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Domestic Violence Dealing with abuse and violence. Getting support and help.

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 09-14-2014, 11:05 AM
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I'm with you on the video tape. It's not admissible you probably know that. It isn't a video interrogation...it's easily accomplished in an non intrusive manner, you are concerned about your kids and you're afraid nobody believes you (which they won't had it not been recorded).

I have found simply stating something has been recorded gives it 300x more credibility in addressing the issue. The other parent will not so quickly brush it off. I have also found if you have a perpensity to record, miraculously everybody suddenly behaves much more politely.

I am not someone who uses his phone for video or pictures or selfies very much at all...but in dealing with my ex and what my children have reported it has been a god-send. Had this happened even 10 years ago...I think it would be completely different.

Nothing I have record will make it to court or has even been transcribed or even addressed specifically in court documents. But it's changed the nature of the game and the Ex's behavior.

Welcome to the 21st century.
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Old 09-14-2014, 12:01 PM
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You don't use a recording of the children talking about what happened as evidence that it happened. You use it as evidence that they told you something, in the event your ex claims you are lying about what the children told you, or claiming that you coached them to say it.

Other than that, my best advice would be for you to reassure your children that they can tell you anything, and they will not get in trouble for it. If something is bothering them, they should always feel they can come to you for problem-solving assistance, not for criticism.

It's like the old thing about telling your kids never to get in a car with a driver who has been drinking. They should KNOW they can always call you at 2am to come get them, and you will do so, not yell at them for being out drinking.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 09-14-2014, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Links17 View Post
Not really sure what to do....

A few of my concerns are

a) that my ex has basically my children are under threat to never tell me anything that happens when they are under her care. I can never reveal anything I know unless I know something corrective will come of it because it will just result in an escalation - more secrecy, more threats on the children.

b) I don't like the tape recording thing and I just did it to have something documented

c) I am worried to tell child protection and even a psychologist. The throwing knife incident can be interpreted as assault perhaps - do I want to open up that can of worms...

I am leaning towards bringing them to a psychologist but
a) She won't agree - can I bring them anyways on my time?
b) I guess I tell the psychologist my concerns but the psych can't tell my kids that he/she knows through me.

I have a cousin that is a child psychologist I am thinking I should ask....

I don't think the kids were trying to appease me, they don't really care - their answers were nuanced and they were saying "mommy loves us" so it wasn't a mommy bashing session... and sometimes they would say something and when I'd ask them to clarify it would end up being not as bad as they started off by saying.

The reality is probably:
-she threw a knife on purpose at my son
-she screams at them daily and occasionally she will bring them to tears due to the intensity.
The reason you're not sure what to do is that its very difficult to deal with these situations. You're generally torn between knowing that your ex deserves some right to privacy and raising her kids as she's sees fit and protecting your children from possible abuse.

First thing I would do is talk to your lawyer because certain things are specific to the terms in your custody order.

Second thing I would do (and did do with my own ex) was inform her that the kids are showing signs of stress and anxiety potential due to her conduct which is concerning you and if it continues, you will be taking action. This will result in one of two things 1) She'll be on notice and will start watching her behavior and being more careful or 2) She'll get significantly worse and you'll have more of a basis to call CPS and take further action. Its not fun to have to deal with this when you're worried about your kids and the potential of her escalating her behavior but the truth is that she's probably escalating anyway if this is actually what's going on.

You need to consider a couple things though. One, kids say things...and when they realize that there's conflict between two parents, they also can exaggerate...so try to take a step back and figure out if what they're saying is really based in reality or are you egging them on to exaggerate based on the fact that you obviously detest this woman. I'm not telling you to do this for your sake...I'm telling you to do it for their sake. Ultimately, if they're exaggerating this to gain favor with you and you take unnecessary action, the same thing can happen to you when you attempt to legitimately discipline them.

For instance, someone throwing a knife at their kid sounds literally nuts. Did that really happen or was there some other version of the story? Kids do exaggerate or make up stories. Its not unusual. So you saying "its reality" may or may not be true. Its really hard to say.

Seek legal advice, send her a note putting her on notice, and spend some time explaining to the kids what the difference between normal discipline (which she absolutely has the right to do) and abusive behavior is. One is none of your business and one you need to be informed of.

This isn't an easy issue to deal with...

Last edited by Pursuinghappiness; 09-14-2014 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 09-14-2014, 03:12 PM
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Objectivity is crucial.

Because you are in a custody dispute, and calling CAS might be viewed as retaliation of some sort, I wonder if it would be better to ascertain validity of your concerns through the services of a qualified professional. If/when there is something of substance to warrant CAS involvement you can then have a chat with your lawyer while the psychologist contacts the appropriate child protection agency.
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Old 09-14-2014, 05:09 PM
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was the knive actually thrown at the child or was she cutting something and slammed the knife on the counter?

The kids could be following your body language cues when they mention something bad about their mom. They see that you are liking what they are telling you so they embellish it more because they want to please you.

As for the tape recording, you could of said something to coach the kids to say it or something. Better for the kids if they tell someone in authority like a teacher. Look at LF32 and the "recording" his ex apparently made of him.
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  #16 (permalink)  
Old 09-15-2014, 12:22 AM
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I won't tell her anything first or directly or ever - she is kind of nuts and she will throw a fit if she knows I found out and while she can't do anything to me she will punish the kids.

As for me egging her on or being objective etc.... Its fully possible I am missing something but I asked a lot of details about the incident ( was it an accident, did she REALLY throw it at you, was it a butter knife?, a plastic knife, where were you, did she TRY to hit you etc....) at the end it doesn't seem like it is something else. It was only a one time incident though...

It is very distressing for me to be in this case - I actually told myself when we separated that maybe my ex was so crazy because of me and she'll be better but the reality is that I am a controlling factor, the kids would hide behind me against her rage.

The problem is not only the throwing incidient it is also I am not surprised that she screams at them without restraint and they have nowhere to escape....

I need to get them to see a psych.... the recording stays just for me, I tell the psych what I know.
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 09-15-2014, 12:57 AM
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If you don't want to bring up the subject with your ex, you could talk to the kids' teachers and ask if they have noticed any behavioral changes with the kids. If you have a good rapport with the teachers, you could ask if they think that some form of counselling would be appropriate. That way the idea doesn't appear to be coming directly from you.

Bear in mind that counselling (if it's done properly) is for the kids' benefit, giving them a neutral adult to talk to, rather than for the purposes of finding out what the other parent is doing. The counsellor should not tell you what the kids have said so you may never know what really happened with this knife incident.

Your cousin the child psychologist should definitely not be treating your children in his/her professional capacity, as s/he has a conflict of interest, but s/he may be able to recommend a colleague.

If your ex won't accept the kids getting counselling under any circumstances, you could try the idea of a group for kids whose parents are going through divorce or other forms of loss, like Rainbows (google to see if there's a Rainbows programme in your city). These groups aren't "therapy" as such, but they give the kids a chance to talk about things, and they have social workers attached to them, who can be an excellent resource for you. (I had similar concerns to yours at one point, and the Rainbows social worker was very helpful to me in figuring out what to do. Fortunately, the situation resolved itself).
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 09-15-2014, 01:20 AM
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[QUOTE]
Quote:
If you don't want to bring up the subject with your ex, you could talk to the kids' teachers and ask if they have noticed any behavioral changes with the kids. If you have a good rapport with the teachers, you could ask if they think that some form of counselling would be appropriate. That way the idea doesn't appear to be coming directly from you
Considering its a brand new school year its a non starter - - this seems to have happened a couple of months ago.... There was no obvious change in the demeanor. The knife incident is just a more inappropriate manifestation of her character..

Quote:
Bear in mind that counselling (if it's done properly) is for the kids' benefit, giving them a neutral adult to talk to, rather than for the purposes of finding out what the other parent is doing. The counsellor should not tell you what the kids have said so you may never know what really happened with this knife incident.
Yeah, I just want it so they have a "safe zone" where they can say what they want without fear of reprisal and with that having a professional who can at some point say "This has gone too far, the kids are not safe". At this point I'm not in doubt about the incident, I am relatively sure it happened as imagined




Quote:
Your cousin the child psychologist should definitely not be treating your children in his/her professional capacity, as s/he has a conflict of interest, but s/he may be able to recommend a colleague.
Yep, she isn't even in the country

Quote:
If your ex won't accept the kids getting counselling under any circumstances, you could try the idea of a group for kids whose parents are going through divorce or other forms of loss, like Rainbows (google to see if there's a Rainbows programme in your city). These groups aren't "therapy" as such, but they give the kids a chance to talk about things, and they have social workers attached to them, who can be an excellent resource for you. (I had similar concerns to yours at one point, and the Rainbows social worker was very helpful to me in figuring out what to do. Fortunately, the situation resolved itself).
I think I'd rather legally pursue it.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 09-15-2014, 09:33 AM
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If you want to pursue things "legally," and succeed, then it is essential you have facts rather than hearsay evidence. Your suspicions are not enough. Think twice about merely calling in CAS as all this will do is likely heighten the animosity between you and your ex.

While you may feel confident that your ex is a hell-cat, her behavior may fall short of child abuse definition. Going that way makes you the antagonist. However, if a party at arm's length (counsellor/psychologist) made a recommendation for intervention, that recommendation might have a much better chance of being implemented (by courts or direction of her legal counsel).

Perhaps your ex simply can benefit from some parenting courses and/or personal counselling for managing her anger. How do you think you could get her to agree to this? Would it make a difference if you offered to take the same courses?
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  #20 (permalink)  
Old 09-15-2014, 11:12 AM
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By legally pursue it - I meant pursue legally the right to get the kids to see a counsellor... I actually don't want any mention of this to a 3rd party (except the psychologist) to ever come from my lips - i want the psych to find out.

I would love for her to take anger management therapy as a start - There is no way on God's green earth I would suggest this to her though.

Funny thing today was that it was my kids photo day and i drop my kids at school on Monday - my ex arranged with my daughter to come over before school this morning to do her hair. My daughter told me but my ex never asked or discussed it with me so basically at 8h15 this morning she texts me to send the kids out (too cold today anyways) but I was in the shower so she just came in the house while i was in the shower and started doing my daughters hair... It was kind of shocking that she has the audacity to do that when she has threatened me more than once to call the police for just being on her property (to pick up the kids...). She never fails to surprise me...

Last edited by Links17; 09-15-2014 at 11:15 AM.
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