Wife to a verbally challenged husband - Advice would be appreciated!

[deleted account] ( 20 moms have responded )

I am a Mother to 3 Special Needs children. I love them all.
I am married to a man who doesn't know how to treat my eldest son. My son is 13, ahead in his class in every subject, makes high grades in all of his classes, is great @ cooking/baking, & loves to play video games. He is Autistic, ADHD, OCD, takes 6 different medicines to cope throughout his day, is on a 30-page I.E.P., & has 4 different Doctors to assist in medical care. My husband uses my son as a scapegoat for practically everything. When my son tries to say something to my husband about it, my husband cuts my son off (usually harshly).
I have confronted my husband a/b his behavior (repeatedly), bought him books on how to cope w/ my son's needs, asked my husband to treat my son as a human & not some verbal garbage disposal, asked my husband to seek counseling w/ me, etc. &, nothing is working. What do I do to help him see how much he is hurting my son? How can I help him see how much this hurts me? My son knows that he can come to me a/b anything (& thankfully, he still does). I don't know what else to do, though to help change this situation.

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Carol - posted on 01/11/2011

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Get a micro recorder and record what he says...then play it back for him to listen to. A lot of times they do not think they are actually talking as badly as you say, many times if they hear their own tone of voice and the words they will understand.

Melissa - posted on 01/05/2011

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I agree with Amy completely. My now 16 yr. old has ADHD and was a very hard child when he was younger. I was involved with a man for 4 yrs who constantly belittled my son. Much like your husband is doing with you child. I finally had enough of his verbal abuse and built up enough courage and strength to leave him. BEST decision I ever made, just wish it had been sooner. I went to several counselors before making this decision. My son to this day still brings up hurtful memories of his torment. I wish this on NO ONE. Be strong and remember you are the rock who gives your children the protection they need.

Lindsey - posted on 01/07/2011

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It seems like you have done a lot to help guide your husband in the right direction, speak with him calmly about how inappropriate his comments, actions and words are. How hurtful he is and how much he hurts you and your son. As a parent and teacher of special needs children, I have to say that no one should ever make a child feel like repeatedly. Especially when someone has given the person the skills to be an effective parent of a child with special needs. I know that my own husband doesn't understand why I give our daughter all the medication I have to give her, or respect the doctors diagnosis of her, but he would never treat her in a harsh manner, disrespect her or me, etc.
I think you have to come to terms with hard decisions. What is the healthiest and best environment for you and your children. Is it to be with their father and continue to try and get him help, or face hard truths and think about giving him a altimatium. Either he comes to thearpy with you and your son and you all work together as a family to make it the best environment for you and your son. Or let him decide that he does not want to be a member of the family, if he can not be a postive role model and an effective, caring, supportive father to his son.
I am not a thearpist by any means, but that is my outsiders opinon. GOOD LUCK!! Keep us posted!

[deleted account]

@Pam David>>>> leave your husband if he is calling your child a sh*t head. I'm not there and don't have the full understanding, but a special needs child does NOT need this. Actually I can't think of any child that this is appropriate for.

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Margaret - posted on 01/18/2011

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That's heartbreaking! I thought this was going to be about a husband/father of children with special needs who can't communicate (that's what I've got). I'm sorry for your son's and your situation. Sadly, you've proven by your unsuccessful attempts thus far that you can't change a husband who doesn't want or is not willing to change. For your son's sake, perhaps, since your son is willing, you can teach him to avoid his father's confrontations. Like with most of us... we avoid mean people in life. We tiptoe around violent people. Sadly this is a close family member but it doesn't really change the fact that the damage he can do is real. Sounds like your husband is one of these mean people that needs to be avoided by your son. Good luck.

Wendy - posted on 01/13/2011

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I had the exact situation you are dealing with for 10 years. I tried education, couselling, recording him but nothing worked. As my dad always says " you can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink". It wasn't until I filed for seperation that my husband finally saw the light and realized he was wrong. Now we have been together as a family for over a year and support one another and encourage our autistic children together. I hope you won't have to take such drastic measures as I did, but I hope this helps you, whatever your decision may be.

Marlene - posted on 01/13/2011

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i havn't read all the other posts- only glanced at a couple- but i agree with some others- record him- play it back so he can see how cruel he is being- then give him a choice... "get counseling, personal and/or family or hit the road". These kids at any age don't need to be treated in such a way. Too many people can be rotten when it comes to any disorder, etc.. Dad doesn't need to be this way too. Give you lots of credit lady for dealing with this! But honestly- do you really need the extra aggrivation of another child that refuses to understand?

LaTasha - posted on 01/11/2011

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From what I gather, you are a wonderful person and Mother that has accepted her children as precious gifts. Also, you apparently possess some amazing coping skills. Let me be the first to say, "Thank you for being a strong foundation and unselfish person" that your children and other mothers like myself admire. What I have to offer is simple, but requires patience. Pray for your husband and children. Don't forget yourself and ask God to heal and mend. Your husband sounds overwhelmed and doesn't quite know how to cope. Pray and give it to God. He can do more with this situation than any of us ever could. Have FAITH and TRUST Him to fix it for the better. Hold on, look to God and be encouraged.

[deleted account]

I agree with Amy Lea.. if counseling doesn't help (try all avenues)... this CAN become an emotional abuse and it MAY be better for your child to disconnect from the verbal garbage. Put your child first.

Angela - posted on 01/11/2011

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I don't have quite the same issue as you. My husband speaks more 'roughly' to my sons than he does to my daughter and I can't make him 'see' this. Is there anyway that you can take a video of him or tape his voice? He seriously may not really know that he's doing it. It may take a video of him to really and truly see how he's hurting his son. (sorry if this has been repeated, I didn't have a chance to read others' posts)

Heidi - posted on 01/11/2011

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I understand. My son, who just turned 18, has Down's Syndrome. He is at the upper end of the learning scale and my husband (who is a mathematician) has trouble understanding that maturity and intelligence are two different things.He keeps saying that I "baby" him - when in reality I just try to keep things to his level. Frustrating, I know.

Pam - posted on 01/11/2011

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Oh, I hear you. My son Gabe is 10, ADHD and mostlikely on "the spectrum" (we dont know for sure) my husband loves and plays with him, but has very little patience and tollerance for imperfection. Especially when my sons meds wear off. He has called him things like sh*thead, ets, before. Wich then adds to my sons low opinion of himself. It breaks my heart and makes me furious at my husband. (to the point where I can no longer desire /have "intimacy" with hubby, because i am always so pissed at him. (seriousely, its been like a YEAR!) If anyone has any ideas...would love to hear them

Kris - posted on 01/09/2011

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Have your husband do the Landmark Forum (www.landmarkeducation.com). It will complete the past for him and land him in the present so he can be with any communication delivered without upset or reaction. That way he is free to express his love for his family members and he doesn't have to play the victim anymore. The landmark forum is a weekend seminar. Worth doing. Best of luck. Kris

Allie - posted on 01/06/2011

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~~ugh to husbands...I know from our experinces in life it has been rough. I am the mother who tries to make it all run smooth. I get worried when my husband is not signing or when he talks and faces the wall...mumbles or doesnt enunciate(i know i spelled that wrong) that burden is so hard to carry...as a mom I feel like it is my job to protect my girls...I wish I had the magic answer, i dont. I know its hard for my hubby becuase he is a man, not to excuse him..but it is a harsh hit of reality when they are the parent of a special needs child...I personally feel like their ego takes a hit! They get bruised. They want to do right, but dont know how. I think maybe a dad's group. I know Frnak when dad's get together here at different functions he really doesnt share a ton of information, but i see that it is a huge comfort for him. Have you thought maybe about starting a dad's group? looking to see if there are any in your area?

Sabrina - posted on 01/06/2011

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you cant change your hubby. only person to change is yourself, and whenyou decide youve had enough or your son has lost his ability to cope with his fathers abuse, you'll actively seek help to change your daily enviornment. meantime, PLEASE PLEASE check out this book in the privacy of your own truth and trust your gut, Google Patricia Evens, i own a few of her book. ehttp://www.verbalabuse.com/page2/page16/... Have courage and be hero to your son!
love and prayers.
~S

Iridescent - posted on 01/05/2011

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I agree that you should go to counseling without your husband. You cannot change your husband, but you can strengthen your relationship with your son, as well as change your approaches until you find one that changes the way your son gets treated. If there is no way to change how your son is treated, and he honestly can't do anything right in your husband's eyes, then he is an abusive father and needs to be out of the household because at that point it becomes a choice between the two (and I would always choose my child first).

Venna - posted on 01/04/2011

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Patience is a Virtue, and open Communication is a must when parenting children that have special needs as it is with all children. Maybe read him some material about special needs may help, or going to a doctor appointment to see the importance of encouragement and praise, all childre learn different....;-) take care!

[deleted account]

go see a marriage therapist even without your husband. Ask for help around communication issues, as I think, as a marriage therapist myself, that might help you most. If you can find a therapist that knows about kids on the spectrum, even better. you can find lots of resources about marriage communication at www.smartmarriages.com .
you may also want to contact your local state parent to parent network. There may be support groups for dad or families with kids with autism. You can find your parent to parent group on Google, or go to www.nichcy.org, click on your state, then on parent organizations.

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