were not clearly defined. This was done over a period of time. There wasn’t just one event but there were many that indicated that something was going on behind the scenes.
I clearly remember the day that I heard this one. I was in the kitchen preparing dinner and my daughter was in the kitchen with me. We were just chatting about school and her day – just regular every day kinds of things. She looked at me and said “you and my Dad are not together anymore because you cheated on him.” I stopped what I was doing and my heart was racing when I heard this statement come out of E***’s mouth. I said to her “who told you that?” “That is not true!” My daughter was about twelve years old when she said this – I couldn’t believe that she was saying something like this. The anger in her eyes and the body language spoke volumes. She did not say any more and I didn’t go into the specifics of our break up but I did tell her that her Dad and I weren’t together any more because we couldn’t get along.
The truth is her Father and I were not together because of the relationship we had -his relentless behaviour with the kids – mostly my son. He was abusive in the household, controlling, demanding and demeaning. The last straw before we split up was when I had gone away with a girlfriend for a short over night shopping trip and I received a phone call at around 1:00 a.m. from my son crying and telling me he was terrified and that my ex was trying to get into a physical fight with him. My son was in grade 8 at the time and was maybe 100 lbs. while my ex was well over 200 lbs. I couldn’t imagine the fear my son was experiencing. I told him to try to get out of the house and go to Grandma’s house. He was able to escape out of a basement window and ran to my parent’s house (which was only a few blocks away) to seek refuge. That night I spoke with my Mother as soon as my son got there. I was ready to take the 2.5 hour drive back to the city and my Mother talked me out of it. She said my son was completely terrified, he was shaking and could barely breathe. They told me to just return the next day as planned and they would look after my son.
My son bore the brunt of a lot of my ex’s anger. He would yell relentlessly at him about how he played hockey – if it was a good game, he would praise him but if it was a bad game the demeaning would go on forever. He would tell my son that he embarrassed him and brought him shame because of the way he played hockey. My son could never do anything right. He wanted so badly to have a Father figure that accepted him and cared for him and in the beginning I thought he was the one. I knew that my ex’s Father did the same thing to him. He told me stories of how after a bad game, his Father would yell and scream at him, make him walk back to the hotel (if they were out of town) again all because he had a bad hockey game. This didn’t seem to matter – he continued the cycle with my son and replicated the behaviour he had experienced.
E*** also had her own fair share of this behaviour – he would yell uncontrollably about simple spills, little mistakes etc. We had an incident one time where E*** spilled ketchup on her shirt and he yelled and went on for at least 15 minutes about it saying such things as “E*** where is your head, what were you thinking?” I will not forget that incident, E*** sat on the chair with her shoulders hunched and her cheeks were bright red from fear. I kept telling him “that’s enough” – but I also knew that if I interjected too much I would be in trouble. My daughter also played hockey and when she was about 7 or 8 years old, we were at a tournament and E*** wasn’t playing very well – she was disinterested and not skating or playing to her potential. After that game when she was dressed and had time in between her next game, her Father took her outside to his vehicle to “have a talk with her about how she was playing”. I tried to talk him out of it but he insisted they have a talk. My stomach was sick knowing what was going to occur.
Unless a leopard changes its spots, I am sure that he continues this type of behaviour right now. Although, I can’t say for sure – I do not live in his house and I am no longer privy to this information.
I know my daughter was told that her Dad and I are not together because I cheated but the truth is, I asked him to leave the day after he tried to get into a physical fight with my son. I was not prepared to put up with this kind of behaviour any more. I needed to protect my son and this was the only way I knew how.
My daughter was never made aware of what had occurred – she was at her Grandparent’s house while I was away. I chose not to tell her – I didn’t think she needed to know this. Her Dad had a temper but she loved him and that’s all that mattered.
Alienation tactic – using the child as a conduit for the abuse, involving children in adult problems