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mistreated

Why does it hurt so much & what are my options?

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mistreated

I know that my husband and I are not good as a couple. He belittles the kids and I, he is controlling and manipulative, he has anger issues. We have established that we need to divorce. Yet, if I divorce him, I risk the kids being alone with him and not having me to buffer his anger and I will not be there for the kids (ages 9 &10) when he acts up. I cannot risk loosing my kids. I quit my career to stay home, raise the kids and to allow him to take his career to next level. I now have no money, I'm trying to rebuild my real estate career in a new area & although we are trying to do this as friends, he just told me he doesn't want to pay for anything for me and that I should pay 1/2 the rent which is $2600 total. I was making considerably more $ than he when we married. I got him the job he gas today (litterally-I made a resume for him, sent it out, etc). We are living together as "friends" & he still emotionally abuses me, but what are my options if I don't have a solid income yet and why does it hurt soooo much to acknowledge the 13 yr old marriage is over when I know it's wrong to stay? Pls help. Thank you, I am really hurting and confused from all of his mental games and I don't trust my own judgement now.

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lemondrop

Can you get a lawyer? If you gave up your career to further his, you are probably entitled to alimony in a divorce, since he profited off of you. Asking a lawyer about it might make you feel less financially stuck.

As for your feelings on it, of course you'll feel sad and upset. You put a lot of work into this, and even though you know it needs to end, you're losing something you worked for because of his choices. That's very hard to deal with and it's entirely normal for you to feel sad about that.

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mistreated

Thank you, lemomdrop. I have been in denial for so long and minimizing that I have not gotten a lawyer. However, when he asked me this am to pay half of the rent and all of my expenses, I am slowly coming to terms with the fact that denying this isn't going away and I feel like I should at least be able to get my real estate career off to a good start rather than being shut out financially. I am trying to get am attorney through the local domestic violence assistacne and I am waiting to hear back from them.

In regard to the hurt, it seems like every time I start to feel the loss rather than shutting it down. I just cannot stop crying. It's endless. He asked to have an open marriage earlier today and although this is something I have wanted for a long time. It just hurts so much to hear him ask. I think I'm still on the shock of everything from the talk this am.

Ugh. Just hurts so much and I know it's what I need and mostly want, but I've been so taken down over the years that I'm afraid.

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Bennu

You shouldn't have to pay for half at this point because you gave up your career for him and the kids. You should get support while you get your career going. I was told spousal support usually lasts for 1/3 the length of the marriage. He is being a jerk so that you can't afford to leave him. The courts decide that, not him. You need to see that lawyer. Forget the open marriage, get out. He wants to have you being his slave while still being able to have his way with other women. What a jerk. Sounds like my own.

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mistreated

Yes, I need to get to the lawyer and I need to see what spousal support is in my state. Now that I am adjusting to the initial shock of the conversation this morning, there is no way that I am going to go for this. He just messes with my mind so much that I feel like I'm going insane or that the world just doesn't make sense, so I don't really trust my judgement right now.

My fear of getting out is that I run the risk of loosing my kids since I have limited income. That fear immobilizes me to the point where I am afraid to leave because he will get visitation and then the kids won't have me around for support. We are trying to do this divorce thing as friends and we're now living together until I earn enough money to get out, but it's going to take a while to build up my career again and we live in an area that has an exceptionally high cost of living.

And yes, I get treated like the unpaid help who is still doing the majority of the house cleaning, kids' laundry, everything for the kids and the house while trying to build up this career. Somehow, however, he believes that I am just doing nothing all day.

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percolate

Definitely talk to a lawyer. The fact that you make less money shouldn't play a factor in a custody decision. He will get visitation, but your kids will benefit from living with you the majority of time.

Depending on the age of your kids, they will learn to support each other, and/or see through their father's behavior.

I divorced my abuser when my daughter was quite young (2.5 years) but even in preschool she knew her routines related to her asthma meds and would tell me if he skipped a breathing treatment during visitation. She also asked questions about things he said and even at an early age seemed to sense that her father couldn't be depended upon. And by middle school age, she knew that his badmouthing of me was not just wrong, but also totally inaccurate.

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mistreated

Thank you, percolate. Your comment about your daughter surviving time alone with him really helped me. My kids are my greatest concern.

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Bennu

I stayed with my abuser because I was afraid of what he would do without me running interference. My daughter is really messed up. I think I made the wrong choice where she is concerned.

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mistreated

Wow. That is really powerful as that is the reason as to why I am staying, as well. Thank you for the insight and I'm sorry about your daughter.

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whitebutterfly11

(((mistreated)))

Yes, a lawyer would really be able to give you a peace of mind about what your options are.

I saw a lawyer for the first time last month. I was terrified. It took me a whole year to make the appointment, and I was a nervous wreck during the weeks I waited for that appointment (I deliberately scheduled far in advance). I sat in the waiting room trembling, alone, thinking "this is a mistake!" But then, I was called back and the lawyer sat me down and talked to me very objectively about what my options were.

I hadn't felt that much closure and relief in years. Honestly, I thought I had zero options. My kids are about the ages of yours and they are my top priority too. I worried about visitation rights and custody, etc. The good thing is, there is so much available to you and when you can sit down and talk about all your options, you realize that you will be okay. A lawyer takes into account an abusive spouse and how he treats the kids. Ideally, a lawyer would fight tooth and nail to keep you with your kids most of the time (if not all) with financial support from your spouse. That is what they do, and if you spell out your concerns upfront they can dispel any worries that you have so you don't have to worry anymore.

I don't know if that helps or not, but I do feel for you. This is a tough situation to be in and very, very terrifying.

You and your children deserve to be in a place of peace and healing!

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Vanilli

I think it would help your children because then they'd see him less so he'd less negatively effect them and they will be able to get space from him and reflect on how he behaves. If they are in that situation 24/7 I really think it is quite damaging and scary for them. Also I feel like it's not just about how they see him and how he treats them but how they see the RELATIONSHIP between the two of you - if they see an abusive relationship they will begin to internalise that as being normal - the way that love and relationships are. My bf watched how his dad treated his mum with little respect as he grew up and it affected how he saw her and he said he never used to respect her - he then took this and projected onto the women he had relationships with when he was older. Being around my mum and step dad - is horrible and heart wrenching because she's really anusive towards him. It's HORRIBLE to watch that dynamic.

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mistreated

Thank you, whitebutterfly11. Thank you for understanding and thank you for offering that this will be okay and that I can get through this, too. I need to pursue this for my kids. At least, this is what I keep telling myself. I'm terrified and scared and trying to sort myself out while helping the kids through what is about to happen. I need to stop all the crying and get my head out of the sand thinking this will get better on it's own and that it's ok to treat us this way. Now that I am becoming more aware of the ways my abuser (and my parents, for that matter) try to control and manipulate everything, the more I think "maybe I have not lost my mind and HE's (they) are the one(s) that is (are) messed up." WIth knowledge is power. I am going to use the time left in the same house with him to document every mistreatment, every 60 hour work week (so I cannot build up my career) and, perhaps most importantly, the alert him to everytime he treats my kids and I like dirt, and to stand up for us in an adult, well-mannered fashion. I think this will be empowering and a necessary step for me to show our kids that it's not ok to treat someone like this and you don't have to just take it. At least, this is what I keep trying to tell myself over and over again....

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LiliRose

Hi MisT,

I agree with everyone else here.. Talk to a lawyer. Abusers often think they can make up the rules when it comes to a divorce just like yours said about paying full rent etc.. The law isn't what they say. The law is the law. Just because they don't like to follow the law doesn't mean they can make up their own. They like to think so and they like to use it as threats. I mean - they come up with whatever they need to keep the control in their hands and blame the world for their misery. It doesn't matter what they THINK they should get and what the THINK you shouldn't get - the law is still the law.

HUGS

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mistreated

Thank you, Lilirose. I just spoke with an attorney from a domestic violence resource on the phone, briefly. She is going to provide me with the contact info for some local attorneys that she recommends sitting down with for a meeting. She also suggested sitting down with the head person at our domestic violence non-profit to start strategizing a way out of this situation and to identify my strengths in the situation. SOme key issues this attorney brought forth was that income isn't the only factor that determines child custody. After briefly describing a bit of my experience with my husband what he wants me to do/pay for, she said he definitely sounds controlling. With everyone's help on this forum and her comments, I'm starting to have a glimmer of hope that maybe I have not gone insane and that this situation really is unhealthy. I've been so beaten down over the years that I just lost trust in my judgment and regardless of how much I want the happy childhood for my children with 2 parents, the fairytale is over and the best possible outcome is to "break the family up." I believed that the family with 2 parents was so much better than the single parent situation. It's amazing that our society really thinks that if you stay together that it is much better than leaving and destroying the family.

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percolate

I believed that the family with 2 parents was so much better than the single parent situation. It's amazing that our society really thinks that if you stay together that it is much better than leaving and destroying the family.

Some families are better off being destroyed! There are many healthy single parent family and kids often thrive living with a healthy single parent. They also learn (by observing) that it is not appropriate to abuse your partner and that you did not tolerate being abused.

It's especially important for girls to realize that they do not have to tolerate abuse to have a relationship and that boys learn that they need to respect and support their partner rather than abuse their partner.

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mistreated

I could not agree more, percolate. I was okay taking the bs from my husband until I caught myself telling my kids "it's not okay for someone to treat you that way, it's not your fault, it's his fault" and my actions do not match my words. I was being treated poorly, watching them being treated poorly and basically telling my kids that it's okay for someone to treat us in that condescending manner if I don't get us out. I can't tell them it's not ok to allow someone to treat us that way and do nothing and/or say nothing to stand up for us. I have realized that I learned this whole manipulation and control + love from my parents-this is how they treat me and this is what I looked for in a husband because I thought it was love. The unconditional love that I have for my kids allowed me to gain real perspective as to what real love actually is and I expect more for us, now. Just trying to remember that when I get the moments of being absolutely terrified of leaving and I'm paralyzed by the fear. Baby steps to get us out, baby steps to get us out.

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diamonds

until I caught myself telling my kids "it's not okay for someone to treat you that way, it's not your fault, it's his fault" and my actions do not match my words.

Exactly. That was my breaking point too. I was telling my daughter never to let anybody treat her badly and at the same time I was allowing my partner to treat me badly. So the only way I could teach her that was to leave. Twice - first I left her father and then my last ex-partner. Because that's the only way she will truly believe me and learn that. And now she even sees how happier I am alone and she knows it's true what have previous been just words.

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Bennu

Wow. That is really powerful as that is the reason as to why I am staying, as well. Thank you for the insight and I'm sorry about your daughter.

I'll give you an example. About a year ago I told my daughter that she should bring her birth certificate when she comes to visit so that she could renew her passport. She couldn't find it and insisted that I must have it. I have kept it in the same place for 20 years and it wasn't there. I still looked all over and couldn't find it so I looked up how to get another one, sent her the links and told her that she better get on it because she would need it. Fast forward to a few days ago and she needs it. She won't agree to talk to me often, but she finally did and I was happy to have a chance to talk to her. All she wanted to do was insist that I had the birth certificate and complain about how not having it was preventing her from doing something she wnated to do for which she needed it. Blame shifting anyone? It was an unpleasant phone call.

The last time she visited she was going on about how we should use certain vocabulary to not offend a small minority. This is vocabulary that wasn't invented back in my day and it doesn't come easily to me. I'm not a bigot, just uninformed and have no practice referring to this class of people because I don't know any. She was going on and on so I started tuning her out. Then she got all mad. Basically, if I don't agree and obey and pander she says I'm abusing her. Let her control me or I'm being abusive.

Her poor sweet boyfriend.

I tried to temper my husbands behavior by protecting them from it and explaining why certain behaviors were wrong, but clearly example is a much more powerful teacher. She learned to manipulate to get love. She learned to have unreasonable expectations of others. She learned to feel mistreated if she didn't get accolades that she didn't deserve. She learned to think that she was a better athlete and student than she actually was and would come up with excuses for why she hadn't won races or gotten awards. It was someones else's fault. It wasn't her training or studying habits.

I think that she is on the edge of seeing it, but can't yet. I hope she will be able to.

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Bennu

The unconditional love that I have for my kids allowed me to gain real perspective as to what real love actually is and I expect more for us, now.

This is beautiful. This is how I feel too. Having children taught me what love is.

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LiliRose

MisT,

I agree with you... "Stay for the children" is probably the worse thing to do in a case like this.

Children will grow up without feeling full respect for their father, nor will they receive the love and care they deserve from their one care-giver.

A son may grow up becoming a copy of his father. A daughter may grow up marrying a copy of her father ---- Because that is the only thing they know!

On top of it you/the mother won't be able to be the best parent she can be while still in an abusive relationship. She will be doing things to calm HIM down instead of focusing on what is best for the children.

It is ALL messed up and so disturbing that it is still "best for the kids to stay"... :barf:

Let's be honest - in these situations it is ALWAYS best to leave!

I am glad you were able to talk to a lawyer and a DV rep. This should help you physically with getting out safely with your kids.

HUGS

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mistreated

Thank you, everyone.

Bennu, your message sent a chill up my spine and tears to my eyes. What you see in your daughter is what I see in my daughter. OMGoodness, I have to get out of this. The situation that you explained is my life- the blame shifting, I agree and obey all the bs because it helps me to keep him calm and I "go away" from his comments and criticisms into a numb oblivion because it's my coping mechanism...but the kids are not numb. They are learning and watching their zombie mom get treated like junk and all I do is "ignore" it. There are times when I try to deal with this marriage being over and I simply cannot stop crying. I am now thinking that the unstoppable crying is actually feeling all of the hurt and pain from the past 15 years, the release of it might be over sometime relatively soon and the simple acknowledgement that the stress of this situation was not all in my head and I just couldn't "keep my husband happy." I thought I was crying because I was so sad it was over. I might actually have begun to feel again since I have been shut down for so long. This is a massive realization for me. Thank you, sincerely, thank you to all.

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whitebutterfly11

(((Mistreated)))

It can be overwhelming to discover the truth. Kind of like a huge emotional shock to your system where you feel ALL of it ALL at once.

It can also be liberating, too. Now you have unraveled the mystery, so to speak. The truth is clear and it's right in front of you. It's like putting on a pair of glasses when all you've seen and known before has been undefined, blurry. Now you can start the process of understanding where those feelings are coming from: abuse. You've lived it, you've been in a fog from it (we all have--that's exactly what it does), and it is the epicenter of your pain. Knowing that it is abuse means that what you have suffered in the last 15 years of your life is not your fault. It's not. Abuse causes pain. Even the happiest, most confident person can lose themselves to abuse. It's impossible not to if you are surrounded by it, and if the one relationship that is supposed to be loving, validating, and built on trust is actually destroying your wellbeing.

Truth is our anchor through this. Knowing it is abuse is the starting point from which we can begin to rebuild ourselves. You don't have to do anything with this truth tonight, or tomorrow, or next week, if you don't want to. You can take it in pieces and let it "marinate" as you try to process it all. There is no right or wrong way to learn about abuse, it just is. It's a process.

We're here to help you and validate you through. There are so many compassionate and wise people here that I've met and leaned on since I've been a part of Our Place. I hope that you will continue to post and find some support here.

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mistreated

Thank you, it means so much to know that I am not alone anymore.

I needed to take a break yesterday as everything was becoming overwhelming. I'm starting to realize that I have kept my kids in this crap situation because I thought it was best to run interference. I'm now seeing that the behavior patterns in them are developing from this crappy situation instead. It's all becoming clearer and there definately is empowerment in this learning process, no doubt. I am trying to gain more strength with the knowledge and insight of those who have walked this before me. I can no longer be in denial and this, in the end, will be a good thing. The road ahead is going to be rough and scary, but I hope to look back and be proud for myself and my children.

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diamonds

Mistreated,

I promise you, you will be proud, and your children will be proud of you!

It's realy REALLY worth to leave, for all of your sakes, ESPECIALLY childrens'.

Sending you strength and love :)

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mistreated

Hugs Diamonds. Thank you from deep in my soul. Xx

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