Divorce! Ex-Wife in Bitter Fight With Control Freak Ex-Husband

sun and moon

Dear Elsa,

I was married for 36 years to the father of my 4 children. He was a control freak and I lived in fear of him. On requesting a divorce in Feb 2003, he agreed to an amicable one, saying we should have parted years back.

I was not to go to an attorney or I would never see my children again. Our children all work for him and this was the kind of hell he put me through. He used the 3 eldest kids to draw up my settlement offer. On refusing, it, I sought legal advice. I and my present husband were then sued – for going against him.

My last 3 years have been a nightmare from hell with this man still threatening me, I agreed to settle out of court because I feared him and I was also emotionally unstable due to the threats he made on me. I got a pittance from him. I never worked but was a full time wife and mother – which he was quite happy with. I want to be happy, to see my life out in peace but this man continues to cause trouble, his kids all fear him and I won’t back off until I have the money he owes me. How long does it take to move on?

Ex-Wife Still Stuck

Dear Stuck,

People move and move on at different speeds. They move when they damned well please and I don’t think you’re going to be moving anytime soon.

I base this on the fact you stayed married to a man who terrorized you (and your children) for 36 years and you state outright that you have no intention of backing off until and unless. Considering this I would not be surprised if you stayed attached for the rest of your life.

If you don’t like this, you’ll have to start thinking along the lines of cutting your losses but right now, you’re not willing. You do not want to think about how much this is costing you in pain. You’re used to pain I suppose. You’ve had 40 years of it!

If you want to think about easing up somehow, or letting something go, or seeking happiness as opposed to victory, then this could wrap up very quickly. But right now, you are determined to fight to the death, and I expect this is exactly what you’ll do.

Good luck.




Divorce! Ex-Wife in Bitter Fight With Control Freak Ex-Husband — 4 Comments

  1. I remember not knowing it was okay to let go until Elsa told me. it really is okay, more than okay, surreally wonderful.

  2. ouch. you just got a reality check, ex-w. i know that’s tough, and i hope you weathered it ok. but man, you have a chance here at having your life back if you want it.

    ask yourself quick, which is more important to you: being “right” or being happy?

    you don’t have to convince me your ex is an ass. i’m sure he probably is. the point is, you’re not divorced. he still lives with you.

    that anger you have is giving him rental space in your head. it doesn’t hurt him; it gives him power. and it eats you up inside, day by day. (yes, i have been there.)

    the biggest blow you could ever give a man like this anyway is to not care anymore. the opposite of love sometimes is not hate. it’s indifference.

    forget his ass. focus on your own needs and joy and you’ll see the way out. but you won’t see it until you can let go. the hell with money. how much money is your life worth to you, anyway?

    good luck to you.

    incidently, i would suggest you check out byron katie’s work. she does some great stuff that helps moving past anger. i highly recommend it.

    peace out.

  3. elsa said:

    So if you want to think about…seeking happiness as opposed to victory, then this could wrap up very quickly.

    goddess said:

    that anger you have is giving him rental space in your head.

    these two comments make something in me move, the same way a tuning fork can cause violin strings to vibrate.

    how long does it take to move on? about as long as it takes for us to *decide* to move on. in spite of how it sometimes feels (and i’m still learning to put this into practice myself) people only ever have as much power over us as we are wiling to give up…


  4. I’ve been in a similar situation, though not as long lasting and not with children involved. With your children grown though, you have a great “out”.

    After ten years of marriage to an emotionally abusive man, I found all of my reasons for staying were of my own choosing. My job of 8 years, the house and stuff we owned together, the debt we had accumulated…those were the things holding me prisoner. Eight years ago, I decided to escape.

    I will probably never be able to own my own home, my finances are in ruin, it took five years in a new career field to finally earn the same pay I had earned at my old job. And I can honestly say without reservation that the last eight years have been the happiest of my life.

    When I left, I gave no forwarding address and I didn’t call to check in. When he tracked me down and tried to bully me into going “home”, I kept my cool (at least on the outside!) and stood my ground. He wanted to argue and negotiate and I simply refused. I agreed to whatever terms he came up with, including paying him part of my withdrawn retirement fund. Because I wanted out, I was done, and I didn’t want to waste any more time or energy on him and that relationship.

    My family and friends thought I was crazy to walk away from all the material stuff I’d worked hard for and to carry the burden of debt that I could not escape. But I had decided I wanted to be happy. Whatever I had in those ten years that had value was not worth the misery I had lived in. I think I got the better deal; I’m happy and free from the turmoil of that life.

    I hope you’ll find that for yourself someday soon.

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