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pressured into mediation and I feel sick

(73 Posts)
slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 10:37:54

Hi everyone

I hope its ok to post on this board. I'm not sure if its a relationship issue or not, because he's an 'ex', but he scares the crap put of me, so maybe it is...

In a nutshell he is taking me to court to change the access arrangements for our dd. Rather than just 'talk' about it like normal people, he sent me a quick text asking me to agree to quite a huge change in the arrangements. Whilst I didnt say no straight out, I expressed concerns and said it would need proper discussion. Cue a court summons landing on my doormat two weeks later. This is exactly how he operates - do as I say or you will regret it.
The court appplication was horrifc to read - basically said I was a crap mother, how he is deeply concerned about my care of her etc. I was devestated to read it, but not surprised because this is what he has doen ever since we split when she was a baby. In an effort to get his own way at court, he decided he needed to use the most adversarial methods avaibale to him - and that is to paint me as a selfish mother, who puts our dd second and that he has had 'no choice' but to apply to the court to limit the risk to our dd (his actual words). Incidentally cafcass have taken themselves off the case as they said there is no concerns from their side. I am furious though that he gets to write all that down and no one, absolutely no one is going to call him on it. I just didnt think the courts would tolerate stuff like that, but I was obviously wrong.

I have to attend the first session this week and I literally cannot sleep. He ties me up in knots, talks over me, says the most crushing things. Heres the crux though - he is calm, collected, smiley, plausiblea and never raises his voice. He wont name call, insult me directly or lose his temper, yet the things he says have the ability to destroy me. He has always affected me in this way and I dont know how to not care. He will be able to convince me in this session that I fall short of his expectations as a parent, and the manner in which he does it will be quitely menacing.

I think he is mentally abusive. In the time we were together he played so many mind games with me, and ruined my confidence. I'm fine now - except I still go to pieces when I'm around him. I knwo mediation wont work - I am crystal clear on that and this is a hoop we are being made to jump through. He cant wait for it to get to final hearing so that I am 'dealt with' ( his words). Is there a way for me to get through these sessions with minimal damage to myself? Can I 'pretend' in any way? How 'involved' will I have to be? Sorry in advance if I'm not explaining myself very well - I just dont want to be a mess and for it all to be for nothing anyway;/

Thank you

mistlethrush Tue 05-Feb-13 10:39:55

Can you not ask for a mediator to go between separate rooms so that you do not actually have to face him?

kalidanger Tue 05-Feb-13 10:43:13

Yes, you can do it in seperate rooms. Don't be afraid to request this.

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 05-Feb-13 10:43:40

Do you have your own solicitor? You sound like you need urgent legal advice if this man is as abusive, coercive and manipulative as you describe.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 05-Feb-13 10:48:01

Definitely go for separate rooms.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 10:50:44

Thanks everyone. The mediatior asked me if I wanted to 'shuttle mediation' but I didnt want to over-dramatise the situation. Also, as scared as I am of his words ( but not 'him' directly- if that makes any sense at all) I want to find the strenght from somewhere to call him on the things he said in his application and continues to maintain. He is actually quite cowardly, told the mediatior and the court that the only thing he wants to discuss is contact arrangements. So basically he wants to say whatever he can to get the application into court, but doesnt want to answer to his allegations. I do ahve a solicitor - he recommneds going into mediation face to face - and using it as an opportunity to tell ex that he will have to stand by his allegations if he insists on taking it to final hearing.

snoopdogg Tue 05-Feb-13 11:01:18

I don't know if my experience will help you. My ex did similar. We were sent for mediation. You have your first session alone with the mediator to assess the situation. I told her I was scared of him and that he is a bully but I agreed to try the mediation.

I took his document into the room and asked to go through it, he refused to back down and said he wanted his way or nothing. The mediator explained to him that the process did not work that way. He stuck to his guns and the session ended. They wrote to us saying that mediation would not work in our circumstances.

This meant that the case did go to court, but with the background of him having caused mediation to fail. He presented the same statement and I had a written right of reply. He didn't get what he wanted.

He cannot bully you in the session, the mediator will protect you. If you can get in the room all the better. The purpose of the mediation is to avoid court. If you can reach an agreement through mediation then that is binding and will be ratified by a judge - he cannot then go to court. He's said he just want to discuss the arrangements so that is all you have to do.

Good luck

schmoodles Tue 05-Feb-13 11:01:46

Feel free to PM me. I cannot talk on here but could maybe advise you : )

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 11:13:26

Thanks snoop - the thing is, I am loathe to discuss arrangements when he has used the methods he has. I want him to address his allegations first. Cn he really just get away with saying what he wants in order to bring an application to court and then decide he doesnt want to actually talk about them with me - the actual person he wrote them about?

babyhammock Tue 05-Feb-13 11:16:22

He sounds abusive and direct mediation isn't advised in that situation.
But you need to gather up all your strength and be prepared to fight. If I were you I'd start preparing a response statement now for the court. Keep it as short as possible and don't mince your words.

Also if you have any texts about 'being dealt with in court' or any other evidence of bullying and coercive behaviour, find it x

babyhammock Tue 05-Feb-13 11:17:52

In your response statement you will be able to address what he's saying in your own words and without being shouted down.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 11:41:11

My sol wants me to get across to him in this session that he will be cross examined at the final hearing and will have to substaniate his allegations. My ex doesnt seem to realise this? Also, my solicitor waxes and wanes between telling me ex is being ridiculous in his demands to telling me he might win. He told me lost 4 of his most recent cases to abusive men. What the hell is going on?
I dont feel as though I can be the one to make him 'realise' anything, but I want to try for the sake of my dd and my mental health. All of this is maing me so ill and I've been referred for therapy because of anxiety. I am also on sleeping tablets and a tranquiliser. I dont even recognise myself when I'm dealing with himsad

NicknameTaken Tue 05-Feb-13 11:49:38

My ex has written piles of lies in his applications to court. I can't say there is any real sanction for him, but on the other hand he hasn't "won" anything by it. If CAFCASS has said they have no concerns about your parenting, and he can't produce any evidence, I doubt the judge will believe him.

As for your solicitor, it depends what he means by "lose". If he means that residence was transferred to abusive men, that's appalling. But I think it's more likely that the father was allowed some direct contact, maybe got more. My ex gets contact, and after we go to court next month, I'm almost certain he'll retain that contact and potentially get some more than he currently has. I try not to frame that as a "loss".

If your solicitor can't predict the outcome of your case, obviously I can't! But just because he's said all kinds of crap about you with impunity, doesn't mean anyone believes it or that he will benefit by it.

NicknameTaken Tue 05-Feb-13 11:50:29

"he" in that last sentence means your ex, not your solicitor, obviously!

snoopdogg Tue 05-Feb-13 11:51:03

If he tries to do what you've described in your 11.13.26 post he will make the mediation fail and this will be noted in the court proceedings. Your solicitor has a duty to tell you it could go either way but if Cafcass have removed themselves, mediation fails and you stay calm it will be ok. Family courts really don't like parents who use them as a first resort.

constantnamechanger Tue 05-Feb-13 11:54:35

please use shuttle mediation

DHs ex is insane while seeming plausible and DH got pushed into all sorts in just 1 session with the absolutely fucking useless mediator.

Shuttle mediation is for situations like this - dont out yourself through it

kalidanger Tue 05-Feb-13 11:56:15

My sol wants me to get across to him in this session that he will be cross examined at the final hearing and will have to substaniate his allegations.

Surely your Ex's solicitor should be advising him for what could/will happen at mediation, and thereafter at court.

I don't like the sound of your solicitor hmm Is he older and very experienced?

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 11:58:29

thanks everyone. I know what you mean about not describing it as a 'loss' but I'm afraid that is how I will see it. The reason for this is because he is seeking a contat arrangement that will put me at a significant disadvantage with my dd. He wants 3 weekends out of 4 and I cannot agree to that on th ebasis that I work full time and it had bugger all to do with dd and everything to do with him. He wont even be there for some of the contact time.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 12:00:36

yes my sol is older and seemingly experiences - is the head of his division but is very 'wooly' to be perfectly honest. Ex's sol also sounds rubbish in the sense that she seems happy to let him say whatever the hell he wants about me, then when we get to court, baltably looks my sol in the face and tells himt that her client does not want to discuss the contents of his application!!

spiritedaway Tue 05-Feb-13 12:10:01

He sounds like a narcassist. . Been there. Ex made ridiculous stories, i was a prostitute a drug dealer etc. Court have heard it all. Do not even bother to defend yourself against his claims unless specifically asked to. He is trying to knock you off balance. Make everything you say completely child centered. That is what the family court is interested in. They are not interested in am proud claims either of you make that are unsubstantiated by outside agencies. Do not let him play you. He will hopefully end up making himself look ridiculous. Stay strong and ignore the hype. Good luck OP

spiritedaway Tue 05-Feb-13 12:11:31

Proud? I meant "any"

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 12:17:13

If I absoultely had to, I guess I try to ignore ex is also making claims about my crapness, but he is also saying things about dd to prop up his case and that is what is making me ill. He is saying she is acting out her insecurities at his house, that she is upset by my actions and that she needs stability that I cannot provide her. He writes that he can give that to her if the court will change the arrangements

NicknameTaken Tue 05-Feb-13 12:53:50

3 out of four weekends sounds very unfair. That coupled with unfounded accusations against you - while I obviously can't offer you guarantees, I wouldn't put my money on his chances.

I take it he is the sole witness to her "acting out her insecurities"? Nah, I'd worry if he was producing expert testimony and school/nursery were backing him up, but a totally unsubstantiated allegation is unlikely to get him very far.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 13:15:07

school say she is lovely and there are no problems. I moved 14miles away from him 3 years ago and he has now decided its a causing him major problems in terms of driving. He painted to the court that he has tried to 'soilder on' for 3 years in dd's interests, but now it is becoming too much for him and he therefore wants to cut his mid week viist and have his time made up at weekends! Does this not sound ridiculous? my sol thinks there is a chance the judge coudl agree with him as it was me who created this distance between him and dd

redtulip68 Tue 05-Feb-13 13:40:55

I'd be very interested how your mediation goes. My STBXH refuses mediation so my divorce has stalled. I go to court this month just to establish who is responsible for costs - he hasnt engaged a sols, refuses mediation, refuses to take any resposnibility etc.

I understand that in your case the mediation is set to go through the alligations he has made and this is surely what must be addressed first before any question of altered contact. HE is the one who must prove everything he has accused you of and if CAFCASS have closed their books then the Judge will take that as a positive.

Ultimately contact may change and it is only because of his bullish nature that you have got to this situation. As someone has already said the Family Court will not take kindly to someone running roughshod over their jurisdiction just because he cant get his own way.

good luck

NicknameTaken Tue 05-Feb-13 13:55:09

Obviously this isn't intended as legal advice, but imo 14 miles isn't so far as to make mid-week visits unviable.

Tbh, I'd say keep your fingers crossed that your ex throws wilder and wilder accusations around the place - sounds like he's doing a good job of undermining his own credibility. Hold your nerve, and don't react. Show yourself to be the steady, calm one who has your dd's best interests at the forefront of her mind. Remember to frame everything in terms of her best interests. In other words, everything spirited says. He is trying to knock you off balance, and you can't change his behaviour, but you can manage your own.

TeenyW123 Tue 05-Feb-13 14:16:05

I'm sure I read somewhere that more than 40 minutes travelling to have child contact would be considered unfair. How long does it take for him to drive the 14 miles?

Teeny

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 14:34:59

Its funny you say that about distance, because he is suddnely saying that with the traffic,it is taking him 1.5 hours each way, therefore collecting dd is a 3 hour round trip and that when you do this twice a week, dd is in his car for 6 hours of the contact time.

Remarkably, if I ever collect dd from him, it takes me half an hour to get there. Admittedly, i dont do this on a school morn, but he is categorically telling lies on this one. Oh, add that to the fact that he moved 6 miles in the opposite direction before I did, therefore he is partly responsible for the distance. I actually only moved 9miles from the address that I lived in before - but it works out at 14 in total from his house. He has told the court I created a 14 mile distance between him, completely leaving out the part where he moved first.

Spero Tue 05-Feb-13 14:43:48

14 miles? It's hardly Australia is it?

Sadly, the Judge will have seen ALL this before so don't worry. If he is raising allegations about your fitness to parent but is content to leave your daughter living with you majority of time, then clearly he is a nob. Put up or shut up would be my attitude.

If you don't feel confident with your solicitor tell her. Get someone else in the firm or change firms.

Have shuttle mediation or say because of the nature of the allegations he is making you don't see how mediation can possibly work.

And insist at final hearing that he either withdraws his allegations against you or he has to prove them by giving evidence and being cross examined.

He sounds a bully, no more, no less. But however much I might not agree with the approach/decisions of certain judges I have never met a judge who could be bullied, and watching them deal with men like this in court is often a pleasure to behold.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 14:55:29

lol @ spero - a pleasire to behold, thats cheered me up!

The only reservation I have about that is that he doesnt really come across as a bully in his every day dealings. He is more of a silent assasin and prefers the victim act. His original court app paints him as just that - the father who has been separated from his child by a malicous, onstructive unfit ex who moved 14 miles to deliberately create a distance between them. He made a big thing about my having no respect for his role in dd's life and every single solicitors letter bangs on about my lack of regard for his role in her life. I would say that this alone will form a large part of his case against me - my disregard for his opinion/choices/input etc. Thats where my sol is saying could go against me - of ex convinces them that he is just a frustrated dad wanting whats right for dd.

betterthanever Tue 05-Feb-13 15:16:36

Could I ask if your ex works? is his court action private or publically funded?
Does your DD have any regular weekend activities? could I ask how old she is?
I totally agree that there needs to be a better screening process for applications - but I don't have the answer as to what/how that should be - but mediation isn't always an option and once you have had your initial consultation thingi (I am so technical) on your own, it may not even be suggested as being possible.
It just sounds like he doesn't suit him to have one night a week and he wants to swap it for a weekend but is he asking for a full (two nights) weekend 3 out of 4 weekends? or just one night on all or some weekends?
Please put aside the acusations that you are a rubbish Mum, I really think that his sol. should be advicing him that that will not go down well in court if they can't be proved and as someone else said if CAFCASS have already said they are not going to be involved then they can't think there is a risk? could I ask when and how they said that to you?
If you are so bad then why is he not asking for residence on those grounds? does that mean they are not that bad then or he doesn't want full residency just what he wants/when he wants it? mmmm

Kirk1 Tue 05-Feb-13 15:21:10

How old is your DD? Does she want to spend more weekends with her father? If he's claiming she's "acting up" it could be that she doesn't want to be with him and is playing him up so he won't want her. (That's what I did with my NRP, not all kids can think it through in that way)

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 15:22:55

DD is 5, he works full time. The court recently wrote to me to say that cafcass have dispensed with the case and they will not be present at our review hearing. dd does an activity on the weekends but she misses it on his weekend as he refuses to take her.

Also, he is asking for fri-mon 3 weekends out of 4. ( two on and one off) which would mean 3 weekends out of 8 for me.

My sol believes he no longer wants to have dd during the week entirely for his own reasons. He has also recently cut her maintenence to a mere pittance.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 15:24:44

kirk - dd loves going there, no question, but she is happy with the set up as it is and hasnt expressed a desire to go there more. Neither myself or ex talk about any of this in front of dd, she hasnt a clue there is trouble between us, so isnt being coerced ifyswim.

Spero Tue 05-Feb-13 15:30:26

Don't forget, it's not just his side of the story that gets aired. Answer his allegations in a calm, reasonable way, more in sorrow than anger type thing. Dd loves him, what a shame we can't seem to sort things out etc. but 3 out of 4 weekends manifestly unfair unless you are working weird shift patterns.

NicknameTaken Tue 05-Feb-13 15:32:42

And surely the fact that he is misrepresenting the 14 miles as being all your fault when you can demonstrate that he moved away first is a point worth making - undermines his credibility even more.

NicknameTaken Tue 05-Feb-13 15:33:32

I'd print out a google map and be able to say on what date he moved (approx) and then show when and where you moved.

Spero Tue 05-Feb-13 15:35:56

For him, it is (I assume) his first court case. He has fired himself up in froth of righteous anger, he may even believe what he is saying. He certainly doesn't seem very well advised by his team.

Fr the judge, it will be his/her eleventy millionth case, all following same sad predictable pattern. Hurt parent seeking control, not so much fussed about child as making other parent look bad. Judges don't like that. No child should be made to feel one parent is bad. She should get to see as much as she reasonably can of both of you, bearing in mind she does need a main base and a primary carer.

betterthanever Tue 05-Feb-13 15:49:29

I do not think the judge will change the contact arangements based on him just wanting it to be a different way.
Please try not to worry, I know that is easier said than done.
If he finds it too hard because he can't cope with things midweek no longer wishes to have the day midweek that is up to him. The extra weekend may just be to keep his payments down but I would not mention that in court.
I think the fact you also work full time and your weekends are precious quality time together with your DD will be enough for the judge. The weekends are currently split between you so that you both get that quality time with your DD and that is why you wish it to remain the same.
Keep the focus just on that in mediation - you don't need to justify anything else.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 16:06:43

thanks better - I am trying to believe the judge will do the right thing, its the means by which he is trying to get his own way that I'm struggling with. Rather than admit he cant do the midweek for his own reasons, he is saying that its causing 'catastophic effects' for dd. He made a big thingin court and to cafcass about her behaviour and length of time spent in the car, how the driving not only causes her 'extreme exhaustion' but that its bad for her health, she gets car sick, it distresses her and is causing untold strain on the rest of the family as they have to organises the entire family/childcare arrangements/working hours around dd's collections. The man could win an OSCAR for how he has protrayed this 30-40 minute journey.

Spero Tue 05-Feb-13 16:10:20

I am sure the judge will be interested to read all the medical reports which document the appalling physical and emotional stress caused by this arduous and harrowing journey of 14 miles in a car.

betterthanever Tue 05-Feb-13 16:26:57

I think he has just talked himself out of ever getting midweek contact again and as he is very unkiley to get 3 out of 4 weekends he is backing himself into a corner and it looks like you will end up with more contact. No wonder cafcass said they don't need to get involved.

If he struggles to manage weekday care so much and is willing to put that in a legal statement - he is as daft as you know he is and not oscar winning - at the very least he has a very bad script!

It is so much easier to see how daft things sounds when you see it from afar - I really can't see a judge would do what he is suggesting for the reasons he is giving but they have thier off days!

When I worry about my own court case people don't understand why I worry as they see it clearer than me. Lets hope those outsiders are right eh!

I would concentrate on the why you have said no to 3 out of 4 weekends rather than even going there on the midweek - he has said that is not suitable to do the midweek night and as you are happy to have your DD that day - there is no problem there.

Loosing that day does not then constitue a reason for you to not spend time with your DD and for your DD to miss out on that quality time with you.

NicknameTaken Tue 05-Feb-13 16:54:39

I sympathize - my ex claims he was 60 mins late for handover because he had to stand at a bus stop for ages. In a snowstorm. He lives a 15 minute walk away.

Just resign yourself - he is going to say bad things about you and make everything out to be your fault. That's the way these men operate. An unreasonable person is not suddenly going to start acting in a reasonable way. You just have to work on your expectations so that one day you'll be rolling your eyes and finding it almost laughable rather than getting agitated. (And I know, I know that's so much easier to say than do!)

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 17:18:02

Thank you all so much for your help. I am really going to try and get through the mediation by being as calm as I can and if I have to, take a tranquilliser before hand (ha). If it gets too much I will ask for shuttle mediation. I find it difficult to explain the effect he has on me and that makes me wonder if he really is emotionally abusive or if it's me.

Thanks again.

Spero Tue 05-Feb-13 17:29:54

Tell ALL of this to the mediator. I trained as a mediator and they stressed throughout training you have to be on the look out for imbalance of power, abuse, bullying etc because this totally undermines what mediation is about. It is supposed to be helping two people on a level playing field reach a solution that they can both live with, thus saving the stress and expense of court.

It is NOT a playground for abusive bullies to trample over the more vulnerable party. If you don't feel comfortable being in the same room straight off that is fine.

The quality of mediators can vary - I personally went through mediation and felt very stung by the experience - it was a complete waste of time because I was far too emotional to deal with it and the mediator should have clearly seen that and assessed it in our initial meeting. I got the feeling they wanted my £200 however.

so if you don't feel comfortable with the process, you don't have to stick it out. The important thing is that you try and can explain to the Judge why it didn't work, if he asks.

Mediation isn't a panacea. It only works when both parties are genuinely motivated to reach agreement, not where one just wants to cause trouble or press for a wholly unreasonable outcome.

delilahlilah Tue 05-Feb-13 17:32:11

I've been through this with a friend. The important things are:
Don't speak to him on the phone - make him communicate in a written form as you can then keep it as evidence: Text / email / letter

Very importantly, make it clear that you think it is important for your DD to have access etc with her Dad. You need to take the moral high ground here.

Express concern at the distress apparently caused by the midweek visit. Personally, I would be inclined to suggest that you agree with Ex that midweek visit should be withdrawn as per his request. Then separately, offer alternative weekends as a fairly balanced arrangement - however as the travelling on weekdays is so detrimental to DD, it would be better that he collected her on a Saturday morning so that she is rested and ready for the journey and is not tired upon arrival at his house.....

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 17:34:47

Spero thanks. I don't believe for a second it will work. Ex has clearly been forced into it as have I. He never ever wanted to sit down and talk about anything- hence the initial request to change contact through a poxy text message. Neither of us are committed to the process of mediation as bad as that sounds- albeit for entirely different reasons. :/

AnyFucker Tue 05-Feb-13 17:37:44

listen to spero she knows this stuff

your ex sounds like a narcissist and it will be his downfall

he will crumble when it comes to the rub....he is nowhere near as clever as he thinks he is

AnyFucker Tue 05-Feb-13 17:38:39

oh, and it isn't you, it is him

I believe you

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 17:42:36

He is abusive i agree. if he cant control you now that you're his x he will use the system to control u.

it will be very hard i know but condense what you've told us here. repeat that he gave you 24 hours to agree to something and you felt railroaded. then this arrived on your doormat. i feel for you. my x called the police on me once. he ended up looking like a fool tho as he'd clearly used the police to give me a telling off and after they'd spoken to me they went back to him.....

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 17:47:39

And be reassured that his opinion of you is nowhere near as relevant as he thinks it is!!

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 17:56:29

Ps. on phone here so apilogies for multiple short pists, but when u say u dobt want to be too involved i hear you. i think it would be perfectly ok to say that whilst you dont want to be constantly at loggerheads you dont want to re-establish contact and have more communication with an x. i think that sounds reasobable, if he is trying to paint u as unreasonable for not wanting to get sucked back into a drama... say that you would like a fair arrangement that you can both agree to, that would remove the potential for stressful ongoing endless negotiation. that position is not unreasonable, it's not intransigent.... it's just the reasonable position of a mother happy to compromise but not seeking out more discussion with an x. practise statements before you go in. if he starts slagging you off try not to get sucked in... Bon courage x

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 17:58:20

Ps. on phone here so apilogies for multiple short pists, but when u say u dobt want to be too involved i hear you. i think it would be perfectly ok to say that whilst you dont want to be constantly at loggerheads you dont want to re-establish contact and have more communication with an x. i think that sounds reasobable, if he is trying to paint u as unreasonable for not wanting to get sucked back into a drama... say that you would like a fair arrangement that you can both agree to, that would remove the potential for stressful ongoing endless negotiation. that position is not unreasonable, it's not intransigent.... it's just the reasonable position of a mother happy to compromise but not seeking out more discussion with an x. practise statements before you go in. if he starts slagging you off try not to get sucked in... Bon courage x

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 17:59:25

Thanks everyone. The mediator and I had a chat on the phone and I told her I was nervous of him. She asked me to rate my fear from 1-10 and I said 3. It isnt a direct fear of him if that makes any sense, its a fear of his words - because almost any time we talk the most crushing things come out of his mouth. When we were splitting up and dd was only a tiny baby, he used to follow me around the house calling me a 'mess' because I was crying and devastated that we were ending. He has wished me ill so many times I can't tell you. :/

Spero Tue 05-Feb-13 18:08:08

You explain yourself very clearly and very well. I too was criticised for being a 'mess' when I had a small baby and was overwhelmed. It is difficult looking back now to understand why I didn't just smile sweetly and then change the locks whilst he was out. But these men can work on us when we are vulnerable. What they are rubbish at is working their dark arts on jaded and cynical professionals who have seen it all before. They need a vulnerable victim.

As AF says, once they meet resistance, they crumble.

Good luck, deep breath, be strong. He is a tit but he is the only father your daughter will have and she does need to know him, warts and all. Hopefully he will calm down after this is finished and put his energies into being a good dad to her, rather than a thorn in your side.

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 19:31:36

I know exactly what you mean. my x used to talj to me with such contempt and cruelty .. nobody with any self awarenezs at all could have been so needlessly cruel to a stranger never mind to the mother of their children... and simultaneously considered themself superior! o_O my x also used to follow me around the house screaming insults at me, and yet, he believed that was reasonable normal behaviour :-|

one of the ones i remember is "you are too fucking stupid to cook a ready meal". that is because i added broccoli to it. i knew he was the freak not only because he behaved like one but also because he thought i was chaotic pathetic mess. like you, i was also told i was a terrible mother. even while he slept through the night and i was getti.g up in the night for two under two.

slowlycatchymonkey Tue 05-Feb-13 22:30:39

Thanks both for sharing, god I wonder if there is ever a moment, an epiphany when men like these accept that they have been truly foul:/. I'm guessing that kind of introspection only comes to normal people.

Thanks again. I'm going to read this thread through again and take it with me to the session. grin

AnyFucker Tue 05-Feb-13 22:32:27

Don't count on it..people like this never cop on to themselves

MerlotAndMe Tue 05-Feb-13 23:20:31

No, no epiphany for this type of text book narcissist im afraid. i left 6 years ago, and for a long time i neeeeeeded (as though it were the only antidote to my humiliation, time lost, low self worth) to hear him acknowledge that he'd treated me like an incompetent employee. i felt like i couldnt move on til he'd acknowledged dWHY i left, and said sorry.

not only has he never acknowledged that he treated me like a whipping boy never mind said sorry BUT only a few months ago he said to somebody " i "ll never forgive her, she broke up a family. i did nothing wrong". this was repeated straight back to me. my jaw fell open. i guess he"s forgotten the way he bullied me because it meant so little to him. so mundane. not the kind of thing you'd remember, like say, changing the car.

so PLease dont wait for his epiphany. wait instead for the day when you couldnt give a fuck if he eats his epiphany with humble pie.

sassy34264 Tue 05-Feb-13 23:43:29

Slowly I have had 10 years of courts. Had my hopefully last experience last thurs.

The last cafcass officer asked for the contact order to be scrapped and for my dd1 to decide if she wants to see him or not, and recommended that an imposed ban for 2 years was put in place to stop exdp from taking me to court in the meantime.

Less than 2 months later we are back in court..........because he appealed!!!!!

It got rejected <blows raspberry>

Long story short, my exdp has a personality disorder, not officially diagnosed, but he ticks all the boxes. He has written some awful things about me in his numerous statements. One eg, that i was a bad mother for sending our then 2 yr old to nursery when i started working. He wrote all about how tired she was, the bruises etc. Unbeknown to him, she was only their 6 weeks, before i packed the job in, due to his abusiveness. I just never bothered to tell him.

I ignore now. I have done for years. I don't even try to defend myself, and to my recollection, i have hardly ever been asked to defend my self. If they asked, i would tell my story. But half the time, i feel that it isn't even relevant to their decision.

Lots of people in my life and on here say, you must put your side of the story across, otherwise the judge has only his side, but his side is so warped, you would have to be clueless not to see it.

I say and write what i think is relevant to get what is in the best interests of my dd. If i answered all of his points, 1, it would give him the platform to express how shit i am, and 2, it would go on forever..........

I'm not saying don't address the horrible things that he says about you, i'm just saying, that the courts don't believe evrything they read, can see through bs (most of the time) and to recognise the difference between wanting to defend yourself, so they don't think bad of you, and wanting to defend yourself because it may affect the judge's view of you as a good mother.

Hope that makes sense. confused

It's late!

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Wed 06-Feb-13 01:53:07

Slowly, for what it's worth, you write very clearly, calmly and intelligently. I'm sorry all of this is happening, but I hope you can hear us all and take some faith from it that you will present as an excellent parent.

And I'm seconding whoever said, above, that your ex has just written a long essay arguing exactly why he can't have mid-week contact. Are you happy to change the arrangements to continue with the same number of weekends as currently, but cancel the mid-weeks? Because that would be a fair compromise, wouldn't it? It would allay his concerns over the whole, dreadful, traumatic, fourteen mile half-hour journey that renders it impossible to have his daughter mid-week, and also preserve your quality time with her.

Of course, it'd also change his child support calculation...but since he's so incredibly worried about her mental and physical health being affected by the dreadful, epic, interminable car journey, that's a small price for him to pay, right?

Spero Wed 06-Feb-13 08:09:47

I think men like that probably know on some level they behave appallingly, but in my experience it is vanishingly rare that they will admit it publicly or ever do anything to change. The more usual path is to continue to justify their behaviour and rewrite history to portray themselves as the nice, reasonable one.

My ex for eg asked me what on earth was my problem, given he had never hit me or been sexually unfaithful. He either buried very deeply any memory of his verbal cruelty and aggression, or he thinks this is normal and acceptable behaviour. After 5 years I am trying to accept that he will not change and I will never get the validation I crave. Don't waste as much time as I have!

Skyebluesapphire Wed 06-Feb-13 12:43:37

From my experience of mediation, we had two mediators in with us. XH refused to say what he wanted contact wise, until the mediator pushed him for an answer. I said that I wanted XH to tell me what he wanted, as he was refusing anything that I had suggested.

The mediators will not allow either of you to be aggressive, or upset, and they will call a break or even a halt to the proceedings if they feel it is necessary. If no other professional bodies are concerned about your DD, then your XH doesnt have anything to back him up.

Regarding distance, my XH moved 20 miles away, around a 30 minute drive, then was repeatedly late picking DD up as he wasn't allowing any time for holdups etc. He then complained that it was a "shit road" to get to where I lived. (the same place that he had lived for 10 years, by his own choice....).

If you remain calm in mediation, get him to state his case, answer whatever he has to say, the mediators will help you to get through it. They are not allowed to "take sides" but they are only human and can quite easily work out for themselves if somebody is being unreasonable.

My XH now has DD every other weekend and rarely sees her during the week as he is "too busy".

betterthanever Wed 06-Feb-13 16:25:38

Spero my ex has turned up after 7/8 years and has totally rewritten history and has been willing to put his statements to a court of law. I know he will not change to have gone to these lengths. It does scare you but I guess that is why they do it. They only really scare me now as if he is believed he gets to do the same to my DS who he currently doesn't have contact with. He knows that will then hurt me which his his ultimate aim and very scary.

Spero Wed 06-Feb-13 18:05:44

How scarey. Why has he popped up now? He can't have any serious complaints about you if he has done nothing in 8 years!

betterthanever Wed 06-Feb-13 21:09:24

Retaliation for the CSA getting a liability order on him I think spero. He thought he could avoid them. I had given up hope years ago they would track him down, anyway they did and he now wants contact with my DS. But sadly it is much worse than just that. He still isn't paying CSA by the way.
Sorry OP I am crashing your thread here but sassy your words have also inspired me. I worry about having to sit and defend myself - I feel like it will be like when a police car is behind you and you know you are only doing 30 and have not been drinking..... but still feel somehow guilty.

betterthanever Wed 06-Feb-13 21:14:16

Sorry spero in answer to your question - he is now saying that he has only just found he has a DS via the CSA as I told him my DS wasn't his and we had split by mutual consent when I was pregnant- luckily I kept solicitors letters about his abuse and threats of violence when my DS was very young and more documents. CAFCASS are so far unimpressed with him but you still worry that justice will not be done. What sassy said is true as far as CAFCASS are concerned they have never asked me to defend myself really.

sassy34264 Thu 07-Feb-13 10:07:54

Awh better it's not often i inspire anyone. grin

Some of the hard nose judges i have met, will not be impressed by a 7/8 year absence. And i can't imagine him shouting the odds on your mothering skills would go down well either- seeing as it hasn't bothered him for 7/8 years. hmm

Good luck.

sassy34264 Thu 07-Feb-13 10:13:00

better Are you asking for supervised visits?

I think i would be doing after such a long abscence. Does he even remember him?

Jux Thu 07-Feb-13 15:22:41

Parental alienation? He says things about you to her.

betterthanever Thu 07-Feb-13 19:20:11

Sassy my DS was only 5 days old when he threatened to punch me was last in my company and I got a solicitor and I never heard from him again until a few months ago, he left me when I was pregnant and I kep in touch but he didn't bother to get involved AT ALL - we met up twice that was it until my DS was born. I have offered indirect contact. CAFCASS have backed that and said `at most'. You sound very experienced and I re read your post earlier as it calms me down lol - how an earth have you managed? all advice really welcome.
Good point jux

sassy34264 Fri 08-Feb-13 07:53:58

Sorry slowly don't mean to hijack, but will post my links to my threads for better as it may help. Feel free to read or not.

1st thread

2nd thread

As you can see it's been sooooo hard.

Hope you are ok slowly ?

betterthanever Fri 08-Feb-13 20:12:42

slowly I hope you are feeling better about things. People's experiences and advice on here covers a lot of ground imo. There are some wonderful people and those you can debate with, good practice for questions in mediation/court. I like to hear lots of perspectives. I never think mine is the right answer. Especially when I have never been through things before.
Sassy thanks for sharing, your in my neck of the woods too. I especially liked your point about your daughter growing up stronger than you and Hissy. You have done everything you can and more.

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