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How do I live a life with this constant emotional abuse?

(23 Posts)
WhatDoesItTake Sun 28-Dec-14 11:33:57

My ex husband has never 'forgiven' me for walking away from the marraige. We were ultimately incompatible, he was a bully and emotional abuser, childish and petty, made me suffer silences and sulking, scoffing at my distress and I just felt lost and alone a lot of the time and I couldn't bear to be with him anymore. I have had years since of being emotionally abused, bullied and this extends to the Dc (aged 11 and 14).

My DS hasn't been well for a few days and I didn't send him to his dads for the weekend because of this instead keeping him at home to rest, my DS said he probably would 'be expected' to do things and be up and about if sent to his dads. The dad views it as 'his time' so he would give short shrift to my son being unwell and doesn't really have much compassion. His dad said that was ok not to send him (through my daughter who did go as planned, things are that bad that he messages through her, though I have told him not to

My DS is still not 100% but there is a trip to the panto which was planned for today. I got a message from my daughter to bring my son around at 10am. I questioned why so early (her dad failed to correspond so I had to communicate with my DD She had no reason but alluded her dad said so. The show is not due to start until 1pm. I requested that I bring my DS to the theater doors before the show. His dad then texted me to say bring DS to the town centre at 11am. I texted to say DS wouldn't be up to this and would just go to the show and to tell me the time and I would bring him. I then get back a text saying I am a liar and that if I don't bring DS to the town centre then I obviously don't want DS to 'enjoy himself'. I cannot reason with him he is full of hatred for me. My kids are suffering through his bullying.

I told him by text I can't take this anymore. He replies that he will 'give in to my demands' and to being DS to the theatre doors after all. No mention of how is DS, is he any better , nothing.

This is just a snapshot of the life we are having. I have no family nearby having moved to where his family live when we got married, he wouldn't consider living anywhere else. I feel trapped and alone. I have thoughts of moving back to where i am from (outside UK court durastriction but only an hours flight but there is a contact order in place so the complications would be horrendous)

When does this nightmare end? I don't know how I can bring my kids up with all the stress from him?? Sorry for the length, just need to let this all out somehow.

gamerchick Sun 28-Dec-14 11:40:08

I don't know what the answer is really . Kids grow up and make up their own minds . Eventually they choose whether to go and get themselves there and back.
But the damage has already been done by then and you reap what he has sown.

Maybe it's time to ask your kids what they want. Do they want to cut him off for eg?

WhatDoesItTake Sun 28-Dec-14 11:42:37

They are very loyal and just want him to be 'normal'. I feel for them both as I know his anger overrides everything and they are the fall guys, I am living where he wants me to, doing whatever it takes to keep things going but it's not enough for him. It feels like I am being punished, there is no let up.

HamPortCourt Sun 28-Dec-14 11:58:19

In a couple of years it won't really be necessary for you to have any contact with him, he an make his own arrangements direct with DC.

Once he realises he isn't annoying you he will stop it - you know he ony does this to continue the control and abuse?

The only way to limit it between now and then is to not let him see it is upsetting to you/bothering you.

When it is unavoidable, like the example you have given here where you have to protect DS from him, then I would make light of it, I would just text him "Oh, you are such a silly bully, No, DS will be at X place at X time, don't text me again about it, you are being ridiculous again." If he thinks you are laughing at him rather than cowering and worrying then it might take the shine off?

I would probably be tempted to move back home and sod the consequences but that's probably shit advice so ignore me.

gamerchick Sun 28-Dec-14 12:02:00

They won't think like that for much longer, especially the eldest.

I hate the long game because it damages the kids mentally. When they hit 15 things start to change and his control starts to slacken but then you have to deal with the going off the rails.

Maybe it's time to go back to court so you can move. There has to be something.

gamerchick Sun 28-Dec-14 12:03:08

And I do agree with pp. It's time to be assertive with him.

WhatDoesItTake Sun 28-Dec-14 13:15:26

Thanks for the replies. I do assert myself but it seems to only up the ante. I ignore mostly. I am thinking of the long run and a life in a place where I'm not settled, no family and no partner, only a couple of close friends. I know he would fight me to hell and back if I try and go home, it would be for the court to decide ultimately but the court do not have to live this life. I am tempted to up and go but it's the kids schools etc and all the upheaval plus it would be against the court order.
I feel so miserable and lost, perhaps doing something drastic might shake me out of this rut but I am terribly afraid of the consequences not to mention his anger.

tribpot Sun 28-Dec-14 13:27:14

The thing is, you have to realise he behaves in this way in order to upset you. He gets off on bullying and asserting his dominance over you by having you jump to his tune.

So you just don't do it.

You get told to bring him to town at 10 a.m. - 'no he is not well enough for that, I will drop him off at the theatre'. Don't try and discuss things, esp via your dd. Simply state the reality and and then move on.

Don't break your court order. It won't work and could be far worse for you than standing up for yourself here.

How often does he see the kids? Do you have a set routine, minimising handover and contact? If not, that's the priority.

WhatDoesItTake Sun 28-Dec-14 13:36:11

I only accept communication from him texts or emails because of his abusiveness, I have pages of those where a simple message to him re the kids will result in him blasting me for 'ruining the family' 'taking his money' (I only got what the court decided and he pays the minimum he can get away with) 'never loving him' 'using him' etc etc. So just trying to have any normal interaction is fraught with recriminations. This is years after we split up.
His new tack of sending messages re my DD is worrying as she gets anxious so I know I need to put a stop to this, she is afraid of him so finds it hard to go against what he wants.

Yes, I know running away isn't the solution, it would have to be done properly if at all. Just all seems to hard.

springydaffs Sun 28-Dec-14 15:04:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

springydaffs Sun 28-Dec-14 15:11:10

-post - reading your last post I think you do have a legal case re harassment. If he's still blathering on about personal issues years later then you do have a case. Also using your daughter to relay messages.

clam Sun 28-Dec-14 15:15:02

I certainly wouldn't be giving him the satisfaction of knowing you "can't take this anymore."
It must be very hard, I know, but can you work towards regarding him as an annoyance that has to be dealt with, in a more detached way. So, don't debate with him. If he says "bring him at 10," don't ask why, just respond briefly and curtly, "I will drop him just before 1pm at the theatre." Press re-send as often as he bangs on about it. Try and view it along the lines of 'a dog can't chase a cat that doesn't run away.' Be that cat, sitting calmly washing behind its ears whilst the dog goes bananas barking and fussing. Then turn and walk away when you're ready.

Easier said than done, I know. flowers

Jingalingallnight Sun 28-Dec-14 15:24:25

In my experience when you stand up to a bully they get really nasty. So it is good advice to keep contact to a minimum and act cool and dismissive.

If you moved away he would hate it but surely you are allowed to move wherever you want in the world. If there is a court order re contact, then you would have to get legal advice on what to do. Presumably the court order would be adjusted to take into account your new circumstances.

The children can still have a relationship with their father. I know someone who emigrated to Australia and the dc had contact with their father during the school holidays.

For your happiness maybe you should seriously consider moving.

WhatDoesItTake Sun 28-Dec-14 16:38:29

Thank you all, I feel a bit better and less alone just having others put into words what they can see is happening and knowing I'm being understood.

springydaffs that was a drastic conclusion to your abuse, it put an end to it, awful way for it to happen though it was.

clam thanks for the cat analogy, I had never thought of that!

Will explore my options re moving, I believe it may just be possible though I'll have a hard fight on my hands once again with him, but I know I have to put the kids first and that's all I want for them, to have a better life, if I'm not happy and ground down, then I don't see how it can be benefiting them.

tribpot Sun 28-Dec-14 16:56:17

I'm not sure the cat analogy completely holds, clam, although my cat will quite happily torment the enormous dog who lives next door by walking around near the boundary fence, knowing he can't get to her. If he did, however, he could probably eat her in one bite as she is tiny and he is massive. Only the cat is smart enough to figure out where the power in their relationship really lies smile

Completely agree, though, the ex needs the broken record treatment. Yes, he probably will stress out your DD by getting her to keep phoning but all you can do is prepare her for that and say you won't continue to have these petty disagreements with her dad, so it's fine for her to keep phoning but you won't engage with her dad through her as it's not fair.

clam Sun 28-Dec-14 17:01:30

Nah, I agree the analogy has more holes in it than Swiss cheese, but the bit about (trying to) stay cool, calm and collected and appearing not to be bothered about him jumping up and down about things holds good.

tribpot Sun 28-Dec-14 17:26:35

Yep - even if, like my cat, you're deliberately doing it to piss the dog off. The important thing is to believe the fence is there, so he can bark and bark but can't do a bloody thing.

HansieLove Sun 28-Dec-14 17:50:53

I would not correspond through your daughter. Tell him that. You will have to repeat it many times!

greenberet Sun 28-Dec-14 19:11:27

i have this frustration too what - DH involved with OW but didnt want divorce - wanted me to accept that things would carry on as before financially - as i havent feel I am being punished too - he is controlling money, refusing to communicate with me at all & now texts kids direct with arrangements so sometimes I'm not actually involved. My kids are similar age to yours. I was "stonewalled" throughout our marriage & it is continuing now. I just want this whole thing to be over too and the lack of respect for me makes me so angry.
he tells me to move on as he has but there is always something. it has been just one drama after another but im sure hes convinced that it is me doing the bullying as he has already had his solicitor write to mine on this.
Kids know he is behaving appallingly but he is still able to manipulate them and they are not quite old enough to assert themselves and love him.
I know exactly how you are feeling - someone suggested that if we have to sell the FMH i could move anywhere and I cant tell you how tempting this is. My whole year has been "swamped" by this and i cant see it ending anytime soon

WhatDoesItTake Sun 28-Dec-14 21:50:46

Urgh greenberet that sound like a nightmare. Sounds like you will have to get the finances resolved through the courts, that is the only way, to take it out of his hands. It truly is so depressing, I am going to seek legal advice re moving away, some action is better than being cowered, which is how I have been for so long, afraid to make a decision for fear of upsetting him and unleasing more crap - trouble is, I do nothing and I still get the abuse so may as well act.
Think of your future and what you want, hard to do I know but having been on here and speaking to family I now feel more confident to actually try and make a life without worrying how he will react.

Justatoe Sun 28-Dec-14 22:55:17

I have a similar ex & felt like you do earlier this year.
The advice to disengage is spot on, I like the cat analogy but I think of it like a rock in fast flowing water. .The water flows all around the rock but does not move it or trouble it.
CAT via counselling really helped me and there are lots of CBT resources online giving tools to manage your reaction to the behaviour. I find this puts me back on control.
DD is older but has learned to assert herself & we discuss how his behaviour to her is wrong.

greenberet Tue 30-Dec-14 12:49:21

hi just interested in how you helped your DD learn to assert herself and how you discuss his behaviour - my DD is 13 and although she sees a lot of what he is doing as being not right i think she is struggling with the "he's my dad" aspect.

I have been on ADs for most of my married life which i always thought was down to something being wrong with me but know now it is mostly down to him - don't want either of my kids to have the self doubt that I have struggled with for years.

WhatDoesItTake Wed 31-Dec-14 11:36:15

greenberet - my dd is the same re asserting herself, it was worse when she was younger as young kids are naturally so trusting but now she is older she can see her dads flaws. I always point out to my two that their fathers behaviour is about him and not anything they have done. We have a de-brief for want of a better word, any time there has been problems with their dad being a bully to them, I make sure they know that they do not deserve to be treated like that. I do also confront their dad about his behaviour by email. What I get back is mostly abusive recriminations towards me and denials.
It is hard as mine do want to see their dad and there are stretches when everything is ok, but I just never know when he will next get a bee in his bonnet about something and take it out on all of us. It's exhausting. Like another poster said though, kids grow up and can make their own minds up in the near future. In the meantime, for me anyway, I keep vigilant and try and limit the damage as best as I can.

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