A Cry For Justice

Awakening the Evangelical Church to Domestic Violence and Abuse in its Midst

WANTED — Fantasy Wife

I am a deeply flawed man looking for the ideal woman to fix my life. She must be willing to give all of her energy, time, and talent to meeting my needs. She will be my rescuer, savior, and strength. This position is only for a very unique woman . . . is it you? Or maybe you are like all the other needy, vindictive, overly independent, unfeminine ladies I see on the street.

I will either hate you or idealize you. Often both at the same time.

I have been called moody and difficult by some. But this is my nature and I refuse to change it. As soon as you change, gain weight, become tired, sad, or angry, I will attack you or leave. This position will remain open until filled or until you read this job offering by mistake.

Do know that I will deny having written this wanted ad and will call you every name under the sun should you discover it by mistake. I’ll call you paranoid, demanding, needy, crazy, rebellious and unsubmissive. Or I may simply rage, break things, and terrorize you and your children. It is always your fault.

I will never . . . repeat . . . never . . .admit that I wrote this or require this . . . but you will understand on some level, the requirements I have. You will courageously attempt to fulfill the duties of “fantasy wife” for many years. Until you become too exhausted, fearful or traumatized to continue. At that time, you may ask me for a vacation or a leave of absence. Under this contract I am not required to give you vacation — ever. Sickness, disability, and childbirth are no exception.

I am accountable to no one, except my own desire to rule. I know enough scripture to use it as a weapon against you and to support my right to dominate your life. I am a cult leader in your home and marriage. I use many recognized tactics of manipulators and mind control. My methods are highly sophisticated, covert and deceptive. It will be difficult to prove my true character, until after much damage has been done.

You feel pity for me, compassion and hope that I will change. But you do not yet understand or know . . . I am not like you. Connection and intimacy are not of value in my world, as they are in yours. I am not able to love . . . in the way you define it.

You will be the only witness to my misdeeds, cruelty and neglect but I will cause you to doubt what you see, feel and experience. I have been grooming you . . . to meet my abusive needs . . . But there is a truth inside you — that my machinations can not suppress.

But when the truth begins to speak . . . deep in your heart . . . it will be a terrifying time for me. I will be losing my true and most valued love . . . control. As it starts to slip away, bit by bit. I will be angry, fearful and depressed. Please do not believe this is an indication of “my true love for you.” I never knew you . . . I am unable to interact with a woman in that way. I am responding to my loss of position, status, power and control.

The further away from me you get, the more glaring the lies will appear. You will then see that you are not unlovely, incapable, foolish, and rejected . . . as I made you feel by word or action. You will learn that my words were lies and my unceasing demands — an invisible prison.

As your wings slowly unfurl, under the loving strong power of the Holy Spirit . . . you will grieve your time with me, miss an image of a man that never existed except in your hopes, but you will be free.

Isa 60:15
Whereas you have been forsaken and hated
With no one passing through,
I will make you an everlasting pride,
A joy from generation to generation.

[This post was sent in by April. Many thanks to her, and to our Lord who is guiding and upholding her as her wings unfurl.]

110 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on Thoroughly Christian Divorce and commented:
    So much truthing– a post written by April over on Cry for Justice.

    Love this except it hurts a bit overmuch.

  2. Victoria de la Cruz

    This is amazing. You have described my marriage so accurately my ex could have written this! It took me many years to come out of the fog and become cognizant of the ‘invisible prison’ I was in. And yes, he did become more angry, fearful, and depressed as he started losing control–and ownership–of my life. He had a couple of egregious incidents leading to the final meltdown that got me out of there. Thank God I am free now, but it leaves me to wonder what my life would have been like if I had seen such a letter twenty years ago….

    Had I realized while I was still young that I was not ‘unlovely, incapable, foolish, and rejected’ my future might look very different. As it is, I am rediscovering who I am and who God made me to be, after thirty years of imprisonment and exile. For now, that is enough.

    • Victoria de la Cruz

      And my kids haven’t rejected me, so I have a chance at building relationships with them and future grandchildren. I have much to be grateful for despite the lost years.

  3. Brenda R

    April,
    This was a beautifully written letter/want ad and OH SO TRUE. Even though I have cut off contact with X he seems to “show up” every few weeks. This time it was while I was playing an online game. There is no safe place. It will be a year in June, he still tries using scripture on me, he is still trying to claim he is in counseling with an unnamed counselor and that I WILL see that he is a caring, loving person. Well I did see that for a brief time years ago and intermittantly over the years. But that other person; the abusive, manipulative, angry, vicious, terrorist of a man (that I made do these things) was there far more often than the loving one and he comes back just as soon as I don’t fall for his latest gimmick to get me to “at least be friends” with him. Why would I want a friend like that? I have no idea. Now that I am able to actually have friends, I am choosing ones that can agree to disagree, are loving, are willing to listen and that I can listen to, without being interrupted as if what I had to say didn’t matter or was not worthy of listening to.
    It is amazing how much anger can built up in just a few sentences from his lips.

    • paperjesus

      Oh wow, this sentence, “without being interrupted as if what I had to say didn’t matter or was not worthy of listening to.” That describes my relationship with my family. I always thought it was because I’m the youngest. I got married and my husband and I both sit silently at family gatherings. Either that or we have to insistently and rudely talk over someone else to be heard. It’s just not worth it to me. If they don’t value my thoughts enough to listen to them, they don’t deserve to hear them.

      Love this post too. April- you’re spot on.

  4. lauralee

    awesome! how very true!

  5. Chillingly accurate.

  6. REM

    oh…my…. I could have written this. Every paragraph. Every line. Every word.
    Quivering, can’t hardly breathe.

    • REM

      I meant my husband could have written this…It chillingly describes my marriage.

  7. MeganC

    April . . . . Wow. This is . . . . unbelievably accurate. And I love the hope at the end!

  8. Nowfree

    I will either hate you or idealize you. Often both at the same time.

    April, so very true…virtually everything you wrote identifies my to be ex.

    If I had seen this message over 45 years ago, I don’t know that it would have made any difference to me. I was quite independent at the time, but somehow he insidiously worked me over and made me feel so “complete”. He knew how to manipulate me and oh so cleverly and wickedly won me over. It didn’t take much. How blind I was! But I realize in retrospect that he was anything but blind. He knew very well what he was doing, and it chills me to my marrow.

    Yes, he is gone from my life, but legal matters have not as yet been settled. Like a deadly snake captured and in the last throes of death, he has been working overtime to try and destroy me, but I know that he is fighting an invisible wall. God, my only true Protector, is guiding me, I know that in time I will be truly free from him.

  9. Rebecca

    Very well written and painfully accurate. I am thankful to be freed from this marriage, but the wounds run deep. Thank you for writing this and making me feel understood. Still need to be reminded that we are not alone….or crazy.

  10. fiftyandfree

    This such an accurate description of the anti-husband. I used to often say that what he demanded of me was that I be a “Stepford wife.” Anyone ever see that movie?

    • Victoria de la Cruz

      I can definitely relate. I had the same thought over the years about the Stepford wives. Actually, that movie was rather triggering for me.

    • poohbear

      Hi Fiftyandfree, I know you wrote your post quite awhile ago, but I just saw it while browsing. Yes, I indeed saw that movie! (the original one, no less). If only we were perfectly thin, kept a perfect house, never dared voice a word of disagreement, catered to the “king,” well, maybe then they’d love us and stop being mean. Mine’s always told me he didn’t need to respect me, because “respect has to be earned!”

      So glad you are now truly free! I’m looking forward to the day when I will be, too.

      • fiftyandfree

        Poohbear. Thanks. We are nearly three years post divorce now. Healing is an amazing thing!! The thing that struck me so much about the stepford movie is not only how the women were robots and did as told, but that the men created the fantasy and made it happen. This is what my ex used to do. He had this way of living in a fantasy world of his creation and he’d use all kinds of abusive tactics to make his fantasy a reality. His wife and children were not allowed to have emotions, opinions, ideas etc because that did not fit with his fantasy life which comprised of only his needs being recognized and met. In his fantasy life which he worked hard to make reality, only he needs and emotions and everyone else existed only to serve him. I hope you will be free one day soon. God bless you. Glad you found this site.

      • I read the Stepford Wives novel recently. Chilling.

  11. anonymous

    in tears. needing this hope SO much right now. thank you.

  12. shawna

    Wow! This spoke alot to some of my experience with my ex but i continue in prayer for him and trust God for his mercy for my family to move forward

  13. Laurie

    OH, THIS IS WONDERFUL!!!!

    Perfectly descriptive and ending on the most wonderful HIGH NOTE!!!!

    Thank you, April and Barbara!!

    • I really didn’t do anything. April sent us the post, saying something as simple as ‘you might like to use this.’ I simply put it on the blog. Thank you, April!

  14. Marah

    Some of this is very familiar to me, but some…I’m not so sure. I’ve had increasing memory trouble in the last 3-4 years, and can’t really remember why/how my husband does the anger thing. He doesn’t strike me that way, but I’m pretty sure that’s not an accurate picture in my mind. He did let the anger out at one of our daughters a couple of times recently, when she wasn’t buying his game anymore and refused to play along. He was furious and told her he didn’t care if she hated his guts, she had to give him respect.

    But he’s been giving me my space (sort of…), and sending loving texts lately. In facet just today, after I’d spent a half hour crying alongside my son over all this, trying to bind up his broken heart as best I can. Which isn’t much.

    I’m so confused.

    • Marah

      I forgot: I just don’t think it’s accurate to say that he doesn’t love us. I don’t understand how to tell the difference between extremely imperfect love, and the lack of it at all.

      • twbtc

        Marah,
        When I tried to understand my ex’s behavior with the assumption that he loved me, I couldn’t make sense of it. There were loving moments, loving acts, but they were intertwined with acts of abuse that were never followed up by repentance or change. I couldn’t make sense of his mixed bag of “love” as long as I assumed that he loved me.

        But then I started learning about the abuser’s mentality and tactics. And the more I learned the more my ex’s behavior made sense. When I was finally able to acknowledge that my ex was an abuser and that his actions were rooted in motives of entitlement, power, and control – not love – it was then that my confusion was replaced with clarity. It was not easy to acknowledge – but has been a necessary step in my recovery.

    • Marah,

      There was a conversation on this thread a bit ago that might be of interest to you as it seems to have some similarities to your concerns:

      https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2014/03/19/attitudes-that-promote-abuse-in-the-church-major-system-flush-needed/#comments

      It starts at BeginHealing’s post March 19 @ 10:31 AM

      (I, twbtc, added a direct link to BeginHealing’s comment. Thank you, barnabasintraining, for directing us to this comment.)

    • Julie

      Marah, this is just my opinion, but I don’t’ think it is love for him to be directing anger at your daughter and demanding that she respect him even if he doesn’t deserve it. It’s very easy to send “loving texts”. What is he DOING that shows love?

      I think after years of abuse our brains are very cloudy and confused. It is part of how they keep us trapped and keep us from making a decision to leave or any other decision for that matter. Your children are obviously hurting, so it’s not “just you”. You are not crazy.

      I wish you clarity and peace.

      • Marah

        Thank you all. I’ve been working through “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” and it’s very helpful. There are some things I’m seeing more and more clearly, and my kids are sometimes helpful (they often see it all way more clearly than I do). My mind hasn’t been able to make the leap from “I see these things” to “and they must mean this” yet.

      • Marah, we understand that leap. . . and that it’s hard to make. The Lord will help you and be your companion, showing you truth as you are able to bear it. Good on you for studying up on that book. After you’ve finished that, I’d suggest you read Bancroft’s book.

      • Marah

        You are right about anger at my daughter. The situation was that she was justifiably angry that he still hadn’t taken responsibility for, apologized for, or (in her words) even bothered to make excuses for him starting drinking – again. But none of us is allowed to be angry about that, at least not very angry, and definitely only for maybe a moment when we first find out. That’s not loving.

      • Brenda R

        I agree with Julie. He is not showing love to your daughter or you. Writing a few flowery words doesn’t prove love.

      • Marah

        Is it that they don’t love and know it, or do they think they do love? I’m certain my husband thinks he loves us.

      • Bancroft says that some of abusive men seem to believe their own lies (for example. the lie that they really love their wives) — at least, they believe their own lies some of the time. Or seem to. Lundy says it is often hard to tell whether they believe their lies or not. But whether the abuser believes his own lies or not, does not really make much difference, the victim is still being abused. And the victim still needs to decide what she will do for her own wellbeing.

      • Brenda R

        That is a good question, Marah. X throws the word love around in the same sentence with accusing me of having other men. The 2 don’t go together. Love is only a word if it is not accompanied by actions. I Cor. 13:4-7 (ESV) Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth, Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. This has got to be one of my favorite passages in scripture, at least today.
        This does not mean that because you love your husband you allow him to abuse you or your children. Sometimes loving someone means that you allow them to be alone in their sin so that they may see their need. Yours and you children’s safety should come first.

      • Marah,

        Here is a video of Lundy Bancroft at a seminar he did. At about the 1:15 mark he starts to talk a bit about love from the abuser’s point of view.

        The whole series is well worth watching. It’s posted here in it’s entirety at:

        https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2012/04/02/links-to-lundy-bancrofts-youtube-lecture-excellent/

        Eds. IMPORTANT NOTE: While we endorse Lundy’s writings about the dynamics of domestic abuse, we do not recommend anyone attend the ‘healing retreats’ Lundy Bancroft offers or become involved in his ‘Peak Living Network.’ See our post, ACFJ Does Not Recommend Lundy Bancroft’s Retreats or His New Peak Living Network for more about our concerns.

      • Huh. For some reason that video didn’t come out. It can be accessed from the link below to the whole series. It’s part 3.

        here is the direct link to Part 3 on Youtube: http://youtu.be/qastlvN_Xgk

      • Thanks BIT.

      • Here is a transcript of that segment of Lundy Bancroft’s video:

        How abusers define love

        I want to draw your attention to how the abuser defines love. Part of why I want to underline this is because I think this is one reason abusers have the so much success in creating confusion among other people — people that are around them. When he says, “I really, really love you,” that’s all about him. It’s not about her, so it doesn’t mean the same thing that love means to a non-abusive person. “I really love you” means “I am so attracted and attached to what I believe you could do for me.” And once they’re together it comes to mean, “I’m so attracted and attached to what you must do for me — what is your obligation to do for me.”

        He’s not lying when he says he really loves her. That’s really what he feels. The problem is the feeling that he defines as love. The feeling he has through his teen years and into adulthood which he has come to identify as love is not the same feeling that I would call love. And I would hope it’s not the same feeling that you would call love. This is a feeling about a very intense desire to own and control somebody. It is not related to seeing this person as a human being. It is much more akin to how you would become attached to a thing.

      • Marah

        I just found this thread again to read the remaining replies (I couldn’t remember where it was), and want to say thank you to everyone. This is such a difficult, confusing process – as you all know. I am making good progress, thanks to this site, the Evans book, an awesome counselor, God’s loving guidance, and my iron-willed persistence!

        I think my husband believes he loves us. However, his working definition of love is far different than God’s, or mine. I working to (frankly) harden my heart against the counterfeit love, the attempts at manipulation though false intimacy and kindness, and the voice in my own heart that screams and sobs at the thought of hurting anyone. It’s tough, but it’s healthy.

        Thank you all!

    • Marah, you might also like to know that anger (as in Abusive Anger — that’s Patricia Evans’ term which I’ve borrowed) is just ONE of the tactics that abusers can use. There are squillions of other tactics they can use to abuse. Some victims report that their abuser never once displayed anger, their abuse was all subtle, gaslighting, covert manipulation, playing the victim, playing the disabled person who could not help the way they were because of their *pain / disability / mental health issue / family or origin / you name it*. So don’t just assess your situation on whether or not your husband shows overt anger or rage.

      Victims whose abusers show little overt anger or rage, find it even harder to recognise they are being abused than other victims do.

      You might also find it helpful to read Chapter One, titled What Is Abuse?, from my book “Not Under Bondage.” You can read it online for free here:
      http://www.notunderbondage.com/book.html

      • Julie

        Excellent point, Barbara! Although my ex often showed anger and rage, he more frequently used pity and “self-hatred” statements to scare me into thinking “what might he do”. This made me feel sorry for him and want to help him, which of course, never worked.

    • Ann

      Hi Marah,

      The confusion comes from abuse interspersed with some kind gestures. The nice things are like hooks to pull you back into the relationship so you don’t catch on to him and so he can continue to control. I’ve experienced a lot of this too.

      • Boy, isn’t that the truth!

        I’m in the middle of trying to settle my divorce (THANK YOU, LORD!!). I have come so far, so quickly in the last year. I no longer walk in fog, and am looking forward to finally being free. Or at least as free as is possible when you have children with someone.

        Anyone who sees this in the next day or two could pray for my divorce to be settled ASAP, fairly.

      • Brenda R

        Praying, Marah.

  15. Reblogged this on This is Important and commented:
    And that pretty much summarizes my world for 15 years. Thankfully, no longer.

  16. Janey

    I’d love to see someone write one of these letters from the standpoint of an abusive demanding high-maintenance woman, who wants a husband who will make up for all of the tragedies she experienced as a child.

    I’m watching one of my male friends get the life sucked out of him by a needy grasping control-freak wife. And I have another friend whose son is married to the daughter-in-law from hell.

    • Maybe you should be the one to write such a letter, Janey~

      • Brenda R

        Agreed, Barb. Who better than a person who sees it first hand.

      • Janey

        I’m just an outside observer with no direct experience, and I’m sure there are plenty of people who could write it better.

        But if I had to give it try, I’d say,

        “I am a woman who was treated badly all my life. My cruel and unfair childhood was miserable, filled with abandonment and betrayal. Are you going to be just another one of those men who betrays me and walks away? I thought you had more integrity than that. If I have irrational outbursts or care about my own needs over yours or drop the ball on my responsibilities, it’s just normal considering what I’ve been through. There’s nothing wrong with me. You ought to be sympathetic and pick up the slack. If that means you do everything in the house, so be it.

        “YOU are the problem, because don’t see how much pain I’m in. How dare you spend time with friends or call your family! I come first in your life, and that’s the way it should be.”

        “There are a few judgmental people who think I’m high maintenance, but they are just cold-hearted haters, and I refuse to have them as friends. In fact I forbid you to have them as friends. Who are you loyal to? I’m your wife!”

      • Janey, I’ve published this now. I decided to change the order of your sentences a bit and edited it a little; in order to hopefully prevent female readers being too badly triggered. Given that so many women victims read this blog, and many of them have had awful childhoods and then get abused in their marriages, I was a bit concerned that your letter might be triggering for them.

        Readers, if you are triggered, try to hear Janey’s reversal of the genders as her best attempt, in good faith, to represent her male friend’s experience. And Janey, we don’t know you, and I’m taking your story as genuine, hoping I’ve made the correct decision. We know that some men are victims of abuse from their wives. And we know that the tactics of abusers can be quite similar, regardless of the abuser’s gender. And we know that the things abusers say to their victims (unjustly) could often also be said, justly, by victims to their abusers. It can be a real hall of mirrors! So it gets really complicated, and potentially very triggering for some readers.

        Please be mindful of all these difference aspects, readers. I hope I don’t get a tirade from anyone over this.

      • Brenda R

        Barb, I won’t go into a tirade, but being one of the people who was sexually and physically abused in childhood did find this offensive and deleted Janey’s letter quickly. Although, I never said any of those things to X I suppose their are those who do become controlling. All I wanted was a man who would not treat me the same way and would love me as much as I loved him. Since that didn’t happen I prefer life with Buffy Kitty

      • 🙂 Thanks Brenda

      • MeganC

        Yikes! I struggled with this, as well. Not because I don’t believe there aren’t women out there who are extreme and abusive emotional-vampiresses . . . but because I think that one of my sisters or my ex’s family could have written this about me. I was “high maintenance” because I wanted my ex husband to love me . . . but I wasn’t demanding. I was high maintenance because I brought up his porn problem . . . or I wanted creamer instead of milk in my coffee . . . or because I wanted to wear Mary Kay make up (or make up at ALL).

        My ex’s father told him, right before I left, “Your mother loves you more than any person on this planet. Your parents love you more than any one in this world.” He communicated, regularly, the fact that I was not important . . . not a priority. And that is how I was treated. He was controlled by his parents. And, if I spoke up and wanted my ex to love me, they would probably have said the things Janey’s letter said about me. When David (my husband now) told me that I was “his priority” or “the priority”, as his wife, I wept buckets. BUCKETS. I could not believe I was important enough to take care of. When he got the kids and me care insurance . . . did a will . . . made sure that we would be taken care of . . . bought me a ring . . . all of those things that it seems like a normal husband does for a normal wife . . . I wept, again. I had never been worth that before. And, again, for wanting a wedding ring when we got married, my ex’s family would say I was “high maintenance”. So . . . anyway, yes. I guess I was triggered. 😦 But, not horribly.

    • Loves6

      I know a woman that has been just like this with her husband. There marriage is broken.

  17. Thanks for the kind responses! Please note- the term “fantasy wife” should be attributed to Leslie Vernick, author of The Emotionally Destructive Marriage and The Emotionally Destructive Relationship.

  18. Nowfree

    Janey,

    I’m sure that if my to be ex had the opportunity to talk to you, I would be the third one on your list.

  19. Carol

    Exactly.

  20. caroline

    Been there and done that!

  21. 10areFree

    This exactly described my husband and marriage.
    It made me think of one time for a “homework” assignment we had during marriage counseling, we were instructed to think on, write out, and share with each other why we married each other…what we hoped to bring to the other person. I shared with him that I married him for a myriad of reasons such as I loved him, I wanted to be a helper to him, encourage him, etc. After I shared, then it was his turn. He told me that he married me because he knew I never had anything growing up and he wanted to provide for me, and also to “give you (his wife) someone (him) to love”. That was it…no mention of loving me, or being there for me. I was dumbfounded by his answer. He could see nothing wrong with it. I don’t believe it ever occurred to him that he would have to do or be anything for me or our children. He only thought of what he would get out of it.
    After 21 years in my invisible prison, I am so grateful to have broken free!

  22. Janey

    Barbara (re: April 5, 2014 – 9:13 pm)

    Thank you for posting that “sample ad.” I’m sorry if it triggers any women on this board; it was not my intent. I am well aware that vast majority of abuse is male on female. But we know that it can go the other way. This is a ugly secret that the male victims cannot discuss.

    Dysfunction, narcissism, personality disorders, and sociopath behavior are not limited to one gender. There are female predators; just as there are male ones. One of my friends was a pastor who was abused for 30 years…and was too embarrassed to tell anyone. His adult children have had to go through a lot of therapy over the past 20 years.

    Thank you for letting my voice be heard. I appreciate your ministry and read your blog often.

    • Ellie

      Hi Janey, I was thinking about a female abuser that I know and one who was a dear friend’s mother. In the case of my friend, the father is a brilliant godly man. Her mother used to beat him in his sleep. He has permanent nerve damage because of what he endured. He stayed until the children were grown because he didn’t think the court would give him custody and he wanted to keep his children safe from her. I haven’t met that woman, but my when my friend heard about my writing with ACFJ, she told me about her experience.

      There is a woman in my family who has to be the center of every family event, in every wedding picture, every baby shower picture, requires the most comfort at funerals, has weird diets that we’re all supposed to keep track of, weird allergies, weird ministers we’re supposed to listen to, and on it goes. I can’t write a clever letter to describe her, but when I read Why is it Always About You?, I called this woman’s daughter and read her passages. It was so validating for her. This woman’s husband accommodates her and placates her and does all he can to make her feel special. He works all the time and that is probably what keeps him sane.

      • Janey

        Ellie,

        Thank you. You could be describing my old pastor friend. His wife would beat him with a frying pan while he was sleeping.

        Narcissists come in many disguises, and in both genders. Thank you for that story. It was a good reminder.

  23. Marah

    I have an awesome example of this kind of controlling, entitled thinking to share today.

    My husband has been sending the kids (identical) letters once a week. My oldest told me that he ended the latest one with, “Only knowing that God hates divorce is keeping me going.” (Seriously). The awesome thing was my daughter’s translation: “Only knowing you can’t get rid of me is keeping me going.” I laugh long and hard – she so nailed it.

    • 10areFree

      Isn’t it funny that these men only care about what God hates when it’s something they don’t like. My husband never cared about what God hates when it came to his own behavior, but he sure likes throwing this particular hatred around!!!

      • Marah

        Yes, isn’t it, though. My husband conveniently skips the parts about God hating lying lips, drunkenness, haughty eyes, etc. I wanted to tell him to go read that section from Micah in his ESV. But the letter wasn’t to me, and I’m not ready to give him any indication that I may even consider divorce.

      • Brenda R

        Amen, 10areFree. I heard that God said that my body belonged to him and I had to do what he wanted. I like what a friend of mine said to her estranged husband: If your body also belongs to me, then I don’t want your body to touch mine. This was after several years of spiritual abuse, but I thought it was a good come back.

        I heard so often that God Hates Divorces, that He would not be pleased with my leaving him. But, God sure didn’t mention anything to him all of the times that X said that we should get a divorce. It was only wrong when I had finally had enough and left. God didn’t say anything to him about how he treated me, his gambling, smoking and ruining his body, his temper, his profanity. The list could go on all day, but I would rather spend my day thinking about pleasant things. I am off work this week after getting a concussion at work last week. Thinking about X gives me a headache and I already had one..

    • fiftyandfree

      Wow. Kids can be so intuitive. How old is she?

      My dd’s started to see right through him once he moved out. They roll their eyes when he calls twice per day to tell them the same exact thing almost verbatim; “I love you and miss and I’m praying for you constantly and I can’t wait to see you again.” Yeah, right. He’s allowed to have them two entire weekends per month plus a night during the week and he chooses to see them only a total of 18 hours per month. Not per week, per month!!!! But he loves them and misses them and prays for them constantly 😉

      His lack of interest in their lives is so blatantly obvious but he will not give up his “right” to call them twice per day, why I don’t know, except that he feels entitled. There’s really no other reason. He speaks them for a total of less than three minutes (1 minute each) and says nearly the identical thing every single time. They just roll their eyes. I wish he’d just stop calling.

      • Marah

        Lol – my kids are awesome. We laugh together a LOT. It’s kept us sane. That daughter will be 17 in a few days.

        My kids don’t currently want to see or communicate with their dad, either. His counselor apparently advised him that if “this thing should all go south,” he’d want to make sure he was consistently reaching out to the kids. I took that as a subtle threat against me possibly considering divorce. I did manage to convince him, in that conversation, that I while I wasn’t going to prevent him from seeing the kids, if he continued to insist (I had told him they didn’t want to see him) it would only prove to them that he cared more about what he wanted than what they said they needed (space). He tried to dance around it several times, tried to intimidate, cajole, etc, but I help firm and he backed down. So he contents himself to writing them form letters…for now.

      • Brenda R

        Fifty, There is no. How are you? How are you doing in school? It sounds like a one sided conversation and he really thinks they are buying it.

      • Julie

        Oh, my, FiftyandFree, we must have the same BabyDaddy. LOL. Mine has FINALLY given up calling them twice a day, mostly because they stopped answering the phone because they do not enjoy talking to him at all. When they are with him, like you said in your followup post, they don’t do anything. The kids stay on the computer or watch TV while he does his own thing. He has NEVER, in the almost 4 years we’ve been separated then divorced, taken them for any of the extended time he is allowed per the custody agreement. A weekend is even too much for him, as he often brings them home early and/or picks them up late. But he has said repeatedly that “seeing his kids only 4 days a month is killing him”. He also pulls the “I’m praying for you crap”, like you know, they should be miserable being away from him and being with a terrible mother like me.

        I swear, every time I read other people’s stories it confirms how alike all these guys are.

      • poohbear

        Fiftyandfree, I know, isn’t it odd? Mine swears he’ll get custody of our remaining minor child if I divorce him. But, when he’s home and actually has time to BE with him, he prefers to lock himself in his bedroom with a tequila bottle. But he regularly blasts me for being a bad mother.

        When our son is sick his dad will say that he hates going to work when his boy as sick…as though he’d spend any time with him, if he DIDN’T go to work.

        It’s all such as act. I’m glad for you that you and your daughters see through it.

        (Eds. note: identifying details edited.)

      • fiftyandfree

        Poohbear, yes it is ironic. He used custody as leverage during the divorce but since the Order came from the court allowing him every other weekend and one evening a week he has dwindled his visits down to less than 18 hours per month. It was never about his relationship with the kids or wanting to be a parent. It was about control and intimidation.

      • I read something Lundy Bancroft said about the guys who devote a lot of their time to the Fathers Rights groups. He said that he knew of one situation where the kids were court-ordered to spend frequent weekends with their Dad, and when they returned to their mother they would say to her “Dad hardly does anything with us when we’re with him. He’s always on the computer doing Fathers Rights stuff.” — Lundy’s comment was that this demonstrates how so often the Father’s Rights agenda is not about them wanting to be good fathers to their kids; it’s about power and control over their ex partners and over the system which gives even the most meagre rights to protective mothers and their kids.

    • I like your daughter’s sharpness! And I like you sharing it with our readers. Not all that many of our readers have kids who get it as much as your daughter does. They can be encouraged by your daughter’s viewpoint; it will buoy them up when their own kids are blaming them or siding with the abuser in various ways.

      • fiftyandfree

        Julie, yes our ex’s sound identical. I wish I could stop the twice per day phone calls but he threatens and intimidates us because the court Order says he’s entitled to two calls per day. The Order says he can call twice per day and if we are not home we will call him back, but if we don’t answer he’ll call multiple times until we do. We’re all really sick of it.

        He hasn’t had them for more than 4 hours at a time years but he is trying to talk them into sleeping over at his girlfriend’s house with him, probably because he wants to look like super dad to his girlfriend. I’m sure she wonders why they don’t sleep over and why he sends them home after only a four hour visit on his Saturdays with them. But he’s insisting that they should sleep over when he goes to his girlfriends house (80 miles away). He’s trying to bribe them with the promise of pets or gifts. I pray they stay strong and resist the urge to give in to his bribes. If he really wanted more time with them he’d spend the time he’s already entitled to have with them, but he won’t.

  24. 10areFree

    Yes, Brenda. I heard that more times than I can remember. I never denied my husband, because it was made clear to me from my church and my husband that I did not have the right to do so. But when I would try to talk to my husband regarding his forcing me to have sex with him regardless of how I felt about it, that is when I would hear it. He would snarl at me that my body belonged to him, and he could do whatever he wanted with it. Near the end, he even started hammering at me with the notion that I was not in line with Scripture if I was not initiating sex. Now, in his mind, I was expected to initiate my own rape. Not that he saw it that way. When I tried to explain to him that what he did to me felt like rape (at the time, I didn’t know it actually was), he told me that I wasn’t allowed to say that. Didn’t I understand how bad that made him feel?
    I was supposed to care about his feelings, but I was only allowed to feel whatever had his approval or agreement.

    • Brenda R

      I heard that one too. I was suppose to initiate sex even though I did not want it, that he hurt me physically and emotionally every time because God said I was suppose to. I never read that scripture and I see nowhere in scripture where God promoted rape. I know, they don’t want us to have a mind of our own. We are only to agree with what they say.

    • poohbear

      10areFree, sorry to hear what you’ve gone through, and I’m sad that this seems to be such a common experience in abusive “Christian” marriages.

      Mine actually said, “You can’t rape your own wife.” He pulled out Bible verses as well about my body belonging to him. Earlier on, I was ordered to comply no matter what…I’m sorry, but I just wasn’t attracted to him when he was reeking drunk, or right after he’d verbally bashed me to the moon and back. It didn’t matter. He expected sex during a pregnancy when I had an infection that caused me much pain, during a threatened miscarriage when the doctor said not to for a week (he put our unborn baby at risk, but later said it must’ve been ok because I didn’t miscarry as “God protected the baby”), after giving birth before my stitches had healed, you name it. I never thought he was raping me because after all, we were married…he had me so brainwashed!

      Later on, he would say, “You’ll do it with everyone else, though!” ?!

      I’m SO glad he no longer comes anywhere near me. I suspect since he’s been locking himself upstairs again, he might be back to watching porn, but to be honest, that’s fine with me now. I know how much contempt he has for me, so hopefully that’s driven him away from me physically for good. I just feel sad for the poor women who are still going through this…

  25. fiftyandfree

    Brenda, yes the conversation is very one sided. He does ask “What are you doing today?” to which they always reply “School,” (We homeschool) but he asks no specific questions about what they are studying or anything. They tell me that when they are with him at his place they don’t talk at all. They just play video games or watch movies. It’s almost the same verbatim conversation every time he calls with very little variation.

    • Brenda R

      Fifty, Sounds pretty robotic.

  26. Loves6

    I havnt been on here for sometime.
    I have a husband that is obsessed with me. He ‘loves’ me to death. Jeff said to me a few months ago my husband does not love me. I’ve found this a hard pill to swallow. You wouldn’t think this to be true going by his affection, sweetness etc. He got a touch from God a couple of months back and I gave him an ultimatum a few days before. In recent weeks he has started to verbally abuse me again, especially after being out with friends. I am an extrovert and love being around people, he is a quiet one that sits there and analysises me all night long. That night or the next day I cop a barrage of verbal abuse about how embarrassing I am etc.
    I have had a recent bereavement in the family of somone close to me, would you believe that my husband went off at me the morning this person died about me and my relationship with this person. My heart was so broken. When he heard this person had died two hours later he was as nice and sweet to me like nothing had happened. It makes me feel like I’m crazy. I feel so powerless, scared, weak, in disbelief and so very unhappy.
    I love God but I feel like giving up on my Christian life and leave my kids and home seeking to find my ‘dream’ man. I am totally off loading here….
    What I find so hard is that he isn’t abusive like some of the ladies experience. Give him sex and he is so happy for a few days….don’t give it and he attacks me verbally or he sulks or he has other manipulative ways of getting me to feel guilt. GOD HELP ME!!

    • Jeff Crippen

      Loves6- Oh boy, you have done a perfect job here of describing multiple abuser tactics that expose him as a classic abuser. Good job. You are starting to see it. 1) Charmingly obsessed with you = control, it’s not affection, 2) he shows the classic cycle of abuse and thus ALL he does ALL the time is in fact a quest for power and control. Abusers abuse. Always, 3) He analyzes you. This is the typical business of an abuser telling the victim what she is thinking, what her motives are, etc. No one knows these things about another person, but abusers claim they do and they do this to control, control, control, 4) He flips flops from verbally mean to “nice and sweet.”, 5) He makes you feel crazy, 6) Give him sex/don’t give him sex = he is abusive at all times no matter what you do, even when it LOOKS like he is being happy and nice. He isn’t. Remember this: there are no truly good times with an abuser. None. Because behind it all he is always striving for power and control and his words and actions and thoughts are all designed to get what he insists he is entitled to. This is who abusers are. Fish swim. Abusers abuse.

      • Pastor Jeff you explain my situation well. I have had a terrible weekend. My legs and back are in pain…. I’m aching and sore and also exhausted.
        I have told my husband that I cannot do this anymore. I am at my limit. He thinks I’m feeling the way I am due to the death I have had in the family, maybe, but I also think it is post trauma.
        He told me over the weekend he was sorry and he wants to change. I really cannot see that change can take place. He hates being told that he controls..he gets very angry. The more I’m stepping out being me the worse he seems to be getting.
        He says that our relationship isn’t good except for the sex part…. That is because I give in because I fear the repercussion of NO. As I am a sexual abuse survivor, this boundary NO is terrifying. So I ‘play’ the prositute…. Not literally just making a point here.
        He is being very sweet and nice since his sorry. I can hear the syrupy niceness in his voice. He says I’m dead emotionally… I’m not dead, I’m very much alive! I just don’t respond to him with warm affection because there is a lot about him I don’t like. I realized over the weekend I really do love him and I believe I have been hoping for change…hoping my prayers will be answered. I believe he has the ability to be a wonderful man….trouble is he is trying to control his world…
        I have realized over the weekend also that he idolizes me. I am his world. I am the one that is meant to take away his feelings of rejection and abandonment, which comes from his upbringing. He is trying to stop me from leaving God and leaving him. He thinks hurling abuse at me is going to work…I have told him it will do the opposite. Having come out of a very conservative fundamental church, he is trying to keep me in chains and bondage like I was in that place. He fears me going back to my old ways. He, also, having a form of cancer, I believe is terrified I am going to end up with another man if he dies. He feels his life is out of control…. I consequently get the brunt of all this thrown at me when the cycle comes back around.
        I am coming to the point that I will walk away from everything just to get away from him. I can see that this will happen in the near future should his behaviour not change.
        Well meaning friends, a couple we are friends with, do not have a clue about abuse. They see that we are both great people with heaps of potential and say we just have to break the cycle. That’s all very well and good….. But if they don’t understand the workings of an abusers their advice is fruitless.

      • Thanks Pastor Jeff. My weekend has been a bad one. My husband resorted to throwing things and punching things. I got an apology later. He said he is sorry and wants to change…..I’m sad to say I don’t think he can change. These behaviors are so deep within him he cannot change unless he really sees himself.
        I’m heartbroken that he will not change because I believe I love him.
        His ‘niceness’ always has this syrupy sound in his speech. It is so obvious that he is trying too hard and that under the surface is rage.
        His rage erupts if I challenge him on something to do with him as well as other things. I am his wold. He lives to make me ‘happy’ …. More he’s happy where he has for me I would say. He idolizes me. It is OTT and I find it very difficult to deal with. If I shrug him off, don’t answer his constant questions, he feels rejects ands hurt and sulks or gets angry.
        Over the weekend I have been told much about what I do, why I do it, what I think. I have a tendency to deal with it with fear based anger. I challenge and take him on. If I don’t he follows me or stands over me and gives me both barrels.
        Today I’m exhausted and my body is so sore.
        I really do need Gods strength and wisdom

    • Brenda R

      Loves6, I have to agree with Ps Jeff. This man who calls himself your husband doesn’t love you or anyone else for that matter. He is an abuser. It breaks my heart to hear that you want to give up your Christianity and your children. There is NO dream man. There are better than what you have. There are men who do not abuse, control, manipulate, stalk, etc……….I fear if you leave what you believe and the children you love that you will find that you’ve not only made your life worse, but your kids, as well. GOD WILL HELP YOU. Cry out to Him. He will answer you. Don’t give up on HIM.

      • Thank you Brenda…. I’m hanging on…. So faintly and so weakly but I’m hanging on. X

      • Praying for you, Loves6.

    • Julie

      Jeff nailed it by pointing out all the abusive behaviors being exhibited by your husband. I am so sorry you are going through this. I know you are confused and scared. Please reach out for help, either to a close friend or family member you can trust, or if there is no one in your life you can trust, then a women’s shelter or domestic violence group. PLEASE don’t leave your children with this abuser. I understand the feeling of wanting to run away, but you will regret it later if you leave your children helpless and defenseless. Not to mention it would be hard if not impossible to gain custody of them at that point.

      God will help you. Just don’t let all the lifeboats go by and not get into them because you are afraid. It is terrifying to make that leap, but you can and will reach down deep and find strength that you don’t even know you have.

      • Julie thank you… You sound like a woman that knows…been though this no doubt. I am very much at this place. I am going to have to contact the Women’s Refuge to get some advice. I am very concerned about my children’s schooling…. This is one reason why I’m not jumping just yet. I feel very confused, fearful, shaky, brokenhearted. I think also disbelief… I have seeked to trust this man…even though he has hurt me verbally and emotionally. Thank you again

    • What I find so hard is that he isn’t abusive like some of the ladies experience. Give him sex and he is so happy for a few days….don’t give it and he attacks me verbally or he sulks or he has other manipulative ways of getting me to feel guilt.

      Loves6, so many victims say similar things as they are starting to journey out of the fog. “He isn’t abusive like some of the other ladies here experience”.

      Let me explain something. Almost all victims find it hard to think that they are being abused by their husbands. They all think their husband is not as bad as some other men, so he can’t be a real abuser.

      All abusers have the basics in common: the entitlement mentality, the propensity to lie and manipulate, the blame-shifting when confronted, the pattern of coercive control.

      But abusers differ from other abusers. One man majors on Gaslighting and never raises his voice. Another man frequently goes into verbal rages at high decibels. Both are abusers. One man is not addicted to porn and has never committed adultery. Another is addicted to porn or has multiple affairs. They are both abusers if they show the entitlement mentality and the pattern of coercively controlling their partners. One man is nice for a few days after he’s had sex. Another man has sex with his wife and later that night kicks her out of bed (literally) so she learns to sleep with one foot on the floor so when she falls out of bed she will not be so bruised by the fall. Both are abusers.

      Another important point about this idea that He’s not as bad as other men, so he’s not a real abuser. This idea is EXACTLY what abusers believe about themselves. Lundy Bancroft explains this in his book and gives examples illustrating it. I would give you the page number but I’ve lent my copy of Why Does He DO That? to someone. 🙂

      • Hi Barbara …. I have to get my books out again. It’s all been in the too hard basket over recent months.
        I’ve had a terrible weekend and I’m aching so much. All over my legs, my back and my stomach. I’m exhausted. We had a number of yelling matches in front of the kids while my little girl is crying. He told me in front of the kids I’m emotionally dead, I’m friends with a @”‘@& , etc etc
        My husband says our relationship is not good in part but our sex life is good…. The reason for this is I am a sexual abuse survivor. To say NO to sex because of his behaviour is terrifying. I would rather say yes, get through it and have him happy than say NO and have him angry.
        He has this thing where he wakes me up at 12am, 1am or 2am to talk. The talks normally last a couple of hours. If I say NO to sex I will get no sleep.
        My husbands mother was kicked out of bed by his dad. She told me recently after I made a time to meet with her (I felt to tell her about what I was going through) that my husband is acting just like his dad did with her and she had a breakdown and walked out on her husband and children. The problem with my husband is that is is a Christian. This is almost harder to deal with.
        I have the hurdle to cross of my older children. They look to me to keep our marriage together. I’m the one that cops it from my kids if things are not good with us, as they see me as the problem….I’m emotional they say.
        Pastor Jeff is right ….. My husband is a classic abuser….

      • I have the hurdle to cross of my older children. They look to me to keep our marriage together. I’m the one that cops it from my kids if things are not good with us, as they see me as the problem….I’m emotional they say.

        Loves6, one thing is pretty certain: you won’t be able to please everyone. Making decisions for your safety will displease some people. If your older children are displeased, that is not going to be something you can have a lot of control over, is it? They may come round in the end, but if they accuse and blame you, they are in effect abusing you just like you husband is. And we know that the best way to deal with abusers is to minimise contact with them.

        So I just want to caution you about that, in case you are holding back to try to avoid attacks from your older kids. Rememeber the ‘explaining trap’? It when the victim tries to explain and explain and explain. . . to people who don’t want to accept her explanations, people who have already made up their mind and have a fixed point of view. It’s a giant waste of energy and can be a real sink-hole for victims.

        (((hugs)))

      • Sorry I replied to Pastor Jeff twice… I couldnt find my first reply and had forgotten what it said… so I repeated myself… thats slightly OTT isnt it? lol anyway I thought I should explain what happened there.

    • Julie

      Praying for you, Loves6. In reading your latest posts, it sounds like things are going from bad to worse. 😦 Sounds very familiar. Near the end of my marriage, my ex resorted to throwing and punching things when he knew he was losing control and his gig was up. I knew it was only a matter of time that me and/or the kids would be what he was punching. I am praying for your safety and rescue.

      I am not an expert, and by no means can tell you what is best in your situation, but I’ll tell you how I dealt with my ex when he got to this point. I found that the only way I could survive and conserve all my energy just to get through each day was to disengage as much as I possibly could. I did not engage in any arguing, explaining or pleading with him at that point. In fact, I talked to him as little as I could possibly get away with. I would answer with short, one- or two-word answers that were very neutral, such as “yeah”, or “that’s nice” or “really?”. The point is to conserve your energy and not give him any ammunition to use against you. What he is doing is trying to exhaust you and wear you down so that you cannot even think about leaving him. Don’t play his game.

      I can tell from some things that you’ve said that you have some of the same mental hurdles as I did in regards to leaving. Thinking that your husband is a Christian: Really, ask yourself, is his behavior consistent with one who is following Christ? Christian or not, you do not have to take his abuse. Worrying about what your older kids will think: Like Barbara said, some people will not like it when you start to take care of yourself, your children included. But you will find as I did that you can only keep all the plates spinning in the air for so long until they all come crashing down.

      As soon as you can, I would get to safety, Loves6. It doesn’t get much better from here. Your husband seems to know you are getting stronger and are “on to him”, and this is his last desperate attempt. I don’t mean to scare you, I am just speaking from my own experience, and your situation sounds very similar.

  27. Isaiah40:31

    Wow. A lot of what was written above has happened to me as well. I was told by my abuser that my body was his to do with as he pleased, and that he would rape me to get what I didn’t give him. I didn’t realize until after speaking with my attorneys, that what he did over the years *was* rape. He would say weekly for 21 years that he would divorce me, but just last month when I finally told him that I couldn’t endure any more of his abuse, he told me that God hates divorce and that the ring on my finger was a token that I was never allowed to leave him. Just after that I had to call 911 and seek safety for myself and my children. I had my Temporary Orders hearing this week. He was granted supervised visitation for now. The poor kids don’t want to go at all. I really don’t understand why the courts think that a grown woman who can’t handle the abuse should leave, and the opposing attorney even berates her for not leaving sooner – but tender, defenseless children should be made to spend time with the very abuser that the woman shouldn’t have stayed with as long as she did. That just boggles my mind.

    • Julie

      I am so sorry. I agree. My heart breaks for the children being forced to visit with abusive parents. It makes no sense. I get it that the courts are supposedly trying to do what is in the best interest of the child, and that the most current research about NORMAL parenting and divorce suggests that children benefit from contact with both of their parents. But this does NOT take into account abusive parents!! The laws have not caught up there, unfortunately. Praise God his visits are at least supervised. Maybe his impact/influence on them can be minimized.

    • The poor kids don’t want to go at all. I really don’t understand why the courts think that a grown woman who can’t handle the abuse should leave, and the opposing attorney even berates her for not leaving sooner – but tender, defenseless children should be made to spend time with the very abuser that the woman shouldn’t have stayed with as long as she did. That just boggles my mind.

      I totally agree. The courts are getting it very wrong so much of the time. And a big part of the reason for this is because the abusers spread their lies and myths about abuse by constantly, drip drip drip, disseminating these myths to the public mind, so that many people think they ‘get it’ about abuse, but what they think has been conditioned by the myths that abusers promote.

      The myths are many, but here are the major ones (transcribed from Bancroft’s Domestic Violence in Popular Culture Pt3)
      Myths about domestic violence:
      Just as many men as women are abused
      Once she leaves him, the abuse ends
      It’s a high-conflict divorce — They’re both to blame
      It’s due to childhood abuse
      He’s out of control
      It’s caused by his substance abuse

      And because abusers usually have more money than victims (and we all know the reasons for that, eh?), they can employ better quality lawyers to represent them, and many of these lawyers are quite willing to defend and uphold these myths that perpetrators spread (after all, they are just defending their client, aren’t they?). There are many ‘Institutes’ and ‘Training Programs’ that purport to teach professionals about the dynamics of domestic abuse, but a lot of these are just teaching some version of the myths, maybe a partial version, a watered down version, so that it *looks* like they are really on the side of victims and pro-justice, but as we all know, a partial understanding of domestic abuse is not good enough. Mix in a few little lies and you have a belief system that enables and colludes, wittingly or unwittingly, with abusers.

      So, many professionals in the Family Court system are believing in a cleverly packaged tissue of lies, half-truths and misinformation. And some of the professionals, are, of course, abusers themselves; those professionals take special delight in helping a fellow perpetrator punish his victim.

      I perceive that the Family Court system is often a racket: the custody evaluators, the Guardians ad Litem, the psychologists, the high-conflict divorce specialists, the mediators, the shared parenting experts, etc, all get their own slice of the money pie and it looks on the surface like all these experts are doing something worthwhile, but in actuality their collective efforts just prolong the abuse of the victim, impoverish her and expose the children to continued abuse from the perpetrator. So the abuse doesn’t stop, it just becomes SYSTEMIC abuse: the abuser uses the system as a means to continue to hurt punish and control his (ex-)wife.

      It is much worse in America because the Family Courts ORDER the victim to pay for all these para-divorce *services* — the psychological evaluations, the supervised visitation, the high-conflict-divorce Case Managers, etcetera. The American Family Courts often order these services until the victim’s funds dry up and there is no more water to squeeze out of the stone.

      • fiftyandfree

        That’s a very accurate and daunting assessment of the American Family Court system, Barb. I was one of the most fortunate women ever to go through it because of the way it turned out for me (by God’s own Hand, I’m sure), but still it was the most horrific thing that’s happened to me in this life, besides finding myself married to a psychopath in the first place.

        Is it better in Australia?

      • I”m not fully aware of how it is in Australia now. When I went thru the Family Court in Oz in 2000, it was better than it is now. Then, the FC had its own counselors who did thorough observations of the parenting skills of each parent (both in the counselor’s office and by watching the parent and child interact in each parent’s home!) and they also interviewed the child without either parent present, but with the child’s court appointed lawyer present as a witness, to give the child a chance to express their own wishes, which were weighed in with all the other factors the counselor deemed relevant. This was a time consuming and you can imagine costly process, but neither parent had to foot the bill for those costs: they were covered by the Family Court. Nowadays, this work is farmed out to non-court professionals, and even though the parents do not (I think) have to pay for it, it is, in my impression, a harder road for the victims, because many of the psychologists who do this work now seem to be less skilled in discerning abuse than the FC counselors used to be. But really, I am not an expert on this; I only have my own experience and some anecdotes from others and whatever I’ve read about the changes that have taken place in the FC system.

        I think the worst change in the FC in Oz in recent years has been caused by the Fathers’ Rights lobby who pressured the govt to change the legislation so that there would be a presumption that shared care (50-50 between each parent) was the best outcome; this default assumption has to now be rebutted in cases of domestic abuse. And we all know how victim’s testimonies about abuse are sometimes not believed, and how abusive parents can win the kids over and win the counselors over, so they end up getting a lot of ongoing contact or full custody of the kids. But I don’t think it is nearly as bad as it is in the US because parents do not have to pay for the para-Court services.

        Someone else might like to chime in here and add their knowledge.

      • I should also add that when I went thru the process, the FC counselor interviewed each parent in private too. This gave me a chance to detail to her the abuse my husband had done to me and her, and express my concerns about his parenting abilities.

      • It’s good to hear from people like you, Fifty, who got a good outcome in the US Family Court system. When we talk about the faults and dangers of the US system on this blog, we are mindful that we don’t want to make victims feel so scared of going thru the system that they stay with their abusers. Each victim has to decide for herself or himself. But knowing that there are some good outcomes can give hope to other victims. 🙂

      • poohbear

        Yes, I know, Barbara! These are some of the reasons why I’m terrified to leave. I’m always grateful for support, but get so frustrated with people who tell me I should “just leave.” They don’t understand the fear of a man hauling you to court and having some attorney (and he can afford the best, while I can afford nothing on my small income) hear his side of the story (lies). I don’t want to hurt my last remaining child. I don’t want to be humiliated any more. I’ve been verbally beaten up by a man who once claimed to love me, and I don’t need a creepy attorney picking up where he left off. 😦

        I live in a “no-fault divorce” state, and have been told that this scenario will never happen, even that HE will have to pay my attorney fees, but somehow I don’t believe it. I live day to day fending off attacks, trying to ignore his barbs, to avoid being around him as much as possible, waiting for the day when my child can make the decision himself (and I know he loves me dearly; he cries for me when his dad takes him away for even a weekend vacation).

        But it’s a rather dismal existence.

        Thank you for all you do, and to the other ladies here…

  28. Happy2bHere

    I had a loose plan to leave and spoke with an attorney again. In order for me to relocate with our daughter, I have to get my husbands consent to leave the state. Great. I want to live closer to my mother who is finally seeing the mess I’m in. She’s still married to an awful man but at least she loves her grandchildren and helps me when she can. There is a domestic violence clause, however, there is not enough proof for it to apply to me. Police reports didnt help because he was never arrested and there werent any noticable marks on me or my son. He doesn’t abuse alcohol or drugs, so joint custody would probably be granted. My son isn’t his bio child so statements from his counselor and teachers don’t bear much weight on custody with our daughter for some reason. If i just move, i may have to bring her back and could end up with visitation. To top it off I have ADHD and now depression and have to get a statement from my doctor basically stating I’m sane. Statements from my daughters doctor and her speech therapist that Im a good mom and involved in her care. Fine i’ll get the statements, it just burns me up that I have to prove myself worthy of the children I care for each day without much help. He helps by giving me access to money for things I’m allowed to buy. The attorney said my husband will likely try to use the “crazy card” so I need to be prepared. My husband travels frequently for work and for having fun while we’re always just here. I guess better him away than here. Yet he deserves equal custody without question. i guess its a good thing the insane wife is here to watch the children and maintain the house while he’s out and about. The attorney seems to sympathize but the law is the law. This information was a real slap in the face and i guess a reality check for me. My body is tired and my mind is tired of playing chess each moment.

    • This information was a real slap in the face and i guess a reality check for me. My body is tired and my mind is tired of playing chess each moment.

      I get that, H2BH.

      One thing you can know for sure: you are having perfectly sane responses to what you are dealing with. If you did not feel tired of playing chess each moment in the situation you find yourself in, you would be strange, I reckon.

      I shall be praying for you.

      • Happy2bHere

        Thank you, Barbara. Sorry I sort of went off on a negative rant when i probably just should have calmed myself a couple days before writing. I really hope I didn’t discourage anyone into staying. That was just my experience, i may consult with another attorney for a second opinion. Our situations are similar but still unique so the outcomes may be different.

  29. Isaiah40:31

    I think my outcome in American FC was better than some. The judge actually ordered supervised visitation, the unfortunate part is that it’s only temporary. At some point it will become unsupervised, if he proves himself. He has the ability to stay just under the radar, and manipulate and lie to get others to think he’s something he’s not. So my fear is for when the supervised visits become unsupervised.

    For someone who is contemplating leaving and going through this fight in the US, I highly recommend being prepared. Keep a journal, with dated entries. Take photos of cuts, bruises, injuries. Tell a professional (doctor, therapist, family abuse center). Call the police and press charges. If it’s legal in your state, use a voice recorder to have a record of the verbal rampages. Keep copies of txt messages (screen shots are best). Tell a friend, if you have one you trust. Read books and websites on abuse. I was able to tell a couple of friends just before we had to flee for safety, and I was able hide a journal, and record a couple things; but looking back I wish I had done more so that I would have had more proof of the abuse. There was minimal physical abuse, so my abuse was harder to prove: verbal, emotional, sexual. Until my attorneys read me the statutes and penal code in my state, I didn’t realize that was I suffered was called sexual assault. So be informed! I know that’s hard to do when you’re in the middle of it. The children and I were so very isolated, and I was so afraid of him! But now that I’m on the outside, I can really see the importance of being prepared because the abuser and his attorney will make you out to be crazy, or say you are lying, or any other number of tactics to discredit you. Be careful, stay as clear-headed as you can, and don’t stoop to using the abuser’s dirty tricks.

    • Julie

      Isaiah40:31’s advice is excellent about being prepared and building your support system beforehand.

      I’d like to also add, if you are married and planning on getting divorced, hire the best attorney you can possibly afford. It will be worth every penny. You hear a lot these days about mediation and collaboration and divorcing couples sharing a lawyer or even writing everything out themselves in order to save money. That may be great for normal, amicable couples, but when abuse is involved it does not work!! I know not everyone is able to afford a great attorney, but I was very blessed to be able to, and although I payed her a small fortune, it could have been so, so much worse if I had tried to cut corners and do things cheaply on the front end. I know, like another poster said, God was in it for it to have turned out as well as it did for me and my children. He definitely used my divorce lawyer to help us whether or not the lawyer realized it! 🙂

  30. Isaiah40:31

    Agreeing with Julie. I have also paid a small fortune, but it has been worth every penny. I have a friend who did the mediation route with her abusive ex and it has turned into a nightmare.

    • fiftyandfree

      I agree. Just as marital therapy does not work with an abusive spouse, sharing an attorney and/or mediation won’t work either. I wish I had understood this when I was going through my nasty divorce. You can’t expect nor hope that a sociopathic abuse will ever be reasonable and you must be reasonable in order to mediate a fair agreement.

  31. jasmin

    I still miss him somedays but I know he never ever did cause he had no love ever inside.

    • Hi Jasmin — welcome to the blog 🙂

      We always like to encourage new readers to check out our New Users Info page as it gives tips for how to guard your safety while commenting on the blog.

      If you want us to change you screen name from Jasmin to something else, just email The woman behind the curtain:– twbtc.acfj@gmail.com —she will be more than happy to assist. 🙂

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