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Anzee
Community Member
Hi, my two daughters and I have left their dad a few times now, but this time around I felt like I really didn’t have much choice to leave as I was being threatened by services if I didn’t leave. We spent 4 months in 8 different crisis properties and refuge spread out across the state. We experienced some awful things during that time, including further abuse somewhere we were meant to feel safest. Anyways a court ruled it wasn’t sustainable for us to continue moving around, so we got the house back and their dad had to leave. But he just continues to find ways to control where and how we live without even having contact with us. He made it so he owns everything we have and we can’t escape him. We have been homeless on more than one occasion so I’m too scared to even just cut our losses with the house and walk away with nothing because I can’t go back to having nowhere to live and living out of suitcases, always on the move. But even with a full no contact IVO he still has that control over us and I feel like I’m just going to end up going back to him because it’s more predictable than being controlled by a far. I have no idea what his next plans are to sabotage us and he’s always two steps ahead, so I am in constant fear waiting for the next thing he’s going to throw us. He has moved on (likely only a couple of weeks after we left, whilst telling me how much he loved us and wanted us back etc etc) and I have been talking to someone new recently but I’m so scared that if he found out we’d all be in danger. So I feel like he just continues on with his life, no responsibility for the kids (which is a good thing and what’s safest) he sees who and does what he wants but at the same time still holds so much power and control over me/ us. I want to be able to move forward but as well as being so scared he won’t be able to accept that, I just don’t feel like I can risk that homelessness. Both main times we left I have applied for rental after rental and in different areas and have been turned down by every one. I just feel like I’m so trapped under his control still while he’s out there free to live his life. All of the support workers including the police have suggested because of the severity, I should make criminal charges against him but I still defended him and his behaviour to every one I’ve worked with because I do still love him and he is the father of my children but he just continues to screw me over any chance he gets, but I know I’m stuck with him.
79 Replies 79

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Anzee~

I'm sure for you this is a never-ending nightmare, and that outside agencies have a simplistic and impractical approach to things, in fact often push to have things "their own way".

In the long term overall they may do some good, though they may well do harm as well, something you have pointed out before.

Over the years you have shown, despite you poor regard of yourself, that you a loving mother. That you have an excellent grasp of what is going on and act sensibly (and yes that includes all the things you have blamed yourself forr. No, I'm not going to repeat them here, we have talked of them before. Please just try to believe in your circumstances no one could have acted better.

Your kids are settling down, which is a huge bonus, and you did mention (forgive me if I got it wrong - that you have someone new as a friend. All that of course under the cloud of your ex's threatening presence. Maybe inch by inch you are getting there

May I suggest that even though you have the strong temptation to say to Child Protection that all is good this is not a way you will be happy with in the future - even if it does make them go away right now.

OK, so setting out in detail what has happened may well be beyond you at the moment, and fear they will make matters worse holds you back.

Is it possible to steer a temporary middle course and simply say you do not wish to talk to them at least for now as past experience leads you to believe there is a possibility they will make matters worse. Also that your mental health is very precarious and you are not up to anything further now.

Then leave it at that. No explanations, no further talk now.

This approach (they will no doubt want to argue or ask why) does not close the door for the future, does not exonerate your ex and allows describing the truth later on if you need to to be effective.

I know what I'm offering as a thought for you to consider is not an easy thing, however you have done many seemingly impossible things in the past and still very much have my admiration.

You may also like to consider either having someone with you or just handing over a note.

If I remember last time we spoke (sorry if I've remembered wrong) both you mother and sister were difficult and did not support you - is that still the case?

Also may I ask if you do have anyone to support you, not prod you into ill-advised actions, but listen with sympathy and care?

I hope to hear from you again

Croix

Anzee
Community Member
Yesterday was a mess and I’m still recovering but once I’m in the right headspace I will go through what happened. Thanks for checking back in.

Anzee
Community Member
I don’t know what it is, but something about yesterday has triggered massive trauma recall today, flashbacks and shaking uncontrollably. I’ve tried distracting myself by cooking but I just kept dropping things because of how much I was shaking. I wish the brain could just wipe memories from the mind and body completely instead of just the images. Definitely not feeling the best today. I have a therapy session tomorrow thank god but I just wish this would all go away…

Hi Anzee,

We're sorry to hear you're dealing with trauma recall today. It sounds incredibly difficult, we hope you can be kind to yourself and give yourself some space while you're going through this. Sharing here is a great step, so thank you for being open and letting us know what's going on.

If you'd like to talk it through with someone on the phone, Blue Knot are available every day between 9-5 (AEDT) on 1300 657 380. Their counsellors are experienced in working with people who have experienced complex trauma. They also have some resources on their website which could be useful to visit, particularly the pages on Survivors Self Care. Our Support Service is, of course, here for you 24/7, too. 

Hopefully the community will spot your post at some point, til then, thank you for sharing what's happening. 

Kind regards, 

Sophie M

Leisa68
Community Member

Hi Anzee,

You seem to be going through a lot, I'm sorry for you. I know what it is like. Only recently I was going through the same thing, shaking, unable to control my thoughts and flashbacks. They are so very disturbing and the worst thing is that you feel so very alone in this. My mother left my father two times also, only to go back to terrible trauma. Due to my past, I have PTSD and terrible chronic depression which has caused a great deal of pain in my life. My sister has this also and is going through a painful time with her partner who is similar to our dad. This behavior affects kids terribly.

Besides your psych is there some other support for you and your daughters? Family? I understand when you are going through panic attacks and shaking, it would be hard to contact support and go through your story again and again but this guy's behavior has me very worried for you. Can Centrelink help you?

I'll say a prayer for you, I really hope you get some relief soon. I know you are doing what you can.

Leisa68

Anzee
Community Member
So yesterday morning I did what I do best and tried to push my support worker away. She’s fairly new to the scene and I instantly had a connection with her. I felt like I was using her too much, was too attached, all those things I do when I have someone significantly older and who shows support and compassion (I guess these are the qualities I wish my mum had towards me). We had organised for her to come prior to CP so we could talk through everything and what we wanted to say etc but because I had done the whole why do you put up with me, I was so distressed and completely hated myself so was in bed crying a lot. My support worker arrived a few minutes before CP were due I let her in and went straight back to my room and under the covers crying, she quickly realised what was going on and was amazing, she let the workers in and took them to start the meeting, explaining I was just feeling really scared etc. I went out to join them after a bit and I asked the CP worker why my ex wasn’t aware of any of the investigations and that his lawyer was claiming he was entitled to have his kids because of them etc. they said I have to go to family court and get a final order against him that will last until the girls are 18. I said there is no way I can do that, look at me already and my support worker really advocated for the effect on my mental health and how it would not be sustainable going through court at this time, but they pretty much said that was what I needed to do

Anzee
Community Member

Hi Leisa68,

thanks so much for responding to my post and sharing your story. I do know deep down that this is what’s best for my girls and I have to keep them away from him (they are terrified of him and want nothing to do with him) but I so often feel that with my poor mental health I’m not better for them and I just wish they had another option, I wish they had someone more, someone better, someone stronger etc. I lost our families and most of our friends when I first left him early last year, I struggled so much with this as I always thought I had a super strong family bond with my family and members of his family had admitted things to me about my ex and we were super close but once child protection became involved he went around telling his sob story and soon everyone was completely against me and I was so alone. I have one truly amazing friend in which I don’t know if I’d still be here without her (she is also significantly older than me and has even joked she will adopt me so I can have a good mum haha) a have a few other friends but I don’t talk to them much about any of the stuff going on.

My ex did do something really bizarre to mess with my head when we had to live with my mum for a few weeks, my mum denied it would have been him and said my nana had made it up and was awful to her (my nana) about it. When we got to come home I sent her a photo of the evidence he had left for me to find so now my mum is kind of nice to me. I still don’t talk to her much at all and I’m definitely not ready for a relationship with her but at least she now believes what my ex is capable of, and my sister has seen a few things too so we talk a little (she apologised for not believing me) but still not very close.

I hope your sister can come through her situation 😞 I never realised how much generational trauma comes through and effects so many of us.

Leisa68
Community Member

Hi Anzee,

You are stronger than you know. You are going through an awful testing time, I don't think I could be as strong as you are. I'm so sorry that your family has not given you much support, that must be very hard and disappointing. I know you are thinking of your two children through this.

It would be good for you if you could hold on to your support worker, she sounds very helpful. It sounds like things will not resolve quickly in this situation particularly since a lawyer is involved. I can only imagine what it would be like to have strangers involved in your situation, but you definitely need everyone you can get to support you.

I don't have any magic words, I just wanted to let you know that I think you are strong and I hope that there is a good outcome here for you and your girls.

Leisa68

Anzee
Community Member

I have reached that point again, where it all feels too much and I don’t feel like I’m able to continue being the sole parent.

As far as I know child protection have closed their case against the kids dad and I feel like I have reached breaking point so have been thinking about whether to let him see the girls again. I know it is very likely them seeing him will undo all the hard work we’ve done in the last 6 months and their world will be turned upside down again, school will be unsettled and scary and the anger and tantrums will be back for the youngest, but I just don’t know what else to do. I feel like I’m at breaking point and I can’t keep doing this alone but I don’t want to put the girls back in a position where they’re scared and at risk of being traumatised again. Why haven’t they made a place for single mums in this position 😭 child protection were the opposite of helpful and had no support to offer, even when questioned by one of my workers how they (CP) expect me to do this on my own so I really am out of ideas. At the moment I’m kind of asking myself which ones worse? For me to reach tipping point, or for them to see their dad again?!?!

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Anzee~

It's very hard and I can't suggest either way what might be best. Two horrible choices.

I can say something that might help. You are the one stable loving person in your children's lives. That is terribly important, to have an anchor, an oasis of love and care and consitency, is what children need above all else - and you offer that.

So to do anything that risks you may leave them with less refuge than they have now, and less able to deal with toxic others.

It is sometimes a mistake to see oneself as an infinite reservoir of strenght when protecting loved ones, sadly that is never the case and your own circumstances, resources, limits and ongoing well-being have to be taken into account. (That's a fancy way of saying we just do the best we can)

Croix