Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home

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Kat54

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Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« on: July 10, 2019, 12:03:26 AM »
I've never really talked to my two children about the abuse in our home. It's all they have known, and truthfully I don't know to much normal myself as my mother was bi-polar and emotionally abusive. She would try suicide at times or lock herself in her room and not speak to us for days at a time.
But, I'm learning what a bad relationship is and finally recognize how verbally and emotionally abusive my ex is.
My daughter especially has suffered a lot; battling weight issues and my ex and son constantly telling her to stop eating and lose weight, telling her how fat she is. Grabbing food from her hands and many other instances of abuse.
My son has taken on his fathers traits unfortunately. Though I think he's got much empathy as he recently came to his sis and was sencerly sorry about fighting with her. He does watch out for her and this summer they have been pretty tight spending time on a volleyball team. He is not his father and I think with time he could change I hope.
I've never brought up to them as to why I left. I said I was unhappy but have never Talked about how verbally abusive he has been.
I know they know but it's never been a conversation. I want to be open with my daughter. She's coming over for dinner tomorrow and to talk. We had a rough weekend and she's angry with me or she's just angry in general. And that's ok, it's all the process. But I think for her it's an important conversation we need to have as she's been in our home with a dad who picks and yells, nags at her. And also has been physically abusive a couple times. He yanked her by the hair off the stairs as she was trying to get away from him. I jumped in and hit my ex to make him let go. The only time I ever hit him.
I could see over the weekend such sadness in her eyes. It's heart breaking and me leaving her in our home was difficult but she was also away at college. But she is now graduated and stuck with my ex and her brother. My guilt leaving her in the home with him is huge and also for my son. When I left I thought the divorce would be done in about a year and that's not what's happened as it's dragged on for almost two.
How do I start this conversation because it will involve putting her dad in a negative light. Or maybe not go down that road?

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SerenityCat

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2019, 12:14:02 AM »
 :bighug: I think talking with your daughter is a good idea. You love and care for her. You can let her know that she can tell you anything, anytime. And that no one has a right to abuse her or you.
You can tell her about what you are learning, recognizing, reflecting on.
You don't need to keep secrets anymore.
You get to talk about it all.
If you feel anxious, scared, or confused during the conversation - you can tell her that too. You get to be human and real.

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Spygirl

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2019, 01:23:20 AM »
How difficult all this must be,
And then to have kids involved. I am so sorry about how complicated it is. It is wonderful that you have a safe place away to reflect and sort things out. Is there any way your daughter could stay with you? Even if its the sofa or an inflatable mattress ? A safe place she can go to be away from your ex too? It could be a very good thing for both of you. Sounds like she is an adult, and does not have to stay with your ex.

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Kat54

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2019, 04:26:59 PM »
Spygirl: She is an adult, almost 22, and right now I live over on the next street so she can stop in whenever she wants or stay sometimes. I've told her that but my ex with his control and manipulation is very good at laying on the guilt.  My worry is if he ends up keeping our house she will never get out from under him, or my son who helps run his business.
I think she's depressed and since coming home from college I've seen this downward thing with her becoming more and more unhappy.  Living with my ex and her brother is very difficult, they both at times can gang up on her.
So I'll try to get her to talk about whats going on. If she ultimately wants to move in with me when i buy my own place then that would be great, I hope she does. Have told them both but I'll let her know again, I'm not buying a 1 bedroom home, there will always be a room for her and her brother. And in the interim she can be with me as much as she wants, but she can't live here because at times I have to move out. Its my sisters summer cottage and they do come and then there isn't much room so i have to leave. I keep only clothes with me and that is all I have.

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Penny Lane

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2019, 04:40:06 PM »
I'd say that you're not going to cover every single thing in one conversation, so don't put too much pressure on yourself to do that. I think it's great to get out there in the open stuff like "it's not ok the way your dad and brother treat you" and "I'm sorry I let it happen for so long" and "here are some strategies I'm developing through this process to deal with the behavior."

But the reality is you can't undo the damage of years of verbal abuse in one day. I think your goals should be: getting it out in the open so hopefully she feels like she has a safe space to talk about it, and letting her know there are other ways to react than to just accept it.

Hopefully this will turn into an ongoing conversation! But it's baby steps, this kind of thing takes years to unlearn.

Good luck! I think it's so great that you're addressing this with your daughter - it's such a relief to have this kind of thing overtly acknowledged rather than swept under the rug.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2019, 06:31:04 PM »
Great advice, Penny Lane!

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Spygirl

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2019, 06:36:40 PM »
Such a tough spot for you, i am sorry.

Things will get better.

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Kat54

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2019, 11:01:05 PM »
It was not the conversation I hoped for. Sheís totally in line with her father. She said where ever I live no matter what she wonít be living there.
Heís assured her he can buy the home and sheís confident he can.  I asked her if he canít what will happen. She didnít answer.
She said she wonít hate me. But this whole thing is just weird, as she states. Thatís my ex speaking. Heís painting me as weird, psycho. I know him like a book.
When the chips are down I have this flee thing in me. Meaning I just want to run away from this. Of course I canít.  Thatís what I feel like right now.

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Kat54

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2019, 11:03:24 PM »
And I barely touched on the abuse part. She did not want to go there. I asked her how things are at home. Iím sure itís difficult with your dad and brother. She said everything is fine and cut me off.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2019, 11:14:18 PM »
I have a good friend who got a divorce, after leaving the family home precipitously, several years ago.  Her adult daughters had witnessed the verbal abuse their father engaged in and supported their mom when she left.  Soon, however, they bought their father's line that their mom (my friend) had been engaging in witchcraft.  I'm not kidding.  The daughters are very religious, the parents are not.  The father chose a line of attack that he knew would resonate with the daughters.  Daughters and mom had little contact for a few years.  Now they're speaking again and have a decent relationship. 

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notrightinthehead

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2019, 04:14:49 AM »
I think you should talk openly with your daughter. Get the abuse out in the open. Stop enabling the abuse by 'normalizing' it. Be open and frank that it took you a long time to realize that your h behaviour is abusive and that now that you know you are no longer willing to be treated like that. Give her examples of abusive behaviour and how normal behaviour would be in similar situations. Let her draw her own conclusions. You consider your hs behaviour abusive. Even towards her. Tell her about MC and that she has a choice of letting others treat her like that or not. You are her living example that it is possible to stand up for herself.
Our march to freedom is irreversible. We must not allow fear to stand in our way.  Nelson Mandela

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Whiteheron

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2019, 03:47:49 PM »
And I barely touched on the abuse part. She did not want to go there. I asked her how things are at home. Iím sure itís difficult with your dad and brother. She said everything is fine and cut me off.

I really feel for you Kat.
This reaction from your DD may be the only safe way for her to react. In the case of my stbxuPDh, he repeatedly told me throughout the years that I wasn't allowed to talk about him to anyone. He told me if I did, he would find out. He had ways. I believed him. If anyone, even my mom, asked me how he was, if he mistreated me, etc, I would have said No. I would have said things were fine. I would have changed the subject.

My kids also believe him and fear his wrath. They refuse to open up to anyone about their dad - DS has been talking to his T, DD, only started talking to her T, but doesn't describe the bad behaviors. They've told me why - he will find out. They will be punished/cut off/ST. They are terrified to say anything to the GAL because their dad will find out. They would rather endure the abuse than reach out for help. It's heartbreaking, but there is nothing I can do but be here for them and support them.

The PD's love is conditional, and I think deep down the kids can sense this. Our love is not. They know we will always be there for them. So we become their dumping ground, they shun us for the PD, they do the PD's bidding, even though it hurts us. Why? Because, after all is said and done, we will still be there for them. It sucks. It really does. But I tell myself it's worse for the kids. Hang in there. We are here for you. :hug:


oh - I wanted to add that despite her reaction, your DD was listening to you. I try to talk openly with DS about certain things and I get shut down. But later on (days or weeks) he says something that indicates he was listening - he just had to go off on his own to process what I said and draw his own conclusions. So despite your DD brushing you off, know that she heard you, but that it was/is too painful for her to open up to you right now. But in broaching the subject - she now knows you are aware and that you are in her corner. Give her some time.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 03:52:51 PM by Whiteheron »
You can't destroy me if I don't care.

Being able to survive it doesn't mean it was ever ok.

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Kat54

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Re: Talking To My Kids About Verbal Abuse In Our Home
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2019, 04:12:04 PM »
Thank you Whiteheron. My daughter I know will never go up against him. He will do whatever he can to control or make them feel guilty for spending time with me. As I remember so vividly he is exhausting, and now its fallen on her to keep him company, go with him to the beach. Even if she goes to the beach with her friends or cousins...he goes along also.

It is true they know I'm there for them even though I know how much they push me away or make me feel so bad, and sad. My love is unconditional and his is not.

I'll keep talking to her...thanks all for the advice.