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Abusive girlfriend

(5 Posts)
schnubbins Tue 07-Mar-17 13:03:41

I need your help.Three years ago my DS ,now 18 years old got together with his girlfriend who is a year younger.At first everything was normal and harmonious but about 6 months into the relationship the cracks began to show.My son confided to me that his girlfriend suffered from bulimia.She was then self harming and shortly afterward attempted suicide by slitting her wrists.She was hospitalised /committed to a mental health facility but was taken out by her father against the advice of the doctors treating her.
At first we were supportive , but i noticed my son becoming more and more reserved , he was always quiet , but he practically stopped talking at home.I then overheard a telephone conversation where she was screaming abuse at him saying he was" a nothing and always would be a nothing' the verbal abuse went on and on.This happens on a regular basis.
At this stage we contacted the parents hoping they would see the light and get help for their daughter but they rebuffed our concerns saying 'everything was ok , she is still really good in school. the parents to this day refuse to get help for their daughter even though they admit that she has terrorised their family with her behaviour
Fast forward three years and there is nothing that we have not witnessed with this girl.She is sexually uninhibited to the point of embarrassment in our home, there is continual physical and verbal abuse, she is constantly trying to make our son jealous by flirting , going out with and posting pictures of herself with other boys.She has been verbally abusive in public which has been witnessed by friends of mine where we live.She ignores any ultimatum that we set for them in their activities i.e. curfew, weekends away , holidays etc.Answers it with 'He is 18 he can do what he wants'.She has regularly been verbally abusive to me .(when my husband is not home)We have banned her from our house for months because of this and only let her in again recently on promises from both of them that their behaviour will change.
Our son seems to have lost all sense of worth or the ability to stand up to this girl who has taken over his life and ours He is failing his last year at school.They break it off at regular intervals , last week being the most recent break, she slept with a friend of his apparently. I was so relieved as i thought he had finally seen the light but at the weekend he was out with her again and all is forgiven.I confronted him as to why he is so weak and why he cannot walk away from her and he became violent towards me slapping me against the wall walked out and slammed the door breaking the lock (again).
We have now banned her from the house again although I know she will be in as soon as I am not there as she has always done.We have again stopped giving any pocket money to our son and any use of the car as we have done in the past. I have organised a councillor for him and us as parents again .He did not attend the appointments I made for him last year.
We have tried so hard as parents to get through to our child , at first by being non confrontational , hoping things would run their course and then by active punishment .Nothing is working and I am at my wits end ,

Northernsoul58 Tue 07-Mar-17 13:35:06

Please watch this video about toxic relationships.
It may seem a bit 'heavy', but hopefully it will help you get perspective on your son's relationship with this girl. It will help give you the vocabulary needed to talk about it too. If you can get your son to watch it too, all the better.
You should focus on your son's experience of the relationship and support his feelings rather than making it all about her. You need to talk about how the power in their relationship is one sided and it is not an equal, healthy relationship and this is why he feels unsure and 'weak'. Talk to him about the issue of 'consent'. It doesn't just relate to sexual consent, but covers consent to all kinds of behaviours which make us feel inadequate or uncomfortable. Avoid getting too bogged down in denouncing her behaviour and try to focus on how he feels about what is happening.

Northernsoul58 Thu 09-Mar-17 09:25:59

More thoughts, if it helps.
The GF has hijacked your DS's attachment to fill her own needs. This is not deliberate but a reaction to what is clearly a disfunctional situation at home. The more you create an 'us or her' choice for DS, the more he is conflicted, he feels rejected by you too - hence becoming withdrawn and/or angry. Your first urgent task therefore is to re-align your DS's attachment back to his own loving family. You can Google 'love bombing' for suggestions how to do this. Touching and kind words will help. You have to offer him unconditional love, something the GF can never do.
The GF is clearly disturbed. Your comment that she is inappropriately sexual in your home should ring alarm bells. Please tell the school pastoral staff about this behaviour, she may have been or is being sexually abused at home. Do not tell your DS about this.
In order to get your DS back on your side, you may need to parent the GF too, to make up for what is lacking at home. Be the moral compass for them both and establish boundaries by simply commenting on her behaviour when appropriate. That is, instead of criticising her to your son "she's a bad influence", you say "that is inappropriate", or "that was mean/selfish/..." when she behaves in a way you don't like or is hurting your son. That way he will see you are on his side but not attacking his GF for whom he clearly has feelings. You don't need to get into a discussion about this, simply set out calmly and succinctly what you find acceptable or not acceptable in your own home.

schnubbins Thu 09-Mar-17 17:31:04

Northernsoul , thank you so very much for your concern , video and tips. I am so very grateful.The video describes the relationship as it is. Frightening for me as a mother knowing my son has had to go through such an awful experience with his first love. As regard 'love bombing' .I have practiced that against the wishes of my husband , hoping to ease the situation for my DS and hopefully give him the strength to stand up to her or even better still, walk away.I included her too in our family life . invited her always to eat with us, sit with us and even took her on holidays with us two years ago when things had started to go sour.However during a recent heated discussion, she told me that my friendliness toward her and my willingness to accept her into the family made her "feel uncomfortable and put her under pressure" she added that she was not used to such openness and warmth and that it made her feel 'suspicious'. That also points to your concerns that she has been abused in the past .My thoughts also.I have tried to find out from my son if this is the case , without success.He says that her problems started after serious bullying in school aged 13 /14 .She has since changed schools and things are better , in fact she a top student .She regularly tells me her grades.My DS however as I said is failing.
With regard to contacting the school, I must add that we do not live in Britain but within the EU and this is not my home country.The schools here offer very little support when problems arise. I know from experience .It is in effect the survival of the fittest. I would probably completely ruin the relationship with my son and not help her either.
She is in therapy apparently but she can put up a front when she wants to .She can at times be most charming and friendly which is how she draws my son and us in again and again .He obviously has a very forgiving nature .He falls over himself trying to please her, cooks for her , thinks up special places to bring her.Walks miles to accompany her home in the evenings .Reads every wish from her lips.She wanted a Louis Vuitton bag (!! )apparently at one stage which he was mad saving for and stole from me for it. He did not buy the bag in the end because she accused him of breaking her laptop and made him pay for the replacement.
I visited a family therapist today who is familiar with our situation and she is now of the opinion that if things do not improve that he should move out and that in that way he will be left to deal with the depth of the problem himself . I would be removed from the equation as she sees me as her opponent (which I now am). For the time being though I have told my son that I will continue to look after him as a mother but all decisions regarding him will now be decided by his father.
Apparently they are 'no longer together' according to him but she would like to keep him as a' friend' and come and visit him at home.We have said that she is no longer welcome in the house as we know it is her way of drawing him in again and keeping control of him.
Anyway he seems quite calm at the moment but then she is away for a few days on a school trip .We shall see what unfolds when she returns.

Northernsoul58 Sun 12-Mar-17 16:59:57

schnubbins your son sounds like a really super guy. It's such a shame he's being taken advantage of and abused in this way - as you say, it's his first relationship...sad Hopefully, once he's out of this situation he'll learn that this is highly unusual and that healthy relationships are rewarding not draining. In time he will meet someone wonderful who fully appreciates his lovely, loving nature.
What disturbed me most in your post is that a family therapist would advise that your son should move out. Why, where, what good could come of that. I would have thought the opposite was advisable, that your son be offered unconditional acceptance by his parents (both) and reassured that he 'belongs' to you and with you for life, not just until life gets difficult because of someone else. I'm not underestimating how obnoxious your son's behaviour probably is right now. But the blame is not with him - it's not a flaw in his character - but with this toxic girl and his relationship with her. He should not be punished or rejected for that.
When you say that all decisions regarding him will now be decided by his father, does this mean you have somehow given up the fight because your DH doesn't really get it and is still in 'angry Dad' mode? It's easier to hand over control to the parent who won't bend than exhaust yourself trying to explain. (Full disclosure, I had the same problem with my DH over my DS's mental health issues. It took him ages to understand that continual shouting and threatening was making things worse, not better. It took all my energy, patience, tact and skill to convince him that DS is ill and not wilful.) Please keep advocating for your son with everyone around him, including his Dad. He badly needs someone to be on his side. It's not clear whether the therapist or the GF sees you as 'the opponent'. Either way, the GF fully understands that she cannot really compete with you, his mother, and is being as manipulative as she knows how to put a wedge between you and DS. Do not let that happen. GF will, eventually, give up and go away (leaving a trail of hurt and devastation behind her). You must not.

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