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ExMIL Pressuring me to let Ex see DD - I don't know what to do

(76 Posts)
muminthecity Fri 26-Aug-11 12:28:55

DD is 6 in a few weeks and hasn't had any contact with her father for over 3 years. He was an awful partner to me, emotionally and physically abusive. I left him when DD was around a year old, after a particularly nasty episode where he kicked me across the room and punched me in the face several times.

Despite this, I continued to make it possible for him to see DD, arranging regular contact. He continually failed to show up, let her down at the last minute and was generally crap with her. He never really had much of a bond with her due to not spending any time with her. During the first 3 years of DD's life, his contact with her was off and on. He once went 6 months without seeing her, and at other times would want to see her every other day. He also constantly tried to persuade me to take him back.

3 years and 3 months ago, he had just come back into her life after a year of no contact and things were going relatively well, he was seeing her once a week and seemed to be making an effort with DD. However, after a couple of months of this he started trying to get me back again. I had several late night phone calls (sometimes at 3 or 4am), some were him declaring his love for me, others were nasty and abusive, name calling and wishing me and various members of my family dead. We argued about it, I started turning my phone off every night, this made him furious and I'd have hundreds of nasty messages every morning.

The last time I spoke to him was one morning in May 2008. He wanted to see DD that day but I refused as I was ill. He turned really vile, called me the most awful names imaginable and said some nasty things about DD as well. He said he wanted nothing more to do with me "or that fucking kid" ever again.

I took him at his word, changed my phone number and never contacted him again. However, I continued living at the same address for the next 2 years, so if he had desperately wanted contact (as he now says he did) he could have come to our house, or written to us. He never did.

His mother stayed in close contact with DD throughout all of this, she visits fairly regularly (every couple of months), buys her lots of presents and takes her for days out. For the last few years, she has never mentioned her son (my ex), he has always been the elephant in the room that neither of us talk about.

However, over the last few weeks, ExMIL has stepped up her contact with DD, seeing her more often and making more of an effort with me as well. She has now started to talk about Ex. She feels that I am being unfair, that he should be able to see DD, and that she would arrange it, he would see DD at her house and I wouldn't need to have any contact with him. She says he wants to rebuild a relationship with DD.

DD talks about her dad constantly. She has vague memories of him, and says she really wants to see him. I think she just likes the idea of having a dad, and is curious about him. I don't think it's because she loves or misses him, she never knew him enough to! ExMIL has heard DD talking about her dad and thinks I'm being unkind, that if it's what DD wants, I should let her see him.

I don't trust him in the slightest. I have given him numerous chances and he has always let her down. I have no doubt that he would do the same again, only it would be much harder for DD now that she's old enough to really understand. I also know how nasty and violent he can be and I don't want my DD exposed to that.

I would be grateful for any opinions. What would you do in my position? And what would you say to DD when she asks for her dad?

Sorry this is so long, thanks for making it this far!

lifechanger Fri 26-Aug-11 12:47:14

Would you trust your MIL to keep your daughter safe if you agreed to supervised contact (by her) without you have to see him at all? I totally get why you don't want him in your life, but feel that it is a tougher call to make to not allow your daughter to know her own dad, even if it does lead to her realising he is not a very nice person.

muminthecity Fri 26-Aug-11 13:18:10

Thanks for the reply. In answer to your question, no I don't think MIL would be able to keep DD safe if Ex decided to kick off. He has beaten his mother up before and smashed her house up. MIL would do her best for DD but wouldn't be able to stop him from saying or doing nasty, violent things.

I just don't think getting to know her dad is enough of a reason to put my baby at risk.

ChitChattingaway Fri 26-Aug-11 13:27:37

If I were you I would say no. When your DD is older she will be more able to cope with making contact with him, and to deal with any repurcussions - of which their sounds like could be many. If you allow contact now, then courts can enforce continued contact. If you wait until your DD is 12, then her views will be taken into consideration and if she doesn't want to see him, she won't have to.

Your ex-MIL is probably under a lot of her pressure from her son to see his daughter.

You need to stand firm - and if she continues to put pressure on you - or allows your ex to see your DD on the sly - you can always stop her own access to your DD. Not a nice thing to do, but if she's willing to put your DD at risk then that's what you have to do.

My DSister had an ex like this. 13 years on he STILL occasionally tries to make contact with her and bully her into getting back together with him. For the 6 years that her ex saw her DSs she was put through living hell (court mandated). As soon as they were old enough to legally make the decision for themselves they both decided to stop seeing him and her life has got sooooo much better!

Seabright Fri 26-Aug-11 13:29:32

Your daughter has a right to a relationship with her father, it she wants and if she's capable of making that choice. Important - don't think about the rights of any adults involved, think about your daughter's rights, IMHO.

I think that what I would do is offer ExMil the chance to arrange a meeting between DD and her father, with ExMIL present at all times, in a public, busy place. That way, he will feel a social pressure to behave well. Plus, if they haven't seen each other for a long time, a public place (playground, zoo etc) will probably be a less awkward meeting place for all concerned.

lifechanger Fri 26-Aug-11 13:29:58

I see why you're so worried, given his treatment of his mother.

Is he likely to take it to court if you stick to your guns and say no?

PhilipJFry Fri 26-Aug-11 13:31:55

I would also say no. This isn't just a man who could just "let her down", he's someone with a history of violence, who in the past has attacked his partner and his own mother. Though it's possible that if you say no to your ex-MIL she may arrange visits anyway. It's a difficult situation to be in sad

muminthecity Fri 26-Aug-11 13:38:28

Thanks for your views. It is such a difficult situation. In many ways it would be better all round if ExMIL wasn't so close to DD, but they have a great relationship now and I wouldn't want to ruin that.

If she did arrange visits with Ex on the sly DD would tell me about it. She's not capable of keeping secrets, thankfully, even if she was told to.

It will never get to court. Ex has made absolutely no attempt to initiate contact in the last few years, despite having my address and living a 10 minute drive away. He has always been happy to sit back and wait for me or his mother to hand DD to him on a plate. In fact, I expect it's MIL who is pressing for contact, I doubt he is really that bothered. He will take it if all the effort is put in for him by others and all he has to do is show up. Otherwise, he'd do nothing about it.

planetpotty Fri 26-Aug-11 13:54:43

This is is such a tough one for you and im so sorry for what you have been through.

Was he ever violent towards your DD when you were together?

I dont have the answer for you im affraid but what I do know for a fact is .... people DO change even people who have done things like your Ex has done. Its very hard to believe it when its you who has been treated so badly but people are capable of changing.

If you trust your Ex MIL maybe you could agree to a short visit and see how it goes, but make it clear this is all you are comfortable with for the mean time and why - would he set all this up and then do something stupid? Your Ex MIL obviously knows what he has been capable of in the past so must understand that you will want some kind of assurances that your DD will be cast iron safe. Having the arrangement in writing I think is a good idea even if its in a text message as then there is no messing around with confusion of dates/times.

I have some experience in this area and I find if you constantly ask yourself is this truly best for the child when everything else is completely stripped away you dont go far wrong.

Good luck smile

slightlymiffedmother Fri 26-Aug-11 13:59:35

I would also say no.

This is a similar story to mine, contact kept up through the expartners mother. Lots of lies told by ex. His mother pressured me to let ex have contact which I allowed through the phone when my ds was 7ish, ds wanted to have his dad around. Ex purposely raised ds's hopes massively then dropped him like a hot stone. I prepared for this by contacting a child councelling org to help ds with the pain that followed. Ds didn't want any further contact with his father but still wanted contact with his fathers family.

This was not an easy arrangement and 9 years later ds has no contact at all with ex or family. It got quite nasty but with the right support he seems to be managing ok, (I worry about it still which is why I'm checking the boards to see if I could have done it differently, my only consolation is ds was only exposed to exp's behaviour over the phone).

All I would say is try to keep the arrangements between your ex and your ex's family seperate. If your exmil tries to raise the subject of your ex just say that you and him are arranging things between yourselves/mediation and you don't want her relationship with her grandchild to be affected by this. Try to go the legal route if at all possible as it takes the direct pressure off you if things start deteriorating.

muminthecity Fri 26-Aug-11 14:35:29

Thanks again for the messages. Those of you who are suggesting short meetings in public places with MIL present - I have no doubt that for the first few weeks/months Ex will behave impeccably, will be wonderful to DD and she will love him to bits. But what happens next? I can't insist that they meet for short times in public places forever can I? Eventually he will get bored and walk away as he has done at least 4 or 5 times before, or he will get comfortable and secure in the arrangement and start to show his true colours.

He has never been violent to DD before, but if he can do it to me and his mother, and most other people he has been in contact with, what's to stop him eventually doing it to DD?

charitygirl Fri 26-Aug-11 14:46:42

ITA with your last post. I would say he is just too much of a danger, and there is a growing body of thought that meaningful contact can be facilitated by phone, email, letter and skype. If he is genuinely remorseful - which it doesn't sound like - he will be happy with this offer. As will your ex MIL if your DD is her real concern, and not done naive desire to play happy families with her scumbag son.

Either that, or a contact centre, though I don't know if you have to have been to court to access these.

waterrat Fri 26-Aug-11 15:38:43

I really think you have to say no here. The people who are saying your daughter deserves a relationship with him are not taking on board how dangerous he is. You are the adult and you have to take a decision that protects your child - that's your job as her parent. You have done a huge amount to try and faciliate contact. he is abusive and violent and you know that his mother is not capable of protecting your daughter. It is difficult, because you don't want to hurt your MIL.

For me, in your writing the major worry is that your MIL is not enough protection against him. What about suggesting supervised contact at a supervision centre? Your MIL could go with him. You could suggest it as working towards proper contact later.

Presumably he would never keep to the arrangement so proper contact won't happen!

I would be concerned at an abduction risk to be honest.

OneMoreChap Fri 26-Aug-11 16:00:19

This is not about you, or the loathsome ex, but about the DD.
{incidentally, 6? Not 'baby'}

My XW started down a "you can't see the children" path. That was straightened out pretty quickly via lawyers. I'd ask MiL why he hasn't gone down this path...

Never been violent towards DD?
MiL maintained contact?

I find it very difficult to envisage a position in which you wouldn't be compelled to allow access albeit possibly supervised at first. In which light, I'd agree with waterrat's suggestion - offer supervised first.

But why an abduction risk?

muminthecity Fri 26-Aug-11 16:00:43

waterrat - Abduction isn't a concern. He doesn't actually want her, never has. There's no way he'd ever want full custody. I don't particularly want to arrange a contact centre anyway. Why should I waste my time sorting it all out? He won't show up, and yet again it will have been me that's made all of the effort. Surely if he wants to see her it should be him arranging the contact centre etc? That would never happen though.

muminthecity Fri 26-Aug-11 16:03:01

OMC - Never violent toward DD YET. This doesn't mean it will never happen. He is more than capable, has no qualms about beating women, why would DD be any different?

Obviously if it went to court I would have to allow some form of contact, but it never will go to court, because he's just not that bothered.

WibblyBibble Fri 26-Aug-11 16:07:22

So, in light of last post, why not suggest to ExMIL that he have contact in a contact centre due to the history of violence (assuming she knows about this), and that he is welcome to organise that. That puts the responsibility onto him, and you don't need to do anything more- if he doesn't do it then his loss! If she keeps on asking in a way that pressures you to organise it instead of him, just keep saying 'He is welcome to arrange contact at the contact centre and I will bring daughter along'.

WibblyBibble Fri 26-Aug-11 16:09:01

Onemorechap, with respect (snrk), it might help if you didn't project your own relationship past onto the OP's situation- presumably you weren't violent towards your ex?

KaraStarbuckThrace Fri 26-Aug-11 16:14:14

I do feel for your exMIL, it must be hard being a mother to a violent thug sad
I think you need to stand your ground and be firm with her, I can understand you wanting to keep this man away from your DD.
He clearly has anger management issues and I do wonder if he would lash out at your dd, like you said he has no qualms about beating up women including his own mother!
The trouble is I think the law may be on his side if he decides to go through the courts.
I think at 6yo your DD is too young to make an informed opinion about her dad, and too young to be told what he is really like. So you need to do all you can to protect her and your exMIL has to understand and respect this.

muminthecity Fri 26-Aug-11 16:29:03

I think I will let MIL know that I will allow contact but only through contact centre. This is exactly the same as saying I will never allow contact as she and I both know he will never bother to arrange it.

Does anyone have any suggestions of what I can say to DD when she asks to see her dad?

OneMoreChap Fri 26-Aug-11 16:33:51

WibblyBibble I didn't think I was projecting my past relationship?

I wan't violent towards my children; nor was this git, who is - FWIW - a real lowlife. I went to lawyers; he could.

Rather than being all "you can't,you can't" I agreed with waterrat, say contact centre first. I agree with both you and OP there's no conceivable reason why she should arrange it.

As an aside with respect (snrk)? I don't know why you should respect me; I haven't seen enough of your posts to know whether you deserve respect. I accord it out of politeness.

fuzzywuzzy Fri 26-Aug-11 16:43:17

I'd say contact centre as well, and structured contact sessions times, so every other weekend or whatever, so he's not messing you all about again.

And I'd leave it up to him to arrange entirely. But before the contact sessions begin I would speak to the contact centre maanger and make them aware of ex's violent tendencies.

HerHissyness Fri 26-Aug-11 17:42:38

is she asking to see her dad already?

When she brings it up, i'd tell her the truth tbh, in an age appropriate way.

That Daddy was mean to mummy, that mummy had to protect herself and DD and that you think it best to find safe ways to see him, as long as it's positive and good for DD.

Say that you have given him and his mother ways to safely see you, and you hope that they will make the arrangements some day.

A guy like this has nothing constructive to offer a child. She's not going to learn anything decent from him, and in time he may hurt her, as he did her mother and her grandmother, his OWN mother.

He is an animal and ought to be behind bars tbh. men like him don't deserve DDs or DSs for that matter.

ShirleyKnot Fri 26-Aug-11 17:54:25

<slopes in>

Nope. No way. Let him take you to court. Violent wanker.

muminthecity Fri 26-Aug-11 18:08:28

Thanks Shirl - Short, sweet and to the point. Think wanker is a bit generous though. CuntfacedArseholeWankerBastardDrillBit feels more appropriate grin

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