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Thinking of disclosing past abuse by ex to me and my daughter to school mum- How wise is this?(43 Posts)
History: I suffered for years at the hand of controlling abuser. He went on to abuse my daughter, and then after his final physical assault on me resulting in my broken nose, damage to my jaw and my left knee, I got a Non-Mol against him, he had to leave the house and then separation happened. So far, so grim.
I continued my life, and he had contact with my daughter. Long history - just know the family courts are not hot on domestic violence victims and are willing to give abuser contact. See Women's Aid's campaigns re this.
My question is: Should I tell a school mum all about the past of my abuser and his current - hidden from school parents - abuse of my daughter. I have handled this quietly to safeguard my daughter.
However, abuser is charming and has gotten many school parents on 'his side' - I am totally reticent to have any contact with him - public or private. The school parents can't seem to understand why I'm this way. And some have 'protected' me from him - but only because it was 'polite' to do so.
I'm now thinking of telling one 'influential' school mum so she can 'get my back' if anyone says anything untoward about me. I know stuff has been said as some whom I had really good school drop off/pick up chats with are 'turning' away / 'not catching my eye' even though I have caught theirs. Most of the time I'm so busy with stuff my daughter and I are doing that I don't care. But sometimes it really hurts. A few recent examples.
So - do I let in this one mum with all the gruesome details, or will this expose my daughter to gossip which will backfire on her? I want to keep her innocence as much as possible
Mindful that I am still keeping silence for controlling abuser. Mindful also that my actions are still controlled by my ex's reactions so I stay still.
Nooooooo don't do it! Never divulge anything that could come back at you as gossip. You never know who will be best buddies next week.
Can you just say that he was manipulative and could appear to be very charming, but that he wasn't Mr nice guy but you don't want to get into all that history... So you are flagging that he doesn't shit roses, but not slagging him off (that never looks good).
I'm afraid I couldn't help myself but say something, maybe not the right thing to do but I would. I may only give the information of the abuse I personally had suffered and maybe not mention my daughter, I'm thinking that's her story to tell if she ever chose to.
Bless you, it sounds like you have survived a lot. Be proud and hold your head up high.
What do you mean by 'protect you becaus it's polite'? Do you make a big scene and hide behind people, dragging them into it if he appears? I'm not having a go, but didn't know how better to put it. If you are involving them then that's why they could be avoiding you, people just don't want to be involved in others issues. If this is the case could you maybe look for an alternative way to deal with it.
Personally I would advise you to not tell at all, for exactly the reasons originalmavis stated.
I've re read my post and even though I tried to explain it still looks harsh. It's not meant in that way at all.
How old is your dd and when were you granted a non-mol - was it for 6 months or a year and was further application made when/if it expired?
Was he charged and convicted in respect of the injuries he inflicted on you?
What interaction does your abuser have with other parents at your dd's school? Is he the father of your dd and has his abuse of her been documented by police/SS etc?
I'm not the kind to keep quiet...I've been criticised over DD's contact with XP before and I'm very honest in the face of it. People do back off.
However, how old is your DD? If we're talking teens then it could turn into the kind of gossip that hurts her.
Please be mindful though that this mum being influential doesn't necessarily mean she's sympathetic, discreet or loyal.
No, don't do it! I'm guessing you don't really know this woman really well, and if it became gossip it would affect your daughter. But I agree with originalmavis that you could say he "wasn't kind" or something similar and leave it at that. It doesn't matter what others think of you. You know the truth and people who are judging you for things they know nothing about will never be good friends. Kind, intelligent people will know there are always two sides to every story.
You could just say that you left because of domestic violence. No gruesome details necessary at all.
this is really hard with many things to consider.
1. Your daughter, and not wanting other people to gossip abut her. We shouldn't have to worry about victim blaming but it happens all the time and there almost definitely will be at least one parent who will just relish every detail and pass it on.
2. Other people will gossip. Just don't ever say anything that you wouldn't be happy to have read aloud in assembly. I know that won't happen, but once any info is out there, it will spread and become public.
3.By keeping silent you're also protecting him, and giving him the chance to keep controlling you. the fact that the courts are so shit that he still has contact with DD (and, by extension, other young girls at her school) is just horrific, and I feel so sorry for you having to deal with that.
So - I don't know, is the answer. How sympathetic are these other mums? Could you get away with something a bit vague, e.g. "I thought I should just tell you, it might not be safe to let your kids go for a playdate when DD is with her Dad, he has quite a bad temper?" Then say that he still blames you for the break up and keeps trying to undermine you by telling DD/his friends lies.
One thing to be clear on, though, do NOT say anything you wouldn't happily broadcast yourself to every single person at the school, along with some extra juicy lies as relish on the side. Once you say something, it will be out there and you won't be able to control who says what.
Most sensible mums will know there's a sensible reason why you have no contact with him. Sadly the ones avoiding you now are unlikely to be sympathetic should they know the background because let's be honest no one reasonable acts like that in the first place.
Don't do it. Please protect your privacy and the privacy of your daughter.
Gossip-mongers love fodder. There is still stigma relating to victims of domestic violence (particularly if said victim is perceived to have allowed a child to also become a victim).
It will do a lot of harm and absolutely no good will come of it.
PS - Congratulations to you on escaping him. That must have been incredibly difficult and you are very brave.
No, I wouldn't. The very most I would do would be to say there are two sides to every story and that I didn't want to drag up a painful past and even then I'd only say that if I was asked directly OR if someone repeated something he'd said to them that put a decided 'slant' on the past that reflected badly on me.
Otherwise, silence is golden. In the long run your children will move on, change schools and you won't see these people again.
thank you all. Essentially, I've kept quite as - well someone is best friends for today and maybe not tomorrow - after all it's the school run! But also because the school is so small and close knit that we practically know everyone, and something like this would go around. Also, I've noticed people don't like to be personally involved in the coal face of life. My close friends are not school mums, and they know. But I do get on with quite a few good school mums. But he has also now got to know them. Hence the problem.
Every so often - I feel like screaming out - 'don't you know what he did to me and my daughter???!!! He is a shit, yet there you are having coffee with him!!!!'
Think I am more reminded because I've been listening to the Archer's and Helen's storyline, whilst not a blueprint, is similar to the creeping control, demoralising, undermining, gaslighting, occasional physical thrashing all too often not mentioned and simply forgotten - with him saying 'why was I so 'moody' and not speaking to him after the thrashing! - to expressing concern for my 'mental well-being' cycle.
And I'm screaming at the radio - and I just thought - surely that is what I should do in real life? Scream his crimes against me and my daughter? Scream that we are still being controlled by him?
But my daughter is my priority. The reason I left him etc was to protect her from his daily onslaughts. At least now she is only subject to them on a fortnightly basis. Still wrong, but the best I can do given the current court situation.
And I sincerely thank you all for your advice - your instincts chime with mine. You have successfully talked me out of this. (for the time being) But just supposing it worked........?? Just suppose the 'influential' mum I spoke to did cover my back, and then he would be 'avoided' by school parents and then I would not have the 'weight' on my shoulders of not explaining why I left him 'after all he seems so nice, and he just wants to be your friend'........Would a movie be made of it>??? Ha ha!!
I don't know that silence is golden it just protects abusers.
I think you should do whatever you feel is right for you OP.
It's his shame, you're not required to collude in covering up for his crimes.
And if it protects another woman from getting involved with him, so much the better.
For me it would depend partly on the intelligence of the women involved. Are they generally professional women? If they're more gossipy soap and celebrity types I'd be more careful.
Xpost with OP.
I think you're right you are still being controlled by him, that was exactly my impression from your OP. And I don't think you should be.
I don't agree with the advice you've got here and I think the 'silence of the lambs' contributes to cycles of abuse, and leads to the abuser never having to face the consequences of his actions.
I don't think you can influence who talks to him and who doesn't. But you can put the facts from your side out there and leave it up to others what they decide to do with the info. (Some will choose to be friends with him anyway). My concern would be that he might get involved with a mum from school, I wouldn't want that on my conscience.
How sad, but not surprising, that he's going with them for coffee. Coming over as a perfect dad, abandoned partner, loyal friend, poor unfortunate man, misunderstood by his ex... Meanwhile gathering info to use against the very people who are lapping it up, should they ever turn against him
Titchenor indeed! So plausible, so nasty
I don't know any Dads from my children's schools who go for coffees with some of the Mums.
Seems to me like it's a deliberate attempt to continue to get at you. I don't think I would be able to help myself.
OP, if you're going to tell one of them, tell one who you become close to at some point in the future. Don't just do it for the sake of it. And I'd be very careful telling 'influential' mum...I'd imagine that the ones with the most sway are the ones gossiping!
I have come across men like this. They appear to be unselfish, caring dads. One threw his wife downstairs, breaking her collar bone. They broke up eventually, and he got the children, citing her 'drink problem'
Another was emotionally abusive - I've no idea if there was violence - and his wife & children fled to a shelter. Sadly they got back together. They split up eventually and, surprise, he got the children because he had been the main career. Truth is he refused to work. She had a job, cooked, cleaned etc. He watched TV all day
Both men have new partners & 'step children'
Life can be a bitch
Silence only benefits the abuser.
but pick your confidantes wisely.
Yes, silence does help the abuser. No doubt. And I have told good friends the entire situation because many witnessed it. But school mum friends are different. One is friendly, but I haven't managed to make absolute friends with any of them even though our children are very close.
The main abuse experienced by my daughter was when she was pre 5 years old. I helped her get over all those nightmares - and they were - she'd wake up in cold sweat wanting hugs and my smell. Such sad times. I helped her through all of it without badmouthing her father.
After that, her schooling started. And for the first two years, he was thankfully absent. But when he got to know I had made friends outside his 'control' he then became increasingly involved and has gone on to badmouth me - hence one mum asking me constantly 'why did you leave him? he seems so funny!' And yes, he can be very persuasive. He persuaded me for years that he'd change! But he didn't. And hasn't.
So, as school life has gone on, I have increasingly kept my distance whilst he makes inroads with the parents.
And now - I feel enough is enough. He will not stop. And I either retreat completely from school socials and school parents or I do something......but don't know what...other than scream out aloud!!
But I know that will backfire somewhere with my daughter. Even if the 'influential' mum turns out to be as good as I hope her to be, somewhere my daughter may hear about all the abuse he did to me (if I disclose to this mum) and my daughter, who is innocent of all of this will know and maybe reminded of her nightmares......seems like too high a price for my 'social' time with the parents/school life.'
But my silence is protecting a controlling abuser.
And that is wrong.
Dilemma or what??
So good to mull this over.
Did it go to court? Has he any criminal convictions? if so have you made the school aware. Were social services involved?
I have no advice only sympathy. Just wondering if you can back up your story if he denies all.
I would steer clear of 'influential' mum, and not get dragged into a game of politics with him. That's what he wants.
But if someone asks you straight out 'why did you leave him, he's so funny' I'd just tell the truth: 'because he broke my nose and damaged my jaw, then started on my daughter'.
If you were my school mum friend I'd want to know, so I could avoid exchanging pleasantries with a wanker.
This whole thread has made me really sad. You were abused by him and are being advice to keep quiet about it, I think if everybody is honest as well, it isn't because people might think badly of him it's because they might think badly of YOU. I know I'm over simplifying and that isn't to say that, being pragmatic, keeping quiet isn't the best advice, it's just that it shouldn't be the best advice.
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