Case Study by Corey

Male aged 10 – Struggling to manage emotions with regard to his parents’ separation and his Dad’s new relationship. Mum has previously experienced Domestic Abuse (DA) from Dad but they have since been able to co-parent successfully. Mom and Dad have shared custody but mom has noticed that her son appears withdrawn following visits at Dads.

I love my mom and my dad, and I like that I get to spend time with them both a lot. When Dad met his new girlfriend things changed and suddenly Mom and Dad didn’t seem like they could agree on anything. Dad’s girlfriend was nice sometimes, but I didn’t like that she would tell me that my mom didn’t love me or that I wasn’t good at the things I liked. Over time, things got worse and she started to tell me and my Dad that my Mom wasn’t a good mom and she would criticise everything that I said or did. This made me really sad and lonely at times. Dad didn’t do anything and seemed like he just wanted to make her happy.

One day I was so sad to go to my Dad’s after school that I told my teacher how I was feeling.

Outcome One

My teacher listened to me and suggested that we call my Mom and Dad in for a meeting. I was scared about Dad’s reaction and worried that he would blame Mom for the way I felt. Mom looked like she was worried too. I was so relieved when Dad didn’t get mad but instead listened to how I felt and said sorry for letting his girlfriend make me feel that way. Deep down I did want Dad to break up with his girlfriend, but he didn’t. She would still sometimes say things I didn’t like but now my Dad would tell her to stop so it’s not too bad. Mom is happier too now because she doesn’t have to argue with Dad so much and me and mom both have a support worker now!

Outcome Two

My teacher called my Mom and explained what I had told her. Mom came straight to the school but Dad also came to pick me up at the same time. Dad was very angry and instead of listening to me he said I had to go with him to his house and that his girlfriend was waiting in the car. Dad refused to leave the school and so my mom had to call the police to help us. The police were actually nice and listened to me. Dad still won’t listen to how I’m feeling or believe that his girlfriend is not nice to me so I’ve not seen him in a while. I miss him and I hope that I can see him soon but my therapeutic worker is helping me to understand all of my overwhelming feelings.

What I would say to any young person living in a home with domestic abuse is:

It might seem like no one will believe you at first but once you do tell someone it’s like some of the weight on your shoulders is gone. I felt happy that my voice and opinions were heard.