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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.

LoisPuddingLane Fri 13-Sep-13 09:15:12

Time after time on these boards I see women rationalising and minimising really awful behaviour from their ex/partner. And blaming themselves.

Absolutely nothing that you did or said could warrant near strangulation. So you hit back - this was survival instinct and a direct response to being strangled. Do you know it only takes a few seconds to strangle someone?

This man is very, very dangerous.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 13-Sep-13 00:50:54

WA are there too if you need them.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 13-Sep-13 00:50:17

SirBoob sorry you are having so much to deal with account of the abuse you have survived. thanks and sucha hard thing to admit in your head so a brave step to write it down. well done. getting it out will help even if it hurts right now.

And making this fun for ds is just the right thing to do. the laughter of children is the best medicine for you and for them.

Wishing you strength to go with all the strength and courage you already have.

SirBoobAlot Thu 12-Sep-13 21:45:35

Took DS out for the day, trying to make everything fun and smiley for him still.

I called Rise just now, but they have very limited opening hours; will try again tomorrow when DS is at playschool.

Thank you especially for reassurance re SS.

I've got through this week mainly by being almost out of body, but today feel like I'm moments from a complete breakdown. Have recently finally accepted past sexual abuse and rape (fuck that's the first time I've written that down), and thinking of this as assault or domestic abuse is screwing with my head.

Miniph Thu 12-Sep-13 20:56:06

SirBoob, I have a mh condition and ended up with ss visiting after a dv incident in which the police were involved. I have to say ss were fantastic, social worker told me that my mh condition was of no interest to her whatsoever unless that was the thing that was causing risk to my children. It was only the dv that mattered to them and as soon as she knew I could / would protect dcs from that (after chatting to me about it) that was it - no further involvement needed unless I requested any support.

I'd agree with contacting the police, his behaviour is genuinely scary and dangerous. It's not nice to think about but he could have killed you without even meaning to.

I hope you're ok and getting some rl support.

Lweji Thu 12-Sep-13 14:00:01

Dump the friend. I hope you're not taking advice from her...

Stay clear from ex's mum as much as possible.

However, I would resume phone contact between your DS and ex. Only them. Do not talk to ex on the phone, only texts and e-mails.

Ignore everything he says apart from contact or practical issues.

Do take advice from DV specialists. Have you contacted the police, or their DV unit?
WA might be able to help as well.

www.riseuk.org.uk/
Call them. Get some advice. Please don't be scared that SS will take your son, I know the local authority you are in, I worked there for 9 years, that is not how they operate. Hand on heart.
IMO I think that he should be having contact at his parents' house for the time being. And not immediately. But you should resume phone contact after discussing with him (in writing, email is best) what you are both going to say about why he's not seeing daddy for now.
And for the future, even if/when you start letting him take DS alone again, he shouldn't be letting himself into your home.

And a little bit of personal advice - if you're feeling very unwell at the moment please think about cutting out the alcohol. It will be making things worse xx

MrsMinkBernardLundy Wed 11-Sep-13 23:28:52

SirBoob firstly sorry this happened to you. you must still be reeling.

shock at your 'friend' who asked what you did to provoke him.

You say that exP mum says he would not hurt ds but did she expect him to hurt you? if he is only hurting you because he is not in his right mind then he is not in his right mind to be looking after a child. the alternative is he is being deliberately abusive to a shocking degree. again not safe to be around DS unsupervised.

sorry. I know how tough it is. i tread a simialr line with my ex. he is not violent but he is emotionally abusive and I wonder how much contact he should have with dcs and it is a heart breaking choice.

but he really is dangerous. did you say he offered to go to the police? I would take him up on that offer. if he does not you should even if it is just to get it recorded without further action.

you need to stay safe for your DS.

AnotherStitchInTime Wed 11-Sep-13 23:03:29

SirBoob really sorry to hear this has happened to you. I echo what others have said re: reporting to protect you and ds.

Please contact Women's Aid for support on 0808 2000 247.

Also contact Mind for both support and legal advice (legal advice line 0300 466 6463) to help reassure you keeping your ds with you.

My eldest is close in age to your ds, since I joined MN before she was born I have been impressed by your mature attitude and ability to keep it together in the face of some difficult circumstances.

You are strong enough to deal with this, you know what you need to do, please don't let your fear stop you from taking action to protect you and ds. Take the power back that your ex has tried to take from you, he cannot control you if you do not let him.

"Thinking will not overcome fear, but action will." W. Clement Stone

Find your inner lioness.

SirBoobAlot Wed 11-Sep-13 22:38:18

Thank you all for spending the time to reply.

Am more angry tonight, having spoken to exP's mum - who I usually get only really well with - who was talking about it being important for DS to resume phone contact asap, to which I said a very blunt 'no'. And as much as she - and exP - might be insisting that he'd never be a risk to DS, I'll be damned if I am just going to accept his word on it. Especially seeing as he's still beating me with the ''I never wanted to be a father, you forced me to be by refusing to have a termination'' stick.

Am a bit sad as I told a friend what had happened, and his response was immediately, "What did you do to provoke him?". That hurt a lot.

DS hasn't asked about ex at all, though has told me that daddy was being a bit mean to him on Saturday, telling him that his legs were fine when DS said he wanted to rest.

It all feels like a big mess, I really don't want to face up to what's happening tbh.

Kerosene Tue 10-Sep-13 15:37:35

First of all, I'm a child of a single mother with fairly limited contact with my dad - tbqh, I think I've done better than I would had they stayed together. I've said it many times - I'm glad they divorced. Best thing she could have done for us.

I'm also reminded of an ex of my mum's. He was a single dad, because his wife had been murdered by her new partner. He strangled her to unconsciousness and then bludgeoned her to death. The kids were in bed when this was happening. They were woken up by the police and had to be lead past. I don't say this to scare you, but you need to be realistic that this can and does happen with disturbing frequency. Her murderer had his reasons too, and wasn't a bad person. He didn't mean to, after all. She's still dead.

I understand that it's absolutely terrifying. Not just because it's a terrifying thing to face in and of itself, but because of all the other things it'll mean to your life, now and in the future. Add a mental health doom-spiral (and I've been there myself!), and you need to be proud of yourself that you're not gibbering in a corner. You're stronger than you realise.

It might feel like a massive overreaction, but he's tried to strangle you twice now, and then you've got the mental abuse to deal with as well. Call the police, call your mental health team, get yourself set up to deal with this - contact in a contact centre and so forth.

This makes you a responsible mother who is putting her son's needs first, and doing the best for him in a difficult situation, who understands that physical and mental violence around a small child is not and can not ever be acceptable no matter the explanation, not whatever names you're calling yourself in your head, or whatever nightmare scenarios come to mind. You can rebuild family units later, once you've got the foundations secure.

cestlavielife Tue 10-Sep-13 15:30:30

thnk about using your parents more to help you out not exp.
after this incident you need to reconsider him having any access to your house to see ds.
ds wont suffer if he doesnt see dad for even couple weeks while everything is sorted out eg conctact centre.

noobieteacher Tue 10-Sep-13 15:18:28

OP, call your MH worker and if you get no response you need to call the police immediately in order to get the incident on record and seek advice.

Sadly women that do not do this are sometimes accused of protecting their own interests instead of putting their children first. You need to do everything you can to avoid this happening.

The likelihood is that they won't do anything but they will have the incident on record so that if something similar happens again they have a pattern of behaviour. This will help in the future, when the legal people/SS decide on access arrangements.

You need to separate the incidents from your personal needs and your feelings of powerlessness, or your fear of your ex. Try to distance yourself and be impartial - talk about exactly what happened, as honestly as you can.

Lweji Tue 10-Sep-13 15:05:15

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.

And what he said is just as serious. Not about your mindset.

ExH now has a criminal case against him, mostly with things he said (on e-mail and text) than things he did.
He risks at least 2 years in jail.

Emotional violence can be just as bad, or worse than physical violence.

Lweji Tue 10-Sep-13 15:00:32

You have had very good advice.

In I am the single parent who have had to limit contact with non-resident parent, it's all him. It's not your fault.

I am in a similar situation, and I'll be damned if I let DS spend time alone with exH. God knows what he'd be capable of doing with DS if he got cross.
(thankfully, the court has recently ruled in my favour, and contact is dependent on my agreement).

I agree with going to the police, for your and your DS's protection.

And don't beat yourself for slapping him. shock
He deserved at the very least a knee to the groin and an elbow to the face. It was self defense. There is no composure that can be maintained when we are grabbed by the throat and threats are made to our lives.

BTW, please do not ever be alone with him again.
Take care.

HeySoulSister Tue 10-Sep-13 14:32:07

i'm also a lone parent...to 5 dc if it matters,however, my eldest at almost 20,absolutely does NOT blame me for leaving/making her dad go to court/limiting contact......none of my dc have

mummytime Tue 10-Sep-13 14:27:15

Please do report it to the police!

Sorry but if you do and you later need legal aid you will have a far stronger chance of getting it.

Being a single parent DOES NOT damage children (I am the product of a single mother and know). Not having contact with an abusive parent; is nothing like as damaging as having contact or witnessing abuse.

Please reach out to your health professionals and tell them what happened.

Now look after yourself thanks.

BlatantRedhead Tue 10-Sep-13 14:19:51

You need to call the police and get it on record that he assaulted you. If he hasn't hurt your DS and is willing to seek help then I think you should allow contact to continue, but insist that it be supervised. He has proven he can turn nasty, and if he can direct it at you then there's a chance he might direct it at DS. The old arrangement is over now, under no circumstances should you allow him back in your home.

cosydressinggown Tue 10-Sep-13 14:09:26

Also, I assume at 4 years old he can speak, so the first time that he tells his teachers, friends or nursery workers that he's heard something amiss or that Daddy has behaved violently in some way, they'll be contacting SS themselves, and if they then realise that you have not reported previous incidents they will view you as being in collusion with your ex and not protecting your child.

cosydressinggown Tue 10-Sep-13 14:07:18

He's four years old, so at any point during this period where your ex was assaulting you and swearing at you he could have got out of bed and witnessed it.

So however 'protected' you think he is, he is not. He was totally vulnerable to something deeply distressing and potentially dangerous and it's just luck that he wasn't exposed to it. Next time he might not be so lucky.

You need to go to the police and contact social services about arranging SUPERVISED contact between your ex and your son, until such time as he can prove that he is not a danger to the little boy. It doesn't matter what you wanted, what you hoped for from the 'family unit' etc - keeping your son (and you, but you have a choice) at risk due to how you imagined it was going to be is not the right decision. It is not that way - your ex is violent and unpredictable, and the reasons behind this are absolutely irrelevant.

pinkpeony Tue 10-Sep-13 13:48:28

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.

OP, it will be a lot more damaging to DS mentally if he ever witnesses daddy grabbing mummy by the throat, knocking you unconscious, pushing you against the wall, screaming at you and calling you names... For a child to witness DV is tantamount to a child being the target of DV (just as damaging). If he does that to you with DS in the house, he will soon do it with DS watching, and you never know how he will be with DS esp when you're not there. You really should call the police to have the incident on record, go to your GP to have the physical abuse in your medical notes and insist on supervised access from now on.

You should not feel horrendous for limiting access for DS, you are protecting him, and it is your ex who is doing the damage by behaving as he is. Please report the incident to the police, and make sure you and DS are safe.

Madlizzy Tue 10-Sep-13 11:44:56

I think it's a good idea to see your MH nurse sooner. To be blunt, your son is safer without unsupervised contact with his father. Your ex is too unpredictable. Your son would not thank you for allowing his father back in to hurt you, so you really must do something now.

noobieteacher Tue 10-Sep-13 11:37:23

OP you need to report this to the police in order for ss to understand that you are have an understanding of dv issues. Reporting it shows that you are a balanced mature person who understands the difference between right and wrong. What they really don't want is people covrring up, if they find you both dishonest you could both lose him. Reporting is a show of strength.

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.

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.

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