I saw my girlfriend shaking her young cousin, do I break up?

Ever since I saw her doing that in anger (the child is 4 years old), I've been seeing her in a different way.

She was shaking the kid and calling him stupid and to shut the hell up, along with shaking him and pulling his hair. Told her to stop or else I would report her. She stopped but I can't get that image out of my mind, that anger she was displaying.

Before this event happen, I though she was the girl I was glad to present to my family, smart and the one I would consider marriage in the future. Now I don't know. She claims to be very sorry and that nothing like that would happen again.

Updates:
I don't even believe in spanking a kid, much less shaking one. Now I'm thinking about that poor cousin. He looked terrified and was crying. I did tried to comfort him afterward and he felt better.
This is the first time I've ever seen her with this type of rage and can't get that out of mind.
I hate people that abuse children and I was shocking to see her doing that.

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Most Helpful Girl

  • If I were you I'd ask the child whether she has ever been rough or violent to him before, and also keep an eye out for other violent behavior from her in the future.

    If she really has never done anything like that before, then it could be that she was just frustrated with the child, especially if he/she has been really difficult. Even good people can lose control sometimes and do things they normally would never do. But if the behavior is repeated, then it would be clear that there's a problem. Either she doesn't think it's wrong to get rough on a child, or she loses control very easily. Both dangerous.

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    THIS IS NOT RELEVANT ANYMORE
    • Thank you for your perspective. When I see the child again, I'm going to ask him. Though good people can react in anger, it makes me think what if I wasn't there. She only stopped as soon as I told her I would report it if she didn't.

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What Girls Said 6

  • She is abusive. And she can seriously harm that child with shaking him. The fact you haven't stepped in. You're just as guilty. That child is defenseless, you need to do something. Fast. Where is the father. The grandparents. Call cas, that child needs protection before it's too late. And if you witness this without stepping in. You're just as guilty

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  • Talk to her about what you saw, if it's bothering you.

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  • Definitely break up. Do you really want to have children with someone like her?

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  • Omg that makes me so sick. Child abuse is so wrong. That poor kid

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  • Oh my...that's no good at all : /

    After helping to raise my nephews, I've realized that kids can be rotten little things...especially when they learn to say hurtful things. In that case, *sometimes* they need a little spank. But the shaking and name calling is a huge red flag to me. Sure, she's sorry she did it, but the fact that she did it is scary.

    How long have you been together?

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  • confront her

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    • Yes, we're going to sit down and have big discussion about this.

What Guys Said 5

  • Sometimes you need to get a 4 year old's attention..she wasn't doing him any real harm by shaking him, so why do you get so upset about it? It's not like she was nailing him to a cross or something, for crying out loud!

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    • but she was doing in a violent manner and I was concerned about the kid getting hurt

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    • Just the fact that you said that shows your level of intelligence and knowledge. Sad

    • Not going into a pissing contest with someone with such big kidneys.

  • As someone who meditates, I do have some familiarity with the workings of anger. It's as if that red mist comes over you, and for that moment, you can't see anything at all rationally, you're totally immersed in the sensation of it, the righteousness of it, it wholly blinds you to the impact that you are having on the thing you are abusing, literally very little awareness, sight of, empathy with, anyone external. Only the strongest of consciousness, of awareness can expose this type of behaviour. I'd suggest your girlfriend is in denial. She probably deep down, doesn't believe what she is doing is terribly grave, just an unfortunate instance that she doesn't really associate with herself. And what will it take for her to wake up? For her to see the gravity of the situation? One does not want to speculate!

    It's my firm belief that any person is capable of quite wicked, depraved acts. We can all be pretty nasty, even on a day to day basis. But shaking a child, is obviously, understandably, a step too far for many.

    Of course, it is up to you, your judgement, we don't know the ins and outs of the situation! I don't think I could be with someone like that unless they truly broke down, and you could sense they had changed, that it had utterly shook them up. Not from the perspective of self interest ("omg, my boyfriend might dump me"), but they were truly affected. At this stage, I believe people can change. But as we all know, it might take years, if ever, for a person to reach that point!

    We should also bear in mind that we are highly conditioned. Maybe she witnessed a lot of violence in her household growing up? Perhaps it seems to her, like a natural way of dealing with frustration.

    It's a difficult one. I suppose the only thing you can do is communicate with her, honestly, about how it impacted you, and how it made you feel, seeing it.

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    • Yes, I will talk to her more about this. I don't believe this can be a mistake. I've been angry before and I'm sure we all think about punching the hell out of those making us angry but I've never acted out nor hurt anymore in my life. I believe taking it out on someone, esp a child is still a choice one makes.

    • But yes, she did once told me about her parents arguing during her childhood and teen years. The mother would get very verbal with her father and even try to challenge him by getting in his face and following him and sometimes her father would react physically in retaliation.

    • And basically it was her mother the one that would always end up crying about how can a man hit and hurt a woman. I think it that's wrong.

  • I think that you shold really just talk to her and try to ge to the bottom of it. Because if your concern is truly for the child you breaking up with her won't really resolve that matter. I'd want to speak with her and find out if this is the way she handles discipline and then really dig into how to better address issues rather than somewhat violent behavior and verbal abuse.

    I think talking to her and getting her to address the manner in which she disciplines is the best course of action... then if you want to break up with her that is on you but people can change and improve and that would be my primary focus

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  • Maybe, yes.

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  • "She claims to be very sorry and that nothing like that would happen again."

    Ask the kid if she has done it before.

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