To not know what to do about friend's pathetic excuse for a partner?(27 Posts)
I have an issue with a friend and I really don't know what to do. She's had a history of emotionally abusive relationships and has two 3 DC, two from previous relationships and one from current relationship. This is relevant by the way.
From what she's told me her current DP is an absolute arse. They've been together a year and are getting married in December. He refuses to help with DC3 (his DC they have together) who is 3 months, refuses night feeds (wakes her up when it is his turn), ignores DC3 when he needs fed/changed so he can watch football, doesn't bother with other 2 DC as they're not his but is more than happy to discipline with a firm hand, the 2 DC in my opinion seem to be afraid of him. They are timid and hesitant around him, I've watched him beckon one of them over to play and the DC was so hesitant it was like watching a frightened animal ready to bolt! He takes any money she gets from the DC (child benefit, child tax) to spend on himself but scolds DF if she dares buy something for herself! She buys him everything for his birthday 150 pounds worth of things and he buys her nothing, not even a card. She's not allowed to go anywhere without him as it causes him to huff and whine like a child and mither her about it. She says he always makes her out to be the villain so that she'll do things. Currently he has gotten laid off work and can't be arsed finding another job.
She's split with him 5 times now, came to me and said the same thing over and over that she's not happy but the end result is always the same....she goes back. Now they're trying for another baby because he wants a son to carry on his name, she's not sure she wants this as she's exhausted taking care of DC and baby on her own but is doing it to please him. What do I do? How do I help her? Any advice would be appreciated as it's incredibly upsetting and frustrating.
What does she want? Does she want to leave him? Or kick him out? Does she have family? Means of income? How hard would it be to get her to speak to professional? Does he treat the kids well?
MissMarvoloRiddle please point your friend to Women's Aid. She is in an abusive relationship and on one level she knows it. Otherwise I don't think she would have left and returned five times. If she was just unhappy or not in love she would have just left, if she was happy she would stay. Leaving and then returning repeatedly suggested she is too afraid to leave for good, to me, which is all very bad for her and the kids!
She should not marry him or have any more children with him if her kids are afraid of him and she herself does not want any more kids. There is no guarantee the new child will be a boy so how many kids is she willing to have to keep him happy! How many kids will she be solely responsible for, both in terms of hard work caring for them and in terms of paying for the family!
Re "... they're not his but is more than happy to discipline with a firm hand, the 2 DC in my opinion seem to be afraid of him. ....He takes any money she gets from the DC (child benefit, child tax) to spend on himself " Has she told you all this, what did you say when she said this?
Don't minimise when she tells you stuff, point out how wrong it is.
Re "They are timid and hesitant around him, I've watched him beckon one of them over to play and the DC was so hesitant it was like watching a frightened animal ready to bolt!" Have you commented on this to your friend? What did she say?
If you are genuinely worried about kids you can report him anonymously to NSPCC or to Social Services. If you do so anonymously you should not give your name to anyone when you report so that it cannot be passed on even accidentally. You do not need to say exactly how you know her.
If she were to work out it is you who reported it, you do not need to admit it was you. Because if you do admit it and she tells her partner he may ban her from seeing you and then you will not be able to exert good influence over her.
I am saying this because I think sometimes people feel a moral obligation to tell the truth. And of course you can tell the truth. But in this situation IMHO you are not under any obligation to tell the truth to this man or to the women who is enabling her to put her children in potential harms way.
If her partner is abusive then social services may be able to intervene, and even the fact that he is investigated or visited may either help him to buck his ideas up or her to realise what a shit he is. If he is hitting the kids etc this may well come to the attention of teachers or nursery staff.
It might be worth pointing out, when you talk about this stuff with her that others will notice all this too. That way if you do report you will have helped her to know it may not be you. I know this sounds 'sneaky' but it is all true, others will notice, others may report. Specifics about money may not be things people know but if he has a nice car or watch, clothes or jewellery and the kids are in rags then people may notice that too! People will notice injuries or bruises etc on the kids, and if there are rows at home some may hear that too. But do not wait for others to report this, if you are genuinely worried the kids are at risk from him, please report.
Please also tell your friend, in the kindest way, that she is worth more than this. If she has a new baby and is over worked and treated badly her confidence may be shot to pieces. I am sure you would not dream of saying anything nasty but if you feel you need to be firm, just be careful because telling her off or haranguing her may not work, but pointing out she is worth more, and all her kids are worth more, and that this may is a terrible strain and drain on her life, might touch a nerve.
Well done for caring and noticing. Good luck.
Italian, regarding the splits she will tell me how unhappy she is then once she goes back claiming he has changed and that she wants to be with him and that he promises things will be different, though they never are.
Re the money she has told me this directly. I was disgusted and told her it was emotional a use but I've learnt very early on not to bad mouth him after that. After the third split I told her it didn't seem like she was getting anywhere with this approach with him and she didn't speak to me for a week! Completely ignored me and when I tried to reach out was very short with me. She doesn't like anyone critiquing him or their relationship. Once she started being 'normal' with me again I tried to be supportive but not critical, I know this isn't the best approach but I fear if she shuts me out because I'm not telling her what she wants to hear then she'll have no one and be completely isolated.
Re the DC I've told her they don't seem comfortable but she claims that ever since he came they've become 'well behaved' as he's apparently very old fashioned in discipline and that it's so much better than before when they were 'wild'. I think she's just making excuses for him. He does have a very old fashioned view on women and their place as well! I know that they spank on the bottom or hand but defiantly not sure about anywhere else.
In terms of others noticing I don't think they will. She tells no one (that I know of) bar me the real details of fights they have. I'm not even sure her parents knew when they split as they only lasted a day before she was back to him. I've told her so many many times that it takes two to make a baby, that she isn't meant to be doing this alone, that she's exhausted. She was at the point where she didn't want to be alone with her baby she was that stressed. It's horrible to see but pointing out faults or even the smallest hint of criticism gets me pushed away and excluded.
* MissMarvoloRiddle * well it looks like your opportunity to help her is very limited. You can still be supportive by letting her know that you are there is she needs you.
If you really think the kids are in danger you can report it, if she knows it is you, that may signal the end of the relationship with you, but you need to live with your conciousness.
I am afraid she sounds like he has very much cowed down. Very sad.
Must go to bed now, the only thing I can think is to drip feed in to her what is a normal family and hope she joins the dots and works out she is stuck with a shit for a partner.
She is only hurting herself when she removes herself from your company in this way. But at the end of the day you must do what you feel is right. Good luck.
Personally having grown up in a household of fear and abuse I have little sympathy for anyone willing to put their kids through hell because of their own emotional insecurities. Yes your friend is not the one doing the abuse but by standing by this man she is enabling him to not only continue the abuse towards her but also her children.
I would tell your friend the brutal truth, tell them you don't care if she doesn't like what you are telling her, but you aren't prepared to watch her wreck her children's lives for the sake of her 'happiness'. That man does not love her and there is absolutely no way on gods green earth he ever will because he wants a victim to abuse not a soulmate. tell her that you will be there for her if she does decide to leave but you aren't willing to be drawn into her drama and turn a blind eye to child abuse any longer.
This is probably why I steer clear of women who seem to be addicted to being treated like shit by men. I can't watch their children live that life and be all sympathetic.
Everything captainproton said.
Speak up for the sake of her children who are unable to defend themselves and live in a house scared of those they should be able to count on.
I really, really hope they don't bring another baby into this sad mess
They've only been together a year, she's obviously moved him in with her children after five minutes flat, they have split 5 times already, they have a three month old baby which means she must have got PG with him almost immediately and they are already trying for another one?
It's no wonder so many children grow up to be such complete and utter fuck ups, is it? I don't know what advice to give you really, as she obviously doesn't see what you see. If she did then you might be in with a chance of helping her, but as it there is is nothing you can do but walk away.
I have little patience with women who throw their children under the bus while they pursue one shitty, dysfunctional relationship after another without pausing for breath - I know many of them have had unhappy or family backgrounds themselves but I don't see it as an excuse to keep repeating the pattern and condemning their own kids to the same thing. They are bad mothers, plain and simple.
She is trying for another baby with him? For God's sake...
I would actually tell her you're stepping away. A properly good friend wouldn't do that of course. They'd stand by watching the car crash until the bitter end, murmuring soothing noises, while he rides roughshod over the lot of them - so feel free to ignore my advice.
Captain, currently I'm feeling an odd mix of sympathy and anger for the situation as a whole. She is genuinely a lovely person, very sweet and willingly to do any bring for anyone but I can't help but feel she's putting her wants before what's best for the DC which is making me angry, probably self righteously so. I want to walk away from sheer annoyance but also feel tied because she is my friend and because of the children.
The hate I have for her partner is really getting to me though. He's a disgusting excuse for a man, he's a child! I've never heard such backward views in all my days. When he was speaking about having another baby I laughed at the notion because of the age of their DC3 and he looked at me and said it was what he wanted like she had no choice.
Tippy, she got PG almost immediately as was just meeting him for casual fun and didn't 'use' anything. I agree though, some people in life almost seem set up to fail. She's continuing the cycle of abuse as she feels like she needs to be loved by a man because she apparently can't do it on her own or provide for them. I don't exactly understand how she's meant to provide for them when he has no intentions of getting a job and spends whatever money on himself!
This is where I'm torn though. I want to stay with her so she's not isolated and also so I can keep an eye on the DC but...I have a feeling in my gut something will screw up this wedding or maybe that's wishful thinking because I know once she's bound to him in such a way there will be no going back.
Dowager, I won't lie and say I haven't thought about walking away, I really have. But I can't do it. I feel guilty for being angry at someone in an obviously toxic environment and know that if she's isolated she will become a shell of who she is now and the DC will suffer from added stress of a new baby and everything else. Though I wouldn't wait for it to get to that point for them, I've been battling myself about reporting and really do feel rotten.
I too am surprised that within the space of 12 months your friend has had a child. Ie she got pregnant straight away and introduced this man to her existing children.
I don't know what else you can do really.
She knows how hard it is and harrying this man will no doubt make it even worse.
emily, her previous DC's were all conceived quite early on in her past relationships as well. She met her current DP just for fun and didn't use any protection so when she became pregnant they decided to become a 'proper couple'.
She's a knob I'm afraid. Yes, he's a horrible specimen but she has terrible judgement and she's a pretty lacklustre mother by your account. I couldn't keep my mouth shut to be honest, but it sounds like if it wasn't this guy it would be another so what can you do?
Do you have any contact with the school her children attend? Can you say to them that you're not asking for confidential information but you have serious concerns about their welfare while they are with this man and that if they have any reason to share your concerns they should flag it up?
I have no idea what school they go, August. We don't live near each other, you see and she's never mentioned names. Only one child is school aged and I'm thinking if I suddenly asked what school DC1 went to and then the school suddenly had suspicions she would know it was me that said something. It feels like an impossible situation.
I suppose I was trying to convince myself there was a lot more options for me to help her than there actually is. A part of me hopes she'll wake up and listen but I know that won't happen.
There is no mileage in contacting the school anyway. They are not social services, they can't investigate concerns.
The only thing you can do really is to contact social services. She is being abused and her children are being abused.
Completely agree with PP re: exposing her children to abuse. You need to tell her straight. Those poor, poor kids. I would have no issue with reporting to SS either. I would also be questioning my friendship with her..... trying for another baby FFS!! She sounds dreadful
MissMarvoloRiddle I must say I totally agree with captainproton just speak up and if the friend leaves you so be it.
You said " I'm feeling an odd mix of sympathy and anger for the situation as a whole. She is genuinely a lovely person, very sweet and willingly to do any bring for anyone but I can't help but feel she's putting her wants before what's best for the DC which is making me angry, probably self righteously so." There is nothing self righteous about being concerned for children's welfare and there is nothing sweet and lovely about a person who would put their kids through this and blacklist anyone who tries to make them aware of the situation.
I do believe she is a victim of abuse but so are the kids if they are living in fear and the most vulnerable victim, least able to change their situation, has to be the one whose needs are met. She could leave and stay away, she's done it before. They can't.
I've not been in this situation as a child or adult so please listen to the ones on here who have been in this shitty boat.
Plus, she is not a true friend to you if she allows your concern for her kids welfare to come between you and her.
Don't know if I've missed it but has it been mentioned contacting the two DCs dad about the situation?
Doubt he'd be happy if some random arsehole was 'disciplining' his kids like that.
You can't control what she does but you can maybe help the children. She sounds like a bad friend and your relationship with her sounds like it's pretty one sided. I would go NC really after reporting the children to social services. It sounds like her children need more help than she does. She's an adult and can make choices but her children can't.
Italian, maybe I'm just seeing the person I want to see. She's been there for me through a few rough times and I really thought she was a good friend until she started to completely block me out if I said anything bad about him. I think she wants to believe this relationship will work out and that he's different when I know this isn't the case. The only thing in worried about is reporting and then there being no need for it. I suppose I'm doubting myself even though she's told me certain things that don't sit right with me. I'm looking into the process of reporting now.
Queen, DC1 and DC2's father is a waste who doesn't really care about either of them. The only reason he sees them is because of his mother.
Zippey, I think you're right re the friendship. But I don't understand why speaking the truth results in me being pushed out. And this wedding isn't going to help anyone.
This is giving me the rage. I don't know what you do but I see no harm in contacting schools local to her. Can you not figure it out from the uniform/school bag? If you did manage to figure out the school (you could even go on the council website, look at all the schools listed and then go onto their websites and go through the photo galleries to see if you recognise uniform or even see the child) I am sure they would be interested in listening to what you have to say. They wouldn't give much of a response other than 'thank you' I imagine but its possible the child has said something/is acting in a certain way at school and it will just add another piece to the jigsaw.
I would also be ringing the NSPCC/ Social Services for advice. No doubt it will be decided that they are not at enough risk but its worth a try, even if they visited and it gave her a wake up call?
Very angry on behalf of the children. What are her family like?
My husband was very abusive (emotional, social, financial, sexual, and eventually physical)... And I kept on trying to make him happy, and throwing myself under the bus.
Right up until H shouted at me (yet again, and shouting badly, proper rage), and I saw a flash of fear pass very quickly across my darling little boys face, a flinch quickly hidden, but I can still remember that look as if it happened a second ago. I will probably remember it as long as I live. I can't quite describe it, the way that tiny flash pierced my heart, it was awful. It actually made me bend forwards like I'd just been hit in the chest. I can actually feel that pain physically in my chest right now even just remembering it. After I got Him out, that afternoon felt so long, playing and feeding DS and the wait before he finally got to sleep, then I could cry. And plan.
And that's the last time we saw that man. New locks first of all, then new home and no forwarding address, and blocked phone numbers.
I have alot of sympathy and patience with how hard it is to escape abuse. But like others on here, I find it really tough to empathize with anyone who exposes their children to abuse and harm.
I don't understand it though rationally I can see that if someone is so crushed and broken, they can't see that they have the power to stop it. Or maybe they don't believe they will cope on their own?
But imagine seeing That Look on your little children's faces and not reacting... That look is beyond the worst thing I can imagine (& that's saying something!).
I knew in that moment I'd die to protect my child, but more importantly, I'd live to protect my child.
I'd live through anything, do anything in order to make my child's world a better place, a place where that look never comes back. So far I've done it, I guess one day there will be fears I cannot wipe away for him, but not through anything I help.
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