Breaking point - Part 2

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square

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #40 on: August 08, 2021, 07:53:37 PM »
Good luck  :thumbup:

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losingmyself

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #41 on: August 09, 2021, 11:44:58 AM »
Good luck to you, we're all in your corner!
I just wanted to recommend a book that Kris Godinez recommends on her podcast. (If you haven't listened to her, try it, she's great!)
It's called Splitting, and it's written by Randy Krueger (sp?)  and Bill Eddy.
It's helpful advice for someone leaving a difficult marriage.
Again, good luck. Stay strong, and God bless you and your children

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hhaw

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #42 on: August 09, 2021, 05:13:42 PM »
Solicitor contacted me late on Friday to call them which I am planning to do tomorrow. At the same time she is trying her best to pretend its all OK and keeping her temper, not even a proper hover going on so not to bothered. She just invited me out for a meal later next week, couldn't think of anything worse so had to as kindly as possible say I think about it. Yesterday I was away on a sports event with the kids, we had asked her a couple of times earlier in the week if she wanted to come but she only answered with silence and grumbles. So just when we were about to leave she says she wants to come, not ready at all but she just drops the bomb, all of us just told her she is not invited anymore and then we left. Day was great as she wasn't spoiling it.

Today I have been out with SG as she wanted to speak to me, I am amazed how clued up she is for only being little. She asked me if she can see a therapist, she needs to speak to someone about how mum treats her. She also told me to stop believing in the promises that stbxw is making about being nice and changing as she just cant keep them. This conversation was very good to have, to really realize that I need to do this not only for me but for the kids.

Wish me luck, I think I might need it.

The kids really can get it.  It's hopeful that gc and sg uninvited PDmom.... not just you.

Remember, STBX is unstable.... she's trying to find ways to feel OK, even though OK isn't something she can find or take or have. It can happen inside her or not at all.  She doesn't get that so she's blaming and fuming and showing you how disordered she feeeeels.... like a toddler behaves, really.

Expect it.  Your sc child understands well enough.... that's the very best  PD mother CAN do. She's broken or she'd already have done better.... she can't.  SG child is very wise for age, I think.

GC falls into line with PDmom, I think, bc she knows you CAN change and perhaps enough to calm PDmom enough, for a while, for GC to FEEEEEL OK too.  It's not fair, but it makes sense that she asks things of you, she knows she can't ask of mother, bc mom just can't. 

Also, mom's love is conditional.  Yours is not.  Kids tend to be harder on the parent who loves them always and forever, no mmatter what, IME.  We always forgive. We're always there. 

I do feel we do the children a disservice if we allow them to mistreat us without putting boundarie and consequences in place, sans emotions. 

IME, the kids do better if I'm doing better..... putting boundaries in place and calmly enforcing them without any drama or emotional upheaval.  Just calm, steady, consistent mom, doing what mom does....... never letting their upset pull me off center... as I can manage it, but also not allowing abusive treatment.  You can remove yourself, physically, state you'll speak to them when they can be respectful, then enforce that stated boundary.

Set a time to come back and have that discussion, perhaps, but I wouldn't allow the abuse UNLESS I was recording it.

It's not healthy for anyone, IME.

Good luck with the attorney.  I wish I'd have only brought up the facts I could PROVE.... if I could do it all over again.

Just blurting every disordered thing the PD does makes us sound unhinged, IME.  Particularly if we can't PROVE it's what they're doing AND... why would anyone put up with it? They sometimes as what we did to MAKE the PD act that way... sometimes they want to know what's wrong with us that we stayed,. etc.

Remember to think of it as an opportunity to inform your listener.  Stay calm and don't get snarky or frustrated.

Everything is about the children, the children the children.

Tell the kids everyone will be OK, even if mom and dad living apart... still love the kids.... everyone will be OK.  The kids have teir jobs... adults have theirs. Adults will handle their stuff, even if mom is behaving in sad ways and asking the kids to FEEL for her, do for her, take on her responsiilities...... mom will be OK, even if the kids take care of their jobs, which is the rigth thing to do.

I hope you find a good trauma informed therapist for you and your sg child.  If the gc is willing, a good T for her would be spot on too.

Breathe.  Remember you're safe and you're going to do everything possible to keep your kids safe.  Don't worry about what you can't control. Instead focus on what you CAN control.

All will be well.... and....
even if it's not OK....
it's OK.
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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escapingman

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #43 on: August 10, 2021, 04:36:05 PM »
Deep breaths, I did it, I called the lawyers. I spoke to them and for the first time ever I told someone about the abuse. I feel like a big weight has gone by just telling someone. Next step is to book a one hour consultation to discuss next steps, as this will start incurring cost I just need to land in this first as I know when I do this there will be no return. I am pretty sure about the next steps and my options, but I just need someone else to be there by my side and do it for me - even if it will cost me thousands.

At the moment uNPDw is calm and is trying to creep back into the good books, it gives me a bit of a respite but I know as soon as I would cave in just a bit the next outburst will be just around the corner. I will take this slowly and keep my eyes on the end goal.

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square

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #44 on: August 10, 2021, 04:51:16 PM »
I admire your bravery.

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moglow

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #45 on: August 10, 2021, 06:09:57 PM »
You just do what you have to do. The hardest part to me would be standing clear of what amounts to intermittent reinforcement - no one is all good or all bad, or you wouldn't be where you now are. You have history and a certain amount of consistency behind you, don't forget that.

It might be a good idea to start (if you haven't already) documenting everything - names dates times situations etc. BUT don't keep or access that at home or computer where it can be read or tampered by others. When the heat is on it can be hard to recall specifics or even the frequency. I think there's a certain amount of self preservation too, so we dont meltdown out of sheer frustration.

Just keep breathing, and do what you can as you can. This isnt likely to be a short or easy process, but we're here with you.
"Expectations are disappointments under construction.”  ~ Cap'n Spanky

Stop Stinkin' Thinkin'!

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escapingman

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #46 on: August 10, 2021, 08:20:25 PM »
I started to journal and take voice recordings a year ago. I am not sure I would have believed myself without them, but now I can just go back and listen to what happened and now the abuse actually happened. To start I did it for myself to make sure I knew what was going on, now I am wondering if I can use the recordings legally as they really would be valuable for me.

But I know as soon as I actually push the "divorce" button all hell will break loose, I am scared of that. I don't want to stay with her, but I don't want her to try her best to take me down. But, I have no idea how she actually will react in the end, this despite her threating me with ruining my life if divorcing her. I just don't know but it's worth the risk as nothing can be as bad as this.

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sad_dog_mommy

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #47 on: August 11, 2021, 09:33:41 AM »
Hello!   I saw a quote online that I thought I would share.     “It is ok to be sad after you have made the right decision.” 

Stay strong and keep your eyes on the future.   You are not alone.   
Sometimes you don’t realize you’re actually drowning when you are trying to be everyone else’s anchor.   

Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.

Unconditional love doesn't mean you have to unconditionally accept bad behavior.

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Starboard Song

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #48 on: August 11, 2021, 01:30:54 PM »
But I know as soon as I actually push the "divorce" button all hell will break loose, I am scared of that. I don't want to stay with her, but I don't want her to try her best to take me down. But, I have no idea how she actually will react in the end, this despite her threating me with ruining my life if divorcing her. I just don't know but it's worth the risk as nothing can be as bad as this.

It cannot have been said enough: plan for the worst and have a plan that protects you, your stuff, and your money. Make sure to do everything legal and above board, but have a scorched earth response in mind when you plan. I know a person who packed surreptitiously for days and -- after the spouse left for work -- emptied out before lunch time and was gone and safe before saying a word about divorce.
Radical Acceptance, by Brach   |   Self-Compassion, by Neff    |   Mindfulness, by Williams   |   The Book of Joy, by the Dalai Lama and Tutu
Healing From Family Rifts, by Sichel   |  Stop Walking on Egshells, by Mason    |    Emotional Blackmail, by Susan Forward

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pushit

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #49 on: August 11, 2021, 02:31:11 PM »
Hello!   I saw a quote online that I thought I would share.     “It is ok to be sad after you have made the right decision.” 

Great quote, and very true.  Another thought for you, this helped me get through my divorce. 

Sometimes in life you're only presented with bad options, and your only choice is to choose the least worst option in front of you.

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hhaw

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #50 on: August 11, 2021, 03:23:01 PM »
Research your State's recording laws.  You can always let your attorney listen, even if you can't use them as evidence in court.  Attorney's talk.  They talk to clerks. Clerks and other attorneys talk to Judges.  You just might find your Judge hears about it, even if he/she can't listen.

Make sure you're done with recording before letting stbx know you're recording, kwim? Once she knows, she'll limit your opportunities to record, IME.

Get the most important papers out of the house.  Maybe leave BEFORE filing for divorce and take the SG child with you.  You can do that BEFORE filing.  Once you file, everything changes (for you,) bc you follow the rules.  It's likely stbx will break every rule and law (and likely get away with it) so do what you can ahead to limit  the chaos manufacture. 

Important pictures?  Make them safe. Family heirlooms? Make them safe.  Your child's favorite clothing?  Make them safe.  You get the picture. 

I agree with the poster who said leaving when the STBX isn't there to drum up drama. 

You can take your child to Therapy now and get that started before Divorce begins. That way, it's one of the things in place and Judges like to keep the status quo once divorce begins.  Easier to do it now, for sure, IME.

Do you have a place to go, if you leave?  Living with relatives or good friends will improve your chances of having witnesses around if the PD goes nuts on you.  Maybe witnesses will help you stay safe.  I do find that kind of support is helpful in ways you can't understand till you're IN it.

Some States allow audio recordings.  Some allow video,but no audio.  Check yours out.

Don't let the STBX pull you off center. Expect crazy behaviors and plan to remain level and consistent,no matter what. Just keep reminding yourself this is what PDs DO.  Don't expect different and you won't be surprised or dissapointed.

Good luck,
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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square

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #51 on: August 11, 2021, 04:00:59 PM »
I don’t know a thing about legalities but “take SG child with you,” that has to be checked with your solicitor/attorney. But aside from that, I would treat both kids the same, don’t just take SG and abandon GC. If you can take any kids, take both, or, I dunno, offer to take both (tricky here, even aside from legality this is “choose between mom and dad” and they know they will PAY for it).

I hope you get both pf them, whether primary or sole.

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hhaw

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #52 on: August 11, 2021, 06:06:46 PM »
Once divorce is filed..... everything shuts down for the parent following the rules. The parent who does what's best for the children.  The parent who won't go outside the rules, bc bc bc....

so many reasons to give the PD a leg up, to cut the PD slack, to listen to the attorney even thought the PD won't listen to theirs.

Once the divorce is filed...... everything stays the same.  If a parent leaves without the children, or....the child begging for a T bc... scapegoated...... then that parent will be called a desserter, bc that's what the PD and their attorney will say. Just good business in divorce court. 

The sg needs a t.  The sc and father need an advocate who can stand up in court and testify to the facts in this case, or.... the facts they can prove....... always try to stick to the facts one can prove in court.  Keeps one from looking unhinged, IME.  Spewing PD facts, without proof, makes us look unhinged, IME.

The sc child will be able to tell a T what their experience is.  Being screamed at by a parent and sibling, daily, is a violence, IME. 

Leaving a child IN that environment will bring up questions like....

"If it was so bad, why in heaven would you leave a child behind to be screamed at and abused as you're allaging, Mr. Father Man?"

He'll have to field.... "Why would you stay so long?"
And... "What did you DO to the PD to make her behave that way?"

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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square

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #53 on: August 11, 2021, 06:33:47 PM »
But why not take GC too, then?

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escapingman

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #54 on: August 11, 2021, 07:38:51 PM »
I wouldn't have a cats chance in hell to take GC as she is brainwashed and is picking her mum over me every day of the week at the moment.

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square

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #55 on: August 11, 2021, 08:00:44 PM »
I just think it’s important to tell her you want her. Even if she says no.

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escapingman

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #56 on: August 11, 2021, 08:20:50 PM »
She knows that, she is great with me when her mum is nowhere near us.

uNPDw soon to be X is doing some kind of light version of a golden period, really gives me some breathing space. It feel weird but I know she can't keep it together and  know she will get into a rage for some minor thing any day. I am using the time to get my thoughts together and to try to make a plan. For every time the abuse cycle turns "red" I am one step closer to be out, and I am close now. I just need to get out of the wishful thinking that she would leave, she won't. I know that but I still hope.

I didn't get a very good feel for the lawyer I spoke to, the firm connected me with a junior lawyer which is the least I need. I got me in the right direction but I will try another firm to see if that gives a better feel.

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hhaw

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #57 on: August 11, 2021, 09:46:13 PM »
You need to believe in your attorney.  Don't hire one you have no cofidence in.

In fact, hiring a family law attorney who SAYS they specialize in high conflict cases is a start.

Hiring an ex District Attorney is a better, start, IME.

Sometimes you file your case, pull a Judge THEN make your final attorney selection.... BEFORE things get too hairy.

I changed after filing my case, was let down over and over by my attorney, fired him then interviewed other attorneys. The ex DA (I tried to hire) told me he'd hire X attorney to represent him IN FRONT OF the judge I pulled, bc that Judge just LOVED that attorney,bc that attorney got him through law school.

If you ask enough people for their opinions.... ask who'd they'd hire if it was them or their child in need of an attorney, they'll often tell you WHO you should hire and why.

This isn't a straight forward process.  It won't be over quickly.  You won't enjoy it.  Prepare for a long drawn out slog and don't cancel ONE SINGLE COURTDATE or HEARING until you have a signed, stamped and filed AGREEMENT in your grubby little hand, bc that's the only thing you can sort of control in all this..... not allowing the PD to drag this out for years.

My second divorce attorney said the worst cases involve a litigant who doesn't want to get divorced and for some reason the PDs tend to NOT want a divorce, IME. 

Expect chaos manufacture beyond your wildest expectations.

Be super respectful to your attorney, whoever you end up hiring.  Tell a story you can PROVE... that makes sense to people NOT involved with PDs, bc everyone needs your story to "square up" as they say.  Don't blather your entire story, without being able to prove it, bc it won't make sense to anyone and you need this to make sense to your attorney, IME.

You need your attorney on your side and esp on your children's side.

Eventuall, IME, the PD will tick your attorney off and they'll work much harder for you than normally.  THIS can be a turning point, so make sure YOU don't tick your attorney off, bc they will satotage you.  My second attorney told me that too.  My ASPD stbx's attorney sent us forged documents, behind ASPD's back, and I'd consider that sabotage. It happens.

You might do better with an older war horse, about to retire female attorney if you're in a small town.  One who rules the roost.  It's different everywhere. What you don't want is to look like you're ganging up on poor little stbx wife with another guy, IME.  Always always speak about your stbx with compassion.  Mentally ill people, we've made children with, deserve compassion.  Tell your story without expectation. Allow your listener to come to their own conclusion.  Just the facts.... you can prove.  Always come back to the children, the children, the children. 

Good luck,

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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escapingman

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #58 on: August 13, 2021, 07:41:33 AM »
I really got a temporary setback in my process with speaking to the lawyer. I first had to speak to their customer care team and tell them all the background which included the abuse. They were then allocating me to the best suited lawyer which in this case was a junior lawyer that when I looked her up on LinkedIn had only been working for 2 months. When connected to her the only thing she was interested in was to book me in for an initial meeting not giving anything away other some generic advice showing she had not listened or been briefed on my case at all. I have found a new local firm where the family law solicitors seems to be much older senior women, I think I will try to contact them.

The crazymaking has really got out of hand and I really don't know what to do next. She really doesn't handle my MC and GR well and every time I reply to her she complains about me not having the correct tone of my voice. Yesterday she switched between screaming and shouting, to love bombing to crying being the biggest victim ever born. I am not sure how anyone can cry their eyes out and then 1 minute later be talking like nothing happened and then back to crying again.

I went out with SG yesterday and she complained about not being able to be near her mum and that she can't stand when she is nice as she can see it's false. She didn't even want to eat yesterday as she said she was so stressed when her mum is near her.

In all of this uNPDw is pressuring me for going out for a romantic meal, complaining when I say no. How could I even remotely want to go out after every insult she threw at me during her last outburst? And even if I would wanna go, I have told her I don't think we can leave the kids on the own in the evening as SG is far to little (she hates being on her own and GC would just ignore her and sit with her tablet).

Anyway, there is no return really it's only a matter of when. I just need to find a solicitor I can trust and to get some sound advice and make a plan.

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hhaw

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Re: Breaking point - Part 2
« Reply #59 on: August 13, 2021, 12:27:09 PM »
You might try asking round the courthouse..... file clerks and attorneys standing in the hallway...... ask them who THEY would hire if they were in your district.  Ask them who handles high conflict divorces.  Listen.  Go ask those people. 

90% research.
10% execution.

Once you've done everything you can do, relax into the process, which will be imperfect, IME.

Sometimes the wrong attorney leads to the right attorney and you just have to release outcome early in the process, IME. 

I hired one of the top attorneys, only to find out he didn't know much about PDs.  He didn't want to include abuse in the initial divorce complaint, "bc it only added time to the process."  It was clear he was outclassed and outmenauvered before the first document was filed..... and my PD hired a nice attorney.  I guess I'm saying..... your PD, and perhaps her attorney, will be lying, cheating and stealing throughout this process.  You'll be following the rules.

It's helpful if your attorney is AWARE these things happen. IF you attorney understands and gets it. 

If your attorney continues to come up stupid...... not understanding basic things you've said.  Asking stupid questions over and over again, they better have a really good IN with the court to justify you putting up with them,bc it's expensive to your mental health.  You need to use your attornye like a tool......
you hire your attorney, pet them, feed them, saddle them up with good evidence and then you ride them into the courtroom, meaning you have to stop doubting and complaining, at a point, and get on with the process so being choosy, as you can, up front, is imperative, IME.

Some of the smarter attorneys are the most difficult to deal with, IME.  I experiened them as PD, tied up in ego, willing to do favors for opposing counsel at my expense.... to a point.  Once the PD ticks your attorney off, makes them look stupid for holding very strong views opposing your POV...... THEN they get fired up.  THEN they focus hard and start working for you like their ego depends on it.

Sometimes you can intuit things like.... your young attorney clerked for opposing counsel and feels and acts like a flunky TO opposing counsel. That happened to a friend of mine in divorce court.  It truly did.  She should have fired her attorney BUT she was busy being angry at her church family for holding an intervention, bc they felt she was out of control in her divorce, which she was. 

One thing your last post that struck me...... bc it reminded me of ME in my divorce..... was your SG child despising her mother's fake nice behavior.  You being very opposed to a romantic meal, bc the PD was screaming and posturing as a victim then yelling and saying abusive things.....

None of that matters, really. 

Your nose and SG's nose.... they're on the pebble. You have no emotional distance to help you through this, IME.

You NEEEEEED some emotional distance.... some ability to SEE your situations from higher up.... nose off the pebble..... so you can see the entire field, the other rocks, the trees, the field and the ponds..... to add spaciousness so you can get yourselves otu of fight or flight mode.

Fight or flight mode means you'e living in survival mode..... your frontal lobes shut down and there's no access to higher thinking, logic, problem solving creativity, which is going to help you through this.

Right now you're where I was..... just trying to get through every day and this is BEFORE you fire the first shot and file the divorce.

I did that after a threat was issued by the PD, which means I flew downtown in a panic with a box of evidence and filed the divorce without thinking ahead. 

You want to think this through a bit, IME.

In the US we have to keep things the way they are once we file the divorce.  Right now you can touch bank accounts, move out, start seeing new therapists for you and SG...... once you file, that might change, bc maybe you'll be punished for taking SG child out of the house and leaving.  Maybe the Judge will punish you for doing certain things AFTER you file. 

Here's another tip about hiring attorneys...... any attorney you interview, in any way, is an attorney your wife can't hire. You can make sure she doesn't hire the biggest baddest most connected attorneys IF you interview them..... even a short phone call with an attorney will end her ability to hire that attorney.

Back to getting your nose off the pebble...... there are many things to worry about OUTSIDE your stbx's disordered behavior. You've determined you can't live with her. Her behaviors are detrimental to both children.   You will be the good enough parent who mitigates the harm, bc you can't protect them from the harm.......
how will you mitigate that harm?

That's the pebble you should shift your attention to, IME.  THAT pebble is IN THE FIELD, along with your stbx's behavior,which   is impossible to stop focusing on right now, I understand, but findinga way to shift focus, you must, in my honest experience, bc YOU are your and your childrens' biggest and best resource.

Your choices will influence how much visitation and what kind of visitation are written into an Order. 

Sit back, breathe 10 times slowly..... 4 seconds in.... hold 4 seconds..... out 4 seconds...... and check your body. Is there pain or tension? Put your hand on it and name it.  Tight?  Burning? A band of tension?  Name it and give it a number from 1 - 10.  1 is almost gone. 10 is almost unbearable.

  Breathe 10X while focusing on your pain/tesion.
 4 seconds in.  Hold 4 seconds. Out 4 seconds.

Check the pain/tension.  If it's improving.... the number going down, repeat the breathing excercise till it stops improving or the pain goes away.  I breathe space AROUND and into the pain, creating spaciousness around it..... sometimes I picture the space around me as I do so.... above me, below me, beside me.  You can notice the sights and smells around you as you check your number 1-10.... the smells around you.

IF the pain is unchanged, shift focus to a part of your body that's neutrual or pleasant..... focus on it while going through the 10 breathes. 
4 seonds in.  Hold 4 seconds.  Out 4 seconds.

Did that help the physical distress?  If so, repeat till it's gone or stops getting better.

NOW you're ready to think down the road about what you and your children need in order to keep your sanity and protect your children as best you can.

THAT's the game here.That's what should be taking your attention and I must tell you....
once you file that divorce your STBX will escalate her chaos manufacture.  I don't know how far she'll go. Perhaps you do, once you've calmed yourself and have access to your frontal lobe.... ask yourself what you think your stbx pd will do once you file.

How far do you believe she'll go? Scorched earth policy is where the PD will blow herself up, the kids... everything..... posessions included, in order to destroy you.  Not all PDs have a scorched earth policy. 

When you ask yourself this..... listen to what your instincts tell you.  Believe it.  Put a pin in it and trust yourself.  That kind of information will guide your choices. 

In the meantime, what is required to attain a temporary restraining order where you live.  Do you feel you'll need one?  What do you have to show the court? I still don't know what kind of evidence is allowed where you live.  Do you?

Getting yourself away from the PD, and taking your child/ren out of that situation seems prudent to me, but I'm not there, in your shoes. 

I should think a good trauma informed therapist for yourself and the sg would be imperative so you can learn and begin practicing coping strategies and tools to HELP you get through this.

There's going to be more trauma...... a good T can help you mitigate it for yourself.

The T you choose for your child/ren should have experience testifying in court, be competent and willing to be an advocate for your children. Not all Ts can DO that.  Some are cowards, same as attorneys can sometimes be cowards.  I had to keep bucking up my childre's T, bc she was scared of the PDs and would flip flop after they talked to her.  She was scared.  She was a TERRIBLE witness, but she was our pony and so we fed her, petted her and rode her into court... such as it was.  I wish I knew then what I know now. 

Good forensic experts/therapists speak without bias. They know the game. They have to appear without bias and they have to appear helpful and calm always.... never getting defensive or snarky.  Never avoiding questions, bc they don't like the answer.
You should think about how they communicate with you and picture them in a courtroom during your initial discussions... you;ll want to interview many before deciding who you'll hire. 

Look at reviews.  Ask around the courtroom.... who is considered a good forensic T... who testifies in that courthouse and who is respected and good at their job?  Interview the people who's names you receive. 

Having as many advocates in place is HEL:PFUL in court. 

Who else can be an advocate, witness, babysitter, protector, wall between you and the STBX when/if she goes on a rampage.... who can film it, record it, keep the door locked between you, call the police, speak to the stbx in your place to calm her down, if she can be calmed?

Your game plan should put distance between you and the PD, iME.  You can't think straight when she's in your space. That's what she wants and that's going to get worse one you file.

She'll interrupt your sleep, call you at all hours during work, show up at your work place, flip and fop with the victim/screaming/abusive behaviors you can't stand now..... it will get worse.

Where do you want to be when that happens? As I mentioned in another post, maybe moving in with family or friends is better than moving out on your own?  Choosing people the PD tends to behave around could be a choice.  People who don't put up with her nonsense and allow escalation.......

You're set on divorcing her.  NOW you need to shift focus to trial prep..... first you come up with a theory of your case and I wish I'd done that according to my evidence, and not just spat out all the crazy true stories while I was upset and in fear.

Breathe.  Get your brain integrated and put together your strategies for:
1.  Finding and hiring an attorney
2.  mitigating harm to your children.   I once spoke frankly to a forensic child psychologist who told me we have 2 options with PDs in custody cases... we can placate them OR assert authority over them in the courtroom.  For me, that ended up meaning I went against my nature and assumed the PDs would never be safe for my children to be around.  They couldn't help themselvs. What does that look like for your sg child?  Your gc?  What do you think will happen inside the stbx's home when you file?  Be ready to call the authorities if she threatens you, the kids or herself.  She might benefit from a mental health lockdown in hospital and assessment....she'll certainly learn you aren't going to play games and allow her to terrorize you THAT way anymore.  Hold her feet to the fire.  Call her on evryting.  Don't let her to get away with anything you can call her on and hold her accoutable for.... is what I got out of my situation.  You ask yourself what you feel will be YOUR situation and trust it.  One of the things driving me nuts was the reality of my situation goin IN and OUT of focus for me. I would doubt and fret and really mourn the truth..... I had a difficult time accepting my situation and that created terrible stress and emotional suffering for me. 

If I had it to do over again I would have moved out, filed for a protective order (I could have, even though my dumb attorney tome me it was too close to Christmas) and I would have gotten myself situated in the best possible location with protections and witnesses and people who could help hand off kids during visitation and DOCUMENT the children's behaviors, your behaviors and the stbx's behaviors in the best possible manner. 

Hint:  You've done an excellent job thinking ahead wih regard to recording BEFORE you under more stress and in panic mode.  Think it through for times when you might BE in panic mode.  Remember, recording the PD might end once she knows you've been recording her.
3.  locating living space away from the PD where you can think and be shielded from her, think in terms of many layers of protection between you and the stbx. Doors. People. Parking.
Once you're away from her you'll begin feeling more like your old self again.  You'll have more space and emotional calm to plan and parent.  THIS is SO important, IME.

4.  ACCEPT the PD is broken.  She can't do any better or she already would have.  Accept you have to deal with her and so do your children.  Accept you're mitigating harm, heading into divorce court.... DO NOT FEAR COURT.  It's likely your quickest way through this abyss, IME.  Build your case, no matter what DO NOT STOP.

Never cancel a hearing or court date UNTIL you have a signed, stamped and filed copy of your AGREEMENT in your hand and make sure it's enforcable through the courts.

I asked my attorney to allow me to atttend settlement discussions without her, so I could save my resources for trial.  My attorney yelled at me, sneered at me, said I didn't know what I was talking about and she shamed me into being quiet.... and she attended the day long settlement discussions at the courthouse, hosted by a retired senior Judge (who looked and talked just like Paula Deen) and it was terrifying bc the Judge said she'd read all the message boards surrounding my case and considered herself an expert in our case. So, she read all the gossip and lies surrouding the case and thought she was an expert.  TERRIFYING, but what I had to deal with.

I was forced to allow my attorney and that retired judge to twist my arm and write an agreement that was emotional suicide for me and my children, but I didn't want to be identified as the REASON they couldn't finish the case and put it behind them. They allll want to settle.  They don't want to fail.  They don't want to go through trial prep and trial and maybe lose.  BIG ego attorneys hate to lose.

Anyway, EXACTLY what I told my attorney would happen.... happened during the settlement discussions. The PDs were pushed just beyond my ability to hold....hold....hold my nervous system under control and PRETEND we were heading into a real settlement..... the PDs screamed, showed their arses and stormed out of the courthouse, thank GOD, and it was all over my insisting my children continue seeing their therapist, who knew exactly who the PDs are and would call them on them on EVERYTHING.  The PDs had a wonderful agreement they should have jumped on, would have been detrimental TO me,but they're pathologially unable to agree to ANYTHING.... they wanted to TAKE everything from me, as primary intention and that's what I told my attorney would happen.

My attorney was humble, apologetic and stopped requiring I PAY her ahead at that point. She also took it personally, bc she WAS exactly what she accused ME of being..... ignorant, unaware of the process, completely unprepared for what was going to happen and I never ever ever SAID that TO her.  I let her figure it out, while doing what I could to help her see.

Helping her SEE was showing her evidence she didn't understand UNTIL we were in court.  She might have sneered at that evidence 3 times in her office, during trial prep, but in the courtroom, at just the right moment, she looked at me and I could see in her eyes she connected dots and NEEDED that evidence to show the Judge what I'd been trying to explain to my attorney..... and I knew which box that evidence was in, had 3 clean copies of it and found it in a couple moments so my attorney could presesnt it to the Judge and opposing counsel at just the right moment to refute a lie the PDs told.... that I KNEW they'd tell.... and that was when my attorney worked for me like a most excellent show pony, sporting cha cha heals and jury rail full of documents we began preparing ahead for her to choose from as she questioned the PDs.....and the PDs looked at those documents WITH FEAR and they stopped lying and began telling the truth, which was terrifying too!  I had to pull my hands down from my face, bc I realized I was peeking through my fingers at several times during the PD's testimony.... they told the Judge who they were and I got ALLLLL my attorney fees awarded to me.

The PDs didn't show up for that last hearing,btw. 

My attorney went from slammping the table at me, throwing papers at my face, screaming at me, threatening to fire ME to being the best one of the best trial attorneys out there.  THAT was her gift.  Smart... you only had to tell her something ONCE and she got it. She was capable of holding information in her brain and retaining it.

She was capable of learning,w hich was helpful when she had to pullback her snarky bitchy style and behave uber respectfully to a court ordered therapist who was absolutely bought off by opposing counsel.  At first it seemed like we lost the case,but if you can hold....hold..... hold...... the Pds typically SHOW everyone who they are by outing themselves. In that case, they manipulated an "expert" witness who had zero experiene and understanding what the JOB really was. At first it appeared all was lost, but then exactly what I said would happen... happened. The Judge was furious opposing counsel manipulated her cherry picked Therapist to bring in more ethnic therapists to that County.  That Therapist made every mistake, refused to follow obvious rules, wrote reports all about the ONE person she wasn't Ordered to do pscyh evaluations on and THEN we found the letter from opposing counsel in the T's files, which we'd been unable to see before trial, bc the T was refusing to follow the rules. It was SO obvious she was biased. She alled opposing counsel and PDs by their first names while calling me the Defendedant with a sneer and stink eye the Judge could see.  So. Stupid.  The PDs don't typically understand nuance and flying under the wire....they do what they do and often SHOW everyone what they are in the process.

I didn't realize that court ordered T would be taken over by opposing counsel.  I wish I'd have understood it wasn't the end of the world, and might have ended all court battles, bc of their behavior...... I wish I'd known there would be good days and bad days and the bad days are just days........ things will swing back....... I didn't have to live in survival mode all the time to GET the outcome we got. 

I wasted so much time living in fight or flight...... not SEEING my children during the trial prep..... not spending time with them cooking,playing games, dancing and building forts.

DO NOT FORGET TO put the divorce/PD story on the shelf after doing everything you can do.......
then go back to having fun with your children. Be VERY present with them. Really look them in the eye and play games.... come up with new family traditions.  Talk about school and boys and things you want to do...... go to the museum and bake.

THAT willbe something you'll never regret, IME.

Learning to do what you can, then putting hte story on the shelf so you can embrace the JOY IN  FRONT OF YOU.

I used to worry worry worry worry worry worry worry as my ONLY coping strategy.

OMG.

Here's my last nugget of wisdom.... and perhaps the most important, bc your kids are going to grow up and keep themselves safe some day. You won't have to do it forever.  That's a relief, right?

Last nugget, promise.....
IF you learn to do what you can, then put the story on the shelf as primary coping strategy....
you'll be modeling it for your children TOO!

My kids are dealing with the fallout of worry worry worry...... that's what they do, bc that's what I modeled for them when they were young. 

If I could have found a good Trauma Informed Therapist to TEACH me better coping strategies and tools.....
I would have benefitted AND taught my children, exposed them to something better, modeled healthier living FOR THEM!

You can do that. You still have time.

OK, once last nugget of wisdom. 

Be careful, while you still can.

THIS little gem was shared with me by a fast food server at a drive through window.  I had no idea how profound that advice would be.  I didn't understand what he meant, but I do now.

I hope you do too.





hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt