Ds is 15 mo, has seen his dad about 10 times in total, but lately he has been loads better and he has been visiting every 4-6 weeks with some reliability (he lives in Ireland, but works in England a lot with work)
Because of Ds age and fact he hasn't seen his dad much contact has always been with me there, though I leave them to play at soft play or will hang out in the bedroom when they are in the living room etc.
Today Ds dad was visiting and it was ok, but a bit strained.
Over lunch he started shouting at me, saying that he was being pulled in all directions (he has a new gf who he lied to about having a child, and she was understandably livid when she found out he had been lying to her) He was saying fuck this and fuck that, and just basically lost the plot, saying no one knew how hard it was to be him.
Ds was in his buggy and we all went out on the street, with him still shouting. He grabbed the buggy and tried to snatch Ds away from me, shouting the whole time. I completely panicked, he wasn't in control and ds was obviously a bit freaked out by the shouting. I tried to take back the buggy and he sort of pulled it round to one side so I couldn't reach.
I swear that moment was the most horrific, I couldn't reach my son, and I was just so terrified. I said, give me Ds and took the buggy and ran home.
I know Ds dad is obviously under a lot of pressure, but ds could hear all this shouting which is completely alien to him - and honestly, I am shaking still just thinking that I couldn't reach my ds.
I've never been afraid he would take him, I've begged in the past for him to visit more, but god how do I go forward from this?
He sent me a message as if nothing had happened saying when Ds woke up from his a nap to give him a shout and he would pop round to see him again. I replied and said no, he wasn't to come to the house again today, and in response I received a message saying he was dissapointed I was withholding contact.
Seriously, what the hell happened today? Any advice? Thank you so much for reading this far
Unfortunately emotions can run high between separated parents but children should be protected as much as possible from witnessing outbursts of temper at handovers or contact. I would make it quite clear this behaviour must stop and you are no longer prepared to supervise contact.
In future contact can be arranged so your ex collects your and takes him out for an hour or so on his own. Alternatively hand overs can be organised so they take place in a neutral place say a supermarket car park where there is CCTV, neighbours, friends, family or a contact centre where contact may be supervised.
I think it was just such a shock! I really wasn't expecting him to lose his temper - it came from nowhere.
At the moment Ds dad is refusing to change nappies, which makes letting him have contact on his own really hard - plus, ds honestly has no clue who he is as he won't visit more than once every 4-6 weeks.
Ds dad and I were friends, we were never a couple, so this outburst is really new - I don't know where it came from.
Think contact that isn't supervised by me is a brilliant idea as that must take some pressure off his new relationship, but I don't know who would put aside a weekend to spend with Ds and his dad on my behalf.
I know I keep mentioning it, but honestly,when he snatched the buggy in temper my heart was in my mouth. It was horrible.
Sorry for only just replying, for some reason it was coming up null replies on my phone app.
I genuinely want ds to see his dad, I just don't really know how to provide that safe environment for the entire weekend when he is here.
I don't want him in my house, but up till now he has had totally free access to it, and so to withdraw that is going to be seen as very confrontational.
Is saying he can see ds 10-12 then 2-5 on both days over the weekend fair? Ds sleeps in the middle bit, and is in bed for 6pm, so he isn't missing out, but I'm just thinking if I say I will meet you at X activity for those time slots then it brings a bit more structure to the access.
I still haven't heard from him, apart from a message saying he was disappointed in me for denying him access on the afternoon after this incident. It scares me how he lost his temper and is turning it around on to me.
Why can't contact be at a contact centre? Obviously it's in DS' best interests to see his father but is it in best interests to be sent off on his own to spend a few hours with a man whom he's seen flip out at his mother and refuses to change nappies?
For the sake of DS, and your nerves, I think contact has to be supervised and a contact centre seems the logical choice.
How do you arrange to use a contact centre? I'm worried that even at a contact centre ds would freak out if he couldn't see me or another adult he recognised. He has been quite happy pottering about at home with me in another room, but then that's his familiar space - I'm not sure how he would react in unfamiliar surroundings.
I really never wanted things to deteriorate to this level, I think ok still in shock at what happened!
Thank you all for your replies, not sure what was happening with the app to show null replies - going to have a look at other threads I'm on now see if I've missed others!
Here's a link to contact centres. I don't have any experience of them personally - only professionally www.naccc.org.uk/find-a-contact-centre. So, I'm not sure of the actual practical ins and outs. However, I think you need to pay a nominal amount to use them. You may be able to stay to settle DS etc too, at least for the first few visits. If you called your local one, they could give advice.
One of the issues you may have is that your ex could very well minimise and deny his behaviour. The fact he hasn't apologised shows that he may very well do. I wouldn't get in to debate with him about this. Make it explicitly clear that his behaviour was unacceptable. As a result, you're using the contact centre if it suits you and DS Let your reaction make it clear to him.
I have had a similar thing where my ex grabbed DD and tried to walk off with her when she didn't want to go with him. He freaked out but it was because he felt he had no control. I wonder if this is the same with you. Whatever you do I wish you luck and send hugs. It's not easy and I hope you feel better soon. xxx