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DP, EXH and Christmas

(156 Posts)
NachoAddict Wed 11-Sep-13 08:42:05

This could be long and I am in work so I may not reply quickly so I will put in as much as I can to cover any questions...

EXH and I seperated almost 3 years ago just before christmas. This coming christmas will be the forth since we split. We were together seven years but it was a stormy relationship due to domestic violence from him to me. Regardless the state of our relationship at the time we always managed to spend christmas together with the kids, including the first one after we split.

I moved DP in with us very quickly so the second christmas after EXH and I seperated DP was there. He refused point blank to let EXH come round on christmas day as it was the first time he had had his DD overnight on christmas eve. This caused a lot of problems between EXH and I, he was not happy that he didnt see the kids untill boxing day.

Last year EXH put his foot down and said since I had the kids the previous year he was taking them for dinner and over night. I still had christmas morning with them until 11am but the rest of the day was terrible for me. I missed them so much. we also only had DSD for an hour or two last year.

This year EXH has said that he would like to come round on christmas morning and watch the kids open their presents and spend an hour or two with them before leaving us to get on with the day.

I don't think that is unreasonable, I think the kids would love it (8 & 5) and that as grown ups we should be able to manage a couple of hours in each others company for their sake.

We don't know when we will be having DSD this year as her mum hasn't decided yet.

I have spent lots of time with DP's ex for the sake of keeping relations easy. we have many times eaten a meal together at MILs etc.

Would I be unreasonable to expect DP to allow EXH a couple of hours with his kids on christmas morning?

LustyBusty Wed 11-Sep-13 17:45:34

Sorry, phone!!
From Christmas Eve till Boxing Day? This worked for me as a kid (parents split up when I was 8, bro was 3). And it was never "odd" - we were looked on jealously by our friends because we had two full on Christmases!
Good luck OP.

RedHelenB Wed 11-Sep-13 17:49:14

I would say yes - I don't get this defined families malarky kids know who lives with who but I think it causes sadness if they feel one parent doesn't like the other to the extent that they can't be in the same room for a while in order to make their kids happy!

Inertia Wed 11-Sep-13 21:51:12

The thing is Redhelen it's not quite that simple when one parent has a history of violence against the other - especially if the children know about it, or if it centred around big events or the presence of alcohol. The children might be on edge with their father there.

Dahlen Wed 11-Sep-13 22:37:26

Children may not appreciate it at the time, but it is actually far more useful for them to see an abuser treated with appropriate boundaries while growing up than it is for them to see a faux version of the waltons played out in their living rooms. Children are not stupid. They can tell when parents don't like each other/resent each other/are scared of or apprehensive of each other. Unless you get on well, that undercurrent will be what dominates the child's day. It will be the uneasiness they remember, not the fact that mum and dad are in the same room for a 'special' day.

It's one thing to forgive and move on when past behaviour does not affect present behaviour and a new relationship can be established based on mutual respect. That's never the case with abusers. They do not change.

greenfolder Thu 12-Sep-13 06:41:20

I think you just need to agree alternate xmass and stick to that. It would save a lot of annual angst.
What would actually happen if you put this to ex?

RedHelenB Thu 12-Sep-13 07:29:35

Possibly, but the OP didn't mention that the children would beon eadge & seemed to think they would like it , but her dp wouldn't.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 08:26:23


We are definitley not having dsd until boxing day sad

I spoke to DP and he said I could agree what I think was best but if EXh came round he would go out for a walk. for an hour or visit his family. Since ex wants to be there first thing when the kids get up I think that would be imposing a bit.

I suggested to EX that he have the kids Christmas Eve this year until christmas night and next year we swap. He refused point blank. He thinks it's best that the kids wake up in their own beds, in their own house on christmas morning. He said all he is asking for is an hour with his kids on christmas morning, not for us to cook his dinner.

I raised the issue of his step kids getting more at christmas and he said he doesn't contribute to his sc's presents as they are nothing to do with him. He pays his way as far as the bills go but he doesnt pay for the kids. I think thats a shame but not relevant to my own kids.

So I am back to square one. If I have him round, yes my kids might be happy but dp will be pushed out, he takes an active role in my childrens life, and will be splitting the cost of the gifts for exh to then watch the kids open them. He threatened dp with violence if he stops him seeing his kids on christmas although he wouldn't follow through with it, it doesn't make for a merry atmosphere!

If he came and dp went out this year it could work but we have our own child who is one. This year he won't mind waiting until ex goes so that dp can open his gifts with him because he is a baby and won't know but what about next year and the one after that. If we say yes now we don't have any grounds to say no next year.

It seemed such a good idea when he suggested it but I was clearly looking through rose tinted specs!

kinkyfuckery Thu 12-Sep-13 08:50:36

why would he be watching the kids open presents your dp has bought them? Why would it ibterfere with your one year old opening presents?
My ex comes round about 10, long after the kids have opened presents from me and Santa (and any others under the tree) He brings present(s) from him, to watch them open.

That could solve the DP needing to go out issue too? Or he could busy himself in the kitchen for 30 mins

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 09:06:23

That's not what he wants to do, he wants to come as soon as the kids are up to watch them open the presents that santa has got them, ie me and dp. He will keep the presents that he has got them for when they go to his house on boxing day.

It would interfere with the baby because if dp has to go out to avoid the tension/not make things awkaward then he will miss it if baby opens his presents at the same time as the older two.

WilsonFrickett Thu 12-Sep-13 10:37:56

You need to stand up to him. You can't keep saying 'DP won't let you come' because he then uses it as a further opportunity to put more pressure on you because he knows you'll bend and do everything you can to keep the peace.

He is yanking your chain. Because you are afraid of him, you are letting him.

Sweetheart, it needs to stop.

If you are set that this man comes to your home on Christmas day (and I don't think you should, but I suspect that's a step too far for you this year) then he can come round at 10 or 11, to watch his kids open his presents. You and DP do the frenzy of opening in the morning. He can then turn up bearing gifts and DP can go for a walk with your kids to see his mum or something.

But actually, having typed that all out, I still think you should say no. He doesn't get to say what goes anymore.

Dahlen Thu 12-Sep-13 10:45:03

I agree that he (XH) is deliberately making this difficult. Nothing you suggest, no matter how reasonable, will be accepted. You have unwittingly got yourself caught up in a power play and he will either get what he wants (i.e. getting to call the shots on how you spend Christmas Day in your own home) or you will have to stand up to him.

Apart from rare exceptions where everyone gets on well, I know of no separated families where the X comes round at 7am to watch DC open presents from Santa (what if they get up at 6?). Funnily enough, I know a lot of people whose abusive Xs have suggested doing just that though...

dreamingbohemian Thu 12-Sep-13 10:55:26

Okay first things first, you do need to be careful. The fact that he has threatened your DP with violence shows he has not changed and obviously you need to keep yourselves safe above all. Why do you think he woudn't do it? If he hit the mother of his children, I don't see why he wouldn't hit your DP.

But it's even more reason to stand up to him, otherwise he is just continuing to abuse you all through the threat of violence.

It's just bonkers to let him come over first thing in the morning to watch the kids open presents he didn't even buy them! Honestly that's insane. It only sounds like a good idea because you are still in the frame of mind of appeasing him. I'm glad you are starting to think differently.

Do you have any legal contact orders, any legal access agreement? When does he see the kids now? If you don't have anything defined then maybe now is the time to do it. It's not right for any of you to have to put up with threats of violence over Christmas morning.

I'm so sorry you're in this position. I don't think it's going to get better though if you keep giving into him. But do be careful.

WilsonFrickett Thu 12-Sep-13 11:07:35

Start putting things in writing too. Email him, rather than conversations. dreaming is talking sense.

dreamingbohemian Thu 12-Sep-13 11:17:10

Thanks Wilson and yes I agree, better to put things in writing.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 11:37:18

This thread has certainly opened my eyes. What you are saying about appeasing him makes sense, I feel sick thinking about disagreeing him and honestly don't know what to say. It seems so simple, just say no but he will manipulate me and twist it that I am putting my dp before our kids by not letting him be there. I think in his mind it makes perfect sense for him to be there, as it did to me at first. I was convinced that it was the right answer and the only person being difficult was dp.

He has the children on Sundays 10 - 6, no legal arrangement, that is just what he decided when we split. I asked him to have them overnight once and he said why should he have the kids so I could go out with my boyfriend. I was actually staying with a friend in crisis but he said well your boyfriend can look after them then.

I don't know why I don't think he would hit dp, probably because during the whole time I have known him, the only people to make him angry enough to be violent has been me, his mum and his younger sister, all women. He says he has never been violent to his current dp because she doesn't provoke him like I did. I believe him.

Dahlen Thu 12-Sep-13 11:47:16

On Nacho - Please don't feel bad. None of this is your fault.

Why do you believe him when he says he hasn't hit his current GF? Unless they've only been together 5 minutes or she's particularly compliant, I can almost guarantee that's a lie. Not that it matters. The whole point of him saying that is to again make you feel that everything is your fault, because getting you to accept that is the key ingredient in getting you to do exactly as he wants.

Again, nearly every abusive partner I have come across has come up with the "why should I have the kids so you can go out with your boyfriend" line.

This man is following a very clearly defined pattern which is very obvious once you know what you're looking at. One of the best courses you could take to fight back against this is to really educate yourself about abuse dynamics. If you haven't already read the Lundy Bancroft book, that's an excellent place to start, although I appreciate it won't help much with the issue currently at hand.

Some abusers are downright dangerous. Most are just like bullies who rapidly back down once you make it absolutely clear that you will no longer tolerate their antics. Unfortunately, I don't know which category your X falls into, so I'd advise you to play it safe. If may feel like an over-reaction, but document everything. Communicate in writing, voice your concerns to the police, school, even SS - anyone who will listen. If your X takes you to court, this will stand you in very good stead. Though if he does take you to court, a judge will probably award him overnight access (so you can go out with your BF wink) and alternate Christmases, so he'll gain nothing.

This may be horrible for now, and will probably get worse before it gets better, but if you can keep your nerve you can really put this man in a position where he no longer affects your life other than contact with his children in a way that hurts neither them nor you.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 12:12:19

Thanks Dahlen, even though everything your saying is right and I can see that, I just can't reconcile it with myself. I don't know if that makes sense? I don't see myself as afraid of him but admit deep down I am. I must be to let him have the control that he does.

People always tell me I am the strongest person they know (rubbish life in many ways, one trauma to another) but that just doesn't tally with an abused woman. It has been almost 3 years, I thought I was over it by now. It took me a long time to accept that I was suffering domestic abuse, silly but because he never punched me in the face, it was always a push or a kick of throwing things. Even when it escalated I would minimise it.

I am going to be strong and stand up to him this time. Strange but I still feel like I care about him and want him as a friend but we are never actually friends unless he is getting his own way. It's hard to see your own life objectivley though.

I believe he hasn't hit his gf (they got together in the Jan after we split in dec) just because she doesn't seem the type. Stupid I know. She is older than him by quite a bit and seems so sorted and together. I suppose I did too though.

Wow sorry to turn the thread into a counselling session!! I will have a read of the book.

dreamingbohemian Thu 12-Sep-13 12:12:44

I'm actually starting to think you need legal advice. He's hit his mum and his sister too???

Do you have a daughter? How old are your kids?

He feels justified in using violence becasue people 'provoke him'. It sounds like it's actually quite risky for your kids to be around him. Even if he isn't violent towards them, they are at risk of seeing him hit his current partner or other people.

Quite frankly I don't think someone who has hit you, his mother and sister, and who has threatened your DP with violence, should ever step foot in your house again. And he has no legal right to. I really think you should start putting everything in writing and dealing with this legally and formally, otherwise you will be putting up with his threats forever.

But do be very careful, it may even be worth talking to the police. Does he have a criminal record?

Bogeyface Thu 12-Sep-13 12:24:04

This is not about seeing his kids, it is about controlling you.

If he wanted to see them that desperately then he would have jumped at your generous offer of overnight from Xmas Eve.

He wants to stamp his "ALPHA MALE" credentials on everything, including your DP.

The old MN favourite of "I am sorry, that doesnt work for me" would be good here. Tell him that in order to avoid this in future you will see a solicitor to get access on an official footing.

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 12:32:55

He only hit his mum and sister once (that I know of). We had split up because of the violence and he was staying with them. They had a row and his temper flared. he ended up getting arrested and kept on remand for a few weeks. He was given a suspended sentence. Part of his probation was to complete an anger management course. Naievely I believed that had cured him and we got back together had DD and got married.

He hadn't changed. I finally had the courage to leave after he flipped infront of the kids so you are absolutley correct that they may witness violence. I thought that because I wasn't there making him angry anymore that he would be ok to see them. The violence was my fault so with me out of the loop it would be ok. Not sure any of that is making sense at all.

All the things I have been convincing myself of are coming unravelled and I am seeing the situation from an outsiders eyes. I think I have been very stupid. Actually almost in tears at my desk.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 12-Sep-13 12:34:01

So he only hits female family members who are really really annoying and provoke him?

Tht's ok then!

What sex are your children?

I have the most beautiful, brilliant wonderful three year old girl in the world but she is incredibly annoying sometimes.

The best thing you could do for your kids is to keep their mum, their step dad and most importantly them safe from violence.

Mumoftwoyoungkids Thu 12-Sep-13 12:38:27

Sorry - should say that I think that you and your dp sound to me to be really good people who are trying to do the right thing. I think you just need to work out what that is.

If the violence was your fault why did he hit his mum and sister when he was split up from you?

NachoAddict Thu 12-Sep-13 12:44:59

We have DS8 and DD5, she is the apple of his eye and he adores her.

The children have never mentioned him and his dp so much as arguing, I just don't think the violence is happening there. He said he has changed. I guess he would say that though.

I do need to work out where to go from here. Things have been going ok for the last three years, he won't take it well if I drag all of this up now.

Bogeyface Thu 12-Sep-13 13:08:37

To be fair, they wont hear them arguing or see any violence if he only sees for 8 hours on a Sunday.

People like him dont change, and no the violence wasnt your fault, if it was then he would be attacking other women too would he?

StuntGirl Thu 12-Sep-13 13:10:43

He threatened dp with violence

That's not what he wants to do, he wants to come as soon as the kids are up to watch them open the presents that santa has got them, ie me and dp. He will keep the presents that he has got them for when they go to his house on boxing day.

Sweetheart, this man needs to be untangled from your home life now. He has threatened your partner with violence because he cannot come and watch his children open presents from someone else. Can you see how insane that sounds? Actually that isn't the real reason at all, he's escalated to threats of violence to exert control over you because everything else has stopped working now you've stood up to him. With this tactic he wants you to bow in submission again so he is once again in control of you.

He has the children on Sundays 10 - 6, no legal arrangement, that is just what he decided when we split.

It's all about him isn't it?

I asked him to have them overnight once and he said why should he have the kids so I could go out with my boyfriend.

Aaalll about him. Most loving parents would jump at the chance to spend extra time with their children, especially ones that are the "apple of his eye".

the only people to make him angry enough to be violent has been me, his mum and his younger sister, all women. He says he has never been violent to his current dp because she doesn't provoke him like I did. I believe him.

I finally had the courage to leave after he flipped infront of the kids so you are absolutley correct that they may witness violence.

Let's make one thing perfectly clear. No one provokes someone into violence. Violent people make the choice to react with violence. It wasn't that these women 'provoked' him. It's that these women were physically weaker than him and thus an easy target.

Christ, a man with a history of violence against women, who has a criminal record for it?! No wonder your partner does not want this man in your shared home! No wonder he doesn't want him around his precious daughter, his beautiful wife, his lovely step children.

You have done nothing wrong here. You have been brave and strong in escaping his clutches. You have put yourself and your children first and removed them from a violent and dangerous situation. He doesn't like that does he? So he tries to exert control in other ways, such as this Christmas shambles.

From now on try and stick to written communication. Emails and texts are good because they can be used as proof. If you have a phone/spoken conversation follow it up with an email surmising the points made and any agreements made.

Stick to simple responses which you can use on repeat. Don't get drawn into debate or discussion.

It might be wise to see a solicitor regarding contact now, especially if you feel he is going to react angrily to this change in the status quo. The fact is he cannot force himself into your home on Christmas morning without breaking the law and getting himself arrested again. You actually have the power here, not him, so stay strong with your wonderful partner who has your back, and draw firm boundaries that keep everyone involved safe.

I know it must seem awful and difficult, but you really are making the right decision.

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