8th December 2019 at 9:58 am #93135
So my kids have started to come home for Xmas. This is the first time that we’ll have been together as a family since I woke up to the fact that their father is an abuser. They tell us not to fight and I find it so hard. We don’t fight, as such. He just says something mean and I defend myself. And then, of course, because he is the way he is, he has to continue, put me down further. I don’t want my kids to feel they’ve spent the entire holidays with us fighting, or to leave early as a result. I really don’t. But the thing that I am finding really, really hard now that I realise that he’s an abuser (which they of course don’t) is that I don’t want to give them the message that it’s ok for him to treat me as he does. What sort of a job would I have done if I sent them out into the world doing that?
So this morning, and I know if I give detail it will be moderated, he did something which would have resulted in me clearing up after him. I asked him to correct the situation, and he threw something completely unrelated and irrelevant back at me, just to remind me how useless I am. I said that’s not relevant. This is just regular conversation, no shouting, but my child says “please stop”.
So… what should I have done. Just accepted that I need to follow him around clearing up his mess? Or allowed it to go one step further, asked him to do it and accepted the put-down? My overwhelming feeling is that I am saying to my kids that’s ok. I’m the weakling.
Help – anyone? Experience to share?
9th December 2019 at 10:11 am #93204snowbuntingParticipant
Hello, From experience I found it was much harder for mums as children look to mothers to fix everything, including their fathers behaviour, but thats not possible. In time with distance from being in your situation they will respect you more for keeping some kind of peace as it makes it easier on their visits. Christmas is hard at the best of times never mind living with an abusive partner. Find some quiet time for yourself, I found deep yoga breathing really helped keep me just to get through those days. Trying not to react to an abusive partners provocation and knowing thats what they would you like you do do. Its a form of gaslighting. I recommend “Why does he do that” by Lundy Bancroft, to help understand an abusive partners behaviour. That book gave me a great deal of clarity and I am now divorcing him. None of this is easy, I live in hope that its better on the other side as I got to point I could not go on another day with him, but was fairly broken by then. I wish I had left sooner. And that I had found this website and everyone on here before.
9th December 2019 at 10:54 am #93208
I can’t tell you how much this reply has helped, thank you. I get so much strength from all you amazing women on here. You are right – my duty to my children right now is to keep the peace. My duty to them later will be to make sure they understand why I left.
9th December 2019 at 12:46 pm #93218FudgecakeParticipant
Trying to keep the peace with abusers is like grabbing a tiger by the tail and hanging on for dear life. But you know him and his abusive ways and the dirty tactics he tries to start a fight. This is your advantage and you can predict what he’ll do. Ignore his gameplay and cruel jibes and greyrock him. You want your children to have a happy festive season and quite rightly so. It sounds to me like you’re a strong lady as you’ve been putting up with his sh*t a long time. Your children will know that you do what you do for them and they will understand when you eventually tell them you’re leaving him. They will be your strongest supporters as you have been theirs. There’s an old saying”Know your enemy” and you do, that will be to your advantage in the future. For now here’s wishing you and your children a peaceful and happy holidays x
9th December 2019 at 11:40 pm #93245IwantmebackParticipant
Hi there,has anyone mentioned the grey rock method. There are a lot of good YouTube videos regarding it. The secret to living with an abuser is to not retaliate,pick your battles cos the war’s a long way from finishing. I used phrases like, I’m sorry you feel that way and that’s your opinion. As mums we want to protect our children and give them good memories, we do the best we can in a bad situation. Just keep saying next Christmas will be different. I’m no longer living with my husband, refuse to return to him, am in refuge accommodation and just waiting to be rehoused. I’ve been practicing LOA (law of attraction) which has helped me considerably.
Best wishes IWMB 💞
10th December 2019 at 7:53 pm #93281
Hi IWMB… I have seen the grey rock method mentioned a couple of times so have looked it up. I shall try really hard to do it, and in fact most of the time that’s what I stick to anyway because it’s the path of least resistance, but the awful thing is that it irritates him so much that he has a go at me for being acquiescent too. I say “ok” and he says “no, not ok”. Where do I go with that?! If I say nothing at all that’s wrong too.
I don’t know if I’ll be out by next Christmas but hopefully the one after that. I am feeling physically sick at the prospect of trying to pretend everything is jolly for my lovely family who are coming to stay. I’m so very tired of the pretence… surely people can see… I just don’t feel capable of keeping the charade up any more…
10th December 2019 at 10:47 pm #93294snowbuntingParticipant
Hello, extended family may only see what they hope to see, anything worse is often in the too difficult pile or they might observe his behaviour and not know how to broach this with you.
Whatever you do would be wrong in his eyes, thats all part of the abuse, recognising it for what it is, is a good start to becoming strong enough to forge your own life. For me, it took a an old friend to tell me I am living in denial after decades of abuse that I had hidden until I really needed help with one particular incident. I could barely admit this to myself let alone family.
The stage you are at right now is really tough and being patient, putting yourself first and preparing a plan is hard to do when your head is awash with worry that you have to carry on a pretence over the holidays. I found walking really helped too, getting fresh air and clearing my head helped with intense holiday times. x
14th December 2019 at 7:19 pm #93522fizzylemParticipant
Hi LB, no response at all to him when the kids are around will show them there is no fight, that it is him having a go; it would show them you’re choosing not to react to his nonsense, likely to consider their feelings and because you’re not buying into his BS.
Is it possible to get some things in the diary that is just you and the children, without him, things he wouldnt want to do that you would all enjoy, or you and one or two of them say. A few things, so he’s not there meaning you can rela and enjoy one another and take a break from playing happy christmas when all together – get some light relief.
Sadly, until you create a warm loving home for them when they visit, relaxed and free, welcoming and genuinely pleased to see them, they will feel the tension at home at Christmas because this is how it is – we can try to put it aside but it will be felt. Maybe use some of this time to reflect on how you’d like your Christmases to be in future? x
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