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The facts are straightforward …

Yesterday was traumatic. We were expecting that. We are not hiding what has happened and understand, in a limited way, the implications for the future but really struggle to accept the generalisations quoted as thought they are facts and very likely to happen.

I had left the court grounds and was 15 miles away. Ten minutes after the court case had started I answered my mobile. It was from a number I did not recognise, and counter to my instinct to ignore I answered. A chap introduced him self as the manager of the two social workers involved with the safeguarding of our grandson. Both were unable to attend the court case and he was standing in. He continued to ask if I knew what was happening today – had we been told? No. We only knew what was happening as we had been shown a letter from a solicitor. A slight pause at his end and a slow statement – I need to ask a few questions.

Do you know if the proposed outcome happens today payment stops. Well … we were surprised any payments were made in the first place, but payments were never an issue, it is the wellbeing of our grandson that is critical, nothing else. That I think was enough. He said he would call later and keep me updated.

Now the killer. When the family met later we were told questions had been asked in court about why we were not present. I hit the roof. Later my wife hit the roof. We had been told by the key social worker for our grandson our presence was not required.

As it happens the cafcas social worker for our grandson had gone to the wrong family court 25 miles away so he did not have representation. Not sure where that could have been deployed as the 14 days pre-trial meeting did not happen as the letter only arrived two working days before the court case.

Our son and partner said a new social worker had being allocated to them and apologised for not being there.

The outcome is: a Supervision Order is now in place with conditions. It was stated that the next court visit , provided they keep to the plan, could be the end of the matter.

We sat in silence for the journey

Court day! Having thought it was several months away, a surprise letter drew the court case to today.

The journey time was about 40 minutes, an easy journey. We normally chat about anything really, but today nothing was uttered from the start of the journey until we parked up.

I felt tears welling while I drove. I cannot comprehend a life without my grandson. It still upsets me the moment I think he will be gone.

We all needed a comfort break and found somewhere nearby. Sitting to partly drink coffee and partly to pass the time we chatted and it soon turned to my grandson, their child, and his antics of yesterday in the garden – filling the paddling pool with the hose while our dog ran a-mock chasing the shower of water droplets. It was fun, he is fun.

I became sad as when we left I thought our relationship while talking was really a wake!

My heart is slowly slipping into deep upset, and resentment.

This place (WordPress and my iPad) is my sacred place, I have no problems with bearing all to all. The ‘all’ is just anyone who stumbles here. I don’t really mind if no one reads it, it’s my world, it’s my history, and I hope those that do have empathy, not created from traumatic circumstances, look after their loved ones and cherish every moment.

It is like dieing slowly. It like all-sorts of people, so many not known, are all making decisions about my son, his partner and our grandson that are slowing killing us.

I do not remember ever being in a state of perpetual tearfulness as I am now. Even with my parents dieing, even with other deaths we have encountered I coped with out a personal drama. We are slowly loosing him to the system and see a beautiful, polite, happy young boy become apart of behemoth service. His innocence of our plight is magical to me.

My state of mind says, at my age, I might never see him again. He will be 18 (15 years hence) before he can decide whether to make contact. Have I got 15 years? That is the first time I have thought about my mortality.

Cometh the day – round one

Next week our son and partner have their day in court. I understand the social services concerns but do think they are using a very heavy sledge hammer to crack a nut. Somewhere there must be away of working proactively together to solve this problem. After all a significant part of the problem was aggravated by the very same social services letting them down after the first occurrence of problems.

They are both weary with the stress and worry of loosing their child. We are worried that we are not seen as fit and proper people to be Special Guardians of our grandson.

Sometimes I think the outcome will be positive in the direction of the family and at other times it is doom and gloom. The experience of the process is breathtakingly difficult due to the consistent pressure to be interviewed and fill in forms.

We have gone through the process as though we will be fosterers, and have been told Special Guardianship is less onerous, but few confessions have been made.

Our son and partner thought the court case was several months away as it had been intimated it was not a serious case, and adjusted their mindset to accommodate that. But an unexpected letter arrived giving them less than three week notice. So for someone who has been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and other related issues it is difficult to cope. From a person making good process to one where every problem that was had returns with vengeance was an easy response to predict.

Our son is in intermittent pain, two or three times an hour, and often can only move around by shuffling on his backside life seems difficult. Three weeks off work and another three weeks wait until a third scan can be done is problematic.

There are times he is ‘normal’ where he is good and mobile but he knows only too well pain is just lurking to get him. His pain relief tablets do not touch the pain and his doctor has tried to get him seen sooner but a months delay is the best they can do.

Concluded the same as the general advice

No matter what he did it was never appreciated, and always not enough. A conclusion was arrived at independently, but we agreed

Summarising our sons expressed feeling: If I can do no good and always suffer repercussions then do less and be in the same position. This removes the constant harassment and pressure to perform.

So, skilfully he is going to cut his ties with his ex-partner and maintain his relationship with his children. This will not be without trauma and tantrums from her. (Gaslighting and Boarder Line Personality Disorder.)

My forward thinking concern is future relationships for them both. The sooner she identifies there is a break in their relationship and she can no long dictate life for our son the sooner she will accept their only ‘life connection’ is their children the better.

It harsh to say this, but their children need to grow up in a safe and unbiased environment where partners are not being challenged or defending their actions morning, noon and night. A toxic life style is not even appropriate for just adult families.

This is not ideal but looking at the underlying causes and environment is necessary.

It just keeps coming

Our son has been urinating blood for over two months and not done anything about it.

He had been to the doctors in the last week and had been given a hospital appointment. During the last week he was sent home from work as he could not walk. Another visit to the doctors as the pain was unbearable and pain relief was prescribed.

A short car journey to the seaside for a visit was made on Friday. I usually park on the outskirts of the city and bus in. He could not get out of the car to make the short bus journey. He tried three separate times and could only cry in pain.

Accident and Emergency hospital was my solution. I had to get a wheelchair to transport him from the car park and still in pain we arrived.

Kidney stones were mentioned!

Pot calling

At Christmas time a little coercive force was applied to ensure our son was always in contact with the mother of their children while they were with him and away for a break with us. Nothing wrong with that. The preliminary incommunicado was due to the constant abuse he was receiving from his partner and his phone was turned off.

Last weekend the mother went away with her father from Friday until Sunday, which became Monday. An accident happened with one of the children and immediate contact was necessary. Her phone was uncontactable. (Could be off, could be no power.)

It took contact, via FB, to get a message delivered to her. A friend collected the elder child from the hospital to allow our son to concentrate on the younger child.

Her mum managed visit on Monday and another on Tuesday just as the child was being formally discharged in the afternoon.

Strange, but motherhood means different things to different people! Yes, pots calling black comes to my Mind?

Well, it’s like this

In a case of the tales of mystery and suspense it caught me by surprise. Sitting happily, pins and needles started in my right foot, travelled up my right leg, through my body, up to my shoulder and into my mouth where my tongue tingled and it felt like an anaesthetic and would not work.

As quick as it started it stopped. I was left wondering whether I had dreamt it or not.

I went home and at about midnight it started again. While not alone I was the only one awake. I called 111 and after a time and three telephone calls an ambulance was on its way as it was thought I could be having a heart attack.

After tests by the paramedics, no heart attack was detected, but good reasons for a trip to the hospital were the thoughts.

5:30am discharged with no diagnosis just a watch and see programme was advised and a trip to the GP.

Blocked her number

Everything was in place for the post Christmas visit to us so an animated telephone call saying the visit would not happen if our son would not unblock her phone was a surprise.

She was insistent that no phone contact means she will not allow the visit to take place. Being able to contact him while he had the children is not unreasonable.

We made several telephone calls to both parties and agreed that he would unblock her calls for the duration of the visit and the children were with him.

It transpires that she had called him about 15 times on the trot and was abusive in all of them. Don’t know what about but not worried.

She mentioned that our son had not seen his children for 10 days. Which is wrong by the information we have.

During the call to us she declared that she knows she had pushed him to far and was very sorry and felt it was wrong.

Our son said he was really not prepared to take any more abuse and it was not his intention to permanently block her as there are valid reasons to stay accessible.

The next day the visit did not start well, but we don’t know why.

What I feel

 

It’s strange … I have written a lot describing the circumstances and plight of the two families in my daily life and not really considered my feelings and attitudes to what is happening. Well, now is the time to unload …

It does effect me. It is not a position I thought I would ever be in. I thought I would be Mr Average and match the statistics: married, 2.4 children, a pet. Blah blah blah.

I do match that description but the problems we have encountered with children are beyond my expectations. I say that as if I had considered the process and made a conscious decision and accepted the risk. No. I had no idea and I don’t think there were any real pointers out there for me to see that would have informed my decisions.

I now appreciate the significance of the saying ‘Children don’t come with a manual’: Not even a go warily. Even looking at those people around me in the formative years of parenthood did not signify real problems. Yes as time progressed sleepless nights, house smelling of nappy contents and the rooms littered with hiding Lego blocks just waiting for nightfall and bear feet did not alert me.

On the humorous side there are Lady Bird books for mum’s and dad’s now. But all in lovely drawn sweet colours and to be taken with a humorous pinch of salt.

My vision of were I am now is simple: In the wrong place! No complaints. I am not disappointed as my mantra has always been ‘don’t look back at unfulfilled wishes’

Looking at the age range the early school years were fun. Seeing growth and personality traits was interesting.

Independence and free spirited youth and the teenagers years were littered with trials and errors made by them. We have supported them all the time. We have never said ‘told you so…’ and we have never cast judgement but let them know our thoughts.

Perhaps the biggest problem is the open and unimpeded accesses to people’s unknown. Starting to loose influence here!

Young adults does mean treating them respect and certainly not creating mini-mes’.

We have had many exploratory conversation so they have understood where we stand on things and have witnessed many learning events they took themselves but never battered them at what they inwardly knew and accept were wrong decisions.

I have only stopped one lad from doing two things and both while in his 20’s. Using his mobile while in the bath while having it plugged into the mains to charge, and overloading his estate car with fence panels etc. to deliver them to me before starting a 200 mile car journey after. His car is his livelihood and I considered the benefit to me was outweighed by keeping him on the road.

All in all I am not where I though I would be, but I am also not sure where that is either.

Christmas delights of ESA

While the festive feelings were still in the air a letter dropped onto the floor. It turned out to be the ESA interview, not the PIP interview.

The venue was the same place as the last PIP interview, but this did not abate the anxiety.

Being nervous is normal for anyone so we sat together in light chatter to offset the anxiety. That questioning moment of – is that door opening for me came several times: and eventually it did.

45 minutes later she emerged, not smiling, no tears but pensive in expression.

The results would be made known in due course. Her doctor would be informed as she had declared the benefits of suicide. That was troubling.

Opportunity not missed

Given the chance to grandstand in front of others our son partner will not miss an opportunity.

Our sons ex-partner came home from a walk with friends. She left her confidant, who is sharing a house with our son, and took the opportunity to go into the house and publicly berate our son in front of those who was there. Complaining it was not fare of him to sleep with her friend!

News – PIP is still alive

A new date arrived in a letter. The good news the venue is much closer and accessible by public transport and two busses away.

So the anxiety can now start to weave it’s magic into a fragile persons life.

Physical Abuse

Parental duties are taken seriously by our son. He has their children every other week end and visits two nights a week.

He arrived and things were satisfactory. About the time she was to leave to go out a return time was discussed and she declared she expected to be much later than they had previously agreed. This was not really acceptable so he said no and an argument ensued.

An impasse was reached and he decided to simple leave. This was met with a physical assault. Gripping him forcefully around his neck and refusing to let go. He said OK he would stay to escape the situation and made his way to the back door and was followed and hit. His path was blocked so he returned to the front door and got out. He was followed into the street where shouting continued and more physical abuse ensued. He did away finally.

The disturbing thing is their children witnessed the whole event.

Gaslighting

I recognised a pattern of events and wondered whether there was a known condition that would explain what was driving these situations and therefore provide a solution to resolve the issues. Yes.

I was surprised, very surprised. It is a phenomena known as Gaslighting (been used in the plot of film – Gas Light 1940) that describes how a person systematically destroys the confidence of another by undermining their self esteem to a point where they sanity is also destroyed.

I researched further and read the accounts of Gaslighting and there were too many occurrences I witnessed that for me not to say there was in my opinion Gaslighting taking places. I was shocked!

Please accept I am a layperson, not a mental health professional but it left me worried.

The chilling thing is: all the advice about the outcomes were the same – leave as you have no fulfilling relationship and you stand a chance of serious mental health repercussion yourself.

Problem: there are children in the relationship.

Bloody PIP

 

Well, the PIP process carries on. I took time off work to take our sons partner to her PIP interview. The journey was uneventful but anxiety showed in her as we approached our destination. Cold sweet, stammers in her voice and a reluctance to want to attend took over.

Once we found the place it was off for a comfort break. Tea and coffee later we went back.

The chap on reception was very helpful and polite and we waited and waited. Our sons partner became more and more agitated and went outside and was sick.

On her return I had to break the news her paperwork was not there and they did not know where it was. I expected a full blown outburst, was pleasantly surprised at how calm we all were.

Her paper work was in a far off distant office as a home visit had been requested by the CPN and needed a Doctors approval but no one was bothered to wait until it had been agreed before making the appointment.

Controlled tears were shed and a reticence set in that acknowledge that it had all gone wrong again.

We left not really knowing when the visit would be or where.

Moving out!

Leaving relationship where children are involved is not done on a whim. The reason will become distant memories in the future, but the pain will keep you awake at night.

Environmental Psychology has explanations on what attracts people. Earning potential is just one aspect of this fatal attraction. So when one partner can’t see the benefit of earning more than just a subsistence wage but wants a higher life style it should not be rocket science to see there is a mismatch in life’s expectations.

Time came when the balance of sanity had to be addressed. A new home for a single person was found and they moved out.

Total meltdown

Starting on a new course is an exciting thing. It may come with trepidation but not with fear. That is to say a stereotypical thought and does not apply to some one with anxiety. I missed a trick in trying to deescalate a situation and paid the price.

Time had been built into the day to allow for changes and arriving relaxed. I was providing transport and child care. The car seat was moved into my car but not fitted. We had time!

Securing the car seat was a bit of a faff as my hands do not allow the clip to be passed through the seat covers with ease, but it was done as a joint effort. The next step – secure child in seat proved so difficult that it did not happen. The webbing between the child’s legs had been pulled tight, by me, that in no way could the shoulder straps be positioned over the child’s shoulders unless they were of only paper thickness.

Neither I or the parent could release the tightness of the straps. We tried every which way we could but no. We took the chair out and looked and poked it everywhere but the shoulder straps would not budge.

All this time my grandson was climbing through the gap between the front seats thinking every time we moved he was being chased. Buttons were pushed in more than one way! The parents temper broke and harsh words spoken, and not because of that his full nappy started to leak, yes out over the car seats.

The parent went passed that point where talking would help recovery. I spoke to the course organiser and explained the situation and it was my fault and this was understood and appreciated. The parent was now in shock and could not be reconciled. Thoughts of failure were spoken, thoughts of nothing every going properly were said and my suggestion of calling for a taxi was rebuffed by pointing out to me that this, say 15m, was the farthest she had been from the front door in over a week.

We returned indoors where I had to bath my grandson due to the nappy explosion.

We agreed I would visit the course venue and check what we should do as she was very worried she would be kicked off the course. They understood and it was not a problem.

PIP – If it can go wrong, it will, twice!

The form was sent off and shortly after a meeting arranged. Child care was arranged, transport for the return trip arranged. On the day the car broke down.

Telephone calls made and apologise made but underlying this was a feeling of failure but not of her making.

A second interview was arranged, but no transport could be provided by friends and family. At the destination station only stairs existed and when a stranger was asked about disabled access the stranger was rude and very disparaging towards her. Rather than help she left a mother and child in distress.

I have witnessed melts down of this young lady and I am very impressed how she coped.

Telephone calls were made and proof of train tickets had to be provided to satisfy the agency.

We are now waiting for the next visit to take place.

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