How much is enough? Have I made the right decision??
28 February 2018 at 8:52 pm #8174
this is my first post and i’ve been debating whether to even post this at all but i’m at the point now where the constant doubting of myself and my decisions is affecting my metal health.
I have a 9 yo son who is diagnosed ADHD/autistic. I am also in the process of being diagnosed with aspergers – it has been a long road for both me and my son. We recently lost my mum and my dad both of them dying within 7 months of each other and as such my support base has completely gone. I have a sister who has serious mental health problems and is often in mental health hospitals. I have a brother who is completely detached from our family and as such we don’t see him ever unless it’s me that gets in touch with him (its NEVER the other way around…)
I recently (in December) stopped my ex from seeing my son. there is a lot of back story as to why this is but basically it comes down to the fact that he is emotionally manipulative, he is a compulsive liar, secretive and he is a womaniser.
He has been seeing my son since he was 5, he never saw him previously because I kicked him out when my son was 1 after finding out that he had fathered 2 children while we were both still in a relationship and he was living with me. 2 children to different women and both within 6 months of my son’s birth. We lost touch completely after I moved away, and I only got back in touch when my son was 5 because I found out that he got married to one of the women he had had an affair with and i felt like it was time to let bygones be bygones and hope that he had matured. well…I soon learnt.
He take’s absolutely no consideration of our son’s autism and often subjects him to things that make him so distressed that he goes completely non-verbal such as blasting his music in the car when he is aware that son has sensory issues. All of which happen when I am not around and he is unable to verbalise what has happened to make him that way and then because he has short term memory problems he will often then forget what has happened and cannot tell me. I know for a fact that my ex has done things like put marmite in my son’s mouth as punishment when he has said something ex doesn’t agree with. This is something my son was eventually able to remember and tell me. Obviously I had serious words with ex over it and he said that he wouldn’t do it again.
He often forgets to feed him, so he will pick him up at 12 in the afternoon and bring him back at 7pm and my son will tell me that he is starving because he hasn’t had anything to eat since breakfast. When I pulled ex up about this he gave me all the sorry’s and ‘i’m such a bad dad, i promise it won’t happen again’ and then it happens again. So I had to make a point of sending him messages during the day to make sure that he feeds my son. I mean.. *sigh*
He is very rough with him also, and my son’s school have actually had to ring him on a couple of occasions to try and tell him to stop this because he wasn’t listening to me when I was telling him. When he was asked about this he said it was because my son started it, but it was explained that son doesn’t know when to stop because of ADHD/impulse problems he declared that it wasn’t his problem.
There was a point when my son was being called names in school – and ex’s response was to also call him names, his logic was that if he was hearing it from him then it would desensitise him to the names being called to him in school. I VERY firmly told him that it was not acceptable for him to act in the same way as the bullies, and he responded by not only carrying on, but by writing the ‘nickname’ on his birthday cards. He thinks that because this is what his mum did to him when he was growing up that it’s acceptable.
Over the last 2 years he has constantly has different girlfriends, quite often at the same time, and very often those girlfriends also have children which he ‘benevolently’ takes on as his own (he has an MO of doing a victim routine to single mum’s) to which my son will bond with, and then inevitably lose contact with because ex will cheat on them. This means that my son is always having friends in and out of his life with no consistency. Ex’s never tells me when he has broken up with a girl and he never tells my son and I only ever find out when my son tells me about new friends that he made when out with his dad and dads new girlfriend. I have tried over and over to ask ex not to trail my son around to his gf’s with him, but ofc he doesn’t listen at all and tells me that his personal life has nothing to do with me. Before these two years he was married for 7 to a woman who I recently found out that her older daughter had abused ex’s oldest child. I knew that there was a parental order in place for his oldest child but was told by ex’s mum that the reason for that was because the mum of oldest child was stopping ex from seeing her due to child maintenance money not being paid. I only found out the truth in December.
That isn’t even everything but it’s all I can muster to write about. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not all happened at once, it’s like there can be loads of months where things are going ok (as far as I knew) and then something would happen that would just floor me and i’d have to speak to him, so it was all over a period of 4 years. All of my instincts have been telling me that at some point something was going to happen but i’ve carried on because I didn’t know what was the best thing to do.
All of this information my son’s school are aware of. There is an EHAT in place for me and my son so we can get extra support due to my health condition and my son’s learning difficulties, and he has a learning mentor who also works with me and she is fully aware of everything I have written here and more. Every time I broached with her about my misgivings about my son being in contact with his dad I was persuaded to just talk to him (the ex i mean), be diplomatic, to be the bigger person, to try to allow him to change is behavior, everything, on and on. So i convinced myself that the issues that were happening were things that i was making too big a deal of. That I was being irrational for wanting to stop contact.
But then when I found out that his ex wife’s daughter abused his oldest child. I found out that not only had he stayed with her after he knew about it, but that he carried on taking his daughter there until the court order was in place, I just went sick. Because his daughter was 8 while this was happening (my son was 4 at the time) and he didn’t tell me anything about it. My son was still going there up until he split up with his ex wife 2 years ago when my son would have been 7. I wasn’t contacted by anyone regarding it, not the police, not social services, nobody. I brought it up to my son’s learning mentor and she told me that if the police were involved (which I found out they were but don’t know what the conclusion of that was) then they would have gotten in touch with me if they thought that my son was in any danger. I am not placated. I don’t speak to his daughter’s mother (because I was the ‘other woman’ when they were together even though I never knew they were still in a relationship because he had told me they split up – she has never spoken to me because of that which is fair enough imo) so I don’t feel able to get the full facts about this and my ex won’t even acknowledge it to me.
Then, when I informed her (the learning mentor) that because of this and everything that has been happening I have decided to stop contact with my son and his dad, she asked me if I was being a bit rash. She suggested that because I had no support due to my mum and dad’s death and my overall family situation, that my ex’s support was better than nothing. To which I basically said ‘at the cost of what, my son’s safety and emotional wellbeing?’ And she just went on and on about it, that I needed support, that maybe I could have my son back home for mealtimes so that I know he is being fed, that the other things may have been one off’s (they weren’t) and just basically making me feel like my decision was irrational. And even though I don’t feel like it was, I am completely doubting myself an d I just don’t know what to do? Have I made the right decision? Am I being irrational?
I just…because I only have this experience to go on, and because I have learning difficulties and problems with decision making and executive function, I don’t actually know if my decision is right? It feels right? But is it right? There have been plenty of times when my ex has been a good dad, i know this. He teaches him how to play the piano, he takes him on trips to the beach and the forest, he helps out with clothes and he does pay his child maintenance every month. But I also know he is manipulative and emotionally abusive and has a tendency to twist things to make it seem like I am the one in the wrong.
I just need some advice, I really feel lost and alone.1 March 2018 at 9:12 pm #8206
Khaleesi Mother Of DragonsParticipant
I’m so sorry to read of your awful situation. Your ex sounds like an incredibly selfish person.
As to the learning mentor, I have found that people who have never been around abusers and witnessed it first hand tend to think that it can’t possibly be as bad as you’re making it out to be. The piano lessons and beach trips are all part of the reeling back in. If these monsters were monsters 100% of the time then everyone would see it, they need to put on a good show for everyone else so they say “but he’s such a nice man”, “he couldn’t possibly be like she says”.
One thing I have learned since coming out of my abusive relationship and the thing I am teaching my children is unequivocably, always, always trust your gut.
If your gut says it’s wrong, it’s wrong.
I think you’re protecting your child by stopping or limiting contact. If he can’t even feed him then I’d say contact from 1pm (after lunch) until 4pm, then home for tea.2 March 2018 at 11:26 am #8227
Hi there Toast,
Thanks for your post and welcome to our Gingerbread community.
It sounds like you’re going through a really challenging time and it’s so important that you reach out, as you have done, for advice and support. We hear you and you are not alone. Just to let you know, we’ve dropped you a little email with some information that may help.
I’m sure other single parents will also continue offer other useful tips and support.
Please continue to feel welcome to chat about things on here – we hope you find our forum welcoming and beneficial.
Take care of yourself.
Poppy at Gingerbread