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Son's comment

(46 Posts)
Secretlife0fbees Sun 22-Jan-17 08:31:18

I am in the process of leaving my stbxh, just for info I posted before about his behaviour- mostly verbal abuse / gaslighting towards me but last week he was undeniably verbally abusive to our 10yo ds and I just snapped and realised that enough was enough.
I don't want my ds to know that he is the ultimate reason for our separation so I have been trying to sheild the kids from what's going on whilst getting my plans in order. After the arguing that the kids were dragged into by him last weekend i have managed to persuade him to leave them out of it and stop using them to threaten me. I don't know whether this will work long term but I am taking it a day at a time.
I have told my h that my mortgage offer (to buy him out) lasts 90 days and therefore he has until 1/4 to agree to an amicable split which will be undoubtedly in his best interests. I just want to make things as peaceful for the dc as I can.
Yesterday We went to a shop to buy ds some things he needs for a school residential trip he's going on tomorrow. H was bearable, mainly because I didn't rise to his bait when he constantly nitpicks about everything I suggest. I have also told h that this period before the 1/4 is his only chance to review his behaviour - in my mind it is over but he is very much bothered about what the outside world thinks of him and so I do not want to give him the opportunity to play the victim any more than he definitely will by saying that I just ended it without warning.
Ds and I were having a chat as we do every night in his bed just as I was putting him to bed. He said to me
'Mum, I noticed that dad was trying really hard today'
I asked him what he meant, he said
'I could really tell that he was trying really hard not to say anything mean to us'.
He said it really happily like we should be so grateful for his half hearted efforts.
I just nodded and said yes great.
Anyone have any ideas how to handle this kind of thing? Just agree? Tell him that is dad shouldn't be being mean in the first place or just keep the peace til we divorce and pick up the pieces later?

lollypophairball Sun 22-Jan-17 08:36:05

I think for your son's sake say something like "yes, that's a good thing, isn't it." And nothing more. Don't turn it into a him vs us situation, that can only hurt your son in the long run.

Velvian Sun 22-Jan-17 08:38:56

I think you should agree that it's positive, but let him know that it is not acceptable for his dad to take his anger out on the 2 of you.
I think your son is testing the water and you need to let him know that you will be protecting him from this.

Secretlife0fbees Sun 22-Jan-17 08:45:49

Yeah it's hard because I want him to know that I'm protecting him without him feeling like he's the reason we divorced iyswim.
The other day he said he was being disrespectful (he wasn't) and later ds said 'why didn't you say anything to dad when he called me disrespectful'. It's weird, on one hand he doesn't want me to say anything to his dad as he's scared of him but deep down he actually does. I can't win sometimes

JustSpeakSense Sun 22-Jan-17 09:02:21

This is obviously affecting your DS hugely, and he is massively involved (his comments reflect that) it is clearly a very unhealthy environment for him. Well done for finding the strength to get yourself and your DS out.

MakeItRain Sun 22-Jan-17 09:06:03

I think your most important message is that "being mean to us/you" isn't acceptable. It sounds really tough. I would just affirm what he says "that's good, because he should never be mean to you."
Don't feel guilty for leaving. Sometimes children just need some clarity. When you do split up you just repeat the message that you no longer wanted to live with the unkind behaviour, and that living together wasn't working. Say you want to make a happy home for them where they feel safe and no one has to "try hard" to be kind.

SaltySeaDog72 Sun 22-Jan-17 09:07:48

Your 10 yr old sounds very astute and is testing the waters. He is seeking a sense of what's going on. Because he's asking the question I do think you have to answer.

Children I think find it reassuring to know they are being told the truth, however hard.

You can win by keeping things truthful and age appropriate and with lots of love and reassurance.

Well done for leaving. That's the main thing.


Secretlife0fbees Sun 22-Jan-17 09:19:37

Thanks everyone. It complicated because I really only ever wanted to be a good mum and give my kids the emotional security that I never had. I have spent years being told that my issues with him were just me projecting my unhappy childhood onto them when really his behaviour is not bad for them.
I started having counselling around 6 months ago and it really made me understand that it was not that at all and his telling me that was just another way to control me. I hope that my dc don't hate me or suffer any long term issues because of my bad choices, I honestly did think I was doing the right thing by them and have spent a lot of time analysing it all. I love them more than anything. The guilt I feel when my ds says things like that are overwhelming. i just need to get through the next 6 months. Hopefully I can get support from here... I haven't told anyone in real life yet apart from my financial advisor!

Secretlife0fbees Sun 22-Jan-17 09:23:55

SaltySeaDog72 - my plan is to wait until my h has calmed down and accepted the situation and decided what he's going to do. E.g. Yesterday he said he wild fight me in court regardless of what that did to the dc and even if it left him less money and less access - he is not rational at all. Then he will calm down for a while then start threatening to get them out of bed and tell them what a cunt I am. I am desperately trying to protect them from this which is why I want to tell them further down the line when things are clearer. My dd is 4 so I am not worried about how she will be, more my ds.
I don't want to tell him too soon and make him live in an uncertain situation.

Jules8432 Sun 22-Jan-17 09:39:56

The important thing is you're leaving smile
Your son will probably feel mixed emotions/confused etc
Was he saying that because he's now thinking you should stay?

I never told my son what his dad was really like then I social services said I do no favours by hiding the truth as dd won't be able to make a real judgment of who he is. kids feel more secure knowing what's going on otherwise they come to their own conclusions. Obviously you need to take age into account but sounds like your son might need reaffirming that leaving is the right thing?

Kids are pretty resilient. Love, security and consistency can go a long way x
You are teaching him that it is NOT ok to behave how your OH behaves and that you can change life for the better x these are life lessons that sadly sometimes our kids have to learn but instead of being hard on yourself for staying you should praise yourself for being strong enough to leave x

You are his rock and as long as you are ok he will be too smile

Well done you flowers xxx

picklemepopcorn Sun 22-Jan-17 09:46:40

I think I would have answered 'It's good he was trying. I thought he was still quite rude though.'

You have to sort of 'un-normalise' it. From anyone else it would be unacceptable.

picklemepopcorn Sun 22-Jan-17 09:48:16

And it's always about DHs bad behaviour, rather than protecting children or yourself. 'DH is behaving badly' not 'DH upset you'.

Secretlife0fbees Sun 22-Jan-17 09:54:23

Thank you Jules. I have told him before that I don't like the way he speaks to me/him and once we separate I will explain that more clearly. I feel like I'm in no mans land but once he leaves I will be able to explain appropriately. When I tell him that his dad is leaving I will certainly explain why it is most definitely the right thing. Thanks flowers

Pickle yes you're right. I do not want to look like i am grateful for his civility!

I hate him so much!!!!!!

SaltySeaDog72 Sun 22-Jan-17 10:06:50

This is such a tricky and emotive time with your children, OP. But what it really represents is you finding your strength, changing the dynamic, forging a better path. In time, when you look back, you'll see this phase as you starting to find and use your power. It's frightening, unsettling, and uncomfortable. So different to what's gone before. But many women never manage to get to this stage so you should be very, very proud of yourself for leaving this man and for going about it in a very strong way. Show your ds so very much love/reassurance and you won't go far wrong.

Good luck OP flowers

Secretlife0fbees Sun 22-Jan-17 10:07:00

Pickle that is interesting I have never thought of it like that. So eg. When he called ds a name I should have said 'it's unacceptable to call people names' as oppposed to 'I'm cross because DJ upset you by calling you a name?'
It's weird because after that incidence ds said to me that he wasn't upset by it and I said 'well I am upset by it!'

Secretlife0fbees Sun 22-Jan-17 10:08:31


Thank you salty, I do feel pretty shit that it's even got to this point but I suppose that's not going to help anyone is it.

MistressMaisie Sun 22-Jan-17 10:22:54

I would have said that what DS son said in first post, was a test in the hope that you would say, Yes, DS he is much kinder now......... or similar, so that that would mean you weren't going to split up.
And I would guess that this is because he suspects a separation and is frightened about what that would be - I won't list all the questions which might be going through his head but what it will make him quite frightened about the future.
And your view that it was only finally DH being cruel to the DCs that made you decide to leave is skewed, why is it ok for him to be cruel to you but not to the DCs, neither is acceptable, nor acceptable for the DCs to witness.
I think DS suspects something and maybe it is better for him to know the facts rather than fear some unknown event. Keeping it simple, that you have been unhappy for many years and are planning to separate (but of course they will see DH daily or whatever).
I might have misunderstood you and perhaps DCs know.

ChuckSnowballs Sun 22-Jan-17 10:27:15

Basically he has 90 days to wind you up by being a cunt. You should have made your offer 90 days and on the basis of not being cuntish to you or the kids in which case you will be out of there.

Secretlife0fbees Sun 22-Jan-17 10:30:48

Hi mistress
No you are right in what you say it is not ok for him to treat me like that either but it sort of feels like it's ok for me, I'm a grown up and all those other crappy excuses you use to make life bearable. I know now that it's not of course but something in me just snapped when he said it to ds with exactly the same level of contempt with which he speaks to me.
I will tell ds that we are separating but my plan was to tell them both when they need to know, when there is something concrete to say like 'dad will be living in such a place in such a time' rather than telling him that we don't know what's gonna happen and when... that was my initial plan but depending on whether its realistic or not as time progresses. I expect my h to make life as difficult for me as possible

FlowerOfTheValley Sun 22-Jan-17 10:48:45

Your husband's behaviour to your son may have been the trigger for you realising enough is enough.

However, your son is not the reason for the split. Your husband's behaviour is. Yes the affect on your son may be a major reason. I think rather than the emphasis being on what happened with your son being the last straw and therefore the reason you need to change the emphasis to the reason being your husband's unacceptable behaviour.

So if your son asks if he's the reason you tell him, honestly, he isn't. You don't need to be evasive with him because it is entirely down to your husband. So you don't need to say to your son you don't like the way his father behaves to him and you realise it's affecting him. It's simply his father's behaviour is unacceptable, the way he speaks to people and conducts himself is unacceptable. You don't want to be with a man who treats people in such a way.

I hope you get the jist. I'm in no way saying you were putting the blame on your son. Just that the reason is ultimately the person behaving unacceptably not the trigger point as to how he behaved to your son.

Well done on making the decision.

Mehfruittea Sun 22-Jan-17 10:50:26

I'm sorry things aren't great for you. When you do split, I understand you want to protect DS from the fall out and particularly that he was not the cause of it. (Ultimate reason for split).

I think you should manage the message very carefully, as 3 months later your DS is not going to connect the two instances together and make correct assumptions anyway. But he will have seen DH trying and being at his best, but not good enough. He will have also experienced unacceptable behaviour from DH with no action from you (that he can see and reference back). Please don't think I'm being harsh or unfair.

For your sons self esteem, he needs to understand (in an age appropriate way), the reasons for the relationship breakdown. Along the lines of...

"he behaved in a way that was unacceptable for a long period of time. I asked him to change. He hurt you with his words and it's my job to protect you. He hurt me too in the same way and I made the decision to end it for both of us. It took a while to sort things out financially and we both tried our very best during this time. I know you could see a difference in Dad, and hopefully he can carry that on during your visits with him. He has proved he can behave well when he wants to."

I think if you shield DS too much he will draw his own incorrect conclusions that may make it more difficult for him to process now and in the future. I really hope you get through this time ok and that you can come out of the other side of this. Best of luck flowers

Secretlife0fbees Sun 22-Jan-17 10:51:06

Well it's 90 days before the mortgage offer runs out so I said 1st April at which time if he won't be amicable I'll start divorce proceedings then hopefully the mortgage offer will still be within the expiration period. I'm
Hoping that by that time he'll have seen that it would be much more in his favour to take my offer to buy him out. If I could get him to move out before that believe me I would! It's his house too so I can't force him...

SaltySeaDog72 Sun 22-Jan-17 11:30:08

But even if he (somehow has a personality transplant) is amicable through this period.... what if on day 91 he reverts to being a grade A bastard? You could still be in the house together for months. He could do whatever he likes at any time in the future. Seems futile to me although I understand your motivations. Believe me I know how hard it is but the best thing is to detach and get down to the cold hard financial facts of how your life is going to look going forward. That's what solicitors are for. You'd be better off cutting your losses and just serving divorce papers.

Secretlife0fbees Sun 22-Jan-17 14:16:37

Thank you all for taking the time to give me your insights I honestly really appreciate it. I don't mind harsh words even and I take on board my previous mistakes (inaction mostly). I just want to get through this period with as little emotional damage to my dc as I can. The 90 day thing was probably just a way of making myself feel better - like so that nobody could say I hadn't been reasonable (I had images of my kids remembering their poor martyred father walking homeless through the streets all because evil mummy wouldn't give him a chance you know the kind of thing I mean)
Thanks for your suggestions about communicating this to my son... they make so much sense to me.
I have the appointment wuth the building society tomorrow - I've already had an affordability check and passed that but tomorrow I can hopefully get my agreement in principal. Once I have that in my hand I think I will see a solicitor this week while my ds is away on his camp.
Thanks again everyone your perspectives and help are invaluable xx

hollyisalovelyname Sun 22-Jan-17 14:52:47

I think your ds was being hopeful- his dad's behaviour was improving so perhaps there was a possibility that his parents might not split.
I know you hadn't told him you were splitting but he probably is perceptive.
I think you need to make it clear to your ds that your dh's behaviour towards you or your dcs is not acceptable or normal.

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