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    • #129798

      NOTE: I posted this as a response elsewhere because I couldn’t figure out how to post my own.

      I’ve been married a while with one child. Both of us have respectable jobs. (detail removed by Moderator) years ago I was accused of having an affair with a co-worker. I denied (sure he is good-looking and a best friend but I also like Jason Mamoa and Travis Willingham!). He began being extra gropey in bed and demanding maintenance sex. If I declined he assumed I was getting it elsewhere. Since giving birth I have a condition that stops me doing things like this – it is painful and uncomfortable until it heals. It isn’t possible for me to have sex comfortably but I am afraid of being cut open again to get it fixed. I am a roleplayer with friends and he started using these conversations to prove I was playing away. Im still not. He demands that I stop living in a fantasy world. Im not. One day I agreed to sex – it was degrading. He was annoyed that I didn’t look like I enjoyed it or participated adequately.

      He recently took my child on holiday. It was too short notice for me to take time off. He doesn’t reply to requests if we can talk on the phone and I get minutes to say goodnight to my son on a video call.

      He argues that I stonewall and offer no emotion but I see it as self-preservation. I cant deal with all the arguments and its true that I used Covid to encourage him and me to sleep in separate rooms and keep our distance. He also says that I plot. I cant deny that I agree to meet with friends or family and I don’t always tell him and I have expected divorce paperwork and have been preparing for that eventuality as I think he will take my child. He also says that I am hysterical and I make things up and that some things never happened. Because I cant outright deny these claims, Im now tearing my hair out trying to figure out if I’m actually the abuser.

      I am at a point where if he used infidelity to divorce me I wouldn’t argue just to escape but I want access to my child and I worry he will argue against it. He knows I do not have the funds to support a protracted court case and that maximum child benefit would ruin and possibly bankrupt me.

      ADMINS: I hope this is ok. I have tried to keep everything as vague as possible.

    • #129799

      Hi PlanetYazoo,

      Oh, I wish I had a penny for every time I’ve seen a post like this on the forum. I could get rich, grow fat and retire early!

      It’s not always clear from a post who is the abuser as abusers can push us in to keeping secrets and playing games to keep ourselves safe. This is very different from making accusations and playing games to control someone.

      Abusers don’t ask “Am I abusive?” They know that they are abusive and will do everything they can to hide it, including making claims that make their abused partner look as though they are the abusers. It’s all smoke and mirrors.

      What you have described, particularly around sex and controlling your access to your children is classic abuser behaviour.

      There are some really good books that I’d recommend. “Living with the Dominator” by Pat Craven describes many different types if abuse and as you read through, you will read about abuse that mirrors exactly the abuse you are being subjected to. It may even make you realise that there is more abuse than you had understood. It’s a really good starting point for anyone who isn’t sure if they are experiencing abuse or not.

      Women’s Aid also have a brief questionnaire that might help you.

      I’m so sorry that he is putting you through this PlanetYazoo.

      Understanding the abuse that you are being subjected to can be enlightening and freeing but also very shocking. Ladies experience a real mixed bag of emotions at this point.

      My experience is that the ladies on the forum are wonderfully kind, knowledgeable and supportive and the moderators are really good at keeping you safe. We’re here for you.

    • #129801

      Hi PlanetYazoo, a lot of what you describe sounds very similar to the kinds of things my ex said and did. I remember feeling like my head was a pin ball machine, bouncing backwards and forwards with all the accusations and expectations that just made no sense. It’s all crazy making and unfortunately it works. But the fact that you have posted on here shows that you can see some of the light of truth. There’s still a part of you that knows he’s doing this to you and it’s not you.

      The way he is treating you is terrible. Complete lack of empathy and it’s all about him. Complaining that you didn’t look like you were enjoying sex when he knows he coerced you into it just shows how he demands everything his way. Not only do you have to do what he wants, but you have to enjoy it too. You are not even allowed your own feelings, you are only allowed the feelings he wants you to have. Like all abusers, he’s not interested in your feelings or your wellbeing. There’s a very high chance that he knows you’re not cheating on him and is just using the accusations to pressure you into having sex with him. Or at the very least, he’s just convinced himself you’re cheating to justify his behaviour. But nobody deserves to be treated like that. If he genuinely thinks you’re cheating and he has an issue with it, he should leave. It is no excuse to mistreat you.

      What I see when I read your post is a man who is constantly putting you in impossible positions and using everything he can to make you think you’ve done something wrong and that he’s the victim. He’s not.

      You are absolutely right that what you are doing is about survival. That is simply not the same as abuse. Abuse is where somebody creates a power imbalance to control the other person (the target). The abuser wants the target to feel weak and confused and powerless so that they keep control of them. Who has the power in your relationship? It’s most definitely him. You are not the abuser.

      I would advise getting legal advice to ease your mind about him trying to take your child. You can get free consultations with most solicitors. Honestly, from what you say, there is nothing that would give him any legal argument that he should take your child. To do that he would need to prove that you are not a fit mother. Claiming that you’re hysterical would not be enough. He may be able to get joint custody, depending on whether he is a risk to your child. I haven’t gone through the courts (yet) so I can’t give any more advice.

      In the meantime I recommend you educate yourself about abuse and do as much as you can to feel strong. Read Why does he do that? by Lundy Bancroft. Contact Women’s Aid. Try to do as much as you can to (safely) focus on you and your needs. The less you focus on him, the less control he has over you, but of course try not to do it in ways that put you at risk physically or too much emotionally. Sending love xxxx

    • #129806

      Thank you for reading. I appreciate it. I spent this morning pulling out my hair because I was terrified that I was just making excuses to support my behaviour. I do have a lot of male friends (unavoidable in my line of work). I fear he will claim that I am an unfit mother as he would not tolerate anything that would paint him in a poor light for his work. I believe (probably convinced myself) that because I am a working mum 5 days a week (plus meetings and obligations due to management) that this could all be used in his favour. I spoke to Womans Aid chat and they have said that Im not crazy and they don’t seem to think I am the abuser. They suggested getting a medical statement to offically catalogue this but I worry that it would be used in someway to prove I am not mentally fit or that because it hasn’t happened recently (thank you covid) the other stuff wont count. He makes out that his job puts him in the best light for custody.

      I would have no problem with joint custody. He is strict with schooling but never shown abuse to my child. I want my child to thrive. If I could be in a perfect world I would have my child for 4 nights a week so he got plenty of time with both parents and I would be happy to move and accomodate that time so it fitted for when his work is being a pain and I have a meetings. We both brought this child into the world and it right that this child has both parents to help him grow.

      Sadly, we do not live in an ideal world and I’ve learned recently that he has very strong ideas of who is in control of our child. Thank god our child is young enough that he (hopefully) doesn’t get what is happening.

      Thanks again for reading. You have no idea how much of a relief it is to be able to say what has been inside my head for what feels like such a long time.

    • #129810

      Generally speaking if you can agree with shared residence and dividing time with your child between you then that can work. If you don’t agree and go to court, then I believe that the status quo is quite important ie the person who is the primary carer tends to stay that way. That may be relevant to you as my impression from your posts here and your other thread post (and I could be wrong) is that he does the majority of the childcare because his job is more flexible.
      Nothing you have said looks like a reason for restricting your contact if he did have residence, so please don’t worry. Chat everything through with a solicitor to get some initial advice on your particular situation as you will then know where you stand.
      There is a child maintenance calculator online so you can work out how much you may have to pay. The amount paid reduces depending on how many nights the child stays for contact.
      Good luck.

    • #129814

      So, what you’re saying is that I have to stay with my abuser or have him remove my child and I pay him £166 for the luxury (leaving me with £10 to buy my child a christmas present, or buy myself clothes, or if any appliance goes wrong)?! That’s the choice that I am faced with?! That’s not a choice. Thats death or death.

    • #129819

      I am confused, as no, I didn’t say any of those things.
      I was trying to help by saying see a solicitor to learn what your options are for your particular situation. You said you were worried about getting access to your son and how much maintenance you might have to pay. I said see a solicitor, courts can look at the status quo of who has been looking after the child to date and there is a child maintenance calculator online.
      We are all just survivors of abuse here, not professionals. Please see a solicitor to find out your options and get some advice.

    • #129821

      @PlanetYazoo, I don’t quite follow your comment about having to stay with your abuser or have him remove your child. I think there must be a misunderstanding somewhere along the line. I can only speak from conversations I’ve had with my solicitor (and others as I spoke to a few in trying to choose one), but if it goes to court the tendency is to have around a 50:50 split unless it can be demonstrated that one parent had significantly more contact with the kids pre separation and/or one parent is a risk to the child.

      I’m surprised WA suggested a medical statement, unless they just suggested that because you were particularly worried, because I can’t think why you would need one. It’s his job to prove that you’re an unfit mother. It’s not your job to demonstrate your sanity unless he has evidence to the contrary. My ex threatened all sorts of things in relation to getting full custody of the kids because apparently it was so clear that I wasn’t a fit mother. My solicitor reassured me that nothing he intended to use against me would carry any weight in court. When I finally left, he got advice from a solicitor, which was consistent with what my solicitor said, so he agreed to a 50:50 split. So far we haven’t needed to go to court.

      As marmot said, speak to a solicitor who specialises in family law. I found it really eased a lot of my fears as it’s so easy to worry that his threats could have some substance. xxxx

    • #129828

      Please don’t think that he is a good father. An abuser can never be a good father. They teach their child one of two things. Either to be an abuser or to be a victim of abuse. By abusing you he is modelling a very unhealthy relationship so having a record of the abuse will be important.

      My personal experience is that a controlling and abusive man will try to control his children using abuse and manipulation.

      If it was hard to spot your partners abuse as an adult, imagine how difficult it would be for a child who has been raised with abuse as a norm.

      I echo what others have said, please find a solicitor who is used to dealing with abusers and please continue to take advice from WA or your local DV charity.

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