A mom writes in asking for advice. Despite being separated from the father of her children, he continues to make her life very difficult with potentially abusive behavior. As a last resort, she is considering cutting him out of her kids’ lives (and hers, by proxy), but she wants advice from other moms first.
Over on the Mamas Uncut Facebook page, our robust community of moms is always having a conversation about topics that matter. We like to highlight those conversations from time to time. Important mom questions. Thoughtful mom answers. Let’s hear from the community!
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A member of the community asks:
I need some advice on how to handle this. My children’s father and I separated months ago and he moved across the US. He has been trying his best to make my life a living hell since I left him.
I’ve tried to let him keep in contact with the kids by video chat but every time he starts drama and says things to them he shouldn’t, “I’m getting real tired of this, I’ve talked to your mother about this sh**!” to my 8-year-old on. He blows my phone up so much I feel like I’ve left him but I’m still stuck dealing with his crap.
I know that I don’t have to let him speak to them, but I’m trying so hard to not have to take away my kid’s dad, but he is making it so hard for me. He cusses and screams at me almost everyday, he threatens to come back, he tries to say I am trying to take them from him. I don’t know what to do.
I just want to be able to be happy and move on from my life and not have to deal with all the fighting from him.
I do have an attorney who is handling the custody. I didn’t move across the US with the kids, he moved away. Didn’t tell me or say bye to the kids, just up and left. There is a missing piece, and that is that he was very emotionally abusive and I knew leaving him would be hard but when it started affecting the kids I knew it was time to go. The attorney does have records of the cussing and the death threats he has sent.– Mamas Uncut Community Member
Also, the attorney says it would be hard to get a restraining order because he has moved so far away.
Let’s see what the community had to say.
Consider Legal or Otherwise Official Options
“First you need to file custody papers. Then possibly a protective order.”
“Can you get a restraining order? Tell him if he can’t speak civilly to you and your child then you don’t need to video chat. I know you don’t want to take away your child’s dad but your child doesn’t need to hear him talk that way.”
“You need to save everything and record everything and take him to court if he is saying and doing those things. That is no way to be treated and take 0 tolerance. Protect yourself and your children. People don’t realize that this sounds like abuse, verbal abuse, why would you want the kids around it?”
“There isn’t enough info of this story to give much advice. Your best bet and the smartest thing you can do is get in touch with an attorney and start that process. I would record these interactions with the dad for sure. The ones between you and him and the ones between him and his children. It’s inappropriate to speak that way and is a form of verbal abuse.”
“First and foremost, go get a custody agreement. Nothing is going to change because he has the same rights as you. If you want things fixed, the first place to start is with the court.”
“Long story short, if this was me, which it was many years ago, change your number and go through a family member so your child still gets to talk to their dad. Until things cool down. It may take a few months, but better for your sanity if all contact between you both is stopped.”
“Set times for him to call them and make that the only time you answer the phone.”
“My ex did his best to make my life hell for a while too. Without exaggerating, I would say he is 90% at fault for our divorce, but I think it still hurt him badly when I finally left and he took out all of his pain on me and made our kids miserable. He wasn’t doing anything bad enough that the courts would have taken away his parenting rights though. The best I could do was find a family counselor to help my kids and I get through a hard time and just really focus on being supportive of my kids. One thing I found that helped my kids was to have them make calls to their dad with me there and have everything on speaker so I could hear. Then when their dad would say something obnoxious I could help the kids respond in a way that would not escalate his bad behavior. For example, just saying ok instead of arguing even though they knew he was wrong. It’s now 9 years later and things are much calmer and my ex is generally civil toward me.”
“The dad has rights, you didn’t make those kids by yourself. Every kid needs their kids. Sounds like y’all need to go to court and get an order in place.”
We agree with the majority of community members that the best course of action is to seek legal advice and begin working on a more ideal custody arrangement. And it seems as if the OP is doing that, per her update.
The behavior OP describes is abuse. Emotional and verbal abuse. There is no need to subject yourself to that simply because he is your children’s father. (He was also their father when he up and left without a word, so.) You do not need to, nor should you, tolerate abuse just because you share children. For your own safety and the safety of your children, take the proper steps to protect yourself and your family.
We wish you the best of luck solving this problem, mama!
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