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STBXH, access, crying kids...advice please

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

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

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

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

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

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

HelenHen Wed 26-Feb-14 18:41:55

You're not being unreasonable at all... He's taking the solid piss! Do you keep note of every time he changes access? That's a ridiculous amount of contact you have to have with him... It must be very tiring!

Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 18:50:31

Helen thanks. I don't keep notes...I did initially, but it became exhausting, as there was so much to record....knocking repeatedly at my door, counting down 60 seconds if I said the kids would be ready in a minute when he arrives.
Its all subtle, insidious and wearing.
But I put up with it for the sake of DC; but wonder if I am teaching them that whatever dad does is ok cos their bottom line is that they want to see him.

ROARmeow Wed 26-Feb-14 18:57:04

What age are your DC?

Honestly it sounds like something that would scare many young children. The mood swings, the banging the front door, the names etc etc.

I also think you should keep notes on behaviours and time changes.

It sounds exhausting for you and not the actions of a man who seriously cherishes his DC.

Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 19:03:38

Yes ROAR he does not really cherish them... He says he does and, of course, that what they need and want to hear from him. They are all under 10.

But, as I tell them 'words may lie but actions dont'

Mood swings, put-downs disguised as 'jokes', overly-soppy 'loving-ness' with DS.

I thought it was the stress of us parting (he left one evening as I was not cowed enough while he lived here).

I struggled with telling them that they cant go out with him; but I have to stand up to him as I have over everything else (coming into the house, turning up when it suited him, ringing constantly to find out where we were after he left).

Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 19:04:54

That was not very clear.
I didnt know if I was doing the right thing. They wanted to see him. He wanted to see them after an absence, but on his terms only.

ROARmeow Wed 26-Feb-14 19:07:36

Contact Women's Aid.

They can do some work with you on your own, and also work with your DC to sort out their thinking about it all and about healthy relationships.

I agree with you telling them that "words can lie, but actions don't"... that's what I tell my own DC about people and it's true.

You and your DC deserve so much better.

sykadelic15 Wed 26-Feb-14 19:48:21

Don't allow it to change. Stick strictly to the court order.

sykadelic15 Wed 26-Feb-14 19:50:37

cross-post.

I think you're right. By changing it you're showing the DC that plans don't need to be kept and that what "dad" wants is most important.

Have you considered a non-contact order or something? Keeping the exchanges in a neutral territory or through a third-party?

Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 19:56:52

Thanks ROAR, I know we deserve so much better. I have tried and tried to placate, reason with etc. Ultimately if he chooses to mis-interpret or deny saying stuff, thats his lookout. But I am literally left holding the (crying) babies...and that is what I now find most difficult.
I suppose if I remain calm and implacable in the face of their (justified) upset and anger, I can teach them how not to bend to a bully? (looks for silver cloud)

sky I have no court order...he becomes more difficult whenever I try to push things to a more formal footing. And in the aftermath of his desertion, I prioritised kids welfare, and my own sanity over a settlement.

fifi669 Wed 26-Feb-14 20:04:24

I think bring flexible with contact is the key to a happy situation. That's different to being walked on though.

I think I'd get him to stay in the car when picking up the kids. Counting to 60? That's just childish. You don't need the hassle of seeing someone that petty all the time. He turns up at the right day/time or unless he has a good reason he forfeits.

I had the same situation. I have no answer. It's awful. I just wanted to let you know you aren't the only one and that I understand why you do keep to it. I have being doing it for almost a decade now and I know I'm on the home straight. Only 8 years, 6 sleeps left until my DS is an adult. It is much easier than it was, which sounds similar to where you are now, because I no longer have to be there at a handover, if he talks to me in 'that way' I just say "I don't like the way you're talking to me, I do not have to listen" and I walk and my DS understands what his father does isn't normal for an adult.

I sort of wish I had called WA for help 10 years ago. Life is great except the irregular knobbing around I have to deal with now. But I did what I thought was right, I just wanted to get out and trying to go down the you're abusive track was just too much on top of me keeping my head above water. I understand why you're doing what you're doing. It does get better.

He is a knob.

Good luck.

RatherBeRiding Wed 26-Feb-14 20:13:19

He is being a bully. Comes into the house? Change the locks. Rings constantly? Don't pick up and delete his voicemails. Yes I'll bet he becomes more "difficult" if you push for a formal agreement because if he flouts a formal agreement its very hard to hide the fact that he is being a dick.

I can understand why you would want to prioritise your sanity and DCs' welfare but, honestly, this constant stress and bullying behaviour is being far more detrimental than getting a good solicitor to get a formal contact agreement.

Take back the control - believe me, your DCs will thank you for it in the long run. They need stability and emotional security, not manipulative bullying.

Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 20:18:12

fifi yes, I would love to be in a situation where there was true flexibility on both sides.
When he decided to leave, I set myself the goal that I would be dignified and reasonable, regardless of how I might be seething. I thought that I could turn his anger down.
But how he is, is how he is, and nothing I do can cause or sure his anger.
Hard lesson learned.

He will not stay in the car- its a power thing. I've knocked the 'coming in to use the loo' thing so its not as bad as it was.

My question is (am upset, so not clear I suppose) when he, me and the children have an arrangement, to which they are clearly looking forward, is it unreasonable to say (in polite terms) 'your dad is dicking around. No, you cant see him today'.

Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 20:19:57

Tea that is the phrase I use, and I walk away from him.
I dont think I need WA. I no longer react to anything he does? Its all about the manipulating the kids now, and ensuring that I dont claim a penny from him.

Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 20:23:25

RbeR it has been made very clear to me that I cannot change the locks as we jointly own the house.
When I dont answer phone calls he emails me with his side of the story (so there is a 'record' if it ever comes to court)
I have had to prioritise sanity (and I dont say that lightly...I was at a very very low point when he left) and the kids sanity/wellbeing...and that requires an investment of time and energy.

I am trying to eke back control over my own life, but even now, years later it is still a case of wrenching it from him.

He is a knob.

I felt the same. With hindsight he was an abusive man and a conversation with experts may have made my approach more strident. I could perhaps have done with a framework of normal. But when so much is done to ensure the child has relationships with both parents i felt it was best for DS if I took a normal line. I have a normal life. He has a normal life when he's with me. I say in an unemotional way when I'm not accepting my ex-knobs shite, just like they advise kids with bullies, and he goes back in his box but sometimes there is a bit of a bullying for a couple of weeks. In my head I sing you're a cunt when I'm dealing with it. On a day to day basis I disengage and have a David Attenboroughesque voice in my head providing a commentary when he's in my space 'and the lesser-spotted knob is approaching his pray but he has been observed.'

My DS and I talk and I am there to support my wee boy.

Some people are so entitled and so unaware they are best just to ignore.

Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 20:44:41

Tea grin in my head I actually feel sorry for him (which I suspect he would hate..... although he is constantly looking for sympathy for his many stresses/tiredness/business worries).

This is the first time I have refused to bend when he changes the access terms, the first time I've said no to the DC about it. Naturally, they will see him on whatever terms he offers and are very angry that I said no.

They would not have seen him today if he had not camped on my sorry, our drive.

It'll get better as you stand your ground more.

Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 21:32:19

Tea, can you clarify that please?
I feel I stand my ground pretty well, considering that no boundaries are recognised by the other party.

Do you mean that DC will become more accepting that my no means no (they do for everything else?)

Oooooo. Soz. Life got in the way then.

Knobber will get a new victim. Children will realise you are reasonable. You'll get stronger and stand your ground more. The drive will be yours and you can threaten the police on him. You will care less about his reaction. He'll stick to plans more or less but it will be expected you'll anticipate the tears next time and have an alternative. Everything will get easier and less intense.

Redoubtable Wed 26-Feb-14 23:24:20

Thanks, I've spent the evening thinking about this, and stumbled across a good quote:
You get what you expect and you deserve what you tolerate.

I've been tolerating appalling behaviour thinking that sense and manners would fall from the sky on to STBXH ( as he sure as hell is not looking for them grin)

Hmmmm. I've learned about the co-dependency thing and not expecting to control him....but it would appear that I am still expecting him to change.

arthriticfingers Thu 27-Feb-14 06:22:01

I am sorry the tosser your ex is putting you and the children through this.
It is nothing to do with 'co-dependency' (aka victim blaming imo) and everything to do with abuse.
You do need WA. If nothing else, you need their advice about lawyers with experience of abuse.
You can also read this and come over here
Abusers don't do divorce (that is putting it mildly)

mummytime Thu 27-Feb-14 07:06:15

Are your children really desperate to see him?
Or just scared of what will happen next time if they don't see him on his terms?

Please go and see a Solicitor.
If he is parked on your drive again phone the police. It is an agressive act - you have every right to be scared.

Walkacrossthesand Thu 27-Feb-14 07:18:44

Can I ask - on what proportion of occasions does he seriously mess around with contact ie make an arrangement and change it with fairly short notice/rock up half an hour or more late with no reason other than to piss you off etc? If it's 'frequently' and your DCs are young, could your approach be that you've decided it's not fair on them to tell them when he's coming to pick them up, because he's so unreliable. Then, when he changes plans at the last minute, it's easier for you to say 'not today, matey' - because they didn't know he was coming anyway IYSWIM. When they say 'when are we next seeing daddy' you can say 'not sure, sweetheart, we'll expect him when we see him shall we?'

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

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

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

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

mummy thats an interesting question re kids.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree that codependency is victim blaming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry, must have confused with another thread. blush

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

Definitely not criticising you.

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

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

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

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

He will never see that.

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

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

You did well yesterday by not waiting for him.

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

Even your DC will see through the Disney process eventually.

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

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

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

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

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

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

It takes a wise one to see otherwise.

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

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

I am doing/have not done anything wrong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Very victim blaming.

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

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

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

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

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 13:26:32

lweji I appreciate your patience with me. I have a huge resistance to seeing myself as someone (victim?) of Domestic Violence.

I read enough on here to know that in many ways, its not bad. Its not what I want, its not acceptable to me, its not OK for my children to see. But its endurable.

And my self-image is now built on now having broken.

I originally posted to ask AIBU to have denied him and DC to see each other yesterday.

I feel now, I made the right decision. I handled the DC's understandable upset and anger at me, and I did it well. I will handle it better next time, as I wont be afraid of their upset, I know now I can handle that. I know that they respect my saying 'no' to lots of other things - this is one more of those.

But for the past few years, I've put my hand out and asked for help from police, WA, solicitors, mediation, couples-counselling, his parents, him....none has been forthcoming. But I am still here, the DC are thriving, it will be ok in the end.

I am a very resolute and strong person now. He hates that. I win.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 13:33:41

Yes, be it actual physical violence, or emotional violence, there is not much support out there. Unless they can arrest them or put you in secure accommodation.
If there is contact, you have to deal with it.

And yes, you win and the children win because they have one parent who cares about them and is their rock.
He'll still be a twat in the end.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 13:40:29

He will never be arrested. I dont see myself as high-risk in need of secure accommodation. That would be drama-queening my situation.

But the ongoing, inappropriate behaviour of DC's father should not be minimised. I can empathise with mothers (fathers?) who move away and dont facilitate contact- if contact always provides a forum for the low-level type abuse that I experience.

There is room between reasonable/normal/appropriate behaviour (what that is, is subjective and open to interpretation) and what is illegal. He lives in that zone.

arthriticfingers Thu 27-Feb-14 14:37:19

I will try and put this down for you to think about and hope that it comes out right.
You appear to be so eager not to view yourself as a victim of abuse that you fail to see your ex as abusive (which is quite clearly the case)
This is illogical - but well documented as headf***.
Asking your abusive ex and his family for help was always going to be a non-starter and lead to more abuse.
Any reputable literature on abuse will say that couples-counselling and mediation are downright harmful in abusive relationships. (please check the links at the top of the EA board - Lundy is the best)
You got no joy from your solicitor - if he/she does not understand abuse then they cannot help. Look for one who understands and has dealt with abuse before. This is probably a priority.
WA and the Police were unhelpful - that is a great shame - but I would really urge you to try them again.
The 'sixofonehalfadozenoftheother' and its close relative 'whydidn'tyouleave' mentalities are ingrained.
F* all we can do about them and very little we can do about the pain they cause. sad
But there are people who understand. Maybe not many and not always there in friends and relations, but they are there.
Please don't throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.
We all of us said 'but it wasn't that bad'. Unfortunately, we are not reliable - because our thoughts and feelings have been skewed and it takes a long time to get them straight again.

Lweji Thu 27-Feb-14 14:41:26

Oh, I wasn't saying he should be arrested. Just that it's easier when the behaviour is such that the police can arrest the abuser. That grey area is hard to deal with.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 15:25:20

arthritic thank you...I think we agree although I seem to be at cross purposes to you on posting.

I do see ex as abusive. I dont see him as in the moderate rather than severe range. Even that is too much for a relationship of any sort.

I did have my brain mucked with...there were incredible levels of lying, rejecting what he had told me previously (gaslighting), twisting my words and actions. Emotional, financial and sexual abuse.
I asked for help from my FOO, from his family, from couples counselling and mediation at a time when I was still learning about abuse.

Now I am wiser and stronger.

I agree that I am not out of the woods yet...I imagine to you it seems obvious that one would refuse access to the DC when he hasn't turned up at the appointed time and he goes on to behave as he did. It wasnt obvious to me yesterday.

It seems obvious to me now, that he should never have been allowed back into the house when he left. But it wasnt clear to me then.
It seems obvious to me now that I should never have gone to couples counselling with him...it has given him lingo which he uses as a power-over mechanism.

You're correct in saying that it takes a very long time to get thoughts straight after this experience. Its an experience that is incomprehensible to anyone who has not been there; the comments of 'why do/did you allow it?' are constant.

Not going to couples counselling/mediation, or not allowing access to the DC would not have (in this culture/society) been seen as strength but as unreasonableness on my part.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 15:27:36

Please dont think that I am rejecting the advice that all of you have offered.

I'm trying to explain how I rationalise it... if anything, poking holes in my argument will let the light in and help me see how much (I suspect) I am still allowing him to abuse us.

arthriticfingers Thu 27-Feb-14 15:43:16

Please don't think I ever saw or see even now anything as 'obvious'
I only wish ...
It never is when when you are in front of your abuser.
It wasn't that many years ago that I thought abuse was hitting sad
I don't think it is very helpful to see abuse as degrees of abuse - it is more like a continuum.
An abuser is always an abuser wherever they are at any one moment on that continuum - and abuse, almost without fail, escalates.

I understand how you feel. It is a hard path to tread, it's lonely and it's hard to articulate the wearing nature of it to others. It is now very low grade and I'll be buggered if I've worked out how to avoid it when you have a DC.

You are doing very well though. Each day you're getting stronger.

My solicitor, and others I speak to now, was/are the same, he/they assumed I was dealing with a reasonable person.

My ex-knob is very clever, very manipulative, successful, good at behaving when others are around and it's hard to know how best to act. I'm convinced he never matured beyond the age of 6. He can't see he is any thing from anyone else's perspective. Everything is about his rights - not our DS or anyone else. He believes his actions are normal and everyone does them. My BFF is convinced he's a sociopath!

In my situation, I got better at boundaries and space. But really my life saver was I was when he got a new wife - 3 months after the divorce - as his focus shifted. Rather sadly his new victim is lovely. hmm

Every now and again now, it's like I play the school fayre game ... bat the rat in a drainpipe. He tries bullying me. I deal with it. And carry on. I too am strong and dealing with it has helped my self esteem.

Redoubtable Thu 27-Feb-14 21:34:04

arthritic and tea thank you.

He was at it again today. Of course he is annoyed that he didnt get his way yesterday so had to ramp it up today.

Access this afternoon....I went out to speak to him about something before DC came out. He continued to hum while I tried to speak to him; I told him I had something to tell him and he could knock once he had finished singing.
As soon as I shut the door, he knocked.

It is petty, petty stuff. But stops any form of co-parenting, co-operation, give-and-take that should happen between 2 adults who agree to disagree, and swallow their animosity in order to move forward.

Yep, definitely a knob.

You did the right thing. Next time tell him you're going in and you'll speak after 5 mins. Then 10. If he rings constantly tell him you'll call the police! Timeout for knobbers.

Over time I have stopped trying to co-parent. I parent. He parents. And I only see him on parents evening, at events and on Christmas Day when David Attenborough provides the backdrop. He still sends co-parenting and information emails and text. I mostly don't respond. Drives him potty. I feel calm.

Yours is a right knob I have to say wink

Seabright Fri 28-Feb-14 00:32:52

You may not be able to change the locks, but what about adding one?

As a person living alone, with you children, it's not unreasonable that you might feel more secure with a chain on the door, is it? The police recommend them.

Redoubtable Fri 28-Feb-14 08:18:03

Tea I feel I have turned another corner. Really, I would not behave like this toward anyone, myself.

At this stage of my life, I do not accept anyone treating me like this (or even behaving like that in my company).
I have been putting up with it....for the DC? hmm thats not good on my part, and not good for them
to give him space to calm down (not my responsibility),
trying to be compassionate and see it from his side (placating a bully)

??????
WHO hums while their co-parent tries to tell them something important about their children?

I feel like a complete muppet. I've been so busy trying to calm my anger with him, to ensure that the DC were sane and felt safe, that I had managed my grief well, aiming to be non-bitter.....
that (to him) I've continued to be a walkover.

grin seabright....I had thought of that!.And I feel blinds are necessary at the glass on my front door so that ''weird'' people not STBXH,oh no are not staring in at me.

HelenHen Fri 28-Feb-14 08:32:19

Aw so glad for you! Sounds like you're really taking control of the situation... Must be pretty empowering smile . What a petty man!

BakerStreetSaxRift Fri 28-Feb-14 09:55:04

I can completely imagine the humming while you talk, how disrespectful, and oh my God that would have really bothered me. You did so well to handle it as you did. That really typifies his behaviour.

Yes to blinds on the door, and chain or additional lock on the door. For security...

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