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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So dd's dad and I are making some headway at mediation. She's six and a half months old, and he's done an about-face in terms of what he's now asking for, visitation wise. But he's kind of nuts, and I've been wary about him having unsupervised visits, even though a judge wouldn't likely see much of a reason to order them. He's acted in quite a volatile, unpredictable manner with me, but he hasn't hurt dd.

I decided to go for it and ask for the things that would increase my comfort level if he were to take her on his own four times a week for an hour, and he agreed. No drugs, alcohol, or muscle relaxants (there's a story, there) 18 hours before a visit. And he will return her to me immediately if he starts to feel overwhelmed by anxiety (major pattern there) during a visit. He also agreed to get a letter from his doctor, who has been his doctor since childhood and treats all of his family members, too, saying that he is physically and mentally fit to care for an infant on his own.

The doctor didn't feel comfortable writing the letter without a full psychological assessment, but he phoned me last night and we spoke for about 40 minutes.

I have really mixed feelings about what he said. Basically, he didn't see any reason to fear that dd's dad would ever hurt himself or her. He thought it would be wise to have a back-up person for support that he could enlist if he felt overwhelmed (which I think is covered by the agreement that he'll return dd to me). Okay, fine, I think I can live with that.

But what the doctor said that bothers me is "think of yourself as a single mother and think of his contributions as a 'bonus'". He also said "don't expect him to be consistent".

It fits, in terms of expecting the patterns of the past to continue in the future. But, I'm sorry, I just don't buy that his mental health diagnosis of anxiety and low grade depression is enough to let him off the hook in terms of being consistent with dd and taking some measure of responsibility as a parent.

I have bipolar II, and since receiving my diagnosis, I've finished two degrees, landed an awesome job, single parented my ds and now my dd, developed friendships and strong roots in my community, and dealt with dd's dad's crazy-ass behaviour with what I believe is an unearned measure of civility. I take my diagnosis as a RESPONSIBILITY to take care of, an added complication that requires WORK on my part to manage and VIGILANCE at all times to ensure that it doesn't take over my life when it rears its ugly head. Ironically, I might have more empathy for him if I hadn't been to hell and back with my own mental health numerous times.

I cannot accept that dd's father's diagnosis is a good excuse for his ongoing pattern of unemployment, inconsistency, emotionally abusive behaviour, and general dysfunction. And I don't think his doctor should either.

Am I wrong, here?

I realise that it's the path of least resistance to believe that "his limitations are his limitations", and accept it. This appears to be where his family is at. But what is that teaching my daughter, especially if she struggles with mental health issues in the future?

I suppose the flip side is, is there any value in expecting more from him?

How do you come to terms with your ex's "issues", be they mental health or addictions, or whatever?
 

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Knowing his problems he should be willing to fix them completely if he wants to see his daughter, not just a short day or two fix. But that's just my opinion and unfortunately too many court cases don't agree with me.
 

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My 2 cents worth -

This is a long term family doctor. The doctor may be motivated to underdiagnose in order to help his patient (for example, if he applies for life insurance in the future). On paper, the dr. has diagnosed anxiety and low grade depression. But the doctor is hinting at slightly more by saying "don't expect him to be consistent". I don't know what the ex's situation is, but lack of motivation, being a mean person, or not liking kids does not get a diagnosis - it is just how he a person is.

The doctor knows about the childhood history. Did you ask if there was physical or sexual abuse in the family? If the doctor thought everything was just fine, he would have talked with you for just 5 minutes.


I hope you can find a support person for the visits.
Since you are the full-time parent, your choices not the Dad's will shape her future attitudes.
 

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Maybe he's telling you this because he's known your ex for most of his life and knows who he is as a person and is not only speaking in terms of his medical diagnosis. As enfuriating as it may be, I'd take his advice to heart and realize that no matter how much it sucks that very likely won't be consistent, at least you won't have expectations of anything more.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by vocalise View Post
How do you come to terms with your ex's "issues", be they mental health or addictions, or whatever?
Is "I judge him and think less of him" an appropriate response?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally Posted by *MamaJen* View Post
Is "I judge him and think less of him" an appropriate response?
BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
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Originally Posted by MaerynPearl View Post
Knowing his problems he should be willing to fix them completely if he wants to see his daughter, not just a short day or two fix. But that's just my opinion and unfortunately too many court cases don't agree with me.
That's how I feel. But, unfortunately, part of his problem is he doesn't think there is a problem. And, because he hasn't been physically violent, there's no way a judge will restrict visitation. They might not grant him custody if he ever decided he wanted it, but he'd get visitation for sure.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SleeplessMommy View Post
My 2 cents worth -

This is a long term family doctor. The doctor may be motivated to underdiagnose in order to help his patient (for example, if he applies for life insurance in the future). On paper, the dr. has diagnosed anxiety and low grade depression. But the doctor is hinting at slightly more by saying "don't expect him to be consistent". I don't know what the ex's situation is, but lack of motivation, being a mean person, or not liking kids does not get a diagnosis - it is just how he a person is.

The doctor knows about the childhood history. Did you ask if there was physical or sexual abuse in the family? If the doctor thought everything was just fine, he would have talked with you for just 5 minutes.


I hope you can find a support person for the visits.
Since you are the full-time parent, your choices not the Dad's will shape her future attitudes.

Good points. The doctor did mention that there was no history of physical or sexual abuse. He mentioned his father was a yeller before he quit drinking, which I already knew.

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Originally Posted by rubelin View Post
Maybe he's telling you this because he's known your ex for most of his life and knows who he is as a person and is not only speaking in terms of his medical diagnosis. As enfuriating as it may be, I'd take his advice to heart and realize that no matter how much it sucks that very likely won't be consistent, at least you won't have expectations of anything more.
Yeah, this makes sense. I guess I'm just struggling with my belief that dd deserves better than that.
 

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Originally Posted by vocalise View Post
Yeah, this makes sense. I guess I'm just struggling with my belief that dd deserves better than that.
yeah, you both deserve better but this is what you get and at least you know it going in. She *will* get the better parts from you; at least she has an awesome momma
 
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