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End of my tether

(40 Posts)
Lisa1234 Mon 26-Feb-24 10:20:29

Hi new here. So desperate for advice I started googling and found you guys, so hoping someone can give some advice 🙏

My son is estranged from his ex partner. They have a six year old child. There is a child arrangement order in place, which my son follows to the T. He is a hands on dad and dotes on his son. His ex partner is hard work. She puts so many stipulations and obstacles in place but we as a family just deal with them, for the sake of child (won’t say his name). However it seems this isn’t enough. She phones and is vile and abusive. She says that child goes back to hers with attitude, rude and aggressive and blames us. When child is with us he is a good boy. No rudeness, definitely not aggressive. He is a normal child. We don’t spoil him. We follow her diet restrictions so no sweets, juice, junk food. We are positive around him. If he speaks about his ‘other family’ we talk highly of them. If he gets gifts we always get her other son something (from new relationship). He laughs and plays just like a normal child. Yet she basically saying he goes back to hers a monster and says ‘your inbred family’ (we are not). The things she says in front of the child is heartbreaking. What can I do? Where can I go to find out if we are doing something wrong? My son has spoken to the school and they have no issues either. I just want my grandson to just have a peaceful life but her hatred for my son and us is just unimaginable. We have never had a bad word and got on well when they were together. I have tried to help her and I can honestly say I have never been negative, abusive towards her. Any advice would be so welcomed.

Smileless2012 Mon 26-Feb-24 10:31:43

There's nothing you can d that you're not doing already Lisa, so I would take what your ex d.i.l. says with a pinch of salt and ignore it.

Unfortunately when a relationship breaks down there's often resentment which can extend to the other parent and his/her family, just because they continue to have a positive relationship with a child, which is as it should be.

It's such a shame when adults can't behave as adults should when there are children involed.

If she's vile and abusive on the 'phone, end the conversation as soon and as politely as you can.

Lisa1234 Mon 26-Feb-24 10:53:38

Thank you xx It breaks my heart that we cannot have a normal relationship with my grandchild. I cannot hug him, kiss him. We find other ways to show our love like banging elbows, making hearts with hands. I would love the chance to take him out for the day. Walk in the woods and make camps but sadly I am only allowed to see him when he is with my son. As my son says ‘I want quality time with him’, and I get that. She is starting the ‘I am going to stop visits because of what you all do’. I was wondering if we could be evaluated that way we could stop these heinous venomous allegations and insults and let my grandson grow up in peace.

Smileless2012 Mon 26-Feb-24 11:12:16

Why can't you hug and kiss him? Does your son hug and kiss his child?

I see no reason why you couldn't be evaluated to validate the fact that your GS is safe with you, maybe a solicitor specialising in family law could advise you on this, but I doubt that would put a stop to her verbal abuse.

If there's a child arrangement order in place, I would say that it's extremely unlikely she'd be able to prevent your son having contact with his own child.

Don't dwell on not being able to see him without your son there. Your son's time with his son will be very precious to him so just enjoy being able to share that time with him.

25Avalon Mon 26-Feb-24 11:24:50

I think you are doing tremendously well Lisa1234. Just keep doing it. You are doing everything right. Dd has this sort of problem with partners ex over his children. They are keeping a record of all ex’s abusive texts and vile claims and demands. Dad doesn’t have shared rights, just access but he is hoping to get that changed. So maybe keep a record in case you need it. Dil could be working to an agenda.

Astitchintime Mon 26-Feb-24 11:38:08

As others have suggested, save all texts and make notes of all abusive phone calls. It appears that the ex-partner is going out of her way to put you all in a bad light, probably because she has no other way of making life as uncomfortable as she possibly can.
Is the a SW assigned to the child? Perhaps you could approach them? Im not sure how these things work but I sincerely hope you resolve this dreadful situation.

Caleo Mon 26-Feb-24 11:40:47

Lisa, it's not you it's her being unable to accept the unhappy situation in which she finds herself. It must be terrible to be branded such a bad mother to her son that she cannot see the boy whenever she wants. She needs to express her feelings and is doing so in a self destructive way.

I hope she can get professional help with anger management.

Theexwife Mon 26-Feb-24 11:41:19

Why is she phoning you? And how do you know what she says in front of the child?

keepingquiet Mon 26-Feb-24 11:50:52

When is the CAO up for review?
I will be in court shortly supporting my son in his ungoing battle to get access with his daughter.
We do see GC now for a few hours a week. His ex gives no instructions, we more or less do what we want when we have her. It's great fun but very rushed.
My son's ex cut off all contact with me, even though the court ordered that I should be involved.
It is better this way though. I encourage my son to make the decisions and take the responsibilty as I do with my other grandchildren. I let him take the lead as they really need that precious time together.
There is nothing you can do to change the ex's attitude. Let your son decide how to deal with her and block her from sending you abusive messages.
Enjoy your visits because that's what matters.
In my experience family court hate all the he said she said stuff. They are only interested in whether the child is safe and happy with both parents, and not any bickering in the background. I hope the resentments don't spill over when you are with the child- again you have no control over what she says to her own child. You can only hope the child sees through this because their own experience with you is a positive one.
If you can try to move to more positive understanding of the ex's position, however annoying you find it, then it can only be good for you and then the child.
It's ok for me to say this- my anxiety is through the roof today but I can't let my feelings or opinions get the better of me.
You are doing all the right things, that's all you can control.
I feel for you, but your son will get there in the end.

pascal30 Mon 26-Feb-24 11:51:42

does your son live with you? what are the childcare arrangements? Is it necessary for you to see or speak to her?
Who says you can't hug or cuddle your GS... it's all quite unclear for us to offer helpful advise

eazybee Mon 26-Feb-24 11:56:29

Your son was wise to check with the school that there were no issues with behaviour, and he might find it helpful to ask to be kept informed about dates for Parents' evenings, concerts, sports days etc as the absent parent is frequently unaware.
Your grandson's behaviour may alter initially when he returns to his mother; weekends away with the other parent often lead to 'I want to stay with Daddy/Mummy' and it takes time to adjust.
It would be as well to keep a record of these abusive phone calls and note what is said, but do not respond to accusations or engage in hostilities. The ex-partner may be constructing a case to have access reduced, so your son would be sensible to apply for increased access, citing the abusive calls that are being received.

Lisa1234 Mon 26-Feb-24 11:59:07

It all stemmed with COVID, which I totally understand but seems to have carried on. In case we pass on germs. I kind of get it but I do miss having a good hug! I agree with you about quality and precious time with my son. I just wish lol

Lisa1234 Mon 26-Feb-24 12:03:12

No she phones my son. She phones shouting and screaming about GS behaviour on video call whilst he is sat there and she blames us all. Says things like ‘he is always like this when he comes back from you and your inbred family’. In front of GS. You know what he does.:.. Secretly does heart signs.

GrannyIvy Mon 26-Feb-24 12:05:59

I really feel for you. Enjoy the time you get to spend with your son and grandson. Keep careful dated notes on all contact you have with your DIL in case this is needed going forward. You may be able to access help through Early Years associated with SS as I understand they will work with conflict in families. I have a similar problem with my ex SIL who is very cruel and difficult and my little granddaughter and grandson have to spend 40% of their time being cared for by him in a non child focussed way due to a child arrangement order. I have been advised to contact Early Years to see if they can work with us all. It is really the children who suffer in these situations so very heartbreaking…. My granddaughter is having counselling to help her cope with separation anxiety from her mummy

Smileless2012 Mon 26-Feb-24 12:08:36

Good advice about keeping a record of abusive 'phone calls; date, time and what was said.

TBH I think Covid is just an excuse. He goes to school and presumably mixes with friends and other relatives. Does the 'no hugging, no kissing rule' also apply to his father?

Lisa1234 Mon 26-Feb-24 12:10:18

No my son has his own home. CAO says he has GS every other weekend, phone call on alternate weekends. Two weeks holiday at summer and share Christmas. I can’t have GS out of these times as not in CAO, so I see him when son pops in on his weekend. I am just worn down now about his behaviour at home being our fault. I am questioning our values. Are we wrong? Is it having detrimental effect to his behaviour? What is it we are doing? That kind of thing starts rolling through my brain. I am wondering if we should be evaluated so a) I know my GS is getting the best from us and b) put my old and weary mind at ease.

Astitchintime Mon 26-Feb-24 12:14:06

I have just had another thought on this thread.......could it be that when the child goes back to his mum he is full of joy about his visit and excitedly tells her and that family all about it - any child would, wouldn't they? And this gets her back up and she reacts in the only way she knows.

Lisa1234 Mon 26-Feb-24 12:15:18

Yeah I have said to my son maybe just communicate via text and emails. That way he has a digital footprint.

Lisa1234 Mon 26-Feb-24 12:19:37

I agree and we say to him ‘be a good boy for mummy’. Never ever negative.

Lisa1234 Mon 26-Feb-24 12:20:46

Just want to thank you all for your input. Sometimes the remedy is just to talk and you guys have helped me immensely. Lots of ideas to take away. Thank you xxxx

Cossy Mon 26-Feb-24 12:37:02

Just want to add how “normal” it is for exes to feel a little irked when their little ones go home and talk about the wonderful times they’ve had with the non residential parent. Hang on in there, great advice here, and keep doing what you’re doing!

pascal30 Mon 26-Feb-24 13:28:40

Lisa1234

No my son has his own home. CAO says he has GS every other weekend, phone call on alternate weekends. Two weeks holiday at summer and share Christmas. I can’t have GS out of these times as not in CAO, so I see him when son pops in on his weekend. I am just worn down now about his behaviour at home being our fault. I am questioning our values. Are we wrong? Is it having detrimental effect to his behaviour? What is it we are doing? That kind of thing starts rolling through my brain. I am wondering if we should be evaluated so a) I know my GS is getting the best from us and b) put my old and weary mind at ease.

This is hardly any time at all and yet she dictates how it should be spent.. These court agreements should mean that your son, and you should be able to use your time exactly as you wish.. She is being completely unreasonable and controlling by telling you not to hug him.. Of course you should.. I would take very careful recordings and notes of all her abuse and demands.. and if you have any SW involved, or legal backup inform them of her behaviour.It does rather
sound as if she is jealous or insecure. I would have as little contact with her as possible but always be polite and respectful.. You sound like a very caring mum and GP

keepingquiet Mon 26-Feb-24 13:38:41

Lisa1234

No my son has his own home. CAO says he has GS every other weekend, phone call on alternate weekends. Two weeks holiday at summer and share Christmas. I can’t have GS out of these times as not in CAO, so I see him when son pops in on his weekend. I am just worn down now about his behaviour at home being our fault. I am questioning our values. Are we wrong? Is it having detrimental effect to his behaviour? What is it we are doing? That kind of thing starts rolling through my brain. I am wondering if we should be evaluated so a) I know my GS is getting the best from us and b) put my old and weary mind at ease.

This is called gaslighting Lisa. It happened to me and my son's ex tried to tell us our GC seems stressed after her visits with us. We just ignore her because she is very very insecure.
It does wear you down, and you start to doubt yourself because you are a decent peron who loves your grandson and she knows this. Unless the court has forbidden you to hug him I don't understand why you aren't, but Covid can be used as an excuse to mess with your head and heart as she is doing.
When people are on the receiving end of this abuse they often go for help with MH problems because you begin to believe it is you, and your fault.
I am telling you categorically it is not! It is the result of her deep insecurity and your strength.
Repeat this to yourself as often as you can and try as far as you can to get this toxic woman out of your head.
Just be a good granny to that child and he will love ans thank you for it.

Daddima Mon 26-Feb-24 13:44:56

Caleo

Lisa, it's not you it's her being unable to accept the unhappy situation in which she finds herself. It must be terrible to be branded such a bad mother to her son that she cannot see the boy whenever she wants. She needs to express her feelings and is doing so in a self destructive way.

I hope she can get professional help with anger management.

I’m confused by this. Do you mean the grandson’s mother is ‘branded a bad mother’, and, if so, by whom? And what do you mean by her not being able to see her son when she wants? Doesn’t he live with her?

RosesAreRed21 Wed 28-Feb-24 11:40:42

You are doing a great job and sounds like your grandson is very happy on his visits.

Having had a very difficult ex who was constantly letting my girls down and telling lies and so on.

I started keeping a very brief diary on what was happening so when he said I wasn’t letting him see the girls I had it noted that I had told him weeks before that we had a family wedding to go to and he could have them the following weekend - he denied had told him bla bla bla

He would often phone up on the morning he was to have the girls and say he couldn’t see them (knowing I would have to cancel plans I had made)

I basically kept this diary in the event he ever said to the courts I was stopping him or making it awkward to see the girls