How to Walk Away From Verbal Abuse
Walking away from verbal abuse temporarily helps ease the trauma of the abuse. Unfortunately, the abuser doesn't like it when you do not stand there and listen to the abusive rant, so walking away can seem like the absolutely worst option at the time of attack, yet walking away from verbal abuse is probably the best option, every time.
Before You Walk Away from Verbal Abuse, Prepare Yourself
Prerequisite to this experiment:
Make an extra house and car key. Always have them in your pocket or in a hidden space where you can subtly grab them. (As a commenter pointed out, you may not want to wear them around your neck as the chain could be used against you.)
Keep your purse by the door that is closest to where you park your car. If you do not have a car, place your purse by the door that most quickly gets you into view of your neighbors so you can walk to someone's house. If you don't have a car or neighbors, then keep your cell phone on you at all times and either "walk away" by going outside or by going into a room with a working window and locking the door. (Don't go to the bathroom or garage or any room that has usable weapons or multiple hard surfaces. Right now, the attack is verbal, but it could escalate to physical violence and you don't want to make hurting you easy for your abuser.)
Have your notebook in the place you plan to escape to. If you're going to a friend's, store it there. If you're going to your car, keep it hidden there. If you're escaping to your bedroom, ...
NOTE: You know your abuser. If you fear physical attack by trying the following tips, then you are in a very serious position. Carefully consider your own safety action plan. The Army has a good one; find a modified version of their safety plan at Verbal Abuse Journals.
The key to remembering to leave the fighting arena is pre-planning. You can somewhat figure out when an attack is going to occur if you read the signs in your abuser's behavior. Being able to do that will take a bit of observation, willing detachment, and note-taking.
Now It's Time to Walk Away from Verbal Abuse
1. Observe Your Body's Warning Signs
Pay attention to your body's anxiety signals as a forewarning. When you feel your heart beating and you're trying to pretend like everything is normal, that is your first sign that an attack is imminent. Make a mental note of the time, and remind yourself to look at the time again when your abuser begins the abuse session. (Make sure you write how long it took from "symptoms felt to abuse" in your notebook later.) Ultimately, the goal is to find something else to do in a different location when the symptoms begin, but you'll want to prove to yourself that you can predict the violence because you've probably been told that you can't trust yourself.
When your abuser begins the attack, what is their facial expression? What are they doing with their hands? Do they call to you to go to them, come to you, or just start making a fuss to which you respond in hopes of calming before it gets too bad? Write down as much information as you can about his behaviors and expressions. When you've seen enough, it is time to walk away.
You can simply walk away without saying anything, or you can state one of your boundaries that the abuser has busted through. Say it once, calmly, then begin initiating your escape plan.
Notice that no where in the observation portion do you listen to the nonsense.
2. Willing Detachment
At this point you may be calm or you may be crying. You may be feeling all sorts of things because even though you "weren't listening" you did hear. (How can we not?) Now is not the time to feel these emotions. You can feel them in a few minutes when you're at a safer place.
Note: If your escape place is your bedroom (with a working window and a lockable door), have an mp3 player or something in there to help you refocus from the abuser who may stand outside your door to continue his rant.
When you are in your safe place, pull out your notebook and start writing down the facts. Recalling the facts will help you to further detach. Although writing them down may not make you feel better immediately, after doing it you will likely feel differently about what was said to you and how he acted. Over time, you will see that the "spontaneous" attacks seem more like "controlled terrorism" in which your abuser picks the time and place. What the abuser does is no accident, what s/he says is predictable, and the accusations s/he lays on you are nonsense.
When I was married, I was naively in denial that my husband would physically attack me (again). I would pull out my notebook and start writing in it during an attack in front of him. I don't recommend doing that. Your notebook should be sacred and private. If you've never hidden anything before, now is the time to get creative.
Your notebook serves two empowering purposes. One, it helps you to detach from the pain of a verbal assault soon after experiencing it. Two, it provides you a record of "what happened" no matter how long it is between attacks. There is a tendency to "think we're crazy" and deny to ourselves the hurtful instances we've experienced with our abusers. Your notebook will not allow you to fall prey to your own mind.
Holly, K. (2011, March 10). How to Walk Away From Verbal Abuse, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/verbalabuseinrelationships/2011/03/walk-away-from-verbal-abuse
Author: Kellie Jo Holly
6 months after we were married, he said to me that he feels like my love for him is a convenient love, basically love him for what I can get out of him. He asked me "what are you good for?"
In the beginning I was too hurt to do much except try to explain defend myself and cry. And the name calling got worse, then the shoving.
Today he punched me in the arm but he said it was because I was moving sideways that he hit my arm and I was. Then he pushed me backward by walking forward and bumping me with his chest.
Then about a year or two ago, I called him a name (one that he used with me), and now when we argue it's insults going back and forth. I am not proud of myself and I didn't swear like that before- but he says claims that it was always there inside of me, to behave that way, and has nothing to do with his constant put downs or insults towards me.
I dont believe in divorce.... everyone loves him, think he's patient, kind smart, great, etc..... no one would believe me.
I would be so ashamed. Everyone would believe that him, that I am dumb, lazy, messy, etc..... cause he has a way of talking that easily manipulates people.
He is so careful not to let the mask slip in public.
Once he was angry at me and I was in a hallway while he was washing his hands speaking at me with an angry face, then someone walks by instantly he is smiling talking normally, then the pass on and he is again angry faced and terse with me .
I don't know what to do. He says I accomplished nothing in my life and he is right. No degrees, no savings nothing
I am stuck.
I hope all of us or some of us will eventually find true happiness.
He say the most foul things to me when he's mad over little things are accusing me of something like sleeping around. He says things like "i hope you catch something and die, or you disgust me looking like shit you stupid hoe, all you gonna ever be is a hoe thats all you good for" mind you i have not stepped out on my marriage, he has. i never ever talk to like crap. at first i thought this isnt half as bad as it could be until i started standing up for myself which lead us to actually fighting because he wants me to stand there and listen to him degrade me until i have nothing left of my self esteem. we have 3 little ones, 3 yr old twins and a 7 month old baby. he is the sole provider as far as income. i have no where else to go and im a stay at home. i tried to leave before which he guilt me into coming back for the kids. i want a divorce but i feel like i cant do anyting without a job. he wont let me us the car or anything bc he pays the bill but both our names are on it. i dont know what to do. i feel supper stuck and its depressing going through this. any advice would be appreciated.
Those three things, if you use them, will help you think clearly and figure out what to do.
You walk out the door.
Having a safety plan is smart if you have time to gather important papers, photos, medications. Leave when he is not home. I left one day and left everything I own. I changed my phone number that night. Blocked him and all his family and our former mutual friends on FB. I told trusted family & friends to not respond if he contacted them.
I was verbally, emotionally and physically abused by him. He followed ALL patterns Kellie talks about here. There was the tension phase (my heart would race) I walked on eggshells to 'avoid causing him' to rage/blowup/yell. I know now that I had absolutely no control over his actions. I did not cause him to do anything although he had me believing I did.
Tension phase was followed by the actual abuse, blowup, verbal or physical. From standing directly over me yelling with his hand an inch away from my face, to the time he threw me on the floor and choked me. He got to the phone first after hearing me say something about calling the police and I was arrested. He used that over my head in multiple ways to keep control. It also kept me afraid to ever involve law enforcement again. He had a rug burn from tackling me, my state must arrest one party on a DV call and he had the visible injury. A rug burn. I'm an older woman and have never been assaulted--ever. He was unable emotionally to talk about our relationship like a mature adult. He'd say, "Oh stop your psychobabble". He'd make up things I supposedly said in my sleep and punish me for weeks saying it was an ex's name. He was insanely jealous & in rages call me a whore and say I sold myself. He used my family as a weapon, telling me he was threatened by them. What he was threatened by was my attention and natural love for my family, he was outright jealous of my son and our relationship. He worked very hard to tear it down.
Then the Honeymoon stage where he'd rarely attempt a feeble apology. He never apologized for assaulting me, it was my fault, I had made him angry, I had purposely done whatever it was to set him off. His honeymoon stages became fewer & weaker, the time in between that stage and the cycle back to the Tension phase was shorter each
Time. Pretty soon it was all tension. My heart used to race and my head was cloudy. I doubted myself.
One day after a blowup so loud in our quiet neighborhood, I knew that was it. I was recovering from surgery and physically was unable
To leave when I wanted to. I'd been ignoring my gut; my women's intuition. It was screaming!! I educated myself on abuse. I read Kellies site and saw myself. I knew my gut was right.
I called the National Domestic Violence Hotline and that gave me the power I needed to leave. You can call them as much as you want and they listen, no judgement. He had recently bought a gun without consulting me under the guise of protecting his home and his belongings from my own son. When the hotline heard hed physically abused me along with verbal/emotional Abuse and had brought a gun into the home, they suggested highly that I leave.
I woke up one day and knew this is the day. I was terrified he'd come home while I was putting a few clothes into my car. The night before he'd almost lost it because he spilled a bag of chips. His face was so red I thought he and his veins were going to explode. At that point I sat back and amidst the palpitations I Marveled inside at what a sick person he truly was.
I'd left probably 6 times in our 2 1/2 years together. I have severe spinal issues and it was very hard to sleep on friends/families couches. I always got tired and missed my own home, my own bed. Why did <b>I<b> always have to leave? I had to because I was keeping myself safe even without knowing it at the time--I couldn't stay in that environment being screamed at, accused of things I didn't do, told to Get Out Get Out. If I stayed he'd follow me around the house yelling, then he would withdraw affection not talking to me for days at a time. He'd post passive aggressive things on FB. "Did you ever mistake a life lesson for a soulmate?" Was one of them.
The day I drove away I thought I was going to pass out. I went to a trusted friends house. I was emotionally exhausted. Living under a constant state of adrenaline, ready to fight or take flight is exhausting. The next day-- after changing my number, my address and got a PO box, I filed a restraining order. I continued to call the hotline who connected me with shelters. Most were full but God told me I have a place for you. And did He ever. I've been surrounded by the strongest, most supportive women (and a few select men) who truly understand. This is not a step back, it's been a step towards a new life--and a life without him. I'm getting healthy. I can think clearly again, make good solid life decisions and trust myself again.
It's never too late to change your life. There are organizations that want to help. I encourage you call the national hotline and start there.
Leaving is scary. It's striking out away from everything familiar. My abuser had me believing I couldn't make it without him even though he was a tightwad. He'd buy food that I was expected to cook but use that in a way that he'd twist my thinking I wouldn't eat without him.
I've had 2 major surgeries in 7 months, one of them cancer surgery and treatment. I was worn down and needed help. Whenever I was down, he'd abuse me verbally/emotionally. To the outside he'd look like the savior. But they don't know what is saved for the times we'd be alone. He did like to make sure neighbors heard his tirades, part of the humiliation he loved to dole out to me.
I'm FREE!! I'm OUT!! I'm calm, confident and self-assured. I trust myself again. I love myself. Therapy is part of the shelter support system and I'd recommend that to all abuse survivors. I have PTSD from his abuse. A door slam shakes me up. But it's not him slamming it so I'm okay.
Thank you Kellie for allowing open communication about this hard subject!! It means the world to me to read your words and know that--IT WASNT MY FAULT!!!!!
As soon as I moved in with him, his true colors came out. He would tell me i live like a pig if o didn't keep the house to his standards. He would often drive to our home town without me just to get away from me. At this time I didn't know anyone in my new community. All my friends and family werw back home.
Now, 5 years later, I tells me I'm a bitch almost every week. Selfish bitch is his favorite line to use. It only occurs when I disagree witg him. He blames me for every thing. Tells me I need to work harder and to stop asking him to help me. ( I work 40 plus hours a week a still have 2 kids to care for).
My biggest issue is that I have very few friends
here. He reminds me of that often. Tells me i
have mental problems and if I ever plan on leaving him, he will take our child from me.
Says he has the resources to prove to a Judge that I am abusive and mentally unstable. He
has drained my soul. He has started to criticize the way we have sex. He says that HE should be all I need to climax. I shouldn't have to help myself. All of my brain tells me child custody is just a threat, but it still scares me enough to stay. I wish daily that he would die.
He make 3 times the amount of money I make. He tells me if I leave him, ill regret it. Tells me I can move back in with "mommy and daddy" (that's how he likes to put it). I never have money left over at the end of the month. He makes me split the bills right down the middle. Tonight he informed me that he is going to lease a vehicle so he can get better gas mileage to work AND keep his current truck. I told him I didn't think it was fair for him to have an extra couple of hundred a month and for me to not even have enough to by pants for work. That was a mistake. SELFISH BITCH! Always thinking about myself. "If you want more, you need to work harder, stop asking me to buy shit for you. You don't deserve shit"
How do I get out? I have 8 dollars in my account and can't save anything because it all goes to bills.
I'm glad to say I'm one of them. I left. I walked away. From everything and everyone else pretty much. Moved out of state. I had a new four bedroom house with all new everything. All the clothes and shoes I ever wanted. But I was living a nightmare and didn't know it. Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and realized that you were having a nightmare about something and you didn't know right away if it's real or not? That's what leaving this situation feels like.
Oh but wait you say to yourself -this isn't the right time! I need to wait for (enter multiple excuses here). And yes using your kids as a reason is STILL an excuse I'm sorry. I know because I did it!!! And don't even think about the money excuse. I have enough to get by on and trust me it's all you're going to need. Peace is priceless! And healing feels good. But believe me on this: You absolutely can NOT heal UNTIL you leave.
Listen to yourself. That voice in your head. Don't listen to your friends and family that tell you what a great guy he is. What the H#$/ do they know? Nothing! And don't you know it :). Ask for help? Sure. Take cash or checks and only listen to people who have been where you are. Been through what you're going through. Yes it's hard. But if I can do it SO CAN YOU. Yes you can. Stop thinking about him and what he is doing /not doing. What do you want? Are you afraid to be alone? Don't be. There are so many good shows on now (lol ) You will heal and then you'll be you again. If you are afraid buy a gun and a dog. The dog will be your new best friend and will listen to you. A gun just helps me sleep better at night. Follow the laws of your state please. I have no intention of ever using a weapon but if I have to I will. Not that he has a clue where I am. He's remarried with a new baby and I don't even care!!! I never thought I would feel like this. They have a way of hooking you and keeping you all tangled up in the net.
So yes! Walk away sugar! Just don't let him in on it. It's your secret. Study and learn how to leave the right way. Read these blogs and others. And if you're living in a nightmare you can wake up and know that you are safe. Every. Single. Day.
Things don't matter. People matter. You matter.
Set a date and stick to it and make a promise to yourself and your kids, pets, anyone who cares about you that you are never going back. Because he will never ever ever change. As in never ever-no chance -nope not in this lifetime. He will only lie to you and you'll lose faith in yourself.
Be brave. Be strong. And you'll be free.
He's broken. You can't fix him. No one can. Of course if it's a girl you're thinking about leaving -sorry -no fixing her either. This is your life! Yours! Do what you need to do for you! Best of luck! :))
Now go write down your plan to leave.
Because it's the right thing to do.
And you know it or you wouldn't be here reading this.
I'm ok! And you will be too.
Yes you will.
He is a true narcissist and he frightens me. I walk on eggshells every day.
I work 10-12 hours then come home to him and work at home until sometimes 1-2:30am.
He knows I'm exhausted yet purposely uses sleep deprivation as one of his tools with a smile on his face.
He used to fight MMA and was at one point a body builder and his size and strength are way beyond 95% of other men. As you can imaging he's extremely intimidating.
He used to beat me on the back side regularly with a belt until I'd lose my bladder screaming in pain. He slaps my face and or grabs my throat.
He has lately decreased the physical corrections and has increased his verbal abuse and now threatens violence if I anger him.
I have never known hate until I met him. I never knew regret until I met him.
I am done beyond done. I am planning my escape and will have to put up with him for a while longer. Nothing can change my mind now. I must trust in the journey.
I need ideas of how to detach from him when I have acute flareups. I can only think of trying to not let him know I am acute, but sometimes I am doubled over in pain or have muscle cramps so bad, I can't walk. I do not engage, I do not explain. Trying to switch the channel, or using the broken record technique are ineffective. It is important that I detach as early as possible, as after about an hour of his crazy making, blaming and accusations my PTSD from my earlier relationship gets activated and I start to shake uncontrollably. Any ideas? Thank you
Detaching when he's in your face is almost impossible. Getting the heck away from him physically is easier than getting away mentally. It sounds like you're at the point where you need to go.
However, IMO, you need individual counseling too. You need someone who can help you keep your head clear, and a therapist you see by yourself is YOUR advocate. Someone who can help you pay attention to what he does instead of what he says.
I do not recommend seeing the same counselor for both individual and marital counseling. I've heard too many people complain that what was talked about in their individual counseling session came out in the marital counseling.
If your husband backs out of counseling, that is a sure sign you should go anyway.
Keep educating yourself about domestic violence and abuse. You will come to understand a lot more than you do already.
You can get yourself well again the same way any other person overcomes anxiety and depression. So try some of the suggestions you find online. Living with your abuser as you deal with all of this will make healing tougher. Every day, the abuse pulls you down, so it's hard to get ahead of it. Do good things for you anyway.
Make an appointment with your doctor to check for depression/anxiety.
Start putting a support system in place (call a hotline and reach out for help from local support groups and services, tell your family and friends the truth). And remember, don't trust "his" friends and be cautious about his family - even the best in-laws tend to stick with their blood in cases like this.
Those two things will put you on the right path. Remember to just breathe and let things soak in.
Do you want him to call your daughter a cunt? To sit her on his knee and systematically destroy HER dreams? Right now he's using her to destroy you, but it is only a matter of time before your daughter is his target too.
Call a hotline and find resources in your area that can help you leave.
Congratulations, take care of you, and enjoy the life of freedom!
Thank you for the postings they are very helpful.
My husband started for him, my husband us mad about this and finds every excuse in the book not to do something to help him settle into something better. He won't let me do anything permanent. I called him on it last night and he ranted at me finishing with the question" do you have Alzheimer's or something?" Today he's mad at me, as if I said the nasty words. ( men - some men (?) creep (s) )
My parents were dedicated to one another
To get to where I am now, I had to get to the point where I didn't care if I was living in a cardboard box, just as long as I had my daughter and I was out of the marriage. I heard the question, WHAT'S MORE IMPORTANT, ALL THE YOU HAVE OR ALL THAT YOU ARE? When I heard this, I knew the answer. What I am is more important than what I have. That's why homes, material items, and money are good manipulation tools of emotional abusers. As soon as you make peace with the idea that you are more important than every single other material thing in the house, then you won't be able to have these things held over your head. As an example, I was told all the time that I was gonna get thrown out of the house and have to go find a place to live and that he would keep my daughter. When I finally said, FINE I DON'T CARE ABOUT THE HOUSE, TAKE IT! was when he stopped using it against me. The part where things did get muddy for me were about my daughter. He filed for custody the first time and told me he was going to say I was a drug user, cheater, workaholic, unfit mother. He actually wrote in his court statements that he was the primary caregiver of our child and that I had minimal interaction with the child since birth. *Did I mention this was going to suck?!* There were definitely moments of weakness where I asked myself if fighting over my daughter was worth having to have him constantly lying about my character and having a go at me. I always shoved those feelings to the side pretty quickly though. I would lay down my life for my child, yet I found myself questioning if the fight with my husband over custody would be worth it, and I knew that was the abuse talking...not me. For a long time, I convinced myself that I could put up with almost anything so that my daughter could have two parents with her as much as possible. I had a smart friend tell me it was about quality of time instead of quantity of time, and he was right! My 80% of time with her without feeling stressed out and anxiety ridden all the time is better than 100% of me while my husband was around. My relationship with my daughter now is WAY better and closer than it has ever been. I actually get to be myself with her, and she gets to see the real me with my undivided attention given to her. I get to focus on being a MOM and not side stepping arguments with my husband. I felt like I was a good mom before, but I know I am a better one now. Now, we get to have fun and laugh A LOT! Real laughter these days, there is a difference...I can feel it when I laugh. She turned six this week.
What has helped me...
Therapy. It took me awhile in therapy before I even had any inkling that I was being abused. So if you are here looking on this site, then you are already ahead of where I was! Some 'ah ha' moments from therapy: 1. I wondered why my husband would get so mad that I was playing soccer once a week. I have played competitive soccer since I was 10. Therapist told me it was ok to participate in normal, healthy adult activities and that I shouldn't have to feel like I can't or that I need permission. *That was crazy talk in my home.* 2. A partner is a team mate. If we were on a basketball team and I had a great player as a team mate but he NEVER passed the ball, is that someone I would really want on my team? Doesn't mean he isn't a good basketball player, he is just not someone you want to be on a team with. 3. Relationships are about 'relating'...if your partner does not acknowledge your feelings or listen to you explain how things are making you feel, then that's not ok. *Seems logical now, but groundbreaking at the time.* 4. When your partner says mean things to you, it's ok to step back in your mind and say to yourself, "No, wait a minute, I know myself and no, that's not me." Just because your partner says you ARE things does not make them true. 5. When you feel like something is wrong, it is. That's you're body/mind telling you something is wrong, and anger is an emotion that doesn't have to be cast away all the time. It's ok to recognize you are angry about things in order to begin dealing with them. If you push your anger away all the time, then most likely are not dealing with the reasons for the anger.
If you are worried about cost of therapy, don't let this detour you. Find a way to see someone (my husband quit hus job to get me off his insurance). I would imagine almost everyone in this situation would benefit from therapy. It hasn't been used against me in court, and he has gone to lengths of making stuff up, so I can tell you this hasn't come back to haunt me in anyway like I thought it could have. However, if you are on any prescriptions that can be brought up in court, but the judge seemed not to care of anything that was being prescribed.
Book. On Audible.com Christi Paul's LOVE ISN'T SUPPOSED TO HURT. She went through this and basically provided an insightful account on the who, what, why of it all. Listening to this book helped me identify more situations that I hadn't even recognized as abuse....like when I was throwing up and sick one day and he refused to leave work 1.5hrs early to get our daughter from day care. She has lots of unique tips on how to find the benefits of verbal abuse. Sounds weird at first but it is very healing. This book healed more of me in days than I could have done on my own in years.
Book. By Karen Casey. EACH DAY A NEW BEGINNING. Its a daily advice book for women. Originally created for recovering addicts and alcohol users, but it works for all women.
Pinterest. I have a board dedicated to QUOTES. Then I made one dedicated to DIVORCE. When I feel weak, I read my divorce board with my good quotes and it isntantly strengthens me. Lots of favorites including, "My husband and I got divorced over religious differences.... He thought he was God and I didn't!!!!!" "I didn't change, you just never knew me." "Never get jealous when you see your ex with someone else, because our parents taught us to give our used toys to the less fortunate." "On the other side of fear lies freedom." "Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low-self esteem, first make sure you are not surrounded by assholes." Obviously, they range from serious to funny. I won't put anymore so you can discover some of these gems on your own.
Search CONTROLLING BEHAVIOR. I read an article online the other day about how controlling men/women try to remove any type of outside stimuli in your life including family, friends, work, activities. They participate in constant accusations of cheating (also in Christi Paul's book). And more.
Get armed with a tape recorder. When things got really bad I would just lay there and get yelled at and messed with. I finally started recording things after he told me he would lie about me in court. I felt like I needed a way prove him wrong. The recorder on my phone records for almost an hour. You can download a call recorder app too that records all phone calls and you can delete all the ones you don't need to keep. I struck gold on several recordings but one especially where he came in after he had moved out and started an altercation. He threw something at me and hit me in the face and woke my daughter up who was in bed next to me. I asked him to leave over and over and finally said I would call the police. He told me that I had no proof of an altercation and that it was just third party heresay since I didn't have a bruise on my eye. Maybe this is where I should mention my husband is a police officer. So it was pretty daunting knowing I was going to have to face him in court. Words of caution on this: I NEVER told him about the recordings and never played them for anyone except my lawyer. You can't let the recordings ever be known or use them as leverage before court. You have to back them up to cloud storage in the event somethings happens to your phone. You have to password protect your phone unless you can move all of your recordings to internet/cloud storage. If someone calls while using the tape ecorder it stops that recording and it won't restart on its own. You have to manually restart the tape recorder app or put phone in airplane mode to avoid calls.. He didn't know about these recordings until the day of court. His lawyer still tried to accuse me of being at fault for the altercation and accused me of chasing him into the next room to continue the altercation when I was asking him to leave. *Did I mention this is going to suck?!* You should also download a screenshot app. It is helpful for many things including taking pics of my call logs when my husband accuses me of not letting him talk to our daughter to show either they did speak or he never called. I just attach the screenshot picture in an email and send to my lawyer.
You are not alone. Get your support system together. Family, friends, lawyer. Realize that judges have seen controlling behavior over and over and should be able to identify it very easily. Despite his crooked lawyer, I've gotten nearly everything I have asked for, and even if I didn't, I was prepared to live in a cardboard box as long as I had my daughter. It's not emotional to the judge. It's business. You need to start treating it that way too.
Don't give up your rights. My husband tried to have me waive my right to have trial in our county of marital residence. This means me driving to him for every court hearing. He tried to convince and badger me over and over not to have a lawyer and accused me of being an idiot for wasting my money. He tried to get me to settle for way less than what I was entitled to, and I would have agreed to some things unknowingly just to get him off my back but my lawyer wouldn't let me. You will pay $2500-$5000 for a lawyer but you need someone in your corner that knows the law and what you are entitled to. If you give up $100 a month in child support, that's $1200 a year for however many years until your kids are 18. Your lawyer can set up an income deduction order so that you are not at your spouses's whim (control) as to when you receive settlement money.
Journal. My therapist suggested writing a letter that I would never send to him of everything I wanted to say. I thought it would be silly, but is was great! And, best of all, there was no arguing back from him and I always get the last word.
Records. Keep records of nasty texts, emails, pictures that are pertinent to your case (such as the aftermath of him/her throwing things), recordings, voice mails, and even write down things said with dates, times, etc. Think of it like a piggy bank. Every time you deposit a piece of information you put a quarter into your virtual piggy bank. The bigger your bank gets the more you will be able to do with it later, and you want your virtual piggy bank bigger than your spouse's. If things go well you may not have to use any of it, but if they go sour, then you can smash that piggy bank open in an emergency. Written dates and times are helpful. Pictures are worth a thousand words. Recordings are worth 10x that.
Stay calm. Both my husband and his lawyer had the same tactic in and out of court. To make me lose it. He would try to incite me to hit him so he could claim I was the physical abuser. His lawyer was aggressive, accusatory, rude, manipulative, and a real witch. She was trying to get me incited in court to look like an idiot and provide some type of validation for the abuse on the recordings. I am not a calm type of person, but I could clearly see their tactics and made a game of being calm. It was more important to win the game with myself (I lost if I let them upset me) than it was to lose to their tactics. This is where the tape recordings help. They make you be on your best behavior too. Your spouse will still act like their own regular jackass. This is also good practice in staying calm and not cussing for court on down the road.
Disable your Facebook account. My lawyer told me not to post anything on Facebook. I thought that seemed a little over the top. However, he was virtually stalking me. I was nervous how he would react to peoples comments to regular things like pics. He also looked through my account when my daughter had our iPad. I set it to deactivate, and it was like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I don't even miss it. Anything you do like date, make an account for a dating website, or anything is fair game for court until the divorce is final.
Juicing! Juicing fruits and vegetables will give your body lots and lots of nutrients your body needs to cope with stress. I love juicing and have my own Breville juicer. You can also get freshly juiced veggies at Whole Foods. My husband hated me doing this too. He thought it was stupid.
Several paragraphs ago, I realized this was less of a blog post and more of a rant, but I've been through a lot, as I am sure you have been also. I had a great childhood, great parents, lots of siblings, college degree, played lots of sports, good friends, great kid, and good job. And, somehow I had arrived at a place in my life where I felt worthless. I have never dated an abusive person before, and somehow married one. I was (and still am somewhat) naive about how marriage is supposed to work. My marriage got so bad so quickly that I didn't even know what hit me! Abusive and controlling relationships can happen to any woman (or man) of any race, ethnicity, level education, level of income, where you live...it can happen to anyone. It's not your fault it happens, but after you identify the problem it will be your choice after awhile if you let it continue. Hopefully, this may help someone. I hope it didn't offend anyone. I recognize that abusers are not only men. In my story it is my husband. Also, I'm quite sure that abuse won't just go away. So, you should work on yourself to prepare for the road ahead. A saying I repeat to myself often now is, "it takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to let yourself fall apart." When I feel weak and powerless, this helps me to not give in to to the feelings of wanting to give up and just get stepped all over. Before I felt like it would take all my strength just to get through a divorce, and now I feel I have so much strength that even though my spiteful husband is as nasty as ever, I only have to reserve a small amount of strength to deal with him. A lot of the rest of my energy now goes to other things including my daughter and playing "man hamper!" Yes, it's a silly game we invented in between me typing this and playing with her today where she sits in the hamper and makes it talk like a man. Once again, confirming that my new found laughter is deeper and richer.
Be nice to yourself!
Email your friend and tell her what he threatened to say.
Tell your family he threatens to start fights at family gatherings.
Then when he threatens to do something like that again, you can calmly look at your fingernails and say, "Oh, yeah - I must have forgot to tell you that I told them you threatened to do that," and then spin on your heels and walk away.
You are blessed to still have friends; you are blessed to have a family. Ask if you can stay with one of your friends/family members temporarily. Open your own bank account and transfer one of his paychecks to it, then leave. You will never be on the street - someone will take you into their home. Without his constant abuse, you will feel more energetic and get your business off the ground and/or find work until your business gets going.
You are so burnt out that you cannot see the blessings waiting for you after you take the first step away from him. I can see them...