Divorcing an abusive partner

Peak Living Network Forums Women Divorcing an abusive partner

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    I have started the legal process of divorce from my abusive husband. I currently have a restraining order from the court which is up on Friday 31st January. I had hoped that the legal process would have been resolved by now but he is delaying everything he possibly can from his side. He will not sign the papers to give me right of residence to the family home until all the legal stuff is sorted.
    I was able to get a court hearing for Thursday 30th January to apply for an extension to the restraining order. He will be in attendance for the court hearing.
    I am very nervous about the court hearing as I have not seen him since the court hearing last year for the first restraining order. He had pushed hard several times and left me bleeding and unconscious.
    I am hoping that I can get another restraining order. I am terrified that he will show up at the house on Friday and want to move back in.

    I am trying to recover from the trauma of the physical assault and from the years of emotional and psychological abuse. It is difficult to pinpoint when it started but we were married for 30 years. The physical abuse only started recently but escalated very quickly.
    He is blaming depression and alcohol addiction.

    I had hoped that he would want to get the divorce completed quickly so that he can get his share of the house as he is currently in a rental. But I now think that he does not want to let me go. I am afraid that he is still trying to control me by delaying the divorce process and not being agreeable at all. Each time I move forward in my recovery and let go of him in my head, feels like such progress and I know that I will eventually get there. But now going back to court this week, he is back in my head and I am having nightmares again and panic attacks.

    I did not press criminal charges for the assault. I reported it but have not yet made a full and signed statement. This is my last resort. It is a difficult decision.

    Any advice or support would be appreciated.

    • This topic was modified 8 months ago by Carrie.

    Hi Carrie,
    I was wondering how things are going now that it’s been a few months. How was court? Were you able to get him out of your head after seeing him again? Did you end up having to press charges? What are you doing to help in your healing progress? I’m feeling your dilemma strongly today. I hope it’w working out for you!



    Hi TurtleBear
    The last few months have been a rollercoaster. I did not get an extension to the restraining order. Seeing him and his legal team in court was so scary and brought back so much pain. The judge would not even listen to my case as my abuser had filed for divorce the day before which my legal team weren’t even informed of. He had refused to cooperate with this when I tried to do this 6 months early. So he wanted to be in the driving seat – control as usual.
    He also tried to bring a restraining order against me to get me out of the family home – accusing me of mental cruelty. It was totally shocking and I was so re-traumatized after being in court.
    I was fortunate that he did not attempt to return to the family home but he did keep threatening to do this during the divorce settlement proceedings. He used this threat continually to get a better financial deal in the divorce. One week he would agree to do ‘his duty to me and our sons’ by agreeing to a fair deal for me and then the next week or 2 he would not sign the papers and he would come back looking for more money from the sale of the family home. It was an emotional rollercoaster – physically and mentally exhausting.

    The good news is that I am finally free of him. I am divorced. I have changed my name back to my maiden name. I have ZERO contact and do not even mention his name now to my sons – who are all young adults. I have moved far away so I have no chance of seeing him and having any places trigger bad memories. I donated or sold most of my stuff that held any memory of him.
    The only thing I have is photos boxed away which I will have to seal with someday. I did give him half – which he insisted on when the household contents were being divided up. Again I had not physical contact with him on this but I did email him with a list of items.I deeply regretted opening up email communication with him during the process of selling the house and dividing up the contents. I have since changed email address and blocked his personal email and mobile number and also work email and office phone numbers.

    I have the occasional flashback and some nightmares but they are definitely decreasing.
    I am still in therapy and am lucky to have connected with a great therapist.
    I have re-built relationships with family and friends – but did lose some.

    I never pressed charges – for several reasons
    -I would have experienced more trauma going through the court process
    -Even though he abused me, he is still the father of my children and I could not hurt my kids by doing this to them – even though it was not my fault
    -I wanted to move on and get him out of my head – going to court would mean he would have more space in my head and I was not going to let him have this anymore
    I did use his credit card (I was an authorised used) to make a donation to Women’s Aid – This was my one act of ‘defiance’- standing up to him.

    My deepest regret and the part I still struggle with is – that this man is the father of my children – this is the man that I ‘choose’ to father my children. I know I was only 18 when I met him – I was very innocent and had no relationship experience. I know he had control over me from early – but it moved to ’emotional abuse’ when we get married and slowly he chipped away.
    It is difficult to accept that he controlled me so much and that if I tried to step out of ‘the invisible box he made for me’ that I was subjected to psychological abuse (in different forms – from silent treatment, verbal, gas lighting, etc.)
    If I actually stepped out of the box – the abuse was stepped up and eventually turned to the physical assaults.
    He is still blaming me and hiding behind his alcohol addiction and ‘depression’.

    The final assault actually brought the wakeup call I needed – I had to go to ER at 2am and I saw a poster on the wall – Are you a victim of Domestic Violence.

    Once I start writing about all this – it is hard to stop.

    TurtleBear – I hope you are doing better and that my story gives you some strength on the darker days. I got a lot of support from Womens Aid, online stories from women who got away from abusive relationships and also reading Lundy’s books.

    Believe me there are brighter days ahead. Reach out if you need to.

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