Hello and thank you for your question.
I can certainly understand your concerns regarding your safety and for your children of course, as well. What you need to do, is request a psychological evaluation be performed on your ex husband. This will need to be done legally, through an attorney or your local court system. His behavior is cause for concern and this evaluation should be able to determine his ability to parent, if he is in fact any kind of danger or risk to you or the children, etc. The children's safety and well-being definitely comes first and for example, locking himself in the bathroom and not coming out, in their presence, while he is the only adult there to care for them is negligent and also frightening for them.
So, again it is up to your ex husband (or husband) to seek out help for himself, but for now what you can do, is insist on a psychological evaluation be done that also takes into account parenting ability. You should consult with a family law attorney about how to proceed. The attorney may recommend that visits with the children stop until the evaluation is complete, but I cannot say that with any certainty. You would need to ask for expert legal advice. Also be sure to keep any evidence you have about the texts, etc. prior abuse.
It's important that you keep an open communication with your children and reassure them that you are taking care of the situation and that daddy's behavior is about daddy and noone else. Kids will so often internalize what is happening with their parents or in a divorce situation and feel they are the cause or somehow to blame. Be sure that they know in a light way, that any troubles are only between you and Daddy and that they don't need to worry about anything, except being kids. You may also want to consider family counseling for the kids as well. Please click ACCEPT button for this answer and feel free to continue the discussion even after clicking accept. Thank you.
I understand that you may be taking this approach out of fear or angering him further, but that doesn't address the problem... just kind of prolongs it. In any case, I would definitely at the very least consult with an attorney about what would be the best option.
It's not a good sign that he gets so irate and irrational... I'm not suggesting that the kids have no contact with him, but simply that he gets some help which could be mandated by the court, or that the visits are supervised perhaps for a time, until he is more stable.
I would probably not suggest to him directly anymore that he needs to get help as he only gets more agitated. Instead take your questions to an attorney who can give you clean and sound options. I understand that you are afraid of him etc. but that is exactly why you do need to seek out more help and support. It could be as easy as your husband getting on some good medications or being assessed by a psychiatrist to determine what is going on with him and how best to treat him... and that could be done by asking for a psychiatric assessment. Otherwise, you risk sort of letting him call the shots due to trying to keep him calm, and this could become a much bigger problem in the long run.
groan... I know your right.
thank you so much for being so honest, I will see my attorney this week.
You are very welcome. I know it's such a difficult time right now, but I really think you will feel better when you have more information and support, and will help you to feel more in control of this situation. I wish you all the best....thank you,