Sunday, May 27, 2007

Please Help

Posted by Anonymous.

My husband punched me in the back of the head...

I need to end this marriage and I have no idea how.

Any advice from the many who have done this? Is there a right way and a wrong way??

I am a SAHM and a student... with 3 kids.

Thank you!


flutter said...

Oh my God, honey. Please get to a shelter or to a church or to an advisor at your university. The right way is to get your housing settled first, then to pack your stuff and GO. Do not wait, talk to someone right now.

Kate said...

Gather originals or copies of any and all paperwork you can lay your hands on. This includes identification, credit cards, names and addresses of doctors, and also copies of prescriptions, any joint accounts (bank, car payments, etc.) and so on... basically, if you can lay your hands on a piece of paper with some information about your life, take it or make a copy.

This includes for your children as well - birth certificates, doctor information, school records.

Then, get out. Call the local Women's Crisis / Violence Prevention / Shelter... the number will be in your phone book, or call the police, or simply pack the kids for "a quick trip to Walmart" or "to go out for ice cream" and go to the nearest emergency room. They'll be able to get you in touch with the right people, who can walk you through the step-by-step process of moving out and legally separating, etc... laws vary a lot by state, but every state has crisis organizations that can help you.

Don't worry about housing - they'll do what it takes to get you safe for the night, and for the immediate future, while you get the rest settled.

Note: if you have a joint cell phone account, do not use it. Get a TracFone or ask the women's crisis organization if they can get one for you to borrow. You don't want to provide him with the list of people you are contacting, plus, some phones have GPS locators built-in that can allow him to show up at your door without you realizing that he knows where your door is.

It's late and I'm tired, so I'm not sure how coherent I'm sounding right now... the bottom line is, you can do this, there is LOTS of help available, and don't look at the big picture today. Just take one step at a time, and look at the big picture when you feel safe and unpressured.

Take care, and do let me know if I can answer any other questions... I live in New Hampshire, worked for several years at a women's crisis center, and now work as a mental health clinician in the emergency room.

Anonymous said...

I am not in "crisis" and I am not afraid of him...It is just that our arguing has escalated to this and it is just time to end it. I apologize if I gave the wrong impression...

I am just trying to do this with a little grace and am looking to gather advice.

Thank You

Anonymous said...

If your husband hits you, you are in crisis. There is no place for "grace" when there is a violent husband and small children involved.

Please pack up the kids and go.

Anonymous said...

in toronto call
they can adivse you of steps to take,

the kids are at risk of harm. did you know expossure to long term domestic violence can be more danaging emotionally to children then being physically abused??
you need to do it for them if not for yourself. who knows when they will be his punching bag instead? or when you teenaged daughter gets pregnant by her own abusive boyfriend.... and on and on

stop the cycle NOW

also you can report him to the police even though it is after the fact and then he can be arrested and taken out of the home if you want to stay in your home. there are lots of options.

Her Bad Mother said...

Dear Anonymous,

Please don't take offense at the advice to seek help - we all know that challenges in relationships can take many forms and we all know that a bad temper doesn't necessarily mean an extreme cycle of abuse. But it is a VERY serious warning sign - any physical assault is very serious (there's no such thing as an insignificant hit) - and we're all just super-keen to make sure that you and your kids are safe.

I can totally appreciate your wanting to exit with grace. Is there somewhere that you can go quietly? Parents, siblings, friends? It's possible, I think, to gather your resources and exit the scene quietly and graciously and QUICKLY. Could you take the kids and go stay somewhere and let him know that under the circumstances - that argument where he struck you - that you needed to remove yourself but that you still want to address things civilly/amicably/whatever?

I understand that you don't want things to blow out of control. But you should still take careful steps to ensure that what happened NEVER happens again. Don't be the woman who takes it - good husbands NEVER, EVER, EVER hit their wives.

motherbumper said...

It's true, good spouses don't hit - EVER. Kate offers incredibly good advice and I can only recommend that you gather the documents, account info, all the children's docs etc instead of looking for a graceful exit.

Please, from someone who has been begging a very close family member to leave their abusive spouse, please don't stay just because it's easier than being alone. Please. You deserve all the respect in the world.

Anonymous said...

I cant offer advice on the best way to do it, but I can tell you, having been there, you MUST DO IT. I promise you, with ever fiber of my being, the abuse WILL escalate,even if they cry, promise, etc. For me, it was sheer craziness..I would stay and give another chance at all, thinking to myself that he HAD TO LOVE ME ENOUGH NOT TO DO IT I could have some pride...instead it just occurred over and over...please don't wait. My 18 year old son would tell you, please don't kids it damages us severely!

Anonymous said...

if in toronto then check out this website, a very good one and lots of info. the clinic is amazing!!

Bon said...

i'm not sure if what you're asking is for immediate strategies, or simply how to go about addressing the end of things...

if the latter, which i've got more experience with...i'd follow the other advice first, and quickly and quietly gather all your necessary papers and stuff, and your kids, and get out. talk to someone in terms of legal advice, and sort out where you plan to stay for the short term, so your kids can have some sense of what to expect. then call him, and tell him it's over - that you've made your decision, and you plan to divorce him. there's no need for drama, but if you tell him you've already gotten legal advice, he should know that you're serious.

don't hesitate to call in whatever emotional supports you can to help you through this. don't be ashamed of sharing that he hit you...though whether you share this with your kids probably depends on their ages and what your plans are for addressing this in terms of their father's relationship with them. counselling may be available to them to help them adapt to some of the changes their lives will be undergoing...but if i were you i'd explain as much as you can about what you intend to happen, as honestly and immediately as you're able. that doesn't necessarily mean telling them everything. but tell them how this will impact them, their everyday lives.

you can do this. i wish you well, and i wish you courage.

Karyn said...

Girl,I am thinking of you...let us know what you find out... some of us are on the same path but without the hitting piece it feels unreasonable to walk. Good luck to you -

Anonymous said...

I should leave my house behind?? Will I get it back?? I mean, I know it is just a possession...but it is also my childrens security and home base.

I guess what I was really looking for was how to go forward with the's and don'ts. I have a great support system, if something happens. I think he would be more of a uncooperative dickhead, more than beat me know?

He told me that I need to go anger management, (I do get livid dealing with him)...but that said, take away the source of the anger...does one still need to do anger management??

And thanks! I appreciate a secret place where I can get some support from bright and helpful people!!

Anonymous said...

Abusers escalate. If he punched you in the head now, next time he may hurt you much worse. Especially if he "gets away" with hitting you now because you want to keep things civil and not make a big situation out of it.

I tried to get my ex to leave my life gracefully, and he got so mad at me for this that he nearly killed me for it. You need to be away from him when he flips out and gets REALLY angry at you for wanting to leave him.

Her Bad Mother said...

I'm not a lawyer, but... I'm pretty sure that if you leave your house under these circumstances, you'd get it back. Under any circumstances, prolly - it would be negotiated in a divorce settlement.

My thought is that it's better/safer/less explosive for you to be elsewhere while negotiating your departure. You haven't said what you think his reaction will be, whether he's anticipating it, but from the sounds of it I think that you want to be more than arm's reach.

Jaelithe said...

IANAL, but, if you live in the U.S., I am fairly certain that as long as you are still legally married to your husband, you own 50% of the house and all other property (cars, etcetera). It does not matter whether you are living in the house or not. I am pretty sure it doesn't even matter whether your name is on the house title.

I have to agree with the other posters that it is quite likely your husband's violence toward you will only escalate from this point onward. In fact, even if he seems non-threatening most of the time (whenever he's not angry enough to HIT you of course), he may become significantly more scary than you ever thought he could be once you openly declare your intention to divorce, even if it seems like he is currently just as frustrated in this relationship as you are. I am speaking from personal experience here.

So, it is probably a good idea to physically leave for your own safety, and I don't think it will compromise your claim to the family home. As a matter of fact, it may bolster your case during divorce proceedings; if you can show that you acted to remove your children from a situation that you felt was not safe for them, it might persuade the legal system that it is in your children's best interest for you to keep the family home.

As a child of divorced parents, I would like to add that the house is NOT your children's sense of security, or their home base. YOU are. Your children's sense of security is largely dependent on their mother's sense of security. If you feel unsafe and unhappy in your current situation, eventually, they will, too.

ewe are here said...

Your house isn't your children's security base: you are.

And your house isn't really all that 'secure', is it? Your fights are escalating there. He hit you there.

Please get help. It's just 'stuff' (and, frankly, you'll probably get the house or at least half of it's equity). Your safety and that of your children is more important that the house at this moment.

Anonymous said...

Thank you all for your comments!

I am working on it, making copies and stuff...I will update when I can.

Thank You for reaffirming that this is NOT ok!

Lawyer Mama said...

There is one other option if you're really concerned about leaving your house. If you're in the US, if you get a protective order in place you can sometimes have your husband removed from the home. It varies from state to state. But, there needs to be some sort of documented abuse or danger or violence.

With kids in the home, my non-legal but gut instinct advice would normally be to gather all your documents, cash, etc... and get out and see a lawyer. Or you can call 1-800-799-7233. That's the number for the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The number automatically routes you to a local hotline, where they can give you legal referrals or information on all your options in your area.

Good luck and stay safe.

dkaz said...

You can do it now, or you can do it later. Later means that you let your kids watch him disrespect you and watch you put up with it, and they can learn that its ok for people to treat them that way.
I 'put up with it' for nearly 20 years - I left twice and came back because 'things were going to be better', but you know they never really will be better, don't you? Why would someone who loves you treat you like that?
I finally asked myself, would I want this type of relationship for my sons? Of course not. And I deserve to be happy. I tried really hard to make it work for a long time - no one can say that I didn't give it my best shot.
My advise: Get your ducks in order. Make the copies of all of the financial stuff, bank statements, credit card statements, 401k statements, investments if you have them. Get copies of all of the birth certificates, SSN (US) etc. If you have a good relationship with your parents, talk to them about it. They probably don't want you in a bad situation anymore than you would want this for your kids. maybe they can help you at first if you need it financially. You can write them a promissory note for a loan to get yourself started and when your property settlement is resolved, they can be paid back from your joint property.
Call a lawyer and have a consultation. I spoke to three before I decided on the one I used - you have to feel comfortable that they will represent you properly. He/she will advise you on how to proceed legally.
Armed with that information, you can decide whether you want to move out, whether you want your husband out, etc, whether you want to tell him that you want a separation/divorce, etc.
I was 44 with two boys and a husband with a history of control and violence issues. I made my plans in advance and then I and my sister packed up 1/2 the house and moved in 1 day, before my husband got home from work. It was the hardest thing I've ever done - I cried most of the day and I was terrified. BUT, I have never had to be afraid to go home since then. My boys and I are very happy and their relationship with their dad is better now because we don't live together and fight a lot.
Last year, I had a problem at work. I was discussing it with my son and I told him that I felt badly because I have a habit of not doing something about it and standing up for myself in a lot of parts of my life. He said, "Mom, what are you talking about? You're sitting in a big house full of 'did something about it'"
You can do it if you want to - you deserve to be happy and not to be afraid. I'll say a prayer for you - Good luck!