Donate Child Support Calculator
Skip navigation

Protecting my daughter from her controlling and abusive Grandfather

Emotional and psychological abuse (when you can't "see" the bruises and the damage)

My partner and I separated two years ago. She has been subjected to a high degree of emotional and psychological abuse as a child growing up in a household where the father was a Narcissist and the mother accommodated his behaviour. We had been going to counselling for a long time, to help her with her past trauma and to work through issues of our own. I had become the 'target' of her father's abusive behaviour many years ago (when my ex was pregnant with our daughter). At the time, my ex was appalled (but not surprised) about her father's behaviour and went around to talk to him to get him to acknowledge his abusive treatement and apologise to me. We had also major concerns about bringing our soon to be born daughter into this environment and wished to protect her from the same abusive behaviours that her mother had experienced as a child.

Confronting her father did not go well. She got into an argument, he basically told her there was no abuse, I had a big problem and that there would be no apology because there was nothing to apologise for. He also inferred that we were no longer welcome in the house. Later, his wife rang to apologise for her husband's behaviour (having done so on numerous occasions over the years). Counselling for the father was suggested but she responded he would not consider that, as he felt there was no problems with his behaviour and attitude to people. I advised that he had basically banned us from the house and she hinted that their daughter (my ex partner) was still welcome. Following this, we decided our daughter would not be exposed to the maternal grandparents until the issue of abusive behaviour had been addressed and we felt she would be safe to spend time in their company.

My ex has since denied agreeing to protect our daughter from this behavior, to her sister and to our Psychologist. She has stated to the Psychologist her father was a very controlling man and confessed to several of the aspects of abuse she had been subjected to over the years, and the Psychologist subsequently advised her she needed to go through a disclosure process (to her parents) concerning the historical controlling behaviour and emotional and psychological abuse her father had heaped upon the family (and her mother had been complicit in allowing to occur). The psychologist also noted that our daughter had to be protected from this behaviour and that there had to be some strategy to work through to get to a point where she could establish a relationship with the maternal grandparents.

My ex kept putting this off and putting this off, minimising it, saying she had (herself) been in contact with her parents and that her father had "mellowed" (later admitting only to somethings and certainly still held a huge deal of anger towards me (!! yet he had been the one to abuse me repeatedly all those years ago!!!).

My ex admitted she was too scared to do this (disclosure process recommended by the Psychologist) and then later dropped the bombshell that she had 'introduced" our daughter (then aged 5) to her parents, calling them by nicknames from a "harmless" children's cartoon book. She showed no concern nor remorse for this action, despite the fact that (even to this date) no explanation has been given to my daughter as to why she didn't meet her maternal grandparents until she was five years old, nor has there been any strategy devised to ensure she is protected.

From there, it all went down hill. My ex wanted to have full blown contact with her parents (fine, so long as it was her and not our daughter, without appropriate mediation/strategies to protect from abuse), but no, she wanted our daughter to have a non conditional contact. She wanted to 'smooth things over' and 'put things in the past'.

Visits to the grandparents have continued, with both myself and close family friends noticing my daughter is becoming very secretive and adept at avoiding any mention of things relating to that side of the family. She is never asked outright about her grandparents, as I do not wish to pressure her, but by the same token, I am worried sick for her. She has mentioned a fair bit of detail to my best mate but I feel she is now made to feel uncomfortable about talking about things with me (of her own volition). My ex partner insists she never mentions anything negative about me (directly) but things my daughter has said to my best friend indicate otherwise (even if my daughter has 'overheard' things said at her mother's or grandparents house). Though I share 50/50 care of my daughter, I am beginning to feel like I am being alienated from her and the long standing trauma with her grandfather's abusive behaviour are now being minimised by her mother (my ex) to the point where I am being painted as creating all these issues and "destroying her and my daughter's life". Our Psychologist even noted that I had become "mildly demonised" by my exes family and that my future relationship with my daughter, because of all this, was highly likely to become more and more dysfunctional. My ex has become wonderfully adept at pained expressions all the while "not saying a bad word about you [me]" - to the point she has now manipulated my own father to believe that I am making a big deal over nothing and to say to me that I am "destroying her and my daughter's lives". I am becoming more and more "the bad guy"!!!!! ?????

I have finally reached a point where i need to ensure my daughter's interests are protected. I am seeking legal advice in connection with the appropriate wording of a Parenting Plan or Consent Order, but am wondering HOW would I get my Psychologist to CONFIRM all the issues (and advice he had given) to legitimise my concerns in respect of my daughter's safety and protection from the likelihood of emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of her grandparents. I am more than happy to attend mediation and dispute resolution to work through this, but both my ex and her mother have stated that my exes father will "never concede to that".

Can a solicitor request confirmation of this from a Psychologist (independent practice) BEFORE going to Court or does it have to wait until it goes to Court and then via Subpeona get this information?

HELP!!! :o
Either you or your solicitor can at any time request a report or even a short letter from your psychologist covering these issues; provided the psychologist is willing to provide this. If they aren't then I imagine you'll need to organise a subpoena - not sure if this can be done before proceedings commence, sorry.

I imagine the abuse you speak of would have to be pretty bad and provably so before a court would order no contact between your daughter and her grandfather?

Abusive Grandfather

Thanks Sunnyside!

I would have liked to have worked through this (via mediation and appropriate psychological advice for strategies etc), so that my daughter's contact with her mother's family is able to be managed in her best interests (i.e. to protect her from the same experience her mother had). However, as my ex will not discuss any of this with her parents (fears being 'rejected' from them now and is emotionally vulnerable (as am I) due to our marriage breakdown and sees them as support, even if she did get traumatised growing up in that household). Her mother had expressed some interest in attending, but has not followed on this at all. I have tried in the past to be proactive in organising these things, but then get accused by my ex of "forcing" people and "pressurising" people (laughable, given the abuse her father heaped on her in the past).

I would dearly like to keep it out of Court, but don't see any other way at the moment….

(The scary thing is, as with most narcissistic people, my ex father in law is able to "maintain" this external "facade" to the outside world, so for all intents and purposes, he is a law abiding, innocent "old" man…. never mind what happened behind closed doors whilst my ex was growing up. The awful thing is too - though the (now adult) children have admitted that their father is a monster and a tyrant and a bully, NOT ONE OF THEM would admit this in a public context. My ex only reluctantly admitted it to our Psychologist and though would tell me all horror stories of her childhood, when around her sister, would either downplay these or deny she ever said them.).

Thankyou for your suggestion Sunnyside.
1 guest and 0 members have just viewed this.

Recent Tweets