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abusive husband, lunch issue...

(30 Posts)
calypso2008 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:18:34

My husband and I now live separately, thank God. Our lovely DD (5) goes to a school where you can pay for school lunches or they come home for 2 hours. Everyone in her class stays for school lunches, except for one boy.

Until now, (last week) I have been making a big family lunch (live in Spain, is main meal of the day) every day and it is the one time DD sees her father. It was to create some semblance of normality in her life.

Problem is; sometimes (D)H will be polite, sometimes not (always nice to DD) She enjoys these lunches and if (D)H is rude to me I always cover it up, never do I challenge him or argue - it is not worth it.

Now I have had enough. (D)H is saying I am lazy and giving up on everything. He insists DD should have a family lunch and now is picking her up to take her to his house. But every day he phones asking when am I going to start making lunch again.

I just can't face him. Am I being unreasonable and lazy? I don't know what to do. The school is too far away for me and DD to walk in the morning and evening (which we do) but also at lunchtime.

Any comments would be welcome. I am feeling so low and like a bad mother. I feel so guilty.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Apr-13 09:33:47

She stays for school lunches from now on... yes? Your exH has been very obviously using the occasion as an opportunity to punish you & not in order to connect with your DD. Nasty.

Letting a child eat lunch with their school mates doesn't make anyone a 'bad mother', unreasonable, lazy or anything else negative. Let your exH make his own arrangements to see her like every other divorced Dad ... and preferably arranged through a lawyer so that he has to stick to a schedule. No more concessions. No more feeling guilty.

calypso2008 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:39:48

Oh, thank you so much for replying cogito I am grateful.

Yes, I think exactly that he uses it as an opportunity to punish me, you put it perfectly. It also means I have no time to do anything for myself in the day as, school run, shopping, preparing the meal, eating the meal with him and DD, clearing up and then school run a hour after he has dropped DD back at school, park, bath, story bed etc So I am sort of trapped. He knows this. Whereas he just gets up and does what he wants when he wants and turns up for a three course bloody meal, then goes home and does exactly what he wants again.

If I didn't have to see him every lunchtime I could perhaps make some friends or take up a hobby/relax a bit. My stomach is in knots before he comes round. I hate it and feel really depressed.

Thank you for your advice and for understanding.

RubyGates Wed 24-Apr-13 09:44:01

You did your best, above and beyond the call of duty to provide your DD with a family lunch.

Your EXH made it a horrid experience for you. He is the one being lazy. If he can't be on his best behaviour during a luchtime then he doesn't deserve the hard work you put in to facilitate it.

Stop doing it, get on with your life, Don't give him the opportunity to undermine you.

fuzzywuzzy Wed 24-Apr-13 09:45:35

Do what works for you.

If your ex wants to have meals with your dd he can organsie them and cook them himself at a venue other than your home.

He's an ex, you no longer have to pander to him.

Screen calls and ignore him.

Your DD wil probably enjoy school meals far more as she will be able to socialise with her friends.

He's being utterly unreasonable.

enjoy the time and do something for you.

calypso2008 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:46:53

Thank you Ruby.
Phew, I am feeling less lazy now and less U. Thanks for replying smile

I seem to have lost my own mind recently and doubt all my bloody decisions!

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Apr-13 09:47:16

If you've split up are you talking to lawyers about formalising the divorce? I don't know your financial arrangements - I'm guessing he still pays for the house, things like that, if you don't work? - but if he's got you 'trapped' you are going to have to sharpen your elbows and start preparing for a truly independent life where he has zero influence.

calypso2008 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:48:51

Thank you fuzzy

I also think DD would enjoy being with her friends. I just have been played the lazy/bad mother card every time I have suggested it - hence I thought I would post here. I knew I would get an objective view.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Apr-13 09:51:14

And this is why he is an abusive STBXH.... Calling someone a lazy/bad mother is a pretty low blow which is purely designed to have you doubting yourself and making you easy to manipulate. Don't listen to his crap a second longer. You're processing the divorce, yes?

SavoyCabbage Wed 24-Apr-13 09:53:18

Just start letting your dd stay at school and have her lunch with her friends. You are being manipulated and your dd is being used as a tool to get at you.

calypso2008 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:53:29

He doesn't want to get divorced cogito so we have compromised and live in separate rented apartments. They are both extremely cheap - rent here is so low.

Unfortunately we run a business together (not one where we have to see much of each other) but it is what pays the rent/food/bills.

He has his own private wealth. We live off the business we run. He has already been divorced, I think he is worried about his money! Which I do not want.

I have seen a lawyer but it seems it might be very complicated and I also cannot leave the country without his say so, and he would not say so. Also, I don't see how I could afford to live in the UK at the moment anyway. Life here is great and DD loves it. I would love it too if he could be totally not in it. But he has to because of business and of course, DD.

calypso2008 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:56:11

Do you really think he is using DD as a tool to get at me? He maintains a family lunch is the most important thing for her, I agree it would be. But it simply isn't working out. I have done it for a year and now I feel like I am going to crack up.

Thanks for your reply savoy smile

calypso2008 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:57:40

Right - no more bloody lunches and giving him an excuse to constantly criticise me.

calypso2008 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:58:10

See - I feel stronger already! smile

Thank you everyone.

NicknameTaken Wed 24-Apr-13 09:59:08

"You're lazy/a bad mother" is almost always one of the first cards an abusive man plays. They know it's a sure-fire way to get a woman doubting herself. If you have to see him directly (and avoid this wherever possible), I recommend you start playing fuckwit bingo: mentally prepare yourself with some of his favourite insults, and tick them off as he comes out with them.

Seriously, you were preparing a large meal every day, all he had to do is turn up, and he couldn't even behave like a decent human being for an hour or two? He's got some nerve. He's taking you for a complete mug.

Do not give in to this emotional blackmail. Restrict your contact with him to the utmost possible. Sort out the practical details of divorce, including finance and child contact.

There's no point trying to play all nicey-nicey with someone who is determined to put the boot in whenever they can. Believe me, I've tried it, and it only prolongs the agony. And good luck! It's clear you are a very caring mother trying to do your best for your child. This is admirable - don't let him try to twist this quality for his own agenda.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Apr-13 10:01:25

Of course he doesn't want to get divorced. Everything you've described screams 'control'. Everything is what he wants to happen. He's running the show. You're just a bad, lazy mother with no say in the matter. The family lunch think is a massive smoke-screen. Other nasty exHs use contact dates to do exactly the same thing, gaining entry to the family home and making life miserable for the resident parent. It's very common.

Even if it is going to be complicated you have to start the legal process or this man will be pulling the strings of your life for ever. He could buy you out of your share of the business and you could start fresh either where you are now or back in the UK. But do nothing and accept this separate apartment half-way-house arrangement and you're saddled with the nasty bugger.

calypso2008 Wed 24-Apr-13 10:10:23

Thank you nickname I love the fuckwit bingo. Thank you for your insight into this and kind comments. You are right, I HAVE tried to play nicey nice and it has not worked.

Yes, cogito he is a control freak. I have to wise up, thank you for your wise words.

I am going to have to bite on the bullet and get divorced, I think I have known this for a while, I have just been feeling frozen. I used to be a strong independent woman for goodness sake. I am now more or less struggling to function inwardly.

Thank you again. They are really interesting comments.

If I was on home turf, this would never have got to this stage.

NicknameTaken Wed 24-Apr-13 10:11:49

I don't think it will be as easy to move back to the UK as all that. Given that Spain is your dd's place of habitual residence, the Hague Convention applies.

As Cogito says, if he could buy you out of half the business, at least you could potentially set up again in Spain. Whether or not this happens, you are to some extent stuck with your ex for the next few years, so all you can do is minimize your exposure to him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Apr-13 10:17:04

" I used to be a strong independent woman for goodness sake. I am now more or less struggling to function inwardly."

Please don't reproach yourself. Being the victim of controlling behaviour or emotional bullying for a long period of time can bring even the strongest-willed person low. That's the MO after all... make you doubt yourself, feed you negative PR, play on any feelings of guilt or obligation.... spirit-crushing. It must be difficult being in another country, however lovely it is. And I know exactly what you mean about 'frozen' which is why friends, family, solicitors, even MN messageboards smile are so important.

fuzzywuzzy Wed 24-Apr-13 10:20:00

ex wanted me to quietly remain married to him too, the relief to be divorced from the twat is indescribable.

Besides what if you meet someone else, better to be legally divorced now then have him throw his weight aorund and try and scupper any future relationships.

calypso2008 Wed 24-Apr-13 10:22:31

Precisely nickname. I am not allowed to move back. You are absolutely right, I am stuck to some extent with him, but you are all also right that it is now MINIMAL contact/legal separation or divorce.

I just have to hoist myself up and go through with it. Stick to my guns, stick up to him and be a stronger person. And play fuckwit bingo!

I have been weak and allowing him to treat me like this, I just honestly thought I was in the wrong on the lunch thing. That is why I am so grateful for your opinions on the matter. It is so true that DD is obviously my achilles heel, so anything he says about that indeed does make me doubt myself massively.

It is hard enough being here without family/friends or English traditions/knowing how things are done, IYSWIM.

I have to go out now and organise DD's party for Friday so am logging out.

Thank you all very much indeed for your advice and for making me feel better and less crazed smile

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Apr-13 10:23:49

I like 'quietly remain married' fuzzywuzzy .... smile That's it exactly isn't it? "Stay manacled to me so I can keep yanking your chain from a distance and then shut up about it"

PeppermintPasty Wed 24-Apr-13 10:26:33

My god I totally agree with all the above posters. I just wanted to add-you sound like a wonderful Mother, you have just become bogged down by his attempts to control you. Please don't berate yourself, ever!

Jenny0101 Wed 24-Apr-13 10:30:55

Agree with Cogito.

You're not obliged to do these lunches.

You have to learn to tune out his criticisms of you. Of course he is going to say that you are lazy, selfish, awkward, thoughtless blah blah blah blah BLAH. The second you don't do what he wants you to do.

Calypso, the hague convention is a crock of shit imo. Mothers need to arrange support, practical and emotional. Being legally tethered to the country where your children happened to be born, even though your support network is in another country, it's a pesadilla. Heaven help you dealing with an abusive fuckwith through your second language and without the support of your friends and family. It's hard enough as it is.

Jenny0101 Wed 24-Apr-13 10:40:35

You actually have a bit more power than you think. I don't you probably don't have the stomach for battle though, but when you say you don't want his money - don't let him know that .

If that is a fear of his, stoke that fear. Perhaps you could go hell for leather 'i want half' and then later strike a deal that you could return to the uk (have your solicitor have the document ready for him to sign) in return for parting with less money than he had feared.

Because so much for the rights of the child, if the father signs away his rights, the mother can return with her children to her country of origin. So it makes a mockery of the whole thing.

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