Dilemma re ex-husband

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by katya02, Nov 25, 2012.

  1. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    I mentioned in the Parent Emeritus thread that I divorced my husband of 29 years this past July ... over issues of severe abuse in the past that I've never been able to get past, despite 14 years of trying. The abuse not only affected me, it affected our children (of course). I tried unsuccessfully to leave, filed for divorce in 1998/99, but after getting some terrible legal advice I ended up staying - to protect the kids, as I thought then. The abuse didn't continue after that, there were ongoing low-level things but nothing near as bad as previously. But I ended up unemployable as a physician, angry, in despair, and starting down self-destructive paths as I became more despondent. I didn't want to go that route ... so managed to find a training program last fall that would allow me to write Board exams and become employable again, thus able to support myself. I hadn't had a penny to call my own for 29 years.

    I worked like crazy, got accepted to the training program by the skin of my teeth, and prepared for life on my own. I got my divorce six days after starting my new training program in a new state. Three weeks later I found a lump in my breast and a week later was diagnosed with breast cancer.

    I'll admit, I was devastated; my brain literally stopped working with the stress. I would come home from work and just sit on the sofa, staring into space. I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat. And worse, a friendship I'd begun with someone I'd known slightly for several years, someone respected and liked in the community, who I thought was a really good person, and who pursued me energetically once I was free ... and I was very very happy to be seeing this man, who shared so many values and interests and seemed so wonderful ... well, the moment I told him that this wasn't a cyst, it was something worse ... didn't get back in touch for two weeks, then sent a dismissive message, then an angry message that he didn't want any sort of relationship, didn't want any expectations of him. I'd already told him I didn't expect him to hold my hand but was hoping for friendship. I haven't heard from him since.

    My ex was devastated at the news and offered his help. At first I stayed away; but I did ask his help by mid-August after running into roadblocks trying to arrange surgery, and just crumpling with the stress. He was respectful at first, very helpful, and has been a tremendous support all through. For that I'm permanently grateful.

    The trouble is that he's assumed we're remarrying and everything will go back the way it was. He told me recently that we 'have' to remarry this December/January, whatever is best for taxes, and I need to pay him back $$$ because he feels I made out better than he did in the marital settlement (not true). I declined both requests and he was initially very agitated and upset and left in a huff. However, he isn't giving up. He is still extremely helpful, but also clearly assumes too much. For my part, I know I need to have some difficult conversations with him, but I don't want to have them while I'm trying to finish this semester's academic work and get through chemo. I want to choose my time, preferably after chemo's done and I'm not under such pressure academically.

    I admit, I don't want to die alone. I'd like companionship in the time I have left, which could be 18 months or 28 years. But I freeze at the thought of remarrying. To not be able to walk away, after my experiences, is anathema. And I refuse to ever be financially dependent again. Yet I know my ex-husband assumes joint finances, which really means HIS finances; to say that I have to keep my bank accounts separate would probably be a deal-breaker for him. I don't want to be disingenuous with him but resent being forced into discussions because he's putting the pressure on. The other issue is that my oldest son, who remembers more of the abuse than anyone, feels that his childhood and young adulthood were taken from him by his father, feels that he needs to distance himself. He would NOT understand me having more than an arm's length relationship with my ex. And although I suspect that some of my easy child 1's problems may have occurred anyway, I can't say that he wouldn't have done much better away from his father. He would have, in almost any situation.

    The entire family got together for Thanksgiving and, except for difficult child's drama, it was okay. It's all supposed to happen again for Christmas. I'll be more worn down then, two more chemo sessions along, and probably not able to do much. I need help and frankly no one but my ex is in a position to give it. Yet I don't want to betray my children's and especially my oldest son's, memories and experiences.

    I'm wondering what people think of me waiting until after chemo is done (next February) to have these talks with my ex. Whether I should just bite the bullet sooner, in spite of having finals etc. in December. I wish my ex weren't putting such pressure on, and making so many assumptions, but he is. The longer I wait the worse it'll be, yet I resent being forced into unpleasantness when I really need to finish multiple projects and study for finals. All our lives everything's been all and only about HIM, and it still is.
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I haven't been at this board long and we don't 'know' each other from past. I still wish to say something for you.

    To me it sounds like you are dangerously close to walking back to abusive relationship and loosing yourself. I understand you are in the difficult situation and that you feel gratefulness to your ex being there for a hard time. But to me his involvement still sounds very controlling, like ownership and that can so easily turn to abuse. Especially if you remarry him and you are again 'his.' My husband has never been abusive to me, many would say he has been more than fair and understanding to me. I do however know something about being the one in marriage, who subtly submits, takes a back seat, let's a other one take a lead to achieve something you find desirable at the time. Even without any kind of abuse that can be a very thin line to walk. And loosing yourself can be so easy.

    And if I'm being frank, what you tell us, makes every warning bell ring about what could happen after you would re-marry. Even if active abuse stopped before.

    But of course you know your situation the best. But I think you owe it to yourself that you make your decisions when you are okay. Not when you are middle of very stressful and emotional time both with your health and your career. Make that clear to your ex and if he can't deal with that, it gives you some answers about if you want to reconnect your future with him. And if I can say one more thing: Don't base your decisions to fears. Base them to your desires and hopes.

    I wish you strength.
  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    First off, I'm very sorry to hear of your diagnosis. I'll be keeping you in prayers and I hope you have a complete recovery. As for your your ex: do it now, not later. He is still attempting to control you. And your son deserves to feel safe too. Plus, I suspect you will be accused of leading your ex on and using him. You broke ties for a reason, keep that in the forefront now.
  4. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    And, not knowing if he's this cold-hearted or not, is it possible that he wants to remarry so that he gets your assets if you don't survive?
  5. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I think that if you reread your post tomorrow or the next day...your answer will be clear. There is a vulnerability that invades the soul when a life threatening disease joins your life. There is a neediness that comes with the fear and yet there is also a fight inside to maintain the independence that has been achieved prior to the diagnosis. If you add in the need to achieve a career goal concurrent with the other emotions you've got one hot mess, lol.

    I don't know you. I don't know your Ex. I'd bet my bottom dollar that your Ex does not recognize that he is taking advantage of you. He is, by the way. You and only you can make decisions about your life now. Even though we are strangers I am positive that you can get thru this time on your own...even if you have to hire someone to assist with the multiple needs. Reread your post. Your heart is exposed. Hugs DDD
  6. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    @ SuZir, I appreciate your thoughts. Even though we don't know each other, I've been away for more than a year and haven't confided much if anything about the abusive aspect of my marriage. I know I'm on the brink of walking back into the same situation ... and even if overt abuse didn't recur, which I don't think is very likely, life would be on my diagnosis's terms - his values, goals, wishes. He talks now about organic gardens and heritage chickens because that's what inspires me; but since he's felt more comfortable that I'm not gone forever, he has stopped some of the changes he'd made in past months. I don't know that the promises would come to be reality. After my 'friend's' departure, I don't think anything men say is worth one plugged wooden nickel. 'Talk is cheap. Show me what you truly believe', is my credo now. I suspect that the things we talk about now would never come to fruition. Losing yourself can be so easy. That's what I've taken from my marriage. I appreciate your advice about making my decisions based on my desires and hopes.

    @ tiredmommy, it nags at me that the issue of regaining my assets, if not his first object (which is me, personally), is high on his list of priorities. He wanted me to pay him back for what he saw as an inequity in asset division. He wants all assets back in joint accounts. He wanted new wills made in which we would each will our assets to the other. He's willing to bequeath me his assets because he says he knows I'd do the 'right thing' by our children. But he equally wants to know that my assets are bequeathed to him. So is he that cold-hearted? I think he honestly believes he isn't. But he honestly also wants 'his' money back under his control.

    @DDD - I agree with you, I believe that my diagnosis doesn't believe he is taking advantage of me. He's narcissistic but doesn't fit the typical profile. He isn't conniving, deceitful, or cold. He is passionate, and at core he is straightforward and honest. The difficulty is that he is straightforwardly oblivious to how his actions affect others. He operates solely in terms of how things affect him, because he truly doesn't understand that others really exist. He cares about his children and me in an abstract sense, and passionately - but he doesn't understand how his words and actions affect us in daily life. In the past he would honestly talk proudly about me to his co-workers and then come home and back me up against a wall, screaming threats in my face about the state of the house and what he would do to me, until I was sobbing in a heap on the floor. But he's always believed that he loves me. He states that he's never been unfaithful to me in 29 years and, strange as it may seem, I think he's telling the truth. It wasn't necessary to his ego. But his obliviousness hurts all of us, and now it hurts him as well.

    I can't walk away from the pain my oldest son has confided in me. My biggest regret and agony by far has been the effect my inadequacy may have had on my children's wellbeing. I could never take up with my diagnosis again, knowing that my children would be incredulous and hurt. I guess you're right. I can't go on with this. I wish I could put it off but that's just more weakness on my part. It's pathetic - something in me wants not to disrupt the coming holiday, wants to not be the source of unhappiness and grief and lack of a proper 'Christmas' for my kids. But living a lie is probably worse. Maybe my kids should just sleep on the floor of my apartment and we can have a non-traditional Christmas dinner, and I can regain some integrity. I feel that everything I've done so far has been with integrity, even if done with bad legal advice. But now I don't have that protection.
  7. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Talk to your dr. let them know what a difficult time you are having. There are support groups for emotional support. There are agencies for financial support. There are home health workers if you need that service. You do not need him. The stress of him will not improve your health. ((((((HUGS)))) Come here often we will be a shoulder for you.
  8. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Katya, the behavior you are seeing from him right now is typical abuser/control freak behavior. Red flags went off all over the place. It won't change. Even if he might not be that way with someone else, he will more than likely always be that way with you. People fall into patterns. My ex doesn't treat his wife in the abusive way he treated me, but he would always treat me that way. My father doesn't treat his SO the way he treated my mom, but he would always treated my mom that way.

    I'm sorry that he can't just be a support for you in your time of need without expectation. But since he can't, you need to have that talk now. It's only going to get more complicated and I worry about his reaction should he become more involved in this idea only to find out it's not going to happen.
  9. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Katya, nice to meet you...............I'm sorry about your health issues, it does sound as if the avoidance of stress would be a positive considering your cancer..........I agree with what others have already told you, sometimes when it's our life, it really is difficult to see the forest for the trees. However, what DDD said makes a lot of sense to me, you're in a weakened, vulnerable state due to the cancer, and your usual defenses aren't erected as securely, so some of the old behavior of not setting stringent boundaries has returned..................it all makes a lot of sense................however, it sounds to me that you really do know what the next step is, you are simply seeking acknowledgement, which also makes sense.............well seems as if you got it...........ask yourself what it is you really want and then act from that place of integrity, even if at the moment, being alone feels scary, going against our own truth is a soul killer..........tell your truth to your ex, set strong boundaries, your boundaries, your truth, not his...........Perhaps he might be able to comply with life on your terms, perhaps not, but what matters is that you stay true to yourself. You also model that to your children because I do believe that living a lie is worse. Having the kids sleep on the floor and having a non traditional dinner sounds terrific. This all sounds like boundary issues and what Pasajes said is a good idea, get as much support as you can, here, support groups for your health, for your emotional state.....it will give you strength and help you cope........a therapist or counselor or group of any kind would be helpful as well. I am a big believer in getting support, lots of support. And, you're going through a very difficult period all around, you could use a few shoulders. And the more shoulders you have the less likely you will fall into any old traps. Seems as if you're at a critical choice point right now and it also seems as if you know exactly what the right path is............just needed a bit of a nudge perhaps? You go girl, stand strong in your own desires and speak your own truth................(((HUGS)))))
  10. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    12 years ago I had breast cancer. I got my life back and you will too. Keep moving forward, in the future you'll see this cancer as a blessing. You'll be able to see what's really important in life. You have great things waiting to be experienced, you'll see. Your ex is still the same it sounds like. Live the life you've imagined.
  11. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I admire you for being so honest and up front about everything you are going through. It is HARD to say these things to yourself, and harder stll to put them into typed words to share iwth ohters, even on a forum like this.

    PLEASE do NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT have any discussion about this until you are ready, not going through chemo, not dealing iwth the stress of the end of a semester, to have this talk.

    this is NOT selfishness, is is self-preservation and being true to yourself and doing what is best for YOU.

    Regardless of what you do, you won't spoil Christmas. Your children are adults. They are well old enough to have their own children and spouses and to make their own holiday plans. I don't come from your family dynamic, but I did grow up with a volatile father and more volatile brother. Holidays were fun NOT when we were all together doing the Norman Rockwell holiday thing but when we were enjoying each other. It wasn't where we slept or what we ate. It was doing something fun and laughing together.

    As far as the finances, I don't think you should EVER go back to the situation where you combine all finances with anyone. You are an adult, and as such you have the right to your own financial freedom and if anyone disagrees, then they have some serious problems and need to go get help for them.

    Have you gotten ANY therapy since you left your ex, since you got your diagnosis????? Leaving a marriage is one of the biggest stresses we can experience. Moving to a new town is one of the biggest stresses we can have. Being diagnosed with cancer is one of the biggest stresses we can have.

    You have combined THREE of the most stressful things a human being can experience in one very short year. You have absolutely ZERO business making ANY major or long term decisions right now. ZERO. There is not a therapist worth the name in existence who would tell you to make a decision more lasting than what to have for dinner or what dress to buy until you have given yourself time and therapy to cope with all of this. Anyone pressuring you to make decisions on these issues does NOT love you and does NOT have your best interests at heart.

    i am glad your ex has been helpful, in my opinion he owes you that at a bare minimum. You have ZERO business marrying him or anyone else for at least one or two more years, longer if you don't get some help.

    As for the holidays, have an open and honest conversation with your kids. let them know that you want to start new traditions, that you don't feel comfortable going to ex's, and ask them what they want to do for the holidays. If one or more would rather be there, celebrate with them privately. tell ex that you need some time, that you have been counselled to take a step back to be sure you know what you want, and that while you appreciate his help, you don't want any strings right now because you are not ready for them. If he is upset? Hang up the phone and let him get over that on his own.

    PLEASE at least talk to someone at a domestic violence hotline about options. Go to a DV center in your new area and ask for help. It is free, and you are EXACTLY the type of person they are designed to help. You OWE it to yourself and your kids and even your ex to do this. You cannot make a sane decision about a relationship while you are dealing with the memories of past abuse, regardless of how wonderful things are or are not today. Tell ex that if he absolutely must have a decision and commitment now, that your answer must be no because you just are not in a place where you CAN say yes. If he loves you he will wait. Period.

    If you won't/cannot go to a dv center for help, find a therapist that you can work with and get some help dealing with all of this. I am sure the oncologist's office can suggest some tdocs, and in my opinion you also need a cancer or breast cancer support group. Don't try to od this all yourself, or with just ex's help. You deserve a truly loving relationship, and if ex cannot give you real love then maybe you are not meant to get back together. Pressuring you right now about money esp, or about anything else, is a very selfish thing for him to do, NOT a loving thing, even if a wedding ring and vows are involved.

    PLEASE get professional help. PLEASE take all the time you need to make decsions like this. PLEASE give yourself time to heal and rebuild your life before you make any decisions of any kind!
  12. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I'm very sorry to hear that you are going through this situation in the real world "alone". Worse yet I think is the fact that while many people (and I would think after talking to you over the years I'd include you in this category) you've come to a place in your life where being alone didn't bother you -it was manageable, you told yourself you were okay, but now faced with possible end of life choices? You don't want to be lonely. You said yourself "I don't want to die alone." (words to that affect) - and I say "Who among us really does?" When you think about your own mortality? It's rather offending, scary, unknowing. You start doubting and second guessing your life, everyone has a regret or two. I think those are farily normal feelings. And then in your situation you have chemo on top of it all - so you're not feeling well at all. I think there have been several board members whom over the years have had cancer, or gone through chemo, or even passed from it---Oddly enough.....You're worrying about a situation that could take years to manifest...and literally walk out of your house this Winter, slip on a sidewalk, fall down, hit your head and go like (snap) -----I say this because of the many, many people in the world, each day that wake up and have no idea that today is their day to leave the world. You are NOT a woman that borrows misery......You've had so much that your cup runneth over, and now your saucer is full.....and just when you started to clear the table? Well here comes the waiter to give you a "nother CUPPA".....

    Sister you need a new restaurant........different waiter......and you need to let them ALL know......THEY AINT got the only Rattatouie in town. Get my drift? Even the rather large former (and I'll say this loosely) FRIEND who pursued you hotly and then when he figures you may need a hand, or are going to loose a breast......well he's all of a sudden got OTHER interests? Wow I don't think I've ever told ANYONE to say to someone "Gosh I'm so thankful I had Chemo - because if this is what kind of a friend you REALLY REALLY ARE? I'm glad I know now." But honestly? What a worm. We've stopped on the side of the road and given more assistance to total STRANGERS with loads -------boatloads more compassion that that "SO CALLED FRIEND" gave you. IIIIIIIIIIISHHHHHHH. LOOSER. Has a WONDERFUL WOMAN as a friend......and the minute there may be a need to be a true friend......."(GUNSHOT SOUND) ............see ya? Yeah - count that as a blessing for sure. (looser) gosh did I say that twice? Must really mean it.

    As far as your ex? (makes exhale sound with ghusto) ........grunts......aheeeeem. Well. Didn't he see a LOVELY opportunity to get back into YOUR good graces? Need a ride? CALL a cab. Need someone to be there when youre vomiting? Ask for home health nurse......Know you're going to die? Get hospice. That's how much I'd figure on EVER EVER EVER asking an abusive ex that messed up MY life, and my KIDS' life back into MY life.......I ABSOLUTELY ADORE.......OPPORTUNISTIC ......weasly......vampiric personalities......and couple them with narcissistic behaviors and personality disorders? LOVELY. I had people like this in my life. And it's never ceased to amaze me about the HUMAN CONDITION.....that they are there.....((((((FOR YOU)))))) when it could benefit THEM in the eyes of others or financially. After TWENTY NINE YEARS..........TWENTY NINE YEARS......you finally get rid of him......and he's back to hold your hair while you puke and fetch you some soup.........and now he TELLS YOU when you are getting married......and the BOSSYNESS starts all over again?
    Seriously girlfriend???????

    YOU are a phenominal physician........a GIFTED.....(LORD ARE YOU GIFTED) writer......you have delved out advice to me.......that made SO MUCH SENSE.....it was like (yeah.....she 'gets me') and it made me smile. So if I'm rough here or blunt.....forgive the rude part but please see that part of the girlfriend that is like........WHA????? She wants WHO ?????? WHY?????? FOR WHAT?????? She's the IT girl.......has it all......has hit a bump in the road......or a lump in the breast as it were.......and is going to get through this........find happiness on her OWN first......then share that with another person.

    One thing I did learn in therapy. If I learned nothing else. I have to have MY mind right.....before I can have a relationship work. I have to know where to draw MY lines in the sand and HOW TO SAY NO>>>>>>>without guilt......and stand up for MYSELF.....or my realtionship is just not going to work. I have to have trust, and peace, and happiness......THAT I CAN BELIEVE IT......and THEN i have to have passion. I know all that because I have no money......and DF was disabled AFTER we were togther 5 years.....and we've been together 13 ------and while there are ups and downs.....I KNOW if I get sick? He's not going to run out on me......and he's NOT going to tell me what to do......its MY CHOICE till the end. And IF I am so incapacitated I can't make those choices? He knows WHAT my choices are......and will carry them out for me.

    AND in the mean time???????? You have friends HERE........to LIFT YOU........and help you......and make you laugh......and if we don't? Then you need to be honest with yourself and get thee to a doctor.......and get help. You can't worry about your kids.......and your husband.......and what makes THEM happy.......YOu have GOT TO DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY......and if that's packing up the house, moving to Alaska and writing every morning from the deck of a log cabin and tossing pancakes to grizzlys??????? Then do that....but dont sit there and debate how to give everyone a little piece of your self so fast that you forget what makes katya katya. HER FIRST.

    Hugs & Love
  13. busywend

    busywend Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My, my, my....the wisdom on this board has managed to amaze me once again. These are all wonderful discussions for you to consider.

    Mine is very basic. Look...if ever there was a time to focus on yourself it is now. So, YOU do whatever the heck YOU want to do. I am certain that no big decisions need to be made right now. So tell dex that you just can not discuss this now. You will let him know when you are ready.

    I also have to say that getting this support is huge. So, it is a + for him on the pro and con list. Seems like lots of cons, too. But likely some more pros to consider. But you have time to make that list later.

    Seriously, he can not force you to be ready. Period. You are the only one that can figure out when you are ready to discuss things with him. And I think later is better.
  14. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    oh my, ohmy ... Susie and Star ... I know we've been on this board for awhile ... you guys make me laugh and cry all at once. SO thankful for both of you, for everyone in this compassionate place, but you guys know me. Susie, thank you for the reality check. I know my kids (except difficult child) wouldn't care where we celebrated Christmas, or how. The younger ones care for diagnosis and don't have quite the same memories as easy child 1, but they also support me completely. My easy child 1 did say that he's glad diagnosis is being helpful - that if diagnosis didn't do the minimum, he'd never speak to him again - but doesn't expect that to turn into the full-court press that's going on.

    It's been possibly the hardest year of my life, although some of the years in the 1990s when the kids were getting their diagnoses and the abuse was at its worst - I don't know, maybe not. But you're right, divorcing, moving, and getting a cancer diagnosis have sort of put me on the floor for a few counts. I know you're right about the finances ... it's one of the major buttons that if diagnosis pushes, he'll find himself facing a nuclear explosion after all that's happened. I'm SO terrified of EVER being financially dependent again, you can't imagine. Even though everything was 'joint' all these years, it really just meant that I paid the bills and listened to him rant about why there wasn't more in the bank at the end of the year. I gave him statements and explanations every year but it never mattered. Now that it's all on HIM, he's astonished that after paying property taxes, college tuition for three kids, living expenses for all four, and basic expenses otherwise, there isn't as much left as he's always assumed should be ... big surprise. I've told him that for years but he never believed me; now suddenly I'm a financial wizard. Wish he'd thought that before. All the $$ was always his; I always had to ask permission to give something to the church, or for charity, and was always denied ... could never buy anything without permission. But HE bought whatever he wanted, anytime, because HE worked so hard that he deserved whatever he wanted. I wasn't consulted over his purchase of a $70K+ BMW sedan, over any of the computers he bought himself, etc. In spite of all his computer purchases I still use second-hand computers - which is fine - just a contrast, as he would never ever use a second-hand computer. Only the latest, fastest, best for him.

    I've had a couple appointments with a therapist associated with the cancer center here. I told him about diagnosis's involvement and he was very wary, but didn't want to squash the idea given that I was new in town and had no other social supports. However, he doesn't know the backstory about the abuse. I've emailed today to ask him for a series of further appointments to go into this stuff. I can also check out the DV support system in town but will definitely pursue the appointments with the cancer center therapist if he's good. He's so young - I have to admit it's weird for me to talk about things to a guy in his 30s when I'm 53 and have seen so much more of life than he has. I did extra psychiatric work in medication school and residency and recall feeling out of my depth when we moved to James Bay (subarctic in Canada - south end of Hudson Bay) right out of training. Everyone there either drank or was hooked on prescription medications. The women were so badly off - 5 pregnancies by the age of 23 and domestic violence, alcoholism, depression, multiple overdoses, no hope economically, no hope of escape - and they would come in to have 'counseling' from me. I was 26, fresh out of school with a husband who partied late with the nurses and a baby 14 months old, and I had nothing for them in spite of my training. Not a clue. I get the feeling this 30-something guy looks at me the same way, lol. Anyway ... I will get professional help one way or another because you're right Susie, this is something I need help to work through in a sane way.

    And Starbie ... so good to hear from you! You got it ... I've been lonely for a whole lot of years, that's why I was so vulnerable to my *friend* (not) when he put his own version of the full-court press on. Very lonely, very vulnerable. So yes, I really really didn't want to face the prospect of a lingering horrible terminal illness alone. I was just not prepared for this when I'd finally gotten free and started making my own way. It made my so-called friend's rejection much more painful. Even now I know it's better that he showed himself for what he really is (sociopathic user a**hole with a smooth public persona); but. It still hurts, it still feels a) like I was SUCH an idiot to get so badly played; and b) like somehow I just wasn't good enough for anyone but my abusive ex-husband. Which isn't a good feeling. I know, people tell me there are good men out there, but somehow I've stumbled across some of the worst and I just don't have that balancing experience to give me any hope for the future. So, leaving the sociopathic 'friend' and my diagnosis alone, I have no expectation of any future healthy personal relationships.

    So my bump in the road/lump in the breast has shown me some things that were good for me to see, but painful at the time. And now? One good thing is that I really really do enjoy the stuff I'm learning in this training program. I was always passionate about it, but it got lost in the whole relationship/marriage/children/fit yourself into your spouse's plans thing years ago. I've always wanted to do environmental/public/occupational health. I love reading this stuff. I love working on practical aspects of this stuff. I could enjoy going somewhere in the world with Medecins Sans Frontiers, or staying right here and workng on public health programs, or working on panels to make policy on environmental health issues. I'm stoked at the idea of doing site inspections and workplace evaluations, of writing policy or regulations to prevent the sort of disaster that just happened in Bangladesh (textile company fire with more than 100 workers killed). My diagnosis wants me to return to smalltown, PA to work locally and go on trips with him to enjoy ourselves. I'm not against enjoyment, but I don't want to pass up the one remaining opportunity I may have to do something that makes a difference, before I die.

    As you say ... if it takes me moving to Alaska and throwing pancakes to the brown bears, then that should be fine. I know my kids think that's fine. I just have to get past my guilt and the hoovering that my diagnosis is doing. I've given up everything, my entire adult life, for other people. Before I die (sounds dramatic, I know, but this stupid cancer could come back in a year or in twenty years - one is as likely as the other), I'd like to try to accomplish a couple of things that KATYA always wanted to do. So, thanks, guys. You are reality checks in my upside-down life. Thank you.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2012
  15. Tiapet

    Tiapet Old Hand

    I have little to add to what the others have told you: Please seek out a domestic violence center for support and assistance, seek out cancer center for support and assistance as well (hospice or what ever services they can help you with or point you to - financial, etc), a therapist of psychiatrist (there are many that are free or sliding scale if you need that). DO NOT, NOT go back with him, remarry him or join your finances! As they've said. "warning danger Will Robinson!" More then enough red flags to me as well. He is emotionally and psychologically abusing you and those scars and damage last far longer then any phyiscal damage can do (not making less of that either, just a comparison).

    I want to come at this a little differently with a story from my life. In 1999 (?) my exh had cancer. We had been together 12 hellish years only I had told NO ONE! My family didn't really even know and we were pretty close at the time and they should have been able to tell. They just thought he was an a** and didn't like him, not what was going on. He was emotionally and psychologically abusing me and oldest difficult child and at times physically abusing us (though not a lot). I'm fortunate compared to many as far as that is concerned. He attempted to try and isolate us for the most part. I'm not going into more detail on this, just a brief synopsis.

    When he had the cancer I still felt strongly devoted to him and stood by him and fought for him against doctors who did nothing. I cared for him through it as well and afterwards. Though it was afterwards that had me hit my breaking point finally. My oldest difficult child had been begging me for 1 year to leave him but I couldn't do it. I had a newborn that I was caring for at the height of his cancer surgery and care plus going to work AND oldest difficult child was in major crisis. If that wasn't a lot, I don't know what is? I tell you this to let you know....you CAN do this!!! YOU CAN! I know it seems like a lot is on your plate right now but you are realizing the situation you are in and don't want to go back to it. What you need is the support to get you through it, the resources to assist you in doing so. YOU CAN DO THIS!

    I left with 3 young children after 13 years with all that was going on above and you can too! Everyone here has given you answers and directions to go for help. PLEASE use them. It takes no more effort to seek them out and a lot less stressful then trying to handle and face what you are at the moment with your exh. Once you get the support and help you will be able to see even clearer your path and be able to handle it more and better too. I promise you that you can and will do this. Honest and truly.

    You did great coming here and opening up and sharing with us. We are here and we will stay here for you. Keep coming back for that shot in the arm to get you through each moment you need any time.



  16. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Thank you, thank you, busywend and tiapet. You both give me strength. I should say that the worst of the abuse happened in the 1990s, over a decade ago. After I tried to leave in 1999 the worst of it stopped. Since then it's been neglect, disparagement (subtle), refusal to acknowledge what went before. In fact, referring to our separation in 1998/99 as the time when I went crazy, woke up one day and decided to ruin our lives. (The abuse was mainly verbal and emotional, a little physical but not much. He pushed my face into the kitchen floor to show me 'up close and personal' the dirt I'd missed in the toe kick under the cabinets - but also said he didn't have to hit me, since yelling had its effect; that I was pathetic and to shut up and stop crying. He was fanatical about the state of the house and inspected each room, every night on returning home; he would back me up against the wall and scream in my face until I was in tears, and threaten me about 'keeping up with MY kids or we'd all be sorry'. He threatened my life many times; we were both physicians and he made threats that I knew were plausible, and I didn't sleep the night through from then until now, basically. I still don't sleep through the night. He doesn't understand why not.) In the spring of this year d-ex did acknowledge all that happened in the 1990s and had no explanation for it. He apologized, but said that since it's not going on right now, what's the problem? The problem is that I had ongoing PTSD that was triggered with certain looks or tones of voice that he had, and that the kids had been so affected.

    I felt awkward and guilty last year, planning to leave when no overt abuse was going on. It had been so many years. But I hadn't had any prospect of supporting myself all that time, I'd been invested in trying to make the marriage/family work, and then when I tried to return to medical practice in 2011 it became clear that my prospects for self-sufficiency had been utterly sabotaged. That was the last straw, though perhaps not the most important one. (I had tried to return to medical practice or further education many times over the years, and he had always sabotaged my attempts through refusing to participate at all in child care, or refusing to move to a place I could pursue further training, in spite of the fact that we'd moved more than once so that HE could pursue further training or take a new job.)

    I appreciate you sharing your experience. I know there are many brave women out there who have made the break and ended up healthier and in a better place. It's hard to imagine the strength it took for you to leave in the circumstances you were faced with. It inspires me, knowing what others have overcome, when I'm tempted to despair. Thank you.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I just want to say Im sorry. I cant imagine what it is like to be in your position. I do sometimes feel a bit trapped because I am disabled and I know I have no way to live on my own should I even wish to consider leaving. My old therapist wanted me to leave my relationship continuously but there was simply no way I could do it. I wish you all the best in the world.
  18. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911


    I thought about you last night. I do remember some things that you don't think about when you have moved on in your life from a really, really dark place and years of being abused and worse. I can remember one thing that was tantamount to my first steps in healing, and being resistant to healing that I thought may help you in understanding the process of 'self'. See my x was hideously abusive to me and my son. At the time and as the years went on, therapy didn't even seem needed. It was survive day to day, and hope you woke up the next, and that you survived. Literally at the most basic sense of the word survive I mean that. You can be beaten, and tortured, and your body can take a whole lot more than you'll ever realize day after day, year after year. However when you are in an abusive relationship that tears down at your morality, and your self-esteem (not self confidence) because somehow women that I've met -self included that were/are abused seem to have boatloads of self confidence. They have to in order to survive the storm, but little by little loose self-esteem. They're not worthy, they dont have what it takes to keep their man, they are not attractive, they're not smart, they're not wild enough in bed, they're not sexy enough, they're not whatever.....and over the periods of time? Self doubt creeps in, or children come along and then the abuser has not only ONE victim to sling hateful words over, but three....YOU as a wife, your child AND (the lack of parenting skills that YOU possess now in PARENTING as a mother) it's like a third dimension we take on.....and then if you have another child - you literally multiply that number AGAIN by 2. That's an awful amount of weight to bear when you are hoping every day for just one incling.....one crumb......one WORD of praise, one look, one thought.....one touch....from the person that you have SO loved and SO wanted and SO wanted to be wanted by for So long......that after a while? The ugliness gets piled on and piled on and more and more until you feel like you are suffocating, and maybe you fight back....maybe you don't and suffer in silence....but all the while? Youre self esteem leaves you. It leaves you to the point that your ONLY thought at some point is "OH MY GOD, if I can JUST get away from THAT PERSON.....I'll have my life back." and so we leave, we try to leave, we divorce, and we attempt to move on with our lives thinking -----Well now that the 'canker" is gone from our lives......we're going to be just fine. And that is the BIGGEST falacy in domestic violence no matter HOW minute the abuse is or what type it is.....verbal, physical, mental.

    It's such a false hope because these people (like your husband) have been WHO they are and done WHAT they do for so long it is THEIR personna and they hone their craft like a fine edge on a sword to the point that sometimes.....we even believe them when they say it's OUR FAULT that things went to pot. Because by the time they throw THAT line in the mix? We have nothing left. They fight, they destroy, and then they come around with a honey moon phase and we forgive and love, and they're somewhat nice ....and the cycle starts all over again....and sucks us right back into thinking.......THINKING......Ah theres the man I loved....he must have just been.....XX from XX and THAT's WHY he did those horrible things, said those heinous things....attacked the children. And parts of us from being torn down for so long.? Believe that we can't make it without them, that we'll never be desirable to other men, or that we've put on so much weight or lost so much weight that we're not attractive...and what is REALLY not attractive is our DOUBT. There is someone out there for everyone. Looks are only skin deep.......How sexy Katya is your brain? Is it healthy? Is it in a place where you are ABLE to make decisions for YOU that are GOOD ones? Are you able to SPOT the weasles in the hen house? WITHOUT getting so overloaded that you can't load a shot gun and blow them off the property?

    I'll tell you this......I left my x.....and it was a storm. I had already been in therapy (in secret) for a year. What a difference it made in my thinking....without HIM to influence me, and put me down, and put my kid down. The damage to my son is done. That will take a LIFETIME to undo, and I did all I could do to help THAT. Now it's up to my son....and yes, I am sorry that it was his life. But had I known any sooner to do any better? I would have....and ;when I did? I did. I can't feel guilty forever for that. And you need to realize that you are NOT......in a place right not where you can make decisions for yourself regarding relationships and marriage, and anything else that has to do with TWO people.......HELL you're still trying to figure out what makes YOU happy after spending 29 years figuring out what makes EVERYONE else happy-------DANCE PUPPET dance.......and if HE had worked 1/2 as hard as YOU DID......in those 29 years to make you happy? You would be at least......1/4 happy.....and you're not. You're not happy at all......NOW all of a sudden "HE says this and HE says that and HE wants this and HE wants that." .......WELL GOOD.......Let him go seek his happiness on his own. And if he's decided he made a mistake in 29 years?????? Then he WOULD NOT......WOULD NOT be coming back to you now......in the state y ou are in and FORCING THINGS and DATES one you.....HE HASN"T LEARNED ONE THING ABOUT WHAT YOU NEED. Maybe he's sorry.....maybe he feels bad.....but HE HAS LEARNED ..........NOTHING ABOUT WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY.....because if he did know? He'd know right now? You ........YOU........do not need to be PUSHED into ANYTHING.....you need space, time, therapy.....and you need to go back into your life......REGRESSIVELY......with a trained therapist........

    To find that place IN YOUR LIFE/ TIME.......that made you start making the choices that you did......that led you to live the life that you have.......which made you so UNHAPPY......so that you can PROGRESS and change the mapping in your mind......to RETHINK the way you do. OBVIOUSLY without retraining......a gymnast that has bad habits is going to continually make the same mistake.....may be aware of it, and try to fix it...but without TRAINING.....they don't know how to CORRECT the problelm and do the stunt PROPERLY that keeps them on top of their game. NOTHING is different about life.....about relationships.

    FIX YOU.......FIND you.......FEEL what you felt.....ALLOW yourself the time it will take to figure out what you need to figure out......and for pete sake....TELL your therapist how you feel about his age, and don't be shy. He can't work with you IF you already doubt his abilities....let HIM tell you WHY he's a right fit for you. If he's not? Being honest maybe he'll recommend you to someone that you feel better with or maybe being honest you just GET THAT OUT OF THE WAY.......and move forward with this 30 year old genius. I know because the last guy I saw for my new job......was about 30 and I said.....If my son had not died I would have a kid as old as you......I don't feel comfortable talking to you. So he told me about his life, his credentials......and I got to make a choice if I believed him or not. Turns out for 30 -----he'd let a pretty unsheltered life and had an idea where I was coming from per the job interview questions......and as it turns out I was marked as the most honest in the group. I questioned his test.....I questioned him.....and it made me a perfect candidate for the job I was going for.....and my new thought process was.....WELL if I'm not meant for this? I'll know......and it's better to know now........and if I am meant for it......at least I'm honest and he'll know where I'm coming from. You need that with your shrink.......He's going to delve into your deepest thoughts.....WHY start a relationship out on ......I don't. Be honest. MOSTLY with yourself. And then if he can help you? Good. If not? Move on.

    As far as the rest in life? I can tell you I took a break from therapy AFTER I left my x.....I thought WELL HE"S gone....and I'm free.....and ........(insert laugh here ) I found myself rooming with a paranoid schizophrenic with MPD.....5 or 6 the doctor at the psychiatric hospital told us. And the things that he did in 3 short months were ...WOW. Then I took time off......saw NO ONE.......had NO ONE......and well when I met DF I literally stepped outside and looked up at God and said "REALLY GOD?????? Is this some kind of a test? You sent me a BIKER? Some great therapist I have." and I avoided Mr Bad Boy like the plague, but he kept showing up in my life and was a perfect gentleman.....even held my hair when I got drunk and threw up. Yup.....whatta guy. And 13 years later? Well We're best friends....and while there are things we both roll our eyes over from each other? He told me the sexiest thing about me when we met was my brain and my attitude. And trust me......I was cute. (not like Rudolph cute) I was a sexy beast. And when I got to be 300 lbs? I was still a sexy beast.....just well.....a bigger, not so healthy beast. But what a brain.....lol. (his words not mine) -----and yet he still whips me at jeopardy. Go figure. I want that for you......I want you to reak of self-confidence, and self assuredness in all aspects of your life. I want you to know that when you draw a line in the sand and say NO......you MEAN.....no. And without guilt. I want your heart to be happy when you wake up in the morning KNOW that you are here for a WONDERFUL reason and a good life. Because you deserve it. Not because you earned it.....on someone elses say so.

    SEEK the Katya that wants to fix the things in your life.....and be ridiculously happy......make that your goal.....RIDICULOUSLY happy. (or whatever adjective you want) but HAPPY should be in there somewhere.....(I think)

    I love You Kat......You're not so damaged. You just need (and fill in the blanks here and go for it) mk?
    Hugs & Love
  19. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    What Star said.

    Many hugs my friend,
  20. katya02

    katya02 Solace

    Thanks so much for all your wisdom - everyone here has such good thoughts and advice. Star, I completely relate to being in survival mode. I was in that mode all through the 1990s, to the point where I didn't raise my head long enough to really look at what was happening, I just made it through one day at a time. Until the day my ex pushed my face into the floor. That was my breaking point; he left the house to golf and I was unable to compose myself. I ended up calling the local women's shelter and DV counseling agency, and I was crying so hard they couldn't even understand me. But until then I had not stopped and added it all up, as ridiculous as that sounds - not once. I do have a lot of guilt that it took me so long; I wonder all the time how different things would have been for my kids if I'd left years sooner. But I didn't recognize it until very late, and once I did, I took steps - like you say, I did the best I could at the time, and when I knew more I did better (love Maya Angelou!).

    And the not feeling worth anything stuff ... I was so demoralized by the late 1990s that I couldn't hold two coherent thoughts together, couldn't make a decision. I wasn't in any shape to go back to medical practice then. But recently, when I got played ... I didn't think I was worth nothing (not consciously), but I sure didn't hold myself in high regard in terms of the treatment I accepted. Then when he dumped me so brutally I really felt worthless, like I just wasn't ... enough, wasn't good enough somehow. I know it's related to having been beaten down for so long and having no concept of healthy self-regard or self-esteem. None. So I know I need to be on my own now for a long time, maybe forever. I don't want ever to wake up and realize I've done it to myself again, allowed a man to treat me badly again. But I don't know how to be that person who expects reasonable, respectful treatment. That sounds terrible when I read it over. However, I think it's true. I grew up with a horribly abusive mother and never developed any idea that I deserved basic fairness or respect. Just never learned to think that way. I met my ex at 18 and have been with him ever since, so I never lived on my own and learned some of these things.

    Living alone sounds and feels good right now. All I know is that I have nothing to offer anyone else until I figure out my own boundaries, my own likes and dislikes, what gives me joy and what makes me shudder. Some of these things I know, but not in terms of boundaries and confidence. Lots to work on. I don't expect to find love in the future, I'd be just so happy to wake up in the morning happy, excited to be going to whatever work I was doing, feeling like I was making a difference. That's a big issue for me - have felt so squashed all my adult life that being diagnosed with cancer felt like I was going to die without ever making a mark, making a difference to anybody, just disappear into the ground. Now, I do know that my life matters to my kids ... but I hadn't accomplished any of my dreams. I had failed at a lot of things, big personal failures, and I just felt that my life was a big zero. Now I want to accomplish a few things that may not be earth-shaking but which I'll be able to look at and say, I did that! It's personal goals - now I have the chance to go after some of them. Once I fix a few things!