Ongoing no contact - DD and XH(10 Posts)
Encyclopaedia Britannica warning, my apologies but it is what it is.
I've got a problem and actually, in all honesty, I think the upshot is that there is no solution (certainly not the solution DD - and I - would want), but let me set out the history right up to the current day, and if anyone out there can think of a solution that will work, that would effect some positive change, please let me know because nothing positive is happening here.
DD (now 14) and DS (now 17) have been having EOW contact with their dad since we divorced in 2007. I moved away for several reasons and so offered that we meet half way. So, for the last 9 years I've been doing a 70 mile round trip on a Friday and a 70 mile round trip on a Sunday EOW to facilitate contact. As you can imagine as the full time working RP it has been bloody hard work over the years but obviously I've stuck it out as them seeing their dad was the most important thing no matter how knackered I might have been.
Throughout these years DD has been shown that she is not the favourite grandchild. Her brother's one of them but even he is pipped at the post by the other female grandchild. DD has often felt (rightly) sidelined, left out, she's always criticised way more heavily than anyone else, she's 'clumsy'. More recently on hols with GPs she got all nicely dressed to go to dinner (as a young girl interested in fashion would - she looked lovely) and was told to go and get changed which obviously made her feel crushed and a right twat. Then, at a sleepover in March she was shouted at by her grandfather to such an extent that she was in hysterical tears as he also threatened her with police (for waking him and GM up as she was on a sleepover with her cousin). I raised this as being excessive but no one apologised or batted an eyelid - this was 'treating her with respect'. This treatment has gone on for years but I've kept her adherence to the contact order even at times (fine balance this) having to really strongly encourage her to go. Partly I was waiting until she was old enough that if it went back to court, her voice would be heard.
About a year ago (before all her friends and BFF fucked her off and cast her out into isolation) she had a great little social life and was always going here and there. Not just because of this but also because she felt too distanced (geographically and emotionally) from where she lives now, her dad said she didn't have go to the EOW contacts if she had something else on. She often did have things on so didn't go very often to that, but still went in the holidays. It was a struggle to get her to go even to that and I would say for a year or more she was going to the holiday contacts but not looking forward to them at all.
On top of this XH has own new child with his new wife and that child now takes precedence over everyone else (incl. DS - he once said to me "If there was a fire, SM would save herself, daddy and their child" (leaving him (DS) and his sister (DD) to burn). There are NO pictures in the stepmom and dad's house of DS and DD, just of the new child, which speaks volumes.
Then at Easter DD was in the car all set for a week with her dad and we'd pulled up at the rendezvous location, I went into the back to help her get her bags, and she just completely broke down. She just couldn't face going down there, she'd had enough, absolutely enough.
Obviously in the following days and weeks we talked a lot and the upshot was that she DOES want contact with her dad but she just doesn't want to go down to his house/grandparents house because of all of the issues mentioned (of which the above are but a small, small selection). She asked could he (or shared among the other members of that side of the family) see her here once a month maybe. This is so important to her to not lose contact with that side of her family - I found her creating a scrapbook/photo album of pictures of that side of her family one evening of all these people who she will likely not see more than once or twice a year from now on. So sad.
XH was duly told this. Since then there's been repeated pleas for me/DD to 'just tell him/them what the issues are' - well, we did! In 2012 I raised ALL of these issues and how they were soul destroying, gutting incidents for DD. I even predicted when I read the emails back, that she would at some point not want to go any more. How sad that's come true. Then, as now, they are in total denial that there are any problems - you can't make changes when everyone thinks 'there's nothing wrong'.
So since Easter, XH has only seen DD in the flesh once for no more than 2 hours when he took her and DS for a burger up here. He texts her, face times her and calls her (even though she doesn't want this form of contact, it stresses her out and she's never liked it and has repeatedly advised him of this). He's got the hump because she doesn't engage with him through these forms of communication. Basically, she's been waiting for months for him to respond and emphatically say "Don't worry DD, it's only 12 times a year, I'm sure that we can sort something out because I'm not losing contact with you no matter what!".
Of course, that's not happened. It won't happen.
He even had the insulting audacity to suggest that DD needed counselling - staggering, absolutely STAGGERING. She is in full control of her faculties, it's him and his family living in complete denial unaware of the trauma they have caused with such casual lack of concern for her feelings.
Unless I'm missing some approach that hasn't yet come into my mind because I'm so close to the situation that you lovely folk can think of. Sadly, you can't make someone have contact if they don't really want it...
The problem is (and having been married to this man of course) he won't change. He won't put himself out to get this contact back on track. He's very selfish, very weak.
Thoughts? How best to help DD through the inevitable that she's lost contact with her dad (which is the reality). She's had to withdraw in order to protect herself and I have to continue to support that, even if this is the outcome.
I am going to agree with him on one thing ..She does need counselling. She has been through an awful lot and needs help to process that..Someone impartial can let her express her feelings without worrying how the other people are hearing it.
Other than that..She needs to be clear if she doesn't want contact. I think at 14 she needs to be supported to say what she thinks... She doesn't have to answer the phone to him.
Hey Starlight, yes, I do indeed ask her what does she want contact-wise, what form does she want it to take and how often, we discuss the possible ramifications of what she decides and pros and cons, and then SHE decides. I've been very careful as soon as it was clear she couldn't take going for contact any more that she was now in control of the decision-making but she still had my support to chew over decisions.
I have already told XH that she doesn't want this form of contact (phone calls, texts) but he keeps doing it (waking her up at 6.30 on many occasions trying to face time her) and then on Friday when he actually picked DS up from our home for his contact, after I'd had to ask him er you're up here, do you not want to see your DD (because he certainly didn't ask or plan to include her!) he spent the whole time in McDonald's asking her when was she going to start going down to them again!! Do you see, it's a thick brick wall of utter stupidity and deafness around the topic of her going down/not going down. Message is not being received that they are the culpable ones in respect to the reasons she doesn't want to go, hence the total inertia and complete lack of a response for how to mend the situation - keep reverting to 'when are you coming back down' like a bloody robot, because the information, the facts, just aren't going in.
How you've responded re the counselling thing is indicative of how positively and child-centred WE all think on here because you are the second person to say yes I agree she should have some counselling.
However, because you're seeing that option in a positive light for all the right reasons that you would want it to happen for, unfortunately you don't know this man or the attitude of his family, so you're thinking it's something he's suggesting (obviously at my cost, he wouldn't think he needed to contribute) because he acknowledges the emotional damage they have all done to her and it would be nice for her to have someone to talk to.
It isn't. The purpose he has in mind is entirely different which is why I told him to stick it up his arsehole.
He wants her to talk to a counsellor because he believes she has some mental deficiency which is why she won't carry on going down to see them where they live. She needs to be fixed, she needs to be cured, only mental illness could be the reason for her to not want to go down (can you BELIEVE that?!).
He/they can't and WON'T acknowledge what they've done, understand this is the result of it, and therefore the won't do anything about it. Put it all back on her, a 14 year old child. They have no concept that a child who refuses to have contact has been deeply hurt and they have come to the last resort point this being the only way they can return control and prevent further damage to their emotional selves. I could sit and explain it from now until Christmas next year and it literally would make no difference. If you have a dog Starlight and I said and told him all about why, he would take more understanding from it that's how dense they are.
So whilst I would consider sending her to ao counsellor FOR HER sake, I'm not sending her to a counsellor at his instruction for the express purpose of digging around and trying to 'find out why' when we already know why with the thinking behind it that there is something wrong with her. I did advise him that if anyone needed counselling it was him and his family who are so "la la la I can't hear you" it's unbelievable, intractable, and pointless nay absolutely futile to ever speak to them about the reasons again.
So yes, the type of and reason for counselling of the type you mention yes I do agree. Her current BFF has it at times so she might not mind going when she's seen her friend going, and I could probably speak to that girl's mom and see if she has contacts, where she's gone for it.
This man has left his daughter without regular contact other than 2 face to face contacts in 6 MONTHS seeing her now for a total of 3-4 hours during that time period, both of which I had to suggest to him.
She's savvy enough. He emailed me and said well why doesn't she want come (FUCKING IDIOT!!!)? And I asked DD, do you want to just set the reasons out on an email, we'll read it together and then send it back or do you feel that we've said all the reasons already. Her response "If he doesn't know what the reasons are, he's dumb".
I'm not resistant to her having someone to talk to, I'm resistant to her having someone to talk to for the wrong, manipulative reasons which won't lead to change anyway.
Thanks for reply Starlight, this is a big old mess and at the end of it it's -probably- totally clear that she will never have regular contact with him again (even though it's what's stated in the contact order that he wanted).
I can't give answers or even suggest approaches - I think, from what you've said, you're doing the right thing. In a similar situation myself, without the distance (dad is just up the road), but relationship with DD1 has broken down to the point of her living with me FT and hasn't seen her dad since before her birthday in July. Dad and SM seem to have effectively blamed DD1 (just turned 15) and taken no responsibility for their treatment of her, which resulted in her voting with her feet...
Don't want to hijack your thread - I'm hoping someone has some wise words or suggestions though! Other than that, I think all we can do is be there for our DDs, listen, support and love. That's all I feel I can do.
I'm sure someone with more experience in these matters will be along soon, but in the meantime - how would he re-act if it was a joint counselling session between him and her ? It may not be appropriate - but there would be an impartial person in the room to guide the conversation between them, rather than you acting as umpire.
It does seem a very sad state of affairs and I hope you & your DD can find a positive resolution
My ex has reduced his time with our kids from eow to twice in total last year, and three times this year. No new family to contend with, and kids slightly younger than yours, but kids were heartbroken.
Like you I pushed for contact, bought kids phones etc to facilitate but ex not interested.
The kids and I ALL ended up seeing a counsellor. Me because I felt like a shit parent who'd taken them away from him and chosen a crap dad who has continually let them down, and I couldn't cope with their disappointment. Them because they want to see him but he chooses not to.
The point is that I and pps think that your daughter would benefit from speaking to someone about her own feelings about feeling rejected. Not that there is anything wrong with her - quite the opposite. But she is dealing with a lot of emotions and might need to get her head round the situation in a 'safe' environment with a neutral person. The fact her dad is putting the blame on her is another worry; she needs to know none of this is her fault, she wants the contact but her dad is choosing to not see her unless on his terms.
You can't change him. You know that. I know that about my ex. Help her to get it straight in her head that despite your best intentions her dad won't see it her way - pass the responsibility back to him.
Thanks Berris - not hijacking at all, you're in the same boat. There's so little you can do isn't there - which doesn't sit well with me because I'm a doer and if it was me not seeing one of my children, I'd be doing everything I could to see them not sitting on my arse.
DPotter, on the one hand yes but unfortunately because of my experience of him and his family, it would be a soul-bearing exercise for my DD to someone who literally doesn't have a clue and I wouldn't put her through it as I still believe that he wouldn't understand, accept responsibility or do anything about it. He and I went for counselling at one time - about 8 months later he said he'd decided he actually didn't agree with what the counsellor had said anyway.
Stronger, yes as already said I will talk to her about the opportunity to talk to someone neutral. Without badmouthing her dad I've made it very clear that it's absolutely nothing to do with her but of course emotions don't work like that do they - these poor kids always think it is something about them.
I SO hate not being able to do anything about it for her sake. Bloody hate the man. I didn't, before, even though there were some unpleasant and untrue reasons for why we ended up getting divorced that he 'shared', but the way he's treated her absolutely sickens me.
I'm with you on the hating not being able to do anything. Communication with my ex is nigh on impossible. He tells DD2 (who is still going for her usual time at his house, but takes every opportunity for more time with me) that he misses DD1, and asks DD2 about her every day. Why does he not communicate this to DD1?! I feel very alone on this, I don't know how to help DD1, but I worry about her - she is so sad, and so mentally drained, and exhausted. I've suggested Dr, I've suggested counselling and she just goes "hhnnnnnngggggg" at the suggestion
I'm here for her. She knows it's not her fault - she's a kid, and she's a good kid. Genuine good kid. But she can convince herself that her dad's side of the family all hate her, and her half sisters and brother hate her
God, it's been rough this October half term week. I find it SO upsetting myself, god knows how DD is feeling.
It's now been six month since she spent like a weekend with her dad. This week he came to collect DS from our house yesterday, Thursday of the half term week. He talked to her, he didn't ask to take her out, he didn't ask me if he could take her out. Nothing. Picked up DS, took him for a long weekend and fucked off!!
She's spent 90% of the week on her own despite having a 'best friend' who has apparently been almost totally unavailable, and this on top has just crushed her. We text/Hangouts a lot as she prefers to discuss a lot of stuff through messaging not face to face discussion and she texted me last night "Daddy made me sad".
And how sad is that?
What absolute CUNTS these blokes are, all of them. Apologies for the language but I wish that if I couldn't be had up for it, I just want to smash his head repeatedly into a brick wall.
I fear we are at the point that in order to preserve he mental health and whatever remaining self esteem she has, she has to get to the point of realising that she needs to tell him "it's my way or the highway".
God bless her, she even offered to start going back down to his again! A MOMENTOUS offer. Did it cut any ice? No. Did he pick it up and run with it? No. Why? Because (understandably and in light of DSM) she wanted a wingman friend with her for the first few times.... Christ, it's not much to ask is it.
"We can't possibly accommodate a friend and it wouldn't support the restoration of relationships". Mate, your 'relationships' with your DD are so far along the road of 'Totally and Irreperably Fucked' that any hint of the hope of ANY relationship, should be something you'd grasp with both hands to accommodate.
What is it that's missing in these men, there literally must be a hole where the soul is meant to be. I know a divorced dad. He revolves his world around his two kids. My XH is a complete and total wanker in comparison, even to a fairly crap dad. He takes crappy to a whole now level.
I would ask her what she would like to do...See if you can facilitate it.. She clearly wants something from him still at this stage.
Its heart breaking though isn't it.
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