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TOPIC: Coping with walking away from your child

Coping with walking away from your child 6 years 2 weeks ago #36843

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A recent communication from my ex, after some initially good signs of progress, has thrown me off badly and I think I have reached my limit of what I can cope with.

For seven years I have dealt with being forced to be rather useless to my son with only two hours a month from birth to make any impact on his life, needless to say I havent and he has never so much as called me dad. I stuck it out and tried to talk to him, play with him, but his mother has made the atmosphere so toxic I can barely move - she even told him off last year for getting 'excited' ( I made him laugh ) which resulted in him sitting in the corner staring at the floor for a half hour. It killed me to see it happen to him and I blamed myself for believing his mother when she said I should interact with him more - what she failed to add was that it was to give her more tools to hit me with, her hate for me is so ingrained she cant move past it.

Recently she had a huge argument with my sister which resulted in them talking alot and building bridges so my sister suggested I send her an email trying to move forward - I did this and my sister approved the content. Apparently nothing has changed and my son feels uncomfortable around me which hurt as I had really been trying to engage him in conversation and we even played football for the first time ever a few months ago. I feel stupid for having any hope, I have spent 7 years suppressing all those Hollywood ideas of fatherhood and just for a moment I let myself believe there was some light, it turns out there wasnt.
Now it turns out my ex has a man moving in with her so there is a step-dad on the scene and I dont know if this sounds strange but I thought "good, atleast my son can have the chance of having a dad he is allowed to enjoy" - maybe the fact that I have never bonded with him on a personal level influences my reaction but for me all I want is for him to be happy and I have felt for a few years that this horrible vistitation situation was ticking the vist box but wasnt doing him any good. I thought I was going there for him but when my ex said that the visits were for my benefit I realised that apparently nobody was getting anything from it.
Ive thought so hard about it and since my role in his life isnt a positive one and is unlikely to change going forward, he has no bond with me as such and now he has the chance to have a positive male role model in his life, much as it hurts me to admit I cant do much for him, it makes sense to uncomplicate the situation for him and give this new guy a clear run. It wont change who I am, but if i am honest I have made zero progress in 7 years and now he is 7 he is becoming very aware of how bad things are so given I mean little to him the pain is mine alone.
My intention is for my parents to still visit him as his grandparents and as a line of access should he want it in future, it isnt that I would reject him should he want to talk to me, but I think it has to be always about what he wants and while it may hurt me to admit it, he is a bright, well adjusted boy who has done well without any influence from me, I am nothing but an anomaly in his life - unlike many children from split families he had no residual relationship with me as my ex split with me before he was born.

Perhaps the major influence on my decision though is the effect this has had on my own marriage and my own health, I think this has been the final straw for me, it is like something broke, my resolve I suspect because it was based on the notion that he needed me, but I dont feel there is much evidence of that anymore, I was in blissful ignorance, it kept me going. I have suffered depression much of my life after childhood traumas and of late I have felt it looming, especially the effect it has had on my long suffering wife who I am sure is weary of hearing what my ex says to me without the chance to defend me, she has strong views on that subject and would dearly love to tear my ex a new one. I have felt unable to comit to having children with my wife and I know how much she wants to, I feel maybe now is the time to put her first and accept my failure.
I had a cry, havent done that for 7 years, ironically on the day my son was born and I feel a bit better but more certain of my thoughts than I did before.
I know some will see it as giving up, but I dont think I am capable of fighting it anymore emotionally, 7 years of having it rammed down my throat how little I mean in my sons life has taken such a toll and the bigger picture has to be about him rather me - assuming this new guy isnt an idiot, which I doubt although I pity him re the ex, my son has a great opportunity and me hanging on, putting him through years more of awkward contact isnt good for either of us. I know my parents wont like it, but my father had a similar situation with his first wife and he went off to the Navy for years at a time so I guess I hung in longer than he did - strangely my half-brother as an adult man is very sympathetic to our dad as he can see how few options he had whne the ex is determined to make it impossible.

I am not sure how I will feel in time, but I feel accepting my failure has lifted some of the weight, I have beat myself up over my lack of progress for so long but seeing the way i am viewed from the other side I realise I was set up to fail, there was never any desire for me to succeed. It is all abit rubbish really, but that is how it is.

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Re: Coping with walking away from your child 6 years 2 weeks ago #36844

Hey,

that was quite a sad read and i really feel for you fella, the one thing i would say though is you have never failed if you have tried your best as a dad. i speak from experience as my mum and dad divorced when i was young and he took off with someone else and i didnt hear from him whatsoever until i was 18. i wont go into it too much but he was an arse, i said my piece and at 20 i lost contact again, now he wants to know 9im 37) but im not interested as i definitely dont want him in and out of my kids lives.

you would be within your right to go for contact through the courts, which as a father you would get ( you might need to get parental responsibility first) if you are on the birth certificate that would be a good start in that respect. this would mean seeing him somewhere where the mum isnt involved and its more about you and your boy bonding.

If you dont want to go through that avenue then i have to say the little things count, letters, birthday cards and gifts and same for xmas, atleast he knows you still care, as hard as it is, these years go past so quickly and them little things can make a big difference. no matter what the mum says he will have his own mind and aslong as you keep trying you are doing well, as hard as it is i think walking away completely would be the biggest regret you could make for both of you.

im sure there is people here who can offer you better advice legally etc but do keep your chin up and like i said dont ever feel like you are failing if you are trying your best

good luck and best wishes

Ree

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Re: Coping with walking away from your child 6 years 2 weeks ago #36845

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Thanks, that is good advice about the letters, cards etc, I had intended to carry on with that. I dont have the funds to fight in court and I dont have the strength to do it on my own, I have to be honest with myself about that.

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Re: Coping with walking away from your child 6 years 2 weeks ago #36849

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I feel very sad for the decision you have come to, but I can't fault the reasons why you have done so. I agree that indirect contact (letters, cards etc are the way to go, and perhaps keep a video diary of your thoughts which you can show him when he's much older and may want to build bridges himself.

It might we worth writing a letter to your ex explaining what you are doing and why - don't accuse her of anything, keep it all about you and your son - you want to assume that your ex would show it to you son at some point and try to put her own spin on it, so bear that in mind.

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Re: Coping with walking away from your child 6 years 2 weeks ago #36859

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I feel sad too, I have stood firm for so long, watched her insult my family, insult me, belittle me, complain I dont do something one minute, then shoot me down for doing it the next. In the end you get so into the battle you forget what you are fighting for and I remember my son's face when my sister and ex kicked off - he looked horrified and it just isnt what he needs, he needs stability and peace, not something that will happen if I continue no matter how noble my cause is in theory.

I will send something although I know he will never get it, he never got birthday cards until I started handing them to him in person so I may write something to her explaining why and copy it for him to access should he want to have a contemporary account when he is older.

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Re: Coping with walking away from your child 6 years 2 weeks ago #36864

you know the thing is, you are being the bigger person and for that you should be commended, i dont know the legal side too much but i went through the courts for mine with the help of legal aid (thank god). id say definitely speak to citizens advice and hopefully someone more in the know from here can point you in the direction of other organisations that can help. dont give up just yet as it might not be the financial cost you think just to get some regular one to one contact. sometimes just a formal letter from a solicitor can work wonders. what your asking for is more than fair and aslong as there are no child protection issues (which there certainly doesnt seem to be) then I think you could find a good solution without losing contact all together, its actually not alot to ask for a few regular hours with your boy, even if it was just a few hours on a weekend day it would be a start.
its certainly worth looking into fella.

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Re: Coping with walking away from your child 6 years 2 weeks ago #36890

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....we all feel for you and I think the most important message I want to get across to you is that you haven't failed....his mother is the one that has failed him and one day he will realise that.

You've had some good advice from MrC and actd....I sense that you are at a low point, in limbo, and need to recharge and move forward with your life, not just for yourself but for your wife too. Your sons mother has dictated to you and controlled you for far too long and you need to remove yourself from her influence...some people are capable of draining the energy of others and I believe you have been a victim of this. Once you have had some time to recover you will feel better about yourself....

I can understand your doubts and fears about another child, but I hope that after a short while you will be able to embrace the idea and you and your wife can put the past behind you and get on with life! I think you will make a wonderful father, you are thoughtful and compassionate and you deserve to find the joy that being a parent can bring.

I think it's a good idea to maintain indirect contact with your son but I would suggest duplicating anything you send him....one that you will send but the other to go into his keepsake box. If one day he comes looking you can give him his box and he will see that he was always loved, always cherished and never forgotten....
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Mum and Grandmother, supporting my son who has residency of his son.
I want to see a much fairer system in place, where Dads and their children have a voice that can be heard.
There are many groups of people that have equal rights within our society and its about time Dads were given equal rights too.
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Re: Coping with walking away from your child 6 years 2 weeks ago #36891

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...I meant to say that you could go down the legal route and would get some success but you would need to be strong and focused first. You've highlighted that you don't feel able at the moment and that's fine... Get yourself back on your feet and reassess then. For now its all about you and your wife and your future.

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Mum and Grandmother, supporting my son who has residency of his son.
I want to see a much fairer system in place, where Dads and their children have a voice that can be heard.
There are many groups of people that have equal rights within our society and its about time Dads were given equal rights too.
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