So we, I, am in the middle of a ‘shit storm’

Everything was fine until mid January, when somehow or other something tickled my ex husbands ire, and he kicked off, big time. But he doesn’t kick off at adults, at me ? no he uses the kids

This does not go well, result: a very stressed anxious aggressive ANGRY 14 year old. Part of this is being 14 , but most of it comes from being told his mother is ‘negligent’ ; does not care about him, puts her needs before his (quite amusing from a man who put drug taking in front of his family for years) and is a disgrace. He has also posed a number of ‘questions’ to son 2, suggesting that he “demand answers from his mother” … these ‘questions’ HAVE no simple answer and any explanation of the emotional complexities behind the actions that are being questioned is quite beyond the ken of a 14 year old boy. I am simply NOT going to discuss my abusive marriage with my son. I cannot explain to my son that exP made me feel safe from HIS father …I cannot explain how abused women feel and the psychological burden and scars that i bear from that marriage and divorce. So I tell son 2 I cannot give him answers because they are not straightforward, and he is enraged all over again, and says he will hate me until I give him answers. These “questions” have been put there by his father.

Everyone under the sun is involved now.

School, social services, my lawyer, friends, my ex Partner, my work colleagues (because I’ve had to take a few days away from front line duties because I can’t manage that as well) his family, my family. Emotions are running high. He said, she said / rumour and accusations are flying around.

Angry text messages between my ex husband and myself ( now stopped because I have blocked him as they were getting nowhere); between my exPartner and ex husband. between our eldest son and his father, angry conversations between my ex husband and my friends; all fuelling the fire.

How much of this is due to me? I am very grateful to the people who have spoken up on my behalf, it makes me feel less vulnerable. My friends intervention was, I believe measured, and aimed at trying to get my exHusband to recognise that it is our son who is being damaged by this. ExP was just furious and trying to protect me, I should not have asked for his support, but the need for reassurance and ‘safety’ was overwhelming –  and he is so bloody good at that bit! His response to my exH however was predictable…and probably not helpful in the longer term. I didnt ask him to do it, and I didn’t know he had until the information came back via an alternative route.

so how have we got into this mess?

I feel so distressed when i get abusive messages/ when the kids report what is being said / when I see son 2 struggling, anxious and angry. I find the demand for “answers” so difficult to manage – I understand that he wants to ‘know’ stuff, but the are things he himself did not think of; no they are about the things my exH thinks I have done wrong.  I find it hard to contain my emotion and anxiety and it spills out to (a small group of) other adults. Because they care for me, they try to help. But should I say anything, allow my own anxiety and vulnerability to show? am I overreacting ?

I just want him to stop. I want a quiet life, I want to build my home for myself and my children. I have enough stress day to day with a FT job and three teenage sons, and a house to run. I dont want these high emotion, acrimonious interactions … But maybe I’m fuelling it too. By telling my friends what has gone on, by seeking support and validation from my ExP, by calling school, social services and my solicitor – have I stoked all this into a much bigger fire than it needed to be ?

I know that I tend to catastrophise: and basically imagine the worse possible outcome from any given situation, even if its not very likely. This is especially significant when I’m tired or overstressed, and really applies only to home ‘things’ The three parts to this catastrophizing are

  • – Rumination – (repetitive overthinking)
  • – Magnification ( blowing it up to be a bigger problem than it really is)
  • – Helplessness  (feeling like I have no control over what is happening)

Once I start to take control, and believe I can influence what happens, the other factors seem to shrink a bit and become more manageable. In this situation, contacting my solicitor, arranging a meeting makes me feel more in control, as if there IS something I can do to stop this… and that calms me down. I have noticed this once or twice before in the last year, and I think it’s particularly noticeable since I stopped drinking. As I can no longer reach for a bottle of wine to manage my anxiety and fear about situations, I have few other coping techniques. So I talk to too many people, and the whole thing blows up bigger than it needs to be.

I find it hard to get a handle on how big a problem things really are. On one hand,son 2’s distress is very real, school are very worried and have contacted adolescent mental health services and child safeguarding; . On the other son 2 can be a bit of a drama queen, and social services don’t seem to be that concerned, my gut feeling is that he’s angry and distressed but that he’s milking it a bit for the attention.

so what now? I have a plan. I hope the interventions from me, and on my behalf, may have given ExH cause to reflect on his actions; and that even if he cannot grasp why, he will accept that he must not continue denigrating me to the children

well I can hope cant I ?







  1. Is there any thought of son 2 going to live with his father? Are you safe?

    Have you considered a family counsellor to mediate your discussions with son 2? Someone to help you decide what he should hear and what is none of his business?

    And finally, hug. You are going hard things gracefully.

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  2. Oh Lily this sounds very complicated. I am so sorry you have to go through this. Thank goodness you are sober! You are doing great and this will work itself out. Focus on getting son#2 the care he deserves and he will figure it out as you continue to do what is best for him.

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  3. Oh I am so sorry about this ugly pot of gumbo happening. I was reading this and thinking – HOW is she handling this? I would struggle as well. All I know is that a drink wouldn’t fix it in any way (I know you didn’t say that, just thinking about how there is that tiny, tiny voice which would tell me that hey…) We as parents are always trying to “fix” things and one thing I am learning is that I can’t fix it all. There are times to let go, and yes, times to put your foot down. It sounds like you’re navigating the best you can. I wish you strength and positivity. You seem to handling this well. Amazing.

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  4. Lily, I am so sorry you have to go through this. All your hard work and staying sober, this must be so trying. I am thinking of you, and I always say I am doing the best I can, and that is all you can do. Be proud of yourself, you deserve it. You are doing really well at this.

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