First, I just want to say that I am not expecting anyone to give me any legal (or treatment) advice. I’m saying that in a completely non-emotional way, because I know there are differences in national (and even here, state) laws and procedures. Also, as I well know, here is the U.S., people can get in trouble for “practicing without a license” both law and medicine.
Mostly, I am just writing what is or has been going on and responses to the events. I think Velvet, a while back you said something to me about doing too much research. I could go back and find it, but what I do want to say is this: when I was married and the CG filed for the divorce the first time (1998), he had the divorce papers filled out a month before he filed them. He filed them after having forced me to a mental hospital for being “homicidal” (I remember he said “you used the word” – kill – and thereby justified his actions. I had walked into MY house and the pastor (of the church we were both members of) was there, supposedly for “safe passage”. I was going to pick up some things and stay at a friend’s house with my daughters for a few days. I’d already made arrangements. I had called the police several times for a “stand-by” but they kept putting me off, telling me it would be several hours. I was tired and my daughters were supposed to be in school the next day. We had been separated by police a couple days before (after arguing in public; I had told him I wasn’t driving back home if he was going to continue yelling at me) and I had not been home since. When I walked back into my house the first time since the argument, I first handed my (ex)husband and the pastor a drink; I had bought them on the way back to the house. There were no vehicles in the drive to warn me that anyone else might be there. All of a sudden, my (ex)husband’s brother came “swooping” out of hiding in the kitchen, grabbed our daughters and took off out the front door. I walked into the kitchen and realized the phone was GONE and simultaneously realized I was out “in the middle of nowhere” with three guys who very obviously DID NOT have my “best interests” in mind. I guess it was instinctive, to give my mind a moment, because the pastor and (ex) were in front of me; I grabbed a picture off the wall, smashed it on the floor and told the pastor, “someone ought to kill you”. It was purely metaphorical (statement) but I felt utterly betrayed as well as scared. They could have killed me and nobody would even have known. Anyway, the next three months resulted in terrorization that culminated in my having a breakdown, followed by five years of being misdiagnosed.
I actually had to do a lot of research or I might still be “back where I was” and maybe not even knowing about the gambling. I might be taking little pills for a “disease” I didn’t have.
That shocks me and sometimes even can cause me to “fall back” into emotional shock, as can the realization that HAD I KNOWN, when I was being dragged into court, time and time again after we were divorced, that the day (ex) was supposed to be in court, he was ACTUALLY in an out of state casino, I WOULD NEVER have HAD to go back to be able to spend time with my children on a regular basis. I went back because I figured that if I was being affected by all the stress (and which I hadn’t anticipated, when I gave him the divorce he so obviously wanted), it HAD to be harder for our children. I didn’t know about the gambling then, and didn’t learn about it until after he filed for divorce, about 5 years after I returned. That causes me a great deal of grief, as I had redeveloped a career and I had to handle situations (even without the knowledge of gambling) that should not have been going on, because I realized I couldn’t “trust the system”.
Had I not done all the research, I wouldn’t have “figured things out”. I KNOW that what you said wasn’t meant as a “slam” or negatively, Velvet. 🙂
I had hoped, when I did find out about the gambling, that he would choose to face himself. I come from a faith basis and I told him “God didn’t bring us this far to drop us off a cliff”. I also didn’t think that I needed to “know” everything; I told him most of it was between him and God. Also that if we were both right with Him and with one another, there was no problem we couldn’t get past. That it didn’t mean it would be easy, just that it would happen. I also don’t know that I would have come back (same, as he had INSISTED that he loved me and WANTED to be married to me) in the same way, if it meant our daughters were going to go through this same betrayal, the divorce of their parents, all over again.
I honestly, during that first three months (of terrorization), didn’t understand WHAT was going on. It was years before I realized that I had (have) never experienced the CRUELTY I was subjected to those months. I was sent to a women’s shelter, where I kept being told “he is going to kill you” and I was terrified to spend ANY time in our house, because I was having horrible visual panic attacks that involved my ex and (our) friends taking me out to the woods behind the house and ripping my heart out of my body while I was still alive. The panic attacks were never diagnosed, I figured out what they were and learned to get through them on my own, but that took a long time.
I try to read others’ threads when I come on here (I know I’m not a “regular”) and it does help, but it is also disheartening. I recognize what they say, “having to be parent” to a spouse … I can remember when I met him, that was the ONLY thing that bothered me; he reminded me of “someone’s little brother” and I had grown up being the oldest and always held to account when my brothers went astray (I was the oldest, supposed to set a good example … haha … I can remember always wondering WHERE I was supposed to get this for my own use!).
There actually aren’t any Gam-anon meetings within 100 miles of where I am. I have called their lines in past a couple times, even so, it is hard to get hold of anyone. However, one of the things that sticks with me is the woman who I talked with who told me that if someone addicted to drugs spent and used what CGs do, they’d be dead. Sometimes it hits me that if I hadn’t pointed out that (new) spot of gangrene on his foot, that his girlfriend nurse had obviously missed … he might be dead and I (and our daughters) might not have had to again go through unrelieved hell. I can’t help but wonder if it would have been “wiser” to have just gotten out and explained to my daughters later. But I truly believe, having read so much here and what I know, that very likely, my daughters would be paying daddy’s bills today, doing his housework and so on …. they are on their one, one married and both with good, career oriented jobs. They have seen some of the wrongs that CG leads to, coming from their father and (one more so than the other) we have had some discussions as a result. I can’t tell them what to do, but they have some warnings and can make decisions without being under either of our thumbs … which to me is “how it should be”. My own view of parenting is that a parent is responsible to raise their child(ren) to be able to navigate through adulthood successfully; whether they then choose to or not is up to them. By the same token, I realize, especially now, that disordered parents will not, they will foster false dependencies and use emotional strategies to fill their own needs, in an unhealthy way.