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4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

3/23 Interactive Board: He's Changing... I'm Not...

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6/12 Interactive Board: Unintentional Abuse

11/7 Interactive Board: Is This Abusive?

12/29 Interactive Board: There Goes the Wife...

11/4 Interactive Board: A New Me!

10/8 Interactive Board: Seeming Impossibility

9/8 Interactive Board: My Ex MisTreats Our Son

5/1 Interactive Board: I feel Dead - Towards Him

4/26 Interactive Board: Why is This So Hard?

4/19 Interactive Board: I Lost My Love...

4/7 Interactive Board: Too Guilty!

Will I Ever Be Free?

Will I Ever Be Free?

January 17, 2000

I would love to hear others' comments on the following situation.  I really find I am in need of support, advice and validation.  I am no longer living with my abuser, but he continues to affect all aspects of my life.

Although the divorce has been filed and we have lived apart for many months, my husband of 15 years is hell-bent on controlling me and my daughter's life.
I am living in my own apartment because I finally escaped, but I can never really escape.  I am trying to be independent and not allow such control, but it seems the legal system doesn't support my efforts.

I am obligated by law to allow standard visitation with our 11 year old daughter, even though she does not want it.  He fills her mind full of lies and I have to 'get her back on track' after she comes home. He uses controlling behavior to manipulate her, and I find her acting toward him exactly as I did.   My heart breaks for her.

I know the only way I am ever going to be free is to get as far away from him as possible, but I cannot leave.  He is delaying our divorce and refusing to agree that I may take our daughter with me when I move.  She wants to go with me, but he has filed a counter suit asking for sole custody and that he have the SOLE right to determine her residence!  I am appalled that an attorney would even entertain the idea, but he found one who would.  He has even asked for a JURY TRIAL!

Now it's time for depositions. I hate thought of all this litigation and invasion of privacy, with court reporters and twisted questions.

Here's one huge point which leaves me confused and frustrated. With regard to visitation, my lawyer says I have to comply with all the State guidelines and any deviation could hurt me.  On the other hand, my therapist says my daughter is mature enough to decide if she wants to spend all that time with her dad. So anytime we deviate, even a little, my husband cries about it to his lawyer.

Another issue: My therapist (who also sees my daughter) says I need to get out and learn to have fun again. He says my daughter needs to see me treated with kindness and consideration by male friends. My husband says I am having "affairs" and leaves messages on the guy's phone about "screwing his wife". How come your friend hasn't complained to your husband and warned him of pressing harassment charges? Then he calls his lawyer and my lawyer says I need to avoid anything that could hurt our case. Yes. You don't have to do anything. My husband and I have been separated for a YEAR AND A HALF!!!!!!!!!!  Of course, my daughter has never witnessed any inappropriate behavior AT ALL, but my soon-to-be-ex has to make a huge deal out of everything. 

I sometimes feel like I am a criminal!  I thought divorcing him would be easier, especially considering his behavior.  The attorneys know about all of the abuse, but this man is still able to have so many privileges.  I really don't understand!

Here is a brief history of my life with this man. These are off the top of my head.

1. He once woke me up to tell me the faucet was dripping and made me get up and tighten it.

2.  Pulled me out of the shower to show me I had parked the car wrong.

3.  Locked me out of the house when I came home too late (after telling him I would be) from working on a volunteer project WITH OTHER WOMEN!

4.  Backed me up against a wall and yelled in my face to scare me. (many times)  Did you document this with the police?

5.  Everyday when we lived together: blocked my car in so I can't leave without him leaving first.

6.  Twisted my thumb (many times) when he was mad about something. Did you document this with the police?

7.  Pushed me, shoved me, blocked me from leaving a room. Did you document this with the police?

8.  Outran the police when he was speeding when my daughter and I were in the car.  Drives recklessly and way too fast - ALWAYS. Did you document this with the police?

9.  Threw water in my face and hit my jaw with the glass leaving a "goose egg". Did you document this with the police?

10.  Bruised my arms by squeezing so hard. (many times)  Did you document this with the police?

11. Pushed me away so hard, he left a palm print bruise on my chest. Did you document this with the police?

12.  Threw antique porcelain, glass, anything he could at the brick fireplace. Did you document this with the police?

13.  Pulled everything out of the kitchen cabinets because he couldn't find something.

14   Has thrown me against a wall. Did you document this with the police?

15.  Says horrible things about me in front of my beautiful daughter.

16.  Almost was arrested in a movie theatre (while with my daughter) for assault on a minor!  He said some kids were spitting ice on him and our daughter and wouldn't stop so he "barely" touched the kid and told him to stop. The boy, age 15, reported that he got in his face and threw him up against a wall.  The police were called.  My husband was pulled out of the movie theatre (with my then 8 year old daughter left alone) and questioned.  He somehow talked his way out of it and they were asked to leave.  My daughter was mortified and terrified.  I was so upset, but didn't want to do anything because it was just days before my daughters birthday and Christmas.  I didn't tell a soul until four months later.

17.  Got so angry at our daughter he not only spanked her, he locked her out in the back yard in the heat of the day without her glasses.  She was only 7 at the time and I could not take it.  I got her in and comforted her, but I didn't confront him. Did you document this with child protective?

18.  He once blocked me from taking the car to get our daughter because she hadn't called when she was supposed to.  I had to go pick her up, on foot, in a rainstorm. 

19.  Left me alone at 2 in the morning at an outdoor event I was working for.  This was in a public park after all the lights were out in a dangerous part of town. He was mad  because he thought someone was trying to keep him from the area I was working in, which was ONLY for certain personnel.

20.  I can't even tell you how many times he pouted, quit talking, left without saying where he was going, or didn't come home and didn't call.


THERE ARE MANY MORE THINGS......He's done more to me, and abusive acts to others.  He has killed a dog that got in our back yard. Did you document this with the police? He believes it's always his word against someone else's, so he does stuff no one will see. I truly believe he feels he is above the law! That's why, especially with this type of individual, you must document, document, document, something I know you did not do - out of shame, fear, intimidation, etc. - until it was too late in the game to start documenting.

This man is a business owner, with a university degree! He doesn't drink or do drugs. He does not believe he is abusive.  He justifies everything, saying he was trying to teach me a lesson or that *I don't need a husband; I need a parent*. 

He believes that because he never hit me, that I was not abused. He did physically abuse you.  He wonders why I don't remember the good times. Sometimes, he says I am the crazy one, not him.  Sometimes, he denies everything and says I'm making stuff up!  It's horrible being in this prison! 

WILL I EVER BE FREE? Yes. In time. But first, toughen up a bit. Stop reacting to his intimidation tactics. He thrives on it. Intimidate him when he has done something out of line. Call your lawyer when he is 1/2 hour late with your child. Hold him to 100% of your written agreement and give him no slack. No favors, nothing. When you stop reacting and start standing up to him, he will let up. You won't be any fun to "play with" anymore.

Thanks for letting me vent.   S
Hang in there, Dr. Irene

I would like to read others' comments.