This is in line with the author of the recent email about the alcoholic father.
I raised my kids in a home with a man, who for 17 years kept us in fear. He wouldn't allow me to have any friends at all, nor even go with my mom to lunch for fear I would tell someone about our lives.
Everything we did had to be all about him. NO matter how much praise and love we heaped on him, his needs were never met in his mind and so we always lived in fear. Once I had to leave with the kids at 5am for a soccer game 2 hours away. I usually made sandwiches, but it was so early I did not. He was checking every 30 minutes the ATM balance online and noticed I had bought sandwiches at Safeway. He yelled and screamed at me on the phone, and then at the kids when we got home.
The kids when they were 15 and 10 came to me and begged me to leave. I was scared, believed in marriage, and did not want to leave. If I didn't leave, they said they were going to leave without me. I finally found the courage to do so, and friends and family helped us flee with just our clothes.
The kids would not let me attend mediation, as they wanted nothing to do with their father. They told me not to make any visitation deals on their behalf, so the court appointed them an attorney. After numerous evaluations by psychiatric professionals, counselors, and CPS, the children's attorney and all those involved agreed not to push the kids to see their father. I never said anything, except supported the children in what they wanted. I strongly disagreed with the CA standard that in all cases, dads (or moms) should be involved even if they are mentally and physically hurtful to the children.
My children are happy to this day, have straight A's and are surrounded by positive influences.
I am glad I listened to my heart to leave, and strong enough fight for them in court. Both they know and I know, if they had to spend half the time with their dysfunctional abusive father, they would have been psychologically fragile and turned to drugs, bad friends, etc. They are self-confident and loving after four years away from him. I think fathers are important in a child's life. However, there are those cases where kids need a stable home life more than the negative influence in their lives. I am glad I prayed and had the strength to not follow the CA courts. After all I had raised my children. I think I knew them better than a law or a cookie cutter courtroom approach.