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I left him

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silverhopes posted 11/14/2019 10:31 AM

2 weeks ago, I told my H that I need to be alone and not in a relationship with anyone because my health issues need all of my attention. I said "not in a relationship with anyone" because each time I've tried before to leave him, he's accused me of leaving him for someone else and keeps accusing me of being unfaithful to him. I wanted to reassure him that there is none of that going on. Which is completely true - at this point, I think it would be better to not plan on dating ever again, for more reasons than I care to name. Plus saying it the way I did, where I made it about my health issues, I thought would go over better than saying, "I'm leaving you because of your abusiveness." I said I would still be his friend and support him. The few times I spoke to him, I would tell him "you're my friend" to really try to emphasize that we're done. I've been blocking him on my phone off and on and trying to deal with the guilt of leaving - even though he's extremely abusive, I feel like I am responsible for his health, a feeling both he and other family members have done their best to impress on me. But I am more responsible for my son, and I know him being around our son isn't healthy for Lil Silver. Plus I am more terrified of CPS than I am of my H.

He got out of jail yesterday. Now I'm terrified. Still not breaking NC. Went over a safety plan with my boss in case my H approaches me. My boss advised I get us into a public location and then call the police, so I won't be alone with him in case the situation escalates. I know he'll still need his stuff at some point, and not sure how to deal with that, but that's the least of my worries for the moment.

What do I do about the guilt? Not to mention the feelings that "maybe we can work out!" because Hopium is just sick and I need to NOT LISTEN to it. No, we can't work out. I love the man I *thought* I married, and he isn't that man anymore, if he ever was. I think he was at one point. I think he was genuinely kind and loving to me, and it hurts to know that even if he intends to be that way now, it never stays that way. He can seem sweet to me at times, and maybe he really means it, but he always goes back to abusing me. Always. And what do I do when it really sinks in for my H that I am really done? Will I have to face him eventually? How long is it OK to hide behind NC? Am I being a coward?

36yearsgone posted 11/14/2019 10:57 AM

If you have to have a safety plan to protect you from your husband, you don't need to feel any guilt for leaving him. Relief maybe, but guilt, no!

The1stWife posted 11/14/2019 11:05 AM

Please please please call a domestic abuse hotline inyour area. They will get you help and support.

He is emotionally abusive and has twisted your mindset into believing things that are not true.

He’s responsible for his health issues - not you
He has to take accountability for his behavior and mistreatment of you and your family
Your child is your #1 priority b/c the father is not a stable parent so that means only YOU have the child’s best interest

Get counseling. Get support. Get your ducks in a row. Now.

Stay strong. Tell yourself every day - every second of every day - that you have a chance to undo some of the damage your child has witnessed - but only by getting out!! And moving on from this terrible situation.

Get a lawyer. Get restraining orders in place. Have him arrested every time he violates the protection orders. Do not speak to him if you fear you will backslide.

Pray. Breathe. Eat. Drink water. Exercise or take a walk. Meditate. Read. Anything (no drinking or substances unless medically prescribed) to deflect your thoughts away from him.

BEST of luck and keep posting here.

Adlham posted 11/14/2019 11:21 AM

Having been through similar, let me offer a few suggestions.

You are not a coward. Concern for safety doesn't make you a coward, it makes you smart!

Restraining orders are your best friend. I don't know how much they vary from state to state. When i had to rely on them, I was able to specify that a police officer be present when he came to get his stuff. Did it suck? Oh yes, add it to surrealism that was my life then. But I was safe. As devastatingly unreal it all was, the safety of my child and I trumped everything else. I couldn't suck it up for me, but I sure as hell could do it for my baby.

Depending on visitation, you may have to deal with him. Or you can request supervised visits. You can even do what I did at first, which was to arrange for an intermediary. In my case, it was his parents. Later on, he lost interest in being a parent. He hasn't exercised his parenting time since 2000. She's nearly 23 now. She's seen him twice since she was 3. Once at his sister's wedding and once at his nephew's funeral. His choice.

Listen, hiding behind NC does not make you a coward. I moved house several times to ensure my safety. You do what you have to do to feel safe and to keep your kids safe.

There is no shame in that. You take all the time you need. Get creative with visitation. There's a small town here in my state (Deschutes County, Oregon if you want to do a search) that provides a safe room in the sheriff's office for custody exchanges. Maybe there is something similar in your area. If not, maybe you can ask. The worst they can say is no, but maybe it will plant a seed for them to step up their game.

I'm sorry that you are going through this. It gets better. It gets easier. My ex moved on when it was apparent that I was no longer participating. Unfortunately, this all just takes time.

But you do whatever you need to do to feel that you and your son are safe.

Buck posted 11/14/2019 11:31 AM

Silverhopes, I read your bio and you have been through an absolute ordeal. You’ ma’am, are a badass! You’ve survived stuff that would break most people. Please give yourself more credit.

I understand the guilt of leaving, I change is scary and knowing you’re the one pulling the trigger is difficult. Difficult is an understatement. It’s hard to let go of something that once meant so much to you.

My mother went through much of what you’ve gone through. My father would hit her, intimidate her, belittle her, he cheated, he would occasionally drink too much, he was an asshole. He never simply beat me and my sister, he would dole out severe “punishments” though. Things did escalate over the years. My mom finally did leave after discovering my father moved AP to same city after he had a job transfer. He ended up losing his job and moving away. His marriage to AP fell apart too. I didn’t see or speak to him in over 10 years. Things rapidly got better when he was gone. Your situation can get better.

Given the RO and his recent jail release for the DV, can you request an officer presence while he retrieved his things? Please get some pepper spray too. Fox Labs is a good brand.

I truly wish you all the best.

HellFire posted 11/14/2019 11:40 AM

Leaving your abuser, is one of the bravest things you will ever do.

tushnurse posted 11/14/2019 12:40 PM

If you have to have a safety plan to protect you from your husband, you don't need to feel any guilt for leaving him. Relief maybe, but guilt, no!

Silver I am so very very proud of what you are doing.

Please let go of the guilt. As someone that has been abused for a long time you are going to question your actions, and your sanity.

Please know that you are stronger and braver than most. What you have done is smart and shows some real love for yourself and your child.

Please continue to let others help you. Know that you are doing the right things to ensure your child grows up with a healthy idea of how relationships should work, and that it is ok to demand respect, and not tolerate abuse.

Eyes on the prize and that is you and your future and your happiness.

wildbananas posted 11/14/2019 14:04 PM

Leaving your abuser, is one of the bravest things you will ever do.

This!

You aren't being a coward at ALL. Stay behind NC forever if it's what keeps you and your boy safe. And yes, please reach out to a domestic abuse hotline. You need safeguards in place for you and your boy.

I'm so proud of you for taking this step! It's hard but I promise, the life you gain will be worth it.

silverhopes posted 11/14/2019 17:40 PM

Thank you everyone. I will respond more later but I wanted to say thank you all for your kind words - they were what I needed right now.

I had a really good therapy session today. Even though it wasn't the point, I weirdly realized that it would help me to think of all the ways Mr Silver's life will improve now, as a way to alleviate the guilt and help me maintain NC. Even though my reasons for leaving must be more for Lil Silver's health and my own, right now trying to prevent myself from making stupid choices based on guilt for Mr Silver is my goal. I don't want to backslide. And I am pretty sure he will live a better life now.

He can start fresh again - if he didn't like who he was, then he doesn't have to be that person again. No one has to know about the abuse, as long as he doesn't abuse anyone again (he told me that I am the only woman he's ever hit). Now that I'm not distracting him, he'll hopefully depend more on his supports - his caseworker (hopefully they'll stop dropping the ball and give him one again!), his psychiatrist, his public defender, and all the people in the courts who are rooting for him. And maybe he'll get back to his mental health baseline. He'll be able to focus on himself and his overall health.

And as for the times he said I'm the only one he remembers, that I'm the only person he's ever truly had... Maybe that's true. But if I were seeing another couple going through this, I would ask, 'If she's all he has, then why would he ruin it by abusing her?' I wouldn't judge her for leaving. But it's harder when it's yourself in this situation. And considering all the women he's either pursued, crossed boundaries with, and even just outright claimed that he noticed and felt more love with than he felt with me (though usually he said this when he was very unwell) - I have no doubt he'll find someone again in short order. I hope he'll be able to learn from his mistakes and not abuse her.

We couldn't be back together, because for him to be truly healthy for us, he would have to dislike who he was so much that he would decide on his own to never abuse anyone ever again, whether I'm there or not. I hope for his sake he decides that.

If you have to have a safety plan to protect you from your husband, you don't need to feel any guilt for leaving him. Relief maybe, but guilt, no!

This is where I want to get to.

Again, thank each and every one of you for your supportive posts. I'll write more later, but I had to say thank you, especially right now when I'm struggling. (((((everyone here)))))

silverhopes posted 11/14/2019 19:21 PM

^ My goal for the above is to help me maintain NC and to help me purge some of the guilt. If I can reframe how I think about it, maybe I can suffer less. And the reality is, this is all Mr Silver's choice anyway. It always was.

Now the hard part will be focusing on my own life. I doubt myself as a mother. I need to do better. The only good thing I know for a fact I did was to show Lil Silver that I love him. He doesn't doubt that. On that one thing, I know I have succeeded, and I hope that will give him a foundation in stability - the knowledge that his mother loves him and will never abandon him (which is more than either myself or Mr Silver got). But I doubt myself on everything else. So... parenting classes, trauma therapy for the two of us, reading a lot, asking help from the doctor (especially a feeding clinic), reading up on Sensory Processing Disorder, and above all practicing consistency with him. THIS needs to be where I go next.

There is a criminal restraining order. It lasts until 2027. I need to get in touch with a local DV organization and start going to their support groups. I had been hesitant before, but now realize I need to do it, because it's the responsible thing to do. I need to be responsible for my and Lil Silver's lives and health.

He is emotionally abusive and has twisted your mindset into believing things that are not true.

This is what I am trying to figure out. I am trying to untangle myself and detach the buttons he and others have pressed. I need to LEARN what being mentally healthy looks like, down to minute details.

Tell yourself every day - every second of every day - that you have a chance to undo some of the damage your child has witnessed - but only by getting out!! And moving on from this terrible situation.

THIS. This, more than anything else. It is unfair to Lil Silver to do otherwise. I can't do this to him; I have to get him out of this mess! Thank you, The1stWife. This is the hard truth I need to face: that I put my son in danger by not leaving sooner, by not having better boundaries. I can do better now by not repeating my same bad choices, but the reality remains that my son is in pain already, and it's my responsibility to fix this - I already failed him by not keeping him safe from his dad - Mr Silver never harmed Lil Silver directly, but just *being in that situation* harmed him and compromised his health. I am damn lucky that the CPS didn't take him away - considering how the system works, it's likely he would have wound up in a worse home, but that doesn't excuse what I did, failing to provide safety emotionally for him. I can do better; I WILL do better for Lil Silver. It's been more than a month since he's seen his dad, so I'd better not backslide his progress. He has a therapist at his school, but he needs more support. So, that's my responsibility.

BEST of luck and keep posting here.

I will. I apologize in advance if I post too much. Folks don't have to respond if I post too much or get weird... Sometimes just writing here helps me so much, much more than keeping it all inside, or being alone with my thoughts. Thank you for being here and letting me post, SI.

Listen, hiding behind NC does not make you a coward. I moved house several times to ensure my safety. You do what you have to do to feel safe and to keep your kids safe.

Thank you, Adlham. I'm sorry you've gone through this and that he treated you this way. I'm glad you're safe now. How do you deal with the aftereffects of what he did, the trauma he left you with? How are YOU feeling?

I'll write more in a bit. Lil Silver now.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 7:24 PM, November 14th (Thursday)]

EggplantGalore posted 11/14/2019 21:26 PM

"I need to get in touch with a local DV organization and start going to their support groups. I had been hesitant before, but now realize I need to do it, because it's the responsible thing to do. I need to be responsible for my and Lil Silver's lives and health."

Silver, please do not be afraid to get help, and do not feel ashamed because of what your H did. I went to DV classes. There was a group for the women at our local shelter, and we were 20 women strong. There was amazing relief with the support and everything we learned together.

After a long time of drowning in the abuse from my XH, I started to question reality and think maybe I deserved it or something. Sitting in a room full of women who understood and helped each other get out of the pain together was a tremendous help.

My kids also went to the DV support group for kids. We had workbooks and strategies for the women and the kids. Find out if your shelter does classes for kids and adults. You will meet new friends at these classes, and you will find safety and relief.

cocoplus5nuts posted 11/15/2019 06:04 AM

I doubt myself as a mother.


Most of us do this. Here's the thing. There isn't anything that you have to do to be a good mother. You obviously love your son and are trying to give him the best you can. That is enough. That, right there, makes you a good and successful mother.

I agree with everyone else to contact a DV hotline or organization. Don't be afraid or ashamed. The people are there for you. They took that job because they understand. They don't judge. They just want to help you.

cocoplus5nuts posted 11/15/2019 06:04 AM

I doubt myself as a mother.


Most of us do this. Here's the thing. There isn't anything that you have to do to be a good mother. You obviously love your son and are trying to give him the best you can. That is enough. That, right there, makes you a good and successful mother.

I agree with everyone else to contact a DV hotline or organization. Don't be afraid or ashamed. The people are there for you. They took that job because they understand. They don't judge. They just want to help you.

Walloped posted 11/15/2019 07:06 AM

I’m sorry I don’t have any wise words or advice as I don’t really have any experience with what you’re going through, but I at least wanted to tell you that, for what it’s worth, I think you are a tremendously brave and strong woman, and a loving and protective mother who is doing her very best in an extremely difficult situation.

Wishing you continued strength.

BraveSirRobin posted 11/15/2019 07:43 AM

One thing that strikes me about any kind of abuse situation is how differently the victim sees themselves from how other people see them.

When I read your threads where you describe yourself, I see self-doubt, guilt, fear, and a general sense of lack of value. When I see you post on any other topic, I see intelligence, confidence, insight, compassion, and courage. Your posts are articulate, you stand up for people who are being oppressed or overlooked, you notice when someone is perpetuating a societal injustice, and you call it out. You offer support where it's needed and forthright challenge where it's required.

THAT is Lil Silver's mom!

Yes, you need to detach from your abusive H. He may be struggling, but he is a grown ass man with other resources, and Lil Silver only has you. You need to prioritize your son, no doubt about it, and if reminding yourself of that helps you walk away from abuse, keep it up.

But Lil Silver has an amazing mother, clearly more amazing than she herself knows.

silverhopes posted 11/15/2019 11:37 AM

Silverhopes, I read your bio and you have been through an absolute ordeal. You’ ma’am, are a badass! You’ve survived stuff that would break most people. Please give yourself more credit.

Thank you for saying that, Buck.

I am so sorry for what you, your mom, and your sister went through.

Given the RO and his recent jail release for the DV, can you request an officer presence while he retrieved his things? Please get some pepper spray too. Fox Labs is a good brand.

I like your and Adlham's suggestion of asking for an officer to be present. I don't know who to talk to about it, but I might try to ask my caseworker. I wonder if there would be a way to get an intermediary to take his stuff to him, rather than him come over here.

Will definitely check out the pepper spray! Thank you for the recommendation about the brand!

silverhopes posted 11/15/2019 12:00 PM

Leaving your abuser, is one of the bravest things you will ever do.

Thank you HellFire. I hope I am brave enough to follow through.

He called me a little while ago from a number I didn't know (blocked now). When I repeated, "You're my friend," he said, "and your mate too? We are mates until you divorce me or whatever," and I told him again that I need to be alone to deal with my health issues, that I can't handle being in a relationship. He's not accepting that I'm done. This is what I was worried about. Not surprised, but it's still disconcerting. Either way, I blocked that number too, so the continued NC will hopefully help get the message across better than my words can.

As someone that has been abused for a long time you are going to question your actions, and your sanity.

^ This, all the time. I don't know how to find stability and mental rest. I don't know how to settle the pain and breathe freely again. My physical health is acting up again, which feeds into my doubts about my sanity, and it's a vicious cycle. A couple of weeks ago I was writing in my journal about "intermittent rewards" and the way they are used in an abusive relationship to help trap the one being abused. I'm reminding myself that even if he sounded nice just now, he'd go back to abusing me if I talk to him again. And I'll be left blaming myself and wondering how I ruined our good time together. That's how it goes, again and again.

I don't know how to find my sanity. I just want to feel safe. I really, really want a hug, to be held for a long time, and to have someone I can feel safe around, someone who would be kind and understanding and would be OK with my feelings pouring out (I can't cry anymore, and I think it's because I'm not in a safe place to be able to cry) but I don't have anyone like that. Instead, I'm telling myself to stop acting like a victim. I hear that in my dad's voice. Don't draw anyone else into my drama.

I'm so proud of you for taking this step! It's hard but I promise, the life you gain will be worth it.

Thank you ((((wildbananas)))). How are you and the bunch?

After a long time of drowning in the abuse from my XH, I started to question reality and think maybe I deserved it or something.

I have that same problem, EggplantGalore: too much time in the presence of their abuse, and they warp our brain chemistries, our senses of reality. They gaslight us and tear us down bit by bit. I also felt (and still feel) that I deserved the abuse. In time, did that feeling fade for you? Were you able to challenge it and feel differently - that you did not ever deserve the abuse?

My kids also went to the DV support group for kids.

I had no idea they had DV support groups for kids! That is so awesome!!! Thank you - I will definitely check to see if I can find something like this for my son. I'm glad there are places that remember that kids need to heal from the abuse, that they need tools and support, that whether they were direct victims or indirect victims, they were abused too.

Thank you everyone. I'll be back to write more in a bit. Thank you for your kindness, support, good ideas, and great questions, helping me consider the whole picture.

[This message edited by silverhopes at 12:14 PM, November 15th (Friday)]

nekonamida posted 11/15/2019 13:13 PM

SH, I'm so glad you got out. You are strong! You will survive this!

In addition to DV services, see if you can get some IC for yourself. Ask your case worker or the DV advocates what options you have. IC is going to help you untangle all of that guilt and shame that you don't need to carry around anymore and put some of that long standing trauma behind you.

hikingout posted 11/15/2019 13:37 PM

I didn't know much about your personal situation as it's been some time since I have seen a post you started. Mostly I have encountered you in other's threads. You are a very wise and kind woman, and as a mother that is the thing that can really matter the most.

You have nothing to feel guilty about, you stuck it out longer than most could. I don't have a lot of wise words here either, I just hope you get some resources to help you eradicate any feeling you have of responsibility towards him. He doesn't feel that responsibility towards you. Take good care, it looks like you have some good plans.

Adlham posted 11/15/2019 15:27 PM

(((Silverhopes))) I have to be honest. The first few years were kind of hard. Actually, the end of year 2. When i finally left, my daughter was only 3 months old. I felt like I didn't have time to deal with my issues.

About 2 years later, I kind of had a nervous breakdown. I think it was because I finally felt safe enough, as he had moved to the Midwest. Well over easy driving distance in a day, plus a new victim.

I fell apart. I had panic attacks if I was alone at night. It's actually kind of funny, in a painful sort of way, to look back on just how badly I flipped my lid, yet was still functional as long as it was daytime.

I later discovered that the root of my panic attacks was all this underlying fury that I had just kept stuffing. Once I started addressing that, it eventually became ok. I think I was on ativan for a year, but I developed a lot of improved coping skills and haven't had a panic attack in years. The trick, for me, is to let that anger out, which is why you may see periodic tirades on SI from me LOL

But it helps me stay panic free.

This is why I encourage anyone who is leaving a DV situation to please get help from someone who specializes in it. I didn't sleep alone in my house for almost a year. Either a friend would come stay or me & the kid couch surfed. I just could not be alone at night. And even though I can laugh about it now, I also can still say it was the worst year of my life, so far.

There is something to be said about falling apart and putting yourself together again, though. As long as you have some good support to help pick up the pieces.

Life is really good now. I had all those same doubts and feelings of inadequacy that you do. My DV counselor helped me realize how wrong that was. That I am worth more.

I have been married for 16 years now. My husband has never raised his voice in anger to me, never called me bad names in anger, and has certainly never physically abused me. He's a really good man. Sometimes, I can't believe he's real.

The best thing I ever did was to spend 3 years working on putting myself back together in a MUCH more healthy way. I spent so many years in chaos survival mode that I had to learn how to function when not in chaos mode.

I imagine that you will have to learn how to thrive rather than just survive, too, which is why it is so important to get professional help. But it's worth it.

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