Contact too distressing any advice

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  • #15724 Report


    I split with my husband after 20 years, we have twin 5 year olds. We had to leave our family home as he would only do wheh he was ready and it was hugely impacting our children.

    My husband has always struggled with parenting and tasks such as eating together were really difficult often resulting in him refusing to eat with the children.

    He barely had any time alone with them and quite often had to leave the house and would say thibgs to them like the further away from you the better I feel although he has recently told me it’s actually me.

    To cit a long story short we basically had to start again in the house even down to cutlery. He also told me he’d give me some time to buy car seats (at the time he was having contact once a week for 2.45 hours) and he would keep them in the garage. The rent on my two bed house is 100 a month more then our mortgage on our 3 bed house. He begrudges maintenance and has tokd me he pays two mortgages, he heavy the mortgage on our family home and maintenance to me.

    I agreed to the contscts he asked for initially he wanted Friday 3.15-6 and if the children would sleep until 11am Saturday. Then after 9 weeks he requested a second day 3.15-6 to which I agreed. Each time before and after contact my son is extremely distressed angry and misbehaves, I expected a certain amount of this but it became extreme. I encouraged my daughter to try sleeping on three occasions as didn’t want her to feel she has to stay with me I want them both to have a relationship with their dad. My son has not slept weekly but has slept my daughter apart from the three attempts has never slept. The first time he asked me to get her at 8pm the next 6.15 and the most recent one he took them both at 3.15 and by 5.15 she was crying on the phone sayibg she did not want to sleep. I said ok and I will collect you st 6. Her dad shouted neither want to sleep I’m taking them to your mums (where we do collection/drop off) I coukd not tell him I wasn’t there as he hung up.

    I got to my mums 10 minutes later to see both children there and dad nowhere to be seen. The children were upset, my son who had acted out now said he felt sad for his sister and after always beivg desperate for his dads approval and tried to go fir contscts refused to even speak to him for 10 days. Isn’t solicitor wrote sayibg Saturday contact instead 10-6 no overnights due to the huge impact and the fact he tokd thrk aiso they could not sleep the day he left them at my mums.

    Neither have been for 4 weeks. I have encouraged them to answer the phone as he has said it’s me I’m poisoning them I haven’t but I’ve been jade to feel responsible which was a pattern with us. I feel awful as I’ve abseeed on loud speaker almost pushing my daughter to speak, the calls result in my son becoming angry and he has started hitting himself. On two Saturdays my daughters stated she does not want to see her dad not my son said he did. Each time for an hour before he has run round hitting me and his sister (very out of character) wrecking the house only to on the first time as approached drop off shouted I just don’t want to see my dad. Very similar the second week. My son is very angry towards his dad and has said a couple of thibgs he’s said to him. Both children have seen their dad mocking me laughing at me and mimic me.

    I tried to talk to him the last time and asked wat had happened and said how worried I was and that I am seeking emotional suooort as our son gets so distressed. He simply said he hasn’t done anything and nothing he does it said is good enough.

    I have had a number of months of this but it’s escalated to extreme level now. My husband unfortunately has little insight into what he says and the impact. Do before we left o asked him to think about how he was as it was impacting them he said he was sick of hearing about them their was ya before them. He’s also told my son numerous times he’s clever he knows what he’s doing he’s trying to cause issues he’s said this for a couple of years.

    Befude we left my daughter rushed herself brother and he dead so daddy didn’t shout. Other examples he’s said something and I’d said not to say in front of the children he said oh don’t tell me they’ll self harm because I said that.

    These are a few examples. Anyway after talking to my solicitor he has said that I could say contact stops until I get to the bottom of why our son is reacting as he is now. I just don’t know whst to do as don’t want our children to blame me. My husband said he had said last time to the children “you’ll realise I’m not the monster you probably have been tokd i am” this saddens me as I don’t say anything negative bout him our daughter often refuses to see him and I’ve been jade to feel to blame I spend a lot of my time sayibg are you sure. She’s described him as a bully and other thibgs and I’ve hind her we both love them he isn’t a bully he was cross and that’s not with them it’s me and him and separate.

    I naturally feel guilty about a lot of things and now am worried about what to do. He is due contact this Saturday. I don’t know if he can watch my son go through the trauma I’ve seen agsin and if I can it’s got worse not better. Mother other morning at 7.15 my ex sent me a text stating he is going away for two weeks in October and if they haven’t been by then something needs sorting,

    has anyone had any similar experiences please help I think I am going to stop contact temporarily but worry as I don’t want my children to be cross with me blame me or to do the wrong thing. I chdvhed the agreed contact between us to try limit impact however it’s not

    #15726 Report



    I am in a similar situation though not quite as extreme and my solicitor said that  although you have a duty to maintain contact with the father, you also have a duty to protect your children from emotional harm. I would suggest that your children are displaying behaviour which is clear emotional harm in connection with seeing their father and you should stop all contact until you’ve got to the bottom of it and set up a sensible, workable plan of contact that the children are also happy with.

    I’m also blamed for everything by my ex (he had an affair and left) and find making decisions hard because I worry about what   response I will get and that my daughter will blame me. I just try and do everything by the book on the back of advice from others and document everything so that, if needs be, I can say to her that I did such and such because I was advised to by xxxx and I felt it was best for you at the time.

    hopr that helps

    #15728 Report



    I can completely relate to most of the things you mention. I think at 5yrs old they are too young to decide whether contact ‘is right or not’.  I completely believe that you wished they had a better connection with dad, as this would give you peace of mind when they’re with him instead of worrying. I think in your situation I would sit down with the kids, tell them that daddy loves them/wants to spend time with them too, and see when and how long they would like contact to be i.e. Few hours after school for tea 1-2eves per week or are they ready for overnight? If they suggest 3-4 overnights weekly then clearly they’re not grasping reality and you’ll have to make the decision. I think regular brief is better than overcommiting and failing. Then schedule in set days for telephone contact maybe 1-2 per week. I’d aim for some sort of contact (tel or physical) 3 times per week. Tel contact is always difficult with young children as they can’t even remember what they had for school dinner that day. You might need to prompt them on topics, things that they got excited about whilst telling you, to share with dad. Have a visual plan on the wall of how this might work so they know every wed/Sun for instance they will have tea with dad? On Friday we might call him and ask how his day went at work. I personally would set a review date maybe in 6weeks. If you are snxious about the handover then suggest dad collect direct from school, then you only have the handover back to you. If the kids know you are happy they will eventually settle into a routine, I know my kids coped less well when they sensed I wasn’t entirely comfortable, you/I are their ‘stable consistent’ and they rely on that to survive. To start with brief 3hr contact twice weekly just for tea is better than cutting all contact in my opinion. Good luck

    #15729 Report


    Thank you. I think the hard thibg is I have done all of which you suggested. I tried short contact twice a week the impact was huge so I tried to put into one day but after last visit my daughter refuses to go and son said lastvtao times wanted to go but became highly distressed and actually his dad just drove off. He gives up wheh they go and say don’t want to be there so what do I do? A few tiles he’s effectively dumped them at my mums where contact is following him mocking me several times in front of them and demanding I buy car seats if my own.

    I have explained to the children we both love them mummy is happy when they see daddy to the point my daughter who never spent time tried to sleep but unfortunately whatever happens with him undoes this. At whst point do I stop putting them through it and myself.

    Thank hou AJ and the solicitor has said I can do this as I said it’s so hard isjt it to make that decision and I’m frustrated I’m in the position I have to. I’m meeting with my sons pastoral care today to ask for counselling for him.

    Thabks dmp it’s very hard as the mode times they went the less they want to and instead of the impact getting better it’s reached a peak

    #15740 Report


    I think the problem you will potentially have, if dad does want to maintain contact and not wanting to walk away, is that he will seek contact via the courts.

    Its easy for solicitors to say ‘just stop access’, but once you enter the court system you will have to provide evidence of the harm caused by dad trying to engage in a relationship with his children, and how do you evidence what you are saying. The courts may ask ‘if your child cried on arrival school, would you take them home?’, and likewise ‘if they cried prior to medical treatment, would you let them make that choice?’ The fact is that sometimes we have to do stuff in life that we don’t like. How many parents drop their kids at nursery with a meltdown performance to be told they settled within minutes of you leaving? I genuinely feel that if this went to court, they may not support your case for stopping contact and go the opposite way by awarding upto 50% if that was dads request. I think between you as parents, you need to work together and find a solution. Having been through the court system, I wouldn’t recommend it.

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