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(51 Posts)
NannaR Sat 29-Feb-20 15:52:27

May I tell you a story? It’s a long one!

I’m always impressed by the calm, logical support offered by our Community. I would welcome some of the same to help me to decide how to handle a difficulty situation.

My Adult Son, now 40, had a difficult upbringing. He was parented by his Alcoholic Father alone since he was 11, against my wishes – but there was no support from Social Services in those days. I had to leave the home for safety and sanity reasons. Son No 2 decided to stay. He was taken as a willing hostage by his Father, who he adored. I had no choice. His Father died when my Son was 18. My Son No 2 slowly became closer to myself, his Step Father and his Elder Sibling, Son No 1. He seemed to enjoy all we had to offer – Company and Experiences, and it has to be said, some Financial support.

We spent many, many happy Family Trips together with his dear Wife and children. I enjoyed supporting them in their busy lives with raising their children – swimming, school collections, football, clubs, etc, etc, which they would never have been able to attend without our help.

Unknown to us all – particularly his Wife – he announced that he had been unhappy for years and that he was emotionally drained by having to keep up the pretense. He blew our Family apart – with vile hurtful words, actions and threats. He tried to ruin his Brother’s marriage. He dismissed his close friends. He betrayed his Step Father. He did his best to destroy all around him, except for his illicit new Partner, who has stepped in to become a surrogate co-parent to his children, supporting of all my Son’s vileness.

During the Tempest we, myself and Step Father Husband, quite rightly protected and supported our then DiL. It was a desperate situation for her. She was at risk. She had been financially abused. Her children were dazed. My Son had the support of his new Partner. His hostility made it very clear that Step Father and I were “dead to him”.

That was two years ago.

I have since researched much about his Mental Health. I am now beyond doubt that he is an outright Narcissist. I do understand that all we could do was to remove ourselves from his control. Hurtful as that was for both of us, we managed a degree of calm, liaising directly with our now Ex DiL to maintain contact with the children. It seemed to work – at the loss of my relationship with my Son, but everyone else seemed to be comfortable with the situation.

Following an issue with one of the children recently, this seems to have triggered another breakdown in my Son. He seems to feel that he had lost control, not having been informed by his Ex-Wife about the situation. Neither I nor his Step Father had any part of the decision to keep quiet. DiL was simply frightened about his reactions – hostility, aggression and no compromise to the detriment of the child. However, his reaction has backfired on us. He has now required that his Ex-Wife, Mother of our Grandchildren, sign a Contract to never associate with us at all, in return for ceasing hostile texts and phone calls to her. He alone has to communicate with us regarding all matters concerning the children. This just won’t happen. We haven’t communicated for two years. He has performed the text book Divide and Conquer. Ex DiL needed to find peace in their relationship. I see that.

He has posted a Recorded Delivery Copy Contract to ourselves. I haven’t opened it. It’s too hurtful. I know what’s in it and I cannot bow to his demands.
Is that unreasonable of me? Should I be the bigger person here, at the risk of again becoming the victim whenever there is displeasure? Is there any hope? The children now are aged 14, 10 and 4. We have way to go, I fear.

DoraMarr Sat 29-Feb-20 15:59:42

Well, nobody needs to sign the contract. If he is threatening in any way to you, his ex- wife or anyone else you need to tell him you will contact the police.

Smileless2012 Sat 29-Feb-20 16:18:47

DoraMarr is right NannaR. Any contract entered into under duress has no validation under the law.

Your ex d.i.l. needs to report his hostile texts and 'phone calls to the police. If she hasn't done so thus far, she needs to keep his texts as evidence.

If it were me, I would return the copy contract to him, un opened via recorded delivery.

I hope for all you sake, especially your poor ex d.i.l. that this so called contract and hostile treatment of her are treated with the contempt they deserve.

Please get her to report this to police and take legal advice. This could be grounds for a case of harassment. Good luck.

endlessstrife Sat 29-Feb-20 16:32:19

If he’s sending hostile texts and phone calls, surely that’s a criminal offence, and it’s a police matter. He can’t ask you to sign a contract where, if you don’t comply with his wishes, he will carry out illegal acts. You should take it to the police and get them involved.

NannaR Sat 29-Feb-20 16:42:30

Thank you for your comments, all. Trouble is DiL is prepared to co-operate for the sake of peace. It is she who was required to sign the Contract. We just had a copy so that we know "The Rules". She wouldn't choose to go legal. She's had enough already, and this seems to be a solution for her.

Grandmafrench Sat 29-Feb-20 16:45:04

Wouldn't know whether your Son is a Narcissist, NannaR but he is certainly filled with rage. And this he has probably bottled up for years because of what he experienced when young, so all that he said about his relationships being a pretence and being unhappy is probably true. However well you and your new partner treated him, however you love him and whatever you all recall as lovely memories you've been able to make with his own family and your Grandchildren, it seems the genie is now out of the bottle and he is out of control. He even feels that his ex-Wife's contact with you is a threat to him. He is not able to rationalise anything, especially the fact that your GC's need continuity, love and kindness and you are all focussed on giving that to them. He possibly sees himself now (in a childlike way) as a victim because of his past. No excuses, though. He clearly needs help and doesn't need to be able to make your lives hell. It's perfectly right that he should not be allowed to make threats - especially under the guise of some silly 'contract', actually telling you that if you all don't sign, DiL is going to get nasty phone calls and texts. If he thinks he can throw grenades into the lives of others, he now needs to be advised by those who understand the law and have some authority, that he cannot. Threatening behaviour, harassment, whatever, it needs reporting to the Police. His ex-Wife needs to put a stop to this immediately and leave him in no doubt that there are lines he cannot cross -for all your sakes and for the sake of his children! Good luck.

Smileless2012 Sat 29-Feb-20 16:47:45

I can only hope that she doesn't do this for her sake, the children's and yours. She'll be giving a narcissist control and this will just be the thin end of the wedge.

He cannot make her do this by law and whereas I can understand her need for a peaceful life, giving into his outrageous demands isn't the way she's going to get it.

Grandmafrench Sat 29-Feb-20 16:49:29

Just read your updated comment, NannaR. If your DiL is weak then you do have a problem since she is actually enabling his behaviour. Much more difficult for you to deal with. Problem is always "evil happens when good men do nothing." And women too, probably! She needs to "woman up" and think of her children now and how they will process all of this behaviour. This threatening and bullying won't just go away.

JuliaM Sat 29-Feb-20 17:08:57

Maybe a case for Social services to be aware of as those children are at an age where they will pick up on the stresses suffered by their mum and tge loss of contact withyou the Grandparents. This is emotional Blackmail, it needs stopping now. Your son needs help with his mental health, under section 2 of the mental health act if needsbe, 28days detention for assesment and treatment of his mental health, which would also bring in further support for the family and protection for the children, their mother and yourselves. Have you thought about talking to his GP regarding these problems as a Concerned parent? Whilst the GP will not give you any specific information regarding your son, they will listen and take onboard your concerns and act in the best intrests of their patient.

Hetty58 Sat 29-Feb-20 17:24:59

I agree with Julia that Social Services (police and Mental Health too) need to be involved. I doubt that things will settle down without some intervention. Your DIL would be unwise to sign the contract and your grandchildren need to have security. Your son may receive the help he needs as well.

Bibbity Sat 29-Feb-20 17:27:22

I’d sign it return it then send him a picture of you both chilling with cocktails laughing at him.

It’s ridiculous. It’s hilarious that he actually believes that contract is enforceable.

What could he actually do?!

NannaR Sat 29-Feb-20 17:28:10

All of your comments are giving me reassurance that I'm not guilty of being stubborn and obstinate. That was my fear. I totally agree - that his behaviour is unacceptable and should be reported. We tried the GP and Psychiatrist route two years ago when it all blew up. However, he's s-o razor sharp that he convinced all of the professionals that he's absolutely normal. Indeed, he obtained a letter saying so from the Psychiatrist we had consulted to help him to accept treatment. That was after 4 concerned members of his Family and 3 close friends had prepared a list of worrying changes in behaviour. The Police were also involved on two occasions when self harm was a threat. Yet he still insists that he is perfectly normal. I am inclined to visit a Personality Disorder Specialist for my own well being - and just hope against hope that I can encourage him, through his Partner, to get help. He simply cannot be happy living under this stress, even though it's he who is creating it. Thank you for caring, all.

Nezumi65 Sat 29-Feb-20 17:40:21

Would you be willing to raise a safeguarding with social services?

NannaR Sat 29-Feb-20 17:44:30

I don't think that would be appreciated by Ex DiL Nezumi65 lest SS intervene in the co-parenting arrangement. They each share a rolling 3 days a week or so. That in itself is a disturbing arrangement for the children in my mind, but it would be more than my life is worth to interfere. They're both working parents, and I think they look forward to some "no children" time. I'm thinking of finding a private specialist to work out my options?

NannaR Sat 29-Feb-20 17:45:16

Tempting Bibbity !

Nezumi65 Sat 29-Feb-20 17:50:18

Yeah - that’s why I said would you be willing, I thought it might make things difficult with DiL sad His behaviour is damaging to the children though. I agree with you about the rolling three days.

I wouldn’t get too hung up on whether he is narcissistic or has complex trauma/MH conditions as a result of his childhood - (although talking to someone who understands complex MH conditions would probably be useful as they will give you sensible advice). IME complex MH diagnoses often change anyway. I think the key issue is that he would have to a want to change & be prepared to do a lot of work for things to get any better, so all you can do is protect yourselves.

EllanVannin Sat 29-Feb-20 20:19:49

This is psychological abuse towards your DiL and I'm almost certain that it's a recognised crime if proven.
I'd look into it if I were you as it's a punishable offence and can land him in prison.

Jillybird Sat 29-Feb-20 20:42:27

No. That's blackmail. You don't have to sign anything under pressure and certainly neither does his ex-wife. The hostile and threatening messages to his poor ex-wife are harassment and she should get a solicitor's letter to ask him to desist (or tell him!)
It's all very sad for you, I can see that, but your son has gone beyond the bounds of reasonable behaviour. He may NOT have control of everything and everybody. You and the grandchildren have a relationship - no way can he put paid to that. If I was his ex-wife I'd tell him to stuff it! And report him to the police for harassment. The whole nonsense is outrageous. It's adult bullying of the most blatant sort.

You have far more reason to send him a contract than he has to send one to you! I'm sorry as it's your son and you may well have some feelings for him, but imagine if the boot was on the other foot. No. Don't sign anything. Take the document to a solicitor and let them open it, or send it back as someone else has suggested. Everything about what you have said screams lack of natural justice and an unhinged personality, whatever label you give him. So sorry to hear you are in this predicament.
I'm sorry to say that your poor Ex DIL may be wrong. If she gives in now he will be working up some other issue he wants to "solve" by harassing and bullying. I don't think she's heard the end of it...

Barmeyoldbat Sat 29-Feb-20 21:03:50

This is abuse and should be reported to the police. What happened in the past with the police and SS was different, this time he is committing an offence. Don't sign any contract and stand up to this bully. I have actually seen something similar that a friend of mine went through with her daughter and it was a hell of a time.. You need to involve Social Services, keep the texts and does of the phone calls they are al evidence. Please don't let him bully you all this way, he thrives on it and will just find more of the same. All my good wishes and luck to you. Keep strong

Chewbacca Sat 29-Feb-20 21:08:12

Blackmail, coercion, threats, abusive and hostile text messages; all of these are a matter for the police surely? As for the "contract", it isn't worth the paper it's written on. No solicitor would have written up a contract that effectively confirms that he's engaged in sending threatening and hostile messages to his ex wife and won't desist unless he gets his own way. Burn it and seek advice from the police.

NannaR Sat 29-Feb-20 22:20:06

Thank you all for your sound advice. You’re right. The situation cannot be allowed to continue without intervention. I shall seek the best possible help. Thank you for giving me that confidence.

Smileless2012 Sun 01-Mar-20 09:02:28

I hope you get the advice you need and you can help your d.i.l. to stand up to him.

It would be great if you could come back and let us know how you get onflowers.

Barmeyoldbat Sun 01-Mar-20 09:47:43

Yes please let us know how you get on and I wish you all the best

M0nica Sun 01-Mar-20 10:20:37

NannaR. I am sorry you are doing what so many people in your position do.

Quite understandably no parent wants to admit that their child is a nasty and abusive adult who is bullying and abusing his family and should be reported to the police. It is much easier to see them as having mental health problems, of feeling that if they could only get appropriate help everything would change. I met this attitude several times when I worked with abused elders. It is a very common reaction to problems like yours and causes all the problems you now face. Families live for years in misery on the fond hope that a bit of counselling will make all right.

Be clear this will NEVER happen. Whatever the causes, your son is an abusive man and his behaviour is unacceptable and only the intervention of the police, lawyers and social services will every change him

By your inaction, you are not only making your lives miserable you are also, inexcusably, condemning your DGC to, potentially, a childhood that will will be as corrosive and damaging as was your sons. Is that really what you want to do? Your DiL by putting her desire for a quiet life over dealing with this problem is colluding in damaging her children's lives. Men like your son rely on yours and your Ex- DiL's supine behaviour to continue to terrorise you.

You have to ask yourself whether you want to continue to live indefinitely into the future in thrall to this man and let him ruin both your lives and, more importantly, your DGC's lives, or whether you are going to stand up against him and, yes, go through a difficult time, but get this man out of all your lives.

The choice is been long drawn out lives of misery or gritting your teeth, facing up to his behaviour through the proper legal and law enforcing agents and all of you getting clear of him and giving his children the opportunity for happy childhoods, where they do not grow up to see that terror and abuse are great life strategies and copy them.

The choice is yours, and the responsibility and your DGC's futures.

M0nica Sun 01-Mar-20 13:31:05

Several hours since I looked at this thread and no -one else has posted so, two of my posts in succession.

Reading through the whole thread. I notice there are two words missing from OPs posts. The words are 'legal advice'. The OP has been to mental health experts etc looking for advice that she likes, but no where does she mention her or her Ex DiL seeking legal advice, around the divorce, visiting arrangements etc etc. She talks about the 'contracts' he has sent and how EX DiL has signed it and clearly had no idea these contracts are non-enforceable because they were signed under duress.

Were the access arrangements made with legal advice?

It seems to me more and more that the expert the OP needs to speak to first and foremost is a solicitor specialising in family law. When she has really good advice about what demands her son has made are legal and which are not and what protection her Ex DiL is entitled to., there will be no end to this impasse.

Your son is actually playing with OP by 'cooperating' with all her psychological shenanigans and then subverting them, because he knows while she is playing around with all these expensive experts she is not doing what she should do, which is go to a solicitor, police, and, possibly, Social Services.The people most in need of psychological support are the children at the bottom of this heap, not the son.

I get very angry with posters, in general, not particularly this one who claim their grand children are their lives, that they love them more than anything etc etc, but when faced with a really difficult situations like this one, bottle out, and watch their grandchildren suffer. Sometimes there really is nothing they can do and I do understand that but other times it seems their comfort is more important than their grandchildren's well being.