Advice Column: Response to LDW

Dear Hailey,

I’ve been in an abusive relationship for 15-years. It’s been one filled with gas lighting, manipulation, and verbal abuse. I only saw it clearly recently when after my ex took my daughter to the place he’s working so he could “be a dad” and then told me I was being a bad mom if I didn’t come visit.

This is a man who could never let go of me, he clearly doesn’t see me as a human being who has needs, thoughts, and wants. I’m a tool to him, I’m usable. Because when we’re together he’s controlling, when we’re separate he breaks me down until I do what he wants and until he can convince me we need to be together.

He seems to have finally gotten the hint that I don’t want him, because when I refused to come up to “visit my daughter” aka – him. He decided I can’t see her. I’m getting a lawyer. But the truth is, I’ve been battling depression and demons my whole life. 

Part of me thinks I should just leave her with him, she’s almost 14. I think this will probably be devastating to her, but emotionally I’m not equipped to handle the constant abuse, his anger, his mistrust, because if I’m not with him I’m obviously with someone else and he won’t allow that. I’ve realized how absolutely destroyed I feel. I don’t feel like I have any rights in this situation. His words and his anger have made me into a non-human.

So my question is, should I leave my daughter so he’ll leave me alone?

LDW

Dear LDW,

I would caution you against leaving your daughter. This would not only be devastating to her, but it is highly probable that she could resent you for leaving her. While she will be an adult when she is 18 in 4 short years, your relationship will likely never recover if you leave her with your ex-husband. You have described your ex-husband as abusive. Often abusive behavior is not limited only to one person. You need to consider the possibility that in extricating yourself from the situation that you could be leaving your daughter in an abusive home. 

I can only imagine what you have lived through. I’m sure that it’s been hell and that you are tired of fighting. But I encourage you to fight for your daughter. Don’t bow out. You don’t have to do this alone. Counseling, support groups, domestic abuse centers, and more are available to provide you with support. 

You mentioned getting a lawyer, and that’s great place to start. There are options after the court ruling such as a custody agreement that limits contact, a mediator or other third party to handle disputes, and more. Discuss your concerns with your lawyer. 

Truly, this is your choice. You need to consider all of your choices and the ramifications before you make any big decisions in this arena. Remember that you are strong, and you can do this. 

Hailey

Posted in Q&A

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