Dealing with acrimonious ex and first visitation - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 13 Old 08-17-2009, 12:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
Archaeologymom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Hello other super-single moms. I am a recently single mom and in the process of divorce. I have been separated since March 2009 and since that time, my ex has been very sporadic about exercising his access to our 10 month old daughter. Effectively, she doesn't know who he is and hasn't physically seen him since May 19, 2009.

I work and live in another province and while he could have relocated, he chose to stay where he is, unemployed, because of two boys (12, 13) he has from a previous marriage. Now, he is going to show up in my city this coming Thursday to play super-dad to an infant that doesn't know him.

We have not been getting along for many reasons, the most signficant of which his recent denial of physically assaulting me, which is what ended the marriage from my perspective. I do not trust him and I know he has unrealistic expectations of what our daughter will do when he sees her. He just doesn't get that an infant will not have retained a memory of him given the time that has passed and the weak bond that he had formed with her even while we were still together (work is more important to him).

He will see her Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for no more than 7 hours (I'll get to nurse her half way through - which I had to fight like hell to get), and no overnights. He thinks this is a ridiculous arrangement and that he should be able to take her overnight even though I am still breastfeeding. He thinks that is just a ploy to keep him from doing what he wants rather than being in the best interest of the child. We have been working through mediation with a child psychologist (which he also thinks is ridiculous) and she feels that this arrangement should work for an initial visit to see what the baby does in his care.

I have arranged for a friend to act as a third party for the transfer and he will be visiting with the baby at their house since he is staying with them (they are mutual friends we had when married and they are doing this because of their concern for the baby).

It will be extremely stressful for me and I am hoping that someone has some suggestions for how to keep the hostilities in check for this visit and how to manage the frustration that will arise during it. I would be grateful to hear of any other experiences dealing with this kind of thing.

Thanks

Mom to : Bridgit
Archaeologymom is offline  
#2 of 13 Old 08-17-2009, 01:20 AM
 
jujyfruitbaby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 87
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My guess is that he'll hand her back to you on Saturday, and that your friends will wind up doing most of the actual care. This would be a good thing, because then they could keep track and testify about his lack of involvement and ability to care for her.

It does sound very scary, but the fact that your friends are there is a reassuring thing. The main thing to remember is that they're there and keeping your baby safe. I'm sure they know you're worried, and will not have a problem with calling you frequently to let you know that the baby's OK. Apart from that, I'd just be all business. You can send emails and notes to give him any info he needs about the baby, and the rest can be handled through mediators or a lawyer. You really don't need to be communicating with him on the phone or face to face.

Do you have anyone to be with while he's visiting the baby?
jujyfruitbaby is offline  
#3 of 13 Old 08-17-2009, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
Archaeologymom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for your thoughts. I do appreciate them.

No, I don't have anyone to spend time with while the visitation is taking place. I was planning to go into my office to see if I can work. If nothing else, I was going to go to see a movie during the afternoon portion of day 1.

I am hoping that my friends will make an honest assessment of how things go since my ex will no doubt twist the truth to suit his needs even if the visit is abysmal. We are meeting with the psychologist next Monday to do a post-mortem on the visit and this will have bearing on how future visits will go.

I already know that he isn't planning to come out in September so that will be another 4-6 weeks at the least where there will be no physical contact. He thinks he can form a bond with her via video-cam and MSN. Of course, this opens the door for him to agitate me since I have to get her to sit in front of the computer and stay there until the scheduled 15 minutes are up or until she melts down.

It is a horribly intrusive thing to have to deal with since it makes my skin crawl to see his face projected into my home and to hear his voice. If she doesn't respond to him calling her name, he questions me that I am doing something wrong or trying to distract her. He doesn't get it that a 10 month old isn't going to validate him as super dad since she doesn't understand what a computer is let alone a TV screen. Moreover, she doesn't recognize his voice or know who he is. It is such a silly idea and when I mentioned that it likely won't be a useful tool until she gets older, he flipped out and started a fight that lasted for 4 days via email.

You're right, I have to keep things to "business" and I have told him as much. However, he is a picker and will pick, pick, pick until he gets a reaction. It is really hard to take it and not retaliate but I am learning that the best way to diffuse a bully is to ignore them.

Mom to : Bridgit
Archaeologymom is offline  
#4 of 13 Old 08-17-2009, 02:03 PM
 
jujyfruitbaby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 87
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
AM, yes, it's the best way.

What's the deal with the assault? Did you ever file a report? I don't know the DV laws in Canada -- what's the procedure?

The thing about a controlling jerk like this is that it's really just about showing you who's boss. So if I were you, I would see about finding someone to stand in for you in any situation he could use for intimidating you and enjoying the opportunity to put you down. He's not going to be very interested in showing a babysitter or friend who's boss, not for long. There's no satisfaction there.

Is there someone who can take your place during the video visitations? Not only would it spare you misery, but you'd get a third party witness as he bitched about you in front of the baby. Also, if you can't record the video chats using whatever program you've got, you can use a screen-capture program like Jing.
jujyfruitbaby is offline  
#5 of 13 Old 08-17-2009, 02:07 PM
 
Seasons's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Host city of Laundryfest 2009
Posts: 1,640
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'd lay good $ that this will be the LAST such visitation. If he is that controlling, he won't want his parenting observed, let alone for 3 full days.

Hang in there and know that he may well disappear after this.

The only thing you owe to others is to behave with integrity.
Seasons is offline  
#6 of 13 Old 08-18-2009, 12:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
Archaeologymom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I can only hope that this will be it. I strongly suspect you are right. The psychologist we have consulted said to me personally that she thinks he will get tired of this and slowly disappear. I think, as sad as it is, that this will be the best outcome for my daughter. Her father is a mysogynist and it is a frightening prospect to have a woman-hater like that trying to influence the life of a young girl.

Mom to : Bridgit
Archaeologymom is offline  
#7 of 13 Old 08-18-2009, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
Archaeologymom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well, the assault happened four days before I found out I was pregnant. He hit me twice so hard that I fell backwards right out of my slippers and was left with bruises around my neck and upper chest. Having been living in this incredibly abusive situation for close to four years, I felt too much shame to call the police. It is my biggest regret since he should have been charged. Now he is lying that he did this and trying to spin some story that I caused the bruises myself. It's so stupid because I have pictures that are time stamped for when it happened and a long list of emails from him apologizing saying he'll never do it again.

Two years have to pass from the official date of separation before a person can file for divorce. In the interim, one has to get a separation agreement in place if it is to be uncontested. However, he just wants to fight about everything so I may just wait for it to go the two years, file, and go to court if necessary. What a nightmare. I should have left before she was born.

Can you please tell me about the screen capture program you mentioned? i've never heard of it and yes, it would be ideal to create a record of each video visit.

Thanks

Mom to : Bridgit
Archaeologymom is offline  
#8 of 13 Old 08-18-2009, 03:40 PM
 
Isamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 863
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Oh, my! I am so sorry you have to deal with this UAV!! I am glad you are out of there now!

Healing Mama to :
Isamama is offline  
#9 of 13 Old 08-18-2009, 03:51 PM
 
jujyfruitbaby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 87
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
AM, two things:

One, I would consider shopping for a more feminist psychologist. I don't know what kind of area you're in, or if it'd be possible to switch, but "let him have his run" in the face of photos and other evidence of assault would not fly with psychs more interested in protecting women and children from violence.

Two, the program I mentioned is called Jing. It's Flash-based and free, and it's one of many video screen-capture programs. You need some decent processing power to run Jing well, and I don't know that you'll get your whole 15 minutes recorded, but you can try. There's no way for the person on the other side to know you're recording.
jujyfruitbaby is offline  
#10 of 13 Old 08-18-2009, 06:59 PM
 
MariesMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: in the dirty mitten
Posts: 1,047
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
I wanted to chime in and agree that he will likely drift away and stop contacting you. The visits will probably dwindle until he really doesn't even call.

As for being there when he is "visiting" via video chat, put your DD in her high chair, in front of the computer, and go as far away as you can (within earshot if she cries, but so you can't hear your ex). Record it if you must, but that's what I did the ONE time my ex bothered to set up a Skype. He will probably get frustrated that your DD doesn't get it and doesn't interact, and forget about doing it again.

I'm sorry you're in this situation

DD 2/08
MariesMama is offline  
#11 of 13 Old 08-18-2009, 11:25 PM
 
Moss's Mommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Dirty South
Posts: 1,474
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
That DOES sound like a horror movie.... having his image projected into your living room. Ew. Whoopsies--- the internet got shut off, my power went out, my computer broke!!!! Poor mama!!! take it outside, please! Just to let you know, ALL abusive men ALWAYS say you made it up and you're dramatic. I just got out of a domestic violence shelter (which sucked badly and provided no help only harm to the situation) and my X said the same thing, coincidentally. SCuse me while I give myself a black eye real fast. And I was the only woman at the domestic violence shelter asking to bring charges. Well no wonder! The "biased" and very manly cop refused to let me press charges and read me MY rights! He said my x husband says I was drunk, so it's apparently perfectly legal to beat a drunk woman up, just so you know. But I wasn't. He also interviewed my straight A 7 year old and determined that he was coached bc "forcefully" is not a word a 7 year old would ever use. And he refused to look at my hospital records bc he said a doctor will put down anything you ask them to. I hope I was not prescribed medication for non-existent injuries. Anyways, hate to say it, but it might have been a good thing you didn't press charges bc it caused me an undue amount of stress. I fought and fought and it was very taxing on me... I should've been doing other things, like working on myself etc... Let us know what happens.
Moss's Mommy is offline  
#12 of 13 Old 08-19-2009, 05:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
Archaeologymom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
>As for being there when he is "visiting" via video chat, put your DD in her high chair, in front of the computer, and go as far away as you can (within earshot if she cries, but so you can't hear your ex). Record it if you must, but that's what I did the ONE time my ex bothered to set up a Skype. He will probably get frustrated that your DD doesn't get it and doesn't interact, and forget about doing it again.<

This is a brilliant idea! I will indeed try this the next time. The session last night was not a success since she didn't want anything to do with sitting still before bathtime. So, I cut it short. But making the "visits" truly between them like this would get the message across pretty quickly about what a ridiculous idea it is to parent through webcam. I agree that he will likely get tired of it quick and not want to stick to the scheduled sessions. Thanks for your input!

Mom to : Bridgit
Archaeologymom is offline  
#13 of 13 Old 08-19-2009, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
Archaeologymom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Manitoba
Posts: 9
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moss's Mommy View Post
That DOES sound like a horror movie.... having his image projected into your living room. Ew. Whoopsies--- the internet got shut off, my power went out, my computer broke!!!! Poor mama!!! take it outside, please! Just to let you know, ALL abusive men ALWAYS say you made it up and you're dramatic. I just got out of a domestic violence shelter (which sucked badly and provided no help only harm to the situation) and my X said the same thing, coincidentally. SCuse me while I give myself a black eye real fast. And I was the only woman at the domestic violence shelter asking to bring charges. Well no wonder! The "biased" and very manly cop refused to let me press charges and read me MY rights! He said my x husband says I was drunk, so it's apparently perfectly legal to beat a drunk woman up, just so you know. But I wasn't. He also interviewed my straight A 7 year old and determined that he was coached bc "forcefully" is not a word a 7 year old would ever use. And he refused to look at my hospital records bc he said a doctor will put down anything you ask them to. I hope I was not prescribed medication for non-existent injuries. Anyways, hate to say it, but it might have been a good thing you didn't press charges bc it caused me an undue amount of stress. I fought and fought and it was very taxing on me... I should've been doing other things, like working on myself etc... Let us know what happens.
I am so sorry that this was your experience. Thanks for your words of support. I hope things have changed for the best for you since this. Of course, life without an abuser is always better than when with. It took me a long time to figure that one out.

Mom to : Bridgit
Archaeologymom is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off