked he to send some to Mums house.

I think keeping the family's separate when the DC'S are little is best and less confusing. Its different when they are older and can understand the dynamics better.

Fair enough, kinky. Sorry you have to deal with such a tosser.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 16:06:30

I genuinely thought it was best for the kids and part of me still does think that in an ideal world it would be nice if we could all spend time together briefly.

however the more posts I read the more I think I am kidding myself that its what I want and best for the kids because I am scared to stand up to Ex and it is easier to just ask dp to go along with it.

so basically in a normal relationship between ex's it would be fine and a great idea but the fact that he was abusive means I am not seeing things clearly and letting him control me still and using a normal standard to convince myself that its not the case.

littlemisssarcastic Wed 11-Sep-13 16:08:31

Isn't Christmas supposed to be about the DC?

In all honesty, what would make your DC happy OP?
What would make your DSD happy?

littlemisssarcastic Wed 11-Sep-13 16:10:29

FWIW, xp and I have DD on alternate Christmases. One year, I have DD on Christmas day and xp has her on boxing day and the following year, we swap.

Dahlen Wed 11-Sep-13 16:21:30

In an ideal world what you want for Christmas Day morning would be lovely.

But it's not an ideal world. Being 'friends' with XPs only works when there are no abusive tendencies on either side. In fact, it only tends to work really when there is a genuine bond between the separated parents that is independent of romantic feelings. If the only reason you have any contact with your X is because of the children, it doesn't work. That's not to say you can't be amicable and good-natured, but with boundaries in place that always make it clear this has much more to do with a friend-LY business arrangement than it does a genuine friendship.

Although it doesn't feel like it, establishing a precedent now will actually make it much easier in the future when you have issues over graduations, weddings, etc. While it should be the case that both parents have the right to attend these functions (at their child's invitation), with an abuser it has to be made clear that this is only on the sufferance of the non-abusive parent and the child. Otherwise, they tend to use it as an opportunity to exert control.

What is in your view equal rights will be seen as superior rights by an abuser, and you could find yourself in a situation where your own DP is banned from an event because the abuser threatens to kick off because he feels he has the right to exert that degree of control.

The right to have that big a say is forfeited the minute you decide to inflict abuse on your child's other parent, and by default your own child.

NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 16:23:16

I think the children would be happy to see him but i don't think its ruined Christmas for them not seeing him in the morning the last two years either.

dsd wouldn't mind either way so far as I can tell, that's if she is even here.

StuntGirl Wed 11-Sep-13 16:25:03

Dahlen speaks sense.

StuntGirl Wed 11-Sep-13 16:25:04

Dahlen speaks sense.

Inertia Wed 11-Sep-13 17:29:26

Dahlen's right. Your plan would work in a family where ex-partners came to this compromise via an agreement about what would be best for the children, and were able to behave respectfully towards one another. This isn't the case when violence and abuse are involved.

The children can still have contact with their father but it doesn't have to be at your home and it doesn't have to be on Christmas day.

LustyBusty Wed 11-Sep-13 17:43:38

Could you not arrange it that e.g. Your ex has kid this year, your dp's ex has dsd this year too, so you and dp can lie in, champagne and muffins for breakfast, nice luxury dinner that the kids don't like (salmon? Steak? Lobster?) and generally treat the day as a "dirty weekend away". Pick the kids up Boxing Day pm and then have the early morning, presents and turkey with the kids on 27th. Then next year, you ask to have all the dc fr

LustyBusty Wed 11-Sep-13 17:45:34

Sorry, phone!!
From Christmas Eve till Boxing Day? This worked for me as a kid (parents split up when I was 8, bro was 3). And it was never "odd" - we were looked on jealously by our friends because we had two full on Christmases!
Good luck OP.

RedHelenB Wed 11-Sep-13 17:49:14

I would say yes - I don't get this defined families malarky kids know who lives with who but I think it causes sadness if they feel one parent doesn't like the other to the extent that they can't be in the same room for a while in order to make their kids happy!

Inertia Wed 11-Sep-13 21:51:12

The thing is Redhelen it's not quite that simple when one parent has a history of violence against the other - especially if the children know about it, or if it centred around big events or the presence of alcohol. The children might be on edge with their father there.

Dahlen Wed 11-Sep-13 22:37:26

Children may not appreciate it at the time, but it is actually far more useful for them to see an abuser treated with appropriate boundaries while growing up than it is for them to see a faux version of the waltons played out in their living rooms. Children are not stupid. They can tell when parents don't like each other/resent each other/are scared of or apprehensive of each other. Unless you get on well, that undercurrent will be what dominates the child's day. It will be the uneasiness they remember, not the fact that mum and dad are in the same room for a 'special' day.

It's one thing to forgive and move on when past behaviour does not affect present behaviour and a new relationship can be established based on mutual respect. That's never the case with abusers. They do not change.

greenfolder Thu 12-Sep-13 06:41:20

I think you just need to agree alternate xmass and stick to that. It would save a lot of annual angst.
What would actually happen if you put this to ex?

RedHelenB Thu 12-Sep-13 07:29:35

Possibly, but the OP didn't mention that the children would beon eadge & seemed to think they would like it , but her dp wouldn't.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 08:26:23


We are definitley not having dsd until boxing day sad

I spoke to DP and he said I could agree what I think was best but if EXh came round he would go out for a walk. for an hour or visit his family. Since ex wants to be there first thing when the kids get up I think that would be imposing a bit.

I suggested to EX that he have the kids Christmas Eve this year until christmas night and next year we swap. He refused point blank. He thinks it's best that the kids wake up in their own beds, in their own house on christmas morning. He said all he is asking for is an hour with his kids on christmas morning, not for us to cook his dinner.

I raised the issue of his step kids getting more at christmas and he said he doesn't contribute to his sc's presents as they are nothing to do with him. He pays his way as far as the bills go but he doesnt pay for the kids. I think thats a shame but not relevant to my own kids.

So I am back to square one. If I have him round, yes my kids might be happy but dp will be pushed out, he takes an active role in my childrens life, and will be splitting the cost of the gifts for exh to then watch the kids open them. He threatened dp with violence if he stops him seeing his kids on christmas although he wouldn't follow through with it, it doesn't make for a merry atmosphere!

If he came and dp went out this year it could work but we have our own child who is one. This year he won't mind waiting until ex goes so that dp can open his gifts with him because he is a baby and won't know but what about next year and the one after that. If we say yes now we don't have any grounds to say no next year.

It seemed such a good idea when he suggested it but I was clearly looking through rose tinted specs!

kinkyfuckery Thu 12-Sep-13 08:50:36

why would he be watching the kids open presents your dp has bought them? Why would it ibterfere with your one year old opening presents?
My ex comes round about 10, long after the kids have opened presents from me and Santa (and any others under the tree) He brings present(s) from him, to watch them open.

That could solve the DP needing to go out issue too? Or he could busy himself in the kitchen for 30 mins

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 09:06:23

That's not what he wants to do, he wants to come as soon as the kids are up to watch them open the presents that santa has got them, ie me and dp. He will keep the presents that he has got them for when they go to his house on boxing day.

It would interfere with the baby because if dp has to go out to avoid the tension/not make things awkaward then he will miss it if baby opens his presents at the same time as the older two.

WilsonFrickett Thu 12-Sep-13 10:37:56

You need to stand up to him. You can't keep saying 'DP won't let you come' because he then uses it as a further opportunity to put more pressure on you because he knows you'll bend and do everything you can to keep the peace.

He is yanking your chain. Because you are afraid of him, you are letting him.

Sweetheart, it needs to stop.

If you are set that this man comes to your home on Christmas day (and I don't think you should, but I suspect that's a step too far for you this year) then he can come round at 10 or 11, to watch his kids open his presents. You and DP do the frenzy of opening in the morning. He can then turn up bearing gifts and DP can go for a walk with your kids to see his mum or something.

But actually, having typed that all out, I still think you should say no. He doesn't get to say what goes anymore.

Dahlen Thu 12-Sep-13 10:45:03

I agree that he (XH) is deliberately making this difficult. Nothing you suggest, no matter how reasonable, will be accepted. You have unwittingly got yourself caught up in a power play and he will either get what he wants (i.e. getting to call the shots on how you spend Christmas Day in your own home) or you will have to stand up to him.

Apart from rare exceptions where everyone gets on well, I know of no separated families where the X comes round at 7am to watch DC open presents from Santa (what if they get up at 6?). Funnily enough, I know a lot of people whose abusive Xs have suggested doing just that though...

Okay first things first, you do need to be careful. The fact that he has threatened your DP with violence shows he has not changed and obviously you need to keep yourselves safe above all. Why do you think he woudn't do it? If he hit the mother of his children, I don't see why he wouldn't hit your DP.

But it's even more reason to stand up to him, otherwise he is just continuing to abuse you all through the threat of violence.

It's just bonkers to let him come over first thing in the morning to watch the kids open presents he didn't even buy them! Honestly that's insane. It only sounds like a good idea because you are still in the frame of mind of appeasing him. I'm glad you are starting to think differently.

Do you have any legal contact orders, any legal access agreement? When does he see the kids now? If you don't have anything defined then maybe now is the time to do it. It's not right for any of you to have to put up with threats of violence over Christmas morning.

I'm so sorry you're in this position. I don't think it's going to get better though if you keep giving into him. But do be careful.

WilsonFrickett Thu 12-Sep-13 11:07:35

Start putting things in writing too. Email him, rather than conversations. dreaming is talking sense.

Thanks Wilson and yes I agree, better to put things in writing.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 11:37:18

This thread has certainly opened my eyes. What you are saying about appeasing him makes sense, I feel sick thinking about disagreeing him and honestly don't know what to say. It seems so simple, just say no but he will manipulate me and twist it that I am putting my dp before our kids by not letting him be there. I think in his mind it makes perfect sense for him to be there, as it did to me at first. I was convinced that it was the right answer and the only person being difficult was dp.

He has the children on Sundays 10 - 6, no legal arrangement, that is just what he decided when we split. I asked him to have them overnight once and he said why should he have the kids so I could go out with my boyfriend. I was actually staying with a friend in crisis but he said well your boyfriend can look after them then.

I don't know why I don't think he would hit dp, probably because during the whole time I have known him, the only people to make him angry enough to be violent has been me, his mum and his younger sister, all women. He says he has never been violent to his current dp because she doesn't provoke him like I did. I believe him.

Dahlen Thu 12-Sep-13 11:47:16

On Nacho - Please don't feel bad. None of this is your fault.

Why do you believe him when he says he hasn't hit his current GF? Unless they've only been together 5 minutes or she's particularly compliant, I can almost guarantee that's a lie. Not that it matters. The whole point of him saying that is to again make you feel that everything is your fault, because getting you to accept that is the key ingredient in getting you to do exactly as he wants.

Again, nearly every abusive partner I have come across has come up with the "why should I have the kids so you can go out with your boyfriend" line.

This man is following a very clearly defined pattern which is very obvious once you know what you're looking at. One of the best courses you could take to fight back against this is to really educate yourself about abuse dynamics. If you haven't already read the Lundy Bancroft book, that's an excellent place to start, although I appreciate it won't help much with the issue currently at hand.

Some abusers are downright dangerous. Most are just like bullies who rapidly back down once you make it absolutely clear that you will no longer tolerate their antics. Unfortunately, I don't know which category your X falls into, so I'd advise you to play it safe. If may feel like an over-reaction, but document everything. Communicate in writing, voice your concerns to the police, school, even SS - anyone who will listen. If your X takes you to court, this will stand you in very good stead. Though if he does take you to court, a judge will probably award him overnight access (so you can go out with your BF wink) and alternate Christmases, so he'll gain nothing.

This may be horrible for now, and will probably get worse before it gets better, but if you can keep your nerve you can really put this man in a position where he no longer affects your life other than contact with his children in a way that hurts neither them nor you.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 12:12:19

Thanks Dahlen, even though everything your saying is right and I can see that, I just can't reconcile it with myself. I don't know if that makes sense? I don't see myself as afraid of him but admit deep down I am. I must be to let him have the control that he does.

People always tell me I am the strongest person they know (rubbish life in many ways, one trauma to another) but that just doesn't tally with an abused woman. It has been almost 3 years, I thought I was over it by now. It took me a long time to accept that I was suffering domestic abuse, silly but because he never punched me in the face, it was always a push or a kick of throwing things. Even when it escalated I would minimise it.

I am going to be strong and stand up to him this time. Strange but I still feel like I care about him and want him as a friend but we are never actually friends unless he is getting his own way. It's hard to see your own life objectivley though.

I believe he hasn't hit his gf (they got together in the Jan after we split in dec) just because she doesn't seem the type. Stupid I know. She is older than him by quite a bit and seems so sorted and together. I suppose I did too though.

Wow sorry to turn the thread into a counselling session!! I will have a read of the book.

I'm actually starting to think you need legal advice. He's hit his mum and his sister too???

Do you have a daughter? How old are your kids?

He feels justified in using violence becasue people 'provoke him'. It sounds like it's actually quite risky for your kids to be around him. Even if he isn't violent towards them, they are at risk of seeing him hit his current partner or other people.

Quite frankly I don't think someone who has hit you, his mother and sister, and who has threatened your DP with violence, should ever step foot in your house again. And he has no legal right to. I really think you should start putting everything in writing and dealing with this legally and formally, otherwise you will be putting up with his threats forever.

But do be very careful, it may even be worth talking to the police. Does he have a criminal record?

Bogeyface Thu 12-Sep-13 12:24:04

This is not about seeing his kids, it is about controlling you.

If he wanted to see them that desperately then he would have jumped at your generous offer of overnight from Xmas Eve.

He wants to stamp his "ALPHA MALE" credentials on everything, including your DP.

The old MN favourite of "I am sorry, that doesnt work for me" would be good here. Tell him that in order to avoid this in future you will see a solicitor to get access on an official footing.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 12:32:55

He only hit his mum and sister once (that I know of). We had split up because of the violence and he was staying with them. They had a row and his temper flared. he ended up getting arrested and kept on remand for a few weeks. He was given a suspended sentence. Part of his probation was to complete an anger management course. Naievely I believed that had cured him and we got back together had DD and got married.

He hadn't changed. I finally had the courage to leave after he flipped infront of the kids so you are absolutley correct that they may witness violence. I thought that because I wasn't there making him angry anymore that he would be ok to see them. The violence was my fault so with me out of the loop it would be ok. Not sure any of that is making sense at all.

All the things I have been convincing myself of are coming unravelled and I am seeing the situation from an outsiders eyes. I think I have been very stupid. Actually almost in tears at my desk.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 12-Sep-13 12:34:01

So he only hits female family members who are really really annoying and provoke him?

Tht's ok then!

What sex are your children?

I have the most beautiful, brilliant wonderful three year old girl in the world but she is incredibly annoying sometimes.

The best thing you could do for your kids is to keep their mum, their step dad and most importantly them safe from violence.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 12-Sep-13 12:38:27

Sorry - should say that I think that you and your dp sound to me to be really good people who are trying to do the right thing. I think you just need to work out what that is.

If the violence was your fault why did he hit his mum and sister when he was split up from you?

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 12:44:59

We have DS8 and DD5, she is the apple of his eye and he adores her.

The children have never mentioned him and his dp so much as arguing, I just don't think the violence is happening there. He said he has changed. I guess he would say that though.

I do need to work out where to go from here. Things have been going ok for the last three years, he won't take it well if I drag all of this up now.

Bogeyface Thu 12-Sep-13 13:08:37

To be fair, they wont hear them arguing or see any violence if he only sees for 8 hours on a Sunday.

People like him dont change, and no the violence wasnt your fault, if it was then he would be attacking other women too would he?

StuntGirl Thu 12-Sep-13 13:10:43

He threatened dp with violence

That's not what he wants to do, he wants to come as soon as the kids are up to watch them open the presents that santa has got them, ie me and dp. He will keep the presents that he has got them for when they go to his house on boxing day.

Sweetheart, this man needs to be untangled from your home life now. He has threatened your partner with violence because he cannot come and watch his children open presents from someone else. Can you see how insane that sounds? Actually that isn't the real reason at all, he's escalated to threats of violence to exert control over you because everything else has stopped working now you've stood up to him. With this tactic he wants you to bow in submission again so he is once again in control of you.

He has the children on Sundays 10 - 6, no legal arrangement, that is just what he decided when we split.

It's all about him isn't it?

I asked him to have them overnight once and he said why should he have the kids so I could go out with my boyfriend.

Aaalll about him. Most loving parents would jump at the chance to spend extra time with their children, especially ones that are the "apple of his eye".

the only people to make him angry enough to be violent has been me, his mum and his younger sister, all women. He says he has never been violent to his current dp because she doesn't provoke him like I did. I believe him.

I finally had the courage to leave after he flipped infront of the kids so you are absolutley correct that they may witness violence.

Let's make one thing perfectly clear. No one provokes someone into violence. Violent people make the choice to react with violence. It wasn't that these women 'provoked' him. It's that these women were physically weaker than him and thus an easy target.

Christ, a man with a history of violence against women, who has a criminal record for it?! No wonder your partner does not want this man in your shared home! No wonder he doesn't want him around his precious daughter, his beautiful wife, his lovely step children.

You have done nothing wrong here. You have been brave and strong in escaping his clutches. You have put yourself and your children first and removed them from a violent and dangerous situation. He doesn't like that does he? So he tries to exert control in other ways, such as this Christmas shambles.

From now on try and stick to written communication. Emails and texts are good because they can be used as proof. If you have a phone/spoken conversation follow it up with an email surmising the points made and any agreements made.

Stick to simple responses which you can use on repeat. Don't get drawn into debate or discussion.

It might be wise to see a solicitor regarding contact now, especially if you feel he is going to react angrily to this change in the status quo. The fact is he cannot force himself into your home on Christmas morning without breaking the law and getting himself arrested again. You actually have the power here, not him, so stay strong with your wonderful partner who has your back, and draw firm boundaries that keep everyone involved safe.

I know it must seem awful and difficult, but you really are making the right decision.

StuntGirl Thu 12-Sep-13 13:11:34

Jesus, that was longer than I thought blush

Inertia Thu 12-Sep-13 13:17:11

Nacho , I'm so sorry your Ex has started to be such an arse, but I'm so relieved that you have finally been able to see his true colours.

How did the threat of violence manifest itself? To be honest I don't think you can say that he wouldn't hit DP, because he has a history of violent attacks on other people. Personally I would contact the DV police unit local to you to get the threat logged and explain what the situation is, and that you fear a violent attack on you or DP due to Ex's threats.

As previous posters have said, your Ex isn't bothered about the joy of opening presents with the children on Christmas morning, because he would have jumped at your offer of letting the children stay with him. He wants to 'prove' that he's the big man by making you jump to his bidding and forcing your DP out of his own home. You have a child with DP - you may feel that your older children are not at risk, but can you guarantee that your baby is safe if you let Ex into your home? Your DP clearly doesn't think so.

All Ex is asking for is an hour with the children on Christmas morning - that's fine, you can meet him somewhere safe such as another relative's home at 11am, and he can give the children his presents then. He doesn't have any right whatsoever to come to your home first thing in the morning and force your DP out.

Please don't feel that you're stupid. You have been bullied for many years by a violent thug, and you've got into a mode of self preservation to protect you and the children from his violence. You don't have to allow him and his violent threats into your home.

You are NOT stupid, you have been victimised by a horrible man who's still being a complete jerk. It takes time to come out of that.

Probably it's only been ok for the last 3 years because you have been appeasing him. It's a false sense of security really. And actually, if he's threatened your DP with violence then it's really not been all ok has it?

You don't need to drag the past up specifically. Just tell him that he cannot come over Christmas morning. You have offered a good compromise, that's what's on the table, he can take it or leave it. If he kicks off or threatens you or DP, go to the police. He has a history of DV so hopefully they will take it seriously.

I think you do need to put those boundaries in place now because it may take some time to kick in. Your DD may be his little angel now but someday she will be a teenager and talking back to him, will he still be so restrained?

But again, please do be careful. If you can get some professional advice on how to approach all this, that would probably be a good idea.

Inertia Thu 12-Sep-13 13:22:27

And absolutely agree with getting everything in writing- email or text and save printed copies.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 13:30:35

Thanks for all of the advice. I am taking it in and absorbing it, it's a lot to think about and my head is spinning.

I will text him (don't have his email) and tell him that he can't come for christmas and take it from there.

Do you think he knows what he is doing or do you think he genuinley thinks he is doing what is best for his kids? Basically is he abusive on purpose?

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 13:37:17

Inertia I rang him to ask when he wanted the children over christmas and we are going out for dinner and I needed to book the table.

He had the kids last year for lunch and over christmas night so I thought he was going to say he wanted them christmas eve until christmas lunch.

He said I will have them boxing day but I want to come on christmas morning to see them open their presents. I said I will have to talk it over with DP. He started ranting, he better not try and stop me or I will come round there and knock him out, it's because of him I missed them the first year, I will never forget that he's lucky I didn't kill him.
They're my kids I should be able to see them on christmas day, it broke my heart lying to them (he told them he was at work that year) I'm not having it again. I will tell them that DP won't let me come round.

I just kind of stuttered yes I agree you should be allowed to see them. I will ring you later.

Bogeyface Thu 12-Sep-13 13:38:58

I think that he is doing it not to see the kids but because you are saying no. I am sure that when he first mentioned it it was to see them, but he expected you to say "Yes dear, whatever you want" and when you didnt it ceased to be about them and became about him.

There is nothing you can say that will be right now, because what he wants is for you to be put in your place and do as you are told. It could be about anything, Xmas with the kids is just the excuse he is using to wield his power over you.

Have you ever watched Labyrinth? You know the bit at the end where the girl says to David Bowie's character "you have no power over me!" and his world falls to pieces? Thats what you need to do. He is controlling you because you are letting him. He has NO power over you and he knows that.

Say no and be prepared for the fall out but, and this is the important bit, do not accept it. If he threatens you, call the police. If he threatens your DP, call the police. If he turns up or calls or texts you being abusive and threatening then call the police.

He has no right to behave like this and you have every right to stop him.

Bogeyface Thu 12-Sep-13 13:41:18

Your post above makes me think that you should not communicate with him by phone. He rail roads you and bullies you.

Never ring him, never take his calls. Communicate only by text and if you can, forward the messages to another phone so you have copies in case your phone breaks or you lose it.

Inertia Thu 12-Sep-13 13:41:22

Yes he is abusive on purpose. He has a record of violent attacks on women who won't do what he says- yet I bet he's never hit his boss at work, or any burly drunk blokes who might offend him in the pub, or anyone who might actually do him any damage.

If he wanted to even see the children- never mind want what's best for them, which isn't necessarily the same- he would have taken them for Christmas Eve.

He wants to hurt you. He wants to punish you for escaping. He wants to sabotage your relationship with DP and make hinself the alpha male (as Bogeyface says) in everybody's life- yours, the children's , your DP.

His only best interests are his own. And he still isn't safe if he is still threatening violence. Please do get proper professional advice to protect yourself.

Bogeyface Thu 12-Sep-13 13:42:52

Interesting that he has threatened your DP but only actually attacks women. I agree that the chances of him going for your DP is actually quite slim, not because he has changed but because he is scared your DP will actually be the one doing the battering.

Inertia Thu 12-Sep-13 13:43:38

Sorry , cross posted there.

Nacho my love, he is still bullying and threatening you- that phone call shows what he really is. Bogeyface is right, you need to go to written communication only. Don't take his calls.

Inertia Thu 12-Sep-13 13:45:25

I think the threat against DP is actually intended as a threat against you Nacho- if you don't give in to Ex's demands he will get back at you by threatening to hurt the people you love.

Dahlen Thu 12-Sep-13 13:45:36

You are NOT stupid. Nor are you weak. In fact, IME many victims of DV are quite the opposite of what the stereotype suggests. Far from being mousy, timid types they are strong, persistent types. That's part of the reason they stay. They have a high coping threshold and can adapt well to difficult circumstances, which is combined with a strong sense of responsibility towards others manifested as a desire to fix things: if I can just do x, he will do y.

It is hard. You're doing amazingly. The process of the scales falling away from your eyes is difficult. Everyone who has experienced it has a moment where they feel shame for not having seen the truth earlier. It's a normal part of the process and simply one stage in shifting perceptions. Eventually you realise you have nothing to be ashamed of. You are the same person but is your current DP treating you in the same way? No. That's because he's not an abuser. Only an abuser creates a situation in which abuse takes place. Never the victim. Though sadly we live in a society where it is the victim who has to make the decision that it will stop.

THat's what you're doing now. Feel proud of yourself.

StuntGirl Thu 12-Sep-13 13:45:37

Listen to the very wise ladies on here love, they are worth listening to!

The best thing about all of this though is you know you have your partners support! So many people in abusive situation, or dealing with the vestiges of abuse, have little to no support network (because the abuser made sure they didn't!), BUT you have your partner. You have your own home. You get to call the shots, and he doesn't get to stop you.

Log every single interaction you have with him between now and Christmas. Everything. Keep all communication in writing, and if it's unavoidably spoken (ie over the phone, at pick up time) follow up with an email.

Speak to the police for advice. Get them to log it (get a reference number).

It might seem silly and overblown and over the top right now, and you might actually not ever need to go that far, but it will pay dividends if he does kick off or turn nasty.

Oh god, that's horrible. A couple things:

If he makes a threat like that again, then I do think it's worth getting some advice from the police. He's not being ambiguous at all is he?

He can tell the kids whatever he wants. Take away that threat by talking to the kids yourselves and telling them it's a joint decision between you and DP.

I don't think he's thinking in terms of what's best for the kids. I doubt he's capable of putting himself in anyone else's shoes for a minute. He just sees them as belonging to him and he gets what he wants. It's a control thing. So yes, he is abusive on purpose. He has obviously constructed a whole internal dialogue that tells him he isn't, but of course he is.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 13:59:58

You are indeed wise, wise women. From a few posts on the internet you seem to have unravelled my life. It's bizarre. Are abusive men really so transparent?

It has been an eye opener and I think it is time I stood up to him. He is not my friend and I don't need to keep him happy and this is the first time I have truly realised that.

I need to do what is best for my family and that does not mean doing what he wants. I still feel a bit sick thinking of defying him and what is going to happen next but I think I can do it. I am going to re-read your posts tonight at home and compose a text that says very clearly that he is not to arrive on christmas morning because I don't want him to and I won't feel comfortable. I will offer two alternatives, christmas eve over night or we will drop the children off at his for a couple of hours before lunch. Then if he tries to negotiate I will just repeat the two options.

I am full of what I will do now... I just hope I can stay strong enough to see it through.

I am listening to all the other advice too, what kind of professional advice should I seek, a solicitor?

Bogeyface Thu 12-Sep-13 14:09:25

Are abusive men really so transparent?

Pretty much. They think that they are unique and so much cleverer than every one else when the sad reality is that they are all the same.

I really would think twice about offering him the "before lunch" option as you have already told him that you are booking a table for Xmas dinner. He could use that as a way of getting back at you, not returning them or allowing you to collect them until it is far too late. Yes it would affect and upset the kids, but when did he care about that?

I do think that yes, a solicitor would be a good start but also Womens Aid. Have you ever had any counselling or support throughout this? It sounds like you need it. Also, I think that the Freedom Program would be good for you, to help you escape this mindset. www.freedomprogramme.co.uk/index.php

I think that's a good idea, just be careful (sorry to keep saying that but I am worried for you).

I think it's okay to negotiate a little bit, for example if he says no but I'll have them christmas evening then that's fine (if it is fine for you). The key thing before contacting him is to figure out what your red lines are, and those are the things that you will not negotiate. For example, he is not to spend time in your house, there will be no contact before X am, or whatever you feel very strongly about.

If he won't agree and just insists on coming over, then I think perhaps just say that as you are not able to come to an agreement yourselves, it would be best to contact a solicitor and draw up a legal arrangement for contact, that way you don't have to argue every year about it.

I would be surprised if you manage to get through all this without him making some threats, so if he does, then call the police. Just keep reminding yourself that he no legal right to anything he is demanding.

On professional advice, perhaps Women's Aid has some guidance on arranging contact with an abusive ex. Solicitor for arranging contact, police if any more threats.

My other worry is that even if he agrees not to come in the morning, he may show up anyway. So you should have a plan for that.

Although if he continues to threaten you then you may end up being able to get some kind of restraining order in place. I really hope for your sake it doesn't come to that.

I imagine what he's thinking is: I'm their dad, I have the right to see them open their presents on christmas morning. But he's not getting the fact that divorce changes all that. He needs to move on and recognise the new reality, the one that he himself caused by being such a dick. You are not denying him something that he has a right to. You are moving on and putting some proper boundaries in place, and you have every right to do that.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 14:18:00

No I've never had any counselling, I didn't think I needed it, I just carried on with my life and put my traumatised kids back together. I didn't even miss a day of work. The day we split I got out of hopital having my head glues back together at 9pm, straightened my house, and went to work the next day. I think I took the ostrich approach.

I don't feel angry or haterd towards him. Is that odd?

Oh yes, good thinking about the before lunch thing. I will say after lunch!

Thank you again so much for all the advice, it is very helpful. I can't believe the change my thread took. I honestly believed when writing my first post that I was right. I feel like I am thinking clearly at last. Thank you.

Bogeyface Thu 12-Sep-13 14:19:17

What gets me is that they wont even be opening the presents from him!

Where is the attraction in seeing them open presents from your ex and her new DP?! Thats what makes me think that this has sod all to do with actually seeing the children and is just another stick to beat the OP with.

Squitten Thu 12-Sep-13 14:28:22

I really hope you stick to your guns OP.

From what I can see, he is simply determined to bully his way into your life so that you are reminded of your place. He also seems intent on marking his territory where your DP is concerned. He's like a dog, pissing all over your sofa so everyone knows who the Alpha is. It's pathetic when you think about it!

You are absolutely right. He has NO RIGHT to being in your home, no matter what day it is. He has NO RIGHT to watch your kids open any gifts in your home. He has NO RIGHT to threaten you and your poor DP.

What's the worst he can do? Phone you and shout more abuse at you?
Hang up the phone. Send you abusive messages? Delete them. Come around and hammer on your door? Call the police.

He can't do anything to you other than what you allow your fear of him to dictate. I really hope you can throw off the shackles and start living you life!

StuntGirl Thu 12-Sep-13 14:30:30

You sound very strong and determined nacho, that's good! And don't worry if you wake up tomorrow feeling wobbly and like you've made a huge drama our of nothing - that kind of emotional yoyo-ing is perfectly normal. What's important though is that you remind yourself why you're doing this so you can stick to your plan.

Inertia Thu 12-Sep-13 14:54:31

Just one last thing that strikes me Nacho - once you've had chance to think about the best way forward, talk to your DP. He might have some ideas about how to make plans for the day and how to support you and the children.

MistressDeeCee Thu 12-Sep-13 16:16:30

I read this thread much earlier & am so glad it changed from all the initials your DP is being unreasonable, needs to grow up etc.

Your DP would have to be a very strange man to be happy with his partner's violent ex - who'd given her a good kicking several times in the past - sitting in his home playing happy families. That kind of anything annoys decent men.

Your ex is taking the piss out of you, your DP, your relationship, & needs to fuck off. What was it going to be next? *I want to be there for their birthdays - parents evenings - all special events. Manipulative control freak who would happily play you & the kids like a fiddle, being in your face as much as possible so you're uncomfortable,& sidelining your DP into feeling like Mr Nobody.

If its safe the kids can go to him. Or you work out some kind of supervision, contact centre etc. He doesn't need to be in your home - ever. Good luck and I hope all gets sorted out.

NotActuallyAMum Thu 12-Sep-13 16:43:34

<Applauds MistressDeeCee>

Bellini28 Thu 12-Sep-13 16:57:52

Agree with everything Mistress and co have said. My dp wouldn't like it either and we have the most amicable relationship with my dd's father, then again my exh wouldn't impose himself this way... Why? Because he is not a controlling bully boy!

The talk/advice about separate Christmases seems irrelevant now as it does seem like there is a possibility of more violence... I am hoping that like most controlling bullies his threats are empty and simply his last attempt at controlling a home he is no longer part of.... The past aside, what a fricking cheek to expect to turn up and watch your dc open gifts not even bought by him! OP I am glad you have seen the light here and hope your strength can stop him in his tracks and put a stop to all this.

You have received some great advice on here and fwiw your dp is not the unreasonable one.... Nobody wants to spend a minute in the company of someone who used to hurt the person they love, let alone in their own home with their own baby as well... Your dp's reaction sounds perfectly normal to me! Good luck and stay strong.

WilsonFrickett Thu 12-Sep-13 17:45:19

Good luck OP. Keep posting, talk to your DP, get some real life support. Keep records too. We're all behind you.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 18:53:11

I am amazed by the support on this thread. I have sent the following text -

if you want the kids on Christmas morning you can have them in your own home with your own family. If you don't want them overnight we can drop then off after lunch at 3.30 otherwise you can just have them boxing day. The choice is yours just let me know.

no reply so far.

dp has been great and said whatever i think best he will support me. He is glad i am finally seeing the light where ex is concerned.

Well done OP. I'm so glad your DP is being supportive.

I'd be tempted to say that if he does call you, don't pick up, let it go to voicemail. That way if he threatens you or is nasty you will have it recorded.

And please be really careful when you are out and about. He sounds like the type to surprise you somewhere and be nasty.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 19:51:47

I wont be answering any calls, he can text me or leave a message. Dreading Sunday pick up but I don't think he would kick off in front of his partner. I also don't think he would risk licking off in front of my dp incase he does get on the receiving end of the fists for once. As someone said upthread he only picks on small vulnerable women.

AmberLeaf Thu 12-Sep-13 20:09:32

Well done OP.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 20:13:14

Thanks Amberleaf

Really well done. I hope it goes okay. Does he usually come to your house for pickups?

Do you actually need to be there for the exchanges, or could your DP take care of it? Not that you'd want to abandon him to it but just wondering if that would keep things calmer. Maybe that's a bad idea though, just a thought.

StuntGirl Thu 12-Sep-13 23:27:24

Good for you nacho! I bet your partner is chuffed to see you taking control too.

I agree that it might be a good idea to have neutral third party there for pick up if neccessary. And don't forget to log all your correspondance with him! Noting down that you offered several solutions to the Christmas arrangements which he ignored will not look favourably on him should this go as far as getting solicitors involved, especially if he chooses to eventually respond with nastiness or violence.

NachoAddict Fri 13-Sep-13 13:31:05

Ok so I have had a response.

3 missed calls so I answered...


Hiya, are you alright?

Er Yes, are you?

Yea, I will have the kids boxing day. We might be going out for dinner so not sure when I will be back.

Ok well if you change your mind about having them after lunch let me know.

Will do"

All bright, cheerful and happy. wtaf?? I feel like I am in a parallel universe. Glad he has took it so well but uneasy after the way he was at the start of the week, it's like two seperate people.

Was it really that easy......

AmberLeaf Fri 13-Sep-13 13:46:46

Thats fab.

I wouldn't have said this though Ok well if you change your mind about having them after lunch let me know

Stick to what he has said now, best not to have given him the option of switching.

But that really is good news!

Ooh good outcome! I can see why you are uneasy and I suppose maybe mentally prepare yourself for him to change his mind between now and then, but at least this is a good start.

I do think another good reason for texting instead of calling is that it allows for de-escalation. For all you know, his first reaction upon reading the text was indeed as it was earlier -- no way, not going to happen, etc. But then he calmed down and for whatever reason was like, eh, I guess it's fine. So I would say going forward keep texting and allow for a possible cooling-off period before talking.

Really well done though, I hope it all works out!

fromparistoberlin Fri 13-Sep-13 16:24:12

I think on paper, its a very fair idea.

I think the probklem is that (a) dp not happy and (b) you are only doing it cos he will kick off, thats the issue

Its a fucking head fuck OP, as I completely agree that technically, its OK as for the cost of 2-hours you get the rest of the day to yourself

I think xmas is quite some time away, so why not read, digest and think about it?

I can see why you are torn

Inertia Fri 13-Sep-13 16:35:10

Sounds like the outcome you wanted, well done Nacho. Looks like texts along the lines of the one you sent could be the way forward - offering options which are acceptable to you both but with no giving in to unreasonable demands.

I wonder whether his girlfriend has said that she just wants her children in the house on Christmas day?

Bogeyface Fri 13-Sep-13 17:12:12

Hmm, I smell GF involvement too.....

NachoAddict Fri 13-Sep-13 19:25:18

Its possible that it is down to his gf, they had the kids for lunch last year though so maybe not.

I am just glad that he is being reasonable so I'm not about to question it.

I feel like I was hysterical and over reacting now.

Will definitely give him a fee options from now on, it worked well!

Huge thanks for all the advice and support.

cjel Fri 13-Sep-13 19:57:03

porkpie its not dsds home ,she has one with her mum.
DP doesn't like his ex or yours? does he have a habit of not liking people?
I would do what you and ex want, its a load of tosh that after 4 christmas they will get confused about boundaries. They are well aware of who lives with who and this is different again to their last few christmas's so why not do what you all want? if dp had his daughter he wouldn't worry about what you wanted to do.
You are being very good parents to want to do this. well done.

Bogeyface Fri 13-Sep-13 20:29:11

I do think that you being firm and not rolling over is a good start. You stuck to your guns for the first time, no wonder you were in a state. FWIW I dont think you over reacted at all, he is a dangerous and abusive man, standing up to them is very frightening.

But now you have a tool to use next time he kicks off. Dont answer the phone and communicate by text as much as possible.

cjel Fri 13-Sep-13 22:42:33

oopps I think I didn't read all the thread before posting, sorry. Ignore what I put before, I thought he was friendly reasonable person. How wrong could I be?[embarrassed]

cjel Fri 13-Sep-13 22:43:10

blush I meant!!!

StuntGirl Sat 14-Sep-13 01:12:17

Don't feel like you over reacted - you didn't in the slightest. You were firm and took control and placed firm boundaries. I suspect this is the first time you have ever done that to him. Keep doing it! He does not deserve a place in your lives, and don't ever forget what he is capable of. Keep him at as much as a distance as is reasonable with the children - he is a nasty piece of work and not someone who deserves to be invited into your lives.

AgentZigzag Sat 14-Sep-13 01:18:51

Shitty you had/have to put with such a man, but it's an amazing thread seeing it dawn on you.

You ROCK Nacho cake keep that confidence up.

Really glad to check back and see how things have gone, you're sounding like a different person already smile

It's really good to see you sticking up for yourself. Hang in there. I hope it all stays calm at Sundays pick up x

Inertia Sat 14-Sep-13 09:50:32

You didn't over - react at all. You responded to a threatening demand with a reasonable and measured message. This led to an outcome which suits everyone.

Saying " no more" to threats is not hysterical.

Oh my word, you did not overreact! He threatened your DP with violence and was very aggressive about the whole thing. Not to mention his history. Please don't think you overreacted -- I imagine that's part of the whole cycle of abuse, to minimise things once he starts being reasonable. But try to nip that in the bud too, otherwise you will start doubting yourself, and you need to keep up the firm boundaries for all your sakes.

NachoAddict Sat 14-Sep-13 19:05:49

Don't worry cjel it took awhile for it to dawn on me too. Haha.

you are right as always dreaming minimizing is always part of it, I think that's how we stayed together so long but I need to break the habit.

The support I have received on this thread is overwhelming and a few of you should consider a career in this area if your not already doing it.

I'm just so glad you've had a good result so far and are thinking about things a bit differently. You sound like such an amazingly strong woman. I hope you'll keep us posted on how things go smile and good luck!!

NachoAddict Sun 15-Sep-13 20:37:03

Funnily enough, that's what people always say about me, that I am strong. it always seems odd as I cant imagine doing anything other than carrying on.

Hand overs went well today, as if nothing had ever happened. It has inspired me to stick to my guns from now on.

I don't think I could have done it without all the amazing women and great insight on this thread. Xxx

Bogeyface Sun 15-Sep-13 20:40:28

Minimizing is a normal way to protect oneself in a bad situation, we all say "Well, it could be worse.....". But when you have done this for so long it can be a hard habit to break which is why I think that the internet has been the biggest gift to abused women.

Before online support you would never have been sure just how bad it was, especially if you have family or friends who have a vested interest in your maintaining your marriage because it suits their status quo. Place like MN allow others to say "Fuck no! You are NOT over reacting/BU/causing a fuss" etc.

You have done it once, now you know that you can do it again smile

PourquoiPas Sun 15-Sep-13 21:08:49

Well done OP!

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