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Discussion Starter #1
I used to post a lot back when I was separated and preparing to divorce; it's now been three years since divorce (and we were separated years before that), and although I've tried to be as amicable as possible with ex (sharing special events together with our child, etc.) his behavior of late has peaked in an alarming way.<br><br>
He's always had stalker-like tendencies with me - as in, it's been the better part of a decade since we were together but he still doesn't date (!), and recently, out of the blue, has confessed to some thoughts that it could "work out" between us. I try to be cordial (business-like ONLY, all these years - never have I crossed that boundary) for our child's sake, but have certainly never indicated interest - this is a man who was abusive in just about every way; as well, he has undiagnosed mental issues - diagnosed bipolor disorder is in his immediate family and his behavior is alarmingly similar to theirs. He refuses diagnosis. The behavior is getting worse.<br><br>
He shows up at our son's games during my parenting time - which in itself is completely fine, I want our son to have his parents cheering him on! - but after nearly every game, he makes a scene and won't let us go home peacefully - he tries to get our son to go to his place on the spot, says snide things to me, just generally creates a disturbance. He's showed up when I pick up our son at school and actually followed us down the street, with his car creeping along behind us. Naturally this is very confusing to our son.<br><br>
And this morning for the 2nd time in a week, ex parked in front of our house until we left for school, "just to say hello" to our son, even though they'll be together tomorrow <i>and</i> this weekend. He followed us part way to school, saying snide things to me. I don't know what's triggered this latest manic bout, but let's just say these aren't the only instances - his behavior has been very erratic. I even heard through the grapevine that two nights ago, he was nearly thrown out of a local bar for "belligerant" behavior; my best friend's husband was there and saw for himself.<br><br>
It's become unendurable, and this is stalking behavior - not about our son, as ex claims, but about controlling me and to show me that he (ex) can do whatever he wants, in spite of our clearly defined divorce agreement.<br><br>
I used to think I just needed to somehow enforce the terms of our visitation agreement - but I think going to court wouldn't help much - I think what I need is a restraining order. I DON'T want to ruin the semblances of civility we manage from time to time - this would break my heart, for my son's sake (plus, how the heck to explain this to my son? it's going to make things even uglier with ex). But I <b>can't, can't, can't</b> have this stalking person sitting in my driveway, waiting, on any given, day, and/or showing up at events and creating disturbances.<br><br>
Please, if you have taken a restraining order (or order of protection - not sure of the difference) on your ex:<br><br>
- How is it done - just through local police, or did you have to go to court?<br>
- Did you have to prove a pattern of behavior?<br><br>
He hasn't been physically abusive for years. But this is definitely inappropriate behavior and completely invades my privacy and parenting time.<br><br>
Thank you so much for any help.
 

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Oh, honey, I have no advice about any of the questions you're asking but his behavior is scaring me, and if I were you I would be looking for something like a restraining order as well. I just needed to read and respond, even if I didn't have anything helpful to say. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you - even support is very much appreciated!<br><br>
I also just want to clarify that I am not seeking to reduce their visitation or make him stay away from us <i>both</i> (just myself). I simply want him to stop harrassing me and interfering with my privacy and my parenting time. I can't prove abuse of any kind - but surely there must be a way to keep bitter exes from parking in front of your house whenever they please.
 

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Restraining orders can be a useful tool, but only if the person respects them -- Gavin DeBecker has a lot to say about that. They can also enflame and escalate situations, as well as give you a false sense of security. I'd be very careful using them, though you may wind up needing to.<br>
It sounds like it may be a medication issue more than anything. Are you in touch with his friends and family members? Could his best friend or other family members have a serious talk with him and try to get him on medication?<br>
And it goes without saying, please be very careful. He sounds horribly unstable.
 

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My speciality. You can go to either the police or the court. You could start off with going to the police and making a report on the incidencies of stalking/harrassment. Then you have the police report as a "backbone" for the rest of the restraining order. I recommend that you ask for the boundary that he not be allowed near your home/work and that all exchanges happen at a mutual public meeting place. My judge went so far as to say that i didn't have to reveal my address. However he grills the kids for that information. Also the judge put in the stipulation that we have peaceful contact during visitation exchanges and essentially the 100 yard restraining order is not in effect. This means my ex goes so far as to stand very close to me, tries talking to me, touching me, getting in my car to hug the kids one last time...the judge basically gave him permission. I reported this incidencies with the police just to get a report with a number so now i can go back to the judge with how he takes advantage of that aspect. Be clear with what what you need. Good luck
 

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I had witnesses with me at my hearing and in the restraining order you list all incidencies. You can attach the appropriate piece of paper and write in extra incidencies. It is pretty straight forward. Take it in, you should get a temporary order within 24 hours and then a hearing will be set in a 2 week time period and he will get the chance to dispute. Anyone you can get as a witness to say he parks in front of your house etc is really helpful. A police report is really helpful. Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>*MamaJen*</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15422818"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Restraining orders can be a useful tool, but only if the person respects them -- Gavin DeBecker has a lot to say about that. They can also enflame and escalate situations, as well as give you a false sense of security. I'd be very careful using them, though you may wind up needing to.<br>
It sounds like it may be a medication issue more than anything. Are you in touch with his friends and family members? Could his best friend or other family members have a serious talk with him and try to get him on medication?<br>
And it goes without saying, please be very careful. He sounds horribly unstable.</div>
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I am indeed worring about inflaming things further. So I don't know if I should go to court simply to enforce the terms of visitation (which could inflame things anyway), or go for a restraining order. Sometimes we get along "okay" but his patterns of behavior are unnerving, and I KNOW I can't live not being about to walk out my front door in peace<br><br>
He refuses diagnosis or medication, probably because he's afraid of being cast in the same role as his bipolar sister, the family pariah. I am not in touch with any of them, they're all over 1000 miles away and they're all as loopy as he is! So no help there. And, he has no close friends! About once a year he sees his old fraternity buddies who live in other states and whom I've met maybe once, and occasionally around town he plays poker with other dads we know, but it's all superficial, they are not close at all. He doesn't date, as I said, and seems content to focus on us, and it's like in his head we're "his family" and it's like he's still punishing me for not being with him. Refuses to move on, personally. Which after a decade is very creepy and abnormal.<br><br>
I can't prove threats - he doesn't threaten, just causes ugly scenes during my parenting time, and doesn't respect my privacy, and it's just unacceptable. And apparently is never going to end until there are consequences for his actions. Today's harrassing visit was the last straw - he used to at least pretend he had a reason to drop by - but today he was letting me know loud and clear that he'll keep doing whatever the heck he wants. No boundaries; scary.
 

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I would start from the basics and tell him that he's too close and you need him to stick to arranged times. I had to do that with my ex who showed up one day at my home unannounced and walked in the front door without knocking. He, too, is more interested in my personal life than what the kids are doing (when he's not spending time with the kids). I told him that I wanted all communication solely via email and that the only time calling was acceptable was when he had the kids with him and we needed to contact each other. I actually only drop the kids off with him to go see a movie or something like that and stay nearby anyway, but that's where I'm at. I left him in the summer of 2006 and he still freaks out if he thinks I'm dating someone or have a boyfriend. He's had 3 or 4 girlfriends since then and is currently living with someone. He is mentally unstable as well. Sorry for going on about myself, but, anyway, I think it's important to be clear and neutral with him first. Email him and let him know he's too close and you would like him to stop following you and to stick only with arranged times to visit with the children.<br>
After that, if he can't stick to that, you can escalate to filing police reports and documenting his stalking behavior. And after that, you can file for a restraining order in which you outline the rules of contact. He will still be able to see the children as agreed upon, just not be able to invade your personal space.<br>
If you can keep it neutral and logical and he can't respect that, then be confident that you are not harming your children but teaching about personal boundaries and how adults should relate to each other.
 

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Have you considered the direct approach? I don't know if you've done this already, but I'm wondering how this person would react if you were to plainly call him out on his behaviour...as in "I really do not appreciate you showing up here unannounced and you are making me feel uncomfortable. Please leave."<br><br>
Perhaps because you haven't directly addressed it, he considers it "ok", or if he's truly a stalker, he considers it exciting that you're trying to ignore him. If you clearly state your boundaries, it gives you a starting point.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
All excellent points - and yes, I've stated my boundaries many times and have asked him to respect the clearly outlined terms of our visitation agreement. But he is a "victim", you see, because, among other things, he pays child support, <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll">, and giving me that money, in his mind, entitles him to special priveleges. (He's convinced himself that he pays more than he needs to, although he pays me what the agreement says. Most people, if they felt they really didn't have the money, would go to court to modify the child support; but then that would take away the fun of harrassing me about it!)<br><br>
But aside from money, this is how he is anyway - even when way early on in our separation negotiations, I offered to let him pay was less money because I hoped he'd back off on the controlling behavior, that didn't work either. And I never went after him financially (didn't ask for alimony, didn't ask for a cent of his 401k, etc, though I could have gotten half), we didn't have a house, so... he hardly has cause to be bitter financially, and even if he was, that wouldn't make his stalking okay.<br><br>
He's just really out in la-la land, has distanced himself emotionally from the whole world, and as such there is no one else to bring him back to earth (his parents already have their hands full with bi-polar daughter and her kids; I think they're secretly glad he's up here and is my problem alone; they do visit yearly, but it's all fakey-fun and then everyone goes back to their lives). I guess maybe I have to start with filing a police report; in fact, I'm about to stroll down to the station and calmly ask if that's the right place to start. I mean, nothing "happened" today. But it's a pattern, and a disruptive one. Thanks so much for your replies and please keep the advice coming!
 

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Honestly it is nice to have the restraining order because once your ex sees how serious you are (whether it starts with the order or starts with the first time he is arrested for violating the order) then they back off so quickly and are forced to stick to the boundaries. It is relieving. My ex was shocked the first time i enforced the order and the cops came. But he totally uses the "peaceful contact" during visitation exchanges to his advantage. My ex can not call me or text me out of the context of the children without being arrested. It is necessary for some ex's who don't get the boundary issues. The peace of mind for me is so necessary so i can live my day to day life without the fear of him. If you think he would physically hurt you due to you getting the order then that is what DV shelters are for. If you think it will make him angry and he will threaten more then you start calling the police everytime you get a text or phone call and eventually your ex will get sick of being thrown in jail and he will stop. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all again for taking the time to reply. I went to the police station, and while I know this is not always the case, I lucked out and the police officer on duty (it's a small town) was SO NICE. I told him I realized this may have to be a legal thing, and that perhaps I was starting in the wrong spot, but he heard me out, didn't rush me, offered me cold water, put me totally at ease. I appreciate that so very much.<br><br>
He told me that generally around here, you get a Order of Protection when you're being physically threatened, but that if I document the pattern of harrassment, it's possible I could get one. He indicated that it isn't always easy and that I wouldn't necessarily get it (not in a mean way, just a realistic way). I told him I'm also worried that it will create more animosity for our son to deal with, etc.<br><br>
But here's what we ended up doing, for starters: He said that I could file a <i>report</i> of ex's harrassing actions, giving specific instances and dates, and that if I establish a pattern, then I'm more likely to get an O of P in the future if I go for one. And best of all, that meanwhile, if I wanted him to, he would speak to ex (not during a harrassment moment, just separately and on his own) basically telling ex that his behavior is not appropriate and if he continues it, he could be setting himself up for having an O of P filed against him, and that if he violates that, he can get arrested.<br><br>
I wanted to hug him for that. I didn't know officers did that (just went to have a little "chat") unless something was proven, and maybe they usually don't, I don't know. But he is willing, and while I would LOVE that immediately, ex has visits with our son tomorrow evening <i>and</i> this weekend is his weekend with our son - so I don't want the crap to hit the fan while he's taking care of our son or have my son deal with the ensuing rage. So I told the officer that, and he said he understood, and that when he filed the report, he'd write that I didn't currently want any action taken on the report. But he said that if/when I decide to, he'll go talk to ex for me!<br><br>
I mean, in half an hour, this guy was more helpful to me than any lawyer ever was, and FOR ONCE, someone offered to stand up for me! My lawyer was pretty useless that way - she didn't really grasp the stalking aspect of our divorce issues. So we shall see - he asked if I was going to speak to ex first and "warn" him, defining (again) clear boundaries like "Do not show up when it's not your parenting time, or there will be consequences", and then take it from there. I'm going to give it a few days, but feel so much better to think this big burly officer might be having a little talk with ex if I ask him to. It seems too good to be true. Not my lawyer, not my parents, nobody has ever said a word to ex about his behavior - no consequences ever. To think, that may change at last! Unreal.<br><br>
Oh and he also did say that if I ever do feel threatened meanwhile, <i>do not hesitate</i> to call the police. Again, I know not every police station visit will go this well, and I happened to get a really compassionate officer, but if anyone's in a similar situation and thinks they may need to call the police sometime, it sure doesn't hurt to go down and state your case first in a non-emergency moment, have the report written down, and in the process you might get to know an officer or two. I didn't have to prove anything - he just took my info, my driver's license, asked about ex's info (name, address, phone no.), then printed out a form, and on that form I explained what was bothering me, and signed it. That simple. It doesn't mean ex is automatically in trouble, but it does help me to establish a pattern (while it's good to document - <i>this</i> is like the ultimate documenting!)<br><br>
Sorry this is so long, but I figure it can't hurt to write it out for anyone else in a similar boat. I knew a lot about the legal process/divorce, but hadn't dealt with the harrassment issues in this way, and was rather intimidated by the thought. But it was pretty darn simple. I know it hasn't played itself out yet, so we'll see, but it's very nice to feel hopeful that ex might be put in his place... at last.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"><br>
That's an excellent first step. Good job on standing up for yourself and taking control.
 

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That is freaking awesome, and I'm so glad the cop was professional and proactive and willing to take reasonable action to help you.<br>
I know a lot of law enforcement officers through my newspaper job, and I honestly think that the majority of them -- not all of them, but most of them -- would have responded in a similar way. I live in a small community as well, so that may make a difference. I know some women, especially when they're less privileged/educated/white/well-dressed, have bad luck trying to get police to take their side in DV issues. But I think it can be a really good move to seek help from the police if you feel threatened. Sometimes, asking for help is enough to get it.<br>
Anyway, I am so happy that someone is being an advocate for you, especially someone with law enforcement clout, and I hope it makes your situation improve.
 
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