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Separating from controlling H... who is stalling about telling the dcs

(58 Posts)
CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 20-Mar-13 03:58:11

Thanks in large part to the support and patience of some wonderful people on MN, I am coming to terms with the fact that my H of over ten years is EA. And probably narcissistic, too or a good liar or perhaps I'm just gullible: he doesn't seem to have any empathy, or internal self, or memory of the nastiest things he has said.

Anyway, ten days ago I told him that I want us to separate. After initial shock and upset, and a few days away to start processing, he has come back and is drowning me in words. On the surface, he is accepting it and very, very reasonable, but (thanks to my MN training!) I'm suspicious. Already he has got me talking for hours about the things that he did - and 24 hours later, the justifications and rewriting of history have begun. Did me no good, in any case: he still "doesn't understand," although he is "broken" and "devastated" that he has unintentionally hurt me... (Part of me does feel guilty for my suspiciousness!)

And (to get to the most immediate problem) he still seem to be trying to control the process in his usual ways. From being almost totally uninvolved with the dcs, he has morphed into Superdad and wants to stay at home looking after them while I go back to work. Or split the care 50:50 at least and both not work, since I don't want to return to work for another year. He is more likely than not to lose his job in around two months and is unlikely to find another one round here, so is talking about how I hold all the cards - if I refuse to move, he can't find work, because he has to stay near to see the dcs regularly.

Because of all this uncertainty in the future, and his inability to understand why I've made the decision to separate, he doesn't want us to tell the dcs yet (he naturally wants us to tell them together). Maybe, despite his hope that we can do all this amicably and informally suits him, I need to get myself a solicitor.

I'm starting to wonder if I should just tell the dcs myself when he's away next week - is this a really bad idea?

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 20-Mar-13 04:34:20

Well done you, Charlotte! You don't know me, but I've been following your posts a bit (& on other posters' threads) and I'm so pleased for you.

Get a solicitor. Of course you can't split amicably and informally from an EA narcissist. That's your old desire to believe that just as long as you're reasonable, he'll be reasonable, speaking. Get a sol.

Now, how old are the children? And you're currently a SAHP? What do you want to happen in terms of custody and access? Are you hoping to go back to working fulltime?

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 20-Mar-13 04:46:37

Thanks, Tortoise!

The dcs are 9 (oldest) to 3 (youngest). I'm currently a SAHP, yes, and was hoping to be at home for one more year until the youngest is in school full time. Then would like to return to work, which in my line of work means full time, as there is almost nothing else available.

I was expecting him to continue as normal, seeing the dcs occasionally as and when it suited him and fitted into his other commitments. He has not been a great dad up to now: will spend maybe 5 minutes a day with them despite working from home - always too busy to be involved reliably in bedtime, for example. And will often tell them to think of his needs rather than engage with theirs. And he has no appreciation of routine for them and has been rather scathing of my insistence on it in the past. So I'd rather he didn't spend a huge amount of time with them, although this new Superdad would be welcome if he doesn't disappear as quickly as he arrived. I definitely definitely want them to live with me.

snowshapes Wed 20-Mar-13 06:35:47

I don't think seeing a solicitor means you have to be adversarial, but it does mean you are informed of your legal rights and can make informed decisions. It also means you have clear lines in your head about what is acceptable and where you stand when he tries to drown you in verbiage.
Look for one experienced in family law with testimonials and a decent website which shows you what they offer and also Resolution, I think it is, if you are in England. He does not need to know you have consulted a solicitor, but, as he is making unreasonable demands and is controlling and manipulative, you need an experienced professional on side.

snowshapes Wed 20-Mar-13 06:36:35

Sorry, meant to say look on Resolution.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Mar-13 06:43:02

Makes perfect sense that a controlling man, given that he's lost the game, wants to control the exit, the information and the children at the same time. The challenge for you is to take the initiative, take the lead and not allow his tricks to cause problems.

Second the ideas to get legal advice about what you do with the house, other assets or access and would extend it to other practical advice... mostly financial but also thinking about ways to increase your indepedence such as child-care arrangements so that you can get back into employment sooner rather than later

Can you make him leave?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Mar-13 06:46:08

BTW.... do you have any RL support from family and friends? I think you should probably hold off telling the DCs until he's actually going but use the week he is away to pack his stuff, do your research and make his exit too difficult for him to turn down.

Moanranger Wed 20-Mar-13 06:52:45

I am in early stages of splitting up, so I kind of recognise your H's behaviour. Speak to a solicitor & get a good understanding of the process. Then when your STBXH comes up with all these weird & wonderful ideas, such as DIY divorce - which is what mine did - you will know how to respond. Know your rights & the facts & stand firm. When the DW calls it a day, the control- freakery really comes out, so be on guard. Personally, I would tell DCs so they get the right story. Good luck.

Anniegetyourgun Wed 20-Mar-13 07:03:33

Yes, absolutely get a solicitor. Interview two or three and find one you are comfortable with. You want one who knows their stuff and is 100% on your side, you, the paying customer. They do not need to be aggressive, indeed that causes more trouble and expense than necessary, but they do need to be firm. They will be representing you against a man who is up to any dirty trick in the Fuckwit's Handbook; but fortunately, unlike you, will have no emotional investment in the proceedings. They will be able to tell you what the law says, not your H's interpretation of what the law says, not what he thinks it ought to say, but The Facts. This is invaluable when you start to doubt your own sanity.

Like the man said, it's the art of walking softly while carrying a big stick.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 20-Mar-13 07:30:11

I shall speak to my WA contact about it when I see her tomorrow.

Don't know how I'm going to pay for it, though, especially if he's not going to work and therefore contribute any maintenance. Any ideas? I'm not eligible for Legal Aid, CAB said, because we own a house together that's rented out, so have significant (if inaccessible) savings.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 20-Mar-13 07:32:49

He won't leave till the end of June, he says. He'll be away a lot of that time, though, on business. So I can count him as having left. Again, so he says...

Unfortunately, in a week we are off on a pre-planned family holiday to see family across the world from us. I have to go to be there for the dcs and they have to go because it would be really unkind of me to deprive them of that chance to see beloved family. It's going to involve lots more horrible but on-the-surface-pleasant conversations, I'm sure.

jenny99 Wed 20-Mar-13 07:52:39

Hi....it is a very hard situation. I am in a similar one, told my H I want to separate over half term and he still can't accept it and doesn't want to tell the kids and won't make plans. I am a sahm and have been for 15 yrs. I'm actually not quite sure what to do now...in 2.5 weeks my eldest ds goes on a school trip for a week so I don't want to rock the boat for him now so soon to that and to being away from us...I had hoped to get the ball rolling end Feb!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Mar-13 07:52:54

"He won't leave till the end of June, he says"

You'll have to force the pace here. Use the opportunity of the holiday to prepare the ground that 'when we get back, you're leaving'. It will mean a lot of unpleasant conversations but you can't afford to be pleasant, even 'on the surface', even if it means other people pick up that there's a problem.

In the meantime, make his life less comfortable.... anything you currently do for him just stop doing it. He sleeps on the sofa, washes his own dishes.... whatever. Mentally designate him as being outside of the family and treat him accordingly.

sassy34264 Wed 20-Mar-13 07:57:55

Hi. Not read any of y our previous threads (sorry)

Was just wondering why you need to have deep and meaningful conversations with him?

I would be inclined to say, that as far as you are concerned you are separated and you do not wish to dissect/analyse what went wrong, as you are not trying to fix it. Tell him you will talk about the dc's, what's for lunch, etc but you do not want to continue with the conversations about your relationship, as there is no longer one.

I found that to deal with personality disorders you really need to dis engage. Any attempt to get them to see your point of view, feelings etc, is wasted breath.

Mantras help.

I'm not prepared to discuss it.

This is no longer relevant.

If it isn't about the dc's i've got nothing to say.

Do not fall for any manipulative techniques he will try to use to get you to talk. He will probably randomly try, sympathy, guilt, anger, reasonablness to get through to you.

Stick with the mantras.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 20-Mar-13 09:42:46

Yes, you're probably all right. I guess I'm just doing the normal thing of waiting for him to set the agenda. But also trying to keep things feeling normal so that the dcs don't question it and force the issue of telling them.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 20-Mar-13 09:48:37

There will be lots of discussion about it during this holiday, as we're visiting his siblings.

We'll also have separate beds.

I have to tell them what's going on before the holiday, don't I?

Even if he's not around to "tell them with me" (whatever that means, as he doesn't get why I'm doing it).

Wtf am I going to tell them, though? Everything is so uncertain.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Mar-13 09:56:26

You tell them that Mum & Dad are not happy together any more so Dad's going to be living somewhere else. You make it really plain that it's nothing they have done or said, their lives won't change negatively, they'll go to the same school and have the same friends, they'll be able to see and talk to Dad as much as ever, it'll be fun to have two bedrooms .... whatever it takes to make this sound like a positive thing. They are bound to be upset and they'll have questions which you must answer as honestly as you are able.

But you have to be certain about what's going to happen next. No ambivalence because telling the kids is a bridge-burning moment and you can't do it unless you're 100% sure that he's out of there.

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 20-Mar-13 10:30:13

Which takes us back to seeing the solicitor! He's now saying again that he should stay with the dcs. Or we should all move somewhere new. Argh!!

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 20-Mar-13 10:32:28

Is it really chiefly me making the decisions about how it'll be? It feels like it (and he says it is!) - isn't that unfair?

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 20-Mar-13 10:37:51

It's your life, of course you make the decisions. Who else should do that? Him? Do you think he makes the best decisions for you?... hmm

It is not 'unfair', when you are presented with an uncooperative person that isn't taking you seriously, to take the initiative. It is necessary.

sassy34264 Wed 20-Mar-13 11:17:38

But you're not making the decisions. You suggest something and he convinces you to make an alternative. confused

You don't sound 100 % convinced you want to split.

If you want to split, then he can't control that.

He is stalling for time, to convince you to stay in the status quo.

If it was me, i would tell him the kids are being told on such a date and the relatives are being told on such a date. Then it is up to him if he wants to be there or not.

You are wavering too much. He can smell it, i'm afraid.

jenny99 Wed 20-Mar-13 12:01:25

I like the idea about setting a date...my husband was stalling and kept saying we will tell our parents and he didnt so I just told mine anyway. Then he told his. I will set a date then to tell the kids. But how do we decide what happens next?....

OP does your OH want to all move somewhere new to improve things?

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 20-Mar-13 12:40:56

I'm 100% convinced I want to split. At least, when he's not in the house I am. When he's here, he muddles me. I hate him. I see the little things he's doing - rewriting history, making out this is all my fault, crying about how this could be devastating for one dd in particular (ironically, the one he treats worst - maybe the one he notices most). And yet, I'm hearing all his words, feeling the guilt, being told how well he has treated me, feeling my confidence sapping away.

I'm sorry - I am just dithering, I know. I'm talking fairly pointlessly, just because I can't get out to talk to other people irl till tomorrow and that seems too far away.

He wants to move so he can get a new job. The job he's got at the moment is a special deal where he can live here - there wouldn't be much chance of a new job round here, unfortunately. He really wants (for his career) to move overseas, so wants us to move too so he can still see the dcs. Not going to happen!

foolonthehill Wed 20-Mar-13 12:57:10

Hi C.

You know he won't make this easy, you know you cannot rely on him to either be or act reasonably. I am afraid as you have worked out who he is (and let's face it you've stayed with him for a long time!) you do have to be the one to go out and get the life you want/need/deserve. For you and for the DC. believe me there are plenty of things you won't be able to control or decide...best you make all the running that you can:

Legal advice
Dates and times for change
Where will you live
Where will DC go to school

You have to have your ducks in a row and do it, especially now you have told him (and if any one is lurking I would say it is better to get the practicalities sorted before talking to an abusive person...even if it feels mean) Remember he is not reasonable...he is emotionally abusive...he will not be reasonable. only you can make the process happen.

good luck

CharlotteCollinsismovingon Wed 20-Mar-13 13:13:29

Keep forgetting that - he is not reasonable! Thought I'd thought through the practicalities, just it turns out I had no idea how he'd be. I thought he'd be reasonable - that was my downfall!

He knows he doesn't have to move out, though. It's his home as much as it is mine. More in fact - his name on the deeds, not mine. I wish I could just tell him to go, but I can't.

Solicitors closed today but will make appointment tomorrow. Seeing WA woman tomorrow as well.

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