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Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for 5 Kids

Comments for 5 Kids

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 1998-2001. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

 

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, February 27, 2001

S1

Tree,

A couple of ideas. First, you can label his behavior as WRONG without labeling him as a bad person. Your kids need to know certain behaviors are inappropriate and should not be tolerated. I found that it helped my daughter when I clearly labeled her step-father's name-calling, domineering, etc. behavior as abusive. And in talking to her, I found out that she observed and understood a lot more than I gave her credit for. For example, one time she told me "I don't know why he complains about my temper tantrums, his are worse and he's a grown-up." She was absolutely right-he threw a temper tantrum when he didn't get his way. After we separated, she asked me if he'd ever been sexually abusive. I asked her why she asked and she said that she'd learned about sexual abuse in her counseling program and wondered if I'd ever experienced that. I told her no, but after thinking about it, I realized he had been sexually abusive.

The second thing I can suggest is to call your local domestic violence center and see if they have any programs for kids. The one in my area ran a 6 week program for kids who had been exposed to abuse. It was very helpful for my daughter to realize that other kids were dealing with the same things she was, and to learn that all abuse isn't physical. She also met with a counselor at the domestic violence center on an individual basis for few months. Don't worry about the costs-many programs provide counseling on a sliding scale.

Consider counseling for yourself. Worry less about forgiving your husband and instead reflect on your contribution to the abuse (i.e, you allowed him to treat you horribly), and then forgive yourself for not recognizing and responding to his abuse earlier. You will need the all the support as you deal with him during the divorce process (these guys can be extremely nasty and manupulative). The domestic violence center may also be able to recommend an attourney who is used to helping victims of domestic violence and who know how to deal with the games these guys play.

I know I sound preachy, but I've been there and done that. And I've learned a lot over the past few years (one of those hard lessons you don't forget). I initially started counseling to reduce my stress level as I dealt with the legal games, and ended up recognizing that my willingness to overlook the occasional disrespectful behavior (give him the benifit of the doubt) allowed the abuse to escalate. Although I can see where I made mistakes, I now understand why I was willing to tolerate the put-downs, disrespect, etc. (both parents were verbally and physically abusive). My counselor has also reminded me that I not only have kept my vow that I made when my daughter was born (that I would never hit her), I have shown her that she should not tolerate relationships that are unhealthy. And now two years later, she's learning a lot by observing me having healthier relationships.

My daughter's well being was part of my motivation for leaving. I didn't want a preteen girl to learn from my example that women were supposed to be treated like dirt and were less than equal to their partners. I wanted her to learn that she should be treated with respect, and that if a boyfriend is the least bit disrespectful and/or abusive, she needs to act immediately. I was lucky in that she was only exposed to his abusive behavior for a short time, and that she was old encough to recognize what was going on.

Hang in there and take care of yourself. You and your children deserve better!

Janet

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001

S1

Tree,

Just some thoughts here.

Forgiveness is wonderful but don't do it at Your expense; you have a right to be angry at his behaviour. Its a murky area between Codependency and Compassion.

If one of the kids is acting as a bully be careful to "police" him; he may grow into an adult with regrets and guilt about is behaviour.

Best wishes, Ziggy

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001

S1

Thanks Janet and Ziggy,

I thought what Dr. Irene said opened my eyes to the other way. When I first read it, all I could think is "Wow", It really opened my eyes. I would never be mean about Dad. After I read what Dr. Irene wrote I did sit down with the kids and explain why we moved out and why I am seeking a divorce. The kids have been great. I just feel bad that I was giving them cross messages. By me not dealing with what he has done it told my kids that you should love someone no matter what. My one son, the bully, it was telling him that if someone is really bad to you, you will still be respected. My husband and I were still talking up untill a week ago. I told him that I didn't wish to talk with him anymore, and that we would go threw other people to set up visitation. It is the best move. I am feeling very positive. There is also the other aspects. I want to file for divorce, of course I can't afford a Lawyer. But part of his abuse was that nothing that was his was mine. I was talking with a male friend of mine and he told me that the penson that my husband has is half of mine(I wasn't even thinking of asking him to give me any of it) It has been a real eye opener to me the past 2 months. And I am learning more and more. I am always open to look at things differently. And I am so glad I am doing that because I am learning so much about myself and about my own problems dealing with people, letting people walk on me. Take Care,

Tree

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, February 28, 2001

S1

When I was still married, my son, then 6, was at the computer. I brought a sandwich to him and kissed the back of his head. He said "go away and just leave the food there". I replied "that's no way to talk to your mother is it?" He said, "no, but that's how daddy talks to you." That's when I was sure the end was near. I wasn't about to let them become him. You can say things about your husband in a way that is the truth without bashing him. My way was to say that daddy isn't nice to mommy. That way the children don't think it includes them. Actually, my kids agree with that. Insist he sticks by the rules. They are there for a reason. If they are in your and the childrens best interest and he thows a fit, so what! You and the children are the primary concern. He's supposed to be an adult and take care of himself. I let mine do what he wanted and it cost me time and grief. Now I'm trying to make him play by the rules and he's hitting the roof. The threats and manipulation are unbelievable. Get counseling if it's available. It has taken me over 2 years to find someone who is an expert in verbal abuse. In the meantime, read, read, read. Good Luck. Cinderella

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 02, 2001

S1

Tree...I know how you feel about not wanting to "bad mouth" Dad in front of the kids, but I also agree with the Doc, they do need a dose of reality. I too felt the same way you do, and I didn't say anything negative about Dad to my son. All it got me was a very angry child who didn't want much to do with me. Dad was the "hero" so to speek. OUCH!! That hurts! As I began to stand up for myself in front of my son, and explain about Dad's behavior, my sons behavior and attitude slowly began to change. Kids are smarter and more able to grasp and understand the situation than you think. As you explain things, they'll begin to think and remember that Dad wasn't always such a nice person. Try it, you'll see. :)

As for forgiving and forgetting. I don't know about you, but I find that I can forgive, but forgetting is another thing. By stuffing this all down, and that's what it is if you rush to do it, are we not apt to put ourselves in the same situation again? I think by NOT forgetting, we learn a valuable life lesson. Hang in there Tree!! Like Doc says, "THINK"

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2001

S1

Tree Gang,

I recently myself just got out of an abusive marriage after 12 years and I could only tell you that it gets better and that there is light at the end of this tunnel for you!! I nave two children and they seem to be adjusting pretty well. I thought the abuse would last even after the divorce but now there is a calmness that I never felt before I wish you all the luck in the world and just know your doing the right thing for you and your children God Bless you!!!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Tuesday, March 13, 2001

S1

Tree Gang,

I recently myself just got out of an abusive marriage after 12 years and I could only tell you that it gets better and that there is light at the end of this tunnel for you!! I nave two children and they seem to be adjusting pretty well. I thought the abuse would last even after the divorce but now there is a calmness that I never felt before I wish you all the luck in the world and just know your doing the right thing for you and your children God Bless you!!!!!

B1: Submit
Date: Friday, March 16, 2001

S1

a quote that i always try to remember "you teach people how they treat you" you are allowing your husband to abuse you look at what you have put up with so far what will it take, killing you or maybe one of the children? your children treat you with disrespect because you allow it stand up to them and show them you are in charge of everything. children need structure without it their lives are in complete disharmony. the past has already done its damage its up to you to change things Tree Gang do it for you but for the future of your children's lives do it for them... you are all in my heart deborah

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, March 18, 2001

S1

Dear Tree: I could almost swear you and I were married to the same person. My children are smaller 3 and 23months. I left him seven months ago after he stuck a gun in my face and told me if I wanted to leave, I would leave in a "body bag." This he did in front of my 3 year old. This man constantly continues to verbally abuse me every time we exchange the kids on visitation and he will call and harrass me whenever he feels like it. The trap he makes for me is the child support. I had him arrested and he was convicted of Assault. The judge did not send him to jail per my request, I wanted him to get help for his kids so we found a Domestic Violence Intervention and Provention Program for him to take. But, that angered him as well because he had to pay for it. OH WELL!!! Verbal Abuse just does not go away. He has to make the decision to make that change just like you did when you left. He is the only one that can do this. My concerns were always with the children and the angry actions he showed in front of them. He has never laid a hand on them. (YET!) Everytime I ask him to please not speak that way in front of the children, he just says, "whatever" and continues his assault on me. His jealousy enrages him over me. I can't make a move that he does not critize and make into something else. But I do not care. I am free and I do not have to live with him anymore. He says that I destroyed our childrens lives and they will grow up being messed up. I truly do not believe I did that. Remember, this abuse is all about "CONTROL". When an abuser loses that control, they will grab at anything to look good. We are all accountable for our own actions. You do not have to make excuses to anyone for him. In fact, you do not have to forgive him at all. Continue to reaffirm to your children that you love them. Reaffirm that the father loves them too. He will have to answer to them one day and they will understand. Your children are confused and are all at different age groups and they will deal with it in different ways. I would like to make a suggestion to you. Seek counseling for you and your children. They may not like it at first, but it will be good for them. Call a Women's Shelter and ask what kind of outclient group services they offer. They will be able to lead you into the right direction. They did for me. I now work at a Women's Shelter and take great pride in reaching out to other women in crisis. Especially those with children. You should tell your children what is going on. Educate them in the effects of Domestic Violence. Educate them in the prevention of Domestic Violence. Stop the cycle now. Good Luck.....................lmsurvivor00

B1: Submit
Date: Monday, March 19, 2001

S1

Dear Tree,

It looks like your 8 & 10-year-old have learned a few things from their father. You say they are calling you names & that the 10-year-old is throwing his weight around with the other children. Perhaps he saw his father do this & thinks this is the way that men interact with women. This is something that should be addressed immediately! This child needs counseling and yes, should be told that his father is a sick man. Most kids don't want to emulate someone who is considered "sick."

Also, it sounds like you may need counseling as well. Raising five kids on your own has to be tough, and after all you've been through...You definitely deserve some time to vent.

Good luck to you...ejc

B1: Submit
Date: Wednesday, March 28, 2001

S1

Dear Tree,

You need to tell your kids the truth. your getting beat up for nothing. Take it from me, a 15 year old, we kids need to hear the truth even though it hurts. Its one of thoughs things that needs to be said. About the swearing you need to set some guide lines that you'll enforce to make them stop and refrane from using that language.... groung them for a month and see what that does. I may be young but i have experience in what your dealing with... and just to let you know that your not alone.

A concerned Friend

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 01, 2001

S1

Actually Tree, reading this helped me a lot. Now I know where I went wrong with my kids. I hid the truth and it got messy and my daughter acted out and moved out. Now she sems to be coming back more and more to me and it is only since I have stated the truth although both children still think I am off my head and Dad is fine. (We are still together.).

What I HAVE noticed though is the more I put boundaries around the way I am treated the more the kids seem to be responding and the patterns do seem to be changing. The stuff my husband did was les intense and I can't say I am blameless either; but I am finding that the aggressive daughter is calming down and she now comes round and is friendly and respectful. I had to cal the police on her several times and that was so painful; but in the end she seems to respond.

Meanwhile my husband with therapy has understood some of the things he needed to see about parents supporting each other. That has eased the tension loads.

So I guess they do ned to know. Hiding stuff isn;t a good idea. I guess we made a loving error. We did that as we wanted our kids not to be hurt.

Keep strong. You won't always be lonely.

B1: Submit
Date: Sunday, April 01, 2001

S1