the cycle of abuse

My ex-husband says horrible things to me.

I think to myself, “Wait. I shouldn’t have to hear these barbs and stings, because—well, that’s why I divorced him—to escape.”

Of course, I can soothe myself and regain control of my own mood after he is done insulting me, but it takes time and energy that, frankly, I don’t always have.

And who suffers during my recovery (other than myself who apparently he doesn’t give a fuck about anymore)? Our daughter.  I have tried to broach the subject that if he loves her like he says he does, then he needs to be nicer to me.   That argument goes nowhere.

Or it crackles and pops, and I am afraid it will one day explode in my face.

I am nice to him.  I concentrate on my breathing and make I-statements. I compromise.

While we were in mandatory counseling during the divorce, he made nice.  He clearly doesn’t feel like he is required to do that anymore.

That was always the issue with him. He’d complain that, unlike everyone else in the family, he wasn’t able to show his feelings. I told him that he had every right to feel those emotions, but when his temper started causing his daughter to have panic attacks (and causing me to have crying jags) then he no longer got to openly express his feelings.

When he realized that bullshit wasn’t going to work as an excuse, he started saying that he wasn’t angry, just frustrated, and that we two had to bear the responsibility of understanding when he was frustrated and when he was mad, and adjust ourselves to his emotional state. Rather than him doing anything to make the two of us feel safer.

All I have to say to that is NO. Many many many times NO. NO. NO. NO. NO. Fuck you.

No No No No No

Eventually, I realized I had no marriage at all. So I got up, grabbed my daughter and ran.

Problem is, even now he controls part of my life because he pays me alimony, child support and half of his quarterly and annual bonuses.  This, along with the settlement from his 401k retirement account that I finally got in January 2019, means that I can pick and choose where and how I work until at least May 2022.

I am very grateful for this, but how I see it, I earned it the hard way. By enduring abuse that shouldn’t have allowed myself to endure because I thought he would change.

Still, being inherently helpful, I have allowed him to directly deposit checks into a bank that has branches both in my town and his town. I set up this situation on purpose.

But now he says that his bonuses should go directly to our daughter because he implies that I will steal her money if he gives it to me.

A couple weeks ago, he made a big deal out of handing her an envelope with $500 in it.  She’s 15. She handed it to me and told me to deposit it in the bank. I gave her back $100 and told her to go thrift-store shopping with her dad. He sat there and he grumped.

I asked him if he wanted to make sure she knew how to use a debit card and budget and do comparison shopping, because if so, I would put her on the bank account and start teaching her these life skills.  I told him this was a great suggestion. He grumbled.

Later on, after he had gone back home, our daughter and I went to Best Buy and bought a PlayStation with all the bells and whistles plus two games, Spider-Verse for her and Red Dead Redemption II for me. We paid out $800 and I sent him the receipt plus a video of her enjoying the game and telling him, “Thank you, Dad!”  He ghosted.

This is all about control, and control is the motivation behind most abuse. I know this.

Still, I am going to make some phone calls this morning and see if I can streamline the process of him putting that bonus money directly in her 529 education account.

The truth is, I am wondering if I should call the county courthouse and start the process of having all court-mandated funds pulled from his checks and sent to me through a third party. Because I could.  I don’t want to, but I could.

I keep thinking that maybe I just need to put my foot down and stop giving him the benefit of the doubt.  This runs so contrary to my nature, that I balk at it.

I don’t deserve this.  I need to make sure to be my own best defense.

What You Allow

Ultimately, there is still some wiggle room here, and if I can get the end result I want (i.e. money put into the bank with no discussion, polite conversation, friendly visits, etc.) just by being a little more firm and little less nice, that is the optimal solution.

Still, there is a part of me that wonders if I am just opening up myself to another cycle of abuse.  I hope that I am wiser now and won’t fall prey to previous bad habits. We’ll see.

 

 

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