Abusive Father, Abusive Grandfather: Ending the Cycle of Abuse
Hey Amy. I’m in a bit of a tough situation and just read a similar story on your site. So here it goes….
My parents have always been SUPER involved in my children’s lives. They are 4 years and 7 months. My children absolutely adore them, and beg to go there.
My dad hasn’t always been a nice man. He grew up in a very abusive home, it’s all he knows. He wasn’t a great dad- very emotionally and physically-abusive to my siblings and I and just never involved in our lives. He changed when my daughter was born. (His first grandchild) So I never even second guessed sending my kids there for the day or overnight on a few occasions.
Two weeks ago seemingly out of nowhere and because of something very silly he beat my mother. I am so angry. I don’t really know how to handle it as this is the first time he’s ever hurt her (physically). We have not gone over, and I told my mother I don’t want my children spending the night or being there without me.
My family handles these type of situations much different than I’d like. They all just go on and pretend things didn’t happen. I’m not okay with that. My brother and sister just ignored the situation completely and are upset with me because I’m “overreacting” and hurting my mother and my kids by keeping them away. I’m very frustrated that I’m made to be the bad guy in this situation and do feel bad for keeping my distance from the situation. But I don’t even know what to do. I feel like maybe now that I’m an adult and have the ability to keep my distance- that’s what I want to do. But I don’t want to punish my mother.
I’m stuck, please help.
You are doing the right thing. YOU ARE DOING THE RIGHT THING.
This man abused you. He abused your siblings. He abused your mother. He will abuse your children. Like you said, it’s all he knows.
He didn’t really “change” once your daughter was born. Abusers are good at making their victims think that, but it’s just another weapon in their arsenal. Abuse is followed by a honeymoon period, designed to trick, confuse and gaslight the victim into thinking their abuser has changed, is better, that things will be different this time.
Until the next time.
Rinse and repeat.
And yes, he will abuse your children. Maybe not right now. Maybe not this month or year or even the year after that. Maybe it won’t be physical abuse, but emotional. He’ll be grooming them into the type of people who “just go on and pretend things didn’t happen.” Like his wife now does, and your siblings. They’ll be groomed to be future victims themselves, because they’ve been raised to buy into his excuses, his mind tricks, and your family’s overall dysfunction when it comes to confronting what this man has done…and what he’s still capable of.
Your children are to go nowhere near him, with or without you. I am begging you — end this horrible cycle and cut this horrible man out of your lives. For good, for them.
They can help you help your mother. To get her away from that man and into a safe place where yes, she can totally see her grandchildren. They can also help you see that by putting your foot down (and keeping it down) with regards to your children, you are not “punishing” her or “hurting” your kids. Again, that’s your abuser’s manipulation and lies, spreading to the next generation, to your brother and sister.
But not you. Not this time. Not anymore. You will NOT look the other way. You will NOT pretend this is normal or okay or some onetime “oops!” moment of a lost temper that totally won’t happen again, that totally wasn’t a big deal, wives just get beat up sometimes, you know?
But it will, it was, and HELL TO THE NO.
Photo source: Depositphotos/kmiragaya
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