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Veiled threat from STBXH about using my mental health against me

(22 Posts)
NightOfTheCactus Thu 08-Aug-13 21:53:59


I wondered if anyone has been through anything similar/know the law on this and could advise.

STBXH and I have tried to keep our split amicable up until now for the sake of DD.

Our only shared asset is our house, which we are putting on the market. It is becoming quite contentious. We were only able to buy it as my parents gifted me £50K, which we used as the deposit. It was never ringfenced though. The equity on our house is now somewhere between £59K and £62K - depending on how much we can sell it for.

I have been a SAHM since we've lived here (we've lived here 6 and a half years). During this time, I have been really quite ill with OCD, which has stopped me from being able to work. I've suffered with OCD for over 20 years, so it wasn't a new thing when we married - but I was managing to live with it quite well until we got married, then it started getting worse, and I had particularly bad episodes on the birth of DD and after a miscarriage 2 years ago.

I am with my local mental health team. I see a psychotherapist (though my treatment is being phased out now) and I've been seeing a vocational OT too.

I am coping much better with the OCD - am getting on top of it. It has been notably better since I have been spending more time away from STBXH who has been quite EA during our relationship. My psychotherapist doesn't think it's a good idea for me to try and go to work yet as I'm at a point where it can trigger a relapse, but my plan is to build my skills and confidence through voluntary work so I can fend for myself.

Anyway - so STBXH has been paying mortgage, bills etc since we've lived here and has probably paid more than I paid in an initial deposit (though he would have had to pay that in rent too I suppose).

Anyway - I got some advice from a solicitor yesterday. She said to me that instead of splitting the house 50/50, which STBXH wants to do, I should be asking for more, since the deposit was a gift to me from my parents, but also because he working and in a better position than me, whereas I'll be the resident parent and I'm not able to work, so am living off my share of the equity for the foreseeable future and I need to think about DD and how I'm going to care for her.

She suggested that I initially suggest to him 70/30, but say I want to go to mediation. I should qualify for LA as I'm on benefits, and he may well qualify for it too.

So tonight I broached this with him. He hasn't wanted to go to mediation as he doesn't want to waste money, but I told him that I'd seen a solicitor, this is what she had said, but I thought we should go to mediation and talk about it where we were both represented so we could come up with something that was fair for us both.

STBXH proceeded to become really angry and nasty. He told me that he hoped I understood that I've now started off a process where we are both going to be spending thousands of pounds in solicitors fees when we could have done this nicely. I told him that I didn't think that was true, all I was suggesting is we go to mediation, which wouldn't cost thousands of pounds. He then started telling me that he'd been really reasonable and nice up to now, but he didn't have to be. He asked (as dd walked into the room incidentally angry) that I didn't have to be the resident parent, and had I ever thought that actually DD could be living with him. DD immediately said to him that she wanted to live with me and gave me a hug sad. I told him that all I was doing was telling me what the solicitor said and asked if he was threatening me. He said that it was more like I was threatening him confused

He then said that he'd tell me what a solicitor had told him - that legally because of my mental health issues I wouldn't have a leg to stand on legally, especially as I'm with a mental health team and he could wipe the floor with me - but he hadn't done what the solicitor said, because he is trying to do this nicely.

Now I'm taking this as a veiled threat that if I get at all contentious about the money, he can get my daughter taken off me.

Could he actually do this, or is he just trying to scare me? I've been very ill with the OCD in the past and it's still a continuing challenge for me, but I've never had to be sectioned, social services have never been involved with DD, I've always cared for DD really well, me and her have a great relationship. Before we split up, STBXH spent 6 months working on the other side of the country and only came home every other weekend, which presumably if he thought I was a risk to our daughter he wouldn't have done? And I coped really well with him away - in fact my mental health improved in leaps and bounds.

Sorry this has been so long - I'd appreciate any thoughts. I honestly don't want to be a bitch or unreasonable about money - I just want to make sure that I can have the means to look after DD the best I can until I can work - but I want to be prepared if this is all going to get nasty sad


NightOfTheCactus Thu 08-Aug-13 22:47:37

Hopeful bump

STIDW Thu 08-Aug-13 23:59:03

Sadly separating parents often make threats of taking the children or withholding money. My guess is your husband hasn't seen a solicitor or if he has perhaps your problems were exaggerated. Sometimes people think equality in divorce settlements means a mathematical 50:50 split of assets. It doesn't. Equality is about leaving both parties on a similar footing. A parent with the majority of childcare will need a larger property to accommodate the children and no/lower income may justify a larger share of assets because their mortgage raising capabilities are lower than the other spouse's.

Mental health problems don't prevent a parent from parenting. If you are unfortunate to end up in court the priority is the welfare of the child. Courts won't disrupt a child's sense of security and established bonds unless there is professional evidence from school, social services, GP etc that the child isn't surviving satisfactorily.

When allegations are made courts may ask for a child welfare report. Children's wishes and feelings are taken into account depending on the age of the child although ultimately it is adults who make the decisions. The consideration is whether parenting is "good enough" and if not what measures can be put in place to ensure it is good enough.

For example an alcoholic parent with the majority of care for a child was a binge drinker who couldn't care for the children at weekends or get them to school on a Monday morning. The measures put in place were the parent did the shopping before the binge so there was food for the children after the binge, the children stayed with the other parent at weekends and a neighbour took the children to school on a Monday morning.

The best thing is to ignore what your husband said and look after your mental health.

Beerocl0ck Fri 09-Aug-13 00:05:07

He said a solicitor told him that? yeh right. My x tried to use the fact that I'd been on anti-depressants against me and my solicitor told me not to worry. I agree, the relevant issue is whether your parenting is good enough. Also, it's a very OLD CHESNUT the my xw is mentally ill. It's almost code in legal circles for the husband is a bully.

NightOfTheCactus Fri 09-Aug-13 00:14:51

Thanks for replying Beerocl0ck - I'm just really shaken up about this - There are many things I do not like about STBXH - but I never thought he'd use our daughter as a way of attacking me. Feel like I don't know him at all now.

I do understand why he's upset about the money issue - but I was only repeating what I had been told, and I'd rather go through mediation so both our sides are heard and it's dealt with properly.

Still, need to find a way of getting through this - we still need to communicate at the end of the day - and i can't have DD seeing verbal exchanges like she ended up witnessing tonight sad

blondieminx Fri 09-Aug-13 00:15:15

The court will decide in the best interest of the child(ren).

I am sure that will mean keeping your DD with you (her main caregiver) and I'm sure your team will state that you've willingly attended all appointments etc. I'm not surprised to hear you feel better now you see less of STBXH! wink the court will also want to see any child(ren) provided for.

He is shitting himself because you've taken advice and are not going to be the pushover he thought that you'd be. So he's resorting to nasty threats. Charming.

If you turn up to court and say "I asked for mediation; he refused on cost grounds" you won't be seen as the unreasonable one!

He sounds a prize twunt and I wish you great joy in your new life without him! thanks

NightOfTheCactus Fri 09-Aug-13 00:22:56

Sorry STIDW - missed your post. Thanks so much. The trouble is I've allowed myself to be bullied throughout my marriage, so I find it hard having difficult discussions with my husband as he'll always go on the attack rather than trying to see a middle way. What you're saying is pretty much what the solicitor said the other day.

I don't know what my daughter would say if her wishes are to be taken into account. She does say to me that she wants to live with her Dad, because her Dad is more "fun" than me - but tonight she told her Dad that she wanted to live with me. I really don't want her to be put in a position where she feels she has to choose or has any pressure put on her. It's already hard enough for her as it is. She is regressing - has gone back to sucking her thumb, sleeps in my bed a couple of times a week, chooses CBeebies over CBBC when she watches TV - I'm worried for her. She's really distressed that we're having to sell the house, and I want to make sure me and her have a nice place to move into to soften the blow for her, because she already has enough to contend with, poor love sad

I'm furious that STBXH started talking about custody issues in front of her - and it makes me more worried about the time she spends with him - I hadn't worried before, but she's only 7. I know how being around him has fucked up my mental health. I don't want him doing it to her too sad - I never thought he would before tonight, as I know how much he adores her. I just want to sort things out fairly and amicably and with as little negative impact as possible on her.

mineswine Fri 09-Aug-13 00:23:03

I think its telling from your post that whilst your stbxh was working away your mental health started to improve. Does he still work away? How would his working pattern fit with being the full time carer for your DD? Honestly, it sounds like bullshit. The mediation sounds like a good idea and you should try to move forward with this, and don't let him bully you.

NightOfTheCactus Fri 09-Aug-13 00:24:42

Thanks blondieminx

NightOfTheCactus Fri 09-Aug-13 00:27:03

Thanks mineswine. He's got a job back in the same city as me now. He's still paying the mortgage on our house until its sold, but he's kipping at a mate's house. To be honest, I can't imagine him having the patience to have DD with him full time. He does adore her, and she adores him - I won't take that away from him - but he does like to have his own space and go of and pursue his own interests, so I can't imagine him being the main resident parent would work out for either of them in the longterm

Rummikub Fri 09-Aug-13 00:31:55

He is just saying that to control you and scare you. As you realise he doesn't want your dd full time. It would cramp his lifestyle far too much. You already provide the majority (all) of the child care.

Have you tried Cbt by the way?

NightOfTheCactus Fri 09-Aug-13 00:39:34

Hi Rummikub, thanks

Yes, I've done CBT and ERP for my OCD - they have helped a lot and given me tools to fight the OCD with so I'm feeling more like recovery is possible and more optimistic about the future. Obviously with all the uncertainty at the moment and possible impending nastiness there is a strong possibility of a relapse -but at least I feel like I have the means to fight it.

blondieminx Fri 09-Aug-13 00:39:44

It might be worth you having a read through this thread about the Script used by midlife crisis fuckbadgers

Remember a life lived well is the best revenge... You will build a lovely new life for you and your DD and you will blossom without him chipping away at you!

NightOfTheCactus Fri 09-Aug-13 00:52:01

Thanks blondieminx smile To be fair I'm the one who ended the relationship (once I had enough time on my own to realise that (a) I wasn't dependent on him and (b) how ill being with him made me). No OW as far as I know (though lack of affection and interest in sex on his part made me wonder...) I think the main problems in our marriage have been that he is an angry (though not physically violent) person and I am an anxious person - and the way each of us is causes those attributes to revolve round in a circle.
I recognised some of the stuff about emotional detachment and "it's all about me" mind you...

NightOfTheCactus Fri 09-Aug-13 00:55:05

I'm reading Why Does He Do That by Lundy Bancroft at the moment and recognising loads of stuff - and feeling validated and relieved - I always used to look at the EA checklists that people post up here from time to time, and he didn't fit that profile, so I decided that what was happening to me couldn't be EA - but this book is making me realise that types of EA can be many and varied...

Rummikub Fri 09-Aug-13 00:59:56

Stay strong. And don't let him bring you down. He's done it for long enough. It is so telling that your better without him around. And I totally understand why all this latest angst has raised your anxiety.

Rummikub Fri 09-Aug-13 01:10:11

Sent you a pm cactus.

HansieMom Fri 09-Aug-13 01:12:26

This does not address your question, but anti depressants can help with OCD. Paxil is one.

NightOfTheCactus Fri 09-Aug-13 01:21:33

Thanks Rummikub - have pm-ed a couple of messages back flowers

HansieMom - I am on an antidepressant that has always worked very well for me each time I've used it - am not coming off it this time!!! Thanks for the thought and the suggestion smile

TurnipIsTaken Sun 11-Aug-13 12:02:18

Don't talk about this stuff in person with him, email only. In person stick to basic things about whether dd has had lunch, what she needs for school etc. This is in dd's best interest as having conflict and agro at handovers can be very stressful for her.

If he raises any issues about divorce/money, just politely ask him to email you about it. If he phones and starts ranting, calmly say, "please email me instead, I am hanging up now."

It does work but you may have to be firm and keep repeating yourself. This way gives you written evidence too.

Agree with the others, MH will not be of concern if you are sticking with treatment and there are no concerns over dd's day to day welfare. If you want extra reassurance ask one of your team what they would say if asked, do they have any concerns over your ability to parent.

You are not together anymore, you can each do what you want, consult solicitors or not. My ex also tried this nonsense. They are just scared about being taken to the cleaners (as they see it) and want to bully you into getting everything they want.

NightOfTheCactus Mon 12-Aug-13 18:40:16

Thanks Turnip. I sent STBXH an email on Saturday. I made sure that it was entirely rational, reasonable and conciliatory - but I was firm and I didn't back down - and I stated that under no circumstances must our daughter be exposed to that type of conversation again.

He came here on Sunday to take DD out for the day, and actually said himself that from now on we'll just deal with the divorce by email. He was sulky and grumpy (but that's not much different from our marriage anyway TBH), but we were at least civil.

I've started the ball rolling mediation-wise and got us appointments for the initial assessment. STBXH hasn't emailed me any response to Saturday's email - but I'm happy for it to wait until mediation anyway.

As a person I'm really scrupulous and concerned about not wanting to be unfair or treat people badly - it kind of comes with the territory with OCD - so I feel really uncomfortable fighting over money - but I do need to remember that this is for DD and her quality of life - and I hope that by doing it through mediation that they can advise us on what is fair anyway.

I'm really hoping that the threats he made last week were just hot air because he went on the offensive straight away without properly listening to what I had to say. I hope so anyway. I have always thought that however emotionally abusive he was to me during our relationship, he at least has always wanted DDs best interests at heart and loves her - Thursday made me question it, but here's hoping it's just a blip...

<will be grateful when this whole house sale/moving/divorce rigmarole is over!!>

RedHelenB Sun 25-Aug-13 08:51:22

That's not a lot of equity, so in a way he is right that legal fees could eat into it & you could end up with the same monetery value as 50% now even if you got 60%.

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