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WhatNow

Help -- it's all starting to feel like a huge mistake

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WhatNow

So I posted on here a couple of weeks ago about my husband having a no contact order put in place by the military and that we had moved in with family an hour away. I've been commuting for work and just trying to figure out what the next step is. I was interviewed by the base social worker and she said she would keep the no contact order in place for now. She wanted to know if I'd be willing to do a joint session with her and my husband where we'd come up with a "safety plan" on what he'd do if he became angry and whatnot so that we could go home. I told her I wouldn't do it. My husband wasn't going to have changed magically in 4 days and my kids haven't had a chance to see a therapist...which means basically nothing whatsoever had changed other than there'd be a piece of paper with a "plan" and he knows we can leave. All I can assume is that he'll still get angry but will become passive aggressive "oh, better not yell or she'll tell on me again" and that eventually he'll lose it for real. Best not to put any of us in that situation.

Meanwhile the social worker also interviewed my kids. I had high hopes she'd confirm my worries and that I'd get some validation that they were struggling as much as I thought they were. Nope! it was two weeks since we moved out when she interviewed them and the kids miss their friends and the house and their things...and yes their dad...and so much time had passed I'm sure the fear of the last few awful weeks with him had faded. She interviewed both of them without me, then called me in to discuss it. Her conclusion? "The kids are fine. They miss their dad, they want to go home, and they said they're not scared of him." Riiiiiiiiiight. I asked if she thought he'd really changed (because come on) and she said she couldn't speak to him specifically because of privacy laws but "lots of people have a wake up call with this sort of thing and realize they need help with their anger." I was super skeptical and told her he'd probably say exactly what she wanted to hear...and that he may even say it in good faith really believing he'd change. But then he'd get mad. And it wouldn't matter. And it isn't just the rage. It's the criticizing and controlling behavior. He's never once taken real responsibility for his rage...it's always what my daughter and I "conditioned" him to do. And when I asked about my daughter's suicidal statements...the things that started all of this...she said "oh, she used to have those feelings but she doesn't anymore." Just like that, huh? Forget it.

Anyhow, now that I've been away for him for a few weeks I've gained a lot of clarity. I don't want to go back. At least not with him. I'm seeing a divorce lawyer tomorrow and scheduling appointments with others to try to decide what the next step is, but I just can't fathom us all ending up under one roof again. The base has actually helped put me in touch with some lawyers, and they've been pretty supportive of whatever decision I make, but I feel like I'm drowning. The money. The logistics of where we live. Do I try to take the house? Get an apartment? I can't keep up this commute with school starting in a week or so. And I'd probably need to start working full time, which isn't the end of the world but certainly complicates things with childcare and the fact that I'm full time grad school. And at some point that no contact order will need to be lifted. I just can't even imagine talking to him.

I allowed emails so we could take care of bills and whatnot and the first day he emailed me 5 times, at some point saying that the email permission didn't restrict what we email about so we could just chat about whatever. It was very casual, like he was on travel for work. No apology. No promise to change. No sense of remorse or responsibility. He asked how the kids were and then said he'd be fine. Well good. He said he'd be sure he was away from the house between 8 and 4 on weekdays so I could go in, get stuff, water plants, etc. He left small gifts for the kids and then wanted to know if they'd liked them. I didn't know what I should do with them so they're hidden in my sister's garage. I only responded to the parts of his emails that were about bills, and eventually he quit asking about anything else. I thought maybe he got the hint but his last email implied that he'd been instructed only to address necessary things. So yeah, not feeling like he's really changed much. I did start reading "Why does he do that?" because it had been recommended so many times on this forum, and it is *freaky* how accurate it is. That's sort of helping me stay the course.

There's so much chaos right now and I feel pretty helpless. I keep telling myself that it'll get better but right now it just feels like I stepped on a landmine and blew all our lives up and there's no way to undo it so all I can do is push forward. I saw my PCP...got my antidepressant dose increased but it takes weeks to take effect. I'm talking to my therapist. I got the kids scheduled with a therapist next week who's supposed to be awesome and I told her I need a really good evaluation of them both. Work has been amazingly supportive. But I still am having anxiety attacks at random times and just can't imagine how this is all going to end okay.

Okay, back to writing this term paper that's due Friday...:blink:

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percolate

Hang in there...you're doing the right thing and coping with grad school in addition (I'm a nursing professor so I know how difficult grad classes can be).  And you're taking great care of yourself and your kids.

You don't have to make decions about your house right now.  Hopefully your visit with the lawyer will clarify things.  Including the fact that your h will be required to pay child support.

Despite the rather late interview by the social worker, it sounds like you're getting great support from your job and the military. And they're helping control your husband's behavior.

PS If you find yourself having difficulty concentrating and/or getting behind in your classes, talk to your professors.  They'd rather know that something is going on early when they can help you keep up your grades, than have you fail something and then disclose that you're dealing with a stressful family situation.  You don't have to tell them any more than that.  Having taught at the graduate level for the past 20 years, faculty are used to all sorts of family issues affecting student performance.

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WhatNow

I really appreciate your advice on that. I've been maintaining okay as far as school goes, but definitely not my best effort. I was debating whether or not I should say something to my professors or if they'd just see it as drama that they don't need to deal with. We're in the last week of the summer semester then I have just a little time before fall starts (clinicals! :(). I'm going to try to take that time to make the tough decisions and try to get us situated in time for daughter to start school.

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Hope41

I don't believe it was good practice for the social worker to suggest a joint session. 

Also I know some counselling services for men who perpetuate dv let the men know they are going to inform their partners how they are progressing or not.its a way of being transparent and for the men to take accountability,

 

take care, be strong 

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blueskye
15 hours ago, WhatNow said:

And when I asked about my daughter's suicidal statements...the things that started all of this...she said "oh, she used to have those feelings but she doesn't anymore." Just like that, huh?

I would say she's not talking suicide anymore because she is now in a safer environment. She's young and not putting 2 and 2 together. But I see this as a sign you are doing the right thing.

My only child was a young adult when we split. Ex was getting the house and [child] couldn't bear to part with his childhood home, his stuff and his neighbors/friends so he chose to stay in the abuse. Shocked my socks off! I just assumed he would go with me as we had discussed this previously. But when the time came, he had "forgotten" all the bad stuff. I tried to remind him. He said "I've blocked it all out." So there you have it. I'm sure your kids are feeling the exact same way. They don't like change and the upset that is happening. And now that they're out of the torment, they are starting to forget it. But you can stand in your truth! You KNOW what you went through. You KNOW what the children when through and that you are making these grand steps to help them have a better life. Don't doubt yourself. The children may forget and that's ok. You can advocate for them.

I suggest you give the gifts to the children from their father. It won't harm them and by NOT doing so he can use that against you with the children. Don't give him anything to make you look bad because he will use it! Mine did! It's taken me a YEAR to win back the favor or our child from the damage of my ex. Don't give him any ammo. Let the children see him when they want and give them his gifts. This will help make you look strong and loving in their eyes. You go no contact but they don't have to. Explain that you had the gifts but was confused and wasn't sure what to do with them but you want them to have them. Don't make their dad look like a monster or it will backfire bigtime! 

Another good book is "Divorce Poison" all about how to handle the children during a divorce. I had to read it over and over. 

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Quaddie

You are absolutely right in your perspective on the social worker and etc. No, a joint session is a HORRIBLE idea, and no, they don't get a "wake up call" and magically become different people. This is who he is.

You'll have more info after you see the lawyer, so try not to think about the logistics until then.

You're doing great...It's normal to feel like you've blown everything up and it's all untethered right now, but it will sort out. Any major change has a lot of fear and stress attached to it...It's normal. You're absolutely doing the right thing.

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Bennu

You know your situation better than any social worker. If you aren't getting the support that you need, don't doubt your perception, find someone who can help you. Our abusers work hard to make us doubt our perceptions. Hold strong. You can do it.

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6245

Sometimes, the military has an invested interest in protecting the soldier.  That includes in his family life.  So if the social worker was with the military, that could be one reason she said what she did.

My ex was military and when we went to divorce, I had to be very stubborn with the chaplain that there was no hope for the marriage and that I would not reconcile with him before he would sign off on the EROD paperwork to let me go back to the states.  He even suggested I read this cheesy marriage book.  As if that would fix things, as if I hadn't even read a single marriage book before!!  I didn't dislike the chaplain, but he was acting in my husband's best interest, not mine.

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percolate
21 hours ago, WhatNow said:

I really appreciate your advice on that. I've been maintaining okay as far as school goes, but definitely not my best effort. I was debating whether or not I should say something to my professors or if they'd just see it as drama that they don't need to deal with. We're in the last week of the summer semester then I have just a little time before fall starts (clinicals! :(). I'm going to try to take that time to make the tough decisions and try to get us situated in time for daughter to start school.

I'm glad you're in the last week of the semester and the break will do you good.  Clinicals are often a bit easier than the coursework.  But there may be scheduling issues if you have to take time to deal with kid issues at school, therapists etc.  If you anticipate problems it might be good to warn your preceptor at the beginning of the semester.  Then if you ever need time off or to reschedule things it won't be an issue, and if you do, she or he knows in advance. 

I think most professors will be understanding-masters students are often very hard workers and they're not undergrads who have 1001 excuses about why they didn't do their homework, skipped class, etc.

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Appletree

You feel like you stepped on a landmine and blew everything up, but responding to abuse is not the cause of any distress in the family. It's the abuse that came before your response that caused the distress. 

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