Thursday, 4 July 2013

The Impact of a Father leaving his Children Part 2

Elsewhere I already described my middle child as very similar to me in temperament and very placid.  I didn’t really notice the impact on her while I was still living in the family home although it affected her like everyone else.  The eldest child was always being criticised by her mother and was constantly verbally assaulted.  The youngest child had similar behavioural issues to his mother.  I guess the middle child felt caught in the middle and tried to make the best of a bad situation.

It was when I had been relocated in a house several miles away from the children that I saw how witnessing Domestic Violence had affected her.

This child had an exceptional school attendance record never missing a day from school.  She started developing headaches and cramps that were affecting her school attendance.

All three children had stayed with me for the weekend and we had a good happy time together.  A few days later I called unannounced at the children’s home to drop something off to them.  I was shocked at the change in the physical appearance of my middle child.  How she could change so drastically in just a few days deeply concerned me.  

I also knew that she couldn’t talk to me when I telephoned them for I knew that their mother was always standing by them and listening to the call when I phoned.  When the children were being very guarded and mono-syllable in their responses I knew that their mother was close by.  The children would confirm this for me.  Disturbed by the poor health of my daughter I managed to communicate by Facebook.  We had the following text conversation which I share with her permission:

Hi ,

I'm worried about you and want you to know that you can talk to me at anytime. I realise it may be hard when XXXXXXX and xxxxxxxxx are around, or when your Mum is listening over the phone. It does concern me that you seem to cope ok when you are with me at the weekend, but looked so ill yesterday. Anything you type won't go any further, and it may help if you feel you have to bottle things up to protect every one.

Love you lots

Dad xx
o    I think I am just stressed out, I enjoy things more with you but at mums house It just stresses me out. I really want to live with you. love you two xx
o    I'd love to have you all here all the time - the only thing that worrries me about that is the upheaval of changing school.

Love you xx
o    yeah I know :/ ,
how far Is xxxxxxxxx to  xxxxxxxxxx?
o    13 miles...20-30 minutes by car - we could work something out. Does your mum know you're stressed?
o    no she doesn't
o    it might help if you can say that to the doctor's without your mum knowing -- does mum leave you alone with the doctor?
o    nope she sits there with me, I could tell student reception maybe?
o    it would probably help you if you could talk to someone other than me or mum, ideally perhaps asking to see the doctor alone?
o    you know what shes like, she won't let me talk to the doctor alone
o    how does student reception work?
o    well miss xxxxx says I can talk to her anytime about anything
o    it might be a good idea to talk to her as soon as you can. The only thing i don't want to happen is for your schooling to be affected
o    I will talk to her tomorrow
o    Tell her she can contact me anytime. I want the best for you all
o    Ok I will, I know you do but it won't help my school work at all if I'm stressed all the time
o    Someone (whether me or the school) needs to tell your mum she's stressing you out and it's affecting your schoolwork..

Perhaps it might help you to think of all the different ways in which she's stressing you out and list them
o    Its everything really, but recently it been the fact that she thinks I was skiving and I can't believe she would think that little of me, you know that I am not the type of person to miss school, so she obviously don't know me as well as I thought
o    It breaks my heart xxxxxx, we have three amazing children and I'm so proud of all you and how you're coped with everything. I didn't want to leave when I did, but was given no choice. You need to say all this to Miss xxxxxxxx and whatever happens, I'm always here for you. If it means moving in with me, we will work it out so that school is unaffected.

I will speak to your Mum if you want me too, but she may just think I'm trying to cause trouble so it may be best from school..You know how she re-acted when i tried to speak to her about xxxxxxxx
o    no its probably best if you don't tell her, I know you didn't want to leave but I know you had to, If I move in with you then I will maybe just have to wake up a bit earlier, That is the thing I love  school (sounds weird) but its the best school I have been to, you can guess that from my levels and stuff, I am going to tell miss xxxxxx tomorrow and I will tell you how it goes around this time
o    I don't want you to leave that school  either...if you end up living here, I'll make sure you still get to school..

I love you so much, I think you're totally amazing and I'm really proud of you. xxxx
o    thanks I love you too,
I'm going now so I will tell you what happens tomorrow
bye xx
o    Bye and be brave

Love you xxx
I tried to tell miss xxxxxx that I am stressed but she said I need a letter from my parents for some reason, so do you think you can write one and give it to me at the weekend on the quiet?
o    Hi xxxxxx Of course I can

Love you lots xxxx

o    hi xxxxxxx Missing you. School phoned me today, really glad you're able to talk to them. I love you lots and will always be here for you. I'm really proud of you, you are an exceptional young lady.

Keep smiling,

o    yeah did they tell you what they said to me;
they said they were going to phone you,
email my teachers so they can keep an eye on me,
contact the school nurse about my stomach pains and,
a school counselor is in for one day so they put me on the list so I can talk to her,
I was waiting for ages for the lady to come and talk to me but the only reason she did on Friday was because my friend xxxxxxxx went to her without me knowing and ask if she could come to me straight away because she could tell I needed to talk to someone, and that was nice of her, I am really lucky to have friends like her

It wasn’t too long after this that I left the church ministry, found a house near the school.  The eldest child came to live with me as described in part one of this blog.  A month later, my middle child telephoned me from a friend’s house distressed.   She’d reached breaking point and couldn’t cope with her home life anymore.  She’d made the excuse of going to see her friend.  Once she reached that safe haven, she’d decided that she couldn’t return. 

I went to collect her and asked her if her mother knew where she was.   She said no so I said I’d telephone her mother to let her know where she was and that she was safe.  

I made the call and said that I’d been asked to collect our middle child from her friend’s house as she was extremely distressed and upset.  Her mother said that they had had an argument.    I informed my ex-wife that our daughter was determined that she didn’t want to return there.  I then suggested that the best course of action would be to let our daughter stay with me overnight and then review the situation in the morning when tempers had subsided.  

My ex-wife seemed to agree to this approach, however just before midnight she telephoned me, asking me what was happening and when I said that we had agreed that our daughter was safer staying the night with me, she launched into an abusive tirade accusing me of kidnap and issuing all manner of threats against me.  I hung up the telephone because I didn’t need to listen to such rubbish and everything that could have been said rationally had been.  My daughter was safe and had made her choice, her mother knew where she was and there was nothing else that could be done at this point. 

Since moving in with me, this daughter has not experienced any more health issues and has excelled at school keeping minimum contact with her mother.


  1. As we Americans celebrate Independence Day today, July 4th, I want to congratulate you for gaining your own independence from domestic violence. I published a book (novel based on a true story) called Deceptive Defender which deals with spousal abuse. I've known that men are also victims of this epidemic. The abuser is not always male. It's enlightening to read a man's account, and to know that people all over the world are affected by this (not just in the U.S.). Thank you for sharing. You will help many others to gather their own courage to seek freedom. As I stated in my blog post today (, domestic violence is never the victim's fault. God bless you and yours. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. Thank you Sue for your encouragement and kind words.

  3. A difficult read for me; bringing back memories of very similar experiences. I always appreciate your balanced and dignified approach to these issues. Thank you for sharing.

    Best wishes as always