Last night I hardly slept - not for the normal reasons of worrying about court, kids and money but becasue I have had yet another idea and am thnking about writing a play (yet another new venture) and was running through it in my mind (I've been going to write a book for years!)- needless to say the play is based on the last 15 yeasr of my life so many of the events were replaying...like hiding in a garden in Spain from my ex ...and recalling how I used to hide all the time for years - from my family, from friends, from what was actually happening in my marriage, pinning my hopes on the fact that it would change, that he would change and that I wouldn't be scared anymore - he didn't change, I left and eventually am in a situation where most of the time I'm not scared and definitely don't hide - and neither do the kids anymore since they spoke up about their father's abuse to me and to them both mentally and physically.
Then this morning I received a call just after 8.a.m from a friend of mine whose ex-partner is taking her to court yet again for over night contact despite the fact that he lives in a hostel, has been on a methodone programme for 5 years and drinks heavily, regularly. ( He has taken my friend to court on numerous occasions to increase his contact with the daughter whilst rarely taking it up). The daughter loves her father and wishes to see him. However the daughter had been angry towards my friend for a few days - my friend believeing it must be with going back to school and hitting thirteen. It turns oout that on the last contact visit (Saturday) the father had said to the daughter that my friend had sent him a letter saying that she was stopping ocntact until Spring 2010 and then got his girlfriend to say that she had seen the letter. This sent my friend into a spin as her ex (an extremly abusive man) has forged her signature in the past. Her daughter had clearly been doubtful about this letter as when my friend asked if she believed her father her daughter was unsure, doubtful, and needed reassurance from her mother.
Fortunately my friend is seeing her solicitor on friday anyway and my advice to her was to focus on her daughter's trust in her and not to panic about how the court may see this (much easier said than done!!). It also struck me once more how abusive parents try to alienate children against another parent - for little gain other than the fact that they can with little regard for what is best for the children yet the court's refuse to acknowledge this form of mental abuse (well here anyhow). My ex, for example, claimed to my then 7 year old son that I had left the marriage becasue I used to beat him. It took a long time for my son to tell me this (in fact he only told me when I stopped covering for his dad missing birthday's etc - when I stopped making excuses for his dads appalling behaviour). When I asked my son if he believed this he too was doubtful becasue he remembered seeing his Dad hurt me - and I've never raised a hand to my kids in my life..but he did not want to believe that his dad would lie to him like that. This created so much confusion in my little boy's head and in turn would make him angry with me - no doubt the aim of my ex! The court did not see this behaviour as relevant to contact at the time.
So my point here is that whilst I may have left a lot of this behind - my ex has no contact with my children now and they actually are much happier for it (and yes I am someone who wholeheartedly believes that it is in the childs best interest to have a relationship with both parents providing there is no abuse and responsibility is truly shared) for many children and mothers this form of abuse continues on a daily basis. This is not simply a case of two parents who need their heads knocking together, who have the odd tantrum, but of a parent who is seeking to further abuse the other parent through the child. How can this be right and why on earth is it tolerated? So actually I havn't left it behind at all - because its close by affecting other people and children I know and many others sto and until we can change the courts and their views this abuse will be perpetuated. Anyone who wishes to help with this please get in touch - at this stage I 'm not even sure how we can change it but I do know it has to change for the sake of our children.