open for questions, comments and resource links:
When struggling through a difficult divorce, it is important to enlist support of friends, family, perhaps even the local domestic violence support services. It is good to know what resources are available and when stressed, sounding boards can come in handy. … because really it is difficult to think things through and come up with viable options when your are scared and freaked out. Remember you are taking these steps to walk away from being a victim…you are the victor now.
The primary issue is always safety. Many times when a marriage breaks up due to abuse, financial, emotional, physical and/or sexual there is often a risk factor of increased violence. ..Sometimes even murder. So make sure that you and your children are safe. There are safe homes and shelters. In very extreme cases people can even go underground legally, I have met some who have. You can take out court orders, which are really just a piece of paper depending on how desperate your abuser is. The restraining order step may be empowering for you and buy some time. Every situation is different though. Be sure to get help with this, even if you are a good self advocate, it is wise to work with some one who knows the ins and outs of the process in your region. I have helped many women get court orders and sat in on many a hearing, I have not personally known anyone who has been killed after doing so, but I have heard of it happening.
Another issue is the emotional wellbeing of yourself and your children. You will probably be called every name in the book by your abuser and sometimes his supporters. Don’t fall prey to these attempts at wearing you down. You need to be strong for your kids so you can make good choices. In addition to seeking support, you might try meditation to center yourself. What ever type of centering technique works for you is good. You might seek a support group or counseling for this transitional period.
In a custody wrangle you may want to insist on court ordered workshops on parenting through a divorce for both of you or batterers treatment for your spouse. This can be done through a restraining order ( protection from abuse), divorce proceedings or pre-divorce proceedings via the legal system. You don’t want your children to believe it is okay to be abusive or to be abused- so you need to take a stand against it.
It is tricky because you may also want them to have a relationship with their other parent and usually unless the other parent is an axe murderer or an active junkie the courts insist on that. One way to so that is to stand against violence with out getting swooped into it. Say your ex-husband throws himself under the wheels of your car as you try to leave with the kids after a visitation. Call for back up. A friend and or even the police because this is an act of violence and not good for the kids to see. When you call for back up it shows that you are the responsible level headed one. Depending on the situation you might try to reason with your ex before you call, but chances are diving under the wheels of a car is a sign that reasoning is out of the question. You know your own situation best. My experience with this has been in the USA,a multi-cultural place where services and supports do vary with culture and even location. Some local police are not as supportive as others, some more fundamentalist religious groups of every flavor, are just getting on board with supporting women in domestic violence cases. Legally in all 50 states, women and children are no longer chattel but some isolated attitudes and customs may bely that right. These are good things to keep in mind, know your community. If you think there is little support, call your national hotline they may have some leads.
Have hope. Time can be a great healer. Usually the craziness of a divorce ends before the kids are all grown up and you will find that you can even have an amicable relationship with the other parent. A drinker may get sober. A gambler may stop gambling. I am not saying to stay and wait for that to happen, this divorce may actually be the seed to begin that process. Sometimes it takes a few desperate years but the difficulties taper to an end in most cases.