"I'll get a court order" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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X Posted in Surviving Abuse...

NO NO NO

So...quick recap: My parents were/are verbally and emotionally abusive (with a little bit of physical thrown in there for fun). They hate my DH (mostly because they didnt' pick him and he stood up to them). I have one DS and am pregnant with baby #2.

My mother calls today and asks if they can come visit. DH has made it clear that they must ask him and he'll probably say no...mostly because it's still hard for me to stand up to them. He knows that having them around is hard on me and he doesn't want that kind of energy around our children. Not to mention that we dont' want to take the chance that they'll try to turn our kids against us. So, I told her: Ask DH

Her: Why? We aren't coming to see HIM. He'll be at work. (note: trust me, that's not a coincidence)
Me: Because he's Frankie's father and my husband and it's polite.
Her: I don't understand why I have to ask his permission to see MY grandson.
Me: Because he's Frankie's father and my husband and it's polite.
*skip ahead*
Her: I'll do what I have to in order to see my grandson.
Me: What does that mean and why does it sound like a threat?
Her: It's not a threat.
Me: I'm not stupid. It sounds like a threat.
Her: I'll get a court order to see him. Grandparents have rights in Texas.
Me: Whatever.
*end*

Well, I looked it up and basically:
Quote:
In Texas a court may award a grandparent "reasonable possession of or access to" a grandchild as long as least one biological or adoptive parent still has parental rights. The grandparent must "overcome the presumption" that a parent barring access is acting in the best interest of the child. In order to overcome this presumption, the grandparent must prove that denial would "significantly impair the child's physical health or emotional well-being."
So, all I would have to do is talk about their abusive behavior (some of which has witnesses...) and I'd win right?

I'm a combo of freaked out and pissed off right now...

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#2 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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You'd totally win.
Fear not. This is a scare tactic.
You would win.

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#3 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 03:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have this horrible, hateful email written up and sitting in my drafts... When she said, "court order" it became about protecting my son and my Mama Bear came out.

My bio-dad (her XH) says that she's just barking and nothing will happen.

The thing is, she's secretary at a law office so I KNOW that she's probably been telling horrible stories (lies) about how we're "holding her grandson hostage" (a phrase she's used before).

Not happy.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#4 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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Don't send the email if it's horrible and hateful. If she decides to take something to court, you don't want that kind of written documentation. If you send her anything, have it be a matter-of-fact email about your concern for your son's well-being. Also state that you are not saying she can't see your son, but that she needs to speak with your husband first so that the best scenario can be set up for that to happen. Then you are not denying "reasonable possession of or access to" your son, you are setting up conditions that are in his best interest.

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#5 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 03:29 PM
 
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So there are 2 things that I want to say.

1. You would win. Grandparent rights don't really mean squat. Now, they would if you had a great relationship with your parents, your ds had been around them for years and had a great, fabulous relationship with them, and then you died and your DH decided your ds was never going to see them again with no real reason. But, thats not the case here, so no worries.

2. Instead of it being a "ask my DH if you can come over" it should be, "DH and I decided that we don't want you around our children." You need to be included in that decision - you need to take ownership of the fact that you don't want them around.
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#6 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evie's Mama View Post
Don't send the email if it's horrible and hateful. If she decides to take something to court, you don't want that kind of written documentation. If you send her anything, have it be a matter-of-fact email about your concern for your son's well-being. Also state that you are not saying she can't see your son, but that she needs to speak with your husband first so that the best scenario can be set up for that to happen. Then you are not denying "reasonable possession of or access to" your son, you are setting up conditions that are in his best interest.
That's really good advice. Thank you.

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Originally Posted by thyra View Post

2. Instead of it being a "ask my DH if you can come over" it should be, "DH and I decided that we don't want you around our children." You need to be included in that decision - you need to take ownership of the fact that you don't want them around.
That's the tough part. I still have trouble telling them no and how I *really* feel...The whole invalidation of my feelings for so many years thing...

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#7 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 03:34 PM
 
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I think (just my own ignorant opinion) that those laws are in place where situations like you were dead (god forbid) and your husband refused to let them see your children.

eta: oops, didn't see thyra's post!
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#8 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 03:43 PM
 
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I agree with pp that you need to tell your mother that you don't want her coming to visit. It sounds like a mixed message when you put it on your husband to give "permission". Makes it seem like you are ok with her visit but only DH is not. If you don't want her to visit then you need to own it too.

Good luck!

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#9 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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They probably won't believe me. They think that he has some "hold" over me and is abusive and that I'm brainwashed.

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#10 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 03:56 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thyra View Post
So there are 2 things that I want to say.

1. You would win. Grandparent rights don't really mean squat. Now, they would if you had a great relationship with your parents, your ds had been around them for years and had a great, fabulous relationship with them, and then you died and your DH decided your ds was never going to see them again with no real reason. But, thats not the case here, so no worries.

2. Instead of it being a "ask my DH if you can come over" it should be, "DH and I decided that we don't want you around our children." You need to be included in that decision - you need to take ownership of the fact that you don't want them around.
#1 is exactly true and the supreme court heard a case about this a few years ago and it did not come out in the grandparents favor.
#2 excellent advice.

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#11 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by AFWife View Post
They probably won't believe me. They think that he has some "hold" over me and is abusive and that I'm brainwashed.
If you are telling them that YOU can not allow them permission to visit (they must go through your dh), I can see how the came to that conclusion. A grown woman should be able to invite her parents to her home whenever she wishes.

It is never going to work for your dh to be in the middle. Your parents will never accept his word in place of yours. It doesn't matter if they believe you or not, only that they respect your stated boundaries--owned as your boundaries.
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#12 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 04:06 PM
 
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They probably won't believe me. They think that he has some "hold" over me and is abusive and that I'm brainwashed.
But by saying "Ask Dh" you're feeding into that. "I don't want to see you." is what you need to say, however hard it is. If you can't do that, then you need counseling until you can. It's hard to stand up to abusers. You need a lot of skills they never let you learn.

I'd also recommend hanging up the phone when things start to go bad in the phone conversation. "Oops sorry the soup's boiling over, gotta run!"

So, when she said "Her: I'll do what I have to in order to see my grandson." I would have said "sorry mom, gotta run." It takes two to argue and if you don't engage, she can't.

Have you considered just not answering her calls?

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#13 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 04:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you are telling them that YOU can not allow them permission to visit (they must go through your dh), I can see how the came to that conclusion. A grown woman should be able to invite her parents to her home whenever she wishes.

It is never going to work for your dh to be in the middle. Your parents will never accept his word in place of yours. It doesn't matter if they believe you or not, only that they respect your stated boundaries--owned as your boundaries.
We started doing it this way because *I* got tired of being in the middle. "Tell your DH XYZ" or whatever....and I'm not strong enough to say no.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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#14 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sunnmama View Post
If you are telling them that YOU can not allow them permission to visit (they must go through your dh), I can see how the came to that conclusion. A grown woman should be able to invite her parents to her home whenever she wishes.

It is never going to work for your dh to be in the middle. Your parents will never accept his word in place of yours. It doesn't matter if they believe you or not, only that they respect your stated boundaries--owned as your boundaries.
yeah: I couldn't come up with a better way to say it.

Have you sought counseling about all the abuse that you suffered as a child? If not, now's the time!

It's really important that they see that you and you dh are on the same page.
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#15 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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yeah: I couldn't come up with a better way to say it.

Have you sought counseling about all the abuse that you suffered as a child? If not, now's the time!

It's really important that they see that you and you dh are on the same page.
No, not yet. I keep saying I'm going to but it never works out. AND I'm a SAHM to my DS and DH works full time (military) and it would be nearly impossible for him to miss work every week to watch DS while I do therapy.

Yeah, I've made it clear in the past that we're on the same page and they just pull the "brainwashed" card and ignore me.

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#16 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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No, not yet. I keep saying I'm going to but it never works out. AND I'm a SAHM to my DS and DH works full time (military) and it would be nearly impossible for him to miss work every week to watch DS while I do therapy.

Yeah, I've made it clear in the past that we're on the same page and they just pull the "brainwashed" card and ignore me.
Ok, so find a therapist who is peachy with ds going with you. Or, ask someone to babysit for a few hours a week so that you can go. It's worth doing, and well worth any money that you have to spend to get it done.

If you've made it clear that you're on the same page, stop answering calls, stop engaging in that conversation at all. Say, "I'll talk to DH and get back to you when I have time" and then, if you never have time, you never have to get back to them

Or, use the , "OMG the soups going to explode all over the stove gotta go!" and hang up fast while running somewhere. Or something like that whenever they bring it up.
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#17 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wrote this:
Quote:
It isn't that "Stefan doesn't want you to see your grandson" it's WE (as in, both of us, husband and wife) don't think it's fair that you attempt a relationship with me and Franklin and not Stefan. *I* don't want to visit if that's how it's going to be
Stefan = DH

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#18 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by thyra View Post
2. Instead of it being a "ask my DH if you can come over" it should be, "DH and I decided that we don't want you around our children." You need to be included in that decision - you need to take ownership of the fact that you don't want them around.
What the OP is doing is pretty common for adult survivors of child abuse. At certain points when working through abuse, I've found it difficult to speak to my parents and needed DH to do it for me. It's a protection instinct, rather than a denial of ownership.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#19 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 04:54 PM
 
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if you have a hard time saying no over the phone try keeping contact to email.

You could also have scripts pre-wrote up & by a phone for when they do call & ask for stuff.
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#20 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 05:01 PM
 
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How about "I don't appreciate that you threatened me with legal action during our last conversation. I don't trust you now to respect me, my family, or our boundaries if you feel that you can behave that way towards me when your visit is not convenient for us. If you threaten me again like that, I will have to take action to protect my family, and that may mean that you will no longer be welcome in my home at all. I understand that you are eager to see DS, that is understandable. Threatening me is not."

But only if you are prepared to follow through. If you're not strong enough, you need to get stronger. This woman *threatened your family* with legal action because she is so desperate to control things. She's treating you like you're an idiot, that you can't look up the laws, that you should just roll over for her. The more you make Dh handle it, the worse it's probably going to get.

If someone says, "Tell your DH XYZ," you say, "No. You can talk to him yourself if you like, but I think you're being rude and I won't tolerate you talking about my husband that way. This conversation is over."

And I agree, there ARE counsellors that will talk to you with your child present. I do understand about not wanting to go through the base, esp. if your DH has a security clearance (I was raised Air Force), but with this dynamic in your life you really need to get someone who can help you set up boundaries and enforce them.
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#21 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 05:03 PM
 
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What the OP is doing is pretty common for adult survivors of child abuse. At certain points when working through abuse, I've found it difficult to speak to my parents and needed DH to do it for me. It's a protection instinct, rather than a denial of ownership.
I agree, but that is a temporary measure. It will *never stop* until the person really does actively work through their abuse and can take the power back. Allowing someone else to act as a sheild is a good temporary measure, but it still keeps the power differential in the abusive parents' court. I sure wish I had learned that earlier than I did. :/
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#22 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 05:08 PM
 
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They probably won't believe me. They think that he has some "hold" over me and is abusive and that I'm brainwashed.
From my experience, even when you say it, they will still feel he's abusive. I grew up in an abusive house, and my mother has asked many, many times about DH being abusive. He's so gentle, it's hilarious that she even asks. At the same time, abuse has been such an integral part of her life that she can't see through any other lens. FWIW, I've avoided my mom when I couldn't stand up to her and didn't want DH to. We live far away, and mother hasn't been to my house in 6 years. It's easier when you're far away, so you may find it difficult.

I do believe on the issue of grandparents' rights, however, that she won't get very far. Grandparents have limited rights in some states, but that doesn't mean she'll be granted some extensive visitation schedule. If my mother threatened a court order, however, I would cut off contact. I wouldn't want to give her any reason to nitpick at my parenting to push forward.

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#23 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 05:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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On working through it...It wasn't until YEARS after the abuse that I figured out exactly what it was. Even then i didn't deal with it...that's a really recent thing. Like, in the past year.

The abuse took place in high school after my mom got remarried. I was also with a guy that was verbally/emotionally/sexually abusive at the time. My parents loved him and wouldn't let me date anyone else...I actually got yelled at for breaking up with him.

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#24 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 05:10 PM
 
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I agree, but that is a temporary measure. It will *never stop* until the person really does actively work through their abuse and can take the power back. Allowing someone else to act as a sheild is a good temporary measure, but it still keeps the power differential in the abusive parents' court. I sure wish I had learned that earlier than I did. :/
Oh, yes, I completely agree, but it sounds like the OP isn't there yet. It took me a really long time to get to the place of being able to stand up to my mother. It's easy for people to say "tell her yourself," but speaking from the experience of abuse, it's incredibly difficult. In many ways, I've always thought it would've been easier for me if I'd been able to cut off contact completely at age 18 and then be done with everyone.

It's us: DH , DS ; DD ; and me . Also there's the . And the 3 . I . Oh, and .
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#25 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, yes, I completely agree, but it sounds like the OP isn't there yet. It took me a really long time to get to the place of being able to stand up to my mother. It's easy for people to say "tell her yourself," but speaking from the experience of abuse, it's incredibly difficult. In many ways, I've always thought it would've been easier for me if I'd been able to cut off contact completely at age 18 and then be done with everyone.
My parents wanted nothing to do with me right after I got married (nearly 4 years ago) and it was actually kind of nice after the initial pain of "my parents don't love me." When I got pregnant with DS suddenly there they were, like nothing happened. They still dont' think that how they treated me was wrong.

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#26 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 07:15 PM
 
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If you cannot tell your parents no and stand up to them why are you still talking to them at all. get caller ID and be done with it.

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#27 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 07:21 PM
 
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If you cannot tell your parents no and stand up to them why are you still talking to them at all. get caller ID and be done with it.
Totally agree! Caller ID is a wonderful thing. I also dont answer calls from people I dont know. I let it go to the machine. If its important they leave a message

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#28 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 07:42 PM
 
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My MIL is abusive and my DH is also at the stage of working through things right now. He is basically having the same issues you are AFWife, and his mom has mentioned grandparents' rights too.

I would say you need to get caller ID and not answer her calls. Email her so you're in control of what you say, but not cutting her off completely and enraging her. Be very careful how you phrase things over email. If you need to, you might even have your DH hit the "send" button after you write about how YOU have decided such-and-such.

Many hugs.

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#29 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 08:09 PM
 
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My parents live in Arkansas and have custody of their grandchild, my niece. Well, they actually split custody with her mom because my brother ( the father) is not stable enough to be/have what she needs (and my parents didnt want to never see their grandbaby again..) It is extremely rare to get any kind of protected grandparent rights, and it is a long and expensive process. Unless your parents are wealthy, and have an excellent reason... they won't get very far.

I would suggest a maybe gentler approach to get your point across to them by saying " Dh and I agreed that in order for you to visit both he and I had to agree on the terms. I will talk things over with Dh and one of us will get back to you."
A lot of couples make decisions on a joint basis and no one would come to our house for a stay unless we talked it over and agreed.

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#30 of 79 Old 06-07-2010, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I would suggest a maybe gentler approach to get your point across to them by saying " Dh and I agreed that in order for you to visit both he and I had to agree on the terms. I will talk things over with Dh and one of us will get back to you."
A lot of couples make decisions on a joint basis and no one would come to our house for a stay unless we talked it over and agreed.
We've basically said this before and been told that DH has no right to make decisions.

You can't reason with them. Seriously.

Kas (24), Helpmeet to Stefan (25), Mom to Franklin Gaudelio 4/15/09, Jonathan Boswell 1/2/11
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