Co-Parenting With An Abuser

December 6, 2012 Kellie Jo Holly

All of us survivors know that our ex will at least verbally and emotionally abuse our children. We survivors also know how hard that type of abuse is to prove, and even proving it doesn't mean your ex will have less time with our children. Proving non-sexual or non-physical abuse typically results in therapy if it results in anything at all. Therapy doesn't work unless the abuser wants to change. They don't want to change which is the reason you left them in the first place.

If you are in this position, then you have to fight back through education and love. That is easier said than done, but it is very important to "do it" more often than you don't.

  • Educate your kids about bullies, sexual predators, and dating violence.
  • Empathize with them when their other parent hurts them, remind them how great they are, and have faith that your children are smart cookies who will continue to talk to you about their problems.
  • Introduce your children to therapy, keep your eyes open for signs and symptoms of abuse, and report any allegations or proof of sexual or physical violence as soon as you see it.
  • Create a new safety plan with your children. Make sure they know what they can do if they feel afraid while at your ex's house. You may have to be very careful about this because focusing on "what to do if you're at mom's house and she starts hitting you" could have negative effects. Instead, create a safety plan for your home, the babysitter's, grandma's, their friend's and your ex's. Make it a general "what to do if I am scared" plan without singling anyone out, then practice it with them.

Yes, it feels horrible to know that your kids cannot escape the emotional manipulation and pain like you did through separation or divorce. It is very difficult to cope with your kids' visits to your ex when you truly believe it is but a matter of time before your children are injured on the outside too. It is a helpless feeling to watch them go off to your ex's home, knowing "something bad" is waiting for them there. However, you cannot allow yourself to remain attached to your abuser through the children. So long as you feel like a victim (out of powerlessness to help your kids like you want to) you will remain a victim.

Remind yourself that now you are free of your ex's daily abuse, much stronger and smarter, and therefore in a better position to support your children in helpful ways. When you lived with abuse, you did not have the freedom to combat it that you do today. Remember to be grateful that you set an example for your children and try to stop beating yourself up every time they visit their other parent. Your kids visit your abuser because the court says they have to do so, not because you want it that way.

Forgive yourself for being unable to protect them 100% from their abusive parent. You can't protect them all of the time anyway. Children must learn hard lessons about all kinds of things on their own. They will be grateful that you were there for them, their safe place, if the other parent abuses them. They'll see the difference in the two of you in time. Let that awareness be as natural for them as possible (meaning don't habitually point out the other parent's flaws even if they talk badly about you).

Protect Yourself

You are no good to your children if you allow yourself to be abused by your ex.

  • If you stay on the phone while your ex admonishes you for your poor parenting skills so you can eventually talk to them about the kids, you're allowing the abuse to continue. Hang up the phone at the first insult and send an email instead. Write only about the children.
  • Don't allow your ex to enter your house without knocking and respect their home in the same way.
  • Keep your personal boundaries strong. Let your children see that your ex can't get to you (at least not for long). They need to see you as separate from your ex; they need to know they have two homes, two parents, two different families to love. (They do love their other parent, always will - let them, and be there without "I told you so" if your ex lets them down.)

Your way of parenting will not affect your ex's ideas about parenting. Don't let their way of parenting affect yours. The idea is to work with your ex when it is reasonable to do so, but remember that you have separate homes and separate lives. You get to set the rules at your house.

  • Don't let them talk you into spanking when you prefer time-outs, not even "for consistency between households".
  • If your ex grounds your daughter from her cell phone (for good reasons) but you feel more comfortable if she has it on her at school, then take it from her as soon as she gets home.
  • Drop any expectation that your ex will enforce a punishment you set for your child while the child visits them.

Realize that your children will play you against your ex sometimes. Your kids are smart; they know both of their parent's well. Our kids do not label us "bad" and "good" people. We're "mom" and "dad". If you think you're being played and that your child is doing something dangerous, email your ex to tell them about it.

  • You may get no response or your ex could degrade you for your thoughts, but keep in mind that, most likely, your ex wants your children alive and well too (If they don't, you probably have proof of that and already took it to the authorities).
  • If you receive a nasty reply, read it (I know you will), then archive it. I add my ex's emails to a folder labeled "Jerk" - it feels really good to hit the button sending it to that folder! I save them just in case I need proof of something in the future. I don't reread them, and I don't give them a second thought. I did what I needed to do when I informed him about our child.

Remember that you cannot see the future. Your gut instincts and intuition do not determine destiny. Your fears may never come true. Trust that if they do, you will have the presence of mind to do the right thing at the right time for the right reasons.

Do the best you can today. Take a deep breath, hug and kiss your kids, and talk to them. Parent the best way you know how, keep educating yourself so you can teach your kids how to live free of abuse, and keep your ex abuser's voice out of your decisions.

Keep your focus on your relationship with your child. How your ex fixes or screws up their relationship with your child is beyond your control.

You can do this. It isn't easy, but you can do it.

You can find Kellie Jo Holly on her website, Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

*Both women and men could be abusers or victims, so do not take my pronoun choices as an implication that one gender abuses and the other is victimized.

Tags: co-parenting

APA Reference
Jo, K. (2012, December 6). Co-Parenting With An Abuser, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 15 from

Author: Kellie Jo Holly

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 12 2016 at 8:44 pm

I'm a little confused, but I think the woman you're considering contacting is a therapist. If that's correct, it's a good idea to contact her. If you cannot afford the copay, just contact her and ask where you can get help for you and your children. I doubt that she will see you out of the goodness of her heart (she has to eat, too), but she will hopefully point you in the right direction.
And when you wrote, "God, I need help," I see that you must ask for help. Ask God to help. Ask people to help. You need a support network outside of therapy. Try domestic violence group meetings. You'll find understanding people there, and your experience can foretell the future to other victims of abuse. You can save some while the others save you.

Laina D.
June, 16 2016 at 2:26 am

Worried Mom,
This is a wonderful article, but still so difficult to separate yourself without feeling that guilt. I know my ex is verbally, emotionally abusing the kids. They have openly told me this much. I am concerned there may have even been some physical abuse, but he has told them not to tell me. So by the time I do find out, there are no marks to document. I don't know what I should do. I have an idea, but not quite sure what's the best route to take. I don't want to aggravate him then make it worse for my kids.. I am going to get them into therapy, as I will soon be able to have them more time then he does. Thank God for that!! I feel awful and confused, he lies a bunch, obviously, he is also very good at hiding and making others think he is a "Good Guy" . Luckily my kids do still tell me stuff and I have been trying to talk to them about how to be safe too.. Thanks for the read. If there is any advice, or site you can offer for further help, it will be Greatly appreciated. Thank You so much

March, 10 2016 at 7:52 am

Hi all, my partner had to take his ex to court over access and now has her every weekend, and a week of Easter half term. However his ex resents him seeing his daughter even though she knows what it's like to grow up without a father. The daughters behaviour can be fine for months when arriving home to his but on some occasions she doesn't want to be with him and says mummy told me not to tell you " Easter songs, Christmas play etc" in nursery. This has gone on for months on and off and mainly occurs when he has her for a longer length of time other than Friday to Sunday ie: a week. We having growing concerns about the daughters state of mind now as we think the mother is poisoning her against him and his parents (grand parents). She refuses to speak, get out of the car, refusing to eat and drink and throwing herself on the floor and refusing to get up or move. What's your opinions on this situation? Videos have been taken of how she behaves and what she's says or doesn't say.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
March, 10 2016 at 9:28 am

Discipline the girl if she misbehaves and don't try to prove you're "a good parent" by spoiling her. When she says something about your partner that's inappropriate or a lie, correct her. The best thing you and your partner can do is parent her as if her mother weren't a jerk.
In my opinion (and I'm not an attorney, parenting expert, etc.), videotaping her tantrums encourages her. You think it's negative attention, but it's not working to discipline her. Keep the videos you have, but don't bother taking more unless advised to do so by your attorney.
Go to family therapy - you, your partner and his daughter. Or maybe just him and his daughter, and the therapist can bring you in as necessary. Ask the therapist what would be best.
Your partner should maintain his own relationship with the school so he knows when special events occur. Talk to the principal and the teachers. Ask if school announcements could be mailed to you (provide self-addressed stamped envelopes if you must). Go to lunch to eat with her once a month. Get involved - separately - from the girl's mother whenever possible.
Behind the scenes, look into parental alienation and speak to your attorney. I don't know what the advice will be.

February, 23 2016 at 9:03 am

I often search the topic how to deal with an abusive ex husband. Since our divorce over 14 years ago he has systematically broken us down. Looking back I dont agree that you can just let your children be exposed to any abuse. Its not ok. Why should they have to learn to deal with it on any level. My son now has mental disorders from the abuse and cannot function on his own. No one has managed to help as he presents to the outside world as charming and a caring dad. If I could have that time back I would have fought so so hard to make sure that every single assessment recognised the verbal, emotional and physical abuse. He blamed his behaviour on our acrimony because of the divorce but now that the youngest is 18 her opinions are finally being heard. What is the worst that can happen if you refuse contact? He can have you arrested but you get to show how real the abuse is that you would go to that extent to protect your children. Nothing is more important than minimising the fallout from that abuse when they are adults. It hurts us all to see my son suffering now because of that exact advice that you talk about. Its not ok

February, 12 2016 at 12:38 pm

Hello, recently my step son has come to his father and I and told us he his being touched buy his brother and dose not like it. We were told buy cps they would look into it but when new information came to light that this was not the first time my step son has told someone about being touched buy his brother his mother stated she never knew. It was her ex that told us that last year he told them both his brother was touching him and the ex is the one that took action, making sure they were never a lone together no longer were allowed to share a room or be bathed together. My step son and his half brother are only a little under 2 years apart. There have been many other concerned in moms home. My boyfriend and I have had primary care up until October when she got almost half ever since then our little boy has not been the same. We have gone to court only to be told she's what's best for him. He comes home with stitches bruises split lips all kinds of things. Each night he tells his father that mom yells and hits him but there's nothing we have not tried to help him and save him from her toxic home. There are many days when she picks him up that you can clearly see she as well as her girlfriend are high we have also see pipes and bongs laying around her home when going to drop off the boy. But yet the courts do nothing to save him. Do we have any options other then cps or court because we have tried both to no avail.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
February, 15 2016 at 8:44 am

You said you've tried court, but did you try it using a good attorney? It would be helpful if you took a lot of pictures and took the boy to the hospital every time he showed up bruised or hurt. Document the injuries with doctors you take him to so you have easy access to the records.
Also, call CPS every time he comes home with wounds. Take pictures.
Take pictures of mom when she's high and trying to pick him up. Tell her to wait a few, he isn't ready yet, and call the police. Tell them you suspect she is high and shouldn't take the boy in that condition. I don't know if that will work, but it is worth a try.
Mom isn't scared of you guys. She's doing exactly what she wants when she wants with no one to hold her accountable. I wish I had an easy answer for you. Maybe someone out there can comment and add more helpful information.

Been There / Can Get Better
February, 2 2016 at 4:48 pm

This is a great article. I wish I found it years ago. I won't go deep into the details of my story. I don't want to share them in public until my children are adults. But, for everyone that says there is bias against men in the courts... that is not always the case. After years of post-divorce crap (lies, emergency custody hearings, false reports to CPS), we finally got sent to a high-conflict parenting class. I was so mad. So mad that the court was forcing me to sit in the same room with my abuser. All because the courts fed into the narcissist's / sociopath's game. And because I am quiet and private and not hysterical, I guess. I still don't really know why people didn't do their jobs.
In that class, I had to write letters of appreciation to him and read them to him. I had to put a picture of him in my home. I had to "work out" a problem with him in front of the class. The classmates who were there arguing over "small" things (in my eyes of course, not trying to minimize) like "what shoes their child wears" weren't prepared for issue I presented to "work out" which was the last incident of physical abuse and neglect of my children that got us to that class. My classmates were shocked. Just as much as I. Why is this even being discussed was the sentiment. I hated every minute of it. It was so painful to go thru. I just didn't understand. This man tried to murder me and you're forcing me to face him and search deep to find some way to show "appreciation" for him. You want me to "problem solve" how I can "feel more assured" that my children are safe. I'm terrified to even be in the same room as him. This can't be my life right now. But, I got through it. And what I ended up with was this.
During that 9 weeks.. the facilitators of that class were listening. Someone was finally LISTENING and getting in deep into the details of the relationship and what was really going on. We continued mediation with those same facilitators after the class and it was like a miracle. He couldn't hide behind his game face anymore. It was all out in the open. His true colors presented themselves. Not through stories but by his own behaviors because they didn't just dig deep into me they dug deep into him. And they set his triggers off and they SAW it. They were trained psychologists and long-time judges. They blew his cover and called him on it. It was no longer my words against him. Or my "fueling of the fire" as one judge accused me of. I didn't end up with the exact arrangement I wanted but let me tell you the dynamic changed 100%. And we are actually able to co-parent now.
So long story.. but.. if you are at a loss and not feeling that you have a voice with CPS and the court system.. consider requesting a high-conflict parenting class. It will feel 100% wrong, unfair, contradictory, a waste of time, another round of bull, re-victimization... but it could be your chance to really have the truth be heard and validated. That can go so far not just in proving your case.. but for me.. just knowing that someone finally was taking the situation seriously.. helped calm me and refocus my energy in the way this article describes. There was a finally a "safety net" I could trust in and it was court-approved.
I feel for everyone who is going thru this. It is absolutely devastating. You think that you finally leave, alive, and that everyone will support you in keeping your children safe because it's so obvious, a no-brainer. Never thinking your children will be put at further risk. Wondering if you made a big mistake because at least if you stayed you could protect them still. "why doesn't she just leave" they say. Yeah... can't wait until the day I can write my book on that topic. But, this article is right. Try, try, try to rise above it all, stay calm, keep an open, loving heart. Keep healthy. Don't get sucked in. Don't let the abuser into your head. Don't shut down. Don't lash out. Transform your anger and pain into awareness as much as you can. Distance yourself from the past as much as you can. And always remember, that you DID make the right decision in leaving because your children need you. They need a healthy, alive you. And years later, if you keep yourself healthy and loving through all of this... you WILL be ending that cycle of abuse... and protecting your sons and daughters over the long-term.
Best wishes to you all...

January, 26 2016 at 6:37 am

I've read the comments, and can relate to many on here. So here's my two pence worth, because at the moment I don't know when this hell will stop. My husband was physically, verbally, emotionally and mentally abusive. It was tiring and controlling. I left him the last time he assaulted me when he was under bail conditions. However, this did not stop the emotional or verbal abuse once he was scot free of the court system. He has continued that many times, that I have rung the police multiple times. Ringing the police that many times has only resulted since in a 'You're a naughty boy' type talk for him. However, for me, social services got involved. I had to take him to court to try protect myself. Yet, he has managed to send a response full of lies and accusations in, and sit there lying in court. The fate of whether I now need to hand my darling children back to my abuser lays in the hands of one social worker who has not to date met my abuser once, and only seen me a handful of times. I've been told to expect to be back in court in three months to decide who they live with.... You have to wonder who comes off better off in abuse, and all this because I stood up for myself and reported.

December, 15 2015 at 6:49 pm

Unfortunately, most of the system is bias, against men. Letting the abused bastards, get treated like an abusive bastard.
I don't know my daughter, for fights that I walked away from, after being assaulted. I have emails, where the ex admitted to treating me like shit and assaulting me and lying about it. The trash has turned, every time that I have asked her to talk, into a fight, where she has assaulted me multiple times. She has gotten several restraining orders against me, for fights that I chose not return what her assaults deserved. I've come to regret, not striking back.
You can't co-parent with a selfish manipulated individual, that has spent an entire marriage sacrificing you, for their greed, instead of sacrificing of themselves, for the betterment of both.
Regardless of the legal definition, when someone wrongfully takes your child from you, that's kidnapping. The system would of had my head, if I would have hired a stranger that would have done similar acts as my ex to raise my child. Their is no benefit in letting lazy, lying, abusive trash, raise your child. Childs support, is doing what is best for the child, not compensating trash to bring up your child with their own lack of values.
People should fear the consequences of assaulting anyone. Nobody should fear, responding in self defense. Too many so called women, like my ex, have no problems with swinging or throwing objects at a man; and threatening to call the cops, before that guy has a chance to respond in anyway. Men, need to same rights to respond in defense, as any women has against her attacker.
I had a 3rd degree acid burn on my arm, as a result of a work accident. The pain from that was extreme, or at least I thought it was. The physical pain form the burn, was focused to one area and didn't have any malicious intent behind it. The emotional pain from not knowing my own daughter, affects me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I would prefer to deal with a fresh acid burn everyday.

November, 17 2015 at 4:00 pm

Emotional abuse of my ex, ontop of my childhood abuse, has left me suffering from acute PTSD. Because, I cannot work, I'm on disability; plcing my abusive ex with an economic advantage, which is used to hurt me (hurting my son too), my ex manipulates my life and has kept me from getting SSDI benefits for my for over two years. Done deliberately, to make it difficult for me to have the ability to parent, and provide a fully functioning home, when he is with me, due to lack of funds.
The toxicity of my ex, hs caused so much more damge, a result of overwhelming finncial stress. She accuses me of using my son to get money, monty for his needs, so now I really need no contact. But due to my financial situation and detiriated mental health, I need to move far away, where its peaceful nd less expensive to live then Los Angeles, on 1100 a month (for 2 people) to emerse mysel in one thing, healing.
Unfortunately, this means leaving my child behind. I've tried for over three years to coparent in the same city and it's been impossible-- shes overbearing, even when I try to limit my contact to my sons needs. She blames everything, on me, that is bad according to her. She sends me rude texts/emails, calls me names (like, dumbass, loser, etc.), says very hurtful things (using private info shared when we were together), and criticizes me constantly-- the emotional abuse does not stop.
As a result, I will have to have a long distance relationship with my son for least six months to year; in fact, I will be living out of the country (close by, 2 hour flight) and he will be set up to visit me. My fear is that I ex won't follow through on scheduled visitation, while I'm away. Not one of scheduled visits were honored and my son really suffered.
She withheld him from me often, the first time, I went home for support, so I finally, after becoming finacilly ruined, convinced her to put a schedule, in writing, thats now legally endorsed. As she has done before, I cannot trust that when I had to go away, this time, my son can avoid the pain she causes him, by keeping him away from me. Shes a sadist, and doesn't care if she hurts my son too, he is collateral damage.
She enjoys seeing me unable to thrive, and prove that I'm the person she describes in her character assassination campaign, which insanely they find believable. How could everything be my fault, she even contradicts her stories, yet they continue to have this false impression of me. Its. Its a Living hell, and I feel so guilty about my sons suffering!

November, 9 2015 at 10:18 pm

No, you shouldnt have to let your kid go to an abusive parent. This is enabling abuse. Stop it.

September, 6 2015 at 1:58 am

.yes to many abusers in the world .control is all they want. they have nothing better to do its a show down. they destroy everything in there way .weak minded people do weak things. its only the good that suffer like they say. its hard and can last a life time . with the things they get away with . all I can say is .keep loving your babies. and keep believing hope is near .to hope is to love. loving mother still going. nine years later .

August, 2 2015 at 3:15 am

My marriage was not bad we just grew apart after 14 yrs. and two kids 9 yr old girl and 12 yr old boy. During our marriage he never was verbal, emotional or physically abusive. I took care of the kids and got them to all of their activities. I made a point to know all the parent and teacher. I did this by myself while having a full time job.
My husband handled the finances from the beginning. He was a miser with the money. We had 1 credit card in case of emergencies. Our arguments which were not loud usually were about him needing to be more involved with the family (I was tired of being Supermom) and having more fun with our money instead of putting a large majority for retirement.
Six months before he asked for divorce via text which still pisses me off he went into a depression which I thought was PTSD he is a reservist and had deployed a few yrs ago; which is probably part of it but he was having affair. I found out two days after the text and he introduced to the kids a week later.
This brings me to why I’m writing because a switch flipped in my ex and hindsight 20/20 I would have done things a little different. The divorce process lasted 11 mos and a whole lot of money. I paid to find out what happen the last 6 mos of marriage. I had a court order put in place so that his GF could not be around the kids. My number one priority is always my kids health. I became public enemy number 1.
There were only two occasions were he cussed me out on the phone. The first was a month into the divorce and it was hit the hardest because it was new. The worst were the emails and text that were written so well that I would have my family and friends read them to tell me I was not what the ex said I was.
So here is my hindsight freeze accounts, have an order put in place from the beginning for child support, block his number unless it’s your only phone for contact with the kids. Then you just block his texting ability. There are also APPs that you can download all text to a word doc. In your divorce decree you need to make it mandatory that all communication is to go through Our Family Wizard email system. If/when you go back to court bc if you divorced a narcissist you will; the judge/lawyers have direct access to the emails which can not be altered once sent.
Also, all reimbursement ie medical can be done online and tracked, less contact with the ex. I also got my kids into counseling for their health but also for third party documentation. I have filed CPS report bc my son came home with bruising. I had just paid off my divorce credit card but I handed back to my lawyer. I put a protective order in place and emailed it to every activity my kids are at without me. I also gave my kids cellphones.
While we waited for our court date he was allowed supervised visitation with the kids. His sister was the supervisor, we are friends and she has a Masters in social work. I figured if he did something the courts would give her statement more weight and I wanted his family to witness what I had been going through. He ended up berating his sister and her husband when they would not allow him to have the kids by himself.
At court CPS did nothing but I did have it ordered that no physical punishment could be done to the kids, he has to attend counseling with the kids, I did receive $8k in back child support, I had Our Family Wizard put in place and the biggest my EX is learning that I don’t play when it comes to MY kids. I have boundaries he is not allowed in my house, I will not talk to him on the phone, if he abuses cell phone privileges with my kids I will block him and his only contact will be on the house phone (it’s the only reason I have one).
Since, I have done all of this he is taking his verbal and mental abuse out on his new wife. He married the GF 4 wks after our divorce and she just told my former sister in law that feels she was duped into the marriage. His sister is asking me to have his visitation limited to supervised because of what they are witnessing. Easier said than done but this is why I schedule the kids counseling the day after they get back from their dad’s so everything is fresh.
I am much better than I was a year ago, altercations with the EX don’t put me into quite the tail spin, I do take an antidepressant everyday and anxiety as needed (30day supply will last me mos now), I can’t control their father’s actions. So I make a real effort to supply my kids with positive male role models that know what is going on (Boys Scout, church activities, my family, fathers on the sports teams) and I know that I am their number one role model.
I workout, I talk about my job, I take pride in my appearance and when the time is right have a health dating life. Studies show you should wait 2 yrs from the time the divorce was finalized which I laughed at, at the time but I look at myself a yr ago and I was a controlled mess. And this yr has been about setting boundaries with their EX. The one thing I take pride in is that MY kids know that Mommy kicks ass when it comes to them.
There is also no such thing as coparenting with a narcissist just “parallel parenting”. Also, your custody agreement needs to be VERY detailed. You need to have a disciplinary agreement. Also, have it stated in the decree that every yr he has to show W2/financial info this will help keep your child support current. I also took control of the healthcare with him reimbursing me. You will need to give schools/day cares copies of your decree so that they can enforce pick-up times. It is tiresome but you have to think two steps ahead.
I’m getting better not to say I don’t have PTSD and I’m learning what triggers my panic attacks; which surprise me from time to time. Let me end with I did love the man I married but I pray for the man I divorced because I do not know him.

July, 24 2015 at 4:30 am

My daughter left her abusive husband of ten years, over two years ago. They have joint custody of a 6 yo and 4 yo It took this long for me to recognize the daughter I once knew. She has started therapy and has been diagnosed with PTSD. She still sometimes succumbs to his control and abuse. The children are complaining of the same type of verbal and mental abuse she suffered. She wants to help them but doesn't demean him in any way to the kids, which I wholeheartedly support. She's tried taking him to court. DFS said there were no findings of abuse. They spend their time with the girlfriend, (who never wanted kids) because his job is time demanding. I have found some really good advice here, some other things to consider as well, but how do I as a grandparent help my gifted granddaughter who comes to me crying about the last episode of abuse? What do you say when they don't want to see daddy anymore? He is so narcissistic that he will not have a conversation about it. I am afraid things will escalate at his house if anyone intervenes. They are so young and already speak of mistreatment. Clearly the court system and local services are not supportive. My daughter is so afraid that whatever she does, he will take the kids away. He's already won in court. He makes a very good living while my daughter hasn't yet. She feels he has snowed everyone, even her closest friends, so much so that she doesn't have a chance. I am the step mother to my husband's son from his first marriage. I never badmouthed his mother to him, even though she was mentally unstable. Years later we are mother and son. She is out of his life of his choosing. He tells me repeatedly how much he respected the fact that I never berated his mother to him. The abuse he suffered at her hands was criminal. He's 40 yo now and just climbing out of the past. I want to do more, be more supportive. I think a child of 4 and 6 yo should not have been exposed to this. I can see their spirits changing. Help.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
July, 27 2015 at 8:38 am

A therapist for the children and their mother would help a lot. There's not much you can do legally about verbal and mental abuse - the courts and children's services can't do much unless there are physical bruises.
By being a good example of a loving human being, you can help them the most. You can also teach the children about bullies. Sooner or later they will realize their father is a bully, too. During "bully training" make sure you tell them how to respond to bullying. Lots of info online about this.
June, 20 2015 at 8:00 pm

A lovely and truthful article. I can see how substantial the content is.

June, 13 2015 at 12:22 am

Thanks for this article - it's the only helpful resource I've found for how to manage when you still have to have contact with your abuser.
Best wishes to everyone out there going through this mess.

May, 20 2015 at 9:01 pm

I left my abusive ex husband 2 years and two months ago after 10 years of 'trying to make it work'. I have 2 children. He continues to send me abusive texts and throw tantrums and I wonder if my kids will be ok. It has broken my heart to see them have to be subjected to his emotional manipulation. I get sad, wish I could have provided them with a decent father. They love him, but they don't understand his behavior.

May, 18 2015 at 9:57 pm

I just left my abusive husband about a week ago. I am having him served with a protection order and started divorce. But I'm pregnant. I really don't want him involved. I had to fight my way out of my own apartment and he still chased me to the car. He's military and being well taken care of. He pays rent for our apartment but doesn't live here. BAH is alot of money and he pockets 2000 a month. I work part time retail and haven't been able to pay my bills. I really have no idea how I am going to make it with this child. And I worry if i tell him so that I get child support and tricare for my child or any help from the state I risk that childs life. I know he will fight me tooth and nail for visitation if not custody out of spite. I'm terrified and I do not know what to do. A lawyer is not even an option. I've been to several legal advocates but unless I am going to court I don't have a lawyer I can talk to about options. I really don't know what I should do.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
May, 20 2015 at 4:46 am

Go to the Army's department of social services and tell them what happened. Your child is HIS dependent. There is no reason why you and your child cannot receive healthcare (Tricare). There is also something called Transitional Compensation for women in your position. It pays up to $1600/month for up to three years if you've left due to domestic violence. I forget all the requirements, but you need to check on that from ACS, the Army's social services, or maybe JAG.
Speaking of JAG, they cannot help you in your divorce EXCEPT to tell you what to expect when divorcing a soldier. The briefing is very enlightening and could go a long way toward helping you decide what to do. On Fort Bragg, they had the briefings two days each week.
If you take him to court for the divorce and financial agreements, you can request he pay your legal bills.
So far as custody, he may be granted visitation. But, the only way to find out is to go to court. If you don't have a legal agreement in place, he's likely to take you to court anyway out of spite.
OH! for goodness sake, go talk to the domestic violence center on post. They work in conjunction with DSS, but are a separate entity. At least that was the case in 2010.

April, 28 2015 at 7:52 pm

Thank you for posting.
I'm 32 now but met a nice older man when I was just 22. At first he was prince charming then one day he became jeckyl and Hyde. He lied to me and said he had a Brain injury to excuse his erratic behavior. He was verbally and emotionally abusive, I spent 8 years 10 months walking on eggshells. My heart would sink when I pulled into the driveway and realized he was already home. He belittled me, robbed me of every freedom even the littlest things.
Then one day I realized he was sexually abusing our then 1 year old, I got the strength of an army! I ran and for the first time went to the police, hospital, then therapy, CPS, all court dates etc. I did EVERYTHING right and by the book. I thought I was Free! Finally I could live without fear. I had given up my career earlier to be a stay at home mom so I couldn't afford an atattorn but I believed in the justice system and I believed that Judges are just and always do whams best for the kids-yeah right.
Ive kept on fighting for my daughters sake. I came out on top not once but 2x in Family Court mediation yet ended up LOSING my 2 year old to our abuser.
Race, Money, Stigma of sexual abuse? I dont keep know why I lost but
the abuse is ongoing and now I have to suffer worrying about her. My worrys are realized when I see her and she begs relentlessly for my help and tells me he's still hurting her. I call the police and they basically laugh in my face or ask degrading questions like "well what did you do? "Judges usually dont do this unless.........
Its a nightmare that just never ends- I cant stress enough that I did everything RIGHT and yet am still left with the most horrific outcome imaginable. My life is ruined. My daughters life is ruined and each week I have to make nice with a monster.
Were going on 10 months of this battle, I needed to read this so badly!

April, 14 2015 at 7:07 am

I lost custody of my boys because I spoke up in court about their father's abuse and they decided it was "alienation syndrome." They were being emotionally abused and when I tried to protect them (not out of spite, but out of caring) my boys were given to the man who was abusing them. That was many years ago and I can tell you that the boys did not thrive in his "care." Neither of them is a healthy adult. I could never get the court to see how this man behaved behind closed doors and I was punished for trying.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
April, 19 2015 at 3:37 am

It is heartbreaking. The same thing happened to me - my boys were "given" to their father. Perhaps both of us can teach them better.

March, 22 2015 at 3:02 pm

My ex husband has been verbally abusive to my 11 year old son over the course of his life. He does not spend time building a relationship with our son, just discipline. We separated 2 years ago. Jeff lives in another city but comes every 2 weeks for visits. The visits seem like a chore for him. He has no patience for our son. So he screams at him and pokes him. My son remembers when jeff called him a jackass at the age of 3. Today, when he brought our son home after the weekend, he screamed at him in the basement and hit him for the first time. I told him to leave. My son says he's scared now. Should i go to cps. I live in canada. Scared to make the next move and not sure what to do. Any help or advice?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
March, 26 2015 at 4:46 am

Yes. Now there is physical violence involved. If CPS couldn't help you before, they should be able to now.

Robert Frick
March, 22 2015 at 8:10 am

My 40 yo daughter has suffered through 11 years of 24/7, ever escalating verbal and psychological abuse. She is currently separated, co parenting two wonderful, but suffering children. She went through multiple miscarriages due to the stress, demeaning onslaught and accompanying medical conditions. She has created a home of love for herself and her two children but the father continues his onslaught via emails, texts, phone calls face to face onslaughts in front of neighbors, etc.
she is still under his emotional control and she has become nearly broken.
Although she initially provided most of the income and supported his career development he believes she deserves nothing and he remains barely compliant with the divorce arbitration process.
What help can she get, she has barely enough funds to maintain a small household. She was once a vibrant, happy, giving woman and it breaks our hearts to see all of that destroyed.

sindy loo hoo
February, 21 2015 at 10:37 am

I need some advice. My son is currently 2 weeks old and his father is not on the birth certificate while we were dating he was physically mentally and verbally abusive towards me and come to find out I'm not the only one he's done this too he was very forceful with a lot of things and is the biggest manipulator I have ever met . He is now out of jail and wants to come see my son I'm scared for my baby's safety and don't know what to do. I want the best for him and I feel like it is to keep my son away from him but other people keep telling me I am wrong. It is very stressful especially since my son is currently in the NICU but he doesn't think he needs help and I just want the best. Am I in the wrong for keeping him away?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
February, 28 2015 at 5:43 am

You are not wrong. Follow your gut. The feeling that you must keep him away has a purpose. Besides, if he meets your son and sees the boy's problems, guess who's fault it is going to be? Yours.

February, 13 2015 at 7:51 am

So glad I stumbled onto this site and this post. My princess is 8 months old and I am beside myself with allowing him and his family time with her.
We were in a bit of a bad place for a while, then I fell pregnant and hoped that since it's what we both wanted, it would all start to get better.
I was wrong, he and his family can't think without each other and his mother calls the shots. All our arguments came down to me not being a priority and eventually feeling we were more like strangers sharing a flat than the 'soulmates' he tried to convince me we were.
When baby was 3 weeks old, after me breathing a sigh of relief every time he left the flat, and breaking my heart every day I found the strength to say enough, I can't take any more. It's not good for me or this poor baby. So he moved out the next day.
Our relationship obviously got off to a good start, nice gifts, dinners, quality time together....for 5 minutes. He played football any opportunity he could, played lottery religiously, drank and spent time with his lads. Not a big issue, until it leaves us so skint he has to borrow from his parents to get us to pay day and me with no chance of doing anything social with my friends.
We HAD to spend every waking moment we had spare at his mums with his family. So my family fell out with me, I lost touch with friends who probably thought I was making excuses to not go do things with them as I was mortified to say we had no money.
Slowly but surely, feeling completely alone I withdrew further from his family and again, somehow I turned out to be the bad guy, his family love worship and adore me, his young nieces and cousins love spending time with could I be so cruel as to cut myself off from them?
It's their way or no way and I can't live like that. I don't want my daughter to either. That's why I left him.
His family have always been a little off with me, especially if I didn't agree with them or step in line with their choices. But it had got worse when he lost his job - yes he lost his job and somehow I was the bad guy. So of course I was totally disrespected and hated when I kicked him out, I messed his head up - we wound up trying to give it another go.....and then I found him flirtaciously and inappropriately messaging 10 yes 10 different females. So now he's not just a mentally and emotionally abusive person but unfaithful and a bare faced liar to boot.
When she was born, we came to the arrangement that we would register her with my surname, as we were unmarried, I was going to be a stay at home mum and I feel it's unfair that as soon as baby is born they become property of the parental family (sadly this is the case for me and mine). I was never going to take his surname when we married, but agreed that I would if she could take my surname until then. He agreed, we got her registered - his mother went ballistic. So he came home shouting and balling telling me I'm a selfish control freak. How could I disrespect his family and not care!? Demanding we change her name immediately.
As a result his entire family have now refused to be in my presence, his mum and dad can't even acknowledge me in asda even when I'm holding the grandchild they are so desperate to spend time with.
I have been alienated, his mother has ranted on facebook about me (indirectly of course). Because they haven't got their way they are now making things as difficult as possible. My 36 year old ex has ran to his mummy to tell her I'm the big bad wolf and now she is pulling his strings.
Our entire relationship my salary covered our joint outgoings leaving me next to nothing so we lived off what he had left after paying his debts and his car. When he moved out, knowing I was skint as I was having to adjust to less money and running the house all on my own he called me demanding 500 I owe him? He contributed to this flat I'm in so he's entitled. His mum gave us money to help with deposit and we never gave it back (luckily it went through my bank so I had the transfer details).
I am a pretty strong minded independent person, thanks to my own mum and this didn't conform to his mothers liking so I am easy for him to make in to the bad guy.
My ex isn't 1 who likes to look bad in front of people. He will spin his own half truths to make himself the victim. It's always everyone else that's out to get him.
For 4 years I was put down by his entire family, maybe they hoped to wear me down and make me conform to their way of now I havent I am public enemy number 1.
For the same 4 years he managed to cutme off from my family and a lot of my friends, I'm still trying to build bridges - they couldn't understand how such a strong willed person could change so drastically. My confidence, my self worth and actually knowing who I even was - gone.
Luckily I have a beautiful baby girl to raise and she gives me strength every minute of every day.
Now, however, I have a narcissist for an ex, a manipulative serial bully in the shape of his mother and sister who are demanding time with this defenceless child. His dad was diagnosed with terminal brain tumours a few months back, so on top of the put downs name calling and telling me I'll be taken to court I'm being emotionally blackmailed as his father is dying!
He has told me his father is depressed, cries all the time, lashes out, the house is always tense or upset - why does he want to inflict that on this poor baby girl?? Oh yes, because he's selfish. He and his family don't actually care about her, they just want to keep face and keep up appearances - as long as they can still dig at me, think they are getting 1 over on me and can post pix of the "happy family" on Facebook they are happy.
They didn't even get her a Christmas card let alone present - FOR HER FIRST CHRISTMAS!!!! I'm not materialistic but come on!!
Their house is toxic, the negativity and contempt they all have for me will obviously effect my poor darling girl. She went round for half an hour the other day to be crowded by 6 near strangers - came home....and was up and down all night.
He has no idea how to be with her, if she cries just give her something to eat, he holds her all the time instead of letting her explore and play. He has no regard or respect for the consistency structure stability and security she needs and his family think she's a prize.
I can't bare the thought of them spreading their poison onto her. She is the happiest smiliest baby I've ever known - I'd die if they took that from her.
I have saved myself, long way to go til I'm me again but every day is another step for me but I feel selfish inflicting them on her without me there with her.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
February, 28 2015 at 6:20 am

I do not see a judge's order in place for visitation. If there isn't one, you do not have to let your child spend time with him or his family.
Even if you do have to share visitation, block him and his entire toxic family from all of your social media accounts. If any of your mutual friends tell you what they're saying, ask the friend to keep the stories to him/herself. And if the friend continues to give you or pry for information, block him or her, too.
Blocking people from social networks is but the first step. Block them from your lives, too. Change your phone number or at the very least set your phone to send their calls to voicemail.
Sign up for a free consultant with a family law attorney.
Get serious about your daughter's and your safety (emotional and otherwise). There are things you can do to protect yourself and your daughter.

February, 12 2015 at 4:37 am

Thank you for this article and everyone's posts and responses. I'm at my wits end. I want to simply ignore my ex's nasty emails, lying, bullying, and emotional abuse. It's non-stop and increases in intensity when I am not willing to respond to it. Our son is 7 years old. He doesn't want to go with his father lately. He cries when he knows it's almost time to go and has not gotten into his car willingly. He has fears and behaviors that are alarming and sad. Everything positive I try to do for our son (even when he agrees on it) eventually turns into a nightmare. He has called the Father at my parish to say horrible lies about me. He has called our sons pediatrician threatening legalities when she referred our son to therapy. He called the office of the therapist organization doing the same to the point they wouldn't get involved. Any extracurricular activities our son wants to do, and his dad gives consent to, he decides not to follow through on his visitation citing "it's his time and will do whatever he wants". He degrades our son for his interest in arts and is no sending lots of bullying emails to me to get him started in intense sports to start him on a professional path which is what he thinks our son needs. What? My son has come home with the need for medical attention (croop, acute gastroenteritis, and now whooping cough). But it's always someone elses fault that in his visitation it's someone else s fault (my dog, my nephew, me, and of course it just didn't happen when with him). He gave my identity to a girlfriend and even though it left me in a lot of debt that isn't mine, the court just ignored it. She gave this woman gifts sent to my son and I from his parents and his friends to this woman. Now he is married to another, which he didn't tell me or our son about. I found out on the internet. Now all of a sudden it's "they know how to take care of him best" and with the last round of whooping cough (came home after four days with them w/out so much as a note about his symptoms) is accusing me of making it up. 8 year of this never mind watching him talk to my son in a degrading manner at time at pick up. That's just some of it.
Ok, so I have had letters written by my son's pediatrician, teachers, and principle all addressing our son and the help he needs and observations and confidential talks they had with our son. The court, ignored it. Why? Because he has an expensive lawyer who deflects in court and comes at me accusing me of unfounded abuse toward our son and using my own therapy to deal with all of this as a sign that I am mentally ill and I make my son sick. He doesn't even want him for periods of time then gets a new gf or wife and suddenly it starts all over again. If I ignore abusive emails, I get his lawyer writing the court I'm uncooperative because I won't respond to some of his emails. The court never has let me tell them I do respond, if it is not abusive and reasonable. It's beyond frustrating as he continues to try to control what he wants (which is ever changing and all about him, not about our son or everyone in his life). Yet if I say "can we discuss why our son is having a difficult time when it's pick up" he turns it around on me, will not speak to me, and/or takes it out on our son. I'm at a loss and have lost all faith in the court system.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
February, 28 2015 at 6:31 am

This sickens me. If you haven't already, write your own round of letters detailing the problems you're having with your ex. If your ex's attorney calls these people as witnesses, they need to be able to say they heard from you too.
Your letters are bound to be very emotional. Make sure you have someone with a good head on their shoulders proofread the letters. Put your best foot forward and be as proactive as you can.
There are systems in place for the mother and father to communicate via email about the child with the court able to see EVERYTHING. Ask your attorney about it or try to find in online. I'm sorry that I don't remember the name off the top of my head.

February, 6 2015 at 2:50 am

My grand-daughter recently got divorced from an emotionally and verbally abusive man. She has a four year old son and the court has awarded joint custody...He lives close by so now he is at her house every day and night...I am upset that she has allowed this to happen..She claims that he is treating her nicely...This man is an alcoholic and an abuser...I believe he is a sociopath ...Why would she want to be near this man...she has spent thousands on lawyers (money she had to borrow) and has been to counseling..I would like your thoughts on this situation.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
February, 28 2015 at 6:46 am

She needs you on HER side now. No judgments. As far as her "allowing this to happen," you should realize that abuse runs DEEP. If you judge her and tell her things like "I told you so!" then she will never again turn to you when things go wrong. Which they will.
You do not have to be nice to her ex. But you do have to stay strong enough to let her know you are on HER side so when the day comes she needs some support, she will turn to you.

January, 22 2015 at 12:31 pm

My abuser and I were together for 14 years. left my abuser 4 years ago thinking my kids would want to be with me, but to my devastating surprise they wanted to stay at their own house that they grew up in.
I was a stay at home mom who cleaned took care of them when they were sick brought them everywhere they need to be.put on birthday parties made sure they had everything they needed. Their father paid for all the bills.
he was the type to be in control, would like to be little me , not let me finish sentences and make me feel worthless. I would get yelled at if I was making eggs and they broke. If the plastic collar on a milk jug was not removed he would be very angry. He would make me feel guilty for hanging out with friends so I just wouldn't go anywhere. I even felt guilty going to the grocery store by myself because he would ask , who did you see? who did you talk too? see anyone you knew?
I could go on and on but my main concern is why do my kids want to stay with him?
he lies to the government and what he makes because he owns his own business.him and the kids get help from the government and I pay him $600 a month for child support. He doesn't send the money on clothes or shoes for the kids he is for bills even though I know he has money..he has the house two vehicles and all the toys. The first two years I live in my parents now I live with my boyfriend. i buy the kids clothes shoes haircuts sometimes personal products because I feel bad that they do not get there at their dads house but they continue to want to stay at his house. Why?

January, 22 2015 at 7:34 am

Thank you for posting. It's so hard to co-parent with an abusive ex. All I want to do is walk away forever, but since my children still are involved with him, I have to maintain some kind of communication. He uses every opportunity, even such texts/calls as re: doctor's appointments, etc., to completely berate me. We're only a few years out from our divorce, but he's spending more and more time with the kids and really working on turning them against me. I don't think he is mean or abusive to them- just me. So they don't understand when I refuse to speak to him in the doorway of my house, or want them to "FaceTime" with him in their own room where I don't have to see or hear him. They think that the boundaries I'm setting for myself are because "I'm mean," which plays right into his dialogue about me. When they want him involved, it's always painful to me- how do you handle that? For instance, he asked to spend extra time with my daughter alone this weekend, and when I put some limits on it for my own comfort, he immediately went to calling me "crazy" and saying I am going to hell. So I said 'Nevermind, no extra time.' It's just not worth it, but I don't want the kids to suffer :( My daughter wants to see him, but then he uses the opportunity to be awful to me and I'm stuck in a lose/lose. Me or her. Any advice is appreciated.

January, 14 2015 at 8:01 pm

My husband of 22 years is a narcissist, this I have accepted as I have understood more and more about verbal and emotional abuse, reading everything that is out there and now arriving here, on this blog. I have three children. My son is 17 and in treatment for PTSD, talking always about his father. My youngest daughter is 13 and is in therapy, always talking about her father, wanting him out of her life. He is not violent, but extremely covertly angry and aggressive, controlling his anger and making sure we know it, he is disruptive on every level of daily life, absent, withholding and silent, countering, blocking etc etc etc. But utterly charming and loved in the outside world, which he openly acknowledges sees only his fake persona. I get very little support from my extended family, who think I should be thankful that he supports me well financially and should also be sorry for him because he suffers from severe depression.
So, everyone talks about not bad mouthing the abusive parent, but I think, wait a minute, my children need acknowledgement that their father's behavior is disordered and unacceptable, that they have the right to expect better, and so do I. They need to know that their negative feelings about him are not wrong, that they must listen to and trust their instincts in their own lives going forward. They need to know that this is not the "normality" that they should accept for their own adult lives. I come from an emotionally abusive background, if anyone had talked to me openly about what was happening to me and my siblings as we were growing up, I would have known not to marry him and continue the cycle of abuse.
Now I "just" need to leave him.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
January, 18 2015 at 10:58 am

Dear Sarah, your children have the awareness they need for you to support them as they tell you about their dad. Yes, you can directly address their concerns and issues. It is not badmouthing their father if you respond to what they ask or tell you about him.
I found that discussing my ex with my sons went smoother for me when I acknowledged that he did the same types of things to me and that his behavior made me angry too. I told them how I learned to deal with the abuse and if it helped me, and what I wish I had done or would do now if the same thing happened.
As their protector, you have every right to talk about the truth. Please take advantage of their awareness and do so responsibly.
Remember that a part of those children will always love their father and seek his approval. If they didn't love him on some level, then the abuse he dishes out would not affect them so negatively. With that in mind, try to stick to the issues they bring up to you (or that you witness). The "badmouthing" you could do that might raise the kids' defensiveness is to talk about their dad without having a direct issue to address, to overhear you talking to someone else about him, to fly off into a rage at him on the phone within earshot, ... Do you get the picture?
Address their concerns honestly and empathetically. Love them. But remember you walk a tight line.
My boys were about 13 and 15 when I left their father.

January, 13 2015 at 1:07 pm

I have made the choice for my ex not to enter my home. My ex has criticised me for continuing with this choice, arguing that it disrespects my ex in front of the children. My ex allows me into their home. I found this article with a search for "allow abuser in my house". This article has probably been the most concise summary of exactly the things that anguish you most as a parent whose children must still go and be with a person you know, as the article says, "will at least verbally and emotionally abuse our children". It includes also probably the most concise summary of constructive suggestions and encouragements focused on the most important issues. This is an excellent article. (I had to laugh at the "Jerk" folder name :) )

January, 10 2015 at 10:57 am

I would appreciate some advice. I am a man whose been divorced with three kids for seven years. For the first 5 years my ex and I were model divorced parents. I paid extra child support, we did things together as a family, had keys to each other's houses, etc.
Then about a year and half ago I found out she was dating a registered sex offender who had molested two 12 year olds. Obviously, I objected and told her I was not comfortable with him being around my girls. Two days later I get a visit from CPS and she had accused me of having child porn, molesting my daughter and smoking pot with the kids. To any one who knows me this is laughable and of course CPS determined it was all bullshit.
After a year and half of legal battles, I now have a court order that he can't be around the kids (yes, she is still dating him)
My problem is that now my kids expect everything to go back to normal. That we will start doing things together again. For my own self respect and integrity I don't want to have anything to do with her, but this puts me in the role if being the jerk. I can't imagine someone telling a woman whose abusive ex-husband that they should still socialize together?
I don't want to say anything bad about their mother, but I refuse to be around this abusive woman who brought a RSO around her kids. What do I say?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
January, 11 2015 at 8:25 am

Despite your children's wish that your past relationship with their mother could continue, it is perfectly reasonable for you to wish it to end no matter what the reason. Perhaps you could tell your children that it is time you create a life for them and you outside of the relationship with their mother. You don't have to badmouth her and you don't have to make excuses to your children. You must create a separate life for yourself. Period.
I assume you can be cordial during pick-up and drop-off (if you must say anything at all), so continue NOT ARGUING with her in front of the children. Any nastiness to mom in front of the kids will put you in a bad light with them.
As to what you tell your ex about the change in your relationship, tell her the truth or the same thing you tell the kids. Personally, I'd tell her the same thing you tell the kids - that way, if the children come to you with "Mom says..." stories, you have the peace of mind of knowing that mom is making stuff up and do not feel obligated to defend yourself against fairy tales to the children. Or to mom.
This is a complicated issue, I know. If you can find a good therapist for you individually and maybe one for your family (you and your kids), then I think the transition will be easier for all of you.

December, 31 2014 at 3:58 pm

There is no protection from Child Protective Services from abusers who are not leaving physical marks on the child. In my grandson's case, someone from the school reported him after he choked my grandson (something he used to do to my daughter). They put a note in the ex son-in-law's file, then did nothing more. My grandson tells me that he is afraid to ask to use the phone to call his mom, as his dad will "hit me." When asked what he means, my grandson says his dad tells him to "shut up" and smacks him. He has shown my grandson a gun, and then told him he carries ammunition in his van. My grandson fears that his father will use the gun and ammunition to kill my daughter. My grandson tried to tell the cops, and the cop just looked at my daughter and told him that she had better teach my grandson gun safety, as "we don't take people's guns away from them in Texas."

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kellie Jo Holly
January, 8 2015 at 7:45 am

Yes, unfortunately "physical marks" are required for any real help. Even then, help is not guaranteed. The "consolation" to receiving physical marks as proof is that the abuse always escalates and, one day, your grandson will unfortunately receive his "proof".
Check the runaway laws in Texas. In NC, a child 16 or more can run away and the police cannot force them back home. The most the police can do is inform the parent where their child stays. I have no idea how old your grandson is or what the laws in Texas are...but getting creative is a good idea.

D. Aggie
December, 23 2014 at 2:02 pm

Anyone can advise what to do if the ex continues to hurl verbal abuse and poison the children's minds by making himself the victimised parent. That's what my ex is doing. The divorce is over and he plays the blame game. He saw a Facebook post stating that I am in a relationship with a female colleague and literally took that to mean we are lesbians without reading the following comments made by others about the actual friendship.
He also refuses to comply by a court order to pay half of the fees incurred by my second child who is in my care or hand me the child's passport..
I live in Singapore.
I can't afford hefty legal fees. .

December, 10 2014 at 3:07 am

Sadly, its not as easy as Amelia thinks. Most doctors are not going to be willing to stand in court and attest to emotional or psychological abuse because it is so difficult to prove. The author of this article, however, is correct and gives you the best way to deal with this.

November, 28 2014 at 11:17 pm

I wholeheartedly agree with Amelia Green. I am about to find myself in this difficult situation as I am due in March. That being said, from day one, I will protect her. She is alive, though she is not born and so I have already begun protecting her by leaving him. The wear and tear on my body and mind from his psychological abuse was affecting her, too. Fight for your children. As hard as it can be, it is our job to protect our little one. Thank you, Amelia.

November, 16 2014 at 10:32 am

I feel the same as Blanca. I left the man who mentally and verbally abused me and my kids. He also physically abused my 9yo son (not his). Cps got involved when my son told his teacher. He didn't tell me because i was in a high risk pregnancy. At one point after i left my ex, he was allowed contact with our baby by order of Cps. That lasted a few weeks. A while later when I told them the signs of abuse I was seeing her display, they said I should hope for the best. What? Then they dropped the case for lack of evidence but berated me for having failed to protect my son against someone that claim did nothing. He spent the last few months of our marriage convincing his family and mine that I'm a sociopath, pathological liar, and drug addict. But I passed a drug test every month for over a year. In the end, I became custodial parent. I have been diagnosed with ptsd. He continually curses me and calls me names on the app any time he wants. Does not go to designated drop off location. Instead makes me go to his house. He has not complied with the court order to give me copies of the baby's pics, instead sent a pic of him flipping me the bird. And threatens to take my baby. Is there really nothing I can do to stop his behavior? My mental health is greatly affected!

November, 13 2014 at 4:15 pm

Thank you, Amelia, that is what I'm trying to do. Thank you for your encouragement. I agree, no child should be abused. Abusers control. If a child says they don't feel safe, then they don't have to go to visitation.

Amelia Green
November, 1 2014 at 11:40 pm

Actually you can stop your child being abused. You stop allowing visits and you go to a lawyer, then a paediatrician, then a child abuse foundation, then a councillor and then court. You put in effort and time and make your child the absolute priority of every second of your spare time. You do not allow your child to be abused and you do not allow your partner to dictate anything. If the court doesn't support you then you appeal, you get more evidence and you promise your child that no matter what happens you will watch like an eagle every move that is made. I am sick of this modern day turtle behaviour, fight for your children. Question the law. Do not under any circumstance let anyone hurt your child in any capacity.

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