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WhatNow

Ugh I hope I'm doing the right thing...

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WhatNow

So took the kids to a child therapist yesterday. She diagnosed one with depression and anxiety disorders and the other with anxiety disorder. She sort of chided me for taking the kids out of the home and letting my husband have it. Everyone is saying that to me but in the moment when I had to make the choice it seemed like the right thing to do. I was trying to mitigate some of his anger by not kicking him out of the house and living with family has made it easier for me to make big decisions. She did say I needed to get them back into the house as soon as possible, especially since my daughter starts back to school next week. This did make sense to me so I called the social worker on base who's been handling our case and asked if the offer for him to move out of the house still stood, and she said she'd find out.

The child therapist also said that I should not proceed with divorce yet, that I should give it a few months and give him a chance with therapy. I guess I just don't buy that he's suddenly going to change or even change really in the next few months...or truth be told, at all ever. I told the social worker I was ready to meet with him as long as she was present, but that I'll be telling him I'm filing for divorce. She agreed but seemed disappointed. Our meeting is tomorrow morning.

I don't know. I'm trying really hard not to second-guess myself. Have any of you seen anyone successfully complete therapy and quit their abusive behavior? If so, how long did it take? I hope he gets better for the sake of the kids but I'm not sure I'm up for years and years of trying to get him through this when he's been so awful to me for the last 15 years. I really do just want out.

Also, is it a mistake to tell him face to face? My lawyer was just going to send a process server with the divorce papers but that feels kind of slimy to me. Plus I feel like I need to see his reaction. It's been weeks since I've seen or talked to him and I have no idea what his mindset is. I guess I need some closure on this whole ordeal (even though it's just the start of the next ordeal). The social worker will be present for this meeting so it won't be unsafe. Just scared of his response. That and I have no idea what I'm going to say to him at this point. Been trying to come up with the wording I want to use all day but I have no idea. Wish I could just fast-forward through this part...

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Quaddie

I think they are misguided and that your own instincts are the true and accurate ones.

No, he won't change. No, you don't need to give him another chance. 

I'd write more but I'm on my mobile - hopefully others will chime in. You don't have to listen to or do what these "professionals" say. You own your own relationship and life, and ultimately you get to decide on your children's behalf as well. They are not adults and don't get to choose....And the so-called professionals are clearly not well-educated in the dynamics of abusive relationships.

 

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whitebutterfly11

Hi WhatNow!

I can only imagine that there are some mixed feelings you're dealing with right now.

You've made this huge and healthy decision to leave an abuser, and from what you've written, it sounds like you had some wise reasoning for leaving the home. You wanted to avoid his anger, which is completely understandable. We don't know what abusers are capable of in that moment we tell them it's time for the marriage to be over. It often is the time when abusers are the most capable of causing emotional, even physical damage. I think it's okay to trust that your decision was a wise one. 

As far as the child therapist is concerned, I feel a bit uncomfortable with a therapist chiding you about the house. While I do understand that being in the home may help the kids feel some familiarity, and might help with adjustment, you are also dealing with an abuser whose actions are unpredictable. Perhaps some research and discussion with with the social worker and your lawyer would help you in deciding whether or not you'd be able to safely return to the home with your kids. It seems fairly common, as far as courts are concerned, to allow the mother to stay in the home with the kids.

Also, the therapist's suggestion that you wait to proceed with a divorce and allow him to go through therapy denotes that she really doesn't understand abuse. I say that because it's not common for abusers to change, even from therapy. The statistics are grim (less than 2% of all abusers really do change), and the common experience victims face when their spouses go to therapy look like this: 1) the spouse attends therapy, 2) the spouse learns how to pull all of the right strings and say all of the right things in therapy to appear to have changed, 3) sometimes the therapist is so convinced by the progress of the abuser that he/she sides with him, and 4) as soon as therapy is over, the abuser falls back into his old patterns of abuse. It can be even worse after this point because the abuser will have learned the terminology of counseling and can find ways to utilize it against you. It's really not very often that an abuser actually changes, so therapy ends up being not worth the effort, money, and prolonged time.

Especially, WhatNow, if you already know you want to leave. Even if he did change, even if he was capable of becoming the man you hoped he would be, would you want to stay in this marriage? Or is your heart telling you that it's time to be done? I think what we feel, even when other people are telling us to stay and work things out for the kids' sake or whatever other opinionated babble we hear, overrules the voices of all else. You probably know what you've lived, what you cannot take anymore, and what you would like to do in the future.

Above all, follow that.

Screw the other voices (they don't know what you've lived).

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EnoughisEnough

I went to therapy with my abuser and it was HORRIBLE. And he went to court ordered anger management and lied to the therapist in the group. And then used both to intimidate me. My abuser did not change at all and in fact became worse over time. He did and said anything necessary to improve his standing with other people he thought would be sympathetic. 

Like others are saying go with your gut. Your experience. 

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Over and Out

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)))

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Quaddie

In abusive households, there is trauma bonding. This impacts kids as well as adults. Someone in the mental health professions should be aware of this and know that the child's relationship with abusive parents is very complicated and often the children will be bonded with him traumatically and not want to be apart from him. They will kick and scream and throw fits about it. They will insist they're okay and insist they want to go back. But that doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. And they have no "barometer of normalcy." This is all they know in life, it's normal to them and it can be very unhealthy and damaging to continue that skewed "normalcy."

 

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Kanga

Over and out

Get your daughters to try yoga. It cured my anxiety. It removes tension from deep within the body.  I felt cured within a few months and continuing it now prevents the build up of stress which leads to anxiety.  I have been an anxious person my entire life because of the way my mother treated me and then my husband. So this was 40 odd years worth of tension being released. It's amazing. 

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Quaddie

Oh and as for meeting with him for social work meetings or whatever, YOU get to decide whether you want to do it. More often than not, such meetings end up being setbacks for the victim. They don't get to tell you what to do. This is your life, your marriage. You do what you feel is right.

 

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