How do we tackle this?(113 Posts)
This is not really an AIBU so apologies to the thread police
It's more of a WWYD.
Been with OH 8 years two of his kids we have EOW and about half of the school holidays. I love them very much and they don't remember me not being with their dad.
I have an ok relationship with his ex which deteriorated last year after I expressed concern over the state of the house and various dubious lodgers after I visited. This has been drawn a line under but we are no longer friends.
OH and ex split up when the kids were tiny, there were a lot of explosive rows and things thrown by both parties (both have told me this) and once she threw a bottle at him and he grabbed her round the throat (I am not condoning this). He went to counselling and they split not long after (they should never have married IMO).
She has always maintained that he was abusive and she felt she was in an abusive relationship to all of her friends and family and all of her susequent partners meaning that the reception by any partners to OH is always frosty (OH is not and has never been abusive towards me).
It's come out this weekend that she has told the girls (aged 10 and 12) numerous stories about their marriage and his "abuse" towards her. A lot of these stories don't tally (one involves both girls when DSD1 was 18 months old and there are two years between them).
Considering that he is "allowed" to have the kids whatever did or did not go on in their relationship is IMO in the past, not relevant to his relationship with his kids and totally inappropriate (I think mentally abusive) to be relaying to the girls (I never ever did this to my own kids about their dad).
Problem we have is that whenever OH has tackled her over something the girls have said the girls then get into trouble (and she totally ignores whatever the issue is anyway so it's a waste of time) so he can't tackle her. DD1 in particular confides in me a lot (esp since the most recent boyfriend has moved in who she hates) and I never betray her trust as I think it's important that she has people here in our home she trusts and feels are her allies (ideally everyone in both bloody homes!).
I feel so uncomfortable about this, I suggested to the girls that they just tell her (politely) that they don't want to know but am not sure what else we can do? Nothing? Or is there something else?
Grabbing someone around the throat is considered to be a strong indicator of severe abuse and a signal that a woman is in serious danger - it can be prosecuted as attempted murder.
There are clearly issues with the mother, especially around boyfriends etc but I wouldn't assume she's lying about the abuse.
I am aware of that as I have done a lot of training in domestic abuse!
Whether is happened or not is not the issue (I know she is lying about some of the things and embellishing them as she has told me different versions).
My issue is that if she is happy for us the have the kids and feels they are safe here why is she filling their little heads with all the shit about their dad? What does it actually achieve?
I don't think you are entitled to police what she tells her children about their father's actions to be honest. If she is lying, she is obviously out of order for lying.
It doesn't achieve anything.
Is it possibly being prompted by the new boyfriend? It is a form of emotional abuse. Both you and your DH need to recognise that his children are now in an abusive situation.
How you react is to talk to the girls and respond to their questions,without criticising their Mum.
Things aren't going to get any better for them, so you need to be someone that they can totally trust.
It makes a massive difference if a child has someone in their life who recognises what is going on and helps them to process it, even if they can't (yet) remove them fromthe situation.
Even if it's actually mentally abusive to them (and not true!).
I just think it's terrible to tell children adult stuff that they do not need to know. They obviously didn't know whether to believe her as they told OH.
It's like a competition, to be the favourite parent - and blame an entire marriage breakdown on the other person and get the kids to take "sides".
It has got worse since the new BF yes - her and OH fell out a few weeks ago and she showed the kids all the text messages
""I don't think you are entitled to police what she tells her children about their father's actions to be honest""
Children below teenage shouldn't yet be told about domestic abuse that happened, unless they start the conversation because they have memories of things.
They particularly don't need to know, if the Mother has been happy for unsupervised contact to take place regularly for years and they have a solid relationship with the other Parent.
Even during the teen years it's got to be handled in the right manner.
I suggested to OH that he stops saying anything other than arrangements for pick up/drop offs via text.
Well, I think people get to make that decision for themselves.
I understand why he wouldn't want her to tell them, but that doesn't make it "adult stuff". Plus, you only have his word for it that his is the correct version of events so I would just keep out of it if I were you.
I already said upthread I have her word too as we used to be friends.
I have been with him for 8 years - I believe him - and funny how he's never been abusive towards me - leopards normally do not change their spots.
He told me when we first started dating what had happened.
To me it's irrelevant - if she is allowing us to have the girls and have a relationship with them she should not tell them unpleasant stories about the past - it's irrelevant to them and it's like she's trying to point score through the kids.
Your OH is "allowed" to have the children because he is a form of babysitting. It suits her. He needs to show them he is a decent person and a good father and supportive to his children. What she says may be correct but he needs to continue to prove he is a reformed character. You should support him but stay away from her. You should make sure these children have a great relationship with you and that will not involve saying their mum is a liar. Keep you own council. The visits by his children have not been curtailed and she has not applied for different visiting conditions, so sit tight and be caring. The children will work out for themselves if they like their Dad and are relaxed with the pair of you. If it gets difficult, courts do listen to children.
Have you told her this? Her response will probably be, "I will tell my children what I want." That is all I would say to you, and if you pushed the issue to the conclusion that I shouldn't let you have them in that case, well, I wouldn't then
I think you ensure that your OH doesn't run their Mum down or say any details about why the split. Stick to neutral things such as "we weren't suited and both behaved badly toward each other at times" beyond that when they confide in you I would just reassure "I'm not sure why your Mum is saying x but sometimes we remember things different to how they really were"
It's not kind of her to say these things to her DDs so just aim for damage limitation and hope she moves onto a nicer partner!!!
Yes Random thanks - to be honest he is the 7th in 8 years but lived there as he was a lodger.
I never ever say anything negative about their mum and never grill them, OH sometimes does and I tell him off (more frustrated when she sends them with dirty clothes).
A few weeks ago we (he) had to tell DSD2 off as she had eavesdropped on a conversation between us (about their mum not helping out with the driving ever) and DSD2 texted it all to her mum who went ballistic and texted OH.
In the nicest possible way aren't you doing the same thing as the ex - saying negative things about their mother within earshot?
Yes. Just stop it. Don't talk about her unless you do not have the children. It is common sense and you are likely to provoke a reaction from the children if you do this. They are just waiting for it. Can you not think of their needs instead of needing to gossip? Children first! Always.
We were in our bedroom with the door closed - pretty sure at some point most people's kids overhear things they shouldn't it's part and parcel of it being a family and actually no she shouldn't have heard it (OH was frustrated as he drives 1200 miles every other weekend and she never helps) but in the same vein neither should she eavesdrop on a private conversation and then report the content back to her mother in a phone that OH pays for. So no we are not as bad as their mother - we thought we were in private.
We were not actively filling her in on all the the things OH feels she did wrong in the marriage.
You can't complain that a child tells her mum stuff, OP. Of course she will tell her if you are slagging her off in her earshot.
I think you can tell a child off for actively going out of their way to stir.
And you can teach a child about respecting others privacy.
Listening at someone's bedroom door is bloody naughty in my book.
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