Verbally abusive ex and 12yo son
My ex and have a 12yr old son. We split due to ex's verbal abuse and currently have a unique living situation. As we own our home and have a unit in the lower half of the house, I have moved down there for financial reasons as well as being able to be close to my son. We have come up with a custody schedule that works but my son is often in my unit as he prefers to be with me. He has recently told me things that are really disturbing to me: Dad called me asshole and said fuck you to my face. My friends don't want to come over when dad is in charge because he's mean to me in front of them. I don't feel supported by dad. I didn't share the fact that I was getting bullied at school with him because I don't think he will do anything about it.
I have witnessed my ex being harsh in his consequences -as in punishment doesn't fit the crime so to speak - and have had to step in. He recently accused our son of stealing money (almost $200!) but my son denies this and says he didn't even know that dad kept money in the house. I know kids do stupid things, but honestly believe him. However, my ex "still has a bitter taste in his mouth toward our son" (his words) over this issue and has lashed out at him because of this. I don't know what happened with the money - ex tends to be absent minded and disorganized but regardless I believe my son. We are close and I know him well.
My question is : How do I support my son without vilifying his dad? I was the victim of verbal abuse from a parent and know how horrible it feels - not to mention having tolerated years of abuse from ex. I can't control others' behavior but what can I do to support my kid and make sure he doesn't internalize this or worse start acting this way? Are there books specifically for kids around this so I am using age appropriate language? In some ways I feel I'm very well equipped to support him given my experience. However, I also realize that dealing with my ex is VERY emotionally triggering for me, my mama bear instinct kicks into high gear. But I can't help but think that I really don't want to sour his relationship with his dad. Do I tell dad what kid has been telling me about him? I tend to think yes.
I would also like to know if it is possible to sue(?) request(?) 100% custody because of verbal abuse. How can I prove this is happening? Ex says one thing, kid another - ex tends to rarely take accountability for his words/actions and if he does it's short lived, it WILL happen again. I just want to protect and empower my son. I don't want him feeling and growing up with the issues I've had to face and overcome in my life.