3rd May 2020 at 10:16 am #102337LottieblueParticipant
I am after very specific advice, regarding discussing leaving with my children.
I need to try to write this so it isn’t moderated to the extent of losing sense.
A while ago there was a discussion on here that stressed that we mustn’t treat our children as counsellors. My kids are all legal adults but still dependants. The youngest has always suffered abuse at the hands of his father, though not physical. School is now prematurely over for him and he realises there is nothing in his future and no escaping.
I have known for a while that I have to leave but when I leave I shall be leaving the family home and the lifestyle my kids have been brought up into. I can cope with that. I want out. However, I suspect my youngest wouldn’t want to be in his father’s company again without me there, and this will entail him giving up a lot. Really withholding detail here I know.
I feel I want to discuss it with him. Need to. But is this a burden for him? Is this using him as a counsellor? I want to say to him “we can do it, we can get away, but you have to understand that you will lose x, y and z, is this a reality you can face?” This is also me saying openly for the first time to him that it’s what I want to do and I know that’s risky.
Let’s say, completely hypothetically, that the abuser owns a racing stable and the child loves to spend time there, the horses are his everything. It would be that sort of sacrifice.
I don’t want to burden my child with the extent of my unhappiness, nor for him to understand that I have tolerated this abuse in order, ironically, to protect him. I also don’t want him to think that I would leave just to protect him, to allow him to have a home where he feels safe.
But he’s too young to have to deal with my s**t.
Any experiences / wisdom would be gratefully received.
3rd May 2020 at 10:35 am #102340IwantmebackParticipant
Hi, it doesn’t sound like you’re using your children as confidants per se, you’re not going on about what your husband says, does, makes you feel etc. They know that for themselves. As you so wisely know he’s still their father, an abusive one but still their father all the same. Just because he’d be leaving behind a certain lifestyle doesn’t mean that at some point in the future he’d not be in that world again. Do you know people who could open doors for him, there is always a way if you want something badly enough in this life. Maybe their life lesson is that to get something you want in life it comes with hard work and sacrifices. If you don’t get what you want, maybe is wasnt for you after all, or just not at this moment in time. I’m not talking about our basic human rights here, that’s a given that you fight fir them, never give up fighting fir them. But material stuff,it doesn’t matter, it really doesn’t. If your child is good at what he really likes, doors will open. It’s hard answering something without specifics,I hope ive not offended or trivialised the question you asked.
Take care, our kids are more grownup then we give them credit fir sometimes.
3rd May 2020 at 11:44 am #102350
Hi Lottieblue, I’m so sorry, there is no easy answer to this. I was in a similar position. I stayed with OH because I didn’t want to disadvantage my children. It meant that they accessed a lifestyle that they would never have accessed if I’d left. Also, I didn’t want them struggling with living between two homes and once they were adults, they could make their own decisions and get away without having to choose to live with either of us. Was it the right thing to do? Yes and no. It’s just not that straightforward.
Both of my children were victims of abuse to varying degrees and I discussed my leaving with them as my first move. I am confident that in my situation, it was the right thing to do.
Nothing really prepares them for what is to come, they think it won’t affect them because they are grown up. But they still love their Dad because he is their Dad and he is now on his best behaviour with them (although he wasn’t at first – it sounds like he really tried to manipulate them).
My oldest is glad that he knows what his father did to me. He says he’d rather know the truth. My youngest doesn’t want to know so I haven’t told him.
But here’s the thing, you might just find that your youngest is fine about you leaving and will want to come with you, regardless of what he will loose out on.
In the end, it turns out that it’s not about things. Those privileges were so much less important to them than I had anticipated.
Unless he breaks off all contact with his father, your son may still be able to access the things he loves. (In your scenario – arrange to meet his father at the stables). Or like IWMB says, he’ll find another way.
And if not, you might find that it doesn’t bother him as much as you might think, especially if you have primed him for it.
If he has been a victim of abuse too, you can bet your bottom dollar he understands why you need to leave. You won’t need to go into details, unless he wants you to.
So no easy answers I’m afraid. No clear cut, black and white, right or wrong. You know your son best. Explaining what this might mean for him is not the same as using him as your ally. However, you do need to be aware that by talking to him first, you are asking him to keep a secret for you and the guilt of giving him that burden may stay with you for a while.
3rd May 2020 at 8:59 pm #102393LottieblueParticipant
Eggshells, thank you. Yes, I am very conscious that I would need to be absolutely sure that the child in question didn’t feel that he needed to share with anyone at all as that could seriously jeopardise the whole plan.
Your point about their father’s manipulation is also a strong one and one of which I am very conscious. It’s that fine line that I shall have to draw between wishing for my children to understand (and therefore needing to give them a certain amount of the truth) and wanting to allow them to make their own judgement about what degree of relationship they wish to have with their father – but at the risk that he will invent his own truths. I have heard of this happening to devastating effect – the children no longer speak to their mother at all although there was clear abuse.
How far in advance of leaving did you speak to your children about it?
Thank you so much x
3rd May 2020 at 9:15 pm #102397
I’m abit worried that if I put that on here it could identify me. I’ll pm you – if I can work out how! xx
3rd May 2020 at 9:30 pm #102399
I think I’ve left you a message. xx
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