How to get Dr. Irene's Advice: Look here!

Ask The Doc Board

The CatBox Archives

 

(Archives)

4/14 Interactive Board: Codependent Partners

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

3/1 Interactive Board: D/s Lifestyle

1/14 Interactive Board: My Purrrfect Husband

12/12 Interactive Board: What if He Could Have Changed?

10/23 Interactive Board: Quandary Revisited

8/24 Interactive Board: Quandary! What's Going On?

7/20: Dr. Irene on cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness

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!

Doc@DrIrene.com

Comments for Sheer Desperation

Comments:  Sheer Desperation

Material posted here is intended for educational purposes only, and must not be considered a substitute for informed advice from your own health care provider.

Courtesy of Dr. Irene Matiatos   Copyrightę 1998-2002. The material on this website may be distributed freely for non-commercial or educational purposes provided that author credit is given. For commercial distribution, please contact the author at Doc@drirene.com

Up

 

 

Submit
Wednesday April 24, 2002

OH BOY.........How much of this stuff I recognise. I am married to a control freak too. He took the fuse out of the tumble dryer so we couldn't use it....I am LOL not allowed to use the washing machine in case I break it....lots of other stuff.

I understand so well how we latch onto how they feel and make excuses for them..and in the end it is we who suffer and our kids.

I can't say get out because I haven't yet.. so complicated to do but I can say do get your own bank account and make sure your wages go into it. It will give you a sense of taking back control again of your own life. Don't be surprised though if he retaliates.. Never ever ask him about doing stuff always just do it even if it is paint the walls. Just keep a spare supply of light bulbs....

And for when you are finally able..  have your bags packed..and run! For Robby's sake alone do this A visit to the DV centre first to record what has happened so far will not be a bad idea either. love JAY  Thank you Jay. A lady who knows, Jay is one of the 4 administrators running the CatBox.

Submit
Wednesday April 24, 2002

Madelyn,

Please get out while you can. I agree with the Doc in that you should stop your paycheck from going to this MONSTER immediately. Pack a few things & tuck them away. Tell the kids & have them do the same. Maybe ask your boss for a day off (or just call in sick for a couple of days!) & after your husband goes to work, RUN FOR IT!

You can no longer worry about his safety. Look what he’s done to yours. Someone who loves you wouldn’t make you feel threatened & scared.

If you need to chat for support or otherwise, let me know.

estrellalorca@hotmail.com

Vervaine

Submit
Wednesday April 24, 2002

Dear Madelyn, Reading your story was like reliving my own life with my abuser. Girl, just go. Your children deserve peace and safety. You deserve peace and safety. I can tell you I know it is hard. Staying sick is ALWAYS easier than getting better. However, as I sit here two years after leaving, I am okay. NO, I AM GREAT! My children are GREAT. You have some great insight and the first step is knowing that you and your children are being abused and that abuse is wrong. As Dr. Irene said. You left once, you can do it again. Get all the help and safety precautions lined up and go. When I left the second time, I had all my family and friends ready for us. `I sat and thought of all of the possible obstacles that could come up and figured out what to do about them. I even had a new job lined up. I was scared to death because I was pregnant with his child but I knew I me and my children had any chance of a real life, I had to go. I was also scared because my entire identity was wrapped up in this warped reality of his abuse. I was his narcissistic supply and even though I knew that he would find his own way and get another "supply", just the thought of the guilt I would have for making his like difficult was overwhelming. So just believe you are doing the right thing. And come here EVERY CHANCE YOU GET. READ READ READ. It was the one thing that helped me the most. Good luck! Angie

Submit
Wednesday April 24, 2002
 

Madelyn: When I was in the ambivalent and beaten down state, I was reading a book that said, "If you felt that if God gave you permission to leave the marriage, would you do so?" My immediate answer was YES! It then went on to say that of course you have that permission. Call the women's shelter to get support and help working out a plan to leave. Do it quickly. You HAVE permission from the universe to do this. Your children really need you to take this bold and scary step. You can do it.

 

Submit
Wednesday April 24, 2002

Reading this post got me more upset than usual. How much abuse do those children have to take before you decide that enough is enough. Will he have to put a gun to someone's head. At this point you have allowed your children to be exposed to a man with a criminal mind and criminal behavior. To stay any moment longer is criminal in and of itself. These kids have no control over their life yet. They depend on you to keep them in a safe situation. You have not and are not doing that. Please wake up to the reality of what is going on and save your family.

Submit
Wednesday April 24, 2002

Dear Doc- Just to let you know, I had a meeting w/ the local DV social worker. :)  She has accepted me as a client, and I may join their group (again - went through the program in 1997). She is also making an appt for Robby with a counselor that specializes in anger mgmt and coping skills for kids living in an abusive environment. Excellent! She is also trying to get me accepted for free legal help from the Legal Aid Society. Fingers crossed! They have a grant to help people who are trying to leave abusive relationships. I am also working w/ a "coach" from the Ford Institute who is helping me with other issues. I am also going to have my prescription of Paxil refilled. I take it seasonally, but even the spring weather's not helping the depression this year. I will get the books you suggested also. Yippeee! All good stuff!

What makes me really, really nuts is that I keep waiting for one more thing, that one thing that forces me to say "that's enough, I'm leaving", but it never seems to come. It almost feels like I need a little push (or a big one) out the door. I feel so pathetic. By the way, I am attending online CoDA meetings as well, because I'm am such a terribly codependent person. It seems like I know what to do, I just need to convince myself to do it. At least you know your faults. It's your life and nobody can make decisions for you or convince you to move before you're ready; nor should they. But you are thinking about things & taking steps. That's very good. One more thing: why is it you need one more event? What are your thoughts? What specifically gives you pause? Are you hoping it will all just blow over?

Thank you again for your help.

Madelyn

 

 

Submit
Wednesday April 24, 2002

Their ability to manipulate is something, isn't it? My ex has serious health problems. I thought that if I left, they'd be exacerbated. Well, his health doesn't seem to have changed much, although he still tells me he's dying. Lesson: your husband will survive. Let his problems be his.

Your children need you. They need you to stop mothering your husband and start mothering them. I know from experience the ambivalence that keeps us from acting; but what is so difficult to do for ourselves, we may find easier to do for the children who depend on us.

Can you start counseling for yourself and your son? Taking relatively small steps (contacting the domestic violence people, talking to the police, keeping your paycheck for yourself . . . .) will help you boost your confidence. Yes, your husband may explode, but he explodes anyway. And with every step, you begin to take yourself and your power back. If confrontation is too frightening, at least take the steps to find support for yourself.

To feel frightened and powerless is awful, but it's also an illusion. If for no one else, you can take back your control of your life for your children's sake, so that the cycle does not repeat itself.

God bless.

Submit
Thursday April 25, 2002

Madelyn,

I have been there. Afraid of what he might do, and living in constant fear. It wore me down and I lost my spirit. I was dying inside. Trust your gut on this one; he is using power over you to control you through intimidation and fear. Get out now. It will not get better. He may sense that he is losing control of you or over himself. The cycle of abuse continued to get worse over time for me, and it did not matter what I did my husband was exploding. My husband was taking his anger out on me and my son. He was jealous of my son or acted like he was in competition. He favors my daughter. My son has developed defense mechanisms and is suffering emotionally now. He is angry (and at me for not protecting him) In fact, we are having difficulty because my daughter is emotionally suffering from being "daddy's baby". She doesn't understand she is being used and manipulated. My husband lost it when he realized I was asking lots of questions and he was losing control over me. He punched our family dog and threatened to "kill" it. BTW he just admitted this to a family mediator because he forgot he denied it last time. He went through counseling but he used it to learn what not to do, and he continues to deny he has a problem. He really believes this too. I was told he can't be helped if he doesn't want help.

I went to a domestic violence support group and obtained free attorney advice. I had my husband removed from the home for the best interest of the children. I called the police for assistance. They know my husband well now due to a stack of police reports. No material possession house or "stuff" is worth staying for. The courts will most likely order him out of the home or get you some temporary orders for support. Dr. Irene gave you excellent advice (as usual :) :) ) withdraw money, and get copies of all your personal documents (birth certs, ss cards, account #'s). If you go to a shelter they have a list of items, and ideas to stash stuff in hiding. They also had places to get cell phones, phone cards, store items, and foster care for your pets. Lots of free counseling for you and your children. Your 14 year old really would benefit from peer group counseling to know other kids are going through similar situation. My son could release some of his pent up anger and frustration. I had a bag packed at a friend's home of my children's clothing and extra cash for a couple of days of food, etc. I was fortunate to have a program called "Just Ask" available; they even brought food when my husband cut off grocery money. I told one friend and one neighbor (so they would call the police if they heard anything) about the escalating behavior. Excellent idea. I told my friend to meet me at a secret spot so he would not find me. He was restrained from the home and has to stay 50 feet away from me. He has constantly provoked me to the point I don't even react any longer. I was awarded primary custody and exclusive use of the home. He was ordered to pay family support. He tried to turn the tables (accusing me of being abusive i.e. setting me up to react) but it has backfired. Sooooo important not to react! He contradicts himself so often he can't tell fantasy from reality. He has tried every trick in the book to manipulate me into "talking things over" or allowing him around me. Due to his constant harassment and immature tactics I have decided to continue with the process of divorce even if he finally enters counseling for himself. Smart. The last mediation we went to he said he wanted "marriage" counseling even though he is living with another woman and does not consider his alcohol use a problem. I do. It's been a year and he still has not "woke up" to the fact that he is suffering consequences of his actions. The only thing he notices if the lack of money in his paycheck. He continues to blame me for his disposition. He makes all kinds of false accusations and puts me down to anyone that will listen. I simply told him that I could not live with someone that does not take responsibility for his actions, and that I will not allow him to treat me with disrespect. Wow, and it took me a few years to say that with confidence. I put my foot down. And how!

I was co-dependent. That was my biggest hurdle. I was protecting him instead of children and myself. I panicked at the thought of abandonment and did not know if I was strong enough to stand up to him. I feared retaliation. I finally got to the point I could not live in fear any longer. I leaped into fate. I had 2 years of therapy to conquer this distorted belief that I was responsible for his behavior. I believe I contributed to the breakdown of our marriage (lack of boundaries and discipline) but I accepted more than my fair share of responsibility. Once I grasped the concept that we each carry our own burden, and responsibility to each other not for each other Very well put. then I was able to separate who was responsible for what. I read "Boundaries" and attended support groups for validation, assertion, and conflict resolution skills. I am in therapy but currently taking a break since I am feeling balanced or centered. Believe me you will get there too.

I can't tell you how much better I feel and how much my self esteem sky rocketed after I left the abusive relationship, and learned to stand on my own. It's been a year now. I went through a grieving process and finally learned how to "let go" for both of our well-being. I realized that I was in love with who I thought he was instead of who he really was. What he has done lately is confirm my notion that he does not really love me. As I said before "I loved him too much to allow him to continue to behave this way". My therapist told me something that I am still absorbing. She said, "You can not love and fear someone at the same time." Yes. I knew down deep we were not capable of loving each other since we both lacked self-worth. We had too much unfinished business. I didn't love myself and could not trust that I would do what was necessary to protect myself, and my children. Now I know I will, and that has changed who I am today. :) He denied the abuse, the effects of his childhood abuse, but "acted out". I knew my children would repeat the cycle if I didn't go get help especially for myself.

Help is available. Build a support group outside of your friends and family. I found this to be the most helpful. He could not manipulate people that he did not know. You're taking a plunge into the unknown, but I can promise you as a survivor, after you go through the process you will come out stronger. I have watched my children finally relax (for the exception of visitation issues with the stbx - he is still playing games) grow and thrive in a loving safe environment. We don't walk on egg-shells. We eat lots of mac & cheese, but we have fun doing it. I have gained confidence that I can handle just about anything that comes my way. I learned how to disengage and not react to his behavior, which was a life saver for me.

I hope this helps. Please continue to post here or in the Catbox. I have not been around the Catbox lately because I started a new job. I hope I can offer you some encouragement and support. Another good book to get you through the day and really tough times "The Language of Letting Go" by Melody Beatty. Read all the codependent books and join a live support group immediately. It really does help.

Best wishes to you! Dr. Irene was right. Coming here you are less stuck by writing this letter and coming for support.

Peace to you,

LisaMM  Peace to you LisaMM. Thank you for sharing your story and offering your support.

Submit
Thursday April 25, 2002

Dear Lisa- Thank you so much for your post! It's a relief to know that someone else has been there, and is living a better life. I do attend online CODA meetings, and try to Beattie's material. I just bought "Language of Letting Go" a couple of weeks ago, and try to read a passage a day. It's such a struggle for me to just make the decision and leave. I took my oldest child out last night, and had my 14 yo stay at his grandmother's because my husband was in a mood. He's upset because he doesn't think the kids are keeping the house clean enough. He said he was "a man at the end of his rope", I told him to "join the club." I knew he was in a "mood" so, we just took off to Denny's for a bite to eat. It was actually fun. I do have a question for you, at what point did you decide to end it? What was the last straw, or was there?

I'm going to meet with the DV social worker in a half hour, and I feel very positive about that. Thanks again for your input. Keep us posted!

Submit
Friday April 26, 2002

Dear Madelyn, I live with my abusive brother and have wanted to get away from him for years. My only advice is to get out while you can. I developed a disability unrelated to my brother, but it limits me financially and physically. I enclosed the living room with locked doors, which has become my sanctuary. Fortunately, we both avoid each other as much as possible. However, there are legal entanglements, a co-owned house and a trust that he accuses me of stealing from, of course! Probably a legal battle ahead.

Good to hear you joined a DV group, I also get support there. Keep coming back to this site, it really helps. Your husband has already pulled enough "last straws." You are waiting for the perfect time to leave, there is no perfect time. He has already done enough damage. I understand your sympathy for him. I still feel sorry for my brother, he is a sad case. But, I know that he intentionally steals from me, threatens to manipulate me, etc.

BTW, I am quick to call police if he physically threatens me. My plan is to move out without telling him where or when I'm going. Best of luck to you. You can get through this! Sis Hi Sis!

Submit
Friday April 26, 2002

Dear Madelyn, Why do you feel you have to wait for "one more thing to happen". You don't need to wait for validation. You have that already from Doc and all the other women who've posted to this site. Please save yourself from this man. But more importantly, realize that he's still getting at you through BOTH your sons. He's turning one against the other and treating him horribly. He's an extension of you. And he's not concerned about the child you both have together either. He's using your baby as emotional blackmail against you and the the wedge between you and your other son. Has your son accused you of loving the baby more than him?

Another thing I would advise. Get yourself educated in money and your financial issues. Believe me, there are a lot of people out there who'll be willing to help you part from your money if you don't know how to manage it. Suzy Orman has good books on finances. Get a credit card NOW in your own name before your divorced. Excellent idea. Have it sent to your mother's if you must. Call the other credit cards and get your name OFF them when your ready to leave. YES. You might want to consider renting a PO Box also. Just pay ahead so you won't get a bill sent to your address. This is for any legal papers that you wouldn't want to go to your home address. Somehow, tuck away at least $50 emergency money...and of course that credit card in your own name, in case you need to go somewhere for the night fast. If your really planning on leaving there's all kinds of other things you can do to give yourself peace of mind. You might want to tuck away/move snap-shots and other items of importance to you in a place you can grab them quickly when you leave. All these little things that you do will give you more control over your situation.

Good luck....hope some of what I said helps you.

Submit
Saturday April 27, 2002

Madelyn,

You are much too focused on the minute details of he said she said in the moment and not seeing the big picture. See the situation for what it is. The man is an abuser, he treats you and your kids terribly, he will not change, you need to leave, period. To make it easier to handle take it one step at at time. 1) find a place to stay temporarily. When you have done that contact an attorney, 2) begin the proceedings for separation/divorce. Once you have a separation agreement with the courts they will order him to help you out financially or garish his wages. That is probably the only way you will get any money from him. Don't wait until you have built up "enough money to leave", that could be years. Do what others have done to get themselves free of this bondage. You do not need any more reasons to go. Your children are suffering! Getting them counseling while still living with the man is like throwing a cup of water on a blazing fire. If you don't leave than you are being negligent of them, this is as bad as abuse. You job as a parent is to care for and protect your children from harm. You are not doing this. See the situation for what it is. Each individual has to move at their own pace, in their own way. Madelyn is moving ahead; she's not procrastinating until she has a pile in the bank. It is not true that getting counseling at this point is ineffective. Madelyn is facing a HUGE decision and she needs to feel internally ready to make her move, if and when she does it. And that's the way it has to be for each of us.

Submit
Monday April 29, 2002

Dear Doc & Gang- Thanks again for your input. It helps to know that you are here when I need a hand. I am seeing an attorney on Thursday to check what my rights are. I'm not waiting, Yippeee! I'm being careful. The safety of my children, all of them, comes first. Removing us from the home is my goal, but I have to be smart. I got info from my employer today regarding the money in my 401k. I will try to use that, although it's not much, to help rent an apartment. My legal concerns are over our son. My husband will fight tooth & nail for him. I am making progress. I read "Too Good To Leave; Too Bad To Stay" and "Invisible Wounds" over the weekend when my husband was at work. I dread that he will be home for the next 3 days. I am mentally prepared to leave at a moments notice though. I am also looking for any apartment that is big enough for all of us. I explained to the older boys that we may have to manage w/ a 2 bedroom for a while. They didn't seem to mind. Thanks again for your support. Hang in there...

Submit
Monday April 29, 2002

Madelyn, Good for you. It sounds like you've got things moving along and are trying to be as safe as you can for you and your children. In response to the Docs remarks I'd have to disagree with two points. One- Madelyn should move at her own pace. Yes I agree. If Madelyn were the only one involved, however when children are subject to abuse and no one is protecting them from that then I think one needs to move as quickly and safely as possible, 2) the point about counseling was not that it did not have benefit, but it's difficult to overcome and move forward when in the middle of the battle, particularly for the kids. It's not so much that the counseling is no good, it's that staying in the environment is too overwhelming for the counseling to do as much good as it could.

Submit
Tuesday April 30, 2002

Hi...I agree with Doc on the counseling. Getting COUNSEL(ing) can take many forms. Right now Madelyn is still in need of emotional support and will definitely be confronted by her husband before she can get into a safe peaceful environment. She will need counsel/counseling through-out this whole process. Yes. Her own counseling. And it is a process. The first steps to leave and move on. The next part of that process will be the need to do the "work" part of the counseling that I think your referring to: healing and getting better. So, while she needs to be in a peaceful/safe environment, the counseling and support she's getting now are not a waste and are definitely needed. Sometimes you just need a person who has no personal interest/investment in you to look at what your doing that objectively and tell you your right. There is no need to wonder if it's said cause "they're being nice" or they're your friend etc. You just have that need at times. It leaves no doubt in your mind about your own personal convictions.

Submit
Tuesday April 30, 2002

I think my point about the counseling for the son is not being understood. I am not putting down the counseling. I was implying that it is not enough and not as much progress will take place, for the children in particular, when they are still in a hostile environment not of their own choosing. One could be lulled into thinking that now that he is in counseling it will all be better. That counseling will make up for staying in the environment. Some may see it that way. Let me use a different example. One that may be more understandable. Let's say that the form of abuse is sexual and that it was a daughter who is being sexually molested by the step dad. The mother keeps saying she's not sure if she should stay or go. She's still dependent on this man. She knows this abuse is taking place, but she doesn't move on it. She takes her daughter to see a counselor, but all this time the step father is still molesting her and her mother is doing nothing to protect her. Do you see where I'm coming from here. When it is sexual abuse there is a different understanding of the imperative to move quickly, but it should be the case when children are exposed against their will and without their choice to a hostile and abusive environment.

Submit
Friday May 03, 2002

Hi Madelyn,

I left an emotionally abusive marriage after 27 years. There was no physical violence except when he came home drunk and I was downstairs sewing. The kids were little and I did not run to the door and greet him. This was an expectation of his. He staggered downstairs and picked up a kid's plastic bowling pin and threw it so hard it made a welt and broke the skin on my arm.

We had been together since age 18. I empathize with your uncertainty of whether to leave or stay. It takes time (and sometimes the final line to be crossed) to come to this life altering decision and I'm sure the time frame is different for each of us depending on our circumstances. Our daughter has a genetic disorder that required a lot of time, money and effort. My son has Autism/Aspergers and Tourettes (diagnosed at age 21).

My former spouse was also into power and control. I worked full time and was not allowed to write a cheque to pay a bill. I never knew his income until after I signed a separation agreement (one May) and a paper came in late July (that year) telling me his income and I had 2 weeks to appeal if I chose to. I was belittled for my financial contributions and told that I just made enough to mess up his income taxes as he couldn't claim me. (At school, he was after me as a teenager to 'quit and marry me', I'm glad I didn't quit. He always belittled my job as tokenism and I'm glad I didn't quit that either. It is so important to not be dependent financially if you can manage it ).

 

I hid normal wear and tear things from him on a daily basis. My then 15 year old son would come to me with tears and anxiety stricken as an old plastic light switch was broken. I would glue it, tape it and move an old dresser in front of it in hope that his Dad wouldn't find it. Any nick on the wall was a cause for panic, and I would move furniture in my daughters room so I could prop a picture ( we weren't allowed to put picture hangers on the walls, just live with the ones that were there when we moved in when we were 20 and 21), on a table to cover the 'wound' until I knew he would be out of town for a few days and could paint it. If my former spouse spilt milk, it was my fault for being there and being a distraction or my fault for not being there and pouring it for him. He threw the breakfast I made him in the garbage because the milk in his glass was sour. (The milk was not on his plate). He could shout, hiss and scowl like no other. Every day, we tried not to tick him off and everyday we failed. Every day the kids were in tears at the table as he criticized and blamed. When they would run from the table in tears, he would rant at me. "You tell your son...". My son pulled a knife on his dad at age 15 after a 'supper session of humiliation', where his dad continued to chase him down the stairs and force his way into our son's room. I tried hard to get us into counseling, as I was fearful of the anger that was built up and also was having concerns that my son may be schizophrenic (talking and laughing to himself, no socialization, biting his knuckles, swinging a stick when he thought he was alone and swearing). His dad did not want anything to do with it and I couldn't convince my son ( when his dad would not back me up). My formed spouse minimized concerns about the kids. I think this was because it was all about him. When they were small and a read to them at bed time, he would holler at me because he wanted attention.

Although, I did not need permission, I was afraid to leave. Like you, I thought I needed something to put me over the edge. It came. One boxing day when my son was 17 and downstairs in the shower, my former spouse was ranting because our son's car was parked in the driveway behind his car. It was -26 and he would have to move two cars. I volunteered to move our son's car to stop the ranting. I couldn't reach the gas pedal and attempted to move the seat up. My husband began a rant that he told me never to move the seat as I would wreck the mechanism that made the seat go up and down. He carried on so. I said nothing. A police car was coming slowly down the street. (I have no idea why.) The car stopped and the police officers did not leave until I was in the car and had moved it. This was my turning point. I had a responsible position at work as a nurse and a counselor. I made decisions on a daily basis at work and managed well. I was the one that got relieved of surgical duties when a crisis arose. I was the one that was sent to talk people down while the clinic waited for the psychiatrist to come, that went with victims to their residences to get belongings after knifing incidents. I was responsible. I had stayed for my daughter as her medication costs were high and there had not been time to think of leaving. She was in the hospital often or going for treatments 3 times a week. She was on her own now and doing well. Now there was time to think. We returned to the house and with my tears streaming, in a very even quiet tone, I delivered the following message: "My work with you is done now. We have two beautiful children and I have no regrets. I can no longer stay in this marriage." He said I could never make it on my own. I would be just existing from pay cheque to pay cheque and paying the bills. No more was said.

I continued to work, cook clean, make and deliver his desert to him as he sat in his recliner watching TV. I continued to run up and down the stairs and do the washing and go out side and tend to the yard (my sanctuary) and he continued to watch TV. In his mind, nothing had changed or needed changing. In my mind everything had changed. I brought home a 'marriage counseling video series from work and asked him to watch it with me. He got angry and said what if the neighbours hear us watching it, they will think our marriage is in trouble. I asked him to go to counseling with me. He didn't need it.

I worked out of town 2 days a week and in town the other 2 days. I drove home every day. I opened an account at a bank near work and deposited my expense account cheques directly there. Like you, my main cheque was directly deposited into his bank and I was afraid to change it, least he found out I was beginning to make plans to leave. I scrounged grocery money and made a lot of soup and casseroles. I used the extra to buy some basics which I had asked a friend if I could store. I gathered up my birth certificate, old income tax returns, phone numbers, a few personal items for quick leaving and left them at a friends. I made a new address book for him (the same kind on the counter) and made sure the phone numbers of anything related to me (friends, co-workers' information) was omitted. I told my son that his dad and I both loved him and that would not change. I told him that I was leaving the marriage. He was 20 then and had had his second depressive episode. He said he hated his Dad and never wanted to see him again. I asked him not to hate his dad, that some people just have different capacities to care about other people and show that caring. I suggested that he meet his Dad for coffee in a neutral place when he was ready to and that way he could be in control of the situation should he choose to leave.

 

Madelyn, life does get better. That was 3 years ago now. The first year was the hardest and you learn alot. Take time to learn about yourself. The best things in life are free: having the inner peace to enjoy watching the sunrise and sunset, noticing the shape of a snowflake or the first perennial to poke through the ground in the spring, just sleeping when you are tired because you have serenity. I have a small house, a garden, a yard I'm proud of and I'm not living from pay cheque to pay cheque. I have a good life.

I remarried in the winter and it is amazing to live with someone who is your best friend in a partnership relationship. Every day I work hard and look forward to going home. :) (I used to look forward to going to work.) Do I have any regrets? My Mom and Dad said they didn't know how I put up with it all those years. (Of course, not a word was mentioned until I left the marriage.) I think they felt I should have left sooner. I can not live with 'should of, would of, could of. I have no regrets. The good things I took from my former relationships are the appreciation of life when it is going well, appreciation for the outdoors (for from spring until fall, the yard was my sanctuary), the appreciate for painting rocks, as I like to paint and my former spouse would not let us hang pictures, so I painted rocks and put them in the garden and made displays so the yard would be pretty while the first plants were sprouting and the fall plants had died off.

Life is to be lived each day and enjoyed each day. Ask yourself Madelyn, how you would feel if you were diagnosed with a serious illness. Would you have any regrets about what you had done with your life, your children's lives?

 

There is a saying from an ex that goes " I will miss you for the rest of my life, but I will not miss the rest of my life for you".

Good luck with your decision making. Life can get better.

LL  Dear LL, Your story is truly amazing; what you went through was Hell. Thank you for writing. doc

Submit
Monday May 06, 2002

Dear LL- Thank you for sharing your story. It touched me deeply. The more I read, the closer I get to leaving. I visited Legal Aid last week, and am waiting to find out if they'll take my case. If not, I think I'll get a legal separation, because it's less expense and you have the right to divorce after a year w/out grounds. In New York, you have to prove you have grounds for divorce. Thanks again for your comments - you inspire me. Madelyn. She certainly is inspiring! When you are ready Madelyn, your story will be amazing too...

 

Submit
Monday May 06, 2002

Hi Madelyn,

I have been where you are, finally left, and two years later am so much happier. At first it was really hard (I had almost no resources), but just being away from his constant anger, controlling behaviors and provocation was a relief. Some days it felt like everything was going wrong, and starting over at my age made me depressed, but at least my life was my own again. All my problems were mine and within my power to solve.

Finally dealing with life on your own terms is such a relief. You realize that *you* are sane and can make good decisions. It's hard to believe that when you're pouring all your energy into your abuser's problems and bad behaviors. Because no matter what you do, he's always going to have the same problems and make everyone living with him feel crazy too.

You ask what is the last straw that makes a person leave -- what is the one thing the abuser does that makes you decide to end it? The answer does not lie with your abuser and his behavior. It's not about him. It's about when *you* decide "I don't deserve this." Yes. So keep focusing on yourself, and get support from as many places and people as you can. Yes. It's really great that you've realized he's a creep who can't be reformed, but also realize that leaving is *your* decision, not based on his actions, but based on *you*. Yes!  What you want is important! Abusers spend all their time chipping away at this belief Yes. (they are the only important ones, and you are selfish to think otherwise), but you can and will regain confidence and self-esteem. Yes!

Good luck to you and your children; it sounds like you are getting stronger and are making some smart decisions.

L

Submit
Wednesday May 08, 2002

Madelyn, lying is a full time job isn't it? And I think to myself what an example I am setting for my children when they know I lie to their father because I fear his response and how mad he gets. Here is the real truth: I am so sick of him getting so mad over the smallest things that I cant take anymore so I LIE about everything to avoid going thru it with him. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive; does that hit home? I find myself with every lie forgetting the last lie I made up and I get caught so of course all I hear from him is I am a pathological liar and he can't trust me. The truth again: I CANT TRUST HIM and what he does to me emotionally. My daughter has said to me so many times, "I wish he would just DIE, I hate him so much." I do try to discourage wishing death upon anyone. My heart goes out to you but we have take the first step in at least recognizing there is something wrong here, this behavior is not right. I didn't want to believe it either but we wouldn't be on this site if we didn't believe that, I would love for you to E-mail me at new4445@aol.com if you have a chance to chat. From one liar to another, we are taking the first step for once in our lives to seek out the TRUTH and it begins with the men that are abusing us; the truth will set us free Take care, Linda Ain't that the truth!

Submit
Saturday May 11, 2002

I would love to talk to you myself. I too have almost the same thing going on in my life but I was thrown out by the police with my three kids, last June since it is HIS house and my name is not on the deed. Please write to me! Barb Wild, 41 three kids in New York.

Submit
Monday May 13, 2002

Dear Barb- Can I have your e-mail address? Thanks- "Madelyn"

 

Submit
Tuesday May 21, 2002

Madelyn, years ago when my 1st child was little, my husband also used the child as a threat for me not to leave. He made comments that he would lie & make me out to be an unfit mother. I stayed because I couldn't stand the thought of losing my baby. I know now that he was just manipulating me. I know now that there's no way that he would have gotten full custody. When it comes to the money problem, there's no way that I'd let my husband take control of my money. He's always had more than me. I'm always telling my kids, that if money were no object, then I'd be gone in a minute. He's made me feel incompetent in my own abilities. Thus,it's hard for me to find a good full time job. I'll close with saying that I wish I would of left a long time ago. It would have been easier than now. Good Luck

Submit
Wednesday May 22, 2002

Dear Friends- Thank you so much for your kind words and advice. Just a quick update to let you all know how I'm doing. I found my son a counselor through the DV shelter who specializes in kids who come from abusive environments. What's better is my son likes the counselor. I'm seeing the counselor from the DV shelter every other week, and she is helping me put together a plan to leave. I also went to Legal Aid for an entrance interview, and I'm waiting to see if they will help me. If not, my cousin is sending me money to help with my legal fees. I applied for graduate school, am joining a "Lifestyle Makeover" group (Cheryl Richardson is a great author) and have also applied for a scholarship to a weekend workshop with Debbie Ford (she's my other favorite author). Wow!

As far as my relationship w/ my husband, he's in a "non-abusive" period because we are going on vacation. I know this won't last for more than a couple of weeks, and he will never change. I originally thought that when I filed for divorce that I would give him the house. But now, I've changed my mind. I'm keeping the house, my kids - and I deserve it!

In short, I'm progressing, and am so grateful that I have found this website. Thanks again for all of your support!!!! Good luck to you Madelyn. You're on your way! Doc

Submit
Friday May 31, 2002

Hello all....I have come here from patricias site...havent gotten her book yet, but i think i should...will try to give you the 30 sec version.... was divored in 1990...met current husb...married in 1992...(he had string of GFs from work and kept them until i blew him off and he proposed to me after i avoided him for 3 wks)..I bought it....i, too , heard the "no one will ever love you more than me" we had two children together, i had two from prev marriage...he was soo hard on my son, that he went to live with his dad last july and husb doesnt want to have anything to do with him (tho his friends and family told him to not be as hard as he was on him...he played fav with my older daugh...till recently) so, I dont see him unless i can take him out of our house and to my parents so he is not uncomforable around husb....(course...i am not allowed to blame him for that...and what a lesson he is teaching our younger children....piss me off and i can disown you) i have had every instance that you all have...name calling, jealousy, trying to fight with me while i am at work....work at 911 by the way....) etc...and he can shift from i hate you, to lets screw..i cannot...i have slept with everyone in the county as far as he is concerned....i am not allowed to talk to or have friendships with males....he, on the other hand, has had friendships with women coworkers, they give him cards, gifts etc....he was involved with his exgf this past sweetest day (but the card i found was just to make me notice him and make me jealous...her idea..they did nothing wrong)I know i am rambling here...but here is the best part...mr verbal abuser is a cop!! in fact, he just visited the genesis house last week to learn about DV....he knows every cop, atty, and judge...he threatens me to stay, "i will take the kids...etc etc..." and then is happy when he KNOWS (he has to know, right?) that his threats have kept me ....I am so numb to his sucking up, that when he professes his love to me, i almost bust out laughing...and a dialogue runs thru my head of things i WANT to say, but know if i do, it wont be right, or we go tit for tat for every past transgression on either side...aint worth wasting my breath.... so, i guess what i need here is advice....i belong to narcissistic personality disorder group on yahoo...but they dont get as involved as i find you to be....I am about to do battle with the entity (COP) that you guys would call for help.....any input would be appreciated....well, i did it today...called the genesis house from his own pamplet thru the police dept....they said i wasnt the first wife of a cop to call...they told me that if i file a protection order, he cannot work as a cop and cant carry a gun until it is lifted.....they offered me a place to stay if things got bad....they told me not to worry if i did go there...(since he knows where it is, i would still be protected) i know if i file that order and his reputation is "tarnished" and the whole town knows that he is a VA that I dont know what he would do....he already has a temper...and his threats of taking the kids made my counselors eyes roll....shes heard it all before.....also,he said he called one of my male coworkers today and threatened him...havent talked to him yet, but he didnt give me the gist of the converstation.....i know i am gonna have to leave...i just know if i play the ace in my hand , i am VERY afraid when i do, what he will do....will have to do something this week...please keep me in your prayers!! XOOX Donna

Submit
Sunday March 16, 2003

Hi. My sister has been in a situation of verbal/emotional abuse for over a year now. They are in the process of a divorce but he refuses to leave the house and she can't leave because of three kids at home. He verbally abuses her in front of the kids all the time. He has made up horrible stories about her past and told the kids this is all true. He calls her a terrible mother, loser, and all sorts of names in front of the kids. He has tried and may be succeeding in turning the kids against her by creating these lies and by telling the kids she is spying on them, taping them, etc. When he says all these things she doesn't respond for a few reasons: She's heard it's best not to fight back and that responding only fuels his anger, she has heard that you should never try to turn the kids against the other parent in a divorce, and finally, she knows if she responds in front of the kids it will only be worse for them as it will prolong his abuse. While he is doing all this to spite his wife, he is hurting her and the kids. She has tried to set the kids straight on the facts when he is gone but his brainwashing seems to be working with some of the kids. How does she counter all the horrible lies he says and what is the best way to deal with verbal abuse as it's happening? Also, how do I get her to go to a support group? She spends so much time at the kids'activities and with the attorney, that she keeps procrastinating but I am really worried about the long-term affects of this on her. Thank you.