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Worried my best friend is going lose her children- how to best support her.(16 Posts)
My BF left an abusive relationship this summer and had a baby in the autumn. Her ex-partner was being abusive, emotionally, financially and verbally and displaying increasingly unstable behaviour.
He is a conspiracy theorist who is verbally very volatile when challenged. He has a criminal record for falsely imprisoning his ex partner and wrapping an object around her neck and tightening it. The case never went to court but police have refused to remove it off his records and as a consequence he has difficulty finding work.
They split in the summer because he is lazy ( spent hours a day on computer and does no housework) and the abusive behaviour was increasing the heavier pregnant she became.
She had cause to call the police and have him removed from her home after he refused to leave. Social services have become involved and as an outcome have told her not to resume a relationship with him and to safeguard her children.
The last couple of weeks ( since he was asked to leave the home of a relative who took him in) he has bombarded her daily with phone calls wanting to talk about the relationship/threatening suicide if she isn't responsive/busy. Her mum was staying so she was emotionally supported and coping well with this latest onslaught.
He has accommodation now but visited her and the baby yesterday and let her know he would be sleeping in the park. He has been there again today all day and is obviously pressing to stay. He has let her know he is sleeping rough again because she won't let him stay. The visit is going really well to her mind. She can't seem to see the wood for the trees.
Is she seriously at risk of losing her children if this continues? Is there anything I can do to help because my friend seems unable to put proper boundaries in place. She is being seen by a domestic violence support worker at the moment but is failing, I feel, to realise the gravity of the situation. I might be wrong- am I over reacting?
Hmm I don't think you are actually Unfortunately I don't think there's a lot you'll be able to say to change her mind. His influence will be stronger and that guilt - she in all honesty probably feels just as responsible for him as if he was one of her DC. That's really hard for her to just let go of and say "Fuck it, let him fend for himself". She probably thinks that she can handle all of it and it's going to work out fine. Not seeing the wood for the trees is absolutely spot on.
I don't think there is much you can do other than support her completely and encourage her and help her with her self esteem.
Give her as much practical help and support you can to see the right agencies and do the right thing.
If Social Services think this man presents a serious risk to your friend's children then yes, she could lose them. However, SS will do pretty much anything before removing children from a loving parent. If they are taken into care you'll have to reassure yourself that they are safer than with your friend.
I agree you're not over-reacting. She has been advised not to resume the relationship & to prioritise her children but he is there all day, so it will look like they are back together. Ultimately, she is at risk of the children being removed if she fails to protect them from harm (this includes witnessing domestic abuse). However, it is generally recognised that it can be extremely difficult to permanently end an abusive relationship. Does she recognise that his behaviour towards her was/is abusive? Do you think she is being honest with the support worker about what is going on?
I think she is being honest up to a point but is also minimising his behaviour-as is unfortunately common in these relationships.
Because she ended the relationship before he physically hurt her she keeps coming back to the point that she may have over-reacted. She didn't. Every single person she has spoken to has agreed his behaviour is abusive and unacceptable.
He though has been repeatedly telling her she is the abusive party for making him 'leave his home' ( it's her house) and asking him to contribute to the running of the home whilst they were together. He has told her that she has 'gone nuts' owing to pregnancy hormones and he has been waiting for her to stabilise!
He is a very troubled individual indeed.
Can her mother go back and stay again?
I believe this is very common in abusive relationships, it must be so hard to fight against the constant bombardment of phone calls and demands, especially when you're dealing with a small baby. So I guess the best thing is try not to judge her too harshly, but support her towards making the right choice. Can you work with her family to form a united front?
The main problem you have here is that this man sounds very dangerous and if he is living there and they're back in a relationship, at some point (soon) you may need to notify the relevant agencies. Your friend's needs are important, but the safety of her child is paramount. There may be a time when you need to decide between the two and you need to ask yourself whether you can do that.
I would offer her as much emotional and practical support as you can and try to get those around her to do the same. Be honest with her about your assessment of the situation, reminding her why she separated from him in the first place, highlighting his abusive behaviour. Try to build her self esteem and help her to see that this man continues to abuse and manipulate her and that she needs to stay away from him for her own and children's sake.
I think she needs to have some sort of safety plan in place as well given his violent behaviour to his ex-partner and that women are most at risk when trying to separate from abusive partners.
What may be the best thing you can do is to have a place ready for her where she can take refuge if she has to move out temporarily.
He owns her own house Toby. I live on the other side of Britain and am therefore practically limited.
Have SS approved him visiting her? Given the history I would have thought access should be via a contact centre and they will frown on him being in her home.
Gosh yes absolutely SS could intervene. She needs to stop seeing him completely, including for contact visits.
Could you encourage her to contact Women's aid?
He has a history of attempted strangling. This is about as serious as it gets. Strangling attempts are predictive of homicide and so she really, really needs to get away from this piece of work.
Is moving entirely away an option?
I asked her about the contact centre and said it would be wise to go down that route but she said social services had no problem with her having him in the home for contact. It seems odd to me like they are giving her mixed messages ESP given the report outcomes.
I am extremely worried that he is going to flip out and hurt them based on his previous history.
I think she has given assurances that relatives will be present during contact visits but obviously they are not always able to be around ESP as these visits seem to be all day.
I'm not sure there is anything you can really do to help her other than to point out the fact that people who make it known that they're going to commit suicide are being manipulative/abusive with no actual intention of following through - and she is falling for it. Someone who is actually going to commit suicide would probably just do it without broadcasting.
She left the relationship for good reason and social services have told her to keep the children away from him. He should not even be visiting. But unless she can see if for herself, I'm not sure there is anything you can do, unfortunately, except to tell her, and hope that she eventually 'gets it'
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