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Where do I find help for my children?(27 Posts)
I am in the process of leaving my abusive H. We have been together for nearly 30 years and have three children, all teenagers. Both my daughters are suffering from severe anxiety and depression and the youngest from social isolation and I believe this is largely due to constantly seeking approval from their father that was never forthcoming. I have tried to shield them from the worst of it over the years but feel like I have done a really rubbish job of that. I know, and it is easy to say in hindsight, that I should have left years ago but I was so downtrodden and depressed myself I couldn't see what was happening.
I want my children to be able to live normal happy lives and to have good relationships but don't know where to go for help. The youngest goes to CAMHs but they are only dealing with the social anxiety and not the bigger problems and have been pretty useless. Is there any support out there for families/children after the relationship has broken up?
When mom left dad and we got our own place ... the relief was huge ... we were free to be ourselves ... no dreading going home, house of laughter ... friends round etc.
No idea on help, sorry,.just worth a mention!! Good luck.
My local branch of Family Mediation Services runs free child counselling services for children suffering from family dysfunction and break-up. I've referred children before but you can self-refer. Not sure if they have it in every area but it's worth a try
There's a book called 'When dad hurts Mom' by, I think, Lundy Bancroft (THE expert on domestic abuse). I don't know if this would be a help. As you know, domestic abuse doesn't have to be physical; it ALL 'hurts'
It's going to take a while to unravel all this. YOU will need to address the effects of the abuse, too - and finding out more about it yourself ultimately helps your children. Have you done the Freedom Programme? If not, please do, as soon as. At my group a woman attended with her teenage daughter.
I have to agree that CAMHS are crap ime. I would be pressuring my gp for more conclusive support for your children - but be prepared, you will have to push hard.
I hope someone comes along who has more solid advice of orgs you can access. Do contact women's orgs to see what is available.
*YOU will have to address the effects of the abuse on you
Relate did do something in my area.
Going to Dr and telling the truth and see what come up with.
Contact Womens Aid.
They should be able to help and point you in the right direction.
They can help you get away as well.
You all need out of this and away from the abuse.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing so don't think about the past.
Just go with the future and make it free of abuse.
I am in the same position as you and in the process of leaving after 25 years. Do your children know you are separating and how did they react to this? I would be really interested to know of any support you find for them, our stories sound very similar.
If they are teens they can access a counsellor through their school. They can self refer or you can ask the relevant person at the school yourself.
Start off with women's aid.
Also there is a charity that runs programmes for all components of the abused family
I must underline the need for YOU to get therapy too. You can't lead the way if you are shackled to the past.
None of this damage ever goes away from anyone unless therapy is done and issues are faced and dealt with.
Huge well done for getting your family out of this toxic environment. It's a shame so much damage has been done due to the time you've all been exposed, but you all have long futures ahead of yourselves and they are a heck of a lot brighter now you're all free. Again, well done for being strong and brave.
I hope those in similar situations with young children see this and realise that staying for the children Is absolutely the worst thing to do for them, likewise encouraging contact and pushing for unsupervised contact with the abusers.
get out asap and set up a happy relaxed and safe home - that will be the greatest gift you can give them and the totally best therapeutic start.
a while of living safely and without those atmospheres will be good in itself but also allow you all to move on to a point where it is safe and ok to actually start facing and opening up about issues and effects etc. if extra help is needed it's there but really you first all need to get out and into a safe and relaxed space and breathe for a while. what is needed next will become apparent.
The school pastoral team, GP and Women's Aid will all be able to refer you or tell you where to self refer. I work for a charity which does exactly what you need and the vast majority of our referrals are from the GP.
Thank you all for your replies.
I have had counselling on and off for a couple of years now which has helped me realise I was being abused and to get the courage to tell him I wanted a divorce.
He is due to leave in February but we haven't yet told the kids. Because the girls are so fragile I wanted to have something in place for them as I am not sure I can hold it altogether once the sh*t hits the fan.
I have an appointment with my GP next week so will ask him, he has been seeing both girls too and knows the family history.
I have the same dilemma, I had decided to tell kids tomorrow but am wondering if it would be better to wait until I have a definite moving out date from stbxh, is this what you have been advised to do?
So hard to know what's best.
Lonely, we decided not to tell them as wanted Christmas to be "normal" and because because they are all at home on holiday I didn't feel it was beneficial for them to have something else to dwell on. I want them to relax and enjoy the time off as best they can and be ready for the return to school/college if that makes sense.
It is hard though and I have no idea what to tell them really. It is my decision, he of course would quite happily stay married as he has all the benefits, and has been very busy over the last few weeks rewriting our entire marriage in his head so that I come across as crazy to even be considering splitting up. Outside the home he is utterly charming and we look like the perfect family! I don't see how we can make out it was a joint decision and we are together on it when clearly it is not and I for one feel the children deserve honesty at the very least, they are all old enough to understand and they have expressed multiple times how he makes them feel and they know that to a large extent that I feel the same.
It really depends I think on how old your kids are as to when and what you tell them. I want to make sure he is definitely going and not stringing me along before I/we tell them because although he seems to have definite plans I wouldn't put it past him to have them all suddenly fall through days before he is due to leave and have him stuck here for months on end and then the kids not knowing whether they are coming or going.
Our situations are so similar, after an incident at the beginning of December I told him to go immediately, he turned the 'reasonable person' on and said he would go after Xmas, but I can's see it happening, he has had a fortnight off already and not made any attempt to look for somewhere to go.
Another incident has just occurred - he became verbally abusive to 11 year old dd over dinner (she did nothing wrong) I just spoke to her and she asked why Dad was so cross with her, I told her it was him that had a problem, she had done nothing wrong and he should never speak to her like that- she got angry with me and said of course it was her fault, she must have done something to make him angry!!!
I despair and cannot believe things got to this point, my 16 year old son is also showing signs of blaming his sister for all this, now he is taller than his dad he has shifted the bullying to the smaller person and son seems to have forgotten the times he was at the end of it.
Another reason I feel it may be better to wait to tell them is because I am afraid that when I do he will have nothing else to pretend for and things will get scarily bad.
What a terrible situation we are in.
The nspcc can help, their programmes such as DART can help. www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/child-abuse-and-neglect/domestic-abuse/keeping-children-safe/
I have looked at all the links posted, sadly as the older two over 18 (just) and the youngest 14 they no longer seem to fit the criteria for anything I have looked up.
I have never really told them that their father is abusive though they are aware and have commented on his attitude and behaviour towards me and we have discussed his very aggressive driving and habit of throwing things around in temper and while I have said to them that these behaviours are abusive their response is that he wouldn't deliberately abuse us! They all admit to being very frightened in the car with him but won't say anything and don't feel they can refuse when he offers them lifts or days out.
My eldest daughter seems to have a real daddy worship thing going on and she has always been his golden girl, well until she didn't achieve the expected results in her exams and he still hasn't gotten over the embarrassment because he told all and sundry how intelligent she was! So she now feels that she can't live up to his high expectations and is disappointed in herself as well.
Sadly, she is not the only one but my ds's attitude is to not even bother trying because nothing he can so will ever be good enough for his father so he quit school and now doesn't know what he wants to do.
My DD has had help through her school and our local Moving On Project.
At some level, given their ages, they will already know, even though you haven't yet explicitly told them.
Agree with what was said above - proper counselling type support isn't going to be useful for them until they are in a place where they can make use of it, ie. they are physically safe, have secure accommodation and other practicalities of life sorted out.
Crisis type support might come from CAMHS - they should have given you an emergency phone no, Childline etc. Their school/college might be able to help too as might your GP.
Did you see the Hampton trust link I posted? A few of their programmes are designed for over 18s
It may be in wrong area, but if you contact them, they may know of a programme nearer you, or arrange distance support
The teen daughters of a family I know in similar position, one was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and referred for counselling by hospital th long term affect on her has been very debilitating. The younger one was referred for counselling through school and again serious long term psychological impact. Both of them were in the abusive household for a much shorter period then yours have been and one of them seemed resilient at the time and it was only much later that the true impact started to become clear. Both of these girls have been very damaged by their home situation. Definitely seek help even if you need to pay for it.
Good luck , the best thing you can do for your daughters is to stop living in the abusive situation. Be prepared the true impact is likely being contained at the moment.
Hissy, I did look at the link but obviously not properly! Will look again in the morning when I have the time and am not too
He is still here, not due to move out until sometime in February, typically he won't give me a date, thinks that even when he does move out it might be nice for the kids if he came back and stayed the odd weekend! Since I asked him to go he has been here far more than usual, no drinking after work, no out all day at the weekends, just in our faces the whole time. I am finding it really difficult to keep a lid on my anger and my eldest dd being in near constant floods of tears is not helping. God knows how she is going to react to the bombshell I am going to drop on her, her whole life as she knows it thrown up in the air, her entire childhood based on a lie.
Sometimes I wonder if I have done the right thing, and then I think back to a few months ago when I knew that if I tried to stay any longer I would take my own life. No one should have to put up with this crap and I don't know how these arseholes get away with it, everyone else thinks he is so f*cking wonderful but he has tried to take every shred of dignity and confidence I had away from me and is still so arrogant that he can't see why I want to throw everything away. He spent the first eleven months of this year ignoring me, acting like I didn't exist and admits it but it's my fault apparently for not pulling him up on it often enough, for not shouting to get his attention, for not being someone I am not. I just want him gone.
Apologies for the rant, possibly had a glass of wine too many.
I got to the same place as you, seriously felt that I didn't want to carry on living if life remained like this, this gave me a bit of a shock and pressed me to take action, which I have, but like you I question myself often.
All I can say is that friends, family and all on mumsnet can't be wrong and I think we know deep down what is the right thing for ourselves and our dc.
My stbxh announced yesterday, after I told the dc I am divorcing him, that from now on he is going to be a different person, he honestly thought this was all it would take to make me back down, on reflection I think this shows just how little respect he had for me! This has been the cycle for most of our 25 year marriage and I suppose I can understand why he is so outraged that it's not working this time.
Dc have not reacted well to the news and as expected I am the villain which is heartbreaking, but I hope they will learn the lesson that no one should put up with abuse and I will protect them no matter how difficult.
I think we both need to focus on the future, keep imagining how good life will eventually be whilst getting through this shitty bit.
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