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Moving on - ex inlaws and ExH

(37 Posts)
Llareggub Thu 11-Oct-12 10:44:17

Before I start I want to qualify this as saying that I am currently suffering from anxiety so probably not seeing the wood for the trees. To cut a long story short, I separated from alcoholic exH in January this year. I found myself a full-time, went back to work and have been alone with the two DCs ever since. ExH lives with his parents. He has continued to drink and so he has only had access to the DCs under supervision from his parents.

The inlaws and I have a fairly difficult relationship. Their son's drinking caused problems between us as they blamed me for a lot of if and don't see that it was his drinking that caused our marriage split - they maintain that it was partly my fault too.

They have offered me support but it comes at a price - they turn up as and when they want to "do jobs" which I have not asked for. I feel like my house is not my own. They criticise me and recently exFIL told me off for not looking after my DCs because I asked DS to put on his own seatbelt. I feel like their offer of support comes with the attitude that I am not capable of looking after my children.

My ex told me last week that he would take me to court for the children and now I feel like I cannot trust them to provide support. I understand that they should continue to have a relationship with their grandparents but I feel like it might come at too high a price.

I feel totally ground down by it all. My GP has prescribed ADs and I have been off sick this week. All I can do is sleep when the DCs are at school. My ex MIL has just left, and we have argued. I told her that I found it difficult to trust her motives given what my ex has said. She refuses to get FIL to apologise for the comment he made to me. She wants us all to sit down together to discuss but I cannot bring myself to sit, just me, in a room with three people who dislike me.

All I want is to be left alone to get on with my life without them in it. I am happy for my children to see them but I don't want a relationship with them of any kind. I don't want her standing in my kitchen or making decisions about when my lawn needs cutting.

Just so I can't be accused of drip feeding later, I should add that I once came home from holidays (pre split) to find they'd painted my living room a different colour. Of course when I challenged this she said they were only trying to help. Which of course, is what she says to me now.

I do need back up for childcare and if she is willing to do that then great. But I don't want or need them walking into my house and deciding to do stuff. I find it incredibly intrusive and stressful.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Oct-12 10:56:11

You have to separate yourself from the family as well as the exH. Painting your living room a different colour????.... bloody hell! .....that goes way beyond helping out with a few jobs and crosses a bit fat, MYOB line. Your home should be your place of safety and relaxation. I'd be on ADs if people were repainting my house without my permission!!

Get childcare somewhere else, even if it costs you money you don't have. If they have keys, get them back or change the locks. Tell them that they're welcome to see the grandchildren when it's convenient to you but leave it a few weeks before suggesting a meet-up.

They won't like it but a clean break is what's required if you're to get off the ADs

ivykaty44 Thu 11-Oct-12 11:45:09

Do they have a key? if so change the locks pronto, ask around for a local handy man.

I agree that there is no way I would want to sit down and talk about my dc with three people I don't like and I am feeling the same way as you.

In some ways I wonder if there doing jobs is a way of controlling you and making sure that they stay in control of you. By making you reliant on them they feel they are in control and can see their grandchildren and I doubt this situation has much to do with their own son. They know their own son is a dead beat drunk and trying to lay blame with you suits their mind set very nicely <need cynic emotion>

Which could well mean they will not like the changes you are about to make - but you being for warned is for armed and therefore you will be able to take steps to take back control of the situation.

Stop them just arriving in your home and lay down clear and easy contact with the dc for your dh to see his dc. If they try to say no to this - keep repeating the same thing

I have to move on with my life and so do you.

If they try to change arrangements just say

It isn't dobable so can't help.

If you need help around the house then ask friends who they use - yes you will have to pay but this is better than being depressed with ex inlaws running your life and I guess part of your own state is down to them

ivykaty44 Thu 11-Oct-12 11:46:26

sorry that should read - I am not feeling the same way as you

ThatBintAgain Thu 11-Oct-12 11:49:26

Blimey, they sound mental, I'm not surprised you're struggling.

Totally agree with what's already been said - you need some boundaries to keep them out of your house and your life.

I'm not an expert but I'd imagine an alcoholic living with his parents is not going to get all that far in a custody claim?

daffydowndilly Thu 11-Oct-12 12:27:31

I empathise so much with you, as I have gone through a similar experience- dysfunctional marriage, alcoholic H who moved back home to mummy and daddy, in laws who try and put blame onto me... I also have said he can have contact with DCs at his parents home as he cannot be trusted not to drink with the children around, I am trying to divorce him and he will contest contact arrangements I suspect, although he makes no effort to see them, it has now been 8 weeks since the last time. It is all a game to him. I dont live close to in laws though and they are beginning to tell me that he is behaving as badly towards them as he did to me. I don't know what to advise. I am working on boundary setting and it is so hard, as they are constantly being pushed against. And I need to remind myself not to do things out of guilt or false responsibility, as it ends up hurting me and in turn my ability to look after my children. I need to put my needs first and look after myself, so I can be the best parent I can, as I cannot rely on their father. And through whatever means I can, talking to people- friends, people i meet through support groups like al anon, therapy if I decide I need it, detaching.

Llareggub Thu 11-Oct-12 12:32:46

Thank you - one of the things about this is that they have been this way for so long I was starting to think perhaps it was me being unreasonable. So many people have said that I am lucky to have such supportive in laws and I have smiled weakly and said nothing.

I am in a nightmare. My job is really demanding and requires early starts and school breakfast club starts at 8am so sometimes I need an earlier start than that. I certainly can't change my hours but I am looking for a different job. In lots of ways the one I have is mostly perfect for my situation - flexible, can work from home etc.

My family are 150 miles away and I am toying with the idea of moving closer to them, which presents a logistical challenge I just cannot cope with at the moment. Plus I have some wonderful friends here and my children love their school.

I know no one would give the DCs to an alcoholic dad full time but I have wondered if they are trying to make the case for them to be with their grandparents and alcoholic dad? But that could just me worrying due to the anxiety. I really don't have the fight in me for a court case, no matter how unlikely it is he'd win.

One of the reasons why I have been happy for her to provide childcare was because I thought it important for the DCs to have a relationship with their grandparents, plus the alternative is full time nursery which isn't ideal. I don't mind paying for childcare at all, but need to be sure that it is for the right reasons ie me putting myself before the children.

I think it is very much about control on their part. I need to find a way to take control back, don't I?

ivykaty44 Thu 11-Oct-12 12:41:27

need to be sure that it is for the right reasons ie me putting myself before the children

you must remember that your dc need a happy mother and to be a happy mother sometimes your needs will come first to insure that your dc needs come first - it is just the way things are.

Yes you need to make small firm steps to put yourself back in control and take the control of your own life out of your in laws grasp.

Small steps can be limiting conversation, as you want a private life and limiting conversation stops arguments. Making sure the dc are cared for at her house and not your house, so that she is more like a CM and you go home and shut your own front door and she doesn't enter your space

Lemonylemon Thu 11-Oct-12 12:42:40

OP: Definitely time to disengage from them. How old are your DCs? How many do you have? What's the time of your early work start? Have you looked into contacting Sure Start? Definitely change the locks. Your ILs are way too deep into your personal life now. Can you contact a solicitor too?

daffydowndilly Thu 11-Oct-12 12:42:59

You do need to take control of your own life back! And that is so hard when you are not used to it anymore.

I did move closer to my family, but had less to keep me there.

You only have one life and you need to be happy!!

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Oct-12 12:45:33

Yes, it's about control. Grandparents have very few 'rights' over grandchildren, but if you're worried about a court case you have to be careful that you don't give them the opportunity to claim that they are an essential part of their grandchildren's lives, supporting the father, and separation of any kind would cause the children problems. If your children are in nursery and enjoy sporadic visits to and from GPs that make them 'caring GPs' rather than 'in loco parentis'.

And it's also about peace of mind. Break-ups are very stressful. Being a lone parent is very stressful. The last thing you need is someone marching around your house like they own the place, demanding reconciliations and blaming you for their DS's addiciton problems. They may see it as 'helping' but if it leaves you feeling depressed and angry, it really isn't helping at all.

I'm sure these people love your kids but so do your parents and they're not trampling all over your life and your feelings, are they? Children are very accepting of any situation. They won't suffer in the slightest if they see your exILs occasionally rather than having them in their faces.

olgaga Thu 11-Oct-12 12:50:03

I agree with everything that's been said - this situation is just awful and is putting a huge amount of strain on you. The fact that you are managing to hold down a full-time job in these circumstances is amazing.

You are certainly right about taking control back. Definitely change the locks should be at the top of your list! I would also look into nurseries/childminders in your area. Do you know if you would qualify for child tax credits?

It might make sense to move eventually, but there are lots of things you can do first to distance yourself. What's your current housing situation? Do you rent or own?

Do not be put off by your ex's threats - or any from them - about going to court.

It might help you to make a note of all these issues, then work it up into a problem/solution/action plan?

I would also recommend you get a copy of this book (cheap from Amazon), which is not only reassuring but really helps you communicate in all kinds of situations:

Llareggub Thu 11-Oct-12 12:52:00

They are 5 and 3. In some ways I have limited the contact they have and I think thisis what promoted the latest discussion with her this morning about setting up some sort of routine.

I have seen a solicitor who is progressing the financial separation but I need to save up for the divorce. I can't rely on money from my ex so I have to be very careful about how and when I spend money. I earn enough to pay for everything, just, but any extra will send me over the edge. He does give me money eventually but I have to nag for it, which again leaves me out of control.

The house is in joint names which is why I can't legally change the locks. I have had advice on this. I can't get a mortgage in my name alone as the mortgage is too big and I don't want to move until I have decided whether to move back to my family or not due to the costs of moving.

My ex texts me all the time and wants joint counselling etc which I have refused as I have no desire to live with an alcoholic again. In an ideal world I wouldn't need any help from anyone - I can cope so long as I don't get stuck on a motorway with no one to pick up my DCs.

Llareggub Thu 11-Oct-12 12:59:02

You are all amazing, thank you.

Yes I do get tax credits and they are a great help. I certainly wouldn't be able to make it work without them (are you reading this Dave Cameron?!)

I have coped amazingly well until this last week when it all came crashing down. The last straw was a cancelled meeting, believe it or not. There are loads of other things that have happened at once and I have shut the door on the world and have just slept for a week really.

I know ultimately I need to move back nearer my family but I really like where I live and there are so many work opportunities here compared to where I live currently.

I feel like screaming.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Oct-12 13:01:35

Don't go for a 'routine'. If you make a routine then they can argue that it would be wrong to change the routine, or move away from the area etc. etc. If you make contact sporadic then they are on the same footing as your own parents. For emergencies like getting stuck on a motorway, get your friends to help out... if you explain what's been going on they will be glad to step in.

You may not be able to change the locks on the house but you can add extra bolts and other safety measures that mean someone cannot gain access even if they have a front door key. You also need that divorce to start a.s.a.p. so that you can get legal measures to limit contact you etc. Could your parents lend/give you some money if you can't afford it solo?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Oct-12 13:05:52

Get the CSA onto your ex about the maintenance for the children btw. You don't need to be divorced to start that ball rolling.

olgaga Thu 11-Oct-12 13:09:53

I can understand you are torn between needing to be where jobs are, and where you family/support network is.

What will be happening to the house in relation to the financial settlement? If it is going to be sold anyway, is there any point delaying putting it on the market? Or are you stuck because of negative equity/debts?

Renting might be a good option for the short to medium term until you decide where you want to move permanently. That way at least you get to move on and achieve a bit of distance.

Do you have any friends in RL who can help you with some of the practicalities?

ivykaty44 Thu 11-Oct-12 13:11:31

you can't change the locks...but you can have an extra lock put in with a dead lock key that works from both sides of the door - this would of course be for security measures as you are a single woman living in a house with two dc wink and may feel this is a safety option to keep out unwanted visitors.

Have you thought about an au pair? if you have the room, some housekeeping and being with the dc after school etc. This would take away a lot of stress about travelling and getting stuck in traffic

Llareggub Thu 11-Oct-12 13:34:51

I have some really wonderful friends here who have been supportive both emotionally and practically.

My mother has just been on the phone and has offered me my grandmother's house to live in. I don't think anyone realised how badly I was coping until my brother rang earlier and invited me for Christmas and I burst into tears.

I have just been browsing t'interweb and have seen a very interesting looking job which is kind of related to my profession (in a way) but on less money. It is in my home town so it is cheaper there anyway so very tempted just to sell up and go for it. It would mean working on a Saturday but with a day off in the week but that might work well for me anyway.

With regard to the house we have agreed that it is mine. There is equity in it that is more or less equal to the deposit I paid when we bought it.

Lemonylemon Thu 11-Oct-12 13:45:51

OP: You could rent your present house, while moving into your grandmother's house. That would give you some extra income for a while. Agree with other posters about not allowing a "routine" because your ex and ILs may try to use it against you in the future.

Would you be better off care-wise by employing a childminder who could take your DC's earlier in the morning and then do the school drop off and pick up as well?

ivykaty44 Thu 11-Oct-12 14:00:38

Renting out the house could be very difficult as The house is in joint names and the Op isn't divorced which would mean that the Op's ex could say that if the house isn't needed as a family home for the dc then it will need to be sold.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 11-Oct-12 14:03:42

"With regard to the house we have agreed that it is mine"

Get that agreement formalised a.s.a.p. Again, you don't have to be divorced to get your house signed into your sole name. When my marriage broke up, I did exactly this several years before the divorce was finalised. I could afford the mortgage but my salary wasn't quite high enough for the mortgage company to accept me without a guarantor. My DM stood guarantor, the paperwork went through and that settled everything.

If your exH has pushy parents you really want this one tied up tighter than a duck's bum...

fuzzywuzzy Thu 11-Oct-12 14:04:15

Op you can have the house transferred in your name whilst retaining the mortgage under both your names. I did.

Also have you had council tax reduced as you're a single adult occupant?

Put dead bolts inside the house, do you have a back door exit? You could leave the deadbolts on inside the front door and exit via the back doors so anyone with keys to the front doors might have problems entering your house while you're out.

I'd be worried about in laws having a nose thro paperwork etc whilst you were out.

Don't start a routine involving inlaws and your children, the courts are big on retaining the status quo and continuity.
Use childminders & have friends ready to help in case of emergencies.

Seriously consider taking up your mums offer of moving in to your grans house, you might be pleasantly surprised at how nice it is being back amongst loved ones.

olgaga Thu 11-Oct-12 14:04:36

My mother has just been on the phone and has offered me my grandmother's house to live in.

That's great news. Go for it! You certainly can't go on like this. Pleased your family are stepping in like this.

Maybe your mum could come and stay with you for a while?

daffydowndilly Thu 11-Oct-12 16:24:34

I don't regret moving closer to my parents and siblings, it means that I have trusted backup, emotional support on the days where I feel I am not coping as well, and it is cheaper here, is me taking back some control over my own life, and my children can get strong positive adult relationships and role models.

Definitely contact the CSA, I was advised to by my lawyer as you should not have to rely on his goodwill to pay you child maintenance, it should be a reliable monthly income.

I also agree about the couples therapy, one thing was crystal clear to me, that as long as my husband was abusing alcohol there was no point. I did go to a session with his gp and later psychiatrist and I would not have done that again he was so abusive and wanted them to "tell me off", and "tell me all the things that were wrong with me" and he had not told them about his drinking. just hurtful and frustrating for me and pointless.

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