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ExH and Daughters phone.

(104 Posts)
Whatjusthappenedexactly Thu 24-Aug-17 00:39:51

I need to know if IABU. DD14 is very upset.
Been divorced 3 years. Acrimonious despite my best efforts for it not to be. I have honestly tried to keep the peace because I was the one who left . If it's relivant, DD lives with Dad term time due to schooling. She comes to us EOW and 3/4 of the school holidays. I have dinner with her weekly. I pay maintenance via the CMO because after the split he realised he could demand it any way despite a massive pay difference between me and EXH ( me less than him). He pays for her phone.

When she comes to my new home all is well apart from the texts she receives from her Dad.

Firstly, I have no access to her phone as it's a finger print entry. She is under strict instruction not to tell me the number pass lock. That in itself has caused grief but in the end I have let it go.

Her younger brother's phone can be unlocked without a finger print and he's told me the code. ExH has a history of texting offensive remarks about me that cause a lot of upset. I got into the habit of not looking any more as I only got upset and then the whole house suffered. However, tonight, my DS showed me a remark about me which upset him. I promptly asked to see DD phone and after many tears and protests she accessed it for me. The insults about me, my chosen activitities, our dogs names offensively misspelt were multiple. DD never pulls him up but in her defence she never agrees, just ignores and answers politely.
I had to leave ExH because of his bullying so these texts feel like bullying all over again. I'm also having problems with DD attitude toward me which could be age related, but I do hear my ExH in a lot of what she says. I'm now left wondering if it's these texts that makes her believe she can say what she likes to undermine me.

Additionally, when ExH telephones at night the atmosphere goes dark. We can tell from the children's answeres he's interrogating them and not really interested in what they have done that may be good. We can hear questions from him regarding meal times, bed times, activity levels , TV watching. If they give an answer that can't be picked apart he moves them on and picks on something else. For example, my Dad is terminally ill so we drive a fair distance a few times a week to see him. I combine this trip with a chance to see the children's friends but he's very critical of the bed times and lengthy car journeys. This is just one example. I'm left with the same feeling I had when we were married, that I can't do anything right. If it's relivent I spend every waking moment with the children when they are with us. We swim, walk, beach, bake I even Pokémon hunt because it's the best form of exercise we can get my son to engage in but ExH is really horrible about this to both the children as he seems to have something against it. DS is overweight so as far as I'm concerned if it gets him walking who cares if it's catching Pokémon.

Anyhow, I cracked tonight after seeing a text that called me rude and stupid... texted directly to the children over a pick up time by me where I was accused of being late ( I wasn't late ). I've told my DD no more privacy with regard to her phone. I want to see every text conversation with her Dad.

I've also texted my ExH and told him the insults have to stop or the phones will be confiscated. I wouldn't stop him from calling the children obviously but he'd have to go through my phone.

The problem with this is he will reciprocate when the children leave me and talking to them will become impossible.

My own DH has already threatened to take the children's phone away because of the upset. Honestly, when ExH is on the phone you can cut the atmosphere with a knife.

I have totally lost it tonight. For me, it's as though my ExH has a direct line into my new home to press my buttons and upset me. It took a lot for me to leave him and he's still getting into my home and head despite my best efforts.

If I remove the phone completely he will do the same when they are with him. If I continue to allow his texts into the home I'm not free of him. It's causing upset between myself the children and DH as the tension is ridiculous.

We have been to court once and I asked that a clause was put in place to try and prevent these types of texts. It was put in the order that neither of us would disparage the other ( I wasn't but that was the wording regardless). He's breaking the order but while my Dad is so ill I can't face going back to court. I will have to gobback eventually as he won't let me have the children's pass ports or change a few other minor details.

Until then what do I do about the phones.m? I've texted him tonight asking for him to stop. Pointed out it's upsetting our children but it's been going on for 3 years so it's unlikely to change.

AIBU to expect my DD14 to make him put an end to it or take away the phones. DS wouldn't miss his phone but DD will see it as the end of the world.

I feel like the bully of a man is back in my home and I can't cope. Hoping no one suggests I ignore as I have tried for a year but it's still coming and I can't ignore it any more. Not when I try so hard to be a good parent and my Dad is so ill. Having every action undermined by his nasty comments has worn me away again.

ChangChang Thu 24-Aug-17 00:49:15

@whatjusthappenedexactly I'm so sorry to hear about your Dad - personally, for the time being at the very least, I would concentrate on him rather than letting your XH have too much headspace.
Screenshot the messages and send copies to yourself via email as evidence - then when you have more emotional energy to deal with the situation, you have proof to show the courts (if it comes to that).
Sorry I don't have more advice, going through crappy separation myself and the games people play and the hurt they take the time and effort to cause is hideous. Look after yourself flowers for you x

Whatjusthappenedexactly Thu 24-Aug-17 00:57:15

Thanks Chang. Good advice. We did this before and presented a lot of printed messages to court from him to my daughter calling me names. To be honest, they were not that concerned but I'll do the same again regardless. In the mean time, yes I'm concentrating on my Dad. We drove 140 miles today to see him ( and sons best mate so it's not so bad for him) but still the remarks. It's hard to know sometimes if I do the right thing. Children were happy with it until there Dad rang. X

Whatjusthappenedexactly Thu 24-Aug-17 00:58:38

Sorry about your separation. It's tough when people can't simple let others be. flowers

LonginesPrime Thu 24-Aug-17 01:03:47

OP, I really feel for you as I'm in a similar situation with my teenage DCs and awful ExH.


AIBU to expect my DD14 to make him put an end to it or take away the phones.

Yes, with bells on.

Your DC have been on the receiving end of these horrible texts and it's not fair to punish them for their dad's behaviour. They've not done anything wrong and it's unfair to blame them for anything their dad has sent to them and for the fact they haven't shut his abuse down.

From your post, it sounds like his abusive behaviour probably had something to do with the fact you're not together any more, so if you couldn't stop him being awful and has to leave, how is it fair to expect your children to be able to manage it?

It sounds to me like you're playing right into his hands by showing him how upset you are, so I would focus on trying to rise above the snide comments (frustratingly difficult, I know) and enjoying your time with your DC, regardless of what he says or thinks. Otherwise he will always control you.

Document everything he does that contravenes the court order, but focus on building up the kids' resilience and on being the bigger person. I'm not a psychologist, but I believe it's important to kids' self-esteem to believe they've not come from bad stock, and I've explained to my ExH that by slagging me off to the kids, he's hurting them, not me (not least as I don't give two hoots what he thinks of me anymore).

It took years of lying to myself and telling myself I didn't care what he thinks of me before I finally got to the point where it was true, but the first step is to act like you don't care (in this case by not flipping out over messages you find).

Focus on helping your ExH to realise he needs to stop using your kids as pawns to score points, but address it directly with him - don't stoop to his level by involving your DCs.

ChangChang Thu 24-Aug-17 01:03:51

I find it unbelievable in circumstances like that - where you're clearly going through something horribly distressing - that they can muster so much animosity. If it were me, I'd want to help, despite the circumstances around the split - because it's the right thing to do, and the right thing to show your children to do.
He obviously hasn't thought about your DCs perhaps WANTING to spend time with their poorly grandfather, (or indeed, their friends), and how cruel of him to make them feel like it is wrong for you, or them, to make the effort to do so! My XP does similar things in terms of criticising every decision I make, every activity I do with the children, analyses mealtimes, bedtimes - you're absolutely right, it feels just like he still wields all the power. It's easy to say to the children not to worry or take any notice, but you know it gets in - it's so horrible...

SmitheringSmithison Thu 24-Aug-17 01:03:52

I'm sorry about your dad.
I'm not really sure how I would deal with the situation but I just wanted to pick up on one part of your post. You say AIBU to expect my DD14 to make him put an end to it or take away the phones.

I think yabu for this, your dd is 14 years old-still very much a child. How can she be held accountable or be expected to put a stop to her fathers behaviour? Presumably if you left him due to him being a bully to you, you'll have given him opportunities to stop or change before you left...he obviously didn't so I'm not sure why you think your dd will be successful in making him stop his shitty behaviour in this instance.

Your xdh texts are as abusive and bullying to her as they are to you. He's putting her in the middle of a terrible situation and making her feel that her loyalty is split. He is being emotionally abusive to her about you, she doesn't reply slagging you off in return she ignores what he writes which is probably the safest thing she can do. She isn't to blame for his actions even when the messages are being sent to her.

ChangChang Thu 24-Aug-17 01:17:48

That's a fair point actually, @smitheringsmithison and I think as your DD is not reciprocating, she really hasn't done anything to be chastised for -
in fact, it is very strong of her not to engage, and says a lot about how much she feels for you.
She probably wanted to keep the messages secret so that you weren't upset or hurt by the things your XH was saying.

Guiltypleasures001 Thu 24-Aug-17 01:23:32

I think you would claim your kids back and either move near their school or move to a new school

You effectively left your abuser that's grand but you left your kids with theirs
They are the middle of a war and it's not fair
Your dd is growing up surrounded by anxiety and secret keeping it has to stop
Confiscating phones is not fair and doesn't work she must be under intolerable pressure op
Sorry for lack of punctuation bloody ipad is playing up

Nuttynoo Thu 24-Aug-17 05:56:29

Why do you let your kids live with an abuser? You should move closer to the school and get custody.

Nuttynoo Thu 24-Aug-17 05:57:45

Confiscating your dc's phones when you only have them for the weekend, and they haven't done anything wrong, is crazy. Your 14 yo would probably stop coming around.

TooGood2BeFalse Thu 24-Aug-17 06:08:20

This sounds just so toxic for the kids.I know you said because of schooling, but I don't understand why on earthis you would leave an abuser but let your DD stay.No school on earth is worth such a miserable home life.

TwoBobs Thu 24-Aug-17 06:16:12

Having been the child in a similar situation, the best advice I can give is to do your best to rise above it. Not easy I know. Rant yo your DH/best mate/on Mumsnet by all means but try your best to not let him or your children see that it upsets you.

Your children are in a powerless position. However, they will see very clearly who the bad guy is. Once they are grown they will have the strength to stand up for themselves and you but, at this age, they are not capable of it.
My mother did this to my dad. She tried everything in her power to use us to get to him. My dad tried as hard as he could to not use us and rise above it all. I know now that he was very upset and incredibly stressed by ut all but he never showed it to us. When his Mum died, MY Mum gloated about it to him in front of me - I will never forgive her for doing this, particularly when I saw the look on his face. It truly opened my eyes to the kind of person she really was. She has subsequently had no relationship with her children and has never met her 6 grandchildren.

Protect your children now, stay strong, rise above it and, in a few short years, you'll reap the rewards.

TwoBobs Thu 24-Aug-17 06:19:23

Incidentally, she still can't see what she did wrong and blames my Dad for "turning us against her". No love, you did that all by yourself!

AHedgehogCanNeverBeBuggered Thu 24-Aug-17 06:21:43

Please stop putting your DC in the middle of your issues with their dad - I know he's in the wrong, but so are you by forcing your DD to show you her phone (14 y/olds need privacy) and expecting a child to deal with an abuser that you yourself failed to deal with. Your OP is all "me, me, me" - how he's getting into your home, the impact it's having on you, your ExH's salary ("why should I have to pay towards the upbringing of my own DC?" hmm)...etc. It's time to think a bit more about your DC (and WHY are you letting them live with an abuser??).

Whatjusthappenedexactly Thu 24-Aug-17 06:35:49

Morning. Thanks for your replies. I won't be taking the phones away. Clearer head this morning. And I understand the bit about not expecting my DD to put an end to the texts. I was just hoping for something along the lines of her trying to have a quiet word with him, but not about upsetting me, but about upsetting them. Despite him being an awful husband to me he's actually a very capable hands on Dad who the children adore. I don't feel I want to go into detail why I moved out of the catchment without the children because that's not what I posted about. It's another thread entirely , but I'm probably going to get comments. I sort of saw it like the children boarding only they got to live with their Dad who they do love and who has a family the children are at the heart of. I didn't have that to offer and I couldn't afford to stay in the catchment. If I move back there will be more upheaval fro the children at a time when 3 years down the line everything else is working apart from these calls. As my DH says, if I moved back he would probably cause me more difficulties, but again that's a whole other thread.

I'm just going to have to tough it out like I have for the past year, reassure my DD there is nothing either of us can do. Let her keep her phone and ignore the idiot. I.e. Follow her much better example. I just let him get to me again for some reason, long day with work and Dad I suppose.

Only thing now is the new attidute of undermining me in the way her father did. It goes right through me but that would have happened regardless no doubt. May I need a thread about help with stroppy contradictory, bossy teenagers.

Thanks for your replies, sorry others are going through similar when all we all really want is peace to get on with our lives.

Whatjusthappenedexactly Thu 24-Aug-17 06:41:34

TwoBobs. I can see I walked straight into it yesterday. Your situation sounds horrible and so similar to my own. Thank you for taking time to help. Good advice from one who knows. flowers

Whatjusthappenedexactly Thu 24-Aug-17 06:42:26

I will stick to ranting on mums net ( and skip the replies that flame me blush) .

JWrecks Thu 24-Aug-17 06:50:19

I have to agree strongly with @Guiltypleasures and other PP here. Is there anything at all that you can do to get your kids away from this man? If not entirely, then possibly for much more of the time? Is there anything at all?

Have you spoken with DC about how they feel about the way he speaks to and treats them, and to you? Are they afraid of him, afraid to be honest with him? Do they feel they must be careful not to upset him? Do you know if they would prefer to stay with you if they could, even full time? Have they ever expressed that desire? Are they happy to arrive at yours and sad to leave for his all the time? Have they told you anything else about the way he speaks to and treats them, particularly when you are not around? Or are they careful not to speak about him to you?

What is it about school that means they must live with him most of the time? Would it be possible, and would the DC be willing, to change schools? Would you be able to move closer to their school(s) in order to facilitate them living with you?

It does appear that you are being abused and controlled by this man, verbally, emotionally, and financially, and it does seem that the DC are caught in a horrible and painful situation (at best), and possibly also being abused by him as well. Children should never have to intervene in their parents fights this way, and the fact he is happy to use his own children as weapons, and so regularly, is appalling.

If you have not yet, please take this evidence (screenshots of the texts, if you can get them without further upsetting your poor DC) to a solicitor and tell them everything that is going on between your XH, your children, and you. Ask for advice and at least explore your options. Please.

I'm so very sorry about the situation with your Dad as well. flowers It sounds like everything is piling up on you at once right now, and it's really not fair. I can't imagine the pain, and I'm really terribly sorry.

But I do think that, if you can force yourself to do it, at least ring a solicitor as soon as possible. From where I'm sat, things look dire not only for you, but for your lovely children as well. The sooner they're safe from all this, the sooner you can all be happier and can focus on your father.

Ktown Thu 24-Aug-17 06:54:29

Don't leave your kids with a shit parent. They will come to resent you for not protecting them.
Your daughter will/is suffer from anxiety over this. It must be truest massing with their heads.
You have to put a stop to this emotional abuse and get them out of the situation. You are the parent here.

Frouby Thu 24-Aug-17 07:02:32

I wouldnt take their phones from them. It's not their fault their dad is a cunt.

In the short term I would block his number on both their phones while they are with you. He doesn't need to speak to them when they are with you.

In the long term get them away from him. Move house. Do whatever it takes. If he is as bad as you say the dcs will chose to live with you.

You shouldn't have left them with him in the first place.

Changeofluckneeded Thu 24-Aug-17 07:04:57

OP My sister could've written your post. She left her verbally/emotionally abusive DH 5 years ago and has been trying to get divorced ever since, which he refuses just to maintain control (very very long story!) When she left him after several years of telling him the marriage was over and asking him to go, she literally walked out, when she came back the next day he had locked her out of the house, At that time their 3 children were 7, 10 and 14.

They have been to court several times, he's used everything against her including the fact she's a nurse so works shifts and needs additional childcare for nights and weekends. The 2 youngest boys remained living with him but he made seeing them virtually impossible. Would just happen to take them to Tesco when she'd arranged to phone them, would just happen to be out when she was meant to be picking them up and like your ExH, would phone and quiz them when they were with her. You could hear the children saying things like "I do love you daddy but I want to see mummy too. no it doesn't mean I don't love you I do" Awful.

I know it's really really hard and you've asked for people not to tell you to ignore it, but, I would try and ignore it if you can. Your children are getting older, they will develop their own memories of these times and their own opinions of you and their dad. Let it be just their dad they look back on and remember how he was so nasty about their mum and how he made them feel. Don't be pulled in to it so the children feel you're both pulling them in different directions.

If you believe taking away her phone will cause your ExH to play tit for tat and make it difficult for you to speak to her when she's with him then don't do it, it will bring you more heartache in the long run.

Don't waste time on your ExH, don't allow him time in your new life. Your children will soon be young adults and any hold he has over you, emotionally, financially, will be gone.

Hang in there x

Brittbugs80 Thu 24-Aug-17 07:08:51

If you left because of the abuse, why leave your kids? If you move out of the catchment area, your children can still go to the same school. You would have to make an effort in to get them there though.

I also think it's incredibly unfair to let your 14 year old daughter deal with his behaviour towards you so you don't have to. Completely understand about your Dad, I've been there.

You have another 4 potential years of this. It's all very well blocking the abuser out of your life, absolutely not ok to leave your children with the abuser, who are also being mentally abused.

I think you know what you should do, it just seems like you don't want to.

Whatjusthappenedexactly Thu 24-Aug-17 07:11:05

Jwreaks. Been back to solicitors but other than this situation everything works. Yes, he's controlling but not as bad with them. He's got routines with bed times and meal times and homework with the children but he's not unloving and actually they don't mind . He's a good father and a good role model in most other areas but he simple hates me and Is looking to cause me as much trouble as possible.

Changeofluckneeded Thu 24-Aug-17 07:13:08

Like many others I also would try and get children to live with you BUT I also know it isn't that straight forward. My sister's ExH won full custody of her two youngest children with only access given to my sister. We were shocked and speechless, we couldn't believe a court would decide in his favour. He was on minimum wage, had just spent two weeks in a psychiatric hospital, was in debt up to his eyeballs. My sister was a full time nurse, no debt, excellent character references etc.... To this day we still don't know how he won.

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