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need advice from someone who's been in an EA and DV relationship

(85 Posts)
anotherworriedfriend Sat 15-Jun-13 11:30:56

Have namechanged.

So, friend confides that her DH has a history of DV, probably related to undiagnosed MH problem.

Over a year at the P1 school gate, more details have been confided - lots of nasty, ugly, violent behaviour and then lots of peaceful, ordinary behaviour with gifts and gestures to "make up for it".

She feels powerless, "the kids love him", "it's not that bad" "I know how to handle him" - you know, the stuff that women trapped in an abusive relationship say. Sigh.

I've said to come to me if ever she feels her, or her kids safety is at risk - but, it's her marriage, she's a grown-up, she knows fine well what's going on and I've felt there's nothing to be gained from telling her to LTB; she already knows that - and, there's a distinct undercurrent of "it's more complicated than that".

However, she's just told me that DH has pinned 7 year old up against a wall. Screaming in the face, threatening violence and that the child's daddy is going to "fucking kill you"

Also, she's told me he's got convictions for assault - I don't know whether that's against her, the kids, or someone else.

This woman is bright, clever, funny, and you'd just love her.

She KNOWS he's bad for her, bad for the kids and that she needs to leave.

But, I'm not sure that me offering safe refuge is enough now that I know her kids are at risk from a violent, unpredictable dick man, who might be ill, but who refuses to see his GP.

If you've been on the receiving end of this kind of crap, I'm sorry. But, if you have any nuggets of what could have been helpful from a friend that might have enabled to extricate yourself - well, I'd be really grateful.

I don't want to mess this conversation with her up.

Chubfuddler Sun 16-Jun-13 08:51:06

And the children are being abused. Being brought up in this environment is abuse.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 09:06:24

Yep, she spoke at length about his behaviour and why she thinks he's unwell. And, I agree, he's Not Right In The Head...

but, I did manage to get through to her (thank goodness) that it's possible to be mentally ill AND a dickhead-scumbag-tosser.

My instinct is to gather them up and take them here and make the report to SS - but, a week seems fair enough. sort of

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 09:12:04

* At the moment she is prioritising him and his threats to harm himself over the children and herself. That is exactly the kind if behaviour that gets children taken into care. * That is a very good point.

And, as for delighting in his potential demise...well, it goes against every one of my instincts, and, my college friend sadly took her own life and it was/is just horrific for her family, but, yep, I'm surprised to find myself kind of agreeing with you. Am more comfortable hoping he'll go proper bonkers and get sectioned.

Lweji Sun 16-Jun-13 09:13:55

Sadly, it is less bad if he were to kill himself (I doubt it) than them.
And less bad if he goes downhill than the wife and children being punchbags.

Also pointing out that she may well need to leave rather than get him to leave.

GettingStrong Sun 16-Jun-13 09:14:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 09:27:45

No, she's not contacted any of these agencies...she works indirectly with them and so doesn't want them to know about her personal circs.

I said to her "you have been abused for years, your thinking is confused because he has been abusing you. You need help to leave, these are the people who can give you help. Professional pride is irrelevant, you will be given the same support and confidentiality as anyone else. You need their help because he has been abusing you"

That's why I thought the book might help - it's got the stuff they'd talk about in it.

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Sun 16-Jun-13 09:43:08

From the viewpoint of someone who has been there, you need to report it to SS. Her boundaries of what is acceptable have slowly been eroded by constant normalisation of violent and abusive behaviour. It becomes the "new normal" and loosens up what is acceptable and what isn't in her head. That's why she keeps saying "I'll leave if..." and then when "if" happens, she resets the bar with another "well, I'll leave if..."

There's a point where you have to go from "being supportive and there for her" to "doing what is right for her and her children for their safety."

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Sun 16-Jun-13 09:54:01

Ive done the Freedom Programme with Living with the Dominator I have a few books in my drawer to refer to.

I think you still need to report it, if she starts talking with him this week he could hurt the DC more.

If people don't report these things SS never find out, it took me a lot to think of ex leaving but as soon as he hit the DC I was onto a Lawyer

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Sun 16-Jun-13 09:58:14

Oh and him killing himself is a line they all pull, maybe you would download the book and read it yourself, you will see a lot of what she is saying to you is text book abuse.

My brother is bipolar and his wife had an affair and left him - he didn't kill himself

I have possible bipolar (unmedicated as yet) - lived with my ex for many years through the worst EA, stalking, affairs, following me at work, calling 20 x per day, putting keyloggers on my pc so I couldn't come here - and I didn't kill myself.

My ex threatened it so many times too 'Mwawawaw I'm going to jump off a bridge' hmm i wish

Tbh I doubt if she will remove him from their life in one week as effectively as SS could/would.

ChaosCatt Sun 16-Jun-13 09:58:36

Hello Another,
I have posted occsaionally on the boards. I don't too often as it gets "boring". I talk about issues if they're getting really bad - so this poor lady's are obviously peaking too.

I have tried to tell several people, I get so far and stop. I have told several his has a "bad temper".

I am sure my friends / family want me to leave him, even though they don't know the truth.

At present, I don't because I am saving to leave. If violence happened I would go to a refuge. The kids are left out of it thank God! I wish I could leave now.

I wish I had a friend like you, please report.

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Sun 16-Jun-13 10:08:17

A point to consider. I did not ever really tell my most supportive friend everything. I held some things back (generally the worst stuff) as I was worried how awful it was and embarrassed. There's a good possibility that it's worse than what she is saying and she's only telling you what she feels "safe" to tell you.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 13:36:57

You know, the power of MN is amazing.

I felt very lost and, frankly, a bit panicked once I grasped the reality of her situation.

One wee post - and here you all are, affirming my worries and convincing me that "interfering" and making a change is the only thing to do.

He's said he'll got to a psychiatrist, it's all her fault he's gone a "bit short tempered". I've said, fair enough, get him to the GP tomorrow and go with him so he can't edit the reality of what is going on. If you don't, then I will phone them to tell them what you have told me because you and the kids are living with an unpredictable, violent man and that needs to change now.

I phoned the local psychiatric hospital, hoping they'd qualify as an "emergency" given that he's making suicidal statements. But, nope, needs to be at the point of needing an admission.

So, GP contact tomorrow by 5pm, or I'll phone SS myself.

I think I'd prefer to speak to the GP, obviously, they can't and shouldn't share details about him - but, they can listen to what I've heard and seen, and follow that up with him. And, they can report to SS.

My friend actually sounds like shit today. I think she's at The Bottom. Good. Only way is up?

AliceDoesntLiveHereAnymore Sun 16-Jun-13 14:42:23

Sorry, but going to the GP is not a realistic solution at this point. When my H went to the GP, it took FOUR MONTHS before he was even given any type of counselling assessment and another 4-5 months before he was given counselling. And even that was over the phone and did literally nothing. In the meantime, we were being treated horribly for almost 8+ months just waiting for counselling to start. And that's standard in our area, other areas the wait is longer.

Notify SS. They will step in and get things moving much quicker.

He's said he'll got to a psychiatrist, it's all her fault he's gone a "bit short tempered".

If he said this, there's no point in even going through a therapist/counsellor. If he doesn't recognise a problem, he won't be looking to fix it, will he? He'll use it as something to make her think it's all her fault.

Hissy Sun 16-Jun-13 15:52:16

Please get HER to go the GP, and get her to record this, to ask for counselling for HER to get through this.

What is essential is that she gets this on record with as many agencies as possible. YES it will get scaled to SS, but she needs the help.

IF she sits on this and then denies or limits contact, where will the (often male and anti DV judge) get the HARD evidence needed to support her claim for additional care, denial of unsupervised visits and the really bloody necessary additional support she WILL need to help herself and her DC recover from this.

HE can sort himself out. SHE needs to GET HER KIDS TO SAFETY.

She WILL lose the kids if she DOESN'T ACT to get them to safety.

It's not her fault, none of this, but if she doesn't do something she WILL be allowing him to harm them all, potentially worse. 2 women a week are killed and men that are violent can and DO kill the kids to get to the mother.


When she does the Freedom PRogramme, she will see that the woe is me, martyr act is precisely that. an act, designed to pressure, manipulate and damage the family.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 19:57:13

The reality of what needs to happen has hit me, and, frankly, I'm a bit scared. And, resentful.

Why is she not protecting her kids? She has a choice to DO something, why has she not taken it?

Why has she been so weak and so short-sighted to keep the status quo and ALLOW this? Selfishly, I keep thinking that I shouldn't be the one having to call SS and make her kids safe.

I understand that she's being abused and she's not thinking clearly, and, I am happy to help and support and get them all safe - but, ugh. This is going to be horrible.

It's going to cost me our friendship (that's ok, the kids need to be safe) It's going to have repercussions at the school gate. I'm potentially going to land up in court as a witness? He's a big scary man - what if he finds out it's me who's dobbed him in?


See this being a grown-up? It's rubbish.

GettingStrong Sun 16-Jun-13 20:46:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

anotherworriedfriend Sun 16-Jun-13 21:06:18

Getting, yep, that's actually, exactly what she's said.

She's fearful that she'll lose the kids - so, by saying nothing and maintaining the situation she feels that she is protecting them. And, that for them to be separated from their dad will be deeply upsetting for them, so, she wants to spare them that.

And, yes, she knows me well enough to realise she can't tell me all that she has and I'll just say "oh dear, he's a twat, have some cake"

I do have every sympathy for my friend - I'm not angry with her, I'm more shocked that she's in such a bad situation - and, I feel guilty for not having realised just how grim it is. I know she'll have gone to great lengths to hide the reality from everyone, including herself, but, goodness, if I'd been a better friend I could have made this call a year ago.

Thank you for your post, Getting. It does make me feel better. Now, where are my Big Girl Pants...? Time to get them on.

dandydorset Sun 16-Jun-13 21:37:03

havent read all

i was in a very similar position as your friend,stayed with ex for 5 yrs and felt s your friend did

i would report but not tell her,i had all the fears she did,it's a terrible situation for all concerned and is very complex these relationships

i had alot of help from womens aid and now am starting councelling and have a support worker,funds are so stretched at the moment but there is help there

good for you helping support is vital,it's a long and difficult road,difficult to understand to those that havent been in a dv relationship

good luck

scoobydooagain Sun 16-Jun-13 21:44:26

Please report to social services, them getting involved was best thing to happen to my child and me, didn't seem so at time but several years later we are happy, free and safe.

Hissy Sun 16-Jun-13 21:51:26

She can't see past the situation she's in. She's frightened that life will fall apart if she breaks free.

The opposite is true. In a matter of days without him, SHE will feel slightly less tense. Her DC will feel less tense, they will begin to thrive. In a matter of DAYS.

If she says nothing, the poison they are being exposed to is actively harming them, their self image/esteem and cutting their future from them.

The only way is OUT.

OddSockMonster Mon 17-Jun-13 10:36:06

Oh I really do hope you call SS!

I called them with concerns about my brother when his gf was beating him (plus concerns over my nephew). I knew it might ruin our relationship, but it was the best phone call I ever made. And the stuation wasn't anywhere as bad as it is with your friend. For him to be threatening to kill the kids - really, really not good.

Yes it would be better if she called them herself but they will totally understand the situation she's in, especially if you tell them everything that's been going on (abuse towards her, suicide threats). They will understand her situation, but if she works with them in protecting the kids then they won't remove them but will help her get things sorted.

It may well be the chance she needs to talk to people that will help her leave, but if you leave her to make that call, there may always be reasons for her to put it off - trying to fix an unfixable sitauation.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 12:06:43

Glad things improved for your brother, Sock.

I called SS for advice this morning. I gave my name and an account of what my friend told me. They are clear, like MN, that this is a Problem, that they'd investigate and would expect to have the police involved.

Not-at-all surprisingly, today, he's behaving as if nothing has happened. No GP appointment.

I've told her to make an appointment to see the GP herself, and that I'll go for hand-holding if she wants that. She's reluctant because that will lead to SS, but I have impressed upon her that because I now know, that I will need to make sure that something changes. ANd, that I want her to make the call because it would be better - but, htat I care for her and her children and so can't stand by knowing that they are all at risk and that he is reporting suicidal thoughts.

She hung up. Well, made an excuse about someone at the door, and hung up, not in temper, just hung up.

So, at least she's aware that I expect there to be change, in the short-term, and she understands that I am going to make it happen if she can't. I'll see her at pick up at school.

It's not nice, knowing you've sent someone into a blind panic. She's probably terrified that she's confided something in me and it's totally backfired.

Not nice at all.

Hissy Mon 17-Jun-13 14:17:20

Get her on here! Let US explain to her how things are, and that we've all been there, more or less.

Hissy Mon 17-Jun-13 14:18:44

That child needs someone to help him.

You are doing that, because his mother is too scared to.

No blame, but she needs back up, she needs people to help her do what needs to be done.

OddSockMonster Mon 17-Jun-13 14:21:56

Well done for calling! Doens't sound like a nice situation in any sense, but hopefully she'll see that you're saying this / calling SS out of concern, not to make her life difficult.

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