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Abusive Husband is manipulating my daughter and my relationship with her. Feeling helpless.

(80 Posts)
PenelopePitstop72 Thu 02-May-13 23:01:01

My husband and i have been apart for 5 months. He was verbally and psychologically abusive. We were together 12 years and finally i asked him to leave. Took oodles of strength to do so.

He is now trying to manipulate and influence my eldest daughter who is 19. Despite having a very poor relationship with her when we were together he now tries to be her best friend, lending money etc. last night, when he was visiting, i overheardhim in her room making small talk and then suddenly declaring " we need to make a secret codeword, so that when i talk to your mum downstairs, i can text you the codeword and you can come down and rescue me from her rant. " i was pretty stunned to hear him say such a thing, to our dd. but not entirley surprising. Even worse, i'm not even a ranter that he would need rescuing from. How far from the truth! I went into the room and called him on it, calmly. He said it was a joke, and then accused me of causing an awkward atmosphere, so i walked away, determined not to make a scene. When he left, he failed to see the wrong in what he did. Kept saying it was a joke. How ridiculous!

anyway, it hurt me immensely as i felt he was damaging my relationship with dd, teaching her to gang up on me, and that im some unreasonable person that he needs rescuing from. she has little respect for me as it is at the moment since we split. this is not the first time he has behaved stupidly with her. recently, he told dd against my wishes that he took a girlfriend a few months ago. id barely digested the news myself, when he drove 20 miles to dd's uni, and took her out to dinner just to tell her the news. She told me after that meeting "why would dad having a girlfriend hurt you, you asked him to leave!" . How niave of her, but forgiveable based on her young years and his ability to sell a story. She's even commented recently making fun of me going to Womens Aid and having a counsellor. Its weird, because she witnessed and experienced his worst abuse for herself with name calling, invading privacy and withholding stuff. But its like the slate is wiped clean. Of course, i want her to still see him and have the best relationship possible with him. I just wasnt prepared for her siding with him, at least on the face of it. Maybe she's angry at me? Im not sure.

So, I'm just wondering what strategies i can follow to limit his negative and destructive influence on our dd. we have a 5 year old dd too. Im worried he will begin picking our relationship apart too soon. He had no problem with saying nasty things in frnt of her when we were together. I guess i was naive to think that getting him out my house, would stop his behaviour impacting us. Any suggestions gladly received on how to handle him in the way that causes least conflict but limits his influence and ability to damage/hurt me and girls please? Thanks in advance. X

Samebod Mon 06-May-13 18:39:18

Agree with hecsy,everything is to do with control and his narcissism.

You have to stand firm and stick to it,don't let him win over you because you feel he will paint you to be the bad one (you left him right? It's all your fault .mummy left me ME? It will always be about him !) you are the stable,reliable parent here,hes lost you and is losing his control hence him getting to you daughter and playing mr nice guy-she'll see through it,he can't keep up the pretence forever,its just to get back at you and hurt you.

Really feel for you as it makes you feel like you are going batshit crazy but hold in there.

Get an appointment with a solicitor ASAP.

Springdiva Mon 06-May-13 18:42:23

Well if he insists on drama he will do drama whether you or the girls are around or not.

Can you say to DDs in his presence, 'we are separating for good so I think it's time we moved on, DH, and both of us need to start our new lives and leave all the differences from the past behind, so from now on you must not come to the house but instead the girls will just go to you' . And you need to be seen to be moving on which it doesn't sound like you are now, your life seems to be busy accommodating him.

flippinada Mon 06-May-13 19:03:13

I agree entirely that this is a control mechanism, an excuse to keep coming around.

He is pushing and pushing to see whether you will stand up to him or not, no doubt deliberately leaving you in fear of the consequences of what he "might" do if you "disobey" him. And if you keep saying...well just this time...just this once...he will keep doing it.

I would pay someone to clear the loft. Don't have anything of his in the house, that gives him no excuse to come round.

PenelopePitstop72 Mon 06-May-13 22:05:45

springdiva, my eldest dd chose to go to uni in our city. She is a bit of a homebird really. Last twice she went abroad on holiday she became very home sick and phoned constantly, wanting to come home. Additionally, I had to work so hard just to get DH to agree to us providing her with a monthly travel ticket, because he felt we should not be paying it for her. And boy, every month, did he go on about paying it. so Paying for her digs away at uni, would not have been an option, for that reason. And she only has a 10 hour/week job to support herself. Her boyfriend is not at uni. He works.

Its amazing thinking back. Several times i sat him down with her present , to discuss that his beahviours were impacting her so negatively and because she felt so low that he made her feel like a burden, especially financially, as he moaned about any new clothes ( not that i bought her much, just necessities, and she treated herself to luxuries). I felt like such a lousy parent that he had go to her in this way. She would explain to him in her words how she felt, and she would cry. But his excuse was always, he felt resentful because she didnt do enough in the house, and was always take, take take, in his eyes! No worse than the average teen, i'd say. At times, he would say he would do his best to improve, but it never stopped. God, i was so afraid of spending money on her such as doing stuff like her peers got, like buying her a gift to celebrate passing her exams and getting into uni. I got her nothing. That makes me feel so shitty, even now, nearly 3 years later. She also never got her 18th birthday gift (batch of driving lessons) and was told these would come once winter was passed. I got her a token gift at the time. Shes still never had them. Mind you, shes not asked much. I think she knew beter. I am encouraging her and trying to sort them out for her now.

But he was also equally capable of showering her with attention when he wanted to making her laugh with his wonderful wit and humour. Taking her to cinema or football matches. To be honest, i think she craved these moments. It was like oxygen. She had the chance to feel just like her frineds did. But he would then behave like a shit , in a heartbeat. I think the poor girl was as confused and lost as me for so many years.

And now he's gone, he's lent her lots of money, when she asks?!? He still moans about it to me, behind her back though!! And he talks to her like a best friend more than a parent.

Its so ironic she turns to him now a lot of the time....

PenelopePitstop72 Mon 06-May-13 22:18:37

And actaully, i think he could keep up the pretence of Mr Nice Guy for a very very long while. He is such a charming, witty and popular man outwith these 4 walls. He's a very successful professional at work and even volunteers for a charity. And, also within these 4 walls, he was and still can be a very nice man at times too. Thats why it was/is so tough. i was up... i was down...i was up etc.... So many people have been completely shocked at our split, because the facade was perfect. And my sisters husband is still very good friends with him and despite being told what went on during our marraige, he remains under the spell. So the pretence will contine. He is fiercely protective of his perfect image!! He has even lost lots of weight since last summer (a very concerted effort including obsessively counting every single calorie to the point) and he laughs at the fact that people are assuming this is all down to him having to move out his home and lose his family in the process. People think he's a broken man and i'm an unreasonable bitch. But i try not to worry about what is out of my control. But in short, my epectation is managed that Mr Nice Guy is here to stay as far as eldest dd is concerned.

PenelopePitstop72 Mon 06-May-13 22:48:14

Im feeling really crappy right now. He visited. Took what he wanted from loft. Was incredibly nice during entire visit - oh hang on, no, he turned into Mr .nasty when i asked if he could hand down Youngest dds summer bag of clothes/ shoes and he could not find it because i told him the wrong colour of box. Nothing major though. He put littlest dd to bed, calmly. He asked me to make a coffee for him coming down, i said no. He came down and asked for a coffee again, and thiught we should chat to be friendly and i stood firm and said no.

I felt like such a shit. But i calmly told him that i feel his midweek visits into house should stop. I provided all the lines about it beig what i want, amd whats best for DDs. But he was aghast. He said i was being petty. It was not best for girls etc. and eventually he said he knows its just me that wants it so i should not pretend to dress it up otherwise. I told him the alternative options. He told me he would not argue (this was a calm discussion and there was no sign of argument) but we would discuss it at another time. He was very firm. I told him there was nothing to discuss. But he wasnt listening by then. He reminded me the house was still his and until it was in my name, he could entner the house. He calmly left and was looking very sorry for himself.

i know i must stand firm that this is the way forwrad

Im full of self doubt right now. Thinking he's not as bad as all that because tonight i saw the side of him that is decent and this results in me feeling like im making an unnessary problem. Starting to blame myself again and think i am blowing stuff way out of proportion. All the usual stuff that ive become so good at. Im annoyed at myself for feeling that way too.

And then i remind myself what he said during the week to eldest DD, and that i think he was reading my email last week as i accidentally left my Ipad down and when i opened it, it was open at my mail app with an email showing that id got from a friend discussing him. I know i didnt leave my mail on display like that. So ive put a pin locked On it. But tonight funnily enough i had it in a drawer, with the lock n, but again, it was open at mail when i unlocked it. Im not 100% if its him though, but cant explain otherwise. He is an IT genius. Has a history of abusing my and eldest DDs privacy via laptop, phone, ipad. So its more than likely....

This is not easy. After 6 months, its still very hard and im still navigating the pitfalls. but now i hate myself for not being strong enough before to keep him out the house.

im embarassed about my weakness and choosing the easy option up to now of having him in the house where i can keep an eye on him, it must sound so frustrating to listen to me going on about his issues and then be upset when he misbehaves. And actually, i really dont want my youngest DD to spend another night away. The thought of that hurts. But then again, ive got this far...

Sorry to be so pathetic.

PenelopePitstop72 Mon 06-May-13 22:51:59

Ps. Im gettign a loft ladder put in soon and will see what help i can muster to get it tidied out. So i should be more self succient soon. Mind you, arachnaphobia is a very good friend of mine. So im not quite sure how its going to work really with me having loft access.. Perhaps i'll put on a diving suit and venture up there! LOL

Springdiva Tue 07-May-13 03:33:37

I don't think you were weak allowing him in the house, it was what seemed the best option.

Poor DD, everyone wants their DF to be 'normal' and caring and believes that it's only them that has the angry/ drunk/ unreasonable parent and everyone else's is loving and kind. But that absolutely isn't the case.

I'd be surprised if everyone really believes your DH is charming and delightful, it's more likely that they are a bit wary of him but no one wants to get involved with other people's problems,so they just go with the flow, if he wants to act mister niceguy then that's fine by them.

This She would explain to him in her words how she felt, and she would cry. But his excuse was always, he felt resentful because she didnt do enough in the house, and was always take, take take, in his eyes makes him sound cruel. This is not normal behaviour, it's some sort of controlling thing he's got going.

DD could do with some support and guidance, or even reading books on being a teen so that she has some reference to normal behaviour. You could really do with someone from outwith the family to help you and DD, is there a family member or GP to give some support.

Keep firm in you moves to stop him visiting your house. Check with a lawyer whether he can come any time if he is the owner. I don't think it's that simple.

flippinada Tue 07-May-13 07:18:00

You're not pathetic for letting him in the.house - if you've been with him for (I'm guessing) a few years then it will take more than 6 months to "unlearn" all the training and manipulation he's subjected you to.
I may have missed this but have you had some legal advice? That may help you feel more confident.

Also Women's Aid may be helpful in recommend a family law specialist and giving you support if that's an option you haven't explored yet.

CabbageLeaves Tue 07-May-13 07:42:48

OP. I've been in your situation and it was heartbreaking. I felt utterly confused that DD 'turned' on me. Bottom line is he is using her to get to you.

You need boundaries for all 3 of you.

My DD was confused and loved both but didn't feel she could have both. She felt she had to choose so she picked her Dad because he seemed like the victim ( not in the family home, seems more vulnerable to her and also aware her relationship with him is less secure than with me ...she couldnt risk alienating him because he wouldn't tolerate it but I will always be there for her)

I had to stop giving her the truth about him because it drove her away forcing her to choose (my boundary of keeping my relationship history and perspective to myself). You do not need to justify your decision to leave. (My daughter told me at one point that his physical violence was justified...a very low point but her speaking the excuses she had been given) Don't get dragged into justifying. Until he has lost his spell over her it's wasted breath

She has to stop getting involved in the breakup (her boundary). Hard when two parties are both fighting over her.

Stop him coming around. Stop providing him with a stage to play lovely dad (irritating you and making you out to be the problem and not him). This is a boundary you need to enforce.

He will start using her to enforce his chosen lack of boundaries on you. I.e. getting her to say you are being difficult if you don't do x y z. Stand firm. She is crossing a boundary here by trying to intervene in your relationship.

He will eventually get bored of playing loving dad if it provide him with the joy of seeing the effect on you and he will revert to shit dad and your DD will suddenly see him as she used to.

My DD went through a very strong reaction to our divorce siding with her Dad and nasty nasty nasty to me (including the remark about him hitting me didn't surprise her because I deserved it). I was desperate and could see no way forward.

I offered counselling which she accepted and it helped her. We did a joint session and it wasn't a miracle cure but it paved the way back. She's now a rational loving DD with a good insight into his behaviour at that time. She also knows she can have both of us in her life -interestingly her relationship with him has dwindled -at one point, her very distressed because she actively didn't wish to see him because she'd suddenly had a revelation about his behaviour. I never ever intervened or reinforced this. We have a very adult relationship and can discuss it all without hurt or recriminations.

onefewernow Tue 07-May-13 08:04:32

Check who has the administrator rights on your laptop, OP. whoever has it can override the password.

It can be changed, but you may need a new broadband provider?

PenelopePitstop72 Tue 07-May-13 13:35:36

I was with him 12 years. And eldest DD, the same , she was 7 when i met DH (born during a previous relationship with another abusive man and he failed to keep in touch). so i/we have been exposed to this stuuff with DH a long while.

WA has offered to see her and provided literature. She wasn't interested.but i left the door open to her. And she has been critical of me going to them. but Maybe i will remind her off the opportunity.

I saw one lawyer, recommended by WA, but she was not interested in me, just her opportunity to get Legal Aid which she kept going on about, despite me explaining why i wouldn't get it. I got a very bad vibe. It scared me off a bit and ive Stuck my head in ground. I have 2 recommendations to follow up on, but think im putting off knowing the can of worms it could kick off with him. DH just wants me to settle and agree between us an amount on house equity and split. He even has suggested he's due more as house was valued on Zoopla at Higher value in November last year when he left.

I must make myself a to do list of things to accomplish and plan it out. Im so overwhelmed at times. And actually just living in relative peace day to day is a comfortable place to be. But it can't go on forever. I realise that. Andi must confront the legailites.

Thank you again all, for the advice and supportive comments.

PenelopePitstop72 Tue 07-May-13 13:44:19

onefewernow DH set up all the IT equipment in my home, including this phone, iPad, daughters laptop, my laptop, broadband, WiFi etc. Its his line of work. IT security is his work. Its never been a comfortable thought when I realised that he was monitoring things, even updated my diary on occasions, changing entries to "I love my wonderful husband " etc. He thought jt funny. I didn't. So he had a lot of.power to see/check. If he's out my house, it should get better.

Springdiva Tue 07-May-13 14:39:06

This is the mumsnet thread on geeky stuff
www.mumsnet.com/Talk/geeky_stuff

Someone there might be able to tell you how to protect your laptop etc but explain that DH is expert also I would nip out and buy a new phone with a new provider to use to contact solicitor etc and not tell DD the number.

With wifi you can get online if you are within the area eg outside in the street, if you know the pin.

And get some advice about finances what he says about house value sounds bollocks but you need to speak to a lawyer.

Samebod Tue 07-May-13 16:22:10

Agree with the new phone,he's no doubt set up the apple systems to locate you whilst out minding your own business.
My ex set up spyware on comp and tried to every avenue to trace my movements online.
Please go back to a solicitor that specialises in family law.

Its a utterly awful way to live <relates entirely>

Samebod Tue 07-May-13 16:24:53

Ps.even if he is out of the house if he knows passwords to YOUR email/forums accounts/social media he can still access them.

onefewernow Tue 07-May-13 16:51:38

Yes, with the phone, get your own contract. If the phone is still under a contract then ring the provider and change everything. If he is the account holder you will need a new one.

Re the laptop, simply get the administrator changed to you and change the Internet provider, unless by a call to them you can change the security.

It's seems fairly likely he is monitoring you. Ask geeky stuff for advice, for sure.

flippinada Tue 07-May-13 17:54:59

Sorry..I just realised I suggested going to WA and you have already been. Apologies if it sounded like I wasn't listening.

flippinada Tue 07-May-13 17:56:47

I second the advice about getting a new phone. Don't change your number, just keep the old one for emergencies.

It's really creepy to think he's monitoring your IT use... the creepy controlling shitbag that he is angry .

PenelopePitstop72 Tue 07-May-13 21:50:56

I cant be 100% sure he's monitoring it. I just know what he did when we were together both to me and dd. and when strange stuff with the Ipad happens and theres no explanation why, i make the connection, but i could be wrong. He strenuously denied it the last time i accused him but that was when we were together. I think he's very opportunistic. I cant imagine that he is still interested in me in that way. He has had a girl friend (and broken up after 7 weeks dating) since we split, and to this day, shows no inclination to want back. So i may be casting aspersions about his ongoing monitoring, for which i feel rotten.

Im a Christian, and it doesnt fill me with pride that im talking about this man behind his back. Infact reading it all back, it apears like a character assassination. And i really dont mean it to be so. I have to remind myself that these are the black and white facts of my life. He is always telling me i paint the blackest picture of him to my friends/family since we split.im beginnging to believe it.

Last year i kept a diary, to remind me of all the bad stuff he did. my memory plays tricks and i forget events and details otherwise. Think it is well and truly time for that again.

flippinada Tue 07-May-13 22:14:31

You really, really need to stop having any conversations at all with this man about anything at all except practicalities. He's launching bits of conversational bait to see if you will bite (please excuse the overworked metaphor).

Andwhen your do have contact, limit it, as far as possible, to the written word; by which I mean letters or emails. I do this with my ex so I have evidence.

He's either out of your life or he's not...never mind any girlfriends, they aren't important.

Right now he is sensing your ambivalence, using your good nature against you and jumping right in there.

Now I'm not religious but if being Christian is right for you then it's not for me to say otherwise - especially if it gives you some comfort in difficult times.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be very aware of someone's faults. Why are you even defending him when he has tagged you and your daughter so terribly? You have nothing to feel guilty for.

I'm not saying this in an accusing way, but to give you some food for thought.

flippinada Tue 07-May-13 22:15:24

treated, not tagged - sorry.

PenelopePitstop72 Tue 07-May-13 22:37:47

Flippinada I only mentioned girl friend thing as a way of showing that i think he has moved on from wanting me. Once i got over initial shock, it didnt bother me and certainly doesnt now.

I have reduced conversations to just the essential ones surrounding DD arrangements. I dont engage in small talk. I am becoming more matter of fact and business like.

Im not attempting to defend him. Im just trying to be honest about the occasions where i am not 100% sure that what im surmising is correct. My goodness, id never defend the way he has treated us all.

He's drummed into me over years that its wrong to share what goes on within our marraige and tells me that i exaggerate and change stories to suit myself. I guess theres still a part of me that struggles with not listening to the voices of doubt his accusations put into my head.

flippinada Tue 07-May-13 22:42:41

I understand - I'm conscious of trying not to post things in a way that might seem aggressive or blamey so apologies off I can't across that way.

I really do know what it's like with these men, honestly I do, they can have you thinking black is white and water is dry etc. Devious bastards!

You're not wrong to talk about these things with others. Keep sharing.

flippinada Tue 07-May-13 22:43:30

"if I came across" , on phone, sorry for typos.

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