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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

Anzee
Community Member
I honestly don’t know what is wrong with me… I went to my friends house today and was actively trying to make her say the kids are better off without me, or that they’re better off with their dad, but she just wasn’t taking the bait, so I flat out asked her to tell me I’m a really bad mum and the kids need to be taken from me. She of course refused and said it wasn’t true or what she believed so she wouldn’t say it (trust me I know how freaking amazing this friend is and how lucky I am to have her) anyways I just wasn’t satisfied with her answer so kept trying to give her reasons as to why I was the problem/ the bad one and why I shouldn’t be their sole parent. She’s very good at moving the conversation and we got back to talking about other stuff, having a laugh etc (again I am so lucky to have her) but when I was leaving I couldn’t help myself and I begged her to just say she hated me, or that I was an awful person, or something (she still refused)… I just don’t know why I do this to anyone who tries to help or support me. I complain about not having the support I need but when people offers me that support I try to push them away. Honestly my brain is so faulty and ridiculous that I just can’t understand why people can still be nice to me.. I feel so broken and hopeless..

Hey Anzee,

Thank you for being brave in this post, and for continuing to reach out to us in the forums.
it can be so debilitating when, in the midst of complex trauma and emotional exhaustion, that our minds feel the need to self-defeat or self-dismiss as an escape from the situation. 

It is not at all weird or unusual to need a way out, or to feel like a stressful situation can end, and sometimes it can be empowering to reinforce to ourselves that we do need a break, and we are allowed a break, without needing others to reinforce to us that we are a failure, or a villain. You do not need to fail a situation to take a moment off. 

It can be confronting sometimes when so much of our trauma has been aimed at proving how worthless or undeserving we are to then have to back ourselves and believe in our abilities - so much worse again if we have had multiple experiences of loved ones telling us we are worthless, and suddenly people are reinforcing our worth and placing trust in us - "do they really love me? why aren't they attacking me??"

We want to invite you to continue to reflect how beneficial you are to your children's lives, and that you absolutely deserve to be with them - but also please reflect that you absolutely can ask for help! You deserve help, you are permitted moments of doubt - it is normal to feel overwhelmed - you do not need to be alone in the battle.

Please reach out to us anytime you need us - 1300 22 4636 - and please keep talking to friends and this community.

Regards,

Sophie M

Anzee
Community Member

He’s taking me to court…. I’m not allowed to speak about details but I am well and truly gone. I had therapy yesterday and I didn’t even remember driving there and I couldn’t get out of the car until I knew it was my turn. Like this could very well end me.

I asked what happens if I just give him everything he’s asking for and my lawyer said CP will probably take the kids off me because I’m not acting protectively by giving him unsupervised access to them. So pretty much either way is a HUGE loss for me…

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Anzee~

I'd like ot say a couple of thngs as I've followed your posts though from the start. I would expect you would know these things 'intellectually', but that is not much help. Maybe hearing them from others might be.

The first is you love your kids, that comes out in everything you say, and the idea of what it would do to them to be permanently with your ex can give you the strength to do the seemingly impossible and fight for them in court or though child protection.

Your Support Worker sounds a real gem - an ally and can probably help you gather together all the things you need to prove your case.

The second thing is you seem surprised that you keep on suggesting to your friend she tell you that you are a bad mother, or that she hates you and similar things. It is not really trying ot drive people away, it is the need for a great deal of reassurance.

You have been treated very badly, and that has not just happened once, but been a constant over a long time. Sadly when this happens people start to think they have no worth, are not capable, and that love is not as wonderful as it really is.

When you think badly of you it is quite a natural thing to seek reassurance, and the worse you feel the more you have ot reach out for that reassurance. Your friend sounds a pretty wise person and a very good friend too.

Having someone so wise who keeps on wanting to be your friend and kids that love you and settle down when with you may help you realise how good you actually are.

We are all wanting the best for you - as you and your kids deserve it

Croix

Anzee
Community Member

Thanks Croix, I appreciate your always positive and encouraging words. I guess the problem with going to court is anything I say will be questioned and I will be cross examined by his lawyer and she has already said awful things about me and we haven’t even started court yet so I know in my heart the minute anyone questions my story and credibility I will shut down and deny my story, change it, cry and say I can’t do it. I’m very worried where my mental health would be in that situation, it has already dipped a lot recently and I have had times that I am really concerned about whether I can pull through so for something this big, my ultimate fear, I just cannot imagine getting through this. I have messaged CP asking if I agree to his terms and don’t go to court whether there will be any risk of me losing the girls so I am waiting for a reply in writing from them so I know I’m covered if they give me permission I guess to agree to his demands.

I have made an offer to my lawyer to settle out of court (I know he won’t accept it) but I am sure I can not go to court. Even my therapist said she will do intense training with me to be cross examined etc and we will act as if we are going to war but it’s too deep (people questioning my truth) it’s like pretty much the end of the world for me if people don’t believe me and I have so much shame and fear I feel like I can’t survive with those feelings..

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Anzee~

Despite how you might feel about yourself I see you as a capable person in very difficult circumstances who can still make mature judgments about matters. You are the expert on you after all - and as a result if you feel that going to court would harm you and also be counter-productive then that's sensible.

It can be really hard not to judge yourself too harshly. I was like that and even simple things like not getting out of bed seemed to me to be failures when compared to how I should be. This was of course completely wrong, I was judging myself as if I was a completely well and uninjured person. In actual fact considering my mental condition it was to be expected - a different and kinder standard for a different set of circumstances.

So please try not to feel badly if you have decided not ot go to court. It is a very traumatic and unpredictable environment.

I also see that you are not giving up but taking other steps which do not involve court and realy hope some come you way, with for example CP being reasonable.

You do have a couple of allies in your support worker and you hterapist. Actually you also have legal advice to help guide you though pitfalls and unexpected consequences, so no, all is not lost.

Your kids are so lucky to have you and your love. That will always be there inside them.

Hopefully you will find the way to keep all together, you are due for some good luck

Croix

Anzee
Community Member

Although you don’t know me or my situation personally, I feel like we do have a relationship in these forums and it’s really comforting to have you say that not going to court is ok. I know myself the best etc. I know they’re just trying to help and reassure me and that they know the ins and outs of our situation but I feel like none of my supports are listening to me when I say I CANT go through with court. I have done everything I can to try and get my ex to settle out of court. I have told my lawyer about the evidence I have, photos, videos and admissions in the hope that once my ex finds that out he might change his mind about going to court because I have kept very quiet about this evidence because it’s the last thing I wanted to do but I felt like I had no other choice but to bring them into the mix. My DV worker does have a couple of screenshots I have and I gave her permission to send one to the police officer to keep the IVO in place and like the police officer said to me in person they asked why they are not criminally charging him for this as it’s criminal behaviour and against the law. Even the liason officer asked the same question after the last court case, he asked why there are no criminal charges in place but I feel like no one understands that it doesn’t matter how much evidence I have my ex will continue to fight me until the very end, and he will make my life hell denying and contesting everything just to stress me out. His lawyer has obviously not fact checked anything he told her so in the report there are things that can clearly be proved to be false by checking the system/ services and I mean things that are hard evidence that what he’s said isn’t true but they’ve still put these things in his statement and to me that feels like he is showing me he can and will get away with anything. I also just know his lawyer would destroy me when it came to questioning and cross examination and I have tried so hard to explain to my support workers how serious I am that her doubt and questions will destroy me. Even the thought of someone not believing me is enough to put me in a deep downward spiral let alone someone cross examining every word I say. Even with the proof and evidence I have I just don’t feel like facing him or his lawyer is an option, but all of my support workers just keep saying they won’t let me give him access to the kids no matter what but I know it doesn’t matter what I say or do he won’t stop until he wins.

Anzee
Community Member
Nightmares are just so intense again at the moment 😭 and they feel so real even when I wake up, I still feel like I’m in the nightmare/ it’s really happening. Not sure if that makes sense?! But it’s been happening a lot lately and it’s just so hard to get myself into a decent headspace after it happens. I just feel like there’s no escape! It’s never ending…

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Anzee~

You are living a nightmare at the moment, so having nightmares when asleep is to be expected - it has been for me. One of the problems is when waking up from a nightmare that may be a distortion or non logical experience of reality it can carry over for a while, leaving one feelng as if one has not woken up, or if one has it has made no difference -the nightmare keeps on going. My only recourse at one time was to leap straight into a physical action, shower, walk dog or whatever. I'm not saying it is the same for you.

I don't know why the legal system cannot accept a simple fact, a perpetrator can injure a person so badly they cannot come to court. Maybe it is starting to work with young children and video, but I don't really know.

Although you have a solicitor, support worker and therapist I wonder if thay are experts in this field? Perhaps you can tell me.

I do know this long standing problem has attracted a lot of attention on women's advocacy groups as well as in the legal profession concerning domestic violence . I apologize if you have already gone down this path, but have you been able to find a professional or semi professional body - probably non governmental - that deals with these matters and may have established partial workarounds or at least give sensible advice?

I'd be the first to admit it is not simple.

I think the reason so many do not understand is because they have never been there themselves, even CP officers may have only seen it, not experienced it, and believe the matter is straightforward as you have so much evidence. Perhaps if you had not been so badly injured it might have been, but under the circumstances it simply is not possible.

So where to from here? I guess in as much as you are able you keep on trying. Please do bear in mind what I said before, when badly injured the victories are not the same ones as when you are fit.

One other thing that I have found helps, and that is to find a way to step outside a horrible life and be distracted - even if only for a few minutes. This, provided it is nothing to do with your real life, can give a modicum of respite. For me it is movies and books, it used to be walking with the pet. Can you envisage doing this? I think it is highly lightly you may find it a help.

The only other thought I have to offer is that peole do not stay the same. Injuries - with the right help - do at the very least partially heal. When that happens one's abilities change to match.

Croix

Anzee
Community Member

I haven’t even begun to tell my lawyer what I have been through with my ex or what he has done to me. I only told him about my fear and concern for the kids.

my therapist does specialise in these issues and when she has spoken to me she has mentioned that I can go into one of those boxes/ rooms and be present via video link but I have memories of been shown one of those rooms as a kid but my mum denied it to me when the memories came back and I started talking to my psychologist about it. I do remember it though, I remember where it was and everything and when I went to the police with my DV worker I said isn’t the police station in this place? And she said no that’s the courts! So maybe my memories of going there as a child are true and I feel like it is just going to be so triggering with all of that history on top of facing my ex. But again my lawyer doesn’t know any of this so maybe I need to ask someone to explain that to him, and explain how afraid I am of going to court and facing him. Then maybe he can find a way I don’t have to do it? I don’t know. I just know that it is all too much for me at the moment and I am not in a headspace I can even consider going through with it all. I wish it could all be over and part of me feels like the only way to make that happen is to just give into my ex and let him win. Give him what he wants, so that I can walk away from him. But I know that doesn’t save the girls so I am just completely at a loss and don’t know how to be the person they need to fight for them right now. I’m not coping or feeling ok about any of my decisions.