Ask Jodie - It was an emotionally abusive relationship...

Ask Jodie - It was an emotionally abusive relationship...

We have tasked Case Manager Jodie with answering your queries relating to your relationship and family concerns.

Dear Jodie,

I was in a relationship for 12 years, and have a beautiful little boy from this. It was an emotionally abusive relationship and I’ve now moved on and am happy with my life.

However, since I have started seeing my current partner, my ex has become increasingly evasive about where he goes and what my child is doing when he’s in his care. My ex is only allowed to see my child every other weekend, and is not allowed to take him out of our home town – however from the bits and bobs I’ve picked up from my son (who is also becoming increasingly cagey towards me about his visits) I don’t believe that my ex is sticking to the terms of our agreement, and is slowly turning my son against me. What should I do?


Dear Claire

Only in the last few years has emotional abuse begun to be properly acknowledged and defined as an offence of domestic violence by the government. This is still a learning curve for the authorities and the public as a whole. It has taken so long to categorise and understand whilst victims continue to live with psychological abuse.

For you to have firstly, the strength to come out of an abusive relationship and to now find happiness in a new one has to be commended. As parents, we all aim to maintain balanced and warm relationships in life so that our children will grow up to show the same love and respect to their partners when they are adults.

It sounds to me like you are trying to give your ex the chance to have a healthy relationship with your son. Allowing him to form his own opinion of his father, despite what you have been through.

Once again, that takes strength.

You have options available to you depending on how serious you think the matter may be.

If you have some lingering doubts but you still want your son and ex’s relationship to continue in this direction of growth, try to be supportive of their visits. Instead of asking questions trying to gauge what is going on, be positive about the visits and encouraging so that your son knows he can be honest with you. Perhaps your son will feel like he can open up to you if the visits are viewed in a positive light.

If you believe that the situation is a serious concern, as a mother myself, I can sympathise. There is nothing more pressing than the safety of our children and the knowledge that they are being properly taken care of.

If a court order between the ex and yourself is being breached and you want to take him to court, you may be required to provide proof that he isn’t keeping to the agreement.

With that being said, although young children have a tendency to be (sometimes brutally) honest, the words said that have given you the impression that things aren’t right may not be enough in court.

Being his mother, you will have the best intuition when it comes to your son’s behaviour and if you feel confident something is untoward, I would strongly suggest surveillance on your ex during his allocated time with your son to either give proof of an order breach, or alternatively, put your mind at ease that nothing is amiss.

I hope that you find an assuring conclusion and whichever route you take, continue to be happy.

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