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How do you rebuild your life after domestic abuse?

(17 Posts)
Siablue Fri 03-Jan-20 15:26:05

I left my husband in September after his behaviour began to affect our baby. It had taken me a long time to realise that his behaviour was abusive and I thought that the reason he got so angry and had to have everything his way was due to mental health problems.

I left with just 2 bags and the push chair. We jointly owned our home. So I have lost most of what I owned.

I have felt a lot better since leaving as I am not anxious all the time. However at the same time I have lost a lot.

My friend recently had her second baby and seeing her happy family reminded me of all the hopes I had for the future that have been lost. I had a very traumatic time during pregnancy as he threatened to take the baby away from me as soon as it was born.
I love my baby so much and I really wanted to have a happy family life. When I believed my husband was mentally ill I had the hope he would get better but I have lost that now.

I can’t see how I can move on with my life. I can’t imagine ever having another relationship and I have got the stress of going through the family court to come.

I can’t imagine a good future for us and I don’t know what to do next.

hellsbellsmelons Fri 03-Jan-20 16:45:55

If you jointly owned the house, is there any equity in it?
A solicitor would be a good starting point.
Please also contact Womens Aid.
Do their Freedom Programme and ask them to recommend specialist counsellors in your area who can help you.
Where are you now?
Are you renting?
Does your ex work?
Does he support his DC?
Could you contact CMS and get a claim going for maintenance?
If it's dangerous right now then don't do that.

Do not even think about future relationships right now.
Time to focus on you and your DC.
So many women come out of this strong and independent and you will too.
It takes time.
It won't all happen tomorrow.
It can take years to build your life back up again.
But you WILL do it.
Contact any organisations you can that will help.

ohwheniknow Fri 03-Jan-20 16:56:00

You're grieving. That's natural and will lead to healing, even if that sounds impossible at the moment. He didn't just abuse you, he stole your dreams for the future and it's important you let yourself grieve for them. One day you will have new dreams and you will feel better about life, but right now it's ok to feel what you feel.

Have you been able to do the Freedom Programme course? It might help a little while you're processing and coming to terms with everything. www.freedomprogramme.co.uk

You went through a lot of trauma, but because you were still in the situation causing the trauma your brain wasn't able to start processing and healing. Now you're free of his abuse and safe your brain has started the healing process so for a while that will feel pretty rotten. But in a weird way the fact you can feel anything, even upsetting things, is a good sign - you can't heal if you're shut down in survival mode.

You've done the right thing and that took a lot of courage. You should be proud of yourself.

I don't know about you but I felt angry and cheated that the aftermath of leaving was so difficult and painful, because I had wanted all the hurting to stop once I left. It does get better though. The first 4-6 months really sucked, and I had a massive wobble around the 3 month mark, but gradually you realise it's getting easier and less painful.

Would you be able to access therapy for trauma? Some areas offer therapy specifically for survivors of DV. Have you had any support from Women's Aid?

12345kbm Fri 03-Jan-20 17:01:17

OP you need legal advice regarding your home and you need to start divorce proceedings. Here's the CABx guide to separation and divorce:
www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/ending-a-relationship/ it's for England but you can find advice for your area.

Contact your local DV organisation to see if there is any counselling available in your area: www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic-abuse-directory/ They may have know of DV trained solicitors, a free legal clinic, trauma counselling etc so give them a ring.

See your GP as you may have PND and need support. If you're breastfeeding you might not be able to take medication but if not, have a chat about it.

BACP have therapists on a sliding scale. You can do a search for those experienced in DV and trauma.

Be kind to yourself OP, you've been through a lot. Exercise, fresh air, social contact if you can.

Give Gingerbread a ring regarding child contact, applying for benefits and maintenance and they also have single parent support groups: 0808 802 0925

Rights of Women can give you free legal advice and help with finding an appropriate solicitor.

Siablue Fri 03-Jan-20 20:04:29

Thank you so much to all of you for replying. I do feel like he stole all my dreams for the future and so many years of my life when I could have been happy.

I am looking into doing the Freedom Programme. I have read some of the stuff online and it made me realise how bad it was.

I have got a solicitor. She has said I could get some money back from the house. There is equity in it because I over paid the mortgage (he put his saving money into an account I didn’t have access to so who was stupid there).

ihwheniknow it is around the 4 month mark and I do think I have had enough and am just having a wobble. I am pleased it got better for you. I think I am just processing it all.

I have a rented place but I am quite short of money. I am scared to claim maintenance in case he uses it to take the baby away. I hadn’t thought of calling Gingerbread. I have attempted to call rights of women lots of times but not got through.

12345kbm Fri 03-Jan-20 20:27:59

If you're short of money, there are other places to get free legal advice and that's what you need right now. Keep trying Rights of Women but in the meantime have a look at the CABx guide to free or affordable legal help: www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/legal-system/finding-free-or-affordable-legal-help/

The Family Law Panel solicitors have symbols beside their names and the blue triangle means that they do free family law clinics. As I mentioned above, your local DV organisation may also have a law clinic or free legal advice they can either give or direct you to. They also do a reduced fee scheme for those earning under a certain amount.

CABx also give advice on Family Law and may have solicitors that have a free clinic in the evenings.

Gingerbread are very good so do please call them. They have specialised advisers who can answer all your questions on being a single parent but cannot give legal advice.

CheesecakeAddict Fri 03-Jan-20 20:50:04

I could have wrote so much of this myself.
You will get there, it will get easier eventually. It might get harder, but keep posting, keep seeing your doctor if things get too hard, keep speaking to your solicitor and you will get through it.

Ring up women's aid and they can offer you advice. Many councils also offer DV hubs which will give you a support worker and free advice on housing, finances, legal and police matters. If not, there might still be a women's centre with similar things.

Absolutely get child maintenance. You are entitled to it and it will not look bad on you for claiming it, but it will look bad on him of he doesn't give you it.

Also speak to citizens advice about your finances and managing your money. I really struggled and was in an impossible situation where if I gave up my job, I would be sanctioned and not get UC, but if I continued to work, I needed childcare but my wage only just covered it with nothing left for rent or food. UC is certainly worth looking into though.

A massive hand hold - one day you will look back at this and think, omg what just happened? What did I just accomplish?

Siablue Sat 04-Jan-20 05:09:54

Cheesecake addict I am in a similar situation to you in that I have to pay for childcare but I can’t get universal credit because I own the house I had to leave.

I am scared that if I apply for maintenance that he will apply for full custody of the baby so that he won’t have to pay me any money. I know he is unlikely to get it but he might get something and that would be awful. I understand now that he doesn’t want the hassle of actually caring for another person but he knows that would be the worst way of upsetting me.

I feel so sad that my baby’s life is going to be ruined because he has a horrible dad. He will have to have contact with him and he is very emotionally abusive. My solicitor advised supervised contact only. At the moment I have been the one supervising the contact which is just awful.

I do think that I need counselling and I am going to see if there is any specialist DV counselling. I don’t know how I can explain to DS what happened when he is older. It will be really awful if he keeps having to see his dad and he is horrible to him.

My ex told me that when he is older DS won’t want anything to do with me because I took him away from his dad. I know that if he keeps seeing him he will grow up to hate me because his dad will tell him that I’m a bad person and I will probably lose him altogether.

Weenurse Sat 04-Jan-20 05:21:35

Kids are pretty good judges of character.
Yours will realise that Dad is abusive and will want nothing to do with him down the track.
Ex is just messing with your head.

CheesecakeAddict Sat 04-Jan-20 08:27:15

Have you got social services involved?

Siablue Sat 04-Jan-20 22:00:04

I haven’t got them involved. They did contact me after the police came to the house but closed the case because I left. I don’t know if they would get involved again if I asked them.

Siablue Tue 07-Jan-20 22:14:19

I have been contacted by the mediator today say ex has been to mediation and am I going to proceed with it. They know my situation and that i don’t want to.

He has told me he knows where I have moved to and wants to see DS on Saturday. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to say yes as he intimidates me when I see him but I am worried that if I say know it will be classed as parental alienation.

I do feel sad that it has come to this. I loved him, I used to believe he loved me. I just want him to acknowledge what he has done and to say sorry.

Siablue Tue 14-Jan-20 21:48:49

I don’t know if anyone is still reading this. I’m having quite a difficult time. I met up with my ex so he could see DS (I have been advised by my solicitor that it is better if I let him see him but supervised). He seemed more like his normal self and it was quite positive. The last time I saw him it was with his parents and it was awful.

This gave me hope that he could be reasonable and we could come to some agreement but he said we had to do the mediation or he will take me to court.

A while ago he told me that he know where I live. I don’t think he knows my address but he got me to admit that I have moved. He also said that you better not have any unpaid bills I don’t want the bailiffs coming to the house. I was still paying the bills for 2 months after I moved out. He hasn’t given me any maintenance and I am scared to ask.

looondonn Tue 14-Jan-20 22:11:03

I think you need to be very careful

I got sucked in by my ex and his sob story
Telling me I need to facilitate contact

You need GOOD LEGAL ADVICE
You are being walked over and still being abused in many ways

Siablue Tue 14-Jan-20 22:39:41

I think you are right. He has always gone through phases of being horrible and then being reasonable and normal. It really made me doubt myself it’s why for so long I didn’t accept that it was abuse.

I do think my solicitor is good. She says it doesn’t have to be me who supervises the contact but I think it is too much to ask of my family. A contact centre is not meant to be a permanent solution. It would be easier if I didn’t have to see him.

Mylifeisruined Tue 14-Jan-20 23:36:01

You need to stop thinking about what you have lost and think about what you have gained and how brave you are. Your son's life will not be ruined because you have left his abusive dad, it will be enriched because of it. One day he will understand what you did for him and be grateful that you put him first.

I know this is true because I stayed, for 25 years. I kept hoping he would change, he didn't.......they never do. My daughter now asks me "why did you keep falling for it mum"? My son is a good young man. He tells me he is going to get a great job and give me the things I never had.

I have wasted most of my life whilst you have yours ahead of you. The only thing you have lost are material things that don't matter, and the stress and trauma of living with someone who did not deserve you.

You were braver than me and you will never, ever regret it! Be happy and proud of yourself for making the right choice. You have absolutely no reason to be sad now. I wish you well!

Siablue Wed 15-Jan-20 07:06:54

Mylifeisruined thank you for your reply I do hope that one day my little one will be able to see it. Sadly it is hard to be rid of him because he is DS’s dad and has rights to him. I do know that I did the right thing.

It sounds like you went through so much if you stayed for 25 years. Your children sound lovely.

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