so relieved to find this resource! I was having so much trouble
finding support. I have a support group which meets at a local
hospital, but reading the stuff here validated about 1/2 of what I'm going
Yet, certain things about my situation don't seem to fit anyone else's stories. Primarily regarding my 6 children, ages 15-26.
It starts out like the typical story: My husband was verbally and occasionally physically abusive several years ago while he was drinking and abusing amphetamines. During that time he had hit all of us at least once. The 3 eldest children moved out after being struck. When he got clean and sober, the abuse vanished - except for very occasional minor incidents (e.g. name calling during arguments, etc.) But the verbal abuse has been escalating over the past few years. I've searched for signs of drug/alcohol abuse - everybody who knows his history asks me about it - but honestly, I can not find anything to suggest he is drinking/using again. He doesn't have to be using to be abusive.
It got really bad over the summer. My 2 youngest (15 & 18) cheered if they cam home from school and he was not at home. The youngest begged to let her move out and go live with her teacher. Both girls were too humiliated to bring friends home, because you could never predict what would happen. This is how kids are taught to be codependent adults. Always having to make sure the territory is safe, never knowing how it will be tomorrow. Same dynamic whether they have to watch out for the unpredictable addict, mentally ill parent, angry parent; they still have to watch out. The girls were yelled at if anyone knocked on the door for them without calling first. How can they control that? They can't, but that doesn't matter to the out-of-control angry person who is just looking for excuses. He would insult their boyfriends in the next room loud enough so that the poor young men could hear it. If he came home and found one of their friends had parked on his side of the driveway, he would slam the door as he entered and demand that the "idiot who parked in my spot better get it out of my way". He humiliated us in public by insulting us and yelling at us for some trivial thing in the middle of a restaurant even though some of the employees were classmates at my daughter's school. My 16 year old urged me to seek counsel from our pastor. I took both my daughters and he advised us to choose a time to stand our ground and be prepared to move out quickly if necessary. We made the preparations.
So far, pretty typical pattern, right? Yes. Now it gets bizarre, at least from my perspective: The time to stand up to him came the night I watched him beat his puppy to death. HIS puppy - the one he loved! I was the only witness. He told everyone maybe it died of poisoning or some mysterious disease. When I told him in private that I watched him slam the dog against the concrete sidewalk, he became enraged. He flatly denied the entire event and accused me of being delusional - or worse - just plain lying in order to get him arrested. He told the 15 year old I had gone crazy and was trying to destroy his reputation.
I took the dog for a necropsy in order to obtain "proof". The results: "...pulmonary hemorrhage...chest cavity trauma..." I still have the document from the vet. The support group counselor advised me to make copies and lock the original in a safe deposit box. The counselor gave you good advice. How sad though that he needs no proof or justification for his crazy behavior, yet you need "proof" that he acted crazily.
But now my children have turned on me. I showed the 15-year old the results and she said, "I don't care what it says. My dad could never do what you said. I used to think he was the bad one, but I see all along that you were just manipulating me to think that way." Before I had an opportunity to contact anyone myself, he had alerted all the kids. Typical. The older 3 children and their spouses will not even speak to me. I still have a relationship with the 18 year old at college in another state. But she refuses to provide any support. "I love you Mom, but don't tell me your side of the story. I can't handle the stress of college and this at the same time. I don't want to know." (Of course, she heard her father's side prior to that.)
The problem is that the kids are angry at you too. Angry with you for the years and years that you did not protect them from their father's pain and humiliation. Your tactical mistake was choosing to take a stand on an issue that was witnessed only by you as opposed to waiting for an issue that emotionally affected everybody. On top of that, wonderful survivors that they are, your husband got to the kids first. Now that war was declared, they had to pick sides. They chose his side because it is more emotionally profitable to side with the aggressor, the one with the power. The war also improved their relationship with him. Now that you have become the target, he can afford to support them - at your expense. They are too afraid to mess with their new relationship with their powerful, supportive dad. Mad with you for having sold them out in the past, they are selling you out now.
Last night, I accidentally walked into a discussion between my husband and 2 of the children regarding how they could get me to move out so that my pregnant 24-year old and her boyfriend could move in and help my husband make the house payment without me. My 15 year old was involved in making suggestions.
I'm heart broken - and that's an understatement. I knew that taking a stand would be a gamble, but I never expected my children to be the ante. They've seen the abuse. They've all been hit before. They've seen him injure the dog before. They've begged me to stand my ground. And when I did I found myself totally on my own. I am devastated and horribly confused.
Don't be so confused. I think it is pretty clear. But don't waste your time fighting City Hall. Get out. Now. Get out of the role you have been cast in. When there is no more mom around to be the "bad guy," your husband will eventually begin spreading his anger out again. He will begin to give it to them. Your best bet is to get on with your life as best you can and to be there for them when and if the kids knock at your door. Don't ask them to take sides. Let them be mad. Let them shut you out. Just get on with your life and learn to take care of yourself. Unless they have moved firmly into abusive territory themselves, eventually they will come around. No guarantees.
And as long as they support his lie, he has become justified in escalating the abuse. Along with being tormented with yelling, name calling ("psychotic c***" - "f***ing b****"), door slamming, insults, etc he has threatened our financial situation by withholding his paychecks and more accusations have been concocted, and the kids are all backing up his lies as if they were witnesses. Get out of the line of fire.
Incredibly, my friends actually believe me regardless of the number of accusers. They are your friends. But extended family does not. Let it be. I have lost contact with my grandchildren and in-laws. Very sad. My pastor, my friends (even friends in common) and my brother (the only relative on my side of the family) all know I have not made up a single detail. Good. You have a support system. Be grateful and get on with the task of rebuilding your life. Right now, there are no other sane options.
I can not move out of the house although I have moved out of the bedroom. My employer spent several thousand dollars setting up a virtual office in my home. I have a 6 month obligation. To leave home would mean both losing my job and becoming liable for my employer's investment. Wrong. You are looking for excuses not to move out. Just take the virtual office with you. Besides, my experience in the past has shown me, that as long as I remain the focus of his anger, my 15 year old is pretty safe. Time to stop sacrificing yourself. She is no longer a child and she has made her choices. If I remove my self as a target, she may be put in legitimate danger. That is probably what it will take to clear up the sickness in your family. Let it be. A lot of good you do this kid by being the victim who's sold her out who won't give up victim role. It is time to get healthier and start modeling healthy adult behavior - so she can learn from you. I still love her even though I feel as though she has betrayed me. Good. Love her and love her enough to teach her how to love herself, by example. And I am terrified of putting her in a dangerous position by leaving. You keep things the same by staying. That is truly dangerous because it will only get worse. Besides, it will be twisted to demonstrate that I have "abandoned HIM", and will reinforce the rejection from my kids. No. Stop using the kids as an excuse since you are too frightened to stand up for yourself. Love yourself first. Do not allow abuse. Once you have done right by you, it is up to them to choose what tact they will take. I feel as though I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. Not true. You are damned if you stay.
Is there anyone out there who has experienced such irrational and devastating behavior from their children? How do I cope with this? The abuse is difficult, but tolerable. I know how to bite my tongue, endure the words and save the tears for later in private. If he becomes violent, bruises and broken bones will heal. But the abandonment by my children is destroying me. Is there help and hope for my situation?
I would like to read what was submitted.