This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
How do I undo the damage to my children(8 Posts)
I'm going through a divorce and I'm happy that I'm nearly free, although it feels like he's never going to let me go.
Ex is controlling and angry and intent on making my life difficult. We have the children 50/50 because despite him not being nice to me I always thought he would be there for the children. I was wrong.
Last year ex introduced his girlfriend and her son to them and that's when he changed towards the children. He makes them go to her house during the school week, shouts and is very aggressive towards them if they complain. DD is 13 and DS is 10. Quite a few times they've not wanted to stay with him, there have been tears and upset. Then ex blames me, although I never say anything negative about him to the children.
I vowed to myself that whatever happened between me and their dad I wouldn't involve them.
My dd is now old enough to see who he is and is so disappointed. She told me he started sniggering at a couple of people who were overweight. She was embarrassed and disgusted by his behaviour. She said he was supposed to be setting her an example.
Ex is now bullying me to take his offer which means I probably won't have a roof over my head in 3 years times. I can't afford to take him to court, but I'm bluffing that I will as we both know he won't come off well. I just want him to be reasonable.
He's panicking now and to put me under pressure he told the schools and the children that he may not be able to pay the fees in September as I want to take him to court and he can't afford both. This is untrue and he does have the funds.
I was devastated that he told the children. He didn't warn me because I would have done pretty much anything to not involve them. He had no need to tell them at this stage. Nothing has been agreed or discussed. The damage has been done now and they are unsettled and resentful and angry with me.
I stopped working to be a sahm and I then set up my own business, it's a start up and I'm taking a very small salary. If it takes off we'll be fine, but it maybe a few years.
My ds doesn't say much and bedtime is always the time he'll tell me if anything is bothering him, but he seems okay. Dd on the other hand is angry for me wanting to take him to court, angry that i'm dependent on him. Asking me specific questions about the divorce. I've tried to protect them from it and now I don't know what to say.
He told dd she had to choose whether he and gf go to her final school concert or me as he won't go if I'm there. his behaviour is ridiculous.
I've also applied for more custody as I know they feel happier and secure with me. ex has told dc and now they're angry with me as they don't want him upset.
I know they want to stay with me, but they are scared to tell him. I'm scared too, but I have to fight for what's best for them.
How do I reassure them and limit the damage?
I think you need to be a little more honest with the children, especially the older one .... this doesn’t need to be opinion, or emotional, just factual . In that way you aren’t saying anything bad about their dad, just explaining the situation
I understand your desire to not involve the children but he is and so you need to change tactics
I know how hard it is, I’ve had this with my ex too. My kids are now 9 and 11 and they’ve figured out what their dad is; being more honest about it in a factual way has definitely helped them
I’m so sorry things are so tough for you how awful 😢 I agree being factual has really helped my older children they understand a lot more than we give them credit for, like another poster has said not being negative or opinionated just facts and advising you will answer any questions they have the best you can. They are probably scared and feel torn between you both. You can take him to court and represent yourself, I too need to be able to stay in the house but this has put my H in a worse financial position so taking into account what I can afford and what I can compromise on means we have almost agreed a deal that’s best for the children, just keep that as your focus and when he’s trying to rile you as he will just keep reminding yourself calmly that everything your asking for is for them and hopefully it can help you keep calm and rational xx
Thank you both. Yes that makes sense. I’ll answer their questions honestly and factually. They are scared and they do feel torn. I don’t think my dd has faith in me and knows he calls all the shots. I’m going to see if I can get some counselling or support for them too. Thank you xx
They will be Absolutely fine because they have a mummy that cares for them very much, I tell my boys that I love them I will make it ok and when have I ever let them down? Keep reassuring them and believing in yourself because as mums we will never let them down xx
I’d be a little wary of saying that, itsallchange. There may be situations you can’t put right for them, or where you make a bad choice-we are all human! I think it’s important to reassure them you love them and that you are always there for them and that you will work through things together. I found it hard when my dad was a twat because I share half my genes with him, and I worried that I might also be a twat. Eventually I realised that although I (along with most people) have the potential to be a twat, it’s the choices we make and behaviour we do that actually counts. Good luck op.
Good point @Haggisfish - everyone’s situation and relationships are different. You definitely don’t sound like a twat!
The core of what you are saying is that the children, your daughter especially, are angry with both of you. At him over the potential change in schools and at you over the decision to try to reduce their time with him. He was wrong to reveal these risks to them but as these risks are inevitable consequences of both your intended actions and so the anger was always going to happen. Unless you both back down and give them proper assurance that this isn’t going to impact their lives unnecessarily.
The best thing you could both do is get some ladders to climb down. Your solicitors will both have given you good indications of what you are entitled to and these will not be that far apart. Meaning one or both of you are drawing red lines where they don’t need to be. Using issues that impact on the children’s security and stability is not the way to go. They have clearly told you what angers them. School and reduced access with their father.
Please login first.