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'cos I really don't know anymore, and I have to tell exMIL something tonight, but what?

(43 Posts)
AnarchyAunt Wed 29-Jul-09 17:39:47

DD's dad left us 4 years ago. He now has 3 DC by 3 women, and doesn't see any of them regularly, speak to any of the mothers, or support any of his DC at all in any way. Never has done. Any access he has to DD(6) is arranged and enabled by rather domineering exMIL (who says I need to accept this all as he is a 'free spirit'). He refuses to speak to me at all even if he sees me out and about, and won't give me his phone number.

ATM he is living with his parents as he has some mental health issues and has recently broken his shoulder in some sort of accident. He is very paranoid, can be very reckless, spends weeks not speaking to/seeing anyone, doesn't eat for extended periods, takes to his bed every now and then for days on end, refuses to discuss this with anyone or get any treatment. This has been going on and off for years but has got worse recently.

He was taken to A&E by a friend (who passed this news onto me) when he broke his shoulder the other week the staff insisted on a mental health assessment before treating his injury. Ex refused, left without treatment, and vanished into the night. Turned up at his parents three days later and they managed to get him back to hospital. Since then he has had mental health workers visiting him at his parents house. No idea what they are saying/doing/prescribing and unlikely to find out.

ExMIL rang last night to say they'd like to come and visit DD on Sunday, and would it be ok for her to go and stay the week after. I have said Sunday is fine but I will let her know tonight about going to stay. I do not want ex to have any access until I am satisfied he is safe to be around DD and she will not be put in any danger or distressed. ExPIL cannot be trusted to tell me the truth - when she rang, exMIL wasn't going to mention whats been going on at all. She only admitted to it when she realised I knew, and didn't tell me any more details when I asked. She says ex is 'fine' hmm but clearly he is not. If DD goes to stay with them she will be with ex as well as he is living there. She'd love to see him btw and misses him a lot. She thinks he has forgotten her and says it feels like she doesn't have a daddy anymore (unprompted).

AIBU if I say that exPIL can visit on Sunday but not ex? And that ex has to start demonstrating his ability to be a safe and consistent presence in DD's life before he can see her again? Or is that basically vindictive and unreasonable? I have been dealing with this for so long I no longer have any idea what is right sad

BitOfFun Wed 29-Jul-09 17:44:27

You are not being unreasonable. If he is refusing treatment for his mental health issues, I would be extremely wary of permitting overnight visits, and would see a solicitor about contact to be supervised at a children's centre for your daughter's safety. I know some people will disagree, but you have to trust your hunch on this. He sounds rather volatile to me and your dd has a right to be safe. Can you tell her that daddy is poorly atm etc, and not behaving as he normally would?

ErikaMaye Wed 29-Jul-09 17:47:32

I think that you're being more than generous, and incredably reasonable. The health and well being of your child has to come first. Maybe arrange things for Sunday that are "unavoidable" so that there is a time limit, so maybe your ex can come as well? If its only for an hour or so, maybe it won't be so difficult.

Until you've recieved reassurence that he isn't a risk (Do you know HOW he broke his shoulder??) to your DD, its entirely sensible to limit his contact with her.

On the other hand, if exPIL came by themselves, would you possibly get more of an explination being the mental health team involvement? IE, if he's being seen by Access or Crisis etc. Knowing what he's being treated for might be helpful for you to know about if you're talking about further visits.

slowreadingprogress Wed 29-Jul-09 17:47:44

of course it would be crazy for her to visit.


Do see a solicitor; agree with BoF that you need a contact centre so that contact can be supervised.

No way at all would my child go. Yes I would want to promote contact with her grandparents but in light of the situation with your ex living there, you can't be sure this would be appropriate for your dd. GPs have no rights to contact in law I believe. They can apply for it but there is no right. Ordinarily I'd think that was awful but in this case - prob a good thing

Do go for supervised contact.

sazm Wed 29-Jul-09 17:47:57

sounds like things are tough,(hugs)
i would let him visit at your house with you there (i know this would be difficult) but if he is having problems,then you can't be sure of how he would act,and if you can't trust the in-laws not to leave your lo alone with your ex, then i wouldn't leave your lo with them either,
doesn't matter what you decide,someone will not be happy/agree,but most important is that you and your dd are happy with the descision,
good luck xx

laweaselmys Wed 29-Jul-09 17:49:09

It's very difficult. Would you be open to your Ex visiting with his parents at your house and with your supervision?

The reason I suggest it is that if you did you would have a bit more of a picture of what is actually going on with him atm, and whether or not you should be contesting further contact.

It's a really tough situation though, hope everything works out okay for you.

JamieJay Wed 29-Jul-09 17:50:20

YANBU and definately not vindictive. You need to protect your daughter especially as she's at an age that could be very traumatised by strange behaviour by your ex.

Good luck with you exMIL.

AnarchyAunt Wed 29-Jul-09 17:51:00

Thank you [phew]

Nope, no idea how he broke his shoulder. He was found by a friend (our last mutual friend luckily) wandering the streets of the village where he lives at midnight. Ranting and raving, making no sense - friend thinks the latest GF threw him out.

ExPIL think that they are supervised contact and its quite hard to make them understand that I can't trust them either, to be honest with me, or to actually supervise properly. They are very blinkered when it comes to their only son.

allaboutme Wed 29-Jul-09 17:51:27

YANBU. it would be madness to let dd stay there when he is so unstable.
Perhaps it would soften the blow to arrange for a longer time for MIL to see DD. Perhaps she is missing DD and the visit is as much for her as for DD's Dad iyswim

PM73 Wed 29-Jul-09 17:51:27

I agree completely with BOF,i think your no1 priority is your dd.He sounds very irrational & i would not allow my child to see his Dad like that.

I think reading between the lines ex mil is thinking if he sees his dd it might make him want to get treatment, iyswim?

Trust your instincts.

GypsyMoth Wed 29-Jul-09 17:52:42

tell them the truth,why are you pussy footing around this issue. if he wants access he can get it properly. you are now seeing for yourself the results of non committed access arrangements.....your child is distressed with it all. thats a result of him messing you around,and you allowing it.

FabBakerGirlIsBack Wed 29-Jul-09 17:52:42

What is your relationship like if you see your inlaws without your ex?

If it is okay, let them come to you to see your dd but I wouldn't let her go and stay with them with out you or until you have seen what state her dad is in.

AnarchyAunt Wed 29-Jul-09 17:59:04

Relationship with inlaws is strained. ExMIL and I have had a lot of arguments over this but I have always wanted to do everything I could to make sure DD sees them all. Have never wanted to be the one to stop access. Ex would never bother with court, he'd just give up on DD if I didn't allow exMIL to arrange visits.

I hate having him in my house. Last time he came here was in April, it was the first time he'd seen DD for 10 months and exPIL brought him round without warning me first that he was coming too. I found him taking photos of the inside of my house (not of DD, she was outside) and trying to look in my paperwork drawer hmm. I will try to brave it again on Sunday I think but if he does anything odd then its contact centre or nothing. Certainly no going to stay for the forseeable.

123andaway Wed 29-Jul-09 18:00:01

If you can tolerate it I would let him have short visits supervised by yourself or someone you trust (not the PILs by the sound of it). How old is you DD?

curiositykilled Wed 29-Jul-09 18:01:19

I always think grandparents (parents of ex) and ex's contact should be separate for the majority. If the child lives with you they need to have regular contact with their father, if this time is always spent with the father and his parents this compromises the child's ability to bond. I also think it increases the potential chance for problems as each person involved has an agenda. That said if the parents are suitable to supervise an ex with mental health issues that is fine but I think that would be rare.

I think it's better to have things set up officially through a court, mediator or solicitor in these situations. If the PIL will not tell you how your ex is doing and he will not talk to you I would say "sorry" he cannot have contact. The most important thing is to keep your daughter safe and happy and facilitate a good relationship with her father and grandparents but this environment does not sound very healthy, clearly the grandparents are not able to be rational about their own son.

He could have supervised access through an impartial contact centre who would monitor his contact and keep abreast of his health issues surely?

AnarchyAunt Wed 29-Jul-09 18:04:46

DD is 6.

Thing is ex would never ever agree to supervised access. He'd rather not see her at all than have any official involvement and regular times laid down. I don't feel able to supervise it myself, not long term. Its too difficult as he refuses to speak to me - not good for DD to see.

maggievirgo Wed 29-Jul-09 18:06:12

Wow. Before I say anything, I have to admit that my xmil and I don't communicate at all, as she was vile to me when I left her verbally and physically abusive and controlling son!

But when your XMIL says that you need to accept he's a free-spirit, I think you need to make her re-phrase that, explain that again, in terms of what it actually means to you and your daughter.

Does she mean that her son, because of his personality, has absolute carte blanche to do as he pleases without checking with other people first? Or, does she mean that you can never voice any doubt or complaint over their plans////?

My x and his mother will be with us next week and I'm dreading it. I leave before they arrive and my Mum (the hostage negotiator grin) texts me to say 'coast clear' and then I return home.

Good luck.

curiositykilled Wed 29-Jul-09 18:06:58

anarchy - do you think his attitude to official involvement is down to his illness? Are his parents hiding the true extent and preventing him from getting proper treatment?

maggievirgo Wed 29-Jul-09 18:08:52

ps, my x is similar, because he was always controlling anyway, he would not tolerate supervised access, or adhering to a pre-ordered schedule. It would be, in his eyes, an insufferable effront to his dignity.

ADealingMummy Wed 29-Jul-09 18:11:00

YANBU in any way shape or form .

BitOfFun Wed 29-Jul-09 18:11:13

Solicitors then, let ex do what he decides, and try to get some kind of maintenance. I think this may be one of those rare cases where your dd is better off not being messed about and for you to stop doing the running. Personally I would be concentrating on building a new life away from these people in which your dd has a chance of a settled family experience.

AnarchyAunt Wed 29-Jul-09 18:14:32

curiositykilled - yes, I suspect thats a lot of it. They don't 'believe' in mental illness and have a big problem with the idea of having it within their family - exMIL has in the past been furious with me for mentioning my concerns over his state of mind. This time is the first time she has ever admitted he may have a problem and even now she is still saying he is fine and that the professionals can see that. Well, I say bullshit.

But unless exMIL drops dead tomorrow then ex will never have to face up to the reality of the situation he is in. She buffers his every crisis, bails him out financially, fights all his battles, takes his part and will hear nothing against him, manages to keep the ex-show on the road so his true problems aren't piked up on... and it all makes it worse.

ErikaMaye Wed 29-Jul-09 18:20:36

Wow, the typical mental health attitude * rolls eyes * It took my three years of medication and a hospitalisation until my Dad accepted that I was ill, and not just a hormonal teenager. Bless.

If the professionals thought it was all fine they wouldn't be involved.

Her treatment and reaction to him is really not going to help his recovery, or your situation. Is there any way you can lay it on the line to her about her attitude? I'm quite tempted to retract my previous comment about allowing them to visit if that's honestly how she thinks...

Eve4Walle Wed 29-Jul-09 18:23:05

Your child, your rules.

YANBU. Your priority is the safety of your child and you need to make this clear to your Ex-MIL. You know what isbest for your child. As someone else said, trust your instincts.

Good luck.

skybright Wed 29-Jul-09 18:26:18

It sounds like he has been assessed and taken on by a mental health crisis team.

If i were you i would want to know what exactly the problem is with your ex's mental health and what treatment he is recieving before he starts to engage in a relationship again with your dd. If he was obviously ill to the staff and was "ranting and raving" it sounds like he may have had a pychotic episode or something similar in the very recent past so it's pretty valid for you to know exactly what is going on before they see each other,with or without other people present.

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