Help - should I be concerned about XPs mental health?(14 Posts)
I have had a very turbulent time with my XP since he left me and my son when our son was 3 months old (he's now 3.5years). It's a very long story, so I will keep it as short as I can. He was unearthed as a liar with an alcohol problem, he had an affair and he now lives with her, and they appear to have a stable relationship. He has taken me to court over access (I was insisting on local and supervised because of alcohol issues etc and he lives 3 hours away) he lied throughout court and was believed and I am now stuck with an order which is heavily biased towards him. I have stuck to the order even though I don't agree with it and my son is struggling with the adjustment, but we have a good support network at home and nursery are helping me and my son deal with it all.
However, despite causing me untold misery, despite getting everything he wanted in court and despite me sticking to the order he is still causing problems. These are just a few examples
1 - He still continues to lie. He's a pathological liar and I firmly believe he even believes his own lies. He lies to my face about things I know aren't true and he knows I know he's lying. It's weird and quite unnerving.
2 - The court order states he has to have a weekly call with our son. I do this 9/10 on the same day at the same time. We've been doing it for over a year and even on the odd occasion when we can't because we have friends over etc I reschedule. My son hates it, he cries, he shouts go away daddy, he refuses, he runs off and hides. Yet every week I try again and I try to make it a positive experience. Last week I'd had enough and said I wouldn't be calling. Just the suggestion of it brought on tears with my son and I've reached the end of my tether, he's 3 he doesn't want to speak to anyone on the phone, he just doesn't get it and this regular call is counter productive. My ex kicked off, started saying our son would know what sort of mother I was when he grows up etc... I suggested that moving forward he calls us, so that it more of a 'surprise' for our son rather than a chore. He's accepted that, but not without trying to be condescending and belittle me as a parent.
3- He has reported me to the NSPCC for child abuse. Social services were involved as well as my son's nursery. It hasn't been taken any further and social services even eluded to the fact that they believe it is a case of an ex trying to cause problems. There is no evidence or any fact to it.
Every time I see my XP at handovers, he goes beyond civil. He's really friendly and chatty, asks me how I am etc... I understand being civil for the sake of our son and I wouldn't have it any other way, but this is overly friendly. It scares me a little if I'm honest. Yesterday, after a week of really nasty texts, once our son was in my car and chatting to his grandma (so distracted) I asked my XP to stop with the over friendly behaviour and to be civil. I told him I found it unnerving that he can be so vile and then put on this performance to my face. I have never raised the NSPCC thing, only via his solicitor, but I addressed it and said that doing things like that and then asking me how I am at handovers is not on. His reply was "you know what you did and you know exactly why I reported you." and drove off...
Err, well I don't. I am completely innocent, so he knows he's lying. He doesn't want more access so what is he trying to achieve? If he believes his own lies then why is he not phoning the police, reporting me again, keeping our son (I'd refuse to hand him over if I thought he was being abused)...
Can anyone help with any advice? Is this man mental? I can't go on with this constant stream of stress and lies at my door. I just want to get on with my life and to create a happy life for our son. It's exhausting... I have considered contacting his partner (who hates me because he's told her all sorts of lies about me - including that I used to hit my XP!) or contacting his parents, but they haven't been in touch with me for over 2 years.
Sorry for the VERY long post!! I don't know what to do any more.
Any chance you could get someone else to do the handovers? Grandma maybe? That way you don't have to interact with XP at all.
Hi aginghippy thank you for replying... unfortunately not. As much as we have a lot of support from family they are all so angry at the hurt and devastation he has caused that they find it very hard to be in his presence. Sometimes someone will come with me for support, but I don't trust anyone else to do it and be civil, which is the most important thing for DS.
On top of that because he lives so far away I have to meet him at a halfway point, which is an hour and a half from our home (3 hour round trip). It's a lot to ask someone else to take on.
I wouldn't contact his partner or his parents - they're going to be on his side so what would it achieve? But from what you've said he sounds unhinged - manipulative, abusive, pretty evil actually.
Have you ever investigated whether you can do anything about his abuse of you and his threats to tell your child 'what kind of mother you are'?
I don't know if this info might help, but I can only imagine how powerless, sad and frustrated you must feel: www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/child_contact_and_domestic_violence.html
Have you considered switching from a phone call to a Skype call? Often young children find it easier to have a video call rather than a disjointed voice at the end of the phone.
At hand overs cool, polite and functional. If he try's to be more just ignore. I had the sickly sweet at hand overs, combine with the 17 texts in 15mins calling me every name under the sun. Cool, polite etc eventually brought this to an end as it was clear that neither was going to upset me, but it takes resilience and time.
Thank you Juneau - I will take a look at the link. I'm at work today and struggling to focus on much because I feel so stressed.
My doctor referred me to Victims Support who then referred me to a local charity. I meet with them monthly, but it's not much help to be honest. They will represent me in court if it ever went back there though which is good.
My solicitor is conscious that I don't have much money and has said that there is little point taking it back to court. He's said that I need to be strong and ignore him, but when I have to face him every two weeks it's tough. Plus I can ignore the texts and not reply, but I've still seen them and that still gets under my skin.
I do feel so very sad and quite lonely at the moment, despite the support.
Lonecatwithkitten - thank you for your comment... I have been doing calm and polite and had been managing to compartmentalise everything, but the NSPCC accusation was my final straw and made everything so much harder.
I offer my son to either FaceTime or call daddy and he always chooses the phone saying he doesn't want to see daddy. Sometimes I try and persuade him otherwise and do a Facetime call, but it's then a constant battle with my son trying to stop him pressing the red button to end the call. It's exhausting.
Make handovers brief..Ie Here is Dad , kiss cuddle love you. Handoer..Here is his stuff see you at ... bye blow DS kiss walk away.
Secondly phonecall..Give DS phone.. Do phonecall.. When he gives you phone..Say sorry he has walked away bye.. If he does FT let him press the red button. At 8 my DS is only just about able to hold a conversation on the phone and that is hit and miss.
The over niceness just ignore everytime you respond it gives him a little kick...
My Ex I discovered no matter what my response seemed to enjoy it..If he was abusive on the phone I hung up and refused to answer when he phoned me back..
It is about taking back the power.
Thank you Starlight2007 - this has given me the strength I was struggling to find!
This feel right and you're right. I need to take back control... he's a horrible man and he will always be in our lives, it's learning to deal with him and still feel in control that I have been struggling with.
@starlight2007 - as you seem to of got my XP in a nutshell. I was just wondering how in your experience you would approach birthday parties etc. DS will be turning 4 soon as are lots of his nursery friends. This morning when dropping him off I picked up three invites for parties two of which fall on the weekend XP has him. XP lives 2.5 hours away, I know DS will want to go, do I email XP and suggest switching weekends or do I just RSVP to invites and say DS is away.
At the moment I can probably get around this with DS, but over the next year he's going to become more aware and know that he's missing out. Want to avoid contact and confrontation with XP but on the other hand don't want to be frightened to address things...
sounds like my exp who has/had MH diagnosis - however it's also just pattern of someone who is abusive. just try and ignore and dont let it wind you up as far as possible.
put phone on speaker dont force ds to engage.
you should only be concerned and act if it's putting your son at risk. so far it isnt really....
To be honest at this age I would say sorry can't attend..This is one of the downsides for parents...There are loads of them.. I would save the try swap card for any real best friends...
My Ds had his own part when he was 3 and I refused to Let Ex attend.. Whether selfish or not. I didn't want him coming over into a new life I had created and stirring up trouble so did the same with party invites.
At this age they are really floating friends and like you say have no idea what they are missing. This can happen in split families where partners live miles away too. Even when parents are working together.. The other point is this is court ordered contact so really he is within his rights to refuse making him feel more powerful.
How have the phonecalls gone?
Thank you both for your advice. And thank you Starlight2007 for coming back to me...
You're right and I will definitely follow your advice. He would most definitely use it as another way to feel more powerful and will throw the court order back at me. He uses it as a threat all the time and says it's an order 'against' me... I see it as an order for our son, not against one or the other parent.
BTW update on this week's call. He FaceTimed in the morning, I answered, propped it up in the sitting room, placed DS in front of it and walked away. DS started screaming and crying saying 'I don't want to' but I just left him to it and stepped into the next room. When I went back in DS had walked away and XP was still there. So I told him DS had walked off, said goodbye and hung up. Most stress free (for me) call I've had and I felt in control, so thank you. xxx
you have to let DS learn that he is missing out because of xp. so you can make sure xp has the info but if xp chooses not to take him to party then ds will soon learn that it is xp choice... it's tough but that is how it is. no point bending over backwards to not show up xp. when ds is old enough he will let his dad know what is important to him. if dad does not listen it is dad who will lose ds in the end....
your role is/will be to say yes i am sorry ds and it is sad to miss a party but this is dad's time.
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