Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

I could really use some advice. I think this is the place to get it.

(27 Posts)
Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 13:50:55

Married to dh 10 years. 2 dc. Ds 11 and dd 5.
Our marriage has a history of emotional and verbal abuse. Not so for two years now after a short break up, owing to his behaviour. Life has been overall very peaceful. I have struggled to forgive and forget though. His actions have left damage to our relationship and trust has not yet been rebuilt. I think this is natural, and he is understanding of that.

Anyway...yesterday morning an incident occurred. Ds spilled some muesli and dh cuffed him off the head. I didn't see it, I was upstairs getting dressed. I shot down to see ds crying and sweeping up muesli. I said "what happened?" and ds said "dad hit me on the head" while tears spilled. I was distraught and asked dh "why did you hit him on the head?!". He spun round and snarled "what??!!" at me. He has never lifted a hand before.

I told ds to go and get dressed, and followed him down to ask what happened, and then to reassure him I wouldn't be letting this lie. He quickly calmed down, and went to school. In the meantime dh left for work.

Anyway - it went round and round my head until I was quite stressed by the whole thing. I worried about what was going through our son's head, the decline in my dh's behaviour and about the fact that ds might well mention the incident at shool!

I decided to speak to my local Women's Aid for advice. I explained what had happened, and the lady was very nice. supportive and informative as you'd expect. However, she informed me that because the incident involved a child, she was obligated to inform social services. I was shocked, but understood the reasoning behind it, and willingly provided my details.

About three hours later a social worker phoned. She wanted to ask me what had happened, and whether or not I felt our son was safe. I repeated the story and said yes, I felt our son was safe, and that I had phoned Women's Aid simply to talk and be advised. She accepted this, and said that she would pass on our details to the team, and it would then be decided whether it was a child protection issue, or far more likely a follow up phone call to close the case so to speak.

The SW was very keen to assure me that she was there to support us as a family, and not to create ructions. I was obviously quite distressed with the whole thing, but she did not make me feel more frightened or judged. I felt able to discuss what had gone on with her.

Later that day, dh got home from work, and went straight in to see ds to apologise for his conduct. Ds came home from school on good form, and he seemed outwardly unscathed.

When the kids were both in bed, I told dh what had unfolded during the day. He was not happy. Shouting, accusations, stupid threats (non violent)...
I stuck to my guns and insisted that I had sought advice only, and genuinely did not know WA would involve SS, but that the whole mess had been created by his actions in the first place.
Then I went to bed.

He left for work in silence this morning, although I wouldn't say he was giving off aggro vibes, more shamed ones. Sheepish.

Still haven't heard back from SS.
Anyone...what is likely to come of this? The SW said 9 times out of 10 it ends with a follow up phonecall. There's an outside chance they might want to talk to dh or ds.
I am very anxious about all of this.

I am anxious about the future too. I think my plan is to get him to move out, as I feel a split is now inevitable.

I'm just trying to get through today though. What will SS do?

kalidanger Tue 05-Mar-13 17:47:18

Your relationship is on it's last legs and now your H has started hitting your DS and snarling at you? And your first thought was to ask WA for advice, which is obvs great, but that indicates that you've got no idea what's normal anymore.

I feel a split is now inevitable Seems like it, yeah.

Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 17:27:19

I don't think it would happen in most cases either. I do think it has happened to some people though, and they aren't neccessarily bad parents.

Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 17:25:15

I wouldn't do it.
I was astonished at dh. We have never hit.
I'm just trying to explain how my thought processes have gone.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 05-Mar-13 17:18:59

Waiting that is massive denial on your part. It is not normal and wouldn't happen in most cases.

no it couldn't happen to any parent.

i have never hit my child around the head full stop and never will - let alone for spilling cereal.

it's not a knee jerk reaction to worry when a previously abusive man assaults your son. it's rational. i'm sorry you've then u-turned and doubted yourself when your instincts were spot on imo (to get advice and to reassure your son that that would not be the end of it).

Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 16:18:58

What it is, is that it's a combination of both the incident yesterday morning, and the fact that our relationship has been damaged by his previous behaviour.
I am mistrustful of him, and fear that any display of temper is him going back to the way he used to be. I can't seem to seperate normal exasperation with bad behaviour any more.
What happened yesterday morning could have happened to a lot of parents, grouchy in the morning and seeing clumsy, messy behaviour from a child, but as he used to be so short tempered, I fear it is more sinister. He's never been violent in a physical sense, but he used to go off the deep end over nothing all the time. Things are a lot better between us all now, but this incident has set us back.

That's why I called WA. To get that off my chest. To make sense of my own feelings and reactions. I needed somewhere to put them. I feel like it has really blown up in my face, sadly, although I cannot fault WA or SS for their actions. It is understandable.

When I say that a split seems inevitable, I think I mean that this is not a good way for a marriage to be, lacking trust and knee jerk reactions. I think my faith in him has been irrepairably damaged.
That makes me very sad, but I can't help but feel he has brought it upon himself. It's the consequence of his past conduct. I still love him, but sometimes love isn't enough. You need trust as well.

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Tue 05-Mar-13 16:11:22

Wow Fluffy, if you think it's appropriate to hit a child round the head for spilling cereal then maybe you should be reported.

OP I think you did the right thing, and I think you know what you need to do next. No one should have to put up with verbal abuse.

cestlavielife Tue 05-Mar-13 16:03:03

maybe it would be good anyway if SS called to speak to DH, and to talk to both of you calmly about hitting ds around the head and why it isnt a good idea to do this. especially over spilled cereal...both of you because you both his parents.

no harm at all in him/both attending parenting classes on strategies to deal wtih spilled cereal...

if dh is sorry and it wont happen again then that will be it, wont it?

Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 15:42:50

I'm not scared. Well...not of my dh anyway. I can understand why he's pissed off. I spoke to him just a while ago, and he feels terrible, but he's not angry. He's calm and quite happy to talk things through tonight.

What actually happened is as described in the OP. That's what happened. No more, no less.

she's also missing the point that he whacked him round the head for something as trivial as spilling a bit of cereal. unless she thinks that's normal. (sorry for the cats mother business but can't remember posters name and in a rush)

Horsemad Tue 05-Mar-13 15:26:33

I understand how you feel, it's horrible having rung WA to offload, you now feel let down by them because they got SS involved.

In most cases like yours, SS do not end up
having to be involved, but WA have an obligation to safeguard children that may be at risk as I'm sure you can understand.

Try and relax, most likely it won't escalate any further.

cestlavielife Tue 05-Mar-13 15:26:00

"history of emotional and verbal abuse.... . short break up, owing to his behaviour..... ... His actions have left damage to our relationship and trust has not yet been rebuilt." "the decline in my dh's behaviour " "Shouting, accusations, stupid threats "

SS are not going to get invovled again if everything is fine and peaceful and happy. they might call you to check for procedure...and if you say all is fine -well so be it. you happy ds happy h happy. no problem.

but you called for advice because of the history..and your fears that the bad stuff is happening all over again??

did he try to calm you down say but you know i've changed and nothing bad will happen... did he show remorse; or surprise, as of course he would never hit ds and you know that dont you!! no - he shouted/accused etc.

one problem tho - you didnt witness it.
you dont know what actually happened. but you trust your son?
and you scared because you know what he capable of?

what did actually happen?

GreatUncleEddie Tue 05-Mar-13 15:24:04

OP I'm a family law solicitor. Think about how under-resourced social services are. The most that will happen is a visit to check all is ok. A letter or phone call is more likely. They will not do anything else, unless there is more to your situation than you have described. Don't worry.

Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 15:12:32

That's it. I just wanted to talk over my concerns.
Now my guts are churning and the longer it goes by without a follow up call, the more churned up I feel.

I didn't expect any of this.

cappuccinodays Tue 05-Mar-13 15:08:18

wandw, i feel for you as you wanted advice and somewhere to vent and feel safe (WA) and then this... it is just procedure. ride it out, or can you proactively followup with them and express how it is making you feel and that you want it to a close?

Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 14:55:22

However, what is done is done now.

I feel very conflicted at the moment.

Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 14:54:31

You are missing the fact that I didn't report him to SS. I phoned WA to talk and get some advice. They reported to SS.

If I had known they would do that, I would not have bothered with them.

hi. i actually think it's very good that ss were informed - and that you called WA and were willing to give your details. it sends a very clear message to your dh and to your son about the acceptability of this kind of behaviour.

i don't think you should feel nervous about SS - it is your husband who should feel nervous.

if you really do want him to move out then now, with WA and SS support might be a good time to move for that. is it what you want?

fluffyraggies Tue 05-Mar-13 14:52:11

"for two years ... Life has been overall very peaceful. I have struggled to forgive and forget though. His actions have left damage to our relationship and trust has not yet been rebuilt. I think this is natural, and he is understanding of that"

OP i can understand the above statement, but i can't understand exactly what you are saying has happened to make you arrive at:

"I think my plan is to get him to move out, as I feel a split is now inevitable."

Is it the incident with your son? Or is it "His actions have left damage to our relationship"

I don't want to sound sniffy, it's just that in my opinion the incident with your son was not a big deal. It was a cuff round the head, and he apologised. I'd be fuming if my DH reported me to social services for cuffing one of my DDs round the head. Sorry. Maybe i'm genuinely missing something.

Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 14:45:04

I am trying not to. I just want it done and over with.

cappuccinodays Tue 05-Mar-13 14:39:31

I meant "dont be too frightened about anything coming of it"

cappuccinodays Tue 05-Mar-13 14:38:54

it would be to me too, however it is just procedure. I hope it gets sorted out soon with the phonecall and be done with it, I would be too firghtened about anything coming of it, more importantly to decide the way forward within your family :-)

Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 14:27:07

Another bump..sorry. I am sitting here feeling quite strung out.

Waitingandworrying Tue 05-Mar-13 14:08:23

Thank you. Hopefully that will be it.
I am not a high drama person at all. I'm not the sort to lurch from crisis to crisis - this is all big drama to me, and quite frightening.

cappuccinodays Tue 05-Mar-13 14:02:50

Just read your thread and i am sorry you are going through this. I didnt want to not reply as youve bumped, i dont have any experience however I do think you will just get a followup phonecall from them, dont panic. Your H has apologised, your son is unscathed. You were right to get advice and it does not necessarily mean you will split up over this. Perhaps try relate together?
I hope you are ok, it is easy to blow it all up when you are in the middle of it...

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now