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Abuse in Divorce..


tomatty
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I have posted previously in the new members posting area about the years of abuse I endured from my wife, and now that I have told her I wanted a divorce, the abuse has turned even nastier, to punching, pinching, shoving, and screaming obscenities at me in front of my children. I am extremely unconfrontational, probably to a fault, and I feel that she is doing anything she can to try to get me to go off and perhaps hurt her in any way so she can get a restraining order. There have been no court orders about temporary living arrangements yet, but that will come soon.

In any case, the latest trick she pulled shocked me, and I am not even sure how to react, so I am looking for opinions. I came home from work on Monday, and my kids said, “We are going to Disney!!! In two days!!” I was of course distraught, not only that my kids were leaving in two days, and as I would learn later would be gone for 6 days, but that I was never informed of these plans. These plans were never even discussed with me. Not a word was uttered about a possibility of such a trip from my wife. I did not scream or raise my voice. I told my kids that they will have a wonderful time. My daughter then said, “But daddy you are not going, I will miss you”, and then she started to cry. I took my daughter and held her and we both cried. I told her that it will be okay, and I told her that she needs to have fun, that these special trips only come around once or twice in a lifetime. I of course was very angry that my wife would have such disregard for me and my relationship with my children, but I kept it inside, and knew that the best course of action was for the children to not see my anger, and I continued to comfort my son and daughter.

So am I right for being so upset about this? My attorney is of course upset, but he is on my side. Let me know your thoughts...Thank you.

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Julian,

Thank you so much for your advice. The reason that no one is out of the house yet is because I initially offered to move out of the house, but to hear her berate me in front of the kids and to tell them directly what a horrible father I am and what a horrible role model I am made me realize that I needed to fight. I don't know if it is the right decision or not, but I am willing to let the court decide who stays in this house. I stay away from her as much as possible. I sleep in the basement, I stay in other rooms as much as possible. I have read a lot about divorce with children and try to take the high road and not argue in front of the kids. She is an attorney, and I thought she would know not to do this as well, but she goes crazy on me every time she sees me. My daughter is literally frightened to do things with me anymore because of mommy's anger. I admit I am not innocent in this entire thing, I made a mistake as well, but I feel that what she is doing now is so much worse than what I have done, and she continues to do it. Hopefully soon the court will make a decision about living arrangements, who needs to move out, and then things will settle down a bit.

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Guest ASchwartz

Hi Tomatty,

I remember your earlier posts. It is very, very unfortunate that you wife is being so very vengeful. She is not thinking about how her behavior is affecting the kids.

As far as her being an attorney, there is nothing about being educated or a prefessional person ( lawyer, medical doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, etc) that guarantees good judgement and sensible behavior.

Have you asked your lawyer to put a "stop" on the trip to Florida? After all, you do have rights and your wife is not allowed to do just anything she wants. Also, has you attorney done anything about putting a stop to her hateful and vengeful behavior?

Allan :(

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Guest GingerSnap

I can't help but ask though, what's wrong with your wife taking the kids to Disney World in Florida? I been there and it's wonderful. Should she have asked you to come along? Wouldn't have been a very fun trip would it. If you contact a lawyer to stop the trip, well, what about the kids? Can't you maybe just be happy for the kids? The only thing you might need to worry about is if she isn't coming back with them - been there and done that myself. Moved 1400 miles away and that did end the fighting and was a real blessing for my son whose father was more interested in him after the marriage than during the marriage - like my son didn't realize this and didn't want to have to be around him at a point. My beautiful little 4 year old.

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I do not mind my children going to Disney. As I told my daughter, I am genuinely happy that they went I hope they are having a good time. I would never try to prevent such a trip. The thing that bothered me is that it seems like if she wanted to make plans with the kids, she could have let me know months ago when she probably started thinking about this trip, not two days before they leave. Maybe I am being petty...just seems to me like that is total disregard for my feelings. Perhaps I just need to grow up.

The last thing I want people to think here is that I am looking for pity, I am just looking for advice and/or opinions. I think she did is wrong, I think she could have given me the decency of a little warning. I don't know if I have posted this yet but back in June I asked if I could take the kids to an amusement park an hour away from our home for one day with my parents and she refused, saying that would get a court order to prevent this from happening. And then she goes and does this...doesn't quite seem like a level playing field.

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Guest GingerSnap

OK, I debated about telling you what I truly see because you might not like it but at the same time, if I am wrong (I don't know you or your family), you can make some corrections since you would not want this to look this way when you go to court. First of all, you stayed in a marriage which you weren't happy in and wanted to leave when you found someone else - an affair, in my mind, would have been better to spend the time with the kids or just end a bad marriage and then find someone else. (I have moral issues with this and so will others - just the way it is and yes, many people have affairs but they won't be with you in court). OK, now you are in house and your wife is really upset because you had the affair and this causes fighting which I think you are counting on to try to say that it is abuse of the kids so you should have the house and the custody of the kids? If you move out, that would lessen the terrible situation for the kids but destroy what you think will constitute abuse of the children by the fighting. OK, that is what I see and if I am wrong, correct me - I can live with that, sort of. Now, if I were making the decision what I would see is you had the affair, have refused marriage counseling and insist on staying in the house even though the constant fighting is very upsetting to the children. Sorry, it is brutal I know but if I see it this way, others may too. Somebody here has to step up for the kids and I don't see anyone doing that.

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Great points, Gingersnap. I guess I have never really looked at it this way. I admit I have never been through divorce, I have no idea what to do. If I move out she will expect me to pay half of the mortgage and half of everything else and then I will have to solely pay for an apartment, and I cannot afford that. I need to wait for a court order to come down to split our incomes equally so that I can afford to move somewhere. I completely see where you are coming from. for the record, I would never do that to my children, even if it seems like that is exactly what I am doing. If I had somewhre to go or could afford to go somewhere I would.

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Guest GingerSnap

I am glad to hear that but, you never know about people these days. Just wanted to put that "spin" out there. You both need parenting classes in my opinion and I hope that the court orders them since that should help with the tug of war, I hope. Hopefully you will have a decision on the living situation soon.

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I am glad to hear that but, you never know about people these days. Just wanted to put that "spin" out there. You both need parenting classes in my opinion and I hope that the court orders them since that should help with the tug of war, I hope. Hopefully you will have a decision on the living situation soon.

Thanks, Ginger. That is a spin I had not considered because I feel personally like she is using the kids as weapons to purposely hurt me, and it is difficult for me to see it from an outsiders standpoint.

I am taking parenting classes. I have no idea if she is doing the same or planning on doing the same.

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I have to ask, is your wife's abuse documented at all? Abusive people don't target just one person in their lifetime. It's their way of responding to stress or anger.

I fear that your kids are in danger. Perhaps she doesn't have a history of hurting them, verbally abusing them or anyone else. But abuse is an illness in itself. An angry, stressed abusive person being left alone with children scares the crap out of me.

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i only read your first post and could not read any more. i did not take the advice of my friends or my lawyer in fear that my fussing would harm my kids further. that was the biggest mistake i have ever made in my life. i gave all our life savings my retirement and every tangible asset up to take care of my kids. she spent it in 2 months. and has done every possible act of revenge useing the kids as her weapon. she uses the state to punish me and has kept my kids from me. she has turned them against me even though she had a boyfriend that i dident know about for a year she has blamed that on me. she has manipulated them to believe i dident care about them. she ran and hid with them even moved dident allow contact for months. now i barely have contact with them.. when i gave up everything i allowed her to do what ever she wanted i basically gave my kids away by doing so. i thought i was taking care of them and spearing there feelings. i was dead wrong. with the all the assets i gave her for them i could have used that to protect them from her madness. please dont make the same mistake i did. for there sake. do what is right and listen to legal advise and from people that have been threw this. i havent been allowed to be there for my kids for 5 years now. they need me but i tied my own hands and they payed far more than if i had used my assets to fight. i left my self nothing to fight with. against advice. if there is any way i can help let me know. i definitely know how to do this the wrong way. maybe you can find a bit right from my cartorphy.

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Guest GingerSnap

When I filed for divorce, almost 30 years ago, I was required to take a parenting class with divorce as the topic and how it would/could effect my son who was 4 years old at the time. For some reason, I never understood and back then I would not have made a fuss like I would today, my ex-husband who was granted "reasonable" (this only works if you have a reasonable spouse and if he would have been "reasonable" in the first place....) visitation rights did not have to take the course. I still say that making any effort to take the pressure off the kids is a step in the right direction but I also think the whole family should go to see a counselor or religious counselor and talk about the situation because a third party in this case is desperately needed. I believe it would be possible for a plan that they could stay in the same house and have some rules about the confrontations that are taking place. And, always keep in mind that we are only hearing one side of the story and that is not to take away from what is being said but it would probably shed great light on the situation to see it from another point of view.

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Hi all,

I have not checked these posts in a couple of days and I apologize for disappearing. You all seem somewhat interested in the story, and some of you want to know a little more of the story, so I will tell you.

My wife grew up in an abusive household. Not physically abusive but a lot of screaming and controlling from her father towards her mother. Her mother has recently told me that she has not had one day of her marriage where she thought she was happy. Stephanie has told me she would never let that happen to her. When we met she was not even speaking to her father. When I called her dad to ask for her hand in marriage he flat out told me, "Don't do it. You have no idea what you are getting into." I knew there was animosity there so I chalked it up to that and didn't give his advice much weight.

I grew up in a loving household, almost to a fault. As I have said previously, I do whatever I can to avoid conflict, and I think that has just added to her ability to control me. I have rarely talked back to her, and in turn she took control of everything in our lives. Where we lived, where the kids went to school, daycare, etc, etc. This is entirely my fault for not putting my foot down and disagreeing when I needed to, but if I ever tried it turned into her screaming at me or just dismissing anything I had to say.

As far as the abuse. The only documentation that I have are audio of some of the more heated blow-ups where she was hitting me and punching me in front of the kids, with the kids screaming and crying in the background. I cannot listen to them, but have them if she tries to deny anything.

I think the thing that really set her off is that she tried at the very end to save the marriage...finally started going to counseling, finally started taking anti-depressants to try to control her rage, and by that time for me it was too late. Maybe I should have given her a second chance, but I felt I was done at that point.

At the point that I told her I wanted a divorce, I informed her that I did not want to be enemies. I wanted her to have the children as long as we could have shared parenting. She could even have the house if she felt she could afford it. Then the violence started. She started telling the kids what a horrible person I was. Kept the kids from me every chance she could. Would leave with the children and not tell me where they were and not answer the phone. And the last straw, took the kids to Disney for a week on two days notice. She has manipulated the children to the point that my daughter does not do things with me anymore because she says, "I am afraid mommy will yell." My attorney has heard the audio, has heard the stories, knows the facts, and has told me that we need to fight for everything, which we are. She cannot believe what I am doing but I can't back down anymore. This is going to be an all out war, and it sucks. I would still consider my original proposal if I knew that she would be a loving co-parent, but I just do not see it happening. Maybe down the road we will try mediation but I don't see that working. Only time will tell.

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Finally...

I think I stated in an earlier post that the day that I filed for divorce she took both of our computers to the sheriff's office and made up a story which led them to believe that there is child pornography on the computers. Computers are currently at the FBI being scanned for such material, of which they will find none. My attorney is confident that this strategy will blow-up in her face. I do not think she would go so far as to plant something on the computer, but I will not put anything past her at this point.

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Hi Tomatty,.

It occurred to me as I was reading your post that you could be misdirecting your freedom to stand up for yourself. Of course your attorney is going to tell you to "fight for everything". That is what attorneys do. Adversarial situations make for billable hours, which is how he makes his living. I personally am more concerned for the children while knowing of course, that what is in the best interest of the children is also in your best interest. It is doubtful that your attorney is motivated by or even understands what is in the best interest of the children.

It seems to me that you are still somewhat avoiding a responsiblity you have to your own situatioin. It sounds as if your position is that you came from a perfectly peaceful, loving, conflict free home and somehow just got innocently thrown into a marriage to a "crazy" woman. That doesn't add up. I am not insinuating that the your original family members are not wonderful people. I just find it difficult to think that someone who came out of a family void of any issues, conflicts or challeging experiences would go on to become so complacent, fearful of confrontation, passive - or maybe even passive agrressive, unwilling to stand up for himself, etc., It just doesn't compute with me.

I am fearful that you are going to stand up for yourself in this divorce in a way that is going to back fire on you and the children and leave everyone worse off for doing so. Perhaps your lesson in this will not be learned by standing up to your wife by fighting her with everything you (and your attorney) have by using evidence against her, the mother of your children, such as the audio tape, and dragging your children through a hostile, disrespectful, and painful divorce.

Perhaps instead your lesson is to be a man - in the truest sense of the word and do what is right for your children, despite the fact that to date, you may have inadvertently fallen short of that. You can stand up for what you believe in without lashing out at someone. I can almost understand fighting her if you had first tried the right way to stand up for yourself and for your children. If you were in fact innocently victimized by this horrible, hateful woman in the face of being strong, and confident and honorable. Yet even you admit to the shortcomings you have brought into this marriage. Your wife came to this marriage with pains and challenges from her past, which showed itself by hitting, pinching and yelling at you. You too came to the marriage with some bruises and pains from your past, despite what you claim. Your "stuff" showed up by not being confident, unknowingly misleading your wife and your children for example, by hiding and avoiding your feelings, by conveying the message that it is perfectly okay to push you around, by being detached and seemingly unaffected by what goes on around you and by behaving in ways that allow you to view yourself as a victim of cicumstances that in reality, you had (and have) more influence over than you were able to realize.

I know that this post is a bit confrontational. Please know that I am not wanting you to feel badly in any way. In fact, I am trying to prevent you from further hurt. I just feel as if you could be on your way to becoming the victim of divorce proceedings, unknowing attorneys and the court system at your own doing, by not doing the right thing and recognize that the ability and power to make this all okay is perfectly within your grasp. The only real victims of this will be your children. You may too be a victim but will only be a victim of yourself for not standing up for what is right, but instead taking the easy way out - by "fighting her for everything" - which in the long run will be much, much harder, much more complicated and much more painful for all.

I hope this contributes to your ability to see beyond what you have seen to date.

JP

Thank you JP for your honest assessment of the situation. I truly feel that the children being with me is the best situation, and will be in their best interests. I do not want them to grow up hearing every day that Daddy has Satan in his heart and that I am a horrible person. I do not want them to grow up in fear. Yes, I have done a 180 after seeing what this woman is capable of, from letting her have the children and shared parenting to me wanting the children.

I will say that it is not out of the question for me to consider shared parenting with her as the residential parent, as long as the abuse stops. I would still to this day offer shared parenting, she can have the house, we keep our retirement (she has more than I do), and we do not pay each other a penny (she makes more money than I do). I can tell you she would never agree to that...in fact, her counter-claim is for me to have "supervised visitation" with my children.

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Guest GingerSnap

On the supervised visitation, I had two thoughts: 1. You mentioned something earlier that your wife said when you were giving your daughter a bath - I am hoping you have no history of "kiddie" porn or that the affair was with a minor? Sorry, but I am just giving you my thoughts. My other thought was that you mentioned that she didn't want you to take the kids to an amusement park with you and your parents, I think that is what I remember, is she afraid that you will take the kids and not bring them back home. As you might guess, I would have done anything, yes anything, to keep my ex-husband from having custody of my son and he was constantly threatening to take him away so that I would never see him again - he was physically/emotionally abusive to my son - and I said anything so you can see where I am coming from. You come across as a nice guy that is concerned but I am an eye-contact person for judging. I am not trying to be cruel even though in this thread I seem to be the devil's advocate! :)

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On the supervised visitation, I had two thoughts: 1. You mentioned something earlier that your wife said when you were giving your daughter a bath - I am hoping you have no history of "kiddie" porn or that the affair was with a minor? Sorry, but I am just giving you my thoughts. My other thought was that you mentioned that she didn't want you to take the kids to an amusement park with you and your parents, I think that is what I remember, is she afraid that you will take the kids and not bring them back home. As you might guess, I would have done anything, yes anything, to keep my ex-husband from having custody of my son and he was constantly threatening to take him away so that I would never see him again - he was physically/emotionally abusive to my son - and I said anything so you can see where I am coming from. You come across as a nice guy that is concerned but I am an eye-contact person for judging. I am not trying to be cruel even though in this thread I seem to be the devil's advocate! :P

Gingersnap,

Thank you for your post and your concerns. I have never looked at kiddie porn and would have no idea where or how to access such disgusting material, nor would I be interested. My wife took my computers to the police on the day that I filed for divorce, which begs the question, if she was concerned about kiddie porn, why would she wait until I filed for divorce to do this? I have looked at pornography on-line, yes, but I have never looked at child porn and have never saved any images to my computer. My daughter is only 7, but very computer savvy, and I always erase my internet history and never, ever save images to my computer.

My affair was not with a minor.

I guess I understand your statement about not wanting your husband with the kids because of fears of kidnapping, but she knows I would not do such a thing, and has never expressed fears for such an act. I have never physically or emotionally abused anyone in my life.

In my opinion, she is attempting to alienate the children from me, plain and simple. I believe I have stated that my daughter has told me that she will no longer do things with me because she is scared that mommy will yell at her.

Look, as I have stated on many occasions, I am not innocent. I had an affair, I wanted to end my marriage after years of emotional abuse, and I shoudl have gone about it differently. But in my opinion, what she has done since I have told her that I wanted a divorce is destroying my children and my relationship with them, and is so much worse that anything I have done. Again, hopefullly the judge will come down with temporary orders soon so we will be living apart and I begin to attempt to repair my relationships.

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youve got to get out, and youve got to get the kids out, the law is usually on the womans side, so this is tricky for you, start videotaping her for the court, im afraid she will take the kids and run, or worse kill you off......be careful be very careful, plan plan plan, get your evidence. this does not seem to be a normal divorce, its abusive and violent and shes going to hurt you before she will let you go, i dont think you realise how much danger you are in...........WAKE UP. TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.

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