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what to tell DS about disappeared Dad

(15 Posts)
notsorted Tue 20-Sep-11 20:55:54

when ex went at the beginning of the summer amid huge rows and threats of all sorts - emotional abuse, ex's MH issues, I told DS, 3, that Daddy wasn't very well and couldn't see him at the moment. Now that line is wearing a bit thin.
Ex has refused all efforts at contact, no phone calls. I reluctantly agreed to mediation and then was quite prepared to do it, but has now cried off as he will have to pay. Even contact with DS's gran has stopped, for the moment at least, because ex has told her not to see DS.
I don't know what to say to DS anymore. He talks about his Dad, points out things he used to do with him, says things like when my daddy comes home I'll do x or y.
Is it ok about continuing to tell DS that his Dad is ill? I don't know what to say and am starting to dread reading any books with Dads in as he always talks about his and I get angry and upset at his Dad's behaviour.
Also am worried re starting to look round schools soon. Ex has PR and therefore has right to be involved in such decisions - schooling was something we disagreed on. Should I write and keep him informed of major decisions or leave it. I worry because ex, if he reappear, has a habit of blaming me for things. Also worried that one day we will bump into him out shopping. He still lives in same town.
Am angry that ex and his mum are punishing me but most importantly hurting DS who at least needs some involvement from his dad's family.
Any advice?

cestlavielife Tue 20-Sep-11 21:28:41

Yes just keep saying dad is sick.
I would just carry on with arranging school etc.
If he not in contact assume he too ill

You can say a vague "yes one day "to ds then distract.

My exP does not have pr but has sometimes tried to reappear and cause issues over school but so long as you not making mad decisions then just stick to what you decided is best for ds.
If he really does not agree let him put good reasons to court why eg ds should change school

Carry on as tho ex is too I'll to make correct decisions.

Sidalee7 Wed 21-Sep-11 18:27:47

What a nightmare for you. It breaks my heart when my DC ask for Daddy and they have good contact with him.

I would be really honest and say that Daddy is ill, and that you can not get hold of him at the moment.

Really hope it improves for you.

Sidalee7 Wed 21-Sep-11 18:28:50

Oh and totally make the decisions over school, ect. He is not deserving of PR if he will not get in contact.

notsorted Wed 21-Sep-11 21:12:16

Urghh, today DS said he wanted to get a new dad as his dad was horrible. Oh god, out of the mouths of babes sad

boxingHelena Fri 23-Sep-11 00:12:56

patronise! this would be my advice (I do that)
oooh dad is not horrible he is just not too well in his head

not sure how right this is but it has been my mantra for 7 years

tabbythecat Sun 25-Sep-11 00:40:19

I agree with everyone on this, keep saying his dad is sick. Try to discourage him thinking of his dad as bad (easier said than done!!!) Don't worry about schools and PR, he would have to challenge your decision in court and if he's been absent and uninvolved would be hard to see how a judge would override what you decide.

angrywoman Sun 25-Sep-11 12:09:01

Heartbreaking isn't it? Yes to what's been said already. Its tough being on your own but not as tough as living with a nutcase (sorry) I know too well. They have been completely thoughtless about your son's wellbeing. Do you have other friends and family who are supportive? I had to kind of comfort my son (8) the other day by telling him more about my relationship with my own father, who abandoned us when I was 12ish. I said that he hadn't been very good at looking after us, that didn't mean he didn't love me just that he wasn't very good at showing it. He seemed to feel a lot better after this talk. I am friends with my Dad now and he visits.
It took a lot of growing up on my part to deal with my Dads state of perpetual immaturity and kind of forgive what I can not ever forget.
As, like your ex, mine has mental health issues (abusive, alcoholic...) I am not sure my son will ever be in this position. Sometimes I am at a total loss to know how to help him deal with his anger etc. especially as he still sees his Dad at a contact centre. His Dad likes to make out he is absolutely fine and dandy while slipping off for a glug of vodka in the loos. It is harder in some ways than no contact.
A friend had a similar break in contact to yours. After a while her son stopped asking. AND her son is a very stable and lovely young man now, though he refuses to acknowledge any attempt at communication made by his Dad.

tabbythecat Sun 25-Sep-11 13:40:24

I think what angrywoman told her son- how she explained her own father's behaviour is good advice. As children grow older they are able to draw their own conclusions but when little they need protecting from harsher elements of life.

notsorted Sun 25-Sep-11 17:15:15

Thanks for all your advice. We went past ex's house on the bus today. DS says it's Daddy's house. I said I'm sorry your Dad can't see you now.
Had talk to MiL Friday and basically said don't bother after half-term as you can't be bothered now. Very, very angry.
MiL thinks by being nice to her son and promising not to mention his DS when she sees him, he will eventually realise what he is missing. Too late, I think for all his family. angry

ninani Mon 26-Sep-11 14:28:07

Is he emotionaly abusive? Maybe he is doing exactly that, trying to break and hurt you. It is probably his trap. Just don't say bad things about your son't father. You don't have to praise his father either because she will still one day need to know what kind of person his father is. Just be neutral and say you don't know.

notsorted Mon 26-Sep-11 16:04:46

I feel so hopeless. I can't give my son a decent father, I can't give him grandparents who want to be in contact with him. I have messed up his life already.

DutchGirly Mon 26-Sep-11 17:41:24

NotSorted, you have not messed up DS' life, you're not responsible for X's and FIL's actions.

I think your DS does need a stable home life which he has with you. Keep telling DS that his dad is ill and that some people are not very good at being parents but it does not mean they don't love DS.

Surround yourself with people who do love and care about you and your son.

tabbythecat Tue 27-Sep-11 17:04:03

Different situation from yours but a friend of mine was a devoted, loving father to two boys, his wife wanted a divorce, he had to leave the family home and move to a new cheaper area. Within a year he’d stopped seeing his sons, another statistic, part of the 30% of Dads who lose contact, in America i think it’s 50%. Those are appalling stats. Not all those men are glad to be rid of their kids, some love their children and want to be part of their lives. In his case he felt completely hopeless, believed the kids were better without him, felt his ex did a great job alone, found contact heartbreaking and in the end , despite all his friends saying it would get better with time and it was in the best interests of the children to keep going, he was so depressed he thought that was the answer. He couldn't think past the present to a better future (classic symptom of depression). The split was run of mill , hard of course , but she didn’t make false accusations or try to alienate the kids from him, he didn’t get as much contact as he wanted though. The only person who really had any understanding of what he was going through was another divorced dad who said for the first year after his split he felt like killing himself regularly and that it took him over 2 years to really come to terms with things. My ex also believed the things my friend above did, he thought our kids would be better off getting a new dad, he wasn’t being manipulative or trying to make me feel guilty either, he honestly thought that, and that was what was so scary and utterly alienating. However he kept going and his mood improved (helped by him meeting a new woman !!) and he is fine now but he was in a very bad way for some months. Not all men have the strength or support to keep going. Men don’t usually cope as well with emotional stuff as women. Men like having a role and to be praised and feel they are doing a good job, difficult enough to do that when we are still with them but later when coping with kids alone and running a house and working, to be asked to help soothe our ex’s ego or be understanding is a tall order (impossible even). Also men are generally awful at getting help or talking about problems, mine didn't deal with problems that way. Your ex may not be at all like the men I’ve described but sharing experiences is better than giving advice, no one on here knows our full stories, we hear a fraction of it, and a one sided one at that. It is still early days for you, there is still hope he will come around, the longer he goes without seeing your DS the harder it will be for him to make the move though.

I second Dutchgirly, we are not responsible for what others do, only for our own actions.

notsorted Tue 27-Sep-11 20:09:38

Dear Tabby thanks for that. It was very, very messy and yes he is depressed and has said he feels suicidal. I do feel for him, but also think he made his choice and now must come to terms with it either with the OW, or some professional help. What saddens me is that DS has no choice and can't do anything about his position. I feel I am prepared to work towards making contact happen but he has to make the first move. I guess time will tell. Ex is not much of one for Xmas but I suppose DS's birthday might be a time when he could make a move and yes the longer it is left the harder it will become for everyone concerned.

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