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Feel like he's still abusing me years after I left

(14 Posts)
Winged Mon 04-Apr-16 11:30:52

Two and a half years ago I left XH after 12 years together. Our relationship was characterised mainly by emotional abuse but also some financial, sexual and very occasional physical abuse. I actually left him because of his serial philandering but later realised the extent of his mistreatment mostly by reading advice on here.

We've both moved on, I'm very happy with my BF who is polar opposite of XH. XH is also now with 'the love of his life' who he's been with about 5 months and has already introduced the DC to.

The problem is that I still feel like he controls everything. He has our two young DC EOW and twice in the week overnight. He was paying regular child maintenance until about two months ago but has also owed me a lot of money which has accrued since we split for his half of birthdays, Christmas, school photographs etc. He regularly promises to pay me back but doesn't. On the meantime, he keeps booking holidays to take the DC on and weekends away with his gf.

Initially he would call a lot to discuss DC's but he would invariably use it as an opportunity to be verbally abusive so I've insisted on email contact only for the last month or so. He doesn't like this and regularly ignores my emails or doesn't respond to the content and will pick out one point to respond to.

He's also becoming less reliable with contact and sometimes just doesn't turn up for the DC. I work part time around the DC and do everything for them like school runs, homework, clubs, parties. I've encourages XH to do more of these things but he won't. If a party invitation falls on his week with the DC, I will send the invitation to him but he very rarely takes the DC to these things. Same with any other event that would be nice for the DC to go to like school fairs etc. he just won't take them. In short, it feels like I'm the only parent putting our DC's needs above my own and I find it hard work. I'm also quite ill at the moment having been diagnosed with hashimotos a year ago. I am exhausted and pick up every bug going round which will take weeks to recover from.

I always thought that he really loved his DC and whilst I worried about how he would cope with them on his own post split (he was never hands on while we were still together and never had them on his own) I never expected him to be this slack. He doesn't brush their teeth, forgets to give them medication and has returned them dressed in urine soaked clothes. I do think he loves them in his own twisted possessive way but he's just so useless. He's only started taking them places when he's with them since meeting this new woman.

He just so hostile towards me and he uses anything he can to get at me, mostly by withholding money that I'm owed or refusing to help out financially. This really grates because I didn't go after anything in our divorce. I let him keep the house (I'm now in private rental), his pension, everything. I gave up my career to look after our children and supported him through career changes and joblessness. He lives in a huge 5 bed and earns extra money by taking in lodgers.

I guess I'm just reeling from the unfairness in the situation and his ultimate control. I feel like I can't heal from his abuse because I'm forced to still endure it despite having left, because I'm the only one putting the DC's first. It feels like I'm at constant war with him. What can I do? I'm often tempted to just completely cut all contact including for the DC's because it's damaging for them too. I can't afford legal advice and I know he would hide his income if I went to the cms. I feel so trapped by my stupid decisions as a 17 year old when I met him sad.

AuntyElle Mon 04-Apr-16 14:16:09

Wondering how on earth your divorce lawyers let you leave him the house (and his pension) while you have the kids!!?
Have you had a free half hour with a new lawyer to talk about what is possible re setting up a better situation? Or spoken to the Women's Legal Service?
His neglect of your children while in his care is really concerning - you definitely need advice on that - have you spoken to anyone about it?

BertieBotts Mon 04-Apr-16 14:24:45

This is unfortunately pretty common sad It's all about control. You have to try and come across to him like none of it matters or bothers you.

I think you can stop contact, but be prepared for him to take you to court and then you'd have to explain why you'd stopped it and you might be forced to make them go anyway. If you think he wouldn't bother to take it to court I'd take a chance on this.

Was he ever physically abusive and do you have proof (photos, police reports)? If so you might be able to get legal aid.

AuntyElle Mon 04-Apr-16 14:26:50

Sorry, meant to say no wonder you are reeling at the unfairness - it's definitely control and abuse long after you took the huge step of leaving.
Here's the Women's Legal Service rightsofwomen.org.uk/get-advice/family-law/

Winged Mon 04-Apr-16 14:27:11

Thank you for replying Aunty. It was actually a diy divorce, I even let him divorce me on the grounds of my infidelity even though it was he who cheated! I naively thought that if I left without pursuing his money, we would get on better fit the DC but that hasn't proved to be the case. I did initially get a free half hour consultation but was advised that because we'd been married a relatively short time (most of the 12 years we weren't married) then I'd be lucky to walk away without any of his debts and just keep my own. I've since been told that was probably poor advice but I acted on it at the time.

I've not spoken to anyone with legal knowledge since because I can't afford it. I've never heard of women's legal service?

Winged Mon 04-Apr-16 14:30:18

Sorry, x-posted there.

He was physically abusive but I didn't contact the police. I did contact them once when I left the house to let him calm down but he refused to let me back in and our youngest was breastfed. The police came and he left but nothing resulted from that. If I'd known then how things would pan out, I'd have kept a record with my gp or the police.

Chlobee87 Mon 04-Apr-16 14:33:22

What an absolute shit. If I were you, I'd start keeping a diary with detailed notes of dates and times he is late/doesn't show up, times he returns the children without having washed them etc. At least you then have some kind of record which may be helpful in the future depending on how it all pans out.

I'd also have another look at getting some legal advice. He has responsibilities and he can't just ignore them. As someone else said though, try not to let him know how much he's bothering you. People like him thrive off it.

BertieBotts Mon 04-Apr-16 14:40:46

I would also contact social services or NSPCC or perhaps your own HV and ask for advice re his treatment of them when they are in his care. I mean, surely being left in urine soaked clothes and denied needed medication would be classed as neglect? It might be that the agencies believe the presence of this new woman might have a mitigating effect, which I always find a baffling viewpoint. But it's worth asking.

Winged Tue 05-Apr-16 14:01:57

Thanks everyone. I have made an appointment with a solicitor this week to find out where I stand. When I made the appointment, the solicitor asked me what outcome I was hoping for since a court can't force him to see his DC regularly and won't get involved in child maintenance. I already knew this so now I'm confused about what I'm hoping the courts could help me with.

In an ideal world, I'd just like him to be fair. If he would pay me back this money, I don't think I'd care as much that he took everything. I'd like him to stop being nasty to me and just put the DC first. And yes, properly financially support them. But this is all stuff that relies on him being a decent person and I know deep down that he will never be.

The constant battles and worries I have really play on my mind an awful lot and take up too much of my emotional energy. This situation is a massive threat to my current happiness and freedom and for these reasons, I just want to let go of that expectation that he will ever be decent or play fair. But I don't know how to let go when it still very much feels like the abuse I've always endured from him and other men and everything in me says 'fight'. But the fight is just as damaging to me.

What an absolute mess sad

AuntyElle Wed 06-Apr-16 09:31:32

That is a lot of shit to be dealing with. I saw something in here about a detachment script, I'll see if I can find it.
The expectation you can't let go of though is that he'll not neglect your kids when they are under his care. Would that be a place to start with the solicitor?

BertieBotts Wed 06-Apr-16 11:17:25

I would be pushing for supervised contact. That's what I would ask the solicitor to help with.

BertieBotts Wed 06-Apr-16 11:18:38

Also for handovers to be managed so that you don't have to meet him.

stitch10yearson Wed 06-Apr-16 11:22:42

Thats because you havent really left him, have you? If you let him have the finances accrued during the marriage, including the roof over your kids head, then obviously he is going to expect he can have more and more. Any time he has spent with his kids, according ot your post, seem to be becuase his gf is a semi decent sort.
Either let this continue, and let him have control, or completely write everything off. That includes any future money considerations from him, and if he cant keep the kids clean and safe, then he doesnt get to have them on any days of the week at all.

CheersMedea Wed 06-Apr-16 17:23:30

^I already knew this so now I'm confused about what I'm hoping the courts
could help me with.^

How did you find this solicitor? You really want someone who specialises in family law (ancilliary relief and contact work) and who has been recommended to you.

You have two issues (a) the inadequate financial settlement on divorce and (b) contact.

(a) Explain to the solicitor her about the DIY divorce, that you had no legal advice etc and he was emotionally abusive and you want to know whether there is any basis to challenge that settlement - on the basis that you were under undue influence; or wasn't properly advised or that circumstances are different to how both you and your ex envisaged after the divorce etc etc. The free half an hour may have been negligent advice so mention that too. Basically anything they can think of.

(b) Contact - you want to know whether there is anything can be done regarding his neglect of the children when in his care.

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