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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?

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 09:44:58

Again, I can totally understand why you're focused on a known future risk, but I think by doing that you're minimising the impact that it's having on them now. They have a much better chance of being able to cope with him as teenagers if they aren't exposed to him now.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 09:46:17

I really think that your DC could benefit from seeing someone now. They're building up problems that could cause them a lifetime of grief.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:51:49

I'm not entirely focused on the future, that's why I'm trying to get them some emotional support now.

Jeez, you lot practically calling me abusive for not cutting him out entirely and damn the consequences GP and courts saying I'd be abusive to cut him out... Really helpful pulling me in two!

Offred Thu 02-May-13 09:57:21

Spero - once a month is good idea. Once a week is too much.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 10:00:32

It depends Offred. It depends on where his personal boundaries lie with regard to abuse.

It sounds like he is already blaming you and your perceived demands for his treating them so badly.

If he is capable of rape then he may well be capable of child sexual abuse, but yes I am thinking of when she becomes a bit older. You say he doesn't want her because she reminds him of his crime? Is that right?

and she is not aware of all this.
I think that you want to do the right thing but cannot see what that is. So family therapy, but without this despicable bastard being present, would be a great idea x

redskynight Thu 02-May-13 10:00:57

You sound so scared, anxious, defensive even. You need to focus on today, not 10 years' time. You have no control or idea what the future might bring, for all you know your x might be run over by a bus. You have no control over how your x behaves.

You do have responsibility to stay calm and give your children the best that you can, right now, today and to shield them as much as you are able. Today you have control over their lives and happiness, and your own. If you are focusing so much on your x, and the hypothetical future, you can't be the best parent for your children, that just takes too much energy (I know that from experience).

There is support you can access if you feel you just can't let go emotionally and start to take back control of your own life. While you focus on him, you are letting him control you. You could access counselling, you could talk to women's aid, you could take a surestart parenting course. Start talking to RL people who can advise you.

If he is a narc, by strengthening your DCs confidence and independence, you remove a lot of his power. He won't want to know offspring that are their own people. You need to communicate to him with complete indifference, stop feeding him. If he says I don't want the children, give him a one word response, fine, and take them to somewhere fun and enjoy your time with them instead. Their memory of the day will be you laughing and playing with them, not the let down. Make it as unimportant as you possibly can.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 10:01:31

btw I don't know the answer either. I just feel pitifully sorry for your children, and very sorry for you as well. It's never a cut and dried issue.
But I do think he needs to be minimised in his influence and impact.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:02:16

Redsky - you can't explain away "your dad can't be arsed with you"

Incidentally he has said he will think about letting my dh adopt them if he can't improve things, going to some therapy would be a last attempt to see if he can pull it back and if not he'll agree to letting them be adopted.

RooneyMara Thu 02-May-13 10:02:51

Oh good news!

Dahlen Thu 02-May-13 10:04:17

I'm sorry if you feel got at Offred. It's a horrible situation and I understand that you feel you are doing your best. You are in a position of perceived powerlessness and are acting on a sort of damage limitation basis. It's not easy and I have enormous sympathy for you.

But it's that word 'perceived' that's important here, which is why I mentioned the freedom programme. Those of us who have been through this recognise where you're at, we really do. But the situation you think you have to manage is not the only option available to you, it really isn't. I know you can't see any other possible way, but there are lots.

Please look into the freedom programmel

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:05:04

Offred I'm not trying to have a go. I'm saying that all you can do is focus on them now. What's best for them right now? In a week? In a month? And not only would it be very beneficial for them to see someone, in helping them to understand that it's not their fault their father is the way he is, you would also then have a professional who could officially record the impact contact with their father was having on them.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:06:21

I don't think I feel powerless but I don't want to stop him seeing them. I know I could do that but I think it would be short-termist.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:07:39

They know it isn't their fault, or mine. The eldest says "daddy always says he can't see us because he is busy or work won't let him have time off but I don't believe that because work shouldn't be more important than your children should it?"

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:07:39

So basically, yes to therapy, even yes to the therapist meeting your ex, but with an aim of helping your deal with the damage he causes and getting them away from him.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 10:08:01

What do you think they gain out of seeing him?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 10:08:13

What do you gain out of them seeing him?

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:08:46

Dahlen - yes, I want a professional to both validate and record their feelings. As a sideline I want to present XP with a last chance.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:09:17

They gain an understanding of him and that it isn't their fault he is shit.

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:09:26

Honestly, what do you think they are gaining from being exposed o his behaviour. They're children, so of course they want to see him and for him to want to see them, but what are they getting from these visits? Bed wetting and eating issues? Guilt and tears?

pickledginger Thu 02-May-13 10:10:59

X posts. They aren't getting that though Offred. They belev that it's work that keeps him from them. They believed that it was your DD's clothes that kept them in. That caused them very real distress.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:11:24

I gain nothing.

Offred Thu 02-May-13 10:12:27

No, they don't believe that, maybe they do initially. They think he is making excuses. They feel upset.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 02-May-13 10:12:27

'An understanding of him'.... I really don't get this, sorry. If he was an alcoholic would you want them to accompany him on a bender? You seem to be amazingly hopeful that he will respond to this last chance to reform. Why, after everything he's done to you and the harm he's done to your family, are you still flogging that dead horse?

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-May-13 10:14:46

"They gain an understanding of him and that it isn't their fault he is shit".

No they do not. They cannot even begin to understand because they re too young to even begin to process any of this at all properly.

AttilaTheMeerkat Thu 02-May-13 10:15:54


I am wondering what your own childhood was like?.

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