DEAR ABBY: Last week, my 1-year-old son, "Tommy," crawled up on the couch where his father, "Monte," was resting. Tommy smacked his daddy in the face with a toy. Monte slapped Tommy back so hard he left a welt on his face. I grabbed the baby and said some things I perhaps shouldn't have. Monte got so mad at me that he threw me on the couch and began choking me.
A neighbor called Monte's father, "Lyle," to the house. Lyle asked what happened. When I told him Monte had slapped Tommy in the face, Monte called me a liar. Then Lyle turned around and came after me, cornering me in the kitchen. He got in my face and screamed that I was at fault for Monte losing his temper. He said it was because of my "nagging." I was cornered three times. Each time I tried to move away, he'd start up again.
Monte just stood there and watched me holding the baby and getting screamed at. He didn't lift a finger to defend me. I am so hurt. It's one thing to have a fight with my husband, but his father had no place getting in my face. Monte said his dad was trying to prove a point -- that a person can only take so much. Monte said he patted his father on the back for what he did. I am no longer talking to his father. Please help me. I am desperate for guidance. -- SHAKING IN OHIO
DEAR SHAKING: To slap a 1-year-old baby and leave a welt on his face is child abuse. Throwing you on a couch and trying to choke you is spousal abuse. What his father did is verbal abuse. Monte is standing behind his father because he thinks this is normal behavior. Unless you take your baby and get out of there, your son will turn out just like his father and grandfather. So leave now, before you or your baby are physically, as well as emotionally, damaged.
If you are afraid to leave, call the National Domestic Violence toll-free hotline: (800) 799-7233. Counselors there will help you formulate an escape plan. (For people with hearing impairments, the TTY number to dial is (800) 787-3224.)