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This topic contains 22 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by  jackjack 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #23316

    I left in (month removed by moderator) because he went a step too far and manipulated my eldest daughter (age removed by moderator) into abusing me also. She suffers from a mental disorder which can make her so volatile. She has been violent to me in the past. I decided to leave with the younger children that day I felt so threatened by her. After some months in a womens refuge I chose to rebuild my life close to where my ex lived so I could try rescue my older ones from his emotional abuse.
    I wanted the older ones to know I loved them and was there as a sanctuary from that toxic house. The (age removed by moderator) year old shunned me and moved in with her boyfreind miles and miles away. The (age removed by moderator) year boy stayed put. Afraid to leave his dad cos of the threats he was making about suicide and self harm. The closer my son became to me when i returned the more his dad “fell apart” to the point that my son blamed me. In frustration my son came to me and demanded me to change how I was with his dad – ? – and when i answered back to defend myself he came so angry he physically assaulted me in front of his youngest sister. I had to call the police to make sure he knew THAT WAS WRONG! and that the social work dept had a report on it and to take my claims seriously that my son was being gaslighted and manipulated etc He wasnt going to school for fear of finding his father dead when he got home. This man told him when he was (age removed by moderator) that he was gonna kill himself and dropped him off at a rural school ffs. But the social work dept have little say cos of my sons age etc etc so the best I could do was get the support in for him.

    Its been (detail removed by moderator) since that happened. Tentatively I am reaching out to my son. And my older daughter too – just today I have sent messages to reach out to them. My son responded but seems so confused and doesnt know what to do, he says hes scared he will hurt me again. My daughter no response as yet.

    I can cope with my ex trying to mess my head when i have to deal with contact with the littlest ones – but this – my two oldest lost to me cos of his manipulations….ugh…it hurts so so bad.

  • #23321

    Omg, that is terrible. I am so sorry things turned out like this.
    Be careful with them two though. They have their struggles now, but they are old enough to live without you.
    Think of your safety and the safety of the younger ones.
    Hopefully they will consider their ways after some time.
    Let them have time to think.

    • #30285

      My heart totally goes out to you and I feel your pain too because my ex has manipulated and gaslighted our two kids too and sometimes they treat me just like he did. My son believes that his father has changed and when I tried to explain to him that harsh experience has taught me to be careful and wary he treated me like I was over reacting and something is wrong with me because I should believe his father has changed. I am very sad that our son and daughter does like he does and I feel degraded and trapped for our kids, all the years of struggling and suffering to little avail. It does not look like the cycle of abuse will end. I have to try to be optimistic and step back some and let our son and daughter have some real life experiences and hope that they will realize some realities in life and not make me the scapegoat. It really hurts me that my abuser enjoys playing mind games and emotional games with our kids so much-part insecurities and part control issues I guess. This has been a forever changing mind altering experience and I would not wish this on anyone. All I can do is the best I can do, have been trying to leave the FOG though. (fear, obligation, guilt) because my ex uses this against me and us. I will pray for you and hope things will get better for you and your kids too. Take care.

  • #23345

    Hi Jackjack
    I’m going through very similar.
    It’s so hard, you don’t know what is engrained, truth or what is just survival tactics. Then you have the guilt of how did I let this happen to my children.
    On top of the hurt and rejection you feel. You too worry if they come to you will they be abusive to you ongoing. Once a child behaves like your abuser it feels even more like you can never escape.
    I understand how a parent can completely shut off from thier child/children, the pain completely takes over your life. I can’t because I know what it’s like to have a parent walk away. And I failed them by allowing my ex to control me and the effect that had on them, I can’t now leave them thinking they can’t come to me if they want to escape too.
    You have your little ones but that is hard too, to carry on with “normal” life while dealing with all this. You are amazing and you are doing all you can.

  • #23361
    Main Moderator

    Hi Jackjack,

    Welcome to the forum! I hope you find it a safe and supportive place to be! Thank you so much for your post and I am happy to see that you have had some good replies. You are doing brilliantly and have been so brave. I know that your situation is stressful but you have set a really strong example to your children by leaving and in time your older ones will be grateful for that. It sounds like you are doing everything right and giving them space and time but letting them know that you are there for them so please just be kind to yourself knowing that you have done your best. Your local Women’s Aid group may have children’s workers and other support services for you so please do get in touch with them if you haven’t already done so. Please know that you can also phone the helpline if ever you need to talk.

    We are all here for you so please keep posting.

    Best wishes,

    Forum Moderator

  • #23390

    Im sitting here weeping cos finally I realise I am not alone. It is like a shame i carry. I can openly say my ex was abusive but to say my older children became part of that abusive cycle feels utterly taboo. Discovering exactly what it is I went through and what my kids witnessed is a bitter but healing pill to swallow. I can talk to close friends but none of them have had their children behave like abusers. Thank you for your responses. It saddens me im not alone in this situation….you are suffering also. I truly thought i was going mad seeing my kids behaviour as matching his but it came so true the day my son attacked me in my new home. Almost identical to the attack that caused me to make that first contact with my local Womens Aid office.

    Then I realised that I had been gaslighted for years – a term i only knew about when i talked to my support worker from WA. Even now – hes trying to gas light me when i have to talk to him re the children. But now I know I can look beyond it – but it takes strength and clarity of mind.

    I messaged my son – he was tentative in his reply – he said he was scared he may hurt me again if he saw me…..what the hell do i say to that?

    I replied that he would have to learn to walk away…that we need to set clear boundaries. That I will be ready when he is to hold him again.

    I dont know if I did the right thing.
    When Im stuck I think WHAT WOULD LOVE DO NOW? I left cos LOVE? I WOULD LOVE ME ENOUGH TO WALK AWAY AND NOT BE HURT ANYMORE…I had enough self love to survive and save my youngest and try and save the others later.
    That chapter is still unfolding. x

  • #23392

    He is accepting he has done wrong. wA may be able to offer or refer you for joint support, counselling or separate counselling for your son.
    If he wants to fix it that is very positive and he will accept help to deal with how he feels.

    • #30286

      It is important to have boundaries for yourself and your son. My son recently admitted that he realizes that he has a bad anger problem and that his father does too. Later, when I suggested that he might benefit from seeing a counselor or going to church he pretended that he had no idea what I was talking about and instead of being scared that he realizes he is a lot like his father now he seems to be embracing that, as a strength and I should be working on myself. I do not know if our son realizes how degrading and cruel his comments and attitude can be at times or if he is in survival mode yet, playing games to make his dad happy. I feel profoundly sad that there are so many of us in similar situation and I wonder how many of our children break the cycle of abuse or end up perpetuating it. I grew up in an emotionally and mentally abusive home and thought I broke the cycle only to realize that the spouse I chose was charming, confident, and covertly abusive just like my father. In the long run I believe having boundaries and trying to be assertive will benefit me and my kids, I hope I have the strength to endure and they will too. Good luck to you. You are not alone and I care and many of us care too.

  • #23395

    Absolutely you have done the right thing you can’t help your kids when you are fighting to survive, they will have a stronger you to turn to from here on in and that will only grow and at some point they will turn to you but it might take a while, just know that when the time is right for each of you they will.

  • #23398

    And you did right in setting the boundary
    I have to do this too and it doesn’t go down well but we can’t allow our children to abuse us unchecked just because we fear them choosing to turn away from us. It’s right and fair and proportional. Calm respectful and honest. Please don’t doubt yourself.

  • #23401

    Oh thank you so much – I have been doubting myself and hurting myself within over this.

    How do I deal with thier father? He enjoys telling me they think Im dead but I know my son doesnt. His good freind told me that my son was hurting and regretful. That my son wants me more than ever but is too scared to hurt me or his dad. My poor poor boy.

  • #23407

    I think my eldest is feeling similar but is having to disguise from her dad.

    Because they are older (I don’t have young ones like you) I have been doing no contact as not dealing with ex is best way to deal with him.
    Any communication is twisted against me mentally and in the eyes of children.
    Read Kim Saeed how to do no contact like a boss.
    You may decide you have to do modified contact rather than no contact but this book is a must read.

  • #23408

    I suspect she is blaming me to deflect pressure from him on her, to me instead.

  • #23410

    They love to tell you how much your children (and other family and friends) dispise you. It just so they feel superior and to torment you.

  • #23675

    Hi – had this a lot this week…text messages and comments about how much my eldest hate me. On recieving my kids back after thier visit he was asking me about having them for a longer period – 5 days for example. (CARROT DANGLE)
    I say – yes thats fine.
    Then he says he cannot cos he doesnt get enough money to feed them. hes unemployed and too ill for jsa.
    (Guilt Trip)

    I walk away saying we can discuss later via text not in front of kids.

    And basically Im getting the blame for his poverty. When i left the joint tenancy in order to get a new home cos he wouldnt leave he inhereited the rent arrears. (if he left then i would have inherited it – he was given the choice.)
    I offered to buy food if he wanted to keep them. he got angry and told me that when the younger ones were old enough they would choose to live with him. (Veiled threat of manipulation) Just like the older ones hate me they would end up too cos Im a horrible mother.

    Meanwhile I am getting a message from my sons freind that my son is deeply unhappy and feels trapped. That my son loves me and is constantly getting told hes useless by his dad.

    But I dont tell my ex anything. He will turn it into weaponry. I sent my son a loving private message ….he replied i dont know if i can see you im scared to hurt you again.

    My younger ones come back from his home pensive and clingy. I dont know what hes saying to them if anything. I cant stop contact based on paranoia can I.

    I found also im questioning my motherhood again. Im doubting myself, berating myself for being less than i ought to be….but its old thinking. so hard.

  • #23681

    It is so hard I feel for you as I feel the same. I don’t know what he’s saying and the children are telling me very little (I don’t ask) but one said dad was emotionally pressuring then I know without telling me he was pressuring and I quickly took the stress out of situation and said not to worry I understood.
    I was fuming at him but hid it.
    He fumes about me in thier presence and now says one has told him I’m emotionally pressuring
    You tear yourself apart wondering if you are a bad parent if you are doing the right things.
    Maybe the eldest does hate me and prefers to be with dad for love not fear.
    But deep down I know I am a good balanced mum it’s just I’ve had to do it his way and been stressed and anxious so they have never seen the reall me as they refuse to spend time with me so don’t see the difference.

    • #30289

      When my kids were younger they wanted to stay with me and not be with him because they were pretty much ignored most of the time and questioned about me and what we would do. Then, he brainwashed them and made them doubt what happened and made it like I am a bad mother and if they are having problems its because of me. It hurt that his family believed whatever he said and now his sister has her hooks into our daughter and I am afraid of the games and control she has over our daughter. Our daughter even skipped paying tolls and spent a lot of money while they shopped and his sister is trying to put the thought into her head that if she has a baby that she will help to take care of the child. Anyway, my input is devalued or minimized and I do not know what to believe. Then I realized in reading your post that you are a good mom and I know that I am a good mom too, its just our abusers way to make us doubt ourselves. No matter what we say or do it will be twisted around and we are adults and aware of the games think of how confusing it is for your son. Your eldest does not hate you, he is confused and has been brainwashed and conditioned by your ex, please reassure yourself and keep being patient and try to endure. That is what I am doing. And being careful what I say or do because I know that he knows hurting our son and daughter instead of me directly is more painful than if he just hurt me. I do wish that our legal system would help us and our kids more than our abuser though.

  • #23687


    Maybe you could suggest some form of counselling to your boy the one thats scared of hurting you again. The fact that he recognises he did wrong is a positive thing at least it means he has given it some serious thought. As time goes on your older children will see their dad for who he is. It takes time but they will get there. X

  • #37080
     pink rose 

    My heart goes out to you. I was in a (detail removed by moderator) abusive marriage, my ex husband has gaslighted both of my children for the last 13 years and used them as weapons against me for power and control. When I saw my kids the ex was on the outside causing trouble and discrediting me. My adult son was and is very abusive to me so I dont see him anymore, he intimidated me, smashed up furniture and stole money from me. My adult daughter now is in a coercive abusive relationship with a man who is a lot older than her. I recognised the warning signs but she didnt, she is now totally isolated from me. She has been posting photographs on Facebook with her having facial bruising and strangulation marks on her neck. I really dont know how to help her because she is in denial. I feel highly worried and stressed every day of my life because there is a (detail removed by moderator) involved in this too. I think its only a matter of time before something really bad will happen to her. I have involved social services in the past who disclosed to the abuser it was me who reported it, plus the abuser manipulated social services stating that it was me with the real problem. I have recently asked the police to do a safe and well check on her but not sure if they did. I am not allowed to contact my daughter at all now. I blame myself because if I hadnt have stayed with my ex for so long them my daughter wouldnt see being abused as normal. If there is anyone here from Womens Aid please could you advise me what to do? I am sorry I posted this here but I have just joined and I cant start a new post. Thank You

  • #41806

    My heart is breaking for you at the same time as I feel this “Thank God I am not crazy and not alone” feeling. My kids are a few years apart. Both have been manipulated into believing his version of the truth, and he disparages me at every turn. They are both verbally and physically abusive to me and I have them enrolled in counseling. We are on a wait list. I recently started recording what they do to defend myself. My family is having a hard time and thinks I should just let them go live with him.

  • #56505

    I am crying reading this. It is so cruel.

    Since my first post my son has sent graphic death threats to me and I had to get the police involved. He is now an adult and still lives with hisfather my abusive ex. I have shut down all communications with my older kids and the ex. He does not have contact with the youngest children.
    Everything is happening via solicitors. I will not make the same mistake with my youngest children and let him break them so he can destroy me. I have offered supervisory contact but hes gunning for full contact but he will not get it. There is too much evidence stacked up against him ….he has lost the plot.

    I am a strong position to protect these younger ones. I have to hope the older ones will awaken and come back to me. Until then I have to keep my boundaries intact. It hurts.

  • #56520
     lover of no contact 

    Yes it is so cruel and it hurts so badly. As you said in previous posts, it hurts us more our abuser using our precious children to hurt us, than abuser directly hurting us. Using our children as weapons to hurt us is excruciating pain. It is a heavy cross to carry.

    I can identify and thankyou for bumping up your previous posts on this tactic of the abuser. It has helped me a lot reading them. My adult children are very much under his spell and with one of them my bond has been considerably weakened and put under pressure by the abuser’s manipulations. A friend said to me once which helped me ‘Your children’s fear of him is as great as their love for you’. Its true.

    My adult-children need some college financial support still. Your adult-children may be controlled by his threat of taking his life. Posting about it, reading the posts, support for ourselves, keeping strict no contact with abusers is all we can do.

    I’m a little more accepting of one of my adult-child’s choices. I say to myself ‘Their choices don’t include me’. That saying seems to help me.

    What doesn’t help my situation is his strong family system all supporting his façade, or in denial, or also afraid of not aligning themselves with abuser. My children want to be in with the cousins, the aunts, the uncles, the grand-parents who all pay homage to the abuser and believe the twisted lies, half-truths etc about me and what a poor victim and innocent party he is. Then my family system is comprised of 2 abusers (a parent and sibling) who disparage me subtly and meet up with my abuser (I’m no contact with them) and they ‘charm’, and are financially generous to my adult-children. A relative (whom I love and my children love) who is close to me but would ultimately choose my abusive sibling/parent over me). My children all see this. How could EVERYONE else be wrong and I right (and I keep silent as explaining, justifying myself, defending etc triggers me and makes a bad situation worse).

    So my children’s minds are under a lot of pressure. They are swayed by the distortions of the abuser, the distortions of my family system, the distortions of abuser’s family system, the façade the abuser has built up (friends/work people who think he’s great). I then am disparaged subtly by my family and his family. And I’m silent about my truth.That’s a lot of people enabling abusers who my children would have to accept are taken in or ‘wrong’. That’s a tall order.

    My one consolation is the strength of the truth. Nothing is stronger than the truth. I am who I am and don’t need to pretend. My abuser is who he is (all pretence). All facades eventually fall maybe with time.

    Maybe time and patience will let the truth unfold. Meanwhile I will stay patient, play the long game, keep healing, keep recovering from the abuse, and getting support when the pain of having my children alienated from me by the abuser is triggered.

    Hope my experience helps.

  • #71693

    My son may be returning to me -he has shown some change. We have a mediator now. His mental health is being tended to and he recognises the awful consequences of his behaviour. I am still a little afraid to let him into my life but I can see his head has been messed with and I think he now sees that too. In the next few months we will be trying to mediate face to face.
    We had been emailing on advice from mediator. It was going ok until my ex who he lives with still noticed and started telling him lies again. Manipulated a situation which I handled well in fact but my son reverted to name calling me in emails again and saying how can you do this to my father etc
    I responded with silence. When the mediator came back after a break she stepped in and told my son the truth – this has floored him -he now realises the manipulation and the lies. And as painful as it was – this had to happen for him to wake up. I hope he gets out and lives independently from his father. I believe his father wants to keep him mentally ill so he can claim money to be his carer. I am not kidding. His dad thinks I should give half my earnings to him cos he has the kids on a weekend. Serious. It is all about money with him and he doesnt even work himself.
    I am just gonna be brave and keep loving my son – I have enough sense to not let it revert back to what it was like before. The doors will shut down again if it does. Painful as it would be I will not live my life in fear like before.

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