Co-Parenting with Abusive Ex-husband
I co-parented with my abuser for ten years. The barrage of emotions surrounding seeing my abusive ex-husband at children’s events became so debilitating. More often than not, I failed to enjoy the reason I left the house. The thought of seeing my abuser triggered overwhelming anxiety and sucked the enjoyment of the event right out of me prior to the event even starting.
How to Heal - Co-Parenting at Childrens' Events
My anxiety started as the children, and I prepared for the event and became during the drive to their school. I would start having trouble breathing as I parked the car and walked to the auditorium, court, or field. The anticipation of seeing my abuser separated me from reality once I got seated.
I found putting a strategy together before I got to the event extremely helpful.
Arriving early, or soliciting help from someone, helped me to obtain a strategic seat for the event. I always knew where my abuser was sitting but tried my hardest to avoid looking in that direction. Instead, I focused my attention solely on the event. I blocked my curiosity on what my abuser was doing and who he was embarrassingly talking to.
I started noticing a pattern of negative, anxiety stricken tones eliciting from me as we drove home from these school events. After feeling guilty so many times for ruining an otherwise pleasant event with my uncontrollable negative, crouch mood in the car. I decided I needed to improve my strategy. As I became stronger on establishing my boundaries, I worked on holding whatever my abuser said to me at the event, in stasis. Whatever he said to me, I planned to keep it in a mental brown-paper bag. I planned, ahead of time, that I was going to drop that bag off in the trash can as I left. I choose not to allow him in the car ride home. I choose to instead focus 100% of my mental effort on the children.
Eventually, as I was driving to a school event, I rehearsed the eventual outcome, dreading the effects of seeing him again. It took months, years of constant effort to control of how my abuser’s masquerade would affect me. Eventually, I prepared myself for exactly what he was going to do and say, and planned how I was going to allow it affect me. It was like watching a bad movie. The moment I left the gym, field, or the school auditorium, I shut the movie off and threw my imaginary brown paper bag in the garbage. I deliberately set up the boundary of not allowing my abuser ruin another ride home with my children.
Eventually, I started being able to enjoy my children’s events. Eventually, I was able to control my wandering thoughts enough to stay right there in the event and remain connected to what was going on.
Hi, I'm Sue
Welcome to my blog! I served twenty-one honorable years on active duty, living a double life of capability and accomplishment in the service while enduring brutality and abusiveness in my twenty-one year oppressive marriage. Today I'm happily married and have three children who are my inspiration and motivation.
My goal is to help combat the lies of abusers with the truth of God. I hope you find my words to be healing and helpful through your own life experiences.
Being separated from my abusive husband didn't make me a domestic violence survivor. It surely didn't release me from the grip of his brainwashing control and the innate power he had on me.
Read the full raw story in my new book, Rock Bottom and Faithless.