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#61 of 98 Old 06-25-2013, 07:45 PM
 
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80% of the time he's fine to excellent. I feel fairly screwed.

 

It's reasonable to be nervous about taking action - once you do anything you can't undo - but this situation was/is not sustainable.  You are courageous and absolutely doing the right thing. hug2.gif

 

Don't second guess yourself.  Kids don't turn out 80% ok because their dad was ok 80% of the time.  That's just not how it works.  A parent can absolutely do enough damage on bad days to make the good days irrelevant.  The bad days, however infrequent, still paint a disturbed picture in your children's world - still set them at risk for negative relationships, drug abuse, depression, etc. later on.  The sooner you can get them away from him, the sooner they can begin to heal. stillheart.gif

 

I disagree with your therapist - it doesn't sound to me like H is "trying" at all - it sounds like he's shifting blame onto the kids, and taking no personal responsibility.  Immature at best, narcissistic at worst.  At any rate, you can't work on behavior if you think it's ok or non-existent.  I, too, question her judgment.

 

As for custody, he may or may not even go after it (perhaps for appearances, but then realize he can't handle them on his own for any amount of time).  I know it's a scary idea for him to have custody, but getting it doesn't mean he will be able (or want) to keep it, either.  Something to keep in mind, anyway...definitely document everything (including your conversations with him about it).  Huge hugs!!! hug.gif

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#62 of 98 Old 06-25-2013, 07:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I definitely started something I can't undo. I feel alternately relieved and excited (about life where people aren't angry all the time) and a sense of doom, like I've made a terrible mistake. Most advice I have gotten from family has been for me to be a better wife--make more money, or give more affection and sex, to keep the family together, that the best gift you can give your child is their dad...so this is difficult...I should try harder.

 

H comes home in a few hours. We will talk about separating. I'm embarrassed I reported him and afraid to tell him. We don't have the means to run 2 households. Between a rock and a hard place.

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#63 of 98 Old 06-25-2013, 08:05 PM
 
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... that the best gift you can give your child is their dad...so this is difficult...I should try harder.

 

H comes home in a few hours. We will talk about separating. I'm embarrassed I reported him and afraid to tell him. We don't have the means to run 2 households. Between a rock and a hard place.

Here's what I think, Eko.  I think you are giving your kids the gift of a mom. I know you are their mom now but you are standing up for what you feel is right and that's part of being a whole person.  You don't even have to be making all the right choices right now. What matters is that you're acknowledging a problem and dealing with it as best you can. 

 

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H comes home in a few hours. We will talk about separating. I'm embarrassed I reported him and afraid to tell him. We don't have the means to run 2 households. Between a rock and a hard place.

You don't have to talk to him tonight. Have you gotten any advice from someone you trust about how to go about discussing this with your DH?

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#64 of 98 Old 06-25-2013, 08:24 PM
 
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I definitely started something I can't undo. I feel alternately relieved and excited (about life where people aren't angry all the time) and a sense of doom, like I've made a terrible mistake. Most advice I have gotten from family has been for me to be a better wife--make more money, or give more affection and sex, to keep the family together, that the best gift you can give your child is their dad...so this is difficult...I should try harder.

 

H comes home in a few hours. We will talk about separating. I'm embarrassed I reported him and afraid to tell him. We don't have the means to run 2 households. Between a rock and a hard place.

 

I am sorry you are dealing with this situation.  It is spinning out of control, but I understand how hard it is to live with toxic people.

I think that if I were looking for that nudge to get out of a marriage, my dirt on this forum would be a very surefire nudge in that very direction.  Based on what you said with the smothering incident, this was your DD's version of things, am I correct? Am I also correct in that your DD later fibbed a little bit about a later incident?

 

The reason I am asking is because I am truly unclear about these details.  And they are important.  Anyone from CPS is going to see red flags all over the place.  As are most people who deal with abusive domestic issues.

 

However, your husband  is clearly very angry and clearly his behavior around the kids needs to change. If he is willing to go to counselling and the therapist is fully aware of his behavior, isn't there hope that he is willing to change?  Do you truly feel he is unwilling to change and that he is not a good father?  

 

My own father is toxic and angry and abusive, but not over the top. The problem isn't that; it's his inability to change and see where he is at fault.  

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#65 of 98 Old 06-25-2013, 09:53 PM
 
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eko - I'm so sorry you are surrounded by unsupportive people.  I grew up in a household like yours and I can tell you - there is NOTHING you can do when a person has that kind of rage inside.  It's completely on them.  You could be the perfect wife, and it would not change his actions - you are in no way responsible for his actions.  They are entirely his responsibility to acknowledge, change and control.

 

Please don't second guess your daughter.  Fight for your children.  They will realize that you hear them, see the problem, and are on their side.  Kudos to you for not being complicit!  And please don't "wait and see" if it will spontaneously get better.  It won't.

 

I've spent a lifetime recovering from a childhood like that - it has not been pretty.  I'm very lucky to still be here.  Regardless of how those around you were raised and their deluded thinking (sometimes people need to believe the way they were raised was ok, because the pain of accepting that it was not is too much to bear) - you are doing the right thing by your children, by letting them lead healthy, safe lives where they are trusted and heard.

 

The right thing to do is certainly not always the easiest, but I would never say that this is "spinning out of control" - it's a path to a better place, it may have it's obstacles and twists and turns - and I feel for you that you even have to face these challenges!  hug2.gif  Nobody asks for this. But it will also be immeasurably worth it.  

 

I completely agree with IdentityCrisisMama - you are a super mom and your kids are lucky to have you looking out for them. stillheart.gif  As for survivor's guilt, you can't know what the future will hold, but you can take the next best step by starting the process to get them out of there.  That alone shows you believe in them and that you know they deserve better, which is immensely validating (and healing) in their world.

 

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#66 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 01:27 AM
 
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Wow, this is so much to deal with. I'm so sorry. First, you are not to blame. Even if you are a horrible wife (which I doubt), your husband has no excuse for taking out his violence or rage on your children. It is very hard for extended families to accept it when they hear about a marriage near-and-dear to them breaking up - especially if they had no clue. I hope you can find some friends or your own counselor that can guide and encourage you.

Second, be careful. I would NOT tell your husband that you reported him. If you feel you must, do it in the presence of the marriage counselor. In my experience, these things can escalate quickly. I was married to someone that sounds quite a bit like your H. Luckily, we had no children together, but he would sometimes display this kind of behavior with our pets. Once we separated though, his aggression increased dramatically as things started to get out of his control. I ended up having to call the police several times and get an order of protection. He ended up in a mental hospital with a complete breakdown. He also got into my banking accounts, called to have my electricity shut off, etc. (So definitely get a plan in place. Change your passwords and secret questions, have some sort of way to alert a neighbor for help, have a way to lock yourself in a room you can escape from, etc. These are things I NEVER thought I'd need, but did.

Similarly, everyone thought he was the greatest guy - and he was, most of the time. It wasn't until after we'd divorced and i'd been in therapy awhile that I realized how he'd eroded my confidence to the point that I didn't trust myself or value myself. This is part of the game abusers play to maintain control. So, don't blame yourself. He set it up this way.

Lastly, there is financial help out there. TANF, foodstamps, etc. You will do better than you think. Yes, it will be hard, hard hard in the beginning, but you WILL find a way. You won't be homeless or starve. In a few years, things will probably be better than you can imagine. I'm now 6 years out from my ex. I'm remarried to an amazing guy. I haven't fully recovered financially, but we are slowly getting there. Might not be able to ever buy a house again, but hey, I love how in apartments they tale care of the maintenance! smile.gif

Please get some people around you who you can lean on. Sometimes, that go-to. Person is the last person you'd expect. It is funny how in times of crisis, the people we think will be there aren't and those that are are a big surprise.
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#67 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 06:58 AM
 
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Based on what you said with the smothering incident, this was your DD's version of things, am I correct? Am I also correct in that your DD later fibbed a little bit about a later incident?

 

The reason I am asking is because I am truly unclear about these details.  And they are important.  Anyone from CPS is going to see red flags all over the place.  As are most people who deal with abusive domestic issues.

 

However, your husband  is clearly very angry and clearly his behavior around the kids needs to change. If he is willing to go to counselling and the therapist is fully aware of his behavior, isn't there hope that he is willing to change?  Do you truly feel he is unwilling to change and that he is not a good father?  

 I thought, from the initial post, that the little girl reported the incident and the father didn't deny that he had done what she said. Rather, he tried to drown out her account with loud speech and denied that she was actually frightened. (At least, that's how I read it.)  

 

I did not see the OP report that her child had fibbed or exaggerated on other incidents. 

 

Her concern is precisely the one you're stating here: could he change? Is he really as bad as she thinks he might be? If he could change, she would be ill-advised to break up the marriage, since it's very disruptive to the children and has the potential to lead to giving the father more access rather than less access to them. That's why she's here, trying to get feedback on the situation. it's not obvious what she should do, and I don't mean because he's gaslighting her and downplaying her concerns. It's not obvious because he's presenting one way inside their house and another way outside it. 

 

Also, it's complicated because I'm sure the children love him anyway. 

 

I think one issue is that it's difficult for her to find people who take the notion of child abuse seriously enough who are also on the ground to confirm her impressions. It's also really hard when a parent is fine most of the time but goes out of control at other times. 

 

I think if she's afraid to tell him to stop his behavior, that's a big problem. When you talk about red lights, that's a big one. 

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#68 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 07:21 AM
 
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Her concern is precisely the one you're stating here: could he change? Is he really as bad as she thinks he might be? If he could change, she would be ill-advised to break up the marriage, since it's very disruptive to the children and has the potential to lead to giving the father more access rather than less access to them. That's why she's here, trying to get feedback on the situation. it's not obvious what she should do, and I don't mean because he's gaslighting her and downplaying her concerns. It's not obvious because he's presenting one way inside their house and another way outside it. 

 

 

Either way, she may have reached a point where she is just fed up, which I understand completely.  However, that is one side of the story and some abuse and details on a forum don't qualify us to make huge calls IMHO and I wanted to bring a slightly more questioning than accusing viewpoint for her.  I don't think loveless, disrespectful, toxic marriages are good for kids.  But like she said they are kind of his prisoner for life.  Divorce from a guy like this just might get really abusive.  Can she protect the kids from that just by divorcing?  What is the best way to avoid his abuse?  Perhaps a divorce is not the answer to that, but it comes down to what she can tolerate and whether he is capable of change.  Financial issues should not be glazed over; it's not easy and she needs some objectivity, I agree.  That is not likely to happen in a forum and I hope she takes this as  small part of her counsel.

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#69 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 07:41 AM
 
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Either way, she may have reached a point where she is just fed up, which I understand completely.  However, that is one side of the story and some abuse and details on a forum don't qualify us to make huge calls IMHO and I wanted to bring a slightly more questioning than accusing viewpoint for her.  I don't think loveless, disrespectful, toxic marriages are good for kids.  But like she said he is kind of their prisoner for life.  What is the best way to avoid his abuse?  Perhaps a divorce is not the answer to that, but it comes down to what she can tolerate and whether he is capable of change.  Financial issues should not be glazed over; it's not easy and she needs some objectivity, I agree.  That is not likely to happen in a forum and I hope she takes this as  small part of her counsel.

 

I don't think anyone leaves their spouse because of advice from people who only know one part of the story. Some of what is required here is values clarification and reflecting back what we're reading. 

 

What we read was, she has seen a pattern with him riling up the children and then getting angry with them and lashing out physically. The one incident she reported seemed to her very extreme, and it read that way to the rest of us, too. She did not seem to have a reason to doubt the kid. If she thinks the child is reliable, I do, too. Obviously she took this seriously. Her question wasn't "should I believe my daughter," it was "is this as bad as i think it is." In some ways, the extreme responses are helpful, since everyone around her is all, "Tra-la-la, what a nice man, maybe your marriage will improve if you try harder." In other ways, of course, jumping right to the most catastrophic possible outcome is a way for the OP not to take it seriously! 

 

I don't agree that financial issues should be a determining factor. I think her original fear, that he could get 50/50 custody, is a reason to worry. The other stuff seems less important to me. The question is really, is he collaborating on financial decisions with her in the marriage? Because my guess is no. If they split up, I'm going to guess she'll wind up with less money but more control over it. 


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#70 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 09:25 AM
 
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Captain, I see your points, but I am not making any assumptions based on what little I know from her posts.  As I said, somebody looking for a nudge just might need a nudge, and I think that is what she came here for.  I don't feel comfortable giving anyone a nudge on something so serious.

 

I disagree about money.  Financial issues are never just financial issues.  If she takes her kids out of one bad environment and winds up putting them into another due to financial issues, it's something to be considered.  I see a lot of women go from one poor father figure right on to another, and no small part of it is for financial stability where they don't get to live separately from DH#2 and test the waters long enough.  Not that I think she will intend to do that, but so many do end up doing that.  See the forum for mixed parenting to see what I mean.

 

Sometimes, coping truly is not the wrong answer and in overly marry-and-divorce prone culture I don't think what she described is reason not to stop and reconsider the facts as they are. 

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#71 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 09:36 AM
 
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Eko, you are strong and brave, even if you don't always feel that way. Your feelings are normal. Don't hesitate to bounce your ideas and concerns off of a domestic violence counselor- you can call more than once! *hug*
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#72 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 09:38 AM
 
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I've never personally dealt with this (so take this with a grain or two of salt) but from my understanding since she has reported him, now an official report exists. Would that not be enough in a custody battle to keep visitation on a supervised level.
I have seen men get supervised visitation on a whole lot less than that...

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#73 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 10:06 AM
 
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I definitely started something I can't undo. I feel alternately relieved and excited (about life where people aren't angry all the time) and a sense of doom, like I've made a terrible mistake. Most advice I have gotten from family has been for me to be a better wife--make more money, or give more affection and sex, to keep the family together, that the best gift you can give your child is their dad...so this is difficult...I should try harder.

 

 

 

grouphug.gif I'm sorry that you have people in your life you feel that the problem is that you aren't perfect enough.

 

Personally, I think that the best thing we can give our children is a safe space. It's very basic. I do very much value having 2 parents in a family, and when one parent finds them self trying to decide between creating a safe space for their child or keeping the other parent around, that is just WRONG on so many levels. That really shouldn't have to be a choice. Part of the problem with you trying harder is that you cannot control his behavior -- no matter how hard you try. Only he can, and the more you try the more you are sending the message that it is YOU job, not his, to fix this.

 

As far as your counselor, does your husband show his true colors in counseling? Does the counselor have any idea what he is really like?

 

The kids aside, do you feel like you have to tiptoe around to keep him from loosing it?

 

One thing that has guided me as a parent is the knowledge that some day my kids will be adults, and will most likely talk to me about the choices I made and why I made them. I don't really care what others think of my choices, but I would like for when my kids are all grown up, for them to understand and think I made the right calls. I don't know if that will help you at all, but it might give you a different way to think through the situation.


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#74 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 10:07 AM
 
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I've never personally dealt with this (so take this with a grain or two of salt) but from my understanding since she has reported him, now an official report exists. Would that not be enough in a custody battle to keep visitation on a supervised level.
I have seen men get supervised visitation on a whole lot less than that...

 

I think it is pretty safe to assume that if this ends up in divorce, CPS will have no small part in the judge's ruling about custody for some time at least.  The OP also seems to be unsure if she made the right choice, however, and she came here questioning herself in the first place.  So, I am still holding out to see if she has any desire left to reconcile.  On one hand her point is that her husband is going to be understandably devastated about her involving CPS, but on the other hand, it doesn't have to negate the possibility of them working things out. The only things that dooms that option is still one or both making a conscious decision to end things. CPS can't make that decision.

 

Her action in calling CPS might just be the wakeup call he needed to understand that she will not tolerate his anger any more and is as serious as divorce.  But CPS is generally not good for kids welfare unless there is an emergency situation from what I have seen.  Sadly, based on the fact that he is already in therapy, it sounds like he will not take the right steps needed to save his marriage and change his behavior or else she would have given some indication that he is trying.

 

IF the latter is correct, I say to the original poster that now is the time to make your exit plan as others have already suggested. 

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#75 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 10:29 AM
 
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One thing that has guided me as a parent is the knowledge that some day my kids will be adults, and will most likely talk to me about the choices I made and why I made them. I don't really care what others think of my choices, but I would like for when my kids are all grown up, for them to understand and think I made the right calls. I don't know if that will help you at all, but it might give you a different way to think through the situation.

I love this LOTM!  When I was first reading this thread and Eko's posts I was moved by the idea of shared custody and what that would mean for the kids in terms of time with their dad. But, the more I read and as, you, Eko, continued to post I started to think of what your action is like for the kids and what that says to them. I know you said you felt your DH would not do serious harm to your kids and, because of that, I kind of feel the benefits of seeing their mom stand up for what a good relationship looks like, what positive parenting looks like, what a strong woman looks like, what trying your best looks like, what advocating for a children looks like... that this will far outweigh the disadvantages to taking action in this situation.  I hope things went well last night mama. Hugs again, Eko. 

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#76 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 10:41 AM
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I definitely started something I can't undo. I feel alternately relieved and excited (about life where people aren't angry all the time) and a sense of doom, like I've made a terrible mistake. Most advice I have gotten from family has been for me to be a better wife--make more money, or give more affection and sex, to keep the family together, that the best gift you can give your child is their dad...so this is difficult...I should try harder.

 

H comes home in a few hours. We will talk about separating. I'm embarrassed I reported him and afraid to tell him. We don't have the means to run 2 households. Between a rock and a hard place.

 

 

No, the best gift you can give your children is to stand up for them, which is what you have done.  I'm so proud of you.

 

And you didn't start this.  He did.  Keep reminding yourself of that.  

 

And remember that you can call the police any time you feel threatened by him.  


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#77 of 98 Old 06-26-2013, 02:44 PM
 
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No, the best gift you can give your children is to stand up for them, which is what you have done.  I'm so proud of you.

 

And you didn't start this.  He did.  Keep reminding yourself of that.  

 

And remember that you can call the police any time you feel threatened by him.  


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#78 of 98 Old 06-27-2013, 12:17 PM
 
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OK dear virtual friends.

 

So, the YWCA and the CPS people were encouraging and said that I am doing the right thing, but the therapist made me feel like I just need to work harder with H.

 

I called the domestic violence counselor in our area (YMCA). She said "red flags" all over the place. They advised me to call CPS. I called CPS. The social worker was "concerned" and also saw "red flags." She wondered why our therapist, a mandated reporter had not called to make a report. I made the report to them about today and about the smothering incident, which they may or may not investigate. He's Mr. All-American, smart, good looking, articulate.  He's never going to forgive me for reporting, even though its confidential, he'll know it was me, and they will probably just see it as my fault somehow or my overreacting.

 

Our therapist said that although the things we've been talking about in therapy are "problematic", and that she thinks he is trying and she thinks it was more of an issue of how to come to an agreement on how to discipline the children. Back to my original post, "Am I Overreacting?"

 

And now I've opened up our family to a agency that can take my kids away from me. Good move Mom. Excellent. And now I don't know what to do about him coming home tonight. 80% of the time he's fine to excellent. I feel fairly screwed.

 

I know you are questioning your actions to seek help now. I hope to put your mind somewhat at ease about opening yourself up to CPS. When I had to go to the YWCA domestic violence advocates in my area because my ex  the advocate showed me how good they are at seeing through facades. Your H may put up a good front, but realize that these people are trained to see beyond the facade. If they weren't there would be a whole lot more children who were not rescued from abusive situations. Even if he manages to put up a good front now, eventually that slips. You said that many of them saw "red flags" so they will come in with a heads-up so to speak.

 

Back to your original post I don't think you are overreacting. Some of the most helpful advice I received was document, document, document. I think you need to document and keep it in a safe place. If you have a trusted friend or family member I would have them keep the documentation for you. You are not alone, you will be believed, and there are many out there who have weathered these kinds of situations who can be a great source of support.  I hope you and your children are safe. Do you have a safe place to go if things get really ugly?

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#79 of 98 Old 06-27-2013, 12:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all. I wish I had time to respond to each of your well-thought and heartfelt posts.

 

I wrote him an email while he was at work saying that I wanted to talk about separating and why. So we did that when he came home. We have a lot of control/power/ego struggles when we discuss things and I think that until I had children (We were together 8 years before that), I was comfortable being compliant in a relationship. Don't get me started on my upbringing and history as to how that is.

 

This time every time he tried to deflect or defend his position, I came back to the non-negotiability of my stand that: Yelling or raising one's voice and handling children's bodies in any way in anger or with disrespect is not acceptable. Blaming or negating a child's experience, even if it is exaggerated in your opinion is not acceptable.

 

He is not always like that, and this is the only instance (as first posted) that was this bad. Although I am not discounting the emotional experience of his raising his voice and freezing out to control at all. And, this point I made.

 

In the end, he became completely contrite instead of defensive.

 

We chose to stay together at present (because, as a child of divorce, I know the defense of the father that a child feels and I don't want to put my kids in that position. They do love him.)

 

He apologized to the kids for his behavior. He asked for their help when they see him getting frustrated --- which is a red flag for me--- that is not their job.

 

He is not to physically intervene in any conflicts between the kids or handle them physically to gain compliance. He has to walk away and I will handle it until he gains the skills/mastery over his anger.

 

He is going to take a communication workshop, parenting classes and continue therapy -- with a new and hopefully more effective therapist to work on his issues.

 

I told him I called CPS and that they may investigate. I think it added the necessary gravity. He oddly wasn't angry about that as I expected.

 

I had to deal with my own feelings of fear, shame, et al. The classic "victim" blaming herself stuff. Its very disorienting to see my situation through the eyes of others. Some of it I know is other people seeing through their own lives and stories but some of it is accurate.

 

Must go now. Thanks for your continued support. I have also confided in someone close to me here where I live.

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#80 of 98 Old 06-27-2013, 12:59 PM
 
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I'm glad you've taken the next steps, eko-mom!  It sounds like you are holding strong, and all of your non-negotiables are completely reasonable in order to raise your children in a healthy home with love and respect.  I hope his contrition is genuine and life-altering.  I trust you will continue to do what you need to to protect your children if it is not.

 

It's hard for others (myself included) not to view this through our own lens, and I think the shouts of "leave immediately" are, in part, to make sure you understand the gravity of the situation.  To help snap you out of that victim self-doubt spiral.  To rouse the mama bear in you and bolster your confidence to take action.  It sounds like you are pretty clear-headed about this, and have alot of self-knowledge about your history (childhood and relationship).

 

I would only caution you that if he is abusive, you may notice a cycle.  As in, when he realizes he is losing a fight, and that you might leave - he may become extremely contrite, and super nice for an extended period.  And then, when he feels you trust him enough again - that he is not in any real danger of you walking out - he may exploit those feelings of trust and return to his old means of control.  The rage can return.  Just be on the lookout for this pattern, at any rate.

 

I do hope the new therapist and addition assistance will help change your lives for the better.

 

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#81 of 98 Old 06-27-2013, 01:05 PM
 
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I'm proud if you! I know whatever decision you made would not be easy. Hopefully this was the low point needed in order to turn around, change, and walk on in a different direction. I wish you all the best!

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#82 of 98 Old 06-27-2013, 02:10 PM
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I would only caution you that if he is abusive, you may notice a cycle.  As in, when he realizes he is losing a fight, and that you might leave - he may become extremely contrite, and super nice for an extended period.  And then, when he feels you trust him enough again - that he is not in any real danger of you walking out - he may exploit those feelings of trust and return to his old means of control.  The rage can return.  Just be on the lookout for this pattern, at any rate.

 

 

Hugs to you! hug.gif

 

This is good advice.  

And you may want to read the book "Why Does He Do That?"  by Lundy Bancroft.  

 

And the next time he does something as bad as sit on your daughter, call 911.  He needs real, immediate consequences for his actions.  I know you love him.  I know you want to stay married.  I won't fault you for that.  But continue to put your children first, regardless of whether or not your marriage works out.  Best wishes.  


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#83 of 98 Old 06-27-2013, 03:57 PM
 
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I'm relieved that he acknowledges his responsibility in this situation. Personal accountability and integrity are key in fixing such a problem. He's out of control when what he wants most is to be in control. It seriously wouldn't hurt to get him a 24 hour adrenal saliva test with the doc to find out if some of this behavior can be managed physically. If it can, that may reassure him that he can get through this and FIX IT, because, let's face it, the stereotypes exist for a reason and men like to fix things.

I married the first time as a teenager, and whenever my ex wasn't smoking pot or was popping pills, he was angry with me, rude to me, pressuring me for sex, and breaking my belongings. I swore I would never be with a man with a substance abuse problem again. Famous last words! My DH began drinking more and more heavily after LO was born (to medicate a few problems, not just regular new-baby-stress), until it became a very real, very frightening threat to not only our marriage but to our lives. He quit drinking completely and he's been as good as gold since, but we are still working, working, working all the time to repair the damage he did. After he quit drinking, DH foundered and moped for a while until I realized he needed to be told how to fix everything he'd nearly destroyed. It might have been hard for me (the admitted control freak) to avoid policing him in that situation had I not been at the take it or leave it stage with our marriage, and I think that served to snap him back to reality more than anything. I now tell him specifically what I need from him, rather than telling him what not to do (because he knows that: DON'T DRINK), and he now talks about how he feels. We pray together at times and never hesitate to call for a timeout or to raise an issue so that things neither escalate to an unhealthy point nor fester.

DH has never hurt LO but he has unintentionally scared the bejesus out of him; DH grew up in a very loud family, whereas LO and I are usually quiet unless we are in a social situation or playing. This is the kind of normal family stuff, I guess, but DH has really put the fear of God in LO when DH was merely laughing or expressing excitement. I have a congenital adrenal disorder so I startle easily and my fear response has always been anger (my mother was almost constantly verbally and physically abusive, so...), and I would usually yell at DH for startling us. It is hell to feel out of control of your own body and reactions, especially when that is not the true self inside you. Since I've not only been treating my adrenals but also purposely measuring my own response to things and meditating daily, we have greater peace in the house and I feel better and more in control. I'm not a yeller or an angry person, and for the past couple of years, I feel more like myself than I ever have. We are grain free and all organic (Paleo but for our raw milk and cheese), and our clean diet helps us maintain balanced minds.

I know my situation is different from yours, but I hope that you can see that your DH can take control of his hurt and fear and anger. Find out what he is so afraid of and you can halve the anger, I bet. If you are intent on staying with him and parenting with him (and I understand the myriad reasons why you would), then he has to be forthcoming with the mess and tangle within him. If he truly doesn't know, then he maybe needs to take a TO and find out. Please maintain an exit strategy and change it as your situation or location changes. There is no harm in being prepared for something that never happens, but you probably cannot afford the risk of being unprepared if ever SHTF.
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#84 of 98 Old 06-27-2013, 04:09 PM
 
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I was in a marriage like that too...and I discovered that his "anger issues" were deeper than I or any counselor could fix, that he was a dangerous man, a narcissist and a textbook sociopath (as you say about your husband, no one else would believe the awful way he acts - scratch that - IS!!!).  I wish to God I had seen the light much sooner and left him before my oldest's permanent memories could include his actions. FYI: DS1's therapist told me she would call CPS on me if I left the boys alone with him for any length of time. Period. 

 

Sounds like your situation would warrant the same warning...DO NOT TRUST HIM WITH THE CHILDREN!!!  If he loses it and tries to smother them when you're in the next room, what could he do (or has he done) when you're not around to stop him?!  And withdrawing and being cold is not "holding it together" - it's just a quieter form of abuse and manipulation.

 

A few words of advice:

 

Don't try to parent your husband - he is an adult, and chooses his own actions. If he loses it, it's not your fault or your responsibility to "fix" it - just tell him as calmly as possible that his actions are unacceptable, and quietly take the children away from the situation.  Like to your mom's house, or a friend's, or a shelter if you have to.

 

Document the abusive behavior, call the police even if you think you're overreacting, even after the fact.  I always thought "No, it's not really abuse, I'm just upset" but now I see things for what they were, and my instincts were right all along.  A manipulative, abusive man can twist your brain into second-guessing yourself, thinking you're the one at fault somehow...it's one of the big red flags of an abuser.  DO NOT LET HIM DO THAT TO YOU OR YOUR KIDS!!  He already had you warped into putting him as #1 before the kids came along, and that's the only way a man like that can see himself, as #1...he will never change.  Just read the post where you said: "In the end, he became completely contrite instead of defensive."  That is another red flag, another part of their cycle...once they see your strength and resolve, that YOU know they are in the wrong and won't stand for it, they try being contrite and promising change.  As others have said here, it lasts until they feel you won't really leave, and the nastiness returns until you reach that point again. It's up to YOU how many times the cycle continues, if at all.

 

Making it on your own is MUCH easier than you and your children living scared. Easier for them, and you.  They'll be much better off.  Just be patient with them through the adjustment period, they will understand in much less time than you might think.

 

Once you have a history of calling the police about his behavior, and you say he's already been in therapy for anger issues, that gives you full legal rights to demand supervised visits and take sole custody of your children when you divorce.  My sons' school has a copy of the court order and they would call the police if my ex tried to pick them up. It's that serious.

 

Sorry to be so blunt if you're still on the fence, but having been there myself, I see what you're still trying to come to terms with...and I get it, it's hard. It takes great strength to live in an abusive situation, and it always takes even greater strength to do what's right and get out.  For me, once my spirit was freed, I felt like a bird out of a cage, and could never go back. I suddenly realized how strong I truly am - and I pray for you and your kids you find the same realization.  Much love and luck to you, mama!

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#85 of 98 Old 06-27-2013, 08:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Pickle,

I am too aware of the cycle of abuse that you cite from relationships much earlier in my life. Thank you for the validation. I am watching for that because I am not going to go for lull-into-complacency BS for a second. I have made mental plans about what I need to do to make sure that there are not emotional/financial barriers to leaving if that needs to happen. I have until now been a little stuck in my own fairytale expectations and the slow water-torture-like experience it is to be around someone who is low-level angry most of the time to see where I need to stand.

 

I get it.

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#86 of 98 Old 06-27-2013, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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This is good advice.  

And you may want to read the book "Why Does He Do That?"  by Lundy Bancroft.  

 

And the next time he does something as bad as sit on your daughter, call 911.  He needs real, immediate consequences for his actions.  I know you love him.  I know you want to stay married.  I won't fault you for that.  But continue to put your children first, regardless of whether or not your marriage works out.  Best wishes.  

 

There is no question that if anything even remotely similar to this happens again, we are leaving. Period. Doing the documentation and calling CPS was the best advice that I got. Even though I keep feeling shame and dread about calling CPS, also I feel stronger because if I do have to leave I am not as afraid of him getting the kids alone as I was---one of the main reasons that I was afraid to leave.

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#87 of 98 Old 06-27-2013, 09:24 PM
 
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Eko-mom,

 

You seem to have a level head on your shoulders, and know from past experience where your boundaries need to lay in order to protect your kids.  I would have sought anonymous input in your shoes, too.  There is nothing wrong with questioning huge choices however you need to.

 

Do consider the option of cognitive behavioral therapy for your hubbeh; excellent for anger management issues (I know from personal experience).  And yes, your therapist doesn't seem on top of things.  I think your husband needs individual therapy.   Maybe he is angry at you; too bad.  He's gotta learn to express himself like an adult with an individual therapist.

 

 I am relieved that your husband is turning out to be cooperative.  I really, really hope he is sincere.  He sounds like my husband in that he can be tamed a bit once he knows the other person is just 'not havin' it'.  Hopefully you can ensure his aggression doesn't turn into something passive and more sinister by continuing your marital therapy with a more proactive therapist while he does CBT.

 

Wishing you all the best!

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#88 of 98 Old 06-28-2013, 11:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree he needs individual therapy. I am familiar with CBT. I do think that might help him. Our therapist was not on top of her game. She brought out some things, pointed out his anger, but he's really hard to take to the mat.

 

I looked up the narcissism that some people here mentioned. Reading about that has been an eye opener. I don't think he's a full-blown narcissist, but for sure there are some things he does that are right on that I have been seeing as my fault for letting them bother me. I have been letting him take me down with his little sarcasms about me and big assertions that the problems in our marriage do not stem from his actions but my reactions, or personality, sensitivity.

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#89 of 98 Old 06-30-2013, 09:04 PM
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I just wanted to include my favorite quote from Maya Angelou:  "When people show you who they are, believe them the first time."  


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#90 of 98 Old 07-01-2013, 09:07 AM
 
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I just wanted to include my favorite quote from Maya Angelou:  "When people show you who they are, believe them the first time."  

It was this exact quote I saw written on a whiteboard at my son's school, that finally made me realize my ex needed to go!  Great one, A&A!

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