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Very Abusive Childhood how can I help. Trigger?

(7 Posts)
NewLife4Me Sun 16-Aug-15 20:20:47

I so want to help and support my dh but don't know what to do.

Such a long story that goes back 40 odd years ago. My dh Dad was an abusive man and beat dh mum constantly.
She finally got away after years of wondering if the next time she'd be dead (her words)
We have managed most of our married life to just grin and bear it for the sake of our kids and the kids from the new families that emerged after they divorced and remarried.
Dh is usually able to keep a lid on his emotions and when he can't he just distances himself from his Dad who still today has never acknowledged the pain he caused dh mum and dh. It's as though nothing ever happened and of course the woman he married knows nothing of his violence to dh mum.
Today he said he couldn't cope with it anymore, it's come to a head as dh mum and Dad will be living in the same very small area and his Dad was being his usual arse saying disrespectful things about dh half brother.

The problem is he is likely to erupt and tell his Dad what he thinks of him and appreciated that his wife doesn't know, she has always been lovely to dh. He intends to go and have it out with his Dad before his mum moves to the area.

He is hurting so much and blew like a fuse when we got in the car after leaving and although this has happened in the past I know this time he means it when he says he's going to have it out with him.

How can I help dh, what support can I give. He will be upset and angry (not with me) if I advise him not to.
The violence he experienced for many years, no child should have to see, he told me about him knocking her teeth out and bashing her head on a concrete floor. So many people knew and nobody helped him. The emotional abuse continued when his mum had left and to this day dh is emotionally scarred from his childhood.

Please help me to help him.
Any suggestions gratefully received and apologies if this is a trigger for anybody thanks

Garlick Sun 16-Aug-15 20:54:56

I can do Stately Homes style pointing to resources designed to help him resolve his feelings about the damage done to his own childhood. Basically they're all in the OP of the thread.

As to having out with his dad - I can't see why not, to be honest, unless it's physically unsafe for DH. He's keeping his father's shame for him, and I say fuck that. Any repercussions are the outcome of his own atrocious abuse. Let him deal with them.

If there's a risk of it turning violent, and it sounds like there is, it would be better to do this with other people around. How do DH's brothers & sisters feel about it all? Could you, perhaps, do a staged intervention with several family members present and pre-discussed issues? It all sounds very Californian but, actually, such occasions are a time-honoured routine in families all over the world.

A few things I don't quite understand: Why is MIL moving so close to them? Is it totally unavoidable, and how does SHE feel about it? And ... are you sure he isn't abusing his current wife; it would be extraordinary for someone that violent to undergo a transformation.

NewLife4Me Sun 16-Aug-15 21:11:31

Thanks Garlic.

As far as I know there is/ never has been violence with his second wife. Their children are grown ups now and only one of them knows about the past and obviously hasn't mentioned anything about it to his mum.
Dh mum is ok about moving so close but says she will never forgive him, obviously. She has a grown up child too.
It's such a mess but in other families I suppose would have been resolved many years ago. However, with us all living further away in the past it has always been manageable.
The only thing I can think is that he wasn't violent to second wife as times had changed then, she is much younger than him and was pg almost straight after they were married. Maybe he knew she wouldn't stand for it and he would be prosecuted. In the 60's/70's people used to turn a blind eye and Police wouldn't even get involved.
Dh Dad is in late 70's now so there would be no violence from him. I'm thinking maybe dh needs to do this before his Dad dies, not that he is ill or anything.
He doesn't like confrontation and usually walks away but he is in such a state because his Dad just carries on like nothing has happened.
Thank you for the link thanks I didn't want to join the existent thread as not wanting to upset others. I can't imagine what it must be like to be in such a relationship.

Garlick Sun 16-Aug-15 21:37:03

It's horrid to be the child of such a relationship, that's for sure. I feel DH is entitled to feel his anger, betrayal, and the rest, and to express it to his dad. It's going to work better if he owns it - does it for himself and the boy he was - rather than doing it 'for his mum'. This is all rather tricky, psychologically speaking, and multi-layered. He might prefer to get a few sessions with a therapist first.

If he isn't up for that, I'd recommend speaking to his siblings. Mine really surprised me when we got together to plan Dad's funeral - loads of true feelings came out; it was very affirming for us all! And quite nice to be able to say we were glad he'd died. I think I'm the only one who'd given it to him straight while he was alive; I certainly don't regret that. But I do recommend planning it, to ensure a clear head, safety and support (and improve his chances of actually getting it all out). Might he want to talk to his mum about it beforehand, too?

It's not often I quote Shiny Dave, but he wasn't wrong when he said "sunlight is the best disinfectant"!

something2say Sun 16-Aug-15 21:38:43

I agree with the other poster. So what if he tells it straight as it happened? It will be a tremendous relief I expect.

What I'd do to support him would be to ask him what he wants to say, how he thinks it will go, whether he wants your help in any way. Id go with him if he wants it. But I'd also have a good talk to him about the fact that his dad will probably deny it. Most confrontations work best when we know they won't admit it, but we say it anyway.

Then after the event, how does he want things to be different? Does he want the past openly acknowledged? That's good. It happened, why not talk about it? Does his mum talk about it? What does he foresee her opinion on a confrontation being?


Garlick Sun 16-Aug-15 21:52:26

Wise words, something.

DogWalker75 Mon 17-Aug-15 01:25:58

I agree that if he feels he ought to confront his dad about the past, then he should. I'd love to do the same to my dad, but he died before I had the chance to typical of the selfish fucker grin.

I'd be surprised if he wasn't at least emotionally abusive towards his current wife. Men like him don't tend to have such a dramatic change in behaviour.

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