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Just need a rant and some support about my abusive ex, and Xmas, and everything

(112 Posts)
Namechanger2015 Sat 12-Dec-15 14:39:48

I am just full of worry, and anxious, and ready to cry, distracted all of the time, and I could really do with some supportive words, or home-truths, whatever it is I need to snap out of this.

There is of course a massive back-story, I left my ExH in January after he strangled/punched me in front of our 3 young children last year. It seems very dramatic and over the top, and a bit Eastenders-like to say that, but it is what it is. I am super middle-class, well educated, nice house, lovely holidays etc, we were married for 9 years, he was very controlling, verbally abusive, and financially abusive too. Physically abusive once many years ago. This was the second time.

I have stepped out of that world and I am now a single parent, the one who people feel like they need to help out, and who is wondering how I got into this situation.

ExH has come out of this all relatively unscathed. He lives in our marital home, and has rental income from other properties, and also from DD2s bedroom, which he has rented out to a lodger.

I am 41, and I live with my parents. My 3 children and I share my childhood bedroom.

I have £300 left in my account till the New Year, I work hard, I don't really earn enough to support us, and haven't yet paid my daughter's nursery bill for this month.

ExH hasn't paid anything towards the DDs, and is also evading/stalling the divorce as best he can, until I finally managed to serve him divorce papers via a private server last weekend. I have been trying since May to serve these.

He sees the children very erratically. This time round he hasn't seen them since the October half term, when DD2 (aged 6) slept on the floor for 5 nights because her bedroom is rented out. The lodger then looked after the DDs whilst ExH went to play football.

He won't make plans to see them, he alludes to possible plans in his once-weekly calls to the kids, but then does not solidify these plans at all. If challenged or questioned by the children, his default answer is 'Well I want to see you every weekend, I am always ready to see you, but you have gymnastics (Saturdays, 12-1pm), and you are always busy so I can't'

DD2 had an op in early Nov, fairly major (general anaesthetic and resulting in life-long implications). He didn't come to see her for the op, and hasn't seen her since then either. He called her before the op, but not after.

When he does see the DDs, he will tell them how his town/city is so much better than where they live now, that mummy doesn't do enough for the children, and is selfish for having left him.

At Xmas time, his work company shuts for 2 weeks over Xmas, so he is off work whether he wants to be or not. It is also his dad's birthday over the Xmas hols and we are fully expected to be there as a family every year. I never once spent Xmas day with my family, and didn't usually see my parents at all over the Xmas hols.

Last week he text me to ask which week of the Xmas hols he is having them.

Considering he hasn't seen them since Oct, when he left them to sleep on the floor and for lodger to watch them, hasn't shown any interest in DD2s operation or recovery (bar a few 'how is she?' texts during the op), and hasn't paid a penny towards their clothes, food, anything, I feel really annoyed about the assumption that I will parent them fully, but then he can have them for half of the hols and I can't enjoy Xmas with them. If I say yes, I have no idea if he will take them back to the marital house (where lodger is), or to his parents house, where he leaves them with his parents and does nothing with them, and they hate going).

When they go see him they come back very upset every single time - to the extent that I ended up taking DD1 to the GP for further support and she was crying every day for a week following a visit to him. She now has a family support worker assigned to her, as well as support at school, as she becomes very emotional, sad and withdrawn after her visits to him. He fills her with emotional blackmail crap, and slags me off to her which she finds difficult to deal with. He also won't let them phone me, and does not pick up the phone if I call to speak to them. Last time I waited 3 days for him to pick up the phone to me.

I have a solicitor who says I am legally within my rights to stop him seeing them at Xmas, based on his past behaviour. I am not stopping him seeing them ever, and I don't ever stop them from speaking to him anytime he calls, eldest also has her own Kindle and he can email them at any time (but he doesn't).

I have explained via the solicitor that I would like 4 weeks notice period, which is reasonable as he usually sees them on average once every 6 weekends, and so I would like notice instead of his usual 1-2 days notice which is really unsettling for the children.

I feel very unreasonable doing this to the children. They say they want to see him, yet when he calls them they say they don't want to speak to him.

This week he has called DD3s nursery saying he would like updates on her progress - this is 9 months after she started going there. He has text me today asking what they want for Xmas - this is very unusual, as he has never got them anything for Xmas ever, and didn't buy them birthday presents this year either.

My gut feeling is that, as he has finally been served with divorce papers, he is finally playing the role of doting dad. So if I stop him seeing them at Xmas he will be worse and will tell his solicitors I am blocking access. Also the children 'want' to see him and then come home upset. The school welfare office also said she doesn't think it's a good idea for the DDs to spend Xmas with him, as they have seen first hand how upset the DDs are on return, and how difficult it is for them to get themselves feeling normal again afterwards.

I have posted about this/my exH behaviour before, so some of this might be familiar. Apologies if so. I keep churning it all around in my head, my friends and family are great, but must be getting sick of me talking about the same thing whenever I see them. Yet however much I say it doesn't seem to help or resolve anything. I am getting obsessive and nasty thinking about it all of the time.

Am I being unfair about Xmas? How can I snap myself out of this massive anxiety?

Namechanger2015 Sat 12-Dec-15 14:41:13

My old thread is here:

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/a2381322-Finally-told-my-physically-emotionally-abusive-H-I-am-divorcing-him?msgid=57492928#57492928

BeyonceRiRiMadonnna Sat 12-Dec-15 15:09:28

Hi Name, what I have to say is going to be harsh, but here goes.....

WHY do you keep wanting to subject them to your horrid Ex? Stop enabling his behaviour towards them, they need a protector. At which point will you start protecting them?

1. I have a solicitor who says I am legally within my rights to stop him seeing them at Xmas

2. The school welfare office also said she doesn't think it's a good idea for the DDs to spend Xmas with him, as they have seen first hand how upset the DDs are on return, and how difficult it is for them to get themselves feeling normal again afterwards

....and yet you still keep throwing them back to into the fighting ring.

When will you put an end to him emotionally hurting your children?

You left your marriage only after he strangled you and punched you the 2nd time, Are you waiting for him to do the same to your children before you actually start protecting them?

I'm sorry but I'm pissed off at your inaction in protecting them and still asking Am I being unfair about Xmas? No you are not!

PhoebeMcPeePee Sat 12-Dec-15 15:27:02

This sounds an awful situation op but I agree with the previous poster and you need to stop all access if it is causing the DC so much upset. Sorry if this was dealt with on your other thread, but why on earth are 4 of you sharing a bedroom whilst your ex remains in the marital home?

MoriartyIsMyAngel Sat 12-Dec-15 15:28:32

I have a solicitor who says I am legally within my rights to stop him seeing them at Xmas, based on his past behaviour. I am not stopping him seeing them ever

Why on earth not????

Osgood Sat 12-Dec-15 15:28:34

You are right to be cautious about withdrawing contact, that generally doesn't go down too well with the courts.

However, take the control back. You can't change him, but you can change how you react to him. Set clear and reasonable times he can see / speak to dc. Make them available at these times. Make it low-key If he doesn't show but don't pander to his flakiness.

Youdontownme Sat 12-Dec-15 15:30:51

Why isn't he paying maintenance? Have contacted your local authority in regards to your housing needs? And I agree with the previous poster, I'd stop his access to the kids. He's abusing them as he did to you

MoriartyIsMyAngel Sat 12-Dec-15 15:32:10

Is this some internalized bullshit you've picked up about how women are evil if they don't keep the welcome mat permanently rolled out for their feckless exes?

Look at what he's doing to your children. I'm sure he'll be more than happy to dine out on tales of being 'blocked' or 'kept' from his children, but for all you know he's doing that already! Put your dc's first here. Anyone who could say 'Yes, well he attacked her, and he won't give up the house, and is a neglectful in all ways and possibly also abusive parent - but do you know, she's STOPPING HIM FROM SEEING THEM?!' is just a twat.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Sat 12-Dec-15 15:36:34

Ask yourself whether seeing him is in their interests. Start from there then work out what you can or will agree to.
He hasn't seen them for 3 months so a week over Christmas is not in their interests.

Namechanger2015 Sat 12-Dec-15 15:39:49

I can't legally stop him from seeing them my solicitor has advised me that the courts will take a v dim view of that.

But thank you for being pissed off - I need that. He is extreme isn't he? I am not being unreasonable. The kids want to see him, they miss him and they cry. So then I let them. Surely it would destroy them when older to be told that dad wanted to see them but mum wouldn't let him?

They are 8, 6 and 3. Too young to understand.

When I tell him he can't see them because we have plans he tells the children - I want to see you but mummy has all of these plans so I can't see you.

pocketsaviour Sat 12-Dec-15 15:40:23

The school welfare office also said she doesn't think it's a good idea for the DDs to spend Xmas with him

Get this in writing. Then tell him he's not having them for Xmas.

PPs have said everything I would. Don't enable him to keep abusing them. Just don't. Please.

Youdontownme Sat 12-Dec-15 15:42:54

The courts will take an even dimmer view of his continued emotional abuse of the children.

glentherednosedbattleostrich Sat 12-Dec-15 15:43:07

I do have to agree with the other posters.

Please remember, you have the support of professionals (the school welfare officer) and your solicitor. I would suggest you try to find someone who is willing to supervise contact and tell him they will be available for supervised contact from say 12 - 6 on 27th December and 1 or 2 other days.

Also tell him (not ask, he doesn't get to decide if he is going to support the children or not) that you expect x amount (look on the CMS site for a calculator) in your account on the first of each month or you will be forced to apply for maintenance.

This is not going to be an easy divorce so (and please don't think I'm being harsh here, I'm truly not trying to be) put on your big girl pants and start telling him how things are going to be from now on. He will fight and tantrum but you need to stand firm. You have your family's support so use it, lean on it. You can always use some of your share of the divorce settlement to buy them dinner when it's over!!

Namechanger2015 Sat 12-Dec-15 15:43:09

I have been a doormat to him for 8 years and I am trying really hard to stop. I've had counselling etc and u do draw the line at him being shitty to my children. But my boundaries are fucked.

Namechanger2015 Sat 12-Dec-15 15:46:33

However, take the control back. You can't change him, but you can change how you react to him. Set clear and reasonable times he can see / speak to dc. Make them available at these times. Make it low-key If he doesn't show but don't pander to his flakiness.

He calls them once a week on his way to work. It's a quick call as DDs are on their way to school. He occasionally calls at other times. I then let him speak to them. I suspect he will tell his solicitor I don't let him speak to them otherwise. But actually you are right. I need to not pick up the phone and I can explain in court why.

To be clear - they have seen him since October half term and they are fine at the moment. They are happy but they do miss him v occasionally and ask but otherwise settled. Only feel down after contact with him. My sol and family are advising me to stay squeaky clean with my behaviour and let him hang himself with his, so I have been taking his advice.

I really don't know what to expect in court if I deny him access.

Osgood Sat 12-Dec-15 15:48:42

The dc have a right to see you too.

Look at what you've written, you're falling over backwards to facilitate this and he's throwing it back in your face.

Tell the dc your plans for you and them. He wants to see them give him the next available date that he can. Have the pattern in your head at least. Don't bring the dc into the fighting but correct them, matter of factly, if he says you're stopping him seeing them. 'Daddy's weekend is next weekend remember? We get to do fun stuff this weekend' and have last minute fun stuff to do if he lets them down.

And get onto the CMS! If he's working there is no reason he shouldn't be paying.

He's an abusive ex, not an abusive H. You're fre, stop letting him control you.

pocketsaviour Sat 12-Dec-15 15:49:01

That is totally understandable OP and nobody expects you to go from frightened abused and controlled wife to super in charge boundary woman in one fell swoop.

The maintenance issue though - are you thinking of it as him paying you? Because the people getting ripped off here are actually your daughters. He doesn't have to pay spousal maintenance to you (you're working so it's very unlikely, anyway) but he has a financial responsibility to his children, you know, the ones he chose to create. You are struggling to pay nursery fees - childcare should be a shared cost. Their food and clothing should be a shared cost. School supplies should be a shared cost. That's why there is a minimum amount of child maintenance to be paid.

Please get a claim in for this. He's had the divorce papers, he's already being a shit to the kids, there is nothing more he can do to punish you. He has been and always will be an utter shit. You claiming what your children are legally entitled to will not change him.

Namechanger2015 Sat 12-Dec-15 15:49:04

The school welfare office also said she doesn't think it's a good idea for the DDs to spend Xmas with him

Get this in writing. Then tell him he's not having them for Xmas.

I have this in writing. I have told him re Xmas and told him to speak only to my solicitor re seeing them. He said nothing. Two days later he is asking me what they want for Xmas presents. He hasn't been in touch with my solicitor.

Namechanger2015 Sat 12-Dec-15 15:50:18

Also tell him (not ask, he doesn't get to decide if he is going to support the children or not) that you expect x amount (look on the CMS site for a calculator) in your account on the first of each month or you will be forced to apply for maintenance.

Have requested this in writing via solicitor repeatedly between October and now. No response and no money. Sol thinks we should pursue this and get back payments in court as well. If we go via csa then no back payments -£12k or so.

ObsidianBlackbirdMcNight Sat 12-Dec-15 15:50:32

Right so what you need to do is offer, in writing, a contact schedule. Phone calls 1 or 2 times a week between X times on X days. Contact every other weekend for 6 hours for example. With the agreement that it will be built up if he sticks to it. Then when he fails to stick to it that's your evidence. Don't be obstructive but if he starts to nit pick then ask what works for him but repeat that it needs to be regular, planned and build up due to his long absence. Keep it calm and keep it all in writing.

Osgood Sat 12-Dec-15 15:53:18

There's a world of difference between denying access and being available 24 hours.

It's understandable your boundaries are fucked, so write down what's reasonable in your head and stick to it.

Namechanger2015 Sat 12-Dec-15 15:54:38

Tell the dc your plans for you and them. He wants to see them give him the next available date that he can. Have the pattern in your head at least. Don't bring the dc into the fighting but correct them, matter of factly, if he says you're stopping him seeing them. 'Daddy's weekend is next weekend remember? We get to do fun stuff this weekend' and have last minute fun stuff to do if he lets them down.

I have told DDs the holiday plans - in fact we filled in our Frozen calendar just this morning and they are super excited.

He won't commit to one weekend or another I'm advance. It's always with 1-2 weeks notice and then he never confirms. So no set weekends at the moment at all.

He half heartedly asked about their availability last weekend I told him they are free on Sunday and he didn't respond. He wants them all weekend or nothing. He lives 1.5h away and blames it on this. Too far for a day visit.

Namechanger2015 Sat 12-Dec-15 15:58:36

* Sorry if this was dealt with on your other thread, but why on earth are 4 of you sharing a bedroom whilst your ex remains in the marital home?*

Our marital home is in the Midlands. I moved out after assault and straight in with parents. He stayed in the house. We had a period of speaking to each other and trying to reconcile - during this phase he said he would sell house so we could buy near my parents. He then changed his mind. He sold rental property to his dad and is selling a second one which we are trying to stop.

Housing wise it's cramped but my parents and siblings are amazing and it gives DDs a lot of stability. We are in London and at the bottom of the queue for housing.

PhoebeMcPeePee Sat 12-Dec-15 16:00:19

Yes op but what he wants is now irrelevant. It's what works for you & the DC and if he can't be arsed making the 1.5 he journey for a day visit then that's his lookout. Don't be bullied into a whole weekend and absolutely get all offers of contact & his responses in writing. Unless he's calling to speak to the children, direct him to your solicitor and hang up.

Namechanger2015 Sat 12-Dec-15 16:00:40

Distance is part of his emotional blackmail - DDs it's not fair I have to travel so far to see you and mum won't drop you children off to me. I am all alone, poor me, etc.

Will this all stand up in court info deny him access based on him being a shit.

I have stated via solicitor I want notice period and to know where they go on overnight stays but no restrictions on daytime visits. He has never done a daytime visit.

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