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AIBU?

To think this was completely insensitive?

87 replies

WhatToDoNow17 · 16/06/2017 19:18

I'll try and keep this from turning into an epic rant, although that is what I feel like doing. I split from my children's father around 7 years ago, when my daughter was 6 months old. She is 7 and we also have a 9 year old son. Contact for almost all of the time since then has been sporadic, only when he felt like seeing them and even then it often seemed like a chore for him. There has been little in the way of financial support from him, and I've not had a penny from him for at least a year.

A couple of years ago he met a woman and they have subsequently had a child together. During the early days of their relationship we seemed to be building a better relationship, he saw the children and we occasionally all spent time together. I liked the woman and built up what I would class as a friendship with her. Her children from a previous relationship are the same age as my two and attend the same primary school, although in different classes.

Long story short, the friendship we all formed broke down quite quickly, he reverted back to his old ways and contact became less and less, he always had excuses for why he couldn't see his children or needed me to pick them up early. This has now led to him not seeing them properly for around 9 months. There were no Christmas or birthday presents, despite me contacting him and asking if he wanted to see them, first over Christmas and then again around 3 months ago.

This has been extremely difficult for both of my children but especially my daughter. They have to see him at school picking up his partners children! It's heartbreaking to hear my daughter ask over and over again when she'll see her Dad, and I simply don't know what to tell her. I did contact his partner (I didn't have his contact details as he had a new number) to tell her that I thought it was inappropriate for him to be at the school and even confronted him about it face to face on one occasion but all he had to say was that I needed to call him. I then found out that before I had got there he had spoken to both of my children and told them to tell me to call him. This is clearly his way of making my children think that I'm the bad guy who's stopping him from seeing them, which is completely untrue.
My Mum recently offered to contact him to try to arrange contact between them with her as a mediator of sorts, taking the children to a park for example and letting him spend an hour with them. The phone number his partner provided me with continually goes straight to voicemail and texts have been unanswered. I don't know where they live as they've recently moved. This has been over the past couple of days.

Today my son had a father's day performance at school along with the rest of the year group. At my son's request, my two brothers came along to the performance this afternoon and he was brilliant, he shared a memory about his uncle in front of everybody and looked happy and confident. I happened to turn around during the performance and his dad was there at the back of the hall with his partner. I had a feeling he'd show up, but obviously hoped he wouldn't. When his partner's daughter stood up to share her poem, I was stunned to hear her say 'my superhero is my step-dad', she then went on to say why he is her hero. Even my son's teacher looked shocked and turned to look at me almost apologetically. I just couldn't believe that I (and my son!!) were listening to this girl talk about how fantastic her step dad is when he has basically abandoned his own biological children. Am I unreasonable in thinking that somebody at some point during the planning of this performance should have realised that this was insensitive and could cause serious upset to my child?! The school are aware of the situation. She would have mentioned it to her Mum beforehand. Why was she allowed to do this?! Just to add, his partners children do have a relationship with their own Dad, he sees them every other weekend, so it isn't like she had no-one else to speak about. I'm so, so angry about the entire situation, and this today was the icing on top of a massive pile of shit. I'm seriously considering taking my children out of the school and moving away, I want to get as far away from him as possible.

What I'm asking is, am I overreacting to this father's day performance thing? I feel like speaking to the school about it, I just think that it shouldn't have been allowed to happen.

OP posts:
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honeyroar · 16/06/2017 22:12

What a cruel dad. Your poor children. I echo the sentiment that schools shouldn't do events like that, that could make children from non 1950 text book homes feel awkward.

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AcrossthePond55 · 16/06/2017 22:28

I think I would raise the issue with the head in a 'perhaps you should think of this' way as far as future parent-specific days (mothers or fathers). In this day and age there are many children who might feel sad or hurt.

Is it summer break for your children? If so, now may be the time to raise an issue of changing schools. I think your son is old enough to make that decision for himself. It's likely he'll elect to stay where he is because of his friends, but at least it will give him a good chance to 'think things through' and talk to you about his feelings. And he will know that he has options. Your daughter is a little 'iffier' as far as making that decision.

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WhatToDoNow17 · 17/06/2017 01:26

Those of you commenting on my lovely brothers - thank you. My children and I are so, so lucky to have some amazing support around us. My brothers are both quite young (19 & 20) and have their own things going on but when I spoke to them about this there was no question that they'd be there for my son. My Dad also plays a very active role in their lives and absolutely adores them, he asks to pick them up from school at least once a week so they do know they're loved and wanted. He and my children have a very special relationship and it's lovely to see it grow as it is. It's probably lucky that he wasn't at the school for the performance because I don't think he'd have managed to contain the anger he feels towards the wanker.

A couple of you have said that you'd have moved the children before now, and I do see why you're saying it. However, I have had to take my children's feelings into account through all of this, and my son has always been adamant that he doesn't want to move schools. He's fiercely loyal towards his friends and loves them all dearly, and he'd be so upset to leave them. I moved schools quite a lot myself as a child so I know that he'd be OK and would make new friends, but as his Mum I have to be sure that moving him would be worth the upset it would cause initially. And at this point I think it would be.

My daughter says she wants to move schools, she's the more confident of the two and less sentimental. She's also more emotional though, and lacks the maturity to understand the situation with her Dad so she's not coping with it at all. She gets very angry with me some times, and has some awful tantrums after which she just cries in my arms. I'm 100% sure that this behaviour is because of her Dad, and I have started to look into counseling for her to try and help her talk through how she's feeling so that I know best how to help her through this. She wasn't eligible for the support they provide at school because apparently her behaviour at school is fine so she doesn't qualify. I hadn't thought of family therapy though, so thank you Italiangreyhound for that suggestion.

Thank you for the practical advice regarding moving schools, there is a lot to think about. I have looked at schools online and will start to make enquiries on Monday, starting with the local council. The area I am looking at is far enough away that we wouldn't risk bumping into him and where the children would definitely not end up at the same secondary school as the step-kids.

My son has been having issues with the daughter for a couple of weeks now, he says she's been follow him around with her friend and 'spying' on him. This has progressed to name calling and today he said she has kicked him in the leg. I've encouraged him to tell the teacher when these incidents occurred, but as nothing seems to be changing I will also be speaking to the teacher about this on Monday. He also said she'd been laughing at him while they were practicing singing for the performance. I'm not about to start throwing accusations around about a 9 year old but it's difficult to believe that her recent behaviour isn't something to do with the current situation. I am of course only getting my son's side of the story though.

Thank you again for your advice and kind words, I think I love you all a little bit.

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Italiangreyhound · 17/06/2017 01:54

IntrusiveBastards "You could always it it straight into a bank account for them." I did think that too. Thanks

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Italiangreyhound · 17/06/2017 02:18

"I hadn't thought of family therapy though, so thank you Italiangreyhound for that suggestion."

You are welcome. Just an idea.

But also "She gets very angry with me some times, and has some awful tantrums after which she just cries in my arms." they may not really be tantrums at her age, maybe more 'rages'? Hopefully if you describe what is happening to a doctor they can see the behaviour in the context of the pressure she is under. I mean this is more than a tantrum isn't it?

I am sure you are right "I'm 100% sure that this behaviour is because of her Dad, and I have started to look into counseling for her to try and help her talk through how she's feeling so that I know best how to help her through this." Great but I am so sorry you have to do this.

"She wasn't eligible for the support they provide at school because apparently her behaviour at school is fine so she doesn't qualify."

I am not sure why her behaviour at school is relevant, unless it is counselling through the school. You can go via the GP, for an appointment with to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services).

i am sure you know, it's fairly common for children's behaviour to be different at home to how it is at school.

My son is adopted and displays very compliant behaviour at school, but used to have a 'melt down' the minute he left the school grounds. He is much better now.

My dd (birth child) was always very compliant at primary, but difficult at home.

School may say "We don't see that behaviour at school." And I would say maybe that is because children have a feeling of how they should behave in outside situations and use all their strength to keep up the pretense at school that all is OK.

Maybe once they come home they don't have the energy left to keep up the pretense anymore, and/or they know they are loved and accepted at home so can let their real feeling out.

In my dd's case it is dyslexia and really struggling at school, and possibly ASD, which create the issues.

As far as moving I'd think long and hard and work through different scenarios. Whatever you do I wish you all the very best. I am genuinely shocked at your ex's ability to trample on the feelings of the children he helped to create. I think you mentioned drugs and I can only think they have addled his brain. Hopefully, the fact that there may be recognizable reasons why his behaviour is so bizarre will help your dd (in time) to come to terms with his appalling behaviour and to realise that this has nothing to do with her and her value.

In adoption we are told to always tell the children the truth in age appropriate words and not to allow any big revelations when they are older. I really hope you will be able to do this with your kids too, because as fucked up as his behavior is, whatever reasons that are causing it, they are best known. So the kids can see it is their father's problem and nothing to do with their worth or value (of course) as his children. Sad Angry

Thanks

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Shadow666 · 17/06/2017 02:42

I'd have another chat with the teacher, especially about the other girl causing problems. Just let them know your kids were upset. New job, new, house, new school, new start sounds perfect. Don't try and initiate contact with any of them. He's not a good dad and he isn't contributing anything positive to their lives.

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AlmostAJillSandwich · 17/06/2017 03:03

They're probably doing it because it is "easier" for them. She has her own children, and then her child with him. They live together. They are a family unit. She probably doesn't want to share him or his money with you and your children, she probably wants you cut out completely and just have her family not a mixed extended one, which is understandable. It is him who should be standing up to her, including his children with you and providing for all of his kids. But the sad fact is, he isn't, because again, it is probably easier for him to have one family rather than two that hes responsible for financially and spreading his time around.
Your relationship with him ended, there has to be a reason why, and your children were very young, just 2 and 6 months, so he may well not have felt so connected to them as when they're a bit older, talk, have their own little personalities etc. Some people just don't worship their children and aren't really bothered by them.

As horrible as it sounds, he replaced you with the new woman, and replaced your 2 children with hers, then finished the family with a child they share. He's chosen to be a father to those 3 children he lives with and sees all the time, rather than having a part time relationship with yours.

He's not bothered how it affects his biological children, so you need to do what is best for you and your children.

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MrsD79 · 17/06/2017 03:09

Dickhead! What a total nob. Kudos to you for leaving him. Your kids don't need him. Get them away from him
He is no good for them. Prat!

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sailawaywithme · 17/06/2017 03:26

What a horrible, horrible situation for you all. I understand why you don't want to move schools, but I certainly would consider it. We moved my 7 year old daughter (due to some "mean girl" stuff) and we've never regretted it. There was an upheaval, to be sure, but it's all settled down.

Godspeed to you, though, I think you are a doing a terrific job of handling yourself. I'd have landed the bastard by now.

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sailawaywithme · 17/06/2017 03:28

Lamped, I meant!

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AndieNZ · 17/06/2017 12:54

OP I don't have any constructive advice for you but I just wanted to say that I am so shocked at what I have just read. Echoing everyone else in that you have certainly not overreacted to the Father's Day performance at all. I just can't believe that he could be so callous towards them. You sound so caring, calm and level headed. Your qualities as their mother are for sure making up for the dickhead of a father.

Stay strong Flowers

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LittleBeautyBelle · 17/06/2017 23:08

I see, Op, that makes sense. Neither your ex nor his partner seem stable at all....what a jerk he is. It's a situation where you feel trapped in a way. I'm sorry you're going through this. I don't understand people like him.

takeaweeseat this only works with talking to normal rational people

Believe me, takeaweeseat, I know. I'm aware of people like that, have had experience with that type for sure....totally agree with you.
I was just suggesting to try, I figured Op had already tried everything.

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