|June 10, 2004
I spoke to you about 4 years ago. I am from Australia and was married to an
abusive man. Typical in divorce from a controlling person, it has taken me four and half
years to get through the court system to settle. After a huge amount of
money and mishaps, I was awarded alimony. I have my daughter living with me
who is only 13 years, so you can see that I am still tied to him via
alimony and children. Yes.
The problem I have, is that he is still litigating me. My children and I have
suffered enormously and my health is deteriorating. I can’t stop the court
cases, I have tried representing myself but as I am so stressed and
depressed I get things wrong. When I go to court I have to pay solicitors!
How can I stop him?
He has remarried; has a beautiful daughter, and another baby on the way. Two
years ago he had a massive stroke, which has left him with little use of
his left arm and HE limps with his left leg. He still works in his
high-powered position as a very senior partner in a large international
You told me he would to get at me even at the risk of his children. My
daughter doesn’t see him much. My son lives with him now since I could not
cope with him living with me anymore. My children understand why I left him
but they are sick of the arguments between us. What
are the arguments about? What does he want?
We never speak, only email. His emails are abusive and I don’t care! The
slightest reason he can find, he will take it to court. Also I worry about
a family trust we had where he put all the liabilities in my name! I worry
one day this will become an issue even though he has stated that he will be
responsible for this and the court has also stated that he is to take
responsibility for the money owed by the trust. If
the court said this, you can probably put your mind at rest. Sometimes even though you
have these things in place to protect you, you still have to justify to the
court why you are not responsible.
I need strategies to know how to cope. I don’t want the rest of my life
under threat by him. It’s just like when I lived with him, always depressed
not knowing what to do. Thanks, Vivi.
I needed more information and asked Vivi to write
about what it is he wants. This is what she wrote: I asked him what
he wants and called his solicitor to put it in writing! I have not heard
back. My belief is it’s revenge; he blames me for everything that has gone
wrong. He takes me to court over any issue or makes me take legal action
against him by not paying alimony or withholding other money. As our family
court system here is in crisis and it takes months to get a hearing, so it
drags on! Also, I have been to court 3 times where I have had a barrister
and a lawyer prepared, then to be told after several hours we do not have a
judge. This costs me about US$10,000.00 for the day, which I cannot recoup.
My ex does not negotiate. I tried to negotiate with him over alimony by
taking a lump sum, which was considerably less than what he eventually was
ordered to pay by the court. He wanted to have this money in a joint
account and have control over what I received each week! I refused! He
refuses to give me documents relating to our finances, which ended costing
me US$140,000 to hire an investigating accountant. Even today my new
Superannuation Fund called me, as he had not given them the appropriate
details which may cause me to obtain them with a court order.
Over the years I have became so fearful of what he might do financially. He
convinces lawyers that he will go to all lengths to get at me! I have
became a nervous wreak! Of course.
My son was happy to leave; he didn’t like to see me upset. But now he sees
his father get very angry. My ex is always angry and criticizes me to other
people constantly. I am sure his new wife is tired of all of this and would
like to get on with their lives.
He is still trying to control me! But in the last few days I have had to
think I cannot let him dominate my life by all this confusion. It’s like
the confusion when you live with them you can’t understand what is really
happening! I am thinking that I have to be structured in only allocating a
certain amount of thinking time to this instead of making it my main
focus. What do you think? Yes! I fully agree!
Dear Vivi, The very first thing that struck
me about your letter is how overwhelmed and tired and powerless you sound.
You've dealt with a lot over a four-year period, and that's enough to send
anybody reeling! Bottom line: you sound depressed, so of course you are
asking how to cope!
First of all, I hope you are in therapy
or a support group. If not, get there. Please, seriously consider
evaluation for antidepressant medications until this is over. Medication
may be extremely important if you are indeed as depressed as you sound.
The next thing that stuck me: Bondage.
You are in emotional bondage.
Vivi, you're not going to like this, but
I'm going to say it anyway: this guy has you over a barrel because you
insist on getting what's right and what's fair. Your ex is such a lunatic,
the price for getting what's right and fair may be too high. You need to
re-examine your objectives and decide what you want to do. You said it
yourself when you talked about this as your main focus.
I am reminded of the stereotypic high
powered executive: the one who despite doctor's orders won't give up the
fast pace - despite the risk of a stroke or heart attack. Sounds a lot like
your ex, huh? Your ex is in bondage to the money, power and glory his job
confers. He chooses to risk his physical health because the payoff
is worth it.
Aren't you doing the same thing? By
insisting you get your fair share, your physical and emotional health is
suffering. You are in bondage to your fair share, and your ex knows it. He
knows what you want, and he will make certain you will pay for it. Vivi, is
it worth it?
Going against what is PC, I suggest you
ask yourself just how much you need to live. Is what you are fighting for
worth the price? You may want to shift your mindset from fighting for your
Your ex chooses to remain in bondage to
his position - despite health risks - given the goodies he gets. I am
asking you to make a conscious choice about your "position in his firm" -
given the price you are paying emotionally in your quest for your "fair
share." Only you can decide because the reality is that you're unlikely to
have it both ways. Knowing he's "got you" must be very satisfying for your
ex, motivating him for more.
Consider re-thinking the War Plan.
Consider shifting your focus, shifting your lifestyle to save your sanity.
What if you were this concerned about a new business? A new career path?
We're talking about making choices given the present reality. You need not
be in bondage. You decide.
I'll be back by the end of next week to
reply to your comments. God bless you. Dr. Irene
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