Sent: Monday, June 28, 1999 7:17
Subject: Effects of verbal abuse
Dear Dr. Irene,
I am a 26 year old mother who is recently divorced. My husband was
verbally abusive. The courts say our son has to spend half time with
me and half time with his father. The problem is the court isn't
realizing that his father is abusive. What effect does the verbal
abuse have on a child after separation. We are noticing a lot of
problems when he returns from his dads. Is there a pattern of abuse
to the child?? And what effect will it have on our son if he
continues visitation with his father? He father is telling his son
that I am a bad monster, I am going to replace him (dad), we have problems
with wetting and pooping, I find it a struggle to keep my relationship
with my son. When I confront his father he denies having said any of
those things. How can I make his father realize he isn't hurting me
he isn't hurting himself but he is hurting his four year old son!!!
Also, how can I get the court to understand the situation that I left?
It is sad that your
husband appears to involve your child in his anger with you.
There is absolutely
nothing you can do regarding your husband's behavior. Stop accusing him
of badmouthing you since it may not be true, and it won't help anyway.
If he is guilty, the more he thinks he is upsetting you, the more his
angry behavior is likely to continue. If there is any way you can
improve your relationship with him, do so. Consider co-parenting
counseling with him for your son's sake.
consider family counseling for yourself and your child if your ex won't
Minimize the damage
your ex-husband's accusations may be having on your son by assuring the
child that you cannot replace his daddy; that each kid only has one
daddy forever, etc., etc. Tell him that even though mommy and daddy
don't love each other, they both love him and always will.
Ask your son why he
thinks mommy is a "bad monster." Tell him it is OK for
him to think whatever he thinks and that you love him anyway. As
the child gets older, do not "protect" him from his dad's
accusations of you. Without badmouthing his father, let the child know
why you and your husband separated. Simply provide your version of the
truth at a level he can handle and allow the child to talk about whatever
emotions he feels without telling him "that's not true" or
"you don't really feel that way".
If you continue
having problems, especially the "pooping" part, have your son
evaluated by a child psychologist. Tell the evaluator what you suspect
is going on. Or, bring your issue to the Court. Talk to your attorney
about the possibility of petitioning the Court to order testing and an
assessment of the child's environment.
Good luck to you,