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    • #119440
      ISOPeace
      Participant

      Does anybody have any experience of reasonably successful coparenting? I haven’t left yet but am planning my exit. The abuse has always been towards me and my understanding is that if he’s not abusive to the children the courts are likely to give him access. He dotes on the kids and is a very hands on dad. I cant imagine coparenting with all his unreasonable behaviour but I might not have a choice and the kids do love to spend time with him.

    • #119442
      KIP.
      Participant

      You simply cannot co parent with an abuser. He is already committing child abuse by abusing the mother of his children. Of course they love him because they’re children and don’t understand abuse. They look to you to protect them and that includes from an abusive father. Children from abusive homes are far more likely to be abused as adults and you need help from women’s aid to make sure they’re not damaged by what they witness. Please keep a journal of his behaviour and talk to your GP about it. You need to get this behaviour logged. You’re in a position to get all your ducks in a row. To gather evidence of his abuse. To teach and protect your children going forwards. They will be learning abusive behaviour from him and will eventually turn it on you so it’s important you get them out early when they can learn about acceptable behaviour. Contact can be supervised at a contact centre and any communication can be done via a third party. You can expect his abusive behaviour to go off the scale when you end the relationship so please don’t tell him until you’re out an safe x contact your local women’s aid and make that safe exit plan and get some emotional support for you and your children. This man is not a good father and will use whatever he can to get you back under his control and the first thing will be the children. Don’t underestimate him or the damage he is prepared to do x stay strong x

    • #119445
      ISOPeace
      Participant

      Thanks for your quick reply! This has really thrown me. I saw a solicitor a few months ago and I’m sure she said if the abuse is directed as me and not the kids, the courts would give him access. Also, I have periodically kept notes of his behaviour but I don’t have any proof. It’s his word against mine and he’s already told me he keeps a record of what I have/haven’t done. Also am I part of the abuse if I argue with him in front of the kids? He’s careful in that he doesnt swear in front of the kids and a lot of it isn’t in front of them but a lot of the criticising is I front of them. He also takes photos when the house gets in a state and says it’s proof that I can’t cope….. sorry, I’m confused!

    • #119450
      ISOPeace
      Participant

      I should have said, i meant the solicitor said he could even get 50/50 access, not that I’d be the primary carer.

    • #119452
      KIP.
      Participant

      Talk to a couple more solicitors who have experience of domestic abuse. Most offer free legal advice initially and also contact your local women’s aid. The fact he’s taking photos of the house is a huge red flag. Why doesn’t he clear it up? It’s coercive control and threatening behaviour. He’s messing with your head. The court may start at 50/50. That’s why you keep a journal of his behaviour. A lot of which has probably become normal to you but it’s far from normal to take photos and use them as threats. You’re confused because you’re being lied to and gaslighted by an abuser. Women’s aid are fantastic at helping you plan ahead, and helping you recognise abuse. Read Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven. Do not tell your partner what you’re doing. Don’t confront him about his abuse. He will just talk his delusions nonsense. Realistically could he really cope with the kids for much of the time. Does he work? How would he fit in child care in a practical sense. You’re probably the primary carer already. Abusers always threaten and it’s usually around the children. My ex would say I’d never get custody, I had a mental illness etc. All lies designed to keep me under his control. You’re minimising and excusing his abuse which is what we victims do. Don’t think about what he doesn’t do in front of the kids think about what he does do? Try to write a list of all the times he’s abused you. Right from the beginning and how it’s made you feel. Arguing in front of the kids isn’t abuse, it’s not nice for them but sometimes people do argue and the kids hear. But then it’s over and they understand. Abusing someone on front of the kids is totally different. Criticising and belittling you is designed to rob you of your self confidence and self esteem and the kids see this as normal. If you destroy someone’s confidence it makes it easier to dominate. There’s a national domestic abuse helpline which is great and also a chatline on here. I’d recommend you talk to someone and there’s your local women’s aid too x keep posting and reading other posts and you will see just how much in common these abuser actually have.

    • #119498
      Hetty
      Participant

      I wish I could say you can successfully coparent but my experience has been really challenging. When I left my son’s dad he was ranting about 50/50 but the truth was he couldn’t manage that with work at the time and I was advised that because my son was very young (toddler age) court wouldn’t agree to that as children need a home, somewhere they spend the majority of their time. In the end he got one/two nights a week. I didn’t really recognise this relationship as a domestically abusive relationship at the time. He used every opportunity to verbally assault me and on one occasion he grabbed me in front of our child and I had to call the police. He lied about me to my child and undermined me at every opportunity. I’m not saying this to scare you. I just want you to be prepared. If there is to be contact there needs to be clear boundaries. Over the years I bent over backwards to facilitate contact when I should have been putting my foot down. If someone can support with handovers etc abs you can have a separate phone for him only that would help. Seek advice. These men continue their abuse at any given opportunity. I always knew when my ex split from a girlfriend because he’d start on me. I wanted nothing more from him to move on but it never happened and as I’ve posted myself today he continues to harass me even though I’ve long ago stopped contact. Stay strong. Don’t let the fear paralyse you. Know that you can move on from him and that you’re a good mother. We can’t breath let alone flourish in these relationships. Make sure you get plenty of advice and firm boundaries in place xx

    • #119535
      ISOPeace
      Participant

      My husband works shifts so he actually has a lot of time in the day when he isn’t at work. So unfortunately he could physically have them 50% of the time.
      Hetty, how did you manage the initial contact when you left? I’m worried that he’ll agree to a pattern but refused to give them back or just refuse to agree to anything. Or only agree to 50/50. A solicitor said if you have it 50/50 before you go to court, the court is likely to keep something similar in place.
      Also he calls himself the primary carer (more controlling behaviour I think), because he always thinks he does everything and I do nothing. This isn’t helped by me often staying out of the way when he’s home, so he accuses me of not looking after the children. I know he will spin a story about how he does everything and I do nothing, because he really believes that! Xx

    • #119537
      Hetty
      Participant

      Yes I was advised the same. Don’t agree to that because if it’s not what you want/good for the the kids once it’s established you won’t be able to reverse it or it’ll be very hard to. I agreed after seeking legal advice to one night at weekend and one during the week. Fortunately he never kept him when he shouldn’t. Most men can’t wait to have their freedom to be fair and this 50/50 is just a threat but don’t bank on it. If he does keep the kids it’ll not look good and would be emotional abuse of them so if he’s got an ounce of sense he won’t do this. These men will push hard to continue to control and terrorise us. Stay strong. A lot is likely to be hot air but have in your mind that it might not be also. Xx

    • #119538
      KIP.
      Participant

      He’s knows the importance legally of being the ‘primary carer’. You need to get some legal advice. You have time to get all your ducks in a row before you leave. As you as the primary carer he will have to return them to you and you have much more say in decision making both legally and physically and financially when it comes to benefits etc. So take your time and research going forward. Start hiding money with someone you trust. Contact women’s aid for the next plan. As Hetty says these men will fight for 50/50 or more because they see it as a means of controlling you. So start keeping those threatening messages and building a support bubble x Knowledge Is Power. KIP

    • #119539

      ISOpeace, I am currently having a lot of problems with my ex about contact with our daughter. My advice would be, as the other ladies have advised, to keep a record of everything he does. Can you maybe speak to your GP about it so it’s logged with a professional so if it does go to court you have that to back you up? He sounds very manipulative and controlling which is, as you know is very worrying.
      My ex isn’t calm enough not to let his temper get the best of him and thanks to that I’ve been able to log several things he’s done with the police which now when it does go to court the court will see that and not look favourably on him.

    • #119544
      ISOPeace
      Participant

      Thanks for all your comments. This forum is amazing! I’m lucky to have supportive friends and family but nobody who has been through something like this so your input is hugely appreciated. I will call Women’s Aid tomorrow. I also heard Rights of Women is helpful so I’ll try them as well.
      I can see that although I’ve known I’m in an abusive marriage for a while, I didnt realise that I was still minimising how bad it really is. I guess so many of us think it’s that we’re just not coping well enough rather than seeing how destructive the abuse is.Xx

    • #119546
      KIP.
      Participant

      Abusers brainwash and programme us for years. We begin to reality test. They simply aren’t our friends. They anti parent and will try to destroy us and sabotage our lives at every opportunity. Mind blowing dysfunctional behaviour. Don’t ever make the mistake of believeing that he thinks the same way as you do. Don’t let him know what you’re doing. Remember he knows you well that’s why he knows how to hurt and control. My ex had me believing the most ridiculous things that now I can see were totally unbelievable but abuse strips us of our ability to think rationally x

    • #119559
      Hetty
      Participant

      Journal everything. He is not the primary carer technically. He’s abusing and controlling you in your own home to alienate you. That’s emotional abuse and it’s abuse of the children also. My ex (child’s dad) was forever threatening me that he would report me. Once my son had a bruise on his knee from a fall – that was going to be reported. Of course he never did but he wanted to frighten me. These men hate having their power taken away. Don’t ever ever think this man is your friend. Once during a settled period I rang my ex to have my son an extra night as I was very ill with a chest infection and he tried to tell solicitor that I was an unfit mother and was struggling to cope. I’d actually been to the gp and was on antibiotics. Keep him out of your life as much as possible even if/when contact is established. If things are going well and he asks for extra time the answer must always be no. It’s sad and in an ideal world we would co parent with the best interests of the children at heart but these men never change and when we leave or are discarded they will continue their abuse in any way possible.
      It’s important to have the right advice and support in place.
      Don’t let any of this put you off from leaving. You can be free. Learn from our experiences. I don’t ever regret leaving my son’s dad despite the issues he has attempted to cause. Most of the time he’s made himself look like a massive t**t. One solicitor actually said to me I was well shot of him.
      Also, if they try to suggest mediation at any point you don’t have to go through with that either in the circumstances. It really makes me mad when this is suggested as it felt like another tactic. I never went and one poor woman who rang me up about mediation got a severe tongue lashing Xx

    • #119594
      [email protected]
      Participant

      It’s true you can’t coparent with an abuser. You can’t child rear effectively either with an abuser living with you xx I’ve done a ton of research around this subject when I went through this. Kids primary role models are of course mum and dad. The copy behaviour and it’s not healthy the example these men set xx I always thot every child is better if with a father figure but I was wrong. An abusive father can be the ruin of your child. But also the mother child relationship xx

    • #119623
      ultimatelyStrong
      Participant

      No you won’t be able to co parent. And I suspect unless you have substantial evidence a judge will still order contact.

      Continue gathering your evidence though and logging everything. Instead of writing notes, write emails and send them to yourself when something happens. This way they are time stamped. Unfortunately with abusive men you will have to continuously gather evidence and log everything so get in the habit.

      It seems daunting but everything happens in stages. First stage is planning your escape. Then leaving. Then you’ll be in court which is inevitable with controlling men and btw you will get legal aid if you can get a letter from women’s aid/refuge to say you’ve been abused. You shouldn’t have a problem.

      With co parenting it’s the ideal but not a necessity. A contact book for small notes to each other and either an email address or contact phone for emergencies is completely adequate. There won’t be any phone calls to chat about the kids progress at school or any issues you’re having with them. Because he’ll use these occasions as a way to control you every time. It’s a great feeling to take their power away in this respect. You can opt out of being controlled.

      You’ll get there, one step at a time x

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