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Constant upset for children on contact weekends

(37 Posts)
Trinab75 Sun 24-Mar-13 22:53:13


I have not been on here for years, but received alot of useful advice and support when trying to end my 15 year relationship with emotionally/verbally abusive Ex partner, whom I have 2 boys with age 6 and 12.

2 years on and I have moved on with my life and all I went through is now becoming a distant and less painful memory, that is until the boys have contact with him and then it all rears it's ugly head again.

The arrangement we have (at his request) is for him to see the boys Wednesday evenings and alternate weekend for Friday after school until Sundays at 7pm.

The problem is that most contact results in him being horrid/abusive with one or the other of the boys and them being left upset.

Typical examples are: Calling our 12 year old gay all over Christmas and constantly criticising his hair appearance ect, until he was left in tears.
In February after he upset our 6 year old by threatening to leave him alone in a room and then called him a baby for crying about it, this was because my son said he didn't feel like going to watch a football match. Following this he stormed off taking the eldest and left the youngest at home. When he returned my eldest son there was an altercation, as I wanted to close the door on his shouting, so he booted the door and hurt my hand before calling me a retard.

As this was an ongoing problem I took legal advice and my solicitor wrote to him advising him to address his behaviour or risk no contact.

There has been little contact since then for numerous reasons, mostly due to his social arrangements. Therefore this weekend was the first substantial contact with both boys in a month. It started with him protesting about the weather, therefore I walked through the snow and delivered the boys to him. He then went on to protest about me sending my eldest as he had a cough, this was followed by my eldest calling and texting saying that his Dad thought it best to come back home, so that he wasn't keeping his brother awake all night. I advised my eldest he was with his Dad for the first time in a month and therefore his Dad needed to look after him until it was time to come home. Things quietened down then, but obviously I was left feeling worried that my eldest was getting grief about having a cough.

The boys returned at 7ish with their Dad ranting about my eldests behaviour and saying that he needed to tow the line or not come down etc. I reminded him that he couldnt have one child and not the other and that he needed to be able to parent through good times as well as bad and then he started yelling and it turned into the usual argument about how badly behaved he thinks the kids are. My eldest later told me it started as he had forgotten to close the lounge door behind him, then didn't put a cup away, so he got yelled at, went upstairs to get away and got yelled at even more.

My problem is I feel torn as despite the upsets with their Dad the boys want to seeing him. It's killing me seeing them being treat so badly and exhausting keep trying to pick up the pieces, as there seems to be an incident at every contact weekend. However stopping contact would be equally as devastating and destructive for them. My eldest was in bits earlier as his Dad had told him that if he told me there had been an upset, I would stop contact and it is not what he wants.

Has anyone been an a similar situation and found a way forward? Or do I resign myself to the fact that there is no way forward and just keep trying to piece them back together after contacts?

blackeyedsusan Sun 24-Mar-13 23:03:39

if you eldest does not want to go, don't push him to. write down everything you can remember about how he has been treated in case you need it. it sounds best that you do not push contact. if ex does not want to get him, let the children stay at home, it does not sound a healthy atmosphere there.

call the police if he causes damage to you/property again.

stopping contact with a kind, loving father would be devstating, but ex is not like that is he? being yelled at for little things is not doing them good at all.

Halfcups Sun 24-Mar-13 23:07:55

Blimey ur ex sounds like a right nob! Poor you and poor dc! How about shortening the times the children spend with him? They still get some contact but not long enough for him to get annoyed with them. Would he be up for taking them somewhere each week, like swimming ? Then it s a focused activity with a purpose and out in the community where your ex might behave himself better? Would he be amenable to a suggestion like that?? I m sending you hugs because it sounds like a bloody nightmare.

leaharrison11 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:09:13

Ohhh hunni ur having a real bad time and ur boys sad !! Its a horrible situation but broke down easy, whats in the best interest of your boys, if thats seeing there farther but getting upset made to lie and shouted out but still contact then carry it on,

If ur scared for there wellbeing but want dad in there life go back to solicitor and ask for contact in a centre where he cant blow his top

Aww tell the knob he doesnt deserve to be in ur boys lives but be prepared for a battle but you would get threw

And hun i think he is still trying to control abuse u , from what u said about the snow!!

All u can do is what u think is best for ur boys right now !!

Mum knows best !! Hope ur ok

Trinab75 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:19:05


The problem is that the children do very much want to go. My youngest had been counting down the nights until his 'sleepover' at Dads due to the lack of substantial contact recently, hence me ensuring they had contact yesterday.

This evening I was very vocal about my concerns, but my eldest was more upset about me going through with stopping contact, rather than how he had been treated. As he said he had a good weekend until later this afternoon.

I wish he didn't want to go, it would be so much easier. My solicitor advised me that at his age, unless he said that he wanted no contact that there is little I can do to prevent it.

And no you are right he is not like that at all, but the boys love him and want to spend time with him regardless.

Halfcups Sun 24-Mar-13 23:30:25

Well I would, as the adult, be concerned about their emotional welfare enough to restrict contact despite pressure from dc s to see their dad. It s tough but it can't be good for them to be subjected to this abusive stuff. Are they used to seeing their dad speak like this? Was he like this routinely when in the family home?

Trinab75 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:34:03

Thanks for the hug halfcups, I needed that.

I tried your first suggestion and set them up doing footy practice together on a Tuesday night, he was all up for it, but after I sent him the solicitors warning letter he refused to take them any more and refused to go through with the swimming lessons he had planned too.

Lea, maybe you are right and I should go back to solicitor and mayby try reducing contact first. Although he's only had them one night this weekend and 6 nights all year and they have all bar 1 been a nightmare.

Thanks for listening, it's been a tough night. I'm so peed off with myself that I made such a bad choice in a partner and my boys are now stuck with what I managed to escape.

You're right I feel he doesn't deserve them, my eldest said he saw his dad digging his car out and looking cold so he took him a cuppa out to warm up earlier today, then got a massive ear bashing for being a little forgeful, poor little chap.

Trinab75 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:34:49

Yes he's always been verbally volatile

ProphetOfDoom Sun 24-Mar-13 23:37:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Halfcups Sun 24-Mar-13 23:46:17

It s a tough call but I think you need to take the lead here as your lovely boys will remain loyal to their dad no matter how awful he is and your ex has no boundaries by the sounds of it! Children might like something but it doesn't mean to say its good for them! I m sending you another hug as I feel the worst is yet to come...the moment you put in boundaries for your kids to be safe is the moment your ex kicks off. He just loves the control!! Maybe spend time thinking about what is good for your boys regarding contact, get advice from your solicitor or an organisation like women's aid, talk with your boys about acceptable behaviour and then keep with it. Hold your nerve.

Trinab75 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:52:30

That is exactly the conversation we had this evening. I have explained that I am finding it difficult to support his wish to continue contact with his Dad, as he is abusive and impossible to please.

I wish he would say he needed a break or wanted someone to speak up for him, I've also suggested he could maybe speak to someone outside of the family (as I have colleagues who are support workers) so he feels less pressure, but he is insistant that he wants contact to stay the same and he would rather have some grief off his Dad rather than not see him, it's so frustrating, I want to protect him, but he doesn't want me to.

I think I am going to monitor the contact agreed for next weekend and if there is further upset, go back to my solicitor and propose reduced contact. Although as theres only been 6 overnights this year, I can't see it helping.

My ex met someone pretty much after we had split and contact was a bit tricky sometimes but not impossible and the boys enjoyed the time with my ex's new partner and kids, she was lovely. They split before Christmas involving a massive row in front of the children and it's all been downhill since, now he has ultimate responsibility.

Trinab75 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:56:08

Yes halfcups boudaries is the key word, he has none and enjoys pushing everyone elses way beyond any reasonable marker! I got myself out of his crap and I will somehow get my kids out of it too. Thanks again x

Trinab75 Sun 24-Mar-13 23:58:15

Boundaries even. Sorry my typing has gone out of the window tonight!

Halfcups Mon 25-Mar-13 00:18:21

I m off to bed now but pm me anytime you want x

DollyTwat Mon 25-Mar-13 11:55:16

I could have written your post
I'm at work now, but I'll come back later. It's awful and upsetting and I have stopped contact many times.

HerrenaHarridan Mon 25-Mar-13 12:13:11

As long as elder dc wants to go you probably have to let him. You don't want him to feel he can't tell you when bad stuff happens. Privately keep a record of it all though.

I would recommend you say something like this to elder son. " it is entirely your decision wether or not to see your dad and I will support you in whatever way you want, if you want me to tell him your sick or I said no that's fine. I know you are sensible and responsible and I trust you to make the right decision for you"

Then pick up the pieces ad infintium sad

It's bloody awful how these men can just hurt our kids over and over.

Knobhead fuckers anonymous!

Trinab75 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:18:20

My eldest is off school today as he is not feeling 100% and is general feeling beat. My youngest had a restless night and was tearful when I left him at school.

Despite me trying to find a way forward supporting my eldest in his decision EXP has text this morning and taken the decision out of our hands.

He said 'DS1 and I have agreed that it will be in both our interests for him to not come round for the time being. DS2 has done nothing wrong and I don't see why he should be punished. I will be picking DS2 up and dropping off as normal on Wednesday. Please stop referring to the solicitors letter, it was a joke and may as well been signed by the chuckle brothers. I really cannot be bothered carrying on like this. I am at the point where I want you out of my life completely and if not seeing the kids is the only way to make that happen then so be it. Your threats are a waste of time.

It's first time my eldest has stayed over since 15th of Feb, so he's already had a break and that's not helped.

I'm writing a log of it all to email to my solicitor, so it's on record. May well await her advise now as I'm too drained to respond to him, although contact is due on Wednesday.

There is a big family wedding on his side of the family that the children are due to attend in 2 weeks too sad

Trinab75 Mon 25-Mar-13 14:19:14

Thanks so much for listening

MaitreKarlsson Mon 25-Mar-13 20:51:13

So sorry to hear about your troubles, it is so unfair for your eldest. I'm not in the same position but it brings back sad memories from my childhood when something similar went on. Bumping for you in the hopes others will have more useful advice to give!

Trinab75 Mon 25-Mar-13 21:34:36

It's so difficult to understand isn't it? They are so lovely to spend time with and it beggars belief, how parents can be so cruel to their own children, especially when they spend precious little time with them. Sorry you had to go through similar upsets.

I've replied to their Dad to reiterate that I will not allow him to choose one child over another, as it's cruel and that I believe its best to stop contact until he's in a better frame of mind and able to spend positive time with both children.

He sent another text saying my eldest son is lazy, immature and embarrassing and saying I was causing harm by allowing him to be this way. My eldest has recently completed his young leader award putting in extra time after school, helped out in the school drama and improved his grades and school record no end since last year, not that he would know, as he never asked. He then started calling the house phone as I didn't engage with his text, so I unplugged the phone so we could have a restful evening and try and destress.

The boys have had a much more settled night and will hopefully feel much better for a good nights sleep. We have had a chat and they both accept and understand that contact can't go on under the existing circumstances. I explained it wouldn't be forever, just until things showed signs of improving.

DollyTwat Mon 25-Mar-13 22:59:04

He sounds very much like my ex
It's taken me a while to see the cycle of abuse that I suffered now being played out on my eldest

Contact goes ok for a while
He commits to more contact
Something happens and he falls out with eldest
Big drama over thing
Ex says my dc out of control (implied that this is my fault)
He then has some opportunity work wise he wants to pursue, which will mean he can't commit to contact
I express my disgust at his failure as a dad
Opportunity doesn't come off
Contact continues but changed so he doesn't see as much if them

Sometimes they refuse to go
He takes me to court for contact he doesn't really want

So it goes on (8 years now)

It's about control over you. You can't plan anything or rely on him. He undermines you and uses the dc's love of him to make your life difficult.

I wish I could tell you how to make it stop. Not engaging is the key thing to keep you sane. Step in when you feel you need to

It's awful. I will let my dc go as long as its beneficial to them and they want to go. If they don't and have a good reason then I won't force it.
You just have to resign yourself to never having any time to yourself. The rest is easy

MaitreKarlsson Mon 25-Mar-13 23:01:32

I'm so sorry for you and your sons and I think you are absolutely 100% correct in what you've done and said to your ex-h. I would just be really careful that you are in a solid position, legally, to refuse contact - I don't know what the implications might be. I'm sure your solicitor will advise on a careful path to follow. In the meantime, sending you a big hug and well done smile

Trinab75 Fri 29-Mar-13 21:49:24

Sorry for the delay in my reply, it's been a tough week and I have come down with the kids bugs. Being sick is truly one of the grimmest aspects of lone parenting. I hate not being on form for them, especially after the week they have had.

Yes Dolly you are so very right, it's all about control. I spent years thinking I was the crazy one as nothing in my life seemed to make sense. Then I read the Lundy Bancroft book recommended so often on here and at last my misery all made sense and I knew I absolutely had to remove him from my life.

When we first split and met his new partner he controlled my by constantly pushing for extra time with the kids, when he had his partner around to assume parenting duties. I couldn't plan anything with the kids as on my contact weekends he would call with something more 'fun' or 'important' that the kids could be involved in and it was total chaos.

Since he split with her it's now the opposite and he has only kept to 2 full contact weekends since October. With the bits and bats of contact in between being a minefield of cancellations of plans and upsets with the children.

You are quite right I have very little in the way of other forms of getting time out for myself, so I have resigned myself to the fact I have no free time. The only reason I allowed contact to continue last weekend know it was not going well, was that I was absolutely drained, I didn't want to go out partying, just have a few hours of no demands being placed on me.

There has been no further contact this week, he was due to pick the boys up this afternoon and have the children this weekend and will no doubt make an appearance when he feels it necessary to ensue more chaos on our lives.

My solicitor is back in work next Wednesday so I will await further advice on whether I need to officialise no contact until the situation is more beneficial for the children.

It's so exhausting, but despite being ill and little use to the kids, I'm sure they will have a better weekend at home.

ProphetOfDoom Sat 30-Mar-13 09:45:18

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DollyTwat Sat 30-Mar-13 13:55:46

Hope you are feeling better Trinab, sickness bugs are the worst

I realised with FWex that he needs a drama. So everytime the dc are there I get texts about said drama. I think this is done do I cannot have any time to myself, let alone enjoy myself.

I have had the school clothes drama, at 8.30
The not suitable clothes drama, dc was unaware of this, but ex said his clothes weren't suitable
Ds is in A&e with suspected broken nose. It wasn't
Dc are out of control I'm bringing them back drama
The dc screaming on the phone to me drama

It's endless. But I won't let him have control over my life, and so it will never stop.

The trick is to never let him know he has put you out in any way, if he cancels just say ok. Because with no reaction there's no game.

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