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what should/can I do??

(17 Posts)
arrgh Mon 01-Aug-11 20:42:21

Hi all, this is my first post....please be gentle!
I feel trapped for a multitude of reasons, ~~I will give some back story in the hope that the good folks of MN can help me with this...
I am an aussie citizen living in and married to an English man for the past 14 years.
We have two kids 9, 13. I have no family here, (but thankfully, lovely friends) and have born the brunt of MIL's bullying (verbal, once physical- slammed a crutch into my leg that had 40 stitches, I was just out of hospital the day before) She has thrown a multitude of insults at me, including, the very awful (and untrue!) i wasn't brought up properly' to insults about my country (they've never been!) and my family (who they've met once) I have never once retaliated in a rude manner- despite being desperate to tell her to fuck off.

Basically, I have been yelled at, insulted and ostracised within their family. All in all, after the door incident I have cut off all contact with them. I have had no support from H over this. He believes that it takes two to tango- which is true, however, I have never been disrespectful. I have remembered birthdays and brought gifts- I have tried, I really have. Family is really important to me, and with mine being so far away, I wanted to be part of his.

Prior to the last MIL incident, H assaulted me. Basically hit me over the head with a large torch which knocked me to the ground, spraining my wrist and causing a great big lump on my head. He was pissed, our ds was present.
It wasn't the first time. (He is not a habitual wife beater,) yet, he feels no remorse. (Apparently, I piss him off til he snaps!?)

For the past 6 months we have been living in seperate rooms, I want a divorce- but the thing holding me back is our son- he adores his father and would be devestated if we split. DD who is the eldest, has told me to stop putting up with it and to move on. H claims he cannot afford to move out- despite having investments which could be sold.

H has the occasional psyco interlude when pissed- the most recent was a couple of weeks ago when his friend was staying over. He flipped for no apparent reason and accused me-in a threatening and violent manner-of all sorts of imaginary crimes- i scarpered upstairs to get away. He apologised later- but made it clear that it was basically my fault.
He is very 'jealous' of me, which sounds wierd, but has demonstrated jealousy, paranoia and unjustifable anger on so many occasions, I am really just sick of it.

Here's the problem. I desperately want to return to Oz with the kids. I am not even sure if i legally can. I am scared to see a solicitor incase i am told that i cannot take the kids out of Blighty.
If I divorce, I am left in poverty.

Sorry it's so long. I feel depressed just typing it.
Thanks for any advice x

buzzsore Mon 01-Aug-11 20:55:28

You really need to get legal and financial advice. Knowledge will empower you, it will arm you, even if you don't act on what you then know, you won't be looking at the future through his distorted lense.

You should not continue in a relationship where there is violence and abuse for your children's sake as well as your own - what they see of your relationship they may well repeat for themselves in the future - you're modelling relationships for them, and it's not a healthy blue-print. Talk to Women's Aid, they will be able to advise you on an exit plan.

niceguy2 Mon 01-Aug-11 20:57:19

Yeah....to be blunt you will struggle to take the kids out of the country unless they also wish to go. Given the eldest's age, CAFCASS will take what she wants into consideration. Can you take them to Australia for a holiday without dad? See what they think?

But honestly you need to leave. He's physically assaulted you and threatened you. I suspect there are also other incidents you've not mentioned or don't think are worth mentioning. This is not normal behaviour.

Bear in mind that since you have been married for so long, you will have UK citizenship so you will be entitled to full state support just like any other UK woman. Go to the Citizen's Advice Bureau. Find out what you can get. Speak to the council about where you could live. Can you perhaps rent somewhere with your kids?

Living on benefits isn't easy but many do it and do it successfully. The thing to remember is that it's not forever and they are there to help people in their time of need. I think your situation classes as that.

Good luck

Alambil Mon 01-Aug-11 21:00:42

you are living with an abusive partner and an abusive MIL (perhaps where DH learned his skills in such behaviour....)

Your son may love his dad very much, but he's learning how to treat women and be in a relationship. Children are sponges - even if you don't suffer in front of him, he WILL pick up what is happening and it is not age dependent - it happens from babies in the womb to well, any age. Your DD is learning how women are treated in relationships and families too... even if she is old enough to say "move on, it ain't good" - the foundations are being laid for her future relationships too.

I'm not trying to send you on a guilt trip saying all that - honestly, I'm not. I have been there, although I wasn't half way around the world from my family, I was 200 miles away and felt the utter despair and alone-ness.

It is very, very hard to break free, especially as your family are not here. There is support out there though, if you do want to leave.

Could you ring Women's Aid?

countydurhamlass Mon 01-Aug-11 21:03:16

there will be a "suppport group" in your local area for women who have suffered domestic violence (Whether emotional or physical) who will be able to help you move out and get all the advice you need. if you are not sure who or where they are ring a local family law solicitor and see if they have the details. or you could try Refuge, or womensaid

buzzsore Mon 01-Aug-11 21:09:44

A good place to find the number of a group like codurhamlass is suggesting is your gp's surgery, there will usually be posters/leaflets about local groups. And some solicitors do a free half-hour initial consultation or CAB, as already said.

neuroticmumof3 Mon 01-Aug-11 21:23:36

You are in an abusive relationship and you need to get rl support and help. Contacting Women's Aid would be a good first step. Don't let worry about finance keep you in this relationship. You will qualify for state benefits and although things will be tight you can live on that income. I'm very worried that he is being abusive in front of your DC. That is child abuse, and although it's not your fault it's happening you are going to have to be the one who puts an end to it. My advice would be leave quickly and stay within the UK, work out if you can return to Oz once you're out of the relationship.

PeppermintPasty Mon 01-Aug-11 21:27:26

But if you don't make plans to get out, what are you other options? -Staying here to be beaten sporadically by a psychotic bastard while you watch your children soak it all up? Don't be scared of going to see a Solicitor-they will lay it out for you clearly, and buzzsore is right-this knowledge, any knowledge about your situation will strengthen you. I'm a lawyer but not a specialist in Family Law, but I do know that you would have to make an application to court to leave the country if he doesn't agree. The fact that your children are older will help, their views will be taken into consideration.

I know going to court sounds scary, but you simply can't let this man steal any more of your life from you. Please at least just get a free interview, plenty of lawyers will see you for free. Whereabouts are you-if you're South West anywhere my amazing compassionate boss will see you, he's the best family lawyer I've ever known. In fact, if you want I can talk to him tomorrow and get some general advice and thoughts on taking children out of the country etc. PM me if you like x Or I will just speak to him and post it back on here anyway if that helps?

PeppermintPasty Tue 02-Aug-11 10:00:31

Morning arrgh. Hope things are a bit brighter this morning. Just spoken to my boss. You would have to apply to court if your H doesn't agree to the children going with you. The good news is the views of both of them, your dd in particular, would be taken into account. The other good news is that you have an entirely valid reason for wanting to go to Oz (other than wanting to be rid of him of course) in that you have family ties there. Apparently the courts are less keen on people wanting to leave the country to go somewhere random to "make a new life" which is often given as a reason.

The other point he made is there has been a new court decision in literally the last 2 weeks or so that broadly favours keeping good contact with the parent left behind. He doesn't think it will make your departure harder, he thinks though that the court may put more conditions on it than they might have done before this new case, eg strict conditions about visiting for him, or making it a condition that you come back a certain amount of times etc.

As for the violence, he believes that would be a factor that would "add weight" to all your other arguments, but it probably wouldn't be a deciding factor, if that makes sense. I take it he has not been violent towards the children, as that would be a very different ball game?

I know all this sounds horrendous, but can you see the light at the end of the tunnel? I agree with what neurotic says above-maybe leave and be in England first? Get away from the violence, it will only get worse IMO. Good luck.

Alambil Tue 02-Aug-11 11:05:42

Just to add, he wouldn't have had to be physical necessarily with the children. Emotional abuse/neglect counts too. Calling them names, yelling over and above a regular level, witholding affection or forgiveness etc are all strings in the EA bow.

JeffTracy Tue 02-Aug-11 11:07:05

What great advice you have had already OP. Your H is an alcoholic I guess? And a violent one. You need to report any future incidents to the police straight away - they take these things very seriously.

I agree with the other posters that taking the kids back to Oz will be an issue if H does not allow this. Once your youngest is 11 or 12 (not sure of the exact age) the court will take his views very seriously, but until then it is tricky.

Good luck in such a difficult situation - please take care.

NicknameTaken Tue 02-Aug-11 15:16:02

One step at a time. The first thing is to get out of the relationship and sort out your finances. In the short term, yes, it is likely to be legally difficult to take your DCs to Australia. That doesn't stop you from getting away from your H and having your own home here.

You may have to put Australia on hold for a few years, but it can still be something to work towards in the longer term. Perhaps he'll move on to a new victim partner, or perhaps you'll have to wait until your DCs are deemed old enough by a court to make this decision. Take that as it comes. For now, concentrate on getting away from your H. You say he's not a "habitual wife-beater" - he's still an abusive man and you really shouldn't stay with him.

arrgh Tue 02-Aug-11 15:54:08

Dear All,

I am overwhelmed by your care and compassion. Sorry I dissapeared, it was difficult to get time alone.
The good news is, that I KNOW that you are all absolutely right. I cannot stand that my kids see this. I can't stand to live it.
It is a difficult situation, being so far from home and without family, but I have great friends (who say the same as you guys) so, fundementally, I need to grow a pair and actually turn this around.
I have a day this week in which I can slope off to speak to a solicitor- I will do this. As one of you said, any knowledge is power.
I am happy to stay in the uk for the time being at least- I just want a home which is peaceful.
Having had a violent father myself, all sorts of issues surround this. I will speak to my GP, who is amazing, about what I can do to help myself become emotionally stronger. A great problem that I have is of diminishing the importance of the acts. In my head is the (misguided) belief that 'it isn't that bad.' Typical abuse 'victim' logic.
To Peppermint, that you went out of your way to seek advice for me is so very kind. I have taken it all on board and am determined to sort this out, for myself and my kids.
Thanks to all, I was scared that i would be condemned on this thread, that i was met with kindness and compassion helps enormously. xx

PeppermintPasty Tue 02-Aug-11 16:25:47

Good for you, you sound very strong today. If you feel wobbly just keep posting. It sounds as if you've got some good mates out there too, lean on them, let them help you. No one will condemn you, and if they try to we'll all sort 'em out grin

neuroticmumof3 Tue 02-Aug-11 19:51:00

You sound very determined today. Glad you're being positive and making plans. I'm so sorry you experienced a violent home as a child as well as now. Your current situation must be bringing all sorts of things up for you so I think you're right to see your GP, maybe she'll be able to refer you to a counsellor. If you get a chance call Women's Aid, they may be able to put you in touch with a local service that could help and support you through this period.

NicknameTaken Wed 03-Aug-11 11:29:07

I agree with PP and neurotic that you are sounding strong and determined - it's great to have plans for the next step. It's always recommended on here, but Lundy Bancroft "Why does he do that?" is very helpful in getting your head clear.

There are so many better ways to live like this, and you can make it happen.

NicknameTaken Wed 03-Aug-11 11:29:25

I agree with PP and neurotic that you are sounding strong and determined - it's great to have plans for the next step. It's always recommended on here, but Lundy Bancroft "Why does he do that?" is very helpful in getting your head clear.

There are so many better ways to live than this, and you can make it happen.

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