Dealing with abusive father of baby – threats, contact
5 September 2021 at 11:56 pm #58786
Hi everyone, I wouldn’t normally post something here but I really could do with a fresh opinion.
long story which I’ll attempt to cut short.
me and my child’s father (baby is 5 months), were together for 2 years. I found out I was pregnant during a time where I had been suffering with mild depression (working with COVID patients, death of a relative). I was happy, but my ex demanded I get an abortion. I told him to leave.
Subsequently we tried to make things work after time apart. I was struggling with a very complicated pregnancy and – what I didn’t know was antenatal depression. At Christmas, I found messages which said how he was only with me because he felt guilty, how he was going to get full custody because I’m “mental”. My depression took a turn and I wanted to take my own life whilst 38 weeks pregnant. We fully broke up. He moved into his own place. Another note – my family are not local so all I have was his family and my friends.
he came with me to the birth and was so so supportive as it was a complicated delivery. He stayed with me for 4 weeks at my home to help out. He works from home so it made sense.
he left after I told him I could cope (I didn’t want him to decide when he walks away from his son, I wanted to be in control).
we have had an on and off parenting thing going. My issue is that he does not prioritise my son. Don’t get me wrong, he pays maintenance, but He goes to the gym, sunbed, out drinking. I had one night out where my mum came over to look after my son and I was called the absolute worst mother in the world by all of his family – my first night out in 2 years!!!! After all I had been through with pregnancy and my depression journey!
anyway, we were getting on really well, took my son and his little girl to the beach and swimming etc in school holidays. And then suddenly he turned on me. Telling me I needed to provide him alone time with my son because he can’t bond because I’m always there (he invites me places btw… also I have safety concerns due to steroid use for the gym and drugs being left around the house).
On Saturday, my son was unwell with a temperature. I messaged his dad and explained I could do with support as baby was so restless and I was worried. My messages didn’t go through until 1am – he had been out drinking. He messaged me saying it was convenient that our son was unwell. And to not be surprised when a letter comes about court as he is wanting custody.
I have NEVER stopped him seeing son. I’ve said to him, I’m more than happy for him (who walks past my house at 5am every morning to go to the gym) can get up with baby and let me have a lie in. He works from home, I’ve said he’s more than welcome to work at my house and be around his son. But no. It doesn’t suit him so it’s a no. And then he states I’m stopping him seeing his son.
the threats have me at my wits end. I feel like I’m being abused but then I wonder is it me? Am I blind and missing something? Am I being unreasonable?
he didn’t even bother checking in to see if his son was ok after he was poorly.he did message and ask “when will our son be free to see me”, but I couldn’t open the message, I started to feel horrible anxiety attacks coming over me. Something I haven’t had in a while. What do I reply? The visits need to be supervised as I feel he isn’t suitable but his family hate my guts and are raging alcoholics. I feel so stuck in knowing what’s right.6 September 2021 at 4:36 pm #58806
Thanks for posting on our forum. I’m sure it won’t be long before other forum users comments as I’m sure there will be people who can relate to this.
In the meantime I will be sending you a private message with some signposting. Please keep a look out for a message.
Kind regards, Justine7 September 2021 at 12:22 am #58814
I’m sorry to hear you’ve had this experience. Sounds like you have really done your best, and have gone above & beyond to try to make this work for your son, it’s totally reasonable & understandable you’d be at your wits end with his behaviour & the situation he is putting you in.
Especially with little support, wider dysfunctional or toxic family issues & all the changes & demands of pregnancy, birthing & new baby; it can be easy to have the wool pulled over our eyes a bit, wonder if the we are the issue, blame ourselves, or feel like it’s our responsibility to fix everything. Often it’s not until things get really bad & we write it all out or get independent advice that we can see how harmful a person or situation is, even if we do stick up for ourselves & our gut is screaming it’s not alright 🙂 you’ve done the right thing reaching out with this.
It’s really important to understand non of this is your fault, his behaviour, actions & attitude is his choice & responsibility alone – he’d likely be this way with anyone, you are not alone in this experience & help is out there.
You are not wrong at all, you are right his behaviour is abusive, this is abuse. You & your son don’t deserve this. You can escape & heal.
It’s quite typical for abusers to play this hot & cold, Jekyll & Hyde, on & off, saint or sinner game to destabilise a survivor as a means to get his sense of power & control. We can all have good & bad days, make mistakes or say the wrong thing; but abusers typically don’t recognise they are wrong, apologise or get help with any issue they have, unless they are forced to, fundamentally because they think they have an entitlement to put people down & are above everyone else. More often than not abusers prioritise & go to great lengths to look ‘superior’, investing in a ‘flash’ appearance or things they think fit a stereotype or myth of ‘strength’ or ‘success’ or even faux ‘care’ at times to give them a sense of social power, which they’ll use to against others to justify their behaviour or sense of ‘superiority’. Scratch beneath the surface & it’s clear they don’t invest that ‘care’ into anyone else, or only do in short showering bursts when it suits them, when the abuser wants something or wants to look like something. This put an abuser in a position of perceived power and enables them to abuse others more effectively. The reality is, self sacrifice or treating anyone else’s needs or differences as valid, equal or with respect isn’t on their radar; they often demand or need adoration & respect just doing the bare minimal, as they fulfil & chase all their wants, while expecting everyone else to do all the jobs they see as beneath or not enjoyable to them. Abusers like to maintain a faux sense of authority by dictating what they or anyone around them thinks, does, when & how, without compromise or understanding, often acting king of the castle or attempting to victimise themselves with false accusations or blame, shame or harmful myth like; ‘your not letting me see my son’ (when it’s clear you are & have tried!), ‘i’m only here because i feel guilty'(he has a responsibility regardless!), ‘your mental’ (is calling people this is healthy for anyone??), or ‘your a bad mum’ (for having a night off for wellbeing??).
More often than not abusers & bullies will exploit any mental or physical health issue to attempt to discredit a survivors validity or weaponize it against a survivor, often using existing stigmas or misinformation to attempt to bamboozle or gaslight people into thinking they are right or have some sort of superiority to dictate in a sort of ‘cutting the heads off others to feel tall’. people who are non abusive tend to simply ask ‘what can i do to help’, or ‘what support can i give you to get the help your need’. It can be classic for abusers to suddenly turn on someone when they feel inferior, or react badly when being called out or it’s clear they are in the wrong.
Healthy people celebrate & value others needs, input, achievements & differences equally, apologise if they cause offence, try to recognise & own their faults & independently get help and are generally humble & try to see others diversities with empathy. Abusers more often than not prioritise themselves only, feel they are always in the right, refuse accountability & always need to maintain some sort of superiority or ‘need’ to be ‘above’ everyone else.
The effects of being treated like this can often leave survivors depressed, anxious or traumatised. it’s not your fault & it doesn’t make you weak or damaged. psychological & emotional abuse is no different from physical abuse in that with any hits, we can have bruises. Its important to understand its the abusers who are so fragile & weak minded that they need to treat people like this, Survivors have the greatest strength, endurance & resilience in being able to receive this, recognise it, escape, heal & live our best lives without them – which is entirely possible with the right support.
A lot of what you have described, and this pattern of behaviour sounds like coercive control, which became illegal in 2015.
The good news is a lot of support is out there; we have fantastic services who can help you understand, recover, manage, heal & escape the crap he is putting you through! It can be typical for abusers to isolate us, but you are not alone at all! 🙂
best first step is calling the national domestic abuse helpline; Home | Refuge National Domestic Abuse Helpline (nationaldahelpline.org.uk) – they understand abuse can come from a current or ex partner .. or his family! & have a great helpline, expert advice, an online chat & lots of resources. getting connected with a local service can be all the difference in recovery.
highly recommend exploring women’s aid; they have a great survivors forum & survival guide for recovery & beyond.
If he does try to take you to court – its worth getting in touch with rights of women, who should be able to put you in touch with a solicitor trained in domestic abuse (not all are!)
Pat Craven’s freedom programme can be really useful to unpack & understand the many types of harmful behaviour abusers can use too. – will post the links separately as this forum doesn’t like too many links in one post!
lastly, as this does understandably have an impact on our mental health – PANDAS foundation are the very best for pre & postnatal mental health support – personally i wouldn’t be here without any of these services!
it’s really worth reaching out & getting the community of support to overcome this that you & your son deserve to live your best lives xx
hope this helps. x7 September 2021 at 12:24 am #588157 September 2021 at 12:25 am #58816
– Pat Craven’s freedom programme7 September 2021 at 12:27 am #58817