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Forums / Relationship and family issues / I need strength to carry on

Topic: I need strength to carry on

  1. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    30 April 2016

    Hi everyone.

    I've been commenting on other people's posts and trying to be positive - but my situation is wearing me down.

    My marriage of 5 years has broken down. We have a four year old boy. It all started when I told my wife I wanted an intimate marriage and she reacted by saying I had destroyed our marriage by bringing it up. Over the last 4 months it has been horrible - she wanted me to leave the house, counseling failed, she became more abusive emotionally, verbally and physically.

    I refused to leave our house. I do a lot for our son and I'm not abandoning him. She thinks I'm only entitled to have our son 2 days a fortnight if we separate. This is our son who I see every day, am with every night, every weekend, cook for him, feed him, bath him, pick him up from kindy. I want him at least 6 nights a fortnight but she won't have that. We've both been to lawyers and the next step is family dispute resolution - I'm just worried it will escalate and she will take it to court which will destroy us all.

    I'm pretty lost at the moment. My wife is threatening to take our son to her parents and I won't see him until after court. She's trying to stop me from doing things with him when I am around. I'm using all my strength just to hold up in front of my son and to remain calm and collected.

    I hate this unknown, I live in fear of what my wife is going to do next and in particular I'm so worried for our son. I'm dreading the day we/I have to tell him mummy and daddy won't be living together any more, how he will react, how he will cope. What a nightmare. Can anyone tell me if they have been in a similar position? I can truly see why people are forced to leave their own homes and give up time with their children because they feel they have no other choice. Well I'm not going to leave. I have done nothing wrong and I'm going to stand up for myself and my son - who needs his dad in his life just as much as his mum

  2. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    30 April 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hello Apollo

    I hope someone has welcomed you to Beyond Blue. If not, then welcome, good to meet you.

    Marriage and separation and the complication of children can be soul destroying. I have seen a number of these actions and none of them are happy. When I left my husband all my children had already left home and had partners and children. They were still upset and a bit angry with me for leaving even though they could see why I left. There is never a perfect solution unless you and your wife can either reconcile or agree to live separate lives in the same house. Not that I am recommending the second option.

    I suggest you talk to your lawyer about whether or not she can take your son to her parents home and refuse you access. I believe it is not possible to refuse access but she may be able to take him to her parents. You need to find out. Your son will cope quite well with the separation if it is explained to him carefully. You and your wife need to work together on this as I cannot believe she would want your son to be emotionally hurt.

    When you do separate it would be ideal if you could both refrain from bad-mouthing each other. That's where the real harm is done. Tell your son that mom and dad find it hard to live together and think it best if they live apart, or something similar. No need to go into all the gory details.

    It's a long road ahead of you and I wish I had better news for you. What is your job, does your wife work, what hours do you both work, where will you both live? Start thinking about how both of you can bring up your son together even though you live alone. Please don't use him as a bargaining chip or blackmail.

    I wish you well for the future. Stand up for yourself and your son.

    Mary

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    30 April 2016 in reply to White Rose

    Thank you Mary.

    my wife has taken our son to her parents and isn't coming back. I have gotten legal advice today. My fear is that although I won't put our son in the middle of this, she will. I won't get the opportunity to prepare him for this change now that she has done this. I have requested that I see him tomorrow and will get further legal advice Monday...

  4. blondguy
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    30 April 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hey Apollo

    I have read nearly all of your posts and you have helped many people in the BB Community

    I have been through a identical situation and I really do feel for you right now...This can be a dark period to go through with or without depression.

    Mary has given some very sound and wise advice here Apollo....Especially "Your son will cope quite well with the separation if it is explained to him carefully" I did exactly that in the 1990's and like yourself never would or did say a negative thing about my ex in my daughters presence. I was emotionally and physically abused by my ex and was hospitalised in 1996 with a fractured skull. I see you mentioned that you have been abused both emotionally and physically...That makes me so very sad...I even feel more disappointed to see the new federal government campaign about Violence against Women...

    My daughter was 4 as well Apollo...okay...in a nutshell...

    Until the family court makes a decision your wife can play hardball (to her detriment of course) with contact with your son. She should as a 'mother' still provide you with some 'reasonable' access to your son.

    You dont have to leave your home...Period.

    Your wife saying that you cant see your son till after court is a travesty of the first charter of the family court which is 'To Look After the Best interests of the Child'...hmmm

    Here if you need anything Apollo. I am so over (some) females using the child as leverage against a very kind and caring dad.

    Here for you Apollo

    My Kindest Thoughts (Hug)

    Paul

    2 people found this helpful
  5. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    30 April 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Hi Paul

    I'm glad you have commented and thank you for your reassurance. I'm sorry you had to go through what you did and that your in a much better place now.

    'm sitting on the couch actually hoping they come home, but I know it's too late in the evening now for that to happen. I hope they come home for my boy's sake, because withholding him takes things to another level. I wish we could have been civil and prepared something to tell him together.

    I would divulge more like my profession etc however I'm paranoid that somehow she might read this and compromise my position - crazy I know.

    I just can't understand how it came to this. I keep going over it over and over. I tried all I can to fix things. Where did I go wrong.....all irrelevant now really

    I miss him so much already.

    Thanks again Paul. It's good to know I can get support here

  6. blondguy
    Life Member
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    11406 posts
    1 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hey ...Apollo...you dont have to say anything about your profession..I have seen you speak from the heart...you are a kind and caring guy. Sorry if I had a bit of a rant before...I just really empathize with you right now.

    Sometimes its just good to have someone 'there'.

    Your words and advice are spoken from the heart....especially as a great dad...

    Here for you Apollo...I wish we could talk in real time as your situation is exactly the same mine was...

    Paul (Hug)

    1 person found this helpful
  7. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    1 May 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Thanks Paul

    managed to get as good a sleep as I could last night. No sign of them yet - I asked if she could drop him to me today. I know she won't this will allow me to put a case forward for urgent access.

    Hey rants are good. I think it's important to put these stories out there because I'm hearing more and more of it. Sure not just men, but there appears to be a hell of a lot of them affected.

    I've lost count of the times I've heard her say to me "just be a man and do the right thing and leave". When I filed a police report for abuse the domestic violence unit rang me to follow up - and even the woman who rang said that I should move out and that the advice to stay in the home was "old fashioned".

    what astonishes me is that despite the abuse and what I have endured I am more than willing to continue a civil and amicable environment to sort this out in the best interests of our son - but all she wants to do is hurt me by cutting our son out my life and putting him right in the middle of this.

    I've read everything. Even a book a psychologist (who agreed he couldn't really add anything to help me) on children and divorce (which my wife refused to read) says that 50/50 is great - only in a cooperative divorce. So basically if the other party wants to sabotage things they can work to damage the child by maintaining high conflict, effectively forcing the other person to accept less time with their child so they don't get damaged.

    The response of my lawyer to that is - you are getting equal time with your son because why would you want him spending more time with a mother who is prepared to use him as a tool for her gains?? She has a good point

  8. pipsy
    pipsy avatar
    2255 posts
    1 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hi Apollo. I really feel for you. I had no idea you had such a lot on your plate. With regards to where your son is now, do you have any form of contact with your in-laws? Could you approach them about seeing your son (possibly without his mum knowing). My ex had a similar problem years ago when his first wife ran back to N.Z with his sons. Because financially, you're responsible for your son, you should be entitled to have some say as to his health and general well being. I would maybe ask your lawyer to see about contact with your son while he's with his g'parents. Until it is settled through the courts, I think you may have to 'play her way'. Once she is given instructions about your access, she has to follow the instructions or risk punishment, which is at the discretion of the court. She could be fined if she ignores a court ruling on your access. The fact that you have a son and he is four means he is no longer considered a 'baby'. You can ask for weekend visits which include o'night. Don't quote me, but the courts are pretty liberal now about father's rights. Your wife would have to have really strong evidence of abuse before the court would say 'no' to you. Just her say-so won't wash with the courts these days. She sounds quite emotionally unstable herself, perhaps a visit to your Dr re: her emotional state might hold water. I know you don't want to fight dirty (I admire you there), just be prepared for anything. I'm sure if you show yourself to be a responsible, loving, caring dad, this will go in your favour.

    Best wishes.

    Lynda.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    1 May 2016 in reply to pipsy

    Thanks Lynda

    its a very long story. I'm certainly not without my faults but I think expressing my concerns about our intimacy should never had led to this.

    the battle I face is doubting my actions and always wondering if I've done the right thing - like staying in the family home and not leaving like she wants me to.

    I have considered taking to her parents however I'm not sure what that will achieve and whether or not it will make things worse. I tried to talk to her mother right at the beginning but she was very cold to me - and very soon after everything went really bad.

    i just hope I'm doing the right thing. I think when I talk to my lawyer she will likely arrange an urgent hearing to get me access to our son. I never wanted to go down this route. I've been nothing but reasonable but my wife has made it impossible at every turn. Worse of all she's trying to paint me like I'm unwell and being the unreasonable one. I'm afraid there is no way I can influence her medical treatment. Unfortunately I don't think there is any treatment that can help her to be honest.

    Unfortunately I also have to think the worst about what she might do to unbalance me - so I really need to listen to the legal advice I'm given, particularly if she is prepared to keep me from seeing him

    1 person found this helpful
  10. pipsy
    pipsy avatar
    2255 posts
    1 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hi Apollo. Have you read any of the threads concerning narcissism. It sounds as though your wife may have this personality disorder. If she does, perhaps warning your lawyer might be wise. With narc's (as you're probably aware), they're inclined to fight rather dirty. The way you've described with her description of you being unwell and unreasonable, narc's will often do this so they can be seen to be the one who's tried everything to make the marriage work. You mentioned something about the intimate side of your marriage, not sure quite what you mean. Did you mean lack of? I agree, if that's what you're referring to, her response has been totally unreasonable, but if she has the personality disorder I mentioned, turning the blame onto you, rather than admit to there being a problem, is par for the course. Have a look at the threads re: narc's, see if your wife does have this problem. It would explain a lot.

    Lynda.

  11. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    1 May 2016 in reply to pipsy

    Hi Lynda

    sorry - in another post I explained in detail regarding the intimacy issue. Yes, I meant lack of intimacy and I don't just mean sex. There was nothing. I only brought it up twice in a 6 month period, however she twisted it around and said I kept pressuring her about it. All I ever did was say I was concerned about lack thereof and what could we do about it. I mean, if she were to say that to me, I would definitely take it seriously and do what I could do to address it - well, because I loved her.

    well I think that was just a distraction. I think she fell out of love with me a long time ago. She changed when we had our son. Yes she had really bad post natal depression, but I think it was an exacerbation of a pre-existing illness. I think she has a degree of BPD, since she was young. There were signs when we met but I chose to ignore. The drama, the way she treated me, the isolation from family.... Anyway, I think having a child took away her lifestyle. It took away her independence. It took away control. She blamed me for a lot of it. She became a victim. She blamed losing her ability to work, then she hated working, so she went back at 2 days a week after 12 months. But she hated work when she went back so she wanted to be a stay at home mum. But she complained about being at home with our son. I just tried harder and harder and harder to make her happy. Little did I know I was putting all my energy into something that wasn't working. I never realised that you can't make someone happy and that you're not responsible for someone's happiness.

    But I digress. She texted me late this afternoon saying she was coming home with our son. I had a strange feeling she would, because she wanted to hurt me - to make me suffer for not seeing our son. But I don't care - I was so happy to see him. He gave me a big hug and said that he missed me. It was the best. She said nothing to me and went to bed early. I even offered her dinner as usual.

    So I'll stick to the plan. I will ring my lawyer tomorrow for an update. We had booked in for private mediation (she's up first on Wednesday) so let's see if she goes to it....

    the saga continues...

  12. CalculatedRisk
    CalculatedRisk avatar
    8 posts
    15 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black
    Hi AB, sorry to read this thread. You have been one of the active ones offering me help, unfortunately I can't replicate it here. All I can say is, I hope you are in a good place yourself. The early stages of your story sings a similar tune to what I am going through now.
  13. pipsy
    pipsy avatar
    2255 posts
    16 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hi AB. Just checking to see how things are? Were you able to see the mediator? If your wife does have BPD plus slight narcissist qualities, this would explain most of what's going on that you're having trouble processing. She almost seems to be playing a rather sick game with you, do as I say or you suffer. No-one can live like that, it's not a marriage, partnership, nothing. Would she admit to having BPD, probably not. That would go against the grain, having to admit to having a mental health problem. If she would admit to having it and agree to getting some help to control it, it would make life easier for both of you. Perhaps though, your wife doesn't want to make life easy.

    Hope the mediation helps.

    Lynda.

    1 person found this helpful
  14. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    16 May 2016 in reply to pipsy

    Hi Lynda and CR

    Thanks for checking in. Seems to be a merry go round at the moment. We both did our individual mediation and were due for a joint session this week. Since last weekend she has been reasonable and fairly pleasant - I wondered what was going on. Out of the blue she texted me the day after my mediation last week asking if I would consider counselling. It hit me a bit like a hammer after everything that had happened. It took me a while to respond, however I looked deep and said that I would consider it - IF she committed 110%, did it not just for our child but because we deeply wanted to for our own desire, and that in particular we 110% committed to a RESPECTFUL, NON-ABUSIVE relationship. Well, she agreed to this.

    Now naturally I am more than on high alert still - but maybe, just maybe we might be able to do something here. If not at least we tried. Now we just have to find a decent counselor - easier said than done...

  15. blondguy
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    11406 posts
    16 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hi Apollo

    It sounds somewhat promising despite being 'on alert'. As you said 'just maybe you both may be able to do something here' Put it this way Apollo, you have everything to gain and nothing to lose!

    You are pro-active and positive...Well Done! Finding a good counselor can be hard but you just might get lucky Apollo!

    Sounds good

    Paul

    1 person found this helpful
  16. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    16 May 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Thanks Paul - I totally agree. I think even if this doesn't work, then it might be an opportunity to make it less of a "high conflict" separation.

    But so far so good. I need to be really strong however - because I am quite forgiving by nature I don't want to brush over what she's done. There needs to be accountability on her part so we can move on. This is something I plan to address in therapy. ie: I want her to admit to treating me badly, apologise for it sincerely and commit to not doing it again. It'll be a chance for me to set much firmer boundaries - but I'll need help with that from a third party. Thanks again Paul, your a great guy

  17. blondguy
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    16 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Thanks Apollo

    We do have a lot in common and I have been over-forgiving for many years and it always gets me hurt. Firmer boundaries are another smart move too.

    You are really doing well here with your approach Apollo :-)

    Paul

    1 person found this helpful
  18. Mal50
    Mal50 avatar
    48 posts
    16 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hi Apollo Black, I truly hope that everything works out well for you, and that your relationships can be mended. I've been following your post, and the replies, but didn't respond earlier because your situation was so close to my own heart that it was painful.

    All the best buddy.

    1 person found this helpful
  19. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    16 May 2016 in reply to Mal50

    Thanks Mal - I'll update when I can. Sorry if it brought things close to home. I guess this is a common issue for a lot of guys. If my wife and I can get through this it will be a miracle.

    Regardless - I think it raises a big concern about men's mental health when faced with such a crisis, particularly when there is this myth that they should "man up/do the right thing" and move out of the family home and therefore spiral downwards when they lose everything, particularly access to their children...

  20. Mal50
    Mal50 avatar
    48 posts
    16 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black
    Without going into specific details I know that pain only too well Apollo.
  21. pipsy
    pipsy avatar
    2255 posts
    16 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hi AB. Thanks for the update. I'm sincerely hoping things will start getting better for both of you. If your wife admits to her ill-treatment of you and maybe asks for help in the areas she's falling down on, this would be a major step in repairing the damage. Perhaps, with the help of the counsellor, you could start recognizing when things are starting to spiral - stop, take a step back. Once you know how to recognize 'red flag' time, possibly agree to disagree, change the subject totally. Not everyone agrees 100% on everything. We're all individual, with our own ideas etc. If you can learn to respect each other's boundaries, this would be a good area to rebuild.

    Best of luck for your future.

    Lynda.

    1 person found this helpful
  22. blondguy
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    11406 posts
    19 May 2016 in reply to pipsy

    Hey Apollo

    Just thought I'd see how you are going. As long as you are on the forums I will always benefit from the kind advice/support you provide to others

    Mal50 is on the same rocky road as we are Apollo

    Lynda is a legend to offer her life experience and her huge heart

    Here for you Apollo and if its okay a ((Hug)) for you

    Paul

  23. white knight
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    white knight avatar
    9781 posts
    19 May 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Hi apollo

    Have read this whole thread.

    Suggest you document all harsh comments made by her.

    Also comments she mentioned involving her parents and especially your son

    Brave of you for remaining in your home. I'm wondering if her latest efforts would have occurred if you left?

    Kids are resilient. I too worried about my girls aged 7&4 in 1996 with how they would cope. But their principle assured me of such resilience

    Take care and keep that log. Nowadays you are entitled to much more than what I got 20 years ago.

    Tony WK

  24. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    19 May 2016 in reply to white knight

    Thank you so much Lynda, Paul and Tony. This week has been pretty good thank you. Still trying to find a counsellor but think we have settled on one. I'm still get a little bit angry at how things have come about - particularly that we had to go through the ringer only to come back to her wanting to try counselling (i.e. Couldn't we just have done that in the first place) which then gets me to thinking about her motives. Anyway, we will give it a good shot.

    I really appreciate your kind words Paul. Always learning we are.. And Tony - yes despite the turn around I will continue my documentation - always

    1 person found this helpful
  25. blondguy
    Life Member
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    11406 posts
    20 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hey Apollo

    Good news about settling on a counselor..good on you. I read what you said about why it couldnt have happened in the first place to avoid you and your son going through what you did. Nothing wrong with being a doubting Thomas on that one Apollo..

    Tony WK made a good point about keeping a private log too...Its actually positive for your health and self esteem to do so...

    Hope your Friday is good to you Apollo :-)

    Paul

  26. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    20 May 2016 in reply to blondguy

    Thanks Paul - I remain on high alert but hopeful at the same time.

    Hope you have a good Friday and weekend too!

  27. blondguy
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    20 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    No worries Apollo...I am very much like you....I prefer the hope :-) It is a delicate balance isnt it?

    Thankyou Apollo :-)

  28. pipsy
    pipsy avatar
    2255 posts
    20 May 2016 in reply to Apollo Black

    Hi AB. With regards to your question, 'why couldn't your wife have agreed to counselling originally'. I can't speak for your wife, but I know with me, when my marriage went 'pear-shaped'. I tried everything I could think of, before I finally realized nothing would change till I did something positive for me. Some people have set ideas when it comes to counselling. It won't work for me, I don't need counselling, no counsellor is going to tell me how to live in my own home. People in general, who may have heard from a 'reliable source' that 'I tried counselling, it doesn't work'. These people tend to put other people off the idea. Finally, after they believe in their own mind that, they've tried everything, that's when the idea of counselling, 'let's try that, nothing else has worked' finally enters the equation. Some people even then go with the notion that, 'it won't work, I'm only doing this for peace'. It quite often comes as a surprise when the counsellor actually gives them some listening time, then suggestions, not telling them what to do, but suggesting they try something. Because some people go to a counsellor with the thought that they're going to be told what to do, it comes as a total surprise when what they've been told by the 'reliable source' doesn't actually happen. Instead of looking for the motive behind this turn-around, accept it at face value, she's willing (for whatever reason) to go to a counsellor. That's the main thing. Not the reason why?

    Best wishes whatever happens.

    Lynda.

  29. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    20 May 2016 in reply to pipsy
    You make a good point Lynda. I guess what I was meaning is that I would have preferred she forgoe the abuse, isolating behavior, animosity, cruelty, insanity and torture in favour of being a reasonable human being and engaging in rational discussions to begin with. That would have been nice.
  30. Apollo Black
    Apollo Black avatar
    401 posts
    20 May 2016 in reply to pipsy
    But you are right - the main thing is that she's willing to try counselling

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