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Can I/Should I stop contact?

(36 Posts)
BlueistheColourIthink Sun 03-Jul-11 22:35:37

Hi,

A little bit of back ground from a lurker and the hope of some advice.

Background:
Ex and I split 3 years ago. Have had an informal agreement between us since then to split contact on a 3 day rotation. We live 5 minutes away at the opposite ends of the same (long) road. History of emotional abuse and minimal physical during the relationship.

My daughter rarely wants to go to Daddy's but usually with some cajoling/encouragement does go and seems, on the whole to be ok while she's there.

The issue is that twice recently, on swaps, my ex has physically pushed me out of the house. On both occasions they were during a heated discussion, both started by him and both in front of my daughter. On both occasions I was trying to calm things down and leave things nicely (for daughter's sake) when he pushed me out the house. Today, it was with such force that I landed on the pavement, hitting my head. My daughter saw this and was concerned, I managed, on the whole to shake it off as Mummy falling over but from the questions she's asked today I think she's very much aware that it wasn't that.

I'm not really sure what else to say. I don't feel like she should go back, I can't be sure of her safety. I know she doesn't want to go back, but at the same time she's 5 so how much do I take from her opinion on things? I've explained what she saw today as minimally as possible, without dwelling on it, answering her questions with as little detail and as factually as possible.

What should I be doing? What position would I be in if I decided to move away? This is feeling very tempting to me at the moment, school and job disruption aside. I know this is because I'd rather not have to deal with the situation he's put us in. I know it's a silly thing to think but I just wish it hadn't happened.

Blue

GypsyMoth Sun 03-Jul-11 22:47:27

he could prevent a move,prohibited steps order

but really,you should report him to police and only have third party handovers from now on

Latemates Sun 03-Jul-11 22:48:23

Sounds difficult, but I think the first step would not to go into his house, as there really is no need and if you don't you can't be pushed out.

Rather than swap this way would it not make more sense to always drop and pick up from school

WibblyBibble Sun 03-Jul-11 22:48:44

Can't you do 'handovers' in a public place so he doesn't attack you? I think probably you should report it to the police that he pushed you, but I don't think (unless you think he'll be violent to her) that you can really stop contact because of it tbh. Sorry, I know it must be horribly stressful!

Riakin Sun 03-Jul-11 22:51:52

Hi,

It sounds like a concerning situation. I would definately say to contact the Police, as he has effectively assaulted you. And yes your child isn't stupid.

Following the above...
It shouldn't necessarily boil down to "should i stop contact"... i would hazard someone will be along soon to say you definately should immediately.

To me it sounds like you need to arrange some new agreements on contact for example:
- Child comes to you from ex's house to you on the street
- Child goes from your car to your ex's house

You've essentially removed yourself from the situation then.

On the subject of removing, moving away is not something that will be fair (emotionally) to your child. Likewise he could go to court for a Prohibitive Steps Order to prevent you from moving.

To me it sounds like you should get to the bottom of why he is being like this...

I'd like to ask the following questions:
1) What are your arguments concerning?
2) What exactly has your Daughter said concerning said incident?

What i would advise firstly is:
Contact the Police and inform them of the incident and they could offer you advice and in my opinion, while he's unlikely to be arrested, they would give him some stern words, certainly a warning to him you are serious

Secondly, you need to begin to talk, if face to face causes arguments and instances like this then use phone, email or text.

Be straight:
"Because of what happened today [Your exs name] i think its best that [daughter] now comes out of the house and to my car when i collect her and when i drop her off she comes from my car to your house. Its going to be better for us both that way"

You are 1, stating your regard for the situation, that you are not happy about it (police) and finally how you propose to address it. If he is not in agreement to this ask him for a proposal but be clear and say that it is not stopping as it is currently and you are not going into his property again and neither is he entering yours.

cestlavielife Sun 03-Jul-11 23:05:57

dont think you should not tell dd the trusth f she asks - she saw it -daddy pushed me he was angry he should not have done that. donemn teh behaviour.

but a discussion takes two...as other ssaid do handovers outside house . not sure why you have been going into his house?

cestlavielife Sun 03-Jul-11 23:07:13

sorri spelling..

i think you should tell dd truth if she asks
daddy pushed me he was angry he should not have done that
condemn the behaviour

(so in future she will let you know if someone pushes her....)

readywithwellies Sun 03-Jul-11 23:07:23

I agree with Raikin on the whole. I would advise as long as you both have Internet access that any required discussion is dine via email or through a little notebook in dcs bag. Don't speak at all. It works for me but my ex was not violent. You should not be going in one another's houses.

Fwiw a prohibitive steps order is possible but would be granted if the judge thought you were moving away to deliberately cause him a problem with seeing his dcs. From what you have said this is exactly what you are proposing. The judge would look at where you are moving to - if it was only a few miles it would probably not to granted whereas if you moved to the other end of the country your ex may have a stronger case. I dont know what effect dv has on this.

somedayillbesaturdaynite Mon 04-Jul-11 00:00:38

Basically, if you are seriously considering moving, don't tell him until the last minute when it's too late for him to take any action. Also check out contact centres to see where yout nearest centre is wrt 3rd party handovers if there is no one else to do it/accompany you.

whiteandnerdy Mon 04-Jul-11 00:06:23

Who's house is it, and had you been asked to leave? If the property is not yours and the owner revokes access to their property, i.e. you've been told to leave, your a tresspasser and also breaking the law.

Imagine what advise would be given to a poster who wrote the same event from the opposite point of view, "during handover my Ex partner started arguing with me, I thought this was very distressing for my child so I pushed them out of my house because I didn't want by child being upset."

Mehh, it maybe just my point of view but if you want to calm an argument down, don't have it, just leave. I think as parents your both at fault you need to ensure that neither of you put yourselves in the same situation again for the sake of your children. Maybe it's more someones fault that the others ... but really the issue is fixing it. Is there not some better strategies you could both agree on to ensure this doesn't happen again rather than stopping contact?

joaninha Mon 04-Jul-11 00:14:14

How distressing for you...

I think you should reduce contact with him to email and arrange a public handover so that there is no opportunity for violence on his behalf, which is completely unacceptable regardless of what the argument was about.

Try and keep the conversation to a minimum, talk about where to drop your DD off but don't get into any heated debate - it's hard not to but it will be best for your peace of mind in the long run.

I don't think you should move just yet (unless of course the violence escalates) as it will create such hatred on his part and you will always be looking over your shoulder.

Good luck OP, please let us know how you get on.

perfectstorm Mon 04-Jul-11 00:20:16

You need to report it to the police. Basically if this ever does get to the point where you want to restrict contact or reduce it, allegations of DV are not going to be assumed to be definitely truthful, because, very sadly, some people invent them as a weapon. You need it documented contemporaneously, IMO.

joaninha Mon 04-Jul-11 00:21:06

whiteandnerdy: It may have been his property but that doesn't justify violence does it? If he thought she was breaking the law he should have threatened to call the police, not physically throw her out so hard she hit her head on the pavement, in front of the daughter.

perfectstorm Mon 04-Jul-11 00:22:16

joaninha - ITA. Great example to set a child, as well as inherently wrong.

joaninha Mon 04-Jul-11 00:22:26

and if it had been the other way round, I doubt she would have the physical strength to chuck him out the house...

Latemates Mon 04-Jul-11 08:43:41

Someday... I can't believe you are suggesting that she take her child away which out warning and prevents this child from having any relationship with their other parent. Wasn't it just on a different thread about how it isn't common for one parent to prevent access.

I'm sorry it's not like he is harassing or a danger to the child. I do not condone him pushing Her but we only have her version of events. It is far simpler do not go in the house, swap over at a different place and do not have contact with each other

cestlavielife Mon 04-Jul-11 10:50:14

whiteandnerdy was making the point that both parties were apparently arguing - we dont know why - and maybe he wanted to stop the argument and in so doing pushed her - we dont know. maybe not. but if person x starts an argument the answer for person y is to walk away.... hard as that might be. (save the discussion for time when DC not around at all)

as others said - the only way is to cut contact between the two parents to bare minimum - stick to email - and do quick handovers outside each others houses. this avoids confrontation ....

op says the DD "seems, on the whole to be ok while she's there" - so there is no argument for stopping contact with the DD at this point - tho there is argument for cutting contact between op and the other parent - so no opportunities for discussions/fights.

BlueistheColourIthink Mon 04-Jul-11 11:50:21

Thanks for all the replies. My thoughts were running everywhere when I posted yesterday, feeling a little more calm and centred today.

The question about moving away was just in case things did escalate and of course, would not be a decision I would take lightly at all and would be one made only in terms of safety, if that makes sense.

We can't do drop off and pick up from school because of work hours. At the moment he takes her to school every day and I pick up every day. The reason I was in his house was because things have been very amicable! When he drops at mine he'll often stay for a cup of tea and a chat, on Father's Day dd and I made lunch for him and he came round, that's how it's been.

The argument was over her clothing. I was picking her up to take to a party on a farm. Bearing in mind it was 32oc I did look a little shocked when I entered as she was wearing a multi layered pink, sparkly, organzer esque party dress over black leggings and with long brown winter boots on. I laughed, as it was quite a funny site and said something like "oh dear, you've been dressing yourself again haven't you, let's see if we can find something more suitable" . . . Of course I'd put my foot right in as Daddy had selected said outfit. I apologised and pointed out that the party involved a tractor ride, feeding animals etc etc and perhaps something else would be better . . . he just snapped. I started to make my way to the door, thinking I'd just pop back to mine and change her when he started a tirade, not yelling but raised voice about how nothing was ever good enough for me, and that I should have dropped something suitable off etc etc. I put daughter in the car and went back in to initially, reassure him that it was fine, not to worry. Just smooth things over (previous emotional issues from our relationship and this is the best way to deal with things, otherwise he'd have a long sulk and make life as difficult as possible) that's when he shouted, told me to just fuck off, and pushed me out the door. He had asked me to leave, it's true but I was quite worked up by this point and just felt that if I could smooth things over the rest of the week would be so much better so asked him just to listen. I didn't raise my voice once during this (well practised from 8 years with him).

Equally I realise now I should have told dd the truth about it, kicking myself slightly as honest is the only policy with me.

I just can't believe that this is happening, this is the main reason why I left, to prevent this.

How do I report this to the police? Do I literally just go into the station and say I need to report something?

A huge part of me feels that I should not be allowed dd there right now, that if he can do this to me, what is he capable of doing to a child who winds him up? I realise this is unfair of me, and that the two are very different things.

I've sent him an email, explaining that we need to talk. I told him what Rachel saw, he didn't know I'd fallen so badly as he'd shut the door. He told me he was sorry I'd lost my footing, but he just wanted me out of his house. I've replied, saying that I agree I should have respected it was his house and left the minute he asked, not tried to finish my sentence. I also said, that I certainly didn't lose my footing and was disappointed he was trying to pass off what had happened as my fault. No reply yet.

Blue

cestlavielife Mon 04-Jul-11 12:13:44

three years olds (and older!) will often pick totally unsuitable clothes to wear to farm parties...or for teh weather. let it go.

i think you overreacted - then so did he... but you did first...

best would have been to say hi what a lovely outfit and shoot off, maybe stopping by home en route to pick up spare clothes eg shorts and tee shirt.

seems odd tho that one mminute you fine having lunch together and next he shouting off - but you know if that was why you split. or does he think you will get back together?

tbh i wouldnt report this one to police - it wasnt correct what he did - but you went back in when you should have just gone off to party....

and he didnt start the argument really - you did in a way by criticisng how he had dressed DD. ..

maybe if you can be amnicable, then let things calm, cool down, have quick handovers on doorstep and do this for few weeks/months - and avoid criticising his way of doing things?

Riakin Mon 04-Jul-11 12:24:44

Hi Again,

I see... there's usually always a bit more than meets the eye rather than this is how he always is, which is what one could assume from the OP.

If things have been going well i would like to say Kudo's to you!

To report it to the Police you need to call your local Police Station to give a statement, ask Police for their advice and what they plan to do. If you want to press charges you would be within your rights to.

Hopefully he will learn.

cestlavielife Mon 04-Jul-11 12:43:49

you said twice in your op - what was the other occasion? if this was second time he was physically violent then maybe yes you need to report... tho they may not take any action at this point, it would be noted if there is a next time...

blackeyedsusan Mon 04-Jul-11 12:49:19

he pushed you? you need to report this.

BlueistheColourIthink Mon 04-Jul-11 16:44:41

I'm not sure I did over-react initially. The clothes were completely inappropriate for the day, she's 5, not 3 and is perfectly aware of what is suitable. I realised I'd put my foot it and was about to leave when it all got out of hand. Also, at no point in my post did I suggest he was always like this, I stated it had happened twice so unsure how I gave the impression. Also, initial post was written when still quite surprised by it all, not the best time of course.

Of course I can see where I went wrong, but no matter what people have done to me I've never got physical. The first time time it happened was a few weeks ago when I dropped my daughter off with the 'wrong' type of lunchbox for school. I went back to my house to get the 'right' one. Realised when I got there that I had 3 of the type he specified, again unsure I took all of them back to his. I was being excessive in taking 3 of them to him, that I was an idiot and he pushed me out again. This time he asked me to leave, our daughter was standing behind him asking for a hug from me, so I said I'd go but could I just say bye to daughter. He said no, I'd see her at pick up and pushed me out.

perfectstorm Mon 04-Jul-11 19:44:13

I think perhaps you need to get a free initial appointment with a solicitor and explain what has happened and what your options are should it happen again. That way it will be documented that physical abuse has occurred on two occasions, and yet it won't be in the hands of the police as to whether or not to take it further - if that happened things would escalate.

I do want to say that no matter how bad things are with the two of you, and it does sound like you should avoid all contact other than email from now onwards, he isn't anywhere near the point where it would be better to remove her, and tbh I can't see a court in the land liking a shared care arrangement like this one being unilaterally ended. He sounds a good father, if a rotten husband. If your child loves and trusts her dad and is attached to him them she needs him. It's teh conflict between the two of you that is toxic, and that can be ended in other ways.

I don't think her being dressed in a way you think weird for a party is something I'd comment on, really. It was a party - he made sure her footwear was appropriate, and otherwise was in a party dress. I mean, really, does it matter if it was a farm, as long as she wasn't in actual danger or anything? They're just clothes.

I agree there is no excuse for shoving you as he did and it's wrong, but I also think you need to reflect on whether your anger and need for him to admit fault is really relevant to his relationship with his daughter - which is, after all, between them. The key thing is that you don't spend time together around her, because incidents like that will cancel out any benefit from nice chats and tea. Maybe try to have a neutral friend he doesn't know there at handovers or something? That usually makes arguments less likely.

joaninha Mon 04-Jul-11 21:42:37

When the two of you were together were you the main carer? If so it can be difficult to let go and trust that he will take care of DD. I remember going round to XHs house with toddler DS and there was a saucepan of boiling water with the handle sticking out. I automatically turned the handle towards the wall and XH went mad at me.

Its tough, which is why you need to spend as little time together with DD as poss, IMO.

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