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Utterly. Speechless.

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Long story (isn't it always) but the short of it is...

The last time we saw DSS he was 7. He's 13 now, and not being 'allowed' in his life has been an unending source of grief and heartache for DH. We've been allowed no contact, nada the entire time. What set her off years ago was that DSS was begging to stay with us for a weekend. He'd never been allowed overnight with us (no reason btw, she just has to control EVERYTHING) and he finally pestered her enough that she said yes. It happened ONE time, and he was so happy he begged for the next (weekend) night. She lost it, and we never saw him again. She spent weeks afterwards leaving messages that DSS was 'so upset' about 'being forced' to spend the night (??) and that contact wasn't a good idea. Abruptly she stopped returning phone calls, so DH went over there one night and tried to talk to her. She paraded DSS out and demanded he tell DH 'the truth' that he didn't want to see us anymore. She told DH that she was dating a new guy and that 'new guy' was DSS's daddy now, so just get out of their lives. So yeah, she's vile. He tried for a few months, but every time she dragged DSS into it and the alienation was horrible. At one point she left him a message that we'd regret it if he kept pushing her for contact, and a week later we recieved a call from the police that an abuse investigation had been opened. We hadn't seen DSS in six months at that point, but she filed a damn police report saying we'd abused him. There's more but you get the drift. At any rate, she prevented all contact, moved to a new apartment and changed phones so that's where we ended up.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon. almost six years later.

DH gets a text out of the BLUE saying "Do you have ANY interest in talking to DSS? I think it's time to clear the air so he can get this off his chest. He doesn't want to see you but I think he needs to get this over with and move on" He actually had to read it 3 times because he didn't recognize the number and we know a few people with the same name as DSS. Then it clicked.

Oh. My God. Of COURSE DH wants to see him??? He begged and pleaded to see him, he never stopped thinking about him, he ADORES his son!! I have to admit I'm kinda fond of him myself, we got to know him pretty well when we were allowed to see him and he meshed really well with our family at the time.

So her thing is wanting to micromanage everything and maintain total control over the situation. She thrives on yanking DH around, and he's just not interested in that anymore, so we came up with a plan. Make it clear he's absolutely welcome here anytime, but we're not going to hand her opportunities to play power hungry control freak games.

He texted back about an hour later that he was doing yard work and she could drop him off as he'd love to take a break and hang out with DSS. She immediately replied back that she preferred they talk on the phone. In the past she's used phone contact to really make life hell for DSS, standing over him and telling him what to say. So no, that's not going to fly for a reunification. DH just repeated that she can drop him off and he'd love to hang out with him. Then she said DSS "might not be comfortable with that" so she'd check with him. An hour and a half later she texts saying DSS 'needs me to stay with him" so is DH willing to still see him. DH texts back saying of course, but we're on the way to the gym now (it's been almost 2 hours, we told the kids we'd go play bball after yardwork) so she could bring him there. The gym is actually right by her apartment so it was more convenient anyways. She texts that she's on the way.

She wanted to come in the gym but it's member's only, so whew! DH was SO nervous, but he did AMAZING! DSS got out of the car and went over to DH, DH asked if he could give him a hug and DSS just lit up with a grin and said YES! And they hugged for five minutes LOL

xGF said she would wait in the parking lot. Fiiiiiiiine.

We played bball and had a great time, then we went to get a bite to eat. DSS went and begged his mom to let him come, it took 15 minutes of him begging before she finally relented. He kept telling us "I was so angry at you for leaving me, I was SO ANGRY" and DH just told him "you have every right to be angry, I know it doesn't make sense to you, I'm sorry if I let you down, there's a lot that's hard to understand with this, but I love you, I've always wanted you"

DSS then says that a year ago he was hospitalized for suicide attempts. DH asked why he was suicidal and DSS said because his mom showed him a pic of DH with our family (we have a few very distant acquaintances in common, we think it's a pic from a work event a few years ago) and told DSS "See? He's moved on, he doesn't want you, he never did" DSS told us he felt so worthless he wanted to die.

In the middle of this his mom called. DH didn't answer and handed the phone to DSS, she immediately started talking and a few minutes into it DSS said umm....this is DSS....your SON....not dad. I'd love to know what she was saying LOLOL! So he immediately asked to spend the night with us. She said no (which, honestly, we would have said too as it was 9 at night and enough emotional roller coaster for the day already). Then he said well I want to see him tomorrow. SHe said no, she has to work so he's going to grandmas. He said ok you don't have to work Sunday I want to see him Sunday. She said no, I'm not working so that's my time with you. We're really wondering if/when we'll get to see him again. Ugh.

She said to have him home at ten, of course she texted starting at 9:30 every five minutes 'reminding' DH of this. We got him home at ten on the dot. He told DH he really wants to come over Sunday to help with yardwork. We got some great pics, he got to meet his younger sisters for the first time, and he was all smiles and tears, just hanging on DH and loving on him...it was quite an awesome reunion.

He asked me to please get him pictures for his room and locker, I said I'd get right on that He said he's bullied a lot because he looks different (minority) and because he's not into sports or computers (he's an artist), and he said he doesn't have any friends He said they got their tv and internet and home phones shut off because his mom and dad didn't pay the bill. (step dad, but this is the same 'new daddy' from long ago so at least it's consistent, seems like an ok guy actually). He said his parents have facebook but he can't because his mom said people will bully him and treat him badly. Ugh.

So I'm furious that anyone would say such horrid things to their own child, when she knows good and damn well how much DH loves and wants DSS in his life. I'm THRILLED that DH was able to see him and be SO empathetic to his feelings, they really connected, and for a kid to be able to tell his own dad "I'm really mad about xyz with you" I thought was a great sign that DSS and DH still have that bond they always did.

So much for a normal weekend

Any thoughts? I know people here have dealt with hypercontrolling ex's and such, and long stretches of no contact and all that, so talk to me
post #2 of 29
Is it a money issue that has prevented you guys from going to court? It is absolutely heartbreaking that this woman has so much control and has manipulated her son into suicidal ideation. I hope that involving the authorities is possible.

Also, I am thrilled that you guys got to see him again and hope that it can continue. Getting a lawyer is the best way to ensure that.
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
Money is definitely an issue, and we've dealt with court battles before so we're very familiar with the options. A big part of the problem is we aren't in an area that really cares about DH's rights to DSS and we know it. We're in a smaller town with some really archaic mentalities, so it's a losing battle unless we are able to go in all guns blazing. Not saying we wont, but we just aren't in a position to do that right now.

Honestly I think she's screwed the pooch on this. He's 13 and angsty anyways, she's spent years trying to convince him we don't love/want him, and his first meeting with us makes it clear that's not the case and they picked up where they left off for all intents and purposes. He said his mom told him to meet with DH to 'have it out' and 'get it over with' so I don't think she had any intention of it going well. My guess is that she's trying to figure out what to do about that unexpected backfire so it really could get ugly.

She never does anything without an ulterior motive, so we're thinking he must be having problems with him if she's reaching out to DH, at least that's our theory. We know it's too early to get our hopes up, but we're really hoping he wants to live here with us. You can see so much pain in his eyes, he just kept saying "I was so MAD at you, mom said you didn't want me so I didn't want to live" and DH kept his arm around him and kissed his head and said DSS, I love you, I always have, I always wanted you, you are everything to me, just as much as DD1, DD2, and DD3. You are always welcome with us, you're our family too"

poor baby It breaks my heart that she's put him through that. I wish it was as simple as getting to court, but it's not. Not right now at least.
post #4 of 29
I grew up in between two parents who had me when they were really young and my father got custody. He kept me from my mother, very much in this same way, and when I turned 12 (the age when you can decide for yourself which parent to live with) I moved in with my mother. Is there anything that is keeping you from having him live at your house? His mother sounds very unstable and controlling.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Well, I think (hope) it's heading in that direction but obviously nothing happens overnight and this all just happened in a whirlwind yesterday evening, so we're really in shock. Just from a developmental standpoint of a 13yo boy wanting to be closer to his dad instead of his mom, and then add in that he's having this conflict of "my mom told me xyz but my personal experience with my dad was TOTALLY different" is going to really create a schism of thought that could very well lead to "I want to live with dad". The problem is, with parental alienation, she's created in him such a fierce dependency that he's tremendously insecure and blindly loyal to her. So pushing him on that would backlash on his relationship with DH, and we need to tread gently.

Our plan is this. Continue to be 100% open to him being here anytime she's willing to allow it. Make sure they get some alone time without being completely alone (she's known for false abuse allegations), and be available for him to reintegrate into our family as often as possible. I think she's created a real conflict though because seeing his dad made him want DH so SO much, and we think she really believed she had him programmed well enough to go off on DH, and the opposite happened. So if we let her be the one blatantly interfering, he's going to see that and...being a teenager...he's going to make that difficult for her.

We're looking into getting him a cell phone on our plan, as Verizon as awesome parental controls and we can just program in our numbers, his mom's number, and his stepdad's number so we don't have to worry about her 'accidentally' using up minutes or something stupid. But since they don't have a home phone anymore, that means for now all access is through her, which is bad. If we can circumvent that while facilitating access to all of us, we're willing to do it-I think adding a line is 10 bucks a month. We think that's the first step in opening the door a bit more to direct communication with him?

I know this is all kind of rambling, but it's just a jumble of thoughts and feelings right now. This is totally unexpected, and we're over the moon excited LOL

Oh and he didn't know his address?? He's lived there for 4+ years, he's 13, and he doesn't know his address? We're wondering if she told him not to tell us. Even though we took him home after dinner, so umm WEIRD?
post #6 of 29
I think getting the phone is a good idea, but beware of her taking it and turning it off. I wouldnt be surprised if she just wouldnt let him use it because she is controlling. I think people like her are convienced that if they let go of ANY control the person will run the other direction. Honestly, thats probably what would happen too.
post #7 of 29
Maybe I missed it but ya'll need to hire an attorney, like, years ago. I'd work my butt the the bone if money was an issue. I cannot fathom anything that would keep me from my child. Regardless, so sorry your family is going through this. What a terrible mess
post #8 of 29
Why did your husband never fight for legal child custody? I don't get it. The mom is a psycho. Why wouldn't DH want to protect your DSS from her?
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kawa kamuri View Post
Maybe I missed it but ya'll need to hire an attorney, like, years ago. I'd work my butt the the bone if money was an issue. I cannot fathom anything that would keep me from my child. Regardless, so sorry your family is going through this. What a terrible mess
I totally agree. No matter how small/backwards the town, I would get the best lawyer(s) possible and fight for this child.
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yes we're aware that needs to be a priority. Please keep in mind we didn't know where they were for the last 5, almost 6 years. She vanished. She has nothing in her name, no utilities, nothing. I'm very good at PI work and I couldn't find her. It's not like he just sat back and said screw it.

She just reappeared yesterday out of nowhere at 5pm on a Friday. It's not like we can even DO anything, even if we had some mysterious windfall of finances. We know the apartment complex she lives in, but we don't have an address yet. The last thing we want is to rattle her enough that she vanishes again. Please try to understand. She contacted us, we immediately moved forward. Any insinuation that we're not doing enough is really hurtful. We love this boy, we have to handle things delicately to prevent further backlash. Nothing that has happened is worthy of CPS or Police intervening in his placement, whether we agree with that or not.

I'd love to pretend that even if we had money, this would be solvable immediately. But it's not like that. I've been an advocate for divorced families in the courts for over a decade, I'm VERY familiar with all of that, as is DH. The most important thing we can do RIGHT NOW is A) be there for him B) let her maintain her perception of control C) let DSS see her controlling behavior as what is interfering with his relationship with his dad.

I'm sorry if I sound snappy. I'm exhausted, this has been a LONG 24 hours. DSS called DH from grandmas today and told him he wants to come over Sunday. We're not sure if xGF is aware or ok with this yet because last we knew she said no...so we have to wait till she's off work to find out what is going on. We know he's off school Monday so we're hoping she changed her mind. We'll see.
post #11 of 29
Theoretica, I think you guys are doing great and have handled the last couple of days very gracefully. The fact that you guys didn't lay blame on his mom and tell him how bsc she is is commendable. I think that others mean well in urging you to DO something but I think you are definitely on the right track at this point with a cautious, wait and see plan.

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
Yes we're aware that needs to be a priority. Please keep in mind we didn't know where they were for the last 5, almost 6 years. She vanished. She has nothing in her name, no utilities, nothing. I'm very good at PI work and I couldn't find her. It's not like he just sat back and said screw it.

She just reappeared yesterday out of nowhere at 5pm on a Friday. It's not like we can even DO anything, even if we had some mysterious windfall of finances. We know the apartment complex she lives in, but we don't have an address yet. The last thing we want is to rattle her enough that she vanishes again. Please try to understand. She contacted us, we immediately moved forward. Any insinuation that we're not doing enough is really hurtful. We love this boy, we have to handle things delicately to prevent further backlash. Nothing that has happened is worthy of CPS or Police intervening in his placement, whether we agree with that or not.

I'd love to pretend that even if we had money, this would be solvable immediately. But it's not like that. I've been an advocate for divorced families in the courts for over a decade, I'm VERY familiar with all of that, as is DH. The most important thing we can do RIGHT NOW is A) be there for him B) let her maintain her perception of control C) let DSS see her controlling behavior as what is interfering with his relationship with his dad.

I'm sorry if I sound snappy. I'm exhausted, this has been a LONG 24 hours. DSS called DH from grandmas today and told him he wants to come over Sunday. We're not sure if xGF is aware or ok with this yet because last we knew she said no...so we have to wait till she's off work to find out what is going on. We know he's off school Monday so we're hoping she changed her mind. We'll see.
I just wanted to send hugs and all my best wishes and thoughts. I can't imagine what you and your family are going through right now.
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
The most important thing we can do RIGHT NOW is A) be there for him B) let her maintain her perception of control C) let DSS see her controlling behavior as what is interfering with his relationship with his dad.
You don't sound snappy at all. You sound clear, level-headed, logical and totally on the right path. Actions speak louder than words - it's a cliche, but it is true. Your actions, your behavior, your consistency, kindness and honesty will eventually sink in over time and your DSS will grasp this. Right now you must all be in shock - not the least of all DSS. Even if it is lovely shock, it is still shock. I wish you all as smooth a ride as can be possible under the circumstances.
post #14 of 29
#1- Why didn't your husband fight for access to his child?

#2- If your step-son had shown up with broken ribs, bruises and cigarette burns, would you guys still have thought it was too much, for him to spend the night with you? I assume you would've been alarmed and would have done whatever you could to keep him with you, until you sorted out who was abusing him. You probably would have contacted authorities, to intervene. What his ex is doing to your step-son is abuse. It really is. If you need confirmation, there's the suicide attempt. This woman shouldn't have custody of him.
post #15 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
#1- Why didn't your husband fight for access to his child?

#2- If your step-son had shown up with broken ribs, bruises and cigarette burns, would you guys still have thought it was too much, for him to spend the night with you? I assume you would've been alarmed and would have done whatever you could to keep him with you, until you sorted out who was abusing him. You probably would have contacted authorities, to intervene. What his ex is doing to your step-son is abuse. It really is. If you need confirmation, there's the suicide attempt. This woman shouldn't have custody of him.
#1. She already answered this.

#2. What the ex is doing may very well be abuse, but probably not in the eyes of the courts. I trust that Theoretica (whose posts I've been reading for years, and have learned is a fantastic, loving, involved mother) understands the court system and cultural mentality of her area.
Additionally, a suicide attempt is not, in itself, a sign of abuse.

Theoretica,
I think you're doing a great job and making good choices in your circumstances. I hope that this is the beginning some big, positive changes for your DSS and your family. My thoughts are with you and yours during this time.
post #16 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
it's a losing battle unless we are able to go in all guns blazing. Not saying we wont, but we just aren't in a position to do that right now.
Going to court pro se - especially if this kid is old enough to verbalize his own experiences!!! - is better than leaving him in the situation he's in.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeannine View Post
#2- If your step-son had shown up with broken ribs, bruises and cigarette burns, would you guys still have thought it was too much, for him to spend the night with you? I assume you would've been alarmed and would have done whatever you could to keep him with you, until you sorted out who was abusing him. You probably would have contacted authorities, to intervene. What his ex is doing to your step-son is abuse. It really is. If you need confirmation, there's the suicide attempt. This woman shouldn't have custody of him.
Emotional abuse and PAS are very hard to prove in court. You can't just jump into it, you need very careful planning, alot of luck, and an empathetic judge. And suicide attempts are not always a sign of abuse, and could easily be turned around to be made someone else's "fault", if you're not careful. OP, play nice, document, get your legal stuff in gear, and be very, very careful.
post #18 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theoretica View Post
Yes we're aware that needs to be a priority. Please keep in mind we didn't know where they were for the last 5, almost 6 years. She vanished. She has nothing in her name, no utilities, nothing. I'm very good at PI work and I couldn't find her. It's not like he just sat back and said screw it.
I'm sure the story is too complicated to explain on a discussion board to strangers, but just wondering why the fact that the ex disappeared w/ your husband's child for 5 years doesn't give him a legal case? This would be child abduction, and there is certainly documentation, right? Unless of course he lost all rights to the kid early on, which means that he does have to tread on egg shells right now. However, this woman is being emotionally abusive to the kid (ex. telling him that his dad doesn't want to see him, that he abandoned him, etc...). You briefly mentioned that she makes up charges of abuse attributed to your husband, so I'm wondering if somehow she screwed him out of partial custody years ago. Tough position to be in, but perhaps now is the time to seek legal counsel.
post #19 of 29
OP, You sound like a very level-headed Mama. I know how hard custody battles are, I know how hard dealing with an emotionally abusive, controlling ex is. I also know that things are never as easy as "why didn't you fight for custody?" ... things are just never that cut and dry. Chances are you wouldn't be able to prove anything and would only end up in debt. (I know from experience) The abuse allegations were more then likely her way of ensuring that your DH would not be able to get custody. My DH had a completely fabricated civil protection order filed against him so she could keep him from getting shared custody. Thankfully the judge saw through her stupidity and threw it out. (It helped that I was a witness to this alleged choking incident, lol) If I were you, I would actually call CPS and see what, if any, action can be taken through them instead. Tell them that your DSS has admitted he was suicidal because of things his mother said to him and what can be done. I am not one to advise CPS in most situations but it sounds like he is in danger and they might be a big help... or none at all () but at least you will have tried. ((((((((huge hugs))))))))) After 10 years of dealing with my husband's ex's mental instabilities, emotional abuse, controlling ways, I can sympathize with you. I hope things turn out in the best way possible for this young man... I'm amazed at your patience with the situation. It takes a lot of strength to be a step-mom and have little to no control of what happens at her house.
post #20 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Attached2Elijah View Post
I also know that things are never as easy as "why didn't you fight for custody?" ... things are just never that cut and dry.
I'm sure that's true, but if that thought is crossing the minds of several posters here, it's definitely crossing the mind of the OP's DSS too, and children who feel abandoned aren't always receptive to all the factors that led to their perceived abandonment.

OP, I'm glad your DSS and DH connected so well at your get-together. How awful it must be to have to deal with such a destructive mother, and how very sad for your DSS.
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