Some days are really hard

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This topic contains 9 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Ariel 2 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #25157 Report

    Hazeltine
    Participant

    Hello,

    I’m a single mum to a two and a half year old and I would like to say hi  and introduce myself, maybe ask for you other single parents’ input re my current situation.

    I’ve always been alone on this incredible parenting adventure, I was even alone on the day she was born and it was a real struggle on that day.  My daughter ended up in ICU after an emergency C section and I was going downstairs two floors to breastfeed her 12 hours after the op, forgetting to eat.  So painful because of the stitches and I was worried sick about her not having me there.  Not sure why I’m going into all that now, sorry I don’t think I’ve even had time to properly process it all as it’s been all go since.

    Her dad is not on the birth certificate but he likes to see her now and then, when I allow it (every 3-6 months) he sees her with his mom and youngest sister, who are lovely.  He  is a very difficult man, a chronic pothead and lately has also started taking other drugs  and has become  a cross dresser, which is a welcome development as anything he is into takes the focus away from us.  I would never leave her alone with them, and he is ok with that.

    In the past he has been very verbally abusive, very controlling and just plain horrible to me.  He was in jail twice for a total of 9 months for offences involving carrying knives, attempted arson, fray, GBH and the likes.

    I don’t think I’ve ever really recovered from the trauma of being with him either.

    We were together for 15 years when my daughter was born, he left me just before she was born and despite the panic at the time I really don’t miss him now.  In fact when he visits I can’t wait for him to go, time really, really drags in his company.   He is very nice to his daughter, who likes him, but I don’t really like having him around.  He is agitated, paranoid, hyperactive, and has ADHD.  We meet in parks and other public places, and we have an understanding that he has to be sober or I’ll leave.  He’s always on his double best behaviour, saying that he makes me feel nervous, and like I’m always walking on eggshells around him.  I’m scared that if I said no to visits altogether he would get angry and gosh, I’d rather avoid that, so I keep allowing them even if I would like to stop them.  I have seen what he’s capable of and I’m scared.

    I spoke about him to the DV unit in my borough several times over the years for advice, last time was when my daughter was around a year old, and they said that if he hasn’t been abusive or violent within the last 6 months there isn’t much they can do, and that since 2012 he hasn’t been  jailed nor in trouble with the law. So that’s that.  And yet I am concerned that he is a ticking time bomb and if I stopped allowing visits or did anything else he really didn’t like he would turn nasty.  I feel like I’m living in limbo and my life is on hold.

    I’m considering emigrating but it’s really daunting to start from scratch in another country with a little one.  My family of origin can not help and I am kind of isolated.  Over a decade of abuse and constant put downs have left me scarred and struggling to make new friends.  For years I would panic whenever someone would jog past me because I felt that it was him coming to get me.  Gosh, that was tough.

    In all this my daughter is like a ray of light and the best of toddlers.  Even at tantrums she’s the best 😉 She has turned my life around, I can see everything more clearly since she’s added more perspective to my point of view, which is how I managed to keep him away.  She is a happy and carefree darling girl who loves to climb, draw and Shaun the Sheep.

    The day to day can get dreary for me, the  chores, the working at home, and  especially enforcing discipline, which I’m not very good at.

    Really don’t know what to do. I grew up without a father and I know how tough it is, and her father does want to see her, so I don’t know if I should stop him from seeing her.  He keeps telling me that even murderers can see their kids, but he does subtly bully me and gaslights me quite often when we speak on the phone or via text messages.  When his daughter is not around the gloves are off.

    Thank you for reading all this, apologies for the rambling on my mind is mush, since the pregnancy I’ve developed hyperthyroidism and it really makes me fluffy headed.  I’m not sure what I’m expecting people to say to this, but it’s been helpful even to just reach out and get it all out, because it is weighing on my mind even if life goes on as usual.

     

    #25164 Report

    SoccerDad
    Participant

    Hi, and welcome to this really supportive community – I came across it about 6 weeks ago, and having a group of people to talk to who are in a similar situation has made me feel a lot less isolated.

    Sorry to hear what you’ve been through. No real advice I can give, but it sounds like you’ve done a great job raising your Daughter, and I hope that gives you some confidence and a better sense of self worth.

     

    SD

    #25166 Report

    GirlWithTheMostCake
    Participant

    Gosh, you have been through it hun!!! No advice as such but I think you are doing the right thing by your daughter. If you do have any concerns then maybe finding out if you can use a contact centre is the way to go.

    I’m blown away by how strong you are given what you have been through and what an obvious mess your ex is…if ever a man needed help!!!! You are a star and your daughters ray of light just as she is yours. Keep going lovely, you’re doing great x

    #25173 Report

    Hazeltine
    Participant

    Thank you both so much it really helps to be encouraged 🙂

    #25184 Report

    Hi Hazeltine

    Thank you for sharing your experience here.  It sounds like life has been very eventful and there are still options to be explored.  You have talked about being on the receiving end of domestic abuse.  An agency that can offer help and support for any ongoing or current abuse is the National Domestic Violence helpline.  Here are their details should you need them.
    – National Domestic Violence helpline – for support with regards to historic abuse  Freephone, 24-hour: 0808 2000 247 http://www.nationaldomesticviolencehelpline.org.uk/

    Glad to see you chatting to other parents.  They are a good bunch.

    Take care, Justine

    #25188 Report

    Ramblinjon
    Participant

    Hi Hazeltine,

    It’s lovely to hear how much joy your daughter brings you.

    Another organisation that may be able to help is called Woman’s Aid,  you can call them on 0808 2000 247. they also have an excellent website.

    Mark

    #25196 Report

    Hazeltine
    Participant

    Thank you for the links I will give them a try.

    #25353 Report

    Ariel
    Participant

    Hi Hazeltine,

    Well done for keeping your daughter safe.  I was in a similar position but I’m further down the line than you.  I do have a good support network but nothing alleviates the constant fear of what might happen in the future.

    I would strongly encourage you to follow your gut instinct about the risks this man poses, try to keep it away from court as long as possible as it becomes your word against his and as we all know domestic abuse and violence rarely happens with an audience (for example I don’t have a voice recording of the children’s father threatening to kill them hence the court doesn’t take this into account).  My children’s father has undiagnosed narcissistic personality disorder and can present very well in a court setting as he does not care about the outcome – if he gets access to the kids he likes this as it continues his control over our lives, if he doesn’t then it’s great for him too because he doesn’t care anyway.

    I supervised all the contact as he was such a risk to them and later in court this sent a powerful message that he was not to be trusted (how can you explain the dangers a man poses to his kids when you’ve let him take them on his own voluntarily).

    There is a thing called “grey rock method of dealing with psychopaths” (google it), not that I’m suggesting your ex is one but I feel it would be helpful in dealing with all high conflict drama seekers.  It’s about never feeding into the drama – becoming as boring as a grey rock so they hopefully leave you alone.  My kids dad threatened me with court often as he knew that keeping the kids safe from him was my priority but I kept my response to this very low key.

    As the abuse against me during contact ratcheted up and began to impact the kids safety and well being I had to withdraw contact and let the court decide.

    You have things in your favour should it ever go to court – I would keep contact to a minimum (in a non-confrontational way) and always supervised by you. Also I would document everything- if he turns up on drugs, I would email him to say that I’m sorry we had to cut the contact short today because you were on drugs, in the future for the sake of our child it would be better not to visit with her when on drugs.  In no way would I let him know you are documenting this for future use.  I would also keep a diary of when he sees your child, date, time, duration and any significant events.  I’m sure you’ve got better things to do with your time than document but it is very important to do this.

    I’m not sure if you get child maintenance but I would consider if it’s helpful to ask for this or not. If you can get by without it might be safer to reduce his sense of entitlement to pester you via contact.

    The fact he has a criminal record and drug habit might help in court  if it got to that (which it might not).

    I hope this helps you in some way. Our situations are similar but not identical. You have kept your child safe and happy since she was born so you’re doing really well.  Self-care is important too otherwise you can find yourself overwhelmed (I’ve been there and still am sometimes).

    Anyway, I hope this helps you in some way 🙂

    Best wishes, Ariel

    #25489 Report

    Liane
    Participant

    I totally agree with the title of this post, 110%, “some days are really hard.”

    I have full respect for you both @hazeltine and @Ariel.

    My children ended up being pre birth child protection register through social services. I’d been a troublesome teen and had brief involvement with CAMHS. I met my kids dad before my 21st birthday and was wooed when he moved from Reading to Essex to pursue a relationship with me. We stayed with my parents and then lived together for 8 years.

    Two of my children were hospital births and the middle one was an unplanned home birth. Due to the stress I’d experienced it was agreed by a local GP that I could have PTSD following child birth.

    My childrens father was ex army and from a different county. I was at college and had been to festivals abroad and looking at university’s. He was so easily influenced by people around him and became psychotic. He strangled me several times and left me questioning “what would you do if i stopped breathing?” You should never have to ask that. He was also incredibly promiscuous and I’d often come home to find a house full of girls, drinking and the rest.

    His on the original birth certificate for all 3 although this may have been changed now as my children are in permanent placements outside the family. He ended up in prison and I a womens refuge. The family support wasn’t there and as much as i attend every contact session i was offered, done every assesment and jumped through every hoop the courts felt that the relationship posed too much of a risk.

    Ive not seen my children’s father since 2011. Ive pursued the family courts for variations in current contact arrangements yearly. I’ll be back again this year as my eldest turns 14.

    #25521 Report

    Ariel
    Participant

    Hi @liane,

    Thank you for your reply.  It sounds like it’s been a nightmare for you.  Despite all the talk of family courts being biased towards favouring mothers I think there are certain times it is the other way round in that women are held to far higher standards, e.g. it would be more frowned upon for a woman to abandon their kids for months than men, it would be more frowned upon for women to turn up at contact centres without the necessary supplies such as nappies, milk etc. It must be very scary being involved at the level you’re at. Sometimes all we can do is work on ourselves until our situations change and become the best mothers we can be under extreme circumstances.  Sometimes it is overwhelming!

    Best wishes, Ariel

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