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My daughter despises her father but I have to allow contact.

(16 Posts)
TitaniumBoudica Mon 19-Dec-16 21:46:50

After much support through women's aid and various other resources I finally separated from my partner of many years in the Autumn. Our daughter, aged three has never got along with him and has vocalised that she'd rather not see him at all. In fact she's gone from an out and out fear when we were living as a couple to something now more like an aloof dislike.

The difficultly is that despite his ill treatment of me, he still has shared access with her under our own agreement. He still holds and wields a lot of power over me due to (and some posters may recognise me in my previous posts for this) my drinking. I'm too scared of his ability to use my past alcoholism against me (I've been dry since we've lived apart) so I've had to allow access as he wants it which currently stands at every other weekend and most often a week day.

Dd does not act as though she's scared or threatened but makes it painfully clear she would rather not see him. From living together its clear he doesn't really take much interest in her and is easily irritated by normal toddler behaviour. I feel this is simply another extension of his control.

What on earth should I do? I just can't risk him turning on me and playing the unfit mother card for full custody but equally I feel awful that I have to send my daughter away to someone who used to abuse me and more importantly she dislikes.

NeeNahh Mon 19-Dec-16 21:59:42

At 3 she is quite young to be saying things like this. I think it is odd that she would say that she doesn't like her dad at this age. Are you sure he isn't mistreating her in some way? If not, do you speak negatively about him to her?

FeelTheNoise Mon 19-Dec-16 22:00:39

Have you had support for stopping drinking? If so, that shows real commitment to your sobriety. Making and sustaining changes show real strength.
Was your drinking linked to being in an abusive relationship by any chance?
I think you can do this. Get yourself court ready, be ready to demonstrate your progress, then start standing up to him. Court is a long and expensive process, and he may not be as keen to start it as you think x

TitaniumBoudica Mon 19-Dec-16 22:05:17

He never abused her directly. I am not worried about this aspect at all. His abuse of me was primarily sexual and emotional.
I have always made an effort not to talk negatively about him to her.

TitaniumBoudica Mon 19-Dec-16 22:09:18

I have had support through AA to stop drinking. My fear of involving less private organisations has stopped me accessing the types of help that I know are more accepted by family courts and social workers. This is what in most afraid of.

I believe my drinking has been strongly linked with my home situation, yes.

Rainbowqueeen Tue 20-Dec-16 01:51:39

Do you have a court ordered contact agreement?

You know him better than us, is it likely he will lose interest in spending time with her/ move on with another woman and lose interest??

I'd be inclined to give it 6 months and see what happens? During that time, document what is happening ie any missed contact, any comments she makes.
Another question for you to ponder- is there any possibility of you moving away for work or to be nearer family support? I could be wrong but I don't think he would have much chance of stopping you doing that if it was seen as necessary for your future.
And awesome job staying away from alcohol. Merry Christmas to you and your DD

TitaniumBoudica Tue 20-Dec-16 06:38:58

No we don't. Until recently we were living together but separated. During this time he tried every tactic in the abuser handbook to convince me to take him back and I think where my fear of him being awarded sole custody if we took it through the courts came from. So we worked this arrangement around ourselves. I'd been dry since the summer but living under the same roof, yet separated triggered a terrible relapse on the booze and I had a sort of breakdown. I'm now taking ADs and feel much stronger.

I don't think he actually wants dd all that much. Predictably the majority of childcare was always left in my hands and it's only been since separating that he's actually made an effort to get to know her as more than 'a child'. My profession is in theory easily transferable and I've thought about relocating. To move back to my original part of the country would probably mean him following as his family live nearby. I have no idea if he'll lose interest but I hope so and I'll record every step.

It really doesn't sit well with me that I'm cajoling dd to go and enjoy her time with her Daddy when she doesn't want to go. When she comes back she seems happy and reels off the fun things there done together and doesn't seem upset but it's the leaving me that seems hard.

Everytimeref Tue 20-Dec-16 06:51:46

She is struggling to leave you because even at 3 she is aware that you don't want her to go. I .sorry but this is about you not wanting her to have contact rather than her.

SmellySphinx Tue 20-Dec-16 06:54:07

Were/are you an alcoholic or were you drinking too much to cope with the stress of your relationship? It seems as though you have been extremely pro active and are handling the heavy drinking/alcoholism very well now so I don't see from what you have written how he would ever get full custody. I think you're only frightened of that because that has what he has threatened (classically) would happen, doesn't make it fact in any way shape or form smile so I would forget that 'threat'

If your daughter is coming back happy after spending time with her Dad then for now, I would leave things as they are. Youve already stated that you'll record anything that seems off which is sensible. She sounds very mature for her age, and is understandably worried that the atmosphere will be the same when she spends time with him as it was when you were together. That's probably why she is reluctant to leave you when the time goes to see him? She may also be worried about you and how you feel because Daddy wasn't very nice to you. Kids aren't daft are they and I'm sure she knows however well hidden that things weren't right between you.

YetAnotherUser Tue 20-Dec-16 07:25:57

She's 3, she probably doesn't want to brush her teeth or to nursery/school...

Doesn't mean it's not good for her though.

TitaniumBoudica Tue 20-Dec-16 09:59:34

I accept that she must pick up on my reluctance to have her in his care but I make an effort to not turn her away from him. She was like this when we were together too. She just has never really liked her father which is sad.

I am an (dry) alcoholic and whilst I was drinking I was functioning in the sense that I worked, dd was cared for and I wasn't a daytime drinker. I accept that through my utter nighttime inebriation I was a wholly unfit mother by the time she was asleep and I'm lucky she never came to any harm. I feel that my relationship was at the root of this but it hard to tell as if been with him since my mid teens!

Everytimeref Tue 20-Dec-16 17:08:06

My ex is an alcoholic and my DD was 3 when we split. I was reluctant to allow my daughter contact but I am glad I did as my ex has proved that he is a good dad over the past 15 years.

twattymctwatterson Tue 20-Dec-16 20:50:40

Op I remember your other threads well and have often wondered how you were doing. I just wanted to say you should be enormously proud of yourself to have broken away from this horrible man and to be sober and taking care of your mental health. You are incredibly strong flowers

RandomMess Tue 20-Dec-16 20:59:16

I have to agree that many 3 year olds don't like transitioning between parents so don't read too much into it.

It's good that she comes back happy. I hope for her sake he becomes a decent father. In the meantime it is utterly fab that you are dry - go girl, well done you!!!!

TitaniumBoudica Tue 20-Dec-16 22:25:38

Twatty thank you. I was given so much strength and support on here. I never thought I'd see the day I'd be away from him!

It's a comfort to hear that people think her coming home happy is a good sign. I'm far beyond petty point scoring and would just like dd to be safe and happy under both our care.

Thanks also to the other posters who've congratulated me on my sobriety. It's a shaky road but dd is more than worth it.

Atenco Tue 20-Dec-16 22:35:29

Congratulations OP on kicking the booze. I'm sure there are all kinds of reasons for children not liking that fathers. I remember overhearing my dd, age 5, telling her friends that she didn't like her father. Said father seemed to think that being a father consisted of saying no all the time and taking her along to things he wanted to do, which often involved drinking, rather than thinking of what she would like to do.

You might find it easier if you move to be close to family and friends, even if he is likely to move there too. Or you could wait until he's got a really hot gf and then move.

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