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I feel so trapped(22 Posts)
I will be 19 at the end of February. My parents are divorced, and have been separated for as long as I remember. My siblings and I live with my mum, but contact with my dad was arranged through a contact order as every Friday afternoon as well as every other Saturday.
From about the age of 15 or 16 I wasn't quite so keen to spend so much of my weekend with my dad, and often asked him to pick me up later or drop me off earlier on the Saturday so that I could do school work. I'm now nearly 19 and he still expects me to stick to the rigid timetable of "contact" that was arranged when I was about 5. I really resent the fact that he just expects me to be available and still refers to "short weekends" and "long weekends" despite the fact that the contact order ceased to have any authority from when I turned 16 (although he insists that it applies until my siblings and I each reach our 18th birthdays). I just want to have my own life and be able to choose to spend my weekends how I like, whether studying or being with friends or just sitting at home!
I don't feel able to talk to him about it as he was emotionally and physically abusive with my mum. I don't trust him not to react angrily and if I'm honest am a bit scared of him. I feel so trapped in this cycle of him arriving outside my house to pick me up and just expecting me to be ready and waiting to spend the entire weekend with him. He doesn't get hints; I have tried to broach the subject lightly through a text (a big step for me!) but he spoke to me in person and any arguments that I had or ability to tell him how I feel just evaporated out of my head. It is as if he is always right and I am always wrong. I can't take this for the rest of my life (as he will probably honestly expect me to do, as ridiculous as that sounds!) and I really don't know what to do. I feel so bitter towards him and I really don't want to feel like that, for my own sake.
You're 19! Id left home long before 19. You're allowed your own life!
In your shoes I would stop being available when he collects you, text him before he comes and make sure you're not in if he comes anyway. It's not exactly like he can take your mother to court.
Gosh! Just become unavailable! My 13 year old DS recently stopped going to his dad's eow. He hasn't been for about 4 months. It's his choice I don't try and force him.
Actually I think you need Counselling as you shouldn't feel you have to spend time with someone you are scared of.
What does your mum say? This is awful.
Do you want to keep some contact with him? Assuming you do I would text him something like:
I'm 19 now, I choose to live at Mum's 100% of the time now, no moe Fridays and Saturdays. It would nice to see you every other week for the evening on an evening we're both free. I can do Wed the x or Thurs y. If you don't want to meet up when it works for me that's fine.
If he is at all nasty block his phone number
Yes, I'm the oldest sibling.
I know I'm being silly and that most people my age would have put their foot down a long time ago, it's just that I feel so guilty. He said recently that he "hardly ever sees me" and maybe that was just manipulation, but what if he really means it? I don't want to upset anyone. I know it's silly, my feelings are all tangled up.
My mum is great, she fully supports whatever decision I make and has even offered to talk to him for me, but I know that it would all just make him angry and I don't want that.
I have tried to be a bit more unavailable, but I feel like I can't be unavailable every weekend. He doesn't get it, he just sees it as "his" time that he is entitled to have and I feel guilty for not being available because maybe he's right.
That would be much better random but for the past few months he's been working abroad during the week and just returning home at weekends. So I feel trapped in that regard too.
How do your younger siblings feel about contact? How old are they?
OP, it sounds to me as if you could do with making a break, working away, or similar. Are you working? Could you envisage getting a job in another town?
You Don't seem to have become an adult in your own eyes, let alone his.
I think you might also need counselling to address the impact on you of your father's abuse of your mum, which was abuse of you too.
They are 16 and, as some boys are, are more laid back in general. They are personally not as worried about spending time with friends as I am, but do acknowledge that they don't want to still be spending the weekend at their dad's at the age of 30! They acknowledge that the fact that things have continued as they have for so long is very unusual.
Ok amend my message to "every weekend doesn't work for me anymore now I'm and adult, next free time I have is X" make a point if it being in a Sunday evening or afternoon?
I wonder what your dad will do when you have a boyfriend? It is totally ridiculous for you to be expected to spend every weekend with your dad at 19. If he was a reasonable well balanced man he would realise how inappropriate this is. Somehow you need to find the strength and confidence to tell him in person or let your mum speak to him. Or
Write him a letter. He shouldn't be controlling you like this. You have a right to an autonomous adult life now. Don't feel guilty. Stand up for yourself and be strong. If he gets all sulky and uses emotional blackmail, prepare in advance what you will say and stick to it. Good luck !
Can you speak to your mum again? Sounds like you need support in changing the arrangements
Tell her what you have told us and ask for her help in helping you broachit with your dad
Your Mum needs to step here here my lovely... she needs to tell your Dad.. no more monopolising your time.. every single week end...
remember you're an adult now .. take control back of your precious time
The reality is that by the time any 'child' reaches 19, they have the own lives - I'd love to see more of my DC, but respect the fact that they have careers and plans that don't involve me. Your father needs to understand that, and if your Mum is able to support you, that's great. He can't make you go - he can't control you.
Until the age of about 16 I saw my dad every weekend, Fri to Sun night. But then I wanted to see more of my friends and I got a part time job so we eventually had to scale things back to an evening every few weeks. He accepted this and was fine, we still spoke on the phone every couple of days and once I was in work, I went back to visiting him for whole weekends, probably once a month and usually with my then bf in tow.
If you're at uni, could you get a pt job at the weekends? Or if you're in work, you could take up a hobby or regular voluteering, anything so that you're less available at the weekends? You could then maybe have Friday evenings as your regular contact with your dad, perhaps just out for dinner or a film?
Just out of interest but does your dad have a partner? As he sounds quite needy and lonely.
I know how hard it can be to stand up to your parents, particularly if they're being awakward and you're keen to maintain a good relationship. So finding an excuse to be less available might be a good start.
Oh I'm sorry, this sounds so tough. Unfortunately, nobody can fix this one for you, and part of growing up is having to have these kinds of tough conversations. If I were you, I'd probably not outright say to your dad that you don't want to see him for regular contact anymore but just start being busy. 'I'm doing X at the weekend so won't be able to come over till Sunday. See you then!', 'I'm busy this weekend Dad - call you Tuesday?' etc. And repeat.
what would happen if you refused to go ... when he arrives to collect you ?
It's not up to you to regulate his emotions.
He is a fucking adult.
Don't be suckered into thinking ' he will be sad and it's all my fault' ... he clearly doesn't give a flying fuck about your happiness does he? He is just trying to guilt you in order to manipulate your behaviour.
The beautiful thing about manipulative people is it is SO easy to kill dead. Just appear not to care and you have destroyed their Only weapon. 'I'll be sad an lonely if you don't come , it will be YOUR fault'
'Mmm yes it will won't it ' meh. Then ignore. Or 'yes you're gonna die alone in a bedside and be eaten by your cats and that will be my fault too. What a shame, I'll come to the funeral though'
And yes I have used both of those.
Get your mum to help, block him from contacting you. Do what you have to. And consider the freedom program, sounds like you've had a master manipulator in your life for too long.
Of your not working get a weekend job: then you can’t visit or it would least be around Work.
I don’t want to dig too deep but you cannot please everyone all of the time. Standing up to your dad and renegotiating your arrangement can be a precursor to how you function in proper relationships. Do not forever be a doormat.
And take your mum up on her offer to at least be there when you speak to him
I agree get a part time or full time job or volunteer or join some clubs or do a college course or some sort of learning. Or do a combination of all these things
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