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Please help... Graba cup of tea, it's a long one.... Desperate Dad..!!(46 Posts)
My name is Phil
Firstly let me apologise for the length of this thread/message but to give you the clearest picture of the despair I find myself in today, it is only possible to do so if I outline my story in its entirety. I do so in the hope that someone out there may be able to provide me with the help and direction that I need to ensure that my Son has the safety, stability, love and security that he deserves.
I know that on a sliding scale of 0 10 of maternal & paternal feelings and emotions that the majority of people on the 7-10 scale are women, that few women fall to the 0-3 level, that more men are at the lower end of the scale and fewer men at the high end of the scale. I would put myself at the top end of the scale and I know that as a man I am in the minority but far from unique. I have only really had one burning desire in life, since I was 9 years old and my little sister was born I helped my mum daily to raise her and nurture her right up until I left home for University, once the nurturing had finished I just wanted to make her laugh, make her know she was loved and I think I did a damn good job at it.
I came from a slightly dysfunctional family in that my slightly older brother had behavioural problems (even though now I am proud of the man he has grown up to be) and the frustration this caused my parents led them to use physical violence when behaviour made them angry. This affected me and still does to an extent until today (I am 40). Due to my older brothers behaviour I tried as a child to make up for this by being the blue eyed boy who would always try to make people happy, make them laugh, volunteer to run errands with not so much as a slight moan or hint of begrudge. Regardless of this when my brother was around, making too much noise or taking me with him on Xmas Day on our new bikes out until after dark (despite my constant protestations to go home because mum and dad would be angry) I used to get the same physical punishment. Its just background and I am aware that it has affected my personality and affected the life choices I was to make in the future.
At University I met a wonderful girl who I fell in love with. She used to scream in her sleep without waking to the extent that house mates would ask what the hell was going on. Whenever I asked her she would dismiss it as a nightmare and never give me details. I learnt as the relationship went on that her childhood was equally dysfunctional but again never got details apart from her parents regularly splitting up and her father coming to her school at lunch time when she was a teenager and crying on her shoulder.
As the relationship went on there were other clear warning signs, she was insanely jealous and 12 months into the relationship while demanding I stop talking to and seeing a girl who was nothing more than a friend ripped a cupboard door off in a rage.
We both wanted to be teachers but after university I fell into sales and was good at it and it paid well so I put my teaching career on hold while she studied for a PGCE and started her career in teaching. After a trip to the bank she returned to the car in floods of tears. Without my knowledge she had run up debts of over £10k. Rather than get angry with her for not telling me my attitude was that it had happened, nothing would change it and that we had to pay it off, simple as that. I therefore stayed in sales, she thought and gradually we paid off the debt.
As time wore on her jealousy continued, if I was late home from work or talked to any female friends (which in recruitment sales was inevitable being that 90% of people working in that industry are women) I would get verbal abuse which would end with her screaming at me nose to nose.
Despite this I told myself that apart from this she has a good heart, which she had and that she couldnt help her upbringing and the affect it had on her and hoped with time her behaviour would moderate and that she would change (I know, I know)..
She fell pregnant with our son and for a time things got better. However this did not last, the verbal abuse became more regular but during a quiet and calm spell she fell pregnant again with our daughter. The relationship was rocky to say the least. She asked me if she should get an abortion but I said no, that we had a responsibility to make things work for their sake. As time wore on the verbal abuse continued but now was happening in front of our children. One day when my son was 5 she said to him, your dad would rather be at work than be at home with us. I told her if it happened again I would leave.
Meanwhile a friend of mine had recently split with his partner and was living in a squalid bed sit. I decided once a week I would visit him after work, go for a drink, chat, get him out of his bedsit and hopefully cheer him up. It was the only day of the week I would be out. This cause more friction and more verbal abuse, again at times in front of the children who became visibly upset. I asked her to work with me and for us to go to relate and get relationship counselling but she refused saying she could not leave the kids. I protested saying that friends or family could look after the kids but still she refused all efforts.
My partner called me by phone one evening I was with my friend and told me to come home as she needed tobacco. I said that you had to pass two shops on your way home and it was not my fault you forgot to buy tobacco (I believed it was done purposefully to gain control as this was something that I had experienced before). She said if youd rather see your friend than be with your family then you can f off and never come back. I could hear my son crying in the background. That night I stayed at my friends, called in to work sick, came home the next day and moved out my things.
I knew that with her refusal to join me in counselling, her continued verbal abuse, nose to nose and aggressive with veins bulging which I had endured for years and her now starting to do this in front of the children that I had to leave. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. I was depressed, started drinking heavily to blot out the pain and used to sit for hours in my bedsit crying. My friend by now who I had introduced to a work colleague was now madly in love. To my despair he did not return the favour I had afforded him. Looking back I know what its like when you fall in love but I still felt really hurt and our relationship petered out.
Anyway over the course of 18 months I got myself together, stopped drinking, got myself a 2 bedroom flat and decorated one room for the kids for when they came to stay. I was paying still for the property they lived in, well over the top of what I could realistically afford but the guilt of leaving swayed me and I started to build up debts myself. After about 9 months of doing this my now ex went to the CSA and ironically I was now paying less than half of what I was paying before.
The children would stay with me from Friday night until Sunday night, at first weekly but then every fortnight. The children seemed happy; I knew that they were now spared having to listen to and witness the constant verbal abuse. However I could not call them on the phone as mother would scream and shout and berate me for leaving. My own mother also told me that my ex would call her saying me and the kids have been up all night crying. This stressed me out as I knew this was not good for the kids.
One day I had a call while I had the kids and my ex told me that she had taken an overdose. I stayed on the phone to her until the paramedics arrived and drove the kids back next day where I found her whole family present. Once I arrived they all left, leaving me with my ex. I did not know how they could do that, it was blackmail all round. I felt that this only served to show how I was wrong to stay in the relationship, in hindsight wrong to have children with this woman (but obviously madly in parental love with my beautiful children) and would be wrong to go back under these circumstances. As I left my ex screamed you know my sister was in therapy for 10 years, I said no, just like your nightmares, just like the debts you ran up, you never let me in or told me anything.
As time wore on my ex improved and healed. I still had concerns as my 3 years old daughter would use profanity but in the main I knew they were loved and well looked after. I would see them every fortnight and in between would pine for them. We made the most of our time together and not having enough money for legal help I did not go down this road. In hindsight this was a mistake as with time parental alienation syndrome began.
After 18 months I met someone else and for 9 weeks that seemed like an eternity my ex stopped once she was aware of this stopped me from seeing my children. After a while contact resumed and things went back to normal despite my self-esteem from the guilt of leaving my children being rock bottom and I was not looking for anyone but out of the blue I met my new girlfriend, she was amazing .. at first, a Polish girl we talked about my grandfather training Polish spitfire pilots in the war, 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. At first I presumed they were the same cans and that she hadnt emptied the bin for an age however over time I noticed that empty cans of lager were also in the kitchen bin and eventually the can changed colour as she changed brands. 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. This girl lived with an elderly lady who she worked for as a live in carer, I was the luckiest man in the world, she left her job with the elderly lady and moved in with me. I got her a job working for an Insurance company as a clerical assistant and the world seemed good. She was charming, tactile and played with my children what could go wrong ..
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 showed me mood swings. On one occasion when the kids were staying she took my arm from around my daughter and placed it around her.
Alarm bells had started ringing but rather than get out I was hooked and instead tried to rationalise with her. At first she would listen to what I had to say and admit her insecurity. However as time wore on, her drinking started to initialise arguments. 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. Rather than wake up and smell the coffee that this was becoming a toxic relationship I buried my head in the sand. Why? Maybe because my self-esteem was still so low I felt I deserved all I got, maybe because I could not face another break up and was desperate to make things work or maybe because I knew that apart from this, she was beautiful, sexy and lots of fun, when she was happy and not drinking that is.
One night things took a turn for the worse. The relationship now a year old I one evening 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 my children would not notice or become distressed. I took 2 days off of work and said 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 transpires 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.
Again I accepted her remorse, her drinking abated and we went on holiday to Lanzarote to bond us back together. On the first day of holiday I asked my girlfriend to put fake tan on me as I had already had skin cancer (luckily basal cell carcinoma, the less virulent form) and so could not sunbath and did not want to appear pasty. She got angry, said it stank and she could not come near me and wanted to have sex with me and how could I care more about my appearance than having sex with her. I tried to reason and rationalise but to no avail. She got drunk, first day there and an argument and physical tussle ensued. But we were on holiday, how could I not forgive her, we had to enjoy this time.
We returned to the UK and the drinking and arguments continued until one night 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 on 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 smash a hole in the reinforced window next to the living room door and climb 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 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 tie 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, being sick everywhere and did not lift a finger. 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, slapped me and bit a hole in my shoulder.
The nest 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 the concern 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 physical defects. He has folds of skin near eyes and despite me being 6 foot and her being 5 foot 8 inches was under 20 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 than 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 o the shop to get her beer and I refused, she slapped me as hard as she could 3 times. I went to bed and cried like a baby. I spoke to a mens helpline and they advised I keep a diary which I did. On one occasion I told her in the hope that this would stop the assault, mostly slapping now and stop her from doing it again in the future.
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 as a skunk. On one occasion when it snowed badly in December and our son was 5 months old I went into town early as she had 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 he 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 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. This sent me a little crazy, 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 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, 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. 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 around the face. I have an audio recording where she was drunk some days later and having a moan at me about something, I did this 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 this 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 cold and she just is heard to reply, Im not talking about that, 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, I took photo and took him in. Remonstrating with her she said you are at fault for having a cigarette when you should be looking after your son.
The final time 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, said you will never see him again and went inside. 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.
When I saw the lies and accusations I broke down in tears in front of my own father. I cried like a bay and asked for help with a solicitor. He refused saying you know 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.
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 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 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. 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 I ended up almost living there.
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.
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.
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 s 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. She 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. She leaves carving knives, lighters at my sons 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. 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. 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, 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 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 self-esteem. Im working on that and healing and repairing.
But my son
Anyone help me please?
Hi I just wanted to let you know that someone has read this, as I have no experience of these issues I cannot offer any advice, accept to say what a horrific story it is and I'm not suprised you're a wreck, I really hope someone will be along with some useful advice soon!
Many thanks Mum ToOneMogwai
To write it all down seemed therapeutic.
To know someone has read even more so.
Thanks for your kind reply.
Push your solicitor to go to court for your son to live with you. In the meantime push for entirely shared parenting.
You seem to have enough evidence for your son to reside with you but in the meantime it's important that you mitigate any negative effects your ex us having on him by having him as much as possible. Push for mediation too.
You didn't need any of the back story about your previous relationship though.
It's very simple what you're asking - what are the chances of having my son live with me the majority of the time - you have some chance but only a judge can decide.
My goodness Phil, that's terrible. As a mum of two little boys, and another on the way I really feel for your panic at being unable to get the professionals to take you seriously. This is outside my experience but don't despair. In my limited experience of Mumsnet, there's always someone here who can help. You've come to the right place for support and advice.
What a horrible mess. I'm afraid I don't have experience of these issues either, but I'm certain some people here may be able to offer some advice.
I'm not sure why you can't summarise it - whilst appreciating this is very personal to you.
40 year old dad of 3. Older 2 children by first partner. Both dad and partner had had abusive childhoods to one degree or another. Relationship broke down as partner was emotionally abusive. OP did not cope well and drank heavily but pulled himself together. Relationship with first partner is strained and access to older 2 children more limited than he would like. (Older 2 children never mentioned after this point in the story, making me think contact has been limited further by your obsession with the next partner, OP?)
OP meets second partner, clearly an alcoholic. OP co-dependent and later second partner became controlling and emotionally and physically abusive. Some assaults were reported to the police or effects witnessed by ambulance staff.
Second partner gets pregnant, drinks heavily throughout pregnancy, baby shows symptoms of FAS. She reports him to health visitor for physically abusing her. Has been known to leave child unattended at home to go to the shop. Takes child to Poland without OP's consent. Relationship breaks down after returning to UK.
OP loses job, gets a non-molestation order against second partner, who ignores it and continues to harrass him. Social services and CAFCASS are involved to determine residency and it is awarded to the second partner.
For some reason the OP's solicitor says that the presence of the non-molestation order prevents the OP from building a case for residency. Despite a substantial body of evidence, including recordings of abuse, to back up his claim. OP has suffered from periods of depression and has not found further work. OP is wanting to become a primary school teacher. (I don't think this is wise, OP).
Tribpot I feel that's unfair.
she's not an alcoholic she binge drinks nd has comorbility with a personality disorder
Contact with elder 2 childen is fine, not limited but getting better, xmas, holidays etc
Not mentioned any more as they are safe with mother
This is the key, you're right.."For some reason the OP's solicitor says that the presence of the non-molestation order prevents the OP from building a case for residency. Despite a substantial body of evidence, including recordings of abuse, to back up his claim"
But he didn't say prevents, he said make difficult. This is where I need advice because he hasn't even seen the photos, read the diary, listened to audio evidence, police reports... He has made me anxious with his comments andI intendto address this on Monday morning hence me blogging this to gainpeople's insight.
Ps. I have only been depressed due to what I have been through. I am a fantastic dad, great with children, have a degree and am in the process of healing from the abuse I have gone through for the past 5 and a half years.
By the time I get to teach I will be fine and no longer depressed and to be honest your comment on that is naive, prejudiced and totally unfair.
She's an alcoholic. Do some reading on the subject.
I make no judgement either about your own drinking problems or the depression and difficulty you have had coping with everything that has happened to you. Suggesting that by the time you are teaching you will be fine is extremely naive. Even in the best case scenario you will still be dealing with your ex on a regular basis with the stress that that will entail.
You might be right on the alcoholic thing.
Dealing with a difficult ex does not preculde you from being able to teach. I am resilient and before all this was life and soul and aim to be again.
I read the whole thing.
I don't understand why you reported to the police but never took your children out of the situation?
You don't say what your first ex was like with those children once you had separated.
you said that your 2nd ex was/is still drinking but SS haven't caught her at it and the evidence of FAS hasn't made them look at that more closely?
you really need to keep talking to SS and get a proper solicitor to help you - your dad was no helpful with that, but you could try for legal aid.
but most importantly, you need to get your youngest away from his mother - she is going to severely ruin him.
ps: yes, she is an alcoholic.
I replied on your duplicate thread in AIBU, and luckily copied 'n' pasted before that was deleted:
Phil, I haven't read all of your post, though I have skimmed most of it, because there's so much of it - I feel overwhelmed by the details. But it seems clear that you're a caring man who's been through a lot.
However, if your main priority is to get help for your son, then you need to set aside everything that has happened to you and focus on what is happening to your son.
The bottom line is that social services and the police are not at all interested in your relationship history. But they are interested in protecting your son from harm.
If you 'phone up social services and tell them everything that you have told us here, they will either be unable to listen or understand (like many here), or be irritated (ditto), or they will think you are mentally unstable and delusional.
On the other hand, if you 'phone up social services and say "I am concerned for my son. I think he is at risk from his mother. She is hitting him. She is drinking heavily to the point of vomiting when she is caring for him. She is burning holes in her clothes because she is so drunk, and I am worried she will burn him or start a fire. She is leaving knives and lighters in his reach. She has left him alone..." - plus any other concrete facts - then they will take action. At the very least, they will contact your son's school/nursery/any other agencies that have been involved in his life, and see if they also have concerns. They will probably visit and interview her (and your son, if he's old enough). They have the power to remove him, if they agree he is at risk from her, and they will offer her support if they feel she is struggling...
And if you are really concerned about your son, and genuinely think he is at risk, then keep making these calls - even if you feel like you are making a nuisance of yourself - every time you have reason to think something else bad has happened to him.
I can assure you that I am not mentally unstable or dellusional. Just feeling helpless and despairing.
The fear I have for my sons safety coupled with my solicitor seemingly paying me lip service just freaked me out nothing more. Hence me writing everything and then some down here. I am aware from feedback that I have been too long winded but I just started to write, from the begining until I came to the end, from my heart...
The useful feedback I am getting, yours included, is rather than call social services and allay my generic fears is to send them the hard eveidence I have at my disposal. I have not bombasted them or my solicitor with the detail I have included here. On the contrary I have been in retrospect far too generic.
I intend to do just that on Monday morning and also do the same with my, to date, less than helpful solicitor. Time to be more assertive, in my relationships, with social services, my solicitor and with my son's safety.
Thanks to you and anyone else who has been kind enough to read my post and to those who have offered there sympathy and advice.
You might also want to join Families need Fathers here
Sent all of my evidence to social services and they said that while there is compeeling evidence for pas neglect and drinkink problems there is nothing to prove there is a problem now...
All they said was if she is drunk or neglects him again call the police immediately and ask for a welfare check.
Is this right??
oh dear, its very long so marking the spot and will come back later once kids in bed and have a look.
Yes*Phil*, as far as I know it is right. If SS have no reason to think your Ex is neglecting or otherwise harming your son now, then there is no reason for them to take action.
Bear in mind that even in the (fairly rare) cases where children are removed from their parents because of neglect, it is very often SS's aim to return a child -e.g. if the parent gets their act together.
I appreciate the flow4, but when one of their parents, ie me, can provide them with a safe, warm, loving and attentive environment and alternative place of residence who would welcome shared residence once the parent with alcohol and neglect issues gets their act together, isn't this in my son's best interests?
I am surprised when Social Services agree by looking at the evidence I have sent them that there have been apparent issues of neglect through pregnancy until the last time I had communication with my son's mother 6 weeks ago that it would not be a fair assumption that neglect and alcohol issues are continuing, I thikn it seems like a logical assumption to make based on the balance of probabilities?
Also if she is drunk and neglects him again, who's to say that the next time I am aware of something like this isn't because of a serious or even worse, tragic accident. By then it's a bit late isn't it. It just doesn't seem right, fair or in my son's best interests....
I'm sure if your child was with a man with a similar background of behaviour to my ex you would be as worried as I am now?
Not trying to be argumentative, dismissive or ungrateful for your input, it's just from the heart and how I feel...!!
Are you saying you haven't seen your son for 6 weeks or just not seen your ex?
No I have not seen either of them for 6 weeks. She told me they would be here in UK so I assumed that I would see him over Xmas.
Xmas Day was a few days before my contact and so I called to wish him happy xmas and got an international dialling tone. I then checked with Ryanair and he returned on the 15th January, 28 days, deadline for it becoming abduction.
Since his return my solicitor and I have both asked for the missed 4 days of contact to be made up but she has refused. So it's 6 weeks since I saw her while picking up and dropping off and more importantly 6 weeks since I have seen him....
It has seemed like an eternity for me, god knows for him, he is only 2.5 bless him..!
I am confused. Your OP was made on Saturday 19th January and were advised to contact Childrens services with your detailed concerns. You posted again on Tuesday 22nd saying you have sent them all the evidence and they have already assessed and consider they do not need to take any further action.
How did this all happen so quickly (within one working day?)
Why was the duplicate thread deleted?
Just because it was a duplicate, I think. I did try to object - the original post was identical, but the comments/responses from people were not, and some advice and insights were lost
Yes my OP was posted on Sat 19th, I had already spoken to Social Services, once in 2011 (Made one pre-announced visit and said all ok) and again week before I did my OP. On both ocassions I was naive and was very generic and no one came to see me and nothing really happened.
On Monday morning I sent all of my evidence photo's, audio transcripts, texts lists of dates police records would be available etc. This time they seemed to at least take my concerns seriously and on the 22nd they called me back and said they did an agency check and found nothing (He's not at school or nursey yet and rarely goes to GP), not sure what good that would do and said that as there is no evidence of neglect happening right NOW, all I could do was call police for a welfare check if I find ex drunk or evidence of neglect when picking up and dropping off once a fortnight.
Seems rediculous, after me calling the police last time, she's not stupid....
SOoooo frustrating, feel powerless to do anything!!!
Mumsnet said threads were deleted because they were duplicate (there were three altogether) but I got the impression they also felt AIBU wasn't the best place for this, despite the fact that many replies were sympathetic and helpful.
OP, from all that you've said your only option is to try to get as much consistent contact with your son as possible and that's only going to happen if you can establish at least a basic level of co-operation with your ex. If she knows you are conspiring against her to gather evidence to get residency she's obviously going to be very wary about letting you see him and perhaps feels she doesn't have to play fair either e.g. with the missing contact over xmas.
She may be 'a brilliant liar' 'charming and manipulative' but she will not be able to cover up serious neglect - ie lack of hygiene, malnutrition, injuries, developmental issues, especially once he is old enough to go to nursery. You say your son doesn't see the GP often - is that a sign that he is healthy and well?
There is another problem of course - once your son is old enough to be able to express an opinion who's to say he will want to live with you? As flow4 pointed out upthread it would take some really extreme circumstances for SS to separate a child from the parent it has grown up with and it's not uncommon for children, even in situations of awful neglect, to feel very strong love and loyalty to the neglectful parent.
they could have transferred the comments to this thread
OP how often do you see your first children?
I think a few things -
You are bad at picking women with whom to have children.
You might well benefit from that counselling you mention, in order to help you with your childhood issues
When you said this - "she was beautiful, charming, full of energy, elegant and oozed sexuality, most men would look on in envy."
I thought this- "No, most men would have seen a slutty alcoholic"
When you took the time to post the longest post I have read in 6 years on MN but did not take the time to, you know, phone social services with your very valid concerns, well I think you are all talk and no action.
Your posting in triplicate in such flowery language with all sorts of nonsense details and no actual legal issue on mumsnet - this made me think that you are in a creative writing / sympathy getting mode; and not in a rescue-my-child mode.
It is great that you want to be a good father.
I dont see the evidence here I am afraid.
When did you last see your children?
How can you leave any child with an abuser?
There is some kind of deadline they have to meet from the first referral, I think, something really fast like 24 hours - they do a CAF (? - disclaimer - am not an expert by any means, just have heard this) and decide very quickly whether action is needed. Obv. it is a much longer process if they take action.
I could take the time to answer all of that but realy wouldn't credit your comments with any other response than this. Bang out of order! What is your problem?
The vast majority of people on here have seen that I am desperate father and been helpful, supportive and offered advice and i tahnk them for that, like I say I could fill in the gaps for you but think you have read a completely different post to most other people, so there is little point.
Having said that, I will agree with you that I choose the wrong women to have children with and also that I could benefit from the councelling I mention as there may well be a link to my childhood issues that i also mentioned.
To be honest though, that's why I wrote the backstory, so people could see this link and didn't have to why Phil, why. I am a relatively intellignet guy and have obviously done some considerable self-analysis and soul searching over the years, escpecially of late and I am indeed booked in to start councelling next week.
Well best of luck with counselling, I hope it goes well for you.
And do keep on at social services / police, you really need to help them see the reality of life for your child.
Good luck Phil.
Picked up DS 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, 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.
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
I have reported, sorry did in hurry and should have proof read first.
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..!?
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.
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.
That all sounds really positive! As someone who has a stepson I've literally raised since birth who was born with addictions (re-introducing his real mum back into his life now... It's complicated!) I truly empathise.
If you ever need a good rant/vent feel free to PM me.
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(
it is good advice to seek medical treatment - this will then log any scratches/injuries etc. and quite possibly refer back to SS.
the fact is you willingly handed DS back to his mother right? - so she must be ok right?
next time - take DS to a and E.
dont hand him back if you concerned
see a [better] solicitor
But I don't understand.
I didn't willingly hand him back, I begrudgingly handed him back. If I don't hand him back she has residency and will say it is me harassing her and abducting our son.
I'm trying to do it the right way by getting the authorities to step in by showing them the level of risk. Most crucially the burn holes on dressing gown.
I'm lost but trying to find a better solicitor, have been phoning round today and will get back on it first thing on Monday morning.
The problem is that the authorities have failed me at each and every step and I feel they would do exactly the same should I go down the road of not handing him back. Playing into her hands that I am the danger/unstable when it comes to court.
Phil - if you haven't done so yet...join FNF.
There are an awful lot of people who have gone through exactly what you have. An awful lot of them have got see the movie, got the t-shirt and the court order to go with it. FNF offers practical advice and emotional support and it helps just knowing you are not alone in this.
If need be you'll be able to find recommendations for solicitor and McKenzie Friends to guide you through the court process (this is something I do as well as running a branch for the charity).
Don't wait for `things to get better' - they won't. The longer you leave a bad situation the worse it usually gets.
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