I have been on my own for about 9 years, but in reality I feel I have been on my own for over 15 years.  My partner was unsupportive, distant, egocentric and controlling and abusive and I finally saw the light when he started on the children.  I am lucky I got away and live on my own now with the children, but through access visits he is still controlling and manipulating the children and often getting at me that I don't feel I have come very far.  My daughter is 10 and is sullen rude and hurtful to me and I cannot find out why.  My son is loving and tries so hard, but I feel damaged and lost and often I feel so angry I take it out on them by shouting alot.

Each day is a challenge.



Posted on: April 29, 2013 - 12:14pm

Hi jo53. Welcome along. From reading your post, I'd say you've come a long way. You should be so proud of yourself that you got out of that sort of relationship, not only for your sake, but for the childrens. With the access visits, how does that work? I was wondering if maybe you dropped them off, or he picked them up, perhaps this could be changed, and a third party got involved, so you don't have any reason to see him. As for your daughter, could you put it down to age? I say this, as I have a 10 year old, and he is like your daughter!!

Please keep posting, as you'll get lots of support here at One Space.

Posted on: April 29, 2013 - 1:12pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi jo53 and welcome from me too! It sounds as though you made a lucky escape when you left your ex, however his influence is still very strong in your lives.

I am sure you have come a million miles, compared to where you would have been if you had stayed with him, however it still affecting you and the children, so I am glad that you are seeking out support.

Have you ever considered going to a parenting programme? I suggest this, as I found it really helpful years ago (after leaving my daughters abusive father), to build confidence in my skills as he had knocked it so badly.

hazeleyes is right, this could just be your 10yr old being difficult, but either way, it is important that you get some techniques under your belt to deal with her behaviour effectively, so that you feel confident in your skills to help her grow into a healthy adult.

What do you think?

Posted on: April 29, 2013 - 1:59pm


Thank you so much for your messages.  I used to be a health visitor - so I should know how to manage her behaviour, but I fail due to the fact all the methods don't make a dent in her determination to make an unpleasant atmosphere.  

It is almost that a nice quiet happy time doesn't feel comfortable to her and she wants confrontation and high emotional state.  She is friendly and kind sometimes so its not all the time, but I am at loss to get her out of it as it has been like this since she was 2.  I had complaints from neighbours for several years ago because of her tantrums, and she used to smash the house up.    She is not so vocal now but is still very difficult eventhough she is bright and good at most things.

Its just very difficult to keep calm when it is 2, or 3 times every day.

Sorry to be such a moan, but just had such a difficult few days with it all.


Posted on: April 29, 2013 - 2:10pm


Thank for replying.  He comes to the house, but I think I will  meet him somewhere and let him have supervised access.  He says and does such inappropriate things to the children (mostly denograding me) that they have very little respect for me.  I don't have any "third party" that can help.  My own siblings won't get involved and I don't have any friends, so I am very alone in this.  My son is ok, as he bore the brunt of the abuse before I left and knows how awful he was.  My daughter was a baby and I don't think she realises how abusive he can be, and believes him when he criticises me.  She has been very difficult since she was 2 so this is not a new thing.



Posted on: April 29, 2013 - 2:22pm


Hi jo53

I'm sorry things are so difficult.

This board has helped me through so many issues, as I do feel very alone making decisions (I do have siblings who are a lot older but don't want to be involved - easier for them as they live away from me).

How does your daughter behave in school?  Sometimes primary school can be more supportive than high school.  The head at my children's primary school was marvelous with some big predicaments I found myself in because of their father's comments...

Posted on: April 29, 2013 - 3:59pm

Sally W
Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi jo53, i am sorry to hear that your having such a difficult time of it with your daughter and would have to echo Anna's suggestion about doing a parenting programme.

Something else i would suggest is getting in touch with a domestic abuse service that is local to you, i know that you are technically no longer in an abusive relationship but you are still dealing with the effects from one, they may be able to give you specialised support and techniques to support you with your daughters behaviour.

Alternately contacting your local Family Information Service (Click to find your local service).  They maybe able to give you some one to one support with your daughters behaviour.

Are you able to tell us abit more about her behaviour and methods that you are using? we may then be able to offer you some suggestions on how to deal with her behaviour.

Posted on: April 29, 2013 - 5:41pm



I know my partner so well, that I can predict his behaviour, and at the end of the day noone is going to alleviate his presence.  I have been to lawyers etc and he will always get access, so it is just up to me to cope with him.  


As for my daughter she does well at school, ie. she is nearly 2 years ahead in reading and is well up the top for maths.  They have had some periods of arrogant behaviour, but I have pulled her up on that and it seems to have settled.  As regards techniques, I always warn her and then give her warning of a consequence and I always follow through with it.  Punishments are, no tv, or not attending a playdate or sometimes a treat is withheld. She also has time out upstairs.  In the worst times it was sitting on the stairs but that often resulted in more tantrums and issues would go on for weeks.

Obviously I try and use "positive" parenting, ie." if you can try and listen and not get so angry we can make cakes this pm".  However positive reinforcement seems to have the least effect on her behaviour and she often sees straight through it and is worse than ever.

If she has had a period of reasonable behaviour I always tell her that I have noticed how good she has been and I try and acknowledge when she controls her temper.  She can be very sensible and kind and when she is like that it is hard to imagine that she can be so destructive and hurtful.  I love her very much and I want her to be happy.  She tells me that she is "fine".  I hope she is.

Posted on: April 29, 2013 - 10:06pm


have you tried a behaviour diary? like say if she can control her anger and 'be good' for six days then on the seventh you take her out for a treat or let her choose a treat? 

if ur ex is controlling her and saying derogatory things about u to her then maybe a solicitors letter to him or his solicitor might help? my ex used to say derogatory things about me but now has been told not to by a judge but once contact becomes unmonitored im expecting things to gradually go back to how they were, esp when children get older and start asking him questions, if at that point he starts saying derogatory things about me to them and i feel its affecting their behaviour i will ask my solicitor to write a letter. 

id keep a log of any derogatory remarks he makes baout you to your children. 

Posted on: April 29, 2013 - 10:53pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Great idea chocolate81 Laughing

Jo53, I know you realise that it would be great to be able to improve your daughter's behaviour before she hits the terrible teens. She is obviously a very clever girl and sometimes this can be extra frustrating for a child as she may well be bored for some of the time at school. Do they have any sort of special activity or challenge she could be involved in?

I hear what you are saying about positive parenting. What I was wondering was two things. Firstly when you use the "when then" method, I have found it works better when a. everything that is said is posiive and b. the reward is more immediate. The example you gave might well just have been off the top of your head, but I would suggest it could have gone like "When you can be quiet and listen, we can talk about what you would like to do this afternoon" and repeat ad nauseam. So that way, there is no "not" in the instruction and the reward is immediate AND she gets to choose as well. Secondly, you say she sees through this so.....what does she do? Continue to tantrum? say to you "I can see what you are doing and it won't work"? The theory behind this parenting techinique is that nothing budges you from this position. In other words do not engage in discussion about the technique, just continue to repeat your phrase and walk away if neccessary. I sometimes think we have to be "parents of steel", it's so blummen hard!

Posted on: April 30, 2013 - 8:32am


Thanks everyone.  All good advice.  I need to keep a diary as I think it has helped in the past.  My daughter definitely does not do well with the method of so many days and then a reward.  Also if you defuse one tantrum she seems to not have acheived her aim and will keep on several times over different things until someone snaps.  Sometimes its me sometimes its my son who gets really angry at her.  

I have progressed, last year the house was being broken up 3 times a day, chairs being thrown, and I was being hit and things thrown at me.  So despite repeating statements to get a chair thrown at you doesn't help.  

I had to be very firm with her and try and stop the outburst very quickly.  She is so much better now and mainly slams doors and screams and shouts alot.

I think things are improving and I read about 6 books on defiant children, which helped.

Thanks so much for all your interest.  Its nice not to feel totally alone.

Posted on: April 30, 2013 - 2:52pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Hi jo53, as someone once said on here a few years ago, "We can parent alone, together"! And it is lovely to hear that you don't feel so alone after sharing stuff with us.

It sounds as though your daughter is going through a difficult time, however as much as we can empathise and understand it, it does not give her a green card to continue with poor behaiour.

When she is calm, can you ask her what makes her angry? Can you tell her what makes you angry and how you deal with it perhaps? Do you get to spend much 'girly' time together?

Posted on: April 30, 2013 - 4:57pm


I have asked her repeatedly to tell me why she gets so cross.  She just says I don't know.  If I ask her if anyone or anything makes her unhappy she says she is fine.  My son is very demanding, he has a short term memory problem and requires alot of help with everyday things, if I leave him he gets very muddled and makes lots of mistakes and gets very distressed, and I think that this is part of it, but there is only me and I cannot cut myself in half.  We do "stuff" together - horseriding and swimming, but I would like to spend alot more time with her.  Also sometimes I have organised things so we can, but when I have to get back to my "normal" routines she seems to get even angrier.  I think it is a maturity thing also and I think she is naturally getting better.


Posted on: April 30, 2013 - 5:25pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Jo53, you are certainly not alone!

I think maybe you have the key to it when you mention that you need to spend extra time with your son. Your daughter's behaviour is the ultimate attention seeking. Have you tried talking to her when she is calm and saying "I know it is hard for you when X needs so much of my time and attention. BUT the way you behave is NOT ACCEPTABLE" Ask her (calmly) how she would feel if YOU threw tantrums like that or threw chairs at her. I am thinking she would be phoning Childline. This might help her understand how extreme her actions are. Give her an alternative, eg somewhere safe to punch cushions/tear paper into shreds. Would she read a book about anger management herself? Here is a good one. I know you do things with her individually but then you mention she does not like you going back to your routine....I am thinking that it may help to spend time with you individually as part of that routine. Tell her you will do this and that you are doing it "because I love you and I love to spend time with you" Give her praise every day, for anything she does right however small.

How does she behave at school? get them involved. Is there a listener scheme at the school?

If all this sounds like hard work, it is! but the good news is that once you have got things more under control then it won't be so hard.

Posted on: May 1, 2013 - 7:24am


Hi Jo53

Hope you've had a good weekend.  I wanted to share with you something I have found really great with my "spirited" kid.  I've been doing a lot of work around who's responsibility feelings are.  

Bear with me this is going to sound strange.  Basically, if I get angry because of something the boys do that feeling is mine to own.  I am very bad at blaming my children for my feelings but through working on myself I have got better at it as my boundaries have improved (a hangover from my own childhood where I had to take responsibility for the whole household's feelings!)

Anyway, since applying what I've learnt with my eldest who has been challenging since birth, I have seen a massive improvement.  I don't want you to think it involves minimising or ignoring feelings at all, but it teaches him that he can choose how he deals with his feelings.

I have been working on him with feelings since he was three and he is now quite emotionally articulate which has helped a lot.  For example, the other day he thought I was late picking him up (he's in reception) and he came stomping out and shouted "I'm so mad at you for being late".  The teacher heard and put him straight (I had been waiting while she had long conversations with other parents).  Later that day we talked about it.  I told him that anger can't have been the first feeling, there must have been feelings before that which led to anger.  He identified on his own that he had been bored waiting and then I helped him identify that he had been scared I wouldn't turn up.  He then saw that the anger had come from those two feelings and we talked about things he could have done to change or cope with those two feelings.

Sorry this is longwinded by the way!  Yesterday he was really angry about something (I forget what) and he was in my face shouting with his fists balled up and such an angry look on his face.  I just reminded him that the feeling was his and he could chose how to deal with it and he was able to turn it around in a remarkably short time.

Something i have observed as an adult is that some people (myself included) do go around as if feelings are something that happen to them and can't be controlled at all.  I definitely think we need to acknowledge and work through our feelings but we also have to own them as ours.

I don't know if that will help you in any way - I realise your daughter is much older. I just wanted to share it in case it was of interest.

Good luck



Posted on: May 6, 2013 - 11:00pm

Parenting specialist DoppleMe

Thanks Gem for your post, I think you have been very clear and I am sure it will be helpful to others. It sounds as though you have done a lot of 'work' on a lot of areas, it feels great doesn't it!

jo53, how are things with you? Do you agree with what Louise and Gem are saying?

Posted on: May 7, 2013 - 8:38am