After 16 months of no contact, my ex decides to send me a message (via facebook) on the 23rd of December. He could have messaged me any time from the 1st of September when the non-molestation order expired, but he chose to wait until two days before Christmas. Coincidence? I don’t think so. If you have read my Domestic Violence post, you will know that he is manipulative. Trying to spoil my Christmas is just typical of him. But, I refused to let him and pushed it to the back of my mind.
Now that Christmas is over, I am starting to think about how to deal with it. In a very long message, he states that he would like to see our younger three children in January or February, when he will give them his Christmas presents.
They have not seen him since June 2013 when contact was stopped after he became so aggressive when visiting Alex (who was 36 hours old at the time) that I had to call the police. The police were so concerned about my safety from his behaviour – drunk, shouting, swearing, threatening, trying to kick in the front door – that they installed a panic alarm and strongly advised me to get a non-molestation and occupation order.
Until this, he had been seeing Hannah and Nathaniel for a few hours on a Saturday. Well, apart from the time that he couldn’t due to being in intensive care from the amount of alcohol that he had drunk. Try explaining why a 4 and 2 year old can’t see Daddy that weekend.
Now, I have always been and am still a strong believer that after a relationship breakdown, children should still see both parents and the residing parent should not use their children to be a pawn to hurt the other parent. I have seen this happen quite a few times and seen the pain that it causes the parent who is denied contact and the children.
However, I also believe that children’s welfare is paramount and over-rides the wishes of either parent.
I don’t particularly like my ex-husband but if my children would enjoy seeing him and would benefit from having a relationship with their father (as most children do), than I would put their emotional needs above my own. It would be hard but so long as they were happy, contact would happen.
Unfortunately, I know that this won’t happen. Our three older children have witnessed his drunken behaviour, been scared of him, been constantly verbally criticised, seen him smash up objects, been bribed with sweets not to tell me things, and emotionally abused by manipulative lies and promises. And finally, as though emotional and psychophysical abuse wasn’t enough, he physically lashed out in a drunken state. These have left them with nightmares, huge anger and have had to have counselling to move on.
So should I put a 5, 3 and 1 year old in contact with this same man who has damaged our older children?
I have done all I can to safe-guard our children for the last 19 months by making him leave, stopping contact and taking legal steps to ensure this. Life is now settled and they are very happy and doing well. So I am not about to just nod and agree that he can see them to cause them upset.
Obviously I wish that this wasn’t the case. I wish that they could see their Dad and enjoy the time together. But it isn’t. And their rights are above his.
So, 2015 will bring with it a new fight. A fight to keep my ex away from causing any more damage to our children. It may be hard. I will have to represent myself in court. I will probably get tired from fighting while juggling work and home. But, I have to protect three young children and that is the first priority, no mater what it costs me in time, energy or finances.
I have a huge amount of evidence and witnesses to support me. But ultimately, I have the truth. And the truth will always come out.
And if anyone would like to give me any pointers or personal experience with the family court, I would be very grateful.