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ex threatening to disappear, turning eldest against me

(15 Posts)
itsalltoohard Mon 17-Feb-14 12:41:56

have name-changed as this will out me to ex.

I made stbxh leave our home 8 months ago, after he was violent to me. We had previously split up a year and a half earlier (due to his controlling behaviour and unpleasantness), but had been back together a year. he put more and more pressure on until I caved and took him back.

Ex is doing a good job of turning eldest dc against me. Telling him that I 'kicked him out', 'mummy doesn't love me anymore', and generally implying that I am nasty to him and he has done nothing wrong. He does this to the younger two as well, and they are confused by it, but don't seem to believe him.

Eldest dc wants to live with his dad, is sabotaging all nice things I have planned, being disruptive at home, mean towards me etc. I think he wants to be 'kicked out' too in solidarity (obviously that's not going to happen!) I am trying to spend more time alone with eldest, when I can, and this seems to help a little, until he sees his dad again and then nothing i do is good enough.

I miss my happy,easy going boy and want to help him to settle into our new life, but really don't know how to as he is set on moving in with his dad as soon as he is old enough. I haven't told dc why we split up, except that we weren't getting along, arguing, and parents are sometimes better off apart etc. I don't want to tell them bad things about their dad, but it seems like i am constantly being made out to be the bad guy.

Last night ex came to pick him up and i asked if he could have a word with eldest about an incident of bad behaviour. He refused to talk to him about it, and said his 'new daddy' can do it, that he is not his parent anymore (there is no 'new daddy', though i do have a boyfriend) and was shouting about how maybe it would be easier if he just disappeared (I calmly agreed, probably shouldn't have, but wasn't in front of dcs).

I want to be in a situation where the children see their father, he is kind to them, not nasty to me, and all is amicable. I can't see how to get there.

I usually don't speak to ex when he picks up, as it seems to be an opportunity for him to be nasty, i only spoke yesterday as i really needed his help with discipline for eldest, as eldest listens to his dad but laughs at me.

I don't know now whether ex is planning to move away. This would devastate eldest, although younger two might be a little relieved as long as they could see him from time to time. I am certainly not taking him back this time, and I think ex is starting to realise that.

Any advice please? I'm struggling so much. I can't concentrate on anything and am full of worries about the future.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 13:03:58

How old is your DS? You can't change your ex's behaviour or attitude towards you, however, you can be more honest with your DS. If he's a pre-teen then he just has to abide by what you want and deal with it best he can, but if he's a little older I think it would pay to support him in wanting to live with his Dad. If you at the same time level with him that the his father can be volatile and aggressive he than has an 'out' if (when) it all goes wrong. Currently, if DS kicks against you and puts all his eggs in Dad's basket on the strength of bad information & emotion, he'd probably not want to admit he'd made a mistake

itsalltoohard Mon 17-Feb-14 13:12:01

Ds is 9. He knows his dad can be aggressive, but blames me for that (so does his dad). I've told ds he can live with his dad when he is 14 if that is what he wants (don't think his dad would look after him properly if he had him full-time now, but at 14 ds would be able to be left alone etc)

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 13:20:45

Then I don't think you've got much choice except to present the situation as honestly & with as much love as you can but make it clear that the status quo won't be changing. If DS thinks he has any say, he'll keep pushing. Means you're going to have to take the brunt of the sadness, resentment and the resulting discipline issues on yourself. Could mean that you have to engage school in the process... let them know what's going on and see if they can facilitate counselling perhaps? But if your ex is determined to be unhelpful and maliciously wind the job up you have to disregard his input.

itsalltoohard Mon 17-Feb-14 13:30:54

Thanks. I haven't wanted to bring school into it, but actually it is probably a good idea.
I just feel like I can't take any more. It is a constant barrage of anger from my ex and from my ds and there seems like no way through

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 13:35:55

The anger from your ex you can only try to minimise by reducing contact to the bare essentials, not letting him come to the house and so forth. Back this up with some legal advice if you feel it would help. Realise you want your DCs to have a lovely relationship with him - which they can in time - but, if he is determined to make this as acrimonious as possible, you have to put your peace of mind & protection first and facilitate contact second.

Do involve school. Your DS is angry, upset, confused and it will be things they've seen before and can help both him and you with.

itsalltoohard Mon 17-Feb-14 14:05:57

I don't really know how to involve school. Do I just ask to talk to his teacher? I don't really want them to know all the details and how nasty my ex is.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 14:09:48

Talk to his teacher, explain that you're separated, say DS isn't coping very well and ask if everything's OK with him at school. If they know there's a problem at home they may be able to offer mentoring or they could just keep an eye out.

itsalltoohard Mon 17-Feb-14 14:13:57

They know we are separated (very rural, small school) and he is doing well at school, behaving well too. I asked them to keep an eye out and let me know of any problems, but there aren't any. He is a clever little boy and is very good at hiding his feelings, and I think would hate it if his teacher tried to talk to him about things. He saves all his anger for me.

Parsley1234 Mon 17-Feb-14 14:15:23

My sons father behaves like this I have had to be really honest with my ds 10. After an incident where he didn't take medication for bi polar and told ds he Wd never see him again wasn't his father that I was a really awful person etc etc i sat ds down involved his form teacher and told exp he had to get some therapy I also had a family therapy session with my ds. It helped and my son has a fair understanding of the situation now not a lesson I wanted him to have at 10 but it is reality for us I'm afraid.

itsalltoohard Mon 17-Feb-14 14:27:15

Thanks parsley. My ex was referred for counselling by his gp, but as far as I know didn't take it up. He has ups and downs in his mood due to a medical condition too, but although he apologises for his outbursts afterwards, will rarely admit there is anything wrong with his behaviour, insists it is me driving him to it with my (reasonable) demands.

Ex does not have a mental health condition as such, which might be easier to explain (though i appreciate difficult to deal with), he is just not a very stable person. Where can you access family therapy?

I have heard all that and more from ex, never seeing kids again etc, but luckily most things said directly to me not the children. DS knows his dad is desperate for me to take him back.

itsalltoohard Mon 17-Feb-14 15:47:45

My life is so different from what i want it to be like. I need to earn a lot more money (about 3 times as much as the low wage I am on now) to keep us living in this area, or to move somewhere better. I can't concentrate on the studying I am doing to try to get a better career, I'm just falling to bits. I keep looking for new jobs which pay more, but realistically haven't got the energy to move jobs at the moment anyway. It's all so depressing.

I read the lovely thread on Mumsnet about moving on from divorce, but most of the success stories seem to be people buying new houses and rebuilding their lives from there. That's not going to happen for us, and it feels like things are going to get worse, we are going to get poorer.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 15:56:56

Success is in the eye of the beholder. There may be some buying new houses and so forth but there are others who materially speaking have taken a hit, but have gained a huge amount personally e.g. escaping abuse. It's always a trade-off about what lifestyle you want and what you're prepared to tolerate in order to get it. That's not a criticism, just the reality.

What I also would say, however, is that you should look at the numbers bearing in mind that you might qualify for state help and that your what-would-be-Ex would also have to carry on providing for any DCs. Again, some sound legal advice on the conventions around how marital assets are dealt with could make your various options look less depressing.

itsalltoohard Mon 17-Feb-14 16:15:32

thanks for the reality check. I know i'm best off without ex really. Just seems so unfair how much me and the kids have to sacrifice financially. He does have to pay maintenance, but he has a lot of perks with his job which mean he is left better off than me, not by an awful lot, but made a lot of difference to our life together, and he will be able to buy himself a house with a mortgage, I won't.

I get a share of the house sale money, a good deposit but can't raise a mortgage to buy a home. I can't get much state help as have savings, so will be spending deposit for home on rent until we have very little left, when we will get housing benefit.

I want to start earning more so I can get a mortgage before we have no deposit for a house, but it is all so bloody hard.

CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 17-Feb-14 16:18:00

It's tough being the grown-up.

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