Controlling Ex-Wife using Children as Weapons

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  • #59115 Report


    Hi all – I could really use some advice on the following.

    My ex-wife is extremely nasty and continues to use the kids as weapons and as a way to hurt me.

    We agreed during the divorce that we’d share the kids 50/50 so there’s no court order but she continues to be spiteful at every opportunity she gets.

    Some examples…..

    She changed their doctors without consulting me

    She takes them to medical appointments without telling me or without telling me what for. There was one time  my eldest had blood tests and she refused to tell me the results instead hinting something had been found.

    She will turn up late to pick the kids up or if she’s asked to take the kids to an event, say football match theyre playing in that I cant make, she purposely turns up late knowing it will make me late for what I need to do and simply not caring that she’ll make her kids late.

    She’s now refusing to stick to the agreement that we alternate Christmas with the children. The schedule always works that she has the kids over Christmas so at that time of the year we need to compromise so we can take it in turn. Now she’s had her turn last year she’s refusing to allow me to have the children this year. My eldest has already said he’s looking forward to spending it with me and my family this year, if she doesnt back down how do i break it to him that his mother is not caring about her kids and just yet again using them to be spiteful to me?

    We also have the situation now that we have to submit my eldest son’s secondary school preferences and she’s again refusing to cooperate or discuss with me. I just wan whats best for my kid, he wants to go to the school where his friends are going and as its a good school, it’s a no brainer for me that we put that as his 1st choice. She will take control and refuse to prove what she has submitted

    Has anyone been in this situation before?

    What would you recommend I do RE Christmas and the school choices?

    It takes everything i have not to bad mouth their mother to the kids but I’ll be honest, a lot of me hopes that when they are older they get to find out just how nasty she is.

    #59118 Report

    Andrew uk

    Have you got anything in writing? Maybe you need to.

    I read the title of your post and thought of me and my situation. I am currently prevented from seeing my kids. She’s using them to get at me etc. It’s not easy. My court date is in February. There’s not a lot I can do but never forgive her! It’s going to take time. My appeal is in but that’s taking time to be responded to.

    #59119 Report

    Andrew uk

    Someone else said that – they will know what happened when they are older. It’s going to be tough to remain civil about her to her face and to the kids.

    #59122 Report


    Hi Andrew, thanks for replying. We have it in writing that the boys will be shared 50/50 but nothing saying we’d alternate Christmas. It’s just logical and the fairest way to do it for all involved especially the kids. Yet she’d be happy to stop them seeing me and my family at christmas until they turn 16 and she no longer has control over them any more.

    There’s a few things she’s done where i just shrug my shoulders and chuckle at how pathetic she is really, but this i’m not going to let go nor the school situation. As they say, pick your battles.

    For your court date, is it a child arrangement order you’ve submitted? Did you apply for it yourself of have you used solicitors?

    #59128 Report

    Andrew uk

    You maybe need to include the special occasions. Often these become flashpoints. Yes i agree. Some battles are worth/not worth fighting.

    CAO submitted by both parties at various times. Im using a Mckenzie Friend and I’m a LIP. She has an order out stating no contact and no collection from school, essentially.

    #59145 Report


    Really sorry that you’re having to go through all of that Andrew, people really can be cruel. At the end of the day, it’s what’s best for the kids and I hope you get to see your kids soon.

    I looked up <span style=”background-color: #fbfbfb; color: #1a1919; font-family: Lato, sans-serif;”>Mckenzie Friend but i’m not sure i’m confident enough to represent myself, so if she continues to be awkward over a couple of days a year then i dont think i have any other choice but to seek legal advice and go to court which just seems such overkill. It honestly blows my mind how people can be so selfish or vindictive.</span>

    #59150 Report


    Hi there

    Reading what you shared has just rung so many bells I felt compelled to join and post. I also have a shared care system in place with my ex, although ours isn’t written down, which in itself is proving a mistake. She is also prone to kicking off and purposefully making everyones life harder than it has to be.

    I saw someone else suggest a couple of things which i’ve told myself, “pick your battles” and “one day the kids will see her for what she is”.  For the last 5 years I have used these so many times to excuse abhorrent behaviour, which has had a real negative impact on my mental wellbeing.

    For me there are a couple of things worth considering:

    – You are no longer in a relationship with this person, they have no right to treat you like this, and how you feel is important, you shouldn’t deprioritise your wellbeing for them.

    – You have a legal right as well as a moral right to be involved in key decisions. Sounds like she is using an ‘assumed power’ which sadly some women do do. You can always pull the legal trigger, but I know the fears that come with this as i’m wrestling with it myself

    – If you do nothing, just roll over, will anything change? Probably not, and usually the other person will get worse as they sense a perceived weakness

    Its hard being the bigger person, holding your tongue, staying calm, and you are within your rights to at times lose your sh*t.

    Not sure if this is useful – TBH, a lot of this is telling myself what I need to do 🙂


    #59159 Report


    Hi Christopher – thank you very much for posting and your advice is spot on to be honest. Deep down i know this but i’ve tried (admittedly failed on occasions) to be the bigger person and bite my tongue and so ignored that advice for too long.

    I dog sat for her the other week as she had no-one else, well i say her…. I had my boys on the day and they were super excited that her dog would come to stay at mine so i agreed to it, i did it for them knowing she’d never do the same for me. The problem is she knows i’ll do anything for them so she abuses it and it will make me feel sad or bad ive i put my foot down and just say no from now on because at the end of the day it affects them.

    I know i have a legal right, i’m sure she does too but she doesnt care. I know she’ll submit the forms for my eldest secondary school choices and not include me on there as his dad or keep me updated. If i said i was now exploring legal avenues she’d just shrug her shoulders, laugh and just say go on then.

    A year ago it would have got me down, like really down but because of how she’s been i have grown as a person, i’m stronger and now although it does hurt, it does frustrate I try to look for the positives. If she’s horrible and i cant sort the school or Christmas stuff with her this year then I’ll look for other solutions… I’ll have a second Christmas with them and my family.

    For your legal situation, are you using a solicitor?

    #59161 Report



    There are definitely some similarities in what you describe to my situation and what i’ve realised is that although we are separated, and we both have new partners, she still treats me like she used to when we were together. And TBH, I have just let her. You know, doing things, and generally bending over backwards for the kids. This is not a healthy scenario for you long term. It causes a lot of strain on my relationship and although my partner adores my kids she does often say it feels like we have a third wheel in this relationship. So you really need to find those boundaries.

    Re the secondary school stuff, you are right, there is only 1 form, but in that situation you can speak to your son about what he wants, and empower him to inform the process. Who fills in the paperwork is irrelevant, as long as his wishes are reflected in what is written down. If he doesnt feel comfortable doing that, you can share on his behalf his wishes based on your conversation. that way you have done what you can for your son, and he will recognise that.

    Christmas is a tricky one, and I have come to realise that we put a lot of pressure on ourselves for the perfect 24 hours. Last year we changed christmas day to another day for when the kids were with me and it felt the same, and it also meant the kids had a good bit of time at each house that felt special. It did mean I had to take the higher road, but tbh im used to that.

    Good to hear you are seeing personal growth, and it sounds like she is staying in the past. Ending a relationship should give everyone a new start but a lot of the time some people cant move forward through anger, jealousy and bitterness.


    I’ve been trying to get my ex partner to engage with mediation now for about 3 months, and have offered to pay for the process. Patience is wearing really thin though and her behaviour is having a negative affect on my house and relationship with my partner, as well as the children. At some point I wil have to go for a court appointed order. I have had conversations with a solicitor and would use them should I go to court. The cost is quite large though and the stress and trauma that court can cause is what has stopped me going for it. We have an informal shared care agreement (50/50), she claims quite a lot of child maintenance off me and they wont listen to me when I show them the calendars of the kids time, she is incredibly verbally abusive to me and seems to show no ability to understand her behaviour is unacceptable. She also seems to believe that me seeing my girls is a gift that can be removed at any time based on her wishes, and in June of this year she refused to let them come home for a month, knowing full well that I would’nt go round and bang on doors etc. So i’m in a place where I want to build a happy new life with a new partner and girls, but my ex partner is an emotionally abusive bully who cant move on from her own issues and jealousy. Im gong to get my solicitor to send a letter and advise if she doesnt engage with mediation by the end of october i’ll be seeking primary residency through a court order.

    when all you want to do is be a good and loving parent and some people just cant get past their own issues.


    #59166 Report

    Andrew uk

    Chris, thanks. Lots of advice. I’m still reading it! Very supportive. Thanks.

    #59181 Report


    Hi Mrtorez,

    for special occasions like Xmas, what if you shared the day? you could pick them up in the morning, and drop them back after lunch. or pick them up in afternoon, have them round for dinner then return to their mother. or you could pick them up the night before and return in afternoon. its obviously unfair for you and your side of the family to miss out on being with kids at xmas. it’s your call. I ended up taking legal route to get  issues like this sorted out and was worth it.

    #59184 Report


    Hello everyone,

    abusive and controlling people don’t just change due to separation. We are still kind of personnel properties, no matter how long the separation last. They have no boundaries, hence they can’t respect them. This is very unfortunate and when it comes to female abusers there is often a lack of acknowledgement how much damage this kind of violence does, as there are no visible scars or broken arms or noses, which in my case is only true because I am good at avoiding getting hit. Anyway, time doesn’t heal this and the years drag on and on and the damage piles up, in us and the children. I am pretty good now in ignoring her and just doing my thing, but deep down, there is always the fear that she will completely lose it one day and things will get extremely violent. We have only one minor child left, the others are at UNI now, so contact is not that much any more, but I truly hate every minute I have to endure the shouting, expletives, belittling and this constant fear of something is going on behind my back and will come to haunt me and the children. One day it will be over. Just do what you think is right, and the more the children grow up, the more you can just do what you want with them. It is tough and there is only strength that carries you through it. It is like a very bad disease. Sorry for the bad outlook, but that is my experience.

    #59232 Report


    Thank you Christopher, Steve and SirTobi for your replies.

    – we did agree to share the day, so one of us would have them Christmas Eve to 2pm Christmas day. From 2pm the other parent would then have them through till the 26th or 27th. That way we take it in turn playing Santa and the other parent would then have them for Christmas dinner. She now wants to have them from Christmas Eve all the way through to New Years for no other reason than she’s not a nice person.

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