I know this is weird to ask in /adv/ but I guess it's worth a shot.
I'm a single re-married mother. My child's dad was still in her life. I started my daughter in therapy because she was experiencing some pretty severe anxiety symptoms.
Months into therapy, my daughter breaks down and says that when she's at her dad's every other weekend, he spanks her very hard for very trivial things. I know spanking is on the fence, I was spanked as a child, I'm not destroyed mentally from it, but my daughters a good kid, not a liar, doesn't have any manipulative behaviors, she's occasionally whiny but I'm just stern with her but not physical. Gets good grades, model student. So, the therapist thinks that my daughter saw this as a bit of a "traumatic" experience considering she usually didn't understand why she was being hit and it was always the first punishment, no warning, etc. Spanking is also legal in my state, so nothing could be done legally about it.
I confronted her dad. He confirmed it all. Blamed it on me. He's generally a manipulative little shit in arguments. Loves to turn things around. Never confronts that maybe, he was wrong and should try something else.
I have primary custody, he has no real rights, we never went to court because we usually solved things by talking. Now it's going down hill.
My daughter hasn't seen her dad in over a month. She has no more anxiety symptoms, finally acting like a child should and it's wonderful. But the therapist doesn't want to break families, she wants to help them. She suggested my daughter's father and I do therapy together to learn how to communicate effectively and for him to stop spanking her because it's obviously not working.
My daughter still wants to see her dad, but she said she doesn't want to be hit anymore. The solution we came up with is therapy until my daughter and I see fit that he can parent effectively.
I start therapy with him in 2 weeks. Which will be awkward. He always does this petty shit. Claims he has people spying on me and seeing I'm a horrible mother. Says I let the tv baby sit my daughter. General bullshit to avoid his own issues with parenting. He doesn't know or want to know about our daily lives. He doesn't even know her teachers name. Doesn't want to do homework with her. Hell, I honestly don't even know why he wants to spend time with her on the weekends if she's just being slapped around every time she visits him.
I'm worried about starting therapy. I have a strong feeling he's just going to lie and manipulate and point all this negativity on me. Just to deflect. I don't even know how to handle it. This is why we broke up, this is how he always acts with me. I almost feel like calling it off because it's just going to be a new headache. My husband also thinks it's a no hope situation, but says I should endure it to show courts that her dad is a deadbeat.
So, how do I just emotionally protect myself from the bullshit I'm going to endure by going to parenting therapy with my ex?
Because scumbags usually don't act like scumbags until you have kids with one.
I swear I think he is antisocial personality disorder/narcissistic personality disorder. All his behavior is defensive, gas-lighting, manipulative bullshit.
I'm really sorry about your situation. I'm a father myself. I think you should do the effort in therapy because of your daughter. This scumbag is her father afterall. But, be aware that if he doesn't want help the nothing can be done. Get a lawyer and contact child abuse fundations to get support on your issue. If he can't overcome his problems he shouldn't be able to see his daughter so, try to aproach him from this angle: His daughter misses him and love him, but he is damaging her for the rest of her life. If he wants her child to be heatlthy and happy he has to think beyond himself, beyon you and beyond the problems that the two of you had. Think of the child and the child only.
Respects and best of lucks.
I did get a lawyer already, we had a consult and he prepared documents for me. So if we ever go to court, I have everything ready.
Thank you so much for that insight. I try really hard not to make things about us two, it feels like he drags me down into arguments that I didn't intend to start... then blames me for it. I'm just going to come in making it all about our daughter and just put a stop to any shots he takes at me because that isn't what it's about.
The thing is, he said he spanks her because he thinks I'm too easy on her. Which is almost delusional because (1.) I'm a behavior therapist for troubled children. Methods I use at work, I use at home too because they are effective for kids. And (2.) he doesn't even know enough about my daily life to know how I punish her. And if I mention that to him, he just does this "You don't think I know, but I know. You don't have to lie." So, you know, gas-lighting/delusional shit.
I wouldn't be worried about him turning things around and blaming you. Will he? Yea, but therapist will see right through his bs after they ask a few questions.
I think it will be awkward but this will be great for you if/when you two end up in court.
Bullshit. You don't go from great or normal to child abuser just based on a child happening. He had problems before and you should have recognized it and not let him bust in you.
Now having said that, we can't change the past. So you rely on your therapist to see if he is trying to be manipulative. I suggest a man (we see our own bullshit better than women). If he gets out of line, call him on it. Tell him you won't accept him smacking your kid. Period. Don't give him leeway on it.
You live in the US? If so sue for custody. Being a woman you have significant chances of winning. Don't do it if you have provable problems like drinking though. Sticking it in and breaking it off tends to be the end result in these situations anyway.
And in the future seriously take measure of a guy before you bed him. Don't become yet another statistic with 4 baby daddys.
Maybe he should just have some therapy on his own, because he must've gotten beaten all the time while he was a child. Nobody who doesn't experience that as 'normal parenting' will grow up with the deep-seated conviction that not beating children is "going too easy" on them.
Anyway, you're going to have a therapist with you, and in all probability, the reality of those sessions will just lead for the abusive father to walk out on it. And if he isn't, it's very questionable if it will have any effect on him.
>The solution we came up with is therapy until my daughter and I see fit that he can parent effectively.
I would have imposed meeting only in public places.
How old is the kid?
Sometimes, no father is better than a shitty father...
How old is your daughter? From what I see the solution is very straight forward:
>My daughter still wants to see her dad, but she said she doesn't want to be hit anymore.
That's the solution. Your daughter "suggests" her father that the next time he hits her it will be the last time he will see her. Either he loves her and consents, or he doesn't and is therefore a stupid bastard that she doesn't need at all. Don't make things complicated, plus this will teach her to stand up for herself
No, he really did a total 180, which is why I think something is wrong with him, like mentally. The day I had my daughter, there was a total change in his attitude from then on. Like he was distant, defensive, and suggested I do all the housework, he randomly quit his job. I'm not talking about child abuse, I'm talking about his attitude overall.
But, he thinks hitting our daughter is okay because "culturally" it's what his family does and did to him. If that was a red flag, how could I have known that before having a child with him? It's not like someone can have a behavior, and I'll be like "OHH, he does that because he's a child abuser." ???
I don't think there are any male therapists at the clinic. We're going to have the same therapist as my daughter's. She was there for my daughter when she said he was hitting her, so she pretty much knows he's a bullshitter, but he's a good bullshitter. So, I'm still worried.
I already have custody primarily. He has no real court-ordered rights. He can attempt to sue me. But I got a lawyer ready for if that does happen. I'm not going to go to court for something I already have.
I'm remarried and have reproductive problems that started about three years ago that make conceiving extremely hard for me. Not dicking down every guy I meet, but thanks for the advice?
He thinks all therapists are quacks and laughed at the idea of us going to one, but eventually gave in when he saw I was serious. His mom worked all day and I know she'd hit from time to time. He says his dad never hit him, he did more materialistic things with them. His parents live together, married. Worked a lot. My ex was a latch-key kid growing up. I'm not sure of any strong abuse, but his parents spoiled him and his siblings financially. I feel like he's just a spoiled man-child to be honest.
As a child I was in constant fear of my dad. He never hit me in the face, but he would wear my ass out for the slightest offenses, such as sighing, "looking at him wrong", rolling my eyes, joking with my sister, embarassing him, etc. Etc.
For the love of god, keep her away from him. This shit is mentally poisonous. You sound like a good and attentive mother, ideally she would have a father who would match and balance your positive attributes, but he is doing nothing but hurting her. It sucks not having a dad, but it is a million times worse being abused like that.
Please, please, from the bottom of my heart keep her away from him. She sounds so lovely and happy now.
She's 7, but she told the therapist and I that, but doesn't want to say a word to her dad or be in therapy with her dad. She's afraid that he will hit her because she told us. Or that she's in trouble with him because of it. Therapist said to respect it until we all talk, and assure that when they do speak again, her dad knows how to respond.
The plan if all goes well is
1. therapy with him and i
2. therapy with my daughter, him, and I
3. supervised visitation
4. back to weekend visitation twice a month
Therapy is literally his last chance. This is his chance to repair and get guidance. This is all literally up to his choice on how it plays out. If I don't think that's happening, he will not see her again.
When she first admitted it, she said he hit her for not going to bed when he told her to.
She's always had trouble falling asleep since she was about 3. She doesn't get up and walk around, but she just lays there with her eyes open for a while, then slowly starts getting scared of the dark, monsters, etc. So I usually massage her back or read her stories and she's out in less than 10 minutes.
For his house, I'd pack a bag of all the things that help her go to sleep, told her dad what she likes and what helps her fall asleep. And he's always like "Yea! Okay! I'll do that." So I thought it was working.
My daughter said that if she doesn't fall asleep while just laying alone in bed, she calls for her dad. I'm guess her dad was annoyed by it sometimes, and she said he came into the room, told her to sleep and smacked her on the side of her thigh while she was laying in bed.
As if that would make a child sleep? When she didn't respond well to that (started crying), she said he smacked her on the upper arm for crying about it.
She said it's not the only time. She said she gets hit on the arm when she's sitting at the table for not eating certain foods because she's a little picky.
We called CPS. Because it sounds so fucking messed up. I called CPS twice to ask other people. They said "below the neck open-handed hits that do not leave bruises are not considered abuse."
This so much. My father used to hit me for the silliest things and I still have a hard time trusting men whatsoever.
If you love your daughter keep her away from harm, because it might scar her more than you can imagine right now.