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To not understand how some people allow their dc to be raised in abusive homes?

(232 Posts)
laptopscreen Fri 04-Oct-19 19:50:00

I really don’t understand it. I can kind of see why some people end up staying in abusive relationships without dc as they just make excuses over and over but with dc I do not understand how the dc aren’t more important than some crappy relationship.
I am genuinely wondering what happens here.Fwiw I was raised in this. And I’m still not understanding how on Earth you don’t put your dc first. Mumsnet seems to highlight this situation over and over again.

Can anyone help me understand? I’m nc Witt my mum now. I’m trying to process everything and tbh I haven’t forgiven my mum for allowing me and siblings to stay in the conditions we were in.

ifoundthebread Fri 04-Oct-19 19:54:35

Denial, shame, fear, to name a few reasons. Not saying they are acceptable, have you spoke with your mother and asked for the answers you need? Easier said than done I know. Hope you find some kind of closure.

MoeGreenSpecial Fri 04-Oct-19 19:54:53

I’m with you @laptopscreen I grew up in it too. I would literally walk through fire for my ds, I have never ever been able to get my head around how people stay in situations where their children are abused. I’m also Nc with my mother and could never trust her again. She’d try and hug me and I’d turn to stone.

TheDarkPassenger Fri 04-Oct-19 19:57:38

It’s so so hard. I’ve never been in an abusive relationship so I really can’t say but I work with people who stay in them. Most of mine have had the children removed though, so so sad.

One of my close friends has just gone back to hers even though there’s an injunction against him, now social services are involved. I would have said she was the most caring loving mother I had ever witnessed but something has made her glaze over that and go back and I wish I could explain it. It’s fuckin heartbreaking

Raphael34 Fri 04-Oct-19 19:59:56

Yeh I struggle with a lot of posts on here. There was one earlier where a mum was complaining about her ex stopping her from talking to their son. She left her ex because he and his family were abusive, but left her son behind because she ‘wasn’t in a position to care for him’. Which is bollocks. There’s every help imaginable for single parents. There’s a lot of posts like that, I can’t get my head round it. My bil is the same. When I met him he was working away from home. He told me he’d left his ex because she kept hitting the baby. I assumed he left to take the baby away from her. Turned out he’d left because he didn’t want to watch the abuse, he’d left the baby with her. Out of sight out of mind I guess. You’re a piece of shit if you think like this imo

ThisIsAPun Fri 04-Oct-19 20:05:43

My mother left my abusive father when I was 10. She escaped, and made a new life for herself.

She didn't take me with her.

I'll never understand that level of selfishness.

laptopscreen Fri 04-Oct-19 20:09:42

I asked my dm why she let us live under abuse. She said she went to a refuge but she didn’t like the conditions there so went back. Although I find that sad I don’t remember it and can 100% guarantee I’d rather have lived in a cave than what I had to endure.
My childhood friend mum was a foster mum and I was so jealous of the dc who got taken and placed with them but I was too terrified to speak up. I would have been happier well away.
The worst bit is my school put me forward for a boarding school 100% scholarship because I wasn’t coping at the state school I was at, I passed the criteria and was offered the scholarship and my dm even told me my dad didn’t approve of that so I had to stay in hell and be held back because of the disruption at home. I begged them to send me.

I do not understand any of it. I would love to have an answer but to me dm like mine are selfish and put themselves and their feelings first.
@ThisIsAPun I’m sorry that happened. That’s worse actually. I know it’s weird but I’d be even more angry if my dm got out without me!

Maybe83 Fri 04-Oct-19 20:14:42

Lots of reasons. Different times not as much support and a battered wife mentality. No confidence, fear , shame.

I wish my mother had left for her sake. I don't blame her and am thankful I dont have her marriage or life.

I'm not angry with her she was being abused. I blame one person only and that's my father.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Fri 04-Oct-19 20:16:53

The older I get the more I appreciate my good luck at being brought up in a loving, stable family. I was able to put my DC first because my DPs put me and my brothers first. I chose a lovely DH because I grew up observing my happily married parents etc.

A lot of women who stay in abusive relationships and, more importantly, force their DC to grow up in them learned really crap lessons about family dynamics.

I know what you mean, OP. For most of us the wellbeing of our DC comes above everything. Your priorities would have to be very badly skewed to put an abusive man first.

The scenario TheDarkPassenger describes, where women would rather lose their DC than some horrible man? I can't imagine how someone could make such a choice.

PleaseHelpM3 Fri 04-Oct-19 20:22:47

Why does she stay? Asks everyone

Why doesn't he stop? Asks no one

RoseHippy1 Fri 04-Oct-19 20:25:06

A very sad thread but I have to comment as this was me too. DM did nothing to prevent my brothers and I being abused , physically and emotionally, by her evil bully of a husband. I used to fantasise about going to Barnardos. I was NC with my mum for many many years as an adult. After I had my two little girls I caved to persistent pressure from her and family to allow her back in and allow her contact with the girls (her husband will never do much as set eyes on them). I am thinking about going NC as she is the selfish deluded and disappointing person she always was and it makes me depressed that she is just so utterly shit and, after the first couple of visits to see the girls, not interested really. Also now I have my own tiny daughters I am more viscerally repulsed by her failings as a mother. I have asked her countless times, before going NC, “Why didn’t you leave him”, “why didn’t you help us?!” And she actually DENIED most of the examples I was recalling. Things my brothers and I have tearfully discussed at length.

I honestly think my mother has undiagnosed personality issues and a lot of co-dependency , as well as thriving on drama and chaos. She also left my dad to shack up with this man after a long affair (where she used to take us as small children to sit in step-fathers living room watching tv while they shagged in the bedroom, then tell us not to tell my dad where we’d been)! I think admitting that step-dad was a nasty shit and she’d ruined so many lives for nothing would just be too shameful and difficult. I think if my mum truly faced up to the realities of everything she’s put us all through she’d have a nervous breakdown. But she can’t / won’t / never will. She carries on as if it’s all fine and expects me to uphold a relationship with her.

Honestly if anyone ever bullied my DDs or touched a hair on their heads - including DH- they’d be out on their ear at once . Why some women / parents put relationships first is something I’ll never truly understand but I think it has a lot to
Do with their own issues.

katalavenete Fri 04-Oct-19 20:25:15

I don't think you understand abuse.

Women don't stay because they make excuses, they stay:

- because they don't understand they're being abused or what abuse is;

- because brainwashing/conditioning is a huge part of abuse;

- because they have been threatened about what he will do to them/the children if they try to leave;

- because they're controlled and don't have the means or knowledge;

- because they grew up in abuse and think it's normal;

- because society tells them they're failing their children if they "break" the home up by leaving;

- because they think it's their fault and spend their life trying to be perfect enough to stop it;

- because of trauma bonding;

- because they're afraid of the harm he will do to the children if he has them EOW without her there to protect them;

- because he's told her he'll take the children away/she will never see them again if she leaves;

- because he's told her social services will take the children into care if anyone finds out what's going on;

- because when she tried talking to friends and family they dismissed it or told her to make her marriage work /not to bring shame on them by divorcing;

- because they've convinced themselves they're protecting the children and no harm will come to them;

- because they're so traumatised from the abuse being directed at them they don't realise what it's doing to the children;

- because they think the children would be damaged by the upheaval if they left;

- because they don't want to "take the children away from their dad";

- because they tried asking for help and were told to be a better wife;

- because they've been told it's not abuse unless they're being hit every day or some other narrow example that isn't part of the abuse happening to them;

- because even when he hit her the police just dismissed it and made her feel she'd overreacted;


I could go on.

I grew up in a similar position to you. I feel for my mum and what she was put through at the same time as I feel let down by her for not protecting me. But in fairness the greatest anger and blame always belongs with the abuser.

You might actually find doing the Freedom Programme will help you understand what you both went through. I'm not suggesting it because I think you should "forgive" her or take the same view as me - it's absolutely not down to me how you feel about your own experiences - but because I think it might help you make sense of them and work through it for your own benefit.

There is one module of the course in particular that focuses on children. It might be helpful to you.

PumpkinP Fri 04-Oct-19 20:25:24

Hmm personally I think it’s HARDER to leave when there is children involved so I disagree there. When there is no children there is nothing tying you to that person and it makes it much easier to leave imo. And abusive men still get contact so I can see why a mother might feel it’s better to just stay in the relationship. It’s all well and good saying stop contact but I’ve known violent men who still get unsupervised contact and that would be a worry for a lot of mothers in the situation.

katalavenete Fri 04-Oct-19 20:28:53

I should say, I recognise some mothers are just abusive in their own right, which is obviously an entirely different matter.

I am only commenting on women suffering domestic abuse and the very complex reasons why they stay or take so long to leave, as that is my understanding of what your post is about.

RoseHippy1 Fri 04-Oct-19 20:29:08

Jut want to add that my mother had a very stable and loving childhood and definitely had the financial means to “escape”.

BarbariansMum Fri 04-Oct-19 20:29:10

In my case the official reason was that she "stayed for the children". Thanks mum, not only a shitty childhood but we're supposed to be grateful for your sacrifice?

I dont say this to her face (I do love her) but by God I think it.

PicsInRed Fri 04-Oct-19 20:31:57

Women who leave abusive men are required by the family courts to leave those children with said abusive men up to 50% of the time - unsupervised.

You really can't understand why abused women stay? The courts insist that women are neglectful for staying then promptly hand over the same children to the same abuser. Ludicrous.

RoseHippy1 Fri 04-Oct-19 20:34:56

The Op didn’t specifically ask about women staying with the father of their children. Many women stay in abusive relationships with men who are not the DC’s father.

MoeGreenSpecial Fri 04-Oct-19 20:35:35

I spoke to my mum about why she stayed and she said she’d have had nowhere to go had she left him (council house? Rent somewhere?) and that she felt she was brainwashed (nope, she was the same with the next guy too, who was meek as anything, she was just really OTT eager to please him and every other man at the detriment of us). The truth is she is a selfish woman who is gaga over whatever man is in her life and she loses all interest in her daughters when one comes along. So the whole image of women in these situations as battered and helpless is, in many situations, bollocks. My mother was just as cruel tongued as my stepfather was and made no effort to comfort me when I’d been assaulted and was bawling my eyes out. It’s actually painful to hear people explain away her behaviour as that of a helpless cowering woman.

NearlyGranny Fri 04-Oct-19 20:36:11

One of the main reasons is that, once separated, an abusive partner will almost certainly be fully entitled to have contact with the children unsupervised. At least if the abused partner stays they can have their DC under their eye.

Two ultimately terrifying words: family annihilation.

TrainspottingWelsh Fri 04-Oct-19 20:37:57

Yanbu. Some people are far too selfish, and/or weak to put their children first.

Not quite the same as there was no domestic abuse with my parents, just one abusive parent, and another that couldn't be arsed to intervene. I've come to the conclusion that any parent that wouldn't do everything to protect their child clearly doesn't love them as much as they love themselves. Or in brief, they are unnatural cunts.

Also with you on the jealousy about going into care. My first ever memory of feeling jealousy/ envy was watching Annie and thinking how lucky they were to have each other and only Miss Hannigan. I used to daydream about orphanages and children's homes.

I begged for boarding school, which was well within budget. But at 7, let alone by my teens I was needed to provide emotional support or be a verbal punchbag, so it was out of the question.

Some people just shouldn't ever have children.

katalavenete Fri 04-Oct-19 20:38:37

I don't understand why you seem to blame your mum for your abusive dad preventing you from escaping his control? Or are you as angry with him?

Of course he wouldn't have let you go to boarding school to escape him. Abuse is all about power and control. If he let you go he wouldn't have had power over you.

Your mum was being abused by him too, she wouldn't have had the final say. If things were bad enough for her to get into a refuge, there's no way she would have had the power to overrule him for you.

There is a reason domestic abuse is now referred to as coercive control. It takes most women multiple attempts to leave for good. I'm sorry your mum didn't manage to.

It was thoroughly unjust what happened to you. You deserved a happy, safe childhood with adults who protected you when you needed it. I'm truly, truly sorry you didn't get that.

CheshireChat Fri 04-Oct-19 20:40:52

PleaseHelpM3 I appreciate the point you're making, but I think it's already clear that the abuser is a cunt, whereas the victim isn't presumably.

Though of course, no one deserves to be abused and victims shouldn't be held to unrealistically high standards.

GingersAreLush Fri 04-Oct-19 20:41:18

I put up with DV for years and therefore so did my children. I massively regret this and the only reasons I can give are:
fear- he was adamant that I would lose the children because I was such a lousy mother, the worst ever. He would keep them with him. I thought they were safer if I stayed with him.
Also denial- he loved the kids so much (he didn’t really not in a conventional way) and they loved him it would be cruel to separate them from their dad.
Fear of being all alone (not in a relationship way but a friends and family way) and not being believed- this was put into perspective as soon as I called women’s aid about it. I have never felt lonely since.

OP, I am so sorry you have gone through all of this and I totally understand why you feel the way you do. I hope you don’t think I’ve made excuses as that’s not my intention at all, however those are my reasons. They probably seem lame to some but were so important to me.

RoseHippy1 Fri 04-Oct-19 20:41:25

It’s actually painful to hear people explain away her behaviour as that of a helpless cowering woman.

I agree-my mother must have issues, but she is not helpless, she can be strong and assertive when she wants to be, she came from a loving home , left a non-abusive husband ,she had the financial means to escape plus a large a loving family . She stayed because her relationship , as dysfunctional as it was and still is, trumps her children. And because of her own issues which I touched on earlier .

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