17th September 2021 at 5:40 pm #131575BoyMomParticipant
I am new here and thought I’d introduce myself and tell you a little about my story. I was lucky enough to grow up with a good family, in a small town. By all accounts, I had a good childhood with friends and sports, etc. My dad was definitely old-fashioned and (now I see) a little chauvenistic. He was NEVER hurtful, even with his words, or mean-spirited at all. He was definitely a little used to gender roles and did not often express emotion, but he worked hard and he loved us all. I dated my high school sweetheart for about (detail removed by moderator), and he was a great guy. I didn’t appreciate him enough at the time, because I was young and not yet ready to be married and settled down.
I broke up with him and moved from my small town to a larger city about (detail removed by moderator) away from my hometown. I’m (detail removed by moderator) and started my new career in this new town. Things were going great in my life and I was always happy. Naively happy. When I decided I was finally ready to settle down and consider kids, I started dating and I met my abuser one night while out (detail removed by moderator).
After dating for a about (detail removed by moderator), we had a (detail removed by moderator) and then I was pregnant (detail removed by moderator) later. It was exactly the stereotypical story of: the minute we were married everything changed. We had two kids right away, so I was pregnant or breastfeeding the whole time we were married. He was 100% manipulative, and verbally and emotionally abusive. That man can turn his emotions on and off like a switch if it suits his needs. He gaslighted and shifted the blame CONSTANTLY. I was overwhelmed with pure confusion and frustration with his behavior. I didn’t understand it at all and I felt like I needed to understand it in order to know how to handle it or justify asking for a divorce. That’s huge! I am NOT someone who needs to fix other people, I thought he was normal. Everyone talks about red flags. I have thought so hard on this and it bothers me so much to this day. No, he LIED to me about everything. The only things that I ever thought were different at all was that he was more quiet and serious more often than other people. He was very driven to be successful in his work, so he was a work-a-holic. To me, he was just quiet. I had no reason to believe that he was lying to my face every day I was with him. It bothers me so much when people suggest that there are always red flags. It doesn’t take into account 1. The people who lie CONSTANTLY and easily without any conscience 2. The length of TIME it truly takes to uncover someone who lies that much.
He told me that his mom was not a very nurturing or loving mom, so I always had that in the back of my mind and I felt sorry for him for that. I did have a first impression that his dad was an arrogant jerk and I let that roll off my back. Had I seen these behaviors prior to marrying him, I never would have married him. But being that I was in too deep, I decide I would to help show him what real love looks like and to support him, etc. It took me about 1 year of marriage to be suspicious of his lies after things I saw with my own eyes didn’t line up with what he was telling me. It was when I finally had my suspicious glasses on and started questioning things, that I realized just how often and easily he spewed lies. His mom was a nice lady. His dad was an abusive jerk to her and he criticized everyone constantly, even his own wife. She was desperately unhappy and wounded herself. And my husband was a spitting image of his father. He kept on with the treating me like c**p, always behind closed doors. He threw (detail removed by moderator) at the walls, punched holes in doors, started telling me what to wear, didn’t allow me to do things with friends and family. I worked full-time and paid all the bills and supported us while I had no idea where any of his money went. He criticized every dollar I spent. He expected me to do everything for the kids.
I have so many weird stories. Like he would tell me he was bringing our child to daycare in the morning and then I would wake up and see that he was still home, so I had to scramble to get him ready and off to daycare and then get to work. He did so much just to make my life difficult on a daily basis. He was VERY smooth and manipulative with it all. No one else saw it, they just saw the changes in me. And my friends and family knew they hardly ever saw me anymore. I found out just how messed up he was way too late and it was the most painful realization ever to know that it was abuse and he will never change and it’s ONLY going to get worse. I had to choose between a miserable marriage/life and divorce. I couldn’t believe I was in the situation, and I needed to know exactly what I was dealing with to know how to handle it. I wasn’t going to just get divorced without a good reason and he never gave me a bruise.
He has a (detail removed by moderator) but never got licensed as an (detail removed by moderator), so he started his own (detail removed by moderator) business while we were married. I very slowly learned about how he was blackmailing his clients and employees, (detail removed by moderator), people hated him so much they were (detail removed by moderator) and stealing (detail removed by moderator). He always had some reason as to why it wasn’t his fault, but I eventually saw a pattern and realized no one has that much bad luck. He had a way of screwing people over in business, but then getting them in a position where they couldn’t really do anything to fight it. So they were getting back at him any way they could, and they HATED him.
I brought him to 3 marriage counselors over this time. I know I spent a lot of time confused with his behavior and then in denial about what it means. After I did realize and accept it though, it wasn’t about the courage to leave, I was so eager to be free of it, but it was a HUGE matter of the logistics. He had control over everything at that point. Where was I gonna live? What can I even take with me? I eventually had a good visit with my brother, who wanted to help and he said we could live with him for a while. I knew he was going to flip a switch the minute I told him and he would stop at nothing to “make me pay” in every way he could. I was absolutely terrified. He started to suspect that I was planning something and tried to kick me out one evening without the kids. I called the cops, who came and diffused him. A day later, I visited the local Rape and Abuse Crisis Center, got an attorney, and I packed up and moved out the next day I had off, when he was at work. I had a (detail removed by moderator) that I was still nursing.
I was right, that leaving him was only the beginning of my nightmare, but I’ll condense the story as much as possible. After the separation, I learned just how much money he owed people, including (detail removed by moderator), which I found out I was connected to because he accrued it while we were married.
He stole the keys out of my car. I had people tell me he was hiring a private detective. He lied through his teeth about everything throughout court proceedings. I got (detail removed by moderator) custody, he got (detail removed by moderator). He had a new girl living with him (detail removed by moderator) after I moved out.
He disagrees with everything about the kids, so I have to pay a neutral party to make a decision. He went bankrupt (good/funny right?). Except he did so just to try to stick me with all the (detail removed by moderator) debt that he accrued during our marriage. Also, he’s living in a (detail removed by moderator). He’s just trying to live his high life and put me on the streets. I spent a year fighting this and I eventually BARELY got protection from all of it. He is now responsible for all of his (detail removed by moderator) debt, but only after spending more of my life stressing, paying, and fighting it. He was also supposed to pay for my car that I got in the divorce. He never did and that got repossessed. He attempted suicide on (detail removed by moderator). While he was bankrupt, he fought me on where the kids would go to school, because he wanted them in private school. My original attorney stopped practicing and I struggled to find another because there were (detail removed by moderator) or they just didn’t want to fight him. I eventually had to get an attorney from a (detail removed by moderator).
I am now (detail removed by moderator) out from when I first moved out from him and I can just now finally say that things are safe and calm for me and my boys. I have taken him back to court again to re-evaluate parenting time. In the process, I proved that he was lying about everything he said. He didn’t even show up to the court hearing, and the judge still wouldn’t change parenting time. After all, he utilizes his parenting time, it doesn’t matter what negative effect he has on the children’s mental health. The unfairness and the cost of it all is astounding. The punishment that I am facing does not fit my crime. I was too nice and too naive around the wrong person. No, I didn’t marry someone who reminded me of my own family. I married someone who didn’t really exist.
At this point I have at least done everything in my power to fight and stand up for what’s right and I can somewhat relax now. I struggle so hard with the injustice and with worrying about my kids. So far, they are turning out to be incredible and smart young men, but they’re young still. I have no idea how I manage most of the time, but I don’t speak poorly of their father to them. I focus on a happy and healthy childhood for them. They have had no idea of the hell that I have been through. But some day, when their maturity level is there, they’ll know everything and they’ll be free to develop their own opinion about their father. I know it’s a good thing that they at least KNOW their father and get to have time with him, but, as mentally ill as he is, I cannot help but worry about how they turn out and whether they’re safe with him. I think every day about other people who aren’t as lucky as me. I worry that my kids are going to be turned against me. I worry about what to do when the day comes that they don’t want to go to their dad’s house, but I still have to make them. I know full well how hurtful and painful it is just to be around him, and I’m supposed to ruin the kids’ trust in ME by telling them they have to go?! The system is so messed up and they do not adequately protect our children. I know 100% that I did the right thing, but the system all along has sent the message to me that I should have stayed with him.
I do not mean to be totally negative about my experience. I learned SO much about the capacity of people. I have so much more strength and knowledge now that I never had before. I have read so many books about psychology and personality disorders. I have found THE most incredible man that I am now married to. He is the best step-dad that I could have ever asked for for the boys. I’ve gotten really good at managing his ridiculous behaviors and comments, and being the confident, no-nonsense person that just drives him nuts. I’m going back to school and bettering my life in so many ways. I can be proud that I stood up for honesty and for what’s right and I can at least give my kids a good life (detail removed by moderator) of the time, which is better than what the alternative would have been. It took a LONG time, but my ex is proving that he is his own worst enemy and I can sleep just fine at night knowing the truth. But man I still struggle with some things…
19th September 2021 at 10:20 am #131629LisaMain Moderator
Thank you for sharing your story with us and welcome to the forum. I can hear that you have been through so much and I am glad to read that you managed to get out of the relationship. It sounds like it has been a long and difficult journey to get to where you are now and it is amazing that you have been able to recognise the positives from what you’ve been through.
It sounds like your abuser very much made himself the centre of your universe (as abusers often do) and took advantage of your thoughtful and empathetic nature. It’s unfortunately so common for abusers to blame their behaviour on others, to create a dependance or to isolate us and to manipulate the narrative or situation to encourage us to question ourselves and our ideas of what’s ‘normal’. It can be very isolating and confusing.
From what you have described in your post it sounds like you have managed to come to terms somewhat with the experience, it’s amazing that you have gotten to the point that you’ve described and that you are now in a healthy, loving relationship, I am so pleased to hear that.
Have you been able to access any emotional support or counselling in order to process what you’ve been through? I wonder if this could be helpful to consider if not.
Thank you again for sharing and please keep posting and let us know how you are doing.
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