Daughter and wife in physical fight - what to do?

(186 Posts)

My 13 yr old daughter is really pushing boundaries at the moment, all the usual smirking and cheeky answers etc. But today which was meant to be a family day began with her refusing to put her shoes on. It sounds silly but it just got more and more antagonistic.

I managed to make peace with her and she helped me in the garden for a an hour or so.

But before we went out an argument about clothes with her mother got so out of hand I had to physically step in and pull them apart as her mum was actually trying to throttle her.

They both said appalling things which neither really mean and they spent the rest of the afternoon apart, and things have calmed down now but U'm just so shaken and upset by what happened I just don't want anything like this to happen again...

lisad123everybodydancenow Thu 15-Aug-13 22:14:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HeySoulSister Thu 15-Aug-13 22:14:51

Family day? Perhaps these are a point of conflict. I'd leave her to do her own thing if she preferred

Violence is never acceptable. They both need this re iterating. Did your wife apologise?

She did apologise.

And I pointed out how horrific it would sound out of context. I spent a long time with my daughter talking things through in the afternoon and when she went to bed I talked things through with my wife.

It was an horrific moment, even worse that my 2½ yr old was in the same room, mercifully she was oblivious.

It breaks my heart to see them fight.

ExcuseTypos Thu 15-Aug-13 22:25:16

Your wife 'throttled' your dd? I'd want your wife to leave the family home.

She needs to go to the dr and get some help so this never happens again.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 22:29:49

And I pointed out how horrific it would sound out of context

I'm not sure what you mean by that?

It sounds horrific in any context

Because throttling your child, is. confused

TheYoniWayIsUp Thu 15-Aug-13 22:33:45

Your wife needs to go. Temporarily if necessary, but your daughter needs to see that you will not accept anyone being violent against her.

My mother was a nightmare when I was growing up, and my dad 'wouldn't take sides'. Well he bloody should have, I was a child.

Please don't fail her now. Teenagers are meant to be hard work- physical violence is not the answer.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 22:35:08

OP, what did your DD say when her Mum apologised?

Did they talk things out?

I managed the peace between them and 4 hours later they were able to go clothes shopping together(!)

My wife is under treatment for severe emotional issues (not an excuse, just a fact). But when she sees red she cannot be argued or reasoned with.

I've told her she needs to go back to the Dr a.s.a.p. and get some help.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 22:51:17

Yes but did your wife just say 'sorry', or did she explain that she was ashamed (if indeed she was) and that there is never any excuse for violence?

If your wife 'sees red', she could have actually killed your DD if you hadn't have been there to step in between them.

Do you think your DW is aware of how serious it all is?

AdoraBell Thu 15-Aug-13 22:53:18

How does DD feel about this, did she tell you? And how does she view the apology?

As already said, it is horrific in any context, and if had been you instead of her mother it would be viewed as domestic violence by most people. In reality it is, gender makes no difference.

Your wife needs to take urgent and serious steps to control her temper and not simply rely on apologising. Don't let it turn into a cycle of attack/apology/attack. My FIL does this with a GC, hits him and then says 'are we still friends?' Don't let your family slip into that.

ExcuseTypos Thu 15-Aug-13 22:53:19

I'd insist she's makes an appointment tomorrow.

You really need to protect your children. You can't all be walking around on egg shells waiting for her to lose her temper again.

ExcuseTypos Thu 15-Aug-13 22:55:07

And as Worra points out, if you hadn't been there to remove your wife, she could have killed your dd.

mignonette Thu 15-Aug-13 22:56:06

Can you go with her to the GP to ensure a complete picture of what happened is discussed? Is any other service involved such as a CPN/Mind/other MH services?

I sympathise with you OP and can imagine just how shaken and shaky you are probably feeling.

Whilst I agree that this absolutely cannot happen (I was continually physically/emotionally abused by my Mother and my Father) I also hope that anybody who offers you advice here doesn't offer it in an aggressive or hectoring tone. You have asked for help and support so clearly you want to do something.

All you can do is to support your daughter, recognise that she will be feeling pretty shocked and that actually sometimes seeing a parent react in this way can cause delayed response. She may have gone shopping but that might have been a cathartic appeasement by the pair of them and the true reaction will come later.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 22:59:50

Whilst I agree that this absolutely cannot happen (I was continually physically/emotionally abused by my Mother and my Father) I also hope that anybody who offers you advice here doesn't offer it in an aggressive or hectoring tone

I can't imagine anyone doing that??

The OP has done nothing wrong, it's his wife who appears to be the abuser...not him confused

tribpot Thu 15-Aug-13 23:00:08

when she sees red she cannot be argued or reasoned with.

This doesn't sound like a safe person to be around children - big or small.

AdoraBell Thu 15-Aug-13 23:00:11

And the 2.5 yr old, she may not articulate it but she knows what happened. I know this because my mother used to send me upstairs while my father beating my siblings, apparently it was okay as long as I didn't see it, but I heard it and it's stayed with me.

onenutshortofasnickers Thu 15-Aug-13 23:00:22

So your wife throttling your 13 year old daughter is
child abuse. Something your daughter will never forgive, all kids push boundaries, really badly but as a parent you never ever, ever, do that.

You need to chose you daughter over your wife now!

Sounds like there is ongoing stuff and I bet your wife is doing more when you aren't there- that's why your daughter is pushing boundaries.

Why didn't you call the police fgs? If you weren't there would your daughter be dead?

No matter of 'emotional issues' make it okay to see red and not be reasoned with and then throttle your CHILD.

If social services find out and you haven't made your wife leave they will take your daughter and any other children away from you. You would also fall under child abuse with neglect for failing to keep you children safe/keeping them in a dangerous environment.

If you don't want that to happen or anything else again; your wife has to leave until she is not going to see red.

Anything less that that is just silly and your putting your wife ahead of your children.

That's my advice and my opinion, please don't let your daughter down.

cory Thu 15-Aug-13 23:01:24

"But when she sees red she cannot be argued or reasoned with."

Does she realise, and do you realise, how unsafe this is? How easily she could seriously injure your older dd and emotionally damage your younger dd?

I would do two things:

first tell your wife that she must make this appointment tomorrow

secondly tell your wife (and your daughter) that no violence is acceptable in your home and that if it happens again you will ring the police

you have to mean this

and be prepared to see it through

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:05:07

OP, is there anyone your wife could stay with for a while until she has at least spoken to her GP?

If I were in your position, I would feel completely unable to leave the house and leave her alone with the kids.

What's going to happen when you go to work?

You'll be worried sick if it means leaving them together.

mignonette Thu 15-Aug-13 23:05:18

Worra I'm talking about the tone of some posters who can be very !!! !!!.

Have seen some posters shot down in flames by over excited responders and can imagine (from my own experience) just how shaken the OP must be. Wanted to suggest treading carefully and not scaring him off grin by aggressively demanding that his wife must leave the house. That would actually cause more trauma to the child who would feel responsible for that...

cory Thu 15-Aug-13 23:07:03

I think we all sympathise with the OP and understand how worrying this must be for him.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:07:55

Oh I see, sorry mignonette blush

I thought you were saying that people might be aggressive and blame the OP grin

FWIW though, I would suggest she leaves the house...at least until she's sought help.

Especially if the OP is going to have to struggle with leaving them alone together...and going to work etc.

mignonette Thu 15-Aug-13 23:10:12

Maybe if OP's daughter went to a friends for the day or a relative if there was one nearby? Just to give some time and space to all concerned..

hufflebottom Thu 15-Aug-13 23:12:30

yes your wife is totally in the wrong but also teenage girls push and push and push. the amount of times i pushed my mum to the point of hurting me.

your wife needs to see someone, make an appointment tomorrow, offer to go (if you can) so you can support her, take your dd out for the, try and chat with her.

i wonder if people would be saying the same thing if dd had been a boy? (prepares for flaming)

PeriodMath Thu 15-Aug-13 23:13:13

I grew up with a sister who terrorised our family from her teens onwards. An absolute horror, all family holidays and occasions were ruined by her terrible (at times violent) strops and moods. I really resented how my parents never pulled her in line, allowed her to say and do anything and told the rest of us to ignore her, rise about it - my dad's mantra.

It takes its toll on other DCs you know.

Weirdly, my sister is now incredibly close to them, spends vast amounts of time with them despite pushing 40, living a couple of hours drive away and having a husband. It's guilt. And they lap it up.

My parents are great people but their failure to deal with my sister's behaviour growing up is something that still troubles me, 20 yrs on. I will never allow a child of mine to rule the roost like that. Never.

Your wife must have been pushed to her very limits. She knows she shouldn't have got physical. Don't make her the baddie. Don't side with your daughter. Tackle what led up to it. Fix your daughter, not your wife.

hufflebottom Thu 15-Aug-13 23:13:55

also has this happened before? if it hasn't your wife could be feeling so gutted right now and will need your support as well as your dd

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:16:14

yes your wife is totally in the wrong but also teenage girls push and push and push. the amount of times i pushed my mum to the point of hurting me.

That sort of victim mentality is exactly what the OP needs to avoid his DD feeling and carrying through life.

NO-ONE pushes someone to the point of hurting them....especially not a child.

As adults we are all responsible for our behaviour and no matter how much our kids push and push...we do NOT hurt them.

If your DP hurt you huffle would you blame yourself then too because you 'pushed him into it'? sad

And to answer your question...damn right I'd say the same if it was a boy because I'm Mother to 3 of them!

TheYoniWayIsUp Thu 15-Aug-13 23:18:54

Periodmath , would your answer be the same if the girl's father had throttled her?

Your post has made me so fucking angry I can't even muster a decent reply.

And hufflebottom , yes, my response would be the same if the child was a boy. Anyone who laid a hand on one of my darling sons would never sleep under my roof again.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:21:01

Your wife must have been pushed to her very limits. She knows she shouldn't have got physical. Don't make her the baddie. Don't side with your daughter. Tackle what led up to it. Fix your daughter, not your wife.

Don't make her the 'baddie'???

Errr...she throttled her own child FFS.

'Fix the daughter' and don't side with her?

Yeah right...perhaps the OP should just give her a slap to keep her in line?

After all violence seems to be what you're excusing here hmm

In this situation you 'fix' the person who chose to have children, and who 'sees red and can't be reasoned with' when dealing with her child being difficult.

But what you don't do is blame the victim and excuse the abuser.

I genuinely can't believe what I'm reading here.

This girl will be 'wife beating fodder' before she's 18 if the OP takes that attitude.

TheYoniWayIsUp Thu 15-Aug-13 23:22:07

She should be feeling gutted! And no she doesn't deserve support. She deserves the shock of her fucking life- which if she's in any way a decent human being she will get if it is pointed out to her that she could have killed her daughter.

The DV apologists seem to be popping up now sad

hufflebottom Thu 15-Aug-13 23:26:43

so you're going to tell me you've never got to that point where you want to snap? you must be a saint, i know of a fair few parents that have felt like they are going to snap.

it's not victim mentality it's the realisation of having a dd myself and now realising that it can be a challenge especially if there is underlying issues as the op said.

at the age of 13 dd is responsible for her behaviour, so what ever she was doing must have been wrong to, and she must have known she was doing it.

asking if my dp would hurt me would i blame myself? probably not, but seeing as i've never been in that position i honestly can't answer that.

i agree with what period wrote to some extent but both mother and daughter need to be sat down.

hufflebottom Thu 15-Aug-13 23:29:33

i am not a dv apologist!

she does deserve support as does the dd, and you don't know how op's wife is feeling. she is probably very aware that she could have killed her daughter.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:29:36

I think she does deserve help and support as she appears to have a mental health issue.

But I really think she should remove herself from the home until she receives treatment for it.

Pushing the boundaries is normal for teenagers

Being throttled by their parent is not.

I agree Yoni the victim blaming and the DV apologists are making me quite angry.

'Fixing the daughter'- my arse.

'Pushing your parent into hurting you'- my arse.

People (whether male or female) who grow up believing it's their fault that someone chose to hurt them, are on a road to being a victim for the rest of their sad lives.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:33:42

so you're going to tell me you've never got to that point where you want to snap? you must be a saint, i know of a fair few parents that have felt like they are going to snap.

No I'm not going to tell you that.

I'm going to tell you that as the parent of a 21yr old, a 14 year old and a 10yr old there have been plenty of times I've wanted to snap.

But I have never and nor would I ever be violent towards them because I am an adult who is responsible for my own behaviour.

at the age of 13 dd is responsible for her behaviour, so what ever she was doing must have been wrong to, and she must have known she was doing it.

And as for that 'nice' piece of victim blaming ^^ I'm not even going to dignify it with an answer or I'll probably get banned angry

She.Is.A.Child for fuck sake.

They push boundaries but throttling them is never excusable.

Do you always blame abuse victims, just out of interest?

TheYoniWayIsUp Thu 15-Aug-13 23:34:15

Hufflebottom, we all feel like we might lose it sometimes. On the whole, we step away without throttling our children.

I think you need to take off your rose tinted spectacles and accept that you were abused by your mother. Instead of making excuses to treat your own daughter in the same way.

I'm bowing out now as this thread is making me angry. A 13 year old is a child who should be protected, not physically abused by her parents. Please do the right thing OP.

hufflebottom Thu 15-Aug-13 23:35:52

why should she be removed from the home? that is likely to cause more damage.

she's just a human being. she can't be a saint all day everyday.

no way in any of tis has people been victim blaming we've been realistic in the fact that the teenage dd should have some common sense in how far to push, as well as the mother knowing she can't hurt anyone.

and no people who grow up believing it's their fault are not on a road to being a victim. i don't know why people feel their lives are so perfect.

hufflebottom Thu 15-Aug-13 23:39:52

no i don't blame abuse vicitims.

how dare you insinuate that i treat my daughter the same way i was treated.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:41:48

Oh hufflebottom I've just deleted a personal attack on you because you're making me so angry.

She could have killed her daughter

THATS why she needs to be removed from the home

YOU are a victim and with every post you are sounding more and more like one sad

Victims often excuse their abusers...just as you are doing now.

But hopefully this child won't have to live with this abuse any more as she appears to have a caring Dad, who is hopefully going to protect her.

Not abusing and attacking children doesn't make a parent 'perfect'...it just makes them normal.

I hope you get the help you need to see that thanks

TheYoniWayIsUp Thu 15-Aug-13 23:42:01

Hufflebottom, if you read in the news that someone has been murdered, do you say that they should have known not to push the murderer so far?

cory Thu 15-Aug-13 23:43:32

Yes, I have felt that I wanted to snap and throttle my daughter.

I have also on occasion felt I wanted to snap and throttle my boss or a colleague or dc's headteacher.

But I don't think the law would have taken the view that they were equally to blame because they were old enough to know what they were doing in provoking me.

Somehow when it is another adult, particularly one in a position of authority, most people manage to put up with almost any level of offensiveness rather than go for the throat.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:44:13

And no-one here has insinuated anything about your DD

To my knowledge you haven't even said whether you're a parent or not...although I might have missed a post.

But you are very much blaming the 13 year old victim here who has been abused by her mother.

Just read back, it's all there.

TheYoniWayIsUp Thu 15-Aug-13 23:45:08

I'm not insinuating anything, I'm bloody well saying it to your face. You claim that you 'pushed' your mother into hurting you. You seem to bee justifying her physical abuse of you. If it's all so justifiable, why on earth wouldn't you do the same to your daughter?

Come on, answer that! Is it OK, or isn't it?

cory Thu 15-Aug-13 23:45:57

"she's just a human being. she can't be a saint all day everyday. "

if the alternative means risking killing her daughter, then yes she can

doesn't make you a saint, actually, just an ordinary law abiding citizen

hufflebottom Thu 15-Aug-13 23:46:45

i am not excusing my parents. lots of parents could have killed their children but haven't

i'm not doubting anything you have said but the teenage daughter needs to be spoken to about her behaviour too. no child (as you keep putting it) should never push their parents to do that.

depends on the situation of the murder. if you want the honest answer

hufflebottom Thu 15-Aug-13 23:48:01

because i have an entirely different approach to parenting. as i'm sure you do from your parents.

cory Thu 15-Aug-13 23:49:40

You speak as if parents were perfectly helpless people who had no responsibility for their own actions but were just puppets in their hands of their children, hufflebottom.

Do you think these same adults are equally helpless when confronted by other adults: so that they just couldn't help attacking their boss or the unhelpful receptionist at the surgery if they were not careful not to provoke them?

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:50:23

i am not excusing my parents. lots of parents could have killed their children but haven't

You excused the abuse at the hands of your Mother by saying you pushed her into it.

NO you didn't.

She was supposed to protect you...not abuse you.

Yes, kids push the boundaries and of course the OP's child should be spoken to about her behaviour.

But her abuser needs to be removed from the house until she learns to deal with her behaviour...without abusing her.

babyboomersrock Thu 15-Aug-13 23:50:49

why should she be removed from the home? that is likely to cause more damage.

she's just a human being. she can't be a saint all day everyday

No-one expects her to be a saint. Refraining from attacking your child is hardly being a saint, is it?

hufflebottom, you need help. Honestly.

And OP - please don't let your daughter end up thinking this is her fault.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:51:08

no child (as you keep putting it) should never push their parents to do that.

OMFG again with the victim blaming angry

hufflebottom Thu 15-Aug-13 23:51:13

i'm not listening to this anymore. we are going to have to agree that you think i'm obviously in the wrong.

OP, i wish you all the best for you and your family, and i do apologise for starting an arguement on your thread.

cory Thu 15-Aug-13 23:52:27

Children, even very young ones, don't get away with claiming provocation in the school playground - "he was annoying me" doesn't wash as an excuse in any school I know of - so it would seem a bit odd if the adults in charge of them claimed to need more indulgence.

WorraLiberty Thu 15-Aug-13 23:56:02

And I tell you what huffle I mean this genuinely...

You might not abuse your DD the way you were abused by your parents

But you're definitely in danger of making her feel that if her boyfriend/husband gives her a slap, then it's her own fault for pushing him too far sad

We as adults are always responsible for our own actions

There is never an excuse for violence and not learning to walk away.


I seem to have opened a can of worms and upset some people. So sorry for that, it wasn't my intention, and I realise I may have not explained the situation clearly.

Throttled is too strong a word for what happened and may have been a trigger word for some of the above posters. Again, sorry.

Nevertheless, my wife did put her hands around my daughters throat for all of 2 seconds. Which is unacceptable. I've made this clear to my wife and she has apologised to our daughter.

An hour ago i checked in on my DD and she was watching Japanese cartoons with the lights off which is typical behaviour for her and I gently persuaded her to perhaps get some sleep. But I did ask her how she feels about what happened today.

Typical teenager, she just shrugged and said "I dunno."

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Aug-13 00:21:30

You have nothing to apologise for OP

In some cases (particularly one) I think the 'can of worms' needed opening.

I'm not sure if you're downplaying it or not now by 'down grading' the throttling to a '2 second grip'...only you know that in your heart of hearts.

Still the fact remains that your daughter was attacked by her own mother and her mother needs help fast.

Who knows whether the "I dunno" was just her wanting to put it behind her or if she's 'over it'.

However, I don't really think victims of DV (because that's what your DD is) should just 'get over it' and accept it.

I hope you continue to support her and that your wife gets the help she needs for 'seeing red and not being reasoned with'. thanks

I was an awful teenager at times, I pushed and pushed. But guess what? My mum never laid a finger on me. And that does not make her a saint, that makes her a normal, decent parent.

An adult has physically abused a child. That's all there is to it. No emotional problems can excuse that. And it is absolutely not the child's fault.

What if the mother had been throttling the toddler? They can be pretty relentless with their questions and demands and tantrums.

OP, please don't send your daughter away like one poster suggested. That would give her the message that she is the problem, that this is her fault. You need to remove your wife from the house until she can be trusted not to assault your daughter, or indeed the younger child. You need to put your children first. Yes, you can support your wife in getting the help she needs, but she ought to stay elsewhere until her anger is under control.

cestlesautres Fri 16-Aug-13 00:30:30

I'm very glad to see this thread in Teenagers, with the majority of posts not blaming the 13-year-old child, but expecting the adult parent to keep her own behaviour under control. Children do not "ask for" physical abuse.

Oops, cross posted. I still stand by what I said though. Even if it was only two seconds of hands around her neck, that's rather intimidating.

If someone put their hands around my neck I would be terrified, even if it was only for a couple of seconds. I would assume they were planning to throttle me as why else would you grab someone's neck? And if you hadn't intervened, would it still have been just two seconds?!

cestlesautres Fri 16-Aug-13 00:32:56

I think also if a child is physically threatened, they instinctively retaliate or at least defend themselves, and, depending what adults say about them, that can get them into a great deal of trouble.

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Aug-13 00:37:53

Amen GoodbyeRubyTuesday

garlicagain Fri 16-Aug-13 00:47:46

Two seconds of Charles Saatchi's hands around Nigella's throat was enough to show the world what kind of man he is. Had he been snapped doing that to a 13-year-old schoolgirl, I don't think he'd have been judged less harshly, would he?

willowisp Fri 16-Aug-13 00:51:08

Was it really a throttle ? What was actually going on ?

I have to say I'm having serious problems with my 10 yr old DD &, whilst I love her & want to protect her, drives me up the wall. I don't throttle her or anything but she does ignite the fire within & I have to remove myself or tell her to go to her room. My other DD is 'normal'. Dd1 is disruptive, rude, ungrateful, full of hormones.

Of course, violence isn't the answer, but perhaps as a family you all need some help. Do you help manage your dd's behaviour ? Has anything like this happened before ?

Libertine73 Fri 16-Aug-13 00:54:29

I really feel for you op.

did your wife agree to go to the gp? ASAP? I think that's vital.

can I ask if they have ever fought like this before? and are they close generally?

I bet your wife feels like shit tonight, your poor dd to, it's a bloody difficult age.

best of luck.

willowisp Fri 16-Aug-13 01:03:41

Btw I'm not condoning the violence...

My DD's behaviour is mild compared to many and even if it wasn't there's still no excuse for what happened.

What terrifies me is that I was supposed to be at work today.

My wife is fine 99.999% of the time, there's still no excuse for what happened.
I've remembered one or two times where she's become physical with me, again when she's "seen red".

It's clear to me now that whatever the provocation it's my wife who needs help.

Any suggestions on how to get her the help she needs or what form that might take?

Libertine73 Fri 16-Aug-13 01:12:52

she needs to talk to her gp, honestly, with you there preferably do she doesn't minimise.

glad you are going to stand firm here, are you worried about leaving her with the kids? if you are, at all unsure please ask her to find somewhere to stay for a while,, it's just not worth the risk.

Monty27 Fri 16-Aug-13 01:25:07

Your dw needs help. You dd needs protection.

What are you going to do?

24 hour supervision?

flow4 Fri 16-Aug-13 02:26:50

I have some friends, who are no longer a couple, who went through something similar with their 13yo daughter last year. There were physical fights between mother and daughter that included hair-pulling, pinching, pushing and wrestling.

Clearly the mother lost control and behaved outrageously, and failed to behave like a parent; but it was not so simple as to say she 'abused' her daughter, because the girl was 4-6 inches taller than her, equally strong or stronger, and wanting a fight.

I agree with the posters who say that provocation is what teenagers do, and that the adult thing to do is to rise above it and walk away. But I have also been on the receiving end of violence from my own much taller and stronger son, and I know how desperately frightening and threatening it is. If I'm honest, I can see that if my son had been a daughter, I might have fought 'her', rather than calling the police as I did.

In my friends' case, I could also see there was a background to it that included the husband repeatedly undermining the wife in front of the daughter, and failing to back up her parenting decisions, over more than a year. A common pattern was teenager is rude or aggressive to mum; mum attempts to discipline; teen refuses to comply and calls on dad; dad sides with daughter and revokes any punishment; teenager gloats and takes opportunity to openly disrespect mum; dad laughs.

From the dad's perspective, the mum was abusing their daughter. From the mum's perspective, the dad and daughter were abusing her.

It was thoroughly dysfunctional, and it sometimes felt like they were all children, rather than two parents and a child.

OP, in your original post, you said you wanted to make sure nothing like this ever happens again. Here are my suggestions, for what they're worth.

Agree as a family that today was appalling, and that from now on, you will have a 'no physical violence' rule. None. Ever. Agree that everyone in the family has a right to be safe and feel safe.

Agree that, as the adults and parents, you and your wife will uphold this, and if anyone starts to be violent, you will stop them - by calling the police if necessary.

Talk to your wife honestly about how things are for her. Is it possible she feels some of what I've described happening with my friends? Does she need more parenting 'back up' from you?

Parenting teens can be very, very hard. It is common for teens to be particularly awful to their mums. Your DD may be behaving in ways you don't even see. This does not excuse your wife's loss of control, but it may explain it - and with some extra support, she may be able to deal with conflict much better.

I suggest that you and your wife read the book "Get out of my life - but first take me and Alex into town". It gives insight into teenage behaviour and helps make it all feel less personal.

Consider some family therapy.

Good luck to you all. smile

AdoraBell Fri 16-Aug-13 02:44:28

So it's not the first time she has used violence, just maybe the first time her target was her child rather than her husband. If you can't get her To seek help then get some for yourself and DD, speak To the GP yourself about the violence.

And don't blame yourself, as Worra has pointed out your wife is responsible for her actions. Also, the fact her hands were round DDs throat for 'only 2 seconds' is immaterial, they shouldn't have been around her daughter's throat.

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Fri 16-Aug-13 02:58:25


Everyone thinks I had a lovely mum, but the reality is that we didn't get along very well when I was younger. When I was a teenager I was a bit rebellious, but no more so than my other friends. I remember my Mum used to have a few glasses of wine when making dinner and because she couldn't take the drink very well, she used to start verbally abusing me saying things like all I did was doll myself up. If I stood up to her she would scream, yell at me and once she slapped me across the face. She would go upstairs for hours and mull stuff over (probably blowing it up) and then we would hear her running down the stairs and think "oh shit!". Once she went into the kitchen and grabbed a knife and came into the living room and started screaming at us all. When I went to Uni she used to phone me up and scream at me for not calling her etc.

My mum is dead now and I do miss her. She died when I was quite young and I feel guilty that we didn't have a good relationship. Sometimes my memory of her is tainted my the things I remember her doing. Please sort out your misses. Your DD is a teenager with hormones and insecurities flowing. She needs support. She doesn't need a toxic relationship with your DW.

TheFallenNinja Fri 16-Aug-13 03:32:40

I'm sorry but at the instant the hands were round the throat she would cease to be my wife, she would instead be the adult physically attacking my child.

All bets would be off, she would be out of the house and the police called.

No group therapy, no soul searching, no compromises and no suggested reading list.

I'd never really seen DV apologism in action until I read this thread and frankly, I was utterly flummoxed

If she hits you and hits the teen daughter what could possibly make you think that this will improve without somebody taking sole and absolute responsibility for your children whatever the cost to your marriage?

cory Fri 16-Aug-13 08:50:31

What flow said, particularly this:

"Agree as a family that today was appalling, and that from now on, you will have a 'no physical violence' rule. None. Ever. Agree that everyone in the family has a right to be safe and feel safe.

Agree that, as the adults and parents, you and your wife will uphold this, and if anyone starts to be violent, you will stop them - by calling the police if necessary."

and this:

"Consider some family therapy."

The best plan is probably for your wife to go the GP and ask to be recommended/referred to family therapy. I am not quite sure how it works when it's the adult who has the main emotional problems- we have been getting family therapy through CAHMS because the diagnosable person in our family is a teenager. But your GP should know.

Whatever your GP comes up with, the essential thing is that you all have to agree on a zero tolerance policy from now on. It's the only safe way.

My DW agreed to to go our GP and seemed very upset and very sorry last night.

This morning less so.

ON the way to work I reminded her about going to the Doctors and that I would go with her. She became angry saying that she'd already agreed to go and did not want me to go with her.

I said quite clearly that it was important for her to go and reminded her quite clearly of why.

She didn't have an answer for that.

When I got home my DD asked if i had to get DW from work and
"couldn't you just leave her there?"

northernDad this must be so difficult for you. It's easy for me to say kick her out because I don't love her or have a history with her. But your daughter is hurting and scared and you really need to protect her. Especially as this is not the first time she has been physical. I am making the assumption that you are probably bigger and stronger than your wife, apologies if this is not the case, but if she was willing to be physical with you then imagine what she is capable of doing to someone who is probably smaller than her, again assuming your daughter is smaller than your wife. And your little one definitely is.

Your daughter has implied she doesn't want her mum to come home.
Please consider asking your wife to go and stay elsewhere until her behaviour has improved.

TheYoniWayIsUp Fri 16-Aug-13 09:50:05

Northerndad, you sound like a loving dad and a good husband. I know this must be hard for you. Please consider leaving her and taking your daughter with you.

You say you have a 2 year old...they can 'push' too. What happens if it's her throat next time?

cory Fri 16-Aug-13 09:51:53

northernDad, this is the difficult part: she has calmed down and got over the initial shock of yesterday, so her next reaction is to want to minimise what happened

you must stay firm and insist that this is something that affects the whole family, so the whole family has to be involved in dealing with it

her just slipping quietly off to the doctor and never having to talk over the problem with the rest of you just isn't going to work

you all have to talk safely- however painful that is to her - and if she isn't able to face that, then that is a sign that she is not committing to making your children's home safe

sparklingstars Fri 16-Aug-13 09:54:14

Your wife needs to get help. Social Services would take a very dim view of it if they were aware.

TheFallenNinja Fri 16-Aug-13 10:00:52

What you have here is a ticking bomb. Examine your priorities, the only one that is correct, it's your children.

Take control.

I really feel for you. It must be hard to feel like your loyalties are being torn. But really, they're not. Your 13 year old child has to be your priority. She needs to feel safe. I have two DC, and yes sometimes they drive me to 'see red'. You walk away. You scream. Maybe you hit something inanimate as hard as you can. You never, ever put your hands around their throat. That isn't 'seeing red', that is a choice. A mother who is violent is every bit as damaging to a child as a father who is, make no mistake. The fact that your wife is now minimising it, getting aggressive when you remind her she promised to go to the GP, does not bode well. I know it's hard, I know it feels easier to let it slide, but please, please don't. Teenagers are difficult, gobby and unpleasant at times. They grow out of it. Your wife won't grow out of her behaviour. She needs to go and prove that she wants to change. If she doesn't, then she won't. And your toddler is even more vulnerable than your 13 year old.

MissPiggiesLeftTrotter Fri 16-Aug-13 10:11:49

The other thing you need to think of northern dad is that under these circumstances your daughter may be thinking that she wants to leave home as soon as she can and she may start staying out, making her vulnerable. I wanted to do this and left home at 18. If you are not happy with that you need to sort out the situation ASAP.

HighJinx Fri 16-Aug-13 10:36:49

What an awful situation OP.

My concern about your wife is that you say she 'sees red'. Maybe I am misinterpreting this but I read this as her snapping and becoming out of control. If this is the case then getting her agreement, when she is calm and thinking straight, that violence is entirely unacceptable is worthless. The next time she reaches a point where she is unable to control herself then all rational thought will leave her again.

This leads me to question what do you think would have happened if you hadn't been there to intervene?

The reasons for your DW's loss of control will no doubt be deeply buried and you both need to understand that getting to the bottom of them may well be a long, difficult process that she must be entirely committed to.

I am concerned that she seems less sorry for her actions already and was angry with you this morning when you mentioned her going to see a doctor. She isn't going to change without a real commitment to making it happen and already she seems less concerned by her actions than she should be.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 10:41:17


I pushed my Mother to the point of insanity. I am not playing the victim by shouldering my part of the responsibility for the faulty family dynamics. I knew I was being a little shit but I did it to punish her for various things I was angry about. Teenage girls can be absolutely hair raising and I have brought up three of them to successful adulthood plus two boys. I do know. Wrong of Op's wife to do what she did but to say it is victim blaming to ascribe some responsibility to the daughter is not victim blaming. It is role modelling for adult hood whereby we learn about how our behaviours impact upon others. We learn to be sensitive to vulnerability. Just as parents learn too.

wow how horrible for you
I think your wife is really the most in the wrong

Lanceolate Fri 16-Aug-13 10:44:13

It is victim blaming.

Some of you seem to have missed this too

'My wife is under treatment for severe emotional issues (not an excuse, just a fact). But when she sees red she cannot be argued or reasoned with.'

Lanceolate Fri 16-Aug-13 10:45:29

Your wife should not be alone with the children when she can't control herself.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 10:49:50

And that doesn't mean I am an apologist for violence. The wife needs to get help and there needs to be an ultimatum. The daughter is old enough to understand MH issues but not sure that MH can be blamed for revisionist behaviour on the part of the wife. If she backtracks, there will be consequences. However OP, please go and see the doctor yourself and discuss with them, what has happened and what you can do. That will ensure that your wife doesn't underplay the fracture that has happened in your home life.

Your Daughter needs to feel safe that her Daddy will not let this drop, that you will not allow your wife to push in under the carpet. Equally the tightrope you are walking means it will be hard to not be seen to take 'sides'. Both parties need to observe boundaries- your wife to control herself and walk away from conflict and your DD to do the same as your wife gains the help she needs to address this.

In the meantime is there anybody DD could stay with for a couple of days? Could you go with her if your wife refuses to get help? That will tell your daughter that you are protecting her should your wife not take seriously your boundaries regarding change?

Lanceolate Fri 16-Aug-13 10:54:18

A 13 year old will push boundaries. A 2 year old has no idea of boundaries. Someone who has to be physically restrained because they're throttling their child should not be left alone with them.

lunar1 Fri 16-Aug-13 10:58:40

You wife needs to leave while she sorts her issues. If a man did the same to his child you would have 100 posters saying ring the police and have him removed.

A person who sees red and has no control has no place in a home with children.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 10:58:46

I do find it rather ironic that some of the posters on here most vehemently angry at the actions of the Mother and suggestions by posters that there has been 'pushing buttons' by the daughter sound so aggressive. One wonders about how they behave at home under stress when they lose their cool so spectacularly on here.

<<<puts colander on head and runs>>> grin

Lanceolate Fri 16-Aug-13 11:02:50

Yes. Because it's so funny when people react to someone wrapping their hands round a child's throat and try to choke them hmm

Balanced, normal adults can get irate without resorting to physical violence.

thornrose Fri 16-Aug-13 11:04:28

Northerndad I have posted on here quite a lot about my violent dd. She has AS she is almost 14.

She has kicked me, scratched me and pulled my hair. She has used the most foul and abusive language. She has sneered and smirked and "goaded" me for a reaction. She has thrown things at me.

I don't retaliate, I don't put my hands on her.

Your dd is only 13, this is just the start of her teen behaviour, I imagine she could get worse! Your wife has to get some urgent help, she really does.

I would be issuing ultimatums!

TheFallenNinja Fri 16-Aug-13 11:05:19

Pack her bags. Your child's safety comes first.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 11:10:11

It is funnily ironic to see so much aggressive !!!!! posting. I would be inclined to be sceptical of the advice of posters who cannot control their own written aggression.

Yes balanced normal adults can get irate without resorting to violence. But OP's wife is not balanced is she? It appears to emotional issues overlaid with personality and an ultimatum needs to be issued regarding action with a built in time limit. If help has not been sought within a particular , the OP may have to think about removing himself and the children or the wife. But he needs to put measures in place to ensure his children have somebody else with them (Grandparents? Friends? Aunts or Uncles?).

Lanceolate Fri 16-Aug-13 11:13:40

She's already getting help. What she did is enough to involve social services and have her arrested. That's fairly serious.

thornrose Fri 16-Aug-13 11:17:57

My wife is under treatment for severe emotional issues but presumably this recent incident hasn't been mentioned yet?

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Aug-13 11:27:32

It is funnily ironic to see so much aggressive !!!!! posting. I would be inclined to be sceptical of the advice of posters who cannot control their own written aggression.

Are you suggesting that tapping buttons on a keyboard is in any way similar to abusing a child?

Really mignonette??

Words fail me...

TheFallenNinja Fri 16-Aug-13 11:36:26

Sees red.
Cannot be reasoned with.
Changes story.
Puts hands around child's throat.
Is violent to partner.

In isolation each of these represent a threat to child safety, together they are a recipe for disaster.

No amount of nicey nicey will deal with this.

Take the holder of all these traits and remove them to another place and try whatever therapies are deemed appropriate.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 11:39:32


Asking you wife to leave until she accelerates the help she is getting is all fair and well until she refuses to go. It is hard to actually remove somebody from their home unless you involve the law.

The Gp for you is your first port of call along with a call to the MN team if your wife is receiving help from them. If she is not and she is only receiving low level counselling from say, a Gp counsellor then ask for a CMHT referral. Ask if you can be referred to child and adolescent psychiatry team too (if you have one locally) as they will not only be able to support your daughter and you, they can place pressure upon your wife to engage with the services. Also ask if there is a Crisis Intervention Service available. Barnardo's can help too as can Childline, Respect, the NSPCC, Kidscape and The Mankind Initiative, the latter set up to support male partners of abusive people. All have websites with great sources of help.

Secondly, in the meantime can you take special leave or carers leave from work? I would advise that and use the time to take your DD out, away from the home for a proper chat. Whilst not burdening her with too much information, you can gently probe to see what she wants to happen, what she fears might happen and what contingency plans she wants put in place so she feels safeguarded.

Calling the police is not the answer unless you want to go down a road you may not be able to salvage anything from.

Your wife needs an ultimatum. By your words and your actions.

Lanceolate Fri 16-Aug-13 11:41:50

If medical professionals find out what she did then surely child protection would require them to report it?

cestlesautres Fri 16-Aug-13 11:43:13

The first thing is for your dw to get a proper diagnosis. Then any attempt to blame your dd for her (your dw's) behaviour will be seen for what it is. Some people with serious mental health issues have great difficulty accepting responsibility for their own actions, and will go to great lengths to blame others - including, and especially, their own children, who are too young to defend themselves adequately; are often misbelieved; and can be guilt-tripped into blaming themselves when it is not their fault .

Libertine73 Fri 16-Aug-13 11:45:34

She won't let you go to the GP with her?? she doesn't sound serious mate, and she absolutely needs to be.

chances are she will tell GP she's getting cross quickly with the kids, and feeling more anxious, she needs to be honest, you need to be there.

Once again, you have my sympathy, but I'm wondering if you have gone to work today?

OrmirianResurgam Fri 16-Aug-13 11:52:43

periodmath - sorry but she IS the baddie. I suffer from depression and can get severe mood swings but I would never do this at my worst. It's not OK and no amount of 'pushing' makes this an acceptable response.

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Aug-13 11:53:34

OP you said your wife is under treatment for severe emotional issues, has she ever allowed you to go with her for treatment?

I'm wondering if she's told the person giving the treatment, that she's been violent towards you?

So your 13yr old DD is her second victim.

I wonder if your 2.5 year old DD has also been a victim?

Can you guarantee that she hasn't?

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 11:55:45

Worral Yes an aggressive post in a hysterical highly dramatic !!! tone is representative of personality traits. I never said it was comparable. You surmised that (inaccurately). What I said was that I would be less inclined to trust the advice of somebody who posted in a hysterical or aggressive manner.

Simple, really.

HighJinx Fri 16-Aug-13 11:57:45

The other to bear in mind is that DV often escalates.

The fact that already your DW is showing less remorse and refusing to allow you to go to the doctor with her says to me that in her head she is feels like she is back in control so everything is ok. She has put it down to the heat of the moment when your DD was winding her up. This is not helpful to recovery. She MUST take full responsibility for and ownership of her actions.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 12:05:16


Exactly. That is good advice. NorthernDad Sounds like your wife has already made a trip to the 'Great Editing Suite' in her head and has re-worked the incident into something she feels comfortable about living with. Please be the spanner in the works to prevent her from doing this.

And please take the time to speak to your daughter asap as now some hours have passed she may well want to talk about this but nor know how to approach it or what to say. Give her somewhere safe to be sullen, angry and obstreperous and she will then calm and hopefully talk more openly. Keep trying no matter how often she may push you away. They remember and value persistence and steadfastness. You need to also make it clear that what she says to you will go no further. Not to her Mother. Don' cross pollinate conversation wise.

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Aug-13 12:16:59

YY mignonette of course typing in a hysterical highly dramatic !!! tone is representative of personality traits.

If you see anyone switch their caps lock on, be sure to ring social services, won't you? << Rolls eyes >>

I agree with HighJinx in that she must take responsibility for her actions.

The fact that the two people she's been violent to have been family members, who are unlikely to call the Police has done her no favours.

If they had been two members of the public, she probably would have been up in court both times and forced to take responsibility.

Please don't continue to enable her abuse of you and your DD.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 12:21:50

Think you are being dramatic now Worr. Of course what you say, write and the manner in which you write it is indicative of personality. Not the whole picture but definitely indicative. As for SS, I'm not the one calling for the police/social services/SAS etc to be called immediately before anything else is done.

I was referring to the credibility of advice based upon the tone of its writing. Perfectly reasonable. If I was to write up my case notes with !!! after every sentence, eyebrows would be raised. If I offered written advice in that manner of writing, it would look less credible. Not a hard one to work out. Think you are being deliberately obtuse.

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Aug-13 12:28:56

You're being silly mignonette

Basically you didn't like what some posters were saying so you chose to try to discredit them, by childishly trying to compare their typing style to their personality...hinting that you suspect they loose their cool with their children due to overuse of !!!!! etc.

Now, I really don't think this conversation is helping the OP with his problem do you?

Therefore I'm not going to engage with you again until you drop this nonsense and move on...back to discussing the OP and his predicament.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 12:35:05

Of course we disagree with what some posters say. But it is the breathless dramatic tone of some posters that bugs on some threads like this. I don't have a problem with what is said per se, rather the tone. But still, I can't argue with stupid. If you are unable to comprehend what I actually said, then that's your problem.

And I have offered the OP plenty of asistance and am willing to go PM to provide more specialised assistance with navigating the system particular to his region if I can. Just as I do with a lot of other posters when needed.

HighJinx Fri 16-Aug-13 12:44:05

Are you and your DD ok OP?

Libertine73 Fri 16-Aug-13 12:45:02

Thing is though, it's sometimes hard to get the right tone over on the net isn't it? Just because they are posting !! doesn't mean they are hysterical does it?


I already had today booked off work to spend some proper time with my DD while my younger DD was at nursery.

Have tried to talk to DD a few times today but she really isn't interested in talking, and not in a to-scared-to-talk way but genuinely not-bothered. Although she did take notice when i said i would listen to anything she had to say if she did want to talk

And my DW was on the phone earlier and seems bright and cheerful as ever. She has been on prescription anti-depression medication since the birth of my younger DD, the GP said it wasn't Post-natal but i suspect otherwise. i should say that these mercifully rare aggressive parts of my DW's personality are the flipside of someone who's terrific fun and deeply passionate about many other normal things. Again, not an excuse, but I'd not want to give the impression that my DW is mean and aggressive 24/7.

So the TLDR version is that my DW and my DD want to move on BUT as I do not have mental-editing-suite I'm left with the horrible memory of what happened yesterday.

So what now?

Libertine73 Fri 16-Aug-13 13:37:00

She needs to go to the GP, with you. Your DD may want to move on, your DW probably does too, but the fact is, this could happen again, and the fact she's cheerful after what happened is a bit worrying, put your foot down I'd say, I know it must be hard, but this really can't be swept under the carpet.

what does she say when you ask her if she would ever hurt the 2 yr old? Bet she would be horrified you even suggested it, but it's a real possibility, weather she wants to admit it or not.

thornrose Fri 16-Aug-13 14:04:11

If I were you I think I would say to dd "I need to talk to you about what happened with mum."

I would really want to know how she feels about it! I would also like her to know that it wasn't going to be brushed under the carpet in any way.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 14:14:10

This is an illusion of moving on. Please get your wife to have her treatment plan reviewed and get Mental Health input. A GP may not be the answer here as they mean well but have very little specialist Mental health knowledge. Once it goes beyond first line treatment (i.e one lot of antidepressants without any other treatment), it is time to involve others.

Maybe your wife has at the back of the mind, worries that engaging further with this will bring upon her the wrath of social services. Trouble is if she does nothing and this happens again and your daughter confides in say a teacher, you may find them on your doorstep anyway. And it'll look worse. Seek advice from the organisations I listed above. You can remain anonymous.

When a parent suddenly flips like this it can be worse than when they are mean 24/7. A child with permanently or mostly mean parent (s) can 'gird their loins' so to speak and keep watchful all the time. They are very much damaged for sure but they can protect themselves to some extent. However when it is rare but very violent, it is harder to predict and therefore can be just as traumatic.

You need to get advice and support for yourself too. A space for you to talk Northern about how it affects you.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 14:15:39

And It is clear that you do love your wife too and do not want your family to be fractured. Please, please seek advice for yourself.

TheFallenNinja Fri 16-Aug-13 14:24:50

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

thornrose Fri 16-Aug-13 14:51:55

Wind up? Why?

AdoraBell Fri 16-Aug-13 15:29:57

If she won't allow you to attend with her then you really need to see the GP yourself because the likelihood is that she'll gloss things over. Out of interest, does she lash out at you in public, or when you have family visiting, or at your/her parent's homes?

Libertine73 Fri 16-Aug-13 15:38:23

Ninja Now why would you say that? hmm

HighJinx Fri 16-Aug-13 15:40:13

Yes Ninja why do you think that?

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 15:46:45

I can assure you within reason that this is not a wind up. OP appears genuine and congruous.

Libertine73 Fri 16-Aug-13 15:48:15

You should report if that's what you think, you're breaking talk guidelines and getting on my tits

My DW does call me out in public, and before yesterday I would've put it down to usual couples verbal jousting. But having though through a few things it's always her calling me and raising the stakes to point where I can't continue the discussion or where to continue would be letting it slide into juvenile name calling.

Not much fun being called "Horrible Man" in a crowded shopping arcade.sad

HighJinx Fri 16-Aug-13 15:55:14

Do you think your DW wants to get better?

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 15:57:32

This is bullying. I'm sure you know in your heart that you have to act and that boundaries have to be brought in. Refuse to engage at all in this type of behaviour. Do not allow it to escalate because it actively feeds her anger. There is nothing you can do to argue her into a state of reasonableness.

It is hard when the person you married and love still has so many good traits but in my experience (having once been with somebody like this), the love slowly dies if nothing is done and then you will be living in a war zone.

AdoraBell Fri 16-Aug-13 16:05:46

I agree, it's bullying. What I meant though was the times you say she has hit you in an argument? If she doesn't do that where people outside of her immediate family will see then she has full control of when and where she does it, which means she has control of whether she lashes out or not.

I believe this is why she will not accept you accompanying her to the GP, she doesn't want to be found out.

Not nice at all being referred to as Horrible Man anywhere, especially not in a crowded shopping mall, most people wouldn't say such things in seriousness.

HighJinx Fri 16-Aug-13 16:11:27

It sounds as though this incident has opened your ideas to your DW's behaviour and you aren't liking what you see.

As I said earlier if things are to improve then she needs to be the one to make it happen. It is a long and difficult process that takes commitment and courage.

I agree with mignonette that if nothing is done this will only get worse. I have spent a great deal of my life (esp when I was your older DD's age) around people like this and it was only when I got away from them that I could see how draining and damaging they were to me. At the time I focused on the good bits but living on a rollercoaster, never knowing when the high will end or how far the low will go, is no fun.

TheFallenNinja Fri 16-Aug-13 16:26:26

Not entirely sure what I've done to incur your wrath Libertine.

Libertine73 Fri 16-Aug-13 16:37:28

It's not just you Ninja it's the whole 'troll' calling thing it's been building.

Maryz Fri 16-Aug-13 16:51:44

Having read this thread, two things spring to mind.

Firstly, if the op was a woman and was describing such behaviour from her husband, there would be a unanimous call for her to make him leave the house. Just because this violence comes from a woman does not make it any less dangerous.

Secondly, I have teenagers who have pushed my buttons. They (one especially) have provoked me, ds has been violent and aggressive. I have mh issues and have been on and off antidepressants. But I have never, not once, been aggressive back. If I did, I hope I would report myself. The fact that the op's wife is brushing it under the carpet really worries me. If she was genuinely sorry, she would be insisting on getting more help, she would be concerned about both her daughters, she would be worried that it might happen again.

northerndad, you need this documented. You need to tell someone. This incident is unlikely to be the last, and if she continues to behave like this either someone will get hurt (you or the children) or, and this is quite likely, she will push you too far one day, you will both have a confrontation, and she may well end up reporting you for assault, even though she was the original aggressor. If she does, and you have to leave the house, there will be no buffer between her and the kids.

HighJinx Fri 16-Aug-13 16:55:08

Good post Maryz

Maryz Fri 16-Aug-13 17:03:05

mignonette, I don't understand some of your posts on this thread confused. You seem to have decided early on that any advice that the op puts his foot down about this, and any suggestion that the behaviour is unacceptable is "aggressive".

I'm also worried about your comment about the police. You say "Calling the police is not the answer unless you want to go down a road you may not be able to salvage anything from". That is, quite frankly, a load of bollocks. Calling the police is the one way to absolutely ensure the op's wife doesn't hurt one of her children. Calling the police will, at least, make her realise how serious this is, and will ensure that a repeat will result in her being removed from the situation.

There is never a down-side to calling the police in a case of domestic violence - either parent to parent, parent to child or child to parent violence should be unacceptable all the time. No excuses.

Maryz Fri 16-Aug-13 17:03:20

x-posted, thanks HighJinx.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 17:05:52

Havie just shown this thread to my CMHT team leader and he says the following-

1) Has your wife had her medication reviewed? If not she needs this reviewing because as I suggested to you, it may be having a disinhibiting effect upon her temper threshold. He suggests that if she is on an SSRI, this may actually not be the best Px for her but she needs reviewing;
2) Your wife should not be on this medication without regular reviews by somebody with the complete picture of what is going on. You need to provide this information about her mood and temper/aggression;
3)Ask for a referral to the CMHT as your wife (in his opinion from the information you have given) appears to need input greater than an antidepressant Px;
4) get support for yourself from your GP or any of the organisations already mentioned;
5) Be aware that if you do nothing and your daughter mentions outbursts like this to a teacher for example or a friends parent, you may be seen in a lesser light in that you had the chance to do something about it and did not.
6)Your wife will not miraculously snap out of this by herself. There is a whole family dynamic involved here (there always is) and that can be worked through via the CMHT or Child and adolescent Psych through family therapy.

cestlesautres Fri 16-Aug-13 17:07:38

Yes, that all sounds very sensible, Mignonette.

Maryz Fri 16-Aug-13 17:11:42

That all sounds fine Mignonette (especially point 5, which is a very real possibility), apart from the fact that the op's wife's medical team will probably not discuss this with him, so he will probably not get a chance to know what treatment she is getting.

I know this from a friend with a violent alcoholic wife, who has been unable to make anyone listen to him. She tells her medical team a load of nonsense, and they swallow it all sad. His biggest regret is that he didn't call the police the day she took four kids under 10 in a car, having drunk an entire bottle of whiskey. One of the children managed to get hold of her mobile and rang him. He went and collected them. To this day, she denies it happened. If he had reported her that day, they could have avoided a lot of the truly awful things that have happened since.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 17:14:36

I am well aware of what can be discussed and what cannot Maryz. I am a CPN. I am also aware that medical staff can be informed of factors affecting care. They just may not be able to comment. But the complete picture is needed in order that any evasion or untruths can be confronted.

Maryz Fri 16-Aug-13 17:16:37

Well, that may be the idea mignonette, but my son attended mental health professionals for years. They have always refused to talk to me, to listen to my side. They take his account of home life as true, and his account is very warped.

cestlesautres Fri 16-Aug-13 17:22:45

They can't ignore a report of a physical fight between the mother and daughter. Because one of them is more vulnerable. That would be the daughter.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 17:22:47

We're not all like that Maryzsmile. I always take into account what is said to me by everybody including what is said non verbally too.Then I make my assessment and evaluation. Sadly if somebody refuses consent...Well you know how imperfect the system is and how literal minded some MHHCP's can be refusing to try to work with the client to develop family centred care and openness to prevent relapse.

My philosophy? In these days of cuts you need all the help you can get when caring for the MI. So why not try to encourage service users to involve their carers? Prevents relapse too.

Maryz Fri 16-Aug-13 17:35:25

That's good mignonette. When ds was younger I was told by one psych that I was obviously a control freak, and the very next day was told by another professional that I wasn't taking control of the situation confused. I found dealing with ds's doctors very frustrating.

op, I really hope that your wife's medical team can help her (and all of you). But do remember that there is an alternative route, which sounds drastic but can sometimes be a necessary evil in that it can be a wake-up call that can't be ignored, iyswim.

I wish you all the best. It's horrible living in a family when life is like a pressure cooker and everyone is just waiting for the next explosion. But I've found that just after an incident (when it is still fresh in your mind) is often the best time to plan for the future. With us it sort of went in cycles. Huge blow up, decision to do something, then it calms down and it's put on the long finger, then he would gradually get more and more angsty and we would be tip-toe-ing around him, then there would be an other incident. It was a strange way to live, but became our normal after a while.

I would suggest that if you do nothing else you keep a diary with contemporary (as in made at the time) entries about any aggressive or violent behaviour you or your daughter observe. NOT as a weapon to use against your wife, but so that you can get your own mind around it all.

mignonette Fri 16-Aug-13 17:50:45

Maryz says it well. The time to act is now. Not in a few weeks when your wife seems 'calm' or receptive. Because she will forget what has happened or at least its gravity and will become very angry at you seemingly bringing up something she deems to be done and dusted.

And get support for yourself so when you need to maybe make some decisions, you have all the information you need to hand.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Fri 16-Aug-13 17:53:15

Your wife needs help but she has to want to seek that help. Things will only continue if she doesn't seek that help and chances are they will get worse, she will continue to offload her actions onto others. Get your girls out of that situation, if your wife is serious about seeking help she will need to be apart from the situation in order to change her behaviours.

I read this thread earlier this afternoon and 1 post really rang a bell with me because I live with it now in my life. In fact the bell wont stop ringing so I have to post. For the 1st time ever on Mumsnet I am actually quite nervous to post but family dynamics aren't always what they seem.

A PP mentioned undermining within the family by 1 family member against another and the effect that can have. The damage that is done within a family by undermining is just horrific - very very stressful, due to the manipulation.

OP - you mentioned earlier about talking to your DD and not telling your wife what was said etc. That to me could be undermining your DW and her role in the family and I do wonder if that happens more than you have think or intend. You mention in your OP about you calming DD down and her working with you in the garden. I could be very wrong but I live with my ex undermining me and I see the damage done to my DS and my relationship with him everyday. Your DW and DD need to make their own relationship work.

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Aug-13 19:03:35

I'm not sure if the OP taking his DD into the garden to calm things down, was undermining his wife to be honest.

The OP has been attacked by his wife in the past, so he knows she can get violent when she 'sees red'.

He may well have been trying to avoid the situation turning violent.

Which despite his best efforts, happened in the end anyway.

DW is already back pedalling about seeing her GP, as she says she's talked it through with DD, and they'll watch a movie tonight and everything will be fine.

Makes me feel like I'm the one overreacting.

hellhasnofurylikeahungrywoman Fri 16-Aug-13 19:35:28

You know it won't be fine though, it will recur. You are not over-reacting, stay strong and do what you need to do to protect those children. She has the chance to get help and stop behaving as she is but you do need to keep your girls safe while she does it.

Maryz Fri 16-Aug-13 19:41:39

Thatsvwhy you need to keep a record. So you know facts - what actually happened and when.

It is probably already too late for this incident as she will genuinely not allow herself to remember how it happened. She will be busy internally minimising it.

You need to have the "absolutely no violence in this house" talk. So your wife knows, and so does your dd, that this will ^never happen again. If there is any violence at all - including threatening, intimidating, frightening as well as physical - that someone will take action. Your dd needs to know it is ok to call the police, and for her to know that she has to see that you think it is ok.

Dd only started to get her confidence back when I picked up the phone to call 999. It was clear proof to ds that he had gone too far, and clear proof to her that it was right to stand up against violence.

Have the conversation. Your wife's reaction to it will tell you a lot.

I would also make sure to tell your wife there will be no secrets. So you will tell other people the truth - relatives, friends, whoever. Don't keep a secret for her.

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Aug-13 19:42:12

You're certainly not over reacting

Your wife seems to be displaying more and more traits of a violent abuser really.

Minimising what happened

Backtracking about going to GP

Not allowing you to come with her (again, so she can probably minimise)

Thinking a cuddle and a DVD will make up for it all.

Actually OP, if I were you I'd ask for this thread to be moved to the Relationships topic.

Because this isn't really about your teenage DD at all.

cestlesautres Fri 16-Aug-13 19:48:56

I think it's very helpful to have it in Teenagers.

Just to thank everyone here for their responses, and to say I'll be doing my utmost to get this resolved.

WorraLiberty Fri 16-Aug-13 21:36:52

I'm sure you will OP

And I hope it wall goes well

thornrose Fri 16-Aug-13 22:39:44

All the best, good luck with everything.

garlicagain Fri 16-Aug-13 22:43:14

All the best from me, too, NorthernDad.

AdoraBell Fri 16-Aug-13 23:39:26

What Worra said.

Text book response, you are most definitely not over reacting.

Best of luck

One more thing.

If anyone does want to discuss anything I've mentioned at greater length.

I'm happy to discuss over PM.

Thanks again for the huge number of responses.


DW has said there's no point going to the Dr's.
DD seems fine.

BUT I was talking things through with a friend at work and asked her if she was shocked by what I told her.

She said "No not since that time she scraped at your arms with her nails and you had to wear long sleeved t-shirts for a 2 weeks."

It was my turn to be shocked, I'd forgotten the whole incident with my DW when she had been so angry she'd done that to me. I can't remember what it was over and my friend said I wouldn't tell her at the time.

I remembered more situations that I'd brushed to one side.

At easter on the final day of a Holiday in a hotel, my DD and DW had had another raging argument and my DW had "seen red" and thrown her onto the bed. That would've been bad enough, but my DD caught her head on the windowsill.

She split her head open and we had to run her head/hair under the shower in the en-suite until the bleeding stopped.

My DW apologised profusely at the time and followed by loads of hugs we went home.

But now I feel like an idiot covering up for an angry aggressive person.

AdoraBell Tue 20-Aug-13 02:46:16

You are not an idiot. It is very, very hard to realise the person you love/loved is the person you now see in front of you. To put it bluntly, no one wants to say they married a monster. Or admit that they are a monster. This is why abusers put on a front. That's exactly what it is, a facade.

You need to speak to someone on a professional level, GP would be a good option. What about work, do they have any kind of counsellor and would you be able to approach them?

This has already escalated and will continue to do so until someone gets seriously hurt. Your wife is also teaching your DDs what to look for in a partner because this is their normal. Someone else up thread tried to tell you that it could all be turned around if you try to defend yourself and you be seen as the agresser simply because you are male. It can happen and likely will happen unless you get this documented. Then you will not be able to pull your wife off your daughter. Either daughter.

Be strong, be kind to yourself and tell someone. It is the only way you will get help for your DDs.

flow4 Tue 20-Aug-13 04:43:05

Now you have remembered more incidents, Northern, there's no way you can view this as a 'one off' or isolated incident, is there? I think you need to tell someone now, because your daughters are potentially at risk - both of them - and you must do something to safeguard your children.

I think you should seriously consider phoning children's services yourself, and asking for help. If not them, then your GP. There will be a child protection/safeguarding concern raised in any case, as soon as you talk to anyone, or your DD discloses to anyone like a teacher. There may have been one already, depending on what your DD and/or DW have already disclosed.

Children's services will make an assessment of whether the children are safe. If they find two parents who are 'hiding' what is happening, they will conclude neither of you can keep them safe... It would be far better to work with them, and take their advice and support.

There have already been two serious incidents (at least?) - a head injury and a throttling - and so far you have not disclosed or sought help. It sounds like your daughter didn't get medical attention following a head injury. That mustn't happen again.

It would be best for your wife to seek help herself, because children's services will want to be satisfied that she acknowledges the problem, is getting help and has strategies to stop herself hurting anyone. But if she won't do that, right now, you really must seek help yourself. It will be seen - as it is - as a sign that you take this seriously, and can and will keep your children safe.

It's a terrible situation to find yourself in, and telling someone will not be easy. But it's less terrible and difficult to tell someone than to do nothing.

Good luck.

You tell your wife to get help or you will start proceedings to leave her.

You tell her that next time something like this happens and she attacks you or dd that you will call the police and have her charged.

You go up to your child and tell her that you will protect her from her mothers violence as she has the right to be safe and protected in her own home.

I am trying not to get cross here but you need to take some responsibility for the situation if your wife won't. It's sad but it seems a mother attacking a child is more acceptable than a stranger as you can bet that if this was some random joe who assaulted her in the street you would afford her the level of respect and protection she deserves and report it to the police.

You are bringing up your child to think it acceptable to be abused by others, sadly those who are supposed to love, cherish and protect her.

mignonette Tue 20-Aug-13 09:59:02

This puts a different spin on things doesn't it OP?

You are now complicit in the abuse of your daughter unless you do something.

You need to contact your GP and ask him/her to work with you and SS to deal with this situation.


cory Tue 20-Aug-13 10:17:54

The other posters are absolutely right: you cannot afford to wait and see. You have got to do something NOW.

Your dd is not safe against future attacks from your dw- another head injury could easily kill her. Anyone who has banged their head like you describe should have seen a doctor.

You will not be able to persuade SS that your first priority is to keep the children safe if you do not act now.

And finally if you teach your dd that violent attacks are ok as long as you say sorry and hug afterwards you are setting her up for a lifetime of potential abuse from a future partner.

It must be absolutely horrible for you, but you are her father; if you cannot keep her safe and teach her ways to stay safe, then nobody else can. Hard as it is, you must force yourself to do this.

You are not going back on anything you have agreed with your wife or betraying her in any way: she is the one who is going back on her promise to see the doctor.

Phoning children's services sounds like good advice.

SunshineBossaNova Tue 20-Aug-13 10:32:35

Northern, I am so sorry you and your DC are in this situation.

Please think about involving authorities (social services, police). You and your DC should not be scared to live in your own home.

There is a very useful book by Lundy Bancroft called 'Why does he do that?' - it's about abusive men but you may find it enlightening.

I've been with an abusive man (mainly EA) and it is horrifying. Luckily for me I only had to get myself sorted.

Best of luck OP.

Maryz Tue 20-Aug-13 10:39:49

If you have normalised it in your head and "forgotten" incidents then so will your dd. so there may be many more.

And your younger dd is only two. She can't tell you if anything happens to her.

I think you know you have to be proactive before anything else happens.

You need to be careful, though. Once she realises you are involving other people she may start making allegations about you. So Make sure you stick to facts

All the best.

OrmirianResurgam Tue 20-Aug-13 11:17:54

I have been aggressive and uncontrollably angry before - never actually hit anyone but shouted and kicked things in frustration. I once scared my eldest child when I got into a towering rage with him. I am utterly ashamed but it happened. It happened because I had undiagnosed PND after the birth of my second child. It has happened to a lesser extent when I try to come off my meds. I suspect your wife needs to have her med looked at - they may not be working for her.

I have learned my lesson. I will never allow myself to get to the point ever again. I don't think your wife is taking her condition seriously.

NorthernDad I appreciate this must be incredibly hard for you, but you haven't actually mentioned taking any action apart from talking to your wife and daughter. The longer you leave this the harder it will be, and the longer your wife will have had to minimise it in her mind and make up excuses. You need to do something. You and your children are at serious risk from physical abuse. Did you seek medical attention for your daughter when your wife cut her head? It seems like you've been, possibly unintentionally, helping your wife cover up the abuse. If the situation was reversed I expect all the posters would be telling your wife to kick you out, regardless of any mental problems. Please, please take action and deal with this properly. It's all very well going to the GP and getting medical help for your wife, but treatment will take time to work, if it works at all. In the meantime, your children are at risk sad

Libertine73 Tue 20-Aug-13 12:48:02

Northern Time to get real. You do know if she had scratched the children like that SS would be involved don't you?

You have to realise something terrible could happen here, it really could.

she sees red, and you have 2 children in her care, please do something!!

AdoraBell Wed 21-Aug-13 02:48:16

NorthernDad how are you doing tonight?

Minifingers Thu 22-Aug-13 01:00:27

Sorry for you all OP. sad

My 14 year old dd has attacked me physically and verbally, wrecked the house, abused her younger siblings and I have on about three occasions become physical with her, in response to her (physically) pushing me up against a wall and screaming in my face or shoving and body blocking me. It's hideous. Would point out, my dd is as big and is stronger than me.

I second all the recommendations for your wife to get help immediately. She can't allow herself to EVER be physical with your dd again. It was a promise I made to myself after the last time things got physical between myself and my child - and I have adhered to it despite severe provocation from my dd. I hope your wife can do the same.

I've booked Doctors appointments for DW and myself. DW does not want to go and refers to me forcing her into going. The stress Levels are already rising this weekend I'm hoping to talk everything through with my parents too. The worry is really getting to me, I've not been sleeping well and my work is starting to suffer.

cupoftchai Fri 23-Aug-13 21:46:15

HI NorthernDad
This is a really stressful situation for you and I do empathise. I can hear you saying that you want to change the situation. However making changes is going to be very difficult - look at anyone in an abusive situation, their self esteem and confidence gets chipped away at, they are frightened, then they have to stand up to the abuser and make massive changes to their life: of course that is difficult!
But your daughters are the vulnerable ones here and you are the person in the right place to help them. You can do it!
Making doctors appointments is unlikely to be enough on its own. You need to nurture a sense of urgency in yourself. Think about the harm that has been done already to your girls, think about the ongoing effects of living with fear - it's not good.
What can you do to make them safe? How will you know when they are safe? and when you are all safe? - you deserve, too, not to be physically or emotionally harmed.

social work and police. you can ring children and families social work and talk through your situation. It would be braver to do this, giving your name, and letting them come to meet you. However if you need to talk to them first anonymously then that is better than nothing.

THey will ask why you didn't act already. don't leave it any longer. Do prepare yourself to be asked about the way you respond to stress and violence, and whether you have ever been violent yourself.

Put yourself in touch with a resource helping men who have been subject to domestic abuse - there are very few, but I know of one in wales which takes phone calls from all over. you can google it.

good luck.

Maryz Fri 23-Aug-13 21:47:38

You need help from outside.

If your dw doesn't recognise this is a major problem, then it will happen again. A doctor's appointment won't fix her, though, especially if she doesn't want to go, so you might have to disclose abuse in which case the doctor will probably have to get SS involved.

Only you can decide.

cupoftchai Fri 23-Aug-13 21:50:48

http://www.mankind.org.uk/ this was already recommended upthread. they have a helpline.

also these
helpline, more advice.

call them!

cupoftchai Fri 23-Aug-13 21:51:08

www.mankind.org.uk/ this was already recommended upthread. they have a helpline.

also these
helpline, more advice.

call them!

SunshineBossaNova Fri 23-Aug-13 22:52:26

Well done Northern. Look after yourself.

AdoraBell Fri 23-Aug-13 23:10:57

Very well done northernDad and as for you 'forcing' her to see the GP, can you see the way she's distorting it? You are not forcing her, you have simply made the appointment that she wouldn't make. Do, please, talk to your parents and the helpline linked above.

Take care and keep the safety of your DDs in mind to keep you on track.

My DW has been to the GP and for the moment she's been prescribed a higher dose of her current medication (Sertraline) and will be fitted with a Mirena Coil. She will also be going to some counselling.

i also visited my GP and was prescribed some anti-anxiety medication.

It's early days but things seem better.

SunshineBossaNova Sun 01-Sep-13 12:51:41

Hope you're ok Northern x


Thanks. I am feeling less stressed, and life seems to be no more or less worse than it is for most people.

Fingers crossed life will stay on an even keel as i have work related exams on the horizon.

cory Sun 01-Sep-13 23:06:51

Best of luck for the exams, northerndad, and well done for hanging in there.

cory Sun 01-Sep-13 23:07:52

Just make sure she knows that if it ever happens again you will call the police.

SunshineBossaNova Mon 02-Sep-13 00:21:53

Best of luck northerndad, take care.

Wuldric Mon 02-Sep-13 00:27:50

I think the OP is married to Charles Saatchi ... Only this time, CS is taking it out on the kids!

Seriously though, I think you either need to remove your daughter to a place of safety or your DW to a place where she is not going to threaten your children. Your first obligation should be to your DCs who are not able to protect themselves. You seem to be conflicted with that. Do you have any doubt that your first obligation is to protect them?

Utterly ridiculous behaviour. And yes, I do have teenagers. And yes, they are PITAs.

BeckAndCall Mon 02-Sep-13 11:15:43

wuldric I think you need to read the whole thread and see the journey that northern dad has already been on to get to here. He's doing a great job in getting help and support where it's needed and really doesn't need reminding about his responsibilities right now.

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