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Can I ever truly escape an abusive man when I am the mother of his children ?

(41 Posts)
MeaninglessStrife Thu 10-Jan-13 22:29:18

sad

Another name change after he 'found' me here again.

Over 2 years separated after 15 years of an abusive relationship and there are still days when I just despair.
His contact with the children is court ordered but he has an OW and an estranged mother back on the scene who are cheer leading his attempts to paint himself as the poor victim. He lies, he denies, he rewrites history.
He is utterly vile in court - he represents himself after falling out with a string of solicitors. He emails my solicitor constantly - 3 times a week on average. Aggravating for extra contact, complaining about property, complaining about not being answered quickly enough. He has alienated the school, social services.
He found out I was going to the Freedom program - it corresponded with one of his contact visits so he started to refuse to bring the kids home to babysitters - meaning I had to give up.
I've had 'counselling' with Womens Aid but because he is still so actively trying to control, it ended up being fire fighting his latest antics. I've read Lundy -I know 'why' he does it but I don't know how to cope.
OW is pregnant and rather than leaving me alone and focusing on that, he seems to have upped the ante.
He refuses to engage with my solicitor with regards the actual divorce and I am trapped in a situation where he pays the mortgage on the FMH as it is significantly less than the maintenance he 'should' be paying. If I don't play ball, he stops the mortgage payments.
I regularly have police patrols passing the house as it's on a high alert list. I am trying to hold down a stressful job and I'm starting to make mistakes there sad
I dread opening my emails. I don't even go to court hearings any more because he is so hostile.

I don't even know what I'm trying to say. But I'm so very, very tired. My physical health is awful but I'm sure it's all just stress related.
I just want it to end. but will it ever stop as long as the children are still kids?

susanann Sun 20-Jan-13 11:35:31

You are doing so well OP. It must be hell. I really dont know what to say other than keep strong and you will get your life back.

Don't forget the advice, read the emails once a week and no more. Don't be dragged into his hell.

Try to be strong, I would suggest he asks DD for the picture as it is on her wall!

I am surprised the man isn't exhausted by all this.

MeaninglessStrife Sat 19-Jan-13 22:24:47

Thank you all again for the links and advice smile

Another week, another saga hmm Back in court again and he has again pissed the judge off no end with his entire attitude and belligerence so no further forward with him doing what he has been told to do to address his behaviour towards the kids. Pissed off with SS who once again seem to be falling for his manipulative bullshit. Thank god my solicitor is so on the ball.

I have taken steps this week to start trying to get the kids trust funds transferred into my control - I paid into them for years but it was always his name on them and I want the kids to be able to have some say in what they are spent on rather than having to do what they are told to by him. Scared of what he will do when he finds out - the building society have said it should all be very straightforward.

Another 4 pages of mindless ranting to the solicitor yesterday - amongst other things, some cushions I took from the holiday house and a picture that he wants - which is currently hanging on DDs bedroom wall hmm

I have however remembered to hide the bin before he drops the kids off.

Still absolutely exhausted with it all sad And to make things worse I bumped into the lovely guy that I saw for a few months during one of the early splits that i went through for Ex. Reminded me of how shit my marriage was and how I have missed out on a 'normal' relationship.

The battle continues.

olgaga Mon 14-Jan-13 10:55:36

I would have a look in particular at the Rights of Women website and advice line in your situation.

Also Maypole.

There's also Women's Aid, search for a local support group.

Here's lots of background information and links re separation and divorce and support services.

Is there some kind of womens support charity you can contact? Sorry, others might know more about names.

It is def a great idea to only look at his emails once a week and make sure you communicate this with your solicitor.

Your children will at some point refuse to go to their fathers if he continues like this.

You have already come a long way, he is out of the family home. You dont have to put up with his shit.

NicknameTaken Mon 14-Jan-13 10:00:32

I totally get what you mean about finding it difficult to confide in the people around me, even though they are on "my" side. I end up shielding my parents because (a) I don't want them to be any more anxious and (b) it just adds to their recriminations about how I could be so stupid as to have married him - hope you don't get that!

Frightening that SS have been so slow to pick up on the manipulation. I'm currently waiting for another SS report on my ex's treatment of dd, and I really don't know whether to pin much hope on it. CAFCASS have been absolutely dire, although I know it's not the fault of the individual sws, and it's all to do with lack of resources. They have paid no attention to potential child protection issues at all. I feel it's very much a situation where you have to wait for harm to occur, and only then is there any hope of being listened to - as you say, you're just painted as the vengeful wife till then, even if/when you have bent over backwards to make it work.

Again, you have all my sympathy, and I sincerely hope you're approaching some kind of turning point with the situation.

Jux Sun 13-Jan-13 10:55:37

Just a thought. Does your geeky bro know about keyloggers, how to find them and how to block them? Not wanting to make you paranoid though.

Jux Sun 13-Jan-13 10:54:09

Geeky brothers are great, aren't they? grin

good luck

MeaninglessStrife Sat 12-Jan-13 22:17:25

Jux- thank you - have just messaged my (geeky) brother and asked him to talk me through setting up a filter.
As for him finding me online, he knows that I use online forums for support - and because he works in the civil service and does feck all apart from write bloody letters to my solicitor hmm and OW seems to spend her time online, they seem to trawl parenting/mums forums until they 'find' me - I am guilty of posting too much info sometimes (this thread leaves me wide open).

As for his contact not being stopped after the assault, I have huge issues with how the whole thing was handled by SS and the complete lack of support I had initially - the SW was very junior and I believe that Ex completely manipulated him and painted a picture of me as a jealous ex wife with a grudge - the SW even told me to my face that things would 'settle down' when i was able to move on from the 'issues'
It was only when we had a case conference with a SW manager chairing, that she picked up on his control and manipulation. I still feel though that there is far to much emphasis on his rights and the notion that children 'need' fathers despite what they do.

To be honest I'm really struggling tonight. I'm half expecting him to show up at the house in the morning as he demanded extra contact tomorrow- which I refused as we already have plans. He also got put in his place by the court yesterday so will no doubt be angry.

springyhope Sat 12-Jan-13 01:41:07

How does he find you online? I'd get some geeky advice on that, too.

I'm sorry you're going through so much. Time to stop being reasonable and hoping that by being decent it will inspire him to calm down. He never will calm down. My ex also upped the ante when he got a new woman/wife - ime the ante is consistently upped.

Stunning advice from izzy, as per usual. He is stealing your life - don't let him have it. Keep it for yourself and your children xx

Jux Fri 11-Jan-13 23:22:43

Make an e-mail subfolder, set up a filter or rule, so that anything from him or yr solicitor goes into it. Then only open it once a week and deal with the lot in one go. Tell your solicitor that's what you're doing for when there's something more urgent she could put a keyword in the subject line so you can make the filter keep anything from her with that keyword stay in your main inbox.

I've explained that really badly. If you've no idea what I'm talking about, let me know your e-mail client, and I'll see if I can help you set it up (no guarantees, you may have to post in Geeky stuff!)

SkaffenAmtiskaw Fri 11-Jan-13 23:16:54

Just to qualify MeaninglessStrife, I'm shocked that a court granted your ex access to your children after he assaulted one of them. Didn't want to think I was blaming you. On the contrary!

SkaffenAmtiskaw Fri 11-Jan-13 23:01:22

I'm really shocked that your children are still having contact after he assaulted the eldest. I would have thought that would be grounds to stop any contact.

I can't add anything to the brilliant advice you've had, just that I would give you a hug if I could. One day you'll be free of this monster and his control, and I hope that this day comes soon.

Take care of yourself and good luck.

olgaga Fri 11-Jan-13 22:37:24

Oh my goodness, what a terrible time you and your children are having. I do feel for you. Hope you get a good night's sleep, you are going through a terrible time but you also sound pretty strong and determined despite it all.

You'll get through this. Will be back tomorrow to see what transpires. For now I can't add to the excellent advice you've already had here - just wanted to add my encouragement, and to say how much I admire you for the way you are managing to hold it all together.

MeaninglessStrife Fri 11-Jan-13 22:13:19

Thank you all so very very much - I am overwhelmed by your responses and by the time that you have taken to 'listen' to me and to give me ideas and solutions. My friends and family absolutely hate him, so even though I have lots of people around me, IRL, I often can't really talk much because they don't fully understand the issues in anything other than black and white, how complex my feelings are and how powerful he has been - and still is to an extent.
I am going to have an early night tonight and am going to make a longer 'list' tomorrow.
Ideally, I don't want to face moving house so I think that's still the priority from the assets POV.
Eldest DD has had counselling - she's also on a waiting list for support from the NSPCC. At the minute she's 'ok' - she talks to me a lot and I'm getting better at responding in the way that she needs me to.
Thank you all again - I have had to name change a few times because he always tends find me online but I kinda feel strong enough to keep posting with this name because i have nothing to be ashamed of.

theghostinthewashingmachine Fri 11-Jan-13 13:31:14

morning! right, so would I be correct in saying the immediate problem is that you daren't press ahead with the divorce because he responds by not paying the mortgage? if so, you need to talk to your mortgage company as soon as possible and see if either you can pay it, now you have a permanent job (which is very positive), or if you can take a payment holiday on the understanding payments will restart once there is court ordered maintenance - this can't be a new problem as far as mortgage lenders are concerned? - or do you have any savings or someone who can stand surety for you? Once you have that sorted then you can press ahead with the divorce and, hopefully, getting things finally sorted.

I think you should definitely press for divorce on grounds of UB if you can - sounds like it's psychologically important to you, and also like you have A LOT of grounds for it. And I second not moving house unless you absolutely have to, as that is massively stressful in its own right.

also second going to the doctor as a first priority - if you are tired all the time and/or sleeping badly that makes everything seem x1000 worse. also second trying to compartmentalise the bad thoughts, and maybe also identify the times of day when they tend to strike (last thing at night?) and make sure you have something positive to distract you - book, dvd, music, friend you can phone - once you've processed as much as you can.

MatureUniStudent Fri 11-Jan-13 11:40:37

OP - thankyou for this post. I feel so alone also, exhausted by the nonpayment of the mortgage (and I don't have a job). This week has been the worst for me, ending in an horrific migrane due to the stress of non payment of the mortgage again, dealing with the fall out of creditors. So thank you thank you as I have taken great strength from knowing I am not alone. And Izzy - thank you. You are so true about refusing to think about the worries, except at the time you need to deal with them. Each vile email takes me away from the children and sends my stress levels soring - I am going to follow your step by step plan. I am SO glad I read your post OP and so incredibly sorry you are going through such a miserable time. I dream of escaping, running away, but why should it all be on my shoulders, why should my (refusing to allow me a divorce too) ex get away, scott free. And OP my eldest DC is the same at your son - needs his dads approval which is witheld to further control and punish both of us. Its appalling.

NicknameTaken Fri 11-Jan-13 10:53:02

You've had great advice above. Nothing to add, other than a sympathetic squeeze of the hand and reassurance that yes, this too will end. As Annie says, he can't actually prevent you from divorcing him. You've got endless evidence of unreasonable behaviour. He can make various petty delays, but Izzy points out the ways of getting around those.

Your youngest is 7, so you're not that far off a stage when they are old enough to vote with their feet. I know you said they are desperate to impress him, but this stage won't last forever.

He is particularly awful now because this is the end-game. You are slipping out of his grasp and he can't stop that happening. You will survive this, and you will thank your stars for your new-found freedom every day.

Anniegetyourgun Fri 11-Jan-13 09:24:56

One partner can't just unilaterally decide not to let the other one divorce them, you know. If your solicitor is any good at all she will know this, and know how to get round ex's obstruction. My guess is that you've decided not to push it in order not to wind him up further. This tactic does not seem to be working as he's being pretty unpleasant anyway, it's making you quite ill, and you're stuck in a house where he is just paying the interest on your mortgage, less than he should be and with unnecessary strings. It isn't going to get better unless something changes, and I would suggest that something is pushing ahead with divorce.

If just ignoring the papers was a viable tactic no abusive person would ever get divorced against their will. But actually they do, often (although not nearly often enough IMO). XH, for one, was staunchly determined that I would not be allowed to "break up the family" - and indeed all the DCs agreed with him at the time. Guess what: I divorced him anyway. It can be done.

insprognito Fri 11-Jan-13 08:54:48

Haven't had chance to read the whole thread as on my way to work.I went through same with my violent ex (father to my 3 elder dds). However, we weren't married and the house was in my name.
I took out a NMO and Occupation order. He sounds just like my ex representing himself, falling out with everyone and being emotionally abusive during supervised contact. I had to have the orders extended and give evidence as he broke the non mol order 3 times. It's been a long struggle and the stress made me ill too. At the final fact finding hearing he lost it in court,showing his true colours. He now only gets 3 contacts a year supervised. They're done at a contact centre he was previously banned from only because a sw attends to supervise instead of the centre's staff.
With regard to your solicitor she needs to know the impact the emails from him are having. Mine just used to summarise so he had no direct contact or opportunity to upset me. I started to feel much better after all the court hearings were over.
There is light at the end of the tunnel I've since married and had another child. He ruined 10 years of my life but I'm much stronger for it and find I really appreciate the happy home life I have now.

Good morning, right I would say your first stop is your GP to find out if you need some support with some tablets or/and some counselling.

Next step to get online and work out how this man's brain ticks. Although by your descriptions you already know.

Next step is to find your inner strength and play this man at his own game rather than succumbing to it as you are currently doing (it is hard but he is succeeding at wearing you down).

Get in touch with your solicitor, tell her exactly what the deal is and tell HER to deal with emails, you dont need to read his shitty messages designed to upset, undermine and control you.

Your older child needs some support too if your ex is playing games emotionally there.

I agree about moving your rubbish bin too.

Start playing him at his game, you are strong and you CAN do this.

izzyizin Fri 11-Jan-13 03:55:33

First things first; dealing with manipulative twunts can be extremely draining and I'm not at all surprised you're bone tired but schedule an appointment with your GP to rule out any physical cause and, if you're not sleeping well, ask for appropriate meds.

The way to deal with all you've got on your plate is to divide it up into bite size chunks and plough your way through slowly but surely. The following may serve to help you perceive what may appear to be overwhelming as manageable:

1. Years of abuse, plus the physical abuse you mentioned, will have taken its toll on your dc too. If you haven't done so already, ask your GP or his school to refer your eldest ds to a paediactric psychology unit for counselling/play therapy and please give consideration to asking for a similar referral for your youngest ds.

2. With regard to the pending Hearing re contact, stick with your decision not to agree to any increase in the existing hours and instruct your solicitor to remind the Court that he is yet to comply with the direction for him to attend a course for abusive fathers, notwithstanding the fact that attendance at any such course will not change his behaviour one iota, but he'll pick up some jargon which he'll use to further manipulate and abuse others.

3. The twunt clearly isn't opposed to divorce but, in common with others of his ilk, he doesn't want you divorcing him. Therefore, instruct your solicitor to file a further petition for divorce citing his unreasonable behaviour as per the facts of the matter in your earlier document. If he refuses to acknowledge receipt, engage the services of a process server or baliff and/or ask the Court to deem the papers served.

4. Moving into rented accomodation may serve to enable him to continue to pull the financial strings in that if he delays child support/maintenance payments you may not be able to make ends meet plus, one way or another, he'll use the sale or rental of the former marital home as yet another way of exercising control over you.

In addition, moving house is way up on the stress chart and, as you're running on empty energy-wise, you're best advised to stay put in your home and seek to take on the mortgage as asap. In the meantime, and again if you haven't done so already, perhaps you/your solicitor can inform the mortgage company of your situation in the hope they won't plague you with threatening letters.

5. ON NO ACCOUNT should you consider walking away from your rightful share of joint assets. You've earned every penny and then some and you will need every penny to ensure the material security of your dc. Get yourself the best possible deal - and if that means fighting tooth and nail over every last farthing and/or engaging in protracted negotiations, GO FOR IT and show the loathsome piece of gobshite that he can no longer intimidate you and call the shots.

The above looks pretty straightforward, doesn't it? smile But, as he's engaged in a war of attrition, it's going to be a long haul and you need strategies for coping which will allow you to reduce your stress levels and increase your stamina.

Compartmentalising will save your sanity and give your overworked brain a rest. At the present time your job is vital to you. As you can't afford to make errors at work, rule number 1 is to leave all thoughts of these matters at the doorway to your place of employment. If unwelcome thoughts pop into your head, replace them with work related or more pleasureable ones. In time it will become second nature for you to decide what you want to think about, when you want to think about it.

Set aside, say, one hour a on a set day each week to peruse his emails and give consideration to the content. Some weeks you may need less time and others somewhat more, but get into the habit of only reading this material at the appointed time you've allocated for this purpose and, immediately thereafter, switch your attention to something completely different.

Similarly, unless any communication from your solicitor requires an urgent/immediate response, set it aside for consideration on the allotted day.

Be ruthless with your thoughts - don't them allow to control you to the extent you become in thrall to them, driven to distraction with your mind going at 90 mph, round and round in circles as you imagine depresing/dire scenarios with no end in sight. If you find unwelcome thoughts becoming incessant at a time when you need to concentrate on a matter in hand, tell them you'll give them free range later - at say 9pm after the dc are in bed and be sure to keep the appointment.

It's all too easy to neglect yourself when you're up against it; eat well and make sure you get regular periods of rest and play each day. If your diet leaves something to be desired, take a good quality multivitamin tablet daily and give consideration to boosting this with additional vitamin B complex and Vitamin D tablets.

Reward yourself by taking time to revel in simple pleasures - reading, music, painting, meditation, yoga, online shopping, whatever floats your boat. Don't neglect your social life. Keep in regular touch with friends/family and organise meetups as and when convenient for all concerned.

Your mantra is 'this too will pass'. And it will, honey. Every passing day is bringing you closer to a time when it will be over and you'll have an Absolute to hang in your loo [grin ]

Whenever it gets too much or you want to talk it through, update this thread and it will serve as a valuable chronicle of your journey through the obstacle course the twunt is determined to set for you.

Btw, emptying his rubbish on your property when he collects the dc is highly significant. He's symbolically trashing you every time he comes by your home. Hide or move your bin and, on the next occasion he's due, discreetly watch to see his reaction when he can't dump his trash on your property.

MeaninglessStrife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:57:13

I've issued divorce proceedings on the grounds of his unreasonable behaviour/adultery but he refused to acknowledge them.
He then issued proceedings based on 2 years separation when we'd been separated for a 18 months (I now know this was when she fell pregnant) wanted me to walk away with nothing and that was right in the middle of all the supervised contact stuff and I just couldn't afford/cope with starting to untangle finances. I still want to go for UB - I feel I need to for some sort of closure if that makes sense ?
Yes yes yes to hearing his voice - he refers to me as 'Your client' or 'My wife' (technically yes but it creeps me out) and I can see his face when i read them.... sad

theghostinthewashingmachine Thu 10-Jan-13 23:49:06

when you say he refuses to engage with your solicitor about the divorce, is there anything she can do to push this forwards?

also ask her not to forward the emails but just tell you the bits you need to know, in her own words. it may be easier but having to 'hear' his voice is causing you stress and not surprisingly.

MeaninglessStrife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:44:05

About 20K neg. We have a significant amount of other property assets,/bank accounts/cars /pensions that need to be ploughed through. But I'd quite like to just walk away from it all.

You're right - I need to give myself a kick. I need to see my GP to rule out any physical cause for my bone numbing tiredness and all the other stuff.
I need to get my head around the house situation. I've already spoken to my boss about increasing my hours at the first opportunity.
The next court hearing re contact is pending so I think after that, I am going to instruct my solicitor that I am not going to consider any increases to contact for any reason - that will maybe reduce the volume of emails if he gets nowhere.

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