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Ex interrogating kids and me

(35 Posts)
Rumblingtummy Sun 06-Nov-16 14:44:43

I posted a while ago about my controlling and abusive ex husband still trying to control and manipulate via the kids. I had some really helpful replies which helped me re assess how I feel and respond to the situation, so thank you for that.
However, a new issue has arisen and a different perspective would be hugely appreciated.
For the last year I've been saving for laser eye surgery and I saved enough to get it done last week. My ex asks the kids lots of questions when he sees them about what I spend money on and what I do, the kids don't like it. I said to the kids not to mention about the eye surgery as ex will ask them questions about how I afforded it. Kids said that daddy gets jealous of stuff I do. I have zero contact with him as he is very manipulative and either makes me feel bad or guilty or he annihilates me personally.
The kids have asked me to wear fake glasses when he collects or drops them off and one day a week he sees one of them for one to one time after school, so I can't hide behind the front door like I usually do, I'm in the middle of the playground. They want me to wear fake glasses so he doesn't suspect I have had surgery as they don't want all the questioning.
I shouldn't have to do this but I want to protect them so I have ordered fake glasses.
Secondly, out of desperation to attend a hospital appointment I have had to ask him to collect kids after school one day next week. I only asked as no one else is able to help on this occasion, he asks the kids lots of questions if he finds out that my friend has collected the kids for me. I only ask for help for GP appointments, interviews etc... Not having a jolly in the pub.
So, I asked for help collecting the kids, but I know he will interrogate the kids as to why so when he text asking why, I told him that I have a hospital appointment ( two of them ) but he started questioning me about what was wrong, how can that still be hurting two years after the first operation and then he questioned why I needed two appointments. I felt interrogated.
I'd hoped that if he knew a basic outline of why I needed help he wouldn't question the kids but I felt like I had done something wrong and I was a liar. I had an op two years ago and now I have pain and I need it to be checked, it's that simple. I'm not doing anything wrong but I feel like I've been sneaky and I feel guilty. My only option was to cancel the appointments but I need my health checking.
He was very controlling in the marriage, he thought I was cheating all the time ( I never ever cheated, ever or even looked to cheat) and I wasn't allowed to do things like go to the shops or spend too long walking the kids home after school. I hate this awful man is still controlling me, or trying to. I'm starting a college course in a few weeks and the kids will get interrogated about that too, I've asked them not to tell him about it but I don't like asking them to keep secrets. I could not tell them of my goals, aims and achievements but I want them to learn to set goals and achieve things of their own, to save money for the things they really want and to be proud when they reach their goals, I want to set a good example to them.
Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with this? Thank you for reading.

lizzieoak Sun 06-Nov-16 14:49:29

Sorry Rumbling. No advice, buy btdt. Eventually it got better, either because of time or because I got better at ignoring him. When at all possible, do not rise to the bait. Just because he asks a question, does not mean you have to answer it.

Simonneilsbeard Sun 06-Nov-16 14:57:39

My ex used to do this to my kids ..the boys at the time were 7 and 11. He ended up doing all sorts of rubbish ..for example he'd ask the boys what they had for tea and they'd say pizza or whatever and he'd ring social services. This went on for about 4 years, social services did them get involved but not for the reason he wanted! They saw it as emotional abuse on his his ongoing bid to control me and micromanage my life he was affecting the children and that is what your ex is doing.
I wish I had some real advice for you but it was ss who actually put me on to women's aid. My social worker was brilliant and she helped me develop ways of dealing with all the crap my ex tried to throw at me!
I honestly sympathise with you so much x

If I were you I'd contact women's aid, they have a helpline..ask them for ways to deal with this.

keepingonrunning Sun 06-Nov-16 15:11:02

If he asks tell him it's none of his business. Health issues are confidential between patient and doctor. But you don't have to explain this to him. You don't have to explain anything to him.
Cut any attempt at conversation dead. Use as few words as possible - try three maximum? - then remove yourself from his vicinity. Ignore whenever possible.
It's really awful to have to prime the children. They need to know what to say if he fishes for information, to fill the silence when he asks. I suggest "I don't know" or "I'm not sure". They need to have this at the forefront of their minds rather than what not to say.
I would strongly advise relying on an alternative instead of asking him for help. You are handing the control he loves to him, to choose whether to make your life easy or not and then it will have to be on his terms. Is there an after school club or childminder you could use?
He most likely accused you of cheating because he was.
Any questions about glasses, say you left them in the car. I wouldn't go to a big effort and expense to maintain some charade. Remember your DC need to see that it's your XH whose behaviour is weird, not yours.

Naicehamshop Sun 06-Nov-16 15:19:32

He sounds absolutely awful!!

Remember, just because he asks, you don't have to answer. Ignore, ignore, ignore. As regards him interogating the children, could you try making a joke out of it? "Oh, goodness - dad didn't ask about that again, did he?" Laugh.

keepingonrunning Sun 06-Nov-16 15:23:08

Create some boundaries with DC. You could say you are asking them, not telling them, that because daddy is not mummy's friend and because daddy enjoys being mean to mummy, would they please not talk about you or anything you are doing with him. Instead they can talk about themselves: their friends or what is happening at school or their favourite TV programme/games. If he asks about you can they please pretend to be a bit dim, as if they don't understand and talk about something else instead.
You could also make it clear to them they are not exact copies of either mummy or daddy, but they are their own completely different, separate, lovely individuals with their own hopes and dreams to follow. I think children can sometimes think that if daddy is bad, they must be bad too, especially sons.

Rumblingtummy Sun 06-Nov-16 15:40:18

Thank you for your helpful replies. I have said to the kids just to say they don't know the answer to his questions. As for asking him for help, this is the first time in five months I have asked him for help collecting the children. I wish I hadn't now, should have just cancelled the appointment. The last time I asked for help he was very friendly and then asked if they could have mobile phones again to which I said no ( the last time this happened he tried to see them behind my back, arranged with my 8 year old to hand him belongings in the front garden and made the kids feel bad if they didn't phone or reply to his texts) . Whenever he doesn't get his own way he turns nasty so I rearranged the help I'd requested and asked a friend to help instead and that didn't go down at all well and I was accused of only letting him see the kids when it suited me, even though he seems them three times a week and if he asked for special occasion access I'd say yes, and if he wanted to take them to school I'd say yes, and if he wanted to keep them later during holidays I'd say yes... It all resulted in a character assassination from him which took me weeks to recover from. He said he printed off and kept all the times I asked him for help and he copy and pasted my texts back to me in a long text message.
I'm hoping to exhibit my art work in a local arts shop and I'm really proud of this and have shared my goal,with the kids but have asked them not to mention it to him coz he will get funny about it. Why do I feel like the bad guy? I feel guilty for getting on with my life. I work hard and I try to be as fair as I can. He is collecting them from school next week whilst I'm at my appointment and he asked if he needs to bring them straight home or can he keep them for a bit, I don't have a problem with them seeing him so I said he can give them tea if he likes. I wish some greater authority would intervene and stop all of this. I hate it.

SmellySphinx Sun 06-Nov-16 15:41:36

Oh for fucks sake! This 'man' is an absolute prick. Instead of just spending time with the kids he has to probe the children for information in order to control you.
Your kids aren't puppets and neither are you. I understand you want to make the kids lives easier by wearing fake glasses but please do not kowtow to this idiot. Ignore every single text he sends that has nothing to do with the children. My ex did this to me and also to my kids. They don't see him any more. It's exhausting, manipulative and emotionally abusive.
He won't stop asking them and won't stop asking you. Don't give him any information at all, he needs every little thing he can because he's a controlling, nosy git. They will get very tired of having to say "I don't know" all of the time. VERY tired. Worst of all it's pressuring and upsetting them each time they have to endure seeing him. This isn't healthy for them! Is there a contact order in place?

Is there really no one else at all to watch the kids? Exhaust every single possibility.

Rumblingtummy Sun 06-Nov-16 15:51:02

Contact was agreed through advice from my solicitor, domestic abuse support worker and me. There is no court order in place but if I were to reduce contact my kids would give me hell.
I really had exhausted all possibilities for childcare. They are going to have to mis school and come with me for one appt as I cannot miss the appt nor be in two,places at once.

SmellySphinx Sun 06-Nov-16 15:51:16

I wished for this > I wish some greater authority would intervene and stop all of this. I hate it. <

SO many times.
You are the greater authority here. Don't let this piss drizzle control you any more. TAKE control.

SmellySphinx Sun 06-Nov-16 15:53:22

I bloody wish I could get the kids for you!! I absolutely HATE men like this, it makes me want to vom

KickAssAngel Sun 06-Nov-16 15:53:58

You need a line which is easy for the kids (and you) to repeat. e.g. "Mummy likes to keep her life private" if he ever asks about you.Or, "Mummy will tell you anything you need to know. We're here to see you" . something that refocuses back on him.

Your private life is just that - completely private. Nothing to do with him. anytime he asks you something, it's very simple - unless he 100% needs the info to look after the kids, it's nothing to do with him.

If he keeps asking you, keep a log. Maybe have a limit - like 5 questions. As soon as the 6th one is asked, reply "this is feeling like interrogation/harassment. I am turning off my phone now and will not respond to any questions unless they are about the care of the children."

You don't have to answer any questions, not even one, if you don't want to.

ImperialBlether Sun 06-Nov-16 15:56:35

Does this man work, OP? He seems to have an awful lot of time on his hands.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sun 06-Nov-16 16:01:51

I think I've missed a bit.

If he knew that you had laser eye surgery, what would happen? I'm not seeing what he can do to you now he's gone?

If he gets funny about your art being exhibited, how would you even know, what would happen?

Will it upset the children if he asks them questions about your college course? Why would you even know they'd discussed it?

keepingonrunning Sun 06-Nov-16 16:13:51

He's walking all over you.
You need some access times for the DC set in stone, never to be varied. Then you don't have to have any conversations with him.
He's pushing your boundaries all the time to maintain control of you and DC. DC need protecting from too much time with him because of his controlling, manipulations and brainwashing. You have been reasonable, but when he asks repeatedly to see DC don't roll over everytime, giving him what he wants. He's taking the p**s. You need to be able to plan your life. Unless access has been arranged at least two weeks in advance, say his request is inconvenient, you and the children have other plans.
Strongly recommend you phone Women's Aid for advice 0808 2000 247 available 24 hrs, 7pm-7am are quietest. You might get legal aid for a court order. Start keeping a diary of every interaction with him and every time DC see him - when, where, what was said. Take screenshots of texts, save emails. I'm told a judge would take into account yours and DC's need to be able to live a peaceful life without constantly having to drop your plans to meet XH's demands.

Rumblingtummy Sun 06-Nov-16 16:14:55

He does work yes but he hates his job and wants to retrain to be a long distance lorry driver. The kids told me about this of their own free will. They said he can't save up cos his car keeps breaking down. ( he is a very negative person) I said it'd be good for daddy to have a new job as then he will feel better about himself and have more money to spend and not concentrate on what I'm doing so much.
Today is the first time I've had any contact with him in months and I didn't answer his questions about how many appointment I needed, I just didn't respond any further.
I know it's none of his business but some stuff can't be hidden, I'd like to save up next and maybe this time next year buy myself a newer car ( anything is possible now I've gotten rid of this deadweight) but he will interrogate the children as to how I afforded it when he sees it sat on the driveway. He hates paying maintainance and I had to go through CSA as he wanted receipts for everything I spent on the kids that I wanted help paying for. He didn't see paying rent, bills and running the secondhand car I bought myself as things that the children needed.

keepingonrunning Sun 06-Nov-16 16:16:14

RunRabbit Because information is power to these people. Information means an opportunity to throw a spanner into OP's life by spreading rumours, lies, chopping and changing plans. XH sees it as entertainment.

Rumblingtummy Sun 06-Nov-16 16:21:43

The contact does stay the same each week and since I ve had no contact it has stayed the same, nothing extra ever. I take time off work during the holidays so I can look after the kids. He tells the children I shouldn't work when they are on holidays as I should look after them, he's told them I shouldn't be doing housework when they are with me, I should be doing it when he has them. I shouldn't spend money on myself, he thinks I spend the maintainance on me and not the kids. He tells them I should do what they want and if I don't let him see them I'm doing it to hurt them. I know this because they tell me of their own accord and when they are cross with me because they can't get their own way over something minor, they throw these statements at me and they are not the words of 7,9 and 10 year old children. We discuss it further so I can explain that I need to work to pay bills etc, that the washing needs doing when it needs doing else there will be no clean clothes and they say that daddy says it.

keepingonrunning Sun 06-Nov-16 16:28:41

It's grim.
Here's a link to the co-parenting with narcs and difficult XHs thread.

Rumblingtummy Sun 06-Nov-16 16:29:16

Thanks KEEPONRUNNING for explaining that. Healthy people don't behave in this way which is why RunRabbit has missed the control issue x

Hissy Sun 06-Nov-16 17:05:47

My love, I know where you have been and what you are going through.

I need to state this first and foremost so I can talk straight to you.


Stop facilitating contact between an extremely dangerous and damaged man and your children.

Your children are being groomed for abuse. They already ARE being abused

On what planet is it right that your kids are scared enough of their dad to make them beg you to wear fake fucking glasses???

Seriously? Stop and think about this for a second.

He's abused you and terrorised you, now your children.

Your health appointments are private "I prefer not to discuss them" rinse and repeat.

You have domestic abuse support workers involved in your life. They don't do that if it's not warranted.

Do whatever it takes to free your children from this abysmal man.

Doesn't have to be overnight, but they sound old enough to know the truth

Otherwise they'll grow up like him.

I know if my son emulated his dad, It'd kill me.

This man had no power over you OR YOUR CHILDREN.

You can (and must) do this! (((Hug)))

Rumblingtummy Sun 06-Nov-16 17:52:16

Hissy, I know you speak wise words but the children idolise him, if I were to suddenly stop contact and force him to take me to court for the courts to decide what happens, the kids would hate me. They would blame me for not seeing this deity of theirs. In the first few months after I kicked the fucker out, my solicitor and support worker reduced contact to one day a week and every other weekend and the kids cried and really played up. They don't see what he is doing, they have witnessed him threatening to smash the car up of I don't do what he says, they have seen him menacingly sitting outside the house on the bonnet of his car because I shut the front door on him when he tore up the summer timetable which showed him when his contact with the kids was over the summer hols and where to pick them up on his days after their summer holiday club and they still think he is wonder dad. They are totally sucked in and blinded. If they were indifferent to him this conversation here wouldn't be happening. This would be over. They don't understand what he is doing. They already think being with him is far superior to being at home with me after all, there are no bedtimes, homework, hair washing, tidying of toys etc... He has his mum and dad to run around after him and he does whatever the kids ask, like going to the park at random times, unlimited sweets and chocolates etc... Even a court would still grant him access, courts just don't get it. It's not as straight forward as just stopping contact but I understand what you are saying.

RunRabbitRunRabbit Sun 06-Nov-16 19:11:22

I was not clear in what I was trying to say. My point was that he only has the control you give him. There is no actual real world control now you have gone through CMS, you are not in his physical presence and everyone knows you are getting divorced (people take any slagging of stbx partners with huge pinches of salt).

Children aren't stupid. They know more about being a good parent than you think. Talk to them, ask them what kind of parent makes children grow up into being the best adults in their opinions. I bet they won't cite unlimited sweets and no homework. He won't be giving them emotional support like you, eventually he will try to control them and they'll turn to you. Remember, he is a twat, you are not, the truth will out.

You have very nearly broken free of his control. The only control left is the control you give him in your own mind. Obviously that's bloody hard to end. Do you have support to break the last chains? Freedom Programme?

Rumblingtummy Sun 06-Nov-16 21:14:36

Thanks RunRabbit, your words make perfect sense to me now. I have done freedom programme, I've read Lundy Bancroft, read all about narcicists and had councelling, had a support worker, police involvement and have asked the school for additional emotional support for the children via special time out and art therapy for one of them. I've been really proactive about getting help and support, but you hit the nail on the head when you say about the control I give him in my mind. That is it, I am stuck in an internal belief system that he has control because he was controlling me for over eight years and I wasn't aware, I didn't believe someone would do that and when I did realise and tried to get away he threatened me.
Kids came home earlier and I told them I wasn't going to wear fake glasses as I'm a grown up and I'm not going to be bullied by him and controlled. If he asks them questions they are to say they don't know the answer. My daughter responded that eventually he will find out and he will know they were lying to him and she was worried about that.

ddrmum Sun 06-Nov-16 21:21:29

OP, My children are being abused in exactly the same way as yours. Spent last 6 yrs in/out of court following relentless spiteful & untrue accusations of hurt against one of our 3 children. He's a complete nutter who is destroying the relationship between me & my DC particularly my older DS. It's a living nightmare and the courts are shocking- making decisions ignoring facts which have led to further concentrated abuse & a refusal to let him speak to a social worker. I haven't seen my son for 6wks or spoken with him for almost 3wks. It's utter hell & I'd wish this on no-one. If and it's a big if, he comes home soon he will need so much help to get back to 'normal' & to reestablish our relationship. Exh also reduces his income to pay minimum £20 p/mth . I completely understand your reluctance to upset the balance. His behaviour will never change. Sorry I don't have a more positive story to tell sad

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