Emotionally abusive husband: am I doing the right thing by my son?(21 Posts)
Im new to mumsnet and a close friend suggested I see if anyone can help. I just need some support and advice. My husband of 5yr is emotionally abusive to me and has been for years. Ive finally found the inner strength and self worth to leave him, I told him last night and that our 3yr old son would be coming with me. As expected he hit the roof and is shouting about getting custody because I had a minor breakdown 6 weeks ago, mostly caused by him. He is saying I dont stand a chance to have our son because im 'mentally unstable'. This is not true, ive never been more stable and seeing the clear light of day thanks to some amazing relate councelling, but can he use this breakdown against me? I was signed off work for 6 weeks and on antidepressents but coping well now. Im so scared he will get my son full time who definately should not be with his daddy full time due to daddy having anger issues. I feel so upset for my son, despite the issues, he loves having daddy around and thinks the world of him, but it also breaks my heart when he gets upset that daddy is shouting at mummy again. My son has started shouting at me too recently and i believe he is learning this is ok because daddy does it. Its just awful. I feel so disrespected by my husband and son but my son isnt to blame. Has anyone any experience of divorce when a 3yr old is involved, did they get over it, did they resent you? Finally if i take my son from the house to a new place to live without my husbands consent, my husband says he will call the police and have me arressted for kidnap. I assume this is wrong and he cant do that? Thanks so much for any advice.
I am sorry you are going through this.
An adult with parental responsibilities may take a child out of the home. The police won't be interested unless there are safeguarding issues.
The father has as much right to see his son as you do, so I can see why he is angry. This of course does not condone his threatening behaviour, but if there is any way you can prioritise the needs of your son over everything else that would be better for you son.
When I went through this I had a mental post-it note in my head saying "Simon's welfare". That was it - I just had to put everything aside and put my son's welfare first.
It is preferable for children to spend time with both parents after divorce.
If you do end up going through the Courts you will look like the more mature parent if you have shown willing to work with your husband on finding suitable arrangements for your son.
Did you discuss your husband's behaviour with a counselor during your breakdown? Sounds like a logical response to that kind of treatment. I'm sure it must have been a contributing factor - and it has given you the tools you need to seek help and get away from him. Don't panic... get any notes from GP, counsellors, etc.
Thank you for posting a reply, and the 'post-it note' is a good way to think about it. I am doing this for my sons welfare, his health and happiness is the most important thing. How did your son handle the divorce?
Thanks justilou, yes the councilling has given me the strength to do it, we have talked a lot about it so they will have some evidence, and my husband has a history of anger issues so i imagine if someone did start digging it would do him no favours. I will collate the paperwork. Thanks
Just popping on to say get as much evidence as you can. Record calls. Get a team to support you. Kidnapping would only apply if you either left the country or ran away denying contact. If you moved house but still allowed contact then that is not kidnapping.
Oh and put documents in a safe place outside the home. Birth certificates and passports. Especially DS passport.
You can't be arrested for kidnapping if you have parental responsibility, no.
You also don't get your kid taken away just cos you're on antidepressants. Mums are allowed to be on antidepressants.
Can I ask why it's so important the Mum has the passport?
OP I was in a similar situation although I have 2 dc and been married 13 years. Initially I rang women's aid and they supported me completely. They advised me to report him to the police as domestic abuse is a crime even if there is no actually violent involved. My dc were suffering with his behaviour especially my 10yo ds. I rang and reported him tithe police but I didn't press charges, I told my stbxh that if he didn't leave I would get him arrested. He left. I saw my gp and explained to her about the domestic abuse of me and my dc and she referred me to a domestic abuse program. In summary what I'm saying is that I was then in the position of power because all authorities were aware as I proactively got them involved. I wrote everything down that he had done and said to me. Protect yourself, if he is domestucally abusive and then he starts making allegations then it won't hold any water will it.
Show them that you're doing the best to protect your son by getting rid of him. Seek help from women's aid. He won't have a leg to stand on. My stbx hasn't come back since and is v polite and courteous to me as he knows I have him over a barrel. I will drag up the past if I have to to keep my kids with me. Be strong
Ps re: the antidepressants don't worry about that, tell your gp about why you are depressed and that it was his abuse that caused it. They won't think he's a better parent just cos you got treatment for depression, my gp said that in fact this looks good for you as it shows you are helping yourself x
Get in contact with women's aid and book an appointment to see a solicitor asap.
Get together all important documentation including your husbands financial details & a statement & make copies. Hide it well or give it to a friend/solicitor/bank to hold it for you. ( the latter two will charge you for this)
Is the house rented or mortgaged? If mortgaged, whose name is it registered in?
Open a separate bank account and secretly put aside some money for future use. Change all your passwords.
Go back to the counsellor/GP and mention that your depression/anxiety is caused by your husband & that you plan to leave him. It's a paper trail of evidence you are creating should he become physically violent.
Do not discuss any future plans with your husband.
OP sorry that you are having to go through this.
Your husband is continuing to be being emotionally abusive- trying to make you scared about leaving so that you won't. What he is saying is completely unfounded.
You are perfectly within your rights to leave and take your child with you. If you have been the primary carer for your child it would be expected that they would live with you, but spending time with their dad as well. You definitely would NOT be seen to be kidnapping your own child!
Your husband is trying to make you think that others will see you as incapable of looking after your child. This is unlikely to be true if all he is basing it on is your mental wobble. I ended up on a psych ward for a couple of months and ex started to go for custody of kids but gave up as MH team, Social workers etc were all supportive of kids remaining with me. Just because you've got problems (as you said, caused by your blokes…as were mine) doesn't mean you are not able to care for your child. It's not up to your husband to decide whether you are capable or not fortunately!
You are doing the right thing. You don't want your child growing up in that sort of atmosphere and learning that sort of behaviour. A 3 year old will soon get used to the new situation.
I think she should put the passport somewhere safe as he's being threatening and throwing around the word kidnap. To me, that suggests the possibility he's thought about it at some level and often abusers will respond in dramatic methods to a change in circumstances. I'd say the same to a man who's abusive wife was acting in the same way.
I was that child. My mum was you. My dad broke her down through EA and said the depression was her weakness, she's incapable of looking after children, she should "do us all a favour and kill herself".
She eventually found strength just as you have. She took control. As kids we adapted and bounced back: we just wanted a happy mum even if that meant dad wasn't around.
The way to fix this is to get rid of the source of your depression (I.e. Him) & you'll be on your road to recovery. Continue with the counselling.
Don't let the "being on antidepressants" thing be something for him to hold against you - you actually did the right thing by recognising that something wasn't right and took action to rectify that by seeking help - if that help is antidepressants so be it! Is he hoping that the stigma and 'shame' associated with depression will make you think you're not worthy and not coping?
Sounds to me like you're on the right track to LTB and improve yours and your DCs life for good!
Hi OP I've been there too. To answer your specific questions
1. Being depressed over your situation is not the same as being 'mentally unstable'. Your H is 'gaslighting' you which is a former of abuse in itself. Look it up on Google. I had a breakdown over my situation too. My DS was not taken away and my ex didn't get custody. He kept threatening me with it until I finally said "OK then, I'll await the court summons." Guess what? I never got one.
2. My DS was upset at first and angry that Daddy didn't live with us any more but I just kept stating that we both loved DS but didn't love each other any more. That was all I said for several years. DS is 10 now and we are extremely close, helped in part by XP fucking off for good 2 years ago. DS is now very aware that his Dad is a total knob.
3. It's not kidnap unless you leave the country or block access without a court order in place.
You are doing the right thing by looking out for yourself and your son. Keep that in your mind at all times. Do report him to the police and get support from Women's Aid. If you need to leave and need to collect your things they can arrange for you to be escorted. As a PP has said, majestic your you have all the important documents for you/DS stashed in a safe place as you will need them as ID to set yourself up in a new place.
I don't have any practical advice but good on you for finding the courage to LTB, many women don't. for you and good luck
Thank you so much for all the replies, everyone is a huge support. I have collected important documents together just in case the thought has crossed his mind to take off with our son. I will make an appointment with womens aid and a solicitor today. Its so very hard but its definately the best thing to do. I dont want my boy growing up thinking its ok to treat women badly, and have little respect, that would awful. He is already shouting at me 'because daddy does' so its got to stop. Thank you all xx
Greyponcho - you post really moved me, thank you for posting your experience and im sorry you had to go through that but im so pleased to hear you have a strong relationship with your mum, and im glad she got you out when she did. I hope my son is this understanding when he is older. X
Of course he will be understanding! He's young, so following the example of those around him, whether it be parents, friends or TV! He'll grow out of it.
If anything, he'll likely grow up thinking "I don't want to be a knob like my dad" - his future partners will thank you for this!
Go forth, and kick ass - you've made an excellent start!
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