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Emotional Abuse and Children

(18 Posts)
SonShines Fri 19-Apr-13 21:05:44

Tried in parenting, but no response.

Looking for some help/opinions/perspective, please.

What would constitute being 'emotionally abusive' to a child? At what point should you do something, how can you do anything, how can you prove it, how can you 'counter-act' it, with the child?

This is concerns about a relationship between my child and their non-resident parent with whom they have contact weekly.

Sorry to be vague, I'm being conscious not to give much away as I don't want to be recognised.

suebfg Fri 19-Apr-13 21:08:47

How old is the child? Are we talking toddler, junior school?

SonShines Fri 19-Apr-13 21:16:07

8 year old

SonShines Fri 19-Apr-13 21:16:18

(thank you for answering!)

addictedtolatte Fri 19-Apr-13 21:17:32

Cafcass are very good at establishing whether a child is suffering emotional abuse. Try asking the court for a referral next time you attend. I've just been referred after 2 years of battling through courts. My ds has grinded Down his teeth due to anxiety caused by his dad. He makes him lie constantly ect

SonShines Fri 19-Apr-13 21:29:42

How awful addicted sad

I'm suffering most of the consequence from DS (tantrums, hitting, I even got pinched today) but I'm being told that obviously it's something I'm doing as he directs his outbreaks at me, but I feel like DS only feel able to release his frustrations/anxieties when with me. Also I feel he blames me for packing him off every weekend sad

suebfg Fri 19-Apr-13 21:32:29

I'm not an expert in these things at all but I'd say that any verbal abuse intended to degrade a child (e.g. you're effing useless!) or verbal threats of violence being made to a child would constitute emotional abuse.

I don't think you can 'counter-act' that sort of abuse really. Obviously by being a loving parent, you might provide some protection but I don't think you can negate it.

Are you able to say what is happening or what you think is happening?

addictedtolatte Fri 19-Apr-13 21:50:56

Is there no way you can cut down the contact for a bit till your child is more settled? I feel for you as I know how you probably feel sad I was so scared of the courts I felt like I caused my ds anxiety by making him go. His dad has to visit at ds home now and life is much better. Do what you feel is right.

PurpleThing Fri 19-Apr-13 21:52:25

Women's Aid work with children too. I would contact them for advice.

Who is telling you that because it's the opposite of what I've been told ie because they feel safe with you they can let out difficult feelings rather than being on best behaviour.

Lundy Bancroft has some books about abuse and children.

SonShines Fri 19-Apr-13 21:59:42

Thing is, I don't think it is as direct as 'you're effing useless'. It's more manipulative. Constant questioning over issues DS doesn't want to talk about, being 'told off' for raising issues at home with me, or directly to his Dad. DS now feels he can't approach his Dad with any problem whilst he is in his care, and I'm concerned he will stop coming to me for fear of it getting back (I'm conscious now not to questionOn one occasion he was on the loo and realised there was no toilet roll, but instead of shouting for some, he used his hands sad and then got a bollocking for it sad

butterflymeadow Fri 19-Apr-13 22:00:30

Who has told you it is your fault?
How much are you able to talk to your DS about it? I mean, when he is calm? Or do you have a trusted adult who he can talk to?
I think what constitutes emotional abuse to a child is a wide spectrum. Lack of affection, verbal abuse more obviously, but also denigrating the child in other ways, not respecting their integrity and dignity.
ExH used to wind DD up till she snapped at him, then he said she annoyed him - one example. I did discuss this after we split up and she was able to see clearly that he had been winding her up and she was not snapping because she was a bad person but because of the frustration. So, I think it is also the feelings it causes them to have about themselves. If your ds is told to lie, he knows lying is wrong and he will think badly of himself.
Is the contact court-ordered? Can you get professional advice?
Not sure if that is any help. It is a difficult situation.

SonShines Fri 19-Apr-13 22:01:20

missing text * not to question/ask his Dad, but feel helpless when DS is upset about something) *

butterflymeadow Fri 19-Apr-13 22:01:57

Sorry x-posted. Too slow on phone.

suebfg Fri 19-Apr-13 22:05:17

Difficult one really .. from what you've said, I couldn't describe that as 'abuse'. Manipulative/controlling maybe - are there unresolved issues between you and his Dad?

SonShines Fri 19-Apr-13 22:09:02

Thank you so much for replying.

addicted - I have done this before but I'm being threatened with court and all sorts, also now having problems with maintenance money as I refused to allow a 2 week holiday (DS really didn't want to go).

Thanks Purple, may give them a call.

Butterfly - he has said it's my fault, and seems to be compiling a case against me (for what I've no idea). DS has told me he has been excessively questioned about any scrapes/bruises, so I've no idea what he's trying to do. DS has been having additional emotional support through the school for the last 2 years.

There's been a long history of his Dad putting his own needs above DS's. For example he has never attended any parents evenings/ school productions/sports events, but was straight on the phone to arrange a meeting when he realised he's been left out of a school project about family. Theres also always a big deal made out of Fathers Day, but not DS's birthday. I worry that the stuff I hear about/see is only the tip of the iceberg sad

addictedtolatte Fri 19-Apr-13 22:20:43

Sounds like he's from the same charm school as my exp sad its so frustrating that they can't see the damage there causing to there flesh and blood. My barrister managed to get home visits plus supervision for my situation. I took him to court after my ds refused to go to contact. So sorry your ds is going through this but it will come good in the end. Just be there for him that's all you can do.

butterflymeadow Fri 19-Apr-13 22:32:49

Don't tell your ex about any hitting, tantrums etc if it is grist to his mill or did the school tell him?
Maintenance and contact should be two separate issues. He sounds manipulative and selfish.
I would take legal advice. Your ds should be confident that he will have his needs met. The loo roll story is sad

Eggsmummy Sun 21-Apr-13 20:27:11

Hi sonshines, I have similar issues with my ex and my dds. Don't really want to go into it on here as don't want to be recognised but pm me if you just fancy a chat, I know I could do with somebody who knew what I was talking about! X

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