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What do I tell the children?

(12 Posts)
BearGrylls Thu 16-Jun-11 22:50:11

I will try and keep this brief, but please bear with me. I left my abusive ex almost four years ago, we have 3 DS of 15, 12 and 7. Contact has been sporadic to say the least. During this time I have been through every scenario regarding contact from him saying he wanted to see them every week, down to a letter saying he wanted no contact at all. Each time he goes 6-8 months without seeing them and then gets back in touch full of regrets etc - this usually coincides with his latest relationship break-up.

We are back to the no contact situation, he gets bored easily. After the last time (approx a year ago) I told him this was his last chance to prove he was capable of being a constant presence in the their lives. He has failed to do so, the days of non contact became weeks, and now we are at a situation where he hasn't seen them for two and a half months.

As its fathers day this weekend, they've been doing crafts for him at their respective cub/scout groups and have asked where they can post their cards. I can't answer this as I do not know where he lives! After we split he moved with his job so they were used to only seeing him every couple of weeks so they haven't really questioned the time lapse yet. He no longer communicates with me on any level, consequently I had to get in touch with the CSA who traced his work details and are pursuing him this way as he does not support his children at the minute, though even when he did this was haphazard, but I didn't care because he was seeing his children and it was more important to me that he had a relationship with our boys as it was what they wanted (though he has a very well paid job, drives a new merc and takes several holidays a year so can afford to support them).

Knowing him as I do, he will want to resume contact with them in a few months time, full of regret but how many more times do I let him do this? Its not the boys fault yet I feel they are being punished still for me leaving him. I sought legal advise the last time he did this and was advised to tell him this was his last chance and that if he ballsed up then I would cut contact completely and he would need to pursue me through the courts to gain access. I know he wouldn't. It upsets me that he doesn't want a relationship with our children, but I can't make him and they are such wonderful kids. When they ask why they are not seeing their dad I want to say 'because he is a wanker!' but am stumped as to what to say. The eldest is very astute and has an inkling of how things stand at the minute. I don't want them to be continually let down and hurt for them. So, when they ask, how to explain the situation? I make excuses for him as it is - 'he is working away, doing overtime, phone is in a bad area' etc which drives me mad. Do I continue to shelter them from the reality? Its doing my head in so any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance.

FabbyChic Thu 16-Jun-11 23:15:38

The older ones are old enough to know the truth, when they ask where their dad is answer them with the truth i.e I don't know.

fizzfiend Thu 16-Jun-11 23:25:51

This breaks my heart...what a complete and utter wanker. How dare he just come back when he feels like it...because it's all about him and he doesn't even think for one second about the kids.

The good thing is that the 2 eldest are old enough to be told something approximating the truth. Forget making excuses for them...he does not deserve it. But I would soften up the facts a bit. Maybe tell them some people find life and the problems we have to face very difficult and that their dad is one of these people. So when most people try to be strong your dad gets scared and doesn't know what to do so he runs away and hides. Emphasise that this is not a good thing, that he should learn how to be brave, but he hasn't managed that yet. The most important thing to say, as I am sure you know, is IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. Dads do not run away because their kids upset them. Your dad is trying to learn how to be brave and deal with problems, but it has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.

So is a terrible place for you to be in. Such a f***ing arse..he does not deserve kids.

pickgo Fri 17-Jun-11 00:11:14

Oh that's so sad for them.

Not sure what I'd say either. I suppose you must be as honest as you can be, but, as above poster says, soften it as much as you can without misleading them.

I wouldn't say the stuff about learning to be brave (sorry I think it's just veiled criticism and will cause problems if the tosser dad comes back and sees them again). I'd say you don't know why he isn't in touch, but you DO KNOW it's not their fault.

Do you have a GD, uncle, good male friend that can be relied on to see them regularly? Even if it's only once a month, if they can count on it I think it'll help your DSs a lot.

Does your X have any family that could talk to him about the DCs and what a selfish wanker X is being?

BearGrylls Fri 17-Jun-11 07:42:32

Thanks for your replies. I'll take some time over the weekend to have a proper chat to them about things. He is selfish beyond belief and when tackled about it can only respond by hurling abuse, shouting and being very threatening. I am close to my family and moved to be near them when I left him as we never spoke for years-typical scenario of being isolated from friends and family when we were together. I try to keep them out of it and say very little as they despise my ex with a passion so aren't very objective in giving advice.

BearGrylls Fri 17-Jun-11 07:48:40

He has no family that he is in touch with, they've all wronged him at some point apparently! And no close friends, just work colleagues. He is the textbook 'loser', I almost fell off my chair reading the article on another post, how I wish I'd read it 16 years ago.

PaigeTurner Fri 17-Jun-11 08:23:28

I have no solution to offer, but wanted to let you know that I'm sure your DC will, in the future, realise you did everything you could for them in this respect.

My father was terribly unreliable also, my mum used to tell me that he found it difficult to look after himself, let alone anyone else. I accepted this (later found out he was an alcoholic and was only bothered about seeing me when dry). My life is definitely no worse for his sporadic contact and I'm sure your DC will feel the same.

He sounds like a prize shit though. Well done for persevering so far.

MizzyFizzy Fri 17-Jun-11 08:38:58

Several of my friends have been through this....they have told their children the truth basically like FabbyChic said.

Variations on....

"I'd love you to be able to send Dad his card, but I don't know where he lives."

and ....

"I don't know when Dad is going to see you next, he hasn't been in touch to let me know."

All the truth...but without the details.

FWIW my friends' children who have been through this are now mid teens and have never had regular contact with their Dads (Dads choice) - they now take their Dads lack of interest in them as just 'one of those things'.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 17-Jun-11 09:17:00


Have you actually considered that your ex is probably a narcissist (read up on NPD and see if that rings any bells).

Am very glad you made the break from him; he was harming you all.

All you can do is continue to protect your children from their malign waste of space Dad. It is not their fault nor yours he is this way; his own family did that.

Give your children as well good male role models.

cestlavielife Fri 17-Jun-11 14:07:01

dont make excuses.

do you know where his work is? you could send cards there.

otherwise tell DC - dont know where he is because he has not told me - but we can keep them in a box in the attic for next time he stops by.

BearGrylls Fri 17-Jun-11 14:52:09

I've read a bit on NPD today and he does fit a lot of the pointers. After I left I discovered so much that he had told me that was rubbish - said he went to a public school (local comp), that he had a degree from cambridge (er, no he didn't) etc. He is still spinning the same yarns but with even more exaggeration - told the DS's he has bought 2 properties abroad for example. I can take the nonsense because I know it is, but bluffing to the boys was just absurd so I have been telling them that what he says is not necessarily true - yet I feel so bad shattering their illusions as they still seem so innocent.

We work in the same industry so know a lot of the same people, though they do not know we were ever a couple. It drives me mad that he tells people how wonderful his DS's are yet doesn't even know what sport they do as school or their hobbies! I didn't have my dad around when I was growing up and suppose I feel guilty for them being in the same situation as I was, though I don't feel it affected me much.

I thought about sending the cards to his work but then I wonder why on earth I should as to me, he isn't a father at all. The DS's love their step granddad to bits and are really close to my brother and we go on holiday together so they do have go male role models.

Thanks again for all your comments.

janetsplanet Fri 17-Jun-11 21:45:47

I stopped contact between my kids and their dad. At first he wasnt supporting the kids, but a relationship was more important in my eyes. I stopped contact when he threatened to snatch youngest (she gets DLA so comes with money)
It all went to court and i got sole residency. He didnt bother to turn up twice and on the third visit he got contact weekly, with a few rules laid out.
He broke the rules 3 times within the first few weeks, but still I allowed him contact. He was pissballing about with times even though we had a contact order.
the final straw came when i realised he wasnt using the booster seat for DD1 that I had provided. His excuse was that his girlfriends grandaughter didnt need one and was younger than DD1 so why should she need one (required by law)
I told him that if he wasnt prepared to use the car seats I provided, not to bother picking the kids up.
He hasnt since that day - 30th January 2010
he has asked to see them since and I have told him to take me to court if he wants to. he hasnt. the girls get cards at birthdays but thats it. he has told DS that he is no son of his, so he gets nothing

of course its all my fault

i tell the girls that they can see their dad again, when he goes to see the lady to sort it out properly. they accept that most times

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