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mama's instinct - wwyd? (long) - Page 5

post #81 of 116
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by guerrillamama
This is a good point. Hippiemama I lived in a co-op-ish situation once, not as much process as yours, very UNdemocratic in fact, not to mention dysfunctional, but still like all co-ops very process heavy - it would take several meetings to decide what kind of dish soap to buy... I'm sure you know exactly the kind of meetings I'm talking about. Anyway, despite all that, when action was needed, we acted swiftly. There was a single mom in our house who got involved w/ another housemate. He became emotionally abusive. I believed (based on what I'd seen of their relationship and what I knew of him - which was a lot) that it was going to escalate to physical abuse. I asked her permission to call a house meeting w/ everyone but him. At that meeting we consensed that for the sake of the kids as well as our integrity as a house, we would ask him to leave immediately, which we did.

The rest of the story actually goes way downhill from there, but THE POINT is that my housemates did know how to make a swift decision when it came to protecting the kids. So, maybe you shouldn't rule out that possibility?
It is near impossible to kick him out because he is not hurting anyone (potential to hurt is not the same thing) , and because the house as a whole cannot favor one person over another. I do not have more rights than he does, DD does not have more rights than he does, he does not have more rights than either of us.

One of my housemates has made it clear to me that if we were to leave over this issue (rather than him leaving), she would leave too, in protest. This new fact has helped me feel like it is within my rights to ask the house to oust him, and if they say no, then it is within my rights to leave myself. So I am getting there - albeit slower than many of you would wish!! - but with your help.

And yes, GM, it somehow can take far too long to decide upon dishsoap.
post #82 of 116
HHM, i'm really glad to hear you have some allies in the house, that is reassuring. thanks for updating us, you know lots of people are worrying about you (in a good way).

Originally Posted by SmilesALot


your signature is very apt for me too. I am getting off now (to come back in about 10 minutes!) I sure need help with this MDC addiction!!!

Peace & Love!
T too


well, you're not alone, there's a lot of us addicts here, OBVIOUSLY. and here i am again!
post #83 of 116
I have to say that if I were in your situation, I would take my dd and get out of Dodge. It seems like you're second guessing your mama radar, which is dangerous. If you feel your stomach turn whenever he's around your dd, you need to step up and confront him directly. Depending on others in the house is not good enough. Seeing as how you, the mama, have a hard time intervening, how do you think they will do acting on behalf of your child. Also, if he creeps you out, how does he make your dd feel?
I got the creeps just reading your post and agree that this situation could put your daughter in harms way.
Another question, just because I'm trying to understand better. When he was all over her at the meal table, you said you restrained yourself from grabbing her out of her booster seat. Why? Maybe she needed you to do that. Also, if the other women in the house see it too, I would take the collective female intuition and seriously scram. I don't think this is overprotective, just one of the requirements of being a mama. It sounds like you really love the other housemates, but there must be a better place where the both of you can feel safe and comfortable.
Good luck!
post #84 of 116
I just wanted to say that you must really be struggling. Be strong and true and the rest will follow. Sending you strength and clarity (and a hug!)

post #85 of 116
Not having read all the replies, I'd move.
post #86 of 116

You have to ASK????

Get. Yourself. And. Your. Daughter. Away. From. That. Sick. F*ck.

Pretty simple to me.

Your FIRST obligation is to make sure your daughter is SAFE AT ALL TIMES. It doesn't MATTER whether this is such a great, organic, crunchy living situation (and I am someone who has lived in housing coops and believes in them wholeheartedly). Your child's welfare is more important than ANYthing else. Trust me on this one.
post #87 of 116
Unlike some of the other posters, I do think you are listening well to your instincts, Crystal--and I also think that no matter what happens with your "confrontation" (or the "the baby & and you" talk at the meeting that you mentioned), that you will ultimately have to leave, at least for a period of time. I can't imagine your intuitive response to the situation would change--and if it feels like it does, I'd suspect that you are rationalizing, and hope you would consider that.

I had composed a long post several days ago...lost...basically saying that I was pretty uncomfortable with the virtual criminalization of M in many of the posters' responses. (Luckily others posted along those lines!) Many people are "creeped out" by mental illness--and given that most of the specific things you mentioned (lack of appropriate boundaries, obsessiveness, etc.) could go with Asperger's, autism, etc, and there are many mamas here of children with special needs who have those issues who will eventually be adults with those issues, I think it's worthwhile to find ways of talking about the situation with respect to all involved (especially those who can't speak for themselves), at the same time encouraging Crystal to do what she needs to do to keep her child safe.

For what it's worth, I thought the best thing that might come out of a confrontation situation (from the point of view of you staying in the house) would be that M would indeed respond in a way that was clearly inappropriate to all witnessing it. Especially since you say that others in the house interact with your daughter in ways you don't want M to, it seems to me that it would be hard and unfair to him to oust him based on his actions at this point. In saying this, I'm only saying that it seems to me that the onus is on you to leave. I do agree with the other posters that the situation seems potentially dangerous--and untenable for that reason--to me as well. And, as an aside, I can't remember if you've arranged an emergency temporary place to stay--but I'd definitely do it before you have any kind of house conversation with him. Oh, and it sounds like a kitten might be a good idea, no matter what happens with your living status in the co-op.

Good luck--I hope you will keep us posted. What a hard situation to navigate.
post #88 of 116
you are talking about your "protective mama bear instinct" but you are not doing anything.

post #89 of 116
I don't think she isn't doing anything, she has mentioned the things she is doing. Maybe she isn't moving at this point, but that isn't doing nothing. It is a complicated situation for her, she has nowhere to go. I don't think exposing her toddler to the life of a shelter and the people she could potentially expose her daughter to in such situations compares any more favorably than trying to get to the bottom of the problem, (which is only a potential problem there also), where she is first.

Please come back and update us, Crystal. Especially if you find a solution. I am following your story with great interest and concern.
post #90 of 116
I am also concerned that you are not acting on your maternal protective instincts. Before anything, safety comes first. When we have children we owe them that. Your dd needs and deserves to be protected and that is all that matters right now. After we are safe, then we can look into other things.

I do feel for you Mama. Your OP made me sad and wish there was something I can do. All I can do is share with you that I felt very upset in my gut and my soul when I read it. I also am worried that when you don't act on your instincts (like not grabbing dd from him when your instincts are screaming for you to do just that) you will be supressing your natural mama protective instincts and this is dangerous for your dd.

DD needs to be safe. She must be protected and this is what she deserves. You sound like a wonderful mama and I just wanted to offer you some support and strength and another mama's perspective. You must listen to your inner mama bear. She's in there for a very good reason.

and Mama.
post #91 of 116
I get where you are coming from simcon. That is why I asked how her dc reacts to him. Children are very innocent though and that isn't always the best measure. I have though, experienced children (and some animals) to be keen readers on character when adults judgement are clouded by judgement. I also agree that M may have some issues mentally and no, I would not want him to be ostercised because of it IF it were in fact true, BUT we do not know and if it were my child, thier safety comes first no mater who or what is the potential threat.
If M did have some disorder, then I feel it should be shared with the rest of the household as well, providing that M is aware of his issues.
I have to say that M may not even be dangerous. I for one, would not wait around to find out for sure. Instimct is with us for a reason, just like the sense of smell, taste ect....
post #92 of 116
I am just curious to know how she and her daughter are faring now. I hope that you are both well and safe.
post #93 of 116
As much as it will really suck to move out of a place that you otherwise adore - I would recommend you do it. It's not worth the risk and this guy just sounds too creepy. You are a single mother and you can't have your eyes on her 24x7 nor can you expect the other house guests to pay as close attention to your daughter as you would yourself. Get out of dodge and fast. I'm afraid that the fact that you love the rest of the living arrangement so much may be clouding your maternal instinct to flee (not blaming you in any way it is understandable - just offering an outside view).

Hugs to you and DD.

post #94 of 116
ok, i'm not american, let me say that first. therefore i never understood the "scared all the time thing" and running away from your probs.
that said i "do" think you have a reason to be concerned and i'm very glad you're not being judgemental about this and making rash decisions that could very well harm your daughter also. i think you're doing the rightthing by attempting to talk it out and resolve the issue with out calling the guy a freak before you up and move. cuz in my experience, moving all the time is not very good for kids either, it happend to me and i'm still a bit screwed up. i totally understad the churning in your stomach thing but yet not wanting to hurt anyone's feelings.
my advice? keep doing what you're doing. don't make any rash decisions and stay true to you and what you're feeling.
post #95 of 116
Well, I think you're doing a pretty good job following your instinct as of now.
However.....I just wanted to add the fact that there have been two different instances in my life where I didn't follow that sick pitted feeling in my belly and I ended up being raped both times. I knew both men very well and I never thought they would do something like they did. Yeah, I had a weird feeling in my belly around them, but I just totally dismissed it telling myself I was just being parinoid (sp?) and that they would never do anything do me. I mean, why would they? They were really nice to me and helped me out a lot. Very sweet guys. The first time I was raped the guy was my boyfriend (I was 13) and he was a very very nice guy, kind of controlling, but I thought that was normal. That's why I decided to ignore this gut instinct I had to run away. Well, he raped me a total of 9 times (btw, while he was raping me the first time he was telling me about the other girls he raped too). He then stalked me for almost a year. I hate flowers (especially roses) to this day because he would send me huge boquetts everyday. I hate a bunch of normal stuff that I assosiate with him. The band Metalica, green mustangs, no hair on guys "down there", etc..
The second time I was raped it was by my boss. I was 17, he was 47. I had known him for over 4 years. I babysat his kids. I was really good friends with his wife. I taught him yoga. I actually no longer teach yoga because of the feelings and flashbacks I get. I also no longer can stand black Ford Rangers, UT fans, and certain tattoos I liked before.
Needless to say everytime I get a funky feeling that makes my skin crawl about someone whether it be related to me or someother person I know, I flee as fast as I can. For instance, my husbands cousin gives me the major heebie jeebies. I let my husband know more than once that I refuse to be left alone in a room with him or close to him without very many people by my side. I also (now that my daughter is born) will never let him touch her or be alone with her. I just don't trust him. I trust ME!
I guess what I trying to say is: You might make him unhappy or you might be uncomfortable living elsewhere for a while and yes, it might disrupt your babys life for a while, BUT, wouldn't that be better than possibly having her molested or abducted? I'm not saying that he will do these things, but what if he does? You don't have a crystal ball, you can know what's going to happen, but you know how hard it would be for both of you if something did.
I really hope you find the answer in yourself.
Lots of love and support,
post #96 of 116
I wanted to point out that just moving won't instantly make the situation disappear!
I second the thought that speaking openly is the best way to go, with an escape plan in place:
I'm thinking it seems very likely that M is going to want to follow you and continue his (perceived) relationship with your DD, and this is certain if you simply move without communicating some boundaries (Total Boundary) with him. Then where will you be? In a comparatively new place, with a comparatively new support system- if any at all. Would that be an improvement? Only you can answer that.

Another thought:
Moving out may not have to be permanent!
after you leave and make it clear he's not going to be visiting you, he's bound (hopefully) to find something new to focus on, and/or may move away,

OR the other co-op members could wait until you're out of the situation and out of his mind and THEN kick him out, in which case, if he demonizes anyone, it'll be the collective, and not you. This seems safer for your family, and when you move back in after a little while, it won't seem so much as if you and M are adversaries, even with the earlier boundary conversations.

It's so tricky keeping the peace and keeping safe at the same time. We have to choose safety over politeness, but then how can we know just how rude we need to be to get what we need? and when being "too" rude will cause more trouble??

I was attacked at 16 by a "friendly" stranger in public, and for years put myself down for "only" talking my way out of it, and physically only resisting passively- not fighting him. But looking back now, I wonder if, had I hit him or showed anger, would it have escalated into more force on his part, and would he have succeeded in raping me?
It seems this too is a case of Acknowlege the Conflict Without Escalating It.

(P.S. to a previous poster: Not finding a person's name in the Sex Offender Registry is no guarantee that his name does not belong there.)

...who says that we're only justified in limiting contact with people who creep us out if they are dangerous? Nobody has any right to our space, our bodies, our children. We decide who is allowed to get close, and they'll just have to deal with that.
post #97 of 116

A different warning

I agree with most of what has been posted here about M. but would also like to add another warning. I would be very wary of ANY men changing diapers/clothes or bathing your daughter. I would not be comfortable having men living within the household having that kind of contact with your daughter

I know this might seem paranoid but men are very visual and I would guess that most of them are not fathers. So, changing diapers is not within the norm of their routine and can be arousing and really how well do you know anyone?

I know your coop might seem like some recreation of the way people used to live with extended family members taking care of childdren. But, these are not your extended family members and in the "old days", other women would have bathed and diapered another woman's baby. (And yes I realize that a lot of abuse is from extended family members.) I would never put my child in this kind of a situation.

Most good day cares/nureries have rules that a child never be changed in private by a staff member (male or female!).

In some of the communes, coops and meditation centers that sprang up in the 60's and 70's, there are stories of abuse. I think some of this stems from the lack of accountability (everyone was in charge of a child) and by the convenience of it (it was very easy for anyone to get away with).

Wishing you all the best, Spring

PS I am very big on boundaries for all people but most importantly for little people.
post #98 of 116
Men are not the enemy, pedophiles and those that are aroused by children are the enemy. It has been shown that more women than we thought are aroused by naked children, and because women do not penetrate when they sexually abuse, most of it goes unreported.

Get off this "man" thing, it is offensive. Men have a hard enough time being affectionate without seeming to cross bounderies as it is. My own father was always hesitant to be too affectionate with me because of how it might "look". Males have a hard time going into childcare work because of this stigma.

If we are going to warn people against exposing our children, at least don't perpetuate this mood in society and lay the blanket over men and women, because that is the fact of it.
post #99 of 116

OT, but my dh was better at changing diapers than I was. Sure he's my dh and I trust him.
I have a very good friend who used to watch dd on occasion for me if dh was working late and I had class. I trusted him to change dd's diaper and not leave her soaking wet for 2 hours. He has children, who at the time didn't live with him. I never got a bad feeling from him, and he and his dp are some of my best friends, and still 2 of the only people I would trust to watch dd.
I have since reciprocated and changed his ds's diaper while his dp napped after their baby was born.
post #100 of 116
I agree with you to a point, Calm, but seriously, are not more men than women guilty of violent and/or sexual crimes? A class I took about keeping dd safe stressed that a lost child seek out a *woman* for help, because she is so much less likely to harm the child. I don't think men should be bashed, but, in general I think it is prudent to be more aware of leaving children alone with men. I know women can be abusive, too, but statistically much less likely to do so.
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