Talk

Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Watching abuses in the family - Advice sought

(24 Posts)
TheBouquets Sun 15-May-16 23:17:14

I have a relative who is in difficult circumstances. I have been advised to create a new thread in the hope of some advice. I have some discussion elsewhere and I was told that the abuser is a "cocklodger". I am going to research what that means exactly. This female relative is the worker of the house. She earns all the money. He does nothing and has failed to pay bills when asked to do so. He is not the best housekeeper. I have read "Why domestic abuse victims find it so hard to leave". On top of having to try to leave with children there are now pets to be considered. The dependency is the other way round. It is expected that the man provides the financial security but in this case he will not want her leaving and taking her wages with her, I would think.
I don't think he likes us very much because we don't comply with demands and in fact someone demanded payment of money owed to them by the P. That was not well received and probably she had to pay this money.
The problem is that she falls out with us every time he puts a complaint to her against our family and she is practically not in contact with anyone. She has complied with his wishes and left out her relatives. No-one seems to like him and she is becoming more isolated because of that too. I don't want her
I would love her to see what others see and act on it but she seems so entrenched that she cant see. If it was just me seeing this stuff I might be doubting myself but others have seen it and taken stances.
Despite having experienced Domestic Violence in the past this relative is apparently not aware that there is also Domestic Abuse.
I wish she could free herself of this "cocklodger".
Has anyone else had a loved relative in an abusive situation? Do you have any advice or suggestions. I get angry at times but I do miss her personally and her absences from occasions makes the do that bit less.

NotQuiteSoOnEdge Sun 15-May-16 23:47:15

I just finished reading the whole of the other thread. I think you've been brave today to keep going and reading and trying to understand. I'm glad you've found the courage to start this thread.

I was the victim once. In its simplest form, she is unable to leave.

It is quite possible, as his actions are so overt to the rest of the family, that what is gong on at home is horrific. If he has told her that if she leaves him he will kill her and the child, that wherever she hides he will find her, for example, then she will be too scared to do any of the things you wish she would.

Also, she will be under the same pressure to 'work at it', inside her own head, if that is what your community are like, even if it has gone beyond that and everyone can see she needs to leave, SHE may not have accepted it.

GarlicShake Sun 15-May-16 23:48:07

I'm glad you started your own thread, Bouquet. There's a lot to unpick here. I hope the right posters come along to support you in making sense of it all.

glassgarden Mon 16-May-16 00:03:58

a cocklodger is a lumpen sort of parasite, not especially malevolent, just an entitled millstone of a man.
He contributes nothing to the household, financially or in terms of domestic work, feeling that the woman should be grateful for his mere presence, in particular he feels that his having sex with her is a fair exchange for full board and lodging.

This man sounds worse than just a cocklodger

TheBouquets Mon 16-May-16 00:17:26

Thank you both so much Notquitesoonedge and Garlicshake.
I really do feel that it is a shame for this person. She does not seem able to take control of her life.
My family are not worried about divorces at all. There have been quite a few, including me and some much older people.
This person is very clever in the school sense but I am not so sure she is very aware in the real life sense.
The abuser was described by an older non family person as being very family minded. This is what he tried to convince everyone of but the truth is only his family is important. Family have seen through this. Others will eventually see it. I could believe that he would emotionally blackmail her into staying with him. In light of the information I have had today I wonder if his forwarding of his family and pushing our family away is his response to not being good enough in his parents eyes. I am not here to be concerned about him other than how he affects my relatives.
I hope that one day she will have the courage to leave him for her and the kids sakes.

TheBouquets Mon 16-May-16 00:21:19

glassgarden - that is such an exact description of this lump of nothing! I think he feels entitled to sponge and took offence when the family said NO! I don't think he thought there would be resistance to his demands/wishes. Thank you for that clarification

glassgarden Mon 16-May-16 09:24:28

Thebouquets, I'm getting the impression that he is more actively Machiavellian, and therefore more dangerous than your average bog standard cocklodger?

RiceCrispieTreats Mon 16-May-16 09:40:08

Your relative is still stuck in a mindset where she wants to stay with him. It could be because she has low self-esteem and doesn't think she deserves better, because she prefers to be in a bad relationship than no relationship at all, because she believes she should work hard to please others, etc...

So she won't be able to hear anybody who says "Leave."

However, there is no doubt that his actions make her miserable, even if she brushes those thoughts away. So, one way to help her is to get her to tap into the realisation that his actions are wrong and make her unhappy. Do this by encouraging her to talk about her life. Ask her open-ended questions (rather than "yes / no" questions), so that she can hear her story coming out of her own mouth. Ask her how she feels about the events she describes. Do not pass judgement or give her advice, but show your empathy ("That makes me so sad to hear."). She doesn't yet know that she's allowed to feel bad about the way he treats her. So show her that it makes you sad - that is one way to get her to start questioning her relationship.

glassgarden Mon 16-May-16 09:46:47

Aiui the cocklodger is not an especially cunning man, he just thinks he's gods gift to women and that his chosen woman should express her gratitude for his sexual attentions by providing for him domestically and economically.

If or when she wakes up and realises that she's getting a raw deal she'll be able to oust this parasite without too many repercussions

Like I said, this man sounds worse than the cocklodger

hellsbellsmelons Mon 16-May-16 09:50:39

My DSis was with an abuser.
It's horrible to know what's going on but be unable to really help.
Unfortunately, there is nothing much you can do right now.
You just have to ensure she knows you will always be there for her, no matter what.
That's what I had to do.
When my sis was ready we got the phone call and off we went to 'rescue' her.
She saw the light massively after a weekend away with me.
You can imagine the trouble she was in when she got home for daring to be away for a whole weekend.
And that was her light bulb moment.
He was also physically abusive and we all knew it.
Horrible to have to sit back and watch it play out.
But she will not leave until SHE is ready.
Maybe point her in the direction of the Lundy Bancroft book - Why does he do that?
Keep reassuring her and keep planting those seeds.
Hopefully she will get there and ask for help when that time comes.

GarlicShake Mon 16-May-16 11:04:15

She doesn't yet know that she's allowed to feel bad about the way he treats her. So show her that it makes you sad

This is really well put, I think.

As Hellsbells says, the book Why Does He Do That? has opened many abuse victims' eyes.

TheBouquets Mon 16-May-16 20:51:11

Sorry to have been missing - today was a work day.
I wish I could try dropping hints at her and trying to get her to talk. None of us can see her. Two people went to give birthday presents for one of the kids but only he was seen. She did not make any attempt to come to the door as far as anyone knew. There was no sign of her looking round the curtain. There was no thank you call text or letter, not that this was the aim of the presents, but now we don't know if she saw the pressies or that the child got them.
I looked up the definition of Machiavellian and yes that definitely sounds like him. He is very opportunistic and thinks he should be "head of the house" and when he used to be around us he tried to be "head of the family". He tells the most amazing lies which we know just can not be true.
I think there is some truth in the idea that any partner is better than no partner. I know we are all different but I am scared to get involved with a partner now. I am divorced and scared of the risks. I also think that she feels she needs a person who can care for her children while at work. Perhaps has working is not as important as her own safety and her taking care of the children herself. In my mind it would be the better thing.

GarlicShake Mon 16-May-16 21:32:08

Hi again, Bouquet. He sounds like he may be predominantly "Demand Man" from Lundy Bancroft's book. And perhaps some of the "Terrorist" as well. Have a read of this thread when you feel up to it: www.mumsnet.com/Talk/relationships/2268977-The-Abuser-Profiles. Understanding the dynamic a bit more can at least give you some perspective on what is really happening.

It seems from your earlier posts on the other thread, that you and your family may have been quite accusatory towards her the last few times you saw her. If she's already broken by a controlling & violent partner, this would of course have felt like the cell door locking shut. Too late to do anything about what's in the past, but it might be possible to give small kindnesses going forwards - maybe things in the post to her at work, if you're not sure she gets stuff at home?

I don't want to be overly optimistic about this getting sorted. My father was a Terrorist and Drill Sergeant. Their relationship was multi-layered and complex (I know it all!!) but, when it comes down to basics, he told Mum that if she ever left he would hunt her down and kill her. He had the resources to carry it out, and had seriously threatened to kill her before (he also 'experimented' with killing both her and me. Weirdo.) My point being she didn't leave. Most abused partners don't, for complicated reasons, but that situation is improving all the time as awareness grows.

I definitely think no partner is better than a bad partner, or even a not-good-enough one! I can do my own bloody DIY, thanks, and have had enough of pussyfooting around shitty husbands. The world is full of really decent men, though - but it'd take an amazingly good one to tempt me away from the selfishly single life now grin

GarlicShake Mon 16-May-16 21:34:44

I also think that she feels she needs a person who can care for her children while at work.

Work may well be her only remaining chance to be herself. No-one should have to tolerate abuse for childcare, though, for heaven's sake! In any case, a partner who treats their mother badly is bad for the children - and likely abuses them, too.

TheBouquets Mon 16-May-16 22:29:01

Hi Garlicshake. I have had a quick read of the link you put on. I think that the abuser could fit a lot of the categories. The abuser is a big person and has given off feelings that he would use that size against people. He is very self important when he is not worthy of importance at all. He thought that he would be able to control all of us but it is proving more difficult that he thought I think. I am surprised at someone who has become more forceful with the Abuser.
There are things that I do not understand. When any of us try to help by doing housework and stuff like that, the abuser has no problem with us but the abused woman goes ape with us. This was done one time when things were so bad that there were no clean dishes and no space on the kitchen surfaces. Why would the woman not think the stuff is being done. She shouted at the family but not at him for being behind. This is when I wonder if she also thinks it is OK to speak like that. There are times when I get so unsure of what is going on.
AT least there is some hope, Hellsbellsmelons DSis got up the courage to make a call to her family. Hopefully one day we will get a call.
No-one really wants to change things, like move house etc because she needs to be able to find us if she does see through it.
There are children in this situation and I worry for them. I do know that one in particular is shouted at and smacked frequently. Contact stopped around the same time as that child started school and learning so much, maybe too much.
I would not leave my DC in his care. He sees nothing wrong in shouting at any child, no-one should be shouting or hitting any child but there appears to be something worse about it when it is not their own child.

GarlicShake Mon 16-May-16 22:48:42

I wonder if she also thinks it is OK to speak like that.

Living in a shouty household makes you shouty. Living in a blame culture makes you blame. It's his job to do the kitchen. Perhaps she felt you were doing him an undeserved favour. Who knows?

Good to hear there's still some contact.

TheBouquets Mon 16-May-16 22:58:04

I had thought that perhaps she was going into his ways rather than the ways she was brought up on. He shouts all the time but we were told never to shout, if we had something to discuss with a person on the other side of the street we were meant to go over to them not shout over. It is like she is becoming like him.
There is only 1 person who has some level of contact and that is the person who spoke back to the abusive P but what is not realised is that everything heard and seen is told to us.
She is the worker, he does not work so I presume that she expects him to take over the housework and he is failing (badly). So perhaps we were wrong to try to help and thus showing him favour.

NotQuiteSoOnEdge Tue 17-May-16 07:37:55

Can I suggest it may be that she will be punished for the actions of her family after you've gone home?

Mine would be Mr Charming in front of them, but I'd get it in the neck afterwards for every 'comment'. And he could see accusations and interference in the most innocuous of comments. Her only form of self protection is to appear to be loudly on his side. It won't stop any backlash, but may mute it.

They absolutely cannot stand having themselves challenged. The family coming in and 'taking over' actually will put her at risk.

TheBouquets Tue 17-May-16 18:31:07

NotQuiteSoOnEdge Had not thought of that but now you have said it I am thinking that could also be the case. He is so controlling and demanding, thinks he is chief of all matters.
I wonder if he knows that we don't like him, in fact I am not sure anyone likes him. His family are not that helpful but he thinks the sun shines from them. What a situation. I will mention what you have said to others so that we can all mind what is done, which we thought was helpful. Incidentally, it is not an unusual thing for one of us to help another with whatever is going on. WE didn't see it as a wrong thing but I did notice a post about someone complaining that the MIL had done the washing. Perhaps that was because it was the MIL and not DM, would the person have complained if it was DM?

NotQuiteSoOnEdge Tue 17-May-16 20:45:18

The ins and outs of this can be quite complex.

My ex was abusive to me when he had been upset by my DM and SF. I could see him getting wound up, and would get defensive on his behalf against my mother, in the hope he would calm down. Then my Mum, who hadn't twigged his abusiveness (I certainly wasn't explaining cos I hadn't either) would have a go at me for my 'irrational' responses to her reasonable comments. The thing was, they were perfectly reasonable things in her mind, but not in his. All I knew was that all hell would break loose if I didn't keep him calm, so it was my relationship with my mother that was sacrificed. This is a very typical pattern in abusive relationships.

I did actually always trust that my mother wasn't going to abandon me, no matter what, which is interesting to me now, because if you'd asked me then I'd have said 'she just keeps making things worse!' And treated her badly, but on some level I must have felt I couldn't lose her. I also felt that 'for better or worse' thing, I.e. He's clearly being an arse, but he's MY arse so I'm supposed to stick by him!

It's very complicated. It seems clear to me that NONE of this persons behaviour is freely chosen, so getting angry at her for 'going along with it' etc is victim-blaming. She may not have any choices at all. It's like living with your own personal terrorist, and she is in survival mode. Try to see beyond the simple 'how can she do that to me?' It's not about you at all, it'll ONLY be about him and what keeps her safe.

Please, be really careful you don't endanger her by helping. These situations are very complex.

TheBouquets Tue 17-May-16 22:00:01

NotQuiteSoOnEdge. Thank you for your reply and explanation. I feel as if I am stupid now as I could not understand all the things that have been said to me about this by people on here. Clearly I have been living in a bubble. I am seeing things a bit more with every response.
Many people feel angry about the things that are happening but I really don't think there is much risk of her being abandoned if she was to ask for help. We just wish she would.
What I do see is that at least one child is always taken or kept with him. I only got that theory yesterday. I know that she is permanently tired. I know he phones obsessively even when she is sleeping after or before work.
Another person has pointed out that a lone man would not be housed which is why her partner would not leave their house so likely he would not leave. I think the house is joint names, so a house would have to be got for her and the DCs.
I will say we need to disguise our feelings a lot more. Obviously we don't want her harmed in any way or the DCs.
I was so lucky that I did not allow my own circumstances to develop into such sneaky strategies. Arguing is one thing but this underhand stuff is really nasty.
Poor girl. If only she would see it and ask for us to help. I am sure the whole lot of us would do all we could.
I hope that you did not lose you DM. I would have said that you had not been very nice to DM but now I get it. I hope you are on good terms with DM now.

NotQuiteSoOnEdge Tue 17-May-16 23:03:49

My mother stuck it out for 8 years. She says now it was like watching a slow motion car crash, and she could not understand why I didn't see what he was up to. And she only saw the obvious stuff.

It was very hard, because he drove a huge wedge between my DM and me. Going and sulking in a different room if I was happily chatting, accusing them of looking down on him when I couldn't see any evidence of that at all, not talking to anyone at dinner time when staying with them, screaming at my DM that 'you must think I've got 'fucking mug' tattooed on my forehead' because we'd gone shopping together and he'd had to look after the children with my SF. It was hell. I'd think we'd all had a nice day and then we'd go up to bed and a torrent of complaints and imagined slights would pour out of him and he'd EA me into the ground.

So I saw less of DM and it was strained when we did.

But! I got out, and went straight to her. It was a slow process, waking up to what he was doing, but one day it abruptly snapped into focus and I got him to leave the house and changed the locks. Then I went to mum's. I told her everything and she finally understood it all.

Now, 3 years later, we have a better relationship than ever. She herself has come on massively in understanding abuse, and has started training as a volunteer with WA to help other women in my situation.

There's lots of reading you could do, or even go to the Freedom Program. The best book is Lundy Bancrofts 'why does he do that?' Isolating a victim from their family is a major abuser tactic, and the awful thing is that quite often the family become angry with the victim, as they are not seeing/understanding the whole picture, and so they become complicit with the abuser and MAKE THE ABUSE WORSE by inadvertently joining in.

The best thing you can do is to tell her you love her no matter what, that you think how he treats her is wrong and awful, and you will help her however you can if she wants to ask for any help. That's it. No recriminations or accusations on her for what's happened, just that one thing. Think of it as a pure lifeline. If she's going to get out, she has to trust completely in you that you love her despite everything. That's all you can do. Be there.

GarlicShake Tue 17-May-16 23:33:03

Fantastic posts, NotQuite star

TheBouquets Wed 18-May-16 00:08:22

Not Quite, HellBells and Garlic. Thank you all so much for everything you have said to me. I think I am getting the picture a bit better now. I have had a convo with another relative tonight and mentioned the info coming through to me (no names or even the site) just said "people I know". Anyway the view now is that we do what we would have done such as send birthday cards, 2 of us had birthdays recently and there was no cards to either from this person. I am not holding that as a fault probably best not to go against him. I could quite see him making out that we have been the bad ones and her just accepting it. I feel a bit hurt but it is best to keep it calm with her and the DCs.
I would assure you all that should any of us get a call to do anything for her and especially if she wanted to "disappear" we would get to her with all speed. We do love her and we have never said she cant come back. In fact it would be best if she did not come back but allowed us to get her away somewhere unknown to him. We are keeping the same contact details so that she can get us if she wants.
Thanks for all your help

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now