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Those of you who have/had abusive partners. What were their families like

(38 Posts)
flipchart Mon 13-May-13 17:20:04

I hear so many horrible tales about what some men put there wives and partners through it is heartbreaking. I know that you can date someone for long while before there true colours come through but I have often wondered (being the mother of two sons) is what is their background like.
Were they treated bad or with respect by their parents and sibling? or were they hit or severely punished for misdemeanours.

I look at the young junior school kids walking past my house each day and wonder if any of them end up being abusers.

meglet Tue 14-May-13 07:21:28

XP's family were a 1950's throwback. Dad worked, mum did all the housework. I should have listened to my gut instinct and run for the hills the first time I met them all together, but I tried to loosen my judgy-pants and be open minded.

You live and learn.

Dahlen Tue 14-May-13 07:22:42

My abusive X definitely was a repeating history type.

I know he jury is out on the nature/nurture debate, but knowing my XP as I do I rather feel that the basic personality buildlng blocks of who he is are basically fine - it's been his experiences growing up that have made him what he is. I genuinely believe that if he'd been born into a family such as mine, he would have been different. Which isn't to say that I think he can 'blame' his childhood and absolve himself of any responsibility. Some people are born into abusive families and don't go on to repeat the pattern. Ultimately, all behaviour is a choice.

As the debate develops about the field of epigenetics, however, I think we are learning that the effects on a child in the womb, let alone the first few months of life, are long-lasting and profound. The link between the mother's stress level during gestation and the child's ability to respond to stress in later life is already documented.

I definitely believe there are two types of abusers though - the spoilt brat type mentioned in Cogito's analogy, and those for whom such behaviour has always been a normal part of life (quite often the ones who get in trouble for other minor assaults, etc). Although there are lots of similarities in their behaviour - particularly towards women - the place from where it comes from is quite different IMO.

MNBlackpoolandFylde Tue 14-May-13 07:30:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SundaysGirl Tue 14-May-13 09:15:52

Well...yes a couple of people spring to mind who had absent fathers / mothers and narc other parent. Grew up being told / feeling they were worthless and not good enough.

However I also know lots of other people who have had similar upbringings and did not go on to become abusive.

FlightyAphrodite Tue 14-May-13 09:34:41

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Offred Tue 14-May-13 09:37:22

My x's childhood/family were/are dire. His mum's an alcoholic, she sold her flat in her fifties so she could buy booze. She is now dying of alcohol related illnesses (he is 28). She is aggressive and violent and emotionally absent.

His dad has been in and out, gave him cocaine when he was 8, about 10 years ago told them he was dying of cancer (lie) and has now completely disappeared and never met his grandchildren. There are step/half children dotted aroud the country. There's a weird atmosphere surrounding sex in the whole family, he has slept with some of his step sisters, there was a lot of drunken sex his parents were having with other people when he was small. His mum has had numerous drunken violent relationships all his life while he has lived with her. He was very sexually abusive to me.

SgtTJCalhoun Tue 14-May-13 09:51:44

flightyaphrodite I think we may have been married to the same man shock.

These women that being their sons up "traditionally" are creating monsters. My ex's Mum did everything for him. He told me I was very aggressive, belligerent and not a real woman because I got angry about his total refusal to do any domestic task and I mean anything. He would make a sandwich and leave all the bits over the side. If his top was on the line, he would get it but leave the rest of the dry washing out there.

However saying that there are also girls in his family and all of them are high achievers, they were encouraged to believe they could do anything they wanted. I sometimes think that ex took the "traditional" part of his upbringing and left everything else because that's what suited him.

MummytoKatie Tue 14-May-13 10:43:30

Stepmooster - My mum grew up in a similar sort of situation to you. She's lovely. A good mum and a good grandmother to dd.

I think the main reason is that she was able to see and understand the behaviour of her parents and recognise that it wasn't right - in the same way you do.

I think you will be fine.

NicknameTaken Tue 14-May-13 11:03:26

I vaguely recall reading a book review in last weekend's Sunday Times - some new book out about the nature/nurture debate. You can see differences in the brains of criminals and sociopaths linked to poor self-control/response to stimulus. Poor nutrition plays a surprisingly big role. But it's not all pre-determined.

My ex was definitely shaped by his childhood - a battle between his parents about who got to keep him, settled by his father just taking him and giving him to his own mother (ex's grandmother) to raise. The father would show up and alternate between telling him he was brilliant, destined to be a leader among men, and beating him up. He allied himself with his father as the powerful one, and despises his mother. I didn't realize for ages because he calls his grandmother Mum and speaks of her in adoring tones.

And me - I had a happy childhood, but I'm the eldest of three and got the role of the one who is responsible and never the needy one.

I fear my dd choosing a man who is like her dad.

paintyourbox Tue 14-May-13 12:23:57

My ex's family was very unconventional.

His DM was one of 7, abandoned by her mother, placed in a children's home by her father for a time- he couldn't cope with 7 children so would periodically put some of them in care. She ended up with MH problems which left her unable to work and lives a rather isolated life.

His DF disappeared when his mother was pg. He did not know him at all.

His mother defended him regardless of what he did, even when I told her about his abusive nature she just hugged me and said: "Well you know, boys will be boys"

I don't know for sure but she alluded to some abuse as a child. I wonder if this made her feel his behaviour was acceptable.

I came from an abusive family set-up and I think he could see I was vulnerable and a good "target" in some ways.

StillSeekingSpike Tue 14-May-13 12:33:47

'Absent dad, pretty feckless by all accounts.
Complete narc mum, it was all pretty Freudian in their house, she brought him up alone, he owed her for that and she would never let him forget it.'

YY to this. My ex's mother would sleep outside his door all night in case he needed anything; cooked him two meals every night in case he changed his mind. He did nothing in the house at all, she would even put toothpaste on his toothbrush- and always went on holiday just the two of them. She then died when he was 17 and he was totally unable to cope
His Dad was a lovely man to me- but I think he'd just given up on the filial relationship, and was very upset at how abusive his son was.

pinkpeony Tue 14-May-13 12:59:01

Interesting thread. STBXH falls in the "spoilt brat" camp. Only child, wealthy parents who completely adore him and never denied him anything, mother who has MH issues as well (H has MH issues too) and put him up on a pedestal and worshipped him, did absolutely everything for him. His parents lovely people, but definitely a weird family dynamic, some co-dependency kind of thing, MIL and H very close and would gang up together against FIL at times, but FIL would always step in to pick up the pieces when H messed up. He was never taught independence by his parents, and grew up with a huge sense of entitlement, inflated view of his own talents - and that women should be at his beck and call like MIL - and never met his own unrealistic standards. Think he was secretly jealous of his dad, who is very talented, good-looking and popular, and very successful in everything he ever undertook (not just financially). Even though H also talented, good-looking and popular, but I suspect he secretly thought he could never measure up to his dad. ILs are both in denial about his being abusive (both EA and PA with me) to some extent (MIL blames it all on me).

Lweji Tue 14-May-13 13:42:37

My mother was raised by an abusive narc mother (my GM) and she isn't that bad.
Not that good either smile, but not abusive.

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