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    • #119690

      The freedom programme for kids via zoom is what I’m about to embark on soon with my young children.

    • #118913

      So glad to hear you’re out Pea! I know how big a step it is. You are stepping into freedom now!
      I found it really hard immediately after I left because he continued to try to convince me we shouldn’t give up on our marriage.
      It helped me immensely to look back at my previous journal entries so I wouldn’t forget the awful things he said and did during the course of our relationship. It also helped me hugely doing the Freedom Programme by Pat Craven via zoom with other survivors. As well as that I found reading posts on this forum almost daily helped keep me in reality and not get confused and doubt reality when he pulled out his “Oscar winning performances” and tried to have me think that we could have an amicable, successful co-parenting relationship. That simply isn’t possible with abusive men but I did wobble at times, wondering if I was making situation worse by keeping him out of my house, involving a solicitor to sort out our separation etc
      You have done the right thing for you and your children. I am so so relieved to hear you are out! You will never regret this decision (though he will try his very best to make you think you should and will regret it!).
      Here’s to the start of your journey towards freedom 2021 ❤

    • #118747

      I waited two years before leaving as I felt like you it would be so much easier to leave if there was an incident like him hitting me that would make me feel justified in doing so.
      Eventually I realised that I couldn’t wait for that to happen and I got myself out.
      Please don’t wait for that incident that might never happen. He won’t change and if anything is just going to get worse. In time he will destroy your soul and it will be so much harder to recover.
      Dont tell him any plans. Just make sure as KIP states that you have a safety plan in place for leaving.

    • #118746

      I second what KIP states. Its impossible to untangle amicably from an abusive man.
      It was uncanny reading your situation as it sounds almost identical to my experience when I stated my marriage was over. Even though wed already discussed why couples counselling was not an option previously, he was still trying to persuade me to do this after I stated marriage over. He also wanted to sort out finances and child contact arrangements informally.
      I ended up doing the best thing I could have and would urge you to do the same. Do not get drawn into his manipulative words and persuasiveness. He just wants to control everything around separation.
      I contacted a solicitor and initiated process of separation via her. So glad I did. Of course I’ve seen his ugly side as a result. He tried to blackmail me into doing it all informally by stating that this would allow us to keep an amicable relationship, esp for the childrens sake, and that the alternative he feared would lead to long term suffering and damage to the whole family!! What a threat. I ignored it all. Please do not listen to anything he says. All he cares about is maintaining his control over you and he’ll try his hardest to do this, using a range of manipulative tactics. Stay strong and press on ahead with your solicitor by your side.
      My relationship with my husband has completely broken down but I will not take on board any guilt for that though he would try to pile all the blame on me. It is his behaviour and nobody else’s that has led to the situation we are in as a family now.

    • #118745

      I should add that I haven’t yet achieved totally no contact as unfortunately he facetimes the children (detail removed by Moderator) week (an agreement made via my solicitor). At the moment I have to facilitate this by answering his call and holding the phone so he can see the children as they are too young to do the call independently.
      This is annoying but it is still a massive improvement from previously when he was facetiming daily, and I had to deal with handovers in person several times a week during lockdown.
      I tolerate that facetime call in the knowledge it won’t be forever. And one day the children will be old enough to do it themselves.

    • #118744

      I understand how tough it is. I have two very young children. After I left my husband (detail removed by Moderator), I was tortured by seeing him for the frequent handovers of the children. It was so stressful. Much more recently I’ve taken a big step and gone no contact. Is this something you could consider to help towards your healing and building your new life of freedom?
      I wasn’t ready to go “no contact” when it was first suggested to me earlier this year. But having npw taken the plunge I can say with 100 percent confidence and peace that it was the right thing to do. Up until that point I was tortured by having to see him with his Cheshire cat grin at handovers.
      I have a very good friend who hands over and collects the children who has also agreed to do text/phone communication in-between contact if the need arises). I sent him an email just at the start of going no contact stating he was not to text, phone or email me unless it was an emergency relating to the children.
      It is a short-term arrangement and solution as I know I couldnt expect this friend to keep doing this for me indefinitely, but for now it is giving me some much needed space to heal from his abuse. But having gone no contact im determined to keep it up however i possibly can.
      At some point in the coming weeks, I will need to think of a new solution. My family don’t live nearby and I can’t think of any other friend I could ask but maybe ill look into the possibility of handing over via a contact centre and communicating anything important regarding the children via a communication diary/book that gets passed between me and him.
      Perhaps this is something you could consider if you don’t have a suitable third party in the form of family or friend who could do child handovers? X

    • #118741

      Hi Pea
      Totally agree with all of the above posts. As convincing as their performance is, it is exactly that. They know us inside out so they can say exactly what they know will mess with our minds, make us doubt reality. Do not listen to a word he says.
      My husband also presented himself as extremely reasonable and calm at the time I ended the relationship and left. Like you, I felt so angry.
      Do not trust him or his display of emotions in the slightest. These men are extremely manipulative. They are all the same! It took me a long time to realise that my husband was exactly the same as other abusive men as he spent two years after I confronted him trying to convince me he was not the same as other abusive men, he was going to change, he was fully committed to this change. It was all words. His actions did not match his words and so I finally left with the support of the most amazing domestic abuse service. Stay 💪 You can do this. I agree with others do not discuss a thing further with him. My husband tried to persuade me to sort out finances and child contact informally via an email which threatened a long drawn out, damaging process for me, him and the kids if I did not comply.
      I had already by that stage got a solicitor on board and communicated to him in no uncertain terms why I was not prepared to sort it all out without one.
      I’ve been free for much of this year now and am in the process of sorting out finances via a solicitor.
      I have also made child contact arrangements via my solicitor and would highly recommend this route. Otherwise your husband will continue his abuse and manipulation and constantly attempt to change goal posts. A solicitors letter also means you don’t have to have direct contact with them. In recent weeks I’ve taken the step of going no contact and handing the children over via a third party (he has been told he must not text, phone or email me unless an emergency relating to the children).
      It was a huge step for me but the best thing I could have done as I didnt truly start to clear my mind until I’d done that. I feel like only now am I really on the road to healing and recovery.
      You’ve got this! Sending strength and courage your way x

    • #117411

      Hi Rainbowcloud

      I’m so sorry you are going through this. This is 100 percent sexual abuse you are being subjected to.

      Have you ever completed The Freedom Programme by Pat Craven? There is an accompanying book called Living With The Dominator.
      t is available online but the best way to complete it currently is to find someone who is running it via zoom where you can join with other ladies who are survivors of abuse. It is such a helpful programme to clarify different aspects of the abuse you are experiencing eg sexual abuse, especially when you become part of a supportive group/network with other ladies where you can share your stories and gain clarity on your situation and get support should you decide to leave the relationship.

      I left my marriage after completing the programme. I never realised before that I had been sexually abused. I thought that because I had not actually said no to my husband when I didnt want to have sex (this was because I was too scared of the reaction if I were to say no) it meant I had consented and therefore it was not rape within marriage. When I recently reported my husband’s coercive control to police and part of their assessment involved questions in a risk assessment on this subject, the police actually confirmed that what my husband had done was rape.

      These men rarely change, in fact many of them become more abusive over time. My husband’s abuse got worse several months after the birth of our first child, just as you are describing.
      I wish I had left him then but at that point I was still very much making excuses in my mind for his behaviour eg work stress, health anxiety as well as the fact I simply did not have the knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of an abusive relationship that I have now!

      Have you spoken to Women’s Aid at all? They are also very helpful.


    • #117406

      Thanks KIP. Yes they are liars. Thats a good reminder to act on what they do and not what they say! x

    • #117394

      Hi Lavenderrose

      I just wanted to let you know my situation. I have very young children and for a month now I’ve gone “no contact”. I couldnt take any more of the anxiety and stress caused by the ongoing coercive control post separation. It has taken me a long time to build up the courage to do this but I’m so glad I have done!
      I sent him an email stating that from now on the children would be picked up/dropped off at a public place instead of our home and by a third party. Im extremely grateful to have a good friend who wanted to help me out and is happy to do this for me. I also stated in the email he was not to contact me directly (in any form: text, email, phone or turning up at house) unless it was an emergency involving the children. I have asked that any other communication regarding the children is passed on via my third party. I am in the process of applying for a non harassment order too as an additional measure to keep him from harassing me or turning up at my house.
      He doesnt know anything about the non harassment order yet but he hates that I’ve cut off contact and everything is through a third party. Im now facing another challenge in that so far hes been having non residential contact but he stated in his most recent solicitor letter that he is reducing his work hours and he proposes having the children for significant residential contact and buy a house locally.
      I’ve been reassured by my solicitor hes extremely unlikely to get what he wants nonetheless I’ve felt so stressed out by the thought he will probably take this to court when I dont agree with his proposal. I just want a quiet, peaceful life free of thr toxicity of abuse. It is evil the way these men try to take the children away from their mothers post separation, all because they want to destroy us for having the audacity to leave them.
      I’m sorry my post hasnt ended on a positive note but I just wanted to offer some hope around going no contact even when you have children with an abuser. As KIP has told you in her posts, it is possible to do this. You can’t co-parent with an abuser. There are ways and means of dealing with the bigger life decisions for your children as they arise. Dont get me wrong, Ive still got my own questions around some of this. For example, I know that my friend being my third party is only a short term solution, I cant ask her to do this forever. Perhaps one day I’ll have to handover the children via a contact centre. But it is a starting point. It has made a HUGE difference to my journey of healing from the abuse already! I can’t emphasise the extent to which it’s done this. I feel so much more freedom.
      At times i still get very anxious about the whole situation/future but I’ve found it helps to take everything moment by moment and stop my mind jumping to the “what ifs” regarding the future. That is so much easier said than done but with some determined focus and mindfulness it really is possible.
      Let us know how you get on!

    • #113687

      PS The freedom programme was written by Pat Craven. If you Google you’ll find info on it. As well as WWomen’s Aid, it is run by a range of other organisations too.

    • #113686

      I’d recommend counselling too. You definitely need a counsellor with good knowledge and experience of abuse though.
      I speak from both professional and personal experience as someone who has a qualification in integrative counselling (which means it draws on a combination of counselling approaches – psychodynamic, person centred, and CBT) and someone who has been on the receiving end of a well meaning counsellor who had no experience of the dynamics of an abusive relationship and therefore was not helpful to me in my healing process!

    • #113684

      The freedom programme isn’t counselling but it is a safe space to process and share with other women who have also been through and/or are going through abuse so understand. There is an online course you can complete independently but ideally you want to join an interactive freedom programme where you can connect with other women.
      There are various ones running across UK via zoom currently.
      If anyone is interested PM me and i can share how to access one.

    • #113683

      haha yes. After the point I confronted my husband about his abuse and gave him a second chance because he committed to change, every time I expressed anger it was my hormones and my period must be due. Hmm so not the fact that I’m actually experiencing anger processing all your past and ongoing abuse then?! No it was all turned back on me. Why am I angry? Oh yeah of course it cant be anything other than period related. 🙄
      Looks like a common one ladies!

    • #113682

      Thats great advice from KIP. Well done for taking such a big step and leaving. I can understand why you must feel daunted by it all.
      Do not allow yourself to feel guilty. It is false guilt. He is the one who has wronged you, not the other way around.
      I have not long left my abusive marriage. I feel your pain. Like you I never in a million years would have envisaged facing divorce. I have young children. It is the very last thing I want to go through. I dont want to be divorced either. But they have caused this situation not you or I. It has been done to us. Its very unfair but I know i have no choice but to go ahead with it. The alternative is not an option. I held on to hope for my husbands change for so long. It seemed possible during that time. I confronted him with his abuse. He said sorry and told me he was committed to change. I believed him. He was very clever as he even told me why he wasn’t the same as other abusive men. We had more than one conversation whereby he would explain to me the problem with the majority of abusive men was that they couldn’t look in the mirror and admit to the ugliness within themselves. He said he was different because he was accepting he had a problem etc etc
      I gave him that second chance. But all he demonstrated was that he hadnt changed at all.
      Please don’t doubt the decision you’ve made. It was a courageous one. You will be so much happier in the long run keeping him out. I cant sever ties with my husnand completely because we have children but even having him out of my home and daily life is so incredibly freeing (even though I’m also processing grief around the loss of the marriage i never had and what should have been, my hopes and dreams). Stay strong! Its a process.
      I’m currently trying to figure out how I can go minimal contact despite him having ongoing contact with the children. Now considering arranging it through a third party so I don’t have to see him face to face when he picks up or drops children off.

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