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(32 Posts)
JAP Mon 11-Jun-12 13:33:39

My daughter is in a 6yr relationship with a man who is very controlling - lots of verbal aggression - and it's all done in front of their 5 y.o.daughter. He's a classic Mr.Nice Guy to everyone else. They live 2 1/2 hr journey away from me so I can't get there very often. My daughter is terrified and says she can't cope on her own. I don't know how to advise but am extremely worried. Any advice?

JessM Mon 11-Jun-12 13:44:52

Oh poor you. That must be horrid. I was married to a similar character a long time ago. They are not easy to leave, partly because they undermine a partner's self esteem. I only got to the point when my life changed, including moving back to the same city as my mother and doing a different job.
My prediction that there would be major drama when I left was unfortunately true.
So - what could my mother have done?
Boost your daughter's self esteem - tell her you think she is strong and could cope on her own.
Offer her sanctuary - if possible - Say "If you want to leave him, or think it is best for you and your daughter - you can come and stay with us for a while."

gillybob Mon 11-Jun-12 13:51:42

hello JAP I am very sorry to hear about your problem. My daughters, now ex (thank goodness) was completely 2 faced and a Mr Nice Guy to everyone apart from my daughter who's life he literally made a misery. She finally plucked the courage up in January this year to ask him to leave and despite being a wreck for several months she has finally started to get her life back and some of her confidence. It got to the point where he had her believing that she was worthless, useless, ugly, fat etc.

She was very reluctant to talk to us about it and it was her very close friend that brought things to a head. Thank goodness.

Luckily there are no children involved in my daughters case which makes things a lot easier although house ownership issues proving difficult to deal with.

If your daughter is genuinely"terrified" then I think perhaps you might need to intervene (as we ended up doing).

Sorry I cant offer any constructive advice but I am thinking about you and your daughter and grandaughter.

gillybob Mon 11-Jun-12 13:56:25

Good advice JessM I was wondering if it would be possible for JAP to have her daughter and GD stay with her for a while or even go one step further and ask if it would be possible for her daughter to move closer on a permanent basis.

I too agree that boosting your daughters self esteem is very important. My daughter truly believed she was worthless as her ex had her so low. Thankfully my daughter has never looked back and everyone comments on how beautiful she now looks.

AlisonMA Mon 11-Jun-12 15:38:27

Sorry no experience of this but I do hope you find a solution. I agree that showing your daughter the things she is good at and complimenting her when you can should help. Sending sympathetic vibes.

glammanana Mon 11-Jun-12 19:23:56

Jap We as a family have just been through a similar scenario with our DD,18mths ago she had Police remove her now X husband from the property as she was scared that he may harm her and the children,when they arrived he was the most charming you could imagine telling the officers that she was ill and imagining things that hadn't happened,fortunatley the lady officer took the word of my eldest DGS who at 16 was able to give the full details.Over the years this man had turned my once confident DD to a wreck who had to account for every £ she spent and every hour she was away from the home she is a girl with 10 O levels and 3 A levels and a degree and he made her feel worthless and downtrodden he did leave and when he went my DD found all sorts of unpaid debts which she has now cleared and she is working part time and running a course for parents who have family problems via her school.He does not see his children or contribute but she is so much better herself,I feel you must get her away from this man as things will not get better and your DD will go further and further downtrodden,I solved the problem of him approaching her again by having her two brothers meet him as he came out of a local pub and they had a quiet word in his ear,no violence or anything similar just a quiet word and we have had no problems since.I would say get her home asap and go from there.flowersxx

Mishap Mon 11-Jun-12 19:40:53

This is a form of domestic abuse, even if she is not being abused physically. Try this website: - they may have some helpful advice for you.
Good luck with it all.

vampirequeen Mon 11-Jun-12 19:56:26

I escaped from such a man a few years ago. That's what you have to see it escape. I planned mine very carefully. I knew that if I left then had to go back I would never be able to get up the courage or strength to do it again. These men destroy you mentally. I used to think it would have been better if he'd hit me then I would have had bruises that I could have shown to others and they would have believed me and helped me. I had to leave not only 'Mr Nice Guy' but also a man who was chronically ill. So I was doubly wicked as far as some people were concerned. Of course they didn't see the man I saw. He'd been like it all our lives not just when he became ill.

Fortunately my mum had seen through him and she helped me with my first months rent and bond. I found a house and although I had no furniture I moved in. I managed to get a second hand sofa and I slept on a mattress. I had my move planned for 5th January and was going to tell him that day but he hacked my computer desktop and found out a couple of weeks before. It was hard but I stuck to my plan although he was even more horrid than usual.

Gradually my self esteem's not brilliant but it's so much better than it was. My little house is my safe place. It may not be full of 'stuff' but it's amazing how much 'stuff' you can comfortably live without when you have peace of mind.

Grannylin Mon 11-Jun-12 20:57:07

Respect vamps

glassortwo Mon 11-Jun-12 21:02:50

vampire flowers
jap just give your DD as much support as you can flowers

Anagram Mon 11-Jun-12 21:04:49

Yes, well done to all of you who have escaped an abusive relationship. It may have been hard, but it must be such a relief. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for my own DD who did convince her partner to leave, but still does not feel safe.

TendringGran Tue 12-Jun-12 00:01:26

My daughter was in similar position eight years ago. We ended up just going and getting her and the children and bringing them to us. She was way beyond being able to make the decision herself or being able to take action, as she had been so undermined by him. She rallied almost as soon as she was away from him and hasn't looked back since. She says she is pleased that she got away while the children were still small. They are so convincing, these men, and so clever and manipulative.

JessM Tue 12-Jun-12 06:44:26

It is coming back to me now. I went to see a solicitor and he said - you may never get back into the house, so take anything really important with you. He was pretty much right too. I never got any photographs of the children and would have none, if i had not inherited my mothers collection. I too planned my escape carefully, even though i was only moving to my mother's. He would not leave me alone there until my stepfather who sent him a solicitors letter.
Men like that are very often charming - that is how they get gullible women into their power in the first place.

dorsetpennt Tue 12-Jun-12 09:23:32

Mishap was correct when she said this is a form of domestic abuse -constantly undermining someone is very destructive. I hate hearing he is Mr.Nice Guy to everyone else ,must make her want to punch his lights out. Why does she feel she can't cope on her own? He knows this and there you have the power. His abuse could escalate onto physical abuse. It's also not a good example of married life for your grandaughter who you say witnesses all this. JessM said to get a solicitor, in fact she has given some good advice. Could you not help her with that even though you do live at a distance. Can you go and stay with them and try and help her out. If my daughter suffered this I'd have said something to Mr.Nice Guy a long time ago, but then that could open up another can of worms. I have said to people in the past that you wouldn't put up with this sort of behaviour from a friend. Why from a spouse/partner.Best of luck Jap what a horrible situation.

Ariadne Tue 12-Jun-12 09:29:36

Immense respect for those of you who have been through this.

JAP I'd want to do everything I could to get her and the children away!

Annobel Tue 12-Jun-12 10:10:34

Please, Jap, try to get her and the child out of this man's control. It can have no good effect on the daughter to have this sort of thing going on within earshot. How does he treat her? Does his bullying extend to her as well? Or does he favour her and try to make her disrespect her mum? Either way, it would be destructive. So, if not entirely for your DD's sake, definitely for your GD's, try to get them away. The argument that it is going to affect the child's development and her relationship with her mum is likely to be what will persuade your DD to get out of the situation.

nelliedeane Tue 12-Jun-12 10:27:27

Those of you who know my situation,know that Domestic violence was the reason my daughter died
I done a number of courses to understand what happens the signs and why it can happen,Domestic violence doesn't have to be physical abuse,in fact many women say those scars heal it is the constant mental abuse,destruction of confidence,and fear that is worse.
If possible monitor the situation but also without putting pressure on your daughter persuade her to have bank books passports child benefit/benefit paperwork in one place and any personal sentimental photos etc in a place where they would be easy to grab or take should the need arise maybe keep some things at your home should she have to make a quick exit,but please don't put pressure on her to leave as it is proven that this doesn't work,just support her decisions and have info to hand such as numbers for Domestic violence /hate crime unit and they will help with safe house refuge etc.
On average it takes 32 calls to the police before a woman will leave.
8 women a year die as a result of domestic 2004 my daughter was one of those....once he has alienated friends and family,usually after a pregnancy and children please look for signs of bruising with unsatisfactory explanation,taking to wearing clothing to cover arms legs etc which is out of the ordinary unexplained cancellation of visits etc....Just be aware*jap*. Sorry if this is a bit heavy and alarmist,but better safe than sorryflowers

vampirequeen Tue 12-Jun-12 10:31:16

The problem is that these men drip the abuse into their partner. If he started out abusive she would probably have walked immediately. But they're very sly. They start off really nice. Make you feel like a princess then gradually chip away at your life. Ideally they isolate you. I ended up with no friends and no one to turn to. They make you feel everything is your fault. I spent so many years thinking if only I was a better housewife/mother/earned more then things would change. But they don't change...he just moves the goalposts. You can never succeed because he has to make sure you never feel good about yourself. Then every now and then he offers you a straw to grasp. A little thing that makes you think he loves you and will look after you because by now you're convinced you can't look after yourself. You are convinced that you're totally useless.

What you need to do is make sure your daughter knows she's not alone. Bolster her as much as you can. Let her know that when the time comes you will be there even if she picks up the phone in the middle of the night. That you will protect her no matter what because she will feel incapable of protecting herself. Also she needs to know that she's not a burden on you. She will feel terrible that she has 'failed' to create a good marriage. She will see it as all her fault. Let her know she's not alone. Many of us have been there and have successfully escaped. She can do so too.

Butternut Tue 12-Jun-12 10:48:44

JAP This is awful for you and hope you have found these posts helpful. I think the posts from JessM, nellie and Vampire are really valuable. Paticularly the last paragraph from Vampire's post.
All the very best. flowers

Annobel Tue 12-Jun-12 10:53:44

I bow to the superior and very sad experience of Nellie and Vampire, but I am still worried about the effect on the little girl as well as your DD. Do you ever have her to stay on her own?

nelliedeane Tue 12-Jun-12 11:03:40

Sadly Annobel a lot do my GDs problems are to do with living in this type of environment,they see manipulation bullying and violence as a way of life after all they know no other way,bringing her up is so different from bringing my two up.
Again sadly they also try to mimic what they have seen,and very often unless nipped in the bud history repeats itself,she may look for a man with the same traits as her father as we unconsciously do when meeting prospective partners she will also identify with a down trodden mother and see that also as normal,but in these cases it is only the woman who ultimately will make her own decisions,trust me have been in that position,she ill turn on those trying to help her and think they are separating her from her 'loving partner' she has to realise this for herself be prepared is all I can say have numbers and as much information to hand and essential paperwork etc and personal items in a place easy to grab...xxxxxx

Jacey Tue 12-Jun-12 11:03:48

Such good advice jap from nelliedeane and vampirequeen.
I too have been there ...when it got physical I knew I had to walk ...but up until then thought I was doing something wrong/my fault etc as only abused when no one else as a witness.sad

Your daughter is lucky in having your support flowers

soop Tue 12-Jun-12 11:07:26

Wise words, nellie ((hugs))

AlisonMA Tue 12-Jun-12 11:15:23

Some years ago I worked with a girl who was experiencing physical abuse and I assume also mental abuse from her partner. I had to spend many months boosting her confidence and helping her get the courage to leave. Over a period of months she gradually brought all her important and sentimental things to me to look after and then planned her escape. She found a job a long way away and somewhere to live and then one day (before starting the new job) left for work as normal and came to our house to collect my 15 year old son and then went back when her partner had left for work and they collected the rest of her things and she moved right out of the area.

She is now a happy confident married woman with 2 lovely children and a good job.

I know this isn't quite the same but it does show that life can change completely. I wish her luck.

harrigran Tue 12-Jun-12 14:35:35

JAP flowers