Worried for my Son

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    Anita suggested that I should log this as a new topic.

    Eight years ago I met a lovely lady. She was a single mother with a then 8 year old daughter. We fell madly in love and for the first 5 years she chased me. A year in, we had a huge problem. She fell pregnant by me shortly after we moved in together and after some disagreements she aborted our baby at 11 weeks. (Please note, I am not trying to start a debate on abortion, but personally I found the effects devastating. She did too). It took me a long time to recover from this mentally, part of me wonders if I actually have at all. I have never had a betrayal of trust like it and while she took responsibility in the aftermath, down the line I was let know I could never mention it ever again. She would say ‘you think it was your loss only’ and I just wanted to grieve properly. While her & I were apart, I did attend a Christian retreat that helped a lot but she mocked that when we reconciled, saying ‘you probably told them all sob stories and looked really sad to get them on your side’. It was quite the opposite – I told them my deep shame, regret and guilt for any negative actions on my behalf in the lead up to her decision.

    Fast forward to 5 years in and we fell pregnant again. A few days after finding out we were having a baby, rows began to emerge. Two months into the pregnancy things were out of control. I ended up having a model house almost smashed over my head one day, she stopped at the last second and smashed it alongside me. I begged to know what had I done, but it became so bad that every move I made was being questioned, mocked and false accusations of ‘you don’t love me’ were trotted out. Her daughter began to turn on me, but when I asked what I’d done, neither could tell me. We endured a nightmare 5 months before I eventually left the house one night after a particularly bad episode. I asked to come back, she said no. I realised that I was frustrated beyond belief at being shunned out of another pregnancy. She asked me for a large sum of money to move back in, she made unrealistic demands and when our little boy was eventually born, I wasn’t allowed see the birth, wasn’t allowed in the ward when her family attended, was told not to come to see him the second day of his life.

    Since then we have made three attempts to make our relationship work but so far it hasn’t. She recently broke up as we had been engaged, were planning to buy a house and she went into a rage when she asked for more money & I questioned it. She assaulted me, I left the house as my son was deeply distressed at what happened and as usual, when I tried to come back, she asked for more money and told me I had left her.

    The main problem out of all of this though is her treatment of the kids. Her eldest – she would say to me ‘she is lazy & has no respect for me’. I’d look at it & see a teenager being a teenager. ‘No respect’ could mean anything from not putting her underwear in the laundry, the way she would look at her Mum and in general just how she behaved around the house. I’d ask her to do a task, she wouldn’t do it immediately, but she would do it. Her Mum would ask, give her 30 seconds to respond and boom, a massive row. I have seen her Mum say horrible things to her, say ‘after all I do for you’ (when I didn’t really see her doing a lot as for me doing a lot means giving emotional support) and a few times I have seen them get into fist fights which appalled me. My ex would say ‘she hit me’ if it happened in a different room & if I said I didn’t see what happened she would say to me ‘we are the adults you should believe me’. How can you gain a child’s trust if you do not believe them or they feel like you are an enemy?

    During a recent row, she was very rough with my son. She has frequently picked him up in rows and while she is raging, he can feel all of the negative energy. As long as I have known her, she has made & broken relationships at the drop of a hat. Me, her siblings, friends, work colleagues. She refuses to accept there is a problem on her side. For me, I fully accept that I have reacted badly to her at times and with the rowing, I haven’t always treated her the best. But I listened, tried to adapt & then felt that how I adapted wasn’t enough. She constantly pushed for more money too. Now, I hear she is back online dating and I am scared to my wits end that some other man will come along and the pattern will begin again.

    My little boy means the world to me & she is limiting my time with him. I am thinking of going back into court, but it is a horrible place and solves little or nothing. I think she gave up on the relationship far too early but now that she has, I want to be the best parent I can be, but feel totally restricted, as she is capable of any type of false accusation.

    Thanks for reading, all replies and thoughts appreciated.



    Hi Sean,

    Your GF has a terrible mood disorder.

    Getting her to the doctor would be the first thing.

    If you can stomach the process, you can go for full custody. You have the money and are the balanced one, after all. But it’s a terrible gamble as judges usually favor the mother and if you lose you won’t see him a lot.

    Another option is to wait until your son is around the daughter’s age and get your own apartment. Trust me, it will be hard to keep a “disrespectful” teenage boy in her house, nor would she want to. Then he can stay with you.

    Meanwhile, set up a House Account and tell her you are putting X amount in every month, and that’s it.

    Good Luck,



    Thank You Inky.

    After writing the original post, some things that happened in the big row that split us up six weeks ago have come back to me. She said things like:

    ‘You have no witnesses here’
    ‘You abused our son’ (this accusation literally made me want to cry)
    ‘I will be coming after the highest maintenance amount possible’
    ‘You are financially the meanest person I’ve ever met’ (I had handed over a lot of money, when I confided in others how much, they were shocked).

    It is 6 weeks since we parted & I am staying with relatives, so getting my own accommodation sorted out soon, will be a priority.

    I tried to bring up her mood & views on life as far back as 2010 and she wouldn’t hear of it. I remember asking her if she was depressed, was there something I could help her with and if I made her unhappy and her reply to all three was no. I recall being so confused and disappointed driving away from her house one day, that she refused to think anything may be up or need help and then receiving an SMS from her asking if I wanted to go out that night. I was able to accept that behaviour then, but now there is a little boy who is depending on both of us and I don’t have any faith in her at all. As an example, when he was 18 months, he was in my care and started becoming very hot. I took him to the doctor, they checked him out and said he was ok, but when she heard, she hit the roof. She said I should have phoned her first. Maybe so, but given how far away I lived, my first priority was him and I made no apology for having him seen to.

    I have read so much about NPD & BPD that I think she has both but I’m not qualified to say she has. If she did as you said and sought help, I’d be with her every step of the way and would help to see her through it all, but as she refuses to accept responsibility and is violent towards people in her house, all I can do is fight for as much time with him as possible I guess and try to be the best Dad possible to him. He’s worth any effort 🙂


    Dear Sean:

    Glad you started a thread. Just before reading your posts here, I read your reply on another thread where you wrote about the mother of your child, a mother of two total: “I have observed her as a parent many times. She has hit her daughter, said horrible nasty things to her. She can be short with our son even though he is 3… Are either of us right or wrong? No, just different methods I guess.”

    Your last sentence indicates a misunderstanding on your part, a very significant misunderstanding. Her behavior toward her two children is not “just a different” method of parenting, it is ABUSE. She is actively, currently abusing, seriously damaging both her daughter and your shared son.

    I read your post above. You wrote: “all I can do is .. try to be the best Dad possible to him He’s worth any effort.”

    Do you understand that your son has been seriously damaged and is being damaged currently by that woman?

    No matter how much time you manage to spend with him, for as long as he is living with her, for as long as he is spending unsupervised time with her, he will continue to be damaged. You can’t undo this damage no matter how loving you will be with him. At best, you can put a bandage over his big, gaping wound and that will hold until the next time she removes that bandage and stabs him again, figuratively (I hope) in the same place.

    I suppose you love this woman very much, my goodness. You love a woman who is actively destroying two children. I am trying to wrap my mind around it. How can it be, I ask myself. How can you bring yourself to (if getting the chance again) to make love to her. I don’t know. You read like such a nice guy, but… how can you love evil? How can you support evil? Supporting evil is not what a truly nice guy does.

    Maybe your blinders are so thick that you remove your awareness from this evil.

    Rescue your son- and the daughter if you can- save them. If you believe your son is “worth any effort”- then save him. Remove him from her custody, legally or not, as soon as possible. That is the effort he is indeed worth of.

    I wrote “evil”- I have no doubt that the woman suffered when she was a child, that she was born innocent, just like your son. But that was a long time ago, Sean. She is no longer innocent. She is no longer good. She has become a dangerous woman, intending to hurt children (and adults) and then proceeding to hurt them, repeatedly. And with no effort to correct her behavior. This is what I mean by evil.



    Thanks Anita.

    Sadly, what you are saying is a reflection of the comments that my family & friends are all saying. Members of her own family have told me she is damaged, they have told me stories of things she did when she was young (threatening a niece with a weapon & verbally/physically abusing a cousin) and I too wonder what has made me see her in such a positive light. A couple of things – probably my own self esteem has been so low that someone gorgeous chasing me was a novelty. Also, we have been through a number of pregnancies (I mentioned what happened to the first above) and the first time I saw that tiny heartbeat on a screen, something inside me changed forever. It is like I feel locked in to her.

    I am receiving counselling and the counsellor has worked to date on removing the guilt I feel. I feel like I let that unborn baby down, like I haven’t been a good person for a long time. I know that staying away and giving our little boy everything I can is the best for him. But already, she is claiming I left the relationship, when after she was violent, I made three attempts to keep us together. I think the fact that in a row after she was violent to me, I told her that she has been abusive to us at different times, this made her give me my marching orders. It was almost like she had been unmasked and even during one of the three attempts to fix things, when I said how it is totally unacceptable to drag her daughter into rows, she looked at me, went for a smoke and returned, as though she needed to calm.

    There are two sides to every story and if she were here, she would rattle off a litany of things about me inside 5 minutes. But they are things nobody else says. For example, if I came in from work and kissed her & our son, if I didn’t speak for 30 seconds then she would say ‘You’re in a bad mood aren’t you?’. I would smile and say no, but the accusation would be repeated five or six times and then yes I would be unhappy.

    The night she hit her daughter, I let myself down. She claimed it was squabbling, but it was a full on chop into the face causing blood to appear. I looked on, stunned, paralysed by fear. If I told anyone, who would believe me? My family would, but apart from that? With regards to my Son, seeing her hold him, walk around raging with him and seeing him cry while in her arms, I can’t get that out of my head. And if she meets someone else, the pattern begins again, 6 months honeymoon phase, then just as he starts school, boom, disagreements.

    I take my responsibility for the upheavel caused to her daughter. I have apologised to the girl and made her promises, but her Mother did not allow me to keep them. I have seen this girl crying outside school, unable to go in due to stress and in my opinion that stress came from her mother. She told me several times ‘she just doesn’t understand’ and I have seen on plenty of occasions how the girl was left to fend for herself after a chaotic row and mudslinging. Sometimes all they want is a hug and to be comforted and that is not what they get at home.

    Yes, it hurts and yes I am weak.


    Dear Sean:

    You wrote that there are two sides to every story, suggesting that she may be in the right after all. But it is impossible, absolutely impossible (0% chance) for her to be in the right for hitting her daughter, saying nasty things to her, raging at a three years old. There are no two ways of looking at this: child abuse is wrong from any and every angle you look at it.

    What an abusive person does is to blame the victim for feeling anger at the abuser. This is further abuse because it is only natural for a victim of an attack (and here a series of ongoing attacks) to feel anger. It is an automatic reaction. Blaming the victim is part of the abuse. I hope that through your therapy you will finally see it as it is.

    You wrote that you are weak. Acting weakly is not a life sentence. I was weak and I am getting stronger. So can you. In spite of the fear, in small steps, take reality in, relax into it the best you can. You have to SEE reality as it is, accept it before you see how to move forward.

    Her behavior is classical Borderline Personality Disorder, but the diagnosis is useless unless she was interested and willing to enter psychotherapy. It is useless, means nothing. She was not born with the symptoms fitting the diagnosis, she became who she became, a tool of destruction.

    Stay away from any effort to reconnect with her as a wife or such a partner with this one exception: the two of you attend psychotherapy where her BPD behaviors are addressed, while she takes responsibility for her behavior and STOPS abusing her children, immediately, before anything proceeds. No waiting until she heals before she stops abusing her children. Stop first, be given the tools to manage her distress without abusing.

    If that happened, then there would be hope. Otherwise, you can walk on egg shells all you want, all you can, be an expert of how not to trigger a crazy person- and you will fail. Guaranteed.




    Thank you. You are correct. Even how you mentioned about blaming the abused person. The night she was violent to me, I took evidence of what happened. She subsequently mocked me for ‘being dramatic’ and asked ‘what would the neighbours think?’

    I will not try any form of reconciliation. My family have asked if I’d consider reconciling (all hoping ‘no way’) and I have said that her receiving some form of help from a professional, or at least somewhere my concerns can be listened to, is the only way I’d consider this. As it happens she is already online, looking for the next man. Me – just want to heal and look after my little boy before even considering the thoughts of someone else.

    Thanks for your replies, I really appreciate them.


    Dear Sean:

    You are welcome. I like your expressed resolution. It is realistic. I sure hope you find a way to rescue those two children. One step at a time: understanding correctly what is happening is the basic, first step. Do post anytime.



    Hello – New to this forum – I have so enjoyed this site – your post caught my attention due to the bpd probability – my ex fiancé was diagnosed with this and I spent 2 years grieving while immersing myself in learning about it – Anita is quite correct in her suggestions – but one thing I will add is the more you begin to understand this illness, the easier it will be to detach from the behaviors – detaching is truly needed to gain a more objective lense to your relationship challenges – and if you feel “weak” it is because you are still searching for better coping skills, so drop your self judgement and remember that “feelings” don’t always tell you the truth :). hopefully your therapist has some insight to bpd – but getting more clear on yourself is most important – eventually the accusatory and devaluing episodes you encounter will become almost comical to your senses – you sound like your are on the road to better awareness and those children need your protection – blessings and best wishes in your journey.


    Thanks @victoria55

    I have seen a legal expert and I am going to look for more time with my son. I need to forget about her daughter as my ex has turned her completely against me.

    I have read a lot about NPD & BPD and it helps me understand things but it is still hard to switch off feelings. But I need to do that.

    That said, some of her behaviour does make me laugh and I am starting to look back on her crazy behavior.




    Dear Sean:

    I am glad that you are able to post here and let your voice be heard, receive some helpful feedback. You are also able to seek psychotherapy for yourself so see more of reality, make your thinking congruent with reality, and in so doing, you are able to engage in healing from this relationship.

    Unfortunately for your son, he is not able to let his voice be heard. He is not able to post here on tiny Buddha. He is not able to see what is going on and to pursue psychotherapy. His voice is silent. And he is greatly suffering.

    My mother’s behaviors when I was a child were similar to the behaviors you described on the part of your son’s mother. He doesn’t know what is going on because his brain is not formed yet and in his experience there are no separate entities: mother and self. The two are combined and so, he is in great trouble as I type this. When his mother is raging at him, even if she was more mildly angry at him, repeatedly, he can’t tell the difference: she is the one angry. It doesn’t mean I did anything wrong.

    In his mind she is angry at him and that means he did something wrong. It means he is wrong. Bad, faulty. And he is scared. He doesn’t know that it is she who is out of control, her behavior being so scary; he believes he is out of control. He believes and will develop the strong belief that his own emotions are scary and can lead to the many disasters he is experiencing with her.

    And your son is also dissociating, making-believe in his own mind that things aren’t that bad. He is motivated, his body and mind are motivated to see his childhood in the best way possible, to see his mother in the best light so to (trick himself into) believing he is safe. But reality does not accommodate denial and selective memories or dissociation and make believe/ convenient thinking: not his and not yours.

    Your son is continuing to be in danger right now, being made sick as I am typing this. You insisted on bringing him into the world with this woman. You observed how she abused her daughter and you brought this child into the world. And did so intentionally (He was not an accident)-

    You owe him, Sean, you owe him to do your very best to save him from the abuse he is suffering and the terrible consequences that will follow. A responsible parent in your circumstance would appeal to the courts to remove your son from her custody and place him in a safe custody as soon as possible. Use the borderline diagnosis she seems to fit so very well.

    It is not going to save him, for you to have more time with him. His time with her needs to be eliminated. She is hurting him and badly.



    Hi Sean,

    I would like to give you a big hug. I’m really sorry that you have to go through this. I have read what you wrote, all the replies that you received (I’m so glad that there are many people out there willing to help) and I’ll try my best to give you my opinion (I apologise in advance, English is not my first language ^^’).

    First of all I want to make something clear: you do not deserve all the pain and all the hurting your ex is giving you. And rest assured, your kid and her daughter do not deserve it either. NONE OF YOU DESERVE VIOLENCE <– I’m not yelling, I’m trying to be clear, just in case some part of you (even if it is a really tiny part) thinks that somehow you deserve this. Violent and manipulative people have this kind of special ability to make us believe their actions are our fault. It is not. As Anita said, blaming the victim is part of the abuse. Your ex is an adult and as an adult she’s responsible of her own actions. Period.

    Second, this has to stop. We have the life of 2 kids in danger here. Please, realize this. This violence must stop now, for the sake of the three of you. I don’t know, look yourself at the mirror and say “No more. These kids and I deserve better” over and over again or something. Believe it, this belief will give you the strength to make it happen. Is it going to be difficult? yes. Will you reach a point where you think you can’t keep going? probably. Will it be worth it? HELL YEAH. Just imagine this: you, your boy and the young girl at a park, playing around, they are laughing and just by looking at them it makes you laugh too. Then you go for something delicious to eat and talk about everything and nothing, enjoying each other company. Does it sound like something you would like for your family? Then make it happen.

    Right now you have an incredible opportunity in front of you. You decided to speak up. You know there’s something wrong. That is a huge first step. Many people live their whole lives without realizing they are being abused, some of them realize this but do nothing about it. But not you. After years of this abuse, something in you woke up and said “this is not how it is supposed to be”. I want to give you a bear hug and a pat on your back because you are in the right path. Now, you are ready to take action. You MUST take action.

    You said you didn’t want to go back into court. May I ask why did you go there last time? Because I really think you need to go back, this time, to ask for full custody of your child. His rights as a child are being abused and his childhood will be destroyed by his mother at this rate. After all, you said it yourself “he’s worth any effort”. I know court is a horrible place, and the legal processes are usually dreadful, but when you succeed, nothing will beat the happiness and relief you’ll feel when you have your son safely with you. You said that staying away and giving him everything you can is the best for him. Sorry but I disagree. He needs you to save him from that toxic environment where he’s growing up. He needs you to love him and to raise him in an environment full of love and peace where he can grow up happy and healthy. That’s the best for him.

    And please PLEASE, do your best to save her daughter too. Do not forget about her. I’m not surprised that her mom turned her against you. We already established that she can manipulate everyone as she pleases. Besides, no one wants to think their mother is an abusive person, it is easier to think that someone else make her behave like that instead of facing the truth. That girl is as inocent as your son and the saddest part is that her parents are not taking care of her. Does she even know who her father is? Does he care about her? She may be scared because she thinks she only has her mother. If you can’t have her custody, at least talk to your ex’s family and see if someone is willing to take care of her. Do not give up on her, please.

    You said “there are two sides to every story”. From this I feel like you still love your ex and you try to see things from her perspective too because it is hard to admit that someone you love (and supposedly loves you back) is hurting you on purpose. I’m going to be honest here (not like I haven’t been honest before but, I’ll be particularly honest here): I have never been in love before, so it is kind of difficult for me to grasp the idea of staying with someone who is hurting you so much when there are no ties holding you back (actually, I remember many times when I wished that the pain I received was from a partner because in that case I could just break up, walk away and never see them again). But romantic love isn’t the only kind of love, right? And of course there are people I love, so I can relate at some point with you. Sometimes, people you love and trust hurt you and you think: “Why would they do that? I must have done something wrong because they love me and they wouldn’t hurt me on purpose”. And so we try to rationalize their behaviour.

    I would say that your ex’s side of the story is that she is deeply hurt. You may not know the reasons and maybe never will. She is not okay. She needs help and I feel like you are willing to help her because you love her, that’s what we do when someone we love is in troubles: we do our best to help them. But sadly it is not your help what she needs. This goes beyond what you can do and please don’t feel guilty because of this, it is not your fault. She needs specialized help. I think this is what victoria55 was trying to say (if not, I apologise.) Detachment is not the same as “switch off feelings”. I have little knowledge on this kind of disorders, but understanding how it works might be the key for you to stop feeling guilty and stop rationalizing her behaviour.

    Also, notice that this story doesn’t have two sides. It has at least 4 sides, because you have your side, her side, your son’s side and her daughter’s side. I don’t think any “side” is better than the other. It is time to stop choosing sides and take action to end this violent cycle of abuse.

    You are an adult, you have shown strength when you decided to speak up (even if you feel weak), you are stonger than you think. You can save the kids and yourself, Sean. With time and help (you all are going to need it) you can heal.

    I wish you the all the best in this!


    Thanks again for the replies.

    The updates are that I have asked my legal representative to go to court for more time with my Son and he has again told me things as we have been together. When I ask him about going home he says ‘No Mommy sad’ so again I wonder is this something he is picking up on or being told. I can’t stand the idea of a small child being manipulated.

    I do still long for my ex but I am dealing with it as best I can – exercise, good company, lots of sleep. There can be dread in the mornings but that passes a few hours into the day.

    It’s not easy, but the help of others online makes it all the better.



    Dear Sean:

    When your son, at 3, said that his mother is sad, that means that he feels responsible for her being sad. This is how children think, they don’t perceive a separate mother.

    He thinks: she is sad AND I made her sad. He is thinking he is not a good boy, an inadequate or bad boy and this is why his mother is sad.

    It would be a good choice if you selected a strong legal representative, someone who (unlike you) is not intimidated by the mother of your child, someone not vulnerable to her pushing their buttons, someone who does not long for her still, like you do.

    A strong legal representative who will do his very best to remove your son from his mother’s custody. Your son is being damaged as I am typing this, as you go about your day. Have a strong legal representative operate aggressively so to remove your son from his abusive mother’s custody. Please.


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