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AIBU?

To think someone must be able to do something - part two

394 replies

PurpleLampShades · 14/11/2022 19:22

I’m starting a new thread as advised by some posters and because the first thread was a great source of support for me (link to first thread here).

Long story short - DS (16) is in a “relationship” with a woman 11 years older than him that I believe started before he turned 16 at the end of July, though they both denied that to police and SS. I tried everything I could think of to stop it but he walked out of the house to stay with her at the end of September and I’m struggling to maintain contact with him. I’ve barely been able to see or speak to him since he left. She has shown very controlling behaviour and he is slowly becoming isolated from me, his friends and hobbies etc. Social services are currently involved, doing an assessment, but have already said it’s very difficult to do much without him consenting to input/intervention so I think they’re trying to prepare me for a poor outcome of the assessment. I am trying to focus on keeping my relationship with him going and ensuring he knows I’m here whenever he needs me and can come home whenever he needs no questions asked.

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PersilPower · 14/11/2022 19:37

Gosh this is such a sad situation, I really feel for you. No advice but just wanted to say I hope he sees the light soon. His reaction at her harassing him to leave you suggests he knows something is off.

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Howdoyoulikeyourtea · 14/11/2022 20:19

Just posting to keep this active so people find it Purple.
Keep strong x

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boomoohoo · 14/11/2022 20:20

Hey purple, if you have any qs about the links I've sent just shout. And in answer to your qs about needing to stay calm - sounds like you're already doing a marvellous job of it! The key, which you're doing, is not reacting from a place of anger. If you find yourself lost for words you could always say - I don't quite understand at the moment but I want to, can I ask you some things to help me understand?

When thinking about connection, its going back to basics. What do we fundamentally need in relationships? We need to feel seen, understood, respected for who we are. If you set these things as your silent goals when you meet him, ie - this is how I want him to feel - you will intuitively communicate in ways that will convey this.

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Justalittlebitfurther · 14/11/2022 20:34

I’m glad to see you met with your son the other day. I think that it’s really brave of you to try and be calm and supportive. I really hope he starts to see how difficult she is making his life. Keep posting OP.

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Badger1970 · 14/11/2022 21:34

You're doing so well. Keep on going, slow but steady steps. And you just have to hope that eventually he's going to see her for what she is.

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boomoohoo · 15/11/2022 07:56

One other thing re comms.. as you know, your ds will have to come to his own conclusion about the relationship being unhealthy (that or the woman ending it) and the way to help him navigate his way through that, is to support him to be in a place of 'non defensiveness'. Whilst he feels he needs to defend the relationship to you and everyone else, he won't be able to see past that to the ways in which it doesn't work for him... this isn't about accepting the relationship but rather, accepting his experience of it as valid.
'I can see she means a lot to you'
'You care a lot about her and want to make her happy' etc, are ways to show him, you see where he's at, in a way that he doesn't feel criticised or judged. This is how you start repairing the xonnection

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PurpleLampShades · 15/11/2022 09:32

I’ve had notification he isn’t at college again today. I don’t know whether to text him again, call him or do nothing. He didn’t reply to my text yesterday. I know what I want to do, which is leave work and go round there, but that wouldn’t help anything would it.

He is definitely feeling that need to defend her and the relationship. You’re right about that. Everything I say is an underhand criticism of her to him. When I asked if she had asked him to contribute to bills he was so defensive it completely derailed the conversation and I had to change the subject entirely before bringing it back to money.

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WhyCantPeopleBeNice · 15/11/2022 10:12

If he's absent from college is there anything the college or social services can do?
If students are supposed to be in education until 18 can this provide any leverage to remove him from her home?

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boomoohoo · 15/11/2022 10:58

Yes I would let the sw know. When was he last seen or heard of by a professional or you?
Could be worth a welfare check- I don't know if colleges do them, schools do.

You could send another text - hey ds, I got a notification you aren't in college today, and that you weren't in yesterday. Are you ok, do you need anything? I 'm your mum so I will worry if I don't hear back from you.

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PurpleLampShades · 15/11/2022 11:32

He hasn’t made contact with anyone from college; just not turned up. I haven’t heard from him since we met on Sunday but that isn’t unusual at the moment. I’ve text him again. No doubt that will annoy him but not much I can do about it. I need to know he’s safe and let the college know the reason for his absence. If he doesn’t reply I’ll try phoning and if he doesn’t answer I’ll ask the college to phone him. I’ve left another message for sw to phone me, so hopefully she will get round to it today.

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boomoohoo · 15/11/2022 11:36

Do yu get read receipts? Do you know if his phone is receiving the messages?

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PurpleLampShades · 15/11/2022 13:41

He has a stomach bug, but he’s fine and being looked after apparently. Gf has replied to text using his phone. I text back to say thanks for letting me know, glad he’s ok and can he please call me when he’s feeling better. No response to that.

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TotallyScouting · 15/11/2022 18:47

OP so sorry to read all of this. It must be utterly petrifying. My eldest DS is the same age and has quite a consuming relationship with a girl ongoing, but at least she is also 16 and therefore the scope with which she can control him is limited.

I saw a documentary called Abused by my girlfriend on BBC 3 back in 2019 and whilst it may be too upsetting for you to watch in full I seem to recall that there were some support networks shared at the end which might be worth you trying to link into as your case certainly has the hallmarks of a toxic, abusive situation, even if the abuse is not physical.

www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0700912

I hope it resolves itself positively soon for you 💐

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PunishmentSnart · 16/11/2022 15:44

These two threads are terrifying. I can't believe nobody is helping you @PurpleLampShades .

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kateandme · 16/11/2022 15:52

Would it work if you went completely on the pretence.and like really really livled her ass. So we,you would no but to your son definitely it would be like you love her too.
Want to cook for then.get to know her,go chri stmas shopping or girlie spa treat or highl tea.
im just thinking if he can fall for you making the effort it gets him back on side. and anything she then says against you will be bullshit ,and he will think she is being UR as all he sees is you being "super nice"
would this work.only you'd know.
Could you text her and say is there anything SHE needs.how lovely she's looking after him and is there anything anyone should be doing to look after HER thoguh.can you get groceries or cook for them/HER

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middleeasternpromise · 16/11/2022 19:12

Purple I think you need to make sure the college notify the social worker, they should also be ringing him direct as they know he is not at home and they have a duty to check on his welfare. I would also let the social worker know that you have attempted to check on him but cannot make any direct contact. The adult who has taken him into her home is communicating for him and says he has a tummy bug. He is currently the subject of a welfare assessment so until there is a conclusion that this arrangement is of no concern, his welfare needs to be checked up on.

I know you worry he will get upset with you because it's bring scrutiny to their situation but you can pre-empt that by texting him to say, I know you may not welcome the social worker checking up on you but there is nothing I can do as school have phoned me and because I haven't seen/spoken to you direct they are unable to accept the information as given and have a duty to refer across. I'm sure when they speak to you it will be fine. This window of time while the SW is completing the assessment is important - you need to get them to notice and see as much as possible. Whether they feel they can do much or not is neither here nor there it's about making sure professionals are using every bit of available information before they finalise any decisions.

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PinkFrogss · 17/11/2022 20:19

Im so sorry OP, you’re doing so well I’m in awe of you.

I hope one day soon he’ll come out the other side and see what a supportive mother he has.

Sorry to not have much practical advice, just been following your threads for awhile and wanted to say something Flowers

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PurpleLampShades · 18/11/2022 15:50

Spoke to sw today and updated her on everything. DS was back at college on Wednesday but I’m not actually convinced he was sick. I remembered it was her birthday this week, hence the running out of money because he spent it all on her. Not sure which day, but wouldn’t surprise me if she persuaded him to skip college to spend the day(s) with her. I haven’t seen or heard from him at all this week. I did ask her to get him to phone me when he was feeling better but I don’t even know if she gave him that message. I know that the sw has spoken to DS this week, and both his tutor and the safeguarding person checked in with him yesterday so at least I know he’s spoken to someone, even if it’s not me.

I’m going to give him the equivalent of the child benefit I get, not transfer it to her. The person I spoke to was very nice and understanding when I explained the situation. Then it’s just whether I speak to the solicitor about increasing his monthly money a bit more. I haven’t fully decided on that yet. I’m waiting until after the assessment outcome meeting or whatever they call it next Wednesday. I’m really hoping there’s something positive going to come out of it and some sort of plan of action that they’re going to put in place to get him out of this situation.

I’m feeling quite down and upset today about it. Work hasn’t done a good job of distracting me and I’ve been worrying about everything. I feel like drowning my sorrows in a bottle of wine tonight but then I think what happens if he phones and wants to see me or needs me? Which is ridiculous because he’s not going to be phoning me anytime soon is he? She’ll see to that.

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boomoohoo · 18/11/2022 16:47

Hi purple,
Well you deserve to look after yourself, and as you say, he's very unlikely to call tonight given the past few weeks. You know you'll probably feel rough tomorrow if you drink but I'm not going to tell you what to do, other than look after yourself and be kind to yourself, however that looks for you.

Has the sw given no indication about what to expect at the meeting? I'm surprised if they haven't, usually there's a clear agenda for meetings and families know what it is beforehand, to help them prepare and manage anxiety. Do you know if youll recieve the assessment before? I'm wondering if she'll dare go.. my hunch is that she won't, and neither will your ds. What are your thoughts?

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kateandme · 18/11/2022 17:12

But does he actually need more money? In this situation couldn t you use this as a need to discuss.say your happy to hear why he needs more but obviously going into his trust is serious so as an adult then he needs to come to you and show you how,why and where this money is going.thats just stepping up as a grown up.you can't just otherwise demand note money.thats not how it works and him being in the adult world needs to no that.
So can he give you a call with a date to meeting to go over finances please.

I'm sorry you feel all over the place.dont start backing down just o keep him on side though.he needs to see you boundaries as I have if he needs it.parental boundaries are actually what does this.

In the meantime do you.care for you,feed you,self care you.
What you do to look after yourself is a must.you breaking apart won't help.you have to find a way to live alongside this as impossible as that seem a.bevause you don't have a timeline for this so u need to bring the joy back.life back.you deserve that.

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PurpleLampShades · 18/11/2022 18:04

The sw said he scores low on the CSE risk assessment they’ve done and obviously doesn’t meet section 47 thresholds so they have no significant child protection concerns. There are some concerns about the relationship dynamics and the fact he’s withdrawing from me, friends etc. so they want to refer him to services that will help him learn how to recognise unhealthy relationship dynamics and establish healthier boundaries. They also want to put something in place to help us maintain our relationship, keep him at college and keep him from getting isolated. She is seeing DS on Monday for a final chat because he’s told her he won’t be attending the meeting and thinks the whole thing is stupid. Sw is hopeful that he can be persuaded to attend and engage with services. Deep down I know he won’t attend or engage in any counselling or therapy or whatever it is they want him to do, but I’m trying to hope I’m wrong. I’m hoping maybe something from when he was 15 might come up and maybe trigger something that can be done but I know that’s unlikely. I probably need to start preparing myself that nothing is going to be done and this situation will just continue like it is.

I’ve tried to have a conversation with him about money. He says he needs more money so he can contribute to bills etc. without having to leave college to get a job.

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Badger1970 · 18/11/2022 18:20

That's a good idea with the child benefit, but I'd see giving him more money as just enabling their relationship. If he leaves college, so be it - he would be away from her for 40 hours a week if he finds a job so that's not a bad thing.

It's good that the meeting is going ahead, even if he doesn't attend.

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middleeasternpromise · 18/11/2022 18:40

I would be clever about the money, you want me to give you more money? Well I have some wants to - I want to see you so I know you're ok - the money will be here for you to come and collect. I'd give it to him in cash. I would be honest about your own needs as a mother. He says he's 16, he's fine, he can make good decisions, he needs this relationship, she's what he wants etc etc. Well you're a mum and will always be a mum, you want to know he's safe, happy, developing in his education and social world and you need to see/hear from him to have that. Time to be a bit cheeky/pushy do it with a bit of humour so he cannot turn it into a fight but hold your position. He has proved to you he can come out from under her influence when he wants something. Money. So use what works. If he says he's not doing it, say ok up to you but it will be here when you need it

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strawberry2017 · 18/11/2022 18:47

I've just read all your comments op on the original post and I'm baffled,
I can't for they life of me see what a 27 year old would want with a 16 year old.
I find it frustrating as I feel if it was reversed and he was the older one there would be more getting done to protect her. Sending you so much love and strength x

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1dontunderstand · 18/11/2022 18:54

Did you manage at speak to the person who introduced them? (Did they meet at a mutual friend’s party)

would you consider trying to find out where she works/where her family are and contact them to let them know she is ‘dating’ a 16yo and is being investigated by ss?

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