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Should I Stand Up to My Abuser

Should I Stand Up to My Abuser?

"Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life. " -Sophia Loren

July 18, 2000

Dear Dr. Irene,

Thank you so much for this website.

I am separated, again, after a 10 year marriage.  My spouse is a retired military Special Agent. The most elite of the Elite.  He is my first marriage, I am his 5th.

I have seen "me" and "him" all through your website.  From the first time I saw him and "fell in love instantly" to his absolute appearance of adoration for me.  I told my Therapist recently that the way he looked at me back then - no one in my life had ever looked at me - as if he were looking in stunned amazement at the most priceless treasure ever found and couldn't believe HIS luck in finding me.  No one has, before or since, looked at me like that.  If I ever see that look again - I'll run like Gump! Don't run - if he looks at you like that after he knows you very, very well...

It changed obviously over the years, as did his other marriage relationships.  I'll move to the present which includes my problem/worry now:

We have a young son and daughter.  My spouse has no interest in our children except that he can utilize them to be around me.  I finally had him arrested on Domestic Violence charges last summer.  He kept us hostage in the house for an entire day - subjecting us to the most horrible verbal abuse imaginable. When I finally left, he elbowed me trying to grab my PalmPilot while I was sitting in my car about to leave.  It was the elbow in the chest that they arrested him on, as they won't arrest for "verbal abuse".  The verbal abuse was and is beyond the pale.  Every other word out of his mouth is absolutely VILE and is delivered like a drill instructor - LOUD. Ouchhh!

Fast forward to July, 2000.  After a long attempt at reconciliation, the old "him" came back.  He terrorized us  for the last time, and I haven't been back since.  He disappeared happily with what he thought was a new girlfriend for several months and did not attempt to exercise his visitation.  I have sole custody and the right to leave the state by court order, by the way. Good!

Evidently things went sour with his new relationship - and suddenly he came back at Warp 9 speed.  Alternating between 50 or so calls a day, ranging from cursing to crying for me to "fix the family".  Then popping up at midnight, bawling his eyes out when I wouldn't answer the phone.  And I DO mean he was nonstop.  This man has the tenacity of a pit bull. 

When he got around us and the cursing started, I'd leave and take our kids with me, obviously.  When he couldn't get me on the phone, he'd drive to his office and EMAIL me.  NONSTOP.  I feel like I am in the emotional ring with Mike Tyson. You are.

I finally told him I was going to take out another restraining order. I watched what unfolded next, not knowing  WHAT but when I saw it - I knew WHY.  He blasted three emails to me "begging" me to stop withholding visitation.  Those 3 emails, not the others, landed with his attorney. Of course!

When we met in court for the restraining order, he had filed an "alienation of affection" suit against me, a "false arrest" for the Domestic Violence Arrest of last year, and was "suing" me for stealing and selling his weapons collection.  I had indeed sold the weapons, and told him in advance, as he had not brought in any money in several months and we were behind on house payments. 

My attorney was smart, she kept the original Consent Order in place which gave me sole custody and the right to move.  My spouse said all he wanted was visitation with his kids, which I had been withholding.  He was absolutely brilliant - and lied through his teeth.  This man can make St. Peter look like the Devil - only temporarily, but effectively enough to get his way.  My attorney saw through him long ago and told me to get out of the State.

The very DAY of the hearing he started up again that evening.  I finally wised up and kept a mini-cassette recorder handy and do have him behaving horribly on tape when I once again refuse to reconcile.  Its like he doesn't even hear the word "no". Smart lady learned to fight fire with fire extinguisher! Good!

I have quietly enacted a plan to leave here because I truly believe this man will not leave me alone.  He is really scaring me with his frantic behavior and threats.  My therapist is great, but she feels I need to make a stand here.  I don't.  I am so very, very weary.  Its like I have no blood in my body.  My house is more often messy than clean because I am so tired all the time.  I am an emotional wreck and while I tend my lids and love them dearly - its only in the basic ways.  There is nothing left of me to sit down and work on the ABC's, etc. 

Those blessed months that he was away with his girlfriend, we flourished.  We started hiking and just had a lovely time, and it was SO very peaceful and quiet.  I want that back again.  I want a life free of him.  I don't want my kids exposed to this man - and I have only scratched the surface of what he has done here.

I had planned to start college here this fall and finish my accounting degree.  I wouldn't be able to study properly, I don't have the energy.  I just want to put some distance between my spouse and I.  That is when he left the mother of his other child alone; she had to bolt as well.

I would like your opinion.  I will be going to a shelter in another State next week.  I enacted the logistics today.  I have never visited the city, but it is close to a dear friend and there is a good college there.  And it won't have HIM.  I can do anything if HE isn't around.

Thanks so much for your time. Laura

Dear Laura,

Your so-called partner sounds like one of the worst of the worst. You are clearly telling me what you want to do and why. So, what is the problem? What do you want me to tell you? That you have to stay and "face" him? That would be nice, but it seems to me that you have "faced" him. I have no problem with your running from a nut. And, should he somehow find you, you will physically face him then.  I don't think there is a wrong way to get away. My position: what's the use in trying to outfight Mike Tyson when your objective is simply to get out of the rink.

I'm replying because you illustrate what is so very common in codependent victims: self-doubt. Nobody has a crystal ball. Nobody can predict the "best" option, each option has pros and cons and probabilities associated with it.

You have clearly stood up to him; you have made your choice and are looking for reassurance that it is a good choice. You've got my OK, but, please - you don't need it!  

Here is the lesson you need to learn: trust thyself. I've never seen the little voice inside blast it's message in skywriting yet - but yours is screaming as loudly as it gets!

Let us know how you're doing, if you feel safe doing so.

The best of luck to you and your children, and my warmest wishes, Dr. Irene

I just want to read the posts.