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Anger Management Institute

Anger and Abuse

© copyright 2015 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V
Listen to the free podcast: Is It Anger or Abuse?


Question
Please Help!! My godchildrens father totally ‘went off’ on me the other day…
I’ve always known he had some serious problems with abuse/anger….And thought he was getting better.
I don’t know him well enough to know what his ‘pattern’ is, if there is one… It’s mostly ‘me or the highway’ kind of thinking now.
Explaining myself clearly and then ‘walking on eggshells’ the last few months didn’t work!!??

I see pretty clearly now where he is coming from, what he is feeling frustrated/threatened by, why he is putting me in the ‘bad, evil, witch’ category.

And what he is accusing me of is what he is doing to me…And mother issues play a big part I think…

I have helped them out tremendously with the children and tried to help mom with some parenting issues. Dad can’t handle suggestions. The last year I have not been able to help them nearly as much and was really clear about not being able to right now. Nevertheless, anytime I said ‘no’ I couldn’t watch the kids, he got a bad attitude towards me. That’s what started ‘triggering’ him and then after that some other things.
I take care of them much more than any other godparent…
Mom mentioned to me a couple months ago (with him out of earshot) that he complained to her that I don’t like him and so I don’t like his child…which is totally untrue. I tried to explain to him right then and there again…about not being able to give them the time he wanted me to…

What triggered his dispicable outburst was around the issue of me taking the older one to the ‘Lion King’ Broadway play….I had asked about 8 months ago if I could take her, they said yes…Later, I wasn’t sure about my situation and money and all…and then a friend was nice enough to get us tickets…a few months had gone by…I called and left a msg. on mom’s cell phone when I got the tickets ’cause no one was home…

Now I really don’t want him in my life, but of course I have to deal with him if I want to be with my godchildren. He ordered me out of the house and threatened I would never see the children again…and I don’t know yet how much he meant that threat. I told him he was being a jerk (I would have said ***** but his kids were right there) and then he got into ‘power tripping’ and kind of paranoid, threatening to call the cops, restraining order, get my license plate, the whole nine yards.

I never screamed or hollered, and kept my cool and just called him a jerk in a very matter of fact way.
So far, there is no apology from anyone…him (didn’t expect it) or his wife who I thought was my friend. She was right there and didn’t say hardly anything. ‘She disappeared’. She is the only one who every once in a while mentioned how much she appreciated my help.

There are no words to express all my feelings right now. You can imagine. These are my children too. I have known them since they were babies and have done nothing but try to help them out. And now I got treated like ****.
Really Angry, disgusted, hurt and distressed…
Indistress

Question:
Dear Indistress,
There are several issues here.
Abusing you: First of all, you were invited to be a Godmother and now it looks like Dad is firing you! His behavior is abusive and threatening.
Obligations of a Godparent: Another issue, is that you have no rights or obligations except that you were asked to take on the responsibilities of Godmother a long-time ago – responsibilities which are pretty flexible – as you said another Godparent of one of the kids doesn’t do much with that child.
Enmeshment?: Another issue is that you may be too involved and he is interpreting your involvement as interference and taking control. The fact that you have ‘let him have it’ with name-calling doesn’t help your case.
You have no authority: Another issue is that he and his wife have the legal authority and control over the children. This puts you at their mercy. The wife is passive and probably the victim of his abuse.
What to do? This is a very messy situation. I would encourage you to pull back. You don’t need the abuse and you have said things which trigger his anger. He’s a scary person. Do you need this?

The real issue lies with the parents. They are having problems and they are not working as a team. He is threatened by you and feels like you are showing preference to another child (which you were asked to do) and not showing equal attention to his child … Maybe you have taken too much of the Mothering role.

You have some choices. Any will be difficult.

1. Pull back. Don’t come around as much. When you do – make certain you take his child along with you and your god-child.
Don’t put up with abuse – but, hold your tongue. You may find prayer helpful in this. You would be doing this for the sake of the kids and for the sake of their marriage which they need to work on. If he keeps threatening you no matter what you do. Then, leave. Make certain you are never alone with him.
2. Keep doing what you are doing and expect more threats and abuse and conflict. This is not recommended. You don’t want to keep doing what isn’t working.
3. Tell the family that you are taking a break for awhile– maybe 3 months. Give the children calls to find out how they are doing and send cards.
Don’t get Mom to take your side. She needs to learn to stand up to her husband and work things out with him.
When you start seeing the family again – you will most likely have to grant his requests/demands since these are his children and he could tell you not to return. But, don’t put up with abuse!

These are hard facts and hard things to do. But, your mental health and safety is of utmost importance.
Consider ordering the book: What’s Good About Anger? to learn more about how to turn your anger into faith, assertiveness, problem-solving and forgiveness.
Go to CounselCare Connection for more advice and resources on personal and relationships issues.
And pray. Get to know God in all of this. You need a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Who can give you wisdom, power and forgiveness to handle this situation and any other trial you encounter in life! God bless!
~© copyright 2015 by Lynette J. Hoy, NCC, LCPC, CAMS-V, is a Marriage and Family Counselor with CounselCare Connection and National Certified Counselor. She is the co-author of What’s Good About Anger?and a speaker for community, women’s and church organizations.

Domestic Violence Resources:
National Domestic Violence: 1-800-799-7233 (safe)
International Domestic Violence directory
Sarah’s Inn (Oak Park, Illinois) 1-708-386-4225 (24 hour hotline)
Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence resources: Illinois state Crisis line: 1-800-252-6561
Make a Safety Plan
Call the Anger Management Institute and  CounselCare Connection at 630.368.1880,

 
 

Contact the Anger Management Institute at: 630-368-1880, ext. 1
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