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Friday, July 21, 2017

WHAT HAPPENED TO EVERYONE? HOW ABUSED WOMEN IN A DIVORCE END UP ISOLATED AND ALONE!

Three or four months into what I now routinely call "the divorce from hell" I woke up and said, "What happened to Everyone!!!" I mean, what happened to my family, my friends, and all the other people I used to know, because suddenly they weren't there any more. 

To be honest, I was primarily to blame for some of that, because when the first wave of destruction passed through my life when I filed for divorce, I holed up in my house, hid my face in my hands, and hoped to disappear off the face of the earth. But the rest of it--let me tell you what happened. 

While I was totally busy taking care of the kids, trying to keep up at work, and holding onto my marriage with all my might, my ex was going around to our friends and to members of my family, edging up to them confidentially, sigh, you know, Cathy has always been--a little bit, well, troubled. I try to support her all I can, but you know--she's in (drum roll, dramatic intensity) therapy now. 

Another thing that my ex did, which was very clever, was to resign from his corporate job and work as a consultant out of the house.  We then worked together in a home business that was very demanding and challenging, but that I enjoyed very much.  We worked together on an equal basis with me doing much of the lab work, handling administrative and book keeping tasks, as well as proofreading and finalizing the reports we produced.  During this time, our kids were born, spent time in pre school, Kindergarten, elementary school and participated in the many activities common to early childhood.  Our children grew up being fit inbetween the hustle and bustle and daily responsibilities of the small business

What I didn't realize was that while I saw myself as an equal player in our small business, and at the same time as the primary caretaker of our children, my ex husband was conveying an entirely different story to all of our family and friends. His story, that he shared behind my back, was that he had to leave the corporate life to care for our children because I was too disabled to do so. His story was that not only did he run the business single handedly, he was also bringing up the kids all by himself as well.  Apparently, I was described as reclining up in my darkened room in Victorian splendor, my hands pressed to my forehead overcome by an eternal headache.  

Meanwhile, the fact that my ex was at home 24/7 gave him the opportunity to follow me around and dictate to me regarding whatever I was doing, to snoop after me and check up on every detail of my activities and duly criticize them, and to create disruption, and overall mayhem wherever he went.  Just trying to maintain some sense of organization under these circumstances was an extremely difficult task for me. And what was interesting is that I was generally held responsible for this difficult atmosphere, not my ex. As the man and the so called wage earner, he was held above such matters, even as he generated chaos with every step he took.

Once my ex had left and I was going through some old papers I stumbled across many highly detailed letters which he had sent to various family members talking about my "very burdensome chronic condition" and describing how, wonder of wonders, he was forced to do all of the parenting because I was unable to function.  What a burden he had taken on; he was such a martyr.  Men like this thrive at being martyrs--it is their premier role.

So, if you were trying to figure out what happened to your friends and family and ask yourself why aren't they supporting you, try the situation that happened to me as a possible answer. Does that fit? If it does, recognize that it will take time, maybe even years, to undo the damage your ex has done to your reputation and don't expect to get support from these people until sufficient time has gone by to repair the damage. It isn't personal. I will admit, there is one caveat.  Not everyone is that stupid.  There usually are a unique few who see through the farce.

I also want to add that religious communities are particularly vulnerable to this kind of gossip because of their degrading attitudes towards women.  I am aware that my ex husband frequently went to business meetings at the Church we belonged to and complained that I was an inadequate wife.  When the time came for our divorce, he actually listed the names of four ministers that he intended to subpoena to the Family Court as witnesses against me.  Of course, all they could have done was to repeat his statements about me, i.e. that I didn't feed him (OMG!) and that I didn't keep a tidy house.  I mean, there is no doubt that I was a working Mom.  If you were going to compare me to Betty Crocker, and hold me up to her legendary standards, yes, probably I wasn't going to live up to them!

My exe's lies also impacted me in terms of my medical care and my relationship with my primary doctor. Foolishly, I had agreed to go to the same primary doctor as my ex.  Later, I became aware that during the time we were getting a divorce, my ex convinced the doctor I was mentally ill even without any evidence, because there is none.  The doctor then made a notation to that effect in my medical records. Luckily, he died and so that piece of misinformation died with him. Sorry.  I should be more sad about that, but I'm not.  And no, I didn't kill him, despite the temptation; he died of cancer. The point is, people--particularly professionals--shouldn't be so quick to believe lies just because a charming abusive narc can make them palatable.

It is years later, and I am aware that even with the passage of time the gossip and the lies my ex spread haven't disappeared.  There are some people who look distinctly uncomfortable when they see me heading in their direction during a social event.  If this is your situation, don't take it to heart.  It's not you they are addressing; it's the image your ex put in their heads. Meanwhile, look elsewhere for the support you need during this difficult time.  Actually, you can really be grateful. This crisis is an opportunity for you to find out who your real friends are, and who among your family members can actually be trusted.

For more information regarding this topic, please click on the link below:

4 comments:

  1. This is a good article and topic because it is so true. Abusers are subtle and insidious - rarely do they violently attack unprovoked in front of witnesses - you'd addressed a truism that VAWA and DV profiteers ignore. Thanks for widening the discussion! Long before divorce the abuser has manipulated his position using standard tactics of abuse: isolation, harassment, fraud, lies and mind control. Family and friends and society in general WILL blame the victim (prey) for having been the unable to stop it - so it must have been her fault it happened.

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  2. So familiar. Good article!

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  3. Recently partially repaired my soul from reading the Stvan vs Stvan fiasco and here we go again with a variation of the theme. I guess its true:the burned bandaged hand wobbles back to the fire..Regretfully my male gender has no shortage of these cold, calculating "victims" such a poor excuse of real men.
    This boy needs to explore his family ties and perhaps his proud parents, if alive, should be enlightened of their fine offspring. Gratefully there are those intuitive folks in this case (and also those reporters and handful of legislators involved with the huge ongoing CT family court charade) that just have it..that God-given moral compass that removes ambiguity and brings forth truth.. So there we are..Now I can embrace the saying about "grown men cry"..perhaps with a dignified weep and a prayer..God help them for they know not what they do..

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