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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.

anotherworriedfriend Fri 21-Jun-13 14:33:58

Yep, our middle sons are doing the same holiday club. And, we share a hobby, so we'll see each other. And, her DH thinks I'm a harmless idiot, so he doesn't mind her meeting up with me. Will see her this weekend - and will have a Stern Conversation, she needs a gentle shove to get her to move things along...

captainmummy Fri 21-Jun-13 13:30:57

Will you keep in contact with her over the holidays, AWF?

anotherworriedfriend Fri 21-Jun-13 11:35:49

Thanks for that link. Have put in on my FB - she'll see it there, but he'll not know it's for her benefit.

Is EXACTLY her life, in one wee graphic. Makes me tearful.

OddSockMonster Thu 20-Jun-13 20:25:10

You sound like you've got your head screwed on, she's lucky to have you smile

It's really good she's already looking up Woman's Aid, hopefully she'll get a chance to chat with them as well.

I found it useful to chat with one of the helplines myself, they're happy to talk with concerned friends and family too if you need them.

Also, one of the things that sunk in with my brother was the whole cycles of abuse thing, as it as something that after I'd said about it, he then saw happening and recognised. Opened his eyes quite alot.

anotherworriedfriend Thu 20-Jun-13 12:38:45

I know, her family have said she needs to protect the kids - and, she has said herself that she is not.

I'm kind of hopeful today that she might be coming round to the only sensible thing she can do. She's googled women's aid...

Christ, I wish she'd leave. She's lovely, but, absolutely paralysed - and, you are right, it's just not good enough.

Poor kids.

wonderingagain Thu 20-Jun-13 01:21:45

I reminded her that she had more than a touch of the Nigella's

SS should also be aware that if children are at risk it is everyone's duty to report it and make sure they are safe, this INCLUDES the mother. The mother may be a victim but she is colluding with the abuse if she allows it to happen. This is exactly what happened with the Baby P woman - she never committed the crimes but the fact that she allowed it to happen put her behind bars for years, victim or no victim.

I think that's right but I'm not sure that many women know this. If she doesn't act to protect her children soon they could, if things got really bad, be taken into care. Now I understand what you say about them not taking it very seriously but I would imagine that there will be a picture being built up of the family because of the boy's behaviour at school. If she doesn't show SS that she is prepared to protect her children she may well end up in trouble too.

Try putting that to her - nicely of course.

BreatheandFlyAway Wed 19-Jun-13 23:13:04

Just wrote a post then read your update re SS sad.

From someone who suffered in childhood and has suffered r/s abuse as an adult - thank you for being there for your friend and even more importantly for her dc. Your steadfastness is probably the best thing they have in their lives, even though they don't realise or can't admit to themselves sad. Keep going and also look after yourself - your feelings are being battered by this too, yet it's not something one can walk away from and you are being a great person to be so steadfast.

anotherworriedfriend Wed 19-Jun-13 22:43:04

Thanks for all the kind words about me - if it helps redress the balance, I steal my kids' sweets and don't always wash the fruit before I eat it.

I don't judge her. I've realised that she's been living this for years and years, it's going to take some time for her to get her act together. And, he IS being better now.

So, I'm still texting away, chatty, not mentioning it. And, at the slightest excuse I'll bring it up again, face to face.

Am wondering about school - but, the holidays start next week. So, unless there's a proper incident (in which case I'll be onto SS) then, I guess that's not really an option until August.

It's all making me appreciate my husband more. Even his foibles. Could be worse.

OddSockMonster Wed 19-Jun-13 18:59:31

Try not to constantly worry, it's very, very emotionally draining, especially in a situation where you've probably done all you can.

At least now if anything does happen, SS will know the background and will act accordinly. The might have said 'no more action' but will be able to quickly come back to your concerns, and any others from school etc. should anything happen.

You can't be there to watch them all the time, so please don't worry about it all the time. Just let your friend know you're there for her should she need you, and don't judge her for staying in what everyone else can see is a bad situation, because she won't be seeing it in full herself yet, and possibly won't for some time.

Only she can make the choice to leave for good.

flippinada Wed 19-Jun-13 18:49:21

worried can I jut say that you sound like a lovely, kind and good person.

Unfortunately there are a lot of people who turn the other cheek, minimise and so on but you haven't done that so please give yourself some credit. Even if your friend doesn't end the relationship now you have sown the seed.

Other people have mentioned you must look after and get some support for yourself, please don't forget to do that.

Lweji Wed 19-Jun-13 18:44:03

Not unexpected. sad

The problem is that he's more likely to be more subtle with the abuse, or worsen the threats.
And he knows she's not capable of actually telling SS.

Have you spoken to the school? They could more discretely monitor the boy's behaviour and any other signs of abuse.

anotherworriedfriend Wed 19-Jun-13 18:35:53

buaitisi - that's kind of you.

I have been worried, it's horrible that I know what fear and stress the kids are under, and yet, there's not really anything to be done about it right now.

I spoke to my mum, she's very sensible. And, her friend works at their local women's shelter - so, she had some very clear advice to keep my expectations low.

I guess my friend is going to need a few prompts to get out. As long as they dont' come at a high cost...<shudder>

anotherworriedfriend Wed 19-Jun-13 18:33:33

Well, that's been a bit of a damp squib.

She told them it wasn't that bad. The kids denied anything. He said they have a fiery relationship and it's understandable that someone might have a concern, but htere's not anything to worry about.

The SS lady sounded very nice. So, hopefully, that'll allay her fears tht they'd come in all guns blazing. No further action to be taken, apparently.

My freind's take on it is that it's all a storm in a teacup, that he didnt' mean it and he's promised not to do it again. I reminded her that she had more than a touch of the Nigella's about her when I met her at the weekend, that he is abusing her and the kids and that she has to protect them.

I guess it'll take a while for her to get the strength together to leave him.

What on earth can SS do, if they all deny it? He doesn't know it was me, and I don't think he's bright enough to figure it out.

I hope she's safe and he's not going to punish her for SS popping by.


buaitisi Wed 19-Jun-13 13:14:26

Do you have anyone to talk to for yourself anotherworriedfriend?
You're doing a very good thing but it must be very stressful x

GettingStrong Mon 17-Jun-13 23:00:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DiaryOfAWimpyMum Mon 17-Jun-13 22:20:19

I don't know what happened with the system where I am but police were called a few times ( by me 999) Reports were taken but I never once seen a Social worker, I was told they would be informed but they must have been out - over the years around 10-15 times, sadly those records are wiped after 5 years by the police.

The one time SS got involved they just so happened to be changing their filing system, they lost the file on my ex....

It must be hard for them OP but I agree you have been put in a horrid position.

I was told a story very similar to OP today about a young DC, she is away from the person who does it but still has contact with him and he is able to come and go from the house, my friend (whose DD is happened to) said there had been restraining order on her ex coming to her house but it had been lifted and thrown out of court as he suffers from psychotic episodes , Im unsure how much is true but she seems quite stressed, I might go see her again this week.

Its worrying, hopefully SS will dig deep they do usually go to the school and ask the DC.

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 17-Jun-13 22:01:57

I've never been in that situation but there is only so much wise advice you can give before it starts to drag you down too. My friend was asked years ago to contact a school counsellor as one of her boys had said "I don't want to end up like my Dad" - to my knowledge she never did.

Son now at new school is self harming so i'm guessing that prompted SS too

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 21:58:05

It must be difficult for SS, actually. If they are investigating a report, but have everyone in it saying "no, we're the Osmonds here" Must be awful.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 21:56:20

Blue - yep. If the mother doesn't do anything to protect the kids then there must come a point where she is complicit in the abuse of the kids.

I don't want to sound victim-bashing. Clearly, it's not her fault. But, someone has to do something, and, I'm just gutted that I've been so worried about her and the kids, and she's going to let it continue.

Not that I know that - she's not answered my texts. Perhaps she's busy moving boxes into his new flat. Here's hoping.

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 17-Jun-13 21:54:30

I would leave it with SS. In the case of my friend they interviewed her children last week - 1 denied it, 1 admitted but said "not recently" (which is bullshit) she has been asked to contact them discreetly so Dad doesn't know.

I have my fingers crossed that things will work out.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 21:52:34

I'm not scared of him, Chub. He's just a big old bully, he'd spit at the school gate or something like that, puff himself up and be all growly threats. I don't think he's be stupid enough to actually assault me - to be honest, he's too calculating to be more mad than bad.

Chubfuddler Mon 17-Jun-13 21:41:14

You'll be next? You think he would attack you?

In all honesty I think you need to involve the police in the first instance, but she needs to be on board with that. They will pass the details on to SS, they always do if there are children.

I also think that if you do pursue the plan without involving the police if he approaches you or comes to your door you phone the police without fail.

BlueSkySunnyDay Mon 17-Jun-13 21:40:54

I've had years of supporting a friend in a similar situation as have a number of friends. She cites her reason for not leaving as "not wanting to leave the house".

I have had to distance myself as I found it emotionally draining, she was offloading how she felt to me then just going home and carrying on as usual. I came to the decision you cannot help someone who will not help themselves. Her children are very troubled so I don't understand - I would leave with nothing and disappear to protect mine.

Someone reported it so SS last week so who knows what will happen now - I suspect nothing much.

anotherworriedfriend Mon 17-Jun-13 21:37:29

Funny, reading your post is my jumbled thoughts in clarified form!

I don't feel there's any guarantee. The assault was last week, he's got some sort of mood disorder which swings, she's confused, the kids love their dad.

I'm a bit fearful that if she doesn't take the chance and ask for help when they offer it that she'll be in for a beating. And, then I think I'll be next. And, then I think, well, maybe it will take for another crisis to trigger her into realising that this is not on.

Can't help but think it's not really like the films show - one call and happily ever after doesn't automatically follow.

Chubfuddler Mon 17-Jun-13 21:32:43

I can imagine some women would yes. I think I might have done if someone else had taken the decision out of my hands. I'm not saying you shouldn't report it, I don't think you have any choice. But the thought process she is engaged in is not linear. She will be surging back and forth, her thoughts and reactions finely tuned to the nuances of his behaviour, tone of voice and words. If they catch her in an upswing in her determination she'll probably co operate. Ironically if they catch her after a couple of days when things have been on a more even keel she's more likely to deny the lot. Her thought process being "well how can I leave him now, when things are so good?'

I think she has been really unfair to you actually.

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