futuremrss17 : You are welcome. I have seen this behavior with my mother, who is the same sort of person, and a dear friend. Both are amazing, loving, compassionate people who were hurt badly. I really want to encourage you to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE. Women who are experiencing or have experienced emotional abuse and control are encouraged to call. They more than anyone else including your lawyer can best guide you. Is your lawyer one who specializes in issues of domestic manipulation and control? If not, make sure you take the advice of the hotline into consideration.
You know your situation best, and have to act accordingly. I’m just saying the following because in the cases of the women I cared about, they did not have an immediate fear of escalation, they were just so used to giving in and dealing with the manipulation that it was very difficult for them to get outside of the pattern when dealing with their separation and divorce proceedings. If it does not apply to you, and it may not, I wish you the best of luck.
I completely understand that you want things to be over with and so you give in in the hopes of making things better for yourself, but that is just not going to happen. He has learned that if he pushes, you will give in. So he will continue to push. If you refuse to give in, he will escalate further. If you still refuse, he will learn that he cannot manipulate you and will likely back down (again, this does not apply if he is violent). Please consider the following:
1. Blame your lawyer. The next time your husband contacts you, tell him nicely that you have been told that all contact should go through the lawyers and you are not supposed to speak to him. Behave as though you are a bit confused about it all but you need to follow what the lawyer says and you want to make sure you do everything right. The end goal is that you don’t need to respond to his manipulations anymore and he can blame the lawyer instead of you.
2. Let the people close to you know what is really going on. If you think he might be violent, don’t involve his parents because that will escalate the danger. The goal is not to blast him or tell everyone around you the story, but to put out another version so that people at least understand that there are 2 versions. They may not believe you, but they will doubt him. Doubt is your friend here.
3. It is not your job to change him into a better person. It is very difficult for an abusive man to change, and they almost never do. You will drive yourself crazy trying to help. Don’t help him – the person who needs help is you.
4. Be kind to yourself. People who are in abusive relationships often act in ways that the people around them can’t understand. That’s not stupidity – it’s survival. Forgive yourself for any missteps you might have made. Make sure you are in therapy. Surround yourself with people who care. Join a club, take a class, play sports, do whatever makes you feel good and safe.
5. Be an advocate for yourself, and do it through your lawyer. Get what is yours by right. Don’t be nice and promise things so that you can get it all over with. Don’t sell yourself short. If he talks to you about it, just act as though you don’t understand much and you are doing what your lawyer says. If he thinks he can manipulate and threaten you, he will – and if you don’t agree to what he wants he will blame and target you. If he thinks that you don’t know what’s up and you are running everything past someone he can’t manipulate, you are less likely to be a target.
Again, throw ALL of that out the window if you are ever fearful. Nothing is worth putting yourself in danger. Be safe, and good luck.