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Distressing family war and abuse

(4 Posts)
rupes17 Fri 15-Apr-16 12:57:04

I am one of those annoying men who occasionally look in on mumsnet because the advice and information can be so wise and helpful! This time, however, it's me looking for wisdom and help.
Beside her lovely, funny, generous, caring disposition, my wife of 20 years has a shocking temper and abusive nature just under that surface. Volatile is an accurate word but I love her so much it sometimes hurts. Unfortunately this behaviour spills over into hitting when her red mist descends (I will not return any blow since out of principle I cannot raise a hand to a woman). My own quirks (I can be pompous, stiff-necked and impatient - a real pain) will often trigger this and I have tried to contain my faults where I can. We are planning to separate (this has happened before but we have always resolved it with protestations of love, which we fell into when we were nineteen), but it seems inevitable...this is something I utterly dread. The worst of it is that my 14 year old daughter has picked up this habit now. Involving myself in a siblings' argument recently, I became frustrated with them and raised my voice in an attempt to quell the noise. My wife and daughter quickly ganged up and I found myself in a heated, horrible argument with the latter when she threw something at me, called down her Mother and stood next to her, proceeding to slap my head and kick me. I would not - and will not - hit back. My son (13) saw this and threw her to the floor. The whole thing is disastrous and I am ashamed of my failure to keep order, which I have tried to do in the past reasonably and gently, but it has become impossible due to the scale of the rows. I now find myself threatened by my wife with a court order, which she tells me would involve (false) accusations of violence, unless I leave my home immediately. My daughter says she will back her up - my other two kids will not. I have nowhere to go presently.
It is devastating that this has come to pass, the daughter I adore becoming violent and calling me the most offensive names, and the beloved wife standing by her. This, I know, is self-pity of the most extreme kind and I have been no angel in the past in my own disposition and behaviour (gambling, a long spell of unemployment) , so I have to expect some just desserts since my wife has put up with a lot and largely stuck by me.
In essence I feel I am a gentle, hard-working man with definite flaws and past mistakes; I love my family and the affection that it has held for so many years and hate to see it disintegrate...but what worries me most is how I find a way back to my daughter; I don't know how to forgive this violence and she refuses to listen to any reason. I think that only women can properly understand all this and so I come to you for advice (or criticism, if need be).

FlounderingWildly Fri 15-Apr-16 16:51:33

Wow. You have my sympathies. I would call the police domestic abuse team with regards to your wife. Violence is never ok. I wonder if doing that would scare your daughter into realising what she has done and how serious it is?
So many people here put womens aid as the lifeline for women suffering domestic abuse, I'm sorry i don't know if there is a male equivalent. Or you could call them and see what they can suggest to help you?
Good luck, I hope you can find your way out of the situation safely.

expotition Fri 15-Apr-16 19:19:49

I've reread your post a couple of times but I'm not entirely sure what you want.

You say you are planning to separate and your wife has asked you to leave. Is there a reason you can't leave apart from having nowhere to go? If not, I'd advise finding somewhere to go asap and sorting things out from there. Afaik moving out (especially in a violent situation) will not affect your rights in the divorce - but get legal advice if this is your fear.

If the issue is that you want to stay with your wife but she wants a divorce, I'd say (gently) that you cannot stay married against one partner's will. And respectful, trustworthy behaviour towards both your wife & your kids, through the separation & beyond will eventually go a long way to reassuring your kids that you love them & are putting them first. Plus, moving out of a violent situation sends a much clearer message to them that you do not find violence acceptable than staying would.

If you have concerns for anyone's safety, definitely speak to a professional.

Tbh it doesn't sound exactly as if you do. The way you are describing it, I suspect your family may be experiencing your love for them as possessive rather than empathetic, & your belief that it's your duty to "keep order" in your family as controlling rather than loving.

What do you think your wife wants? If the separation is her idea not yours, what do you disagree about?

pocketsaviour Fri 15-Apr-16 19:29:54

The only acceptable level of abuse in a relationship is none. Nothing you could ever do "to" your wife - including being a bit pompous or not having a job for a while - could ever justify her becoming violent to you.

Please call Mankind who can help you see this violence for what it is, and help you make a plan to leave safely.

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