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Struggling more than ever with ex/closure/ties

(11 Posts)
ohsotired45 Wed 03-Dec-14 10:39:56

I haven't been on here in a long time... I've made a new account but was a regular a good few years ago.

I'm just reaching out to others in my situation because I'm really struggling with my ex at the moment.

Come next summer, it will be two years since I left (and we split about 2 months before that) We share custody of our child 50/50 which has been going fairly well overall, with some clashing over stuff like the first Christmas arrangements last year. We closed all joint accounts and I am free from any ties apart from the jointly owned home - something I have been gingerly pushing for him to sort out as he decided he wanted to stay there initially. He could not get a sole mortgage and kept delaying putting on the market, but I tried to be patient to keep things amicable.

He had promised to get it on the market over the summer, but things were delayed again for various reasons - then it was meant to be August/September.

Out of the blue, he announced he was moving his girlfriend in. Everything with respect to getting it to market stopped and he told me I would just have to wait. He was vague but said they were looking at buying me out. I sought legal advice and sent a very firm letter outlining my proposal for the buy out, which was fair but because he wasn't used to me taking a stand, it caused everything to blow up.

We have been at loggerheads over this since September. I believe he thought he could just bully me and thought I would go away, but I persisted.

The conflict initially caused me to have panic attacks, increased heart rate and caused huge amounts of stress. Although the attacks have stopped, I am still really struggling with low mood and depression, poor sleep and anxiety.

He was emotionally abusive (long story) and I realised that pretending everything was fine and that we are friends was impossible. He is aware that I want space, I have been clear about how this is affecting me and that I don't want to be in social situations with him (I decided to be honest and just tell him that, without going into too much detail.)

I asked my GP for help and have started online/phone CBT but it's very general so far - I think I need help dealing with closure that I won't ever get from him. I am on a very low income and can't afford to pay Relate right now though.

He eventually did get it on the market (my solicitor said it was important to see something moving, for my wellbeing too) but the area is not brilliant for quick sales and it's not the ideal time (spring/summer). There hasn't been a single viewing, despite the fact that it is a lovely house and (credit to him) he did get it looking good for the listing.

He had been bluffing all along and any buy out is reliant on her selling up and them getting a joint mortgage, which I have to just sit and wait for - if they decide to do it.

We communicate only by email or text and had two conflicts about social engagements related to our child this week, in both of which I stood my ground - but they left me very shaky and upset and wasted a lot of time.

I am struggling with the reality sinking in that I am tied to this man for the rest of my life because of our child, and that we never discussed the emotional abuse, nor are we every likely to now. I think at first I was so happy to be free, that that was enough. Now time has passed, I feel worse than ever and the house conflict brought it to a head.

It will help when the house is sorted but sometimes the emotional pain I feel around all the issues from our relationship is so raw, it causes me to randomly burst into tears, even in the street.

I have a new boyfriend who is hugely wonderful and supportive but I try not to burden him too much with my pain. Don't get me wrong - he is fully aware and loving and helpful, but this pain I feel is so frequent - as soon as I wake up it's on my mind, like a punch to my gut and constant sadness - it scares me a bit. I feel like a broken record going over it too often, too.

I don't even know what I'm looking for with this, just getting it off my chest. I have read some of the other threads on here and I know other women are going through a much harder time, dealing with violence and much more complicated custody/practical problems. That's given me perspective and I will be thankful for the things that are going well, but nevertheless I am having a really hard time.

coalscuttle Wed 03-Dec-14 10:53:59

I know how you feel with the panic. I have spoken to local womens aid and they are going to refer me to the next freedom programme, which apparently can help you deal with this sort of situation. I think counselling is good but EA is so specific that you speak to people should are experts in that field.

coalscuttle Wed 03-Dec-14 10:56:24

Also i think you should get advice from a solicitor about the mortgage/house situation. I'm fairly sure there are routes you can go down to make him either buy you out or sell it.

coalscuttle Wed 03-Dec-14 11:01:31

This in itself might help you feel you are getting somewhere. But do speak to local womens aid or similar. I left 18 months ago after EA and some physical stuff. It has taken me this long to talk to someone properly, but they were lovely and v helpful. They also spoke about another course they do called Phoenix which is aimed at women who left some time ago but still struggling, I think. I hope things work out for you.

ohsotired45 Wed 03-Dec-14 11:09:48

Thank you coalscuttle. I have a barrister friend who has been advising me through this. I can apply for an Order of Sale but it's already on the market so technically he is taking steps to sell it. She is a very experienced family solicitor and hasn't said anything about being able to make him buy me out - I'll check with her though.

I hadn't thought about contacting WA over emotional abuse. In my eyes it's an organisation for serious domestic abuse and I never felt my experiences were in the same league (although they were serious in the impact they had.) I'll take a look, thanks for the idea. Relate said they were happy to see me but I'd have to pay, and their nearest location isn't practical for me to get to unless I could drive.

coalscuttle Wed 03-Dec-14 17:04:34

But the after effects are serious, and WA will take you seriously. It is still affecting your day to day life, through no fault of your own. I think you can do the freedom programme online if you any get to a group. But do call them, it is really helpful to talk to someone that understands, particularly if your ex never acknowledged the abuse. I was allowed to show no emotion to my ex unless it was approval of him or his actions and it is really important to talk about it. I think specialised help aimed at women like you might be more helpful than relate, where you may still feel "unheard", if you know what I mean. Glad you are getting legal advice :-)
You will get there in the end. I still gave bad times it when I look back to just a year ago, my life is immeasurably better than it was then

ohsotired45 Thu 04-Dec-14 10:06:09

I've emailed them - didn't feel up to a phone call as I was very low yesterday. I went to see my LO's xmas concert but wasn't allowed to see her afterwards - the staff took them back to nursery from the little concert room and it's not my week, so although it was lovely to see her show, it was gut wrenching being in the same room but not allowed a cuddle as I wasn't picking her up, and I didn't want to confuse her by going to the nursery area afterwards. Her sad face as they walked all the children back hurt so much.

If I don't hear back I will chase it up. Any sort of help that is specific with EA is worth a try, definitely. Mine wanted me to be a mirror image of himself - beliefs, trying out new diets, how we decorated the house - everything had to be met with his approval but if he didn't like something I wanted, it was no go. I did persevere with my social life but he would look after our little one begrudgingly - and start to sulk a few hours before I went out, as I was getting ready.

He had major anger management/mood issues and I was walking on eggshells a lot of the time. If he was in a mood I couldn't do anything right - I'd have to hide away somewhere else in the house until it passed and then I would so be relieved I'd feel sick. He would mock how I spoke on the phone, tell me off for laughing nervously (which only made it worse.) When we were in the street, he would yank my shoulders and shove me in the "right" direction or accuse me of being careless and that I wasn't looking at traffic. This made me question myself and I became very nervous and started to make mistakes. (But when I left, I haven't had a single problem navigating traffic or crossing roads - it was a control issue.) One time when we were caught in a stressful traffic jam, he screamed at me for ages because I couldn't get the GPS to work (my 3g signal was down.) He would then buy me a present to say sorry later. There were so many incidents...

What I am finding hardest is that I didn't expect this - I was so happy to be free at first, even though I had tons of practical problems and have been poorer than I've ever been, but I was free and that was enough... but 18 months on, the realisation that I still have to deal with him and bad behaviour, no matter how hard I try to keep him at arm's length, has sent me under. In a fair world you should be able to part with your abusive ex and never have anything to do with them again, but because he's the father of your child - you have to find a way through somehow.

Thanks again for your kind words, it does help a lot to offload, even if it's briefly online. x

TooSensitive Fri 05-Dec-14 07:30:10

Dear ohsotired
I am sorry you are feeling so down and that your ex was/is so horrible sad.
You can ask to have this thread moved to the relationships board where there is a lot more traffic if you like?

Handywoman Sat 06-Dec-14 15:12:30

ohsotired45 I can identify with all of this, I also left an EA marriage (14yrs) 18 months ago. Like you, none of the litany of shitty behaviour has been discussed and I'm forced to face dealing with him for the sake of the kids. The only way I've been able to deal with it has been to reject his thoughts and stop thinking of him as human. I think of him as a 'thing' at best. When he turns up to collect the kids I look away from him or through him. I no longer pick up the phone when he calls (opportunities for more manipulative shitty behaviour) or chat to him like a friend even though he tries to do this constantly (more opportunities for shitty behaviour). I no longer facilitate his relationship with the kids and this now is becoming quite distant as a result. I am having counselling to process it all. It takes ages and ages and ages to process it all. Be very, very, kind to yourself thanks thanks take all the time in the world for this, surround yourself with wonderful friends and do keep taking the advice of a good solicitor re finances. Good luck thanks

Rollercola Tue 09-Dec-14 15:46:19

I can also relate to much of how you feel, my marriage ended 18 mths ago as well. At the time the relief was enormous and everyone said I coped really well with it. 12 months later it hit me hard and I had a bit of a breakdown and now I'm just sort of muddling through.

My main problems are anxiety and guilt, I constantly worry about whether I'm doing the right thing and feel terribly guilty about how it has affected the children. I force myself to be amicable with my ex for their sake but I wish I never had to see him at all. He was EA in a slowly, eating-up-your-soul way which took years for me to realise. By the end I was a damaged shell of my former self and now I don't know who I am any more.

It's difficult to explain to people irl because there was no physical violence, no real arguments even. But when I look back there were so many things he said and did that were wrong. I feel ashamed that I stayed with him so long yet terribly guilty and a failure for leaving.

Counselling is definitely a good idea, although I've not had any yet. I have enrolled on the online freedom programme, maybe take a look at that?

Take care, it will take a long time to heal but you did the right thing and in time you will feel better.

ohsotired45 Wed 17-Dec-14 16:36:45

Hi everyone, I am finally popping back here after a week of toddler sleep woes and then a bout of the flu... sad

I am welling up reading the additional messages, thank you all so much.

@Rollercola you are exactly right about it being a slow, eating-up-your-soul kind of abuse that is hard to explain to some people because it wasn't really physical. (Well, it was a little for me - but not in a traditional DM way) I too feel guilt at staying so long and that I failed myself for not leaving sooner but it is NOT our fault... when you feel ground down and stuck it gets harder and harder to leave, especially when you feel you were a shadow of your former self and you don't have the strength. I also struggle with feelings of guilt for my LO, she has been so resilient and great in many ways but I regret my choice of having a child with this man, and it's not her fault - but I keep telling myself that down the line, she will understand and we can talk about it at some point if it seems right.

I am really curious to try out the online freedom programme, but it sounds like you could do with some face to face counselling too. I personally find standard counselling (like the 6-8 sessions you get through your GP surgery) is a bit general. I had 6 months of CBT for PND and anxiety (which helped me to actually leave) and it was so good. If your local WA can't offer face to face sessions of some kind then it's worth pursuing through your GP. I've moved now (obviously) but I was really lucky that I had a kind GP who referred me for CBT when my LO was 7 months for PND, then wrote a few times to bump me up the waiting list. I so wish I could refer myself back to her but she's in a totally different part of the city and it's just not possible.

@Handywoman I wish you well with your counselling and what you said resonates with me too - I just want minimal contact and to not be in any social situations. Luckily he never phones me but he still uses the same tone when we have to email me now and it cuts right through me, which makes me hate that I have to have any contact with him. My new fella is so supportive and deals with the house/finance emails with me, helping me screen them and reply so I don't end up a complete mess (though it's still so, so hard... he pulled another stunt this week that nearly sent me under.)

WA emailed me to say I need to phone up for more advice on accessing their local EA help. I was working up the courage to ring and then things went chaotic, but I will definitely be making that first contact by phone as soon as I feel better (this is my first day out of bed this week)

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