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Brad The Therapist
Brad The Therapist, LCPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 549
Experience:  10 years of experience in working with youth and adults
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I am looking for advice about contact for my children with

Resolved Question:

I am looking for advice about contact for my children with my ex husband who demonstrates a narcissitic personaliy. We separated 18 months ago when the police drove the children and I to a friend's house. My husband sees the children every week but his inabilty to adhere to arrangements contiues to cause both the children and me distress and upset. We have been to Family Mediation and Solicitors. The strain of trying to get him to adhere to contact arrangements means I feel we should withdraw contact for and extended period but I know this will lay me open to verbal and potentially violent abuse. It is a constant dilemma about letting the children see their father who they adore and subjecting them to his behaviour.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 5 years ago.

Brad :

Thank you for your question. Before providing suggestions, I have a few questions. I understand the ex-husband is not adhering to the custody arrangement. What does he do that is in violation of the arrangement? How are your children doing? Do they transition well wen they return to you after their visit? What is your reaction to him when he violates the arrangement?

JACUSTOMER-i03c9bnv- :

I forgot to say that my daughter is 7 and my son is 4. This weekd the arrangements went arry becasue he was ill and my son has conjunctivitis so instead of them going to him on Friday he came to look after them on Saturday but arrived 3 hours late and my daughter was very distressed , we could not reach him on the phone, he eventually responded with a lie was upset and had to have another adult come round so I could be calm while looking after the children waiting for him and ensure there was no scene at the handover. I did not speak to him as I left. Contact had been going well for a few weeks so I was shocked that he had not let us know he was going to be late, been late for such selfish reasons and I was shocked at how upset it made me, thinking we were moving away from those times.

Brad :

Thank you for your response. What was the lie he told as a reason to be late? What was your daughter distressed about? Was she worried about her father's wellbeing because he was late? I will give you some suggestions on what to do next time your ex is late, based on your response.

Customer:

I received a text when he was 54 minutes late at 13.54 which reads So sorry . Job application held me up. will be ther before 4. So why was he uncontacable? I think he was at the birthday party helping the family he now lives with. My daughtrer expected to see him at 16.oo Friday. She was so excited he was coming at 13.00 she stood at the gate from 12.30 . llbeing. She was concerned about his weShe rang him at 13.10 and I rang again a couple of times before I got his texts. Whilst his p[unctuality was awful when we first separated it has been godd since November so I began to be concerned. Our dog had been run over and killed this week so accidents were fresh in my mind and her Dad was making a 2 our journey by car to get her. It is exceptional that he picks them up at our house, things go more smoothly if we rendezvous elsewhere.

Customer:

Middle sentences got a bit muddled there! Should read yes she was very concerned about his well being.

Brad :

Thank you again for your response. My recommendation for you is to continue to provide the support to your daughter when she is eagerly waiting for her father. Stay away from making disparaging remarks about the father as much as possible (although I understand how difficult this must be). If your ex's punctuality continues to be a problem where this happens almost every contact, then I would try to withdraw the contact, but I have a feeling your children wants to see their father. If the ex's behaviors do cause a concern for you in term of your children's wellbeing, then by all means please try to withdraw contact. If you are withdrawing contact because you are upset at your ex's punctuality or other issues, then I would consider confronting the ex about your concerns.

Customer:

The children did not transition well when they came back today.

Customer:

Confronting my ex about my concerns is not possible. Originally the solicitor suggested if he was late the contact does not occur and this worked and no the threat of would probably work but it necessitates a large amount of back up arrangements if I am working or have other commitments when the children are nt here. Should I expect to have to make these pback up arrangements for the next 8 years until my son is 12?

Brad :

The transition back will be difficult for your children at first if they had a good time at father's since they will miss them. Please continue to monitor their behaviors. If they act up through out the week, please ask what happened during their stay so you have a better picture. If they talk about feeling scared or fearful, then please withdraw contact

Brad :

I understand how difficult it might be to have the back up plan for the next 8 years, but if your ex is not cooperative, your children will lose respect for him and may not want contact with him. When this happens, that is when you can make adjustments to the custody agreement

Customer:

Thank you that's helpful. They usually reveal things that have happened whils with their father and touch wood nothing too concerning recently BUT I had put unruly behaviour down to his not respecting bedtimes etc. This evening had to be firm with tem to get them fed, bathed and into bed ready for school tomorrow but felt able to do so with humour and as a fun Mum. Haven't felt that for months.

Brad :

That is nice to hear that things are going well for you...do you have any further questions?

Brad :

If not, please consider pressing the "accept" button if you found me helpful.

Customer:

Thank you I accept. How great to know someone like you is there!

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