Feel like I have no control

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  • #47689 Report


    Hi all,

    I’m looking for other parents advice who have been through something similar to me.
    Me and my ex have been separated for 8 years and divorced for 5 years. I divorced him based on 6 years of physical, mental and emotional abuse.
    I have 2 wonderful boys who live with me full time aged 13 & 10.

    From the beginning I allowed contact over the phone and over night stays. My ex lives 4 hours away so I allow stays to be 1-2 weeks based on the school holidays. We share summer and  Xmas holidays. I organise it all and go above and beyond to fit into his plans just so my boys see their dad.
    My ex has never paid child maintenance as he says he buys ‘a pair of trainers and a tracksuit every year’ and doesn’t ask me about how they are doing at school or medically.
    For the last few years my boys are changing towards me. I feel their dad has brainwashed them against me. They cry to go and stay with their dad when it’s my turn for a holiday. He doesn’t bring them back on the scheduled day. And when he does bring them back, they are a mess emotionally. They cry constantly and tell me how they hate me for taking them away from their dad.
    And now my ex won’t return them home during lockdown after having them for 2 weeks. My ex is not interested in the kids school work that they need to do during lockdown.
    My boys don’t want to come home when I speak to them. They don’t want to speak to me as they say I’ve emotionally abused them by keeping them away from their dad.
    I just feel I have no control. I can’t force them to come back nor do I have a leg to stand on to get them back.

    I have very little interaction with my ex and he is very difficult to communicate with. It’s his way or no way.

    Many people say let him keep them for lockdown so he knows what a single parent does during school term. But I miss my babies and I’m worried the longer I leave them the more he will brainwash them against me.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    #47698 Report


    Im so sorry your going through all this  it must be so hard for and you must feel powerless. Are you able to see your children at all at the moment ?

    if your ex is bad mouthing you that is considered as child abuse as ex partners are not allowed to discredit the other parent in anyway, its emotionally abusive towards the child.

    Do you have any court orders in place?

    #47715 Report



    if you don’t have a court order in place, perhaps you can look at taking  the legal route. sounds very complicated if the kids have indeed been brainwashed. at their age, the courts would take their wishes and feelings into account. but not sure what they can do if the kids say they don’t want to see their mother.


    #47735 Report


    I’m able to speak to the boys daily but they don’t want to talk to me as they are accusing me of keeping them from their dad and that’s abuse. I still ring them just to hear their voice.

    I don’t have a court order in place because of the costs. And I’m scared if it goes to court the boys will choose to live with their dad. Considering their age it seems to be an option. Again I feel powerless.

    #47740 Report


    i think you need to reinforce that your not keeping them from their dad. although he lives far away, they can see him as much as they like.

    #47761 Report


    I would ask your childrens dad politely . hi, hoping you are having a nice time . When will you be returning our children please. ?

    There are a lot of options out there for you to choose from. it may mean you have to be ruthless at same time.

    One thing that would be of great concern is with your children being 10 and 13 what is happening about their education at moment.  I imagine there is no court order in place so you may need to get a hours legal advice ( free)  before deciding what to do next. It maybe you will need to go to family court to resolve things if he doesnt intend to hand children back. You could attempt mediation to try and reach some agreement with ex. Its not easy looking after 2 children and sooner or later wont he want to hand them back to their mum.

    #47765 Report


    Hello there,

    So sorry to hear but do<span style=”color: #1a1919; font-family: Lato, sans-serif;”> you have any court orders? </span>

    Of course you can take some action if you do have it.

    Don’t worry about brainwashing!

    My son is also mess emotionally and sad when he came back to me but I’ll help him to get better!

    children at this age want attention and love!

    Just be a kind and wonderful mom not a worried mom, I know it’s really difficult to pretend you are okay and happy. But what I’m thinking they need a happy mom.

    Ignore your ex brainwashing and do your best.

    Take care and stay safe


    #48083 Report


    Thank u Ali.saa for ur advice. Sometimes I forget to be the best mum I can be with all that’s going on. I do help them when they come back from their dads emotionally a mess. I do it up to 6 times a year for the past 8 years council them back to normality. Now the boys are older, it’s more difficult. I can’t just put in my lap and tell them everything will be ok. And it’s a struggle now.

    Warwickshire 1 again thank u for ur advice. In all honestly mediation is not an option as my ex is not the easiest of men to negotiate with. I have suggested it to him at the beginning but it fell on deaf ears.

    My eldest texts me on behalf of his dad. His latest text told me that they will not be returning to me, they will be living with him forever and I can do what I want.
    Education wise they have not accessed any online learning for the past 8 days. I have received messages from concerned teachers. I have passed on the information to the schools about the situation but also to my eldest to make them aware.
    My youngest has asked me to call him to help him with his school work online as he is worried about not submitting any work. I want to help him but there’s not much I can do over the phone.

    Again, I feel lost, hopeless and like I have no control of the whole situation.

    #48088 Report


    Hi Leela,

    yes it must be a very difficult situation. You can still help your child with school work. can you do a video/zoom call with him?

    #48092 Report



    I’m sorry for the hard time you are going through.

    Small consolation:If your son was brainwashed against you he would not be calling you for help with school work,his dad must not be managing too well & you’ve obviously done a good job with your son as he still feels he’s responsible for getting his work in & he’s turning to you for help.Its a very small thing but a positive point.There’s only so long it’s fun at dad’s if there’s no routine/normality if that’s what theyre used to.It’s extremely hard as you want to be there for your kids but perhaps it wld help if you made it clear to ur son that he can’t have it both ways….get dad to help with schoolwork if u want to be there.I find it helps to rmmbr at the end of the day You are their security if they spend most of their time with you & they’ll use whatever they can to see how far they can push you,& yes they’ll blame u & that really hurts when We are the ones who’ve sacrificed everything to make sure they have a normal as poss home etc.I also have experienced/seen many times the eldest child will rev up the younger ones against the main carer/parent & take sides with the absent parent.I think it might be the fear of losing them or they feel caught between two warring entities & have to defend the absent one.Maybe a bit like ‘keeping s1’s memory green’.Not sure if this was entirely articulate but hoping might be of use to you.Thinking of you.

    #48684 Report


    Well things have gone from 0 to 100 over a week!

    Last week I was supporting the boys with their school work, calling everyday, having a nice small talk and being civil.

    They haven’t been submitting school work so I’ve been on the case trying to help them as much as possible over the phone but they keep missing their zoom lessons and not submitting work. I call everyday to remind them on what they need to do.

    My eldest has rang me over the last few days saying the most horrible things to me. He talks to me in the most vile demeanour. His tone is condescending and has no respect when talking to me. He sent messages to my family about me being a bad mum.
    I can hear their dad in the background adding to the conversation but the fact that my son are saying those things to me has actually broken my heart. I live for my kids and in 4 weeks living with their dad they have disowned me like I’m noting and worthless. Even my youngest has said to me he doesn’t want to live with me and wants to live with his dad.
    I put the phone down as I couldn’t hear anymore. My ex rang me and told me the kids are living with him regardless of what I do, even if I take them to court I will lose them as they have told him I emotionally abuse them and don’t support them. He said he will get social services involved and with the kids wanting to live with their dad, it will be granted.
    My ex is succeeding in poising my kids against me and I feel hopeless.
    Is there anything I can do??

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