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Over and Out

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About Over and Out

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    Brisbane, Australia
  1. I thought it was just me! Yes, I wrote poetry to get me through the dark times. They are mostly dark, bitter and sad. Your poems are lovely and evocative. Your imagery in your sad poem is wonderful and the ringing sense of pride and strength in the second is inspirational. Thank you very much for sharing them. I hope I can get to a point where happy poems are as easy to write as the sad ones. I am not there yet. I am so glad that you are.
  2. Thank you both! I am trying to work on my self talk via working with a therapist, but I love the idea of thinking how a good mum would defend me. I would never let anyone talk to my kids the way I think to myself. One of the hardest things for me is that I haven't been super efficient at work during my daughter's illness and my marriage break up. I have been withdrawn around people I know. This means it is easy for me to be harsh with myself, based on my own lack of extra achievment or socialconnection. I have always tried to be a high achiever and hate to do less than very well. I wouldn't expect perfection from anyone else in my position, but find it hard to cut myself the same slack. I am trying to do stuff that I enjoy, but find it hard to do anything just for myself sometimes. It shows how much the abuse has affected me, in that even finding what I enjoy can be difficult, let alone making myself a priority to do it. I am still doing therapy, so I hope that will help.
  3. The groping is awful. Mine couldn't hug me or show any affection without his hands ending up on my breasts or crotch. It made me feel like there was no actual affection in our marriage, and that he would only fake affection for a few minutes to then try to pressure me into sex. I felt like I had no worth as a person, only as a sex toy. He was probably being honest when he told you he perceived the groping as a good thing in your marriage. For them: "makes abuser happy" is supposed to mean "is a good or positive thing." It makes the marriage better (for them), because only their needs matter. If groping you turned him on and/or made him feel powerful and/or diminished you, he probably experienced it as pleasurable and therefore a good feature of your marriage. Your marriage was working just the way he wanted, to make him feel good. Your discomfort was probably either irrelevant or part of the pleasure. Your perceptions of events in a marriage can be totally different: After I split from X he said that he thought we could get back together. He said that since we had gone through periods after the births of our kids where we didn't have much sex, we could get over this separation as well. He made it sound like that time was a noble sacrifice that made our marriage stronger, because that is how he perceived it. I perceived it very differently. After each birth, I suffered from vaginal atrophy, which meant any attempt at PIV sex was very painful and would leave me literally with torn and bleeding internal skin. Because sex was so painful, I did not want intercourse, but he would settle for nothing less. He raged. He guilt tripped me, claming I didn't care about his needs. He constantly threatened to cheat on me, threatened me, once kicked and punched me because I wouldn't have sex. He accused me of cheating. He badgered me into sex on a few occasions, which left me bleeding, in pain and crying. (His only response to my almost silent tears on one occasion was to tell me to stop trying to ruin it for him by guilt tripping him.) In my perception, that time was the beginning of seeing how abusive and selfish he was and it was the start of the eventual end of our relationship. He was utterly incapable of empathy or seeing how his behaviour could be negative from my viewpoint. Like X, I suspect your husband can only see his own point of view.
  4. As usual, Quaddie is wise. Remember: it is OK to feel what you feel. Feeling happy to get away from abuse is good and healthy. While it might be normal to grieve the relationship you wished you could have had, it is also very normal to feel free and happy to leave the actual bad relationship that existed instead of the one you had hoped for, but didn't get. Enjoy your happy new life!
  5. For me, one effect of being emotionally abused and constantly put down is that I have very little self confidence. I second guess everything I do. I assume other people will think the worst of me (eg that I am useless at work, that I am unpleasant, that I have bad motives, etc). I assume people will think I am lying, even though I am almost painfully truthful (too many years of being accused of lying or making things up and too many times finding out X told lies to people about what I said, did or meant, so they did not believe me). I am working with a therapist, but: how do you ever get back your confidence? How do you ever get to a point where you can trust others to like you, believe you or think you are competent or decent? How do you stop second guessing yourself?
  6. Yep. Plus, it is a button he can actually push, when I can easily ignore most of his other mind games.
  7. Well done. You have done a great job of being honest and then maintaining boundaries.
  8. So true! Court is getting more likely. I have literally spoken to a lawyer this morning. The expense is going to be difficult. I can only afford the trip because I have frequent flyer points and my work pays my portion of costs. I only pay some fees and taxes for the kids' flights, the kids' share of accomodation and food for the kids.
  9. My daughter's severe depression and anxiety became substantially better after we left my abusive X and moved to a new home. She still struggles with her mental illness but is not cutting every few days or attempting suicide every couple of months, like she did when she was targetted for abuse regularly and witnessed abuse of me and her siblings every day. The best thing for your kids is to keep them away from your husband's abuse, so their depression and anxiety can heal. Abuse will only make it worse. You sound like a great mother who is doing her best for your kids. (((Hugs)))
  10. Now X is trying to blackmail the kids, or me via the kids. I have a work conference trip that would take me from Australia to New Zealand. After alerting X that it was a probability, and getting no response, I booked tickets etc for the kids. Now X has latched onto the trip to control the kids. You might recall from my earlier posts that D17 refuses to see him, due to his earlier emotional abuse and violence towards her, that contributed to her attempting suicide. He still attempts to control and emotionally abuse her, but she blocks his number and won't see him. He initially threatened to prevent D17 from going on the trip unless she spent at least 2 weekends at his place. I pointed out that she would turn 18 before the trip, so he had no ability to block her travel plans. Now he is blackmailing D17 and me by threatening to block D14 from travel. He is demanding D17 stay with him or he will block D14 from going with us to NZ. His spurious justification is that D14 (who will be 15) would be "alone in a foreign country" with D17 (who will be 18) who is in his view either a threat to D14 or may harm herself (D17 to be clear) and he has to assess D17 himself. This is rubbish because 1. I will be there, 2. When I am at the conference, I will be only a few blocks from the kids and will have a mobile phone with me, 3. D17 is absolutely NOT a danger to D14 (as D14 has been the first to say), 4. D17 would never do anything to distress D14 (in fact has tried hard to shield D14 from D17's depression, etc, even when suicidal when we were living with X), 5. He has claimed that if he "got" D14 he could change her mind about (ie bully her about) her diagnosis, so wanting her to go to him is dangerous for her mental health, and 6. He is not more qualified than her psychiatrist or psychologist to assess her mental health. I also have full travel medical insurance and we are staying only a few blocks from major hospitals. Neither I nor D17's therapists think there is any risk in this travel. Even more hypocritically, for a previous NZ conference before I left him last year, we took the kids. D17 was then 16 and actively suicidal. When I was at my conference, X took Dthen13 out all day and left suicidal D16 actually alone in a foreign country. (I found out only at the end of the day.) He also tried very hard to persuade me to leave D13 and suicidal D16 home alone in Australia for a week and to only take him with me. He was furious that I wouldn't and claimed I was "choosing the children over him." I am so sick of X's stupid controlling games. I am sick of him trying to upset our kids. This behaviour confirms ever more strongly that I was right to leave and will just drive the kids further away from him.
  11. I stayed in the same suburb when I moved, for school continuity etc.. For the first few months, I was very nervous about running into X at our local shopping centre, doctor's office etc. After a year (one year yesterday!) I rarely think of it any more. Do you think your husband would try to "accidentally" confront you or run into you? Maybe you suspect he would stalk you in this way for some reason? I would think carefully about why you think this and see if you think this for some reason. What do you think might happen if you do run into him? Will it just be awkward? Would it be actively unpleasant (him yelling, for example). Would he be violent or threatening? Consider how you could handle it. Perhaps practice your reponse. If it is just awkward, be polite and let the awkward return to him. If he is yelling or threatening, can you walk to store security or a management desk? Consider how you might handle an unpleasant stranger. Having a plan might make you feel better. If you don't think your husband would manufacture awkward meetings on purpose, then my tip is to borrow from exposure therapy for anxiety. When my daughter was being treated intensively for social anxiety, we did staged exposures (eg to crowded spaces) building up intensity and duration. You could start by running small errands close to home and, as Quaddie says, consciously noting how nothing bad happened. Increase the time and intensity. This should reduce your anxiety over time, so avoiding your local venues feels less necessary. I think that I unconsciously did this by staying local and using local shops and resources, so now I don't feel anxious about local shopping. However, X is very unlikely to be violent, so the only real concern for me was awkwardness - YMMV. Edited to add: X is unlikely to be violent in public, because he cares about his reputation a lot. Violence to the kids and I only usually occurred behind closed doors. If your ex might be violent in public, or may follow you, stalk you or otherwise be dangerous, that is a very different thing. Safety should definitely be your first priority. Trust your gut instincts on that!
  12. Can you go out? Maybe get a cup of coffee, or sit in a park or go to a library. Something quiet, clean and enjoyable? Another option might be a massage or movie. Massage can unlock tense muscles and help you physically relax, while a movie could distract you for a bit. if you can't say anything straight away, to ask your daughter to clean, could you give yourself a time frame, eg a certain date or when your daughter shows certain signs of improvement in her outlook? Knowing a bad or stressful thing is temporary sometimes helps. Could you keep some spaces pet free, eg your room? That way you have a clean spot to retreat to, if you are feeling stressed. Good luck. You are a good, kind, supportive mother.
  13. Thanks so much for your kind words! X loves his luxuries too much not to work, though he threatened to quit his job to avoid child support when we split. (In fact, his first words when I told him I was leaving were "You're not getting child support.") Fortunately, in my country, they can actually assess child support on earning capacity instead of unemployment benefits, if they want. Having that pointed out probably also persuaded X not to quit. As to his silly snit, apparently he told D14 that I was treating him badly by speaking to him when I should have seen that he wasn't speaking to me. I spoke less than 10 words, basically "Hi, how are you?" When he came to the door and "Have a good weekend," to him and D14 as they got in the car. So cruel, right? The good thing is D14 can see through this sort of foolishness. I'm a bit annoyed that he is selfish enough to try to manipulate her, but I won't let him see that. Tonight I got a text from him saying just "with all my love, [his name]". Either he is trying to hoover me directly, get the attention that the silent treatment didn't get and/or he is trying to push my buttons by pretending to send the end of a message meant for someone else to me. In one of various books on abuse, I recall reading that "accidental" "wrong" texts to alleged new partners sent to ex-partners was a relatively common thing for emotional abusers to do, so I am side eyeing this so hard. All this attention seeking is going to be ignored, just like the tantruming toddler it somewhar resembles. No reward for bad behaviour. He gets grey rock, low contact, all the way.
  14. X is trying to silent treatment me. It's actually a bit hilarious. X used to pointedly give me the silent treatment when he didn't get his own way back when we were together. It was one of his go-to tactics of abuse. Sometimes it would go on for weeks. It used to hurt me a lot. He hasn't really done it since I left, since he has been trying other hoovers. Now, I am not doing what he wants, so he is going back to this old, silly tactic. I think I know why he is trying it now. X hates that I applied for child support through our national Child Support Agency. He hates the amount (about 4 times what he offered several months after I moved out). He hates that the CSA can tell him what to do. He hates that I opted for state collection instead of private collection after he unilaterally decided to reduce private payment of the state assessed amount (to about 1/3) when he went on holidays. (CSA made him pay arrears for that period!) He hates that when he kept paying privately after I opted for agency collection that I told him that he should report his direct deposits into my account to the CSA and they would credit it against his account. When he didn't they sent him letters asking about payment. (I couldn't block his payments into my account, plus the weekly payment was useful.). He hates that he couldn't force me to report his private payments on a timeframe that worked for him (I was appropriately reporting to the government every month, but not on a schedule that stopped all inquiries to him). He hates that when he tried to overpay, I returned the extra. (He overpaid a few times, then didn't pay on some occasions, so I was stopping that manipulation.) He has many times mentioned that he doesn't think the government should know about or be involved in his financial arrangements or child support. He has made his resentment of the CSA and its control of him very clear. Anyway, as a result, he decided to start using a child support payment option where he would pay directly to the CSA rather than me. CSA does all the collection and enforcement, then pays me. (Yay! What I always wanted!). He knows it means I will only get child support money once a month, rather than his weekly direct deposit. He apparently deliberately timed the change to cause me the longest possible delay between the last private payment to me and the CSA payment next month. He also didn't bother to let me know until some time after he would normally pay (knowing this would make things a bit difficult financially for me and the kids for a few weeks). X then sent me texts. He oh-so-generously offered to go back to regular weekly direct payments if I removed the government from our child support arrangements. Texts included comments saying it didn't have to "be like this" etc. There were several texts. I realised that the change in payment pattern and texts were one of his fairly transparent attempts to bully me to get what he wanted (no government oversight of child support). I sent bland grey rock responses saying that I was OK with the existing arrangements. Well, when X came to pick up D14 this weekend, he didn't speak to me, only her. It had the same pointed ignoring of me that the pre-break-up silent treatments had. I said "hi." No response. Just stare at me for a moment and then shift his gaze to our daughter and tell her to grab her bag. There was a bit of "I'm actively ignoring you" silent treatment behaviour while he waited for her to collect her things. I immediately realised he was annoyed and doing a silent treatment. What is funny is that I am happy he is not speaking to me! I don't want anything to do with him and only communicate for the benefit of our child. He looked so silly and childish that it was just funny. He obviously is piqued that I don't care about his childish financial manipulation/text threats/entreaties. He is going back to a behaviour that used to bother me. It's so lovely and freeing to see that it now doesn't matter. It's so lovely to be amused at his sulk, rather than upset or hurt. I am so happy to see I am recovering from his abuse! What is even funnier is that later I realised this current silent treatment might have been going on for a few weeks and I hadn't noticed! 😆 The only communications from him for the last few weeks have been the "generous" offers to pay child support weekly if I remove the government from child support arrangements. Since I moved out, he has sent regular "I love you" hoover-type texts or included me (unwanted) in group texts to his family and our kids about his life, which I ignore. There has been none of that for a few weeks. (Yay!) For a couple of weeks, he had also ignored texts about D14's sporting fixture arrangements that he had previously requested and would normally respond to acknowledge. He made all arrangements to pick up D14 for the weekend directly with her and made no communication with me. I burst out laughing yesterday when I connected the dots and realised he had been sulking at me to punish me for weeks and I hadn't even noticed until the "no speak" silliness on Friday night. All that sulky effort and I was completely oblivious and not responding at all! It is so wonderful to be out and not have to live with his nasty little games any more.
  15. It is hard for me to read this, as I was abused by my ex. It is very good that you are undergoing voluntary counselling. Yes, if you do violent, scary or angry things to get your way, control your fiance or "win" arguments, you are abusing her. If she does violent, scary or angry things to get her way, control you or "win" arguments, she would be abusing you. Re financial abuse: can you come to an agreement in which you each have reasonable spending money and also contribute to the household? It is difficult where partners have such disparate incomes. It must feel unfair for both of you. You are supporting an extra person, who is requesting major purchases, who could contribute, but is not. For her, she may see you with a lot of discretionary spending money, while she has very little and no resources to do more, ever get a car etc. It doesn't look like financial abuse to me, because you do not appear to be taking her money or using money/lack of money to control her, but it is a difficult situation. However, what matters most is: are you, her and, very importantly, your children, happy? Is this relationship making everyone feel nurtured, safe and wanted? It doesn't sound like it is. In a relationship that seems relatively short, and yet has such heightened conflict, it would seem better to step back and slow down (eg not live together, not make major purchases, etc), if not end the relationship, before forging ahead, getting married or taking other permanent steps. You can love someone but still be wrong for them. Please also remember that your girls are learning what relationships are and who their Dad is by watching you in this relationship. You don't want them to think abusing or being abused is normal.