child abuse,domestic violence or self defence?


New Member
I am so confused, hurt, scared and anything else I can imagine. My difficult child and husband(his father)got into a confrontation last night. This is not the first time but it has been a few years. We have been disrespect and disobedience issues with difficult child for a while. Last night dad was mad and was trying to talk to my difficult child and 13yo daughter about disprespect and my difficult child got up and walked away saying the conversation was over. He walked into the kitchen to make his plate and my husband told him not to touch anything and get the hell out of the house. difficult child just ignored him and then husband pushed him, difficult child pushed back and then husband started swinging. My husband is a big man,difficult child not so small either. But I think my husband could have handled this better. At some point I got my husband out of the house and my difficult child grabbed a couple butcher knives and started at my husband. I intervened and was able to talk him down(all the while husband standing behind my saying things like "come on with it" and other things that to me just seemed to antaganize difficult child. Police finally showed up about 12 minutes later after me calling them(mind you I live 3 blocks from the police station). My difficult child had taken off walking before they got there and then came back. Instead of sending him to jv I talked him into going to the safe house at least for the night. I don't feel that my difficult child was in the right but I feel my husband was sooooo in the wrong. It just brought back flash backs. My husband and I have been together aprox 22 yrs. In the first 5-6 yrs my husband hit me when we would get into it. I am so scared and confused. I feel torn and think that I should be there for my son. The police told me that I was down playing my son's involvement because we tend to coddle them as mothers. They didn't see my husbands involvement in the whole thing. They said that if son came at him he has the right to put him in his place. My son left here with 2 lumps on the top of his head from being punched, bruises on his face and God only knows if there is any others. My three other children saw the whole thing. What do I do next?


Your husband took the first swing, yes? Sounds as if he has an anger and aggression problem (and a history of abuse toward family members). I'd recommend talking to a domestic violence attorney today.

Not an easy situation. Sending many gentle hugs your way.


I'm sorry, I don't remember the specifics. How old is you difficult child and what is his diagnosis?

I could tell you what I would do, but I don't know that it would be helpful. I lived in a house where my father and brother got into fistfights (I was about 13) and I've never really gotten over it. To this day, men yelling - even good natured - makes me jump and I want to run.

I have a hard time understanding how your son could have physical injuries and the police excuse your husband. "Putting him in his place" is much different than beating on him. Someone has to be the voice of reason.



I was in an abusive relationship once. Never again. Although while in it, I didn't realize that I have a right to my feelings, and I am better than that. Just thought that was a way of life.
How old is difficult child? what is the diagnosis? How old are your other children? Has husband ever been violent with any other children?
In our state domestic abuse, someone is going to jail, automatic.(wasn't like than back when I was involved). difficult child had butcher knives? Is he violent? Would he hurt himself?

Sorry you are in this place right now. Thankfully other children didn't get hurt too.


Well-Known Member
Your child is your responsibility. He is sick, and you don't provoke a sick child with your fists--it's, in my opinion, an adult's responsibility to act responsible. I'd be very worried about husband. He sounds sicker than difficult child. Baiting him was childish, insane, and dangerous. The first time a man hit me, he would have been gone. Now that he hit my kid, his clothes would be out on the lawn. He could get CPS on your tail, depending on the age of the child. in my opinion he needs serious anger management, especially if he's living with an inflammatory child with psychiatric/neurological issues. As for your child, he obviously needs more or different help than what he's been getting. in my opinion he needs a hospital more than juvy. I don't think he's "bad." I think his illness is out-of-control. I really wonder about the cop who talked to you. He sounds like he has no clue about mental illness, and gave horrid advice. JMO


Active Member
husband was the first to get verbally aggressive, by trying to order him around and order him out of the house. difficult child probably shouldn't have walked away, but if the conversation was getting nowhere from difficult child's point of view then this was how he was trying to handle it. Sounds like you've taught difficult child to walk away from confrontation.

Frankly, it sounds like husband was spoiling for a fight from the moment he chose to talk to them.

As for the cop - it sounds to me like he only was listening to husband, as "the man of the house". This sounds to me like immature jealousy, like two lovers fighting over a girl. Childish in the extreme for husband to buy into this - he sounds like he was affronted by difficult child not acknowledging his authority 100%.

There are other, better ways to handle apparent disrespect (because I'm not certain this WAS necessarily disrespect - if husband was already a bit aggressive, difficult child walking away could have been self-protective behaviour, maybe misplaced but not deserving of "get out of the house".

Once the knives got grabbed, husband getting more aggro was totally wrong and very damaging for ALL the kids within view.

I don't know how I'd react if I had your history, but as I was reading your story, I wanted to punch out your husband (also an inappropriate reaction). Possibly a more effective and appropriate response is what we used to do for two dogs fighting - a bucket of cold water over the pair of them. It should shock them into some semblance of common sense.

Can you talk to husband about it now? Because if he can't see, even now, that regardless of who started the problems, that he at the very least made things a lot worse, then I'd be putting the kids' safety first.

You don't get teenagers' attention by laying down the law like that. Nor do you get their respect. If he thinks he has earned ANY respect from any of you, after acting like that, HE needs to see a counsellor. Fast.

Husband was talking to the kids about respect?

And difficult child walked out of the room. Bingo! He "disrespected" him. Seems that is what set off husband.

Go with your gut. If it were me, I'd have his stuff on the curb.


New Member
I'm certainly not defending your husband, I think he was way out of line. But I also know at the moment I really feel like grabbing my daughter and shaking some sense into her. Since dad has a history of abuse, no matter what you decide to do, dad needs to get into a good anger management program immediately.


New Member
your husband either needs to enroll in an anger management class today or he is gone, in my humble opinion.

we have all lost our cool but punching is beyond. i would also look into family counseling asap!

{{HUGS}} it isn't easy but what if you aren't there the next time to stop this and something really bad happens?


New Member
Oh sweetheart! I'm so very sorry for what you have been through. I can not even begin to imagine.

It definately sounds like your husband needs to talk to someone YESTERDAY about his anger issues.

Keep those kids well as yourself. ::::hugs::::


Active Member
I am so sorry that you are going through this........I know how hard it is, I have been there and it is gut wretching..

Bottom line is that your son is a minor, and your husband abused him!
Abused Him!!!!
It really is that black and white....there are no what ifs, or maybes, or should haves.......your husband abused a child and your son has no one to protect him now but you. You must be your son's shield, and show him, literally show him how much you love him by moving you and the kids out of that environment immediately.

You birthed your precious son promising to protect him, love him, and take care of his every need - and he needs you now! Do not stand by and watch, or let the other kids watch, because then you have become an abuser yourself, and the other kids more victims. Next time it might be too late for either your boy or your husband. I know if someone was taking swings at my difficult child, a knife would not be out of the question for him to pick up.......and then what? That scenario can go no where but bad, bad, bad.....including someone ending up dead.

I hope you forgive me for being a bit harsh.....but it is only because I have been where you are......and I know how easy it is to slip back into denial and pretend it will all be OK. It was just this one time.....they won't do it again, blah, blah, blah. It will happen again if you don't act - and then it may be too late.

My thoughts are with you.....and I hope you are packing now.


New Member
I hope I'm not out of line here but, sounds like your husband definately overreacted!!! My difficult child walking away from me, saying the conversation is over, thats sounds like a good night in my house. My husband had to get used to the disrespect and vulgarity, at first he just didn't get it. He used to tell me not to let my daughter get away with that, "demand respect and you'll get it". Boy did he get a rude awakening. After many many conversations between us and many many explostions from my difficult child, he got it. I explained to him that with children like these you must pick your battles. It was tough in the beginning, he's used to it now and can perform a pretty good restraint. We have been together for 8 yrs, my difficult child was 8 when we met, she is now 16. He has seen it all and I am really proud of him. Although wonder everyday why he's still here. lol

Good luck


New Member
I think that difficult child's walking away is a great thing to do when a conflict is getting out of control. I'm sorry anyone felt disrespected, but I think a lot fewer fist fights would happen if people just walked away.