Is this abuse?

My husband is very very sensitive to pain. It’s ridiculous. He is constantly stubbing his toe (almost daily) cutting his finger… Banging his head. It’s crazy. Anyway, I have seen him get an evil look when our son accidentally hurts him. He’s 4. About a year ago my son was playing and ran over his foot and he threw my son down. He said it’s just a normal reflex. I told him to suck it up …but I let it go… And just said be more conscious of your “reflexes”.

Today my husband was stretching his leg on the bed. My son was bouncing around and he accidentally hit him in the groin. I saw it happen. My husband screamed so I turned around and then… With about a 3 second delay he kicked our son in the side. He had that angry look again. This time my son couldn’t even breathe (he’s not a crier). I picked him up and held him for a good 5 minutes as he tried to catch his breathe. My husband said it was his “reflex”…that he just “let go of his leg”. Now, I know the groin is a bad spot … But as usual… His bark was way bigger than the injury. He was fine. After he saw our son… He got up and walked over… He was not incapacitated. He did not seem to be hurt whatsoever. And that is common… I see my son come close to hitting him while dancing etc… And he will scream “owww”. To say he overreacts… Is an understatement.

Now his leg was right there while he was stretching… And he did just let it go… But something looked aggressive to me.

I consoled our son… Husband apologized and the day moved on… But I am just worried. Is that normal?

If he apologized… then I don’t think its something to worry about. Some people are like that. I am one. Just keep calling him out for it, he’ll learn to control the reflex.

By the way - being it in that area… It’s unbelievable. Even the lightest touch can be painful. So seriously, in that case, be understanding.

My husband is the same way with pain. He is a big baby. We have three little ones and that means there is a lot of times that he gets hurt by them. He has been hurt pretty bad in the groin quite a few times but he has never done anything more than move the child away from him. It is not normal or acceptable to hurt the child because of it. Kids that age don’t realize what they are doing can hurt someone else. An apology doesn’t fix the fact that he hurt and scared your little guy. Your son will start flinching when your husband raises an arm even if it’s just to give a hug. When this situation happens you need to be firm if not harsh with your husband and tell him how unacceptable it is. Let him get mad at you. It’s better than having a child who feels unprotected when something like this happens. I’m no expert but I am sure that your husbands behavior is not ok. You sound like a good mom and are doing the right thing by asking others about this.

If he really was hit in the groin I don’t see how he would have been able to kick him. Either way, that reaction seems unacceptable to me.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

And YOU are failing to protect YOUR son.

Please. Your husband kicks your son so hard that HE CAN’T BREATHE??? Really, think about this. Think!

Since you seem hellbent on protecting your HUSBAND, don’t tell this story to a mandated reporter.

We are already experiencing major marital problems and he is in therapy… And this is him acting like he’s trying to hang on to the marriage.

Are you suggesting I should be removing our son from my husband? I guess I just thought it was possible that he indeed was just acting out of reflex. But the reason I posted here… Is that I saw the DELAY in the response. He got hurt and he did not hit our son instantly. It was as if there was a conscious decision to retaliate. I know it was just a matter of seconds… But the delay tells the story.

He apologized but he did not seem very apologetic … Just defensive. He loves our child… I know that. That’s why I thought I would come here for answers. Thanks

I agree completely with this post. Leave right away, you need to protect your son. Your husbands abuse is headed for disaster.

Your husband has problems. If you love your son, get out now. He says it’s a reflex, it sounds as if he is striking out at your son. You say he has an evil look when something supposedly hurts him. Is he mentally stable? I would suggest you take your son and go home to your parents immediately, if you can, and get a restraining order. Your husband’s behavior is very alarming and could be deadly to your son. What will flip that switch next time? And what will his reaction be? There are many stories of women who watched as their child was killed by their husband or boyfriend. Please don’t be one of them.

Take this seriously, DO NOT rationalize or excuse his behavior. Anyone who would kick his own child hard enough to take his breath away FOR ANY REASON is a dangerous person. Did he break a rib? Have you taken the child to the doctor or are you trying to protect your husband?

Your rationalizations tell me that you have been under your husband’s influence and are thinking like an abuse victim. GET OUT!


This “reflex” excuse is a huge steaming pile of BS. Your husband has some serious anger issues, and if you value your child’s life, you’ll kick you husband’s passive-aggressive *** out of the house until he gets help. The next "reflex"might kill your child.


Get one on one with the therapist and tell the therapist immediately - your therapist will be trained to better guage everyone’s behavior and get your son a referral for help if necessary to make sure no damage has been done to your relationship with him. Your therapist will also have some feedback on how to leave if you decide to leave safely especially since there is a child involved - not in all states can you just take a child and leave. Get on the phone with the therapist tomorrow (Monday) and get in the office and between now and then do not leave your son alone with your husband.

Also, I don’t think you are hell bent on protecting your husband. I think you are being made to feel like you are blowing things out of proportion which is normal for battered women - so how many times has this same behavior happenned to you - and did you ignore because you were an adult and should have known better but took it more seriously when it happenned to your child?

I am emotionally abused (according to therapist) by my husband. I was also sexually abused as a child. So yes… I have a history. I have given my husband chance after chance… The physical abuse mainly started with my son. Just as I have described here. He will push him down if he hurts my husband. That kind of thing. But I have only seem this happen on a couple of occasions over the past 4 years. For example… When he was little and biting because of teething.

If I leave… This will be very difficult. We work together. All I could do is kick him out. I have the finances to support this… But it won’t be easy. I have no family here. No one. We just moved to this city a few months ago. I see that I have protected my husband too long.

Talk to the counselor - you will find very quickly that there are plenty of family advocacy centers that will help you - also there are domestic violence shelters. And he will probably owe you court ordered child support. I would not worry about the money too much. See your therapist. See your priest. Do it tomorrow.

Remember that whatever happens this is your decision - no one can make it for you - leaving is the most dangerous time. Make sure your car keys are within reach at all times and you always have a way out. God bless you and good luck.

Is it abuse for an adult to kick a 4-year-old in the side? OF COURSE it is!

Classic abuser profile, to isolate their victims You are unable to see the abuse because you are living in it, and with your background you are more vulnerable to it. Once you get away from the abuse you may be shocked at what you tolerated. This may take time and therapy.

Again, it is NOT LOVE for a parent to attack a child physically for something the child did not intend to do. Or even if the child wants to hurt the parent, as a tiny helpless child, it is his job to protect the child against his own helplessness, not attack him. Pushing a tiny child down??? What is that but abuse?

If you must, LEAVE THE BUSINESS and everything you own and get to your family if they will protect you. If not, there are women’s shelters where you will be safe until you can build a life for yourself and your son. Get some money into a place where you can get to it and he cannot, ASAP. If you have any friends who can help you, ask them. Don’t go where he knows you will go, unless he is afraid of that person (family with guns, for example).

I cannot emphasize this enough. You and your son are in danger. Please, please get out as soon as possible. Next time he may throw your son against the wall.

It is abuse, and it WILL get worse. If he does this to your son in front of you, what is he doing behind your back. Abusers do progress. This will severely damage your son emotionally for life. If you let this continue and progress, you will be an accessory to the abuse. Your husband definately needs counciling.

I will be praying for you and your son!

I would suggest you consider keeping your son away from your husband, as in, not letting him physically get close to him. It seems to me like your husband strikes out when your son comes up close to him and does something your husband perceives as hurtful. I do think this is physical abuse of your child. However for now, in addition to contacting your therapist and a domestic violence center, you might want to think about telling your son to move and/or picking up your son and moving him every time he gets close to your husband. This does not make it your son’s fault but it will reinforce the message to stay away, which will help with his safety.

I would check with your therapist and a domestic violence advocate before you do this. I’m thinking about you and your son’s safety. You may not be able to leave right away and if your son gets abused when he’s “too” close to your husband, that situation needs to be prevented.

In both cases the behavior is your husband’s responsibility. I’d be careful about allowing your son and husband to be together unsupervised.

I ended up with permanent brain injury from blows to the head, one of the most serious of which was when my mother threw me on the floor when I was 4. I have improved my functioning dramatically through therapy as an adult but I developed a condition called aphasia which is a speech/language problem. I would hope nothing like that would happen with your son but if he has been kicked to the point where he basically stopped breathing, that sounds serious to me. You really don’t want to find out about lasting injuries after they happen, and that does not count psychological damage.

It’s not your fault but I think it would be good to get advice from your therapist and a domestic violence counselor. The issues involved in leaving are complex and it’s not always as easy as picking up and leaving immediately. You know that this is not a good situation that you’re in, but you need help irl, including support after you leave.

You might also want to consider having a room in your house with a door that locks from the inside and a charged cell phone that’s hidden in an easy to retrieve location, so if things ever get really bad, you can go in there, lock the door and call for help. I would hope things wouldn’t get to that point.

I’m sorry about your abuse history. I know that makes a lot of things more difficult. Also, if you have a priest you trust, you might consider talking to him.

The fact that you’re questioning it means something is rubbing you the wrong way…that’s your instinct and I think it’s telling you all you need to know…

That something, is wrong.

You know this deep inside.

Right now you’re terrified and your mind is probably swimming with thoughts and feelings making it hard for you to think straight. I understand. But that little voice in you…the one that made you come on this forum…listen to it. Listen to it…because that’s you down there…that’s YOU trying to get out. The one you held down for so long. The voice you buried. So you’re still there! You’re still alive! And so is your son! You’ve been through a lot…from the sounds of it…through h*ll and back. And THINGS WILL GET BETTER. But first you need to ACT. I know I know…it seems, overwhelming. But think…think…what do you need to do first? Contact an abuse center or hotline. Talk to a therapist. Let someone on the outside - in. Get someone else into the picture. You need that right now. You need that third-party to give you clarity and perspective. This forum helps. You’re getting some of that here. Good…and good for you for coming here. NEXT. You need to get help IN PERSON. So follow the advice here. Seek help. Call a shelter. Call a hot-line. Speak to an expert in these things. They will help you. You’ll be surprised how people can come to your aid when you need it most…you’ll be surprised. You can can get help. And again, good for you for listening to yourself; for acknowledging your voice - that’s progress! You’re on the right path. And have faith. Always have that. Things WILL improve…you may not be able to see it yet…envision it…but that’s what FAITH is…it’s the knowing when you cannot SEE. Trust me, I’ve been there. *I *know. But you must take action. Now. Take the steps.

And if it’s at all possible…if things aren’t too hectic…please keep us posted on your progress.

Thank you all so much. I am grateful. I will say I keep wondering if this was indeed an accident. I keep making excuses. Probably because I can’t wrap my head around this scenario. I started crying when I was holding my son as he was trying to breathe. My husband said I think it knocked the wind out of him… That means it was a hard hit right?

Gosh I am so worried. What will happen? Will my husband ever get to spend time with him again?

This morning I was in the shower getting ready for mass and my son came running in and said daddy hurt him. I freaked. I asked what happened… Well he apparently kept trying to run to me for something and daddy yanked his arm back. You are right. I have to do something.

If you feel it can’t wait until tommorrow - go back and see your priest today. Luckily they work on Sunday. :wink:

Oh wow! That’s really weird for him to not want your son to go to you. I would say supervised visits are all he should ever get from now on. Don’t even leave the room that your son is in until you are able to get out with the little guy. It sounds like things are escalating so I would get out as soon as you are able. I’m sorry you have to deal with this. I will keep you in my prayers. Be cautious and ask St. Michael to protect you and your son

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