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Family court

Sofreakinsad
Community Member

VERY long story short, but my abusive ex is dragging me through the family court. Currently two years in and I’m drowning. I am a single mother to a three year old, and I also study full-time. Life is stressful at the best of times, but this is slowly destroying me. 

He was just granted supervised visitation, even though there are concerns about his behaviour and they were unsure whether to proceed with it at all. He 100% meets exceptional circumstances, but it was still granted. I just feel so, so broken. I escaped domestic violence and now he gets to weave his way into our lives and continue the insidious abuse and nobody seems to care. 

I wake up around 1:30 every night and can’t fall asleep. I’m constantly panicked. I’m still being stalked, he’s breached intervention orders, threatened to kidnap my son, done other horrendous things, has an extensive history of coercive control and is now using the legal system as a means to continue abuse after he lost control due to an IVO the police put in place. I was told unsupervised visitation isn’t always granted, and I hope not in this case, but I can’t stop thinking about my son and how I feel our bond is breaking because I can’t be present with him. Years of therapy to treat post natal depression are coming undone. I was even told by a lawyer that I am collateral damage and to simply go to therapy. I really just don’t know what to do anymore. Venting has helped, but I’m just honestly drowning. And my soul is tired. I can’t do 15 years with him if it came to that. To me, it’s worse than a prison sentence. 

2 Replies 2

Hi Sofreakinsad,  

Thank you so much for your openness and strength in sharing this here. We are so sorry to hear what you've been going through, it sounds like there is a lot going on and we’re glad you could reach out to the forums. 

We understand how exhausting it must be not only to go through this process in the family courts but also in reliving the trauma of this past relationship. It sounds like it's having a big impact on how you're feeling day to day, so please know that there’s always someone here for you to talk it through with. The Beyond Blue counsellors are available 24/7 on 1300 22 4636 or online, here.   

We know you've probably heard of these options before but we still wanted to recommend reaching out to 1800RESPECT to get support with this. They may be able to provide advice specific to your situation or point you in the direction of some additional legal supports. You can contact them on 1800 737 732 and they also have webchat. They are experts in supporting people who are experiencing abuse and will listen in a kind, understanding and non-judgmental way.  

We’re sure we’ll hear from our lovely, supportive community soon. In the meantime it is important that you look after yourself, we know how tiring it can be especially as you are studying and raising a young child. If you feel comfortable it can be useful to let your educational provider know about the situation, every place is different but they may be able to offer free counselling or support and flexibility around assessments just so you have some extra support during this time. 

We thought we would also include a link to Blue Knot, they provide services and advice for those who have experienced trauma and abuse:
Blue Knot’s advice on self-care for survivors of trauma and abuse  

We are so sorry you are going through this but please know that you are not alone, our community and counsellors are here for you. Thank you for sharing and be kind to yourself.

Kind regards, 

Sophie M 

therising
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Sofreakinsad

 

My heart goes out to you as you continue to go through what sounds like hell. It's obvious how much of a loving and caring mum you are and how you only want the best for your child. From one mum to another, I can relate to how enraging, depressing and stressful it can feel when our children are not given the consideration and respect they truly deserve. With the circumstances you face yourself, it'd be incredibly enraging, depressing and stressful. This leads me to wonder whether you've ever looked at children's advocacy services or something along those lines. They'd be more concerned about your child's rights than your ex's rights. For example, 'Does this child have the right to be supported during visits with a parent who they fear?'. If the parent has a history of fearful behaviour, I'd imagine that's something they'd seriously consider. From the perspective of a children's advocacy service, this may point to the need for supervised visits by someone who supports the child's mental and physical wellbeing.

 

While the legal system can serve people well at times, it is also full of insane and highly questionable decisions. For example, who the heck is going to decide to not err on the side of caution when it comes to visits between a child and a parent who has a history of mental abuse, physical violence and breaking the law (breaching IVOs) based on self entitlement? It's the kind of insanity that does happen on occasion. Such a parent should have to prove themself through supervised visits. I imagine a children's advocate will support you in the best way forward, while they work out ways for you and them to best advocate for you child in your child's best interests. Could be an avenue worth looking into. If you have a friend or family member who could help you look into this, let them do most of the initial work, as you're exhausted.

 

While I know you've already got enough to consider with everything that's going on, maybe this is a time where you could consider what both you and you're child have every right to. Taking away the age difference between the 2 of you, you both have a lot of the same rights, legal and otherwise. You both have the right to live safely, without fear of violence and mental abuse. You both have the right to feel the way you do and you both have the right to trust and express your feelings. With the 'collateral damage' comment, you have the right to feel angry about that. You have the right to say to a lawyer 'Make sure, in this case, I am not collateral damage. Make sure you do your job so that I'm not'. You have every right to say that. You have the right to teach your child 'If someone leads you to feel sad, wonder why or ask me or someone else why you might be feeling sadness. If someone leads you to feel really worried or upset, wonder why or ask me or someone else why you might be feeling worry or upset. If someone leads you to feel scared, wonder why or ask me or someone else why you might be feeling scared. Don't push your feelings down, find someone who can help you with them because our feelings are always telling us something. They're very important'. Teaching your child to question a person's/their father's questionable behaviour, which may lead them to feel certain emotions, is teaching them to trust their feelings and not doubt them. It's also about leading them to recognise they can trust you or some other guide to help guide them in working their feelings out (venting them and making sense of them). You have the same right, to find someone to help you work out and make better sense of all your feelings. I imagine you feel like you want to scream at times. Wondering if you've ever heard of a 'break room' or 'rage room'. Just one form of therapy that makes difference to some, especially when facing enraging circumstances. ❤️