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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


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?

SecondhandRose Thu 10-Jan-13 22:34:42

I cant offer you any advice I'm afraid but I hope others can offer some. I suppose the only thing is at least he wants to see his children which surely is a good thing?

cestlavielife Thu 10-Jan-13 22:38:08

How old are the children ?
How much is the mortgage could you take it on?
Could you just move into rented and then force the divorce and sale of the house so you no longer tied ?
He can't hold off divorce for ever.

cestlavielife Thu 10-Jan-13 22:41:52

What does playing ball involve?
Can all contact be via solicitor ?
Set up a filter so his emails go into a folder and you don't see them

SolidGoldFrankensteinandmurgh Thu 10-Jan-13 22:42:50

Your solicitor should be applying for restraining orders against this man - if the police are concerned enough about your safety to need to check up on you, there should be an order in place to prevent him coming anywhere near the house. While his contact with DC may be court ordered (how old are they BTW? And how do they feel about him?) no court can insist on him having access to you - contact arrangements can be made through email and handovers done by someone else.

I appreciate that an abusive arsepigeon like this man can convince you that he has superpowers and is above the law, but he is not. His behaviour amounts to harassment, which is illegal. He doesn't get to choose how much he pays you, either: the law is in control of that.

MeaninglessStrife Thu 10-Jan-13 22:47:42

Secondhand - he has assaulted the eldest. And therefore his contact has been reduced. He is IMO emotionally abusive to them. So whilst he 'loves' his kids, a huge part of the contact issue, IMO, and that of social services, is that he wants control back. He wants to 'win' at all costs.

C'est - house is in negative equity - mortgage has been interest only. I've had no luck so far with being able to take it on my own as I've been on rolling temporary contracts until December (am now permanent so hoping that will go in my favour) I know the answer is to get away from him having this control re the house - but it's only a small part of the whole shitty mess sad

arthriticfingers Thu 10-Jan-13 22:54:36

Just sending brew and sympathy.
Can you get the heavies agencies involved to protect you and the children to a greater degree?

MeaninglessStrife Thu 10-Jan-13 22:54:44

All contact is via my solicitor - but because he represents himself, she just tends to forward the emails which need instruction - he produces a mix of children/property/general shittiness in each email so it's probably easier if she just forwards the lot if there is only 1 thing that actually NEEDS addressing. To be fair, if there is something completely ridiculous, then she doesn't forward them.

I have had both an NMO and an occupancy order but both were for 12 months only and as there has been no physical aggression since they lapsed, I have no grounds for renewing apparently.
He has been warned by the police for harrassment.
He has accused me off all sorts and I have been interviewed under police caution. After the interview, they warned him again - but he has got more clever.
He picks the children up at the house but doesn't come in.
With regards 'playing ball' - for example, his contact is limited to 15 daytime hours per fortnight. He will demand more via the solicitor. if I don't agree, the mortgage doesn't get paid if it's due a few days later.

MeaninglessStrife Thu 10-Jan-13 22:57:00

Solidgold - sorry meant to say - he is in full 'Disney daddy' mode at the minute. Eldest , who was assaulted, is desperate for his approval. NSPCC and social services are involved - they all want to see him but I see a shift in eldests attitude to how he behaves in general.

MeaninglessStrife Thu 10-Jan-13 22:58:52

God I'm sorry I seem to be sounding so negative - I really appreciate all of your responses.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 10-Jan-13 23:05:31

Good grief. Do they still do those special offer emigration packages to Australia? I've no idea what you do about someone as obsessive an unreasonable as he sounds. Could you get a different solicitor and see if they have some fresh ideas?

izzyizin Thu 10-Jan-13 23:05:42

He's assaulted your eldest dc and he's allowed unsupervised contact with them? shock

How is the 15 daytime hours per fortnight arranged? 7 hours straight at weekends or otherwise?

How many dc do you have and how old are they?

When he picks them up at your home, do you have any face-to-face contact with him?

MeaninglessStrife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:10:58

Contact was initially supervised - but because SS and contact centres were so stretched (and basically because SS fucked up) 'I' was doing the supervising in public places for very short periods of time. It then moved to public, activity based and is now 3 hours after school on a weekday and 9 hours on alternate Saturdays. Kids are 10 and 7.
After a Re L (DV fact finding hearing) went in my favour, he was ordered to do an NSPCC program for abusive dads but he has so far refused. And contact has remained static as far as the courts are concerned. I now know that OW is pregnant and I suspect that his refusal to do the course is tied into that

And yes - sign me up for Australia

MeaninglessStrife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:12:10

We have no communication - he parks right outside the living room window and the kids run out, or run in. he always empties the rubbish from his car into my bin though hmm

MeaninglessStrife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:13:32

Sorry - keep missing points - Cog - my solicitor is actually the best - she is so experienced with DV and she handles him in court really well. She does say herself that he takes a gold star for manipulation....

cestlavielife Thu 10-Jan-13 23:21:16

How much negative equity ?
Is he well off ? Where does he live ? he is using the mortgage housing to control you yes so for your sanity it might be worth moving out.

If you move out and rent your own place (set it up get credit checked etc first) then it won't matter what happens with the house and you will have your own place new start etc not tied to him. Can you pay rent on your salary?
What is the worst that can happen if mortgage not paid? Your credit rating? So move out first to rented. It takes some months for repossession etc and in fact he might agree for example to rent out that house you can then let solicitors argue out who gets what from the income.

It is a long game.

But tackle issues like his control over you with regard to the house. Think about moving out and losing that tie.

Write a list of what you can change here .
Take back some control even of it means a financial loss for now or losing the f m h.

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.

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 23:57:13

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

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.

SecondhandRose Fri 11-Jan-13 08:21:10

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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