Life After Abuse

by Callie
(British Columbia)

Life After Abuse

Mental Health

After being subjected to several years of emotional and physical abuse in the home I left, with a 10 month old, a 2-year-old and a 7-year-old, and nothing but what I could fit in our truck. We left late in the evening while “he” was in police custody for assault against me. My middle son was also injured during the altercation when his father stepped on him, while attacking me, as I was holding the baby. This was not the first time this happened, but it was the first time he was taken away in police custody and I had the chance! As my boys have grown into super awesome little dudes they have started to show signs of PTSD and severe anxiety. I was blown away the other day when I finally broke down and took my oldest to the Dr to see if we could get medication for his extreme anxiety. If you knew me, you’d say wow you must be desperate if you’re willing to go to that extent to get help. I DO NOT BELIEVE IN MEDICATING. The Dr looked at me and said, “we live in a small town, our resources are swamped, there’s nothing I can do for you really, I can give a referral for a pediatrician but it’s a wait to see them, maybe 2-3 months”

We have been on the wait list for the program “Children who Witness Violence” for around 7 months and have been told its probably another month or two before they get to us. My sons’ anxiety is debilitating, for himself and the entire family. There are days he can not choose between a fork and a spoon and must breath in a paper bag to stop from passing out. My middle son has PTSD as well and is suffering. He yells, acts out violently and says things like “I wish I was dead” he is 5! My 4-year-old, well, lucky for him he was young when we got out, however he sees his older brothers’ behaviour and of course mimics a lot of it. He also will say in the same sentence “I want to go to my dads’ house but he is a bad man and hurts mommy so I don’t want to go to my dads’ house” A 4-year-old should not be having these thoughts or be this confused. As time goes on things don’t get better or go away…they get worse. I read, have taken courses and done as much online research as I think one could stand, in order to find ways to help my children and be a better parent, but I am not a therapist or phycologist. We, as well as thousands of other children need help, and need it NOW. These children are growing up before our eyes and they WILL have mental health issues their entire lives unless someone steps in and helps our youth.

Judicial System

When are judges going to STOP forcing a parent to deliver their children to someone that has beaten the crap out of them or held a gun to their head???? Just this past spring a woman in the states was murdered in front of her children during a child exchange. My ex threatened to kill me in front of our children last October, he was holding our youngest son proudly on his right hip when he did this. This happened when I was delivering the children to him for his access time. This was 2 years after I left him!! Abusers use the children as a way to keep control and abuse us. They have mental health problems themselves and don’t realize, or care about the damage they are causing the children, or anyone for that matter. If the abuser is a sociopath/narcissist they are incapable of empathy or remorse, they say they care, but they don’t. A sociopath presents himself as the most charming, upstanding citizen, and can fool even the best of us…hence why we fall for these people! Judges believe them, and we are made to look like the “crazy ex trying to alienate them from their children” shame on us!

So we are bullied in court and typically this is done during a time we are at our weakest, we’ve just escaped, we are scared, we have no financial support, emotional support, and are TERRIFIED OF LOOSING OUR CHILDREN! So we agree, we listen to our appointed lawyers, who for some reason like to leave out the abuse part of the picture during custodial battles…I am still unsure why?? Then you have a judge tell you that this matter is now set for a case conference or mediation…ha ha ha... Oh great, so stick me in a tiny room with the guy that abused me for years and tells me he wants to kill me in front of my kids and “talk this out” tell me what person could gather themselves and sit there and “talk it out” with a clear head. “oh don’t worry, you’re safe, there will be a Marshal in the room with you” ugh, sure I will be physically safe, but how do I stick up for my self and the best interests of my children when I am the only woman in the room and my ex is starring me down. This doesn’t go well, first off because your ex wont be agreeable to ANYTHING you say no matter how realistic your request, and second, because you now have to wait for another court date…this is just the beginning, but oh, wait, your Legal Aid has run out, so now you are representing yourself or spending your children’s education fund to keep fighting for what you feel, what you know, is right. Oh, and you’re doing this all while living in a Womans shelter with your three kids.

Your ex takes you to court for fun. Its a game. To waste your resources, to waste what money you have, because they know you’ll fight to the end for your children, it’s our weak point. This is their way of keeping control. Why don’t judges see this happening? Why can’t the process be sped up? Why can’t they look at Criminal history in Provincial Court? Why are all the important factors missed? A judge should HAVE to check for a history of K files (a K file is a domestic abuse file in the criminal court). If there is a past K file, the whole process of how these custodial battles are handled MUST be changed!!! For the sake of the children, for the sake of the mothers or fathers trying to protect themselves AND at the very least for the waste of millions of government money! K file = different procedure. Judges MUST be informed of the repercussions of there orders. Just because you are a biological parent does not give you the right to abuse your children…. or does it? Seems this is the case.

Being forced to co-parent with an abusive ex turns the children into pawns. There is no talking around this. IT HAPPENS!!! They become the middle man for the abusive ex to pass hurt back and forth. The children become confused, hurt, angry and many times turn on the protective parent because of the head games and manipulation from the abusive parent. The abuse towards the children actually gets WORSE after leaving the home. 100% without a doubt. Yet we are forced by the court to keep subjecting the children to it.

Lets briefly talk about a thing called “Views of the Child” Report. Please tell me where in the world a 4 or 5-year-old knows what his views truly are? Apparently a 4 year olds views are completely acceptable in a court room and a 5-year-old knows what’s in their best interest... and lets just add these are children with mental instability at the time, confused, hurt, angry… one simple comment by them lands them back in the grips of the abuser…. And we start all over again.

This is Wrong!!! Please for the love of the children do something (forget us adults, we can fight for ourselves) but for the sake of these precious babies that will one day run our world, lets give them the best opportunity to do so, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD! PLEASE

Victim Services

I have been involved with Victim Services a LOT. They are great. I am in counselling and receiving much needed therapy for my PTSD. It has been a saviour! We have a surveillance system on our house, thank you to the program. Funding to cover therapy for my children is available…if we could find a therapist available to do so. Having an amazing woman to attend court with me and talk me through my roughest times was a god send. This service is AMAZING and MUCH need. I am curious though why there is only one person working as our local Victims support person? Only one person to assist at any given time? Are we that limited on funding for such a service? How about we save money in the courts by cutting back on the court appointed abuse and wasted time where Judges have to sit through listening to these abusers complain about how they just want to be a good parent… pft please.

One month in a Womans shelter is all you’re allowed. How about a shelter for Fathers? Men are NOT the only abusers in this world!!! So unless you are super resourceful and happen to get through court fast to obtain a child support order and division of assets (hahaha please! took me 2 ½ yrs) AND your ex actually pays you…getting your feet back on the ground in four weeks, after you’ve lost EVERYTHING is nearly impossible! Remember, you’ve left with nothing. So you need to find a house, furnish it, buy clothing, FOOD, diapers, toys etc. to make a new home for your children and you, in 4 weeks. Remember, you’re doing this all while in a deep state of depression, despair and fear. Good luck, I wish you all the best. I am pretty sure If I could have curled up in my mothers bed and fallen asleep for ever, I would have.
If people want to keep turning a blind eye to us “crazy, over reacting, alienating, emotionally effed up women” or how about a father claiming abuse by his ex? I can only imagine how a judge would look at him…. Well, that’s fine…but for the love of god someone please help our children, because the courts aren’t helping them and the police can’t help them. And if I do what I feel is right, I am facing court punishment, fines or even possible jail time … and loosing my children!

Sincerely, Desperately and Honestly,
A Mother (3 beautiful boys), Student (Social Services Worker), Survivor and Fighter


Comments for Life After Abuse

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by: Anonymous

The most hardest part about abuse, in my opinion, is the after effect. You become so numb during the abuse that you bottle every pain and emotion inside. It is not until you have gotten out is when you fully begin to grasp what your body and mind have suffered from. Your story is moving! Check out my blog about domestic violence.

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