Hi. I’m a little nervous posting on social media for the first time. I left a coercively controlling 12 year relationship, 4 years ago. I was only 18 and very naive when I met my ex and was a backpacker! I’ve always been a free spirit as a person but over the course of 12 years I completely lost myself and became what was wanted of me. I am horrified to see old photos of who I became. I wasn’t even allowed to wear what I wanted. I wasn’t ready for marriage or children but was coerced into both despite saying I wanted an abortion. Since then I’ve done my absolute best to be the best possible mum I can be despite ongoing control and abuse from the ex. I haven’t dated and just tried to take responsibility for my lack of assertiveness earlier in my life. I’ve struggled a lot with my mental health because I am unhappy with my life and a long way from family and my hometown. I’ve had extensive DV counselling and one of the issues that’s been raised is the order of relocation back to my home town. Lawyer assisted Mediation is coming up, which I know won’t go far and I’ve been having panic attacks at the thought of it. Last time during mediation I was coerced into a care arrangement I didn’t want. I’m tired with the constant fighting and tension and I’m very worried the children pick up on this. I fought for 18 months to get his consent for speech pathology! I would dearly love for the children to move with me and still have 35% care with their Dad. But the other option is he takes 65% care and then the tension decreases because he gets what he wants. It also means I’m happier and thus a better parent to my children in part because I have support but mainly because I am far away from their father. I grew up in a home characterised by DV and it is the reason I left my ex in the first place (after multiple attempts). I don’t want the kids still exposed to this. He’s very critical of my parenting And always has been since the moment I struggled to push my daughter out and couldn’t breastfeed. One thing I am very proud of and hope that my daughter admires me for is that Ive set up my own private practice. I’ve always felt I was meant to be the breadwinner and I do my best to provide for them financially but also emotionally.its very hard with no help and constant criticism. I do struggle with ptsd symptoms although I find they ease when I’m home and around people who support me. How do you weigh up what’s best; keeping on fighting for 65% care because “abuse to the mother is abuse to the children” or settling with less care but having better quality time with the children and being mentally healthier? 50/50 just doesn’t work in our cases – our parenting is chalk and cheese and the back and forth and inconsistency is causing a huge amount of issues for the children. Please no hate, just kindness and support. This was scary to post. Ps I am a circle of security facilitator and bringing up great kids facilitator myself and have proactively started some “coparenting” programs to prove that Ive tried.
You need a good lawyer and go to court if you can’t settle in mediation….what exactly do.you want to achieve?..the courts just want fairness and that every parent gets time to raise there children…I too suffered slot of abusive in with my ex…but you have to let g of that..and move on…we all make our beds…sometime you can’t co parent with someone that abused you for years that’s why you get a parenting order signed by a judge.. specific pick up drop drop with minimum interaction…and so there is less likely for conflict.its hard but it does work…
Have you had a Family report done? Whilst the process can be a bit confronting, usually they see through the bullshit- the one I had seemed to understand the dynamics. The report can be a fairly persuasive settlement tool. How do you know that his behavior will change once he “gets what he wants”? He might just find some other way to continue being abusive.
It’s a really tough situation that you’re in and I don’t know the answer because I haven’t walked in your shoes. Are you going to be comfortable consenting to him having 65% care? Because once it’s done, it might be hard to undo and there’s no guarantee he’ll change. If you end up at Final hearing, you might even get sole parental responsibility, at least for some things such as health (e.g., waiting 18 months to get his “consent” for speech pathology-??? Was this in the best interests of the child or just him exercising the control that the “equal shared parental responsibility” law can enable?). Only you know if you’ve got the strength to get through a trial if you decide the outcome is important enough to fight for. Keep us updated on the outcome