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How do I come to terms with a life I'm not really happy with?(52 Posts)
Since I split with my abusive ex-H in 2014 I've bumped from one disaster to another. Two consequent relationships with men who just didn't work with what I wanted from life, I did a masters to change my career from social work, moved house, changed my drinking habits etc. But I'm stuck - I'm back in social work because shift work in a hospital just didn't fit as a single mum of 3 DC's, I'm still in private rented because I couldn't get a permanent contract for a mortgage, my divorce settlement has whittled to 5k from 15k and even though I've stopped drinking alcohol my clinical depression is lingering.
I've fought and fought to make necessary changes. I was removed from the marital home with a broken cheekbone, a head injury and a bite taken out of my shoulder and facing a court case of a rape from when I was 11. Whilst I'm no longer a broken gibbering wreck, I'm not living the life I wanted. ExH still has the 4 bed, detached gorgeous family home, he has the DC's on a Sat and Sun night but I never wanted to be a part time mother and I certainly didn't want to be facing 40 feeling lost and unable to form meaningful relationships. But that is my life, no matter how hard I try to change. I'm sad about parenting, finances, my career and my home. How can I come to terms with it? I'm so ungrateful as I have a job, a home, health and family. But I have a knawing sense of dissatisfaction and I'm constantly trying to work out how to make myself feel comfortable in the world and my life but none of my solutions work. Any advice about acceptance?
Before acceptance there is recovery and healing,you're understandably still hurting
Yes you obviously can see you have advantages eg career,home,safety
However you’re adjusting to new childcare arrangements,divorce,and unexpected events
Take care,and genuinely take time
OP I don’t have much sage advice but I wanted to say that you sound like an amazing, strong woman and devoted mother who has taken huge steps to improve your life and your kids’ lives.
I guess we’re always on a journey so what you have / where you are now isn’t set in stone for the rest of forever. Look back at how far you’ve come already - you’ve done all the hard bits - and take heart in that, knowing you have what it takes to get what you want even if it takes a bit of time.
And you don’t sound ungrateful btw, you sound like someone with standards and ambition - which is a good thing.
Sorry, probably zero practical help but I just wanted to say I think you sound awesome and I am sure things will carry on getting better for you ... you’ve done lots of very impressive things already and I bet your kids are proud.
Does he have them every weekend? That's not a fair arrangement, I'm not sure you should accept that.
Well done on kicking the alcohol.
Every weekend isn’t fair unless you are happy with that
He has them from 6pm Sat until drop off at school on Monday. He was pushing for 50:50 but I fought that.
It actually works out okay as I work FT so I get myself together on Sunday, ready for the week. I would have them all the time if I could but I understand they need a relationship with their father.
Thank you for your kind words. I wish I could appreciate what I've got more fully. I know I'm lucky but I can't shake this feeling bereft. I guess I just think the healing and recovery should be done and I want the practical stuff in place to feel safe again. It's mainly not owning my own home. I don't know why but it is REALLY getting to me.
You're an ambitious capable person just feeling frustrated right now, which is understandable, because you're not yet where you want to be.
BUT you have come such an amazing long way already. Give yourself big kudos. You have a qualification you may be able to make more use of later, and get a mortgage sorted out later. Right now you're being an awesome mum and doing the vast majority of everything singlehandedly.
On a practical level it sounds like you really know how to go for it and no doubt you will be okay and move onwards and upwards later.
Emotionally you have come through the shitstorm but really need to work now on loving and appreciating yourself. Really celebrate how awesome you are. A good relationship will come later.
Try to ignore your ex, men often do come out better off financially in these scenarios. Can you get a bit of counselling to help give you a boost?
good luck to you OP and
The problem with him having them every weekend is he gets all the leisure time, and you get all the school days, which isn't fair. Every other weekend and a night in the week would be better. But it depends what you work and all, and what suits you. Also your financial settlement being reduced and him still having the family home makes it sound like you need a better lawyer.
Anyway . I hope things start looking up soon.
OP you do just sound like a phenomenal woman. Your DCs are blessed to have you as will Mr Right when he comes along... and bloody wait for him to. You deserve so much more than your ex.
I can understand how your financial circumstances might make you worry but in terms of acceptance, I'd practice gratitude for what you have. Now this isn't a comment designed to make you feel ungrateful, it's just that sometimes thinking about what I'm grateful for makes me much less stressed and eases the tightening feeling of worry. While your DCs are little life is expensive... make a longer term plan to buy your own place and set achievable goals in the meantime. That might help...
Above all... look after yourself. You sound so strong but allow yourself to feel down sometimes. Single parenthood.... I'm new to it and it's bloody hard. Lots of love to you xxx
I get Friday night (which is really lovely as we are all tired but happy that the week is over!) and all day Saturday with them so I do feel balance.
Thank you all I guess I shouldn't compare myself but I see other peoples lives and think it looks so serene with their lovely husbands and lovely houses and their part time jobs and meals out (I'm actually describing my sisters life ) and feel cheated. I did have that but unfortunately I picked a psychopath and was so controlled I didn't enjoy any of it!
I'm having a hard time accepting that my life isn't on that path anymore and that I will probably have to be strong and self sufficient for a few years yet.
I think my age is playing a part too - I'm 40 soon and really feel like the grinding, relentless reality of running out of money every month is becoming ridiculous. I'm surrounded by white, middle class professional women who have houses and husbands and Boden clothes and go for runs ha, and I'm lacking.
You're doing brilliantly - what you've been through, yet here you are. Boden's overrated.
Hi I'm just curious how come he kept the house? You only got £15K sounds a poor settlement? Does he pay you maintainace.
You are well rid. You are doing a great job but it must be tiring. Do you get out at all as you deserve some fun. Your strength will return and you will surge forward. 🌺
Keep telling yourself its not forever, its just for now. Things change, dont forget how far you have come and be kind to yourself.
How did he get to keep the house? Has this been agreed by the courts?
You know, home ownership is not the be all and end all. If you can get council housing it’s usually cheap and yours for life.
Also have you looked into help to buy schemes? There is help available
You sound like you have come a long way. Be kind to yourself and proud of what you have achieved.
All those people who look as if they have perfect lives probably have things that they aren't happy with either - the more you have, you always want more. The grass is not always greener, I think some people are just better at making the best of their lives and/or putting a positive spin on what they do.
Try and look for joy in small things and to 'enjoy the journey' rather than thinking too much of where you feel you should be (sorry, sounds a bit psychobabble but I think it's true!). You are probably really busy but I love going out and sketching (when I have time, which is not often) - it really helps me to appreciate what is around me as I look at things with fresh eyes.
Your children will get the measure of their father as they grow older - you might find them less willing to see him. Also as they grow older they will start to have weekend commitments with their friends that will take over.
Actually you should be very fucking proud of yourself. Despite everything that has happened to you and the rug being pulled from under you on top of the abuse you were already dealing with, you found the motivation (from god knows where) to make changes. Not little ones, big ones. And hold down a job.
Focus on the kids during the week and yourself on the weekend. Keep that job you don’t want going for now. Take TIME. And stop putting yourself under so much pressure. You are further along that you should be already so try to relax and be good to yourself for now. Maybe find one social hobby for the weekends and stay away from men for a while, you don’t need that risk of drama in your life for now.
And once you feel a bit more in control, go after that job you want.
Oh and you are not a part time Mum. You are a full time mum with more free time than many mums. Objectively I can see how valuable that free time could be. Take time cooking nice food for myself, bake for the kids in the coming week, linger in the shower or take a bath, heya dog and go for long walks, read read read, join an easy sport or one that will benefit my health and go every week, pop in on elderly neighbours or give precious time and company to someone else who needs it, have the house lovely for the kids coming home so you can spend all week with them rather than doing chores etc.
Please get yourself some specialist counselling.
Womens Aid can help with people in your local area who specialise in this field.
Have you been in contact with Rape Crisis?
They can also help with specialist counselling.
Anything could be happening here.
You could even have PTSD so please get some help to deal with all of this.
Fwiw, life is cyclical. Sometimes it’s ‘fair’ sometimes it’s not. I truly believe that hard work pays off even if it’s not always in the timeframe we want. So right now, when things seem like shit, could mean that better days are right around the corner!
You've been through an awful lot there op. Amazing that you have survived it all. You need a time to get over it all, and just breathe before you start to rebuild and you needn't feel in any way lacking due to that.
Have you had counselling?
Your kids do need a relationship with their Dad. But he sends to be getting all the more quality weekend time with them there-whilst you run around like crazy during the weeks and never get to enjoy them. Would there be any way to re balance that a bit. I hate not having my kids at any point but I do use the time they are at their Dads in the week to help with work, I can go in earlier for example and those days are certainly less fraught in terms of work if nothing else.
Oh sorry-I'd misunderstood your weekend agreement-ignore me!
I have had DBT, EMDR and trauma therapy with Rape Crisis. I retrained in psychology because I was so desperate to fix myself rather than having to support other people to fix their family needs.
I'm not sure what's going on. I think I was so focussed on surviving for so long - it took all my strength to hide the abuse for 10 years and finally leave. Maybe my brain is just programmed now for a constant low level depression. I just don't want to be like this around my DC's. The eldest and middle are now 14 and 10 and have made a few comments about how I don't settle to anything and that I'm not happy. I know the emotional damage this can do to children. I find myself getting furious with the outcome of the divorce, he got the bulk of everything because I was terrified of him. So terrified I couldn't fight for what I needed. I was so traumatised I couldn't at the time. I need to let that go and focus on building it up myself. The last man I was involved me completely took advantage of that and screwed me money wise too. I basically paid for him to keep his house with his ex, whilst living off me. Which is another cause of bitterness but ultimately all these decisions are mine. I made them and I need to come to terms with the fact that I have basically self harmed. Mine and my DC's future has been compromised because my boundaries around men are so fucked. If I could go back to that 11 year old me who allowed herself to walk into a dangerous situation where she got herself raped I would shake her. I would shake her so hard. My life changed course that day. Everything fundamentally changed. It's eating me up that I couldn't or didn't stop it because the impact still reverberates nearly 30 years later
Oh love, you were just a kid. You wouldn't be so harsh on your own dc, would you? So that little girl you were deserves no less compassion.
If I could go back to that 11 year old me who allowed herself to walk into a dangerous situation where she got herself raped I would shake her. I would shake her so hard. My life changed course that day
Woah right there - you did not ‘allow’ yourself and you did not ‘get yourself’ raped - you were an innocent 11 year old girl and you had no idea what was round the corner. None of that is your fault. Even remotely. All the blame falls squarely on your rapist - I’m so sorry that someothing so terrible happened to you so young.
If you really believe the above and this: It's eating me up that I couldn't or didn't stop it because the impact still reverberates nearly 30 years later is true - please get some more therapy.
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