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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?

DollyTwat Sun 31-Mar-13 23:25:40

Trinab you were supposed to respond to his text about seeing only dc2
That's what he wanted. I don't know about you, but I'm a pretty straight forward person so it's hard to see the texts for what they really are.

If you'd have just texted 'OK' I wonder what would have happened?

I could post texts here that would have you raging!
I just laugh now as its the only thing I can do!

I think the one that made me laugh the most was about how exFW had got himself caught between a rock and a hard place. If he gets a job he'll have to pay csa, but the government are taking money off him (for being a scrounger). He then, in all seriousness, complained he hadn't had a holiday for years.

I couldn't resist a reply. ' a holiday from what?'

He gave up his job to avoid paying the csa you see!

Trinab75 Sun 31-Mar-13 22:57:28

Thank you all for helping to confirm my poor worn out thoughts.

I think another solicitors letter is called for, if only to re enforce to him that despite his fury and mocking me for involving her previously that I will follow through attempts to establish and maintain boundaries and routine if contact is to continue.

My 12 year old's behaviour is problematic from time to time too, but it's little wonder with all he's been through and it is a tricky age. Although I frequently remind him that it is no excuse to lower his own standards of behaviour. It annoys me that I'm far from the pushover my ex makes me out to be and I am quite strict. Not the pushover he makes me out to be (although the kids have had run of the house all weekend whilst I have not been on form)

I am quite a pro at the no reaction way of dealing with him now, but it's taken a very long time to get there and he still catches me off guard occasionally like he did last weekend. It's finally clicked that my not responding to his horrid jibes are the best insult. I'm surprised I still have a tongue left from all the biting.

Maybe we should start a thread for all the responses we would like to/should send on but don't and get it all out!

Fleecyslippers Sun 31-Mar-13 22:11:57

I too have learned that he/OW want a reaction - he is not allowed to contact me directly so she emails and texts now (or he texts DD direct) I do find that ignoring a lot of the crap helps - they definately lose momentum if they don't get an argument - I can imagine the pair of them pacing and punching keyboards in a bid to get me to bite wink My stock response now is 'Contact is as per the contact order'

ozzywiz Sun 31-Mar-13 22:08:28

I agree with Dolly, the best reaction is no action and bite your tongue. . choose your arguments wisely. ..

DollyTwat Sun 31-Mar-13 22:01:27

Getting a formal agreement is definitely the way to go. Although you can't make HIM stick to it it is a good foundation.

I'd say I engaged way too much with the drama in the early years, like a moth to a flame. I just couldn't leave that text or email unanswered. I felt I had to correct all the shit he was coming out with. So I ignore most of it now. I just talk about contact. It's hard - I can't say I always achieve not engaging

My dc are 8 and 11. They are ok but go through phases of not wanting to see him. Ds1's behaviour is a problem, possibly his age but its not easy

cjel Sun 31-Mar-13 21:58:58

Have a good nights rest and peaceful sleepx

Trinab75 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:39:12

Yes it's exhausting!I've only had 6 months of it to this extent, I don't intend on having another 6 months of it. I know it will stop for a while when he finds a mate again as he is always super nice to the kids around new people. But I don't wish to inflict him on anyone else for our benefit.

I'm thinking trying a solicitors letter stating less contact and 2 overnights a month as a starting point. Or stopping contact altogether (other than the wedding) until he proposes a contact agreement.

Well done you survivng many years of this crap. How old are your children, have they adapted to the chaos?

Trinab75 Sun 31-Mar-13 20:26:53

I have been mistakenly drawn in to conversations after my ex went through his split. I tried not to engage, but my empathy outweighed my reason when he was going through the worst of it. It's too easily done.

At least the Facebook drama diverted some of his attention away from his family day out idea I guess? Twunt island gets my vote, you should put the idea forward on dragons den smile

Yes I agree cjel, I hoped the last solicitors letter was the final resolution, but sadly not. I have kept me and the kids out of the way today though, as he told me he was calling by at 3pm with eggs, which I knew wouldn't end well.

I need a good nights sleep to finally shake this bug off. So that I can think clearly about what do do next. It's his brothers wedding in 2 weekends time and I hope the boys can still take part in that as planned, but that means spending the weekend with him. If I push for no contact he will use that as an excuse to upset the boys and say they can't go to that and that it's my fault, so I need to tread carefully.

DollyTwat Sun 31-Mar-13 20:16:50

It's a cycle. You can google the cycle of abuse, but there seems to be a few extra bits you add on for exFW regarding contact.

Three times we've had the drama over him having to move as he can't afford his flat (because of the evil csa)
Then he got offered a chance to go on the road with his band, which he ended up turning down

So what happens is that there's some reason he doesn't want the dc, so a drama is caused. He then says he doesn't want them, is probably moving away anyway etc. then contact builds slowly, when it suits him of course. Then I insist it's regular.

It goes along ok for a while. He commits to more contact and even pick ups etc. then there's a drama. And we start again

It's exhausting!
Your ex is following the twunt script perfectly!

It must be more exhausting being them though.

cjel Sun 31-Mar-13 17:26:37

I think it should be law that all twunts only deal with contact centres and solicitors and leave mums and dcs outs of the drama, they only get told the final resolution!!

ProphetOfDoom Sun 31-Mar-13 17:08:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Trinab75 Sun 31-Mar-13 12:42:49

We are getting there and all feeling a little better today, thanks.

Goodness me, I'm so sorry to hear that you seem to have an identical clone of my Ex. The mini drama's are relentless.

My particular favourite was when the boys and 2 other kids were playing with a sticky snake toy, which the boys had received in a party bag. The toy left a small mark on part of his wallpaper after the boys had been playing with it. This resulted in him arriving after contact having a tantrum on the doorstep, he then demanded the toy snakes be returned and proceeded to bag them away in a freezer bag before taking them away.
The snakes had run out of stick, so he went to the party venue and requested a fresh sticky snake before taking it to the wallpaper shop and getting samples so he could carry out tests on what might remove the mark. This drama went on for weeks with numerous face to face and telephone rants involving numerous people all aimed at my eldest, despite 4 kids being involved in the 'crime'.

The next time the boys went for contact the mark had gone and apparently wiped straight off with a baby wipe.

You are so right about the always saying OK and not showing any sign of being inconvenienced, I sussed that out when I was still living with him, as he always used to swan off and leave or cause an upset with the kids, if I was due to go out or if it was a special occasion. The only time he gets a reaction now is when he upsets the kids in front of me.

So do you pretty much leave him to have contact when it suits him? as long as the children are happy with the contact request? Have you stopped contact before? If so how long for and what happened leading up to contact restarting again?

What I have found is a pattern he seems to create a drama and upset to prevent the children being with him for the full weekend, when I may have plans, but then he kicks off at the suggestion of no contact, even though he seems to hate every minute of it.

I'm at a loss as to where to go now. He's text and asked 'whats happening on Wednesday' which I'm guessing means he wants to have them for tea as usual now he's wreaked his havoc. He's also told me he's calling around at 3 today to see boys and drop easter eggs off.

It was Easter day 2 years ago, since I changed the locks and kicked him out when he was away on a business trip. Can't believe it's still so grim! but I'm thankful I can close the door on much of it now.

Hope you are having a lovely Easter ladies X

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.

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

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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.

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

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

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.

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 14:19:14

Thanks so much for listening

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

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!

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.

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

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

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

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

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