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I'm not a man, I'm a 45-yr. old divorced, single mother of two (15 yr. old son, 11 yr. old daughter) and my kids live with their dad, then me, every other week.

I had a very abusive childhood--physical and verbal abuse witnessed being taken out on my mother, and verbal on me and my much-older brother and sisters.

I wanted to cry for you--and your son especially--when I read your post. You repeatedly state how grateful you are for this man taking you all on, you say you all reinforce this feeling of appreciation to him, and you call him your dh (which I assume means "dear husband") because of what he's provided for you and your children.

In the sense that he does provide the essentials--food, clothing, and shelter--for you, does he go one step higher in the heirarchy of human needs? By that I mean, once our basic needs have been satisified--food, water and shelter--then we need and seek out more. For example, we search for intimacy, higher knowledge, and spiritual relationships.

I am a firm believer in not physically disciplining children, and when I read your husband whacks your 11 yr. old on the head to get him up because his meds make him sleepy, that combined with his refusal to speak to the doctor about your son's medical condition...well, you asked what's going on here, and I have to say my take on it is this...first he knows his behavior is unacceptable or else he would talk to the doctor, but you say others sing his praises and don't know "this side" of him...who are you trying to help--yourself, your child(ren), or your husband? It appears to me that he is using his role as provider to control you and your actions.

My dad--when in an abusive state of mind--would gather my mother, me and my older siblings up at night and sit us all down on the couch and then proceed to tell us we were "millstones" around his neck and that if it weren't for us and him having to work so hard to provide for us, that he could do anything he wanted to with his life, but now he couldn't. We all walked on eggshells around him, do you find you do that with your husband?

Are you in situations where you find yourself trying to prevent confrontations from happening by changing your or your children's behavior, actions and responses and maybe even nudging them in a topic direction that you think will enable you and your husband to avoid a fight or him to abuse your son?

I'm sorry, I know that isn't the word you want to hear, but he is abusing your son. To provoke an adult--much less a child that young--to tears in order to call him names? To hit him because he is experiencing a side effect from medication he has to take for a very real medical condition? To then tell you and to swear at you while doing so that you don't know how good you have it!? I can't help but think that he feels tied down by his family, and he's taking it out on the most helpless one--a young child with a medical problem.

I used to hate my dad for doing what he did to all of us, but especially for what he did to my mother. We never had physical bruises to hide like she did, but we all carry our emotional bruises with us to this day. I used to feel sorry for my mother for what she put up with, but as I got older and became a parent myself, I became very angry at her for not doing the job of a parent--protecting us from emotional, mental and verbal harm.

You sound like you are at a breaking point as to how much more of this treatment of your son (and then you) you can take from you husband. He made the choice to love and care for all of you, now he's broken that vow, and you are their mother--provide your son with some protection before he begins to feel about you the same way--he needs you to protect him from someone who is causing him emotional and physical pain.

And I do understand (you said it yourself over and over) that you are with this man primarily because of gratitude, and then there's the classic "make-up" period where it's all good again. But it doesn't last, does it? He does it again to your son, and then to you, doesn't he? Of course I don't know enough about your situation, (I just can't call it a marriage) to say "leave this jerk," but I think it might be safer for your son, although it would be very hard on you financially and emotionally, to leave for a time.

I'm not saying run to the judge and get a divorce by any means, I'm just saying your son needs you now more than you or your other children need this guy. Maybe if you distance your children and yourself from him for awhile, it will help you see what your son is enduring more clearly. Your dh might make you happy in many ways, but his treatment of your son is inexcusable and he needs to know that it will not be tolerated. I wonder if there is the "those are your kids, not mine" underlying current going on as well in your household. That could be a contributing factor to why you stay with someone who constantly reminds you that he is providing for you (and to whom you and your kids feel you need to constantly reassure him that you know what he "gives" you.)

Be the strong one right now, your son is on medication, he is only 11, he's being hurt, and he needs his mother...

Good luck, and sincerely, best wishes, Annie..

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