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    • #136825

      I am so so desperate to get away. My children are older (detail removed by moderator) so can chose whether to leave with me or stay with their dad.
      I have pointed out behaviour that is not ok and they know I want to go as I’ve attempted to recently.
      I find it hard to notice his control and manipulation so understand them comprehending it is even trickier. I want them to know it’s totally unacceptable and see why I am going but without criticising/bad mouthing him.
      It feels like a fine line.
      I’m so scared to uproot them but also so scared they won’t come with me.
      He has been model dad this evening too, (detail removed by moderator), laughing with them (detail removed by moderator). He’s pretty good at this when he wants to be but it’s conditional.
      Any advice welcome.

    • #136828
      Twisted Sister

      Hi Kitkat44

      It made my stomach lurch reading this, as I can so relate to that feeling you describe when it comes to children and their understanding of whats happening to them.

      When I look back I wish I had fought harder, because only since developing further have I had feedback about how grateful they were for the actions I did take to stop contact in the way it was going, amongst other things, can’t be too detailed, but yes, it was the case that I didn’t really understand or vocalise what was happening, and struggled so badly to hold it all together, then had to do court with contact orders, was too much.

      I wish I had set out very clearly boundaries, but mine were so messed with that I don’t think I knew the line despite me resisting very much at times against his behaviour, I never actually said those words, too fearful I would be saying the wrong thing, and this is where confident parenting is vital, that you can speak with confidence to them about whats ok. Now, looking back, I would ask the children what they think is acceptable. They will likely tell you they feel upset when shouted at, upset when daddy hurts mummy, you can add about gift giving, and being a reliable trustworthy parent/adult, that they can speak to other adults and their friends/teachers/family if they feel scared, and that its important to acknowledge if they feel fear. These are things I never spoke of and so I am glad to be able to share this now so that others will know more than did about how to manage this. None of it has to be said about their father, but about how to respect people generally. There will be books on it, appropriate to your own children’s ages, and you can all talk together when out doing another activity so its not too intense, and gives them things to consider about having their own respect and how important it is to their confidence, and what to do in response.

      Read and talk all you can, gather as many ideas and resources as you can find and draw your conclusios to feel confidence in your chats with them, and they will look to you for the reliable truth, not something that changes like the wind, like their father.

      Mine was awful at any interactive activities and railroaded all contact to avoid any such things which would have shown him for the crazy control freak he was, and I wish so much I had been able to force this so that this opportunity to see through him was upheld.

      You know already what is right and wrong, just work on your confidence. Sending you every strength for your next move.

      Warmest wishes


    • #136829
      Twisted Sister

      …I also think its completely normal to feel scared to uproot them, it shows your care for them, your concern about how circumstances will impact on them. Its a balance but over time with his influence absent from their lives, they will grow and develop healthy interactions and work through the toxic stuff they’ve experienced with him. x

    • #136852

      I needed this right now, thanks KitKat and Twisted Sister as I feel very much the same. I was on the end of alot of ne calling yesterday, infront of my youngest and my eldest overheard. It is so hard to know how to explain what is happening without mentioning there Dad.

      I found a little grid online which explains the qualities of a good, positive relationship. I am going to sit down with the kids tonight and go through it with them, ask their opinions. Might open up the conversation without actually referring to him.
      Sending hugs xx

    • #136856

      Lundy Bancroft has a book on helping your kids, with advice on what to say to them. I would recommend it. It’s called something like “When Dad Hurts Mom”. He says to be factual, as that is not bad mouthing. I think he gives examples and advice on how to encourag your kids to think about whether someone’s behaviour is acceptable. My kids are infant school age so I think it’s quite different and a lot easier. It must be so hard when they can make a choice but are under his spell. Sending love xxxx

    • #136876

      Thank you all,fabulous advice as always, so appreciate the time taken to respond.
      I’ll look into the Lundy book as I’ve found why Does He Do That so informative.
      And such a great point to focus on what a healthy relationship looks like. I’ve discovered I don’t really know as I’ve been with this one for decades.
      Thank you all for sharing your experiences

    • #137018

      Very interesting thread. I will definitely be using the focus on a healthy relationship in future discussions with my boys.
      The immediate future for me was supposed to be separation. I built up the courage (detail removed by moderator) to say to my husband I cannot continue together. After trying to convince me to change my mind, he said he accepted it. He suggested as a first step for us to keep the house and take turns living in the home (‘bird nesting’). What to say to the kids was next. I suggested they only need to know that we have decided to separate but will always be there for them. He wanted to say that I don’t think he’s been a good husband and dad, therefore we separate. He still loves me so he will be open about that… so basically ‘mummy wants to separate but I want to keep the family together’. I guess where I am going with this is that it’s not just up to us.

      Now that I found a flat he is opposing the separation. He wants to sit down to talk about things we share and have in common. Apparently I am just having a midlife crisis and am about to make an irrational decision and he won’t let me. A bit of guilt tripping on top of that ‘children of divorced parents are more likely to divorce, do drugs, commit suicide’ etc…

      It all feels a bit surreal. After everything I have gone through, are my children going to be told that daddy is trying but mummy doesn’t want to support keeping the family together?


      • #137052

        Hi Medusa,

        I am in a similar situation as my ex said a similar thing to our kids. It sounds harsh but I cannot spend time debating it with them now, I am getting out and then I will sit down and talk to them about it. I get the ‘but Daddy still loves you’ ‘Daddy is so unhappy’ The most I tend to say is that I have been unhappy for years and years and actually, we will both be happier in the future, it is just their Dad cannot see it yet.
        I spoke to my DV support worker today and she suggested a L something or other wheel. One shows unhealthy relationships, one healthy relationships… maybe someone on here knows what I nean as I am not explaining it well. I will google it and see if I can find it x

      • #137053

        I meant the Duluth model.

      • #137069

        Thank you @bestchance07 I’ve just looked it up, it looks like the healthy parts of a relationship and set out like the power and control wheel?

        Sending love to everyone, so grateful for this space to share.

      • #137078

        Hi Kitkat, yes thats the one. The power and contr wheel vs the healthy relationship wheel is the deluth model. I spent some time last night reading up on it, I am going to try showing it to the kids when we are out of the house.
        Hope its of use to you

      • #137097
        Twisted Sister

        Hi Medusa

        Its a classic from them isn’t it, but yes, its perfectly fine to tell them that daddy is trying to force me to stay with him, that he won’t stop going on at me, but he knows that its over, but refuses to accept it. This will also help them to understand about your decision, that its final, that despite all his forcing (as he does in everything) you will not relent this time, that this time for the first time you are going to stand strong against his will, because this is the healthy thing to do for all of you, that any hope of a family went long ago, that its a fantasy in his head, because it wasn’t reality for you all. Use his words against him, and set their minds straight about the reality of life.

        I wish I had done this if I had that time over, I was always so scared to say the wrong thing, to mess with their heads and its taken me a long time to come around to this perspective, but its better they see through this with you than be tormented with the fantasy and denial.

        warmest wishes


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