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Am I making things more difficult then they need to be? Your thoughts are appreciated.
Those that know me on the forums know my story of the last 5 years. For those that don't, here is a very brief summary.
My little girls' (almost 5 yo) dad has been in and out of the picture depending on when it suits him and he has time. He is a narcissist, has been verbally abusive to me an his parents, cannot accept responsibility or blame, cannot commit, always making excuses. He is 48, still lives at home and basically makes me sick.I have little to do with him except for our daughter. He could have the balilty to be a good dad, he is very health conscious,has her best interests at heart but he is unreliable and still a baby as far as i am concerned. he comes and goes and sees here when it suits him. Two xmas' ago he verbally abused me on xmas day and we did no hear or see from him for 4 months, not even for her bday. He eventually contacted us and started coming to see her again. he was renovating a house and spent every weekend there and no time with here unless he could squeeze in 19 months here and there. He lives with his parents 2 streets away from us, i have no relationship with them and he took her to see them 2 times out of the whole year saying he was too busy with the renovation. The reno is now finished and he wants to spend time with her, this is good but the way he goes about it doesn't sit well with me. He thinks he can just walk in and take over and make up for the last 5 hears in 1 week. Little miss started school 2 weeks ago, he dame first day, but thats it despite having days off work. I am looking to return to work and asked if her could look after her sundays if i could get a job on that day and he replied 'we'll see'. Today he was meant to take little miss out with a friend and his daughter but ti was cancelled so he rang me while i was out shopping and asked if her could take her out for the day. I said yes of course as i have never stopped him wanting to do things with her. He then went on to say that maybe she could sleep at their house sometimes and he would take her to school on Monday's. Well this freaked me out. She hardly know his parents, is not yet comfortable going there , he's done nothing for 5 years and now he wants her to sleep there and on a night before school too. i don't know what game game is playing at. Told him she has just started school, is still adjusting and don't want to upset her routine just yet, she is still adjusting to school. he fobbed me off as usual saying she will be fine.
I am extremely agitated, my heart is racing. I'm not comfortable with her sleeping there as yet as she is not familiar with them and their house. I know at some point he may have her more often but i am not ready for that as he is yet to prove himself to be a reliable father. I feel that now the reno is finished he thinks he can just walk in and take over an do what he wants with no consideration of our lives. Little miss is very attached to me and i know he will try and force her with no regard to how it affects her.He has taken her to their house and kept her there till late despite her asking to come home. I'm really confused and distraught. Am i over exaggerating the issue? Am i scared to let go? i told him last week that he has gone about everything the wrong way, walking in and out of her life, wanting to take her out when it suits him. Told him he needs to build her up slowly, let her get used to it, that if he forces it she will rebel him more. he obviously did not understand at all. The thing is if she can get used to being with him, it is good for her, she loves her dad. I also question his sudden decision. He is the type of person who cannot make decision on his own he always needs to involve others, everything he does depends on what other have told him to do ie he came to me once and said he was ashamed of how he treated me and wanted to be a family because it is a good thing. He told me this is because he spoke to his friend and his friend told him to do this, it don't come from him thinking of it.This whole thing of her now sleeping at their house i believe is from his friend also as he has an 8 year of=d daughter, is divorced and his daughter stays with him at times. Here are my questions;
am i making it more difficult than it needs to be? Am i being too overprotective.
i have criticised him for years for his lack of parenting and now he wants to i am rejecting it. Am i wrong to do this?
I have not much time to myself which i have been ok with. Am I scared of not having her around, is it me that cannot separate?
Am i scared he will be better at it than me?
I am scared he is trying to walk in and take over her now. I encourage him to spend time with her but he has been so absent and now wants to do a complete flip. i know my little girl better than anyone, i know her anxieties when she is away from me. He is now trying to walk in and just take over cos it suits him or cos his friend does it. No consideration of anything or anyone but him.
I have criticised and hated him for being a useless, selfish son of a b for all these years and now he is trying to step up to the plate i am not happy. Am i scared of not being in control? Am i scared of him controlling me because i know how abusive he can be toward me when he doesn't get his way. I don't want to see m little girls anxious and upset. when she was in hospital having open heart surgery at 5 weeks of age he was too busy working. i sat in intensive care and slept at the hospital for a week with her. he dropped in for 5 mins when he had time. Now he wants to be father of the year.
I don't trust his motives. He is doing this because his friend does it, not because he has half a brain that would think of it himself, as a parent and because his friend does it he is going to disrupt her routine to suit his own selfish needs.
I hate him, i hate the sight of him, i hate the tone if his voice when he unernines me but then again, if she gets used to being with him i can get some of my life back, my freedom but i am scared. I need her as much as she needs me. My teenagaers dont need me as much. Do i have the problem? Do i have a need to be needed?
What is wrong with me?
Access to children is often a minefield. There are so many conflicting needs and wishes that often the child is left out of the discussion.
When you separated did you have a formal agreement of when he had access? This would stop him coming into your home and expecting his daughter to go with him. I gather, and please tell me if this is not correct, that he simply arrives at your home and lets himself in. Is this correct? Regardless of his motives and abilities it is a good idea to make your home secure.
You can then decide who to let into your home. Having a proper agreement about access will mean he can only collect your daughter on the designated dates and you can refuse him entry to your home. I don't know how this sits with you, you may not want a formal agreement.
It will sort out the issue of how long your daughter spends with her father and whether it is overnight or daytime only.
Are you being selfish? I hardly think so. You have the safety and well-being of your child to consider and that is the most important part. I understand you want to be able to go out occasionally on your own. Where there are two parents this is quite easy but not in your case. Do you have anyone you would trust with your daughter? Someone who could stay at your home on the days you are working. Do you need to work on Sundays?
I suggest you contact the Women's Legal Service in your state. They will be able to give you advice and recommendations. I often say this to women who are unsure of what to do. I believe you need to understand the law with respect to you, your daughter and ex. Women's Legal Service can arrange for a free consultation with a lawyer and I imagine they have their preferred people whom they trust.
So write a list of possible actions you should take or any other query you have and take it to the lawyer when you meet. The Legal Service may well be able to answer many of these questions.
If you did not trust your ex when you left, why would you trust him now? I gather he has not changed. Spending time with your daughter may make him feel he is demonstrating parental responsibility but as we know, it's not that easy.
I have not 'talked' to you much CMF and I am not aware of your full story which makes it difficult to comment. I hope my words have helped you and perhaps given some clarity.
He just rang as she was asking to come home. He commented how he missed an important year of her life, again blaming the reno. Managed to have a chat about him starting a regular routine of seeing her and making it a positive experience for her rather than forcing her. He is concerned about making up for the time he lost, told him it can be done but in small steps. He actually seemed to listen and hopefully understand.This is what i suggested;
Now the reno is finished, he can pick her up on a Sunday and append the day with her. They can go out, stay at their place so she can get to know and be comfortable with his parents. If he wants he can also pick her up during the week to have dinner at their place. Once she is used to this routine then perhaps on the school holidays we can trial a sleepover. She wont have school the next day so if she does not sleep well it will not affect her so much. If and when she is comfortable with this she an then sleep over more often and perhaps he can take her to school. He seemed ok with this. I told i never have and never would discourage him from seeing her, he said i didn't have to, the reno stopped him. I'm a bit tired of the reno excuse, he could have made time if he really wanted and he didn't see her for 4 months after 'that' xmas.
Anyway, at this point i feel we are on the same page. I'm still a little anxious as he is asking why his friend pays less child support etc and i am sick of him comparing what others do. He should be focussed on what he needs to do not what everyone else has to do. He said child support is a b...d because if he earns more he has to pay more CS and hey pay less. He doesn't understand this. He doesn't understand his financial responsibility to his child. Thinks benefits should cover everything. It is ridiculous. No acceptance of responsibility and I'm getting anxious again.
You sound really distressed and no wonder. I hope you have a good psych to turn to hun. Trying to understand what motivates your child's father is simply impossible. I've been thru it although my situation was different.
Using the past as a gauge to making decisions in the present can be a block to success. However, intrinsic personality traits tend to stay intact even though people grow and situations change.
I'm concerned his friend has a lot of 'advice' for your ex. It means they've been deeply discussing aspects of his relationship with his daughter and you. Talking about access and child support in the same phone call is, to me, a red flag. Please take this with a grain of salt ok. It's just my experience coming thru and may not have anything to do with your reality.
If the non primary carer parent has their child for a certain amount of time, this can be reflected in CS payments. In that I mean, if parent X has 60/40 responsibility with care giving, child support will allow a % less to be paid due to sharing time on primary care.
I don't know what his friend has in terms of time with his child, but I'm wondering if there's a $ connection. I don't want to add fuel to the fire Comfy; I'd like to make sure your daughter's cared for properly to form a genuine and lasting relationship with her dad. (And his parents) If I'm off the mark, I'm sorry.
The other thing I wanted to mention was mediation. As Mary says, difficult child access cases can cause more stress than it's worth. Having a mediator to help sort thru problems can be successful if both parties are willing to explore this avenue.
I can hear the frustration and desperation in your words. Please take care of you, and please, please stop trying to guess who's right/wrong; you're torturing yourself. You can't go into someone else's head. We have to take what people say until proven otherwise ok.
In all your conversations, who's representing your daughter's well being and/or their own self interest? Balance is the key..
I really hope you have a positive outcome for all involved.
Mary and Sez,
thank you for your replies. I am feeling better, my heart is still pounding a bit and i am totally drained. We were never married or lived together so he doesn't walk into the house but pops by. It's ok i don't want formalities cos he is unreliable and the becomes aggressive if you mention any 'faults'. It is a long story/journey, it's on here but today just rattled me. I know how CS work with % of care etc but he doesn't get it, thinks it is unfair that he should pay more if he earns more. When little miss was born he wanted me to say that she stayed with him on weekends so his CS would be less because that is what another friend did blah blah blah. Again he didn't consider earnings etc. and i told him i would not do that. He needs to accept his responsibility. Sez, you are right, he is talking to his divorced friend who probably has different arrangements or earns differently. He doesn't take all this into account, just compares, no matter how much I explain it to him .As far as formal arrangements, he couldn't do it, he is simply not capable. He just does not understand what responsibility is and ask others, talks about our personal business and situation and thinks that's how you work out how to do things. He never considers peoples situations or circumstances are different. He is very interested in other peoples' business instead of focusing on his own. He seems more concerned with his own CS payments than the happiness/security of his daughter. I don't even want to think about it, it infuriates me.
Anyway, i managed to explain that he can't just turn up and expect her to go there and sleep there, needs to ease her into it. Let her become secure and comfortable. He seemed to understand for now. He is planning to take her out next Sunday, wants to make up for lost time. He does that all the time too, realises too late his errors and what he has missed out on and the effect it has on others. He then regrets it but never accepts the responsibility for his failings, always blames something else. It is always the same story with him, like a merry go round.
A friend of mine has a daughter, brother and cousin with Aspergers. She asked me if i ever considered he may be on the spectrum, and I have. I read up about aspergers in adult men and he fits the description very well. She mentioned more for me to realise that maybe he can't control his behaviour, that he is not aware of it. Either way he is too much to handle at times.
This is him;
Their speech is pedantic, meaning that it is filled with obscure, minute facts and details;
They have difficulties with pragmatic, or social, language. This includes saying inappropriate things, not taking turns in conversations, speaking in a way that is not appropriate for an informal social setting, or speaking in the same manner to a two-year-old and an adult.
They may speak too fast, have a monotone or robotic voice, or speak too loudly.
Their speech is marked by the use of “technical” or “scientific” words, or even a “high-brow vocabulary.” They often sound pretentious, although at first you may be too impressed to see it that way. They don’t understand that speech used during social conversation is different from speech used in learning situations or in books. Often, they speak in a way that requires a high level of knowledge in their particular area of expertise, an expertise they know you do not have. If they were speaking to a group of scholars or students of the subject, it would be appropriate. They cannot adapt their speech to suit their audience. Without that flexibility, they aren’t truly communicating—they’re merely bombarding their audience with words that make no sense because they are unable to take into into consideration the person who is listening.
Conversely, they may not take your existing knowledge into consideration. For example, if they tell you they washed their car they may describe to you every single detail of washing a car, as if you’ve never washed one before.
They usually have an obsessive, consuming interest in one subject, to the exclusion of others.
They can come across as “The Professor” because they have a tendency to go into long, pedantic monologues about their obsessive interest, not recognizing the other person is bored or isn’t being given a chance to speak.
They come across as arrogant
They have theoretical understanding of other people’s emotions; however, they typically have difficulty acting on this knowledge in fluid, real-life situations. For example, if you’re upset about something they may not know that you need to be comforted, or how to go about doing so.
They often have a very difficult time hearing the negative emotions of others. They may refuse to communicate, and then lash out in a very hurtful way.
They are always right. ALWAYS. They will frequently say that you are being irrational or illogical.
You often find their behavior exasperating or even infuriating. You may find yourself saying, “You’re not listening to me!” or “You don’t understand. You think you do, but you don’t” or “That’s not what I was saying; you’ve come to the wrong conclusion,” but they will continue insisting that they do understand, perhaps telling you that you’re the one who doesn’t understand—even when it is your own experience or feelings that you were trying to convey. it’s the insistence that they do understand and that you’rethe one who doesn’t get it. You will feel that they don’t really “know” you or “see” you (they don’t; they aren’t able to), and you will be unable to resolve any conflict you have with them.
They have poor impulse control and easily become frustrated and angry.
They tend to be bad drivers. They often become extremely frustrated in heavy traffic, pull out in front of oncoming traffic when there is not enough time to do so safely, and have trouble merging. Although we may not realize it because it comes naturally to us, merging requires a great deal of non-verbal communication between drivers. It is often other drivers on the road who avert these potential disasters.
They have an unusual sensitivity to things other might never notice. They may not be able to tolerate the labels in their clothing or the seams in their socks, or the barely perceptible hum of a refrigerator. They are hypersensitive to many textures, smells, lights and sounds
They are hurtfully blunt and casually critical. If you wonder if your bum looks big in those jeans, your AS partner will tell you; there is no need to ask. If they don’t like something, they won’t hesitate to express it. This is one man who will actually notice you got a new haircut, and he won’t hesitate to tell you how awful it is. This behavior comes across as insulting and hurtful. They cannot understand that honesty delivered without kindness is cruelty, and even if you tell them so, they won’t stop because they see their blunt honesty as virtue, even though it’s a manifestation of their social ineptitude.
They are extremely naive, gullible and overly trusting, and they are easily taken advantage of.
Although they may first appear to be highly intelligent, you will notice that their knowledge is restricted to a few narrow subjects and is quite lacking in a general sense.