Suggestions on how to best handle skid phone calls with the other parent.
My SS4 HATES phone calls and the BM is completely insane. The calls are disrupting my entire life. I started to mention this in my last blog, and I know its an issue, but there were so many responses I was afraid it would get lost in the thread so im posting about it separately.
BM is high conflict and is emotionally abusing SS4, either to intentionally PAS him against DH, or because she's so emotionally disturbed that she really is that terrible of a parent, I am really not sure which. Possibly a combination of the two. SS is developing multiple behavioral issues all of which seem to be directly traceable back to things that mommy said. She is definitely working on training SS to be helplessly emotionally enmeshed with her, either intentionally or unintentionally.
The CO is very poorly written. There are some statements about phone contact though, garbled as they may be. There is no money to go back to court. We are having serious issues with the disruptions her phone calls to SS when he is with us are causing, that and we find her methods of contact to be mistreatment of SS. I am trying to figure out what we can do to limit this without infringing on the CO.
We have SS 3 weekends a month, from Friday night until Monday morning. BM calls every single night. If we do not answer she will call again every 5 minutes, within 15 minutes she starts calling my phone too, and if we continue not to answer within 30 minutes she will threaten to call the police and have them do a welfare check while texting DH about how worried she is that something has happened to him and SS. We have never gone more than 30 minutes without answering so I don't actually know what she does next.
SS is 4, and has only recently started talking since BM mostly kept him isolated before DH sued for custody, and he absolutely HATES talking on the phone. The phone will ring, DH will put it on speakerphone, present it to SS and say "your mother is on the phone" or "talk to your mommy."
At this point 5% of the time SS says hi and talks to her. 95% of the time SS will either sit there in complete silence and refuse to make any sound at all, or he will scream "I don't like talking on the phone!" "I don't want to talk to mommy!" or he will simply start howling "NOOOOO, NOOO NOOO!!!" Either that or he will simply start running away from the phone in any way he can, either in complete silence making sure he makes absolutely no sound, or he will run while crying and screaming protests.
All of BM's phone calls sound almost exactly the same. "SS, SS, SS, SS... Mommy loves you, mommy misses you. Mommy loves you, Mommy misses you, Don't you love your mommy? Tell your mommy how much you love her. Mommy loves you. SS? SS? SS? Mommy loves you." She has gone on like this while SS quietly sits there looking absolutely miserable for 45 MINUTES before. She has gone on like this while SS is clearly and audibly throwing the temper tantrum to end all tantrums on the floor next to the phone until he tires himself out before as well.
The BM will NOT hang up until SS says "I love you I miss you mommy." It doesn't matter how long it takes. This is really not the worst of it either. Once SS said "I don't want to talk on the phone" and she actually replied sternly "Well you HAVE to. Its only for a little bit. I AM YOUR MOTHER. You have to tell me that you love me."
Another time SS started running in circles around the car, and DH started slowly walking after him holding the phone, and BM kept asking why he wasn't talking, so DH told her what was happening and she demanded to know why DH wouldn't do his job and lock him into the car with the phone until he talked to her.
The other day I had to take a picture of the phone on speaker being presented to SS and send it to her because BM keeps saying that DH is in contempt of the court order because she doesn't believe that SS is actually there.
What will usually happen is BM will continue repeat "I love you SS, I miss you" while SS has a screaming fit, or runs away from the phone while we walk after him and eventually he will tire himself out, and while quietly crying to himself say "I love you, I miss you mommy" and she will say thank you goodnight and finally hang up.
The other day I had finally had it and actually took the phone and quietly locked it into the car while she was going on her "I love you I miss you SS" tirade. The call recording later revealed that she had repeated SS's name over and over for 17 additional minutes and finally huffed and slammed the phone down.
The court order is written strangely. It says that if the parents ever live in the same school district, they will be week on week off. However, currently they live 50 miles apart. The CO states that BM has SS for all school days, and DH has 3 weekends a month until Monday morning and the whole summer. It comes out to roughly 60/40. The section pertaining to phone contact states:
"The parents shall permit the child to have telephone, email, and/or other electronic communication including audio/visual communication such as Skype or facetime with the other parent, three times during a full week. Neither parent shall monitor, intercept, interrupt, or listen to communications between the child and the other parent absent a court order authorizing them to do so."
I believe the phone clause assumes a week on week off schedule, but since that is not what they are currently on, 3 times a week comes out to EVERY SINGLE DAY on DH's time. I had originally said, the CO says we cant listen to the calls so just give ss the phone off speaker and let him do whatever he is going to do with it, but DH's lawyer said that clause doesn't apply until SS4 is old enough to make and receive phone calls by himself. (That and DH is afraid SS will destroy the phone if left unattended to make his mother stop)
We wish to stay well on the correct side of the CO while dealing with the high conflict litigious overbearing lunatic, but at the same time we don't like watching her teach SS Bates Motel caliber emotional entrenchment while she reinforces learned helplessness with SS the same way they did with the abused dog in the study with the electrocuting floors I read about in my psych class.
What exactly are we able to do to stop or limit this?