This fathers day Arch customer Jamie* is sharing his blog about how domestic abuse can damage the relationship between father and child

As with many things in life, domestic violence carries a lot of hidden damage – damage that is unseen by the outsider, only by those directly involved and subjected to the day to day behavioural patterns of an abusive partner.

Relationships between children and their fathers can get severely stretched as the siblings become engaged in a 3 way emotional battle between their parents and normality, trying to balance everything to make life as normal as possible.

But it simply does not work and is a battle that can never be won. Over time, the child gets worn down by the relentless dominating behaviour of the abusive partner, eventually giving in to their demands and unreasonable behaviour. ‘Learned behaviour’ takes over and the child will start to adopt the same abusive behavioural patterns towards their father – be that verbal, physical or a mixture. Not only does the father experience abuse from his partner, but also from the children – a sort of ‘double hit’.

Of course the abusive partner takes advantage of this, using the children as a weapon against their father – a crafty move as it means the children are almost doing the abusing for the abuser. This makes things so much harder for the person being abused – who would report their own children for domestic violence…

Eventually that day comes when the male becomes strong enough to seek professional help and take a stance against the abuse that has been going on for so long. There is so much to think about, so much uncertainty, so much worry and pain – your entire world is about to change.

Because your kids have become so conditioned to taking their mothers side, that’s where their loyalties will probably stay and that’s another heart breaker. To effectively lose your children when you have tried so hard to make their upbringings as normal and healthy as possible is painful. To have them stand against you and not believe what has happened hurts. To lose your relationship, your home and your kids is a battle – one of those on its own is enough. To have your children act as you simply never existed destroys you – you tried so hard to make their formative years happy and loving and you are alone.

But time is a healer – you build a new life, you regain your confidence and self-worth and learn how to develop healthy new relationships. Slowly but surely the pain fades, you start to forget the bad times and build new – happier – memories. And your children do the same – they grow, mature and reflect.

And the day comes when they get back in touch, say sorry and you start to move forwards together. Rebuilding bridges, knowing that both they and their father have been to some horrible places in their lives but have survived. And together they will have a future – father and children together just as it was always intended to be.

If you are a male who is worried that your relationship may be unhealthy please get in touch.

Visit www.archnorthstaffs.org.uk/support-we-provide or call 01782 222421