Verbal Abuse... help please!

Mama To 4 - posted on 07/18/2015 ( 3 moms have responded )




I am married with 4 children. My oldest son is 12, and he is from a previous relationship, but his bio father has not been in his life since he was 2 yrs old. So my husband has been his "only" father. Here is the issue: My husband never says anything positive to my son, belittles him, is cold to him (never laughs at his jokes). The only verbal interaction they have is my husband telling him what to do, what he's doing wrong, or starting some type of argument.This obviously bothers my son and he lets my husband know which causes him to tell my son that he is being overly sensitive and overreacting. I stick up all the time for my son and my husband gets mad at me too, telling me I'm over reacting and to back off. My son thinks my husband hates him and doesn't love him at all. This breaks my heart. I have had so many talks with my husband and then he acts like he understands and tries to be loving to my son, but it only lasts for a day then he is back to being really mean. He doesn't think he is doing anything wrong. For example, yesterday my husband accused my son of lying about playing his playstation when he was really playing on his phone....I don't understand why my husband brought this up. My son said that he wasn't lying- he did play his playstation and then played on his phone after that. My husband said to my son that he is overreaction and caused my son to cry. Then my son got a upset and said "I hate you" to my husband. He said " I hate you too" right back to him!
I want to leave him, however there are no physical bruises and I am afraid that we will get shared custody. He is a 6th grade school teacher and kids/parents think he is wonderful. However, at home he is manipulative, and very mean. So I am afraid the courts won't give me full custody. I have 3 other kids with him (one is only 15 months old) and I can't stand the thought of them being with him without me there. Then I won't be able to protect or stand of for them at all! Any advice?


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Sarah - posted on 07/18/2015




Is your husband unkind to the younger three kids? If not, then leave. He has no legal claim to your eldest no matter how long he has been his step parent. Unless the bio-dad was stripped of his parental rights and your husband legally adopted your son as his own then he will not get custody. He may very well get joint custody of the other three and having to be separated from your siblings fifty percent of the time may be quite stressful for all of the kids. If your husband won't see a therapist, at least get one for your son to build is self-esteem and understand that this is a problem with "dad" not him.

Rebekah - posted on 07/18/2015




What about family counseling? Maybe he'll surprise you and be open to it... if he is "mean" all the time maybe he has a lot of his own anger that he is tired of carrying around. Maybe frame the suggestion in terms of trying to have a more peaceful household for all of you, rather than pinning all the blame on one person. If your husband doesn't consent to that, at least getting supportive counseling for the rest of you might be helpful as you sort out what to do. If you are considering separating/divorce, consult with a lawyer to get some information about how things work, rather than doing nothing because of what you are afraid might happen.

I fully get what you are saying...and I relate to that fear of wanting to be there to protect them. It would make you feel like you have some amount of control over what is happening. However, consider this.... if you stay with a verbally/emotionally abusive person, you are also choosing to subject them to it with little hope for change. It also sends the message to the children (and the husband) that this behavior is tolerated. Even if you stand up in their defense, the fact that it still continues and nothing changes creates a mixed message for the children. Plus, he is modeling behavior for them to potentially follow. See if there is a shelter in your area for women/children who deal with abuse in the home. You don't necessarily have to go there, but you might be able to talk with them on the phone and see how they can advise you in your situation, as they have staff that specialize in this kind of thing.

I would also suggest you strengthen your ties with any other support network you have... family members, friends... you and your kids need as much positive influence around you as you can find. And if you do decide to make some serious changes, that support network will be more important than ever. Don't isolate yourself.

Side note... I'm no legal expert either, but just wondering... did your husband adopt your eldest? If not, would he still have any legal right over him?

Good luck and stay strong... your kids are fortunate to have you advocating for them.

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