Need advice on an increasingly abusive relationship - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 03-24-2014, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I've just started to realize that I'm in an emotional, verbal and now physically abusive relationship.  That probably sounds odd, but DH has been such a master manipulator that I haven't even noticed until now.  Just a little back story, we've been married for 6 years and have two wonderful kids.  He is a great man and an amazing father, but I've only started to realize that I've cut myself off from all of my friends (I can't remember the last time I've seen them outside a couples/family function), not because he says I can't do something... but because he'll be extremely upset or not speak with me when I get home or when I ask if he can watch the kids so I can meet a friend, he'll make a comment about "how HE only sees his friends during the week, so he doesn't have to take time away from the kids".  And it's constant...he's never flat out said I CAN'T do something, such as go to work or spend money, it's always very subtle manipulation so that I find myself not wanting to any more or at least not feeling like I should do it.  That being said, it hasn't been all bad, I have truly enjoyed his company all these years and want to spend time with him and my kids.  However a series of events have occurred in the past 9 months that have sent DH on a downward spiral; we purchased a new, larger home when our 2nd was born that my husband has never liked.  He holds a lot of resentment for leaving a "home that he loved", I don't understand his attachment to that home, but it has been the subject of many a spiteful comment and argument.  He also lost his father, somewhat abruptly.  He is very close to his family and although his father was 86 years old, no one caught his health issues and he died about 5 weeks after being diagnosed with heart failure.  His mom who has had health issues as long as I have known her is falling sicker now, then last month he got laid off from a successfully job that he really loved.  Every single life change has made him more and more angry.  I have pulled away emotionally from him and try to keep things pleasant for our kids, but he just keeps getting more angry.

 

Finally Saturday night he was making snide comments again and I asked him nicely to leave until the kids went to sleep.  He proceeded to go get drunk then come home, ringing the door bell to get me awake (even though, he clearly has a key).  He walked in and pushed me, not hard, but definitely intentionally.  I tried to walk away and make some space but he just kept coming.  I kept telling him we needed to talk in the morning and to just leave or go to sleep in the guest bedroom.  He kept at it until I finally tried to go back to bed, he came to our room, grabbed me by the wrist and pulled me out of bed and onto the floor.  Again, he didn't physically hurt me, but I was so shocked I couldn't stop crying.  Since our kids sleep in our bed and I didn't want him to wake our boys I went back downstairs to talk to him.  I think he finally started to sober up and realized what he did because he finally let me go back to bed and left me alone.

 

The next day, he kept telling me he was so sorry and he doesn't want to be this person and that he needed my forgiveness, which I couldn't and can't do.  He's never been angry or physical with the boys (never) and I'm not scared of him necessarily, but I am scared of what this means going forward.  I know there is a cycle of violence and if he is willing to push and pull on me now, what happens next time?  Will he really hit me?  I know he really doesn't want to be this person and he does want to change.  He has been seeing a grief counselor since his father passed away, but he stopped about 2 months ago.   I don't want to make excuses for him, but at the same time I see the triggers.

 

I'm a smart and confident women, but this is the father of my children and I do love him and just want what's best for my kids.  I know if some large changes aren't made in our relationship that this will continue to escalate, so I guess I'm looking for some advice on what to do now before it gets worse.  It's already out of hand, I know that.  I've asked him to move out until he can get some anger management and we can get counseling, but he keeps crying and saying he doesn't want to leave, that I just need to love him.  Should I let him stay while we go through counseling or should I put my foot down and separate until things change.  Anyone been through this that has some advice?

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#2 of 24 Old 03-24-2014, 04:46 PM
 
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A couple of years ago my dh went through a really rough time. He has always been a great father and husband until we went through a stressful time in our lives. He started picking fights, yelling at me and then he pushed me one day. I felt the same way as you do, not knowing if this was the beginning of something bigger. He didn't feel like the same man I had married. I told him he needed to get help. He went to the doctor and got medication for his ADD and an antidepressant.  It helped tremendously! Gradually he was less angry and started becoming his old self again. He never pushed me or grabbed me again. It's been 2 years and I can honestly say he is back to his old self. I also took away any extra stress from his life that I could, which gave him time to deal with his issues and relax and recover a bit. We all have rough times and sometimes we have complete breakdowns and I'm glad I stuck with him through his.

 

 From what you write it doesn't sound like he's a  bad guy, it doesn't sound like he usually acts this way.  He has lost a lot and is life is spinning out of control. If he is willing to not drink when he is upset and go get medication for his obvious depression then I would stand by him. Men aren't always as strong as we think they are. When a women is devastated we cry, we talk about it, we seek support. Most men try to fight against it and they can end up with a lot of tension and anger. Does he has a friend or mentor that he can talk to? On of the things I made my husband do was to talk to his pastor. If you are real with someone you respect you can't just ignore the issue, it makes you accountable to them as well.

 

I really hope this helps. I definitely don't want to downplay your concerns, but with his recent losses I worry that he may be having mental health issues. Oh and as for the control issue, that sounds to me like more of a lack of consideration and more of a marriage issue. It is not OK for him to make you feel that way and he really need to be more considerate of your needs. I would talk to a marriage counselor.


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#3 of 24 Old 03-24-2014, 06:19 PM
 
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@trimommy2009, sending support your way during this difficult time. You are not alone in finding it very hard to realize that you're in an emotional, verbal and now physically abusive relationship, but recognizing that is the first step toward getting support. You might find this website a helpful resource as discusses how possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but often emerge and intensify as the relationship grows: http://www.thehotline.org/is-this-abuse/abuse-defined/.

 

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Originally Posted by trimommy2009 View Post
I know there is a cycle of violence and if he is willing to push and pull on me now, what happens next time? 

 

There's some helpful information on the cycle of violence on the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence website.

There's also lot of helpful articles on the Alabama Coalition Against Domestic Violence website.

 

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I've asked him to move out until he can get some anger management and we can get counseling, but he keeps crying and saying he doesn't want to leave, that I just need to love him.  Should I let him stay while we go through counseling or should I put my foot down and separate until things change. 

 

This is not something that can be resolved by you just loving him. You are not responsible for his abusive behaviors nor are you the cause of the abusive behaviors. Abuse is also not caused by stress, grief, mental health issues, or alcohol and drugs. If you only have time to check out one link, please read the following one from the Oregon Domestic Violence Council which explains why couples counseling is NOT recommended in situations where abuse is present. You may find individual counseling for yourself very helpful.


There are programs for those have been abusive; the links shared above have information on them and a local domestic violence center could likely provide more information. I suggest, though, that you focus on what you need for yourself and not take care of finding a program for him. If he is serious about changing his behaviors, his taking the first step to find a program for himself is an important one. You might find the book “Why Does He Do That?” helpful to read.


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#4 of 24 Old 03-25-2014, 05:16 AM
 
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I disagree that ignoring you/getting angry when you visit family and guilting you about seeing friends or working are just a lack of consideration. Separation and isolation are hallmarks of abuse.

With the physical violence it is hard to say. It may escalate of it may never go beyond the which doesn't leave bruises. IMO it really doesn't matter if it never escalates though. Life is full of stressful events. Do you want to be pulled and pushed every time something stressful happens in his life?

Telling you he is sorry and you "just have to love him" is also classic abusive behaviour. "It's not his fault, he wouldn't do it if you only loved him enough." Please! What about him loving *you* enough not to push you? Or loving *you* enough to let you go out with a friend for a couple of hours?

I am extremely pro-marriage. I do not say this lightly. I think he should leave. As soon as is practically possible. If you both wish to consider staying married then I suggest he does not even think of returning until he has had counselling *specifically* to deal with his abusive behaviour. If he won't acknowledge it then there is no chance of him changing. No hiding behind "stress" and "anger". He is abusive and he wants to change. I would also suggest that you seek counseling specifically related to being in an abusive relationship. Tell the counselor at the outset that you are doing it with a view to getting back together. Your local DV resources will have the names of specialist counsellors for you both. I would think that the above plan would not take less than a year to undertake and I would suggest that individual counselling should confine for you both when you resume living together. Again, I would think for at least a year.

I also think it would be completely reasonable to end your marriage now and I think you should give serious consideration to both options. Preferably with the support of a DV counselor.

All the best. It is a hard road to walk.

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#5 of 24 Old 03-25-2014, 08:26 AM
 
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I disagree that ignoring you/getting angry when you visit family and guilting you about seeing friends or working are just a lack of consideration. Separation and isolation are hallmarks of abuse.

 

With the physical violence it is hard to say. It may escalate of it may never go beyond the which doesn't leave bruises. IMO it really doesn't matter if it never escalates though. Life is full of stressful events. Do you want to be pulled and pushed every time something stressful happens in his life?

 

Telling you he is sorry and you "just have to love him" is also classic abusive behaviour. "It's not his fault, he wouldn't do it if you only loved him enough."

 

:yeah

 

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I do not say this lightly. I think he should leave. As soon as is practically possible. If you both wish to consider staying married then I suggest he does not even think of returning until he has had counselling *specifically* to deal with his abusive behaviour. If he won't acknowledge it then there is no chance of him changing. No hiding behind "stress" and "anger". He is abusive and he wants to change.

 

:yeah and as I mentioned in my previous post, this should be counseling solely for him, not couple counseling.

 

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I would also suggest that you seek counseling specifically related to being in an abusive relationship.

...I also think it would be completely reasonable to end your marriage now and I think you should give serious consideration to both options. Preferably with the support of a DV counselor.

All the best. It is a hard road to walk.

 

:yeah Regardless of the choice you make, individual counseling with a counselor who is experienced in working with women who have been abused is, IMO, very important. And it will be much easier to consider all of your options and make choices with the support of DV counselor.

 

One other note: DV centers often offer resources and support for children in families where there has been domestic violence. Please consider getting support for your children as soon as possible. They are probably more affected than they demonstrate that they are.

 

Best wishes to you, OP.

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#6 of 24 Old 03-25-2014, 12:28 PM
 
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A lot of your post sounds so much like my relationship with my ex.  I've learned a lot since then, about things like gaslighting and 'crazy making', and all kinds of mental abuse I had never thought about.  How much worse can things get or escalate?  For me, the answer was A LOT.  Beyond anything I had ever imagined him to be capable of.  I absolutely advise therapy or counseling for you, with someone who is experienced in dealing with abused women.  His problems...  Those aren't your problems.  You can't fix him.  It sounds harsh, but the only person you can help is yourself when it comes to changing behavior.  He will always have an excuse for being rotten to you.  As much as it hurts, what's best for your kids might be getting them and yourself out of that situation, and starting a new life where they can grow up free from abuse.  It's hard, but you really are capable of doing everything that you need to do, and it sounds like you know what some of that is already, deep down.  Best of luck to you.

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#7 of 24 Old 03-27-2014, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I did it, I stuck to my instincts and asked him to leave.  We've had some very long and considerate conversations and though he doesn't want to and doesn't agree with me, he has agreed to move out for one month to start.  He has met with his therapist twice this week and started anti-depressants.  He knows he wants to work on these issues, however he hasn't fully admitted that the problems are his own quite yet.  I think he still feels like this is "our" problem because he only ever gets mad at me.  I won't accept that response and that has honestly been what has kept my resolve strong.

 

This is the single most heart breaking thing I can imagine in my relationship, I know I don't want to give up on him or our marriage but I know I deserve better and I will NOT allow him to model this behavior to our two boys.  I don't want them growing up to think its ok to treat someone you love like this.  I have no clue how you even begin to work on co-parenting or any of this, but I suppose this is all one day at a time.  mecry.gif

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#8 of 24 Old 03-27-2014, 03:16 PM
 
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I have no advice for you, but I wanted to say good for you for sticking to your guns. This is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your children. Keep taking it one day at a time, and don't forget to get support for yourself.
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#9 of 24 Old 03-27-2014, 03:59 PM
 
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Hang in there!  You totally did the right thing.:Hug  I can almost guarantee you that you will be amazed at the transformation within yourself, and in your children.  Some things may seem little, but don't ignore them.  For me, it was sleeping normal hours the first night after we left.  Catching a little spark of happiness in the eyes of my older child, hearing my little one giggle and realizing I hadn't heard that happy, carefree tone in a while, even looking in the mirror and seeing that I was losing the dull look in my eyes, starting to look younger.  Look for those things.  They're everywhere, and they'll remind you constantly that you are doing what is best.  It is so hard.  I gave up, convinced myself (let everyone else convince me) that it wasn't as bad as it had seemed, and went back.  I knew everyone was right - it was so much worse than it had ever seemed.  It took a long time to get out and stay out, but it has been so worth it.  You need to be gentle with yourself and remember that you've been bullied and brainwashed for a long time now.  You're going to be scared and sad.  But you'll also feel happiness and anger, and that's good, because anger can work for you if you are productive about it.  I use it to propel me through the scarier moments.  I never thought I could do this, but now I look back and wonder how I ever could have believed that I wasn't this strong, and this good of a mother.  You're on your way to a much better life for you and your little ones!


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#10 of 24 Old 03-28-2014, 09:04 PM
 
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Sending a big hug to you, @trimommy2009. :Hug What you are doing takes such strength and you have that strength in you. You and your boys are already on your path to a better and healthy life because of the steps you've taken.

 

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He knows he wants to work on these issues, however he hasn't fully admitted that the problems are his own quite yet.  I think he still feels like this is "our" problem because he only ever gets mad at me.  I won't accept that response and that has honestly been what has kept my resolve strong.

 

It's great that you are not accepting that response. The problem is his, not collectively yours. It's classic and common for those who are abusive to continue to say the problems are not with their behavior, that it is because of the other people or is a shared problem. It's so good that you can see that's not the case. Hopefully he will at some point realize that he and he alone is responsible for the abuse and want to address that and change, but that's not something you can control. It's up to him if he wants to do that. What you can do is, as you are doing, take care of yourself and your children and separate yourself from him and his abuse.

 

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I have no clue how you even begin to work on co-parenting or any of this, but I suppose this is all one day at a time.  mecry.gif

 

One day at a time. When you are ready, try reaching out a domestic violence center; they likely will be able to provide support directly or provide a referral for support around how to beginning working on co-parenting in this situation (or if you don't want your children to have contact with him, what you would need to do in order to do that).

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#11 of 24 Old 03-30-2014, 05:23 PM
 
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It's admirable how you have established a boundary.  I agree with so many of the PP's.  

 

It's very important to seek out legal advice from a lawyer who understand the power and control dynamics of abusive manipulators.  The best advice I was ever given was to file and get some interim orders for sole custody/child support in place asap.  And accessing resources from a DV shelter is a good start (and some may even have free law clinics),   A lot of what happens in the first few weeks of separation can set the tone for what's to come.  Best case scenario - it's a stress reaction and depression and treatable.  But unlikely.  More likely he tries various other strategies to get you under his control again (including filing for shared custody).  The visitation schedule followed early on sets a status quo that can be hard to change.  Abusers are well known for filing for 50/50 custody as a way to further control you through the children (or to seek revenge for you daring to stand up for yourself)...even though they were minimally involved parents previously.  People who don't understand abuse may say "aw gee, look at him, really stepping up to the plate"....but in abuse situations, it is more just manipulation to create an image of an involved father.  Him agreeing to leave is a very good sign (that he simply didn't become physically violent again when you stood your ground), but do be wary that manipulators cannot be trusted....not for one minute.  Keep all communication in writing and be very careful about what you say.

 

Big hugs in this difficult time.

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 That probably sounds odd, but DH has been such a master manipulator that I haven't even noticed until now.

Not at all odd.  That's how abuse happens - gradual conditioning to accept worse and worse treatment over time.  

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#13 of 24 Old 04-07-2014, 07:35 AM
 
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@trimommy2009, how are you doing? Sending good thoughts your way. :Hug


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#14 of 24 Old 04-09-2014, 08:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Things are going well.  We are still separated, but are having many thoughtful and respectful conversations.  He is still seeking therapy twice a week, attending church with an old friend, keeping on anti-depressants and sleep medications and he is feeling a lot more grounded.  I have been attending therapy as well and my kiddos are doing very well.  Surprisingly well, my oldest who is the most sensitive has been doing better in school and better at listening.  It's been nice and a relief.  I still very much want my marriage to work, but only if it is healthy.  So I guess we'll continue to take each day at a time.

 

Thank you for checking in! 

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#15 of 24 Old 06-09-2014, 12:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I should have never let him move back in after a month. The cycle has started all over again. At least this time it wasn't physical, but he has been accusing me of cheating on him, broke into my phone and emails, tried to kick me out of the house at 2:00am the night before our 5 year olds birthday party. Then at the party proceeded to tell his family and our friends that we were getting a divorce and on and on. That night I packed up the boys and went to my parents house for two nights before he begged me to come home, that he was sorry and over-reacted. Then proceeded to call my friends husbands to ask them to let their wives take me out because I needed someone to talk too. UGH!!!!

I have decided to file for a legal separation but he keeps arguing with me and telling me how sorry he is and how we can work it out. How I shouldn't give up and I need to keep fighting for our marriage. I have found my own therapist to speak with and have a nice support system, but this is so hard. I finally called a divorce lawyer today and setup an appointment but I wanted to work through the separation process with the couples counselor (that I also should have never started seeing with him) tomorrow. Any advice on how to keep myself, our babies and my finances safe until I can legally set things in motion? I don't want to wait any longer to tell him because every day I find myself falling back into the ease of the good times.
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#16 of 24 Old 06-09-2014, 12:59 PM
 
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Keep your plans completely secret. Don't tell him anything. Get in touch with a DV shelter or get a safe leaving plan in place. Get copies of ALL financial documents and take them to your lawyer(or a safe location). Protect your privacy and check for keystroke logging software if on a shared computer.

Basically assume the worst and be prepared, and lead him to believe things are fine while you get your affairs in order. Abusers will feel entitled to do anything when they feel they are losing power over you.

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#17 of 24 Old 06-09-2014, 01:30 PM
 
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I know it probably goes against instincts to keep plans from a partner...but he has shown you who he is already, breaking into phone and emails. If you give him advance warning that you file, it could tip him over the edge. I think you need to discuss a restraining order with your lawyer and get some advice on your legal rights if you leave with the kids. (Your h could accuse you of kidnapping and use it to gain custody, and hence more control over you via the children). Please be careful and do not hesitate to phone the police if you are afraid.

Your lawyer should give advice on how to get sole occupancy of the family home - you will need a court order for this in order to legally keep him out. You and your children deserve to feel safe (and your kids have stability) during this difficult time).
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#18 of 24 Old 06-09-2014, 06:02 PM
 
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The typical abuser, IMO, isn't a raging monster but the emotional manipulator. Abuse isn't so much about overt violence as it is about control and power. The best way for abusers to do this is to win the confidence of their victims, as you have discovered *hugs*

Abuse is a spiritual injury because it is a violation of your innate goodness (trust, forgiveness, hope). It can also be emotional, psychological, and physical.

The best advice I can offer is to eliminate this person from your life as completely as possible. In aspects where you must deal with the abuser, do so in a structured, dispassionate, manner.

While I would never suggest lying or deceit, you are not dealing with a sane person and a loving father. Research and know the limits of your control over the situation and maintain your personal power, autonomy, and privacy at all costs. Very many abusers do not "attack," they undermine. They are willing to devote time and energy to wearing away at their "enemy" with hatred through "little incidents." Be prepared for this. What seems to be the most important thing to the abusers is to maintain influence over the target through interference. They do not want to be insignificant or forgotten. They will do *anything* to keep you focused on them.

I would also put as much physical distance between you and the abuser as the law allows. Usually these folks are not as interested in the children themselves as they are in what the children have to offer them, which is control and influence.

There is a condition of "threatened mother syndrome," I would say threatened parent syndrome, where one parent keeps the other in a constant state of anxiety and crisis so that they are dis-empowered. Realize that there is only so much you can do for your children. The law and the law of nature entitles children to know and experience both parents. Unless you can prove abuse against the children in order to limit the parenting time and authority he has, use your time to love your children and don't waste it on mitigating the influence of the abuser - this serves the abuser by exhausting your energy as a codependent manager of the abuser's behavior, thereby keeping the abuser as the *primary* actor in your relationships with your children.

*hugs again* and best wishes. Stay strong.

Puma

Last edited by pumabearclan; 06-09-2014 at 06:41 PM.
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#19 of 24 Old 09-25-2014, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, everything just keeps getting more confusing. As soon as I think I have things figured out, everything gets tossed into the air again. Just an update. I did not end up filing for the legal separation as there wasn't really anything in it for me legally and would have only delayed a divorce if that's what it came down to. My husband did end up voluntarily moving out and signed a six month lease on an apartment. He signed up for Anger Management courses and continues to see a therapist. We have very respectively set up a visitation schedule that was working great for the boys. They never had to leave the house, we would just share the apartment when it was his weekend to have the boys. We do family dinner one night a week and a family brunch. I'm always anxious for those family moments, but the boys really seem to love it. I've continued to see my therapist and am starting to find myself again. I love being alone with the boys and I don't miss my husband or the walking on egg shells all the time. The boys have been doing amazing and our routine was really working. I was ready to file for divorce and had my mind completely made up two weeks ago as it's been 5 months that we have been separated. In the beginning he constantly slipped back into old ways of manipulating me, saying what he did wasn't that bad because "he never hit me", would make mean comments if I ignored him, he would get angry and tell me he would take me for all I'm worth if I filed for divorce and then of course cry and apologize. Those have gotten to be less and less lately. I'm not sure if that is because I've distanced myself for him more and more or because he is starting to learn about his behavior or maybe both. When we do talk now it is pretty respectful and he has been very supportive of me and this separation.

Then my husband had to have a minor surgery last week for a couple hernias. I agreed to take him to the hospital, take him back to his apartment and make sure he had everything he needed. However after the surgery he was in no shape to take care of himself (at all) so I brought him back to the house and let him stay for 3 nights. The boys loved it, of course (they are 2 and 5). However it was awkward and weird and really emotional for me. I do worry about him and wanted him to get better, but we also had many conversations that had me starting to believe he is changing. I even went out with girlfriends one night to a place that he would have NEVER been ok with before. I was fully expecting him to say something crappy or make me pay for it in some way but he never did. At one point in our conversations over the weekend he even asked me if he should just let me go and move on because I seem happier now and I couldn't answer him. I was relieved when I took him back to his apartment and the boys seemed ok. But now I'm so confused. I know he hasn't shown any long term changes, but I have seen some changes in the past month or so. Now I really don't know what to do. The lease is up on the apartment next month and it is definitely draining us financially to carry the two residences, but my gut tells me it's still to soon. I feel like we will be right back into the abusive cycle again within a month or two.

There's that and I am perfectly happy being alone with the boys right now and not being attached, but that just seems so selfish to my kids. He really seems to be trying to change and is being respectful to my needs right now. My therapist says I need to start spending more time alone with him to see if he really is changing but that causes me so much anxiety. I just don't know how much more of the abuse cycle I can take. And what if he is so super nice till I allow him back into the house and then the cycle starts all over again. But what if he is changing?

Does anyone have any suggestions? I feel so lost all over again.
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#20 of 24 Old 09-25-2014, 04:51 PM
 
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Maybe he is changing. Only time (years) will tell. You are under no obligation to help him, heal him, or stay married to him even if he is changing.

IMHO the best, healthiest thing for all of you would be to get a divorce while trying to maintain a polite relationship. You will likely always have him in your life to some extent because you share children, he can still be a better father and coparent, he can still show you how he's changed. But all of you have been healthier and happier while separated. I think that says a lot.

I am a child of divorced parents, one of whom is abusive. (my mother) there were times when it was hard that they were divorced, but mostly as a kid I was SO GLAD that they were. It meant I didn't have to hear them fight, and most of my time was spent in a home that was safe (with my dad).

I know you feel selfish for pursuing divorce/separation - you aren't. I know you're doubting your instincts - don't. Even if he becomes a model citizen, you will always be wondering, waiting for him to get up to his old tricks. No one should live that way.

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#21 of 24 Old 09-25-2014, 07:35 PM
 
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I don't know whether you should get divorced now or not but I'm quite sure a month is not long enough to know whether he has been able to make permanent changes.

How would a divorce improve the financial situation? Would you and the boys move somewhere cheaper? Maybe you could do that. There's no reason why you can't get a bigger place again if you and your husband do decide to reconcile in the future.


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#22 of 24 Old 09-25-2014, 08:26 PM
 
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It's so not selfish for you to be happy. That's what your kids will benefit from most. If you need to be alone longer do it. Yay happy mom!
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#23 of 24 Old 09-28-2014, 08:27 PM
 
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He may just be playing nice to play you. I wouldn't trust him. Your kids deserve all the best you can give them.. and that seems to be less time with this man.
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#24 of 24 Old 09-29-2014, 11:51 AM
 
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I think he is just trying to get you back. Once he knows he's back, you'll have to go back to walking on egg shells and forget who you are again.

You know what he is like to live with. It isn't "selfish" on your part to not live with him -- your kids need one whole, sane parent, and you are the only one in the running. Even if you don't think dad's need to control effect them, it does now or it will in the future. They will learn to walk on egg shells, too, if you get back with them.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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