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    • #131847
      AllTheChocolate
      Participant

      Hi
      New here. I’ve suspected in the past that my ex used coercive control during our relationship (only since having a child). We separated (detail removed by Moderator) ago and are now divorced. He is resentful of the fact that I got a fair settlement (hard fought, using reason, so he couldn’t call me out for being unreasonable), and have bought a fantastic home for his son and I, further away from him that he likes (like, (detail removed by Moderator) mins).

      I am struggling to negotiate things with him when it comes to co-parenting. I ask for something I think is reasonable and in our child’s best interest; he responds accusing me of being unreasonable; I stand up for myself/our son; he shuts the conversation down. We are right now negotiating a slight change in his contact with his son, to benefit our son (in my opinion). He is unhappy about this as it is inconvenient to him. He does not accept what I say; that it will benefit our son; that our son ((age removed by Moderator)) deserves to be heard with regards the form of contact he’d prefer (not the quantity, happy for that to remain unchanged).

      What I am now going to do is: 1 – get mental health support for myself (on a budget?!). When things come up with my ex, I have a return of my anxiety, exhaustion, panic, insomnia. That’s not OK any more. Time to stop his hold on my mental health. 2 – find advice on what is reasonable with regard contact with his child, so that I can be 100% certain that I AM being reasonable in what I am presenting to him.

      How exhausting it is dealing with this!

    • #131848
      KIP.
      Participant

      Hi, you can never ever co parent with an abuser. It’s simply not in their nature and anything you want and feel is reasonable he will disagree with simply to regain the control. Even if it’s detrimental to his son or even to himself. Any contact with an abuser is toxic. So try using a third party for all contact. Give them a cheap mobile phone for text messages to pass on and use a contact book going back and forward with your son. Just for things like ‘he hasn’t done his homework’ etc. What you feel is reasonable for you child IS reasonable. Dealing with an abuser is crazy making. We doubt our own sanity. Talk to your local women’s aid for support. They absolutely will understand. The bottom line with what’s reasonable is what would a court say and he would have to go back to court to change the order. So for a minor change that benefits your child, is he really going to spend that money and go in front of a judge? Get some therapy from someone with knowledge of domestic abuse and take a look at Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven. Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft. And The Freedom Programme through your local women’s aid. This man hasn’t changed at all in fact the abuse got worse after separation for me.

      • #131849
        AllTheChocolate
        Participant

        Thank you, I had not considered getting a mediator between us. This is a good tip.
        We are settled into a rhythm so it is rare for me to need to communication with him. This time we are just making adjustments, but he wants control of the situation and is not accepting what I’m saying. He wants what he wants, nothing else. I am standing firm. It does take its toll on me though, mentally. I am thankful that I have amazing friends and family!

      • #131850
        AllTheChocolate
        Participant

        Oh and we don’t have a court order. It’s simply swapping one night for another, to suit our child better. And to help ex fit it around his work, I have offered several other options, too. So I’m pretty sure I’m being reasonable. And if his work means that day doesn’t suit him, then surely one of the other options will have to do? Am I right in saying that fitting contact around his job is not my responsibility? I am only responsible for meeting my son’s needs and his right to a relationship with each parent by ensuring regular contact? Which I am doing.

    • #131851
      KIP.
      Participant

      Are you the resident parent? This gives you more rights. And it means he has to return your child. You will find when he gets his own way things go smoother but if you don’t want to be running round for the next decade with child access trying to please him I’d set firm boundaries and stick to them. It’s awful dealing with a bully and that’s what he is. Your priority is your child and doing what’s in their best interest. Are you in touch with your local women’s aid. They will be a tremendous support for you. You need to think about letting your child spend time with a manipulating abuser because that’s what they will have to deal with too. Women’s aid can help equip you and your child to deal with an abuser and the mental torture they bring. It’s long term damage. Keep a detailed journal of his behaviour.

      • #131868
        AllTheChocolate
        Participant

        I am, and always have been, his main carer and resident parent, yes. I. Don’t think I’d appreciated that his behaviour may be similar with my son, too. I will be contacting women’s aid, yes. I need support. I have had similar advice that I need to put my foot down now. It’s scary.

    • #131862
      Wants To Help
      Participant

      Hi AllTheChocolate,

      Oh I feel for you here, your situation takes me right back in time…

      I have to agree with KIP here. Sadly, you will never be able to reason with your ex because you can’t reason with an unreasonable person. My ex was also a coercive controller and always had to have the last word. It was his way or no way, and what I learned about the behaviours of these men is that they will rather bring themselves down with you than allow you to seemingly ‘get what you want’. Compromising or ‘giving in to us’ is seen as a weakness in their eyes and they will NEVER allow us a ‘win’. Using a mediator will not work either, because he’ll just try and get the mediator to side with him, and if they don’t, he’ll then refuse to engage further.

      This arrangement/agreement between yourselves, as you are finding out, is only an ‘agreement’ if it is on his terms. When it isn’t, the ‘agreement’ you had then becomes ‘negotiable.’ Your reasonableness to this approach is absolutely fine if only it was reciprocated when necessary, but it won’t be. So every time you re-negotiate with him in order to accommodate his work commitments he will be fine with it, but it will never work both ways.

      The difficulty here, and I see it a lot, is if he did continue to have your son on his nights but then arrange alternative care because he had to work late. Many ladies struggle with this and believe that when it is the ex’s turn to have the children then it is him that should have the children and he should not be arranging baby sitters or sleep overs with other relatives so that he can still go out and do what he wants, albeit, socialise or go to work. However, unless you allow this to happen then you are going to constantly be living your life re-arranging your schedule to fit his. If you had a court order in place regarding the child arrangements then he would not be able to change the nights (well he could, but it doesn’t bear well on him) and he would have to find alternative childcare or re-arrange his work schedule. Would you be okay with someone else having your son in those situations?

      I have to admit, this is something I struggled with at the time and looking back it was a lot to do with not having control of knowing who our son was with or where he was. This caused me a lot of distress and anxiety and I thought my ex was doing it on purpose to add to what I was going through. My solicitor advised me that this was something I would have to learn to accept as what he did with our son when it was his contact time was nothing to do with me, and vice versa. My solicitor asked along the lines of “Despite what has gone on between the two of you, do you believe he would leave your son with unsuitable people where he could come to some harm?” and I had to honestly answer “NO”. I was fortunate in that aspect but I fully understand a lot of ladies are not and their children could be left with unsuitable people. Likewise, any activities my son could do on a certain day of the week would only be every other week because my ex absolutely refused to take him when he was with him. Rather than see it as in our son’s best interests to go to this activity weekly my ex saw it as a way of me dictating to him what he did with our son during his time with him – and therefore, a way of me controlling him. The only person to lose in this scenario was our son.

      From the sounds of your situation it may be advisable to get a court order for child arrangements, but there is a cost to this which you would have to consider.

      Dealing with ex partners who are abusers will always cause us anxiety and distress, their behaviour continues to take us back to where we were when we were with them. Over a decade later I could still not have any reasonable contact with my ex, unless it was on his terms!

      With regards to getting help for your Mental Health, try this website and see if they have a support service near you. In my area they have a 24 hour support number.

      https://www.mhm.org.uk/

      • #131869
        AllTheChocolate
        Participant

        This is so helpful, thank you. Sounds very similar. I have considered how I would feel if ex says son would have to stay with someone else – and I accept it. Son will soon realise that Daddy choses work/social life over him, which makes me very sad. But I will fill his life with people who love him and DO put his needs first. The relationship his Dad choses to have with him is entirely up to his Dad. The funny thing is, the day I’ve offered contact is a day when we’re in the same town as him, visiting people, so if he were late our son can just chill out with me and our friends anyway, until he gets home. But his Dad is upset that his work commitments may mean less time with his son, which i do understand, hence why I’ve offered other contact options.

        I am fully prepared for the fact that it will me, my son, and possibly my ex as well who suffer in order for him to meet his controlling needs. That’s just how resentment works with these people isn’t it?

        I’m going all in for support and help, thanks for that link!

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