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  1. This statement stood out to me, Hoping. What "agreement" is needed in the determination over what happens to your body? You have absolute control over whether or not you have sex with someone. He has no right to determine this. He does have the right to determine whether he stays in the marriage based on your decisions. Just as you do, based on his decisions. My sister and her husband just separated after years of emotional and verbal abuse on his part. About 2.5 years ago she outright told him "I will not be having sex with you anymore". He didn't like that, for sure. But it was an amazing freedom for her to draw that line in the sand, and it eventually helped her (and him) to decide that separation was the best route. Not to say that he "went quietly in the night". He did not. But at least she no longer had to submit herself to the soul crushing experience of giving her body to someone who mistreated her so badly.
  2. White Butterfly, I am so relieved and happy for you...I know that is a strange thing to say to someone who has so recently separated, but I know that you and everyone on this board understand these sentiments.I am so happy to hear of the peace you felt as soon as he left! I agree with Quaddie - the opinions of others in this situation matter not one bit. They obviously don't understand the dynamics of abuse, and may be hanging on harder to their religious convictions than to what they see right in front of their faces...and that is how their loved one (you) has suffered through out the years. Sometimes I think that people hold on to these convictions in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary, because it keeps them from having to face what may be occuring in their own lives. I have been on both sides of this equation. I am not surprised that your health has suffered. I remember the night I made the decision it was over, it was with the utter conviction that if I didn't end that marriage, that I would die and early death and my children would be left without a "healthy" parent. I, too have an auto-immune problem and very severe joint damage to my jaw from the stress of my 20 year marriage. I hope that you can get back into counseling. I know it may be hard to hear this, WB, but I would like to say something in defense of your counselor...if it resonates, great. If not, discard what I have to say...you obviously know your situation better than I. Here goes: Teachers, counselors, doctors, nurses, police officers, etc. are all "mandated reporters". This means that we must report suspected child abuse or face losing our licenses to practice. She (or he?) didn't have a choice but to report your husband based on what you told her/him. While I know this feels like a betrayal, perhaps it really wasn't. Your counselor was able to see the danger for your son, in a way that, because of the trauma of your abuse, you were unable to see. And having stated this, I want to be sure you understand that I am not in any way faulting you for not being able to see what the counselor saw. I, too, have been exactly where you are. The confusion that becomes a normal part of your everyday functioning becomes only apparent after it lifts, when you have been free of abuse for some time. But others are able to see it. And your I think you counselor had to have been truly concerned for your son's well being to take such a drastic stand. I wonder what your thoughts are on returning to the group and talking about this experience. It might be very helpful to share how you feel with the counselor and the group. For most of us who have lived our lives feeling like we cannot express our anger, sadness and disappointment, doing so in a therapeutic setting is the first opportunity we have to say what's on our minds, without being punished for it afterward.
  3. Whitebuttlerfly, I am sorry it has come to this. I know for me, it took a HUGE tramatic incident that threatened me legally, financially, physically and emotionally for me to finally get out of my marriage. I was terrified of all the unknowns. Now, 9 years later, my life is unrecognizable (in a wonderful way) from what it was. Keep you head. Don't panic. Focus what is right and good. And you know what that is. It's your children's safety and peace and your safety and peace. NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. You will be able to make ends meet. You know what is stable...your love for your children and your knowledge that you (and they!) do not deserve to live this way. It's a scary time, breaking away. But it won't last forever and on the other side is peace for you and and your children. Be strong. Acknowledge your fear and do it anyway...that is bravery. Hugs, Kirsten (Grabby)
  4. Vanilli, I had an affair the year before my marriage ended. At times I have struggled with guilt as well. Being a cheater is the exact opposite of who I am. I am loyal to a fault, as evidenced by the fact I stayed in an abusive marriage for 20 years! The affair I had started after my abusive ex had us all convinced, even his doctors, that he had the beginnings of early onset Alzheimer's. I was going to support groups for spouses of Alzheimer's victims, at the age of 43. I remember being told that, in order to survive this, I was going to have to make a life for myself, outside of being the wife of someone with Alzheimer's. My ex was beginning to act more and more outrageously toward me and my children, especially our then 16 year old son. The straw that broke the camels back was one morning when my ex called me selfish for refusing to kill him if he became mentally incapacitated before he could do it himself (he made me read "Final Exit" too.). I remember feeling so angry, and alone and devastated. Shortly after that I began the affair. When I look back on this now, 9 years later, I can look at the then me with loads of empathy. That affair was an oasis in a desert of abuse. I was dying from the thirst of needing someone to treat me with care and concern, and tenderness. My friend made me feel desirable again, and because he had known me since I was 16, was able to call bulls%$t on the things that my ex was pulling. I remember him asking me "Are you sure he is not manipulating you with this 'diagnosis'?" And he was. 9 years later, my ex is still alive and with no signs of Alzheimer's. What I learned from that experience is that the torture that I had endured, and gotten used to, had caused me to act against my nature. But it also make me realize that marriage vows are broken far more definitively and effectively by abuse and neglect, than any divorce decree. My ex broke his vows to me so many times that by the time I stepped out on our marriage, there was not a marriage to step out on...it was just a parasitic relationship that was killing me. The affair was the wake up. Today, the only guilt I have is the guilt for letting myself and my children down by staying in such a toxic environment for so long.
  5. Ami, I am very sorry that you are going through this. You have absolutely been abused by this man and you have every right to be angry and have a temper when he treats you so outrageously. Two truths that i believe are hard to accept, but once you do, will set you free are these: He and his family will never change; and You will never be able to depend on him or his family for any real parenting support. I know it is hard to accept that there is nothing you can do to make him, or his mother, see how unfairly he has treated you, but it is the truth. People with abusive mindsets do not change. I have been on this forum since 2009 and I can honestly say that I have not come across one woman or man on this forum that has been able to say their abuser has been able to become non-abusive. Those who have stayed in their relationships have to do some major, major managing of their partners behavior, which must be absolutely exhausting. In addition, you have the opportunity right now, to break the generational curse which is domestic and child abuse. If you stay with your husband, your beautiful baby boy will almost be guaranteed to grow up to be either abusive himself, or a victim of abuse. Please read the books and resources already recommended. They saved me. I left a 20 year marriage in 2009. The first time I thought about leaving was when my oldest was 1 year old. He was 17 when I finally left and he has suffered because of my staying with his father. He will not change. It is up to you to provide your son a healthy home. I hope you continue to post here. You will get the validation you so deserve. Grabby
  6. Congratulations, Hoping. That took courage and you did it! I, also, think the Dr. route is the right route to go. And remember, there are lots of people on disability who are in control of their own money. You go girl!
  7. I remember thinking the exact same thing..."marriages take work and I just have to stick it out". The thing is that yes, at times all relationships take work. But work and torture are two separate things. Work and losing your identity are two separate things. The happiness and joy of a good relationship outweighs the work. I am remarried now (3.5 years) :-) and I still pinch myself sometimes because it is so "not-work" in the way that my previous marriage was work. Sure, there are times that we will get a bit irritated at each other, or one of us is not our best self, but for the vast, vast majority of our time together we enjoy a peaceful, happy, mutually reciprocal relationship that has never once been abusive. It's so easy to hear the platitudes about relationships and apply them to a covertly abusive one, and find the reason to work a little harder. But unfortunately, it is the victim who ends up shouldering all the "work" of the relationship. The abuser carries less and less of the responsibility.
  8. Hi Melinoe, I am so glad that you found us. Your boyfriend sounds to me to be very manipulative. I really believe that people like him have radars to scope out people who are kind and generous; who need to be needed; who, as the result of past abuse, don't have the best boundaries and are hypersensitive to NEVER, EVER being like their abusers. It's quite common for people like your boyfriend to be in the beginning the perfect partner: the most loving, the most charming, ...everything you could ever dream of...until they feel that they have you in their clutches. I would encourage you to take some time to analyze the happy times. My guess is that, without you even knowing it and when things seemed to be so good, he was sowing the seeds that caused you to decide to give up your job so that you could support him. Was he playing the victim? Was he telling you that he needs you so badly because when you aren't around life seems pointless? Did he somehow elicit in you a very protective instinct that made you feel that your love was what he needed and without it, you feared for his well being? Did he drop hints about how your job was keeping you from him more than he likes? I remember feeling, when I was first dating my abuser, like he had the most amazing ability to see right into my soul. He understood me in a way I had never been understood. He felt like my soul mate in the truest sense of the word. What I now know is that he was incredibly skillful at eliciting information about what I wanted in a relationship, and then giving me back just that. He was a chameleon. And at the same time he was wooing me, he was also grooming me to become his victim. One time, I was describing a beautiful moment with a mother and baby that I experienced (I was a new RN at the time). In describing it, I mentioned that the mother and baby were African-American. My ex said "I know that you don't think this of yourself, but I think you are rather racist." I was devastated that he thought that about me, because I was raised to deplore racism and bigotry. But there was just enough truth in what he said to un-nerve me. It was true, that when describing a mother and child of my own race, I didn't preface the description with the word "white" or "Caucasian", and it made me aware of how my words can create a sense of "us" vs. "them". But to go from that to "I think you are rather racist" was a leap. What he was trying to do was two-fold: 1 ) He was trying to undermine my confidence in who I knew myself to be; and 2 ) He was setting the stage for when he told me that he was of mixed race (Caucasian/African American) and he must have been worried that I would reject him. Likewise, if I had a strong opinion on something, he would call me judgmental. Again, his goal was to 1 )Undermine my confidence in what I believed in; and 2 ) Make me less likely to pass judgment on his outrageous behavior. In our first year of marriage he complained if I used the term "I" instead of "we" when we were in social gatherings. It didn't matter if I was talking about something specific to me alone. He felt that using the word "I" was exclusionary of him. So guess what? I stopped talking about myself in conversations with others, or if I did, I made sure to make him a key figure in whatever I was talking about. Now, about you being abusive. Melinoe, there is something called "reactionary abuse". Another term for it is something like "extreme response to a stressful situation". It does not mean that you are abusive. It means that you are having an extreme reaction to an untenable situation. I remember times when I pummeled my abuser's chest, or pushed him away from me, or screamed at him at the top of my lungs. And I remember the emotions I was feeling during those times were of complete and utter helplessness, desperation and desolation. After all, even the kindest, gentlest animal will bite if backed into a corner and teased, taunted and abused. I urge you not to take on the abuser label. My ex claimed that I was the abusive one as well. In the end, when I was divorcing him and he kept saying this, I finally asked him "If I am so abusive, then why are you working so hard to keep me in this marriage?". He didn't have an answer for that. Labeling you as abusive in pure projection and It's a tactic to keep you unbalanced and in his control. My ex was also depressed. He had a horrible childhood...the kind that touched the maternal, protective place in my heart. He was on and off suicidal the first ten years of our marriage and he would often tell me he didn't think he would live past 35. I now think it was another control tactic. Even if he is depressed, Melinoe, you deserve a relationship with a healthy man. And the way you get that is you become a healthy woman. I don't know how old you are, but I sense that you may be in your 20's. Forgive me if I am wrong. Anyway, I would encourage you to work on yourself. Read books on abuse. "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft is the first one that I recommend you read. You cannot help his depression. No amount of your love will cause him to not be depressed. Nor will it help him to overcome his dependence on alcohol, nor his past. As for moving to his country, I strongly advise you to put any of that on hold. You would be further isolated from any support system you now have. I gave up 23 years of my life to abuse. It has affected my health, my finances, and my lovely children have suffered because of it. I don't want that to happen to you. You sound like an intelligent, insightful woman. I think if you sit for awhile with this, and let your inner wisdom speak to you without any input from ANY of your abusers' voices, you will find your answer. My favorite saying is a Tsoaist one, and it is: "Stillness is the greatest revelation".
  9. Hi Reenie, Welcome to Our Place. I know that you will get the support you need as you continue on your journey to be free of abuse. And believe it or not, you have already started your journey and are well on your way! I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. Your husband sounds very much like my ex. I left him when I was 44 years old, after a 20 year marriage and now, 8 years later, I am happy and in a wonderful, healthy marriage, living an abuse free life. But 8 years ago, I was exactly where you are now and I felt that I would surely die an early death if I kept living my status quo. There is hope, Reenie, and reading "Why Does He Do That" will put your experiences in a perspective that you've never seen before. You will likely find that your husband fits the description of an abuser to a "T". He is a mean, vindictive, shaming, abusive man, Reenie. You have to be a very strong woman to have survived him. Living without abuse will give you and your children a future brighter than you can imagine.
  10. I think he was intentionally asking you to do something that he KNEW would be against the basic grain of who you are. One time my ex asked me if I would kill him when the time came, after he went to great lengths to convince everyone he had early onset Alzheimer's. When I told him no, because I couldn't do that and I couldn't put our children at risk of losing both parents, he called me selfish. It was a set up. Pure and simple and I think your husband was setting you up.
  11. Future, Are you in the States? I am, so I don't know if my advice will be as applicable if you live outside the US. But anyway... First off, I think you are very wise to see this latest argument as a true threat and very worrisome. I am glad to hear that you have a place to go to and the money to get there. Be safe and do not let on in any way shape or form that you are planning to go away. Secondly, I think it is a very, very bad idea to go on a trip with him. He is very scary and I am concerned for your and your son's safety. Thirdly, this has to do with the custody issue, and hence my disclaimer above. I too thought that 50/50 was reasonable at first. I wish I had fought for a different time share. You have evidence of his instability and he made a threat to you and to your son. If I were you, I would go in asking for 100% custody with supervised visitation. You more than likely will not get that, but then again you will more than likely get much more than 50/50. Ask for more than what you will accept. I learned that the hard way. Keep documenting. If you can remember instances when he was emotionally, verbally or physically violent in any way toward you, in front of your son, document it. If you cannot remember the exact date and time, you can estimate by saying "On or around 5/25/2016 at around 5 to 6 pm...". Be brief and to the point. I did that and it went a very long way in making my case.
  12. Future, Your BF's behavior is affecting and will continue to affect your son. Seeing and hearing the fighting, and the affect that it has on you is a form of violence perpetrated by your boyfriend toward your son. Please read the ACE (adverse childhood experiences) study found here: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/about.html It shows a very significant correlation between abuse and neglect (to include witnessing the abuse of a child's mother) and poor physical and psychological health outcomes for the child. My children were very much affected by the emotional abuse of me by their father. Both from witnessing it, as well as from the fact that as I became depleted, I was less of a good mother to them. I will never forget seeing my 8 year old son's little face, bright red, with his little fists balled at his side as he screamed at his dad "You leave my mommy alone!!!!". I was holding my newborn daughter and was crying my eyes out because my then husband was being such an A$$ hole to me. My son is now 24 and we have a wonderful relationship. But he suffers from anxiety and is always worried that he will say or do the wrong thing. He has had to overcome significant obstacles created, in my opinion, by the fact that he grew up in a home where there was verbal an emotional abuse by his father toward his mother. And do not forget, your boyfriend WILL turn his sights to your son as you son becomes more independent. My ex did and one of my biggest griefs in life is that I did not leave sooner, so to at least lessen the impact his father had on him. It's scary to leave...I know. But believe me when I say, it is so much harder and scarier to stay in.
  13. Oh and another thing...I would only apologize once for the affair. That's it. Because people like your husband and my ex will FOREVER try to make you pay for it. And absolutely refuse to talk about it ever again with him.
  14. TTFM, You know, I would bet a million bucks that he was hoping you would have an affair so that he could lord it over you and control you more. Your affair was a call for help from a woman drowning in pain. And it sounds like the affair gave you a glimpse of the woman you used to be and showed you that you could experience happiness again. How do I know this? Because I did the exact same thing. I had an affair at a point when I just couldn't take the crazy making BS that my husband was throwing at me every single day. It was that act of a desperate woman, for sure. But it gave me such strength to end a marriage that was with out a doubt, going to cause me an early death (and not from physical violence but from the emotional, mental and physical stress that living with that man caused). HE ruined your family. Not you. He did. And he will continue to ruin you and your son unless you build up your healthy boundaries. It's OK to say to him that you no longer love him and you don't want to be with him any more. You don't even need a reason. And yet you have many, many reasons. And it is perfectly reasonable to tell him that you don't want to interact with him. When I was preparing to leave my abusive ex, I told him "I will only talk to you about issues related to our children. I refuse to talk to you about anything else unless there is a neutral third part present". He tried to test those boundaries but for the most part I held firm to them. It was one of the best things I did and it was the result of advice I received on this forum and from a lawyer. But before you tell him this, change the locks on the house. You can even tell him via text or email. He is a dangerous person. Good luck. It's difficult but I think you will find that it will turn out to be one of the most valuable things you ever do in your life.
  15. Whitebutterfly, It is because your husband is not abusive 100% of the time that this is such a comfusing place to be. So much of what you write reminds me of my experience with Mooch. As my son grew older and more independent, the blow ups with his dad became more and more frequent. I often was dragged into them (sometimes willingly, sometime not) because either one or both of them were acting horribly. I remember seeing my son taken down to the ground for being "out of control" or "disrespectful". I remember being so confused because what Mooch would tell me about what happened sounded reasonable, and what my son told me about what happened sounded reasonable. I was constantly questioning EVERYONE's reality, not just my own. But this didn't happen all the time, or the majority of the time. We had really lovely times together as a family. But it happened enough to have very long lasting effects on me and my children. A little bit of poison goes a long way. The key here is that your husband is the adult and the parent. And while we are all human and have our times when we shout, scream and behave badly, the non-abusive parent feels terrible about it and apologizes and tries with everything in him/her to do better. The non-abusive parent would never place all the blame on the child. I have a 15 year old daughter with pretty significant learning issues. So her normal teenage angst is compounded by the fact that school work causes incredible stress for her and she can decompensate quicly and become very difficult to deal with (as many teens can be). We had a week, a couple of weeks ago, where she had several big tests and was being, quite frankly, a brat, and I was having a rough week at work, and after trying my best to be patient and calm, I just lost it with her. She tried my very last nerve and I did not exhibit my best mothering behavior, to say the least. Afterward, I sat down with her and apologized for losing it and yelling my flipping head off at her. I told her that while her behavior was out of line, she did not deserve my screaming at her. We talked about triggers (hers and mine) and how we both could have dealt better with them. And in the end, we both had a better understanding of each other. If this had been her father, it would have all been her fault. He may have apologized, but it would be a shallow one, ("Sorry I yelled. Now are you sorry for disrespecting me and yada yada yada?") WB, I do believe that your husband is harming your children. But I also understand your hesitancy in removing them from the 99% good guy. I gently challenge you on the fact that he is a good dad. I think his goodness is like an iceburg and what lies beneath the surface is large, and Icy and dangerous. A good dad puts the mother of his children first and foremost because he understands her importance to them. A good dad would rather impale himself on a sword that cause his children to take the blame for his moments of not being a good parent (moments we all have). And while the idea of taking your children away from him seems cruel to all involved, I wonder if having a happy and healthy mother would WAY out-weigh the fact that they don't see their dad every day. I think it would. I hear you when you say that you don't have the means to support your children. That must be a very frightening scenario. But remember that your husband is responsible for supporting them as well (and probably you, for a time). Most states allow spousal support while the stay at home parent receives the training necessary to re-enter the work force. And I believe that all require some form of child support until the child reaches 18. And while you may not currently have the social support system in place, that doesn't mean that it will always be that way.