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Family therapy with abusive ex.

(95 Posts)
Offred Thu 02-May-13 07:27:14

Relationship broke up 7 years ago.

Ex is having difficulty relating to the children and them to him. DD (6) is often wetting the bed, having biting/kicking tantrums and going a little anorexic because of stress.

Most recent incident ex had dc to sleep over. DD had brought her new clothes to show off. Ex tried to cancel but only the day before and so I wouldn't allow that. We brought them after tea instead of at 3pm because he said he had to work.

Next day DC said his gf was lying in bed a long time and he was grumpy and told them he couldn't take them out because DD's clothes were "inappropriate". It was sunny and 13 degrees and she had a maxi dress, thick woollen tights, a faux fur coat and mittens so not inappropriate at all.

He also told them he couldn't give them lunch because he had no food (supermarket is less than half a mile away and there were two of them there). He brought them back at 2pm and I heard them ask why they had to come home and he said "mummy wanted you back" which is not true at all, he could have kept them as long as he wanted.

I suspect that he wanted to cancel because they had been invited out and that they went out anyway and he was too hungover to deal with them so instead blamed DD and me.

DS was bullying DD because of this when they came back and when I heard the story from them I explained that I didn't think DD was wearing inappropriate clothes at all and it wasn't DD's fault. She then cried solidly for half an hour because she'd worn the clothes specially for him and thought it was her fault the whole thing was ruined. sad

DS then also felt terribly guilty for being whipped up to be mean to her. sad

They have both been upset since and he has not broached the subject with them and is now asking for another overnight.

In the past he has said he doesn't feel able to communicate with them because of what I did to him, apparently taking them away from him.

Plus, DD was conceived when he raped me and he has always denied paternity of her when he could even after DNA. I suspect he doesn't want her sad

If they are going to continue seeing him they need a greater level of emotional support than I can give and it would be a bonus if someone other than me could help XP relate to them. He is willing to go. Is it going to be a bad idea?

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 08:50:08

Oh BTW I never saw my father from when I was 2. I certainly didn't idolise him (and my Mum often refused to answer my questions about him, as the information was not age appropriate) as a teen.

I actually now wouldn't want to contact my long lost "half-brothers" and sisters, as I sort of dread to think just how bad it was to grow up around him. I do know a little more as an adult, but still not all the nitty gritty. The most shocking image I have is a photo of my Mum soon after we left, and just how incredibly thin she was.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 08:56:10

Because if I stop him seeing them that is what he will seek to do, it is what his father did with him. He will encourage them to drink and give them drugs and invite them to stay with him. He absolutely will do that because he is a narc and he wants them to idolise him. If I stop them seeing him they will be easily manipulated to think he is god and I'm the evil witch because as I said I will not explain the dv and sexual abuse to them, ever.

Their lives are not ruined ATM. They are stressed.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 09:16:42

How do you know they will be easily manipulated. Your DD is just six. You have at least 8 years before she'll even sniff a glass of alcohol and not recoil in disgust. That's a lot of time to work on a child's attitude to these things. You could move out of the area, make new lives for yourself. Anything could happen but you appear to be taking it as inevitable that a) you have zero control over your children and b) he'll behave the same way as his father.

You have choices, but you don't seem to see that at the moment.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:24:26

I don't have control over them no, they are people with their own minds!

When they are old enough to go out on their own they are old enough to visit him in secret, that's around age 12.

It would be extremely naive to expect I could control them and their relationship with him in those circs.

He will repeat that pattern. I know he will.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 09:25:19

Why won't you explain the abuse? I've been advised that I should. Not in graphic detail and always age-appropriately, but sticking to the bare facts as if you were writing a clinical report. You don't ascribe motives to your X and say "I don't know" if asked why he did what he did. You also reiterate that none of it is their fault and that you love them. But telling your DC why you left is very important for their understanding of why their parents are still not together and so that they know it is OK and actually a GOOD thing to leave when someone is mistreating you. You don't gleefully set out on a character annihilation of your X but you don't protect him (which is what you're doing by staying schtum) either.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:26:04

I'm not denying I have the choice though, I know it's a choice I could make but I don't think it would be better.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 09:27:03

Offred, have you tried the freedom programme? I think you'd really benefit from it. As an outsider looking in, you haven't broken free from this relationship at all. You're still dominated by fatalistic thinking and passive reactions rather than being proactive.

Your DC need to know where to contact your X. He needs to know where they are. Your values and attitudes are formative. By the time they meet your X - if they have no more contact now - they will respond very much as your children, not his.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 09:28:11

... In fact, your only solution appears to be getting someone to 'help your ex relate to them'. He's a rapist who makes your little girl so unhappy she starves herself and wets the bed. He is not going to change, relate or suddenly turn into a decent human being. So that is non-starter. Forget that.

Your future and your children's future can be changed but only if you stop thinking this man has any power.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:28:15

I won't describe it because it was primarily sexual abuse. I have talked about psychological/financial. He has a different view of what happened though. It is interesting that you've been told to talk about it.

I can't tell dd that I think he doesn't want her because she's the result of a rape no.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 09:28:43

"I don't have control over them no, they are people with their own minds!"

They are CHILDREN.

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 09:29:19

I've no doubt my DC will seek out their father more in years to come either (they have very limited contact with him at the moment, under my supervision). I expect them to actually recoil in embarrassment as they get to know him more. Children are very much a product of their upbringing, and while they may deviate from that as part of a teenage rebellion, etc., most of us revert to type eventually. I don't have undue concerns about it. You have a lot of power here, as Cogito says. You just don't realise it.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:29:51

I am really concerned that he may abuse your daughter sexually as well if he is allowed overnight contact with her

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:30:26

and blame it on you

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:31:40

I don't know what difference them being children makes. They are people first. You can't force anyone to do anything, if they don't want to do something they will simply lie to you and resent you! It's important to involve them but still make the ultimate choice. I don't mean to suggest I am letting them choose. I just think when they are teens he will be more disruptive than he is now if I stop them seeing him.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 09:32:41

I can see that you're trying to protect them from future danger X, which you're probably quite right about. In doing that, they are being exposed to current dangers A, B, C, D .... Eating issues and stress related bed wetting are warning signs.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 09:33:44

So you just let your kids do what they please? Never say 'no'? Never guide them in a particular direction, prevent them from doing something? Good parenting means taking responsibility for children and making good decisions on their behalf until they are old enough to make decisions for themselves. If you have no control and you are unwilling to exercise authority, what is the point of you being there at all?

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 09:35:06

Can you not see the faulty logic there?

If he's narcissistic, by the time they are older he'll have moved on to other victims and his DC will probably be disowned by him (it won't suit his self image to have children who aren't in his life).

By continuing to let him have contact, he is able to plant numerous seeds that he can use at a later date to manipulate them further.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-May-13 09:36:44

What do you want your children to remember about their childhoods?.

If your children continue to see him they will end up being further damaged and that damage will continue into their own adult relationships.

If he is a narcissist he will only want to use the children as his own narc supply and that in turn damages them as well.

You have been and remain damaged by his abuse of you; he will do the same to your children as well given any opportunity. They're already trying desperately to please him.

What you have tried to date has not worked.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 09:36:53

I think you and the DC could get a lot from doing family therapy without him.

mummytime Thu 02-May-13 09:39:11

My oldest children are teenagers, I still have a lot of influence over them, because I have brought them up. As children I taught them to think for themselves but also to hold onto moral values. If they came out with ridiculous ideas I challenged them on them. We discuss drugs, drink etc.

They are in no way perfect. But they will not blindly follow anyone. Actually one of my biggest sayings has been, whenever they say "Fred made me do it" to say " If Fred told you to jump off a cliff would you do it?"

I really think you need to get counselling and do the freedom program. Because until you empower yourself then you cannot give your children the tools to protect themselves as teenagers.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 09:39:18

who is protecting them here.

redskynight Thu 02-May-13 09:41:08

I do think they wouldn't have been less upset by me allowing him to cancel. I didn't think he would behave how he did. however, you would have had more control of the situation, and could have managed their upset better by explaining to them what was happening.

Are they young enough for you to keep contact a 'secret' until it actually happens to minimise upset?

Spero Thu 02-May-13 09:41:29

I would try reducing contact to a limited time - say one afternoon every fortnight or every month. Then hopefully he can stick to it without messing everyone around and cope with short amount of time.

If they love him and want to see him you have to think carefully about just terminating contact, that can cause its own type of harm.

It is a case of balancing the harm he causes them by his attitudes/behaviours and the harm if he suddenly disappears from their lives. What explanation would you give ?

I would not bother thinking about him getting therapy or whatever. That's up to him. But it sounds like or might help the children to see someone if they are anxious. Does the school offer anything? Could you pay privately?

If he doesn't like your proposals, let him apply to court.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:42:03

Rooney do you not think there is quite a big difference between misogyny and Paedophilia/incest?

However I am not unconcerned about that when she is pubescent which is another reason I don't want to stop him coming completely now.

I am listening to you all though. Believe me I'd dearly love to just cut him out. He won't stay away though. I know he won't.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:44:05

Cog, that's ridiculous and not what I'm saying at all.

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