Hi, I have two children who are struggling with their father not doing anything about contact with them.
I left suddenly after the DV escalated to a dangerous level and had no contact for three years. I ensured he had our address and didnt change mobile but he didnt contact me. He has said to others that as I was the one that left with the children I chose for him not to have contact.
There is a family party (His side) coming up that my children have been invited to and have a role in. I insisted that they had to have contact with him before we agreed to go.
He made contact (having been told to by his family) and we met awkwardly in a cafe, he was 'superdad' with presents etc and girls were thrilled.
We agreed to a weekly phone call and to email contact. This was 'fine' (obviously my stress levels weren't fine) for five weeks at which point he stopped all contact. My oldest actually emailed him to ask whats wrong?
I have written letters, sent post, and phoned (he ignores my calls)
How, what words do i use to explain to my children that he is an unreliable, selfish *****************************
without actually saying it.
And how do i help my daughters cope with the impact of that rejection.
Good to meet you. What a horrible position to find yourself in.
I think the important thing is to continue to be there to hear your daughters, rather than tell them all the expletives you believe their father to be. Our relationship expert might be the person to help you further with thinking about what to say to them.
You say your relationship with your ex was a violent one. Are you aware of the Freedom Programme? Lots of One Space members who have emerged from abusive relationships have said how useful it was for them.
Let us know how things progress for you.
thankyou for such a quick response, I have sent off my request to the expert but am just awaiting a response.
I've been on a parenting course and had a bit of counselling regards my ex.
He was more emotionally violent until the last week when it escalated into physical. thats the point that I left.
I do make a point of never using expletives and badmouthing father, either in front of girls or when in same building. And i don't allow anyone else to either.
I can find books at the library about staying with two parents, being a suitcase kid, only seeing yr dad at weekends, or who sadly have died but I don't know of any books for my daughters about those who have simply gone off the radar.
I know from the reading I have done that this can be very bad for childrens self perception and confidence but Im unsure of tactics and strategies to overcome this.
Anyone know of any?
it is so hard isn't it, and you so want to take the rejection away that the children must be feeling.
Unfortunately, you can't make your ex see the girls. I had the same with my first husband who disappeared sporadically and eventually completely. Especially No3 son blames himself for that because he says he called him by my second husband's name by mistake.
All that I have been able to do is not change my number (I've not even got an address for him!) and reassure the children lots and lots and lots. I've told them that he definitely does love them, but that he finds it really hard to see them and probably doesn't know how to approach the situation.
I am so cross at him for letting them down so much - we had so many tears when he'd not turn up as arranged.
So I am doing everything I can to build their self-esteem (although there are some issues there) and make sure they know I love them and that will not change and I am the stable point in their lives.
Hi neggiem01, and welcome to One Space
I am sorry to hear that your ex has put you in this situation, Hopeful and Mary have gave you some great suggestions on how to deal with your girls.
Our relationship expert will give you some great advice on how to go about dealing with your ex's sporadic contact, so i thought that i would focus on techniques for raising self esteem etc.
I think that continously reasurring them, that you love them, and will be there for them, is a great start, it is good to hear that you don't badmouth their father or allow others to, as this will also help, with their self esteem.
Praising them as often as you can, spend time individually with each child telling them about things that are special about them, share stories about yourself aswell as positive things about their father, as they will identify themself with there dad and anything negative may be taken on board as something negative about themself.
Generally just being a listening ear, and empathising with them about how they feel and helping them to come up with way's to deal with these feelings, this could be to write how they feel in a letter or it could be a physical activity.
Have your girls had any counselling? are your girls able to see their dad's family?
Thankyou again for all your support, I have had some contact with the relationship expert already (very speedy)
The girls had some support when we first left from Nextlink (the DV aid organisation) but had seemed to be settled, so as funding was tight it stopped. I has asked if they can see the same person again, but we have moved since then and we're not allowed to because funding is based on postcode. I am going to go and see myine and the girls' doctor and put in a request for some counselling, but my request was on a waiting list or 18 months and then i got a group counselling session where you're not meant to talk and where they tell you to meditate and make sure you get lots of sleep and time spent on you etc
Don't think they know many single parents. I do try to get me time but I've started a business because of the whole no money/local housing allowance cuts/youngest over 7/ government debacle and I'm putting as much effort as possible into making that work.
They do have contact with ex's family which is great, but they ask their cousins and Auntie each time
"do you think Daddy is less cross with us now" and even after reassurance that he was/is not cross with them, they nod but you can see they don't believe you.
I think I will push the writing idea again, as I find it helpful. I'll also put some more effort into individual time.
I know what your saying about the group counselling, it would seem that this is a stratergy to try and bring down the waiting lists for counselling, i have come across many people that were given this option, some found it useful others did not, i think that when you have been in an abusive relationship you probably need to talk through the issues you have.
What line of work are you in?
Hello again neggiem01,
Glad the relationship expert got back to you so promptly. If you can encourage your daughters to write what they're feeling down it just might help them feel they've 'got it off their chests'.
Depending on which area of the country you're in, Relate are now offering free counselling for 5 to 25 year olds, which may be worth pursuing (either now or at some later point). The link is here.
With regard to yourself; if you wanted further counselling, there may well be a voluntary service who could see you for a small contribution. Might be worth having a Google (other search engines are available) to see what's in your area.
All the best,
- Local Support
- Your Ex