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dc afraid of ex-h's anger

(22 Posts)
KatyLovesKats Wed 07-Jan-15 18:07:59

I wonder if anyone has had similar experience and could offer some helpful suggestions?

My dc are frightened of my ex-h. He has a nasty temper and uses an unpleasant (controlling) tone of voice - this, as much as the shouting, is what they are afraid of. I can understand their fear - he used to speak to me like that - I found it intimidating and scary and, in the two years since he left - have gone increasingly NC with him.

On Christmas Day one of my dc (age 12) came home from ex-h's house and burst into tears as he'd had to put up with a "rant" about how Daddy was unhappy they weren't staying any longer because Mummy wouldn't let him see the children.

The truth of the matter is that the children chose how long they wanted to visit him for on Christmas Day (3 hours) but they let him believe it was me because they were afraid of what he'd say.

Since then poor dc2 (13) has become very fearful if he thinks he has done (inadvertently or not) something to upset ex-h and is becoming more and more stressed and hysterical. But of course he still wants to see him.

DC1 (14) has opted to see very little of ex-h because he doesn't like him (goes about once a month for a few hours, which resulted in ex-h's partner not buying a Christmas present for him, only for the other 2). DC3 (10) is probably the most resilient but shares the fears of the other two.

What can I do? I can't talk to ex-h as he dismisses anything I say as "ridiculous", and I don't particularly want that much contact with him. I have thought about asking his sister to talk to him but his family don't like to get involved (I think they are also afraid of him). There are no mutual friends.

If anyone has any helpful ideas, I would really appreciate them.
Thank you.

newyear15 Wed 07-Jan-15 18:14:23

I would say they are old enough to decide that if they don't want to spend time with him - they don't have to. I don't see why you or they should 'manage' his bullying.

shushpenfold Wed 07-Jan-15 18:14:26

If it was me in the same situation I would be very matter of fact with him and explain that all 3 are scared of his temper and 'controlled rants'. You need to point out that this is not coming from you but from them and although they (mainly) want to see him, they are becoming increasingly worried about the visits and fearful of him. Don't do any wheedling or bargaining with him, just be very plain. Ask him if he would consider family counselling or the like (not sure what's out there) to help sort out the issues as I suspect he will say there is no issue, no reason to be scared, just need to pull themselves together etc. You need to be clear that this needs to be sorted out with the boys or you will be looking to change the current arrangements. Not a threat, but you won\'t be putting up with sad and scared children.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 07-Jan-15 18:36:34

I agree with the PP and would suggest you go as far as to put it in writing. It is not in the best interests of the children to be bullied and I think you need to keep a paper trail.

Coyoacan Wed 07-Jan-15 18:46:03

Grrr. Wasting the time he does have with them to rant because they aren't staying longer...
Sorry, OP, no suggestions, but as far as I know, at a certain age, it is the choice of the children in question how much time they want to spend with their father.

KatyLovesKats Wed 07-Jan-15 18:46:44

Thanks for your replies, they are really helpful.

When we got divorced, nothing was put in writing regarding the children (other than some exceptionally loose comment like "Mrs KLK and ex-Mr KLK have sorted out the arrangements re the children themselves."

He has always seen them one night in the week (but they don't stay over as I said it would be too disruptive for them) and every other weekend.

I am worried that he will take me to court and the judge rule that the dc have to see him more often. A Mrs Fool On the Hill posted on here before Christmas as to how her dc were having to spend Christmas with her ex-h even though they didn't want to.

Coyoacan Wed 07-Jan-15 18:54:19

I've got a feeling that at least your two older children would have a say in how much time they have to spend with their father.

BlackeyedSantaStuckUpAChimney Wed 07-Jan-15 23:31:02

speak to their teacher at primary.

speak to the hoyat secondary and ask if they have a member of staff who deals with such issues.

speak to their GP (dr) about how they are feeling about it and whether they have any suggestions for support available.

LadySybilLikesSloeGin Wed 07-Jan-15 23:35:12

Why are you sending your children to spend time with someone who verbally bullies them?? Do their opinions and feelings matter less than his? I've been in your situation and I supported my son when he said he didn't want to see his father and 3 years later I still support him. Contact is for the benefit of the children, not the parents, and a child doesn't deserve to bullied by anyone, let alone a parent.

AmantesSuntAmentes Wed 07-Jan-15 23:55:15

I am worried that he will take me to court and the judge rule that the dc have to see him more often.

Your children are being abused. See a solicitor and in your shoes, I'd suspend one to one contact immediately, pending court intervention. Take legal advice on that.

At your dcs ages, their thoughts and wishes have to be taken into consideration by the family court and when a father is abusive, a court can and will either drastically reduce contact (to written only, for example) or bar it completely.

shadowfax07 Thu 08-Jan-15 08:00:21

Please don't worry about being taken to court. My parents divorced when I was seven, and my father tried to get residency of me. Even at that tender age, my wishes were taken into consideration by the judge.

newyear15 Thu 08-Jan-15 08:21:13

Do you really think he will spend £15K taking you to court for the children to say 'actually we don't want to see him thanks, he bullies us'.

I agree, get yourself legal advice. And speak to Women's Aid too for support/advice

FunkyBoldRibena Thu 08-Jan-15 08:25:49

Record everything, tell your kids they don't have to see him and if he takes you to court, then you will be able to evidence his bullying and abuse.

LadySybilLikesSloeGin Thu 08-Jan-15 13:09:07

So what if he tries to take you to court? The most important thing here is your children and it's important to them and their relationship with you that you listen to them. Don't force them to see him just to keep the peace, because it won't work. It will backfire and in a few years time they will turn and ask you why you didn't stand up for them.

My ex didn't take me to court, I took him though as he used this as an excuse to stop paying maintenance (which the court tripled).

cestlavielife Thu 08-Jan-15 13:58:02

let them choose to see him or not they are old enough
let him take you to court if he wishes - their views will be taken into account
go to GP and record your concerns about your dc wellbeing -ask for referral to family therapist the dc could attend (without ex) as a it can be helpful and b it can be recorded that they have needed help to deal with this man.

him telling the dc his issues with you is a big no no but sadly he is unlikely to listen to you or anyone else... so record in an email that you ask him to reserve this rant for some place else and not to dc, then if it carries on let dc stop contact.

KatyLovesKats Fri 09-Jan-15 07:36:42

Thank you all for your replies. I have emailed him and will make an apt to see a solicitor, as well writing a document, outlining all the incidents and pieces of correspondence relating to his behavior.

It is so hard to have perspective when you have lived with a situation for a long time and you are dealing with a Jekyll & Hyde personality, especially when he only ever presents his charming front to the world, and the world falls for it.

Starlightbright1 Fri 09-Jan-15 07:51:10

Funny thing I bet no one does fall for it..Think how many people you have listed that are scared of him..

Glad you are getting legal advise...What have you emailed him as I would keep cards close to my chest before legal advise

KatyLovesKats Fri 09-Jan-15 08:02:39

Haven't mentioned legal advice or stopping contact. Friends in RL thought that was being a bit heavy-handed for a first email, especially as dc2 always wants to see his dad. Just a neutral email expressing concern about dc2, giving examples and asking ex-h to treat dc more appropriately as his behavior is driving them away from him. I've said I don't want a reply - I'm not getting into a dialogue with him.

WhatDoesItTake Fri 09-Jan-15 09:17:01

Wow, I could be reading my own story. I started a thread not long ago on here for the very same problem so can totally empathize. My two children (11 and 14) have been subject to many a 'rant', often sparked by something trivial like one of them innocently mentioning a place they'd like to go, then they get the 'well, if your mum didn't fuck up the marraige and take all my money' (not true but he is abusive so this is his modus operandai). He has frightened them by getting angry and making them so uncomfortable, once things got so bad they rang me crying. I can tell you it's painfull. I deal with it by sending a still email, detailing what he has said and done, that way there is paper 'evidence' should it be needed.
His replies are abusive, with denials and recriminations, blame, dismissal, the works.
OP, all I can advise is you keep a close eye and do email him if there are more instances. I also always tell my kids they are not at fault and his behaviour is his responsibility as they are very wary and on eggshells of upsetting him.
I have at time kept the kids from seeing him after one of his blow-ups, that does seem to help. It really is not easy, I feel it's almost like a punishment for leaving the marraige but I try and keep in mind it's his problem and protect and support the kids as best i can.

RomillyJane Fri 09-Jan-15 09:21:04

My exH does this too. I was very afraid of him. i am NC with him

I made a HUGE deal of it in the mediation (as I knew they were afraid - DC2 said the thing that scared him most was being alone with hs father) and despite his blustering we were directred to a child psychotherapist. She spoke to the kids individually and together over a few sessions and SHE fed back to my ExH that he was scaring the kids ( then 12,9 and 6) .

Because I was not even there when the kids spoke to her he could not say it was my bulls*it. I dont think it is a LOT better now, but it is a bit

Is this something you could do ?

foolonthehill Fri 09-Jan-15 09:31:41


So sorry for your children (and you).
Your ex sounds very similar in some ways to mine....although mu DC are a little younger.

If you can, personally, I would put in writing the issues you have evidence of and document them as you have said but keep your cards close to your chest as far as advice from solicitor . I would also suggest that you try to keep out of court unless you are sure your DC would say very directly and specifically what they want to a cafcass officer. Let him take you if he really wants to. Your children are old enough to make their own decisions about seeing him.

My experience also suggests that if you have as little contact with him as possible the heat goes out of the system. I understand everyone's POV that you should confront him and protect your DC but if he is anything like my ex it gets you no-where because he will not be interested in changing his behaviour...because he is ENTITLED to feel and act as he likes and no-one else's feelings count as much...and if he knows it is a problem for you it will just raise the level of contact he makes with you...and then you have less energy and space to support your children.

Good luck

Theoldhag Fri 09-Jan-15 09:56:15

You have had excellent advise here op, in summery you need to log everything and leave a paper trail.

So gp, school, womans aid, solicitors and I would even go as far as contacting social servises for advice.

Let him take you to court, your children can vote with their feet, cafcass will investigate by speaking to you, school and if needed your dc.

It may be worth you saying that you would feel happier if contact was supervised by a formal third party, that way you are not cutting direct contact off compleatly. It will be down to your ex to prove that he is capable of seeing the dc with out abusing them. And yes this is abuse.

You are right to not have a dialogue with him directly, let the third part professionals deal with it. If he gets abusive with you, warn him that you will block him if he continues and don't be scared to follow through (if he turns his abuse onto you contact non emergancy police to log everything.

You may find it helpful to enquire about counselling for your dc at their schools. Just so that they can sort out their emotions in a safe environment, this should reduce any anxiety that they may feel.

Good luck and hope that your dc will be ok thanks

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