Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Abusive Husband is manipulating my daughter and my relationship with her. Feeling helpless.

(80 Posts)
PenelopePitstop72 Thu 02-May-13 23:01:01

My husband and i have been apart for 5 months. He was verbally and psychologically abusive. We were together 12 years and finally i asked him to leave. Took oodles of strength to do so.

He is now trying to manipulate and influence my eldest daughter who is 19. Despite having a very poor relationship with her when we were together he now tries to be her best friend, lending money etc. last night, when he was visiting, i overheardhim in her room making small talk and then suddenly declaring " we need to make a secret codeword, so that when i talk to your mum downstairs, i can text you the codeword and you can come down and rescue me from her rant. " i was pretty stunned to hear him say such a thing, to our dd. but not entirley surprising. Even worse, i'm not even a ranter that he would need rescuing from. How far from the truth! I went into the room and called him on it, calmly. He said it was a joke, and then accused me of causing an awkward atmosphere, so i walked away, determined not to make a scene. When he left, he failed to see the wrong in what he did. Kept saying it was a joke. How ridiculous!

anyway, it hurt me immensely as i felt he was damaging my relationship with dd, teaching her to gang up on me, and that im some unreasonable person that he needs rescuing from. she has little respect for me as it is at the moment since we split. this is not the first time he has behaved stupidly with her. recently, he told dd against my wishes that he took a girlfriend a few months ago. id barely digested the news myself, when he drove 20 miles to dd's uni, and took her out to dinner just to tell her the news. She told me after that meeting "why would dad having a girlfriend hurt you, you asked him to leave!" . How niave of her, but forgiveable based on her young years and his ability to sell a story. She's even commented recently making fun of me going to Womens Aid and having a counsellor. Its weird, because she witnessed and experienced his worst abuse for herself with name calling, invading privacy and withholding stuff. But its like the slate is wiped clean. Of course, i want her to still see him and have the best relationship possible with him. I just wasnt prepared for her siding with him, at least on the face of it. Maybe she's angry at me? Im not sure.

So, I'm just wondering what strategies i can follow to limit his negative and destructive influence on our dd. we have a 5 year old dd too. Im worried he will begin picking our relationship apart too soon. He had no problem with saying nasty things in frnt of her when we were together. I guess i was naive to think that getting him out my house, would stop his behaviour impacting us. Any suggestions gladly received on how to handle him in the way that causes least conflict but limits his influence and ability to damage/hurt me and girls please? Thanks in advance. X

flippinada Sun 05-May-13 11:14:04

Firstly, well done for getting rid of him.

I haven't read all the posts but just reacting to your first one. The first thing that struck me is that he is allowed in your house. You don't have to let him in. How DARE he come into YOUR home and behave like this!

Also wrt to your DD, if she is making fun of you then I think it's ok to tell her she is not to talk to you like that and you will not communicate with her if she does. I do realise this is easier said than done.

happyhev Sun 05-May-13 13:25:52

His behaviour sounds suspiciously like grooming to me too. Your Ex may or may not have a sexual interest in your daughter but he certainly has an interest in hurting you, and i think he's using your daughter to do it.

LineRunner Sun 05-May-13 14:32:50

I also agree about keeping him out of your home.

My twatty Ex is currently trying to use our 17 year old DD to get at me, and I'm thinking quite hard about strategies. He wants me to start having a negative relationship with her, so I am trying to only communicate with her in a loving, positive, and/or factual, way.

She does know now that I want nothing to do with him, and that I do not wish to talk about him, and on one level I'm sure that's hard for her, but I hope it's better than 'mixed messages'.

PenelopePitstop72 Sun 05-May-13 18:36:21

Id agree that it presents as grooming , and that it is all about being able to control her/me and yes, he will know the hurt it causes me to think of her turning to him. Thats why he always tells me when shes rang him etc. but i dont react. He knows how much my girls mean to me.

Hissy. A couple of things. I was not cross with you. Nor offended. Simply horrified at the suggestion as i stated. and to be clear, i have never said or suggested he has conversations of a sexual nature with her.he has those with me in reference to her sex life and i set him straight and tell him to butt out. he certainly has conversations with her about whats going on in her life, and like happened this week, the door was closed at the time, and i overheard him say that stupid stuff about a codeword for her to rescue him from me. And like i said, he took her out to explain he was dating, but also told me that he had a lomg chat with her to set her staright about why our marraige failed. That was him trying to win sides and her approval to move on and get girl friend i think. He certainly got that. Also, he has two rooms at his flat, and sometimes her boyfriend has stayed there too. i just wanted to clear that up, as i dont want to paint more of a horrible picture than it actually is. I think the unhealthy interest in her sex life, comes from him being a control freak and its something he cannot control. He actually says to me "if you dont have that chat with her again and she falls pregnant, it's all your fault". Some people might call that a protective father. again thoug, id say its controlling. Thsnkfully, ive not had to listen to that stuff since hes gone. I would agree, lots of his behaviour is soooo way off the normal scale.

As i realise and learn more and more about his abusive condition, i get stronger and become better equipped to deal with it and protect my girls.

I will continue to fight for the stability and happiness, free of control and manipulation, that me and the girls deserve. It is going to be an uphill struggle with eldest, given his influence and what she's heard and witnessed over years, but i will not give up, and one day she will open her eyes.

flippinada Sun 05-May-13 18:53:36

Penelope I would really recommend stopping the midweek visits and keep him out of your house.

I'm wondering - is the midweek thing something he's pushed for to suit him and you've gone along with it because you're worried about the fallout if you don't? Obviously you don't have to answer that here but something to think about. When I split up with my XP I would just "naturally" defer to him because that's what he trained me to do.

That removes an opportunity for him to manipulate your DD and by proxy cause distress to you.

PenelopePitstop72 Sun 05-May-13 19:25:25

I will be thinking long and hard about midweek visit. I agrred to it when we first talked about his visits and access to youngest before we split. Because he chose to move away to stay near his work (cos his travel to work petrol cost would be so high if he were to remain closeby - his words).

So we agreed that him visiting her here would have to suit midweek, in order that they saw each other. Because she'd need to get up super early to travel from his and get to school. And i guess i gave him the ok to put her to bed, so that he was still involved. So all in all it felt like best solution at time.

I can see why its not, now. But if he cant come in, he could take her out to dinner. Id be happy with that. B i think he will insist he wants to be involved in bed routine- despite the fact that he gets fed up if she doesnt go down fast, and complains if i tell him to bathe her or to complete homework. Despite this reality, he still thinks hes a wonder ful dad. And to be honest, our youngest loves him dearly. Even though his outburts can happen in front of and at her eg. Couple of weeks ago, 5 yr old was being stroppy going to bed, wanting to keep colouring in and wouldnt listen to him, so instead of dealing with it firmly but calmly, he starts to shout at her and create a huge scene at which she was breaking her heart and even in her room he continued to have a go at her when she played up (over tired) and he even told her "daddy will go back to, his house right now if tou dont behave" . Nasty piece of work, to say that to a child who's trying to come to terms with him being away from home now. she will probably blame herself for his absence now in a way. and when i tried to calmly intervene, it just made him worse and he wouldnt calmly come out the room and talk to me.

I can see what a terrible effect he can still have, when i write all this down. I know i must do something and take control back. I am not always as strong as id like to be. To make matters worse, he is a big guy, 6ft 7, and although he has never hurt me physically he can be intimidating. Mind you, his skill with words and twisting of every scenario is truly way more frightening. And he is also very good at the puppy dog eyes and poor me face, which i will no longer bonnw to. I often dont know which way is up.

I will attempt to keep him out the house, but am scared it will make the whole seperation thing harder for little one by doing so. I guess i have to decide which is the lesser of two evils. And its a simple decision, at least on paper. Goign through with it is the hard part. And dealing with the fsll out from him.

I will post my progress.

Hissy Sun 05-May-13 19:46:30

Oh love, I didn't think you were cross with me, I'm sorry if you thought that.

I totally understand why you reacted like that. His behaviour DOES sound like he's setting her up for something, though, which ordinarily would be sex, but in this case its not for sexual control, its for pure power proper.

The only way he relates to women is to objectify them.

Stop the midweeks. You won't have him shout at her.

Hissy Sun 05-May-13 19:50:59

Trust me, there will be an effect only little one, but not in the way you think, she'll probably florish!

PenelopePitstop72 Sun 05-May-13 22:49:48

Apologies HISSY I used the wrong name in my post. The clarification message was meant for the imtoohecsy... person, as they had mentioned stuff that I had not said , and then made a response which reads to me, to be quite sarcastic, when I responded to their question about sexual relationship. So sorry HISSY.

Hissy Sun 05-May-13 23:06:04

Oh please, don't worry. ((((HUGS))))

Hissy Sun 05-May-13 23:08:19

Hecsy's heart was in the right place too. What he is doing is HUGELY inappropriate and very, very sick.

As I said, he's grooming her to take power, not to take sexual power, but the dynamic is JUST the same.

cestlavielife Sun 05-May-13 23:46:23

You definitely need to stop the mid week or any visits To your house .

It doesn't work. Not for anyone except perhaps your ex who gets to continue to control...
Of course your youngest thinks he is fab she doesn't have anything to compare...

He has move away if he can stilly et dd to school even getting up really early well this could be done. Otherwise he comes, takes her out then drops her on doorstep and goes. Bedtimes with him should be at his house when that can be managed. It will help herr to understand it more if daddy s house is daddy's house and yours is yours.

Your oldest well she Is an adult and Can make her own decisions... She can visit him elsewhere. Anything you say against him will be twisted by him. But it does look odd and weird if previously he was nasty to her. She must be very confused. And you cant rule out anything that might be on his agenda as they are not blood relations. Nothing is out of bounds...

Presumably he is showing the charm that presumably attracted you to him. So to your oldest dd he is the good guy... All you can do is be consistent. Don't let her or him get to you... Stay calm... And talk to women's aid and your counsellor...and be ready to pick up the pieces when your oldest sees him clearly.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 06-May-13 08:38:30

I was not being sarcastic. I was being perfectly straight and explaining why I had formed the opinion I had formed. Which was based on my interpretation of what you had said. And it was what you had said. Now I may well have gone 2+2=5 but I was not being sarcastic and I was 100% genuine when I said that I had not meant to offend you.

I did not come on this thread to be nasty. I read what you had written and I was concerned. For your daughter and for you. And I gave an opinion.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 06-May-13 08:41:01

And I am sorry if I took things that you had not said. When you posted " He does have a very unhealthy interest in her sex life... Commenting to me to always have chats with her about sex" I truly interpreted that as he tells you that he is always having chats with her about sex.

I cannot stress enough that I was not being sarcastic or a bitch.

IEM3 Mon 06-May-13 09:51:32

This is a horrible situation for you. After all the trauma of getting him out only to still be manipulated by him. He is a very unhealthy infuence on yr eldest dd. I only hope see begins to see him in his true light and soon. Agree with others to not let in the house, idea of tea out for youngest hopefully a possibility. I really feel for you. I have not been strong enough to make the break for myself yet and my eldesr dd at the moment doesnt really get on with dh and is v supportive of me. I would hate to think that situation could change and yr comments really made me think. I definitely need to cut the time you see him out. No more "chats" as hes probably trying to get as much info out of you. Keep it buisinesslike . Is there a family/friend who could talk to your eldest about all this. Be strong.

IEM3 Mon 06-May-13 09:54:44

sorry typos hope she sees soon. You (not.I)

PenelopePitstop72 Mon 06-May-13 09:59:59

Thanks for explaining ImTooHecsy, I appreciate you were saying it out of concern. It is a very difficult situation. I've got so used to the horrible things he does as being "my norm", and finding ways to cope with them.i know it must sound hideous to outsiders. And it is. But I think there's no sexual interest. I have spent so long dashing around, trying to protect my eldest from his bullying, having to stand up for her, second guessing his motives and every move. I must get better at setting boundaries now, to minimise his influence and control. I must get the house in my own name. That might help me.

MagicHouse Mon 06-May-13 10:02:21

Don't listen if he "insists" on coming in for the bedtime routine. He simply cannot do that any longer now you have split up. Give him a reason that he can't argue with. The atmosphere is too tense, the children are receiving mixed messages about your split etc and that it is better that he takes your younger dd out to tea instead. Say it's not working for you and the children having him come into the house. Do the broken record thing if he insists "no, it's not working/ no it's too tense/ you'll need to organise it from your home/ you can still see her for a meal." etc etc

I think you'll find it a huge relief to make this first change. I know for me, having my own home that he isn't a part of is a real security for me and our children. Whatever happens, our home is calm, loving, respectful. Also for both your dd's it will send strong messages about the sort of behaviour that YOU find acceptable in your home. Having him rant there sends a message that you allow this and find it ok. I know I'm going on a bit, but I think that the home and behaviour you accept/ provide is absolutely key to how they will grow up to view you both.

Get him out of your house - you don't need to be openly hostile about it, just calmly state it's not working. I bet you'll feel a lot calmer if you do.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 06-May-13 10:11:33

I'm really sorry that I upset you. Please believe that I would never ever come onto a thread where someone was pouring their heart out and try to be a bitch to them. That's not who I am, I promise you.

I am so so glad like you wouldn't believe that you insist I am totally queen wrong of wrongville! I wouldn't wish that situation on you.

Samebod Mon 06-May-13 14:55:38

Am in a very similar position to you OP,very scarily similar.

Look up 'parental alienation'.This is what your ex is doing.

it's a tough one regarding your oldest because of her age but you can be aware that his warped sense of 'parenting' will no doubt begin to start with your youngest.

Get yourself a solicitor and deal with this control freak in the legal,hard hitting way.

Write it all down from now on in.

I recommend reading 'Divorce poison'

I don't want to go into my personal dealings with a control freak ex because I'm aware he could be stalking me on here (new name-old timer)

Feel free to pm me if you need.

flippinada Mon 06-May-13 16:37:16

Another recommendation here for 'Divorce Poison'.

I don't think anyone here is trying to suggest you are not doing your best..of course any suggestion of grooming is upsetting because if the connotations but everyone is on your side.

flippinada Mon 06-May-13 16:37:29

because of

PenelopePitstop72 Mon 06-May-13 18:16:24

I really do appreciate all the advice, and even the hard to hear stuff opens my eyes to the possibility. Again thouh, i dont think it is, but i will be even more vigilant having heard these things.

Hes coming tonight. Very insistent. He needs clothes from our loft. He just takes stuff as he needs it. Ive asked him to clear stuff out, but he gets very cross and insulted. Only a few weeks ago, i bagged up all the clothes he left in his wardrobe and gace him about 15 black bags. He was not pleased. But the attic, i cant get into. So he needs to do that himself. Hes goign away this weekend and says he needs stuff.

He's doing usual nicey nicey, i'll bring a curry. Ive said no about 5 times. He even told me to meet him at mcdonalds. Again ive said no. He wants to be best of pals, but then his alter ego does the nasty stuff in parallel. Eldest DD has boyfriend here tonight visiting too. So DH will be on full superdad/charm mode. I know im going to be told not to let him in. But, if im going to do this right, and not have a drama in front of girls where he will make me look like the worst most spiteful parent imagineable, i have to talk to him elsewhere, with no children around.

I will get on with what needs doing this evening and start planning how to break this cycle.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Mon 06-May-13 18:20:48

Him keeping stuff is a way to keep control.

Is there anyone you can get to come over and clear the attic for you?

Hell, if you have to pay someone to go up there it would be worth it!

Do you have to be in tonight? Why? If you don't want to get into an argument with him and he's only coming to collect stuff and your daughter and her boyfriend are here - be out!

Springdiva Mon 06-May-13 18:37:17

I would think that with the undercurrents at home DD might be better living at uni, is it the costs that keep her at home. Going to uni is such a relatively easy way for DCs to leave home, accomm provided. lots of others in the same boat. Shame she missed this opportunity. Is the boyfriend also at uni?

There is def counselling support for students, you could enquire and then see if you can find a way for her to access this without out it being through you, maybe another relative or friend?

Poor girl, if she could just get some help from someone outside the home it would be an opportunity for her to sort herself out and possibly see DH for what he is.

Also think you shouldn't be speaking to, or seeing DH at all then he can't use your behaviour as a stick to beat you.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now