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Should I tell him? Warning, long.

(141 Posts)
McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 09:47:49

Ok, so name changed... I need to know how I deal with an oblivious XH who thinks he is the best father in the world. Sorry for the mammoth post, don't want to drip feed anything.

XH started a new job working abroad this year. He used to live 5 hours drive away, and this job is now based 4 hours away, but with regular trips abroad (sometimes for months at a time). He used to see the dcs every other weekend. But since the new job in 5 months he has only seen them 5 times. He hasn't actually been flown out anywhere yet, he just doesn't come up to see them anymore, and cancelled the every other weekend arrangement. I now occasionally get a text midweek saying "can I see them this weekend?" and bend over backwards to accommodate this.

Technically our access arrangements are now a week at school holidays if he wants them and I have offered two weeks (one week at a time) over the summer and then sporadic weekends when he has time.

He wanted a fortnight over the summer. But dc3 is about to turn 4 and givens feel that is just too long for her.

All 3dcs have suffered various emotional issues due to his behaviour before the break up, the break up, and new home etc.

We used to live where he was (5 hours away) but when he started talking about changing jobs we moved back home to where we are now (since I had no support or family up there and we were only in the area for his work). This has of course now been rewritten as "he had to change jobs because I stole the children away". Which is not true.

He never phones the children, occasionally texts the eldest (maybe twice a month), and in all honesty their relationship was strained with him already. Dc1 (14) stated yesterday that he didn't care about seeing his dad that much since dad had clearly chosen his job over them and always would sad not even said with bitterness, just matter-of-fact. Dc2 (8) wet the bed for the first time in months on thursday night - the night after I'd told him he was seeing his dad this weekend. And dc3 (nearly 4) Who is usually so independent becomes a clingy wreck in the days after a visit.

I do not slag him off to them. I reassure them that he loves them more than his work. But they clearly hurt, whether it's from missing him, or the change in routine, or something else I don't know. They are in such a good place when he's not involved. All the stresses, nervous twitches, bed wetting, clinginess, insecurity, sadness, just disappears and they are normal happy kids. I just want them to have a normal, stable relationship with him.

So, XH is now insisting he wants them longer in the summer (has stated that if he goes for a week and a half abroad he can get cheaper flights), but I've already stated that a week is long enough. He sent me about 50 texts yesterday demanding his "rights". I've said over and over that he can have them for longer, just not all in one go. I would even stretch to him having them for half the holiday as long as that was in one week periods.

He has not said anything about being out of the country for the whole time, just that he wants from this date to this date, no others, only one visit, only one holiday and why can't I do what's best for the dcs and let them go.

I've also said that next summer with dc3 being older a longer break would be fine. I've said he can take the eldest for longer.

I don't really want to get into a discussion about whether a week is not long enough, I know my dc3 and I know it's too much right now.

I have never told him all the emotional problems his actions trigger. He was Emotionally and Sexually Abusive in our marriage, and there were times that the dcs were scared of him, but his anger was directed at me not them, so I don't believe he's abusing them. He is a careless and thoughtless man, but dc1 is always there and watches the younger two like a hawk (much as I hate the responsibility, it reassures me).

He wants to know why I'm being such a selfish bitch and denying him acces to his children who need him so. I have told him my reasons (dc3 too young, they need stability etc) offered other times, but I have a horrible feeling he's just going to take them and not bring them back.

Should I tell him what his dcs really think and how they really react to him? I never have because he'll just tell me I'm a nasty bitch trying to drive a wedge between them. I don't see the point. But he doesn't see the damage and he can't accept he's anything less than a perfect parent. He doesn't see that reduced contact is a lot when you're small.

I've gone down the route of explaining. That hasn't worked. I'm now at the point of saying "you've had my answer, stop contacting me about this", and am getting constant texts. If I don't reply he says it's because I know I'm wrong. I've started replying with a copy and paste of "this has been discussed, the answer is no". He carries on. It's like being married to him again sad I feel stressed and nervous. I'm tempted to say "sod it, take me to court", please help me keep my dcs safe and happy. I want them to see him and have a good relationship with him, but I won't see them hurt.

laeiou Sun 07-Jul-13 23:13:19

Yes! He does not need to be obeyed. Anyone can see he's abusive and disinterested. Go ahead with formal, legally agreed access. It can only be for the best. Oh and keep the texts showing his harassment and the lack of concern abbot the sunburn. Anyone reasonable would be beating themselves up rather than excusing it.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 23:17:57

Thank you lae, I'm wheeling between anxiety and relief. Would it be best if I contact mediation or should I leave it to him?

laeiou Sun 07-Jul-13 23:18:26

Very sad that the eldest child would even question who's responsible for a younger child being burned.

OP, think of it this way, if any other caregiver behaved this way (child minder, teacher etc) would you think it's okay? He has you brainwashed.

Also I think that the children would be relieved if contact were formalised (reduced). The uncertainty and trying to fit in whenever ex deins it suits him can't be good for any of you.

Cocktailsorcakes Sun 07-Jul-13 23:19:01

You have so done the right thing for your kids!!

Formalised contact will cut down on your stress with dealing with him too.

Make sure the gp logs that they were at Ex's and under his care.

Be strong and trust yourself.

You are doing the right things, do not listen to his guilt talking.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 23:21:40

I know lae, the fact that he sees himself as more responsible than the adult in charge speaks volumes. He feels he has to look after his dad. Says he's got no social skills so needs him as a friend. It's all horribly role reversal and it sickens me.

I am brainwashed. I'm just exhausted by it.

laeiou Sun 07-Jul-13 23:21:55

I'd get the ball rolling yourself, take control.

Start with seeing dc2's gp, have a free session with a solicitor, a chat with women's aid or any other source of advice you can think of and take it from there. Don't let him call the shots. If he changes his mind about formalizing contact (once he's looked into the reality) go ahead yourself. You can.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 23:22:41

Thanks cocktail. Will do! smile

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 23:24:25

Thanks again lae, you're right it will be good to be the one taking the lead in all of this. I'll call everyone I can think of tomorrow. Anymore suggestions for helplines gratefully received.

laeiou Sun 07-Jul-13 23:25:00

I think that if you take control you'll feel so much better. The last shackles will fall.

Also I hope you all have a good night's sleep. Dc2 will need to drink extra water tomorrow too. I find aloe Vera gel good, and damp washcloths over the hot skin.

McNamechangey Sun 07-Jul-13 23:28:40

I'll give that a go.
I filled him full of water before bed (worst possible time), especially as he said he'd not had much to drink. I'm dreading having to take him into school in this state, poor little mite. Will have to ask the teacher to keep him out of the sun and cover him in lotion.

Dc1 has just been in saying he feels sick and has taken a bucket to bed.

What a mess.

Remember: He's a knob. Don't waste any more time hoping for him to be reasonable because he's a knob and he won't change. You do not need his permission or his co-operation to get the ball rolling re formalised access, and he will not just get his own way by shouting and stamping his feet.

my ex h took my kids off a friend of mine ( i had a long planned overseas trip which he had refused to take kids for,turned up and took them the day after I was out country). My kids are red heads. I came back 4 days later to a SEVERELY burnt dd and a very burnt ds. Ds was ok just needed soothing stuff but poor dd had second degree burns,poor kid had been like that for 3 days,he hadn't taken her to hospital or anything. I ended up in ER at 0230 after a 12 hour flight after I saw the weeping burst blisters on my 5 year olds back. His excuse was " well how was I to know",he was italian american and didn't believe his kids needed sunscreen so took 2 redheads to the beach for a whole day without.
He was at his mothers and she had backed him on this.

He didn't get the kids again for a long long time

PS DD is now 17,still has the scars 12 years later and NEVER goes to the beach

GeordieCherry Mon 08-Jul-13 05:11:58

Just from stuff I've read previously on MN; he doesn't have a 'right' to see them, the rights are that of a child to see his/ her parent. He has responsibilities as a parent

Hope all this gets resolved very soon. Think you're doing the right thing so far. Well done for being so strong thanks

McNamechangey Mon 08-Jul-13 07:04:08

Trout that is appalling! Thank god dc2 isn't that bad! Heartbreaking.

I do think he believes that any time he can give them is what is best for them. He doesn't see that his prolonged absence changes anything. He's even made comments about how it's clearly fine since they're still excited when they see him. He seems to completely lack empathy.

McNamechangey Mon 08-Jul-13 07:48:42

Oh and his parents were present. They don't believe in burns being an issue either.

McNamechangey Mon 08-Jul-13 15:15:17

Right, dc2 has been to the gp and I asked them to log that he was burnt and had been at his dad's. advice was the same as I already had. He told the doctor that they had put suntan lotion on him twice all day. And he was playing in the paddling pool so clearly wasn't reapplied. And he didn't have a hat on either.

Dc1 went into school with a splitting headache and feeling sick.

Dc3 after being shattered last night is the most awake and happy today. I got big cuddles. Her burn is only on her arms and is mild.

Next step call everyone (have been at work all day when not at gp).

laeiou Mon 08-Jul-13 15:22:19

It's good to hear that the DC haven't been seriously hurt. Keep the momentum going! Honestly, I think you'll be much better off for doing things formally. He'll be difficult in different ways but will now have to convince a mediator or solicitor to let him get everything he wants, and hopefully get some straight talking about how contact should work.

McNamechangey Mon 08-Jul-13 16:28:06

Thanks lae, momentum is continuing, I've booked an appointment with a solicitor for next week to discuss my options smile

What do I need to make sure I ask?

Isetan Mon 08-Jul-13 16:54:40

What an arse, you have my sympathies.

The only thing you can do with these types is having strong boundaries and covering your arse by documenting all their arsefuckery and your saint like behaviour. These men are all about their 'rights' and nothing about their responsibilities. I know it's hard to ignore them when they try to make us out to be the bad guys but you know it's bullshit, so no more cancelling activities when you have been more than accommodating.

I have been trying to get a regular contact schedule for DD since March 2012, I have insisted that this can only happen via a contact centre which has a compulsory mediation service attached (DD witnessed hiim assaulting me and he has seen her only 3 times in 3 years) but Ex has done nothing to initiate this. Occasionally I get the threat of being taken to court but this never materialises. Court would mean he would have to put his hand in his pocket and anyway, there is no way a judge would side with him because he has avoided (contact centre) the very thing that he wanted when I successfully petitioned for sole custody. I have a folder stuffed with emails and letters from my lawyer, child psychologist and SS which prove the effort I have put in trying to secure a place at a contact centre, just in case.

In his latest demand he wants to see DD 2 days a month and 1 week in the holidays, which is rather pathetic and if this ever gets resolved I will be pushing for more. My Ex also works abroad regularly and before he assaulted me would never commit to contact beyond two months when I would create and send an Excel spreadsheet, which he would agree to, and then promptly change at the last moment (accusing me of being inflexible).

My DD is six and If she ever sees her father again I will have to support her in managing her expectations of her father (not slag him off) but reassure her that his behaviour is no reflection on her and she is not responsible for his behaviour. A very sad lesson for one so young to learn but I hope it will help and empower her as she gets older.

Jan45 Mon 08-Jul-13 17:03:36

I'm trying to be impartial here so don't shoot me down - there's always two sides to a story and if you stayed with him when he was abusive to you then you allowed your kids also to be exposed to this, it's very easy to blame the other parent when they are not there, now I am not defending this man, he sounds pretty crap all round but it does sound like your kids could be upset because they know how much you dislike him as well as probably having to listen to your arguments on the phone, maybe that's why the kids are unsettled and wetting the bed. All I can say is, for their sake, they should, if they want to be allowed to see their dad and whether you like him or not you should be doing your best to ensure this happens, sorry, probably not what you are wanting to hear but you sound so stereotypical of the couple who can't break up but still remain friends for their children's sake and instead the kids are dragged along with the negativity too.

Darkesteyes Mon 08-Jul-13 17:16:56

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Darkesteyes Mon 08-Jul-13 17:22:23

Sorry Jan Seems you ARE the op on the other thread. So thats even worse. You seem to have internalised a bit of mysogyny which you have demonstrated by what you have posted on this thread.
You are victim blaming and i stand by that comment. Did you not see the posts about the OPS DC getting sunburnt. JESUS FUCKING CHRIST.

Jan45 Mon 08-Jul-13 17:24:05

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Darkesteyes Mon 08-Jul-13 17:26:13

You dont have to defend her ex to victim blame.

Jan45 Mon 08-Jul-13 17:29:57

Whatever, I am not here to answer to you, you need to maybe go realise that not everyone has a one sided view point.

As for the sunburn, we've had record breaking temperatures this week and I would doubt very much his intention was to injur his children with suburn. Oh silly me, he did it delberately to carry on count scoring....

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