Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

pressured into mediation and I feel sick

(73 Posts)
slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 10:37:54

Hi everyone

I hope its ok to post on this board. I'm not sure if its a relationship issue or not, because he's an 'ex', but he scares the crap put of me, so maybe it is...

In a nutshell he is taking me to court to change the access arrangements for our dd. Rather than just 'talk' about it like normal people, he sent me a quick text asking me to agree to quite a huge change in the arrangements. Whilst I didnt say no straight out, I expressed concerns and said it would need proper discussion. Cue a court summons landing on my doormat two weeks later. This is exactly how he operates - do as I say or you will regret it.
The court appplication was horrifc to read - basically said I was a crap mother, how he is deeply concerned about my care of her etc. I was devestated to read it, but not surprised because this is what he has doen ever since we split when she was a baby. In an effort to get his own way at court, he decided he needed to use the most adversarial methods avaibale to him - and that is to paint me as a selfish mother, who puts our dd second and that he has had 'no choice' but to apply to the court to limit the risk to our dd (his actual words). Incidentally cafcass have taken themselves off the case as they said there is no concerns from their side. I am furious though that he gets to write all that down and no one, absolutely no one is going to call him on it. I just didnt think the courts would tolerate stuff like that, but I was obviously wrong.

I have to attend the first session this week and I literally cannot sleep. He ties me up in knots, talks over me, says the most crushing things. Heres the crux though - he is calm, collected, smiley, plausiblea and never raises his voice. He wont name call, insult me directly or lose his temper, yet the things he says have the ability to destroy me. He has always affected me in this way and I dont know how to not care. He will be able to convince me in this session that I fall short of his expectations as a parent, and the manner in which he does it will be quitely menacing.

I think he is mentally abusive. In the time we were together he played so many mind games with me, and ruined my confidence. I'm fine now - except I still go to pieces when I'm around him. I knwo mediation wont work - I am crystal clear on that and this is a hoop we are being made to jump through. He cant wait for it to get to final hearing so that I am 'dealt with' ( his words). Is there a way for me to get through these sessions with minimal damage to myself? Can I 'pretend' in any way? How 'involved' will I have to be? Sorry in advance if I'm not explaining myself very well - I just dont want to be a mess and for it all to be for nothing anyway;/

Thank you

betterthanever Fri 08-Feb-13 20:12:42

slowly I hope you are feeling better about things. People's experiences and advice on here covers a lot of ground imo. There are some wonderful people and those you can debate with, good practice for questions in mediation/court. I like to hear lots of perspectives. I never think mine is the right answer. Especially when I have never been through things before.
Sassy thanks for sharing, your in my neck of the woods too. I especially liked your point about your daughter growing up stronger than you and Hissy. You have done everything you can and more.

sassy34264 Fri 08-Feb-13 07:53:58

Sorry slowly don't mean to hijack, but will post my links to my threads for better as it may help. Feel free to read or not.

1st thread

2nd thread

As you can see it's been sooooo hard.

Hope you are ok slowly ?

betterthanever Thu 07-Feb-13 19:20:11

Sassy my DS was only 5 days old when he threatened to punch me was last in my company and I got a solicitor and I never heard from him again until a few months ago, he left me when I was pregnant and I kep in touch but he didn't bother to get involved AT ALL - we met up twice that was it until my DS was born. I have offered indirect contact. CAFCASS have backed that and said `at most'. You sound very experienced and I re read your post earlier as it calms me down lol - how an earth have you managed? all advice really welcome.
Good point jux

Jux Thu 07-Feb-13 15:22:41

Parental alienation? He says things about you to her.

sassy34264 Thu 07-Feb-13 10:13:00

better Are you asking for supervised visits?

I think i would be doing after such a long abscence. Does he even remember him?

sassy34264 Thu 07-Feb-13 10:07:54

Awh better it's not often i inspire anyone. grin

Some of the hard nose judges i have met, will not be impressed by a 7/8 year absence. And i can't imagine him shouting the odds on your mothering skills would go down well either- seeing as it hasn't bothered him for 7/8 years. hmm

Good luck.

betterthanever Wed 06-Feb-13 21:14:16

Sorry spero in answer to your question - he is now saying that he has only just found he has a DS via the CSA as I told him my DS wasn't his and we had split by mutual consent when I was pregnant- luckily I kept solicitors letters about his abuse and threats of violence when my DS was very young and more documents. CAFCASS are so far unimpressed with him but you still worry that justice will not be done. What sassy said is true as far as CAFCASS are concerned they have never asked me to defend myself really.

betterthanever Wed 06-Feb-13 21:09:24

Retaliation for the CSA getting a liability order on him I think spero. He thought he could avoid them. I had given up hope years ago they would track him down, anyway they did and he now wants contact with my DS. But sadly it is much worse than just that. He still isn't paying CSA by the way.
Sorry OP I am crashing your thread here but sassy your words have also inspired me. I worry about having to sit and defend myself - I feel like it will be like when a police car is behind you and you know you are only doing 30 and have not been drinking..... but still feel somehow guilty.

Spero Wed 06-Feb-13 18:05:44

How scarey. Why has he popped up now? He can't have any serious complaints about you if he has done nothing in 8 years!

betterthanever Wed 06-Feb-13 16:25:38

Spero my ex has turned up after 7/8 years and has totally rewritten history and has been willing to put his statements to a court of law. I know he will not change to have gone to these lengths. It does scare you but I guess that is why they do it. They only really scare me now as if he is believed he gets to do the same to my DS who he currently doesn't have contact with. He knows that will then hurt me which his his ultimate aim and very scary.

Skyebluesapphire Wed 06-Feb-13 12:43:37

From my experience of mediation, we had two mediators in with us. XH refused to say what he wanted contact wise, until the mediator pushed him for an answer. I said that I wanted XH to tell me what he wanted, as he was refusing anything that I had suggested.

The mediators will not allow either of you to be aggressive, or upset, and they will call a break or even a halt to the proceedings if they feel it is necessary. If no other professional bodies are concerned about your DD, then your XH doesnt have anything to back him up.

Regarding distance, my XH moved 20 miles away, around a 30 minute drive, then was repeatedly late picking DD up as he wasn't allowing any time for holdups etc. He then complained that it was a "shit road" to get to where I lived. (the same place that he had lived for 10 years, by his own choice....).

If you remain calm in mediation, get him to state his case, answer whatever he has to say, the mediators will help you to get through it. They are not allowed to "take sides" but they are only human and can quite easily work out for themselves if somebody is being unreasonable.

My XH now has DD every other weekend and rarely sees her during the week as he is "too busy".

Spero Wed 06-Feb-13 08:09:47

I think men like that probably know on some level they behave appallingly, but in my experience it is vanishingly rare that they will admit it publicly or ever do anything to change. The more usual path is to continue to justify their behaviour and rewrite history to portray themselves as the nice, reasonable one.

My ex for eg asked me what on earth was my problem, given he had never hit me or been sexually unfaithful. He either buried very deeply any memory of his verbal cruelty and aggression, or he thinks this is normal and acceptable behaviour. After 5 years I am trying to accept that he will not change and I will never get the validation I crave. Don't waste as much time as I have!

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 01:53:07

Slowly, for what it's worth, you write very clearly, calmly and intelligently. I'm sorry all of this is happening, but I hope you can hear us all and take some faith from it that you will present as an excellent parent.

And I'm seconding whoever said, above, that your ex has just written a long essay arguing exactly why he can't have mid-week contact. Are you happy to change the arrangements to continue with the same number of weekends as currently, but cancel the mid-weeks? Because that would be a fair compromise, wouldn't it? It would allay his concerns over the whole, dreadful, traumatic, fourteen mile half-hour journey that renders it impossible to have his daughter mid-week, and also preserve your quality time with her.

Of course, it'd also change his child support calculation...but since he's so incredibly worried about her mental and physical health being affected by the dreadful, epic, interminable car journey, that's a small price for him to pay, right?

sassy34264 Tue 05-Feb-13 23:43:29

Slowly I have had 10 years of courts. Had my hopefully last experience last thurs.

The last cafcass officer asked for the contact order to be scrapped and for my dd1 to decide if she wants to see him or not, and recommended that an imposed ban for 2 years was put in place to stop exdp from taking me to court in the meantime.

Less than 2 months later we are back in court..........because he appealed!!!!!

It got rejected <blows raspberry>

Long story short, my exdp has a personality disorder, not officially diagnosed, but he ticks all the boxes. He has written some awful things about me in his numerous statements. One eg, that i was a bad mother for sending our then 2 yr old to nursery when i started working. He wrote all about how tired she was, the bruises etc. Unbeknown to him, she was only their 6 weeks, before i packed the job in, due to his abusiveness. I just never bothered to tell him.

I ignore now. I have done for years. I don't even try to defend myself, and to my recollection, i have hardly ever been asked to defend my self. If they asked, i would tell my story. But half the time, i feel that it isn't even relevant to their decision.

Lots of people in my life and on here say, you must put your side of the story across, otherwise the judge has only his side, but his side is so warped, you would have to be clueless not to see it.

I say and write what i think is relevant to get what is in the best interests of my dd. If i answered all of his points, 1, it would give him the platform to express how shit i am, and 2, it would go on forever..........

I'm not saying don't address the horrible things that he says about you, i'm just saying, that the courts don't believe evrything they read, can see through bs (most of the time) and to recognise the difference between wanting to defend yourself, so they don't think bad of you, and wanting to defend yourself because it may affect the judge's view of you as a good mother.

Hope that makes sense. confused

It's late!

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 23:20:31

No, no epiphany for this type of text book narcissist im afraid. i left 6 years ago, and for a long time i neeeeeeded (as though it were the only antidote to my humiliation, time lost, low self worth) to hear him acknowledge that he'd treated me like an incompetent employee. i felt like i couldnt move on til he'd acknowledged dWHY i left, and said sorry.

not only has he never acknowledged that he treated me like a whipping boy never mind said sorry BUT only a few months ago he said to somebody " i "ll never forgive her, she broke up a family. i did nothing wrong". this was repeated straight back to me. my jaw fell open. i guess he"s forgotten the way he bullied me because it meant so little to him. so mundane. not the kind of thing you'd remember, like say, changing the car.

so PLease dont wait for his epiphany. wait instead for the day when you couldnt give a fuck if he eats his epiphany with humble pie.

AnyFucker Tue 05-Feb-13 22:32:27

Don't count on it..people like this never cop on to themselves

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 22:30:39

Thanks both for sharing, god I wonder if there is ever a moment, an epiphany when men like these accept that they have been truly foul:/. I'm guessing that kind of introspection only comes to normal people.

Thanks again. I'm going to read this thread through again and take it with me to the session. grin

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 19:31:36

I know exactly what you mean. my x used to talj to me with such contempt and cruelty .. nobody with any self awarenezs at all could have been so needlessly cruel to a stranger never mind to the mother of their children... and simultaneously considered themself superior! o_O my x also used to follow me around the house screaming insults at me, and yet, he believed that was reasonable normal behaviour :-|

one of the ones i remember is "you are too fucking stupid to cook a ready meal". that is because i added broccoli to it. i knew he was the freak not only because he behaved like one but also because he thought i was chaotic pathetic mess. like you, i was also told i was a terrible mother. even while he slept through the night and i was getti.g up in the night for two under two.

Spero Tue 05-Feb-13 18:08:08

You explain yourself very clearly and very well. I too was criticised for being a 'mess' when I had a small baby and was overwhelmed. It is difficult looking back now to understand why I didn't just smile sweetly and then change the locks whilst he was out. But these men can work on us when we are vulnerable. What they are rubbish at is working their dark arts on jaded and cynical professionals who have seen it all before. They need a vulnerable victim.

As AF says, once they meet resistance, they crumble.

Good luck, deep breath, be strong. He is a tit but he is the only father your daughter will have and she does need to know him, warts and all. Hopefully he will calm down after this is finished and put his energies into being a good dad to her, rather than a thorn in your side.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 17:59:25

Thanks everyone. The mediator and I had a chat on the phone and I told her I was nervous of him. She asked me to rate my fear from 1-10 and I said 3. It isnt a direct fear of him if that makes any sense, its a fear of his words - because almost any time we talk the most crushing things come out of his mouth. When we were splitting up and dd was only a tiny baby, he used to follow me around the house calling me a 'mess' because I was crying and devastated that we were ending. He has wished me ill so many times I can't tell you. :/

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 17:58:20

Ps. on phone here so apilogies for multiple short pists, but when u say u dobt want to be too involved i hear you. i think it would be perfectly ok to say that whilst you dont want to be constantly at loggerheads you dont want to re-establish contact and have more communication with an x. i think that sounds reasobable, if he is trying to paint u as unreasonable for not wanting to get sucked back into a drama... say that you would like a fair arrangement that you can both agree to, that would remove the potential for stressful ongoing endless negotiation. that position is not unreasonable, it's not intransigent.... it's just the reasonable position of a mother happy to compromise but not seeking out more discussion with an x. practise statements before you go in. if he starts slagging you off try not to get sucked in... Bon courage x

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 17:56:29

Ps. on phone here so apilogies for multiple short pists, but when u say u dobt want to be too involved i hear you. i think it would be perfectly ok to say that whilst you dont want to be constantly at loggerheads you dont want to re-establish contact and have more communication with an x. i think that sounds reasobable, if he is trying to paint u as unreasonable for not wanting to get sucked back into a drama... say that you would like a fair arrangement that you can both agree to, that would remove the potential for stressful ongoing endless negotiation. that position is not unreasonable, it's not intransigent.... it's just the reasonable position of a mother happy to compromise but not seeking out more discussion with an x. practise statements before you go in. if he starts slagging you off try not to get sucked in... Bon courage x

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 17:47:39

And be reassured that his opinion of you is nowhere near as relevant as he thinks it is!!

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 17:42:36

He is abusive i agree. if he cant control you now that you're his x he will use the system to control u.

it will be very hard i know but condense what you've told us here. repeat that he gave you 24 hours to agree to something and you felt railroaded. then this arrived on your doormat. i feel for you. my x called the police on me once. he ended up looking like a fool tho as he'd clearly used the police to give me a telling off and after they'd spoken to me they went back to him.....

AnyFucker Tue 05-Feb-13 17:38:39

oh, and it isn't you, it is him

I believe you

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now