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#1 of 14 Old 03-01-2014, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 14 Old 03-01-2014, 11:34 PM
 
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Could you make weekly videos of yourself talking to your daughter when you are in a better state of mind? Read stories to her, sing bedtime songs, tell her how proud you are of her for specific things you know she's accomplished that week?

Then have her do the same so she can really talk to you and feel like she is getting your full attention.

It's possible you can gain some inner strength by creatively working around your current limitations and developing a better relationship with your daughter. Once you start to feel like an actively caring loving mother, maybe you'll be able to distance yourself a little from the you that you see as the target of his abuse. But as long as you feel like a complete and utter failure, you will continue to internalize all the crap that comes your way.

Hope this helps. You are in such a difficult place and my heart goes out to you. Life would be so much easier if we could all just be what we expect ourselves to be. Abuse and PTSD and all that comes with it just can't be wished away. Healing and recovering take time and work and sometimes it can feel like you're never gonna get to the other side of your hell and start to climb out. You have so much love for your daughter. I hope you know how amazing that is. The fact that you were finally able to get away from your abuser is huge. You are going to be okay some day and your daughter will know how hard you fought to be there for her. Huge hugs to you, mama.
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#3 of 14 Old 03-02-2014, 08:44 AM
 
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I'm so sorry you are going through this.  It sounds like you are trying to hard to get the help you need and make progress, and I'm sure it is devastating to feel like you are back tracking.  But you are making progress!  Plenty of people never even get to the point of knowing that they need help, let alone actually seeking it out!  So good for you for doing those things and struggling to get better for yours and your daughter's sake.

 

Just to clarify, your ex now has sole custody and you get 1 day a week?  Are you able to minimize/eliminate contact with your ex, maybe by picking up and dropping off your daughter directly from school, having your parents do drop off/picks ups, and communicating only by email or text message?  It sounds like distancing yourself from your ex, without doing so from your daughter, would be immensely helpful. 

 

Or perhaps shorter, more frequent time with your daughter would be helpful (since you said it's hard for you to make it through longer periods)? I don't know if you are able to request schedule change at this point or not, but maybe seeing each other 2 or 3 times a week (i.e. maybe bedtime and the following morning, or afternoon and dinner, etc.) would help both of you. 

 

Remember, you do NOT have to answer the phone when he calls just so he can yell at you.  You do NOT have to have him to your home for Thanksgiving! While doing things as a family can be nice after a divorce, in this case it is hurting you badly and therefore is not good for your daughter either.  Don't let him bully or guilt you into doing these things-I hope your parents will support you in that as well.  You are not a bad mother for not wanting to have a "family Thanksgiving" with a man who abused you, even if it does mean you get to see your daughter more. 

 

And it is perfectly reasonable to request only written communication-I did it at one point, when ex was messing with my head, plenty of people even in non abusive relationships request it during and after divorce to minimize the changes to fight as well as the changes for miscommunication. 

 

Good luck and stay strong!

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#4 of 14 Old 03-02-2014, 09:22 AM
 
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Is it possible to change your number so he can't contact you, set up pick up and drop off times at the police station, and have no other contact with him? You can get a track phone that he can use to call your daughter if he needs to but I wouldn't answer it. You may also get better in person support through a domestic violence support center or shelter. Our local shelter does out patient therapy and houses women escaping abusive relationships. It may be best to get out of your parents home also since they were actively pulling you down too.
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#5 of 14 Old 03-02-2014, 05:47 PM
 
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I know there are people on here who have it arranged that their ex cannot contact them- all contact has to be through a mediator, drop-offs have to be with a parent/someone else, etc. I hope one of them comment about how they managed it, but look into options.


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#6 of 14 Old 03-04-2014, 05:20 AM
 
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If you are insightful enough about yourself, and concerned enough for your daughter, to be able to take responsibility for the fact that your behavior and instability are harming her...then it's hard to imagine that you could be such a bad parent that she'd be better off without you in her life at all.

 

I disagree that your husband is the cause of your problems.  If you let yourself look at it that way, then there is no hope of you getting better, unless he changes.  His access to you - his ability to get you to listen to him insult you in the ways he knows will hurt the most - and your inability (so far) to respond to his nastiness by thinking, "He's wrong.  F(li)ck him."..those are your problem.  And good news!  You can do something about those!

 

You are young, in a difficult situation, yet already you have:

- Walked out of an abusive and controlling relationship;

- Made living arrangements where you and your daughter had support.  You listened to your instincts, which told you that you weren't ready to be on your own with a child.  You made sure she'd be taken care of, if you were too emotionally beaten down to do it yourself;

- Agreed to seek professional help, accepted your diagnosis, and followed your treatment/medication plan.

- Cooperated in letting your parents and your ex take more responsibility for your daughter, when you couldn't care for her.

 

If you have a mental health issue, you didn't choose it, any more than my friend chose to have breast cancer.  But you have handled it in ways that are responsible and considerate of your daughter's needs.  That is really hard to do!

 

You need to do additional hard work, but it's work that will help your mental health treatment.  You need to divorce your husband and put things in place (probably a No Contact order) that will enable you to have visitation with your daughter, without interacting with your ex directly.  People do that all the time, in divorce.  You have no obligation to listen to hateful things said by someone who does not care whether you're stable enough to spend time with your daughter.  He has an obligation to leave you alone.

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#7 of 14 Old 03-04-2014, 06:58 AM
 
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So, wait a second, your abusive ex insisted on a family Thanksgiving dinner, with him present, at your parents' house, and your parents agreed?

 

Because that's not supportive from them.  Your ex can insist all he wants, you need a safe living space that he isn't permitted in, which should mean:

- Custody and visitation hand offs at a neutral location.

- People who live with you need to agree that he is not welcome in the house.

 

It's great when divorced people can keep it together and celebrate family holidays and all, but that assumes that none of them were abusive.  In abuse cases, that's simply not appropriate.  YOU ARE NEVER OBLIGATED TO HAVE DINNER WITH THIS MAN.  That's what leaving him means.

 

Quote:
 I felt like I was getting my feet back again, got a new part time job I was proud of, began to start my own company, curated a queer art exhibit as well as party to celebrate it, walked in a fashion show, began modeling, and pushing myself. I finally felt happy because it was the first time in my life that I felt like I was me. 

 

The judgement began because I was gone every day I didn't have my daughter. My parents and my ex saw this as me just partying like crazy but really it was a situation of trying to make friends, have a little fun, and, most importantly, network to promote my business.

 

You found your feet a little, in some stuff where a breakdown isn't really a shocker.  Do you think you could find them again?  That sounds like satisfying work.

 

I don't think anyone should judge you for being "gone" when you don't have your daughter with you.  You can't make life better for anyone by moping around the house.  Networking is such an important thing, and building yourself a support system is really vital.

 

(Also - the link here is a potentially inspiring story about art and business as a means of managing mental health for one woman.  http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/toast-story-latest-artisanal-food-craze-72676/)

 

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 We just had a fantastic family vacation (without my ex) and she got to see her cousins. We had a great time together. But I have a hard time pulling it together for multiple days in a row. I rocked it for 7 days, including a red eye flight followed by three hours on a bus, and it's been two since we got back. I have already reduced my parent-child contact down to one 24 hour period a week. I can't tell if this is easier or harder for her.

 

Vacations can be like parenting intensives.  There's no school or daycare or routine, you have to take it all minute by minute.  So I think you're a champ for doing that and rocking it for seven days.  Bonus points for soloing. 

 

I don't think you should cut back your contact with your daughter.  I think that might just make her feel abandoned.  Keep the once a week, and think about whether and how you want to work up to more.

 

And find a lawyer and get all the way divorced. 

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#8 of 14 Old 03-04-2014, 07:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by VocalMinority View Post

I disagree that your husband is the cause of your problems.  If you let yourself look at it that way, then there is no hope of you getting better, unless he changes.  His access to you - his ability to get you to listen to him insult you in the ways he knows will hurt the most - and your inability (so far) to respond to his nastiness by thinking, "He's wrong.  F(li)ck him."..those are your problem.  And good news!  You can do something about those!

This is a more complicated situation than you're making it out. It's very fluffy to say that she has all the power- but when you're dealing with trauma from abuse, it's not so easy to say "you can choose to ignore the triggers!". Also, his access to her is not totally in her control. As long as her parents are willing to invite this man into her home and life, he will have access to her. This is not about his nastiness. Her self-harm episode, by her account, was not caused by him being mean to her but simply by hearing his voice ("As soon as I heard his voice I was triggered"). It sounds like she didn't even go into the same room as him to see him ("l looked down, realized how bad things were and called to my mother") This is not an issue of him being mean to her and her giving in to what he says, this is an issue of her being a survivor of abuse and being triggered by her abuser. Which, by the way, is not uncommon. Years after I got out of an abusive relationship and had absolutely 0 contact with the abuser, I just saw the abuser somewhere and had a panic attack. He said nothing to me. I don't think he even noticed me or realized I was there, he may not have even recognized me if he had seen me. I've done a lot of work sorting out my issues after that, and I'm sure I'd still have a strongly negative reaction just to seeing him. A lot of abuse survivors have the same experience.

 

I agree that she has done amazing things that show she is strong, intelligent, and a compassionate mother despite her difficulties. I agree that she is not doomed to be a victim of this forever and that she can make changes and work to get better. I disagree that this is as simple as thinking "screw him".

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#9 of 14 Old 03-04-2014, 08:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wish I could remember what each of you said and respond specifically but if I multi-quoted that much this would be a HUGE post. 

 

I want to reach out and hug all of you. This is the very reason why I love the mothering forums and return whenever I need help. I was so afraid that everyone would think I was horrible for even considering the option that she might be better off without me. In my personal life no one will talk with me about this. Instead you are all so supportive and trying to help me find solutions. Thank you.

 

The posts about my parents- you're right they have made choices and said things that are not ok, they got bullied into Thanksgiving too, we were all trying to play by his game so I didn't lose custody. I didn't have anybody else and I know they love me and will do their best to help even if they make huge mistakes along the way. But yeah, that was a really big mistake. But they don't help.

 

SillySapling- This IS so much more complicated than all of this can even be distilled. I have tried all of the only e-mail/someone else in contact/having other people do pick-ups/ etc. In the state of VT the court will only order sole custody if you can't agree on 50/50, and the laws put him in charge of basically deciding whether or not I can have visitation with her. He and my mother are consulting with a child psychologist as to whether or not I should be in contact with her right now- they did this without even telling me. 

 

My dad tries to stay neutral unless something insane happens in which case he usually manages to shut my ex up for a day or two. My mom however doesn't understand that she was my first emotionally abusive/controlling relationship - withholding approval, telling me (at age 5) that my upset stomach (caused by severe anxiety) was me faking sick and she was going to lose her job if she had to keep coming home. That continued my whole life, she picks on me about my lower pain tolerance (comes with being a redhead), she tells me how much I am screwing my daughter up, how she assumes I moved into my own apt so I could party all the time- yeah, like I feel good enough about myself to even want to get out of bed.

 

So he triggers me, even with just e-mails, she triggers me by doing things that are so reminiscent of him. Everybody watches me every second I am with my daughter, and I will reiterate, I have NEVER and would never put my daughter in a position of danger. Being watched so closely, I might as well be with him when he was at his worst, watching for anything he could get angry with me about. 

 

And not many people understand the PTSD abuse survivors have, it's different from trauma PTSD; for me at least I don't hallucinate, I am paranoid that he is following me but thats because he has before and he hacked into my e-mail and all my social media, but mostly I am just triggered by all the rules he has set forth in my life that no one will help me fight back against, and sometimes even by my daughter when she imitates a behavior of his. When I get triggered I don't get loud or violent or anything like that (thank god) I just withdraw into panic, get exhausted, and can't think about anything else. I dissociate- I can play with my daughter but it's like I am watching myself from the outside.  

 

I can't even hold a job in my field because any criticism causes my anxiety to fly through the roof and I often have panic attacks. I am currently working to get on long-term disability and looking for a part-time job at a gas station or some other store with minimal expectations. My company went in the toilet, I lost all of my customers due to my inability to keep up with the work.

 

I could go on, but I'll stop here. I love you all, this community is amazing, I wish I had you all near by to help bolster my fight so I wouldn't be all alone.

 

Molly


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#10 of 14 Old 03-04-2014, 09:46 AM
 
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Are you still living with your parents? If you are, I hope that you can find a way to move out. It's no wonder that you're struggling so much to get better. Simply being away from abuse- it's amazing how much you can clear your mind. It won't fully cure you, but it's a huge step in the right direction. Being in an abusive environment, though, it's incredibly hard to heal because for every step you make, you're constantly being knocked back down. I know it's complicated- if you aren't stable enough to be able to take care of yourself and afford your own place, then you need help even if the only help you have is abusive.

 

It's really awful that your state doesn't have a better visitation law. Are you sure that it would be up to your ex and you couldn't get court ordered visitation? Even if you can only get supervised visitation, it's better than nothing. After long enough with supervised visitation going well you can also work up to unsupervised and even overnights in most states. If you get yourself to a point where you're stable and reasonably healthy, will you be able to fight to get 50/50 custody from your ex?

 

Also- on the pain tolerance, can you get evaluated for fibromyalgia? I've always had a "low pain tolerance" and stomach problems and it turns out I have fibro. I honestly had no idea that I did because I've gotten so used to always being in pain that I barely even realize I am, it took a specialist to point it out. It can cause stomach problems and brain fog, and also gets a lot worse when you're under stress. Fibromyalgia is also linked to stressful and traumatic events, so you may have developed it due to abuse.

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#11 of 14 Old 03-05-2014, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post
 

Are you still living with your parents? If you are, I hope that you can find a way to move out. It's no wonder that you're struggling so much to get better. Simply being away from abuse- it's amazing how much you can clear your mind. It won't fully cure you, but it's a huge step in the right direction. Being in an abusive environment, though, it's incredibly hard to heal because for every step you make, you're constantly being knocked back down. I know it's complicated- if you aren't stable enough to be able to take care of yourself and afford your own place, then you need help even if the only help you have is abusive.

 

Yes, this is my big catch-22 right now. By agreement between my mother and my ex I am not allowed to be "alone" (as in no one else in the house, not as in can't go play in another room) with my daughter so I go back to my parents saturday night- monday morning so I can have my day with her. Otherwise they are helping me financially right now as I did finally tell them I needed to move out when she wasn't there, I'm looking for a job. After I went in the psych ward I idiotically got a DUI a few days later and then I cracked the engine block in my car because I forgot about oil- life was too full of everything else. So I have to find a job that is low stress, I can walk to, or take public transportation- weekdays only.

 

It's really awful that your state doesn't have a better visitation law. Are you sure that it would be up to your ex and you couldn't get court ordered visitation? Even if you can only get supervised visitation, it's better than nothing. After long enough with supervised visitation going well you can also work up to unsupervised and even overnights in most states. If you get yourself to a point where you're stable and reasonably healthy, will you be able to fight to get 50/50 custody from your ex?

 

Not entirely sure on the law about visitation, my lawyer is being incredibly unhelpful as highly recommended as he was. If I get to a point where I might be healthy enough to have 50/50 custody either he would have to agree to it or I would have to go to court to fight for sole custody. VT will NOT order joint custody because the state decided that if a couple couldn't get along well enough to agree beforehand then they definitely wouldn't be able to co-parent. That law I am sure of and, as much as it is making my current position so rough, I do agree with the principle, totally makes sense.

 

Also- on the pain tolerance, can you get evaluated for fibromyalgia? I've always had a "low pain tolerance" and stomach problems and it turns out I have fibro. I honestly had no idea that I did because I've gotten so used to always being in pain that I barely even realize I am, it took a specialist to point it out. It can cause stomach problems and brain fog, and also gets a lot worse when you're under stress. Fibromyalgia is also linked to stressful and traumatic events, so you may have developed it due to abuse.

 

Huh, I never would have thought of that. I do tend to be exhausted, have severe stomach-stress issues, and have gotten used to having pain in my body constantly. I will make a drs appointment and get checked out, thank you!


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#12 of 14 Old 03-10-2014, 01:12 PM
 
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So, I'm confused... do you have joint 50/50 custody or does he have 100% custody and lets you take your daughter anyway?  What does your legal custody arrangement work out to?  

 

Have you made a record of his abusive behavior toward you? Because if you haven't, I would do that now, in case you need to prove it later at some point to prevent him from trying to mess with custody.


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#13 of 14 Old 03-12-2014, 11:29 AM
 
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Hey there!  I'm just a mom, like you.  I have no mental health qualifications whatsoever, but I've been around enough to see a few things.  I'm saying this gently, but please feel free to disregard anything I'm saying here.  I am just an internet person who is reading your post, but I really feel for your situation and I care that you get better and become able to enjoy your daughter.  

 

So... I'm questioning your diagnosis.  You say you have been diagnosed with bipolar and PTSD.  But your additional details of disassociation and cutting have me concerned that you are not getting the best medical care.  Again, I am saying this gently, please don't think I am judging you.  I am just putting something out there that you can take or leave.  Have you ever heard of Borderline Personality Disorder?  It carries a great stigma and the presentations are often severe, including self-harm, disassociation and suicidal tendencies.  New research shows that BPD, like many mental health issues, is a spectrum disorder.  It often arises at the hand of abuse, often from childhood.  Recently, there are groups in the psychiatric field who are questioning how this disorder presents and are lobbying to take the stigma out of this disorder.  Some people are calling for a new name of the disorder, Emotional Dysregulation Disorder.

 

I'm only saying this because I'm wondering if you might consider an alternative treatment.  All I'm saying is that, from what you posted, some red flags popped up.  People with EDD do not respond to the typical treatment for bipolar or PTSD.  You may not qualify for a diagnosis of BPD, but you may be on the spectrum, which is why I'm bringing this up.  The good news is that there is a very effective therapy. It's called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - or DBT - and it helps identify triggers and facilitate thought processes that may lead to troubling symptoms.  If this doesn't sound like you, then please ignore me.  If you are curious, I'd recommend looking for a therapist in your area who does DBT.  It is a non-medical therapy and supposedly works really well for people on the spectrum.  

 

Mental health issues are problems for lots of wonderful people.  You should be able to enjoy your daughter and be a great mom, you just need to find the right treatment.  I want to second another previous poster who highlighted all the ways you are awesome.  You left an abuser!!!!!  That is the hardest thing to do in the world.  You are awesome!  You can be a great mom!

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#14 of 14 Old 03-18-2014, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hey there!  I'm just a mom, like you.  I have no mental health qualifications whatsoever, but I've been around enough to see a few things.  I'm saying this gently, but please feel free to disregard anything I'm saying here.  I am just an internet person who is reading your post, but I really feel for your situation and I care that you get better and become able to enjoy your daughter.  

 

So... I'm questioning your diagnosis.  You say you have been diagnosed with bipolar and PTSD.  But your additional details of disassociation and cutting have me concerned that you are not getting the best medical care.  Again, I am saying this gently, please don't think I am judging you.  I am just putting something out there that you can take or leave.  Have you ever heard of Borderline Personality Disorder?  It carries a great stigma and the presentations are often severe, including self-harm, disassociation and suicidal tendencies.  New research shows that BPD, like many mental health issues, is a spectrum disorder.  It often arises at the hand of abuse, often from childhood.  Recently, there are groups in the psychiatric field who are questioning how this disorder presents and are lobbying to take the stigma out of this disorder.  Some people are calling for a new name of the disorder, Emotional Dysregulation Disorder.

 

I'm only saying this because I'm wondering if you might consider an alternative treatment.  All I'm saying is that, from what you posted, some red flags popped up.  People with EDD do not respond to the typical treatment for bipolar or PTSD.  You may not qualify for a diagnosis of BPD, but you may be on the spectrum, which is why I'm bringing this up.  The good news is that there is a very effective therapy. It's called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy - or DBT - and it helps identify triggers and facilitate thought processes that may lead to troubling symptoms.  If this doesn't sound like you, then please ignore me.  If you are curious, I'd recommend looking for a therapist in your area who does DBT.  It is a non-medical therapy and supposedly works really well for people on the spectrum.  

 

Mental health issues are problems for lots of wonderful people.  You should be able to enjoy your daughter and be a great mom, you just need to find the right treatment.  I want to second another previous poster who highlighted all the ways you are awesome.  You left an abuser!!!!!  That is the hardest thing to do in the world.  You are awesome!  You can be a great mom!

Thank you for this post, you are right on many things. I am working on DBT as I recognize that's the best treatment for me. Self-harm was a one-time only situation and disassociation as well as suicidal ideation are prevalent with many disorders. An ex of mine was BPD so I have a pretty good handle on that. 


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Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.