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Old 05-07-2013, 04:57 AM
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update

My xAH went to jail Sunday night for hitting me. I have a restraining order - finally!!!!! - and will be doing everything under the sun to ensure I get a permanent one.

He hit me hard enough to make me fall as I was taking my kids and one of their friends and leaving the driveway of my house bc he showed up, had been drinking and told me I had no right to walk away from him.

I called the cops, huge scene ensued etc...

My neighbors (the parents of my girls friend) instead of being alarmed/supportive/concerned etc... have since texted me telling me to stay away from them and that the girls and their daughter can not play.

The husband (who was my ex's drinking buddy and who has broken his wife's jaw with his own abuse) came to my HOUSE Sun night and layed into me verbally telling me I need to keep my business with my ex private and involving the police was BS (his words) and that he feels bad for my kids and my ex and that if I hadn't been trying to provoke my ex he'd have had no reason to get mad.

Yup. True story.

Right now I am a mess of emotions. My kids want to know why their 5 yr old friend next door won't say hello (our houses are about 20 ft apart and yesterday after school was torture as there is no way to NOT see the kids next door-- so my girls shouted as they always do "Hi X" and she turned her head and ran and then the girls asked me repeatedly for the next hour why they can't go play over there or say hi etc...

My neighbor's wife was someone I THOUGHT was a friend. It is just another example of the ways in which my xAH has managed to convince others that somehow I am the problem when he abuses me.

I have lost so so many friends because of him and I know, I know, they are not real friends if they act this way...

It makes it hurt only bc my kids have now had two sets of GOOD friends (the kids of my friends) ripped from their lives bc of xAH's stunts...

Seeing the girls hurting and asking for play dates and not understanding how one day they have a friend and the next they don't is just really sad...

I feel a huge sense of relief knowing xAH can't be around for a good long while-- now it's the uncertainty of wondering how to make things be okay for my kids who are old enough to be hurt by the sudden loss of friends-- that I have NO idea what to do with....
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Old 05-07-2013, 05:44 AM
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Dear wanttobehealthy, my first thought as I read your post is the memory of one o f my biggest "take aways" from my child developmental courses is this: Children who are going through a crisis of some sort (divorce, housefire, major move....etc), do better and recover best when their sense of security is provided for in 24hr. increments by an adult who appears to be in stable control. Children look at their lives in terms of the "here and now" satisfaction of their needs for security. They respond to PREDICTABILITY and structure--and an environmental tone that says: "My caretaker seems stable and caring--so I am o.k." A schedule that is as normal as possible under the circumstances--and above all---predictable. Absence of chaos. In other words--"I know what is going to happen today---I am going to be safe; and be fed; and will not be deserted; and know that I can go to sleep tonight and trust that everything will be o.k. when I wake up." (You get the picture). Apparently this has been studied extensively in many kinds of disruptive circumstances, and this one principle seems to stand up. The children don't necessarily look at the situation in the same way that the adults around them do. They do look to the adults for signs that their immediate needs are going to predictably be provided for. At least one calm, stable and loving adult that can be counted on is essential to normal development. They need calm--even in the eye of the storm.

As far as what to tell them---I do know that the basic truth (as opposed to lies) IN AGE APPROPRIATE TERMS is another basic principle. Let them talk and express their feelings without judgement or pressure. I remember from my kids that their feelings and questions usually come out later(often at unexpected times) as they are processing things themselves. When my kids got back from a visit with their dad--they didn't want to talk much about it. Gradually, as the week went on--they would make comments on their own. I learned to NOT ask questions--I knew they would bring up issues or experiences in small increments, over time.

I am sharing these general thoughts with you in hopes that they might give you some guidence as to how to handle things. I know that this is a tough position for you. Nothing about this crap is easy.

We are here for you.

sincerely, dandylion
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:01 AM
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Christ. I'm so sorry. Also, congratulations on the restraining order?

My neighbors (the parents of my girls friend) instead of being alarmed/supportive/concerned etc... have since texted me telling me to stay away from them and that the girls and their daughter can not play.

The husband (who was my ex's drinking buddy and who has broken his wife's jaw with his own abuse) came to my HOUSE Sun night and laid into me verbally telling me I need to keep my business with my ex private and involving the police was BS (his words) and that he feels bad for my kids and my ex and that if I hadn't been trying to provoke my ex he'd have had no reason to get mad.
This has nothing to do with you. Let your daughters know this has nothing to do with them. This is your ex's drinking buddy and fellow abuser acting in fear that his wife will figure out his ******** and call the cops herself.

My neighbor's wife was someone I THOUGHT was a friend.
I think she might be in survival mode too. We do crazy things in abusive relationships. It's difficult to act rationally when you're surrounded by chaos.

I feel a huge sense of relief knowing xAH can't be around for a good long while-- now it's the uncertainty of wondering how to make things be okay for my kids who are old enough to be hurt by the sudden loss of friends-- that I have NO idea what to do with....
I have no experience with this directly. I just know that for whatever reason not everyone is friendly, so I've just had to move on and help DS make friends with other people. Some people are just jerks. You can let your daughters know in an age appropriate way that it's not their friends' fault, it's that the adults are acting irrationally and the kids do what they have to do. I've always been straight with DS13 in an age appropriate way, and he gets it.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:11 AM
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My instinct has been, especially with my 7 yr old to be direct and honest in an age appropriate way (bc as a kid and young adult myself I was lied to constantly by my parents and had chronic anxiety of knowing that what I was told was untrue but was afraid to speak the truth).

Anyway, that has been my instinct but I wasn't sure if that was wrong.

Good to get some perspective here.

It's really sad that kids get sucked into the vortex of adult crazy.

It would be one thing if the family felt uncomfortable with their daughter being at my house after what she saw, but sadly that's not why they are banning the kids from playing.

I have separated drinking buddies and co abusers so I have to be punished and the best way to do that is by hurting the kids????

Insanity.

Our yards are SO close and our doors face each other so we see one another all the time. I honestly think I may call around about fences (we have a fence around our yard already) and see about having it extended a bit...

My having to see them day in and out after being verbally attacked by the husband and knowing now for sure that he supports xAH's abuse of me is too much to stomach. I don't want to have to see them day in and out....

And of course now that the weather is nice and we are outside a lot, it's just all the worse for the girls bc they see the neighbor kid constantly... I am already dreading today after school...
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:14 AM
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Hi wanttobehealthy,

I can see why you are so disappointed and feel betrayed but I see it as a blessing in disguise. Do you really want your children around those people? The man broke his wife's jaw? And she's still living with him? These are VERY unhealthy people. Also, you have seen that the wife is so addicted to her abusive husband that she is incapable of being a true friend to you. That is good information to have.

I agree that you should be straight with your kids about what is going on. Invite some new kids over for playdates, or maybe take them to the park to play during this transition time. As long as you are okay, your kids are going to be okay.

You did the absolute right thing calling the cops. If your neighbor gives you grief about it again, tell him you're prepared to call the cops on him too.
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:26 AM
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Dreams of Serenity- you are 100% right... Intellectually I get it... I think as insane as this sounds I am having issues not only with seeing the girls hurt and sad about suddenly losing a friend, but I am feeling embarassed/guilty/ashamed and as if I actually DID do something wrong by getting the police involved.

I have a huge need to not upset people and don't want people to be angry with me and I have already this year been through two issues with this family where xAH involved them (unbeknownst to me at the time) in "our" issues (aka he went over and hung out and spread rumors and they like everyone else in my life, believed him without once asking me if it were true).

So, pre restraining order xAH was welcome over there to be buddies with them all and I was always awkwardly received... The girls were happy to play so I tried to not care that my supposed "friend" was so fooled by xAH...

Anyway, they have shown their true colors and it is sad... the worst is that the girls will want to run between our yards as they always have and the awkwardness of that not being an option (I don't want them over there at this point at all) will suck for a while.

I guess I try even when there is obvious dysfunction, to have there be peace and to smooth things over and that's unhealthy huh?
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Old 05-07-2013, 06:43 AM
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Dear wanttobehealthy, as far as the playmates are concerned: "Don't do something; just stand there" (old saying for co-dependents).

It is POSSIBLE that the kids will gradually drift back into playing with each other. I think kids tend to do this if the adults can keep their hands off. Since you don't have control over those 2 adults---you don't know---but, it might even out, eventually, for the kids.

By the way (I don't know if the wife is an alcoholic also??)---she may be as controlled by her husbands alcoholism--and, probably very co-dependent on him.??

I'm just saying............

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Old 05-07-2013, 06:56 AM
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Wanttobehealthy,

I totally get it! I am also uncomfortable when I feel like I've done something wrong or people are upset with me. It's just our codependency! Remember, it's not your business what they think of you.

If the husband is an abusive alcoholic and you are showing signs of recovery like getting your husband out of your house and calling the cops on him when he abuses you, of course neighbor man doesn't want you around his wife.

I also agree that the kids might eventually drift back to playing together. Their mom is probably feeling sad about it too. Don't future trip. Just take one day at a time and be happy you are cleaning up your side of the street (or yard).
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:08 AM
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Well. *shaking my head*

It was coming - I think a lot of us saw this in your future.

So let me ask you again, pointedly. Are you making plans now to get as far away from this backwards hillbilly town? Are you armed? Taking self defense classes (a la Jennifer Lopez in 'Enough' (Enough (2002) - IMDb) which seems rather appropriately titled right now.

Seriously - WTBH - I sense huge danger here and you seem to be worried about your daughters and their emotions. Which is all good, of course, but what about your own safety? This man can kill you in a heartbeat, and not even realize it because he is completely out-of-control. It happens all the time, hon. Especially when he is being backed up by other men for his behavior.

A restraining order is great - another paper trail - but it won't prevent him from violating it, and all he needs is a minute or two and *bam* you are no longer a problem for him. Desperation makes already angry men do crazy things, especially if they are under the influence of a substance.

Please talk with someone about this. Take whatever necessary (and even crazy sounding) steps you need to take to protect yourself. Sure, worry about your kids emotional well-being, but put your own oxygen mask on first so you can continue to be a good Mother for a long, long time.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:23 AM
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I am looking for jobs out of state. I can not just up and leave and take the girls at this moment. I wish I could. All that will do is get me accused of kidnapping and lose them for sure. I am making plans to go to AZ to stay with my dad for a few weeks this summer just to be away from my state and xAH.

My state is insane about fathers rights. The standard (EVEN with D.V. against ME) is 50/50 custody. The way to fight this is to go the litigation route. It has cost me an unreal amount and still nothing is resolved or even close to it. He is using the court system to control and abuse me and he knows it and I know it and I can not do anything about it but continue to do things right on my end.

He doesnt have a record of abusing the girls and the idiot GAL wrote in her report to the court tthat she hasn't seen "evidence" of concern about them when he is with them and sees no reason for anything but shared custody. I am thinking I ought to just give up fighting and say fine to shared custody but the ONLY reason he wants it is to maintain contact with me.

I have the girls therapist willing to write a letter to the court on their behalf stating that their father IS a danger to them and that my attempts to keep him from them are for THEIR well being... that's in the works now and I am hoping that that with the restraining order will get the judge to issue even a temporary order that I have sole custody and that will eliminate any contact with him at all and once THAT in place I have a basis upon which to request that I can move out of state with them.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
My instinct has been, especially with my 7 yr old to be direct and honest in an age appropriate way (bc as a kid and young adult myself I was lied to constantly by my parents and had chronic anxiety of knowing that what I was told was untrue but was afraid to speak the truth).
Knowing my kids, no, I don't think you are wrong. Kids are a lot smarter and know more than we give them credit for knowing. They figure stuff out.
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Old 05-07-2013, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
I have the girls therapist willing to write a letter to the court on their behalf stating that their father IS a danger to them and that my attempts to keep him from them are for THEIR well being... that's in the works now and I am hoping that that with the restraining order will get the judge to issue even a temporary order that I have sole custody and that will eliminate any contact with him at all and once THAT in place I have a basis upon which to request that I can move out of state with them.
This is all well and good, and absolutely above-board which I commend you for doing, WTBH. Really. You are a fine example of fairness.

But, this guy is dangerous. Sometimes in life we need to look for the grey areas, the loopholes, the bone the dog really, really wants. Then take it and RUN!

Sometimes we need to play even dirtier than the dirty being played against us.

It's self preservation. And its ok.

Please keep this in mind. I'm not saying break the law here and put yourself in a losing position. Just be very careful and very open to any and all opportunities to get the heck out of dodge as soon as you possibly can, even if it means you walk away from everything. Your life is worth more than any possession, and those girls need you to be alive and well for the rest of their lives.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:01 AM
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To be clear I am not at all trying to be fair.

I am trying to follow the law and not give him one single inch with which to say "see she is alienating me, she is keeping the girls, she isn't adhering to the parenting plan etc..."

It is not at all about fairness.

I totally understand this is a dangerous situation and I am not comfortable with my inability to up and leave and disappear.

I have explored that option. I'll leave it at that. If I do and get caught I WILL lose my kids and that is not something I am risking.

The girls therapist (who they went back to seeing 3 weeks ago after a 1 yr hiatus) has already called DCYF after our last session with her and she told me she was. He has nt directly hurt the girls but his on going verbal attacks that they reported and she verified with me are, in her estimation (and mine) abuse toward them.

I think right now there are more and more protections falling into place and more and more people aware of his behavior and that makes me feel safer than I have in a long time.

I have nothing material that I care about-- walking away from objects isn't an issue. I simply won't react even in the interest of protecting the girls, in a way that ultimately would make me LESS able to protect them.

Not sure if that makes sense?

I have changed the house locks (well not me but I had them changed yesterday) and feel like I am taking the steps I can to protect myself and the girls as much as humanly possible.

I am open to suggestions but I am not sure what more I can do right now.

Leaving and disappearing is not an option. I will not give him that.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Tuffgirl View Post
But, this guy is dangerous. Sometimes in life we need to look for the grey areas, the loopholes, the bone the dog really, really wants. Then take it and RUN!

Sometimes we need to play even dirtier than the dirty being played against us.

It's self preservation. And its ok.

Please keep this in mind. I'm not saying break the law here and put yourself in a losing position. Just be very careful and very open to any and all opportunities to get the heck out of dodge as soon as you possibly can, even if it means you walk away from everything. Your life is worth more than any possession, and those girls need you to be alive and well for the rest of their lives.
I am open to ANY loophole at all...

If you or anyone else has an idea please let me know...

If I up and leave and disappear that's breaking the law and I and the girls will be screwed for it.

So I am not sure what more to do beyond the steps I am taking.

But I also know I may be mising seeing something that others might see.... So please offer ideas up if you have them!
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:05 AM
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Wow! The battle for women's rights played right out on your doorstep. Two families, with some similar dynamics. One woman stands up for herself, divorces, calls the police and files for protection. The other woman submissively takes the abuse, lets her husband control the family, right down to who they talk to.
Women's rights sure have come a long way via the law. However this stuff is still played out daily.
You are an excellent role model for everyone involved here. Your kids see you standing up for yourself and not tolerating abuse. You can use this example with words such as how to stop bullies. With your kids coming into that age where bullying will be affecting them, even if only through watching it at school, this is an early lesson. This might be the angle you want to approach this from. I would also several times drill it into your kids heads that they are not the reason for this happening, and that the kids next door have no say in this either, and that they are just obeying their parents.

Now the family next door. You are an absolute threat to this neighbor's modus operandi. Abuse is his style, controlling, and treating his family like chattle. Right now he has them all right where he wants them, submissive to his will. I'd avoid him, but I'd make sure to keep my chin up and never look at the ground when he's within eyesight. I'd stare him down if he looked my way, but refuse to speak. You must continue to send the message to him that you are not ashamed of what you have done, nor regret it.
You are a role model for his wife. Should she ever decide to stick up for herself, she will remember you, the woman next door who did what she doesn't have the courage to do. Her kids, the same. They are not stupid kids, and they know already that their home is abusive.
I would smile sadly at the wife or the kids should their eyes meet mine. I wouldn't speak. But I would send the clear message to the kids--that you are not a mean lady. A simple smile does that. Kids are perceptive. They know who is angry, mean, and abusive--their dad. They know who is gentle and kind--their neighbor next door with the gentle smile for them.
The wife too will know the meaning in your sad smile. She may turn her back to you for a long time, because that is the only way she can justify to herself taking the abuse she does. But she will remember that smile, and you never know what day in which year she will come calling for support. It could take her a decade, or she could show up crying next week at your door.

You are a role model for what has transpired and how to handle it. Be proud of that.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:23 AM
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I am glad you finally have a restraining order and have changed the locks, but like others, I am very concerned for your safety. Do you have a dog? I worry about him simply breaking into your house, and it's true, all it really takes is one moment and his problem is solved in his eyes. I would rescue the biggest, toughest looking pit bull that is good with children. I adopted my dog when I had drug users living next door, and I never worried about them taking my stuff, Georgia is very protective. As an added bonus, the girls would have a new friend to play with.
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:49 AM
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I have 2 dogs but they know him and are not fierce.

I am not saying I am not concerned. I am.

I could get a gun I suppose but that's not something I am at all comfortable with and he is more apt to use it on me than vice versa if I pulled it out for protection.

The police are about 1 min away bc I live right in town so there is some comfort there...

I can not move into a hotel indefinitely but I guess I could go stay in one for a while.

I still believe he is concerned with his image (and hasn't lost his job despite dom viol arrests) far too much in true NPD fashion to seriously hurt me.

That said I am taking every precaution I can think of but I am not sure what more I can do
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:54 AM
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Wow! I had a great post that I lost, but while writing it others have posted what I wanted to post, but better.

You keep doing the next right thing, WTBH.
While leaving options open.

As a child, I was always confused and felt completely alone. I did not understand what was happening (my father mean alcoholic, mother depressed codependent) and learned to act on fear and mixed messages. What was true? I still do not know.
I had to learn to listen to my feelings, and ask for help.

Keep yourself safe and the girls in the loop, but age appropriate. It sounds as if your GAL is finally getting that abuse in not ONLY physical. Emotional abuse lasted longer for me.

Have you considered talking to the cops about your neighbors visit the other day?
I feel as if it was a threat to you. To keep your mouth shut and mind your business. Actually, that is what he said?
I just don't know though. Something to think about?

It is a silly and maybe sick idea on my part, but if a female officer of the law talked to your neighbor, I wonder if his "real" self would be apparent to a female, more readily than a male cop.

Misogynists have been vocal with me when I was wearing my uniform for the US Army. I believe being afraid of females with "power" and wearing it (uniform, weapon) brings out the worst in these guys. Just my opinion and my experience.

LOL, the sick part is, I would love to be watching when a female cop took him down to the ground and hand cuffed him because he was not "complying" with the cops' request. <snicker>
The best part would be arresting him for threatening you, his wife and the cop, 'cause all women deserve a broken face for not listening to his orders.
Ha!

But I would send the clear message to the kids--that you are not a mean lady. A simple smile does that. Kids are perceptive. They know who is angry, mean, and abusive--their dad. They know who is gentle and kind--their neighbor next door with the gentle smile for them.
BlueSkies, this is perfect.
Yes, WBTH, you know troubled kids. You work with them. (Bless all good teachers, they should inherit the earth!) Be who you are, a caring mom who can help someone (including herself ) in need.

More power to you WTBH,

Beth
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:00 AM
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I still believe he is concerned with his image (and hasn't lost his job despite dom viol arrests) far too much in true NPD fashion to seriously hurt me.

That said I am taking every precaution I can think of but I am not sure what more I can do
Been there. Arm yourself with a pitbull lawyer and an excellent therapist.

As a true NPD he may not hurt you irreparably, but he will dance on that line as long as you have his attention, and claim provocation and ignorance to every authority to try to eke out of taking responsibility for his games.

NPD guys mess with people who have poor boundaries. He's got the law on his side, kind of, but that won't last forever, like you have observed. You do have to be vigilant... but it's exhausting. Get your lawyer on board -- or get a new lawyer. Lean on your therapist.

I know I've said it before but I spent a decade freaked out by my ex and all his craziness, and my family "support system" turns out to be self-invested and not at all supportive of what's best for me and the kids. It wasn't until I got serious about SR/Al-Anon recovery and dove into therapy and learned how to maintain my personal boundaries that it all snapped into clarity. It wasn't any one thing, I think, but individual counseling to help me draw lines around my AH, my NPD ex, and my nutso family of origin, and for the first time see clearly what was their responsibility and what was mine.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:14 AM
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Sending lots of good energy and light your way, love!
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