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To feel like he's still abusing me even though I've left?

(27 Posts)
Winged Mon 04-Apr-16 13:04:40

I've also posted on relationships but had no response so also posting on Aibu because I'm close to breaking point:

Two and a half years ago I left XH after 12 years together. Our relationship was characterised mainly by emotional abuse but also some financial, sexual and very occasional physical abuse. I actually left him because of his serial philandering but later realised the extent of his mistreatment mostly by reading advice on here.

We've both moved on, I'm very happy with my BF who is polar opposite of XH. XH is also now with 'the love of his life' who he's been with about 5 months and has already introduced the DC to after 2 weeks.

The problem is that I still feel like he controls everything. He has our two young DC EOW and twice in the week overnight. He was paying regular child maintenance until about two months ago but has also owed me a lot of money which has accrued since we split for his half of birthdays, Christmas, school photographs etc. He regularly promises to pay me back but doesn't. On the meantime, he keeps booking holidays to take the DC on and weekends away with his gf.

Initially he would call a lot to discuss DC's but he would invariably use it as an opportunity to be verbally abusive so I've insisted on email contact only for the last month or so. He doesn't like this and regularly ignores my emails or doesn't respond to the content and will pick out one point to respond to.

He's also becoming less reliable with contact and sometimes just doesn't turn up for the DC. I work part time around the DC and do everything for them like school runs, homework, clubs, parties. I've encourages XH to do more of these things but he won't. If a party invitation falls on his week with the DC, I will send the invitation to him but he very rarely takes the DC to these things. Same with any other event that would be nice for the DC to go to like school fairs etc. he just won't take them. In short, it feels like I'm the only parent putting our DC's needs above my own and I find it hard work. I'm also quite ill at the moment having been diagnosed with hashimotos a year ago. I am exhausted and pick up every bug going round which will take weeks to recover from.

I always thought that he really loved his DC and whilst I worried about how he would cope with them on his own post split (he was never hands on while we were still together and never had them on his own) I never expected him to be this slack. He doesn't brush their teeth, forgets to give them medication and has returned them dressed in urine soaked clothes. I do think he loves them in his own twisted possessive way but he's just so useless. He's only started taking them places when he's with them since meeting this new woman.

He just so hostile towards me and he uses anything he can to get at me, mostly by withholding money that I'm owed or refusing to help out financially. This really grates because I didn't go after anything in our divorce. I let him keep the house (I'm now in private rental), his pension, everything. I gave up my career to look after our children and supported him through career changes and joblessness. He lives in a huge 5 bed and earns extra money by taking in lodgers.

I guess I'm just reeling from the unfairness in the situation and his ultimate control. I feel like I can't heal from his abuse because I'm forced to still endure it despite having left, because I'm the only one putting the DC's first. It feels like I'm at constant war with him. What can I do? I'm often tempted to just completely cut all contact including for the DC's because it's damaging for them too. I can't afford legal advice and I know he would hide his income if I went to the cms. I feel so trapped by my stupid decisions as a 17 year old when I met him sad.

huskylover Mon 04-Apr-16 13:19:26

Are you divorced yet? You need to draw up a Deed of Separation, in which you state how marital assets are to be divided. He needs to buy you out of the house, which he can do by selling it, or taking a second mortgage on it.

For the period of the marriage, you can get a monetary sum for his Pension, if it's larger than yours (which it probably is, if he stayed FT and you went PT). So, for eg, at the point of your split, his pension was worth £100k and yours was worth £50k, he needs to give you £25k in cash, to even that out. He has NO choice in this, it is what you are legally entitled to.

You need to raise a case with Child Maintenance options. They will check what he earns by contacting HMRC, and decide what amount he must pay you. If he defaults, this can be punished in many ways, including removing his driving licence and jail.

You really need to get tough now. flowers See a good Solicitor, asap.

hellsbellsmelons Mon 04-Apr-16 13:20:13

I didn't go after anything in our divorce
That is not good. Why didn't you? You should have got what your DC deserved but that is another matter.
Right now, start to disengage. Wait for him to come to you for contact.
Don't chase him.
Get onto CSA and get them to chase for maintenance payments.
Do NOT include him in birthday presents etc... Keep everything separate.
If he wants a school photo he can give you the money BEFORE you hand them over.
Stop letting him do these things.
He's now being distracted by his new GF from his parental duties.
Make the most of it.

Shoxfordian Mon 04-Apr-16 13:29:08

It must be very difficult but I think maybe you shld look at these issues separately.

With regards to financials; I'd probably accept that unless you had an agreed re-payment plan for the money owed that you're not seeing it again. For the other money, he may try to hide income but I'd take him to court or whatever the process is (not sure what it is sorry).

I wasn't sure whether you meant that when he sees the children he doesn't take them to things? It is up to him where he takes them on "his" weekends". If he's returning them without feeding them or giving them medication then you could try to revise the contact? I don't know if you can just cut contact or if you should go back to court for this.

Suppose what I'm saying is you're going to have to fight this behaviour from him and make it clear it's currently not acceptable. I think you can get pro bono legal advice?

Hope that's vaguely helpful

Winged Mon 04-Apr-16 13:30:59

Thank you both for replying.

Husky, we are already divorced. The complication is that although we were together 12 years, we were only married a few months when he cheated again and I decided to leave. I got a free half hour consultation with a solicitor and she told me that the best I could hope for was to walk away without taking on any of his debts. I've since been told that that was poor advice since there has been some recent case law regarding long relationships with short marriages that suggests the relationship should be treated as a marriage for the duration. It's also complicated by the fact that the house was my childhood home, sold to us (only him on the deeds) at a £30,000 below market value. At the time I was told I couldn't go on the deeds because I wasn't working (raising our DC) and the mortgage company wouldn't lend to him unless I signed something renouncing any rights I had.

hellsbells I naively thought that it would help him to coparent better if I didn't go after any of 'his' property or money because it's all he really cares about. I was wrong. He's still nasty and abusive. In the beginning I tried to do everything fairly. He wanted me back at the time so we did parties and things jointly but as he's still not paid me back, I have stopped doing these things. The problem I have is that I work some evenings and weekends and agree to shifts when he's meant to have them. When he doesn't turn up, I have to arrange emergency childcare. He will hide his income if I go to cms (he's not paying tax on his lodgers or rental income for example) so I could be worse off. This is what I mean when I say i feel powerless. He just does what he wants and because he knows I put my DC first always, he can get away with doing less.

Winged Mon 04-Apr-16 13:35:40

Shox, I have a signed contract saying he owes me this money but he breached it by not paying me back before the specified date. I could take him to small claims court but he has countless CCJs against his name which he just waits to drop off his credit file, never laying back a penny. It would cost me money to pursue and I still don't think I'd see a penny of what he owes me. I'm actually happy that he's finally doing things with them (the DC didn't really like going to his as they wet bored) it's just that I think he should prioritise paying me back. I guess it still feels like financial abuse.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 04-Apr-16 13:36:25

He is an adult who is more than capable of arranging his own gift buying and school photos from now on just do your own and leave him to do his.

Why bother to comunicate with him at all other than in an emergency or passing on essential info, educational stuff he can obtain himself.

And stop giving him power over you by pandering. Use the CMS

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 04-Apr-16 13:38:47

You can apply for a variation that makes them look far closer at his income

StillStayingClassySanDiego Mon 04-Apr-16 13:40:17

He doesn't brush their teeth, forgets to give them medication and has returned them dressed in urine soaked clothes.

I'd be stopping contact for those reasons alone.

Winged Mon 04-Apr-16 13:42:11

That's the stance I've now taken Needs, it's just that he's owed this money for a long time and I want it back. At the time I had to reply on credit thinking I'd pay it off when he paid me back so I've also spent money on interest. He knows this.

I only ever email about the kids or money and child maintenance but he ignores me unless it suits him. I will update him on illnesses etc. but he doesn't do the same. For example, our youngest returned home recently having lost her first tooth. He wouldn't reply to any of my emails asking if he'd done the tooth fairy with her. This was something that was important to me and my DC but he totally ignored me. It's like this over everything but he expects me to reply to his pointless emails immediately.

Winged Mon 04-Apr-16 13:45:38

Still, I regularly agonise over whether I should stop contact. I think the reason I haven't is that I'm concerned about having to go to court. I can't afford it and I worry he will get 50:50 shared care when he's next to useless with the DC. I also feel in some ways that it's not my place to judge to that extent but I also know that if another family member or babysitter did some of the things he does to our DC, I wouldn't let them take care of my DC ever again. It feels so complicated.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 04-Apr-16 13:58:03

still you would be treated like a contact blocker if you did that unless you had taken and were acting on the advice of children's services and they were willing to openly state he was neglecting them and was unable or unwilling to meet their needs.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 04-Apr-16 14:00:04


You are not going to get your money back.

You do not have to update him on anything other than serious illness and you do not need to chase hi, for anything.

Have a look into parallel parenting

StillStayingClassySanDiego Mon 04-Apr-16 14:02:18

Maybe I've misunderstood, one of your kids needs medication and he doesn't give i to them?, isn't that a reason to stop contact; that he's putting their health at risk?

I'm not knocking you, he's clearly worn you down.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 04-Apr-16 14:09:52

It's only a reason that will be listened to if the children actually have DX'd medical conditions that require ongoing medication or therapy, the op mentioned no child related disability or health condition so it's likely she means OTC stuff, that is unlikely to even raise an eyebrow.

Obviously if it was prescribed antibiotics or something that would be different but she would only be justified during courses of treatment

Winged Mon 04-Apr-16 14:12:40

Still, it's not regular medication but he's crap if they do need it. Youngest recently developed a cavity and tooth abscess (probably because he doesn't brush their teeth) and the tooth had to be pulled. I sent detailed instructions on how to give and store the medicine. He didn't give the medicine and forgot to return it, eventually leaving it outside my doorstep all day when it had to be refrigerated.

Needs, I know you're right but just can't let go. I just can't reconcile how unfair it all is and I worry about my DC's emotional health (my eldest has had some very bad emotional problems since we split). A child psychologist recommended once that I reduce their contact but he won't have it.

Winged Mon 04-Apr-16 14:15:24

Yes, it was prescribed antibiotics. I had to take a day off work and two hour round trip to get hold of them as it was an emergency dental appointment and he just let it get ruinedangry. It's this kind of thing all the time. He doesn't care because he knows I will do whatever it takes to sort out his duck ups if they impact the DC. He's just absolved himself of any true responsibility but gets to do all the fun stuff like holidays because he can afford it and I can't.

Shoxfordian Mon 04-Apr-16 14:16:48

Maybe you should consider contacting Refuge or Citizen's Advice for free legal advice about it?

Eustace2016 Mon 04-Apr-16 14:40:23

So you are divorced but without a court sealed consent order sortingo ut the financials? If so then you can apply now for your final divorce settlement which could include possibly most of the house as you earn less than him and he should leave it. It may have to stay in joint names until you earn enough to take on the mortgage on your own.

If you live together before a short marriage I thought for years that has been treated as if it were a longer marriage due to the living together part. That has been the case in lots of divorce cases.

Even if you do not go down the route above you could just stop letting him see the children but I don't really approve of that morally. In practice he might then apply for a court order but if you can prove his neglect - pictures of the wet underwear of the children etc you might well find his contact cut right back BUT I think you need him to have the children so you can continue your part time work so that might not really work to your advantage.

I think the lesson for all women here is never give up full time work for a man no matter how persuasive he is about it and no matter how hard it is for the two of you to pay for childcare. I worked full time so on my divorce was paying my ex not vice versa but at least I can keep the children financially.

NeedsAsockamnesty Mon 04-Apr-16 19:20:48

So stop fixing the fuck ups whilst the kids are with him and start preparing a case to formally have his time with them reduced.

If you keep fixing he will carry on fucking up and nobody that matters will see the fuck ups.

And with CMS money you will get is worth more than promised money that will never show up and gets used to control you

Winged Tue 05-Apr-16 13:58:58

Thanks everyone. I have made an appointment with a solicitor this week to find out where I stand. When I made the appointment, the solicitor asked me what outcome I was hoping for since a court can't force him to see his DC regularly and won't get involved in child maintenance. I already knew this so now I'm confused about what I'm hoping the courts could help me with.

In an ideal world, I'd just like him to be fair. If he would pay me back this money, I don't think I'd care as much that he took everything. I'd like him to stop being nasty to me and just put the DC first. And yes, properly financially support them. But this is all stuff that relies on him being a decent person and I know deep down that he will never be.

The constant battles and worries I have really play on my mind an awful lot and take up too much of my emotional energy. This situation is a massive threat to my current happiness and freedom and for these reasons, I just want to let go of that expectation that he will ever be decent or play fair. But I don't know how to let go when it still very much feels like the abuse I've always endured from him and other men and everything in me says 'fight'. But the fight is just as damaging to me.

What an absolute mess sad.

LumpySpacedPrincess Tue 05-Apr-16 14:21:07

What a horrible man. So he is sat in your childhood home and you and the kids had to move out? Who gave you the awful advice about signing your rights away?

Winged Tue 05-Apr-16 14:29:47

Thanks for replying Lumpy. It's all very vague now, he bought the house around 9 years ago. At the time he owned another house mortgage free and used the sale money to purchase my parents home but still needed a mortgage top up even with the hefty discount. The document I signed apparently came from the mortgage company. It was a lot of pressure for me at the time. My parents desperately wanted to complete because they were in the middle of purchasing another property. XH (BF at the time) was having an affair but was still back and forth with me. The worst thing of all was that the agreement between him and my parents was that he would pay £30,000 for their house than he sold his house. This still represented a £30,000 discount below market value. I found out later that XH lied to my parents about the price he sold his house for, so he got an even larger discount than they knew about. I still haven't been able to tell them he did this. He's just a nasty narcissistic a-hole.

Winged Tue 05-Apr-16 14:30:41

£30,000 *more

LumpySpacedPrincess Tue 05-Apr-16 14:40:11

It sounds like you have been given hideous and incorrect advice, I would definitely seek legal advice. If nothing can be done then you have your freedom and your sanity.

As for the kids, log everything, every missed pick up, every time he treats them poorly. Buy your own presents and do not involve him in any way, you know he will only use any contact to pursue his own agenda. He is a nasty spider in a sticky web, stay out of it. I would have something formal put in place for the kids too, something he needs to uphold, pick up times etc.

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