To not want my children to see their Father(20 Posts)
Hi. Long time lurker but first time poster, posting in AIBU for traffic and also impartial opinions.
Don't want to out myself so not going to give every little detail, nor do I want to drip feed though so this may be a long post as there's lots of back story.
I have 13 year old twins, both girls, I left their dad when they were 3 as he was controlling and emotionally and financially abusive to me, when he became physically abusive I decided enough was enough and left - I had to be the one to leave as he refused to leave the family home and I felt mine and my daughters' safety was paramount.
Anyway that was all over 10 years ago, fast forward to this year and the recent situation has been this; no contact order was made when we divorced as basically he wasn't ever really bothered about seeing the girls (phrases like "I'm not babysitting your kids" were used frequently). The general arrangement was for him to have them every other weekend, but this was governed by him and over the years he frequently let us down if he had something better to do. Since we split up and during this eow contact he has introduced the girls to upwards of 20 women; I couldn't care less who he has a relationship with but I do care that he prioritised (and still does) these relationships over his daughters. They constantly felt sidelined by these women, most of whom they never met more than once or twice.
This summer things came to a massive head when they spent a weekend with him and when they got home one of my daughters casually mentioned "Urgh guess what, I saw a picture of Daddy's willy on his phone, it was horrible". It transpired that she'd seen it as a picture text message with an accompanying text about what he wanted the recipient to do to him. He purposefully lets the girls use his phone so I was livid that he'd let them use it with this sort of content readily viewable to them.
I confronted him and was met with total denial, he said the girls must have googled it and that's how they found the image... they were due to go on holiday with him (this country) the following week which I felt uneasy about so I contacted NSPCC for advice and they referred it to Child Services. Cue an investigation where things came out about them feeling uncomfortable when at his house as "daddy walks around naked or just in his pants"... and about comments he'd made about how their bodies were growing/changing... the conclusion of the matter was that I was right to have flagged my concerns but that the SW felt that he had just been careless with his phone and needed to be told that certain behaviour wasn't appropriate, but she felt they would be safe to continue having contact with him.
One of the girls has been adamant ever since that she doesn't want to see him, whereas one of them does. He hasn't seen them since this episode in the summer because in his rage towards me for 'reporting him' he decided to reduce the maintenance payments massively. This has left me very short, even from the first month, I work all the hours I can to provide for them but we struggle every month. When he did it I said you can't expect to not contribute a fair amount to your children's living expenses and still see them. His answer was basically ok then I won't see them.
The issue now is that he's started texting the one who does want to see him, which is really upsetting her as she feels torn between us. She wants to see him even though I've tried to talk to her about how it's been his choice to not see her for 5 months, his choice to reduce maintenance payments so that I struggle financially, his choice to have that content on his phone which they saw which started the whole SS investigation in the summer...
Should I let her see him? It means her going to his house by herself which I feel makes her very vulnerable. His emotional abuse has transferred from me to them in that he makes them feel guilty about things ("poor daddy is on his own", "mummy left daddy", "I'm so lonely and miserable") and this is aside from the other inappropriate behaviour that I don't feel was accidental. But as it stands she thinks it's me stopping her from seeing him and that I'm the bad guy, when all I've ever done is love them and look after them as best I can. It makes me so angry that he can show so little regard for them and swan in and out of their lives as he feels like it. But is my view unreasonable?
In a word no.
Dont let this man near your kids.
I personally think the sooner she starts going back to see him the sooner she will realise herself that she shouldn't be going. Then you won't be seen as the bad guy anymore.
Maintenance and contact should be separate.
The other stuff (sexually inappropriate comments etc) I see and echo your concerns especially about ongoing potential emotional abuse.
But IMO you were wrong to reduce contact because he reduced maintenance. The reduced maintenance is between you two and should not have resulted in reduced contact as that has a negative impact on your daughters.
Speaking to your daughter about his decision to reduce maintenance etc was breaching a line.
You need to be a parent. If she wants to see him she wants to see him. It's not her issue that he reduced payments and you shouldn't be talking to her about it IMO. It'll just be making her feel more guilty for wanting to see him. She needs to see this for herself, but you need to protect her too. Can't you suggest a day out instead of a weekend stopover?
I think at 13 it's really up to her. If it was welfare concerns YANBU, but it seems to be purely over maintenance and it's not fair to stop her seeing her Dad over that.
Yes I had worried that I shouldn't have mentioned the maintenance but it's very hard when your children are constantly asking for things to be on a par with their friends and the reason you can't afford it is because their father is with holding maintenance money. I didn't actually tell him there would be no contact, I said i felt it was unfair for him to do that yet still want to have the pleasure of their company when he felt like it. His response was to say ok I won't see them. He didn't try and discuss it with me at all, he just responded to my knee jerk reaction by walking away.
Yes if she sees him it would be during the day as she has said she doesn't want to go overnight. In my opinion though abuse can happen at any time of the day.
It isn't purely over maintenance, it's very much a welfare issue. He walked away and made no contact for nearly 5 months when I told him I was unhappy about him reducing maintenance payments due to me raising concerns about his sexual behaviour around the girls.
Can you not go via CSA for your payments so then he can't use money to control you anymore? You shouldn't have involved your children in your financial problems. However, if you feel your daughter could potentially be sexually abused then you must protect her.
As hard as it is, you need to let her come to the right conclusions on her own.
You need to bite your tongue, smile sweetly and be there to pick up the pieces when it all goes wrong.
Otherwise you will just be painted as the bad guy.
And why on earth is he able to reduce maintainence? You need to have a chat with CSM or whatever they're called these days and get it set up officially. At least then he can't use it as leverage.
Are you in the U.K. Go to CMS to get child maintenance, do he has no power over reducing it.
As for the dd who wants to see him, think you'll have to let her as she's old enough to make that decision. But all my instincts scream no, especially as he has been historically abusive and is making comments about their bodies and walking around naked/in his pants when it makes them uncomfortable.
Would it be possible to get referral for family therapy or counselling for your dd's? It must be very hard for them as they probably feel responsible for your ex's happiness with him doing the poor me act and being emotionally abusive.
Yes unfortunately its up to her if she wants to go, however I think it will be good, as she will see him more for who he is, and might well make the decision like her twin to not see him anymore.
It was court ordered maintenance which was set at the time of divorce, 8 years ago. He has increased it by the cost of living each year, at my request each year, and the latest time increased it a little more as I told him how much we were struggling. So for 6 months he was paying £50 a month more than the court ordered amount. Then in the summer he reduced it back to the original court ordered amount as that is all he legally has to pay.
I can't go the CSA or whatever they're called as he is self employed and fudges the figures to show that he has next to no income. Before the divorce when I went through them he paid £5 a week. In reality he runs his own business, partly owns a hotel and lives mortgage free yet contributes £120 a month for two children.
Thanks so much for all the replies though. I feared I was out of order in some ways (regarding telling them about the financial issues) and I know now I was. The counselling/therapy is a good idea and I may look into that.
I defo think you should let your DD see him. To be honest this post reads like there's a total other side which would describe totally different events
For what it's worth I don't think the phone issue should have been reported - clearly it's inappropriate for them to see but I guess you reported that out of spite rather than actual concern. I hardly suspect he wanted his daughters to see it knowingly - more an over sight surely?
As for walking around naked or in pants, my DH does that all the time in front of my daughters. Lots of people do! We even acknowledge my daughters changing body - We joke about it all the time
I guess if pressed suggestively, any child may say she's embarrassed. Esp if she's been made to feel like it shouldnt be mentioned etc.
Unless there's a huge amount more than you're letting on, I wander if you tried to keep him away using social services? And now you're trying to guilt the girls even if unintentionally? .
I'd avoid doing this as they're at an age where they want to question thingd, you'll have little say and they will resent you more.
Not trying to sound harsh as I'm sure there's other issues with regard you, him and payments etc but that's all separate from him relationship with the girls
The phone incident was referred to Child Services by the NSPCC when I rang them for advice. It wasn't done by me out of spite, I had no ulterior motive other than my daughters' safety when I rang them.
I guess every story has two sides, I've tried to keep mine impartial but can only give my own side of the story.
I started this thread to ask for advice as I was unsure I was doing the best by my children by not facilitating contact with their father. I've had lots of different opinions all of which I'm taking on board. I don't want to guilt my children into not seeing their father but I do want them to be aware of how his actions affect their daily lives. Perhaps they are way too young to be privy to it and I accept that this is somewhere I was in the wrong.
It's a shitty situation but unfortunately she needs to be the one to cut contact with her father. If you do it she could end up resenting you. If she goes then he will probably dig his own grave.
For what it's worth, my dad sounds very similar and I have been non contact for quite a while and before that it was limited contact since 13
Dont be afraid to be a parent and keep your daughters safe. you will be blamed for it if he abuse her.
I cant believe people think its ok to allow contact given the facts.
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