12th January 2022 at 4:14 pm #136927
Some considerable time after leaving and essentially maintaining no contact (no direct contact, just a few sessions with a third party present), I have now told my husband that I will not be going back to him and we have instructed lawyers. Today we had a session, with the same third party, who is experienced in mediation / divorce coaching… whatever you want to call it.
So… predictably, my husband has switched from the approach of “woe is me, I’m so unhappy, I just want you back, I don’t know what I’ve done wrong” to “I don’t trust you. How can I? You have hurt me so badly. You have hurt so many people”
Now, in the sessions that we did have, as my way of compromising with communication, I tried to illustrate to him how unhappy I was and how I didn’t feel equal in our marriage. Of course, he didn’t get it at all, and told me that I was talking rubbish. So I stopped trying pretty quickly.
I wrote stuff down today, like “yep” and “the bully is back”. None of it is a surprise but I have been slightly winded by the idea that I can no longer be trusted and that I have hurt “so many people”. I am having to work really, really hard (with my therapist) on not always putting other people first, on applying my own oxygen mask first. Because I continue to try to do right by everyone. Clearly he’s not going to buy that because I clearly haven’t “done right” by him. But my hope had been that we could move forwards to a future apart but civil, for the children, and I feel now that I’m tainted for life. Not to be trusted.
12th January 2022 at 6:10 pm #136930DarcyParticipant
Hi beautiful angel … Lottieblue,
I understand that this has been a knock back for you
However from reading your post I can tell that you have a great understanding of his ‘tactics’ and sound incredibly strong on focused on where you want your life to go
Stay grounded and rooted like a big strong oak tree… this event has just rustled your leaves but when you are grounded he cant up root you
Not surprisingly you feel winded but that’s OK to feel like that so don’t be so hard on yourself … have your moment to feel the feelings and then I promise you, you will rise up even stronger
Sending you continued love and support
12th January 2022 at 11:18 pm #136953HawthornParticipant
Just wanted to reach out to you Lottieblue….I remember posting here many months ago when I’d had a really bad day and you were so supportive.
I’m going to say to you what you said to me then (I’m paraphrasing here so forgive me) You’ve had set back, and by that I mean you’ve gone back and are experiencing that dark place you were in while you were in the abuse. You are not in that place any more though it might feel horribly familiar. You and your life has moved on…but you’ve experienced a horrible emotional flashback.
Please be kind to yourself, this will pass. You are strong and kind and deserve so much better than the treatment you have received. You can and will overcome this.
Sending you strength and a big hug x*x
13th January 2022 at 11:37 am #136978
Thanks so much @hawthorn. I can’t believe I said that stuff to you – I certainly don’t feel that strong today! At the moment I find it difficult to believe how strong I was feeling 6 months ago. I feel small and weak and vulnerable. There are so many challenges, not just with this man but with keeping my family afloat, each with their own stuff going on. I just want to jump off for a while…
13th January 2022 at 12:32 pm #136988HawthornParticipant
We heal from the trauma of abuse, but are left with pressure points we must protect from harm. Your abuser knows precisely where those points are- he created most of them- and so you must protect yourself from him. He knows exactly where to apply pressure to make you feel you are breaking all over again. Contact with him will of course make you feel vulnerable, it is like drinking soul poison.
You are not breaking, or small or weak or any of the horrible things you may be feeling just now. Sometimes being strong is just getting through the day so we can face the next. Try to do one nice thing for yourself today- that might even be staying in bed and waiting for the day to pass, it might be a cup of tea while watching the birds.
Life only moves forward, never back. This too will pass and you will not feel like this forever. You will feel that internal strength again, it never left. It’s what got you out of the relationship and it’s what brought you here.
You need and deserve support and we are here for you.xx
13th January 2022 at 12:32 am #136954KIP.Participant
Mediation doesn’t work with an abuser for this very reason. He’s lying and messing with your head deliberately. You’re still very vulnerable to his abusive ways, you’re not tainted. Absolutely zero direct contact is how you move forwards because he will always keep you in the past. He thrives on messing with you. He has absolutely no intention of being reasonable and his gaslighting continues. Save yourself a lot of pain and go zero direct contact now. Use a third party for all communication. You cannot co parent with an abuser. You need to set your boundaries now. He’s going to play the victim and bad mouth you to anyone that will listen. He’s still the same abusive man you were with. Nothing has changed. He still feels entitled to treat you badly. Take back control of the situation. It will empower you.
13th January 2022 at 3:18 am #136958Twisted SisterParticipant
I am alarmed to hear you have entered into mediation with your abuser. Your lawyer should be protecting you from this. If they are any kind of DA lawyer, they would put a stop to this immediately, there is nothing to be gained from it, and he will continue his abuse and manipulation which is exactly why you feel in the same place as before because he is still doing it, of course he is.
There’s no reasoning with the unreasonable which is why coparenting can’t work with an abuser, because they abuse, and can’t stop, but by trying to mediate it will be you doing all the backward flips to accommodate and be seen to be trying, but thats just more abuse.
You have come so far to get away from him and come to this point of divorcing and determining that you will not be going back, you’ve done so well. Stay away from any further contact with him. No contact will give you the space to be free again to see the woods for the trees, you need distance and not being stuck inside the wood.
All strength to you for everything you have achieved so far.
13th January 2022 at 7:47 am #136959EggshellsParticipant
He doesn’t really feel that you can’t be trusted, he said it because he knows you so well and he knows exactly which buttons to push to hurt you.
Sadly, there is no option of a civilised separation from an abuser. It is simply not possible. They are invariably so angry with you for leaving that they harrass and harangue you. They want to say and do hurtful things and there are no holds barred, no boundaries which they will not cross to smite you.
For this reason, and because these men are so manipulative, it is recommended that you do not enter mediation or counselling with abusers. They will manipulate you and your mediator/counsellor. It will leave you and your mediator scarred.
You’ve put other people first for so long now. To survive the divorce process with and abuser, you must put yourself first. Take it from one who almost didn’t survive.
Rather than putting your energy into trying to achieve the impossible goal of an amicable separation, please put your energy into self care and go zero contact with him as he will use any slither of contact to hurt you.
Take good care of yourself my lovely. xx
13th January 2022 at 11:40 am #136979
It means so much to me that my absolute idols on this forum continue to offer warmth and compassion and support. You have been there all the way and I am about to start to lean again. Thank you all. I am feeling so small and vulnerable and just really, really not strong enough to do this. But what are my options…?
13th January 2022 at 11:42 am #136980Wants To HelpParticipant
It is human nature for empaths that we do not want people to think badly of us. Please understand that your ex will think badly of you, you need to accept that is part of the abuser behaviour and nothing to do with your behaviour. He’s a con man – a great actor. He played a part in order to deceive you in to thinking he was something he wasn’t, and when you stood your ground because you didn’t fall for it he has reverted to true character, got angry again and put all the blame on you. This shows that despite all of his acting, he always felt that the blame lay with you, he was just pretending he didn’t blame you for a while.
Pull out of mediation from now on. Again, he’ll blame you, he’ll tell people he was willing to mediate but you weren’t. He was never willing to mediate because mediation needs compromise. What he was willing to do was tell you how things will be and hopefully get a ‘third party’ to agree with him. Abusers can’t compromise because it means they can’t have everything their own way. They see compromise as losing, a weakness, giving in to us! It is unthinkable to them that they will ever give in to us, in their eyes we are not worthy of having our needs considered at all so there is nothing to compromise on.
I remember pinning my hopes on mediation. My ex was ordered to mediate. He turned up and I thought “at last, today we care going to get things sorted.” To my horror and disbelief he told the mediator he had attended the appointment so had complied with the order and then left! He had no intention of trying to sort anything out amicably as he wanted everything his own way. I burst in to tears and the mediator asked why I was crying? She said he acted exactly how she predicted and knew there was no hope of mediation as he was an abuser. I agree with everyone else – mediation is a pointless exercise when domestic abuse is involved.
On reflection now I think that where a lot of us ladies go wrong is what we do with the strength and empowerment after we’ve left. Whilst living with the abuse we are constantly weakened and worn down. Leaving, or making the plans to leave is where we start to gain our emotional strength, and once we have left then this increases. Along with this we educate ourselves on abuse and we start to understand it and how our abusers work. We then think that we are strong enough to stand up to them and are in a better place to deal with them, but we’re not. They are the type of person that we can never reason with. We need to use our strength and empowerment for ourselves and to refrain from any further communication, cutting ourselves free from them as much as we possibly can. I know when children are involved this is harder as there will be future events where you may both be in attendance (graduation, engagement party, wedding etc).
I also understand that financial costs factor in with ‘no contact’ too, so sometimes we hope that mediation can reduce the costs of solicitors letters back and forth by trying to sort it out between ourselves, but the reality is it doesn’t work.
I love the analogy of the oak tree and your leaves being blown, I am going to remember that for my own use.
You know who you are. You know if you are a person of integrity and can be trusted or not. You are strong enough now to believe yourself and not his lies. Use this unfortunate meeting to affirm everything you have learned about abusers is right.
I hope today is a better day for you.
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