This morning I did something I rarely do, as the interaction with McDad ran across my mind and I remembered that part of the vitriol he spat at me was that people read my twitter feed and laugh at me, so curious, I checked his twitter feed and then that of his girlfriends.
Perhaps I’m a little paranoid and a little masochistic. Maybe.
What I definitely am is curious about human nature.
Now as I have never met this woman and know the nature of my ex well enough to know how he manipulates the truth, controls, lies and cheats I tend to defend this woman when speaking with his family about the situation. After all it seems he now targets single mothers and swiftly moves in on them, into the comfort of their established home and routine. Straight from my home to hers. I often say things like ‘well we don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors’ ‘she is only told what he wants her to know’ ‘ she feels she has to support her man’ and other such little gems. I am genuinely afraid for her emotionally and physically. But I’m often told to not make excuses for her, that she should not incite him and ‘should be his water to his fire’. I was not sure that she does do that …………
Well I found this little gem on her time line.
As this is quite transparently aimed at me given the date and the content I find this quite interesting and to be honest somewhat annoying.
At no point has she felt the need to comment or condemn domestic violence. She has not felt the need to comment on a violent of aggressive action that took place in a school hall full of children, or an outstanding arrest warrant and the criminal history of violence of my daughters father.
She, a mother herself, has not felt the need to comment on men who do not contribute to the upkeep of their children or that the person she has lived with on and off for over eight years has never had his child over night in their home. Or men who do not in fact see their children on a regular basis or contribute to their physical needs. She did not feel the need to say anything when McDad disappeared for 3 months making no contact with his daughter at all, missing her birthday and Christmas.
But she does feel it’s okay the say that a mother who keeps a child away from its father should be locked up.
I take it for the simplistic, reactionary and one dimensional response to the limited information that she was given by a dishonest controlling man.
When I saw this tweet I had to do some self-examination and question my decision. I’m an open minded, growing person and know that one has to regularly examine one’s own motives when decision making to ensure the right choices are made.
Firstly. What was my decision?
Cease all interaction between myself and my children with my violent and abusive ex-partner and father of my youngest child for the foreseeable future.
Was this the right decision?
I strongly believe that it is the duty of a parent to protect a child from violence, aggression and abuse. Even if that is from the other biological parent.
Unicefs 2006 report ‘Behind Closed Doors; the impact of domestic violence on children’ estimates that 275 million children worldwide are exposed to domestic violence with a range of between 24000 to 963000 exposed in the UK
“There is significant risk of ever-increasing harm to
the child’s physical, emotional and social development.
Infants and small children who are exposed to violence in the home
experience so much added emotional stress that it can harm the
development of their brains and impair cognitive and sensory growth.
Behaviour changes can include excessive irritability, sleep problems,
emotional distress, fear of being alone, immature behaviour, and problems
with toilet training and language development.
As they grow, children who are exposed to violence may continue to show
signs of problems. Primary-school-age children may have more trouble with
school work, and show poor concentration and focus. They tend not to do
as well in school. In one study, forty per cent had lower reading abilities
than children from non-violent homes.
Personality and behavioural problems among children exposed to violence
in the home can take the forms of psychosomatic illnesses, depression,
suicidal tendencies, and bed-wetting. Later in life, these children are at
greater risk for substance abuse, juvenile pregnancy and criminal behaviour
than those raised in homes without violence”
My daughter had nightmares and anxiety issues for 10 months after we moved away from the house in which we lived with McDad. Many nights I raced along the hallway to respond to her screams in the night. She is emotionally delicate, cannot bear to see people suffering or take part in any contact sport. She gets distressed at raised voices, cries at foul language and suffers from a nervous stomach condition that comes to the fore when she’s emotionally distressed.
My daughter was traumatized by his behaviour in the school hall in front of her and her friends. She says she was frightened and does not want to see him for a while. She spent the following 48 hours close to a toilet.
I believe she is what is known as Gillick Competent and is unlikely to be forced to see him if she doesn’t want to.
I have an obligation to protect her and teach her that it is not acceptable to be treated with aggression and violence. I do not want her to think that this is normal behaviour or part of a normal healthy relationship. I do not want her to seek out partners like him in her adult relationships. In order to do that I must keep her away from it.
The absolute irony of all of this is that when McDad and I were together he would ask me why I allowed my older daughter to see her father when her father often failed to turn up at the appointed time or didn’t show up at all and did not contribute to her up keep. In his opinion my older daughter, L, should not put through the constant disappointment by now seeing her father at all.
L’s father isn’t violent, never uses obscenities and pretty much left us to get on with things. No control issues or undiagnosed/untreated mental health issues. He was just selfish and self-centered and lazy. He was focused on becoming famous. He’s a bit of a cock; yes he is, but he’s not dangerous unpredictable and extremely violent.
So do I think I have made the right decision?
Unfortunately I went against all advise in 2005 when the police and courts advised me to get a full injunction against McDad and do everything legally possible to make sure he came no where near us in the future.
I thought I was doing what was best for her because she needed to have a relationship with her father. The relationship proved to be inconsistent and has turned out to be traumatic. To sustain the relationship I have been exposed to his abuse and aggression over and over again.
Now I’m following my daughter’s wishes and giving her the space from the anguish and fear she feels by taking her request seriously.
I sincerely believe that McDad is dangerous and a negative influence on all those around him. I don’t want him to have the opportunity to show any further examples to my daughter of what it looks and feels like when a man controls, abuses and hurts their partners, women or people in general.
In her distant subconscious there is a picture of her father strangling her mother and her mother fighting for her life. In her very present memory is the picture of her father leaning over aggressively verbally abusing and threatening her mother in her place of safety in front of her friends. Nothing else needs to be added to those memories to further scar her childhood.
McDad needs to seek professional help to deal with his issues. Or in the words of his 10 year old daughter ‘he needs to sort himself out because he was being so horrible and nasty mummy’. In the years since we’ve parted his ability to control his aggression seems to have diminished, he is unable to hold down a job and his interpersonal relationships with family have deteriorated beyond recognition.
The police have advised me to cease all interaction with him and to call them if he shows up at school or at our home. They have clearly warned me that this man is a ‘ticking time bomb’ and a ‘very violent and aggressive criminal’ who is currently wanted for questioning by the police.
So the blanket statement ‘children as pawns’ does not apply here.
In fact the tweet shows how simplistic people can be, how little McDad’s girlfriend actually knows about what’s going on and how little she actually knows about me. It’s also quite a cowardly; surely if you feel so strongly you’d reach out and have a conversation like an adult instead of taking back handed potshots.
I wholeheartedly believe that children should not be used as pawns to get back at the other parent. I also believe that providing for, nuturing and being present for a child is not optional and have been consistent in doing so every single day of her life but most importantly I believe in giving my daughter the safest and most loving upbringing possible and anyone (and I mean anyone) who threatens that has got to go!
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