How do I heal from an abusive relationship with a child involved?
August 7, 2016 6:30 PM   Subscribe

[Trigger Warning] I have a child with someone I consider my abuser. How do I navigate the situation when having a mediator isn't possible?

My baby's father and I had a tumultuous relationship. We were both verbally abusive to each other. We broke up right before I found out I was pregnant. He freaked out and said he wanted nothing to do with me. We didn't talk for 3 months. After that he had a change of heart and tried to get me back. I resisted for a month or two and then said I would try but I'd like to take things slowly and wait to have sex. I felt pressured into sex often both before and after I was pregnant. While I was pregnant, I had sex with him several times when I didn't want to and would go home afterwards and cry. I felt violated. He did not force me, just kept trying after I said I wasn't in the mood and eventually I would give in.

We had several talks where I told him I wasn't ready to have sex and he told me he wouldn't try anything, but the next time I saw him he would. We also argued frequently about me wanting to wait for sex. He'd get upset that I kept regretting sleeping with him and that I didn't want to be alone with him. When I slept with him and didn't want to I'd just lay there and let him do his thing. I also slept with him many times when I didn't want to before I got pregnant. I don't necessarily blame him - I should have removed myself from the situation and refused to be alone with him. But it does disturb me that he did not seem to care if I just laid there while he slept together. I don't know if he didn't notice I wasn't enjoying it or if he didn't care.

To top it off, I'm not really attracted to men and have slept with many men when I didn't really want to. I've recently started learning to respect myself and all those years are coming back to haunt me. I feel mortified that I treated my body like that when other women are a lot stronger and would never have slept with someone they didn't find attractive or were grossed out by. I need to unpack years of having sex when I wasn't into it and seeing one of the guys on a regular basis is hindering that.

Fast forward to today, we have an 8 week old together. I have to see him when I don't want to. I hate that he's watched me breastfeed and touched my breasts trying to help. I didn't tell him I didn't want him to because we were in the hospital together after she was born and I would have felt bad kicking him out (he stayed with us all 3 days).

We have several problems:

- I feel anxious whenever I get a text from him. I get a fight-or-flight feeling and my heart drops in my chest. Sometimes I get shaky, weak and sweaty if we're having a disagreement. He tends to say things that hurt my feelings and I'm afraid of that.

- I get nervous when I know he's coming over to see the baby. I've started asking my parents to be there when he visits so that I feel more secure.

- He will not allow me to claim her on my taxes. His insurance requires him to claim her and he refuses to remove her so I can claim, even though I have insurance for her too.

- He has her 2 days of the week and I'm not ready to be away from her for that long. I feel depressed and cry a lot when she's away. But I don't know if it's selfish to feel that way, I know he needs his time with her too. We recently had to cut down to one day due to latching issues and I was secretly happy about it. I'm afraid of his reaction if I tell him I'm not ready so I hope our lactation consultant tells us he can't have her for an entire day until her latch is corrected.

- He keeps her when I'm at work and refuses to bring her back when I get home. He'll keep her a few extra hours even though I've already told him I'm not okay with that because it limits the time I get to spend with her. This in particular pisses me off because I stayed at my low paying/barely get any hours job because it allows me to spend more time with her and he knows this. So now I'm going to have to pay a taxi to go pick her up if I get off work early, which is most of the time. I don't know if that's selfish of me since it does limit the time he spends with her too, but he can see her during the day.

- I've been having sex/romantic dreams about him. I do still have romantic feelings for him but I don't want to sleep with him and I don't want anything to do with him. I wake up from these dreams feeling ashamed. I feel like seeing him is keeping my romantic feelings alive. I even get jealous of other women. He tried to get back together with me up until the baby was born but I rejected him, so I don't know what's going on with that.

Ultimately, I see him as my abuser and I want to get away from him. I don't want him to be close to me or touch me. I don't want to prevent him from seeing our daughter, though. He doesn't know I feel that he abused me. He did notice I did not want to be alone with him, but I never gave him a straight answer when he asked why.

He is not all bad, and I trust him with our daughter. He is generally nice/friendly to other people. I don't think he is abusive on purpose. I think that me being unable to stand for myself in sexual/argumentative situations and him being more assertive/pushy is just a bad combination. I'm also very sensitive so the things he says about me during arguments really hurt.

For example, 5 days after I gave birth he called me selfish and said I was "always right" and that I thought I was infallible and said he should have expected me to be selfish. Because he was upset that a) I deleted his sister from Facebook after she threw me a baby shower (she reminded me too much of him) and b) he misunderstood my text about when he could see the baby and thought I had changed the plans we made the day before. The day before that he was inviting me out to do things and called us a "family." It wasn't anything he hadn't said to me before but I was/am hurt that he said those things 5 days after watching me give birth and seeing all the pain I went through, and knowing about the hormones etc that come afterwards.

My question is: How do I protect myself emotionally in these circumstances? How do I practice self-care? I'm in constant stress about this. Every day I worry he's going to slap me with a lawsuit because I'm refusing to do 1 week on/1 week off with her. I do allow him to come visit her during the day whenever he wants. Knowing I have to see him stresses me out. I feel like I'm in constant fight or flight. I don't have a third party's house he could go to see her. I've recently switched therapists because of finances and I'm not at all comfortable talking to her about this, so here I am. I'm 26 and he's 28 if that matters.

(If you were following my other thread and wondering about the custody, I did speak to a lawyer and he said that since I gave birth to her and she lives with me I automatically have custody and he'd have to be the one to file if he wanted different arrangements. So no further actions were taken there).
posted by Autumn to Human Relations (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

While I recognise that you have long term boundary issues you need to work on with a therapist, you are at least an autonomous adult and can do that. You infant cannot. This man is horrible and is being horrible to you and utterly disrespectful of your parenting arrangements:

He keeps her when I'm at work and refuses to bring her back when I get home. He'll keep her a few extra hours even though I've already told him I'm not okay with that because it limits the time I get to spend with her.

If you are not in a position to draw firm boundaries for your daughter now, then go back to the lawyer and get court ordered custody and child support and an enforceable parenting agreement. He is NOT THE BOSS OF THIS BABY. You are the boss.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:51 PM on August 7, 2016 [43 favorites]

Could you find out from your family doctor, obstetrician or the hospital if there is a social worker available to help you advocate for yourself and your baby? And to guide you through the self care you need, get access to any benefits you may be entitled too, including financial support?
posted by antiquated at 6:59 PM on August 7, 2016 [7 favorites]

Your baby will be able to bond with her dad fine if he's not there for a few weeks. She's going to have a much required time with a happier safe mum who had the space and time now to heal and think. You just had a baby and you're exhausted and sleep deprived and nursing is physically exhausting too. Handling the tricky boundaries of a difficult ex is too much right now. You can make those dad and baby bonds but you need time now. I went through a similar situation and in hindsight it was so very very awful. I stayed because I thought I had to let him be close to the baby and the children, and it was my fault for not being a super mother, but I can't remember most of my daughter's infancy because it's a haze of pain and despair. And we are divorcing now.

You are really strong and self aware and a good mom to recognise how bad this is for you both. Listen to yourself and leave.

Do you have a place to go to that he doesn't know about? Friends who can take you in for a while or so can come stay at your place for a few weeks to help out, so you aren't alone?

If it helps, my ex is a much better dad now than I thought possible at the time. He put effort to bond and improve his parenting post-separation.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 7:07 PM on August 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

It sounds like you have a really long history of unhealthy relationships. I find it helps to blame the past/circumstances beyond our control, then look at what I can do different now.

I was a terrible doormat with my husband until I had a baby. I was better at standing up for the baby than for myself. That helped me sort my crap. I suggest you view your parental obligation to the baby through that lens. You may find it uncomfortable to stand up to stuff, but you have no choice now. You have a duty to this child. I found that really helpful in setting aside my own reluctance to argue or whatever.

I recommend you watch Loud as a Whisper. It is about a deaf negotiator who turns problems into opportunities. Your situation is an opportunity to learn these skills that you never learned.

Get some negotiating books, such as "Getting to Yes," and learn basic negotiating mental models, such as BATNA.

I have found negotiating principles a powerful way to protect myself without unnecessarily turning it into conflict or ugliness. That doesn't mean it never turns ugly. That means if it turns ugly, it is probably because the other party is being a dick. It is a lot more palatable for me to give real push back when I feel confident it is "their fault." Sometimes drama cannot be avoided. Knowing I made every effort to avoid it means I don't feel tortured by my choices later.

You should also be journaling and looking for "a third option" in situations where you feel there is an either/or choice and you feel screwed either way. For example, you could start developing an online income so that you have more flexibility in the future and are not necessarily trapped in your current low paying job.

A third option may take more time. You may not have immediate solutions. But if you start looking at that now, your life can eventually get better.

It helps me to view difficult problems as grist for the mill, as a means to help me do something hard that I otherwise would not attempt because I don't like confrontation, etc.

((HUGS)) if you want them.

posted by Michele in California at 7:11 PM on August 7, 2016 [2 favorites]

Oops. I meant to say that the most healing thing you can do here is learn to stand up for yourself and your child in this situation. That is what will help you stop feeling awful all the time.

Feelings come from somewhere. Actions speak louder than words. Problem solving is what will help you feel better and start healing.
posted by Michele in California at 7:16 PM on August 7, 2016

You are right that there are abusive dynamics at play here. Your instinct to stop seeing him is a good one. I think that after some time, you may realize you need to severely limit how much he sees your daughter. That would not be you "being selfish;" it would be you protecting her from someone who is manipulative and sees others as objects to possess or control -- he didn't look out for your well-being, and he's not looking out for hers.

You need help building a safe life for you and your baby. There was a good idea above, to ask your OB about a social worker. Also, call the nearest domestic violence hotline or shelter and ask for their help. They can help you make a plan about what you'd do if he sued you. Finally, please find a therapist you can tell the truth to, even if you just show them the questions you wrote to us.

Last, I just want to tell you that your instincts about your baby sound right. It's not selfish to want to be with your baby; it's healthy for you and for her.
posted by slidell at 7:40 PM on August 7, 2016 [12 favorites]

I read through this hoping it would not be you Autumn. I wish I could help you more. Do you have a mom or aunt who can help watch the baby while you're at work?
You need to go to that lawyer now. Also EVERY time he does something like keep her late, write it down in a notebook. Save every text and email, okay?
Oh I wish I could help you more. Hugs.
posted by k8t at 7:46 PM on August 7, 2016 [13 favorites]

You have custody! She's your baby! That's not nothing, that's you having won without any shots being fired! If he pursues a paternity claim and if he seeks custody, deal with that then. For now, she's yours and you make the rules.

If for now that means dropping a line to all your baby's providers and letting them know you need them to be the bad guys and say she has to stay with you full-time, so be it. Your mental health alone is worth it for your sake and the baby's.
posted by teremala at 8:19 PM on August 7, 2016 [16 favorites]

You need to get a parenting plan. It needs to be signed by the court. If he ignores the order, call the police. If you're nursing, you need the vast majority if the time you're not working with baby.

Do not let this person into your home. Do not go into his home. Only text him regarding the child. Ever.
posted by Kalmya at 8:20 PM on August 7, 2016 [18 favorites]

Do you have access to a rape crisis center? If you're in the US, you can call RAINN (800.656.4673), and they'll connect you with help. I worked for years at a rape crisis center/sexual abuse and assault help agency, and your story would absolutely qualify you for services (and I would have moved heaven and earth to get you help). If you're having trouble accessing local help, please MeMail me and I will help you find local resources however I can.
posted by lazuli at 8:32 PM on August 7, 2016 [10 favorites]

Also, in my experience, sexual assault survivors often have romantic dreams about their abusers, or sexual fantasies about the type of abuse/assault they endured. It's common, and I think it's the brain's way of trying regain control in a situation where the survivor felt powerless. It's not something that indicates a survivor secretly liked the abuse or the abuser.
posted by lazuli at 8:34 PM on August 7, 2016 [6 favorites]

YOU have custody. Holy sh*t. I would go absolutely ballistic if someone kept me apart from my kid (who’s now 2), and I would have gone double ballistic if he’d been eight weeks old. She needs you. YOU. The first time I went anywhere at all without him he was five months old, and I went for a haircut and rushed back!

Is there a legal agreement outlining when he has her? You need one. If the agreement (informal, email, spoken, whatever) is that he is there with her waiting for you when you get home from work, and he is not, I would call the cops. And if you have anything in writing (email/txt) where he is refusing to bring her back? Isn’t that, like, kidnapping? WTF. (And yeah, I’m not a lawyer or anything so take this with a grain of salt – but this is an indication of how outraged I am on your behalf.) At the very least call the general police hotline (and RAINN, and a lawyer), explain what’s been happening, and see what they say.

I think it completely reasonable if all he did was come over for a few hours on the weekend, preferably while your mom or someone is there and you go run errands or something.

I think it completely reasonable to be uncomfortable leaving her with him while you’re at work, and to leave her with grandma/friends/daycare ANYONE else.

I think it completely reasonable to not want to leave her alone with him.

I think it completely reasonable not to leave a non-verbal child with someone who does not respect boundaries, does things that are mean to (both) of you on purpose, lacks empathy (continued having sex with you, when you just lying there… whaaaaat?!). I might NEVER feel comfortable leaving her alone with him. He’s a dick, and he’s not trustworthy.

I’d be tempted to go to the women’s shelter, disappear while you collect yourself, and reappear with a very fierce lawyer (if at all).
posted by jrobin276 at 8:56 PM on August 7, 2016 [9 favorites]

When there are shared custody agreements, it's generally agreed that primary priority is for the developmental needs of the baby to be met, rather than the desires of the non-primary caregiver. This has a lot to do with how well the newborn attaches in ways that are developmental healthy. Some experts would suggest that very early on (at least until 4 months), overnight visits with the non-primary caregiver is not ideal, and they suggest to slowly make changes in the schedule of the young child that they find easy and predictable. For at least the first few months, the child shouldn't experience extreme changes in their routine. Slow and gradual should be the norm. Also, little babies can internalize extreme stress not only to their own predicament, but also in the relationships around them, which can cause anxiety that can hinder healthy attachment. All this to say, trust your instincts about this not being an ideal scenario, and if you can, create a situation in which the developmental needs of your baby can help enforce the types of lines you feel should be drawn, perhaps with some official help. You are not being selfish at all, and the way you are feeling is very likely a maternal instinct that realizes that things could be much better. It just so happens that you feel strongly about these things, as you should, and your desires are matching what you know your baby would ask for, if they could.

He will not allow me to claim her on my taxes. His insurance requires him to claim her and he refuses to remove her so I can claim, even though I have insurance for her too.

Yeah, this isn't right. The person who is the primary custodial parent, where the child is with them for more than half the year, gets to claim the child on their taxes. Unless he provides more than half of the financial support, although I'm guessing this is not the case, or you give him permission to claim as a dependent. Simply, he doesn't have the right to demand this. I know the IRS considers the order that taxes come in, so it's probably best to double check with a professional on how this should work. However, you aren't wrong to be perturbed by this and to assume that this isn't a given.

Good luck to you, and I'm sorry that you have to go through this.
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:58 PM on August 7, 2016 [12 favorites]

On preview, how do you heal?

Well my sister was in a kind of similarly shitty relationship and she got a divorce, a restraining order, a therapist, group therapy, and went no-contact. When his subsequent baby mama sought her out and mentioned the baby had marks on her after his visit, she reported him to DOCS (so did the mom).

She's currently in a much better relationship and doing great... "healing well" as it were.

SpacemanStix has a good point about health insurance and the IRS. Call them and explain that you have primary custody and provide primary support and see what they say.

I'm so sorry you're having to do all this. Please enlist friends/family to help you with all these calls. I know if you were my friend or acquaintance I wouldn't bat an eyelash!
posted by jrobin276 at 9:02 PM on August 7, 2016 [5 favorites]

Yeah, call the IRS.

I think you should call RAINN. I think this person is a rapist and you should not feel emotionally bullied and maybe need to take strong legal action to keep him and your baby safe.
posted by jbenben at 9:16 PM on August 7, 2016 [4 favorites]

Please work on this ASAP and get a good attorney. Your daughter's time as a wee baby will fly by and you absolutely cannot get it back later, and having an abuser run interference, and continue his abuse, while you are busy mothering a newborn is its own sort of trauma.

Under normal circumstances it would be abhorrent to squirrel a young infant away from one of its parents. There is a lot of societal pressure to not do that. These are not normal circumstances.

> refuses to bring her back when I get home. He'll keep her a few extra hours even though I've already told him I'm not okay with that

Yeah, no, that's all I need to read. I got a series of "joke" text messages when my ex had our baby about how they were driving off across a border, etc, and did not get the kid back, or that it was "a joke," for hours later. That was almost a decade ago and my heart still burns thinking about it. You are being abused.

Insulate yourself with attorneys and hide. MeMail me if you would like to vent. This guy has lost his access privileges, full stop. If money is an issue, go full teenager and move in with your parents (if that is an option) and start selling off your belongings to pay for good legal help. PROTECT YOUR CHILD -- and a big part of that involves protecting yourself, which means staying away from a 'parent' who cannot bring back a young nursing infant at the agreed-upon time. Your baby doesn't have a competent father -- that's fine -- stop worrying about trying to be nice; lawyer up and hide.

Looked at your previous Q; am ill over the BS of "The father and his family say it's okay and he said his parenting book said it's better for her not to be attached to one person." No. Don't be manipulated. Mama bear up and lawyer up and let him piss in the wind. A man who is cruel to the mother of a newborn does not have the best interests of the baby at heart. Full stop, no extenuating circumstances change that. Keep that firmly in mind at all times: his priority is not the child. Treat him accordingly. And do this with some urgency, as, again, infancy is fleeting and you should be able to enjoy it instead of having an abuser running interference with it. I am so sorry.

I can tell you that it is possible to come out happily on the other side of a mess like this, though. Vaya con your personal version of dios, and be strong, and force one foot in front of the other, one phone call after the next, to get you and your child out of this.

P.S. I nursed and nobody touched my breasts except me, my kid, and sometimes in the early, over-production days, my phone, which I used to prop up a deflated breast next to a nearly-sleeping baby while we were both lying down on our sides. There is no reason for somebody who is not you, the baby, or a certified lactation consultant to be touching your breasts unless you ask them to do so. Do not allow him to molest you while you are feeding your baby.
posted by kmennie at 9:33 PM on August 7, 2016 [19 favorites]

I just want to say again, you need help with this. Can you bring in other sympathetic experts and advocates: the lawyer, your family, domestic violence shelter advocates, a social worker, her physician, and so on? Your experiences with this person have shifted your sense of what's normal and fair. As you say, "[you're] unable to stand for [yourself] in sexual/argumentative situations and [he is] more assertive/pushy." I think this question of what kind of contact with children is appropriate is one that RAINN and domestic violence advocates will have expertise in.

This situation is not primarily about you and your healing, and not about his needs. This is about your daughter's needs. It worries me that you're not able to stand up to him when he's taking her away from you and keeping her away. Can you imagine how she feels, wanting to come home and lie up against your body and nurse, but he's keeping her away, and you're home telling yourself "don't be selfish?" (Through another lens, could it be considered "selfish" to avoid the conflict rather than being strong so that she gets what she needs?) I'm sorry to be a little harsh here, but it's clear you have a kind heart. Give that kindness to her. Maybe you're willing to sacrifice your own needs for this unreasonable man, but don't sacrifice hers. Unlike adults, babies can't understand that their needs will be meet later; they need what they need when they need it. Since you have a weak spot for this person, please try to find others who can help you stand strong for your baby. You can do this.
posted by slidell at 9:39 PM on August 7, 2016 [8 favorites]

I'm wondering if he's claiming her on his insurance, and keeping her for "a few extra hours", in order to lay a documentation trail that she spends more than half her time with him and he is thus the primary caregiver. I agree with others that you need to take advice about this in all directions, from RAINN and from a tax lawyer and really from any other source you can get.

When you conclude your question by saying "so yeah a lawyer told me I automatically have full custody, therefore no further action was taken there" you're using it as an argument for why you don't have any legal recourse here. The fact that you have full custody and the father has no legal rights means you don't have any legal recourse? I think what you mean is, the only person able to enforce the fact that you have full custody at this point, is you, whereas if there'd been a point of contention that you could have taken him to court over, you would have felt strengthened by the court finding in your favour and having the court say to him, "unhand that baby". But paradoxically since you automatically have that right, you can't enforce it because you're unable to stand up for yourself and your every attempt to do so always fails because you always give in when faced with repeated demands.

I really do think you need to get in touch with RAINN and/or a women's shelter and explain yourself to them as you have to us. From what I can tell, your biggest problem is that you have rights but don't know how to enforce them, so maybe they can find a way of helping you with that.
posted by tel3path at 3:24 AM on August 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

I have some experience with shared custody of an infant. We worked with a child psychologist on it and he told us that prior to a year of age, we should not expect overnights. And that meant he had to see the kid in daytime, and at first with the ex there. He did have support people and therapy to help with that. At about a year, he got 'weekends' which went from midday Saturday to after breakfast Sunday. Then it was a day per year of the child's age until he started school, at which point we were on a more normal schedule with sharing of school holidays and so on.

With that said, it needs to be said that depending on where you live and what the laws are there, he may well have parental rights if he wants them. I am disturbed by how many people are responding to this thread with 'it's your baby, do whatever you want!' It is his baby too. There is a chance he is a deadbeat who will walk away as soon as the court tries to make him pay money (child support will almost certainly be ordered as part of the custody situation). But there is also a possibility that he's a lousy boyfriend but a good father. And if so, you need to make it work for your daughter. It sounds like both you and him had some unhealthy patterns. Get them fixed with therapy, and get a workable plan for your kid. I am a stepmother now, and a child of divorce myself. I spent years in therapy working out my daddy issues. Give your daughter a chance to avoid that fate. Be safe about it. But it must be acknowledged too that however much you dislike him, this is your child's father. The baby is not just 'yours' to do with as you please.
posted by ficbot at 4:44 AM on August 8, 2016

You need a lawyer NOW.

It is, simply put, 100% IMPOSSIBLE for you to heal unless you put all the components of this way-too fucked up and terrible situation into place.

And for that, you need a LAWYER. NOW. In your previous parenting questions it was suggested you needed one.

You cannot fix any of this without a lawyer because you need to go to court. You are describing a truly horrible clusterfuck of a situation which is NOT going to get better until you throw the brakes on it.

You are getting a load of amazing advice here but you need to see this advice as your starting point for getting better, not as your final place for answers.

You will get answers from a lawyer. You NEED a lawyer. You need to establish custody and visitation who tax claiming and child support and insurance and everything. You can only do this in court.

Once you get that done, you can work on how to deal with him with a therapist.

I really wish you well and I hope you understand how critical it is for you to get legal help.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 4:57 AM on August 8, 2016 [9 favorites]

With that said, it needs to be said that depending on where you live and what the laws are there, he may well have parental rights if he wants them.

The OP has already verified that, legally, she has full custody of the baby at this point. She's currently going above and beyond that by leaving the baby with him, and in fact is being put in a position where he keeps hold of the baby for hours after the agreed time. This is not a situation where the OP is unfairly refusing to recognize the father's custody rights. This is, instead, a situation where the OP is being more than fair to the father at the baby's expense, and even then he breaks his word and keeps a newborn away from her mother for hours longer than agreed.

It's theoretically possible that this guy would be a good father if the OP knew how to say no to him, but his present conduct doesn't bode well for that (since he ignores no even when he hears it) and, in any case, this has no chance of being a safe situation for the baby until and unless there is an effective way for the OP to enforce boundaries. To all appearances, since the father doesn't respect boundaries, the effective way for the OP to enforce boundaries is to insist on her own full custody for the time being.
posted by tel3path at 4:59 AM on August 8, 2016 [4 favorites]

But there is also a possibility that he's a lousy boyfriend but a good father.

There is research showing that men who sexually assault and abuse their partners also tend to abuse their children, and this man is currently sexually assaulting you (touching your breasts when you don't want him to) and he's keeping a breastfeeding infant away from her mother for unexplained hours at a time. It doesn't matter if he's abusive "on purpose" (and refusing to take "no," however it's phrased, for an answer to sex is being abusive on purpose -- if his boss said, "Let's not do this project until later," would he push ahead with it anyway? If cop pulled him over and said, "I'll need your license, but please wait a moment," would he push the license in the cop's face anyway? Most people understand that "not right now" means "no"), he's a danger to you and your child right now, given his current behaviors.

I know you said you don't want to talk to your therapist about this, but please find some sort of support to help you work through the undeserved shame and contempt you're heaping on yourself (NONE OF THE ABUSE IS YOUR FAULT!!!!) and to help you put an immediate stop to his disregarding your instructions regarding your daughter (which you can do even if you feel guilty about it for now). RAINN, your local domestic violence center, your local family law/justice center, your lawyer, and your therapist (assuming your therapist has experience working with survivors of abuse) may all be good sources of help. I really, really encourage you to find someone who can give you in-person support.
posted by lazuli at 5:37 AM on August 8, 2016 [13 favorites]

We're telling her that she has total rights to the baby first off because that's the plain legal truth (and her lawyer's advice conforms perfectly to how things work in my state, so don't think she must have just misunderstood something), and as a proxy for saying that the baby has a right to be with her mother. I was pissed off at this guy on the behalf of that little baby when the OP posted her first question, and now it turns out he's not only abusing her but kidnapping their daughter and interfering with the two of them being successful at breastfeeding -- hell no! If he's such a great dad, he wouldn't be selfishly hoarding "his" time with the baby. At this stage, the mother and infant are very much a dyad, and someone else forcibly breaking up that relationship is bad for both.
posted by teremala at 5:57 AM on August 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

I am just going to say from experience that if you take your baby and run and never look back your life will be SO MUCH HAPPIER.
posted by corb at 6:45 AM on August 8, 2016 [10 favorites]

Mod note: Comment deleted; sorry, it's not okay to post chat transcripts here, it gets into a weird privacy zone we don't want to be in. An update on steps you're taking is fine.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 7:59 PM on August 8, 2016

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