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Advice - please

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Meg888 | 12:09 Fri 09th Mar 2012 | Family & Relationships
39 Answers
(sorry it's a long one) I picked up my daughter (14) from school yesterday, she came out with the Student Welfare person; she had got upset in school and told one of her teachers that her Dad (from whom I'm divorced) had made her stay in her room all night until the next day, without food or a drink from 6pm, she was telling them she hates being there & told them he's a bully. So naturally, the SW got involved and had a chat with me, explaining that it's her job to listen to children and report any concerns as necessary. My D was very upset, saying she did not like staying there (2 nights mid-week & every other weekend) as she feels she's treading eggshells around him.

When we were together, he was very aggressive toward me and on occasions knocked me about. The worst was his controlling behaviour, he spent best part of our 16yrs together trying to turn me into someone else, which still wasnt good enough for him. On the outside, he portrays a stable, hard working, decent quiet man; behind closed doors he was verbally abusive, controlling, and it felt like mental torture.

Leaving him 10yrs ago for reasons above, he was very bitter for the first couple of yrs; then went to live with his Mum in 2005 but kept the marital property on, renovating it. My daughter then had her access with him at her Nan's house, and everything was fine. He moved back into his house in 2010, and almost immediately little things started. He stopped my D from bringing her belongings to my house, he wrote lists of anything she took from his up to mine, and if it wasn't back by a certain time he'd kick off about it. Other things were, sending her to bed without tea, swearing at her and getting angry over petty stuff. Last year he took her on holiday and when she came back she said they'd had an argument and he'd pushed her, catching her neck in the process. I took this up with him along with several other issues that had been niggling me; obviously, he then used it to berate my parenting, saying he's so strict because I'm so lax. My D is a quiet girl, she rarely goes out and the 'naughtiest' thing she does is leave her room a mess. I have absolutely no issues with her, she's not rude or anything like that either to me, her dad or anyone else. I told him if I had further concerns, I would do everything in my power to stop him - including informing social servs if necessary. It seemed to do the trick, my D was much happier, and he even seemed to relax a lot more. But now it's reared it's ugly head again; the biggest problem is his anger (he's not met anyone else - so she's alone with him when she's there), this was exactly what it was like for me, once we were alone, at best he would completely ignore me at worst he was vile - both in behaviour and verbally. My D said to me last night that she felt 'he torture's my mind' - I knew exactly what she meant, and feel desperate that she may now be living the life I once did (without the violence at mo) - he swears at her, throws her things around over the slightest thing.

My D has begged me to say nothing to him, but she's involved the school, who have said they will take it no further, but I'm assuming they will probably monitor her and if she says anything further, contact social servs. I feel torn, as I don't want her living like this, and feel he should know that the school now have concerns, but at the same time scared in case social servs do get involved. I have a very good, civilised relationship with him over my D, but if I was to be brutally honest, I hate having to confront him about anything, as he can still intimidate me and shout me down - he's very clever with his words, and has a horrible way of twisting things. She's begging me to not send her there again, but obviously I'd have to explain that to him - what do I do??


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If she is telling the svhool that she is unhappy then she really is crying ou fr you to do something. Making her stay in her room with out food or drink from 6pm IS NOT NORMAL! Poor girl. Why on earth does he have her if he treats her like that? And i would tell your husband, he is your daughters step-father and has a right to know.
Please excuse spelling in prev post - keyboard playing up!
I think at 14 your daughter is old enough to decide whether she wants to go to her dads or not and on what terms she wants to meet him - if at all.
I would go with what she decides after all the options and consequences are explained to her.
She will be taking exams soon that may determine her future so it is important that she is settled and unworried.
Just out of interest, who decided these current contact arrangements??
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Thanks to you all for your strong words of advice.

@ Smowball: These access days have been in place consistently since we split 10yrs ago, flexible of course for anything unusual.

I've spoke to my friend who is a social worker, and she has (like you) advised me not to send her back. She is going to come back to me how best to broach this with her dad, as she knows him from when we were together, and fully remembers the bully he was/is. I will just have to grow a pair & a backbone this weekend as she would normally be due back at his in a couple of days, so at I've a bit time to work out how I'm going to tell him. Thanks so much again.
Meg, I know it will be difficult but you are doing the right thing. But you do need to tell your current partner what is going on, he will obviously know something is amiss when your daughter doesnt see her dad this weekend.
Really pleased to hear this Meg. No, it is not going to be an easy time for any involved but take solace in the fact that this will be for the benefit of your daughter.
Keep calm, deep breaths and good luck.
Not forgetting we are all here if and when you need to rant.

Lisa x
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I am going to tell my partner tonight, I am also going for a long awaited catch up with my big sis tonight, who I know will support me and my girl 100%. Thanks again to you all, I will re-post Monday how it all went xx
Well done you Meg for taking that course of action. It may well become unpleasant for you, but better for you with your umbrella of support to cope with than having your daughter go through hell. The type of control your ex is displaying is unhealthy and unnecessary . Good luck xx
Meg, I so sympathise with you here. Practically everything you say about your relationship with your ex sounds like me and my daughter's father - except I have only been aware of him being like that with my daughter once. I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to confront him, how it all gets twisted so you are the bad parent - even not letting her bring stuff home with her. When my daughter goes to her dad's the first thing he does is send her for a shower - the clothes she had on are put in a bag in the cupboard and they stay there till she is leaving, when she changes back into them. It's like she is being decontaminated. But any comment from me leads into a huge argument about me being petty, trying to make him look bad, if I was a better mum she wouldn't need that to happen etc (ps she has always showered that day and is always wearing clean clothes) and that's just the tip of the iceberg. I can't offer you any solutions, but I can say I know exactly how you feel. And although other posters are talking 100% sense, I think you have to have been in your position to understand exactly how hard it is to stand up to someone like that. Good luck to you and your daughter xxx
Good for you Meg, i will be thinking of you this weekend.
Yes Meg, we will all be thinking of you x
Meg how are you?
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Hi. I explained to my D's dad what had happened with the school, and that my D didn't want to go down there again; he took it better than I thought, he certainly didn't kick off. She refused to take any calls from him and I suggested she write him a note telling him all her thoughts and feelings on it. It was a long detailed letter which I then popped through his door. In between all of that (surprisingly) he listened to me telling him that he was too pushy, regimental etc. etc., with her. He's had a good long think about things and has agreed my D can stay with me for the next two weeks so she can have a break from him. They had a text chat last night after he read her letter and he has promised to change and not be so controlling of her. I read them, and he seemed genuine enough and my D was very happy to be resolving things. After this, he thanked me!!!! for helping him to see what had gone wrong, he felt he'd just got into some sort of rut where he just kept on and on at her - trying to make her into something she wasn't. He realised she is what she is, and is going to take a more laid back approach instead of a controlling one.

As far as the school was concerned, they were satisfied that we were resolving it, and said they had no plans to take it further.

I'm so relieved as I'm sure my D and her dad are - it could have had awful consequences for him. He would never accept the way he was when I was with him, so if my D has managed to help him see this, then she deserves a medal. I know he does love her to pieces despite what he has done, and I feel confident that this is the road to him putting it right with her for good. She's almost 15 now, so he knows she can write him out of her life if she so chooses, so it's his priority to get it right this time.

A BIG THANK YOU to you all for your kind words of advice and support - it's amazing, how writing to people I don't know on here can help! xx
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I'm so pleased things have gone so well for you and your daughter, she must be feeling a lot better about things now. I hope he sticks with it for her sake. keep us posted, best wishes xx
Am hoping he was genuine in his words and that he really has listened. Just keep a very close eye on the situation
well because i am a cynical old witch, I agree with the others. This is good news but keep an eye on things....I know you will.
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Oh I certainly will, and thanks once again to all for your support x

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