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Where do I start and how..? Need advice(27 Posts)
I have been married for 11years and have three children (9, 4 & 3mnths). DP mother has interfered in our marriage from the get go. E.g She decides who we invite to our home to stay. I have not accepted this and this has caused problems in our marriage. DP does not see this as interfering and says she has a right to an opinion. There are other problems in the marriage besides this.. and i have tried to make it work. In trying to make it work, i have become oppressed. I can't make any decisions..not even naming our new baby. It's become so hard to have a voice in this marriage.
Now his mother is demanding how we raise our children and what names we call them. And if I don't do as she says, she starts threatening things. E.g 'if you don't do .... i would never set foot in this house again'. I spoke DP about this. He said that his mother would not be bullied into not standing up for herself when I insult her by rubbing my own ways of raising our children in her face. She is entitled to make remarks to me.
In the grand scheme of things, this is one of the milder incidences that we have experienced but I have had to ask myself, when is enough enough?
I apologise for the length of this. I thought to give some background so one can have a picture of the situation. DP is petty minded, can go out of his way to be vindinctive and lies to get his way.
I am lonely, psychologically & mentally exhausted. I want to leave but have so many fears namely - I worry I am doing the wrong thing by my kids. ..I am scared I wouldn't be able to afford rent and childcare. (I work a mixture of 7:30am - 5:30pm, 7:30am - 9:30pm and 8:30pm - 9:30am shifts . No nearby family. When I return to work, a monthly wage of 1,800 where a two bed flat costs 1,500), benefits calculator says I could be entitled to approx £9/week, I am also scared that the separation may not be amicable..
I feel stupid asking these... how do I go about leaving? Do I let him know I am leaving and discuss living arrangements for the kids? Or do I take the kids and go while he is at work? What do I do if he calls and wants to know where we are? Do I tell him? If yes, what do I do if he comes and asks me to give him the kids? Or let him visit with the kids?
How have you handled it - breaking the news to the children, the finances, the actual leaving - if you have been through similar? Many thanks for your patience reading through this. I would really appreciate your advice.
I think that the answer to a lot of your questions is "that's entirely up to you" but I'm sure people will be along with suggestions and what works for them. You can also look for professional advice on some.
I also wonder if you're familiar with the Stages of change theory. Try googling it, I found it useful insight in terms of understanding what I was experiencing.
When things are tough it's easy to feel as though you have very limited options, so be prepared to think more widely.
Hi OP, can I ask whether your current home is rented or owned and in whose name? It's just that you only seem to be considering the option of you leaving when it may be better for you and DC to stay where you are and DP leave, assuming you could afford to do so. Just because it's you who wants to end the relationship it doesn't mean you should necessarily be the one to go and it may well be less disruptive for DC for him to leave and you stay put. If the house is in his or joint names this is obviously complicated by the fact that he would need to agree to leave but I thought it was worth asking.
Thanks for your replies, Redmaple and Hiding.
Hidingtonothing, our current house is rented. Both our names of the rent agreement. The thing is he would not leave. Very likely, he would suggest I leave..without the children. I don't want to get into a battle with him about who will leave. I am already scared of what lengths he may go to... to 'get back at me' for leaving. E.g telling the kids I am leaving them (he has done this before), telling the kids that 'mummy is teaching you the wrong things' (also does this from time to time), try to get full custody of the children, or just taking the children and not bringing them back, not contributing financially to their upkeep etc.
He will make things as difficult for me as possible and he will use the children because he knows it will get to me.
So I want to cut down on the things that will cause battles..
Sorry..posted to soon. I want to avoid battles where possible. Does that make any sense?
In my experience there will be no avoiding the battles. If he's that way inclined and you think he shows signs that he is, then what will be, will be. You won't be able to pre-empt him because when people that are like as you've described him lose control they will do anything to try to gain it back, things you couldn't possibly imagine right now. I suspect that's alot of the reason behind why the stats for people leaving abusive marriages successfully are so disheartening. The abusive one just makes the life of the other one so miserable that thru just go back to them. I've watched this play out a few times.
Practical advice would be to see a solicitor and see where you stand legally on leaving and taking the children. Also if you can, call women's aid.
Good luck op, stay strong!
Total sense Rose, can completely understand where you're coming from. I think you have to plan carefully in that case though, I wouldn't tell him anything until you've got everything sorted and you're ready to go. First thing you need to do is sort out where you will live so start looking at what private rentals you could afford, what the social housing demand is like in your area (assuming you want to stay close to where you are now) and whether there are any housing associations locally and what their waiting lists are like.
I think you need to do everything by the book, get a CMS claim in as soon as you leave so he has no choice but to support the DC financially and look into applying for court ordered contact for him to see DC so it's all laid out and there are consequences if he tries to use the DC to get back at you. Is he named on their birth certificates?
If he makes any threats about not returning the DC or telling them you are leaving them etc during the time it takes you to make your plans to leave try to keep any evidence, text messages etc as they may well be useful during court proceedings for contact. You have the upper hand at the moment because you know you're planning to leave and can be alert to things he may do which will strengthen your case whereas he has no idea.
He sounds like a bully frankly so you need to protect yourself and your position while you figure out how to go about leaving him. Women's Aid and CAB can both give you practical advice and I'm sure other, wiser posters will be here soon to help and support you as much as you need. I'm wishing you the very best of luck Rose
Thank you. Reading your posts and I have just broken down in tears. I thought, I would be told to get a grip..that that's what marriage is like. Throughout this marriage whenever I complain that things are unequal..or that I don't a voice or my feelings are not considered, he tells me it's because I have issues. That I am domineering. That I am the only person that thinks like that and how I have to adjust my thinking. And then finally, he uses culture/tradition as support for his reasons.
As a result, among many other things I have not been able to give any of our children their first name. I have not been able to spend any Christmas with my family since I married him. When I insisted on spending this year Christmas with my family he said 'over his dead body' and then quickly went on to tell our children how sad it will be that they won't see their grandma (his mum) this Christmas. The kids got upset and came to me crying...asking me not to be mean to Grandma.
I have felt like maybe I am really the cause of our problems. Maybe I am too forward, too liberal. But his name dictating what name I call my baby and him not seeing that this is wrong..made me reach to see if I am being unreasonable.
Yes, he is named on their birth certificates.
Thank you for all the advice so far.
I want to stay nearby our current house..so I don't have to change schools right now. I resume work in a few months in a new role with lots of responsibilities and I am worried about childcare because of the hours of the nature of my job.
I wouldn't want to change too many things all at once.. We live in a village and I really don't want to be running into him if I go shopping for instance.. So I am trying to think through what would be best.
Make all changes at once so that once we get settled in our new routine..no more changes for the immediate future.... Or stay in familiar surroundings while we negotiate our new routine and I get used to my new job role with all it's demands & new responsibilities.
I think maybe the house search would help with that decision.
Speak to women's aid and they'll help you. He doesn't get to decide everything once you've split up. Youve got as much right as he has and you'll be fine without him. He is an abusing controlling idiot and well done for seeing it.
No, this is not how marriage should be! You should have an equal voice, mutual respect and both partners should be willing and able to compromise. You don't need to get a grip Rose, you need to do exactly what you're doing and leave, take back your freedom and your happiness.
Do you have family or friends you're close to? Are they local to where you are now or not and if not would you be better to aim to move nearer to them so you have some support? I think I would be tempted to make all the changes from the outset rather than doing it in stages, I realise it would be a lot to cope with if you had to move jobs, kids schools etc as well as making the break from him but I don't like the idea that you would be bumping into him or that you may not have support of your own nearby.
Please do speak to Women's Aid, some of the stuff you've mentioned, not having a voice or the freedom to make choices about your family life, the threats to take the children and him manipulating them would be classed as abusive and you will be taken seriously. They can offer a lot of support, if you struggle to get through on the national number (0808 2000 247) there's a function to search for services local to you here www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory/ if you scroll down you can enter your town and see what's available in your area, those services are sometimes easier to get through to.
One other thing, make sure you're safe online, if there's any chance he has access to the computer or phone you're using to access information about leaving make sure you clear your history or use private browsing. I don't want to seem dramatic but abuse can often get worse when you're on the verge of leaving and they can feel their control over you slipping so just take care and protect yourself. We'll be here all the way along for advice and support, you're not alone Rose
Many many thanks Cricri and Hiding.
Sorry for the delay in replying. I have been out to seek a family lawyer and also get an appointment at CAB.
I did exactly that, Hiding, this morning. I put locks on all my devices, cleared my entire browsing history and now only browse incognito. When I was doing it, I felt I was overreacting or being a drama queen but something inside me would not let me ignore the feeling that I should put lock screens on my devices.
If anyone were to meet me they always say I across as a very confident strong person and would find it hard to believe that I am struggling to stand up for myself in this marriage. And also DP is very well spoken, friendly and quite social..so no one would believe that he could behave in such a way or even think in such a way. To be honest, I still find it hard to believe myself. I am struggling with seeing myself as someone that is experiencing abuse.
I may have an abnormal gauge for normalcy because even right now, I am doubting my take on things..i find myself thinking but surely it really isn't that bad...
I am very grateful for the advice and would be speaking to women's aid once I finish writing this. Many thanks for the link.
I have my siblings spread across the country. I have a couple of very good fribends but also not living nearby. The other friends I have are mostly mums from the children's school. They could support with the odd pick-up or drop-off at school in an emergency if needed.
If I end up moving away from this area, I have got to have really reliable childcare.
That's great you've started looking for a solicitor and that you'll be meeting with CAB. They may well be able to help you work out the childcare issue, there might be a workable solution with a childminder and help from tax credits to fund it once you're back at work. There will be a way round it Rose, you just have to find it. For me anything would be better than living a life where you have no say, no right to an opinion, especially where DC are concerned.
I hope you managed to speak to WA and that they were helpful, please don't worry about updating us, we're here to support you but you have enough on your plate without worrying about replying to us.
It's totally normal btw to doubt yourself, to not be sure whether it's really 'that bad' and to wonder how you got to a point where you can't stand up for yourself. It also normal to doubt people would believe what he is capable of behind closed doors because men like him are good at putting on a front to the rest of the world. None of that means you won't be believed or that you don't have the right to want better for yourself and DC, you're doing the right thing and the people who matter will believe and support you
Many thanks for the advice and support.
Couldn't update yesterday ... the stress of the past few days caught up with me... I was fast asleep by 6:30pm.
I rang up women's aid yesterday .. the lines were very busy.. I called back today.. ended up having to leave a voice message.
Hiding, I have to be honest I wasn't too sure about women's aid yesterday .. but I trusted your advice. I have been on the forums and I could have honestly written some of those posts myself! It's been an eye opener. I feel understood.
Please, accept a hug from a virtual stranger. Thank you.
I am now looking forward to the call back from Women's aid tomorrow.
I feel hopeful and positive.
A big hug to you. I have a similar situation, I am a confident friendly person who feels somewhat diminished after 21 years and after moving around to 18 houses and around 10 locations because "nowhere really suits" Good job we rent! . Husband is handsome, fit, intelligent, well dressed (in a cool way for a 50 odd year old) loves animals and babies, interesting well paid job, sociable when he wants to be with people he knows well , well spoken, extremely clean personally, Ive absolutely no doubt many women on here would go "crikey" if he turned up on an On line date , and be mentally planning wedding bells. what they dont see is an unbelievable temper, difficulty in coping when stuff goes wrong and vents at me like a nutter for stuff I cant change , shouting and calling everyone "bitch/c* when driving, similar horrible insults to son when he was between 15 and 17 and yes he was a difficult teen and no interest in making friends outside of relationship and other constant wearing down type stuff including only ever going on holidays that really he wants to go on (even though we both work and pay). The problem is when he isnt like this we get on very well and always have . Only you can know what the "real" situation is and what you can cope with. I am actually quite a placid person and its my second marriage . First time I married very young and someone so laid back he was horizontal, this time Ive got the reverse , was always this way I guess but has got worse over the years. I have come to the conclusion I would be better off with him as a friend and colleague in business.
I'm so glad you're feeling positive today Rose, you're making huge strides forward already. It's quite something when you realise you're not the only one going through this, when you feel understood isn't it? Take strength from that, lean on the people on that forum and here and build yourself a support network, it will be invaluable as you move through this process. There's no denying parts of the journey will be hard but the outcome will be worth it, you can be that confident, strong person again.
I hope WA are helpful when you speak to them, when are you seeing CAB? They should be able to help with all the practicalities, particularly working out what money you will be entitled to. It will all take time but I think everything's more bearable when you know you're moving forward, however slowly and you will be in a much stronger position by the time you're ready to leave if you have plans in place and a clear idea of what you need to do.
Don't forget there's support here as and when you need it, you can drop in and out of this thread as things move on or start new ones for specific questions you might have, there will always be someone on here who's been through the same and can help. I'm so pleased you're feeling hopeful for the future, you should be really proud of what you're doing for yourself and your DC
Spoke with women's aid today. They were very nice and helpful. Seeing CAB on Tuesday. Yet to find a family law lawyer/solicitor.. Will keep looking.
I have got together important documents for myself and the kids. Took them to a safe place today.
I need to build up some finance. Very difficult to find private rentals around here.
This is how far I have gone.
I need to find out more about applying for court ordered contact, so that when I am ready I could set things in motion.
User1479305498, I found myself thinking of you a few times today. I am sorry you are going through such a situation. How are things today?
Op could you move closer to your family? Perhaps the rent would be cheaper there, could you move in with your parents/ sibling whilst you save money for a deposit?
Your h and mil sound like classic narcissists. My mil and fil are sociopathic narcissists and they were incredibly manipulative with my dh. Luckily my dh is lovely, we have been nc with inlaws for several years and never been happier. I would honestly suggest you move as far as possible to get support with childcare. If you stay close they will continue to try to manipulate you. It sounds like your mil and h are the type to try to keep your children away from you/ use them as a weapon, so I agree that you need court ordered contact. I bet your family will feel relief when you leave, there is no way they haven't noticed the way you are kept away from them!
Hi Rose, your mil & H sound exactly like my ex. Control, control, control. They'll never accept that you have a place in their family other than to do their bidding. Don't ever leave your children, I fear you'll never get them back and the Web of lies will be incredible. I'm sorry if it sounds harsh but having been there and recognising how ground down you sound, I think you need to get as much together as possible as PP have said and be very careful. Every move will be watched so make sure you're safe always. Women aid and refuge would be good places to start. I understand that councils have an obligation to house victims of DV, but I don't know if that has to have been reported to the police. I wouldn't worry too much about returning to work just yet. Could you extend your maternity leave until you're settled? Would you consider going into a refuge? I know it's huge upheaval for you as a family. I left with 3 kids under 6. It was hard and he continues to try to destroy my life 6yrs on, but I wouldn't be here at all if I'd stayed. for you
Mummyto2, my siblings are spread all over the country. Because of work, I am limited in what distance I could move to. My parents have moved to a warmer climate because of my dad's health.
His mother lives about an hour away from us.
Yes, he used to question, complain etc when I wanted to visit my family. It used to make me feel wary and a little scared of the battle that I know would ensue if I said I was planning to visit my family. I used to go when he went out or when he travelled but I thought to myself 'this is ridiculous'. And I started going whenever.
It was hard in the beginning..but when he couldn't stop me the battles lessened and then stopped. He now just pouts or goes silent or frowns. Sometimes not often, he says he is coming too but I don't want that because he kind of tries to hurry the visit along. I don't feel relaxed.
And to make it even, he wants us to go visit his mother once we leave my family. I don't particularly enjoy those visits (because she always has something to tell me I am doing wrong, she undermines me with the kids & I usually unknowingly 'insult' her) so I don't like to stay long. I find visiting her very stressful...i feel like I am on hyperalert.
The bad thing is when we do go visit my family, even when he doesn't mention visiting his mum, I would bring it up and say we go visit her (even though I am dreading it) because I would be worried about what he is thinking... worried that in the next argument he will bring up our not visiting his mother as proof that I am selfish, as proof that I am not taking the kids to see his family (his mother), as proof of how I want to dominate him etc.
I am just constantly worrying about how he is judging my actions or whatever I do..be it for myself, for the kids or for my family.
Ddrmum, thank you for your post. I know you are going through hell right now so I am really touched that you can still find the time and strength to reach out and help someone else.
Yes, I am in touch with women's aid.
I would love to extend my mat leave but I had to start my mat leave quite early because I have quite difficult pregnancies. I am usually hospitalized for most of it. So in a few months, it would be a year.
But I am looking into because I would need that time. Fingers crossed.
I apologise that my posts are always so long. I feel unable to stop the things spilling out of me because I feel relief that there are people I can talk to that get it. Also maybe because I need to know that I am not crazy and imagining that this is not a normal marriage...or if it is normal, to have impartial people tell me it is. Am I making sense? I feel so stupid that I need validation. I feel I can't trust my own judgement.
You are doing really well, no need to apologise for anything, there is a lot going on in your head at the moment, I'm glad you have a safe space to share it.
I don't have any advice to offer- there are other better qualified people, but you sound like you are doing all the right things. Hang in there, you will find a way!
Check back in with us, ROsetime, to tell us how you are getting on with your plans. I know it isn't straightforward and may take some time, but do use all the support agencies and go for it!
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