I found this over the weekend as I was going through some old files deciding what I could recycle and what needed to be shredded.
It was tucked in amongst my divorce papers. Thousands of pages of legal filings, custody assessments, attorney fee statements, copies of horrible email and notes I'd received from my ex-husband and more.
It was back around 2005 or so. I was packing my bag, tucking away my notepad and pen, preparing to leave the office of the second attorney I'd hired to help me navigate a custody battle.
We had just finished a mediation meeting with my already ex-husband. Our divorce was final in the fall of 2001, when just after a two months of separation he announced he was remarrying. It was an amicable divorce taking just 90 days to complete. We worked out all of the details of our finances and custody arrangements for our two daughters together without too much negotiation.
However, within a few months of his impending wedding and still less than a year after the divorce was final, he filed a motion with the courts to increase his custody with our children.
Our mediation session didn't go very well. Instead of trying to work anything out, he glared at me, lied about many things and generally tried to bully me into submission. After witnessing the demeanor of my ex-husband, my attorney haded me this packet. He was the first person to ever tell me that I had been a victim of abuse. And as I read the information he had given me... it finally all made sense.
I finally understood how he used gaslighting techniques to make me think there was something wrong with me. That I was too emotional and difficult to get along with. So many more confirmation right there on paper. I admit, I was shocked. Not because I figured out I wasn't being treated the way I wanted to be treated... I had known that for years (hence the divorce). But to finally feel that I wasn't crazy and that my decision was justified was honestly a relief.
You can still see the items I marked and circled as I read it.
Abuse doesn't have to be physical. It comes in many forms. And although I don't like talking about it, I felt it was a powerful reminder of how far I've come and to pass on the information to anyone else that might feel they are not treated the way they would like to be treated... or know of someone in a similar situation.
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