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Do I read this angry email from exP - or just delete it? Sorry a bit long.

(47 Posts)
DeckSwabber Sat 29-Dec-12 11:58:35

ExP and I have been split for 10 years. There is little contact between us - very rare emails, text messages. 3 boys, now teens. He is now married with no children.

Lots of anger over contact, as he only sees them one night a fortnight and for a few days in the holidays. Efforts from my part to increase this have been met with terrible anger ("are you mad?"). Any interference with "his" schedule because of other activities are met with threats to go to court and other aggressive comments. This is ridiculous - the boys know that they can see him whenever they like so long as homework and other commitments are met. I have told him this, many times. However, as teens they have lots to do and are increasingly choosing to drop weekends.

This time last year I wanted to review the child support, which is currently negotiated privately between us and paid by SO from his wife's account (!). He doesn't pay for other stuff like school trips - and at their age there are loads of extras like this. He has always paid a bit less than the CSA calculator suggests because I'm soft because he ran up a lot of debt after we split.

I emailed several times, and was ignored. I suggested that if the money was an issue he could commit to having them a bit more to take the pressure off me. I offered to meet up at a venue/time of his choice and was fobbed off with various excuses and refusals. I said his wife (who I have only met once) could come along if that would help. Eventually I asked for his payslip so that I could at least work out what he should be paying using the CSA calculator. All ignored by him. I set a deadline by which time he should respond - he ignored this too.

So I left it a couple of months but after getting a very hostile response to my request to him to have the boys for a bit longer in the school holidays ("are you mad?") I went to the CSA to get an assessment, and I told him what I was doing. Over the next few months he has had letters from them requesting information and explaining how much he should be paying (a bit more than he pays now, but not loads more). He has disputed my version of how much he has them which delayed things, but I was able to supply full details for the last three years demonstrating it is less than the threshold. He has never, not once, contacted me to discuss.

All this time I asked the CSA only for an assessment and advice as I wanted to continue with a voluntary arrangement.

Then I got a very drunk, abusive call from him while I was working at an evening event. Very nasty and threatening. I had to cut him off as I was working. So I decided the CSA could collect the money directly as I feel this will involve less contact with ex and I feel vulnerable while his state of mind is so hostile.

Then yesterday at work I got an even nastier call from him after the CSA had called him to set up the payments. He told me that I had done some terrible damage - he didn't say what - and I could rot in hell. He sounds like he really means it. He sounded unbalanced, and very, very angry. When I spoke to the CSA later that day they said they had been unable to come to an arrangement with him. I asked the CSA to leave the arrears for now and just to set up the payments for the newly calculated amount. They later called me to say he had co-operated with this.

Then I got home to find an email from him, which I can see the first line of without opening it - enough to tell me that its not going to be a thank you for letting him off the arrears. He is going to tell me exactly what damage 'I' have done.

I don't want the abuse, and I feel that whatever is going on in his life is almost certainly nothing to do with a simple and reasonable request to review child support.

If I read the email I will know what has upset him so much.

If I read the email I will have to experience the abuse that is in it.

If I don't read the email I won't know what's going on - and it might be something that affects the children.

I don't know what to do. I feel that he has been bullying me into accepting only as much support as he chose to give me, and going to the CSA has freed me from this bullying. But now I'm worried that I have unleashed all sorts for the sake of very little gain.

arthriticfingers Sat 29-Dec-12 12:07:30

Can another family member or a friend - or even a solicitor read the email for you?

hatgirl Sat 29-Dec-12 12:09:56

I would read it because I wouldn't be able not to. If things are going to get nasty (sounds like they will ) then things like abusive emails from him may become important evidence.

You don't have to respond to it if you read it.

Didn't want to read and run, he sounds vile! Can you get a close friend or family member to read it for you and just fish out any facts or anything you need to respond to? I have no experience in this area but had some very nasty texts from an ex-friend once, it's different of course and you have children together so can't ever be without hearing of each other etc but I found it much easier to get on with my life once I was able to block her messages. I think you're right not to read it yourself, it will only cause upset when all you want is to forget him and move on (and what's best for your children obviously) I hope you find a way to solve this so you can start the new year afresh without him being rude and unreasonable towards you

MrsTomHardy Sat 29-Dec-12 12:10:29

Sorry but you should go ahead with the Csa, let them deal with him. And I also think you should get arrears off him too. They are his children too and should pay the right amount....whatever is going on in his life is down to him, he's made his life.

I would read the email as I wouldn't be able to ignore it....but don't respond and don't be fooled into cancelling the Csa.

He sounds like a right pain in the arse.

DeckSwabber Sat 29-Dec-12 12:15:34

I might ask a friend to read it. Good suggestion. Will have to think who!

No sensible family around, unfortunately.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 29-Dec-12 12:16:13

I agree that you need to take this out of being an upsetting and highly personal battle and make the finances a matter either for the CSA or a solicitor to resolve once and for all. (Teenage children presumably can decide what they want to do abotu access) Amicable settlements are potentially possible with reasonable people. Courts and agencies are necessary for people who are unreasonable. Your ex is clearly unreasonable. So read the e-mail by all means but then print it out and make your next call one to a solicitor.

porridgelover Sat 29-Dec-12 12:17:49

I feel that he has been bullying me into accepting only as much support as he chose to give me, and going to the CSA has freed me from this bullying

He's lashing out because you are no longer 'behaving'. It seems as if this tactic has always worked for him; you have not wanted to rock the boat for this exact reason, so he will up the ante to get you to fall back into line.

As others have said 1) do not delete, its evidence of his unreasonableness and 2) I would have someone else read it for you.
At the very least, have someone with you when you read it, as a second head will help you to detach from it and keep perspective.

clam Sat 29-Dec-12 12:18:08

It clearly won't make pleasant reading, that's for sure. But not to read it means torturing yourself as to what it might say.

I second asking someone else to read it and give you the gist.

ohfunnyFRANKENface Sat 29-Dec-12 12:27:08

When you are 'soft' and 'nice' he is just more unreasonable and abusive. You have to identify the pattern and go after what you need for your children. They are more important. You are due those back payments, the only ones that really suffer are your boys- think of the opportunities you could give them with that money- he doesn't deserve to keep it.

DeckSwabber Sat 29-Dec-12 12:27:55

I think he is probably not very well. I mean, this seems so irrational.

I'm frankly worried about what else is in his mind.

A few months ago I went out to his car to ask him something about weekend arrangements and he jumped out of the car, then jumped in again and wound up the window and started straight ahead of him refusing to talk (except to say 'you're mad' or words to that effect) and then emailed to tell me that I was behaving in a threatening way. I wasn't, but I did have my arms as it was cold. I asked him to explain why he was so angry. That was when he asked me if I was mad.

The boys are with him now [worried].

DeckSwabber Sat 29-Dec-12 12:30:27

Sorry - had my arms folded.

CogitOCrapNotMoreSprouts Sat 29-Dec-12 12:32:52

If you suspect he has undiagnosed mental health problems then talk to your kids about his general behaviour and see if they are worried at all. If so, keep them at home... he can't force older children to visit him.

nocake Sat 29-Dec-12 12:38:04

A friend who was dealing with an abusive ex set her email to automatically forward all his emails to me. I would read them and pass on any information she needed, without the abuse. He eventually found out about this and suddenly the abuse stopped. I don't think he wanted someone else to know the shit he was dishing out.

Please find a friend who can do the same for you.

DeckSwabber Sat 29-Dec-12 12:40:14

nocake that's genius.

HappyNewSkyebluesapphire Sat 29-Dec-12 15:09:20

I agree that you should read the email with somebody or forward it to somebody who will just tell you what you need to know.

Whatever his problems are now, they are not caused by you.

mcmooncup Sat 29-Dec-12 15:38:26

Read it with the full knowledge that it will be a pile of crap and lies anyway.

Then email back saying the CSA will contact him about the arrears.

None of it your problem. You simply have money owing to your children.

ImperialBlether Sat 29-Dec-12 15:44:55

I don't think you can forward something without it opening on your own screen, can you?

One thing you could do, if so, is open Word and press Enter twenty or so times. Highlight it all and press Control C. Open the email, click and press Control V immediately. You won't be able to see what's in the email and you can forward it on. Other than that, go to a friend's house and open it there and ask her/him to read it for you.

He sounds as though he's having a breakdown. Personally I wouldn't aggravate it by responding or by going for more money etc, even though you are clearly owed it. Now might be the time to stand well back and to limit the boys' contact if possible.

izzyizin Sat 29-Dec-12 16:28:56

He's not having a 'breakdown'. He's throwing his toys out of the pram because he's being caled to account by the CSA - and about fucking time too.

By phoning you at work to vent his spleen and following up with an email - albeit you haven't as yet read the content, IMO we can safefy assume it isn't by way of an apology for his earlier behaviour - has put him perilously close to harrassing you.

Under the circumstances and in the absence of close or trusted friend, I would suggest you ask your local community police officer to visit you, explain the situation, and let him read the email to ascertain whether it contains any threat to you/your wellbeing.

Depending on the content, I would then suggest you write a brief one line reply informing your ex that any further communication of a threatening nature will be forwarded to the police.

And instruct the CSA to do their worst negotiate repayment of arrears/future payments as that's what they're for.

Well done you for getting shot of the twunt. All you need to do now is make it clear you won't stand for any more of his shit.

Bossybritches22 Sat 29-Dec-12 16:40:17

How old are the boys?

If they are older than ten, I think, the court will let them have a say in their access arrangements.

If he's threatening to take you to court, let him .....say see you there. Document all incidents and keep your distance.

Access & maintenance are 2 separate issues. Let the CSA deal with it,all of it, arrears and all.

izzyizin Sat 29-Dec-12 16:52:16

3 boys, now teens Bertie. Happily, they're old enough to vote with their feet smile

Lindt70Percent Sat 29-Dec-12 16:56:46

Definitely get someone else to read the messages for you. You can set up a filter for his email address that will automatically forward the messages to someone else - you don't have to open his messages to do this. You can even set the filter to 'file' them in another folder so they don't show in your inbox.

He sounds very unpleasant!

ProphetOfDoom Sat 29-Dec-12 17:11:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lueji Sat 29-Dec-12 17:13:08

In some email accounts you could even filter for key words and return the email.

Threatening emails from ex have all made their way to the police. He hasn't been nasty recently.

And stop answering his calls btw.

NettleTea Sat 29-Dec-12 18:12:52

this is much what happened to me when I refused to drop all arrears with my ex, and said I wanted to continue to use the CSA to collect all payments. It is, as others have said, him throwing his toys out.
When they pay by private arrangement they are in control - they can dish out or punish by witholding as and when they see fit. And it makes them feel like the big man generously doling out cash to the needy minions. But when CSA get involved they have to do what they are told by someone more powerful than them, and they dont like it.

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