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STBXH, access, crying kids...advice please

(65 Posts)
Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 18:14:06

Sooooo...STBXH has a reasonable access schedule. EOW, evenings each week. Exactly, what he requested.
He is emotionally manipulative, gaslighting, finacially abusive but vvv charming to the point that my (former) solicitor told me how much pressure he is under...

He changes access as it suits him, but I darent change for any reason- I will be called inflexible, called repeatedly while I am on the road to collect kids, called names in front of them.

He goes abroad occasionally for work- he'll tell me a week in advance, although many countries need work visas applied for in advance.

Anyway. Today, he returned from a trip. Had arranged (with kids) to collect after school run. 10 minutes after due time, he telephones to say he's just woken up and will collect them later. For various reasons this doesnt suit and reeks of his attitude that he can do what he wants and we (kids and I) will rotate around that.

AIBU to have told children they cant go out with him this evening? We returned from evening activities to find him parked on driveway ('are you saying I cant park on my property?') and children are now all upset, some crying in bed?

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 08:04:19

Thank you early risers.
Arthritic...that is interesting about co-dependency, but I have taken it seriously. I was a serious people pleaser, which is exactly what led me to marry him, so I dont dismiss it lightly. I'm not anymore though grin ...what you think of me is your problem.
I did ring WA initially and other than confirming that he did have legal access to the house and that his behaviour was unreasonable, they did not offer much more.

Thanks for the links- I've read loads of that ilk ( I found this one good.
I've looked at that thread and feel I am out of the situation ( I am lucky he left).

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 08:11:05

mummy thats an interesting question re kids.

He is a total Disney dad...so there are presents from every trip. When he takes them at weekends, its trips to the toy superstore outside the city, McD and takeaways. Trips into town to buy presents/clothes.
They do refer to him when he is away, and say that they miss him, which I listen to and reflect back to them. They text him from my phone, send photos of what they are up to (always feels invasive to me but I would like to have that option --if he ever had them for a few days--).

I have spoken to a Solctr who agreed with ExH's detailed assessment of his own legal rights to be in/on the property.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 08:14:33

walk I dont know what the proportion is TBH...but it is often enough that I no longer rely on him to keep to any arrangement, and am always 'on-call' IYSWIM.

DC are of an age that know what day it is and one in particular keeps track in her little diary, of when he is next due, and when his weekend is coming up.

Gosh, this is making me realise what a plank I still am.

For me though, there has been such a long journey and so many small steps of asserting myself that it's hard to see, from my side, just how bullying he continues to be.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 08:24:51

He may have legal rights to enter, but if you feel at any time that his access is abusive or is harassment, you could ask for a legal order for him not to enter or access the property.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 08:35:38

I constantly feel he's harrassing me...is it abusive, hmmm.

I dont think it's reasonable, I wouldn't do it to anyone, but he is so reasonably unreasonable that I am incapable of countermanding his arguments.

e.g. being on the site of the house....'well, you are so lazybusy, I was just checking on the state of the house I am paying for, for you'

Solicitor. Divorce proceedings. Letter saying stay out of the house without appointment. A phone and email for just him to contact you on. Get contact defined and financial settlement defined as part of that. I went for a complete financial settlement so I had no ongoing need to deal with such entitled shite. Refuse to discuss anything that isn't in writing. Repeated phone calls. Text to say that next time he calls you're calling the police.

I agree that codependency is victim blaming.

Dilidali Thu 27-Feb-14 09:04:09

You need to beat him at his own mind games. You know him better than anyone. Dish served cold and all that.

This is no life! He left and he's punishing you for it. So, if you formalise divorce/custody etc, he won't have any power over you.
Yes, that means, probably, selling the house and splitting assets etc. his behaviour is unacceptable, you need to do something about it.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 09:11:11

Walking into your bedroom without warning even that he was entering the house is abusive. I wouldn't do that to my parents or sister, even though I have their house keys.

Record all instances. One may not be significant, but several build up a case of harassment.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 09:14:57

Tea I've done the thing of 'your contact must be in writing or not at all' i.e. email/text etc.

He ignores this; makes financial changes that affect me, but spins it that I refused to 'talk' to him, so he couldnt discuss it.
Says that he cannot trust me to not use written stuff against him (hmmm)

dili rightly or wrongly I have refused to start any mind games with him - probably because I am afraid of him, he is so much better at it than I. Down to the fact that there are limits to what I would/could do to him, as I have standards (he doesnt)

YY to 'he left and he's punishing you for it'.
That is so true; in his mind I have 'his' house, 'his' children, I am spending 'his' money.

I repeat (in my defence) that I was at such a low ebb when he left, that for me to stand up to him yesterday, as he was dicking around with us- that is immense progress for me.

it's disheartening to see that I still have a long way to go. <onwards>

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 09:16:41

At this time, and as you have told him to stay away, you could change the locks and let him take you to court over it.
Meanwhile get a legal order for him to stay away.

Your solicitor should be finding solutions, not telling you he has the right to enter the house.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 09:20:23

lweji he has not come into the bedroom; I didnt say that.

My problem yesterday was, that he was peering in the downstairs windows of the house.
To him, the very fact that I've made it clear he cannot come into the house is unreasonable. He makes a big issue of standing in snow or driving rain.
He wont even stand inside the porch when invited as 'he doesnt feel welcome'.

You're right though. I am not disputing that he continues to harass and intimidate. It can be difficult to see it from 'inside'. And it is exhausting to realise that I still have a long way to go.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 09:22:10

Perhaps I have not instructed Solctr properly. I've tried a few and all have told me the same; that he does have the right to do as he does. He is too clever to break the letter of the law; it's the spirit of respect for others that he ignores.

Dilidali Thu 27-Feb-14 09:27:49

There's no need to defend yourself to us, OP. I'm not judging and I am not telling you off for anything. I think you're amazing for putting up with this s**t and still holding it together, I would have lost the plot a long time ago, and it would have been ugly.
There's no need for you to feel disheartened. You were/are a lady and tried to do your best for your children. That's not a mistake. It is an approach. Bon, it's not working, because he is a bully etc etc etc. Turn the tables, try a different approach.

I've got a sneaky suspicion that the reason why you were at such a low ebb when he left might just be related and caused by him. Put your foot down smile

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 09:36:43

Sorry, must have confused with another thread. blush

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 09:40:38

Definitely not criticising you.

Dealing with these people is a learning curve. I've been there. Still am as exH is still in contact with DS.
They only understand a firm stance and firm boundaries and still must cross them at every opportunity.
You need to establish firmer and stricter rules and boundaries than you would need, so that when he crosses them, he still feels that he's had a victory, but you don't actually feel upset.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 09:40:56

Thanks dili
I have come to realise that actually I am a very strong person; but sometimes that is a weakness too. I have put up with things that I should not have - thinking that it was for the children, so that they could keep a relationship with him.

BUT of course, that is forgetting that it is his responsibility to maintain a relationship with them; and some of that means that he must accept that the consequence of leaving them (as well as me) is that he has to be much more solicitous of their (and my) time.

He will never see that.

mummytime Thu 27-Feb-14 09:42:45

Women's aid may be able to help you find a good solicitor used to abusive husbands. If not ask around (I know one in my book group and another from the school gate, and I'm not even thinking of divorce).

You did well yesterday by not waiting for him.

If he chooses to stand in the rain/snow or whatever - then let him, don't even mention it. He is an adult and its his choice. Whatever he does as long as it doesn't threaten you or the children, is his business.
Most people do know that some Exs can be idiots.

Even your DC will see through the Disney process eventually.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 09:44:08

lweji that is good advice. I need to set the walls further out, to allow some no-mans-land in between.

'Dealing with these people is a learning curve'....I could set this to music and sing it.
It is very easy for friends/family/sollicitors/strangers to say 'but why do you allow it'.
It is not a matter of allowing it...it is a matter of constantly being surprised that this person (to whom I promised eternal love and trust) has no respect/knowledge of normal social reciprocation or boundaries.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 09:48:14

Yes mummy.
He is an adult in age only, though. There is an aspect of him that is forever a tantruming toddler/moody teenager.

But he is a lot more dangerous than that caricature would allow; he is more intelligent, more focused, sulkier, and less reasonable. And most adults expect, as I did, that 'there's 2 sides to every story' or that he has 50% of right on his side.

It takes a wise one to see otherwise.

Which is not to suggest that I care what people think- I no longer do.

But in seeking support to deal with him, there is always an element of what am I doing wrong to allow this to happen.

I am doing/have not done anything wrong.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 09:48:53

Thanks for the support...I will be back, but have a client meeting now.

arthriticfingers Thu 27-Feb-14 09:51:38

I am doing/have not done anything wrong
I was trying to say exactly this in my post - but something got lost in translation, for which I am sorry.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 09:57:06

I think with people who ask you how you allow it, you ask them what they would do and what should you do. And could they go and speak to him and set him straight.

There is not much you can do to people who are hellbent on harassing you, except collecting evidence and report it to the police.

You could ignore him, but that would only make him want to push further to annoy you.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 09:58:38

And if they ask why you allow it, they are recognising that it is his doing. The rest is victim blaming.
"Did you mean to blame me, the victim?" could become the Relationships come back.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 13:11:46

arthritic no offence taken here, and I was not implying that you were trying to offend.
It's a more general comment to RL people that, while common perception would be that a marriage breakdown is a failure of both sides, this is not always the case.

In my case, neither in my marriage nor in the breakup have I done anything wrong. I set out to be dignified, and patient, believing that STBXH was experiencing extreme stress and that with time, he would become reasonable..... smile grin hmm hmm

Unfortunately, Reasonable is a country he had a temporary visa for while we dated, pre-marriage.

Lweji I have spoken to the police and they are not interested. At one point, I stated to the lady I spoke to, that short of him actually hitting me, they would not get involved. She agreed. Everything that he does/says can be manipulated and explained away as the reasonable actions of a man trying to ''communicate'' with his ExW and his 'D'C.

Very victim blaming.

But as I can recognise it for what it is, its a relief not to take on other peoples labels. They are wrong and I am right. It just takes a lot of strength to hold firm to that truth.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 13:18:21

Interesting Guardian article for you www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/26/domestic-violence-risk-death-injury-police. It refers to high risk cases, but the problem is the same.
I think you'd need to talk to other people, or build a proper legal case, rather than just talk to a police officer.

You could try NCDV for an injunction if it gets too much for you.

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