Domestic abuse takes many forms

Nov. 12, 2011 _ I lived in a violent marriage for 10 years. I was hit, pushed, thrown, shoved, knocked down, jumped on, sat on, kicked, stepped on, spat on and choked over the years at the hands of my then husband.

Six years ago, I filed and was granted a divorce and custody of my two children. My ex didn’t fight one bit of my divorce or the terms. He didn’t get an attorney and he didn’t come to the divorce hearing. He quietly agreed to the divorce because he was afraid for the abuse to go public and he knew that if he fought it, he might be exposed, or so I speculated.

My ex is an NFL sports writer who is known nationally and he didn’t want to jeopardize his career or facing the public about his abusive ways.

And when I left, he never hit me again.

However, in the six years that has followed, he has cursed me out more times than I can count. He has stood in my house, pissed off, and refused to leave. He has screamed at me from my front yard. He has sent me nasty, name-calling emails over and over. He has lied about me to others and created fantasies about me, my life and my fate based on little to no information. He has threatened me many times. He has shorted me on child support over a half a dozen times. He refused to pay me the state required child support amount for more than three years and eventually took me to court to try and get it reduced and lost. He has threatened me many times that he would sue me for custody of our two children.

In April he followed through with his threat and sued me for custody. After seven months of court motions and mediation (he walked out after 5 hours), depositions and many, many hours with attorneys, he eventually agreed to a settlement that gained him just two extra days a month with our children and he had to pay all attorney’s fees (tens of thousands of dollars).

It has been a very difficult seven months as I have faced the thought of a custody change and my teenagers lives changing abruptly at such crucial times in their journey.

My ex accused me of all sorts of things, namely that I was sabotaging his relationship with the children, despite his hit and miss parenting and inconsistent visitation. He rarely calls the children or communicates with them via all the various forms available, yet he blamed me for that.

Since the custody battle was settled, my ex has continued to argue with me over the phone, in person and through email. He continues to blame me and accuse me of deliberately hurting him and violating him. I quickly diverted his communication to only email and told him to follow our new court-ordered agreement to stay clear of me and communicate with me only through email and only about our children.

He made a point of continuing his rude emails and giving me paperwork in person when I dropped our children off for their scheduled visitation, I assume as a way to let me know that he will not be “controlled.”

Domestic abuse takes many forms, but according to all experts, its purpose is the same _ the abuser wants to control the victim and require the victim to do as he wishes, whenever he wishes it.

I also believe, though I really don’t know if this is universally true, that my ex is in a negative emotional state that is causing him a good deal of stress. I am not excusing his behavior, I am trying to be aware of it, because until his stress level is reduced, he will seek to abuse and gain superiority over others, namely me.

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