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6 years post divorce and abuse continues...


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Old 14th September 2011, 1:40 AM   #1
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6 years post divorce and abuse continues...

Will this ever end? I feel totally shattered. We were married for only 3 years-I got a restraining order when our daughter was a year old-the divorce took 3 years and the abuse continues even now. The worst part is, he is abusive in front of our child. I try so hard to keep her safe but I feel like I'm fighting an uphill battle. Recently he has threatened to beat up/kill me and my boyfriend. He swears and screams at us when we are dropping her off for her visits with him. He has threatened to take both me and my boyfriend to court for various reasons that he makes up. He has lied to the police, the judge, pretty much everyone he comes in contact with. He has no "filter" and tells my daughter things she should not be hearing (many of them lies). He is trying to convince my daughter that I am the problem and that my boyfriend and I are trying to get him in trouble. I think he actually BELIEVES his lies, and has a way of convincing other people they are the truth. When I had the restraining order, he violated it serveral times with no consequences. He is now trying to reduce child support, but has resisted all court orders to furnish proof of his supposedly reduced income. He is finally being held in contempt of court, but the judge keeps giving him ways out. As our daughter is getting older, he is digging his claws in and trying to get more time with her, but I know it's really just to get at me. I'm trying to get her into therapy but he is getting in the way. My lawyer told me she thinks my daughter "is safe in his care....except for the psychological abuse"! Seriously?! What sane parent would consider THAT safe? I don't even know where to turn for help anymore....
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Old 15th September 2011, 5:45 PM   #2
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I am in a similar position as you. I have 2 kids with my abusive ex. I finally initiated court action against him after MONTHS of documentation on my part. I recorded phone calls, exchanges, printed all emails, etc. Be sure recording phone calls in your state is legal before you do it. I took my kids to therapy (they openly discussed their father), and I asked the court for a Guardian ad Litem, which the judge appointed. In my case, there is also physical abuse (so that helps my cause), but it is still an uphill battle. Our first court appearance was in June, and no custody modification was done despite Dr. reports and school counselor reports of abuse. The family court system is wacked. In any case, we're going back for an evidentiary hearing soon and hopefully my ex will be exposed as an abuser and custody modification will be granted (supervised visitation was requested).

You CAN get another lawyer. I did. And read the book Child Custody A to Z by Guy White. You MUST have documentation, witnesses to the abuse (besides your bf). I found evidence on my ex's facebook account, youtube account, etc. You can also have a private detective observe him when he has custody of your daughter. Does he drink in her presence? Leave her unattended, is he abusive to her in public???

How is your ex getting in the way of therapy? My ex said "no" to therapy, and I took the kids to therapy anyway. The judge didn't seem to mind since it was really in the best interests of the children. You just need to be sure not to drag the therapist into the court proceedings - that will make you look like you had an agenda by taking your daughter to therapy. But if a Guardian ad Litem is assigned, then she/he will most definitely talk to the therapist.
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Old 16th September 2011, 12:31 AM   #3
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Thank-you for your reply. I've been going through this abuse with my ex for more than 10 years and sometimes still feel like there's no one out there that understands....I've read many books on domestic violence but not the one you recommended---thank-you, I will look into that one. I'm sorry about your situation; the courts really need to start protecting our children...I wish you the best of luck...

I'm really not sure how to proceed at this point. My ex brought me back to court to try to have child support reduced (for no other reason except that he wants to and thinks that the court should agree because I have a boyfriend...?) Because he then refused to follow the court's orders to provide his financial info, this has dragged on for months, with several court dates. In the process, his abuse has escalated considerably. Now I have a court date coming up for trial (for the child support issue he filed). I can either try to keep it limited to that (he won't win) or re-file a restraining order based on the escalation of abuse over the past several months, which may or may not be granted...and, who am I kidding anyway, doesn't do any good anyway. Then that turns our court date into a character debate, and since he's abusive I might not win that one...What is my safer choice? What keeps my daughter safer? When he realizes once and for all that his child support won't be decreased (which I think is what will happen) he will flip out, putting my daughter, myself and my bf in danger. But filing a restraining order would have that outcome also.

We've already done the GAL, 9 years ago when the divorce was pending. The GAL was supposedly a psycologist with experience with domestic violence. Well, my ex was able to schmooze him and had him on his side for over a year. The GAL actually thought *I* was interfering with my daughter's ability to bond with her father (based on my having PTSD from him). Finally, after a harrowing year and a half, the GAL seemed to figure out what was going on and the results were a little better, but it was a very difficult year and a half.

So, how is my ex interfering with my bringing my daughter to therapy? Unfortunately, since we have to have joing legal custody, the therapy clinic was obligated to inform him that I had scheduled an appointment for her. He told the therapist that he will not ALLOW therapy to proceed until he meets her and decides if he approves. It doesn't matter, once he becomes involved, I'm better off not bringing my daughter to therapy. He will find a way to turn my daughter off to the therapist or make me look like the bad guy. After my experience with the GAL, I am very leary. I just want my daughter to have someone to talk to that can help her deal with all this chaos that is her life..

Even after going through this for so many years, I still can't believe how screwy our legal system is, and how much they protect abusive men. Isn't it the children that should be protected??????
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Old 16th September 2011, 4:18 PM   #4
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I do hear you on the therapy. My ex showed up to my son's last therapy appointment, and it was horrible. Can you ask the judge about therapy when you go to court? Or does your daughter's school have a counselor? I had my kids meet with the school counselor a few times last year.

The family court system is terrible - and they do protect abusive fathers (and mothers) thinking it is almost always in the best interests of the child to have access to both parents. Of course, they are not the ones who have to live with the consequences of court-ordered child abuse. But with enough evidence, it is possible to change things. And if you get another GAL maybe he or she will see things more clearly than the first GAL. If it is legal to record conversations in your state, then you can show him/her those recordings. Keep a recorder on you all the time.
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Old 21st September 2011, 10:11 AM   #5
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feeling defeated...

I'm afraid this might be a battle I can't win...my ex is not very smart, but *is* very smart about being abusive and still coming out looking like the good guy...Although my lawyer is good in some ways, she is definitely not fighting for me and my daughter the way I think she should. She makes up excuses for my ex and sides with him on issues that seem crazy to me. However, my bf and I are already living paycheck-to-paycheck, the legal fees have put us behind, and we can't afford the cost of retaining a new lawyer. The emotional and financial stress on *our* relationship is huge. I'm trying to keep as much normalcy and stability in our lives as I can for my daughter's sake, but her father continues to dig his claws in and get every second he feels he is "entitled to" with my daughter, whether it is in her best interest or not. Why am I the only one who cares about her best interest? I am so sad and feeling defeated---both by my ex and by the system...

As for therapy, my ex finally signed consent for my daughter to start therapy. I know that he will find ways to interfere, whether it's through playing the "good parent" to the therapist or by grilling my daughter on her sessions and making her uncomfortable or by finding another way to influence the sessions. He is trying to convince my daughter that I'm the bad parent, so I'm sure that's what he told the therapist. And now that we have his consent to proceed with therapy, I'm having a hard time finding a time to bring my daughter in that won't conflict with her schedule (after-school activities, dance, etc.) I got the distinct impression that the therapist is holding that against me. My feeling is, we've waited all this time to start therapy, we can wait another week if we have to in order to cause the least amount of disruption in my daughter's daily life. I feel like everything I do to try to help my daughter ends up back-firing.

I talked to her school, and in the past met with the school psychologist...that proved useless. My daughter is pretty well-adjusted at school, I think it's her "safety zone", so I'm not sure she'd even want to talk to the school counselor...

How do I protect her from the effects of her father's emotional and psychological abuse when he's just allowed to get away with everything????
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Old 28th September 2011, 12:16 AM   #6
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was therapy a bad idea????

Finally got my daughter in to meet the therapist, but I have a really bad feeling about it...I *know* her father is going to interfere, probably already has. I'm really concerned that while I'm trying to do what's best for my daughter, her father, by insisting on being involved in the therapy process, will cause it to backfire.

The clinic director told me that since my ex and I have joint legal custody, they were required to send him a letter informing him that I had scheduled an appointment for my daughter, giving him an opportunity to refuse her therapy if he chose. He insisted on meeting the therapist before therapy could begin. Then he met the therapist and signed consent. Isn't that all that is necessary? I'm getting the impression that the therapist is trying to make him an integral part of the therapy process. All I wanted was for my daughter to have an outside person she could trust to talk to, as a kind of "sounding board". Now I feel like it's been turned into a circus. The therapist wants to meet with me again, then my ex, then my daughter---to deal with her periods of difficulty breathing (symptom of anxiety) as well as transitions between home and her father's house. We have been apart for 10 years, he is abusive to me and in front of her, I have primary physical custody, and we are not co-parenting. The therapist (possibly under the suggestion of my ex...?) is turning this theapy for my daughter into something very different from the help I was trying to get her. Now I feel like I'm in a no-win situation--whether I continue to bring my daughter to this therapist or not, it may backfire. Her father can either interfere with ongoing therapy or hold it against me in court if I stop bringing her.

What is my best course of action at this point? Court date in 2 weeks, need to give ex the least amount of ammunition going into it...
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Old 29th September 2011, 12:12 AM   #7
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I think he actually BELIEVES his lies, and has a way of convincing other people they are the truth.
Jilbie, he likely does believe most of his lies. The behavior you describe -- verbal abuse, temper tantrums, inappropriate anger, projection (i.e., believing his own false allegations), inability to trust, lack of impulse control, and black-white thinking -- are some of the classic traits of BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), which my exW has. I therefore encourage you to read about the nine BPD traits to see if your H has most of them at a strong level.

Significantly, you won't be able to determine whether his traits are so strong that they satisfy 100% of the diagnostic criteria for having full-blown BPD. Only a professional can do that. Yet, even when professionals do make such a determination, they are loath to tell the client the true name of his disorder -- for reasons I've discussed in many other posts (e.g., high functioning BPDers almost certainly will quit therapy on hearing the diagnosis and insurance usually does not cover it). Because they are loath to tell the client, there is little chance they will tell you or be willing to testify about it in court. Moreover, as you already observed, it is easy for a BPDer to hide his symptoms during therapy sessions held only 50 minutes once a week. Indeed, BPDers tend to be excellent actors.

Hence, for your protection and that of your daughter, it is important to find out what you are dealing with. I suggest that you go to a clinical psychologist on your own and obtain his professional opinion. I also suggest you read about BPD traits because, although diagnosis is difficult, spotting strong occurrences of the traits is very easy when you've known someone for many years, as you have.

An easy place to start reading in this forum are my posts in Rebel's thread. They start at http://www.loveshack.org/forums/show...35#post3398735. If that discussion rings a bell, you may want to also read my overview of BPD traits in Inigo's thread. They start at http://www.loveshack.org/forums/show...53#post2826453. If most of those traits sound familiar, I would be glad to discuss them with you and to point you to good online resources. One is an online forum targeted to ex-spouses who are having to raise their children while sharing custody with a BPDer parent. It is called BPDfamily.com.

If your exH is a BPDer (i.e., has strong BPD traits), it is important to know that so you can understand how best to deal with him -- an important goal given that you will be tethered to your exH until your daughter turns 18. Moreover, because BPD is believed to be hereditary, there is some risk a BPDer parent will pass the propensity for a mental disorder onto his children -- either through his genes or by abusing the child. Take care, Jilbie.
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Old 29th September 2011, 11:13 PM   #8
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Downtown,

Thank-you for your insights and perspective. I've read some of your posts in the past and thought, "hmm, what about BPD?" but I'm not sure...I was leaning more toward NPD for my ex...what are your thoughts? I have googled it and most of what I read makes me think--that's him....Also, professionals in my life have "diagnosed" him as NPD (through my descriptions of his behavior and/or knowing him). I guess the only reason it matters is that knowing would help me learn how to deal more effectively with him and therefore protect myself and my daughter in the best way possible. And there's also the genetic piece, as you pointed out... the link in your post to Indigo for the 10 traits of BPD did not work, I will have to do some additional searching but will definitely keep BPD in mind...
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Old 30th September 2011, 12:05 AM   #9
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I was leaning more toward NPD for my ex...what are your thoughts?
My thoughts are that you likely know him better than anyone on the planet. So, if you find that his behavior is closer to that of strong NPD traits, it likely is. As I understand it, Jilbie, there are three major differences between BPDers and NPDers.

First, whereas NPDers are emotionally stable, BPDers are not. This instability is why BPDers flip back and forth between loving and hating you and do much more of the push-you-away and pull-you-back behavior. That flip usually occurs in ten seconds based on some innocuous thing you said or did. Once a person has been subjected to this cycle a dozen times -- being alternately adored and hated -- she starts feeling like an addict who is alternating between heroine highs one day and heroine withdrawal pains the next.

This is why a BPDer relationship is considered so addictive and toxic. And this is why the most distinguishing hallmark of a BPDer relationship is strong feeling of the nonBPD partner that she is losing her mind. It therefore is very common for the partners to go running to a therapist to find out if they are going crazy. Although the partners of narcissists also are treated abusively, it is unusual for them to feel they are going crazy.

Second, although NPDers also do the push-pull (but to a lesser extent), they do not do it because of altering between the abandonment fear and engulfment fear like BPDers. Rather, the NPDers typically do it because, once you return to them, they lose interest in you and start taking you for granted -- i.e., they do not feel engulfed like the BPDers. Like the BPDers, NPDers can rage in response to your comments. Yet, the rage usually is in response to your disagreeing with them, thus refusing to validate their false image of being a person who is always right. In contrast, the BPDers get furious when you say anything triggering their two great fears: abandonment and engulfment.

Third, whereas BPDers typically are caring individuals who actually can love you (albeit in an impaired and immature manner), NPDers are not truly caring and do not love you. Instead, they consider you a useful object when you are supporting their false self image and a non-useful object when you are not supportive.

Author Richard Skerritt argues that BPDers and NPDers are suffering from the same underlying disorder - a disorder based in fear of others seeing flaws in them. He explains that the difference between these two "diagnoses" is a different kind of coping. "Borderlines" cope poorly, falling into despondence, suicide, substance abuse, and despair.

These same people, at other times, will build a functioning narcissistic defense.
In this mode, they rely on a stable predictable environment, limiting exposure to new people, where they can perform flawlessly, do all the things they feel they're expected to do, and keep their family "in line" so that they, too, exhibit no flaws. People using a narcissistic defense appear "perfect" to work, community, and extended family, but are brutal to the family in their own home. In contrast, BPDers respond to exposure of a flaw with a loss of hope, while NPDers act with crushing brutality to stabilize their defensive facade.

Skerritt concludes that people transition between these levels of defense. At times in their lives they are able to maintain a stable narcissistic perimeter. At other times, because of job changes, relationships changes, illness or other uncontrollable changes, their perimeter breaks down, and they drop into a despairing mode with behaviors that are more borderline. With time and support, they usually rebuild a new narcissistic system. Perhaps Skerritt is correct. Perhaps not. This is just one theory of how the two disorders may be related.
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Old 30th September 2011, 1:47 PM   #10
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Get a voice-activated recorder and keep it in your pocket every single time you have to be in contact with him. If your daughter is afraid of him, give her one, too, if she's old enough to be responsible for it and not tell him about it. Record everything he says to you and give your lawyer a copy of it. Keep taking her to therapy and stop worrying about what he will 'do' to sabotage it - she needs help period.

Tell your lawyer you're not happy with how she's representing you - you pay her, remember? Try to find a way to make more money so you can get a better lawyer as well.

Start researching your local organizations for any kind of help you can get. There are a ton of charities out there - use them. Including finding a therapist for yourself, for free or on a sliding scale. You are still attached to your ex and you need to get help to detach from him.
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Old 5th October 2011, 12:04 PM   #11
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feeling totally overwhelmed....

I'm doing all the "right things" to disengage from my ex. I had him vacated from our home with a restraining order 9 years ago,and I'm on (at least) round 3 of doing the "right things" to disengage. I've done support groups, workshops on surviving domestic violence, stress-management workshops, workshops on humor as a healing tool, a RAD program...I've educated myself on domestic violence issues, have read some great books (Lundy Bancroft has written some fantastic books). I am constantly trying to educate myself on better ways to deal with my ex based on whatever it is I'm dealing with in him (BPD? NPD?). I have been in therapy in the past and have recently started going again. I tried medication for anxiety for a few years. I have strengthened my support network, and have a very supportive BF, who is also a wonderful role model for my daughter.

In the midst of doing all the right things to get through the h*ll my ex is putting me, my daughter and my BF through, I'm also trying to live my life. I'd like to be able to enjoy my life, and my daughter, and my relationship with my bf without all this stress. Why is my ex allowed to continue to harrass me, threaten me,drag me to court, show up at my house in the middle of the night, ruin me financially...in general be very scary and be a horrible and incredibly unhealthy role model to my daughter, and nobody seems to be able to stop him? I was with him for five years, why does that give him license to ruin the rest of my life??? My daughter and I deserve a happy life...
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Old 5th October 2011, 12:45 PM   #12
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The best thing I can think to say is to educate yourself more on the legal system. Know your rights down to the letter, keep AMAZING records of each and every thing he does, and know when you can and can't get him in trouble. And use that knowledge to follow up; the more trouble you become, the less he'll try.
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Old 5th October 2011, 1:08 PM   #13
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My older sister was in the same situation as you. Her XH was physically and verbally abusive to her during their marriage, and continued to threaten her after their divorce. She had to get a restraining order against him and get an unlisted phone number, and she had a 3rd party to coordinate the transition for the visitation so she wouldn't have to see him at all. I would suggest you ask the child's therapist about that--having a 3rd party to coordinate the visitations--possibly a trusted relative. That would keep you away from him, but would also allow for a safe and less traumatic transition for the visitation. It's highly unlikely that the court will take away his visitation, so I wouldn't bother spending your money on legal fees for that reason. 99%+ chance the court will still allow him visitation. Just have the 3rd party coordinate the visitations and have the 3rd party bring the child over there and have the 3rd party pick up the child. You need to stay away from your X. And continue the therapy sessions for your child. My nieces had therapy to deal with the drama from their situation. It was a good thing for them, and they turned out emotionally healthy because of it. I doubt they would have without the therapy.
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Old 10th October 2011, 7:40 PM   #14
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too much stress....

So my ex filed his motion to reduce child support and increase phone contact and time with daughter back in March. Probate office denied his request. He re-filed the same exact thing a month later. Probate office denied his request *again*. On our third court appearance, we went before the judge who explained to him that he can't keep coming in with the same request for modification, that he was wasting the court's time. She ordered him to pay my legal fees (which he did not do). On our fourth court appearance, he claimed he was too poor to pay my legal fees and questioned why anyone would want him to do that. My lawyer then filed contempt charges, but he failed to appear for that court date because he was on (a very expensive) vacation at a theme park with our daughter and his daughter from another marriage. The judge finally decided to put him in contempt of court and threatened to jail him if he did not pay my legal fees by a certain date (4 months later than the first date he was ordered to pay by). He then paid, but later than the judge ordered (of course)-but does not have to go to jail. There are no consequences for his actions, ever, which is what he counts on.

So throughout this whole court process, his abuse has escalated. Our court date for trial was scheduled for this week. As nervous as I am about the trial (not knowing what to expect) I was relieved that there would finally be some closure and I could put this behind me.

Now, he has decided to retain a lawyer, who is requesting to continue the case, which means this will be hanging over my head until JUNE. It is supposedly a simple case, but is being dragged out for over a year because of his abuse...

Any words of wisdom? I can't take the stress....
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Old 10th October 2011, 9:22 PM   #15
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you ever figure why he beats you so much you stupid skank???

YOU ARE A ****ING BUTTON PUSHER CLEARLY. he deserves full custody. what the hell kinda woman are you. you are living off his dime, not doing a damn thing for your daughter, probably slamming meth and leaving her to be babysat by the tv.
Wow what type of advice is this?
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