Violence in a relationship is not the thing to worry about. When you’ve been in an abusive relationship it’s the fear that is truly destructive and controls your every action and thought. The fear which steams from these toxic partnerships can last for decades even if the relationship has ended. When co-parenting with a violent person is pushed on you and your children the fears can become intensified.
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What Does it Mean to Have a Co-parent with Violent Tendencies
Getting out of a toxic and abusive relationship should make you feel strong and free. This is not the case, however, when you have a child with that person. The court actually told me “your the one who decided to have a child with him and we can’t force him to be better parent, you should have thought about that before having a child with him.”
The truth of the statement still weighs on me, I should have gotten strong before having a child with someone who would never deserve the title of “Dad.” Children gift us the ability to stand tall in situations where we once crumbled into our own self pity and sorrow. Their presence in our life gives us the ability to circumvent the lack of concern we had for ourselves and turn it into a burning desire to keep another safe. Read the turning moment in my custody case
Abuse does not mean that you get into occasional arguments. Abuse looks and feels different. It instills negative emotions like fear and self loathing. A common misconception is that abuse is something men do to women but abuse can happen to anyone and by anyone. Co-parenting with a violent person can happen in any type of family.
What Does an Abuser Look Like?
- Threatens you or your family or belonging
- Humiliates you
- Degrades you
- Accuses you of actions not taken such as cheating
- Holds control of your schedule
- Pulls you away from your loved ones
- Takes control of your assets including income
- Forces sex
- Uses physical force
- Manipulates you
- Unnecessarily jealous
- Never assumes responsibility
- Substance abuse
- Animal cruelty
- Breaks household and personal items intentionally
- History of violence in the family
- Stereotypes about sexuality
- Often acts out in loo of discussion
- Controlling during sex
- Moody and often unpredictable
Common Myths About Co-parenting with Violence
- After the end of the abusive relationship the children will be safe.
- From my own experience this is definitely a myth. When I left my ex-husband it meant my daughter was left alone with him without me there to protect her.
- If the child acts normally then there isn’t abuse happening.
- My daughter went through 3 years of joint custody, including emotional and physical abuse and she showed little to no signs. She even lied repeatedly to protect him.
- Witnessing domestic violence doesn’t have long term lasting effects on children if they were taken away from the situation.
- Being part of a family where abuse has taken place, even if the children are no longer exposed to the abuse the damage has already happened.
- Family Law will put the children with the parent who won’t abuse them.
- The courts believe that children do best when they spend as much time as possible with both parents. They consider anything about abuse you tell them to be hear say. Even if you have documented proof of abuse and the children testify to it the courts will usually grant joint custody. They have even given full custody to the abusive parent.
- Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is a medical disorder.
- This term is thrown around but is very controversial.
What Can You Do If Your In A Violent Relationship?
The truth about an abusive relationship with children is if you stay the children will definitely be put through abuse. If you pull them away with you then you are giving yourself and them the best chance at normalcy and healing.
Step One: Get out.
Step Two: Find Help
Step Three: File for a Child Custody and Restraining Order
Step Four: Heal Yourself
You are not alone. I have collected some of the videos and books which have helped me.
https://www.domesticshelters.org/ https://www.thehotline.org/ https://www.breakthesilencedv.org www.marriage.com