Newly separated... stunned and so sad (warning DV) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 06-07-2011, 10:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I feel like I am suddenly on a different planet.  Had a disagreement with my husband 3 weeks ago that resulted in domestic violence.  It was the first time in years that he got physical but that was it for me.  Asked him to leave and long story but ended up needing a protection order from the courts to keep my kids and I safe.

 

Now he sees the kids a couple of hours a week in professionally supervised visitation, and our lawyers are negotiating a legal separation.  He has been ordered to DV treatment and my hopes go up and down that we could reconcile a couple of years down the road-- unlikely, I know.

 

I don't even miss him that much on a daily basis, but I have this overwhelming feeling as if someone has died.  My kids are trying to be brave but they hardly ever saw us fight and this has been a huge shock for them.  And now to top it off our cat has gone missing!

 

Somehow I am functioning but I really feel like crawling under my bed and never coming out.  Anyone BTDT?  Experience/advice appreciated.


and then when we get to the ocean
we're gonna take a boat to the end of the world

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#2 of 9 Old 06-07-2011, 11:34 PM
 
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Someone else posted an amazing resource list on another thread just this week. I cannot for the life of me remember which thread it was. Hopefully they will pop in and post it again for you.

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#3 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 04:11 AM
 
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I'm so sorry. The grief experienced by a sudden separation can certainly be a lot like the grief we feel when someone has died. I hope you're able to find comfort where you can. hug2.gif

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#4 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 04:25 AM
 
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Just wanted to post  a word of comfort, from the perspective of the child of divorced parents. My parents split when I was little, but my sister and I had a great childhood, full of wonderful experiences and caring adults. Your kids will have that too. Hang in there.

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#5 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 05:45 AM
 
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*hugs*

 

You will get through this.  It's completely and totally normal to mourn the "relationship".  Hopefully MamaJen sees this and does the copy/paste for the looong resource list...  but the best book I read while going through my own seperation from an abusive ex is, "Why Does He Do That?" by Lundy Bancroft.  It is an incredibly eye opening book.

 

Keep you and your kids safe.


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#6 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 06:53 AM
 
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Here's the list of DV resources we've compiled. I have to run off to class now, but I just wanted to offer you support in what must be an incredibly difficult time. I have to say, I am so impressed at your strength in leaving. It can take so much force of will to tear yourself free. You're doing the right thing for yourself and your children.

Even though you know you have to leave, it's okay to also grieve the relationship and grieve the person you may still love -- or grieve the person that you thought you knew. Please be gentle with yourself and reach out often for support. This is a community that's incredibly willing to give that support.

 

 

 

Books
Why Does He Do That: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men, by Lundy Bancroft
The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker
Women Who Love Too Much, by Robin Norwood
Codependent No More, by Melody Beattie
The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond, by Patricia Evans
Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay: A Step-by-Step Guide to Help You Decide Whether to Stay In or Get Out of Your Relationship, by Mira Kirshenbaum
The Emotionally Abused Woman : Overcoming Destructive Patterns and Reclaiming Yourself, by Beverly Engel
The Sociopath Next Door, by Martha Stout
Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life, by Susan Forward
It's My Life Now: Starting Over After an Abusive Relationship or Domestic Violence, by Meg Kennedy Dugan

Websites
youarenotcrazy.com
http://www.ndvh.org/ -- National Domestic Violence Hotline website
EQI -- Emotional Abuse
Symptoms of Emotional Abuse
Signs of Abusive Relationships
Emotional Abuse Quiz
DomesticViolence.org
BPD Central -- resources about Borderline Personality Disorder
Love Fraud -- resources about sociopaths
Leaving Abuse
National Institute of Mental Health post-traumatic stress disorder site
The Survivor Manual -- Inspiring and Empowering Survivors to Lead Joyful Lives

Articles
Love and Stockholm Syndrome: the Mystery of Loving an Abuser
Warning Signs that You're Dating a Loser
Surviving a Breakup with Someone Suffering with Borderline Personality Disorder
Breaking Up With a Borderline
Narcissist or Sociopath? What's the Difference?
"After the Sociopath", a guide to taking back our lives from LoveFraud.com.
For Abused Women, Leaving is a Complex and Confusing Process

Hotlines
National Domestic Violence Hotline -- 1.800.799.SAFE
List of state hotlines

Other
Mosaic -- An online risk assessment tool for domestic violence, by Gavin de Becker
Searching for Angela Shelton, video streamed on hulu.com

Abuse 101
Red flags that you're in an abusive relationship
Gaslighting -- how abusers convince you that you're crazy
The cycle of abuse -- don't confuse the honeymoon stage with real change
Power and Control Wheel -- The elements of abuse
How brainwashing works -- At its core, abuse is just a form of brainwashing

 
 

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#7 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the encouragement.  I have been using that resource list heavily for the past couple of weeks. Lundy Bancroft's book gave me the strength to go forward with the abuse issue in the courts.  This week I read The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans, which felt like a documentation of my 16-year marriage.  Getting a lot of local support as well, from a DV women's group and my therapist and certain friends and family (not necessarily whom I  would have expected-- weird).  Meeting with a therapist for my kids today.

 

I think what led me to post here last night is that after doing each days footwork (emphasis on work!) I am still terribly depressed.  I can't fix this, I can't know what's coming (ie will we still homeschool, will we have to move, will i need to retrain for a job?), and I can't check enough boxes during the day to feel better.  Then when the kids were crying for our missing cat at bedtime it just seemed like too much.

 

I feel like such a freak and a failure as well.  I know it's a cliche, but I can't believe that this is happening to *me* and to my girls by default. 


and then when we get to the ocean
we're gonna take a boat to the end of the world

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#8 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 01:38 PM
 
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You're amazing. I know you may not feel it right now, but your actions show how incredibly strong you are.

I don't mean this to sounds disheartening, but it truly does take a hell of a lot of hard work for a very long time to heal from an abusive relationship, and it does leave scars. But it is possible to come out whole and strong on the other side.

My own abusive relationship was on a span of months rather than years. I started really doing the work of processing it about two years after I escaped, and I feel like it took me about two years from that point to feel like I had moved past it in my journey of healing. 

But on a good note, I think just about any woman here who has escaped from an abusive relationship will tell you that things started to look up really, really quickly. I'm willing to bet that one year from now you will be amazed at how far you've come and how much happier you are. In may be a long healing process, but the first improvements will come fast and feel really good. Not being abused feels really good. Being a survivor feels amazing. 

Living with abuse is like living in a war zone of the soul -- and it doesn't have to be constant physical battering, I really think that the emotional and verbal abuse is way more soul crushing. At this moment, you're basically like a soldier who's just stepped off the battlefield and returned to the home front. You may be dealing with some very real PTSD. Your entire world may seem to be spinning. You may feel incredibly drained or depressed. This is all normal. I know all I wanted to do in the immediate aftermath was crawl under the covers and nap for a couple of centuries. But you are doing the right thing in reaching out for human contact and support and you will get through this. Be gentle with yourself and respect the fact that you've been through a really big trauma. Imagine that a friend was going through the exact same situation -- treat yourself with as much compassion as you'd treat her.

You sound like you've done a ton of research, and you may already know this, but be aware that a lot of abusive guys will start trying to do anything they possibly can to derail the divorce. Depending on the kind of abuser he is and if he's more of a narcissist or a borderline type, he could start doing things like acting incredibly nice, swearing to change and get therapy, acting really mean, guilt-tripping, threatening suicide, getting more violent, etc. I call it the slot machine tactic, where they run through every possible course of action until they find one that works on you. Forewarned is forearmed, y'know? The best way to defeat it is to have as little contact with him as possible. And be strong in your decision to stay gone. He broke his promises to you. You don't owe him anything.


Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007 . Now married to my Incredibly Nice Guy and new mama to baby Arthur.
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#9 of 9 Old 06-08-2011, 01:54 PM
 
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Here's another BTDT. I think right now you are mourning the relationship. I did something similar in that I had a checklist of things but it seemed like I wasn't progressing fast enough even through I have progressed so much when I look back.

 

When I left my marriage i went through something similar but I tried to keep a positive focus. Unfortunately it felt like a lot of the world was against me and I had a string of bad luck with things like car accidents and such with no real support system which stressed me out even more. Six months later people who met me around that time started commenting how much more relaxed I am now.

 

I also would put aside hope of a reconciliation based on what I've read so far. It seems like he has had issues with this before and it came to the surface again recently. You will always be on guard about whether it will rear its head again.

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