I was told that by a friend who I needed to borrow money off once and it’s a saying that I’m having to remind myself of now. I’ve written previously about my abusive marriage and how the legal aid agency have failed me here.
Since writing this my ex made it very clear that he wants to throw everything at being spiteful and that the divorce/wranglings over how I keep a roof over my son’s head will continue on his schedule. It feels very much like an extension to his spousal abuse and was causing me massive anxiety. Well I decided that I would no longer sit back having panic attack after panic attack whilst waiting for him to make his move; I’m taking the bull by the horns, swallowing my pride and asking for help with my legal fees. Pride is the appendix of emotions and this is my appendicectomy: http://www.gofundme.com/6de56s
Today would have been my wedding anniversary. That’s not a hugely relevant point other to say that at almost exactly this point in time 7 years ago I was in my beautiful dress in a vintage Rolls Royce and not thinking for a second how I would meet legal costs in the case of a divorce; I didn’t marry my ex with my escape route already planned. I thought we’d stay together. I guess that’s my starting point.
For the two years following that wedding day I changed, I was constantly put down, told I wasn’t good enough, told I was embarrassing, told how to dress, how to act, how to think. Any protest from me was met with my ex getting teary and threatening suicide ‘just like your dad’ and me turning into a guilt ridden and terrified mess. A year and a month after my wedding day my son was born. This gave my ex yet more power to control me. He’d dictate who my son could see, he’d criticise my parenting, he’d even criticise how he imagined I’d parent in years to come. I was made to feel like an inconvenience yet always with the caveat that he loved me (& that no one else EVER would) almost said resentfully as if I bewitched him.
A year on from my son’s birth we broke up. A messy complicated break up which culminated in him assaulting me. To this day I’ve never feared for my life as much as I did in this period.
I obtained a restraining order but this didn’t curb my ex’s behaviour. He spread toxic lies to my friends and family, he reported me to the police twice stating that our son was at risk, he sent me a terrifying email that led to sleepless nights of me listening for the slightest noise in the house as I was convinced he would break in and rape me. I wouldn’t take the same route home from nursery two days in a row, I didn’t go out if it wasn’t necessary. I was scared.
After a while the initial terror lessened slightly, the general abuse didn’t. There are too many incidents to list but over the last 4-5 years I’ve been subjected to constant claims that I had ruined his life, threats of suicide, name calling, power trips, malicious behaviour, threatening my friends, threatening me with his money and power and feeling arrogantly confident that he will evict me from the family home, not through any need but because he can.
It’s been horrible. Constant stress, tears, fear, the last two years being so unwell with stress & anxiety that I lost my career.
Now we are finally divorcing. I wanted to do it sooner but every time I talked about beginning proceedings he would manipulate me or threaten me and so I’d hold back. I am currently on ESA and therefore have a very low income and yet I got refused legal aid because I can’t ‘prove’ abuse in the last two years. The legal aid agency letter which turned me down accepted that I had been subject to domestic violence, it’s not that they disbelieved me it’s just that it wasn’t recent enough. So I don’t qualify and the abusive ex’s assertion that he has more money for legal advice and therefore will ‘hang me out to dry’ seems to be true. And I’m left with the feeling that if only I’d not felt too weak to stand up and divorce him sooner or hadn’t felt guilty for leaving him and therefore tried to show compassion on delaying divorce proceedings that I wouldn’t find myself in this position.
Well done government, seriously well done.
It’s a funny old thing, New Year. Sometimes it’s a chance for a new beginning, sometimes it’s the chance to draw a line under a truly dreadful year, and sometimes it’s just a chance for a bloody epic party. If yours is the latter then maybe your diary will resemble Rebecca’s today:
New Years Day, 3 something am.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Party wasss fabby. I is hostess extraw estr fucking good. I did social flutterby to the max. Everyone had fun. Everyone had snoggies (Ana snogged Postroom Pete hee hee). My flat not trashed. Need to sleep now but Carlos and Jonny are in my bed. Maybe I’ll just snoozy on the sofa…. Zzzzzzzzz
Read more of Rebecca’s year in a much more coherent form here: