what do you do when your child has seen violence? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 05-12-2003, 10:05 PM - Thread Starter
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so my son is four years old, at two i was holding him in my arms when his father hit me so hard i blacked out for a moment. not to mention the split in my lip.
i don't think he fully remembers it as i don t believe he could even fully comprehend what happend.
there had been no violence before or after that one time, untill now.
this is not your typical wife-beater story.
i believe my sons father is sick, and is in need of help. he has been a victim of violence from his own father when he was born till he was 4 and his mom left.
however he did not know this untill last month when i "told on him" to his family and they all came forth with the "sorded history"

well anyway , enough of my drama.
my question is well um, what should i do?
i got one book so far, its called Real Boys, and its really really great so far.
but does my child need counseling?
what kind of things does he need to hear his father say to him?
and what does he need to hear from me?
what can i do to help him deal with his own anger?
tips, advice, tell me off. i need everyhing you got to give me on this cause i dont want to screw this up.
i want this cycle to break here and now.

TIA momma's
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#2 of 7 Old 05-13-2003, 03:26 AM
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i used to work in the domestic violence arena.

it is great that you want to stop the cycle of violence. most men who become abusers witnessed abuse in their past or were abused as children. your son is so lucky to have you caring about him and wanting the best for him.

i would suggest you watch him closely and see if he needs counseling. research shows that even fetuses in the womb can react to the violence their mothers experience. your son may not remember a specific incident but he may remember a feeling, an inkling that violence happened. he may react to tension in the air or raised voices in ways that seem like he's overreacting. he may eventually act out the scene he witnessed with toys or with another child.

the most important thing to do to stop the cycle is for your partner to get help immediately. especially if the violence has returned, with such a violent past, your partner needs to work through his feelings and emotions. he also needs to work through whatever he was feeling the times he has hit you. he will need to be accountable to a counselor or group of other people who have used violence in the past. it is not enough to promise that it will never happen again. it is a great start to actually not hit when you feel like it but that is just the beginning. it is also not enough to do everything but use physical violence, e.g., swear, slam doors, punch walls, yell, etc. all of those things are violence: just not directly physical violence toward you. it sounds like he has started being violent again. men who have been abusive do not stop being abusive overnight and without help.

i would suggest that you also seek help for yourself, not because it is your fault. hear me now: IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! but because of your safety and your child/children's safety. violence tends to escalate. if it has started back up again, you have no way of know when he will go from making you black out with a smack to putting you in the hospital or worse. PLEASE seek help. domestic violence agencies are confidential and can help you make a safety plan.
i hope that you can find a domestic violence agency near you, the nat'l domestic violence hotline for the US is 1-800-799-SAFE. they may also be able to suggest a place for your partner to seek help.

i hope this information is helpful to you. good luck. i will keep you in my thoughts.
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#3 of 7 Old 05-13-2003, 05:35 AM
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I came from a family plagued with domestic violence. I am so sorry your son has to grow up with this. I want to assure you that he know what is going on. He feels the tention. He knows when daddy is angry and mommy is hurt. It hurts him too. My parents tried to hide the abuse from us kids. They tried their hardest to hide the abuse from us. My dad would only push my mom around in their bedroom. I cannot tell you how many nights I laid awake crying, scared to death of the noises muffled noises I heard coming from their bedroom. My sister told me that her first memory was when she was 2, and watching daddy holding a knife to mommy's neck.

Children internalize these things. I grew up being a depressed, suicidal child and teenager. I thought I was no good, ugly, women were no good. I heard all the names my father called my mother, and I thought I must be those things too. I was unable to have a good relationship with boys and men. My DF is the first relationship I have had that hasn't been bad in some way or another. I am watching my little sisters live through their own hells now, even though my parnets have been divorced for 10 years. It still affects us every day of our lives, and I'm sure always will.

Your husband is NOT a good father to your child. He may love your child, but that is not enough. A good father would never treat his childs mother the ways you discribed your husband treating you. A good father would never hit his wife while she held his child in her arms. It makes me so sad to think of these things.

Ofcourse your husband was a victim himself. That is how the cycle continues. Unless you stop this NOW your son is likely to become a sick, abusive man himself. PLEASE leave this relationship NOW. If you feel you still love your husband, separate and get counsiling. You can't make your husband change. You can change the future for your son. Please take the affects of this abuse on your son VERY seriously. Children feel domestic violence even if you try to shelter them from it. It is hurting him. Please take him out of this situation, he doesn't diserve to live in an abusive home, and neither do you!
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#4 of 7 Old 05-13-2003, 09:33 AM
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Oh you sweet mama,

I tend to agree with Jessica.........

As hard and as painful as it my be to hear...you must protect you body and your and your childs spirit.............

contact your local or closest domestic violence center (ywca is excellent place to start)

Let them know you and your dh are wanting to restore your marriage adn that your dh desires to break this cycle...............

Blessings, peace adn protection for you and your dear son,

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#5 of 7 Old 05-13-2003, 02:21 PM
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Please let us know if your husband has agreed to have counseling. That is non-negotiable. If he wants to have any sort of healthy relationship with you or your son, he HAS TO have counseling.

It can't be said enough. If there is ANY chance your husband is going to act violently again, you MUST leave. Hard as it is. Like Rachael said, violent actions is not only hitting people, it's any kind of violent actions; outbursts of anger, hitting things, etc. For the sake of your child, you CANNOT expose him to that.

If I were in your situation, I would consult a professional to see if it is appropriate to bring the subject up with your son, in case he doesn't bring it up himself. He needs to talk about it, even if he doesn't initiate the dialogue. I fully believe he will internalize the turmoil in your household (however infrequent) and will feel it's his fault unless you tell him it isn't.

I don't think he needs to hear anything from his father UNLESS his father is getting help.

I encourage you to find the strength to do the right thing. Please don't let it continue.

Much Love
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#6 of 7 Old 05-13-2003, 03:22 PM
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I agree with a lot of what has been said.

*You* not tolerating violence and your dh seeking help for himself is good measure.

I think that your intuition as a mother should be your guide right now. He may need help as well. I think when children are too young to talk about their feelings or what they witnessed it can do deep inside them because it was never allowed to become resolved. Because of this he might not be able to tell you that things are bothering him and he needs help.

I admire your courage to do the hard work of ending a viscious cycle now!!

Debra Baker
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#7 of 7 Old 05-13-2003, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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o mammas thanks so much for your support.

i am a little fuzzy headed these days so let me clear some things up.
i am not with him, o and we were never married. we were together for 8 years though. since i was 18.

i have not been romantically involved with him since he hit me two years ago. and i have no intention of ever being so again.

he does admit it was and is wrong but he still has a long way to go.

he just started a new job 3 weeks ago and IF he keeps it then he'll get benifits in a little over two months from now and he has agreed to get counseling. we'll see if he acually does. this weekend he is going to the library and is going to look up some books on this sort of thing. self help type stuff you know?
i wish i could recommend some stuff for him.

i have the domestic violence number stuck to my phone

so the thing thats going on now, this violence started up about 2 months ago again breifly.
now it seems calm agian, but we have managed to have some conversations about it. some of them over the phone since that was the only way i felt safe.
not working (him) is a trigger for his violence, since he feels like a failer when he is not providing. so as long as he is working there is at least some sanity for him. and it also helps build his self esteem. which as all of us know about people who dominate other people do it mainly because they feel low themselves.
so the better he feels about himself, the less likely hell feel like he needs to defend himself.
right now its very important to me that we get along. i dont want to end up being enimies with him when we'll have a child to raise for the rest of our lives and i could do wihtout the drama of fighting over the child.
so far hes never done a thing to Fionn, but hes still young and hopefull I or he will never have to cross that bridge.

wow that was alot, but i guess i need to talk alot about it.
i have to go now, ill post more later.
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