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Abusive ex has reared his ugly head again :(. Need advice please!(86 Posts)
I ran away from dangerous h in 2003 when dds were 0 and 2. They have no direct experience of his abuse.
Since then, I have always made sure that any contact takes place in a contact centre (many reasons, one being that I don't trust him to safely return them, and he lives normally in Nigeria so it would be extremely hard to get them back to safety).
Apart from the contact centre, I have made no other stipulations or ever prevented him from seeing them or otherwise contacting them.
His last visit to them was about 6 years ago.
Very occasionally he calls them and has sent them money every so often (with gaps of literally years!)
He is still abusive towards me if he gets the tiniest chance so I have blocked his email and I refuse to deal directly with him - he needs to make arrangements via solicitor (no prob for him financially; he's loaded)
The thing now is that I have heard from sources that he is in the uk and wants to see the dds. He has stated that he will not use a contact centre.
The reason I know is that he called the minister of my church and sent an email. I was informed of this and I suggested that he be reminded (think broken record) that if he wants to arrange contact he needs to contact his solicitor.
About 5 years ago he took me to court about contact and the outcome was clear - he has to use a contact centre.
I hope you have made it this far...
Today I arrive home to find that I have missed a recorded delivery letter addressed to my dds (now 10 and 12). I know for certain what he will have written. He will be asking them if they want to see him not in a CC.
Now I don't know what to so for the best. I will have to fetch the letter and give it to them. They may well state that they do want to see him not in a CC. They have no experience of the truth about him because they've been protected all their lives.
However, if I insist on the CC, I look like the controlling one.
I know that ex wishes to paint me as a vengeful and bitter ex but my ONLY desire is to keep my dds safe.
What shall I do?
Yes, I do need to protect them at all costs. He is just so awful, I would be here forever if I told all the things he has done
I am so so glad that we got away before the children had time to be severely affected. However, the downside is that they don't understand the danger.
Some day, they're going to have to fall foul of him (maybe when they are adults) so that they can really truly understand what he is like. He can paint a very charming picture of himself for as long as it takes to get a victim in his control. I dread that!
However, if I insist on the CC, I look like the controlling one
Just wanted to make a point here that IF you insist on the CC, you will be seen to be protecting your DC, not controlling, and even so, you'd be controlling someone who has a well documented abuse trail! So who cares what anyone thinks if not 100% behind you?
Don't panic, don't react, don't flinch. That's what that monster wants.
What out of interest was the reason to mail your church? To find out if you were still where he thought you were?
Please ask the church to NEVER confirm or deny anything to do with you.
Please impress on them the real and justifiable fear you have that he'll harm you and/or your DC if given the opportunity.
Do use the word safeguarding when talking to your church. In fact if you haven't already you should speak to the safeguarding officer about the situation.
I know why he contacted the church - he knows I have blocked his email address and if he tried to message me in any way, I'd just delete.
It is his way to checking on me and trying to gather info, and also to force some kind of communication.
You are safeguarding, not controlling.
They have not seen him for six years.
The only place to resume contact is a contact centre.
If he refuses that then he is the one looking stupid.
I like the telling the minister to neither confirm nor deny.
He can go via solicitor. I presume contact order still valid and remains in pace til they sixteen ? So dig it out for your peace of mind.
But first read the letter . Find out what it is about.
I could either go in person and fetch the letter from the sorting office. Or, if I didn't want to cycle there in the rain, I could set up a redelivery online. However, we are busy pretty much every day for the next few weeks. Chances are, if I do that, I won't have the letter before I hear something from his solicitor anyway!
I kind of prefer that option. Delay the inevitable.
The minister just emailed that he needs to contact his solicitor. No info about me was given. No discussion about CC or not CC. I have no idea if ex has responded to that. I hope that I would be spared the knowledge if he has.
mosp story he is putting you through this it must be hard and frightening.
do you the letter is from him? it may be from his solicitor. if it is from him directly you could return it unopened to his solicitor stating that he must not contact you directly.
how did he get your address?
i agree with posters above.
if he would prefer not to see his dcs than to see them in a cc then so be it. he knows his options.
i would be wary of letting dcs know he is here until he makes a proper arrangement to see them to avoid disappointment. unless you think he might try to speak to them in the street in which case you must tell them for their own safety.
i hope he is not here for long for all your sakes.
stay safe. you did a good thing getting yourself and your dcs away from him.
The letter is addressed to the dds, so definitely from him. And, he does have the right to write to them (monthly, I think). That was one of the agreements in court, although he hardly ever has done so.
You're right, there is no way I am letting them know he's in the country until (unless) he arranges an actual CC visit. They would be indescribably hurt!
Absolutely agree with what Mumngran said at the beginning of the post, its excellent advice.
I would also be talking to my dc and - even if it is hypothetically at the moment - be preparing them for what to do I'd daddy tries to take them on holiday or to meet their half sister or to tell them to have some secrets between him and them.
If the reunite charity has packs that you can do and work through together then do so now they are older (you can always say someone on mn told you about it!).
Also arrange a safe word with them in case he says that you have said it's ok to do something but he's not letting you speak to them to confirm. (or even two words - a genuine safe word and one that means don't trust whoever is telling you this).
I'm sure there are other practical things you could do that they are old enough to understand the importance of; hopefully other MNetters will have more ideas of what!
MOSP, I'm sorry to see you back here with this, I had hoped that he had finally left you all alone.
I think Hissy is very wise, and knows your back story, and should be listened to. Stay with us.
Thank you all.
Zipzap, I think I do need to speak to them seriously about what to do in the event that he tries to lure them away. The sad thing is that dd2 is already an anxious child (which she has sadly picked up from me ) and the notion that her dad may try to do something like that will make her terrified of even leaving the house.
Tortoise and hissy, I am SO grateful that you're here and that you remember me! xx
Now. To YOU mosp
I want you to stop, and think; take a moment to look at who you are today.
You are NOT that poor, downtrodden, terrified woman that he controlled, manipulated and terrorised.
Oh no. Not anymore
you're a MUMSNETTER for crisakes
You control your life, you keep it all going
you're kicking ass and taking' names
The church did well. You've done well. But remember who's in control here? YOU.
Let him write his sad little letters, they can't get to you. Don't pick it up. Let him sit there in his sad little world, currently pissing himself with the expectation that he's ruining your day.
And then the letter is returned... mwuhahaha.
It sends a message that he won't be able to intimidate you.
OK so he may write without sending it recorded next time, but he wants to know the arrow hit it's target, so I doubt he'd do that. He may write to the church, but you can say to them to return all mail too.
Thing is, not a court in thé land can MAKE you go and get a letter from the post office! Nor can you be compelled to read it.
You don't dance to anyone's tune! Only your own!
You are strong, you don't have this 'person' in your lives because he lost that right, so take your Mumma Bear stance and bollocks to him.
<<round of applause>>
Well said Hissy
Get the letter, know what is going on. It may just be something nice for the children! Or not. But at least you would know. Have you reasons not to try and arrange cc visit and stay in control of the situation? Less conflict the better.
So sorry you are having to deal with this - I have similar experiences (abusive exh living abroad, constant worry of possible abduction etc).
I think I'd advise the following (apologies for bullet points - just how I think...)
1. Get legal advice. Even if you don't qualify for legal aid it's worth the money for piece of mind. Many solicitors offer a free first half hour consultation. If you act now on the basis of legal advice it will help enormously if things escalate.
2. Consider asking the court for a residence order (the solicitor will advise) as this makes it crystal clear you're the resident parent and makes an extra hoop for exh to jump through if he does try something stupid.
3. Alert anyone and everyone who may be approached by exh that he is not to speak to/take away the children. I know that is frightening to contemplate - I hope it doesn't happen - but it's better to be prepared to avoid it before it happens.
4. Collect the letter. Don't bury your head in the sand or deny yourself information. You need to know as much as possible about where he is, how long he's staying, what he wants. Don't put yourself at a disadvantage by not knowing. Also, if things end up back in court, which they might, you don't want to do something that looks like you have denied your children contact with their father. If you withhold his letters to them it could look like you are not allowing them contact with him. Much better to be able to say that you have passed on all communication to the children and are happy with contact in CC but adamantly refuse outside contact.
5. Sit your children down and explain as much as their age allows. They will probably already sense something is up. You can judge how much they need to know - but saying nothing (while feeling protective) actually makes it worse for them. They will be imagining many possible scenarios. They need to hear something is going on, and that you're dealing with it for their best interests.
6. Show them the letter (unless the content is really awful) and explain why you feel the way you do about contact. Be as open with them as possible - about what exh wants and why you disagree. It's difficult for them, I know, but you are strong enough to help them through this.
7. Gather support for yourself - on MN and in RL. Cry, scream, rage (when your children are out of the house) so that you can be their wonderful strong protective mother.
Thank you hissy!!!! (My autocorrect just wanted to call you gussy!!)
I really appreciate you
This is the thing - I really could get into trouble for refusing the letter because it is addressed to them not me. He does have the right to write to them.
Also, blessedwolf is right - it could arm me with information.
I think I am going to have to inform my dds that he is in the country and that they must not go with him if he approaches them. I will express my hope that be organises a visit properly (although the truth is that I hope he doesn't!) and make sure they realise that unsupervised is not allowed to happen.
So, I will collect letter today and take it from there.
I will try not to be afraid, thank you hissy!!!
By the way, I already have a residence order. It was an added bonus granted to me when he took me to court! That whole episode hugely backfired for him!!! Not only did he not get what he wanted, but I got extra protection for my dds!
He'd have to prove that you got the delivery card...
Seriously, he may have the right, but by not going through the correct channels, by trying to use the church etc, He's trying to call shots he has no right to.
LET him try and take this all the way. I doubt he will. If you are worried, contact CAB and ask their advice.
Ignore him for now. If he really wants it, he'll have to toe the line.
When he says jump, you no longer have to! Remember?
Passive aggression in thé form of défiance would be very good for you. It would show you that if you refuse to play, the sky won't fall in, that you'll be ok.
Refuse to be dragged in this time. No court's going to act for ONE non-collected letter. Make a point! ;)
^ He does have the right to write to them.^
I am not sure that means you can be compelled to go to a post office to collect it though.
I know here are rules around stealing and tampering with post.
However, unpleasant as letters from abusive men can be, there is an element of forewarned is forearmed.
in your own time though OP in your own time.
I just want to second those above saying you do not need to collect the letter.
Courts/lawyers prefer people to send letters through the normal postal service, keeping a copy of what they have sent if necessary. Legally, the use of the first class post is deemed to be good service. So, if you send something first class, and the intended recipient says they didn't get it, you as the sender can swear a declaration of service/affidavit of service, saying you put a stamp on it and sent it, and a court will accept that it was delivered.
If however, you send it registered or recorded, and the recipient refuses it, that is not seen as good service, for obvious reasons.
I know that's long winded, but bear it in mind.
Of course, if he is determined, he will keep trying other channels, so at best, you might be putting off the rueful day etc; so I can also see the benefit in dealing with this now, ie reading the letter and heading him off at the pass.
Good luck mosp.
I agree that OP should not feel obliged to do whatever her exh wants. And she shouldn't be compelled to do anything/everything he asks for. Those days are over!!
But I actually think that accepting the letter is more in OP's interests than refusing it. Like it or not (and I hated it!) the children's father is allowed to contact them. By refusing to receive registered post, OP is effectively giving her exh 'proof' that she is denying him contact with his children. Although it's only one letter, he could use that as a reason to request more/other forms of contact. And he could argue (rightly) that his attempt to contact by letter was scuppered by OP and so he needs to contact them in other ways.
Although court proceedings are horrible, and it might not get that far anyway, it's best to act in a way that puts you in a good light IF things come to court.
Well, I collected the letter and in the envelope was a letter each to the dds.
It was just the kind of thing I expected. Very gushing and persuasive, and promising to take them on day trips to theme parks and walks in the countryside etc.
To dd1 he stated that he felt like cancelling his trip to the uk because he never gets to see them anyway. Of course, the only reason he has not seen them is because he has not arranged it! But he wants to twist it to make me look like the one preventing it. Then later in the letter he exhorts her to listen to 'mummy' because 'she loves you'. It is all so twisted! Oh, and she was also asked to pass the message on that he hopes we can all live in peace and could I forgive him for any time he might have hurt me.
However, the most worrying part is that he stated that he is going to come to our house and knock on the door and desire to speak to dds. He obviously meant that to scare me, but I cannot predict whether he really will do that or not.
I dropped dds (and their cousin, who is staying with us until late tonight) at a friend's house and logged the whole thing at the local police station. They advised me to call them if I see him, to pref move somewhere else for the time being, and until I can do that, to keep the house locked and secured the whole time! It is stifling hot!!
I need to speak to them, but when? They have cousin here atm.
When they go in the garden, I panic . I've been on edge and snappy all evening
Oh OP I'm so sorry he has upset you in this way. It must be very frightening. But - remember that he can shout, threaten and bluster all he likes. He cannot ride rough shod over you anymore - and he certainly won't frighten the police, court etc.
You did the right thing going to the police - and it is great that they are taking this seriously.
Please can I urge you to take legal advice. A solicitor specialising in family law if possible - CAB if you can't afford it.
Remember. The judge gave you a residence order without you asking for one. The court insisted that he sees the children via supervised visits. The police have logged this as serious. I'm not saying this to frighten you but to show you that everyone official is and will be on your side. He cannot take your children on trips without your permission. If anything he has shot himself in the foot by sending those letters. Please, if you possibly can, seek legal advice on what to do next. MN is fantastic for moral support - but you need watertight RL advice in this situation.
(And one final thought - don't give a moment's worry to being painted as the bad one to your children. They are not fools. They know how much you love them and want to keep them safe. You show them that every day - a mountain of letters wouldn't change their perception or love for you.)
Now I feel seriously terrible!!! As per police advice, I tried to explain a little of this to my dds, especially to let them know not to answer the door or spk to him under any circs. They are just so upset and scared I hate that!! I tried to be matter of fact and brave. Dds expressed a huge fear of him turning up.
Now we are all terrified.
I need to ask a friend of we can sleep at their house for a while. I can't live like this!
There is so much running round in my head! I am trying so hard to be reassuring.
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