Is my ex abusing our kids? Not sure :(

Discussion in 'Help Me! I Need to Talk to Someone.' started by mbczion, Jun 5, 2014.

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  1. mbczion

    mbczion Well-Known Member

    Hello SF, it's been a while. To be honest, I haven't been in this forum since I read about poster "Jim" passing away. Anyway, I am a bit beside myself at the moment. I am afraid my ex-wife might be abusing (verbally and mentally) our kids, but I am not sure if her behavior would be considered "abusive" or not quite over the red line.

    The other day my son told me that sometimes when mommy get angry with him, she says, "I don't like you...." She doesn't say "I don't like your behavior...." or "I don't like your attitude....", but "I don't like YOU". My daughter confirmed this and said that mommy sometimes says this to her when she gets angry as well. My ex also threatens my son when she gets angry that if he keeps up his attitude, she will throw him out of the home next year.

    Also, yesterday, my son told me mommy "choked" him. I asked him what he meant and he showed me a scratch on the side of his neck. He said when she got angry with him she lifted him up by the collar of his shirt. I asked my son if he could breathe when mom did this to him and he said "barely". Even 24 hours later, the scratch on his neck was still hurting him.

    On the one hand, I don't want to use the word "abuse" lightly. I don't want to be like the boy who cried wolf. Also, my ex's friends think she is the most amazing thing since sliced bread and would never believe she is abusing our kids (if this is considered "abuse"). Add to that, my ex is still my kids' mother and despite her behavior and the way she keeps the home (or doesn't keep it) they still love her. In principal, I also feel that my kids need their mother in their life.

    On the other hand, I am the kids' father and I want to protect them. They are my life and I love them more than anything in the world. If they were to get hurt (or worse!!!!) I wouldn't be able to forgive myself.

    My kids are with me every other weekend. Other than that they live with mommy (my ex) and I have no control over what goes on in that home. I guess my ? is 1) is my ex's above described behavior "child abuse" or simply "not nice, but not child abuse"? What is the red line when it comes to physically disciplining your child? What about the red line when it comes to verbally disciplining? and 2) if the above described behavior is abuse, what can I do about it? The chances of me (the father) getting primary custody are about as high as me winning next year's New York Marathon, unless the kids run away from mommy's home to my home of their own volition because they are scared for their safety.

    Help!!!! :(
  2. demuredawn

    demuredawn Well-Known Member

    I am not sure if the "I don't like you" qualifies as verbal abuse or not.. although it is very damaging if not followed up by "but I still love you" .. my mom would say to me "I love you, but right now, I don't like you.." .. that would make me feel upset that I had hurt my mom and make me think over my actions... but I never questioned if my mom totally hated me. If it wasn't countered with "I love you" though, I would have thought that and it would have broke me.. so I don't know if its abusive or not, but certainly damaging.

    The fact that her physical punishment ended up leaving marks on your child.... is crossing the red line... and the fact that it limited his airway is even more of a red flag.

    The problem with physical abuse or any kind of abuse though is that you need "physical" evidence more than you need "verbal" .. at least here, or the courts rule it as "hearsay" and thus inadmissable... the fact that the children themselves are saying it though may help.. of course it may be argued by her attorney (supposing this went to court) that you are in some way coercing the children because you want custody of them.

    You say she "doesn't keep the house". Depending on how badly she is at housework.. that could be enough to get the kids taken from her at least temporarily on the grounds of neglect. I would probably go that route.. then while that was going on, talk to a lawyer about how to go about getting full custody with monitored visitation rights for her .. that way she doesn't have to be totally out of the children's lives.. but you can make sure she doesn't abuse them either, as she will only be able to see them with you there too.

    I am not a lawyer or a law official in any way though and the laws are different from state to state, and country to country.. so the best I can say, call an attorney ask for "free legal advice" .. and tell them your dilemma, ask how hard it would be to prove/disprove, how to go about it, if its enough to get your kids back, and if it counts as abuse where you are.
  3. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    She is physically abusing them and she is mentally abusing them no parent should tell a child they don't like them or threaten them to throw them out if their behavior does not change.

    You should keep a record of when your child tells you this and take pictures of any scratches or wounds they complain about if you have a therapist i think that he or she should step in and call to assess the situation with their mother

    Your wife may need someone to step in and help her with the anger she holds
  4. youRprecious!

    youRprecious! Antiquities Friend

    Agreed. What you've described is parental abuse, your ex needs to see this and to get some insight as to the likely long term consequences of what she's doing to your children's self-esteem and their future relationship with her - she is sabotaging her chances.
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