Help - Angry Sarcastic Wife


#1

My wife and I have 3 adopted children between the ages of 4 and 9. The oldest child is very difficult at times as he is ADD and possibly oppositionally defiant (undiagnosed). My wife often loses her patient with him. She calls him stupid and much worse on a regular basis. She has become physically violent with him, pinching, choking and squeezing his arm until it leaves marks. Some of her remarks have become increasingly awful, saying he “deserves to die”. I frequently feel like a referee modering this situation and trying to mitigate her anger. She is very emotionally abusive to him, using sarcasm as a weapon. I really love my kids and don’t want to lose them. I’ve tried to direct her to get some counseling or some kind of help. She thinks she’s fine and directs her sarcastic remarks towards me when ever I begin to suggest she needs some help. I don’t know what to do. I’m thinking of talking to our parish priest for some advice. Any thoughts about how I can rectify this situation would be greatly appreciated.

Peace be with you,


#2

Just some advice from an outsider,
Please get her some help and you must insist or take the children away if you do not get her some help you could be held liable when she abuses/murders your children.


#3

She can not be allowed to continue to abuse the children.

When someone outside the family discovers this and approaches the authorities you will not be able to then say, “It was her not me”.

Obviously you have reached the point where hemming and hawing over this can’t continue. It is time to consult with the professionals. Not just social welfare professionals, but even an attorney. Perhaps especially an attorney.

Love isn’t simply a feeling or words said, it is a verb. Love is an act. You are to be comended for stepping up to the responsibility of caring for these children. This is a tough place to be in. Sympathy is nice, but it is passive. I think you know what you must do. You do have the support of others.


#4

Are you aware that since you know of her abuse and continue to “accept” it that you are every bit as responsible as she is, in the eyes of the law? Don’t let it continue.
~ Kathy ~


#5

[quote=Katie1723]Are you aware that since you know of her abuse and continue to “accept” it that you are every bit as responsible as she is, in the eyes of the law? Don’t let it continue.
~ Kathy ~
[/quote]

Your childrens’ safety comes first. This treatment may be aimed at one child but it will also affect the other children. Kathy is quite right. You are legally responsible to protect all of your children from an abusive spouse. Remove the children from the situation and explain to her that this will be the situation until she receive help and is no longer a danger to your children. You must realize that you are protecting her as well as your children. Can you imagine what will happen if she goes even farther one day? You could premanantly lose her and one of your children’s lives. It is better to lose her temporarily than for life. Definitely see your priest too!


#6

I have worked with Opposition Defiant (correctly diagnosed ) children and they are very difficult. You need to see a professional for the sake of you whole family. With a proper diagnosis and a very good school program, your family will get some peace. It will never be easy, but it will be so much more manageable.

Your wife is probably spending more time with this child than you are and she has snapped. Before any more serious trouble, please seek help. There will need to be an evaluation by a child psychiatrist. Do not trust that your pediatrician will know how to do this. Most children can put on a good face for a doctor visit. You need to be interviewed by this doctor as well as your wife so that all the behaviours are noted.

I don’t mean to scare you, but ODD children can do things like burn down houses when they are acting out. It is very serious.

Meanwhile, you can go to your pastor for family help also. Prayer is wonderful but it will not take away the problems of your child and now your wife, short of a miracle. I do beleive in them, but you still need to act on this.

I will keep you in my prayers. I hope that you understand that if your child were in my school and I became aware of any marks on your child, I would report your family- by law- to DCFS. That is why I am taking this so serious.


#7

You must get this child away from her immediately. Do you have parents or siblings that could take the child for a time? Someone from your church? To leave this child with her for even one more day would be neglect on your part. **YOU MUST PUT THE CHILD FIRST. **After the child is removed to a safe place, then work on getting your wife help. Something is drastically wrong here. REPEAT! Get the child to a safe place immediately.

I (and I’m sure the others on this thread) will be praying for you and your family.


#8

[quote=Chesterton38]My wife and I have 3 adopted children between the ages of 4 and 9. The oldest child is very difficult at times as he is ADD and possibly oppositionally defiant (undiagnosed). My wife often loses her patient with him. She calls him stupid and much worse on a regular basis. She has become physically violent with him, pinching, choking and squeezing his arm until it leaves marks. Some of her remarks have become increasingly awful, saying he “deserves to die”. I frequently feel like a referee modering this situation and trying to mitigate her anger. She is very emotionally abusive to him, using sarcasm as a weapon. I really love my kids and don’t want to lose them. I’ve tried to direct her to get some counseling or some kind of help. She thinks she’s fine and directs her sarcastic remarks towards me when ever I begin to suggest she needs some help. I don’t know what to do. I’m thinking of talking to our parish priest for some advice. Any thoughts about how I can rectify this situation would be greatly appreciated.

Peace be with you,
[/quote]

You are equally guilty of abuse if you do not report her immediately. Even if it means that the kids must be taken out of the home, you do them no favor by leaving them open to her abuse. Adults must protect children, who are defenseless.


#9

Report her immediately? Isn’t that a bit too harsh.

I don’t think you should report her, but you should take the kids and go live somewhere else (such as with your parents) or have her go live somewhere else while she gets professional help.

Tell her that IF she doesn’t agree to that, then you are going to have to report her to the authorities, or separate from her and raise the kids on your own.

But yes, the kids have to be separated from her before there is serious damage done. Maybe such harsh treatment will also make her realize what she is doing and change.

If she doesn’t change you’re going to need to separate from her and raise the kids on your own.


#10

I think providing immediate intervention is needed, but this can be done a number of ways. Providing some alternative or respite care for your children, whether through an in-home provider or placing them with a trusted relative or friend, is definitely appropriate. If that is not a possiblity, you may need to utilize some sick time or vacation and be off work temporarily in order to insure your children’s safety. Use this time very wisely and set up immediate appointments. You might call your children’s pediatrician and discuss the situation with him/her, who can perhaps refer you to trusted professionals with the experience you need for this family intervention. The agency in which you adopted your children from might also have good info on local professionals who specialize in family dynamics arising from adoption issues.

You might also tell your wife that aside from family counseling, she too needs to be evaluated by a psychiatrist. Losing control in the way she has seems to indicate an underlying issue, whether it be depression or otherwise, that is enabling her to distort the reality and say things like “he deserves to die,” etc. She seems to have lost all sense of boundaries pertaining to the mothering relationship she should have with this particular child. A psychiatrist can determine what medicinal needs she may have to address alongside therapy in order to get out the frustration and resentment she’s feeling and restore her balance.

A child with ODD needs much support, but rarely does a child with ODD just “have” ODD out of nowhere. It’s usually a mixed bag of issues. His behavior may appear to be ODD but if this is a sudden development within the last twelve months, I would think it might be more situational–such as dealing with a mother who constantly berates him, physically intimidates and sabotages his self-esteem and worth. Is his ADD being treated with meds, diet and behavioral modification? Please get your child and wife to a mental health professional ASAP. Your other two children will need counseling as well to deal with what they’ve witnessed.


#11

That sounds very much like something she ought to be able to control. Talk to the police, I say. She has no right to be abusing the kids. It would be bad if your wife got arrested, but if it is the only way to prevent your kids from being harmed, then that may be what has to happen. She clearly won’t stop unless made to stop.


#12

I agree something needs to be done and soon.

One caution: once you involve the government, you may never get your life back under your control.

It sounds like she is just extremely frustrated. This can be dealt with in many ways that other posters have mentioned, but I’m warning you, once the government is involved you lose all the control you might think you have.

We are all conditioned to run to government for “force” when needed, based on our fears. There is a very real chance that this situation is headed toward much worse than what you’ve described. There is also a chance that somebody else may report this abuse and then as another poster mentioned, it may be harder for you to isolate yourself from the situation and you could both lose the kids instead of just her. If she needs medical help and even needs “coercion” to take it (I shudder to think, having been a victim of unneeded “coercion” once that was not related to my kids) that is not as bad as getting legal authority. The best option is to get her to consent to such treatment because, again, the alternative of getting the courts or police involved is very messy.

This may sound very cold, but when I used to work for the Kansas Children’s Services League and met the social workers who handle child abuse cases, I was not sure based on the way they did things whether the good they did at saving some children actually offset the ways in which they took a bad situation and made it worse. When the children were in trouble, I would often ask, “have you contacted SRS (Social and Rehabilitative Services) about this?” More often than not, they had been involved and every single time – no exceptions with probably 50 applicable calls I received – things got worse after the government got involved.

That said, I do not diminish the urgency of the situation, as you are aware it is critical. Acting quickly is clearly required, but going to the law, as far as I’m concerned, is only as a last resort.

One thing you didn’t mention is what does your wife think of this? In calmer moments away from the children (if there are any) does she acknowledge her problems? Does she want to work on them? Let’s get straight to it: does she love the children and want to keep them? At some point there needs to be a place of agreement so you can base your growth from there.

Alan


#13

[quote=AlanFromWichita]I agree something needs to be done and soon.

One caution: once you involve the government, you may never get your life back under your control.

It sounds like she is just extremely frustrated. This can be dealt with in many ways that other posters have mentioned, but I’m warning you, once the government is involved you lose all the control you might think you have.
[/quote]

AMEN, Brother! I would consider government involvement as a last resort. You don’t bring an elephant gun to a hummingbird hunt.

I agree with those who suggest swift and immediate action is absolutely necessary, but I think it can be handled ‘internally’, with many positive steps that don’t involve our friends over at "Big Brother’. I think I’d probably just take the kids for a little vacation, nearby, and have some serious words with my wife. She would have to produce some serious answers and solutions, right then and there. I’d have plan A, B, C and so on, ready to go. If internal measures are unsucessful, I would involve the Priest and Catholic Social Services.

I believe there are many ways to address this situation, swiftly, safely and fairly. I would avoid Big Brother 'til the bitter end. I don’t think they’d blink an eye before taking my kids away. I believe their motto is ‘shoot first, ask questions later’. Also, how much Church influence do you think THEY (the gov) would want? Yeah, right.

Whatever the child’s current situation is, I just couldn’t imagine the terror a kid would feel being ripped from their family and being placed with strangers. I know the liberals believe the government is always the first and best answer for everything, but NOT governmental control of the family.


#14

[quote=Chesterton38] She thinks she’s fine and directs her sarcastic remarks towards me when ever I begin to suggest she needs some help.,
[/quote]

Have you flat out asked her, “Why do you think it’s OK to choke our child? Do you see other parents treat their children that way?” Why does she think it’s OK?

Take care of you kids, please. —KCT


#15

You might also check out the inexpensive book, “The Strong-Willed Child” by Dobson.

One thing it talks about it how a child will get a parent going and going just until the breaking point, and actually trains its parent to escalate to a slightly higher level of anger each time.

You can browse it online at amazon.

Alan


#16

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