It took 5 years to divorce the ex and father of our daughter after he suddenly thought it fun to beat our daughter and me. The child and I fled to a safe place, and moved house a few times to stay ahead of him knowing our address.
During the divorce negotiations at court while I was in a safe room elsewhere he informed my Barrister that “I am trained to kill, I am a soldier, it’s important you know and understand that” which she was surprised and furious to hear and at last I had an independent important witness of his ughhh-ness instead of their slightly disbelieving faces when I’d previously tried to explain what we were up against.
The settlement eventually was signed off, I bought him out of the Matrimonial Home to the tune of £30,000. It is little, is an entry level home in the middle of England and was vandalised by him but it is ours.
He got the second house we owned all to himself with around £10,000 equity. I’ve recently received post and notifications that he has signed a lease on a residential caravan site and living there now and inexplicably I feel sorry for him.
I loved him, I hated what he did, I’m glad we settled in court and have a home at last, but living in a Divorced Dad’s Caravan Neighbourhood seems tragic.
Do you have any advice on how to stop feeling sorry for him please?
I don’t know. Imagine him living in a Divorced Dad’s bedsit in the fiery bowels of hell instead?
Sympathy for one’s abuser is a uniquely chump problem. Can you imagine someone writing, “Leonard pistol whipped a bunch of old ladies for their welfare checks. Then he embezzled my pension fund and set fire to my cat. He was sentenced to 12 years on a chain gang. And yet, I can’t help but feel sad when I think of his penury. The cold steel on his ankle. A dozen years without his favorite toasted sandwiches. It’s tragic.”
No. LEONARD IS A TERRIBLE PERSON and the measure of his soul is NOT your problem.
It’s OKAY to determine that someone is awful and you want nothing more to do with them. Really! It’s okay. And if you must untangle and consider how many fuckwits can dance on the head of a pin (“Leonard has some good qualities. He was very kind to pigeons.”) — you are still under ZERO obligation to invest further in this person.
Feeling “sorry” for him is an emotional investment in him. And trust me, the investment is NOT returned. Leonard has no more consideration for your feelings than he does those of his nose hair trimmer. You are an appliance to him. A thing of use. Did you break? He’ll shake you, slam you against the counter to see if that wakes you up (or alleviates his frustration), and he’ll go find another appliance. (Actually Leonards have drawers full of appliances, but I digress.)
Your ex-husband BEAT you and your daughter, vandalized your home, and threatened a barrister, and the WORST thing that happened to him is that he lives in a CARAVAN PARK? He should be in JAIL. Tethered to a bar and forced to write “I will not beat my wife and child” until his fingers fall off and he’s forced to eat them.
That’s so Draconian, Tracy.
It would be a small measure of justice compared to what you suffered at his hands. Please direct your sympathies there. To yourself.
Why do you feel sorry for him? Because imagining that he’s a good person who lost his way is less scary than realizing that you invested in a fraud. That he doesn’t love, he just controls. That you tried to love a creature that will not love you back. For YEARS.
And if he’s a sad, soft fluffy misunderstood kitten he’s not a trained, scary-as-fuck soldier who’s threatened to kill you. Bargaining stage of grief, my friend.
Do NOT untangle this skein. Do NOT spend one iota of one second feeling sorry for him. Because you might open that door (“Hark! Is that an apology I hear?”) and let him back. That could be a fatal mistake.
You escaped. You modeled strength and mightiness to your daughter. You are a HERO. Every ounce of sorry you feel for him is emotional currency you could be investing in your new life instead. Invest in YOU. And may he rot in a Divorced Dad’s Caravan.