After my last post I felt like maybe people don't want to hear that kind of stuff (regarding my ex) but the responses and comments I got made me feel really good and have made it easy to share my story. I see a therapist and probably always will because she has been amazing and has helped me so much learn about myself and how to deal with having an abusive past. Plus I still have to deal with the guy on a regular basis. I won custody but (I believe) the courts are a bit biased when it comes to fathers because there are so many who are not involved in their children's lives. So if a dad shows up and says he wants to be part of the child's life, they allow visitation. I even know of a woman who's ex-husband hit her children and he still gets supervised visitation. My ex has never physically hurt E but I think its because she's not with him long enough on their visits.
It KILLS me sometimes to have to let her go with him but most times he just brings her to his sisters house and I know she is safe there. He still threatens me occasionally and is verbally abusive but each and every time, I call the police. It's a really hard situation that we try and make the best of. These are the cards we have been dealt, as they say. He really doesn't have too much of a relationship with E, he is basically incapable of love and he also suffers from mental illness. All I can do is what I think is best for E. She also goes to a therapist and if there is ever a sign that she is being affected in a negative way by him, it's back to court I go.
To the anonymous commenter who feels they may be in a similar situation, I hope that you find the courage to do what is best for you.
It can be so hard for some people to understand because I am a smart, capable person who did not grow up with abuse, yet I became involved with this person and stayed for three years. When you are in it, you don't realize what the reality of the situation is, if that makes any sense. It becomes normal, plus I believed I loved him and most of the time I believed it was my fault (if I even felt that there was anything wrong with it). He was very paranoid and jealous and I was alientated from all my friends and family. At the time my parents were living in another state and the situation was created in which (I felt) there there was nowhere for me to go, although I didn't want to leave him because I thought I loved him. I don't know if (as hard as this is to admit) I would have ever left him if I didn't become pregnant and have E. It wasn't until I was responsible for someone else that I realized that this was a horrible situation and I would not let her endure that.
I have worked really hard to be able to deal with the situation the best I can. I am not perfect and have learned that the best way for me to deal is to realize that he is a very troubled person who needs help and I try and surround him and everyone around me with love. I do not have the time to be angry or bitter. There is no point to live in fear or anger. I forgive him and I just make sure that E is not hurt. Because she does go to therapy and we have an honest relationship, she is aware (as much as an 8 year old can be) that her father is very troubled. She tells me everything and having been through that relationship, I think I would know if something was going on even if she didn't tell me.
She has also learned how to deal with this in her own way. She acts very different when he is around her, she basically protects herself from being hurt by him. When he doesn't show up for visitation, she understands that he is irresponsible and thats just the way it is. It's better that she knows this now, instead of living her life hoping that one day he will learn how to love and always being let down. Although she believes (and I do too) that he does love her the best he knows how.
Everything happens for a reason and everything that happens shapes you into who you are. I think that E will find a way to use what she has learned to help other people someday. It will make her a strong women who can deal with a variety of life's situations and different kinds of people.
Plus she has an excellent father in Mr.C. She doesn't remember him not being in her life since I met him when she was so young. He changed her diapers, got up with her at night, has been to every pediatrician appointment. He has an extra special relationship with her because he knows what she has to deal with and he more than makes up for it. He is there for EVERYTHING. If she has something at school, he will come home from work to be there, sometimes being the only dad there! He has been to every conference, takes her to piano, dance lessons, CCD, sports she's involved with, volunteers at her school, knows all her friends and teachers well. He helps her with homework every night. He taught her to ride a bike, to go fishing, takes her to baseball games, plays princess with her, they read the same books and talk about them, they go to the library together, movies, hiking, just anything you can imagine a great father doing and more. Everyone is so amazed at how close they are and it is the greatest feeling in the world.
So I concentrate on our blessings and teach my children to as well. I will post a bit later how I met Mr.C. Thanks again for making me feel comfortable sharing.