Language women should use in the Family Court

Many women feel like failures because they have not stopped the man they love from psychologically abusing and controlling them

Most women who attend counselling – to come to terms with their partner’s psychologically abusive and controlling behaviours – often beat up on themselves saying: “I let it happen” and “I feel like I’ve failed”.

Women talk about the effects and impact of abuse and control

Women describe feeling emotionally beaten down, shame, guilt, anger, sadness, depression, lack of confidence, insecure, discouraged, defeated, desperate, fearful, anxious and full of dread. They talk about being codependent, having self-doubt, a low belief in their abilities, confused, a feeling of going insane and an inability to concentrate. This brief list can lead Family Court Judges, lawyers, psychologists and other supporters of female victims to interpret the effects and impacts of abuse as equivalent to passivity, incompetence, and poor mental health. So what can women and their supporters do to combat this social problem?

It is necessary to uncover ways women actively resist abuse

Women continually use multiple strategies to resist being controlled and psychologically abused by male partners.

Women seek advice and help from others, they strategically subordinate or silence themselves, purposefully choose not to state their beliefs and opinions, consciously choose when to stay quiet and when to assert themselves – all to avoid further abuse.

If a man who persistently attempts to control his partner pressures her not to work, and she defies this by going to work, regardless of abusive repercussions, this act of resistance shows that the woman does not “let abuse happen”.

Women may do things to please their partner that they might not ordinarily do, they may ignore his behaviour, or they may cry as a way of showing they refuse to be content with being verbally abused and emotionally manipulated. Yet other women refuse to cry with the aim of not giving the abusive man the pleasure.

These acts of resistance prove women do not have low self-esteem, rather women resist abuse because they do esteem themselves. Women who defiantly talk to a male colleague at a party, despite their partner badgering them to stay away from all men, and women who refuse to obey their partner’s rigid rule that dinner should be on the table at 5 o’clock sharp every night, are refusing to be dictated to. These acts of resistance do not entail letting abuse happen. The abuse happens because, the man who is hell bent on controlling his partner, is violating her needs and boundaries.

Many women resist being controlled by lying about where they’re going, by sneaking out, by not telling their husband where they are going, or who they are having coffee with. These are acts aimed at preserving autonomy, independence and freedom.

Canadian Family Therapist, Dr Allan Wade, along with his colleagues, have researched and written some splendid articles that give an empowering spin to the language women use to describe the impact of being abused . . .

“Despair” is usually considered to be a negative effect of abuse. However, Wade and colleagues suggest that “despair” actually suggests that the victim of abuse is hoping for, or calling for, change.

“Sleeplessness” is generally labelled the problem to be solved. However, lying awake at night worrying about the crazy-making mind-games her partner is playing, is actually a strategy of resistance. In other words this kind of “wakefulness” is refusing to be content with being emotionally abused and controlled.

Using the “language of resistance” in the Family Court

When women write affidavits aimed at helping them win custody of their children, it is common to write the negative effects, or impacts, resulting from the man’s psychologically abusive and controlling behaviours. However, Allan Wade and his colleagues’s research shows that, by women saying they have low-self esteem, depression, anxiety, stress, etc., this language can feed into stereotypes that women victims of abuse are not capable of resisting abuse, or of maintaining custody of their children.

Allan Wade PhD, and his colleagues, strongly suggest that women and their supporters include information in written court documents about all the ways the woman has resisted, and continues to resist, each and every form of abuse by their partner. Rather than asking the woman how the abuse impacted, or effected her, instead ask how she responded when her partner did xyz. Ask her what she did when he said, or did, xyz. The woman’s answers to this will represent her as active and competent.

How women resist abuse depends on the context

Women do not use the same strategy of resistance in response to abuse and control every time. Rather women decide which situation best suits which kind of resistance – always with the aim of keeping herself safe and sane, and with the aim of reducing or stopping the abuse and control.

Any small act of resistance is a sign of success

Just because a woman has not been able to stop the man’s abusive and controlling behaviours does not mean she has “let the abuse happen”. The fact that she has engaged in hours, months and years of subtle, and not-so-subtle, strategies of resistance, means she has successfully mustered up chunks of control over her own life – no matter how tiny that sense of control may feel. It means she has succeeded at not allowing her partner to have 100% control over her decisions, her actions, her secret thoughts, hopes and dreams. It means she has grabbed some form of self-preservation that she has refused to allow him to steal from her. What women do to resist abuse is a sign that they are capable of maintaining custody of their children.

References:

  • Campbell, Jacquelyn C., Rose, Linda E., Kub, Joan, & Nedd, Daphne. (1998). Voices of strength and resistance: A contextual and longitudinal analysis of women’s responses to battering. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 13, 743-762.
  • Coates, Linda, & Ridley, Penny. (2009). Representing victims of sexualized assault. In E. Faulkner & G. MacDonald (Eds.), Victim no more: Women’s resistance to law, culture and power. Halifax & Winnipeg: Fernwood Publishing.
  • Coates, Linda, & Wade, Allan. (2004). Telling it like it isn’t: Obscuring perpetrator responsibility for violent crime. Discourse & Society, 15, 499-526.
  • Coates, Linda, & Wade, Allan. (2007). Language and violence: Analysis of four discursive operations. Journal of Family Violence, 22, 511-522.
  • Renoux, Martine, & Wade, Allan. (2008). Resistance to violence: A key symptom of chronic mental wellness. Context, June, 2-4.
  • Todd, Nick, Wade, Allan, & Renoux, Martine. (2007). Coming to terms with violence and resistance.
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{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Marlene May 20 2010, 3:39 pm

    I have had a significant amount of experience writing and teaching community members about domestic violence and continually encounter a difficulty getting people to understand the dynamics and impact of psychological abuse. One way I am dealing with that is giving out a book of poetry I wrote on psychological abuse. It is available free (I have a grant) on my website. You can get to my website by clicking on my name above. If you’d like a hard copy you can contact me through my website.

  • Autism Custody Battles July 26 2010, 4:04 am

    Men who threaten to take away the kids are engaging in post separation violence. It is common for batterers to threaten to take children away from the battered woman by proving her to be an unfit mother. For this reason, some lawyers advise women not to tell courts or mediators about child abuse or domestic abuse because, by doing so, they risk losing custody to the alleged abuser!

  • Lisa Chowdhry March 29 2011, 11:56 pm

    I would love to hear from other women that have or are going through hell in relation to their ex and the fact that the court system in this country is not good. I have had my children taken from me through my ex and am getting beyond desperate. Some of you may call me if you feel the need. My name is Lisa +44-1568 611483

  • Sharon Angelina April 25 2011, 6:17 am

    Lisa, my kids were taken from me ten years ago. They have finally, in the past month, turned 18 and have moved back with me. They were telling me they won’t be talking to their father anymore, and refuse to have any further relationship with him. I know very well the hell you are going through. When it happened to me in 2001 I thought I was totally alone, and that this didn’t happen to anyone but me.

    Please give me your email. I don’t have international calling. My email is peacebabies [at] yahoo.com. Anyone else who wants to talk about custody is welcome to email me as well.

    • Elaine September 9 2012, 10:59 pm

      Sharon, I need help. I am afraid the same thing will happen to me. I have been fighting with family court to see my ex husband’s emotional abuse now and it is a losing battle. I feel alone and your post is the first time I am responding to anything I have read on line. Would you be willing to email me or speak to me?

      • Clare Murphy PhD September 10 2012, 9:06 am

        Hi Elaine. Sharon cannot contact you directly as your email address provided to the SpeakOutLoud comment box is not made public. Sharon has already provided her email address in her comment for people to respond. It is peacebabies[at]yahoo.com – just substitute @ for [at]. Clare

  • muted by agony August 23 2011, 5:48 pm

    I have completed all of my classes to become a paralegal. I am about to start my internship. I want to become an attorney. I want to fight this. I want to bring attention to this problem in my small town. I don’t have custody of my children. My ex husband’s parents are wealthy. My ex husband has a top secret clearance. I am scared but I feel God calling me to do this. I feel like my ex husband is powerful and I am a strong woman but I don’t know where to begin. I can’t talk to anyone because he always finds out. My ex husband is highly intelligent and finds better ways to manipulate things as we go along. I start to reveal him in new ways and he just learns a new trick. What do I do? If I stand up and fight I could lose the small amount of visitation I have. I actually feel as though my mind is going to shatter from the pain yet I have made it this far. Who can I trust? Do I trust? I feel mute from the agony. There are times that I am in conversation with people and I cannot respond to them. My mouth just shuts because I have no answer to their whys. I don’t know why. I can’t explain how I could look and seem normal and not have my kids. Does it seem to anyone else out there that mothers who have lost their children are treated like they belong with the lowest of human life? Like we are the abusers, like we are infected, judged so harshly by anyone who knows, doors closed at the mention of your name… and all the while I am trying to pick myself back up he still abuses me through texts and phone calls and now his wife is joining him. The insults and endless fighting in text messages between us not only takes up my time but my mental strength. My children are starting to feel the effects of all of this. Does anyone know anything at all that could help me?

    • marie December 26 2011, 10:59 am

      Dear muted by agony.
      Please keep up your courage. I am not in a similar situation, however I am being emotionally tormented by a husband of 31 years, who has a son who sexually abused my daughter over ten years.
      My husband will not discuss it with me and expects me to “forget about it because it happened twenty years ago”.
      The family dynamics you talk about are always there for me as well because I feel my daughter has no rights nor do I.
      I think you have to keep believing in yourself by getting help from a women’s group who know about abuse you will find support.
      I have gained personal strength by reading about abusive men and how they keep control over you even if you have or have lost custody or left.
      I am in the process of leaving I am 67 years old and have had many long sleepless nights wondering why.
      I hope you keep looking at your own worth and keep strong because there could come a time that it will help you.
      I would keep a copy of his text messages and any from his wife especially if there is a pattern of abuse and you keep your responses very objective.
      I think he is still controlling you just as he did when you were together and this is a deliberate ploy to weaken you.
      Please keep reading about these type of ploys.
      The woman I see has warned me about this controlling even after I leave because there will be tactics to keep me in his loop of control. He has threatened to sue for money because we had payouts and he had more so he wants that money back when we sell the house.
      She said that if this dispute goes to court it take years to resolve. She said it is his way of keeping his control over me.
      So I hope you see this as a total lack of empathy on your ex’s part and he’s out to totally suck up your emotional strength so you do not see the obvious he is out to destroy your mind. I wonder what will happen if you decide to ignore his text messages and only operate on the level of having contact with your children when you can and start separating yourself from powerful controlling ways by ignoring him and his little helper the wife. And I think some day his wife will find herself in your shoes because she has not woken up to the fact that he is the problem not you.
      I wish luck and sanity on the side of the hell you have gone through.
      Please keep researching how these men manage to play such mind games.
      Marie xxx

  • Alison October 28 2011, 12:55 am

    Muted by agony…I want to become an advocate as well … I feel drained … the endless txts … I have to turn my phone off sometimes … I haven’t lost her yet but I might next month … me against him and his holier than thou family … the fact that I have another daughter who is nearly 18 and both girls are healthy, happy and loved by everyone who meets them won’t matter … the fact that they are my reason for living won’t matter … I’m so afraid they won’t be the happy children they are today, if I get to the point where I can’t stand upright anymore and be positive for them … because they love me as much as I love them … I just need to make it happen … never give up.

  • Barbara Roberts March 6 2012, 1:17 am

    Dear hurting ones. I did not lose my child to the abuser, but I know of women who have. There is a group called the Protective Mothers Alliance, they can provide support if nothing else. You can find them on the web.
    The sheer fact that almost every comment on this post is from a survivor of domestic abuse is illustrative of how many of us are out there, and how much we yearn for empathy and kindness from others who GET IT.
    If any of you are Christians dealing with domestic abuse, you may find some useful stuff on my website and also my blog and Facebook page.

  • michelle April 28 2012, 6:04 pm

    I am so glad that I have come across this website. I thought that I was the only one in this whole world going through my own personal hell. I am the mother of 4 children who were taken from me by my ex husband through an emergency ex parts order after I left him and rented a home. While I drove 3 hours to go pick up the kids from his house I was served with this order and all hell has broke out since. He has lied in court documents..destroyed my credit..and continues to reek havac because I wanted a divorce. I’m paying 1202 dollars a month in child support..bringing home 255 dollars now every two weeks. I can’t afford an attorney and legal aide says I make too much money. I have no visitation and every court motion costs 150. I am so discouraged..desperate and taunted with contempt of court if my payments of support are not made. I wish I had someone to be my voice.. Every day my children suffer thinking I left them and don’t love them. I’m praying for help and asking God to help me before too much damage is done. My email is mlmmccrackin [at] yahoo.com if you have any suggestions. I live in SC.

  • Jennifer June 14 2012, 3:41 pm

    I have been going through all of these same stories for the last decade too! Each day I learn more and more and I pray for the wisdom and God’s guidance to get my daughter home. We’ve just got to rise above it all and never give up. It’s very very hard but i know I’m not going to let the ex/abuser keep me from doing what’s right. I’ve learned to stay a lot calmer and I have more patience. I still remain focused on my daughter regardless of the outcome of our 10 th time in court and I believe she will see it for what it is very soon. My advice to anyone who is living in this type of hell is to seek support either through a domestic violence center or some type of women’s advocacy program. Don’t get caught up in the ‘ex bashing’ and negative energy. Just try to start doing things that make you feel better. Volunteer at a womens’ shelter and learn as much as possible about this violence against women. And by the way, it doesn’t have to be physical in order for it to be domestic violence. It can be legal, emotional, financial or physical. I’m tired of being a victim in my ex’s games and I’m fighting for my daughter’s future! I think ‘awareness’ is key in order to stop the cycle of abuse and if anyone has more input please let me know on here.

  • MichelleL Pitt July 3 2012, 12:57 am

    It’s the greatest joy in life to have a child and the greatest tragedy to have them taken from you.
    I’m so glad I found this website too. My heart goes out to all of you.
    I know the pain well and the feeling that you are going to die from a broken heart, while your health is deteriorating from the stress and trauma and heartbreak. I live in Australia. I am experiencing this hell. Hell on earth!
    The other day I went to the movies by myself (never done that) to see Snow White and Huntsman to give my head a rest from the constant thoughts – thinking, thinking, thinking, and feeling so alone. When I arrived at the theatre I purchased my ticket and some lollies. As I was waiting in the line to go in, I read on the lolly container that it had traces of nuts in it. I thought to myself god I wish I had a nut allergy and I could eat these lollies and just die and go to heaven. I don’t want to die. The pain has been unbearable. I want to open up and write more but I have trained my brain to shut off in some way from talking about it. Hopefully, if I start blogging it can help me do that. I thought I was the only one. Before this happened to me I thought only junkies had their kids taken from them.

    • Elaine September 9 2012, 11:02 pm

      Michelle I feel your pain and am living it now myself fighting for my two beautiful boys.

      • Louise September 11 2012, 9:27 am

        Michelle & Elaine. I am sorry to have read about the troubles you are facing. I am about to go to court in the next couple of weeks. My ex has managed to successfully lie and turn family members against me. All my material possessions except my clothes are all I had left from that relationship. My childhood photographs, my degree and even my teddy from when I was a baby he has destroyed. This is a continuation of the emotional abuse and controllung nature I had to put up with. The only person I can thank for support and helping me through this dreadful period of my life is the Almighty. I have felt his love and support and he has lead me to a church full of genuine kind hearted people and so I have managed to make new friends. Michelle please do not despair. Easier said then done I know. I believe in Christ, and although I do question why do evil men seem to ‘turn anything into gold’ I strongly believe that these people will not benefit later on. What goes around comes around. You may not believe in going to Church. You may not believe in a God but I do and this and the smile of my little girl keeps me going. I pray every day for my sanity. It looks like I’m Bible bashing someone’s got to do it!. I’m trying to say. Have faith, have hope. Get on your knees and pray. I’m in the LDS church now. I have converted and I don’t regret it. I feel I can face my ex in court and look him in the eye and I just hope and pray that God gives my strength on the day.
        You are strong. You made the decision to leave. Well done! Your emotionally abusing ex will push away your children and you must stay strong to welcome them with open arms. Write a journal. Write them letters, photo copy them and send them to your children. So in years to come when they come back to you, you will have proof that you didn’t turn your back on them because no doubt letters will get intercepted and not delivered to the addressee.
        Stay strong Sisters. You have fought a big battle and won. That was the battle with yourself in weighing up the options on leaving him. You can overcome this. It may take weeks, months, years but do not give up. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

    • PS January 11 2014, 9:05 pm

      Dear Michelle,

      I am also in Australia and just about to go through a major custody battle with my ex-partner. I’m completely lost already, and have started to shut down (feel slightly numb and helpless reading all the laws I’m up against). I have no income and my ex is very wealthy and connected. I know that I need to be stronger seeing as this is just the beginning but it’s hard!! If I could talk to you (email) or get any advice from you I would be forever grateful.
      Thank you for your story!

  • KidsNoVoice August 16 2012, 1:01 am

    I was lucky that my abusive ex gave me custody of my children 20 years ago, so now they are adults. During their access time they displayed fear of going to their Dad’s. So, in Australia, I followed correct procedure and notified the school, doctors and police, and showed their bruises. And the children told their story. I was told nothing could be done and as per court ordered I had to send the children. Dissatisfied with the response I stopped access and next a letter came in the mail for breaching the Family Law Act. If I didn’t agree to continue access I would lose custody and it would be given to him. We went to a Contact Centre for 6 months, then things were a lot better. They are adults now and have a strained relationship with their dad. I encourage it because he is sick and may only have a few years to go.

    Now I am trying to rescue my 4 year old grandson from his abusive mother. She has custody despite being charged at different times for unlicenced driving, unregistered vehicle, drugs, abusive to medical staff, stealing, history of violence and verbal abuse known to police, arrested for court evasion, her witnesses caught lying in court, no permanent home. Plus, as she is a single parent and has free lawyers, legal aid closed her case twice due to her being difficult to deal with.

    It’s over 8 months since the orders and she has stopped access as she is now claiming we are pedophiles. And as I am not entitled to free lawyers, like her, it costs me a minimum $1000 each time I turn up at court and it gets adjourned because she doesn’t show. She did not show up 14 times during parenting agreement – and only finally after she was arrested.

    My grandson’s lips quivering whilst he tells me his mum tells him he is a c___. He doesn’t understand the word but he knows it’s a bad word and he said he feels sad.

    With the lack of Law, the best thing I can do is not give up and show my grandson that not everyone lives in a cruel environment.

    It happens both ways … kids need a voice … but not from the mouths of CRUEL parents.

  • Mona Lisa December 21 2012, 6:00 pm

    I’m in shock, depression has filled my life. I was a full time mom, involved in everyway in my little girl’s life. I was told ‘there’s no way they can take your child away your such a great mom’. I sought to relocate, to live with my new husband. My ex tried to prevent this from happening, wanting to keep me within his control. What I was not prepared for, was that a judge, a male judge, would support my ex in court. My vindictive, vengeful ex-husband fought and won. They claim to put the interests of the children first and foremost. They don’t. Separating children from mothers is one of the most terrible crimes someone can commit on little ones, our children will suffer so. We as mothers suffer also, we feel as though our hearts have been ripped out. I lost my baby 1 year ago and am struggling to survive. I’m at a loss. I see her during the holidays. My appeal was denied of course, and the language prevented me from going to the Supreme Court. How do I get my baby back? She misses her mother so and wants to live with me, no one will listen to her :( She’s only 12, and legally has no voice apparently. No matter what the ex does wrong, they ignore it. He neglected to take her to a Dr after 5 days of a high fever. He threatened not to put her on a plane to see her mother 5 times…he once didn’t. Yet, no matter how delinquent he is, it seems fine according to the court. It’s simply unthinkable that our children are growing up without their mothers for no good reason.

    • Elaine January 14 2013, 1:51 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear your pain. Just know that you are not alone. There are many good mothers like you and children who have had to deal with the family court’s dysfunctional system. Find peace and know that you and your daughter will be ok.

  • Lilvin January 30 2013, 6:00 am

    2012 my son’s father and I broke up because I couldn’t live the way we were living. He wasn’t motivated to get a job, he was aggressive, verbally and physically abusive and once drove off (without having a license, and highly intoxicated) with our son. He took him for 5 days and I went from police stations, family court and on the 5th day I got appointed a lawyer. The mobile phone he was using was in my name so I could access the records. To my horror he had taken my baby to Brisbane. The next day (day 6) I got a court date in August. After countless times he tried to assure me he was still in Sydney, his mum confirmed to my lawyer that he had taken my son to Brisbane. On my 28th birthday my ex requested, through my lawyer, to let me see my son on a skype call. He had grown from a baby to a little boy so quickly. Heartbreaking to have to see my baby on a video call, not to mention a white sheet behind him to hide where the call was being made from.

    Court day came and, because I had no family in Brisbane, it was ordered that my son return to live in Sydney. My ex tried to convince me that he still loved me and wanted to make another go and tried to convince me to spend the night in a hotel to talk. I didn’t. Since then we barely spoke, we bickered and fought. He was the first person I ever held a grudge against because of what he did to me.

    Then a death in his family happened and my anger quickly turned to sadness for him. As quickly my love returned and we started spending time together. He explained that his reason for doing what he did was because he was fearful I’d not let him see our son. He even tried to get me to transfer my parenting payment over to him to give him time to get a job. I didn’t.

    The court date has been adjourned twice and the orders were that he spend Saturday 5pm till Tuesday 10am. But I don’t get a weekend to spend with my son. I had suggested it because I wanted our son to spend time with our [other] son. However, my new lawyer thinks the orders are ridiculous and they shouldn’t have been ruled for what they have been for 7 months. She will be seeking to do a rotating “roster”.

    I’m a good person with a good heart, I just don’t know how to do this, how to be firm in what I want. My son is 17 months and I found out he just puts our son watching tv, movies while he sits and plays games on his phone. He gives my son take-outs, doesn’t take him out or to the park…

    My ex is still not working, doesn’t have to pay child support because it’s shared custody. Even if I did get child support I’d just save it for my boy. I have yet to start a group next month for women suffering from domestic violence. I am fearful of the judge – he once took a boy away from his mother because she took off his shoes in a busy shopping centre and cut his toenails. Please tell me your opinions, or advice, I’d really love to hear it please. Sorry for it being so long!

  • Dani May 10 2013, 4:21 pm

    I left my abusive ex-husband nearly six years ago. From the beginning he set out on a multi tiered campaign to try to break me, emotionally and financially, and the rest. I managed to get residency of our one child back in 2009, but only because my ex has to travel abroad a lot. He then spent the next five years dragging me to court, attempting to take our son off me, making false allegations of all sorts, even though I’ve been a doting, loving mum to our son, now aged 9. It wasn’t just the courts, who by the way refused to hear about his behaviour. He manipulated everyone. School heads, staff, my own solicitor at the time, neighbours, parents of our son’s friends, police, and anyone else he needed to manipulate. I became isolated. Nobody talked to me. He had people thinking I was mental. It was me, trying to raise our son, best I could, being frozen out by everyone else. Then, my ex, with his new partner, who helped him continue to harass and pester, and abuse me, managed to axe our son’s child maintenance, which is what was keeping us afloat. (I had jobs, but every time, he’d sabotage it.) He axed our son’s maintenance by having his partner rent out her own home, and move in with him, to claim for her daughter even though she only lived with them half time and even though my ex doesn’t look after her. I finally got a Circuit Judge to issue him with an ex parte Non Molestation Order last December after he escalated his pestering of me. We went to court just last week. I was literally gutted by both his barrister, and all 3 magistrates, and the absolute c**t of a female court clerk, who didn’t believe me in spite of pages and pages of evidence including police reports, emails written by my ex, and witness statements. They not only discharged the order, but they told me I needed ‘no’ protection at all, and said that all of my ex’s behaviour, which was stalking and harassing in nature, was nothing but normal.
    The day after, I dropped my son off at school, and then went to Heathrow, and flew home to California. I could take no more. I told my son what was happening although for some time he’s known that I was struggling with his father and things were getting worse. Told him that we were going to lose our rented home because of the cut in maintenance, told him that it couldn’t go on the way it was, with him being caught in the middle of this nightmare with constant harassment off his father. How can you fight someone who makes 70k a year with a PHD, who is a master at manipulation and a sociopath who fools everyone into thinking he’s nothing but reasonable? He got away with it ALL.

    I want to die. I could leave, and I finally did, to avoid homelessness and to try to stop the cycle. But I want my son with me — desperately. But I have no money. No power. Nothing. I couldn’t save my son. He is now stuck with someone he never even wanted much contact with. Had I taken him with me to the States, my ex would have had me done for ‘abduction.’

    I need a friend. I need support. Please help me. My email is barbawhiskey at yahoo dot com

    Thank you anyone who tries to help me. I cannot believe my fate with this monster.

  • RCFWOOD May 11 2013, 4:11 am

    To Marie, I understand.
    It is called domestic abuse by proxy, and more and more men are doing it against women. All the years the court systems gave custody to the mothers, is changing and many men have learned to manipulate the court systems and the mother’s emotions (which make her look in court like she is an unfit mother).

    Here is what you can do and it is hard choices for you, not easy or you just stay in the same pattern, hoping they will change something, or the legal system will help you and they will learn their lesson. This is unlikely to happen. Read “The Art of War”. There is a time to fight and a time not to fight. Men are versed at the art of war, grow up mock fighting with their friends, women are totally naïve, ignorant and stupid in this area; thinking that nurturing, more love, enabling will change things.

    Let go of all interaction with him, no texting, no e-mailing. Do it through a third person if necessary who will concise and relay the messages.
    They will push your buttons through texting, calls or e-mail. You reward them by becoming upset, talking about it to anyone in the community or family. They can never see you react in any emotional way and never say anything–it will be fodder for future harm.

    Smile, only, point instead of talking. Do not even mention the name of the father when you have the children. Perhaps move, your kids may come back one day, let go of the visitations if the children are old enough. The best thing you can be for your children is not to act out and set the best example—by refusing to react on his level. You have become his negative power puppet. He knows exactly how he is hurting you, which string to pull to create which pain, wake up and see the pattern.

    Spirituality of some form helps. Meditation, volunteering, getting involved with other people, positive types. They cannot be your world anymore, otherwise you are walking down the road of self-pity and destruction. The legal system will only drain you and there are plenty of incompetants and predators who will suck you of all life when you are most injured and hurt; telling you they will help you and be your “savior”. Things can get worse, you are hurt and injured and vulnerable. Time to heal, protect your wounds.

    Get on with your life, this is all you get! Your life is not an unlimited resource of time. Do you want to waste it, engaging with such people,
    and then feeling bad after engaging with such people? The best thing is No contact with the father, only through a third party. An effective means would be that they have to text or call the lawyer, who will then relay the message to you. This will stop the manipulation.

    Sometimes retreating, the rule of retreat, sometimes advancing is retreating in the opposite direction. Ask yourself questions, why you got involved with someone like this, childhood patterns, for his money? Give yourself a limit, persistence is not always the right thing, but starting over is. You are still here and alive and have value as a human being. You will never have value or respect from them. Depending on the age of the children, it might be best to relinquish visitation. This is the only way they keep you engaged, using the children as tools. You will not win, the outcome is not certain, but your only chance is to strategize your own actions to your health and life.

    Vitality shows in not only the ability to persist but the ability to start over — F. Scott Fitzgerald

    . . . Might be time to start over perhaps?? At least, time to ask yourself questions . . .

  • Marlene October 6 2013, 5:58 pm

    Hi everyone,
    I left my 20 year marriage from my verbal/emotional abuser. I lived ten years walking on eggshells and afraid of his reactions to every little thing I did for 10 years. I had a wonderful business the first ten years and things were ok. The business started to fail due to changing industry and from then on things deteriorated. Suddenly it was “his” money. “His” time at work that paid the bills, even though I tried hard to make extra and take care of our sons. It was a never ending battle of me being worthless or stupid or not making best use of my time.
    One day I woke up and realized that I had lost all my drive and all my dreams. Friends stopped wanting to come over because he was such a grump and I couldn’t fix anything. I always wanted to fix things. Wanted peace and I wanted my sons to feel loved. Things turned physical on a few occasions and I blamed myself once again. It was an awful life. Next thing I knew I started lying to him all the time to keep peace. I was afraid of my husband. And I missed myself because she was now gone. Omg.

    I left that hell 6 months ago. He lost his cool and intimidated me so much I couldn’t go home. I went to the ATM to get money and he caught me and flipped a lid and screamed, “Where is the money bitch? You are nothing. You have nothing. You don’t have a car. You don’t have a phone. NOTHING WITHOUT ME”. I had a massive panic attack and I was rescued by my best friend who is a male. (That I have had an affair with).

    Now he has hacked into my phone and kept my teenage sons from me. He had told the kids all kinds of lies and told them about the affair. Needless to say my sons hate me. I was a wonderful mother to them until I had to leave that day and not go home. I read about how women deal with all the stresses make people like me lie over and over. I felt like I was a survivor by lying and by being with my childhood best friend.

    I am so afraid of court and what he will do now. Please, advice anyone?

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