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Abusive ex asking for contact

(26 Posts)
duckwalk Mon 20-Nov-17 00:34:23

I’ve posted various threads on this subject, but mostly in Chat so they have disappeared so I have posted in AIBU this time around.

Some posters may remember me, basically I have a 13yo dd (almost 14). I was with her dad for 8 years and I left him when she was 5. He was horribly abusive towards me and basically anyone who got in his way. Please don’t bash me for staying such a relationship and bringing a child into it...I was young and was in a vulnerable situation (had recently become estranged from my ‘d’m). He assured he he’d never harm our daughter in any way.

I found out 17 months ago he hit dd across the face while he was driving. My dh contacted the police, who arrested my ex. Sw assessed dh and I and were happy we could keep her safe so long as we ensured she had no contact with her dad. She has since been having weekly private counselling as she has struggled to deal with what happened in the car, other incidents (which I didn’t know about) and not being able to see her dad. I also stopped her from seeing her step mum and paternal grand parents as they proved they could not keep her safe from him. Along with physical abuse my biggest concern is her being manipulated and emotionally abused by him....she simply does not understand or recognise this.

She misses her family terribly but I’ve always figured if I keep them away from her until she’s 16 then I’m giving her the best possible chance in life. Her dad was beaten up by his own father as a child (he also hit his wife), and his father was abused by his own father in turn. There is a long family history of this but also a history of it being covered up and hidden. When it was happening to me, my ex’s parents knew but done very little.

I recently found out she had managed to get in touch with Dad and grandparents. She has met up with them in secret on at least 2 occasions, telling me she was with friends instead. She has told me she was asked by them when she initially got in touch, if I knew? They were told I did not know but continued to see her. They also asked her to convince me to allow contact.

Once I found out I contacted Sw and my family solicitor. Both said that due to her age and because she wants to see them I should basically allow it. If I take it to court she will be asked what she wants, and they will be awarded contact. I have discussed this with her counsellor who has been very supportive...she has said if only my ex had went through official channels (a solicitor) then I should consider it. But because they sneaked about he has again shown he cannot be trusted. She also said if he does go through a solicitor then it would give me something to think about.

A few days ago I got a text from my ex. It basically said he wants me to give him contact. If I don’t know it he will forced to go through the courts and that will be traumatic for dd, so we should avoid it.

When I posted for advice after I found out about the secret meetings I would say that most posters said I should allow contact. I feel as though this would be devastating for my dd in the long run... I also don’t think my dd would tell me if he hit her again. The whole family are toxic, it scares the hell out of me allowing her back in to that environment.

I don’t know what to do about this text. So far I haven’t responded as I just don’t know. A big part of me thinks he won’t go down the legal route as it would open up a huge van of worms for the family so he is trying to manipulate and guilt me into backing down.

I don’t know what I’m looking for in this thread really, just had to voice this as it is playing heavily on my mind. Thanks for reading.

Homemadearmy Mon 20-Nov-17 00:54:21

Sorry I think you are in a no win situation. If you let her see him she may get hurt. But if you don't let her, she will resent you and sneak out and see him anyway. I think I would work on your relationship with your daughter so that she feels she can tell you if anything happens.

duckwalk Mon 20-Nov-17 01:04:55

Thanks home yes I’m definitely in a no win situation sad you’ve hit the nail on the head.

She has said many times she regrets ever speaking up about what happened, so I really do feel like she wouldn’t tell me if any future incidents. And unfortunately I know there will be more in the future.

The last thing I want is to allow her back into the company of an abusive and manipulative family at this stage in her life...I’m terrified she will become the same, and at this age you’re really shaped as a person.

If I do allow contact, I’ll request public places only but how do I know they’re not sneaking around again? When this family want something they stop at nothing. I know I probably sound dramatic but I know them well.

Breaks my heart to let her go away off into their company again. Despite what happened to me I really encouraged a relationship between dd and my fact I had to push him into it. Big regret now.

user1465249668 Mon 20-Nov-17 01:16:54

I understand the turmoil you're in. I went through similar internal arguments with myself when my daughter was young.
Ask yourself why your ex really doesn't want access to be decided by the courts? It's actually nothing to do with his (faux) protection of his daughter; he'd be losing control of a situation. If he cared about her feelings he wouldn't be encouraging her to sneak about behind your back. It's his desperate way of clinging to the power.
Take the power back and do things the way in which will ultimately mean he's held to account. You won't lose your daughters trust, that's your fear which keeps the power in his hands. Show her she's secure by setting transparent boundaries

duckwalk Mon 20-Nov-17 01:28:48

Thank you user

I am in utter turmoil over this. She has been really acting up since I found out about the secret meetings (about 2 months ago) which is adding to the pressure.

I completely agree with you in that ex and family want to continue to have control over the situation. They are all about ‘winning and/or losing’ and will trample over anyone stopping them from winning.

It has been 17 months and this is the first I have heard from him or his family directly. Except when his mum begged us not to contact the police as “she had to think of her son” hmm

He has not applied for contact officially or asked directly until now.

My gut is telling me I need to protect her but I feel I have lost the support of Sw and my solicitor. Mn opinion last time is also making me doubt myself. I have remained strong about this for over a year and don’t want to let my dd down by sending her off back.

A big part of me wants to call his bluff and wait for him to contact his solicitor.

user1465249668 Mon 20-Nov-17 01:38:48

Don't let your thoughts of what might happen turn into facts in your head.
I'm sure given the past you describe you've already had contact with Women's Aid? If you have or haven't it would be worth getting in touch with them. They can advise and support if you do go through the courts and they offer support to children through counselling etc.

duckwalk Mon 20-Nov-17 01:41:33

No I have never had input from Women’s Aid. I have been having regular counselling since my daughter was abused (since I found out) but they can’t tell me what decision to make just support me through it.

user1465249668 Mon 20-Nov-17 01:51:55

I guess knowing we have support enables us to make difficult decisions....
They're worth having a chat to

streetlife70s Mon 20-Nov-17 01:59:11

I would allow contact on the condition that she attends the nearest Freedom Programme to you and you ensure she attends by taking her each week.
She will learn to recognise coercive and abusive behaviour in all its forms and be more able to protect herself.

Makesmilingyourbesthobby Mon 20-Nov-17 02:11:26

Oh gosh horrible postion to be in i think as you have said about her sneaking to visit them & said she regrets telling you about him hitting her, I would rather allow access on your terms & times than run the risk of her sneaking to see them, & I would listen to my dd & try to respect most of what she got to say & make sure she knows what is & isn't acceptable & that she can talk to me, if she was younger it would be a lot easier for u to deny access but at 13/14 if you don't give them some leeway they just hide it from you & won't talk to you about anything, she may also resent you for denying her to spend time with family, I feel for you & your dd in this situation espes if there's emotional abuse & munipalation going on that she's to young to notice he's doing to her,
Perhaps you could go mediation route & see if dd is allowed to attend meetings too or contact center,
Legally I'm unsure if he would be granted contact with dd due to the abuse espes if its recorded but I don't know full details but if I had to take a guess of outcome he would get supervised visits for first few weeks then if all goes OK at them visits they prob end supervition as she's a older child

duckwalk Thu 23-Nov-17 00:33:55

So I’ve decided that I cannot continue to come between my dd and her dad.
This is what she wants more than anything and I know it’ll make her happier...I need to keep reminding myself I’m doing it for her and not him.

Her counsellor suggested I compile a letter then ask him to sign it. Says it doesn’t have to be through a solicitor. I’m struggling to see the point tbh and would appreciate advice on this.

She says the letter should make stipulations such as, for example for the first he can see her X times for an hour in a public place. She must be allowed access to her phone at all times and if she wants to leave then she can immediately. (I’m the past when she stayed over with him he would take her phone away from her and refuse to bring her home at the agreed time etc).

I can understand why dd’s counsellor has suggested this but there’s really nothing which would make him stick to it! Even if it was written up via a solicitor surely at the end of the day, it wouldn’t ever be taken further because he was late returning her by half an hour? Or taking her to his home instead of a restaurant / cafe?

If you think a letter with stipulations is a good idea what would you suggest? Tia

doubleshotespresso Thu 23-Nov-17 00:51:52

OP would you initially consider perhaps nominating a trusted adult to "supervise" contact for the first few visits? I think I would put this type of proposal to him in a letter, setting timelines, dates, duration and location for contact etc.

If he declines that, then absolutely seek the support and legal protection offered by a solicitor/family court.

So sorry you have to deal with this, it must be awful for you...

ducksake Thu 23-Nov-17 01:14:43

double thanks for the suggestion thank you. I’ve spoken to a few people about being in the same restaurant and I have a few (un)willing takers!

I see what you’re saying about legal etc however I have been told by my solicitor I would be wasting my time and money pursuing this through the courts. My dd is almost 14 and she wants to see him*.*...this will absolutely be taken into consideration if it ever for that far. I’m just worried my ex knows this too (which I’m sure he does) so there’s no reason why he can’t completely undermine my wishes, which I’d be setting out to keep her safe.

I can only try I guess! I** can just see him laughing at such a letter though.

ducksake Thu 23-Nov-17 01:15:18

Oh gosh, don’t know what happened with the bold grin

doubleshotespresso Thu 23-Nov-17 01:21:21

OP I don't think that you would gain no contact (as I can understand you might wish)> But I do think there might be some value/weight in things being legally recorded, just in order that if he failed to comply you could reasonably state that he had breached the mutual agreement and hence broken all trust....

I also think it is worth him being in full knowledge of any supervision you arrange....

I guess you could do all in a letter, file it with SW and then wait and see how he behaves? Would worry at the lack of legal provision or accomodation of your wishes and concerns this might convey though?

doubleshotespresso Thu 23-Nov-17 01:23:00

Did you ever obtain a restraining order of you don't mind me asking?

kitkatsky Thu 23-Nov-17 18:01:10

Would there be a chance for you to allow it in a public place? That way he’d be less likely to hurt her but she could still see him?

Justanothernameonthepage Thu 23-Nov-17 20:29:25

Can you talk to her about what she would think if it was happening to a friend? But talk, keep communication open. Be open about what happened to you and what you're worried about happening to her. Encourage her to talk to her therapist and ask at what warning flags would she be happy to walk away from. Also ask for a safety word in case she fears for her life so that if she calls/texts and uses that word, you know to call the police.
Also ask her to read 'why does he do that' and discuss it with her.

Tinselistacky Thu 23-Nov-17 20:35:29

Time op.
Time is what you give this situation. I am sure your dd has her head screwed right on, once the novelty of seeing him wears off and she can see past her rose glasses she will be back, with her curiosity sated.
I have been your dd.
Give her the nod to go so she doesn't feel like she is taking sides.

ducksake Sun 03-Dec-17 23:45:39

Hi, thanks to everyone that posted. Took a bit of time out to consider the options.

Has been really hard tbh but I've accepted dd needs to learn for herself. I'm hoping it doesn't come to that obviously but I'm not holding out hope he has changed!

It actually feels quite empowering to let go a little, I feel as though a weight has been lifted from me.

I've decided to write to him detailing certain conditions of access. I've discussed all of them with dd and why I find each of them important and she understands. I have also signed up for the Freedom Programme online, which I'll do alongside her in the hope it will help her to recognise the signs of emotional abuse. As an adult I found it difficult to recognise! Thanks to the poster who recommended this thanks

So basically I'm asking that until further notice;

1. He can see her once each fortnight. I want to build this slowly.
2. He can see her in my local gastro-pub only. This is a few minutes walk from our home. If dd feels uncomfortable then she can leave and be home quickly, without relying on him to get her home or public transport. In the past he has driven her home but parked round from our house, screaming at her in the car for upwards of 10 minutes.
3. If she says she wants to leave then he lets her leave. He has a history of keeping people where he wants them and refusing to let them leave by using force/coercion.
4. Dd is allowed her mobile at all times and will be allowed to call or text me at any time. Again he has a history of taking her phone away when annoyed with her, and dd desperate to get in touch with me.

I did reply to his text a few days ago. I said I did not want to enter in to a debate or any dialogue with him but wanted to let him know I would allow access after the New Year. I also told him I'd send him a letter. (I didn't elaborate on why I chose after NY but it's to allow time to do the Freedom Programme and also because dd has a lot of tests in school in December).

His reply was "Of course I'll agree to what you've put in your letter but would be nice to see her over Christmas ".

Ffs, he's already trying to push the boundaries!! He hasn't seen her for 18 months due to his fucking actions! And this is the first time he has contacted me about seeing her.

Basically told him it's not up for discussion and to respect my "no debate/dialogue" request.

Does anyone have any other suggestions? Obviously I don't want to make ridiculous demands, just want to make sure dd is safe and that she knows she can get away or in touch with me if needed. (I guess the point of the letter is to provide a bit of security for dd "your dad has read what we have written and has agreed" type of thing.

This is a huge step for us, praying she can move forward in her relationship safely and happily.

Justanothernameonthepage Mon 04-Dec-17 16:04:24

I'd also ask a friend he might not recognise to sit in the pub at the same time (unknown to him) ready to step in with a 'oh X, how are you? Say hi to your Mum for me.' if needed. Or to ask the staff to call if she uses a pre-agreed code word eg 'hi, is Michelle working today?' (obviously using a name that isn't of any staff member).

Ferret2018london Mon 04-Dec-17 16:27:37

She wants to see her father, grandparents and step mother and they want to see her. It's not fair for you to stop that. The face strike was wrong but if your teenager has recovered from it and the father has learned from his mistake I see no reason not to let them see each other. You can't revoke your daughters rights to see her family like you're taking a toy from her. Imagine if someone tried to stop her from seeing you sad

bibliomania Mon 04-Dec-17 16:40:27

Ferret, there is zero evidence that the father has learned anything.

OP, I think that's a good plan. The Freedom programme is a great idea, and you've demonstrated to your dd how to put healthy boundaries into place.

You know that he'll be testing the boundaries immediately (and already is). I'm not sure there's more that you can do now, but you've put your dd in the strongest position possible to recognise and articulate when he's behaving in a problematic way. You can't control what happens next, and she does have some free will in this situation, given her age, but you've reinforced for her what is acceptable treatment and what is not.

JamPasty Mon 04-Dec-17 16:50:53

Ask the pub if they know about the Ask For Angela scheme, as then your DD could use that if she needs to:

ReanimatedSGB Mon 04-Dec-17 17:05:00

Much sympathy to you: this is going to be very difficult. Your DD is of an age where she will be pushing boundaries and trying to work out who she is and who she is going to be - and wanting to have contact with her shitbag of a father is unfortunately going to be part of this.
It sounds like you've got some good plans - contact in a public place, rules for his behaviour etc, and it's definitely a good idea to get DD to do the Freedom Programme so she will recognize dickish behaviour from him and be more able to deal with it.

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