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Abusive ex has reared his ugly head again :(. Need advice please!

(86 Posts)
mosp Wed 31-Jul-13 15:26:10

I ran away from dangerous h in 2003 when dds were 0 and 2. They have no direct experience of his abuse.

Since then, I have always made sure that any contact takes place in a contact centre (many reasons, one being that I don't trust him to safely return them, and he lives normally in Nigeria so it would be extremely hard to get them back to safety).

Apart from the contact centre, I have made no other stipulations or ever prevented him from seeing them or otherwise contacting them.

His last visit to them was about 6 years ago.
Very occasionally he calls them and has sent them money every so often (with gaps of literally years!)

He is still abusive towards me if he gets the tiniest chance so I have blocked his email and I refuse to deal directly with him - he needs to make arrangements via solicitor (no prob for him financially; he's loaded)

The thing now is that I have heard from sources that he is in the uk and wants to see the dds. He has stated that he will not use a contact centre.

The reason I know is that he called the minister of my church and sent an email. I was informed of this and I suggested that he be reminded (think broken record) that if he wants to arrange contact he needs to contact his solicitor.

About 5 years ago he took me to court about contact and the outcome was clear - he has to use a contact centre.

I hope you have made it this far...

Today I arrive home to find that I have missed a recorded delivery letter addressed to my dds (now 10 and 12). I know for certain what he will have written. He will be asking them if they want to see him not in a CC.

Now I don't know what to so for the best. I will have to fetch the letter and give it to them. They may well state that they do want to see him not in a CC. They have no experience of the truth about him because they've been protected all their lives.

However, if I insist on the CC, I look like the controlling one.

I know that ex wishes to paint me as a vengeful and bitter ex but my ONLY desire is to keep my dds safe.

What shall I do?

mosp Wed 31-Jul-13 15:27:16

When I say they have no direct experience of his abuse, I mean they have no memory of it. Actually, they did experience it when they were small.

MumnGran Wed 31-Jul-13 15:32:00

Give the letter to your children, but tell them that what he is asking is not something they can decide because a judge made the original decision, and a judge would have to "un-make it" the moment it would be against the law. To give it a nicer gloss, you could explain that Daddy may not know this because he lives in Nigeria.
Then give the letter straight to your solicitor and ask for advice, and for the best response to you X, particularly relating to the potential for the children to be taken out of the country.

I would also advise school or church groups (or anywhere else that the children may be without you) that they are not to be released into anyone's care but your own....until further notice.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 31-Jul-13 15:42:19

Why do you have to give the letter to your children? They are still minors, and you are their parent and guardian. I have no idea about the legalities involved, btw. I just would see you as doing your role as parent and guardian by shielding them from this.

You are not being "controlling" by insisting on contact in a CC, as stipulated by the courts. You are enforcing boundaries that must be respected for the good of your DC.

MumnGran Wed 31-Jul-13 15:58:23

I think they have to see the letter because that way, Mum retains moral high ground. There can be no accusations later from children, or X, that she hid anything or with-held letters sent to them, and the X is almost certain to ask them directly at the next CC visitation.

Not allowing them the letter may seem only protective now but, in later years, decisions to withhold can come back to bite you if children become angry and resentful about contact issues. There is no reason to not allow -providing they are made aware (in simple terms) of why it is not an OK request to have made.

Plus - at the moment, OP is only assuming that she knows the content.

cestlavielife Wed 31-Jul-13 16:05:23

they are 10 and 12.
you are their guardian and carer and parent.
so you can
open the letter and read it before making decisions.

and then do as poster above said - solicitor and get advice.

he hasnt seen them for six years. you wouldnt send them off with someone else you didnt know. unless they were fully checked a teacher etcetc . it is supervised contact right now or none.

how can your 10 and 12 year possibly amke a decision about somenoe they last saw age six and four? they cannot. you will for them

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 31-Jul-13 16:50:39

Why do you have to fetch it and give it to them?

You can simply refuse delivery.

You can read it and never tell them.

You can give it to your solicitor and go back to court.

You have many options.

mosp Wed 31-Jul-13 16:55:25

So, my options are:
1) Don't receive the letter (I am 99% certain I can guess the content)
2) give it to them and explain that contact outside the CC is not an option
3) read it and decide to protect them. Thing is, if they receive a letter and find out that he is in the country and then in the end they don't get to see him (highly possible), I will be the baddy. And more importantly, they will be immensely disappointed sad

They are desperate for him to show he loves them! They would jump at any chance to see him. Of course, they don't know him personally but they want 'a dad'

HotDAMNlifeisgood Wed 31-Jul-13 17:01:36

I would go for 1 or 3

Twinklestein Wed 31-Jul-13 17:19:45

You're the adult, they are children in your care. You have to protect them from all of this.

You're not being controlling by refusing to let the see him outside the CC, you are abiding by the court's judgement.

In order for them to make an informed choice as to whether to see him, you would have to tell them the whole history of his abuse & why the judge made that decision.

I don't think they're old enough yet to hear that. Therefore they are not old enough to make a decision about this themselves.

So you make the decision for them. You're not preventing them from seeing him, he is, by seeking contact outside the judge's ruling.

If he wants to see them, he goes to a CC.

mosp Wed 31-Jul-13 17:48:05

I just feel so scared, knowing he's in the country sad

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Wed 31-Jul-13 18:34:08

All the more reason to go straight to a solicitor and make plans.

it would be highly irresponsible to hand this decision over to children.

They are too young and not in possession of enough relevant information to be able to make a good choice.

He can see them. At the contact centre. As the court has decided.

If he chooses to not do that - he's clearly not that bothered about seeing them and it's more about control. Isn't it?

Xales Wed 31-Jul-13 18:42:35

You don't need ambushing by your church so tell the minister at your church this man was abusive, was told he had to go through a contact centre and solicitors if he wants to see his children so not to pass you any more messages.

You missed collecting the recorded letter. You don't have to go and collect it.

If he really wants to see your children he can go to a solicitor and arrange a contact centre.

You can sit back and do nothing until then.

Hissy Wed 31-Jul-13 18:43:35

Refuse to collect it.

You don't want to let that poison into your life again.

Do you have the same solicitor? That's your point of contact.

No other method will be acceptable.

Go hard from the start!

Hissy Wed 31-Jul-13 18:46:20

This is your life.

YOU choose who's in it.

Your job is to protect the Peas.

If he wants to see them he has to comply with the judge's order.

Repeat this over and over. He can't hurt you, or your DC again. You're not letting him do this.

Be strong! We're not letting you go, you hear that? ((hug))

FlatCapAndAWhippet Wed 31-Jul-13 18:50:20

Don't collect the letter. See your solicitor again and stress that you are not prepared to allow contact unless it is in the contact centre.

Any problems with your children, you can explain the reasons for the judges decision and in turn their protection.

BatwingsAndButterflies Wed 31-Jul-13 18:55:46

Would it be time to tell them in an age appropriate way, why they can't go with him?

E.g. Dad had trouble keeping his temper and used to hurt me and you when you were small. It would be good to see him but I need to make sure that you are safe which you may not be if you were alone with him.

If they won't listen you could ask a PCSO or social worker to tell them about what happened and the precautions you must, by law, take to safeguard them.

This sounds very frightening, op, so sorry.

You are their mother and know what is best for them. He has not seen them for six years and now writes directly to them to try, you assume, and encourage something which a judge has already ruled against.

As Hecsy says, he can see them. At the contact centre. And if he genuinely wants to see them, that is the only way. This about their rights to have contact with their father, even though he is dangerous. It is not about his rights. This is the only way they can see him.

They may want a daddy and they may want to know he loves them, but what they actually need is to be kept safe.

MariaLuna Wed 31-Jul-13 19:13:15

Strange he has got back in contact after so long.

Maybe he got remarried and wants his children with him there. (I was married to an African, so I know something of the culture).

Stick to the original plan and only have contact via a contact centre.
Cos if he has the money he also has the means to "forge" passports for your DC and take them to Nigeria.

Here's a UK organisation about this - better to have and not need than need and not have....

mosp Wed 31-Jul-13 19:47:42

Thank you for replies. I will read through and respond in a little while. Just got back home from dinner at my parents and no Internet.
Grateful for all your messages!

mosp Wed 31-Jul-13 20:45:32

The thing about ex is that all he really wants is control. He wants to control any contact he has with them and if he can't do that, he'd rather not bother.
We go for months and years in peace from him, then every so often he pops up again.
I hate that I'm put in this position. Whatever I choose to do could backfire! He knows that sad
He has remarried and has a dd. my girls would definitely love to meet her!
I have told them in what I think is an age appropriate way what he was like. They do know that we had to 'run away'.

mosp Wed 31-Jul-13 20:47:18

And thank you for the reunite link. It scares me to even think about it. Ages ago I did receive a pack from them and took my dd's fingerprints as a precaution. Can't remember what else was in the info pack!

mosp Wed 31-Jul-13 20:52:54

Another thing, I don't have a solicitor atm. I could get back in touch but I won't unless I really really need to as it is so expensive (and I don't qualify for legal aid any more). If his solicitor writes to me, I'll just suggest dates for a CC visit and call the CC myself.
His solicitor knows what was decided in court so hopefully will advise him against persisting in demanding unsupervised contact. That's prob why he tried to arrange through church.
Minister was very good. He just simply replied that all arrangements must be made through the proper channels. I just hope ex didn't respond to that with harmful abusive messages about me sad

...And then at the back of my mind, I dread him turning up here at our house sad

cloudskitchen Wed 31-Jul-13 21:09:17

This set alarm bells ringing for me. you need to protect your kids. in my opinion you need to get and read the letter (you are only speculating at the moment) decide whether you a) share the letter with your children and then pass it to your solicitors or b) hand it straight to your solicitors.

I don't think under any circumstances you should let him see them anywhere but the contact centre. who knows what he could (or not) be planning.

if it were me I would rather be the baddy than desperately trying to retrieve my kids from Nigeria.

he hasnt seen them for 6 years. They were only little then. They are also too young to make these decisions for themselves.

good luck. keep us posted x

Xales Wed 31-Jul-13 21:12:57

Call the police on the non emergency number and let them know everything so that they can get to you fast in an emergency!

Make sure all your windows and doors are secured. Get a chain/peep hole if you don't have one.

Don't open the door to him if he does turn up. Tell him to speak to his solicitor.

If he so much as raises his voice or argues call the police and get him removed!

mosp Wed 31-Jul-13 21:14:13

Thank you!

Yes, I do need to protect them at all costs. He is just so awful, I would be here forever if I told all the things he has done sad

I am so so glad that we got away before the children had time to be severely affected. However, the downside is that they don't understand the danger.

Some day, they're going to have to fall foul of him (maybe when they are adults) so that they can really truly understand what he is like. He can paint a very charming picture of himself for as long as it takes to get a victim in his control. I dread that!

Hissy Wed 31-Jul-13 22:32:12

However, if I insist on the CC, I look like the controlling one

Just wanted to make a point here that IF you insist on the CC, you will be seen to be protecting your DC, not controlling, and even so, you'd be controlling someone who has a well documented abuse trail! So who cares what anyone thinks if not 100% behind you?

Don't panic, don't react, don't flinch. That's what that monster wants.

What out of interest was the reason to mail your church? To find out if you were still where he thought you were?

Please ask the church to NEVER confirm or deny anything to do with you.

Please impress on them the real and justifiable fear you have that he'll harm you and/or your DC if given the opportunity.

mummytime Wed 31-Jul-13 22:42:33

Do use the word safeguarding when talking to your church. In fact if you haven't already you should speak to the safeguarding officer about the situation.

mosp Wed 31-Jul-13 23:37:21

I know why he contacted the church - he knows I have blocked his email address and if he tried to message me in any way, I'd just delete.

It is his way to checking on me and trying to gather info, and also to force some kind of communication.

cestlavielife Wed 31-Jul-13 23:53:01

You are safeguarding, not controlling.
They have not seen him for six years.
The only place to resume contact is a contact centre.
If he refuses that then he is the one looking stupid.

I like the telling the minister to neither confirm nor deny.

He can go via solicitor. I presume contact order still valid and remains in pace til they sixteen ? So dig it out for your peace of mind.

But first read the letter . Find out what it is about.

mosp Thu 01-Aug-13 00:19:44

I could either go in person and fetch the letter from the sorting office. Or, if I didn't want to cycle there in the rain, I could set up a redelivery online. However, we are busy pretty much every day for the next few weeks. Chances are, if I do that, I won't have the letter before I hear something from his solicitor anyway!
I kind of prefer that option. Delay the inevitable.

The minister just emailed that he needs to contact his solicitor. No info about me was given. No discussion about CC or not CC. I have no idea if ex has responded to that. I hope that I would be spared the knowledge if he has.

minkembernard Thu 01-Aug-13 01:01:07

mosp story he is putting you through this it must be hard and frightening.

do you the letter is from him? it may be from his solicitor. if it is from him directly you could return it unopened to his solicitor stating that he must not contact you directly.
how did he get your address?

i agree with posters above.
inform 101.
if he would prefer not to see his dcs than to see them in a cc then so be it. he knows his options.
i would be wary of letting dcs know he is here until he makes a proper arrangement to see them to avoid disappointment. unless you think he might try to speak to them in the street in which case you must tell them for their own safety.

i hope he is not here for long for all your sakes.
stay safe. you did a good thing getting yourself and your dcs away from him.

mosp Thu 01-Aug-13 01:11:59

The letter is addressed to the dds, so definitely from him. And, he does have the right to write to them (monthly, I think). That was one of the agreements in court, although he hardly ever has done so.

You're right, there is no way I am letting them know he's in the country until (unless) he arranges an actual CC visit. They would be indescribably hurt!

notanyanymore Thu 01-Aug-13 01:20:36

Absolutely agree with what Mumngran said at the beginning of the post, its excellent advice.

zipzap Thu 01-Aug-13 01:30:40

I would also be talking to my dc and - even if it is hypothetically at the moment - be preparing them for what to do I'd daddy tries to take them on holiday or to meet their half sister or to tell them to have some secrets between him and them.

If the reunite charity has packs that you can do and work through together then do so now they are older (you can always say someone on mn told you about it!).

Also arrange a safe word with them in case he says that you have said it's ok to do something but he's not letting you speak to them to confirm. (or even two words - a genuine safe word and one that means don't trust whoever is telling you this).

I'm sure there are other practical things you could do that they are old enough to understand the importance of; hopefully other MNetters will have more ideas of what!

Tortoiseonthehalfshell Thu 01-Aug-13 01:36:42

MOSP, I'm sorry to see you back here with this, I had hoped that he had finally left you all alone.

I think Hissy is very wise, and knows your back story, and should be listened to. Stay with us.

mosp Thu 01-Aug-13 01:40:24

Thank you all.

Zipzap, I think I do need to speak to them seriously about what to do in the event that he tries to lure them away. The sad thing is that dd2 is already an anxious child (which she has sadly picked up from me sad ) and the notion that her dad may try to do something like that will make her terrified of even leaving the house.

Tortoise and hissy, I am SO grateful that you're here and that you remember me! xx

Hissy Thu 01-Aug-13 07:00:44

Now. To YOU mosp

I want you to stop, and think; take a moment to look at who you are today.

You are NOT that poor, downtrodden, terrified woman that he controlled, manipulated and terrorised.

Oh no. Not anymore you're a MUMSNETTER for crisakes

You control your life, you keep it all going you're kicking ass and taking' names

The church did well. You've done well. But remember who's in control here? YOU.

Let him write his sad little letters, they can't get to you. Don't pick it up. Let him sit there in his sad little world, currently pissing himself with the expectation that he's ruining your day.

And then the letter is returned... mwuhahaha.

It sends a message that he won't be able to intimidate you.

OK so he may write without sending it recorded next time, but he wants to know the arrow hit it's target, so I doubt he'd do that. He may write to the church, but you can say to them to return all mail too.

Thing is, not a court in thé land can MAKE you go and get a letter from the post office! Nor can you be compelled to read it.

You don't dance to anyone's tune! Only your own!

You are strong, you don't have this 'person' in your lives because he lost that right, so take your Mumma Bear stance and bollocks to him.

MumnGran Thu 01-Aug-13 07:19:59

<<round of applause>>

Well said Hissy

jchocchip Thu 01-Aug-13 07:39:25

Get the letter, know what is going on. It may just be something nice for the children! Or not. But at least you would know. Have you reasons not to try and arrange cc visit and stay in control of the situation? Less conflict the better.

blessedwolf Thu 01-Aug-13 07:51:10

So sorry you are having to deal with this - I have similar experiences (abusive exh living abroad, constant worry of possible abduction etc).
I think I'd advise the following (apologies for bullet points - just how I think...)
1. Get legal advice. Even if you don't qualify for legal aid it's worth the money for piece of mind. Many solicitors offer a free first half hour consultation. If you act now on the basis of legal advice it will help enormously if things escalate.
2. Consider asking the court for a residence order (the solicitor will advise) as this makes it crystal clear you're the resident parent and makes an extra hoop for exh to jump through if he does try something stupid.
3. Alert anyone and everyone who may be approached by exh that he is not to speak to/take away the children. I know that is frightening to contemplate - I hope it doesn't happen - but it's better to be prepared to avoid it before it happens.
4. Collect the letter. Don't bury your head in the sand or deny yourself information. You need to know as much as possible about where he is, how long he's staying, what he wants. Don't put yourself at a disadvantage by not knowing. Also, if things end up back in court, which they might, you don't want to do something that looks like you have denied your children contact with their father. If you withhold his letters to them it could look like you are not allowing them contact with him. Much better to be able to say that you have passed on all communication to the children and are happy with contact in CC but adamantly refuse outside contact.
5. Sit your children down and explain as much as their age allows. They will probably already sense something is up. You can judge how much they need to know - but saying nothing (while feeling protective) actually makes it worse for them. They will be imagining many possible scenarios. They need to hear something is going on, and that you're dealing with it for their best interests.
6. Show them the letter (unless the content is really awful) and explain why you feel the way you do about contact. Be as open with them as possible - about what exh wants and why you disagree. It's difficult for them, I know, but you are strong enough to help them through this.
7. Gather support for yourself - on MN and in RL. Cry, scream, rage (when your children are out of the house) so that you can be their wonderful strong protective mother.
Good luck

mosp Thu 01-Aug-13 09:59:29

Thank you hissy!!!! (My autocorrect just wanted to call you gussy!!)
I really appreciate you smile
This is the thing - I really could get into trouble for refusing the letter because it is addressed to them not me. He does have the right to write to them.
Also, blessedwolf is right - it could arm me with information.

I think I am going to have to inform my dds that he is in the country and that they must not go with him if he approaches them. I will express my hope that be organises a visit properly (although the truth is that I hope he doesn't!) and make sure they realise that unsupervised is not allowed to happen.

So, I will collect letter today and take it from there.

I will try not to be afraid, thank you hissy!!!

By the way, I already have a residence order. It was an added bonus granted to me when he took me to court! That whole episode hugely backfired for him!!! Not only did he not get what he wanted, but I got extra protection for my dds!

Hissy Thu 01-Aug-13 11:38:23

He'd have to prove that you got the delivery card...

Seriously, he may have the right, but by not going through the correct channels, by trying to use the church etc, He's trying to call shots he has no right to.

LET him try and take this all the way. I doubt he will. If you are worried, contact CAB and ask their advice.

Ignore him for now. If he really wants it, he'll have to toe the line.

When he says jump, you no longer have to! Remember?

Hissy Thu 01-Aug-13 11:40:17

Passive aggression in thé form of défiance would be very good for you. It would show you that if you refuse to play, the sky won't fall in, that you'll be ok.

Refuse to be dragged in this time. No court's going to act for ONE non-collected letter. Make a point! ;)

minkembernard Thu 01-Aug-13 12:27:44

^ He does have the right to write to them.^

I am not sure that means you can be compelled to go to a post office to collect it though.
I know here are rules around stealing and tampering with post.
However, unpleasant as letters from abusive men can be, there is an element of forewarned is forearmed.

in your own time though OP in your own time. smile

PeppermintPasty Thu 01-Aug-13 13:00:15

I just want to second those above saying you do not need to collect the letter.

Courts/lawyers prefer people to send letters through the normal postal service, keeping a copy of what they have sent if necessary. Legally, the use of the first class post is deemed to be good service. So, if you send something first class, and the intended recipient says they didn't get it, you as the sender can swear a declaration of service/affidavit of service, saying you put a stamp on it and sent it, and a court will accept that it was delivered.

If however, you send it registered or recorded, and the recipient refuses it, that is not seen as good service, for obvious reasons.

I know that's long winded, but bear it in mind.

Of course, if he is determined, he will keep trying other channels, so at best, you might be putting off the rueful day etc; so I can also see the benefit in dealing with this now, ie reading the letter and heading him off at the pass.

Good luck mosp.

blessedwolf Thu 01-Aug-13 14:15:01

I agree that OP should not feel obliged to do whatever her exh wants. And she shouldn't be compelled to do anything/everything he asks for. Those days are over!!
But I actually think that accepting the letter is more in OP's interests than refusing it. Like it or not (and I hated it!) the children's father is allowed to contact them. By refusing to receive registered post, OP is effectively giving her exh 'proof' that she is denying him contact with his children. Although it's only one letter, he could use that as a reason to request more/other forms of contact. And he could argue (rightly) that his attempt to contact by letter was scuppered by OP and so he needs to contact them in other ways.
Although court proceedings are horrible, and it might not get that far anyway, it's best to act in a way that puts you in a good light IF things come to court.

mosp Thu 01-Aug-13 20:11:18

Well, I collected the letter and in the envelope was a letter each to the dds.

It was just the kind of thing I expected. Very gushing and persuasive, and promising to take them on day trips to theme parks and walks in the countryside etc.

To dd1 he stated that he felt like cancelling his trip to the uk because he never gets to see them anyway. Of course, the only reason he has not seen them is because he has not arranged it! But he wants to twist it to make me look like the one preventing it. Then later in the letter he exhorts her to listen to 'mummy' because 'she loves you'. It is all so twisted! Oh, and she was also asked to pass the message on that he hopes we can all live in peace and could I forgive him for any time he might have hurt me.

However, the most worrying part is that he stated that he is going to come to our house and knock on the door and desire to speak to dds. He obviously meant that to scare me, but I cannot predict whether he really will do that or not.

I dropped dds (and their cousin, who is staying with us until late tonight) at a friend's house and logged the whole thing at the local police station. They advised me to call them if I see him, to pref move somewhere else for the time being, and until I can do that, to keep the house locked and secured the whole time! It is stifling hot!!

I need to speak to them, but when? They have cousin here atm.

When they go in the garden, I panic sad. I've been on edge and snappy all evening sad

blessedwolf Thu 01-Aug-13 20:33:19

Oh OP I'm so sorry he has upset you in this way. It must be very frightening. But - remember that he can shout, threaten and bluster all he likes. He cannot ride rough shod over you anymore - and he certainly won't frighten the police, court etc.
You did the right thing going to the police - and it is great that they are taking this seriously.
Please can I urge you to take legal advice. A solicitor specialising in family law if possible - CAB if you can't afford it.
Remember. The judge gave you a residence order without you asking for one. The court insisted that he sees the children via supervised visits. The police have logged this as serious. I'm not saying this to frighten you but to show you that everyone official is and will be on your side. He cannot take your children on trips without your permission. If anything he has shot himself in the foot by sending those letters. Please, if you possibly can, seek legal advice on what to do next. MN is fantastic for moral support - but you need watertight RL advice in this situation.
(And one final thought - don't give a moment's worry to being painted as the bad one to your children. They are not fools. They know how much you love them and want to keep them safe. You show them that every day - a mountain of letters wouldn't change their perception or love for you.)

mosp Thu 01-Aug-13 22:07:13

Now I feel seriously terrible!!! As per police advice, I tried to explain a little of this to my dds, especially to let them know not to answer the door or spk to him under any circs. They are just so upset and scared sad I hate that!! I tried to be matter of fact and brave. Dds expressed a huge fear of him turning up.
Now we are all terrified.
I need to ask a friend of we can sleep at their house for a while. I can't live like this!
There is so much running round in my head! I am trying so hard to be reassuring.

lunar1 Thu 01-Aug-13 22:19:56

I'm sorry I have no advice mosp, I can't imagine what you are going through. I just couldn't read and run.

I think you did the right thing telling your dd's. Sadly it sounds like they need to be scared of him.

blessedwolf Thu 01-Aug-13 22:20:36

It is so sad that your children are frightened. That is hard for you to see. It is never easy to witness our children feeling scared. But it is better that they are aware of the situation and frightened, than blindly agree to go with him because they don't know what's going on. Sometimes, making them aware of a bad situation is the lesser of two evils.
I am certain that you are strong enough to deal with this. You had the strength to leave him and you have the strength to deal with this now. Yes, ask a friend to stay with you or ask to stay with them. Don't be alone now. Gather support on MN and RL. You are not alone.

cloudskitchen Thu 01-Aug-13 22:25:56

mosp, what a nightmare for you. I have not experienced anything like this so can only guess at how scary it must be. staying with a friend or anywhere but home seems like a good solution for now. did he say in his letter how long he was in the country for? Your poor dd's. for what it's worth I think you have done absolutely the right thing telling them. at least they know to be wary. how dare he threaten to just turn up like that angry xx

Have another chat with the police DV unit about getting an injunction against this man so that if he comes anywhere near your home he will be arrested. As there is a record of his abusive, dangerous behaviour, you shouldn't have much trouble getting one.
Courts take a dim view of abusive men trying to get round court orders about contact, so he won't get very far if he tries another bout of legal action. Remember that he doesn't have superpowers and is not above the law, he's just an inadequate prick who can't behave himself.

BerylStreep Thu 01-Aug-13 22:55:34

I too don't have any real advice, but wanted to add some comfort.

Do you think abduction is a possibility? If so, can you make sure you have recent photos of your DC so that you can provide them to police in advance, as a precaution? (Don't want to sound alarmist)

How long can he stay in the UK? Is there a visa time limit?

mosp Thu 01-Aug-13 22:56:38

Sadly, there is no record of his abuse. I once called the police on him and when they asked if I wanted to press charges I declined out of fear of repercussions.

The police told me today that the system since 2009 is much better with regards to DV reports.

I would have to get an injunction through a solicitor. Last time I asked for one, they told me that as he doesn't live in this country, it can't be done sad

Minister just called him at my request. He barely got a word in edge ways, but ex started out all polite and when minister made it clear to him that he must go through the proper channels to arrange contact, he started to get angry.

Apparently he's being treated so unfairly! "I've complied with the contact agreement!!! I've been to the contact centre TWICE!!!" Actually, it has been three times, and all of those were before the court hearing!

He's deluded and entitled! And he makes no logical sense!

mosp Thu 01-Aug-13 22:57:57

I just wish I knew how long he will stay. No way to find out, but I doubt it will be too long! Maybe a fortnight at most, especially if he doesn't get his way!

mosp Thu 01-Aug-13 23:01:10

Yes, I think he would want to take them! Now they are older, I hope they'd be harder to abduct. He'd have to persuade them to trust him. That's why I don't want them to spk to him, so he can't get a chance to sweet talk them!

He keeps saying that one day no one (i.e. me) will be able to prevent contact. He is so sure that they'll rush into his arms!

BerylStreep Thu 01-Aug-13 23:29:21

Well does he have residency, or is he here on a Visa? Could you speak to someone in UKBA for a bit of advice on his visitation status?

If he is here on a visa, that would surely give you some certainty on the maximum he could be here.

I'm wondering if there is any way that UKBA could put a flag on his passport that if he is travelling with children he should be stopped and questioned? I'm sure the police could action this, but you might need to suggest it to them, and perhaps be prepared to ring around until you speak with specialist officers.

You know, if you are really concerned that he may turn up, it may be worth speaking to WA to try to get you housed elsewhere for a short time.

MariaLuna Thu 01-Aug-13 23:33:59

Oh, mosp, how awful for you.

I think you have done the right thing in contacting the police and logging this.

And telling your DDs is the right way, it's better they know what is going on, yes, it must be scary for them, but keep the lines of communication open with them, then they are forearmed. Secrets and lies never did a family any good.

The only good thing about this is that he lives in Nigeria (I presume?), hopefully for you he doesn't have permanent residence in UK, so he'll be out of your lives distance-wise, soon enough anyway.
Is there somewhere you can all stay to get away, holiday-time and all that? Just for your peace of mind.

As I said, I used to be married to an African, we had a child together (now 22, at uni and doing great). When we split up and he went back to Africa, he threatened to take our son (6 months). He'd been abusive and it was his last bit of power over me. (We do have a great relationship with the family in Africa tho, thank god! and have been to visit, but that was years down the road - my son was 18! grin).

I do understand where you are coming from and am so sorry you are going through this.

mosp Thu 01-Aug-13 23:40:48

Thank you for caring, all of you!

Unfortunately, he got himself a British passport through his marriage to me, so he could stay as long as be likes.

I just noticed on hotmail that an email from him has got through. Confused, because I definitely blocked him! Need to work out what is up there!!

cestlavielife Thu 01-Aug-13 23:45:04

He hasn't seen them for six years right so is a stranger to them .
So any contact must be properly supervised.
It is a s simple as that.
If he gets angry over that then tough .

If he will only be in uk very short time you can ride it out...

If he turns up at door call police.

MariaLuna Thu 01-Aug-13 23:47:53

Yes, what is the passport situation? Do your DDs have them, (do you?) are they on yours on his??
(I presume not as you have residency, but then I don't live in UK anymore so barely a clue about those kind of laws).

It could be simple for him to add them to his at the embassy - don't want to scare you! -

My son has automatic right to nationality of his father's country.

It could be in your interest to get in touch with a lawyer at Reunite. (As I presume they would have that kind of info at hand).

skyeskyeskye Thu 01-Aug-13 23:53:34

I agree to contact Women's Aid and see what advice and help you can get from them. You have done the tight thing in informing the police.

If he wants to see them he can, through the contact centre. You are doing everything that you can to protect them.

MariaLuna Fri 02-Aug-13 00:01:31

Does he have a Nigerian passport as well as an English one?

Is he living in UK with his new wife, or Nigeria?

You don't need to answer any of these questions, more a case of you knowing how much of a threat he is to you (if he is here or there more).
Oh, and surely if he has a UK passport and is living here you have the law on your side, i.e. non-molestation order, stalking laws, etc.

Anyway, he said he wanted to take them on country walks, etc.? How's he going to do that in a contact centre, eh?

Don't let him bully you!

mosp Fri 02-Aug-13 00:09:55

He has both. When he received his British one, he was required to send back his Nigerian one, but he lied that he'd lost it and now he has both.
However, his current wife won't have a British passport. They normally reside in Nigeria.

The thing that is bothering me at this moment is that I can't work out how to block him on Hotmail. I have googled it, but it tells me to click 'options' and there is no option called 'options'!!! I was convinced I already did it months and months ago! It is definitely the same address he's used. Anyone about to advise?

minkembernard Fri 02-Aug-13 00:49:35

if you cannot block him then try to make a rule that dumps any email from him.into another folder. e.g. mark as spam or make a folder just for him.
it may actually be worth keeping some email in case you need it for evidence.

zipzap Fri 02-Aug-13 00:57:22

Is it worth contacting the Nigerian embassy and saying you are worried that your ex might try to abduct your dd's and see if they can provide any Nigeria specific advice?

Maybe they will be able to tell you if he has got passports for the girls or added them to his passport. Can he do things like get a Nigerian court to award him custody in Nigeria that the embassy will help him with despite the fact that English courts awarded you custody. Or have they signed up to the right conventions so your rights are protected?

Isetan Fri 02-Aug-13 04:55:17

As Hissy said, tell your church that under no circumstances are they to act as intermediaries, and in future, they are to respect your privacy by not confirming your whereabouts to anybody without your explicit permission. If he really wants to see his kids, he will get a lawyer and agree to a contact centre. Ignore him and his letters, only respond to letters from a solicitor and only then with a solicitor's letter, do not start a precedent by communicating directly.

I have been insisting on a contact centre for three years (never been to one because Ex hasn't made the effort) and I have refused any request to see DD outside the safety of that environment.

Your children don't need to hear the grizzly details but they do need some kind of explanation as to what happened; age appropriate language and detail, be neutral (no slagging off) and unemotional as possible. Your children would have probably devised their own explanation for why things are the way they are and often their imaginings are unrelated to the reality.

These &^%$£wits are weak and pathetic and feed off our angst, reiterate your boundaries (in your case the contact centre), communicate the consequences of overstepping these boundaries and follow through.

The saddest thing for me is supporting DD in managing her expectations of her father. It is imperative that she knows that she is not responsible for him and what he did or doesn't do is is his responsibility.

A contact centre is an understandable precaution and he is a fool not grasp the opportunity. To paraphrase Malcolm Tucker, he needs to "step the f**k-up or f**k the f**k off.

Isetan Fri 02-Aug-13 05:17:25

Nigeria is not a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and even if they were, he has money and corruption is rife in Nigeria so not to be relied upon.

There is a useful information guide created by Reunite if you fear child abduction (the bit on the end refers to dual nationality).

Good luck.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Fri 02-Aug-13 07:35:31

Are you sure that he lied re passport? He may have been allowed to keep it. A quick google reveals dual citizenship is allowed in nigeria.

I think you need to speak to a specialist to find out exactly what all his options are. If he has dual citizenship could he relocate here and bring his wife, if he doesn't, how long can he stay, etc etc.
If you know then you can plan for all eventualities.

minkembernard Fri 02-Aug-13 10:08:25

excellent post isetan
especially re. making sure the dcs know this is not their responsibility.
i am sure mosp that you already do tell them this but i think it cannot be said to often that none of this is their fault. it is about his behaviour nite about them as people.

^ ^ see I am not putting this very well as tis is one i struggle with for my dcs. trying to make them see they are loved and wonderful and it is not any lack in them that makes their nsdf a FW.

mummytime Fri 02-Aug-13 22:22:30

On hotmail click on junk (or maybe more then junk; it depends on the browser/computer). From my iPad it is hard to block addresses it is much easier from the main computer it is much easier.

DPotter Sat 03-Aug-13 11:27:58

This must be so worrying for you mosp

I second the idea of a call to your church - they shouldn't be giving out any information about any members without explicit permission.

British children can no longer be added to a parent's passport; they are required to hold their own. This was introduced some years ago to help prevent estranged parents removing children without permission from the UK. I don't know about rules on Nigerian passports.
If you don't have passports for your children - it might be worth applying for them, as either parent can apply - all you need is a birth certificate and photos. Then you know you have the passports - one less thing to worth about.

mosp Sat 17-Aug-13 19:35:31

Just a quick update in case anyone interested:
We are still ok and if ex has told truth to my church people, he's leaving on Monday!
He has not been seen by any of us. He has not arranged to see the girls.
They are upset, but it is probably all for the best that they find out first hand what he is really like.
There is ton going on in my head atm. Maybe I'll post about it later, either on this thread or on a new one.

omaoma Sat 17-Aug-13 19:53:55

have been lurking mosp, glad to hear you are still there reeeeeally hoping with you that he is buggering off as promised.
it is for sure for the best that your girls have a clear picture of what he is like and are forewarned.
hugs x

fifi669 Sat 17-Aug-13 21:39:58

I wouldn't be surprised if a man such as him would tell your church he's leaving Monday so you feel safe...

Luckily I think by telling your DC to be aware, not to go off with him etc you've made it very difficult for him to snatch them.

It sounds proper shit. Totally feel for you and wishing it all ends quickly with him naffing off and not returning again.

Hissy Sat 17-Aug-13 22:10:28

Phew! Keep your guard up till you're sure?

mosp Sat 17-Aug-13 22:21:06

I am still going to be cautious for weeks! The whole thing has made me scared and uptight, especially as he doesn't always do what he says he's going to do. He's totally unreliable.

Dd1 is away for a week next week, so at least I'll know she's in a safe place.

The thoughts (questions) going on in my head right now are:

If ex was such a classic abuser (he was textbook), how is it he's still married to wife #2? I wish I could be a fly on the wall to know whether she lives in the same danger and turmoil that I did. Could he have really changed? If he has, why does he carry on trying to intimidate me? Why not just see his girls like a proper loving dad would? How much of his bad attitude towards women is cultural? If it is cultural, then why is he so textbook? How does she stay with him? Did he treat me so badly because I'm British?

So many questions sad

I don't suppose I'll ever get to the bottom of it!

fifi669 Sat 17-Aug-13 22:25:40

If its cultural and she's also Nigerian maybe she puts up with it because she thinks she had to...

mosp Sat 17-Aug-13 22:30:38

Thing is, if he is the same as he was with me, then 'putting up' is not an option. I did literally everything to try to pacify him and give him what he wanted, but he still forced excuses to fight me. His violence got ever worse. He crossed more boundaries almost daily. He threatened to kill me and brandished weapons. I left before I got killed. How is wife #2 still alive??? It's baffling!!

omaoma Sat 17-Aug-13 23:01:49

re your questions about your ex, there's a gpd phrase: 'there's no accounting for nutters'. really, you can't rationalise the interior landscape of somebody who is not adhering to any of the boundaries or ideas you understand. you can't explain him or understand him or his relationships with other people and trying to is just giving him headspace he doesn't deserve.
and no, he hasn't changed. he really really hasn't.

BerylStreep Mon 19-Aug-13 12:24:03

Glad he hasn't made any approach so far.

If he is leaving today, perhaps best to be ultra cautious today, just in case.

I can't remember now, did you ever speak to UKBA about being alert to any children accompanying him when travelling? Did you ever clarify with the Nigerian embassy whether children can travel on a Nigerian parent's passport, or if they need their own?

In terms of wife no 2, who knows what kind of hell she is going through. But he has probably filled her head with so many lies about how dreadful you were, that she maybe feels she has to stay to prove something. I don't think it is worth your while trying to understand something that isn't rational.

Keep safe, and don't let your guard down after you think he has left.

mosp Tue 20-Aug-13 08:01:31

No, I still don't know whether they could. As far as I know, they only have British passports which are safe with me. To be honest, he has enough money to find an illegal way to get them out the country, so my main concern is to ensure they don't go with him in the first place!

Feeling much better today!!!

With regards to new wife, I know I shouldn't' try to rationalise something that is not rational. I can't help it though sad

bibliomania Tue 20-Aug-13 09:52:44

With the new wife, if she's from a powerful Nigerian family, maybe he's got to keep himself a bit more in check.

Hope the ordeal is nearly over for you!

Chibbs Tue 20-Aug-13 10:28:20

keep safe.

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