Desperate Dad...... It's long winded but couldn't summarise anymore without(41 Posts)
Firstly let me apologise for the length of this blog but I had to get it down to give it context it deserves
I met someone, she was amazing .. at first, a Polish girl she was beautiful, charming, full of energy, elegant and oozed sexuality, most men would look on in envy.
Early on in the relationship I noticed that in her bedroom the waste bin was always full of empty cans of lager. Whenever we had a meal at mine and I would buy a bottle of wine, she would buy another or sometimes two more.
Regardless we were having fun and the relationship was like a whirlwind. However after about 6 months of living with me my new girlfriend started to become jealous of my children. She would start drinking quite heavily on a Thursday night before my weekend with them. She also became irrationally controlling and demanding of my time and attention. Her drinking in general became heavier and she started to have mood swings. On one occasion when the kids were staying over with me she took my arm from around my daughter and placed it around her.
Her controlling became more intense, we ate what she wanted to eat, we watched what she wanted to watch, we went where she wanted to go and if we diverted from her wants she would get agitated, frustrated, sulky and start drinking causing more arguments.
Instead of doing what I should have done, I did everything in my power to avoid conflict, to avoid her getting sulky and so avoid her drinking too much and in doing so to reduce the amount of arguments.
One night things took a turn for the worse. The relationship now a year old I put a computer game on. She started drinking wine and after half an hour told me to turn it off because the noise was upsetting her. Instead of turning it off I plugged in some headphones hoping this would solve the situation. From out of nowhere she threw her glass of wine at me from about 2 foot away. It smashed, luckily on the ear piece of the headphones. Startled I took off the headphones and asked what the hell she thought she was doing, an argument ensued and I called the police. We were both taken to the local police station and she received a caution for assault.
Full of remorse she promised nothing like that would happen again and agreed to reduce her alcohol consumption. As time wore on, weeks and then months her alcohol consumption started to increase again. On one occasion she had told me how her and her father when she was an adolescent used to drink together and how they had to finish up quickly if they saw her mother coming home from work.
She would mostly drink when she was in a bad mood or when she was bored, agitated or frustrated. In doing so, getting drunk when not in good humour always resulted in arguments. On one occasion when my children were around she got drunk in front of them and made constant sarcastic remarks. Once they were in bed and asleep I remonstrated with her about her behaviour in front of them and she went for me, scratching my face to pieces (sounds extreme but I was a mess). The next day she again was full of remorse. On this occasion I did not call the police but took photos of my injuries (unfortunately on an old phone I no longer have). She applied foundation and cover-up and literally had to cake it on so that my children would not notice and become distressed. I took 2 days off work and said on my return that I had injured myself falling off my bike (in hindsight not a clever cover story as I did not own a bike and was not known for my bike riding adventures but it was all I could think of at the time). It transpired later that work mates knew my story was a lie as they were aware of my girlfriends drinking issues and stated that it was clear my injuries were consistent with finger nail marks.
One night in a drunken rage she started smashing my computer and TV. I pushed her out of the room and wedged the sofa to the door so she could not get back into the front room. I told her I would sleep in there and she could sleep in the bedroom and that I would not let her back in until she had calmed down and sobered up. She then proceeded to take the iron and smashed a hole in the reinforced window next to the living room door and climbed through the small hole she had made, gashing her hand badly. I called the ambulance and they arrived with police. I made a statement but decided not to press charges.
I asked my girlfriend to move out and we had our first split, not before time. We started communicating again a few weeks later though as I thought if it wasnt for her drinking she would be fine. Again she promised that she had stopped drinking and after a couple of months she moved back in.
Of course the drinking started again. My landlady needed to move back in as she had run into financial difficulties. My girlfriend turned her nose up at each and every property we looked at. Working full time in a pressurised sales role things were getting on top of me. My girlfriend would just be critical and I said that we were running out of time and would soon be homeless and have no other option than to move in with my parents. This made my girlfriend drink more and more right up to the day of departure. She was on the sofa or in bed drunk daily, being sick everywhere and did not lift a finger to help me. I had to clean the whole flat and move everything myself into the van. On the day we left she got drunk and locked herself in the bathroom. The landladys husband asked what was going on and I told them she was drunk and had locked the door. He broke the door down, picked her up and physically removed her from the flat. Youre an intelligent bloke Phil, what the hell are you putting up with that for . I knew he was right.
My girlfriend had nowhere else to go. I took her to my parents and she helped herself to my dads alcohol and got drunk in front of them. When we went to bed I remonstrated with her and she said you should support me, you are my boyfriend, thats what partners should do and then slapped me and bit a hole in my shoulder.
The next day I called her brother who lived in London and told her she had to go. He came and collected her and I hear spent the next few days drunk at his and upsetting her sister-in-law (They hardly speak to her anymore or have anything to do with her) before moving back to her parents in Poland.
Approximately 6 weeks later I received a call from Poland, it was her, she told me that her brother had just been tragically killed in a motorbike accident. Like a fool I gave her a shoulder to cry on, in the meantime running up a £1,500 phone bill. I flew out to be with her and she promised to get help for her drinking again! I was crazy but again I believed her. I got a nice house in a nice area by a river and she came back with me to the UK. She shortly fell pregnant.
I hoped that being pregnant would change her and make her serious about giving up the alcohol. Instead she drank right the way through the pregnancy. The hospital requested we attend additional scans due to their concerns for foetus size and development.
She would binge drink despite my protestations, despite my pleading, my shouting, my trying to restrict her money, she would find money from somewhere. She would drink until she was sick. It made me sick watching her do that to herself and to our unborn child. I couldnt though despite my threats bring myself to inform any authorities. I felt that his would be a sign of failure and was worried about the stigma of social services being involved.
Luckily our son was born with no obvious serious physical defects. He has folds of skin near eyes and despite me being 6 foot and her being 5 foot 8 inches was under 15 percentile for both weight and height at birth and is still small for his age now. In addition he also had far more problems with mobility and balance when learning to walk than either of my other children and I understand these are all typical signs of foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
After birth she would continue drinking, verbally, emotionally and sometimes physically abusing me. On one occasion she asked me to go to the shop to get her beer and I refused, she slapped me as hard as she could 3 times. Not a girly slap, with fingers, she is no weakling and used the full force of her hand and force. I went to bed and cried like a baby. I spoke to a mens helpline and they advised I start to keep a diary which I did. On one occasion I told her about this diary in the hope that this would stop the assault.
Instead to my horror she retorted the next day that she was seeing a health visitor and telling her about me assaulting her. Hand on heart the only physical injuries she received from me were maybe bruising to arms where I had tried to restrain her. I told her she was mad and hoped that she was just making it up to manipulate me, something she was very good at.
I returned from work on a number of occasions and found her in bed with our son as drunk. On one occasion when it snowed badly in December and our son was 5 months old I went into town early as she had been drunk the night before and we argued. I bought a teething ring for our son and food to make an English breakfast which was one of her favourites. Driving back I saw her walking up the hill from our house, she was obviously still drunk, I presume she had been drinking while I was in town. I wound down the window and asked where she was going and was ignored, I asked where our son was and she just kept walking.
I drove back to the house hoping that one of her Polish friends was there with our son, let myself in and found our son alone and crying in his cot. When she returned I shouted at her and said what would have happened if there was a fire? She replied, people leave their children all the time to go to the shop in Poland. I called one of her Polish friends and asked if this was true and was told it was not, I called her brother and asked him to help me or to speak with his parents to get them to speak with his sister about her drinking and behaviour. He refused to get involved.
Due to this event I withdrew any affection from her, how could I not, this only intensified things and time and again I came home and found her drunk with our little one. On the 20th December I came home and she was gone. I checked the website and found that she had taken him to Poland. I checked Facebook and she was still logged in, I shouldnt have, but I checked her messages. She had been telling people that I was a bad dad and always getting drunk and so had decided to go for xmas to Poland with our son on his first xmas!! I was so hurt, angry that I sent some of her friends an email explaining it was her who was drinking and due to drinking during pregnancy I thought our son had signs of foetal alcohol syndrome.
She stayed in Poland and started communicating with me to come and get them. 2 months past and In February due to my agony of being separated from my little one, who from birth I had bathed, changed nappies, fed, given love and affection to the pain and longing were too much. Again I went to Poland, probably so she could make out to her parents who didnt speak English that it was my fault for her taking him there for so long, god knows what she told them (I have a text message from her brother saying there is no point talking to my parents as she will just lie and tell them a completely different story).
We returned to the UK. Again she promised to stop drinking. She didnt of course. On two more occasions I had to call police after being assaulted, emotional and verbal abuse was on-going, she would threaten to move out and take our son to her Polish friends on the other side of town. I checked and our sons passport was missing.
On one occasion she came downstairs as I was making breakfast and holding our son, she smacked me hard around the face. I have an audio recording where she was drunk some days later and having a moan at me about going to the pub (When she became aggressive I used to go for a walk, to the puv or around my sisters), I did these recordings in case she got aggressive or assaulted me for evidence. In the audio recording I say to her how can you be angry at me for going out, when you slapped me while I was holding our bay, how can you be angry when you left him on his own, when you put him in the garden in the cold because you were angry? and she just is heard to reply, Im not talking about that, you are his father and you should be here even if there is a second world war!
On another occasion she was angry with me for having a cigarette in the garden, our son had only just come out of the batch and it was dusk in April, she put our son in the garden and closed the door, he looked around and was visibly upset, didnt understand what was happening or why his mum would do that. I quickly took a photo and then took him back in to the warm. Remonstrating with her she said you are at fault for having a cigarette, when you should be looking after your son.
The final time an assault was committed on me, living in the house by the river was when after slapping me hard for no reason three times, I said thats it, enough, one more and I call the police. She struck me hard twice more, the fifth and final slap leading me to lose vision in one eye. I was worried she had detached my retina and called the police. The police arrived and led her from the house.
The police said that she claimed it was me who attacked her. I even had an audio recording of the assault as after speaking with the mens helpline they suggested this. I have numerous recordings of her verbally and emotionally abusing me.
It broke my heart seeing my son leave the house. She moved in with her friends as she had previously threatened. I went there on our sons birthday and she was coming back from the shop with him. She pushed the buggy hard into my legs and said you will never see him again and went inside shielding him from my view. She called the police and accused me of harassment and sending threatening messages. I showed the police the messages I had sent, none were threatening but there were quite a few, all asking to see my son and the police said threatening or not it can still be constituted as harassment.
Shortly after this and with her not letting me see my son for 8 weeks I was becoming desperate. It felt like bereavement. I filled for a contact order and she filled for a non-molestation order against me!
When I saw the lies and accusations in her order which was given with no notice, I broke down in tears in front of my own father. I cried like a baby and asked for help with a solicitor. He refused saying you knew what she was like. I had to defend myself as I could not afford a solicitor. My work as a manager deteriorated over these months and I was a few months later dismissed for gross misconduct after being accused of smoking out of the kitchen window after working for them for 15 years!!
Despite this I managed to go to court and win a contact order. I had asked for residency due to her alcohol abuse, leaving our son on his own, etc. I spoke to social services; they went to her friends flat and said our son was fine. I spoke to Cafcass they didnt even send anyone to speak with me.
I went to court but had realised from googling non-molestation orders that there was not one example of anyone defending one or overturning one. I read that I should ask for an undertaking. I went to court and they breezed through, her solicitor said no to an undertaking. All I was guilty of in her accusations was sending a message on her Facebook account and sending her a lot of texts to see our son. My burning desire was to see him again so I took the non-molestation order, got contact and she was given residency.
I could not believe it. The court it seems didnt look at any of my information, evidence. Social services went to her flat once and said all was ok, when being a binge drinker and not an alcoholic they would have had to have perfect timing to see her drunk, which in her friends flat she wouldnt anyway. Cafcass didnt even come and see me. The police said that my audio recording of her assault was enough to arrest her, which they did but said cps did not say evidence was enough to prosecute and audio recordings were not admissible in criminal case but were in civil case.
So my son was left with her and I was left with 2 days a fortnight.
The same pattern continued. Despite the non-molestation order she started to call me, text me, email me to manipulate me again to take her back. Eventually her friends told her to get a council flat she had to become homeless and they threatened to throw her out so this aim was realised. At first she was in hotel accommodation. On one occasion I went for additional contact that she had offered me and when I said I would not stay the night, she stopped me from leaving by putting our son in front of my car, there was only one exit. I took a photo and diarised this.
Soon they had to leave the hotel and were put into a hostel, with recovering drug addicts and people just out of prison. I ended up staying there almost every night as I was so scared for them. I helped her look for a flat and eventually she got a good one. I was relieved. I helped her decorate, put up curtains, painted, went to B&Q for her, plumbed in washing machine and paid her maintenance. In the end being suspended from work and with lots of time on my hands, her offer of unlimited contact with my son saw me almost living there, despite the non-mol.
She would still drink, on one occasion she assaulted me as I said if you are going to drink and become nasty I no longer have to take it as I do not live here. I went to leave and she jumped on my back and scratched my face. I drove straight to the police and gave them a statement and they and I took photos of my injuries. Speaking to her she said the police had been to see her and what should she say? I said you need to admit it and then please at last, get help for your drinking.
The police called me and said after seeking legal advice she claimed it was self-defence. I asked how a 6 foot man, 13.5 stone did not inflict a mark on her and she managed to scratch my face up again. They said sorry but with no witnesses there is insufficient evidence for a criminal conviction.
After this I went home and stayed in my room for 2 weeks only leaving for occasional trips to the shop for food. After 2 weeks my doorbell rang and it was her, with my son in his buggy. He was so pleased to see me and visa-versa. Again things went back to normal but each time she started to drink I would leave. Therefore rather than every day I was now spending 4 or 5 days a week seeing my son. This is early part of 2012.
Having lost my job I could not afford the house and so moved back to my parents. I lost my company car and had to borrow my parents car if I was to see my son.
I was becoming increasingly worried for his safety as I was no longer able to monitor the situation. One evening she asked me if I was going to stay. I said no and she rammed a spoon of yoghurt in to my sons mouth hard, he cried, I remonstrated with her and left. Sat in my parents car outside she came out, leaving our son on his own again, got in the car and asked if I would come back in. I didnt answer, she then said no? Then proceeded to slap me hard across the bridge of my nose 3 times. I drove home and stayed in my room for 2 weeks again.
After lots of calls and texts I was missing our son so I started going back to see him. Because contact order was for every 2nd weekend and additional contact was at her bequest, so often it had to be in her flat, or to take them both out to museum or park or beach, essentially she had me in her pocket with my need to see my son.
Now I have broken free of her spell, she no longer has a hold on me, can no longer abuse me but I am worried sick about my son. She has no patience, is intolerant, smacks him when angered, drinks when she is alone with him, often until sick, she has a dressing gown with burn holes all over it where she smokes when drunk, she has abused me and sometimes my son over a period of years. When she is drunk she does not clear things away, leaving carving knives, lighters, alcohol etc in my sons easy reach.
The police will not help me, social services will not help me, Cafcass didnt even come and see me and my solicitor says because I took the non-molestation order way back when, it is going to be difficult to get anywhere.
I am going through self-help for recovering from a narcissistic abuser as I believe she has a personality disorder, a mix between narcissistic and borderline disorder. I am suffering from anxiety through worry that the phone will go and something has happened to my son. I have got legal aid but my solicitor seems to be going through the motions.
I have so much evidence like I say, photos, electronically dated diary entries, audio recordings and their transcripts, witness statements, my sons medical records about his foetal development and low weight and size, the folds of skin and history of poor balance that an expert would understand are linked to foetal alcohol spectrum disorder. BUT NO ONE HAS TAKEN TIME TO COME AND SEE IT!!
No-one is listening to me .!!!
I have been an open book here. Please is there anyone who can offer support, advice. I am scared for my son, even though I am now safe, he is not.
She is a brilliant liar, face to face, but cannot back up her lies as they are just that, lies. She is charming and manipulative. I need to make sure my son is safe.
My other children will testify as would anyone who knows me that I am a fantastic, caring dad who ensures his children are loved, educated, given warmth, listened to, who has never lifted a finger to any of his children ever, and nor would I (In my mind it is nothing more than an adult losing temper and control and does not teach children anything other than if you dont get what you want use violence).
I am applying to become a primary school teacher and I live in a house with 2 empty bedrooms. I know that my son would be better off and most importantly safe with me. I would not limit contact; if she came to see him I would be happy for her to see him as much as possible as I would know he is safe as she cannot be drunk in that type of situation.
I would be happy to give her shared residency if she got help for her drinking at last. But when alcohol is mixed with a personality disorder it is an accident waiting to happen.
I know I brought most of this on myself by my past mistakes and lack of action and low self-esteem. Im working on that and healing and repairing.
But my son
Anyone help me please?
How do I get my solicitor to take me seriously and become proactive and on my side?
Does the non-mol I accepted really mean I have a struggle when taking into account the evidence I have and the fact that she has no evidence against me apart from the Facebook messages and non-threatening texts?
How do I get social services to actually look at the evidence I have in my possession?
How is it that I have all of this overwhelming evidence and I am treated like this, if I was a woman and the shoe was on the other foot, I feel that I would have been treated differently and action would 100% of been taken regarding my sons wellbeing..!!
Felt so sad reading this....hope there is some good news OP...
resolution.org has family lawyers who specialise in domestic abuse.
There may be a call recording app you can put on your phone to record future phone calls with her. Also you may be able to set your phone to record/video when picking up or dropping off.
It was all recorded on my phone. I wrote down a transcript and sent it with the photo of injuries..!
phil sounds like a real horrible time of it you are having, i think you need to call police/social work every time you think something is up, doesnt matter how much time it takes to get through, it will all be recorded that way though and lots of notes in case you need to take things further.
i would always have something to record every conversation you have with her, you can get a pen to do it, leave it in your top pocket and switch it on before you meet. Even the incident with the scratches need to be reported at the time they have happened, if you presented those along with a recording of what she said you will be taken seriously.
OMG. I had to chase Social Services for 2 weeks to get the letter they said they had sent me telling me they were investigting after I sent them the photo's of ex's dressing gown with burn holes all over and scratches on sons neck which she offered several explanations for and I quote, their response was... (I got the letter today, 15/02/13)
"I am writing in response to the email Central Duty Team received on the 28.01.13 tht relate to concerns you have for XXX whilst he is in the care of his mother. I would like to advise you that the Central Duty Team have taken appropriate action, with regards to the concerns you raised. Furthermore we would also suggest tht should you have further concerns of a similar nature you seek medical treatment for your son"
That's it...!! I have made an official compliant.
Also went to see my less than helpful solicitor last week Wednesday. He says he specializes in family law yet did not know what Foetal Alcohol Syndrome was, has no children himself and thought that Poland had a border with Mongolia. One week and one day and no draft of letter for me to look at.
Feeling a little dispondent, sick and starting to get a bit stressed now! :0(
Let's hope there are positive steps being taken to make ds safe. In light of their email, make sure you have all your paperwork in place for any legal case, and just in case exP has made counter-allegations against you (it's not unheard of), so you have a clear timeline of events, including any corroborating statements from other people. Focus has to be ds' welfare and safety and working with SS to ensure it. It will also be important to show that you have plans in place for ds' care - has he a bedroom at your house, extended family, how he will be cared for when you are teacher training etc.
Phil, I am absolutely no expert but if the poor little mite has any marks on him next time you pick him up, would it do any good to bring him to a police station?
Having been told by Social Services that they were investigating I had heard nothing since.
So I e-mailed them again and asked them to consider the babysitter test. Having provided them with photo of dressing gown with at least 10 burn holes in it I asked the question...
"To those who themselves have children, if you knew someone, a neighbour, friend etc who had burn holes all over their dressingown and who you suspected had a problem with alcohol abuse, would you allow them to babysit your child for a night let alone allow them to live with them for any period of time"?
One hour later I received an email stating they were carrying out a thorough and urgent investigation and also that I should seek urgent legal assistance...
I think this is progress, there is a god!! Fingers crossed it's not just going through the motions.
Yey! An investigation...at last. Keep going Phil.
Doing the best that I can.
No real advice unfortunately but wanted to offer my support. You sound like a brilliant and caring dad and I hope that you get a positive outcome from SS.
Well so long as he is not in danger, more equitable access / shared parenting is exactly what I believe to be in his best interests.
However while his mother is drinking and getting to the state where she is burning holes in her own clothes, I believe the level of danger warrants him being removed from that environment. How could I not!
I have begged her to take resoponsibility and get help for her alcohol problem for years and failed. If SS and or court intervention suceeds then everyone is happy and I would support her as best I possibly could as she is my son's mother and again that is in everyone's interests.
SS are not likely to remove your ds but try to support his mother to become a better parent. However, you should certain push for more equitable access - although if you are teacher-training this could be harder to achieve.
Looks like my persistence and being meticulous with regards providing evidence is at last getting me listened to.
Just had a conversation with Social Services who say they are investigating the matters I have raised. Well it's a start.
I did not talk to the duty solicitor, only just read posts but did as I mentioned. Sent photo of my son's injuries to Social Services and also the photo of dressing gown with burn holes all over it first thing Monday (yesterday) morning.
Chasing them up today as have not heard back as yet..!?
I think you need to try and talk to your local mp, the local HV, and SS.
Also children whose home life is bad really really benefit from childcare, nurseries etc and it can help them overcome problems at home. Is there a way so get him into a nursery even if his mother doesn't work, even if you have to pay some of the cost? It might get him out of a difficult environment during the working day and protected at least during the day.
Also has the foetal alcohol syndrome given his learning disablities or is he okay? Have you tried testing him, seeing if he can say words children his aqe often know, compared with your older children? Does his mother speak to him in Polish at home? Is he learning English? My daughter had a Polish friend who got a lot out of Saturday school in Polish and even that kind of thing which his mother may support could be good for him to get him out of the home environment.
I hope you called the on duty social worker about your concerns, Phil. Strike while the iron's hot, sort of thing.
So nice to hear that you have your DS with you today and you got the hug that somehow helps to refresh all energies and remind you what the battle is about.
With all the back story and her groggy state i'd be tempted to be calling the on duty social worker about the marks today and her saying it 'might have been her' is frankly disgusting. Its not good enough, you'd know if you've scratched a child to the extent it leaves a significant mark 24 hrs later.
Picked up my son today - 1st time in 6 weeks, 2.5 years old as soon as he saw me big grin, ran to each other both arms open, hugged for what seemed like an eternity.
That's the good news.
Bad news,his mum said and I quote "He has some nasty scratches on his neck, he got them yesterday, I think it was his friend Dascha, or it might have been me, I'm not sure as I have long nails".
There are 3 scratches on his neck, between an inch and 2 inches long, look red and sore, wider in middle than ends, obviously made from nails. I have taken a photo.
She seemed disheveled and groggy and I suspect she had spent the previous day drinking. Hence my guess the inability to be specific about his scratches.
Also and not sure if this should be deemed good or bad news but I mentioned she had bought a new dressing gown and that the old one had burn holes all over it. Today she had the old one on, with the burn marks, she still has it and this is prime evidence that she is endangering my son. I will pass this information and photo onto social services on Monday but my guess is it will still not prompt them into action.
Be good to hear others thoughts.
I hope someone with more pertinent expertise can help, but just wanted to add that when you son becomes old enough to attend nursery and school, whatever the circumstances are by then with regard to his welfare between his mother and you, ensure that you get a copy of all letters and communication pertaining to him as is your right, attend all parents evenings (separately if you so wish given there are issues of physical abuse) and make your concerns known to the staff i/c of safeguarding.
I have reg'd with Fathers4Justice and am waiting to get an email to get onto their online help forum. Think a new solicitor might be a good idea but I'm running out of time as legal aid for family cases runs out in April.
Yes I kept going back, as you say like many women, low self-esteem I suppose but I'm well and truly free and on the mend now. At first I kept going back because I blamed the drink, but deep inside I knew there were other factors (personaity disorder) and then I kept going back knowing it was in my son's best interests, having one able parent when she was not.
I've started dating someone who seems very nice (My sister has warned me that she is going to pull her in for a thorough personality vetting/interrogation lol) and I have sent off all of my applications for teaching, so I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Most importantly I am healing my true self, looking at me and why I let myself go through all of that for as long as I did. Only then will I be able to completely say I have broken free.
Most important of all though is to stay strong, resilient and keep fighting for my son. I do not want to take him away from his mum, far from it. But until she gets help for her drinking I believe that is in his best interests. If she gets help or is forced to get help then due to her personality disorder (don't forget when she put him in the garden in the cold she was angry, not drunk and when she put him in front of my car so I had to slam the breaks on, to stop me leaving she was angry not drunk) I would be happy too have 100% shared parenting.
You keep taking her back and going back to her even each time she physically abuses you. It's sadly just like a lot of women who are physically abused, they cannot break free and keep going back.
If I were you I would first try to get another full time job. Then look for another girl friend. In the meantime keep seeing your son but not with the Pole there - unsupervised separate contact with a hand over ideally where you don't have to see or speak to her eg she hands the child to your relative and you pick up 10 minutes later from there. Then decide how much of the time is reasonable for the child to live with you rather than you want the child all the time and mother not to see it. perhaps try in the first instance to move to 3 days a week.
Sorry Phil I didn't read the whole blog in detail as short of time, I think you are an amazing Dad and it beggars belief that the no-brain 'system' lands your poor son on his mum instead. A couple of suggestions - try contacting Fathers for Justice (and/or CAB) for advice on next steps, and see if you can track down a solicitor who will act pro-bono for you to get the right deal for your son. You need an advocate to support your case here, and lack of funds should not prevent you having one. Keep strong (you are I know).
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