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  • #58906 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    you are most welcome, sorry if its not what you’d like to hear and of course it’s totally alright to disagree.

    You asked for the healthiest solution; and coming from an evidence based & expert by experience perspective, as a personal experience of somebody who’s parents wared through courts, have survived IPV, have mental health issues myself… a difficult relationship with my mother, and working as a former independence domestic abuse advocate, having spent 5 years both as a survivor & professionally contributing to the domestic violence bill….& single parent of two…. i can only give you my honest perspective of how to negotiate this situation as you say with the most wellbeing prioritised for all, in our current system, full of lived experience.

    informally, as aΒ  peer replying to on an anonymous single parent charity forum, as you say;

    “could you please let me know if there is anything that i could do for everyone to have the best conditions for everyone’s wellbeing? I know that it is going to be a matter for family laws. I am so reluctant to do it when we could find resolutions without the emotional and financial cost.”

    Sitting in my kitchen πŸ™‚ if you were here i would likely make you tea, we could sit in the garden & have a chat. Probably interjected with random discourse regarding the flora & complaining about housework, while doing emails, cupcakes & shopping, meetings ..normal life stuff πŸ™‚

    i’m in a city. the builders are effing & blinding’s about school bills for the kids next door, the noise is deafening. But the buntings & prayer flags are still up in the garden, the crocosmia is still out, apples hang from the tree around the kids trampoline & swing set. i have ptsd. maybe this is best served with lemon balm tea… the kids grew some, if you’d like. πŸ™‚

    I’m sorry if my tone is off. im not saying your wrong for feeling pissed off or desperate. i have a kicking headache & fibromyalgia flare.. trust me, i know pain. i’m here finding solace in being part of a community of people who have understanding & sharing the wealth of lived experiences. i’m sorry if i was offensive in any way or caused difficult feelings. it was not my intention. i’m not saying i’m right or have any guarantees, im limited to generalised information in this context, but ive lived & worked in this system. gentle it is not. Unless there is a greater risk harm from a sustained harsher environment & effect, much evidence suggests this can be more harmful for well being than on going attempts with family therapy & ensuring mum & baby have as much healthy input from you as is healthy for all of you. im not saying this is an easy option either. i’m sorry you are all experiencing this. It’s not impossible to resolve with healthy outcomes, and there is never a limit to how many times the door of healthy option needs to be within reach. it doesn’t mean it will be easy or less painful at times. with an evidence based approach .. set a reminder to make an email address or online storage with something you do for you baby each day that’s healthy & might be needed if they read or see it. Even just silly happy stuff for the days you don’t see them. it wont fix anything but t might help you feel more involved.

    Perhaps i should of rephrased this as; the charity ‘relate’ can provide mental health support and mediation in a safe(r) environment for you all & help you all work towards communication.

    – Gingerbread helpline could be worth calling about this too, perhaps they could signpost to more support services locally who could help too?

    if you want to be the best dad you can be… the first question is… does mum have everything she needs for her & baby to be healthy?

    i hear this is tearing your heart & mind apart, this hurts. i get it hurts more than any feeling know so far. this parenthood!

    I’m not saying you are doing the wrong thing, but it will be likely more useful to have a longer term view for the long term healthy solutions. Sometimes the laws are not the healthiest process or practice needed. You have some fantastic mantras & affirmation in practice, you are not doing badly, but without passing judgement.. my advice is … do you really want to start this journey in a stressful court process & environment for all… remembered. Or see if this can be fixed with 6-12 months of family therapy & mediation first, with the long time pay off being a potentially healthy working relationship & easy access to on going professional support if needed to assist with any mental health/ parenting issue in the future? Especially if you can afford it. Could likely be less expensive than court, the money you save can be saved for things your child will treasure & value. taking a gentle approach, potentially if it’s family therapy with the grandma aswell, you could likely see your child sooner, without animosity or hostility, in a safe(r)place. if you have any safe-guarding concerns, the charities are usually very good at signposting or referrals to any other support needed if possible. it would mean your child is more likely to start with more resources & support.

    For now your child has a mum grandma, drs, lots of appts, health visitor & who ever else mum has for support & help with any difficulties or issues. this hurts, but is not an emergency. lots of fathers miss the birth of their child, this in its self (if you can build a healthy long term relationship afterwards), doesn’tΒ  necessarily cause any harm to a baby. You’d be surprised if you knew the stats. it’s not always for a bad reason.

    25 days must be very tough.

    Congratulations on becoming a father. 26 days is big xx you sound like you are really trying your best to be the best father you are, in difficult circumstances. a bit of paper doesn’t invalidate your heart, love or difficulty faced.

    best of luck to you all.

    #58889 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Hi Antonin,

    Sorry to read things are tough for you in this journey. It’s great to read you are getting counselling and trying to find the healthiest solutions for you all.

    it can be really tough to be fully accountable or not let our feeling cloud or inform our judgement, but it does seem like you are trying to be empathic with your ex-partners difficulties … really think its worth sticking with the counselling as it generally does take time to work things out fully.

    As much as you are trying to be understanding & recognise where as you say you may not of been the best support,Β  it does sound like perhaps your still holding some harmful judgements; that this is all about her mental health, or using her mothers experience set in a harmful narrative of something she ‘did’ towards other men… (as opposed to understanding why or what caused this reaction or need perhaps).

    pre & post natal anxiety are very real health issues and can happen all too often to anyone… as much as yes, they do require professional support or healthcare to over come – it could be worth while trying to look up how you can best support or help someone experiencing these symptoms.Β  Too often the responsibility is placed on the unwell person to explain what their issues are or teach somebody how to help this, which is an unfair burden & extra stress; especially when information can be easily found from specialised organisations.

    looking at what is the healthiest options with so much stress & difficulties so far, it might be better to take a very gentle gradual approach to heal this & re-establish respect & trust. Charging ahead with the legal route is likely to be more stressful for you all and might not help anyone’s mental health.

    would it be possible to try to work with a charity like relate? – they can potentially support you both individually if wanted, could offer mediation &/ some sort of family counselling.

    I’m not saying this will be easy, but over time… if you can gently establish that you are doing all you can to overcome any of the issues you had, learn as much as you can independently about how to support the mental health, and find small ways you can provide or support your child, (would the accept maintenance?), and try to get healthy professional support to come to agreements, over time this could mean you are more likely to rebuild a co-parenting team for your child.

    if this really doesn’t work maybe in 6 months or so when things might be settling down, it could be worth re-exploring the legal options, and be prepared for the financial costs or emotional hardships of this.

    hope this helps

    #58881 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    You are most welcome KLM πŸ™‚ you deserve support to manage this xx

    It’s totally normal to feel bad about anything our kids want and we can’t give them & it can be tough to explain difference to a child, maybe this has more to do with wider pressures in society to… Which are ridiculous when you think about it as families have always come in so many shapes & sizes! I found it helps to say to the kids… There is nothing wrong with our difference, some families have two mums or two dad’s or one parent, some kids grow up with grand parents or aunts & uncles & some kids a fostered or in care, but we can all be happy & nothing wrong with any of us!

    It’s only been a recent idea really & only in some parts of the world that a kid needs this so called 2 parent set up. Humans have never really worked like this & I’m not sure it does! it’s always taken a village so to speak! – if this helps πŸ™‚

    It can be very ‘normal’ to still have these moments of doubt too, even after counselling – although it’s great you’ve had this too xx – recovery is always ongoing for all of us, no shame in this πŸ™‚

    You did the right thing reaching out πŸ’™ – hope the helpline can help πŸ™‚

    – women’s aid also have a great survivors handbook which can be useful too & survivor forum xx

    I’ve found healing from this stuff is a bit like a sprained ankle, sometimes we need a little extra support when working out for a while after to keep it strong πŸ™‚

    You sound like a fantastic mum, am sure your boy will grow up feeling this more than anything else πŸ’™

    #58879 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Hi MT4monk,

    so… it might be worth considering why you are not on the birth certificate & your ex has zero contact or communication with you, to find the best solution.

    generally… these situations are due to something significant happening. so it might be worth trying to explore accountability, learning & healing from this… instead of what reads like an attack with your wants as a priority only?

    Remember, kids are not objects to own, they are a responsibility to nurture; is it very nurturing or a great environment for a child to grow up in conflict or with parents who cant get past themselves to be on the same team?

    I wouldn’t recommend trying to go through any third party unless it’s professional, trying otherwise, especially after you’ve been clearly cut off could likely fit with harassment.

    charities like ‘relate’ can offer great support individually to help you understand what went wrong & the healthiest next step, they could also offer mediation as a safe place for you to potentially discuss what it would take to let you be a part of their life.

    If its going to be a difficult or lengthy process regardless…. would it not be a healthier path or better example to the baby of trying work on whatever lead to this situation & how to fix that so you can be a healthy support in their life?

    – we don’t often solve anything with the same thinking that got us into a difficulty. Maybe think about what type of dad you’d like to be… no child thanks their parent for conflict.

    hope this helps in some way.

    #58878 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Hi KLM,

    so sorry to read you’ve had this experience, but wonderful you have escaped. Seems like you have really tried your best to make things work.

    sometimes i think there is this harmful myth floating about that kids need a father, even if he is abusive or that it’s a mothers shame, blame responsibility or fault if he isn’t around… It might be worth looking up the effects of emotionally abusive fathers or having a chat with the national domestic abuse helpline, which could help you feel stronger to know that absence is less harmful than an abusive presence, and that this is not your failing or responsibility if he doesn’t want to be a responsible parent. I do understand that especially after emotional abuse it can be too easy to blame ourselves or feel like we are responsible to fix them…. but really it’s not your fault. He is his own responsibility.

    If your worried he would bring your son back or that contact will effect your mental health or he would continue to be emotionally abusive in any way; you have a legal right to refuse contact so that you can protect yourself and your son. you wouldn’t be doing anything wrong in using your legal right.

    he is not the only bloke in the world capable of being a father to your son. literally millions of people you could potentially meet in time, when you are ready & have a wonderful healthy relationship with who could potentially be a wonderful father figure to your son… you son would thank you for giving him a good example more than a bad one who caused so much distress.

    hope this helps, you both deserve better πŸ™‚

    #58877 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    You are most welcome! glad you found it assuring xx

    I do see your logic, typically, perhaps a barrister for each stage might not be entirely needed for many cases, or there is that hope!

    At the same time, as much as significant awareness & hope-filing progress has been made in recent years, especially with the new Domestic Abuse Bill & Act.. i’ve witnessed/ known of so many cases (personal exp & work) where even seemingly clear cases have become too easily clad in painful difficulties & systemic failings, it can be hard to believe how quickly things can snowball into devastating outcomes, particularly with known abusers. Even with an IDVA or legal advocates support, i’d caution any kind of complacency to not expect the abuser will be bringing his worst/ best ability of that to the table. From experience, i’ve found it’s better to be as prepared as possible, and not take any chances, it always pays off to have as much support as can be afforded or found at each stage in complex cases… Even on our strongest days having to present or discuss details & effects of abuse can be really tough, let alone in this scenario & with the abuser present & essentially attacking this or potentially presenting any unknowns too. Having a barrister through this in the least will be a relief & much healthier, no matter how tough or what he attempts, in the worst case it could be all the difference to the outcome &/ how things pan out down the line. Feels worth considering too, with all the disruptions of this pandemic, it could be more likely that the family courts are under pressures with mistakes potentially more likely in that.

    i feel very wary of causing you more anxiety or stress, particularly as it can be onerous to procure the support of a barrister & not typically easy either, i really do hope it goes well for you no matter what you choose & have every faith you’d get through this. On this note it can make a difference & always pays off to plan in more recovery & wellbeing than we think we need to be on the safe side too. It won’t do any harm πŸ™‚

    <3 so glad you to read you’ve had good experiences with RoW, they really are worth their weight in gold, indeed wish they could reach more too! things are getting better, but the lack of dv/ criminal law awareness across family law courts/ professionals is deeply concerning, case by case my marrow aches collectively the system will get there for everyone.

    all the love & wellness to you through this, you deserve to be supported! πŸ™‚ xx

    #58823 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Hi Gazzle007 – love your name!

    sorry to hear you are going through this.. it’s totally understandable it would be very upsetting!

    to be honest, it does sound like perhaps your son is being pressured. people who are abusive especially if he has also been abusive to your eldest son rarely change, especially without intervention or support to understand their behaviour which can take some time.

    were you able to get support to leave the relationship? – he doesn’t actually have any rights to see the kids, especially if abuse was present; you have a legal right to say no, he would have to apply for visitation via a court; who would take the abuse seriously, particularly as he has been abusive to your eldest son.

    Might be worth contacting the gingerbread helpline &/ the NSPCC who may be able to intervene as it seems he could be continuing to be abusive.

    love & luck to you

     

    #58820 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Hi Genieve,

    Sorry to hear he his putting you through this. Personally i think your instinct are right to question this. He seems like a bit of an arsehat πŸ™‚ Doesn’t really sound like he has or is doing much to show he is a responsible parent or deserves more than the court order. Seems a bit ridiculous of him to of taken you to court, despite you not stopping him seeing your daughter, not even have an arrangement in mind, under pay maintenance while splashing out on himself (+ it’s probable even if he get the cheapest stuff, when insurance & vet stuff is factored, he’s likely spending more on the dog!)Β  .. and then he wants to break his own court order & threaten you with court again… it doesn’t really sound like he has much respect & you’ve hit the nail on the head with him being more hateful towards you, than loving, kind considerate or responsible for his daughter! – he likely knows it’s affecting your mental health, how can he justify he is prioritising his daughter in that? Sounds like you are making a very wise call in minimal conversation. I wouldn’t give in, doesn’t sound like he’d improve in anyway or your daughter would benefit from this. As much as you are trying to enable him to have a relationship perhaps he’s more interested in possessing time than nurturing her needs.

    Personally i think you have two healthy options…Β  first one; I’ve seen the charity relate work wonders in situations like this; they can provide support for you both individually with counselling, which could perhaps help him understand his priority & parental responsibilities more fully. Relate can also offer mediation & support you with communicating to him. – if he refused this, it would be worth mentioning in court; as they might be more inclined to recognise he needs some sort of something up his backside to prioritise your daughter more than his wants or whims.

    the other option is do nothing πŸ™‚ he made his bed.. if he wants to shit in it … let him put himself through his own stupidity & take you to court – you haven’t done anything wrong, if he wants to make a mountain out of a mole hill, pointlessly waste money to re-arrange his own agreement he couldn’t be bothered to make… more fool him. A court would be interested to know why he wants more contact & the agreed is not sufficient, he’d need to evidence this & effectively; he’d be appealing a judges decision; which won’t put him in good stead. They’d likely laugh at him. Especially if he spends more on his dog than your child.

    appreciate you want what’s best for your daughter, but i really don’t see how pandering or submitting to his whims would instil anything healthy & would worry this may give him an ‘in’ to continue to be difficult / justify not actually being responsible!

    best of luck to you

    #58819 Report

    JBLA
    Participant
    #58818 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Hi Winter Solstice,

    Massive hugs & strength to you if wanted.. LIP is tough, if it helps ETBB produced a doc many i know have found useful for prep –Β Microsoft Word – ETBB_LiP _finalised_.doc (judiciary.uk)

    Dv in family courts is often only recognised in how it is presented; it will need to be evidenced quite specifically before the fact finding hearing is validated.

    Its great you’ve put in an application for an Advocate to get the pro bono barrister, don’t worry it can be mind frying even for the experts at times! with your health in mind too, it may be better to try secure a barrister for all stages if possible. – personally if he his attempting to cite abuse this could be vital, even at this stage. As you described ‘or’ are you having to choose which?

    – for the very best advice, i highly recommend ROW/ Rights of Women, they have a national helpline & can discuss all stages/ details on an ongoing basis for any query. – they also have a great understanding of the asshated blaming tactics these abusers employ … like trying to cite alienation after they’ve been such a asshole they alienated themselves or trying to gaslight the court πŸ™‚

    Love & luck to you

    #58817 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Home page – PANDAS Foundation UK

    for mental health support, pandas foundation πŸ™‚

    hope this helps

    #58816 Report

    JBLA
    Participant
    #58815 Report

    JBLA
    Participant
    #58814 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Hi Jadeylou,

    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 πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚

    best first step is calling the national domestic abuse helpline;Β 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. x

    #58811 Report

    JBLA
    Participant

    Dads House – Helping Dads…be Dads

    – if this helps πŸ™‚

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