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Family therapy with abusive ex.

(95 Posts)
Offred Thu 02-May-13 07:27:14

Relationship broke up 7 years ago.

Ex is having difficulty relating to the children and them to him. DD (6) is often wetting the bed, having biting/kicking tantrums and going a little anorexic because of stress.

Most recent incident ex had dc to sleep over. DD had brought her new clothes to show off. Ex tried to cancel but only the day before and so I wouldn't allow that. We brought them after tea instead of at 3pm because he said he had to work.

Next day DC said his gf was lying in bed a long time and he was grumpy and told them he couldn't take them out because DD's clothes were "inappropriate". It was sunny and 13 degrees and she had a maxi dress, thick woollen tights, a faux fur coat and mittens so not inappropriate at all.

He also told them he couldn't give them lunch because he had no food (supermarket is less than half a mile away and there were two of them there). He brought them back at 2pm and I heard them ask why they had to come home and he said "mummy wanted you back" which is not true at all, he could have kept them as long as he wanted.

I suspect that he wanted to cancel because they had been invited out and that they went out anyway and he was too hungover to deal with them so instead blamed DD and me.

DS was bullying DD because of this when they came back and when I heard the story from them I explained that I didn't think DD was wearing inappropriate clothes at all and it wasn't DD's fault. She then cried solidly for half an hour because she'd worn the clothes specially for him and thought it was her fault the whole thing was ruined. sad

DS then also felt terribly guilty for being whipped up to be mean to her. sad

They have both been upset since and he has not broached the subject with them and is now asking for another overnight.

In the past he has said he doesn't feel able to communicate with them because of what I did to him, apparently taking them away from him.

Plus, DD was conceived when he raped me and he has always denied paternity of her when he could even after DNA. I suspect he doesn't want her sad

If they are going to continue seeing him they need a greater level of emotional support than I can give and it would be a bonus if someone other than me could help XP relate to them. He is willing to go. Is it going to be a bad idea?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 07:30:45

I think you have to put your DD first here and just stop the overnight stays. He sounds very selfish and uncaring, she's stressed... why keep forcing the poor kid to have to endure his company for long periods?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 07:33:35

BTW... I don't think any amount of 'therapy' is going to help a man that doesn't want to acknowledge or accommodate his own child. She has an eating disorder? Keep her home, safe and with people that actually love her i.e. just you.

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 07:36:44

I think you need to get some counselling for the children, which may or may not lead on to family therapy for them and him. BUT any such therapy needs to be focussed primarily on the children's needs.

To be honest, as he is abusive; rape is abusive behaviour, as is his treatment of your DD, I would be checking how much contact is really of benefit for them and how much you have to legally allow.

I would also talk to the school (and your GP), and ask for help for your children, is there a home-school link worker they could see? Have you seen the GP about the bed-wetting? If it is linked to stress then I would definitely start the conversation.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 07:38:42

I agree with CES. Therapy is a waste of time unless someone wants to be different. He clearly doesn't.

I would be stopping contact. Seriously he sounds like he is really capable of doing some awful damage, if it's not already been done - poor little things sad and poor you.

Please try your best to stop this. He doesn't give a shit.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 07:39:54

Definitely the GP. You need to get it on record that your DD is incontinent at night and has disordered eating due to stress directly linked to contact with this man. Who is pushing for her to have contact incidentally? You, him or your DD herself?

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 07:40:16

btw is this contact ordered by court? If not he has no right to it. He would have to take you to court to get it - and if he has form for raping you then honestly I don't think he'd get unsupervised, nor should he.

I don't know how you bear to send them to someone so horrible - but you don't have to, you can put a stop to this

munchkinmaster Thu 02-May-13 07:42:59

I have to say I think most family therapists wouldn't take this on as they wouldn't feel ethically it was appropriate. If one did agree is be dubious about them.

You say your daughter is a little anorexic. She is 6. She should not be so stressed she is off her food. Why do you think contact benefits them? I think a good idea to seek help for the three of you but leave ex p out while you get yourselves straight.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 07:43:28

I have spoken to the school numerous times over the last two years. They look blank and say "ok, we'll keep an eye on her".

When I spoke to the GP yesterday he gave me a massive lecture about "is this about stopping him seeing them?" Errrr no fuckhead, if I was trying to do that I wouldn't be calling you at all.

Services are not being particularly supportive.

Yy my aim is that they need some emotional support for them primarily (GP) was so angry he wouldn't listen to this and demanded that Xp and I come in together to ask for a referral otherwise he wouldn't do it as he wanted to make sure I wasn't trying to use services to exclude xp hmm

I was pretty shocked and upset!

Offred Thu 02-May-13 07:45:45

I have not reported any abuse or rape. It is entirely my word against his.

The DC live him very much and want to see him. I am in two minds about whether it is actually my responsibility to stop it or to make it safer.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 07:47:25

Talk to a different GP, get a second opinion and then complain about your existing GP to NHS England (assuming you're in England) here for his total lack of attention to your DD's mental health problems. How dare he accuse you of - what? - pretending your child has an illness just to influence contact? There are huge numbers of really crappy GPs in circulation IME and they deserve to be reprimanded.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 07:49:10

Your DCs are kids. Kids want to do all kinds of potentially harmful things 'very much' like eating ice-cream for breakfast or walking on ice-covered lakes.... Our responsibility as parents is to decide what is best for them, not simply go along with their wishes. He is harming your DCs.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 07:52:18

I understand that but I also think if I step in to stop him coming they will idealise him in his absence and when he tries to contact them in their teens or twenties it will be really disruptive.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 07:53:35

He knows he can say what he likes about me because I cannot tell DD the circs of her conception.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 07:59:42

Idolising him in his absence is just a chance you'll have to take. They are at a vulnerable stage in their lives, your DD is suffering quite serious behavioural/MH problems already and sorry to say this but, if those eating problems really take hold, she might not even make it to her teens..... sad You don't have to tell them about the rape and you don't have to justify it. You're the adult here and what you say goes.

redskynight Thu 02-May-13 08:00:17

Definitely complain about the GP, and find another one. That was inappropriate behaviour and the GP needs reprimanding. Find out how best to complain and spell out what the GP said inappropriately and send copies to as many people you need to to get a response.

I think that you do need to not force your x to see the children when he is trying to cancel. He sounds like he is being neglectful and irresponsible towards them through his behaviour, but in the situation you describe the children would have been better off with being disappointed than being neglected and discarded back to you. Some men just should not be allowed to be parents, and he sounds like one of them.

If you are worried about your DD being stressed and bedwetting, talk to the school and find out what primary services you can access through them. My understanding is once the child is of school age, the HV role is taken over by the 'school nurse' and you can access services through them (for bed wetting assessment etc). That might just be in the area I am now. However I was in a different area before and I know that when I raised concerns about stress in my child when her father abandoned her the school did have processes in place to help me, through art therapy etc. (child is infant school age).

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 08:00:25

I know it's not as easy when you're the one in the middle of it and trying to desperately do the right thing, but if it were me in your situation, i'd stop all contact altogether.

If you split before your DD was born and yet she still has an eating disorder and significant anxiety issues, contact is actively harming her.

Think about how vulnerable, disorientated and hurt you feel as your Xs partner. That's with the benefit of an adult's level of experience and understanding. For a child, who can't make sense of what's going on, it's a million times worse.

Children often have a strong bond with an abusive parent - it's because they do the only thing they can to minimise the fallout on themselves - appease (try to be good, better, say they love them, etc).

If you're worried about how to stop contact without falling foul of the authorities, a few things you can do is get all your concerns documented. Go back to SS and insist they put your concerns on file even if they don't action anything. Find another GP. Make your own diary of your children's problems and document anything said after contact or any change in behaviour, evidence of anxiety, etc. Insist on contact being supervised. This would be best at a contact centre, but offer it at your house if you think you are strong enough to deal with it. It will show you are not stopping contact but that you have concerns about your DC's safety. It will be a matter of weeks I should think before your X behaves abusively towards you, at which point you have been given carte blanche to stop contact completely unless he takes you to court for it. If it goes to court you don't necessarily need legal representation and there are free advocates available for people in your situation. And remember, now that there is no legal aid for family law cases, how likely is a man who would prefer to get drunk than look after his DC properly to go to court?

Hope you resolve things.

redskynight Thu 02-May-13 08:02:39

They will idolise the most crappy parent and you will not hear the end of the adolation. However, you can only give them the best childhood you can and hope that in the future you have given them all the ammunition they need to be able to cope on an emotional level. And you don't need to do it completely alone, make sure they have other adult role models in their lives (be it teachers, aunts, GPs, your friends).

Offred Thu 02-May-13 08:12:28

They will not allow supervised contact at a centre, he will not come to my house because he is afraid. They only begrudgingly allowed it when he was under investigation by the police many years ago (didnt come to anything).

I do think they wouldn't have been less upset by me allowing him to cancel. I didn't think he would behave how he did.

I think it would be vastly worse for him to come in when they are 14/15/16 and could potential ruin their whole lives with running away and drugs/alcohol.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 08:17:30

Who is they? The courts or your X and his GF?

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 08:17:54

If he doesn't want to come to your house, then he misses out. He doesn't have the trump card anymore than you do.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 08:18:32

The trouble is, the more contact they have with him and the more they try to appease him, the more it is going to undermine the relationship they have with you. sad

Offred Thu 02-May-13 08:20:29

Courts and therefore the services, although there is no contact order because they determined his suit was vexatious.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 08:35:44

You're projecting what 'might' happen eight, nine, ten years down the track and ignoring what you know to be true today ie.. they lives are being ruined 'now'.

If they are in your care from now on, get good parenting, and are not subjected to a bad parent that rejects them, upsets them, causes conflict and is making your daughter physically and mentally disturbed, why would that mean they are likely to run away or start doing drugs? Surely the opposite is true?

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 08:46:23

Go to see a different GP!
Go to the school, and ask to speak to the SENCO. Tell them (the SENCO) that you are worried about your daughter's emotional state and eating, as she seems to be taking your break up hard. Ask them if they can refer her for any support. I would probably also put it in writing that you are concerned about your daughter's eating and please could they monitor this as a "safeguarding issue".
I was recently called into school because my DD refused to eat at lunch time; the reason I was called was that as I had previously raised concerns they took it to be a "safeguarding issue" so had to treat it very seriously.

I would also suggest that you get some proper legal advice. It is not too late to call Women's aid or Rights of Women.

The children may seem briefly upset at not seeing him, but if it is doing them long term harm, it is much better that they don't see him.

I believe you and your children do need counselling. So does your ex, but he is never going to be totally truthful with a counsellor is he?

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 08:50:08

Oh BTW I never saw my father from when I was 2. I certainly didn't idolise him (and my Mum often refused to answer my questions about him, as the information was not age appropriate) as a teen.

I actually now wouldn't want to contact my long lost "half-brothers" and sisters, as I sort of dread to think just how bad it was to grow up around him. I do know a little more as an adult, but still not all the nitty gritty. The most shocking image I have is a photo of my Mum soon after we left, and just how incredibly thin she was.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 08:56:10

Because if I stop him seeing them that is what he will seek to do, it is what his father did with him. He will encourage them to drink and give them drugs and invite them to stay with him. He absolutely will do that because he is a narc and he wants them to idolise him. If I stop them seeing him they will be easily manipulated to think he is god and I'm the evil witch because as I said I will not explain the dv and sexual abuse to them, ever.

Their lives are not ruined ATM. They are stressed.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 09:16:42

How do you know they will be easily manipulated. Your DD is just six. You have at least 8 years before she'll even sniff a glass of alcohol and not recoil in disgust. That's a lot of time to work on a child's attitude to these things. You could move out of the area, make new lives for yourself. Anything could happen but you appear to be taking it as inevitable that a) you have zero control over your children and b) he'll behave the same way as his father.

You have choices, but you don't seem to see that at the moment.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:24:26

I don't have control over them no, they are people with their own minds!

When they are old enough to go out on their own they are old enough to visit him in secret, that's around age 12.

It would be extremely naive to expect I could control them and their relationship with him in those circs.

He will repeat that pattern. I know he will.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 09:25:19

Why won't you explain the abuse? I've been advised that I should. Not in graphic detail and always age-appropriately, but sticking to the bare facts as if you were writing a clinical report. You don't ascribe motives to your X and say "I don't know" if asked why he did what he did. You also reiterate that none of it is their fault and that you love them. But telling your DC why you left is very important for their understanding of why their parents are still not together and so that they know it is OK and actually a GOOD thing to leave when someone is mistreating you. You don't gleefully set out on a character annihilation of your X but you don't protect him (which is what you're doing by staying schtum) either.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:26:04

I'm not denying I have the choice though, I know it's a choice I could make but I don't think it would be better.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 09:27:03

Offred, have you tried the freedom programme? I think you'd really benefit from it. As an outsider looking in, you haven't broken free from this relationship at all. You're still dominated by fatalistic thinking and passive reactions rather than being proactive.

Your DC need to know where to contact your X. He needs to know where they are. Your values and attitudes are formative. By the time they meet your X - if they have no more contact now - they will respond very much as your children, not his.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 09:28:11

... In fact, your only solution appears to be getting someone to 'help your ex relate to them'. He's a rapist who makes your little girl so unhappy she starves herself and wets the bed. He is not going to change, relate or suddenly turn into a decent human being. So that is non-starter. Forget that.

Your future and your children's future can be changed but only if you stop thinking this man has any power.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:28:15

I won't describe it because it was primarily sexual abuse. I have talked about psychological/financial. He has a different view of what happened though. It is interesting that you've been told to talk about it.

I can't tell dd that I think he doesn't want her because she's the result of a rape no.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 09:28:43

"I don't have control over them no, they are people with their own minds!"

They are CHILDREN.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 09:29:19

I've no doubt my DC will seek out their father more in years to come either (they have very limited contact with him at the moment, under my supervision). I expect them to actually recoil in embarrassment as they get to know him more. Children are very much a product of their upbringing, and while they may deviate from that as part of a teenage rebellion, etc., most of us revert to type eventually. I don't have undue concerns about it. You have a lot of power here, as Cogito says. You just don't realise it.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:29:51

I am really concerned that he may abuse your daughter sexually as well if he is allowed overnight contact with her

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:30:26

and blame it on you

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:31:40

I don't know what difference them being children makes. They are people first. You can't force anyone to do anything, if they don't want to do something they will simply lie to you and resent you! It's important to involve them but still make the ultimate choice. I don't mean to suggest I am letting them choose. I just think when they are teens he will be more disruptive than he is now if I stop them seeing him.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 09:32:41

I can see that you're trying to protect them from future danger X, which you're probably quite right about. In doing that, they are being exposed to current dangers A, B, C, D .... Eating issues and stress related bed wetting are warning signs.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 09:33:44

So you just let your kids do what they please? Never say 'no'? Never guide them in a particular direction, prevent them from doing something? Good parenting means taking responsibility for children and making good decisions on their behalf until they are old enough to make decisions for themselves. If you have no control and you are unwilling to exercise authority, what is the point of you being there at all?

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 09:35:06

Can you not see the faulty logic there?

If he's narcissistic, by the time they are older he'll have moved on to other victims and his DC will probably be disowned by him (it won't suit his self image to have children who aren't in his life).

By continuing to let him have contact, he is able to plant numerous seeds that he can use at a later date to manipulate them further.

What do you want your children to remember about their childhoods?.

If your children continue to see him they will end up being further damaged and that damage will continue into their own adult relationships.

If he is a narcissist he will only want to use the children as his own narc supply and that in turn damages them as well.

You have been and remain damaged by his abuse of you; he will do the same to your children as well given any opportunity. They're already trying desperately to please him.

What you have tried to date has not worked.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 09:36:53

I think you and the DC could get a lot from doing family therapy without him.

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 09:39:11

My oldest children are teenagers, I still have a lot of influence over them, because I have brought them up. As children I taught them to think for themselves but also to hold onto moral values. If they came out with ridiculous ideas I challenged them on them. We discuss drugs, drink etc.

They are in no way perfect. But they will not blindly follow anyone. Actually one of my biggest sayings has been, whenever they say "Fred made me do it" to say " If Fred told you to jump off a cliff would you do it?"

I really think you need to get counselling and do the freedom program. Because until you empower yourself then you cannot give your children the tools to protect themselves as teenagers.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:39:18

who is protecting them here.

redskynight Thu 02-May-13 09:41:08

I do think they wouldn't have been less upset by me allowing him to cancel. I didn't think he would behave how he did. however, you would have had more control of the situation, and could have managed their upset better by explaining to them what was happening.

Are they young enough for you to keep contact a 'secret' until it actually happens to minimise upset?

Spero Thu 02-May-13 09:41:29

I would try reducing contact to a limited time - say one afternoon every fortnight or every month. Then hopefully he can stick to it without messing everyone around and cope with short amount of time.

If they love him and want to see him you have to think carefully about just terminating contact, that can cause its own type of harm.

It is a case of balancing the harm he causes them by his attitudes/behaviours and the harm if he suddenly disappears from their lives. What explanation would you give ?

I would not bother thinking about him getting therapy or whatever. That's up to him. But it sounds like or might help the children to see someone if they are anxious. Does the school offer anything? Could you pay privately?

If he doesn't like your proposals, let him apply to court.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:42:03

Rooney do you not think there is quite a big difference between misogyny and Paedophilia/incest?

However I am not unconcerned about that when she is pubescent which is another reason I don't want to stop him coming completely now.

I am listening to you all though. Believe me I'd dearly love to just cut him out. He won't stay away though. I know he won't.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:44:05

Cog, that's ridiculous and not what I'm saying at all.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 09:44:58

Again, I can totally understand why you're focused on a known future risk, but I think by doing that you're minimising the impact that it's having on them now. They have a much better chance of being able to cope with him as teenagers if they aren't exposed to him now.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 09:46:17

I really think that your DC could benefit from seeing someone now. They're building up problems that could cause them a lifetime of grief.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:51:49

I'm not entirely focused on the future, that's why I'm trying to get them some emotional support now.

Jeez, you lot practically calling me abusive for not cutting him out entirely and damn the consequences GP and courts saying I'd be abusive to cut him out... Really helpful pulling me in two!

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:57:21

Spero - once a month is good idea. Once a week is too much.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 10:00:32

It depends Offred. It depends on where his personal boundaries lie with regard to abuse.

It sounds like he is already blaming you and your perceived demands for his treating them so badly.

If he is capable of rape then he may well be capable of child sexual abuse, but yes I am thinking of when she becomes a bit older. You say he doesn't want her because she reminds him of his crime? Is that right?

and she is not aware of all this.
I think that you want to do the right thing but cannot see what that is. So family therapy, but without this despicable bastard being present, would be a great idea x

redskynight Thu 02-May-13 10:00:57

You sound so scared, anxious, defensive even. You need to focus on today, not 10 years' time. You have no control or idea what the future might bring, for all you know your x might be run over by a bus. You have no control over how your x behaves.

You do have responsibility to stay calm and give your children the best that you can, right now, today and to shield them as much as you are able. Today you have control over their lives and happiness, and your own. If you are focusing so much on your x, and the hypothetical future, you can't be the best parent for your children, that just takes too much energy (I know that from experience).

There is support you can access if you feel you just can't let go emotionally and start to take back control of your own life. While you focus on him, you are letting him control you. You could access counselling, you could talk to women's aid, you could take a surestart parenting course. Start talking to RL people who can advise you.

If he is a narc, by strengthening your DCs confidence and independence, you remove a lot of his power. He won't want to know offspring that are their own people. You need to communicate to him with complete indifference, stop feeding him. If he says I don't want the children, give him a one word response, fine, and take them to somewhere fun and enjoy your time with them instead. Their memory of the day will be you laughing and playing with them, not the let down. Make it as unimportant as you possibly can.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 10:01:31

btw I don't know the answer either. I just feel pitifully sorry for your children, and very sorry for you as well. It's never a cut and dried issue.
But I do think he needs to be minimised in his influence and impact.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:02:16

Redsky - you can't explain away "your dad can't be arsed with you"

Incidentally he has said he will think about letting my dh adopt them if he can't improve things, going to some therapy would be a last attempt to see if he can pull it back and if not he'll agree to letting them be adopted.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 10:02:51

Oh good news!

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 10:04:17

I'm sorry if you feel got at Offred. It's a horrible situation and I understand that you feel you are doing your best. You are in a position of perceived powerlessness and are acting on a sort of damage limitation basis. It's not easy and I have enormous sympathy for you.

But it's that word 'perceived' that's important here, which is why I mentioned the freedom programme. Those of us who have been through this recognise where you're at, we really do. But the situation you think you have to manage is not the only option available to you, it really isn't. I know you can't see any other possible way, but there are lots.

Please look into the freedom programmel

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:05:04

Offred I'm not trying to have a go. I'm saying that all you can do is focus on them now. What's best for them right now? In a week? In a month? And not only would it be very beneficial for them to see someone, in helping them to understand that it's not their fault their father is the way he is, you would also then have a professional who could officially record the impact contact with their father was having on them.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:06:21

I don't think I feel powerless but I don't want to stop him seeing them. I know I could do that but I think it would be short-termist.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:07:39

They know it isn't their fault, or mine. The eldest says "daddy always says he can't see us because he is busy or work won't let him have time off but I don't believe that because work shouldn't be more important than your children should it?"

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:07:39

So basically, yes to therapy, even yes to the therapist meeting your ex, but with an aim of helping your deal with the damage he causes and getting them away from him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 10:08:01

What do you think they gain out of seeing him?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 10:08:13

What do you gain out of them seeing him?

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:08:46

Dahlen - yes, I want a professional to both validate and record their feelings. As a sideline I want to present XP with a last chance.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:09:17

They gain an understanding of him and that it isn't their fault he is shit.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:09:26

Honestly, what do you think they are gaining from being exposed o his behaviour. They're children, so of course they want to see him and for him to want to see them, but what are they getting from these visits? Bed wetting and eating issues? Guilt and tears?

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:10:59

X posts. They aren't getting that though Offred. They belev that it's work that keeps him from them. They believed that it was your DD's clothes that kept them in. That caused them very real distress.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:11:24

I gain nothing.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:12:27

No, they don't believe that, maybe they do initially. They think he is making excuses. They feel upset.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 10:12:27

'An understanding of him'.... I really don't get this, sorry. If he was an alcoholic would you want them to accompany him on a bender? You seem to be amazingly hopeful that he will respond to this last chance to reform. Why, after everything he's done to you and the harm he's done to your family, are you still flogging that dead horse?

"They gain an understanding of him and that it isn't their fault he is shit".

No they do not. They cannot even begin to understand because they re too young to even begin to process any of this at all properly.


I am wondering what your own childhood was like?.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:16:41

I don't think he will necessarily respond to a chance, it will however be recorded that he didn't and he will allow them to be adopted.

If I stop him seeing them now it will make it into a power struggle over the children. He has parental responsibility and can simply take them from school.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:17:46

They're doing fine with understanding and processing it though Attila. The eldest has said he thinks it is just an excuse.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:19:10

As children though they're naturally egocentric. Even when they accept he's making excuses they're likely to blame themselves.

I have nothing but admiration for how you've been dealing with this man, no doubt at great cost to yourself, to try to give your DC the best possible outcome. I think it's worth getting a good recommendation and finding help for your DC. If that's under the guise of family therapy, fine, but if he is what you say he is, and I have no doubts about that, he is incapable of causing them anything but harm. On the plus side any professional worth their salt will spot him a mile off.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:23:28

I'm hoping they will spot him a mile off. I am admittedly wary of asserting myself without back up for my concerns. The school and surgery believe the children are stressed because I have four of them and am not coping. He has benefitted from the doubt of being entirely absent in those two spheres.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:26:14

When the twins go to school that should improve because they are happy little chaps with no worries at all.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:30:37

I will call WA today though.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:33:19

Good luck.

Lweji Thu 02-May-13 10:48:11

Just read this, and, yes, good luck.

If anything, get the therapy for the children, so that they can deal with him. Possibly get support for you on how to deal with the impact on the children.

I think the best for the children is to stop contact, but possibly best for you to let it drop, even if he cancels at the last minute. Record everything. Every event.

redskynight Thu 02-May-13 10:52:18

Redsky - you can't explain away "your dad can't be arsed with you"

No, but you can tell them he is busy, and that you love them unconditionally and that they can always trust that you & other adult role models in their lives (i.e. GPs) will not let them down. You can distract them (if they are younger). You can make him as little important in their lives as you can. You can try to emphasize that none of what is happening is caused by or because of them.

My children have a dad that can't be arsed. He is a total **. He makes so many Disney-like, hyped up promises and lets them down every time. He has strong narc tendencies and was an abusive partner etc etc. I tell my children every day I love them just for them, that I will always be there for them, that I will never just up and leave, that they can trust what I say. When he continues making promises that don't materialise, I point out (gently) to the children that he is unreliable (I want to teach them not to trust people conditionally, but judge them on their actions too), so they don't just cling on to his promises, but also that I and other adults around them can be trusted and point out how & why. I make sure that they have relationships with other adults, other children so that they can learn what healthy relationships are. I don't stop them seeing/talking to him, but honestly as he is such a it is unbelievably seldom that he sees them. I will put boundaries down with his relationship with them, so that the children are in control too. i.e. they decide when the phone call is ending or if they do or don't feel like talking that day, not him. And I make sure they know that is absolutely ok.

It is so difficult, as I said earlier some dad's should not be allowed to have children, as they are not able to be responsible for a child's emotional well being. And it unfortunately comes down to the other parent's responsibility to try and minimise the damage to the children. Good luck calling WA I hope they can help! I accessed some help through my HV previously too, who was absolutely amazing. She came and advised and listened and made time for me, and had heard it all before so understood what I had gone through. She also had the the time to witness that the children were happy and well looked after. If you have preschoolers that might be worth a thought, as a support for you.

babyhammock Thu 02-May-13 10:52:53

Offred you must be so exhausted with this sad
I'm so upset for you that no one is listening to you properly too.. it's awful isn't it.
Do call womansaid xx

Spero Thu 02-May-13 10:59:37

Good luck op. I think you are doing the best you can in a tough situation. I agree with everything you say about why you are still considering contact.

I think it is a shame that some posters want to bang their own drum quite so forcefully when you are in a difficult situation for which there simply is no one clear cut absolutely right solution.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 11:03:56

I can totally see the value of taking the line of least resistance with him. It may prevent him from creating a conflict or a challenge simply out of defiance.

However I have a HUGE problem with this:

'As a sideline I want to present XP with a last chance.'

This is on a hiding to nothing. Seriously. Do you really think that this is worth your while, and their while? Really?

I think you still feel responsible for his actions to a degree and that's why you're not just standing up to him. You are scared of being held responsible for the behaviour of this complete twat.

cestlavielife Thu 02-May-13 11:07:18

yes yes to family therapy for the children .

they might insist you both attend together a pre-assessment without the children (i had to and it was horrendous)

the family therapy has been dds and me attending -building to dds attending on their own. they dont want dad to attend. slightly differnt as they older and dd1 doesnt want to see him and dd2 very unsure as she ash been let down so much - but when she was younger like your dd would have wanted to see him whatever.

defintiely your dc need a space to express their views and feeeling adn work on strategies . eg they might write up a list of what they want dad to do at contact or not do - this could be presented to dad and discussed. maybe therapists could do this. you would discuss all of this. they will work first of all thru play and drawing etc to see what dd thinks.

you need to insist on getting help for dd and yes so it is recorded.

and worry about now and the impact all this is having - and working on giving them the tools to deal with him later. dont act to appease him ...

i've also had sessions no my own which has been useful too.

for now dont stop contact; but reduce it. regualr consistent small chunks might be better.
and if he cancels so be it.

cestlavielife Thu 02-May-13 11:09:16

family therapy should be without your ex, at least initially, you and espec dd need to get chance to speak freely and explore what's going on without him.

if later you decide with therapist you want to meet with him then fine.
but get all the issues aired first from dd point of view and ahve a clear agenda.

and have a session on your own as well.

whitesugar Thu 02-May-13 11:36:14

Offred this is a tough time for you and other posters here know exactly what you are going through. Your EX behaviour is textbook. We all felt the panic you are feeling now and the best way to start making it better is to get into the driving seat now! Focus on what you can do now to make some changes. See a different GP for yourself, talk to GP about children, wrt bed wetting ask for referral to eneuresis nurse, talk honestly to your children about their father in simple terms don't make excuses for his behaviour. Red sky gives brilliant advice, take it.

Start telling your EX how things will be. Tell him the children are distressed by staying over but that they can come over for pm, stay for dinner etc & will come home to you at bedtime. If he gets aggressive just say GP recommended it cos of bed wetting to get him off your case for a while. Keep remembering he is a total FW & you won't change him, be clever & work out ways to get what you want to happen.

Try not to worry about the future. My EXH was just like yours and my DD now 16 and DS 14 know what he is like. They still see him and love him but know he is not reliable and is self obsessed. They say things like "dad thinks he knows everything & he hasn't got a clue" We even laugh about it the odd time! If you stay strong your kids will know you are the reliable parent. So long as you keep reassuring them they will get through it. This is a every tough time & will prob get harder but put your shoulders back because you are a good mother who loves her kids. Just deal with what you can at the moment. When your kids are teenagers they are going to be bonkers for a while anyway regardless! Good luck, I hope things improve for you.

P.s. don't entertain mediation or family therapy with EX, it will just give him a forum to a be a narc. Get therapy for yourself & children. WA was a great support to me back then.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 12:30:48

Have spoken to WA who were absolutely bloody fantastic. They are assessing us next week with a view to providing support for the children. Would not have thought to call them without this thread. Thank you.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 12:37:22

Glad you're getting some support. Good luck.

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 12:56:14


frazmum Sat 04-May-13 04:20:55

My father is a narc and insisted as kids he, DM, DB & I attend family counselling. It was for him to justify in his head that it was the rest of us that caused the problems, not him. So my advice is don't include him in any family counselling. There have been some times in my life where counselling would have helped me but I was too scared to go following my childhood experiences.

Unfortunately my parents didn't separate until I was an adult so unlike my DM you are already not only one step ahead but you're also not enabling him.

pickledginger Sat 04-May-13 16:57:17

Just seen your update. That's brilliant. I hope you all get the support you need.

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