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Don't know what to do about DC contact following incident with ex.

(48 Posts)
SirBoobAlot Mon 09-Sep-13 19:55:46

ExP has DS (nearly 4) for the day at weekends, with sleepovers alternate weekends. We've both been very amicable and flexible as to when works for us, and have maintained a friendship to the point of being able to still spend birthdays / special occasions / family days out together, which is great.

I have a long term mental health condition, and am very ill at present. I asked exP if he could possibly have DS for an extra sleep over this weekend, he said no, but would do what we usually do on his day; I give him my spare key, he can then bring DS back here whenever he wants if I'm out. We started this a long time ago, and has worked very well for us. ExP normally gets back here around 8pm, so if I'm going out, I aim to be back either before or after that so as not to interrupt bed time. We've talked about this and decided it works well. I had been drinking, but was coherent.

I got back this Saturday night at 8.30ish, had kept in contact with exP about when I was getting on the bus etc. He had been in an odd mood when I dropped DS off to him earlier in the day, but I thought he was just having an off time. When I got in, he picked up his rucksack, and I told him he might as well sit down and have a cup of tea, because the bus had just been.

He grabbed me by the throat and hissed that he was very fucking angry, so he'd be leaving now. I kicked at him to get him off me, and then he pushed me against the wall, and said that if I kicked him, he'd kill me. I slapped him (because I was seeing stars by this point), he let go and stormed out.

He came back about ten minutes later - I answered the door as had text a friend, and thought it might be her - told him I didn't want him to come in, so he just sat in the door way and proceeded to insult me in every possible way, and telling me that he knew I was suicidal, and that I should just do everyone a fucking favour because no one wanted me alive anyway.

He eventually left about half hour later. I will admit I can't remember everything that was said, and we moved from the front door to the lounge - I was more concerned about disrupting my neighbours with talking outside, knowing they have young children.

He's since text me several apologies, telling me he feels like he's turning into a monster, and offered to go to the police.

He has grabbed me by the throat before, once, though never threatened to kill me. The first time was not long after he lost his father, so I put it down to grief, and he attending therapy. I know he's been struggling with his depression and anxiety again recently, and although I've offered to be there for him, he will only really admit how he's feeling when he's been a bit of a twat (normally just being awkward, me calling him on it, him apologising and explaining).

I haven't contacted the police, but I have called his mother, and he is going to stay with his parents for a while. Have told him I don't want him calling at the moment to speak to DS (my mum says this is unfair, but I don't want to speak to him right now).

My problem now is I don't know what to do about contact for DS. Like I've said, I don't want to speak to him for a few days, and this weekend I'm taking DS to my parents overnight anyway, but then I'm a bit lost. I don't know what is best; I'm currently not feeling comfortable to say contact as normal, but I don't know whether that is unreasonable, as his mood has only ever been directed at me, never at DS. I'm terrified of any authorities being involved; frankly I'm scared that my diagnosis will be used against me and I'll loose custody. And the fact this isn't his normal behaviour, and that the only previous time he's acted like this was during a time of major emotional trouble, concerns me, hence why I contacted his mum and a friend of his, to make sure he has support if needed right now.

But I really don't know what the best thing to do is.

Sorry for the essay.

fuzzywuzzy Mon 09-Sep-13 20:01:30

I would contact the olice and have it on record, show them the text messages he sent afterwards.

Tell him to go to the police and the GP as well, he may not have attacked your son yet, but I'd be very worried that it's only a matter of time.

Xales Mon 09-Sep-13 20:06:19

Call the police.

You had to fight him off because you were beginning to see stars. Beginning to suffocate. Beginning to be strangled to death.

Next time he may not stop. Or he may do it long enough to starve your brain of oxygen and give you brain damage.

Next time your DS could be left motherless.

HeySoulSister Mon 09-Sep-13 20:08:36

Dear lord, call the police! why wouldn't you?

SirBoobAlot Mon 09-Sep-13 20:16:01

Because I think it will have bigger repercussions for me with my diagnosis, and I'm terrified of loosing custody of my son.

And because this isn't his normal mindset; I have poor impulse control. Admittedly I've never threatened to kill anyone, but I do have a degree of empathy for him, even though I'm bruised and furious. Though hitting him back wasn't exactly composed of me.

What do I do about contact?

wordyBird Mon 09-Sep-13 20:21:48

Grieving, no: abusive, yes.

This man is much more dangerous than you think. sad
Police ought to know. Please don't fear losing custody. Ill health, including mental ill health, does not automatically equate with risk to your child (did your ex suggest it might? Men like this often do?)

Abuse DOES constitute a risk. I don't want to scaremonger but a physically abusive man shouldn't have unsupervised access to your child.

I'm so sorry you've been through this horrible experience, SirB...

SirBoobAlot Mon 09-Sep-13 20:27:05

No, he's never said for a moment that I'm anything but a brilliant mother, and (when well) has regularly told me so. Saturday night of course, I'd never worked a day in my life, etc. But the majority of the time he praises my parenting, and has never even vaguely suggested that I'd loose custody. That's entirely my own fear.

Madlizzy Mon 09-Sep-13 20:36:54

He's dangerous and you do need to make a report to the police and cut contact until you can have it organised at a contact centre. As for your own mental health and your child - if your child is being well cared for emotionally and physically by you, social services won't want to take him from you. However, if he is exposed to violence from your ex towards you, then he becomes at risk and they may well intervene. Generally though, SS aim to work to keep a family together. Get that report done along with a non molestation order. This is serious, he could have killed you and he only let go because you hit him. Your son could have found you dead.

ClaraOswald Mon 09-Sep-13 20:36:56

Your DS is a huge sweetie pie and a massive credit to your parenting Boobs.

I can't see why you would run the risk of losing him at all. His Dad would have very little chance of having him, considering he has been violent to you in the past whilst in the relationship and is continuing to be so when you have been apart for a long time. You have worked your arse off to provide him with a stable home- take credit where it's due

He needs to know he has gone too far. Log it with the police, even if you don't feel strong enough to proceed with having him charged. Your DS doesn't need to see Mummy feeling ill at the thought of having to see Daddy, nor see him threatening you. You deserve a peaceful and non violent existence, especially so you can continue to get better.

WiddleAndPuke Mon 09-Sep-13 20:38:09

What, because you can't control yourself that excuses him trying to kill you?!

HeySoulSister Mon 09-Sep-13 20:43:03

Your poor ds! If you can't ( or won't) protect him then maybe as should be involved

SirBoobAlot Mon 09-Sep-13 20:46:15

Don't start, SoulSister. My DS is absolutely fine. He's a stable, grounded, happy, hilarious little boy, and that's not just my opinion, that's the opinion of all the nursery staff, plus the psych team.

I am protecting him. I'm trying to fucking work out how much I will be damaging him mentally if he's suddenly not allowed to go to Daddy's house, and have special sleep overs any more. Which is why I'm posting. Don't dare tell me I'm not protecting him.

Dahlen Mon 09-Sep-13 20:50:47

SirBoob I know it's bad form to refer to a poster's history and previous threads, but I've seen many of yours on here and I'm hoping you'll let me raise the impression I've built up of you. You have a MH problem. So what? It doesn't seem to have stopped you trying to be the best person you can be. It doesn't seem to have stopped you trying to do something good with your life and trying to be the best mother you can be. You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of, and despite the difficulties your MH problems have caused you, you are more than coping; you are leading a good life.

Your X has behaved like an abusive bully. Probably because you are intelligent, savvy and articulate in the language of therapy, your are not a 'typical' victim (is anyone) - something your X knows all too well. He knows that the best way to manipulate you is to shower you with praise (i.e. you are a good mum) to get under your skin and then bring you down with your insecurities (you have poor impulse control, MH issues, etc).

Nothing excuses his behaviour tonight. Even if you had rolled in steaming drunk, nothing excuses him grabbing you by the throat. I don't need to tell you that attacks around the throat are markers for serious levels of abuse. You know that already. sad

You aren't in the best position and the 'support' offered by your X has helped. I understand that, but I think you need to understand that any level of support offered by an abuser isn't support at all. It comes with a price, and the price for you under these circumstances is simply too high. You might wonder how you'll cope without XP helping you out for childcare, and I won't pretend you won't miss it and that it's absence won't make life more difficult logistically, but you know what? If you give it up you'll be free from someone who tries to undermine you. Free from someone who outwardly is supportive but is angling to see you fail behind the scenes because they want you dependent.

I don't think you need to stop contact. Like many abusers, your X probably isn't 'evil'. He is probably the product of his own life experiences just as we all are. In his own way, as much as abusers are capable of it, he probably adores his child. However, he is unable to put that fact above his need for control and domination, and that makes him dangerous to you and to your DS once your DS gets past the hero worship stage and starts challenging your X. For that reason I would go with supervised contact. It needn't be forever, but for long enough to make it clear that bullying - either of you or DS - will be met with consequences.

Hitting him back was not poor impulse control or violence. It was self defence. You will not lose residency of your son. Although that's a lot easier to promise if you go to the police yourself first.

Hold your head up. You have done nothing wrong and have nothing to fear. Your X, on the other hand, is a violent bully and has.

girliefriend Mon 09-Sep-13 20:51:26

You need to talk to the police, he is violent and has anger issues.

He should not have unsupervised access to your son at all, I would not have him anywhere near my child and I am confused as to why you are making so many excuses for him?

If you are a good parent and there are no other concerns I am also confused as to why you think ss will take your son.

HeySoulSister Mon 09-Sep-13 20:58:03

Well you clearly aren't protecting him.... He was on the premises whilst all this was happening? Yet you still think access is feasible?

He goes for your throat? You might be minimising this, but speak to women's aid. When they go for throat/strangulation then it raises more red flags than any other form of violence. There's something about going straight in with this which makes him more dangerous than you think. Speak to them, they will confirm this. Please take this seriously. ( if he does it again then 'go limp', he will think your unconscious and will let go) have been there, take care.

SirBoobAlot Mon 09-Sep-13 20:58:53

Darhlen thank you for the comments re MH. I'm very ill at the moment, and this has sent me spiraling again. This ex, DS's dad, isn't the more recent ex I have posted about (with the sleeping with my friend etc, he is a complete head fuck). Just to clarify.

I'm not making excuses, I just don't think he's actually a bad person. I think something is obviously very wrong right now for him to act like this. I'm furious with him, disgusted, and know I have every right to be. But life isn't black and white; his action was wrong, but there is always a reason. It all keeps going around in circles in my head, the rage and the logic, and it's so very confusing.

I don't want to deprive DS of his father. He adores his dad.

ClaraOswald Mon 09-Sep-13 21:05:21

He is still trying to control you, even though you haven't been together for a long time.

Dahlen Mon 09-Sep-13 21:05:30

SirBoob - you don't have to deprive DS of a father. You simply ensure dad only has contact in a way that is safe for you and DS. A good dad may be pissed off about that but will comply anyway for the sake of his child.

It's a testimony of your kind nature that you try so hard to understand your X's motives. But please don't confuse compassion and tolerance with bad judgement. There is always a reason. It can often make it understandable. It doesn't make it ok. You can be compassionate and forgiving without ignoring.

IAmNotAMindReader Mon 09-Sep-13 21:11:27

If you feel your ex is only a danger to you and only is now due to extreme but unknown circumstances demand he be seeking treatment for his own mental health as part of the deal to keeping contact and for your own safety have hand overs dealt with by a 3rd person where you don't have to see each other. This way if he is having difficulties then you can all try to head them off at the pass before it becomes a problem to the extent that he isn't capable of taking your ds on sleepovers

Looksgoodingravy Mon 09-Sep-13 21:12:27

Great posts from Dahlen. I would take this advice and I'd also ask for your key back. You shouldn't be alone with your ex until he has help with his issues.

OxfordBags Mon 09-Sep-13 21:47:00

OP, I think that your current probs are stopping you seeing things as clearly as you might otherwise (am not being patronising; I suffer from Mh issues too, so know what it can be like).

1) I think that because your MH issues make you think and act in ways you don't loke, maybe feel ashamed of, you are making an understandable, but very much not necessarily true, assumption that he must have something wrong with him too. Well, yes he does, he is a dangerous abuser, but this does not necessarily mean he is mentally unwell. Furthermore, even if he is suffering from MH probs himself, this does not excuse what he did. This does not mean you should give him a second chance. It sounds like you are over-identifying with him due to being currently in the middle of a bad time. sounds like you are presuming he is going through similar, and are perhaps trying to extend to him the empathy you'd want for yourself. But you haven't tried to throttle someone, have you? I think that paradoxically, you are currently so engulfed by the intensity of your own stuff that you are incapable of connecting with the intensity and severity of his actions. You might know how bad they were objectively, but you are disconnecting from them emotionally.

2) An abuser will always have a reason. The going round and round in your head thing is you trying to find an excuse and reason for something totally inexcusable and with no acceptable reason behind it. It's more comforting to deny and clutch at straws than accept the full horror.

3) You worry that if you, a sufferer of Mh issues, bring this to the attention of the police, they will somehow insist in removing your son from you. I get that fear, but it is unfounded. Firstly, it makes no sense to punish the victim in this scenario, but most importantly, 2) Look at what you said about your MH team. They all agree that your DS is a happy, well-brought up child and that you do a fab job as a mother. These are the people who would be contacted about your Ds's welfare if removing him was even considered, and it sounds like they would all be against it. Even your Ex himself says you're great. I bet you've got texts or something from him saying as much, to prove that he himself thinks your Mh issues don't affect your great mothering.

4) Any domestic violence involving throttling, choking, being held around the neck/throat, is a MASSIVE red flag to police and other agencies. It indicates a massive loss of control, a growing disregard for life, a ramping-up of pathology. It is seen as a very scary indicator for future attacks. I say this not to scare you, just to give you the facts. But actually, you do need to be more scared than you seem to be.

5) If he has acted this way because you are right that something MH is going onl then he needs urgent help. Even very mentally ill people don't do what he did. He could have killed you, even accidentally, doing what he did. By keeping quiet about it, you are actually doing him a disservice, and enabling his crap. And seeing as you are his focus for this rage, it is very chilling indeed to keep schtum.

6) Your son loves his Dad, but he needs a mother who is actually alive. A good father, a man fit to be around his child does not do what he did to you. A man that abuses a child's mother abuses that child. And if he can do something that dangerous and extreme to you, how do you know he won't hurt (or worse) your son. Don't answer that he wouldn't, because his actions show that he is out of control and the people he is most intertwined with are the ones he wants to take it out on. His safety and emotional wellbeing matter more than 'he loves his Daddy'. If there was any reason why you could have your son taken off you, it could be for letting him keep seeing a man who would attempt to kill you (let's face it, that's what he did) over nothing in your own home whilst his child was present. That is not a man who loves his child, not truly. Not enough to be safe for him to be with.

You have to tell the police. There is simply no good reason not to. Covering up for a dangerous man your son will spend lots of time alone with is not in his best interest. You are the adult, you have to do what is best, no matter how hard, no matter if it upsets him for now.

something2say Mon 09-Sep-13 21:54:22

I understand if you don't want to call the police.

But is there a DV advocacy service near to you? Look up DV services in your boro on google.

Re child contact, immediately stop letting him into your home, because if he does this again in front of your children it is worse than him doing it to you alone if you see what I mean.

Avoid contact with him, and don't be late for pick up of children. Don't expect more than the agreement and don't give more. Tr to communicate very sparsely. He is not a safe man.

But I am not happy that you are not calling the police. What he did is his problem. Meantime you may get help, which you may need and welcome and things could be a lot better for you afterwards.

If you still don't feel able to, maximise your emotional support from safe sources, find someone to talk to. Maybe confide in your GP. Are there any free counselling services in your area?

And be gentle on yourself, remember you have just been assaulted and may be tired, scared and worried.

FloraFoxley Mon 09-Sep-13 21:57:08

Why are you letting an ex partner waltz into your house as and when? You need to out some proper boundaries in place for starters

ChangingWoman Tue 10-Sep-13 08:14:23

Hope you call the police.

Re justifying and minimising your Ex's actions - I had a lightbulb moment with my ExH when I realised that the reasons for his behaviour didn't matter. The effects on me and DD were the same whether he intended to do wrong or not. It was an alcohol and lying situation rather than DV but I suspect this principle is even more important for you.

If he throttles you to death next time, you'll still be dead regardless of whether he did it on impulse or with intention.

His motives are not your concern. Your safety and the wellbeing of your child must take priority.

I know how hard it feels when you have to restrict contact. He clearly isn't a good or fit father if he has done this to the mother of his child. Your son would love his father even if he were the devil himself - it's how little children are with their parents. It has nothing to do with his fitness to care for a child.

Take care.

SirBoobAlot Tue 10-Sep-13 11:21:11

I guess I'm scared of accepting the seriousness of this, and in all honesty I'm more upset about the things he said than what he did, but as a friend has just pointed out to me, this is probably down to my own mindset right now.

I have worked so hard to make sure that we still have a family unit, despite living in different houses, and the idea of that changing worries me. I constantly feel guilty for being a single parent as it is, adding into that "single parent who has had to limit contact with absent parent" makes me feel horrendous. I know children at some point blame their parents for everything but the guilt has kicked in before he's even started doing so!

I'm supposed to be seeing my MH nurse next week but will call and ask to see her sooner.

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