Got a critical next step to take and really need some wise counsel(24 Posts)
I don't want to write a massive tome as the catalogue of issues which see us at the point we're are today as this sorry tale spans a good eight years.
The last in a long line of insults to my DD (15) (aside from almost total loss of contact with her DF (my XH) over the course of the last three years) is that we found out for sure just this weekend that XHs wife was the one blocking DD from going to spend Xmas Day with him (DD has not seen her dad properly for a year, since last Xmas). How this situation was slowly revealed started when he made the very odd offer to bring DDs presents to her here in her home town - which made obviously little sense at the time. He subsequently tried to obfuscate the real reason (although we didn't know that's what he was doing at the time) by saying oh we weren't sure if we were seeing you ha ha (a blatant lie it turns out). We now know that at this point he already knew she was banned - was he going to tell her at any point and if so when? We shall never know. DD responded to his stated 'reason' saying "Well I'll see you at Xmas won't I!!". At this point that XH had to go cap in hand to his missus to beg for DD to be allowed to attend the house in order to see him on Xmas Day (and apparently we're all to be very grateful for her wondrous benevolence).
This woman cites 'DD has upset me so many times' and 'this is her last chance'. Sadly, not only would DD not have carried out any behaviours so extreme as to require a full home ban (which would have to be utter cheek, swearing, aggression, physical violence, substance abuse or criminal activity to warrant something like that, AFTER discussion with me at least via her dad) but this arbitrary punishment has been metered out by this utter bitch (apologies, but she is) for bugger all reason. It's completely disproportionate and really very strange. But to prevent contact as a solution is really not ok. What form my DDs 'last chance' takes is a mystery to us, we haven't got a clue.
For info, contact, for DD, is still court ordered (not that it's really relevant, court order or not, a father should fight to see his own children, both of them, not just one of them).
When DD realised that she wasn't actually wanted there at Xmas she was DEVASTATED. Broken (again). She was in a proper state and having worked like a superstar on her mock exams and got some really good results, was reduced to tears and so anxiety-ridden that she ended up missing a morning of school. I take my hat off to her that she managed to get it together enough to go into school in the afternoon.
XH is weak and appears to be unable to stand up to his wife and put contact with his DD first. I have communicated with him in the past but it has literally made no difference - I don't know though based on this horrible event if I should have one more go because this is ripping my DD apart and it's just completely unacceptable.
I just do not know what to do any more.
On the basis of what's happened and what we've learned I now strongly suspect that when DD asked to go down and see him in the summer the inevitable 'no, we're decorating', was another bare faced lie and once again, XH didn't have the guts to overrule it. Effectively, this woman has successfully kept DD and her dad apart for a year which obviously is not on.
He's also 'supported' by a deluded and quite toxic family so getting the message through is often impossible.
How to handle it - shall I make a call to him or arrange to talk to him face to face (albeit, if I did that option I wouldn't be surprised to drive all the way down there only to find her or another member of his family there as well and that's not what I want) so I'm leaning towards calling him when I know he will be at work and I can speak to him one on one with no one eavesdropping or guiding his responses.
It's 'her' house (although I can't imagine he's not paying towards it now, they've been married for 5 years) but whilst she may be wielding some power over him because of that, there is no excuse to allow her to select one of his two children (from our marriage) and reject just one of them and prevent him from having contact with that child. I've had some ok conversations on the phone with him in the past so am wondering whether to try this again.
Thoughts? Way forward? How to approach?
I need to do something tomorrow as he's going to have to step up and help significantly (far more significantly than he was ever imagining he would with regard to the transport for her to get down to see him at Xmas in the first place) and because this needs sorting quite quickly, I need to sort this shit out with his wife and with him as a matter of urgency.
Thank you wise Mumsnetters.
In all honesty I would stop trying to make him do anything and would instead concentrate all your efforts into making a great Christmas for your children with you. It's going to be impossible to get him to be a proper father and this is going to be hurtful for your children but if you can show them that you love and value them you'll be able to provide the love and stability they need
I have obviously been doing that - but every time something like this happens it breaks her heart a bit more. And the next time, a bit more, and the next time a bit more.
It's just not right. It's only hurtful for her - agonisingly for her her brother is not on the shit list and also due to being able to solo travel due to his age, is able to maintain contact. Sadly DD is Scapegoat of the Family and routinely singled out for special (extra shitty) treatment.
I think your DD is old enough to have a discussion with. Ask her what she would like you to do?
If she says she does not want to see her father then support her with this decision. She may need you to explain to him why or your help for her to write to him.
If she wants to see her father and maintain a relationship with him then support her with that. Be firm with XH and tell him how much he has upset her, maybe suggest that they only meet in your home town without his wife for now for short periods until they have had a chance to build back their relationship.
Your XH will have to live with the consequences of his actions as she is old enough to form her own views of him now. All you need to do is be there for her when he inevitably lets her down again.
In a different but similar situation, where exH was doing something without a thought about how his DC felt about it, I eventually decided how to act.
Explaining: doesn't really work, he sees it as criticism, which he was never good at accepting.
Trying to tell him it's just not on to do things that hurt his children: he would reject this as me trying to tell him what to do.
So I just used to describe, in a non- blaming way, what the DC experienced." DC have been in tears again about X. DC told me they feel y. DC say they're feeling left out".
No instructions, no requests. But no sparing of his feelings.
That brought about a change .
What do you think is likely to work with your ex, and what, however justified, is likely to put his back up/ get in the way?
Having said that, I can completely empathise with a desire to give him a good kick, tell him if DDs not welcome at his, he has no alternative but to make arrangements to see her elsewhere, and what happens for each child, although not needing to be exactly the same, must be at least roughly balanced, or contact will have to be reconsidered at a court.
Obviously I'd like to get his heart and rip it out through his neck - but, tends to lead to a severe prison term and even just being incredibly assertive won't work.
I'm thinking v v softly softy gently gently, as much as it pains me.
She DOES want contact, she's always said so - but that woman from hell is contact-blocking.
Let's put it like this, it couldn't be any worse than it is really, I mean she's in a hinterland where she's 90% NC in terms of face to face contact, the rest of the time she's bombarded with videos and pics of her half sister (just to rub that bit more salt in the wounds). So if he doesn't change, no harm no foul - they can't apply much more punitive measures!
I was your dd as a dc.
As an adult I let df back into my life and that of my dc.
Imo /e the sooner your dd accepts her df is a mouse not a man she can move on with her life - without him in it.
Like ripping a plaster off - much easier.
When your exh realises he has lost his dd he can work out it wasn't her bad behaviour but that of his dw that crumbled their relationship
If he wants it fight for dd then that's the time he will atm he isn't man enough.
Two points to your post Tinsel and thank you for sharing what your experience was. Firstly, I have raised the option of going fully NC but I think that she knows this will likely lead to an almost impossible to overcome situation with regard to the entire rest of that side of her family as well - it's not just him you see, she'll effectively become 100% fully NC with all of them as well, including her half sister and her cousin both of whom she also loves very much.
He's also 'lost' his daughter though hasn't he and it hasn't created any navel-gazing. My understanding is that he's got a Character Disorder, so he doesn't feel guilt or shame or that horrible icky feeling you get when you know you've hurt someone. If you never get that feeling you don't feel bad and therefore there's no incentive to change because there's no negative to it. I firmly believe he will NEVER get it.
I don't think he will fight - ever - but I am wondering if a quiet and gentle word might help? I am literally now not going to get DD down for this Xmas trip this year unless I literally drive her down there, stay in a hotel for 2 nights with no one around me over Xmas or go there and back for six hours on a coach because there are no trains running. All at my expense, both time and money. Again. Forever picking up the pieces.
There is very little you can do to force contact. I would be very clear to your DD that this is his loss.
Having grown up in a similar situation, the conversation you need to be having is with your DS. His relationship with his sister could be irreparably damaged by this. He needs to understand that treating his Dsis differently is cruel. It will be a horrible discussion to have, but he needs to understand the dynamics at play here.
My DS? Do you mean my DH - what's my son got to go with it (sorry, confused @SisterhoodisPowerful
PP means that your son needs to understand that what these people are doing to his sister is wrong. Why is he colluding with this by maintaining contact and a relationship with this woman?
Atm he won't feel he has 'lost' her, he will be blaming her behaviour and not accepting any responsibility for her not being around.
He doesn't have or maintain a relationship with her! He has one with his dad. The only reason contact is 'maintained' and bear in mind he's 18 now, is because he drives it all himself. That's the only reason it takes place. He loves his dad and whilst it's wrong what is dad is doing to DD, it shouldn't affect his being able to still have a relationship with his father if he wants it. He's not the one in the wrong here ok and I won't have him brought into it - if he stopped seeing his dad it would have absolutely no effect on anything at all so I must apologise but I don't want to get into an argument about the irrelevance of this aspect (although I totally accept there is some associated relevance), but it's not the core issue that needs resolving here. XH and step-harridan are the culprits and the ones responsible.
Hey Tinsel can you re-post or explain say who it is you're referring to as I honestly don't understand who or which HE you're talking about :-).
Your exh won't feel like he has lost dd because he justifies her absence by blaming her behavior - not his own.
As a child in the situation as your DS, I had no idea how my behaviour was colluding with my father & stepmother or the consequences it had for my sister. If I could go back, I would have walked away from my father & stepmother when I was 14. I haven’t had a relationship with my father for 20 years now, my relationship with my sister is still fractured by the years of emotional and psychological abuse she had from my father/ stepmother. That’s why I think you need to speak to your son. Your DD is very unlikely to have a relationship with her father. She has a chance with her brother. I would focus on that.
Ah ok gotcha!!! Soz, been a long day.
Yes, he and his missus blame everyone but themselves - but in point of fact, the one thing they can't blame is her behaviour because she's a little love. They must have some really active imaginations to come up with stuff which literally never happened, which could have required such a total cutting off of contact.
When I say they can't blame her behaviour I mean DD's
I would like to focus back on the core issue of how to tackle, what to do, how to do whatever it is, whether to do it as if I'm going to do something, I need to do it tomorrow.
I agree with other PP's. You cannot force an adult (your ex) to have contact. That may be hard for your DD to accept, understand etc but it is HIS choice. Yes his new wife might be a bitch (certainly my ex's partner is a fucking cow) but he is their (meaning your DS and your DD) father. And he is a shit one. I dont remember how old DD is but sadly as with many broken families she will need to grow up faster and hear more unpleasant stuff than you might want. So stop protecting ex. As for his toxic family again nothing to do with you. Focus on your family and the time that you have with them.
It is sad, it is sick, the family courts dont get it, neither do most people but this is your DD reality.
So you have just asked what you should do? Email or text him to state the dates and times that DD will be available for contact. Ex to collect and drop back. Perhaps get DD to buy a little present for her half sister than can be sent in the post if need be. DS is technically an adult - I agree he should support his sister more. But he wont at the moment so ignore that too.
I feel if I don't get her there then she misses out on a contact and it's my fault...... and that breaks my heart, literally.
Meaning she won't get to see the cousin she loves and was looking forward to spending 3 days with, or her grandparents, or her half sister (we've already brought pressies for them all). It doesn't seem fair....
I haven't been molly coddly with her. The poor sod has had to suck up a LOT of misery and harsh reality from about the age of 8. More than anyone should have to, any child.
Although of course on the one hand, I don't want her to go and a. be exposed to the bitch stepmum from hell and b. the dad who even when she does see him often falls short of what he's meant to be as a dad and how much he (doesn't) make her feel loved - even when she's with him.
I'm very torn......
Part of me does wish she's go NC - not for my sake you understand, but for her own. But that's something that I really really cannot influence, only guide and advise and discuss, she's got to come to that conclusion herself if and when she chooses that route. I don't think she's there yet which is why 'hanging her out to dry' (which is what it feels like I'd be doing) just feels wrong. Hope that makes sense?
I almost feel to get through this Christmas by whatever means, then see what next year brings. But I also think if she's to consider changing her contact or poss. go NC, that she needs to get some counselling along that journey to help her make sense of it in a way that no matter how supportive I am, will undoubtedly be bringing baggage with me.
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