Where to go from here?(3 Posts)
I'd appreciate some advice from others as I am not really sure what to do anymore. I would like to be clear, I come to this forum humbled and open and honest. I have a large part to play historically in the breakup of my relationship and I do understand some of what is going on is my own fault. However, things have become too much for me now and my fight or flight response has kicked in with a vengeance. I need some advice.
My partner and I were together 10 years. I was a functioning alcoholic when we met and have been since the age of 11. She had a daughter from a prior relationship and she brought her to live with us at age 9. She is now 19 and at university.
We have 2 children together aged 8 and 7. I have been a devoted father throughout their lives, I did the getting up at night and the nappy changes and for a time when our youngest was a baby I was a stay at home dad.
My behavior has always been erratic, ups and downs and at times aggressive. Shouting, name calling, lecturing and controlling are all things I was guilty of. I found it hard to hold down a job and would regularly leave positions. I was mostly employed though. The pattern was always the same, new job, flying, promotion, crash. Depression, stop going. New job...
In 2011 things came to a head. My partner and my step daughter tried to physically throw me out of the house one day when I was drunk, this was at the top of the stairs and I was afraid I was going to be thrown down them, my partner was on my back at the time and I reached over and grabbed her hair to pull her off. This prompted feelings of wanting to beat her and this scared me so much I turned and left the house. I rented a room in a shared house and stayed away. She got a protection order from the court and I set about sorting my problems.
I put myself through a residential addiction treatment program and then retrained into a better career and got myself a 9-5 job. We got back together and things were great. I have remained sober and have held my job since then. We bought a house 8 months ago as joint tenants and it turned out to need a lot of work due to the engineer missing a bad case of dry rot. I set about doing the work. I still had the ups and downs but they were not too bad until I went to see my estranged father due to him having terminal cancer. There is a lot of history with my father, I was badly abused and was taken from my mother aged 2, further abused by my father until age 11 when I was taken into care. I went to see him for the first contact in 25 years because I felt guilty and it was not a good idea. I fell into a depression like never before and took to my bed for a month. I was suicidal and unresponsive to anything. I have recently been diagnosed as being bipolar. There was talk of this throughout my life but nobody went further with it due to my drinking. I am now on Lithium and it has changed my life. For the first time ever I feel 'normal'.
While I was depressed my partner moved her parents into the house. There was an argument and I said I wanted them out. Unfortunately my partner and children went with them.
She left in December with the children to Poland without telling me. She had cancelled all the utilities, forged my signature on the car registration to take ownership of the family car, cleaned out anything of value, all photos of the kids, all documents. Gone.
I could not make contact with her or the children and started hague convention proceedings to have the children returned. She eventually let me speak to them after christmas and she returned in mid January where she attempted to get a barring order to have me removed from the house. She claimed I attacked her and that she was in fear and that I was abusive. I was not. Her lies became apparent under the judges questioning and the judge threw her out of court. I applied for guardianship, access and for her to require my permission to take the kids abroad.
She opposed all of the above, the judge then told her that was not fair and granted me guardianship, the right of permission over travel and limited access for now in a charity run house for these kinds of situations, they are not supervised visits but I cannot leave the house with the kids. This is because my ex told her I was insane and a danger to my kids. The judge has asked for reports as to my mental state and I have favourable reports from 3 different sources.
My ex also claimed some howlers, like I was only a present father for a few weeks of our relationship, even the judge rolled her eyes at that one and asked did she not just buy a house with me? She also claimed she was afraid I would abduct the children because my father had abducted me as a child. She is also opposing any access for my extended family.
I have my medical reports, I have reports from my addiction counsellor showing I am sober nearly 4 years. I have letters from the school and the creche showing I was dropping the kids every morning and was active in school events.
I love my kids dearly and they love me. There is nothing uncomfortable in our relationship. I have made great strides to improve myself from where I was to where I am now but I do concede I have a large part to play in this. However, for the last 4 years I have been a model citizen and the only issue in our relationship was when I became depressed. I do understand this was the final straw for my partner but for once in my life I have not actually done anything wrong.
I am left here now in the family home. Half renovated and I can barely sustain the mortgage payments and bills on my own. I have made offers of maintenance but she does not want it. I am due back in court in a few weeks to present my reports and I am sure I will get access. However, I only have Sundays and she has suddenly started to take the kids to church (they have never been before, nor has she) and I believe she is just trying to make sure I cannot get a full days access.
I fully accept my part in all this and would not be looking to get back together. If I'm honest, we were never suited since I got sober. When I was getting sober we tried couples counselling and she stopped going after it was suggested this was a codependent relationship.
Basically, I've had enough of the fight. My father is at deaths door and it has raised a load of old emotions I am not really sure how to deal with. I have no motivation, want or need of a custody fight but I know I will have to go ahead if I want to be a part of my childrens lives.
A part of me wants to just cut and run. A part of me wants to fight. Mostly I just wish we could sort it amicably like adults but it does not seem that will be the case.
I don't know what to do with the house. Rents are extortionate here and I would not be able to afford to get somewhere where the kids could overnight. They cannot overnight here yet due to the renovation work but I will finish that in the coming months. I always payed the mortgage and I have receipts for thousands I have spent on renovations. (I was left with all the debt on credit card)
I don't know what to do anymore. I have offered the family mediation service, refused. I have offered to sell the house, refused. I have offered maintenance, refused.
I just get the feeling that whatever I do from here will make the situation worse and I am very aware of the effect it is having on our children. She has told them I have to see them at the charity house because I want to hurt them. They know this is not true and they are calling her out on other lies she is telling them. My daughter (7) tells me that she gets into screaming matches with her over being able to see me. It is a horrible state of affairs. I'm also very aware of having 12 years to go with this situation. I cannot see things staying the way they are for 12 years, I would rather die.
I am lonely, I cut off all my old friends when I got sober and threw myself into family life, I never made new friends after that. I have no family here and my family is a positive clusterf*ck compared to my own situation. My father is going to die in the coming 2-3 weeks and on top of all this my financial problems are mounting. My wits end is far behind me now and I just cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.
There is a slogan in AA. 'This too shall pass'. I am sick of that slogan, I am sick of waiting for things to pass, wishing my life away over broken dreams and failures.
I want to move on. Be proactive. Get ahead of the curve but I just cannot see how.
Hi szj, I'm not sure I have any advice for you as to how to take things forward but I wanted to say that you have had so many things happen in your life and most of them are major on their own, let alone all together. I really do think that you would benefit from some counselling so that you can talk it all through with someone who would be understanding and non-judgemental. I'm not sure if you've done this already as part of your sobering up but I do think it could really help you see straight.
You are dealing with debt, addiction, mental health issues, separation/custody issues, an upcoming bereavement, CSA. This is an awful lot for one person - especially if you are feeling isolated as you say. It might be possible for you to go to your GP and be referred for counselling.
You have come so far though - hang in there. It's pretty shit at the moment but your relationship with your kids sounds like it's an amazing one that you've put a lot of effort into building. Best of luck with everything.
Thanks Ladyleia, I see my addiction counsellor once a week. It helps a bit but my issues are a critical mass at the moment. It's hard to get close to any actual resolutions. I was offered a group session with a psychologist but it happens during work hours so I had to decline.
I am scared of what will happen when my father dies. I will be rattling around this house on my own and last night my sister told me he seems to be concilatory about things that happened when I was younger. This has set off feelings of pity and guilt and now I don't know if I am coming or going. I can't believe my own father has come into my life again when I am trying so desperately to be a decent father to my own kids. It is like a bolt from the blue and I have this awful feeling that he will die the day before my court case and I will end up having a melt down on such an important day. He has been given 1 to 3 weeks, my case is in 2.
Then I wish he would just die already and then I think what kind of a man wishes his father dead? Then I break down crying. Massive racking sobs, snot bubbles, the lot.
I'm struggling here. I can't face work but I have to go because of my finances. I can't face court but I have had less than 24 hours access to my kids in the last 4 months and I miss them so much.
Jesus, I didn't realise how bad I was until I wrote this.
It's funny, everything bad in my life I just took in my stride. None of it ever bothered me, it was all just normal. Right up until I started on the lithium. Suddenly all that 'normality' is here in its real form. FUBAR. It is like a can of pain inside me has been opened and needs to be dealt with. 38 years of it. All at once.
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