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My adult son's Dad and his wife have upset him...again

(19 Posts)
lazarusb Thu 06-Dec-12 14:38:48

Please don't tell me he needs to man up etc...his Dad was very abusive to me and ds knows some of it but not all. We left when ds was 5 but he still had contact. His Dad (and his wife since late 90s) have been manipulative, threatening, bullying over the years to ds and me. No support from Police, solicitors. They've abused him yet again via FB (I haven't seen it because I'm not on it). They are asking him to choose between seeing dh, me and our dcs and them and their dcs. Being very obnoxious because we see ds & his partner more often etc....

Any advice on how to help ds handle this would be greatly appreciated. It's like going back in time to when we lived with the dv constantly. Ds is very stressed and his partner and I are very concerned.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 06-Dec-12 14:53:49

I think you have to reassure your DS that you love him and will support him whatever he does. Their bullying method is to set ultimatums & make him think he has to choose .... 'us or them'... when the reality is that they have no way of preventing him from doing anything at all. So you need to take the opposite line which is that he is your family, he is his own man and, whatever he decides, whatever he does, you back him 100%.

I'd also suggest that, if he is an adult, now is the time to tell him the full unexpurgated story of the details of why you left. Give him the information because he may have spent the years since age 5 thinking that Dad would be an OK guy if he was a better son....

amillionyears Thu 06-Dec-12 15:56:14

Agree with the second paragraph of Cogitos post.
Not so sure about the first paragraph. Because if you say you will back him 100% whatever he does, and he chooses his dad, and ditches lazarusb, then dad has full reign to tell his son whatever he wants, lies and all.

lazarusb Thu 06-Dec-12 16:26:27

Thank you to both of you. He would be very unlikely to cut me off, although I understand Cogito's point. The way he lives his life and conducts his friendships & relationships are in line with what he's seen from me, not his Dad. I have told him that if he wanted to invite his Dad to family stuff and leave us out, that's fine. I've no interest in making life difficult for anyone, especially ds. He has avoided introducing them to his partner's parents because they take every opportunity to have a go about me (!).

amillionyears He knows that a lot of what his Dad has told him over the years is rubbish. I've been as honest as I can be with him while trying not to paint his Dad as a total monster. You're right, though, that I couldn't step back to that extent!

Cogito He knows about a lot of the emotional abuse & the physical violence. Unfortunately, he witnessed some of it when he was small which he still half remembers. There is no way I could tell him everything though. I couldn't bring myself to. There's things I've never mentioned to anyone outside MN.

amillionyears Thu 06-Dec-12 16:42:01

What is your Ds current stance on it all as regards his dad. Which parts in particular are stressing him out.

Mu1berries Thu 06-Dec-12 16:49:02

totally agree with cogito. my own x was abusive and I can see him trying this when the kids have left home. Or buying them a flat on condition they agree to cut me out of their lives of something like that.

Mu1berries Thu 06-Dec-12 16:51:23

does he treat his second wife any better? i left my x and obviously that makes me mad, but i do wonder if he 'learnt' anything and would treat a new partner with a bit more respect.. hmm

Mu1berries Thu 06-Dec-12 16:51:51

sorry made HIM mad.

FrostyTheShosheman Thu 06-Dec-12 16:58:54

My ex did this to my son, who chose from the age of 15 not to see him ( not that his father ever made contact anyway, only saw him if he ran into him at his grandparents)
They live in the same town.
Some time after DS married, he ran into his father in a pub.
Not being able to avoid him he introduced him to DDIL.
His father stood up and ranted how dare he get married without him being there. He was screaming at him that he was his father and he should have been there.
He had my big rugby playing son in tears.
But not my beautiful wonderful outspoken DDIL.
She rounded on my ex, saying where the hell had he been the last 15 years when I had been struggling to bring him up alone. That he was no father to DS, that he had a brilliant father in my DH.
I don't think he knew what hit him.
Especially as the other customers in the pub cheered. 😄

lazarusb Thu 06-Dec-12 18:28:30

Frosty - your poor ds but thank goodness your Dil stood up to him grin My ds's partner has now blocked them both on FB.

amillionDs doesn't want to stop contact with his Dad but it has to be ds that always contacts him. In the 3 years he's been living in a town 25 miles away, his Dad has only visited once. Ds is always expected to do the running. He gets very hurt by the fact his Dad won't make contact just's only if it's his or his wife's birthday - or to pick a fight.

Mu1berries - I think the only reason she is treated 'better' is because she goes along with everything he says and because she hates me even more than he does - threatening messages, bitchy comments, voodoo doll...they make a good pair actually.

They refused to come to ds's 21st birthday meal because I was there (I paid for it). It was a surprise for ds and he asked why I hadn't invited his Dad. I had to tell him they chose not to come. Ds's partner got a lot of abuse over that.

It just seems so ridiculous so long after we've split up - we both have lives completely separate from one another. Why they can't behave like adults I have no idea.

hermioneweasley Thu 06-Dec-12 18:31:58

Hurrah for frosty's DIL

stifnstav Thu 06-Dec-12 18:36:55

Why did DS's partner get abuse about his 21st?

FrostyTheShosheman Thu 06-Dec-12 18:41:35

DS has no contact whats so ever with his father now, even tho they live two streets apart.

And he has never met DGD, she calls my DH her Grandad.

HisstletoeAndWhine Thu 06-Dec-12 19:17:24

Your son is an adult, a man.

You need to sit him down and tell him what he needs to know about his dad, or somehow he'll end up thinking he's done something to deserve it.

I took the decision to be honest with my DS (age appropriate) about his dad. I didn't want to risk him growing up idolising his absent father, or blaming me for 'driving ex away'.

A man needs to understand what is and is not acceptable man behaviour.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Thu 06-Dec-12 21:15:04

"Why they can't behave like adults I have no idea."

This is why you really have to tell your DS much more of the full story. You describe your ex as a manipulative, threatening bully and what motivates a man like that is being in completely control. Dominating someone, keeping them distressed and anxious to please, regularly kicking off over trivia one minute and being friendly the next.

He is behaving like an adult.... abusive adult. It's the same DV he dished out to you just with a new target.

lazarusb Thu 06-Dec-12 22:07:42

I know that. My ds is an easy target because he still has power over him. But there's no way I'm telling him everything his dad did to me. He doesn't idolise him, I've told him about the abuse and that his dad is just abusing him and controlling him in the way he did me. He knows his dad's behaviour isn't acceptable or normal - he just lacks the strength to tell him to get out of his life. I understand that - it took me 6 years.

stifnstav - she got the abuse because ds didn't know about it (it was a surprise). They would have loved to abuse me I'm sure but they don't have the power or opportunity any more.

Cogito - do you think my ds would benefit from some counselling? I think it might help him see the patterns more clearly and give him some coping strategies.

jingleallthespringy Fri 07-Dec-12 01:07:14

What about Lundy Bancroft's book 'Why does he do that?: inside the minds of angry and controlling men'. It's helped us to get our heads around why they do all that shit, it could certainly help him.

How painful for you to watch history repeating itself with your son as the target this time sad

Your son may think, as so many people do, that abusers don't abuse their children. Unfortunately there are plenty of us who know that they do sad

Counselling would be a good idea I think. Your son may need to get info and support from an independent source, where he can say all that he needs to say without fear of hurting anyone. It will be painful for him to accept that his dad is never going to be the dad he wants and deserves.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Fri 07-Dec-12 07:33:23

I think some counselling might be a good idea as well. The kind of manipulative form of abuse that your ex seems to specialise in is a particularly nasty kind because, as you know to your cost, it took you 6 years to a) realise what was going on and b) reject it. It's not that your DS doesn't have the strength - I'm sure he's just as strong as you are - it's that abusive bullies like your ex exploit any good character trait to their own ends. Your DS is obviously kind, optimistic, doesn't want to upset anyone and - most easily exploited of all - is prepared to put up with a lot to have a relationship with his father, simply because of who he is. Children of abusers always struggle with the last one.

lazarusb Fri 07-Dec-12 12:17:14

Thank you so much jingle and Cogito. It is awful to watch history repeating itself but sadly no surprise. I think your last 2 sentences hit the nail on the head Cogito - he doesn't want to stop contact with him but doesn't like who he is either.

Thank you for all your help everyone, will have a look at the Lundy Bancroft book too.

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