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Something terrible happened last night...

(194 Posts)
Felix77 Fri 22-Feb-13 15:12:05

Hi there,

Thought I might post as its been playing on my mind and wanted to see what others thought. We have two year old dd who is the love of our lives and she is very 'mummy demanding' at present. Im still breastfeeding her so some nights she will call out for me in the night. I'll usually go in and comfort her as my husband, although he offers is usually in a very grumpy mood and has difficulty getting up at that time - he will usually complain, swear and carry on abut her waking so I just tell him to go back to bed. Lately things have been changing. My hubby has been stressed at work - I have also (I work PT and also study and he works FT). Last night DD cried out - I waited for a little to see if she would settle and didn't so I went in - bf her and put her down but she wasnt having any of it. So I asked hubby to see if he would do it, (a very rare occasion indeed to see if she would stop fussing for me) he went in, sat down yawning and said to her "go back to sleep" in a stern voice. I poked my head around the corner and whispered "do that thing you do with her". Anyway he started swearing at me telling me to F off (in front of the child). I went in and told him to stop - DD crying and screaming for me at this point. so I told him not to worry and go back to bed. He went to the spare room and as I brought her in with me (in the back ground he was yelling out) I was so furious with him, I went to the bedroom to tell him how insensitive he was and he was still swearing at me. I had a glass with about 50 ml of water in it in my hand and so I threw it on him and told him he needed to cool down and control himself. Anyway this was a big mistake as he jumped out of bed yelling "you Bitch!" and chased me to the bedroom where DD was, he grabbed me by my clothes and shoved me forward and backward so I feel over on my back. DD was crying again crying out "mummy". I was terrified that she could see what was happening. My husband swearing and yelling at me at this point - grabbed me again and through to the hallway and I fell against the stair banister. I told him to get his hands off me and he stormed downstairs. I went back in to be with DD to calm her down - her heart and my heart was beating so fast it took me hours to get back to sleep. This morning he acknowledged that he was wrong for swearing but seemed to have a mental block for being physical. I told him that shoving me and pushing me around was wrong especially in front of dd. i also have a mark on my chest from his fingernails. He said that she only 2 so she wouldn't know - however i disagree and believe this should never happen. It has happened before a few times in our 7 years of marriage but he has never hit me. What do you think about this?

Spero Sun 24-Feb-13 12:46:54

Yes yellowbrickrd. If you enter into a relationship with a violent man, if you let him back into the house time and time again to beat you in front of your children, if you won't co operate with the police or take out an injunction, your children could be removed from your care by the State because you have failed to protect them.

Why do you express surprise about this? It is sadly common. Time and time again I deal with women who have been raped and beaten with their children in the next or even same room. But the next time he knocks on the door they let him in. It seems that any man is better than none.

It is very sad. I guess it is a self esteem issue. Everyone should be given as much help and support as possible to get out of violent relationships - or even better, not get into them in the first place.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 24-Feb-13 14:24:33

Actually it's not just a self-esteem issue.

It's an issue of safety, long term security and social and economic survival.

Everyone knows that the time a woman is most likely to be murdered by a violent partner, is when she leaves him - either just as she's about to, or has just done so. (Actually that's not true, most people are blissfully unaware of that, but they ought to know.)

The courts and judicial system do not deal with male violence, they pretend it's not as serious as it is. The single biggest clue as to whether a man will murder his female partner, is whether he has threatened to or not. If he has, he is x times more likely to murder her than a man who has not threatened to kill her (I can't remember the exact figures.) Yet when a woman tells the police that he's threatened to kill her, they don't take it seriously and usually either don't believe her or just minimise it - heat of the moment, blah di blah.

Added to this we live in a society that gives women the very clear message that without a man they're incomplete. We also tell them that the children of single parents do worse than those whose parents are together (even though that's only because of income), we make sure that we punish single parents with poverty, we don't make men pay maintenance (only 2/5 of NRP's do and the average figure is a pittance), we give violent men sole contact with their children so that their mothers can't protect them and overall many women make the calculation that they may have more chance of protecting their children and giving them a better life if their fathers stay - better to have them inside the home pissing out, than outside the home pissing in. (They ignore the fact that often, they're inside pissing in, but heyho.) Society gives non-resident fathers no responsibilities and lots of rights, is it really any wonder that so many women in violent relationships make the calculation that it might be easier to stick it out for a few more years than to split?

Stop blaming women for the societal factors which make living with an abuser look like a better decision than dumping his worthless arse.

Spero Sun 24-Feb-13 14:32:22

Stop accusing me of blaming women when I do no such thing. If you want to debate, do it honestly or it is all just a waste of time.

I agree with you that a powerful and dangerous message is constantly reinforced that women are less worthy if they don't have a man. We need to combat this.

But I don't agree courts fail to take violence seriously. It is almost always an element in the care cases I deal with and women are always supported and encouraged to take advantage of all avenues available to protect themselves and their children. Where it often breaks down is when women will not separate from abusers.

I am sure that societal and economic pressures play a big part. But I would also like to encourage more people to think about why they end up with abusive bastards, not just accept it as something that happens.

Asking people to think, to try to claim their own autonomy is nothing to do with 'blaming' them when it goes wrong. But as I have made this point many, many times and it is not grasped, I have to conclude that it never will be, by some of you at least.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 24-Feb-13 14:49:24

I am debating honestly.

I think the tone of your arguments are consistently woman-blaming.

I'm sorry but if you look at the figures, it is just wrong to say that the courts take male violence seriously. Time after time, men who break injunctions are simply not dealt with. Men who get cautioned, are allowed back into the family home. It is also wrong to say that there is loads of help; there is some, but it is minimal and the eventual end is usually poverty, there's no way round that.

You cannot divorce women's self-esteem (and I do agree with you that there is a massive issue there) from the society which has a vested interest in ensuring that women's self-esteem is kept as low as possible and that it stems mainly from the acceptance and approval of men.

amillionyears Sun 24-Feb-13 15:01:59

I think we forget that women get lonely. To a greater extent than men do.
And scared to go it alone. Again, to a greater extent than men do.
And sometimes it is a case of, fear of the unknown.
And dont know what to do in a marital or partner split. though I must say that there is heaps of advice on MN about that.

I actually think that it is a woman herself who feels less, and I dont know what the word is, worthy?, important? if she doesnt have a man.

Who do you think, Fastidia, has the vested interest?

Viviennemary Sun 24-Feb-13 15:13:19

You threw a glass of water at him in the middle of the night. If somebody did that to me I'd be furious. Not sure what I'd do as it hasn't happened. It does sound as if you've both behaved very badly indeed and need to look at your relationshiop overall to see if it can be rescued.

Spero Sun 24-Feb-13 15:20:49

I think to consider women as passive acceptors of male cruelty is just as offensive, limiting and blaming as saying that they should take responsibility for men's actions. We all need to look at our behaviour.

I do not recognise your description of how courts treat male violence and I have worked there for ten years now. So maybe we will have to agree to disagree. I have seen on countless times the frustration of police who will fit panic buttons etc and then get repeatedly called back.

I think the vast majority of humans get lonely and want someone else around. That's ok. What I think is sad is why so many of us think so little of ourselves, or have so little choices in our lives that we hitch our wagons to anything going.

If that is victim blaming, so be it. Can't think of any way to put it more clearly.

DreamsTurnToGoldDust Sun 24-Feb-13 15:32:36

I`m with AF et all, if your relationship has descended into this then its time to finish it, there really isnt any comeback from here.

Good luck

MerryCouthyMows Sun 24-Feb-13 15:33:42

Spero - you obviously haven't had the experiences if family courts that I have. Locally, if you are an abused woman, you can guarantee that you will lose your DC's to your abuser AT LEAST 50% of the time. And often are reduced to seeing them EOW.

I have seen it happen to 3 of my friends in the last year alone.

If I was abused again, and there were DC's involved, there is NO way I would be leaving my abuser. Because I KNOW what happens in those cases here.

amillionyears Sun 24-Feb-13 16:14:54

How much abuse would you be prepared to put up with Merry?

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 24-Feb-13 16:27:52

"I think to consider women as passive acceptors of male cruelty..."

But that's an over-simplification, I don't think it's so clear-cut. But you're right, we prob need to agree to disagree. smile

Amillionyears I think you raise interesting points. I'm not sure that women do get lonelier than men, research has consistently shown that the heirarchy of happiness goes:

Married men
Single women
Married women
Single men

I think men get just as lonely, but I think they are not assumed to be lonely by other people, as women are. If you look at likelihood of suicide, depression, ill-health etc., it's single men who are more likely to suffer. Being married is a massive benefit for men, not so much for women if you believe the heirarchy of happiness. However the public narrative, is that it's single women who are unhappy, surrounded by cats, dead bodies being eaten by alsations etc. But we are all the products of our culture and yes I do think it's very difficult not to internalise those negative messages and to not be afraid of being alone, especially when you have children and you know you won't get any maintenance and you may well be unemployed. Also of course, you may well have a very negative view of single mothers, because that's what we're fed and the thought of joining a despised class, even though you may not despise them yourself, is pretty awful.

The other thing that I think is important is that it is actually extremely difficult to face up to the fact that you are the victim of domestic violence. Again, our culture has a narrative about that: we have a view that says women who "put up with" male violence in their home are weak, or stupid, or dependent, or uneducated, or a mixture of all plus a whole load of other negatives. A woman who is going through this, doesn't see herself in this negative narrative, so she doesn't necessarily link it to her situation and herself. Hold on, there's a brilliant Ted talk on this by an abuse survivor who points out that she saw herself as a strong woman who was having some relationship problems, not this pathetic victim of legend. I'll see if I can find it.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 24-Feb-13 16:30:36

Found it

This really is well worth a watch, she's a brilliantly articulate speaker and really explains well, how someone with all the advantages she had, can still become a victim of an abuser.

amillionyears Sun 24-Feb-13 17:21:20

Excellent video.

Can I make some observations on it?

Good points.
1.The fact that she is telling everyone.
2.The stages abusers use, including isolating people. Though I would hazard a guess that some abusers dont set out as abusers as her DH did.
3.Telling people that it can happen to people from absolutely all walks of life.

Bad points or mistakes she made?
Seems a bit mean to do this, but we are having a frank discussion so will say them.
1. Calling anyone a soulmate. I done believe that anyone can be all things to another person. All humans are flawed.
2. He attacked her 5 days before the wedding. I would like to think that there is no way on earth that I would have still gone through with the wedding.
3. She seemed to fudge the bot near the beginning about men and women abusers. She said that in the USA, 85% of men are the abusers. therefore 15% are women. I think she was scared to say that bit more openly.

Overall though, everyone should watch this. [The video runs for 16 mins]

Spero Sun 24-Feb-13 17:34:06

Thanks for the video link, I will watch when daughters awful film has finished.

I am sorry you feel that way Merry, I don't know what experiences you have had, but clearly not great.

All I can say is that I have never been involved in a case where violence. Wasn't taken extremely seriously and I have never been involved in a case where children went to live with someone who had been found guilty of serious violence in a criminal court or had serious findings made against him or her in civil court.

If anyone is living with children and someone violent you MUST leave or get help, you must co operate with the police in prosecuting them. One of the reasons that a cycle of abuse continues is that children grow up thinking that violence between adults is normal and acceptable. It never is, no matter the provocation, no matter the excuse.

FastidiaBlueberry Sun 24-Feb-13 17:34:28

Yeah I think the soulmate idea is a really destructive one.

That, along with the exhortation to "work on your relationship" (and we can see who is trained to do the emotional work of the relationship - look at women's magazines and compare them to men's magazines - where are the endless articles talking men through how to make sure their relationships are happy and healthy?) keeps women in relationships they should leave, because to leave your soulmate would by definition be a waste of your life surely? Unless you believe in re-incarnation, this is your one in a lifetime chance to be together with the person destiny allocated to you. It is the most ridiculous idea but a surprising number of otherwise quite sensible people seem to buy into it. confused

Spero Sun 24-Feb-13 17:41:45

I have always found 'boiling the frog' a helpful way of understanding why some people stay. A lot of abusers start off charming then ramp up the abuse little by little. What you put up with months into the relationship you wouldn't put up with at the beginning. Just as a frog wouldn't jump into a pan of boiling water, but you can gradually raise the temperature so he doesn't realise he is boiling until its too late.

I am a well educated woman with access to money, family support etc but I still found myself with someone who tried to suffocate me with a pillow - it took another six months to extricate myself because I guess on some level you just bear to admit that this is happening to you.

If some one attacked me just before my wedding it would take enormous courage to call it off and to explain why - I can completely understand and sympathise why someone might desparately try to stick head in sand, pretend it hadn't happened or he was 'tired' or 'stressed'.

All I want is to raise my daughter to know that it is NEVER acceptable to be in a relationship with a man or woman who belittles her or hits her. I want her never to have to make that choice.

Spero Sun 24-Feb-13 17:43:58

Agree about the emphasis on relationships too - all down to the woman to 'bag' the man, keep the man, worry abut whether the man is happy. Such a shame. It should be a mutual obligation to keep our relationships healthy.

amillionyears Sun 24-Feb-13 18:53:18

Spero, shock at what happened to you. sad

My DD came into the room as I was watching the last few minutes of the film.
And afterwards she asked in a quiet voice "dad isnt doing that to you is he?"
I told her no, no way was dad doing that to me. I thought it was sweet of her to ask.

The only thing that happened to me was, after we had been married for about 6 months, one day DH took me by the elbow and slightly manhandled me down the hall.
I told him in no uncertain terms that if he ever used any force against me again, I would'nt be staying around. He has not, I am glad to say. He knows I would be straight out the door if he did.

AnyFucker Mon 25-Feb-13 00:55:18

I believe my soulmate is an Inuit Eskimo living in an igloo near the South Pole. It is highly unlikely I will ever meet him.

Until then, I'll make do with one of the probably thousands of men living within my own environs that make a perfectly acceptable life partner for me

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