Protecting Your Children from a Borderline Mother

To my daughter

 

This book is for fathers living with an abusive wife. If you are here, I assume that you have had some horrific experiences. It is likely that you carry great pain from what has happened to you and your children. It is also likely that you will always be suspicious of other women that are interested in an intimate relationship with you. Both of these things are very difficult to live with.

 

I have flashbacks of events that happened with my wife over the past few years ranging from being screamed at in public to hearing my young daughter tell me that she wishes her mom would die. You might have these too and if so, your daily life is very difficult. I often compare this to being a survivor of a war camp.

 

Going into your marriage, I can assume that you had very noble intentions. You wanted to be a loving and supportive husband, take very good care of your family and enjoy the small things in life because you knew how important it is to celebrate what you have. You thought your new wife would share these ideals and work hard with you to accomplish these things.

 

You are likely a hard worker and might have achieved great things because you care a lot about doing the right thing. Being in an abusive relationship reveals a few things about what your childhood might have been like. There is a good chance that you grew up in an invalidating environment where your feelings, thoughts and wishes were not respected. Most likely by a needy mother and a cooperative or abusive father.

 

I’ve seen men in an abusive relationship that describe their childhood as being good. I often wonder if that is the case or if they have missed something. Needy/childish mothers are often good at hiding their bad parenting skills from others. They surround themselves with superficial friends that never provide the right feedback and they often marry a man who is too weak or immature to do anything. If you already realized that your family was not a good model, you likely always wanted something different for your children. It is a cruel reality that you now have to protect your children from abuse which you were not able to do for yourself as a child.

 

Unfortunately, the situation is not better and is probably worse on your spouse’s side. Your wife is emotionally underdeveloped and it is because she also grew up in an invalidating environment. You might have noticed how your wife and her mother’s relationship is broken. A mother with no empathy is like poison to a child’s mind.

 

And there lies the purpose of this book: Protecting your children from your wife. It sounds insane to most people.

 

This book is not about optimism and happy ending. I can’t offer false hope.  It’s about extreme acceptance of a very difficult situation and trying to make the best out of it. It is very likely that you as a caring father will pay a hefty price for doing the right thing which might very well remain unappreciated even by your own children. The only person who will know and hopefully appreciate what you had to endure to protect your wonderful children is you. Try to keep that in mind during bad days and remember how brave you are. You are dealing with one of the harshest realities that a human being can go through in my opinion.

 

It’s impossible to see a case where your physical health has not taken a hit from what you’ve been through not to mention your emotional one. It’s also likely that you’ve taken a financial hit. I take medication daily to reduce blood pressure, suffered depression and anxiety and lost significant amounts of money due to my marriage.

 

Unfortunately, men living with abuse are so very lonely. In my quest to find help, I’ve stumbled again and again across more abuse even from so called “mental health professionals”, “marriage counselors” and “healers”. At one point I told my family that I feel suicidal and was told to “man up”. This is after spending years carrying a recording device in my own home and being emotionally and physically assaulted on a daily basis.

 

So this is a quest for the brave. Truth is, you are the only one that will be willing to pay the price for your children. No one else wants to deal with this. This is especially true because it is likely that for many around you, your wife is considered a loving, caring mother or you might have heard her described as an amazing mother. One interesting realization is that abusive mothers are often overprotective. This gives many the impression that they really care about their children. The fact is that their children are just a possession in their eyes. I remember one day when my wife was cutting my daughter’s fingernails down to the quick. My daughter hugged me screaming in terror. Instead of calming her down, my wife pulled her hand, screamed at her and continued to cut. An abusive mother sees her children like a child sees her dolls. If hair needs to be brushed or fingernails cut, it will often be done in a violent, non-caring manner.

 

Often I go to the park with my daughter and see a mother who is constantly running around her child giving her water and food despite her reluctance. This is a good indication that something is wrong. If I happen to hear a conversion with this mother, I often realize how others do not see what might really be going on. If the mother’s friends are there, I can see they are often the kind that is also damaged. I believe this is because an abusive mother surrounds herself with like-minded women. An abusive mother often looks at an empathetic mother as weak and ineffective and therefore avoids interaction with such a person.

 

After realizing my situation, I was convinced that if only I could get my wife to see a professional like a psychologist or a marriage counselor, they will immediately see through her issues especially because they would know how badly this affects my daughter. I could not have been more far from the truth. Below I’ll describe a few scenarios of what’s likely to happen when involving these individuals.

 

One scenario is that the therapist will run exercises where you will “taught” how to speak to your spouse with more empathy when she’s upset. I put it in quotes because you are likely already very good with being kind to others and don’t need coaching. As a child who grew up in an invalidating environment, you were conditioned from a young age to serve the women around you and be a people pleaser. It’s also quite likely that kindness does nothing to improve your wife’s behavior. If anything, it might actually cause her bad behavior to escalate. A terrible side effect of this type of treatment is that it puts the responsibility on the man and makes him feel like he is the reason for the abuse. If only he was more empathetic, his wife would stop screaming, cussing, threatening and throwing things at him. Yeah, right!

 

My wife once screamed at me and I tried to hug her to calm her down. She bit and twitched me. Don’t let a so-called professional make you go through this ineffective treatment that puts the blame for the abuse on you. This is only going to get you even more down on your knees and the price will be paid by your children who instead of having a father who is strong enough to protect them, will see a weakened person who is relenting to his wife’s unreasonable whims and bad behavior. You need all your energy to fight off the abuse and protect your children.

 

This brings up another difficult reality which is that children especially young ones but also teenagers tend to cling to the parent that appears stronger. This is because they are afraid of the world around them and don’t necessarily have good judgment to decide which parent provides more safety. While you might solve problems in a thoughtful and quiet manner which is effective, your wife’s excitable demeanor might be interpreted by your children as powerful. Their distorted perception is made even stronger if your wife demeans you in front of them, paints you in a negative light or just demonstrates lack of respect which is quite likely.

 

Your children are also more likely to cling to your wife because she is compelled to present the world as a dangerous place to them. Shortly after my daughter was born, my wife would become enraged if I didn’t follow strange rules in our house. These rules were based on irrational fears that my daughter will get severely hurt from undercooked eggs, heating food in the microwave, turning on the ceiling fan and many others. Unfortunately, these fears can become embedded in your child’s mind who will often hear from your wife that he or she is being protected from your irresponsible behaviors that greatly endanger them. This pushes your children to develop clinginess to your wife who encourages this type of relationship as it gives her more control over your children.

 

As mentioned above, your wife’s view of your children is that they are a possession and as such, she expects them to demonstrate perfect loyally to her. Any display of independent behavior is typically punished or scolded which makes your children even more likely to choose her closeness over yours.

 

I remember taking my daughter to the park once with my wife. My daughter climbed on one of the contraptions and asked me to help her get down.  My wife said “don’t ask daddy. He won’t do anything for you!” If this happens to you, my recommendation is not to respond to your wife but instead talk directly and immediately to your child and say something like “You know I will always do everything for you and help you with whatever you need. I love you very much despite what mommy is telling you”.

 

Couple therapists and other professionals might tell you that in such a situation you need to figure it out with your wife. They will want you to ask her questions, understand where the anger is coming from and do you best to make peace with her. It’s a waste of time and will not help your child.

 

A common parenting principle is for parents to keep a consistent front with their children even when there are disagreements. This is probably good advice in a healthy relationship but it’s very harmful to your children in an abusive parenting environment. Trying to maintain consistency in a relationship with an abusive wife will end up with you having to justify crazy behaviors and demands to your children. The downside is twofold - it makes your children believe that their mother’s behavior is acceptable and normal and it strongly weakens your ability to influence them in a positive way.

 

It’s unfortunate but you must disconnect yourself from your wife and make your children realize that they are dealing with two individuals who have very different viewpoints. This is a key point to remember. It’s very hard to practice especially if you are at a stage where you are still hoping to fix your marriage and not upset your wife even further. As we’ll discuss later, this is not a good strategy.

 

It often takes months or years to come to grips with reality. The ultimate realization includes several components. The first is that your wife is severely damaged. This is not the kind of emotional damage that most if not all humans carry to some degree, but more like Kathy Bates’ character in Misery - cold, cruel and detached. You soon understand that you’ve been living in a dreamlike state with a woman that has never loved you. In fact, she has never really knew you at all because as far as she is concerned, you are an object. This is a painful realization by itself and it carries along a deeper message - that you are emotionally flawed as well. Your wife found you attractive and vice versa because of your projected need for validation. You might resist this idea initially but doing introspection should reveal this sooner or later. I wasn’t able to see this in myself until I fully accepted the reality and asked myself why I chose to bring this person into my life.

 

The second realization is that there is absolutely nothing you can do about this. Pleading, arguing and using logic does not achieve anything; nor does empathy. The best strategy is to communicate with your wife as little as possible. In fact, no communication is best. Most of what you say or don’t say is going to be interpreted as an attack by her. She is a person with no emotional skin which makes your existence unbearable to her.

 

It eventually becomes clear that the mother of your children sees your children as nothing but trophies. She is incapable of serving as a positive role model for them.

 

Building your children’s strength to effectively cope with the situation is the best you can do for them. Unfortunately, it is quite likely that your right to be physically close and support your children will not always be available to you. For instance if you decide to divorce and your children spend time alone with their mother. To survive their mother’s abuse, your children need a very strong sense of independence and self-worth which you can instill in them by giving them deep respect and love. Your wife will attempt to rattle their independence as it threatens her ability to control them so you need to viciously counteract this influence.

 

I often thanked my daughter for small things like picking up something from the floor or helping with the dishes and she had learned that I appreciate the person she is. She ended up seeing the world and herself not through her mother’s dark lens.

 

Here are some steps you can take to help your children become emotionally resilient:

 

·         Consistently tell your children that you love and appreciate them. They need your encouragement, warmth and positivity.

·         Spend individual time with each of your children.

·         Tell your children stories about your own struggles in childhood and in the present.

·         Don’t talk badly about their mother, but don’t justify any of the bad behavior.

 

Involving a professional will often be recommended as a course of action by family and friends. As I mentioned, this is likely to fail and in many cases will make the situation worse. You might go to therapy and stay quiet hoping to give your wife the opportunity to share and be listened to by the professional. This approach is risky because the therapist might end up buying into what your wife is saying and it would obviously not be loving words. You are not likely to receive credit for what you have done for your spouse and your children. Instead, you will be depicted as abusive and mean and your spouse will enjoy the support she is getting from the professional as she is telling stories about you. I went through this once. It ended with the therapist (who claimed to be a healer) cancelling our sessions by leaving a voice mail two hours before a scheduled session on my phone and blaming me for the failure of the treatment. Since then I learned that many therapists want to see themselves as saviors. They want you to be impressed with their opinions and drink the Kool-Aid. If the therapist says that your wife is frustrated with your lack of empathy, then that has to be true. If you bring up facts that negate their viewpoint, they would sometimes resort to categorizing you as mentally ill. This is a defense mechanism that is used to prevent you from undermining their authority. It is also dangerous since these professionals might be called upon by your wife to testify in court in a custody fight and will paint you as sick just because you did not play by their book. Having a therapist blame you for the failure of the treatment can be used against you in court so be extremely careful about initiating therapy.

 

I went to a therapist once and told him about my wife’s borderline tendencies. A few sessions later I noticed that he was constantly checking the clock on the wall and not paying attention. I kindly commented to him about it and at the next session he told me that I have borderline tendencies. I was taken aback by the lack of sensitivity in this statement but I can only assume it was based on his thought that I was clingy. This is not to say that men in such a relationship are not flawed. Being romantically involved with a borderline suggests a high likelihood of having narcissist traits. In fact, a book called “The Narcissistic Borderline Couple” describes this dynamic in detail.

 

If you decide to speak up during therapy sessions, you risk another outcome due to the fact that your wife is incapable of taking responsibility for her contribution to the situation. You might be spending numerous therapy sessions talking around the difficult topics but once the focus shifts to talking about her behaviors, there is a high likelihood that she will abandon the treatment. A common complaint is that the therapist is unfair (especially if he is a man) and is siding with you. Often this happens after you have already invested a lot of time and money in treatments.

 

If you do choose to attempt the therapy route, my strong recommendation is to insist on having a 1-on-1 session with the therapist and explain in detail what’s going on. Therapists will often not agree to this with the reasoning that it breaks down the trust between him or her and your spouse. If you hear this when asking for a private session, be very wary as this likely indicates that your therapist is not insightful and will have a hard time helping you. In other words, you should probably find someone else or skip the whole thing altogether.  

 

Remember that once you go to court, your mental health history will become open and like other facts it will be twisted by your wife and her attorney. Anything you have ever told your therapist in private and your therapist’s own biases can be used against you. Don’t expect the therapist to do the right thing for your children. In fact, expect the exact opposite.

 

Rather than a couple therapist, I strongly suggest to approach several child psychologists and describe your wife’s behaviors and your concerns. From my experience, child psychologists tend to be more empathetic and their testimony can be invaluable. Be aware that many therapists do not want to come to court and will need to be subpoenaed. A quick suggestion is to seek a therapist who has a PhD. It can increase the chances of having a smart individual on your side.

 

Many of the experiences of men living with a borderline spouse sound like they are taken from a fictional story. There is absolutely no logic in the way an abusive woman behaves towards her husband and children and people will often have a hard time believing you. This reminds me of a time when I went outside with my wife and daughter and uttered “wow, it’s really hot today”. My wife started screaming that it’s not her fault and I could have stayed home. A couple of other times, my wife broke a glass in the kitchen while washing dishes and I could hear her muster cuss words at me even without us having any previous altercation.

 

To your wife, everything you say is interpreted as an insult. It could be as simple as “the sky is blue”. In her mind you are equated to her unloving mother. Your wife’s focus is completely on herself and she believes that the world revolves around her. You serve no purpose other than being a “need gratifying object”.

 

A friend of mine who is a brilliant computer scientist once described his borderline wife as an advanced A.I. She is able to reply when asked a question but it is as if there is no human inside. I found it to be eerily accurate.

 

You must have experienced bizarre contradictions where your wife would be screaming and cussing at you one moment while minutes later would use her sweet voice to ask for something. This is one of the most difficult things to cope with. I heard from a friend that his wife would scream at him and a few minutes later would ask him in her sweet voice “honey, do you want to order pizza?”

 

You have to turn off your empathy circuits and ignore this. Demonstration of empathy from your wife is nothing but a manipulation strategy to keep you at bay. Her ultimate goal is to have you take care of her which she believes is your sole duty. It took me years to realize that my wife’s disdain of me has nothing to do with my actions but the fact that I exist at all. On the flip side, I was being manipulated with kindness at times especially when my wife suspected that I was about to leave her which is a case of “I hate you but don’t leave me”. This kind of abusive ping pong can last for many years unless you put a stop to it.

 

I’ve heard from one guy whose wife cheated on him, married her boyfriend but her ex still let her live in his house and paid her expenses. He was miserable and considered suicide but she repeatedly manipulated him.

 

People around you are likely to explain your wife’s rage against you with the notion that you must be treating her terribly. It is unfortunate but society tends to consider men as abusers and women as victims. I’ve heard the term “it takes two to tango” when describing what I’ve been through. This is not limited to strangers but includes close family members and so-called professionals. In fact, you might actually be categorized as mentally ill. This is known as the “Martha Mitchell effect” which is when improbable reports are erroneously assumed to be symptoms of mental illness.

 

You need to be emotionally prepared to have your experiences undermined by your relatives and especially by your wife’s family. You might hear things like “just ignore her”, “be a man” or “have more kids”. I’ve heard all of these from people I thought cared for me, even after describing my wife’s repeated abuse towards my daughter and myself. In fact, these experiences expose what can be very painful but sobering view into how much others really care for you and how much they are willing to sacrifice to help you. Dealing with abuse requires tremendous courage and energy and this is where others might choose to turn their backs at your situation. This is not very surprising as it’s known that people who discover that they have cancer as an example often lose their ties with family and friends all at once.

 

One of your wife’s strengths is her ability to manipulate others and create a façade. This often involves playing the role of the perfect housewife when others are visiting your house or when you’re out among friends. This diminishes your claims about abuse and reinforce a view that you are ungrateful, harsh or mentally ill which is an image that your wife gladly propagates. For her, being perceived as a victim is very important to avoid any potential criticism.

 

The best course of action is to start recording intimate conversions and keep a dated journal. If you end up in family court, it can be useful although there are also serious problems with recordings which I’ll discuss later. It is often very hard to capture such interactions with background noises and the need to hide your recorder but it’s your main defense against your wife’s claims. She has advantage in court both due to her gender and due to the fact that she is a master of manipulation. If you do not have evidence to support your points, you might lose access to your children.

 

Be aware though that recordings have limited value. I presented a recording of my wife admitting to calling my daughter a whore and saying she’ll lie to the police about hitting her and my daughter. This did not matter to the judge who ruled in favor of my wife during temporary hearing. The painful truth is that recordings are mostly useful as a defensive mechanism against your wife’s allegations but have limited value as an offensive tactic. Once you get to court, the assumption is that you and your wife are both lying even if recordings show otherwise. The judge assigned to my case hated recordings so much that I was told that he could rule against me just because I played them (which actually happened).

 

When making recordings of your wife’s behavior, make sure that the recording device is not visible to your children. My wife lied in court saying that I was visibly recording her and my daughter. In fact, she realized at one point that I was secretly videotaping and told my daughter to smile to the police and the court on camera.

 

Writing a journal has some value as evidence (although not directly; more on that later) but also as a way for you to vent out your feelings. I found it to be somewhat helpful although at times it made me realize how much I’ve been through. It might also be beneficial if one day your journal finds its way to your children and sheds light into the horrors that you had experienced. It is not out of the question that at one point you will lose touch with your children due to misguided perceptions that were fed to them by your wife. Keeping notes that you can share with them could help you restore the relationship.

 

The most value you can get from recordings and a journal are to show these to your attorney and to therapists. It is also a way for you to refresh your memory about events that occurred when you finally decide to take action which leads us to the next section.

 

Taking action

 

I’ve seen men in this situation drag the relationship and never leave. They often recognize that there is a problem but they believe they can make it better, stay for the sake of the children or minimize the effects that their wife’s behavior has on them. I wasn’t immune to this and stayed with my wife 7 years after realizing that my marriage is never going to work. Some men fall victim to the manipulation and accept feign apologies and even offers of sex. This reinforces their need to please others which was instilled in them when they were serving their parents’ needs.

 

If you recognize this in yourself, it is important to know that the situation is unsustainable and you will have to eventually leave. The cost associated with staying in such a relationship ranges from severe health effects, losing touch with your children or worse, seeing your children lose their own sanity. I’ve witnessed my daughter go through periods of emotional distress and in those situations the need to provide strong support is critical. For children growing up with a borderline, it’s a slippery slope. Not taking action to connect with your children when things are tough can result in emotional disintegration. Keep this in mind and focus on stabilizing your life while you plan your exit.

 

The best timing on pulling the trigger on exiting your marriage is a very complicated decision. I spent years debating with myself on this decision. On one hand, sticking around for your children and providing support increases the chances that they will be able to cope better. An unexpected downside is that if your children do well when you’re around, it can work against you when trying to get custody. In my case, my wife’s attorney made the point that since my daughter is doing well at home and school, my allegations of my wife’s abuse are false. Courts tend to believe this so in effect, the better your children are doing or the better you are protecting them from your wife, the less likely it is that you will get custody. It is unbelievably unfair but this is the reality. Staying too long in your marriage also makes others believe that you are untruthful about the situation and that it is not as harsh as you describe. On the other hand, if your children are still infants or toddlers, it might also be difficult to get custody as the mother is typically considered the natural caregiver. Leaving too quickly could also be perceived as if you are abandoning your children. There’s no good answer other than to do what seems the best to you and depending on how much you can take for your children. I believe however that it is inevitable that the abuse will eventually wear you down to the point of a nervous breakdown or other severe health issues. Consider it a ticking time bomb.  

 

Once you decide to leave, your wife will increase the manipulation tenfold. She will use it against you, your children, your family, your friends and everyone else. Expect a bitter divorce process where you will be humiliated, blamed with child sexual allegations and violence and everything you’ve ever done for your family will be presented in a twisted way to the police and the court.

 

Discussing your decision to file for a divorce with your wife is a bad idea. Her initial attempts to get you to stay will likely include pleading, providing empty promises and offering fake kindness. Once she realizes that it’s not going to work, expect a complete transformation including threats to lie to the police or even self-inflicted violence.

 

It is therefore better to make plans without her knowledge and strike when you are ready. Once the divorce papers are served, carry a recording device whenever you are around your wife (I mean it!) as typically this is the best time to catch her making threats or behaving inappropriately next to your children.

 

Divorce introduces a painful reality when it comes to your children. You will find that you are forced to relinquish your parenting rights to a cold hearted, biased and cynical system. Expect to be treated as a criminal going as far as painting you as violent, mentally ill or worse. The judge’s personal opinions around religion, education, food, clothing, sleeping habits and everything else are the standards by which you will be measured. You might lose custody if you are an atheist and the judge is not. You might lose custody if your children sleep next to you or if you had decided not to vaccinate them. An automatic assumption is that you are incapable of making good parenting decisions especially with the distortion campaign that your wife is likely to engage in. Your parenting will be presented as neglectful and dangerous. In reality, the judge’s biases and parenting style will make or break your case rather than any impartial evidence you bring to court.

 

You want to hire an absolute top attorney. This is very important. Here are the characteristics to look for:

 

·         You want your attorney to be strong and proactive. Most attorneys treat a divorce like a game where the consequences don’t matter, but the reality is that you’re in a war. I’ve seen books that recommend getting an empathetic attorney and I found it to be a costly mistake. My first attorney was a nice guy but he was weak against my wife’s lies and manipulation. The last thing you and your children need is an attorney that sees your wife as a victim. It is far more effective to get an attorney who possesses some narcissistic traits and a strong desire to win. In other words, get a fighter not a sheep. I’d like to stress this. Do NOT hire a nice person as your attorney. Get a vicious animal.

·         It helps if your attorney has experience in court and in front of a jury. Some family law attorneys used to be litigation attorneys and will be better at selling your story.

 

Don’t settle on the quality of your attorney or you could end up in jail due to false allegations or you will only be able to see your children behind a glass with a social worker present.

 

Court

 

Success or failure in court depends on the judge and in most cases the judge will be against you. Many judges take a conservative view that the woman should be the caregiver of the children especially if she spends more time with them. In fact, it was surprising for me to see how much effort was spent in court trying to prove who spends more time with my daughter. The quality of parenting during this time does not have an impact on the court as much as the amount spent. Therefore, it is in your and your children’s best interest that you spend a lot of time with them. Obviously, it is not enough to do so without evidence since your wife will most likely deny this. Keeping a journal documenting the times and activities is one approach but like recordings it has limited value. The best for you is to have witnesses that can testify that you are an involved parent. Ideally, you’ll want women to testify for you since they tend to provide more details than men. Unfortunately, I found that it is unlikely that other women will come to testify on your behalf. This is especially true if the only women that have been around you and your children are friends of your wife. Expect to have little or zero support from them and their husbands.

 

It is a good idea to surround yourself with supportive people that can testify on your behalf. I found it challenging to bring empathetic people into my life when I was in the relationship especially for activities revolving around our children. My wife was typically showing good behavior when others were around but I could tell that empathetic parents were detecting something was off and minimizing exposure of their children to our household.

 

Make a conscious effort to identify healthy individuals in your life and do everything in your power to get them close to you and your children as often as possible. Remember that the court gives much more weight to what other people say rather than to your testimony or to recordings.

 

Protecting your children from their own mother requires making complicated choices and taking untraditional actions that can seem bizarre to others. This becomes an issue in court where the most simplistic explanations are preferred. The court does not provide an opportunity for detail or telling your story. It’s about making snap decisions that are based on incomplete information, biases and assumptions. Those assumptions include:

 

·         Both you and your wife are lying.

·         The person spending more time with the children is the better/more caring parent.

·         If you stayed too long in your marriage, it is likely that an abuse from your wife did not occur.

·         Your wife’s claims of violence from you are likely true whereas the opposite is likely false.

·         If your children are seemingly doing well, your wife has provided good care for them.

·         Recordings were made to entrap the other side.

 

In fact, the court doesn’t really care what had happened until the divorce. The assumption is that you are two quarreling children that need to be separated. The main thing that matters to the court is how you and your wife behave going forward. What you say and even the evidence you bring has little effect.

 

Taking a close look into the court dynamics reveals that it’s a playground for narcissists who care for their own egos first and foremost. There are no checks and balances to keep judges honest or fair and it is a game of power.

 

It’s enough for the judge not to like you, how much money you make or the way you speak and he or she will rule against you. The judge doesn’t have to give an explanation for their ruling to anyone and family courts don’t provide the option for appeal. With this in mind, it’s easy to see that the party who wins in court is determined by who is more likeable and compliant rather than by who is a better parent.

 

Your best chance of winning is if your wife does something to upset the judge either during trial or afterwards. Other than that, you are at a significant disadvantage. Collecting evidence such as recordings at this stage is much more useful if you can demonstrate that your wife is disobeying the judge’s orders.

 

A common dogma is to tell boys that it’s their job to protect their mothers and sisters. Many western judges grew up with such influences and have that mentality. They take the view that the wife is a victim even if evidence proves otherwise. I know that this sounds gloomy, but I’ve heard this from multiple attorneys and found it to be true in my case.

 

There are a few things you can do to somewhat improve your chances. It is crucial to have your wife testify first. As a master of manipulation, your wife can and will twist the truth. Having her go on the stand first allows you to gain some control. Expect your wife to bring advocates to court such as other abusive women or women that admire her perceived strength.

 

People will expose their true self to you through this process. Expect to lose friends. Don’t be afraid to subpoena people who have relevant knowledge to your case. You are protecting your children and can’t compromise. Everything your children had ever said to you regarding your wife is considered hearsay and cannot be used in court except for their general wishes but even these are not likely to be taken seriously as the assumption is that you have influenced them.

 

Going into this process, it is helpful to gather strength and knowledge as a preparatory step. I recommend these books:

 

·         The 33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene

·         Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone With Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder by Randi Kreger and Bill Eddy

 

You will feel that the whole world is against you, but remember that there are people who are vouching for you. I used to keep my problems to myself and not share what my personal life looked like but I realized that sharing my challenges is critical.

 

High stress is expected while you are going through this. A strategy that I found useful is to talk to my inner self with kindness and empathy. If you feel the need to cry or scream, give yourself the legitimacy to do so and release your negative emotions. Research shows that tears helps the body get rid of cortisol.

 

You were devoid of love from your wife and likely your parents. For the sake of your children and your own, I hope you can give yourself sincere unconditional love.

 

If you choose to fight, remember the words of Winston Churchill: “When you’re going through hell, keep going!”

 

I’m sending you love.