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scared and not sure what to do
June 23, 2009
12:31 am
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slc
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Hi everyone. I was told that I was co-dependent about 2 years ago. My ex-husband was where it showed the most. We separated in 2002 but didn't divorce until 2006 when he wanted to get re-married. In those 4 years we actually got along alot better than we did married. We lived around the corner from each other and he would get mad if I drove by and didn't honk the horn so I would either go the long way around to avoid his house or honk when I drove by. He'd ask me to pick up things from the store for him and I always did. He moved about 3 yrs ago and left behind 3 cats and 2 dogs. For a little over 2 of those 3 years I fed his cats and dogs daily. I was the contact if his home alarm went off and met the police there on 2 occasions to check things out for him. I would bring his trash cans in if he had put them out and they had to go in just the right place. And this was after we divorced and he remarried. I did it to not make him mad. He was always the 1st phone call of the day at work and the last of the day at home. If I didn't answer my cell phone immediately, he would call either my daughter or son and let them know how irresponsible I was so I always answered. Once I saw how sick I was, I began to change things. I don't pick his trash cans up anymore and I don't feed his animals every day. Still too much but not everyday. He hasn't been calling as much. Things seemed to have been going okay until tonight and I don't know what happened. He is also an active alcoholic and so our daughter has not spent the night at his house in about 1 1/2 years. The second time I learned that he drove with her drunk, I just couldn't send her over anymore. we have joint custody and he has "reasonable" visitation. Our daughter sees him weekly she just doesn't spend the night. So tonight, he called and I didn't answer the phone (I actually left it in the car). When he called our daughter, he was furious and was giving her the speech about how irresponsible I am for not answering the phone when he called, etc. She handed me the phone and he told me he had left me 3 messages. He said I needed to listen to them and then call him back. As I was listening to the voice mail messages, he called our daughter back to find out why I hadn't called him back yet. He told her that I cared more about watching the college world series than I did about her. She is 14 and he upset her alot. She gave me the phone again and he told me how he had given me ample time to listen to the voice mail messages and I should have returned his calls already. He went back to 2002 to let me know how everything wrong in his life is my fault becasue I am irresponsible. He says he is going to get an attorney and sue for 50% custody because he is going to raise our daughter to be responsible and I haven't. He pays no child support becasue he always said that if I didn't ask for money, he wouldn't make our daughter live with him 50% of the time. I have come so far in recovery where I haven't had to walk on the eggshells with him anymore but I can't lose my daughter. He is verbally abusive and drunk on a regular basis but he has deep pockets and I don't. I don't know what I should do.

June 23, 2009
1:08 am
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fantas
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(((SLC))), welcome and so sorry about this situation with your ex. Can I ask you a huge favor? Please copy and re-post your entry with paragraphs so more people are able to read it.

In the mean time, I think you need to get a good lawyer and put everything in writing. Add up all the child support he hasn't paid and take him to court. I assume he was court ordered to pay.

Your daughter is 14 and very impressionable. She needs present parents and I can't imagine what all this is doing to her. I would suggest therapy for her while you are working on all this as well as offering her a choice as to whether she can go to see her father or not. The fact that he drove drunk with her once means he doesn't have an ounce of responsibility towards her and she definitely feels it. This will affect her self esteem for years to come. I would also suggest giving him a week to get his pets otherwise, take them to the animal shelter. It's time to cut all the cords with this toxic man. IMO the only time he should contact you is if it regards his daughter.

Not to judge you here, but seriously, why do you care if he gets upset with you or not? Doesn't he have a wife to worry about? What does his wife think of the morning and evening calls? The only people you should be concerned about is you and your daughter. He is a grown man and if he gets himself angry he can darn well sooth himself.

Since things are the way they are, teach your daughter to begin to draw boundaries with her father's abusive behavior. Encourage her to refuse to be around him when he is drunk, abusive, or speaking mean about you to her. Give her the permission to hang up the phone and turn it off when he starts to belittle you or her. It would be easier for her if she saw you doing it first but but things are as they are. Young as she is, she will have to now learn how to protect herself emotionally from the drama between you and her father. I would go as far as play acting the scenario with her until you make sure she is confident she can do it.

Let her know that her father is a worthy human being who has an alcohol addiction and until he or any other addict can prove through long term treatment and sobriety that he can be responsible, he is unsafe and cannot fulfill his fatherly duties. Right now, this drama is her image of love and loving. She will, if not otherwise taught, gravitate towards people like her father in the future.

Document his drinking and behavior while drunk, rethink the custody and child support agreement and go back to court. All that bs about him taking your daughter if you ask for child support is just that. if he has reneged on his court order, he stands to sent to jail and have his wages garnished.

Please keep posting and consider attending Alanon in addition to the therapy.

June 23, 2009
2:06 am
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slc
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Thanks fantas.

Your are right, I do need to cut all ties. I have distanced myself in the last few years but it is still a toxic relationship.

When we divorced, he told me that if I asked for child support then he would make sure he got our daughter 50% of the time so I didn't ask for it. His attorneys drew up the papers and I got custody of our daughter and he got reasonable visitation. Child support isn't mentioned in the divorce papers at all and we didn't go to court. He was happy because he didn't have to pay anything and I got what was most important to me. I know it was probably stupid but his threats scared the hell of me then and they still do and I guess he knows it.

My daughter sees her Dad on a weekly basis, she just doesn't spend the night with him. She hates the smell of beer and has alot of hostility toward him. She has seen him hide his beer and has seen him urinate on himself. This is going to sound crazy but when he is not drunk, he is not that bad. He loves her and does want the best for her. He claims that he drinks to self medicate the pain from arthritis.

His new wife died of an aneurysm after they had been married for just 7 months. After she died, he wanted us to get back together again. I am glad that didn't happen.

I don't know why it bothers me so much when he is upset with me. It is funny because when I fed the animals this afternoon, the trash cans were by the road. I didn't bring them in and I know he is going to be upset about it tomorrow. With him being so mad now, I was thinking about going by in the morning to bring them in before he see them so he won't get even more upset. I know that is crazy and I am going to make myself stay away.

I have read so much in the last few years and have worked so hard to set up boundaries and really divorce in spirit as well as on paper. I thought I had done it until tonight even though I still feed his animals. You know I just haven't come up with a good enough reason to stop because he doesnt' ask everyday like he had in the past. He says it is just 5 minutes of my time but you are right it has to stop. They are not my responsibility. I need courage to do what is right regardless of fall-out.

I have thought about taking my daughter to alateen meetings but I was afraid he would find out and get upset because he doesn't think his drinking is a problem even though he has a DWI and a complaint from a citizen that saw him driving the company car (with logo) crazy one night. I have got to quit letting Fear guide my actions.

Thanks for "listening" and for giving me some really good feedback. I needed it and I hope I will act upon it.

June 23, 2009
9:30 am
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atalose
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slc,

First off I am glad you found this site, it’s a great place to vent share troubles and gain some outside insight into making your life more manageable and peaceful.

Now this may sound harsh but you may not be feeling like you are walking on eggs shells anymore but you are very much his doormat. It may not be so much that you don’t feel like you are walking on egg shells as much as you have learned how to step softly without breaking them. (not making him angry)

I think counseling would be great for both you and your daughter. Al-ateen would benefit her as much as would al-anon for you.

I know how paralyzing your fear must be, focusing on reality and not the words or threats of a drunk is where you need to get to.

I don’t know where you are from but around here not to many judges place a child 50% of the time with a drunk who has a history of DUI and erratic driving who hasn’t taken his child overnight in the past 1 ½ and who does not pay child support. .No matter how deep you or he thinks his pockets are. I’m sure his deep pockets didn’t buy his way out of the DUI did it?

A long time ago a friend shared with this with me, what fear really stands for:

F…..false

E…..evidence

A….appearing

R….real

The more you work on your fear and see the reality of this situation the less his drunken quacking will affect you.

Setting boundaries with him is another thing you can work on. Start with NOT taking care of his responsibility for HIS pets no matter if it’s only 5 minutes out of your day or just a few days a week, it’s not your problem period!

If I were you I’d begin to keep track of his phone calls, record them if you must. Start building your own case of his harassment and threats. Keep your phone records to show all his erratic calls. If you decide to not answer his phone you need to prepare yourself for him showing up and causing a scene at which time you have every right to call the police to have him leave and this too will be documented.

I do know it’s not easy and I fully understand your fear, I stayed in a marriage to a control freak for about 12 years longer then I should have. And fear is exactly what kept me hostage.

Keep posting and all of us will help you build your strength to stand tall.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

June 23, 2009
4:36 pm
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fantas
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bump

June 23, 2009
5:38 pm
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Zebra
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SLC,

So you didn't go to court. Well the divorce papers were drawn up by his attorney, someone had to go to court. Just because you waived child support back when...doesn't mean you can't get it now and for all of those other years.

Your X is using and abusing you and now your daughter and putting your daughter in the middle...not good.

Not to mention if he does acutally take you back to court and you actually have physical cutody of her; then I assure you after all his behavior and your daughter saying she doesn't want to live with him; he won't be to happy. The court does do all of those things in CA. I know because I have been there.

He is an abusive person and is treatening you and YOU ARE ALLOWING HIM TO DO IT. Do not call him or fed his animals or anything else. Tell him to talk to his wife about it and hang up.

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Reals....

Stand up for you and your daughter.

Love, Z

June 23, 2009
8:28 pm
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slc
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FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real

I have never heard that before. I need to write it everywhere! I am ready to stop living in fear I'm just not sure I have what it takes to do it. Today, he didn't call at all so I worry about what he is up to. When he is mad at me I do wait for the other shoe to drop and I am very afraid. I know that is crazy.

My daughter is so very important to me and I want to make things right so she doesn't go down the same road that I have been down. She does love her Dad even though he scares her sometimes, really hurts her feelings at other times, and embarrasses her sometimes too. He thinks anything said in anger or while he is drunk is okay. He doesn't apologize he just thinks we know that is the way he is and should except it. I don't get that.

I have been to some alanon meetings on-line but never face to face. I found a place today that is only about 30 minutes away from me and they have an alateen meeting and an adult meeting on the same day and about the same time. I need to overcome the fear of seeing someone I know or worse, someone he knows.

This is a great place and I am glad y'all are here.

June 23, 2009
9:33 pm
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atalose
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Slc,

When I first started my journey of becoming emotionally healthy I wrote myself notes all the time. Posted notes near my phone and computer. I printed out things to carry around with me, you name it I did it. And it does work we need to re-train our thinking and thoughts.

I think that’s great you found a meeting place for both of you getting healthy together….a good team.

As for seeing someone you know O WELL just remember they are there as well to get better and if you see someone he knows then I’m sure they know exactly why you need to be there, and again, they are there as well trying to get better.

There should be no shame or embarrassment for wanting to seek help, as a matter of fact it means you are strong enough to let go of fear and seek a happier and healthy life.

Atalose

~~Hope has a place, but not above reality~~

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