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Mental Illness Blame - help
My first post on this - or any - forum.
My ex and father of our child is blaming our son’s behaviour on my mental illness.
small amount of context - last year circumstances led me to become unwell. I was isolated, more than just the lockdown, there were other factors too identifying to include. His reaction was to threaten me with lawyers and courts, I felt powerless and let him take majority care of our child. It made me fall even further apart initially.
We attended mediation and he made clear several things he expected of me. All of which I have done. He on the other hand had one task which he couldn’t complete.
I want care to return to normal but he is resistant
I had a small bout of low mood recently, I kept him informed, I adhere to treatment, I do not experience psychosis or hallucinations. I care for my son - he is fed, he is clean, taken to school, I don’t emotionally or physically abuse him. I love and nurture him.
but he’s going through some behavioural issues. He’s struggling with some school stuff. He is unsettled from transitions between houses. The unsettled thing I know is common. The tantrums I don’t know what their about but I’ve been through tantrum phases before
His father believes my mental illness is causing all these problems and has pulled out his threats again. I’m in a much better state of mind than I was last year and am not willing to be pushed around
I feel as though he’s never done the hard yards of parenting, has never learned or bothered to learn about children or child development and is scapegoating me to try and edge me further out of his life because it’s an easy solution
I feel so alone
I feel so scared of my ex and the way he twists things and the way people often look down on women in my position
can anyone please tell me - what have they done in similar situations?
I do get help
I am in therapy
I get support around my parenting
but talking to him is like talking to a brick wal
you would think I was an evil witch
if I stand up for myself he says the most awful things to me but puts on a public image of a martyr and has even started withholding information from the school from me
The situation you have described does not sound healthy for you or the child. It seems that the emotional disruption between you and the father may be getting in the way of resolving the facts and issues of parenting. It can be hard to not let the feelings rise up and take over a conversation where there has been a divide where love once held sway.
If you are finding that talking isn't working then you may have some success in writing out the issues or points and then giving yourself some time before revising. This would let you clarify and simplify your goals, concerns and suggestions for reaching the goals and addressing concerns.
You can either use the writings as a prompt or reference for yourself so you can keep your focus when talking or provide him with a copy so he can read and add notes for discussing with you.
Other things that may be worth considering is "booking" a regular time slot each week/fortnight to go somewhere neutral with him to talk about parenting the child, what has come up, what is happening with school etc. By having something set in place, both of you avoid getting surprises and can plan for events like birthdays, mothers day/fathers day, school camps etc.
Hopefully this has been helpful.
Welcome to the bb forum and congratulations on having the courage to tell your story. You have chosen well, as this forum is a safe, non-judgemental place of support.
You sound like an amazing mum and I can imagine this situation is causing you great distress. I’m really sorry that your ex is making life difficult for you.
Please remember that millions of Australians experience mental health conditions—many of them parents just like you. There is no shame in being unwell. And, as you well know, many people also get better.
Never forget how far you have come to regain your health. Healing is often hard work and you should be really proud of yourself.
Your ex seems to be exploiting the MH issue to gain the upper hand with regard to care of your son. I think his behaviour is abhorrent, opportunistic and cruel.
Holding back information from school is not on and makes me think your husband really wants to diminish your parenting role and be in control.
There is a lot going on in your son’s life and it’s not fair to blame you for the boy’s behavioural issues. The cause could be anything—perhaps your son is missing you!
If I were in your shoes I know that I would seek legal advice and seek another formal mediation session. I’m not sure I would rush off to court due to the cost and stress, but I would want to know my rights etc in order to participate in the next mediation session. Can you organise another mediation?
Kind thoughts to you
Sorry to hear of your plight, it sounds terribly stressful. How old is your son and what is your current custody arrangement (eg 1 week at your house 1 week at your ex’s house)?
I guess the advice I have is from the legal side and its good info to know.
He can make all the threats and demands he wants through his lawyer - these have NO weight whatsoever in how you co-share and what you do on your own days.
He cannot make statements about your mental health and demand that you do certain things before letting you have your child - He doesn't have that authority, nor can he enforce it (only a judge can make that decision based off professional reports)
Mediation and anything agreed to or requested in it is not legally binding, you are able to change your mind at any stage and can stop following it at any stage.
This is a typical narcissistic response, where one party bullies and manipulates the other through threats and intimidation tactics.
Seek free legal advice through the female domestic violence hotlines or call legal aid...and start getting proper counsel to deal with him