Wondering whether you have made the right decision to leave your marriage when times get tough, is natural. And at one time or another everyone considers this prospect. Some people more often than others, especially if your life feels uprooted, out of control and you are living from week to week.
When you still have feelings for your ex-partner but know without a doubt that your life would be better without them because of the toxic environment you co-existed in. That is not love, that’s survival. One day you find the strength to leave, only to reconsider because life seems worse. You feel like you need more strength now then you did before.
In this podcast, I explain why you feel that way and how looking at the bigger picture will get you through. These feelings are not forever. When we are scared and feel uncomfortable, that is a sign everything will be alright as you are building a happier future.
Setting the scene, of one of my dear clients who is in this position right now, and considering returning to a toxic environment[00:01:00]
The dangers of technology [00:03:00]
Her breaking point and why she finally left with nothing but her car. [00:06:00]
Life just has to be better than this.[00:08:00]
She said to me last night on the phone. ‘I should have just stayed. Maybe, I should go back if I go back all of this pain will go away’ [00:11:00]
Easing the pain will be short lived and she needs to look at the big picture.[00:13:00]
Why she will come out of this a better and stronger person. [00:15:00]
My book: The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering Independence through Divorce
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[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to this episode 11 of The Divorce Angel Podcast. Thanks for joining me and let’s get into it.
Welcome to Divorce Angel Podcast and thank you for joining us. Get ready to uncover the strategies everyone can implement for a successful separation and divorce. This will save you valuable time, money, and emotions while learning the secrets to you happily ever after. Now, your host, my wife, Tanya Somerton.
Hello and welcome to The Divorce Angel Podcast. I’m Tanya Somerton. Thanks for joining me. This is the 11th episode of my podcast and I thought today I’d have a chat to you about something that is pretty upsetting to most people who are going through a divorce and that is wondering whether they have made the right decision or not. Wondering whether they should have stayed because it would have been easier to have stayed than all of the effort to leave. There’s so much effort in being able to leave a unhappy relationship whether it’s you’ve just fallen out of love or what worries me the most in a lot of cases is the people still love their partner, but just know it’s a toxic environment and if they really want to have a better life, they have to do something about fixing the anarchy that they live in.
This podcast comes to you [00:01:00] today after a phone call that I had with one of my dear clients. Let me set the scene. She’s been working with me now for over 12 months and the problem is is that her ex-husband has pretty much controlled all the finances and he’s formed this relationship that works to every one of his needs and wants, and she’s just been molded and before she knew it, here she is in such a terrible environment that she’s so unhappy. He bullies her, he controls all the finances. She was working when they first got married and then over the period of time, he wanted her to stop working so she did and she became a stay-at-home mother. He pretty much had her in a very, very controlled environment.
Everything she needed and wanted, he would provide to her so he would [00:02:00] always say, “Look you’ve got everything that you need. I can’t understand why you’re unhappy.” But the reason that she was really unhappy was ultimately because they weren’t equals whatsoever. She became to feel like a slave in the relationship that if she wanted to go anywhere or do anything, he would want to know the ins and outs, he would belittle her for “Well, why would you want to do that? That’s just a silly thing to do.” This behavior has gone on now for probably 15 years and the catalyst came about when she asked for something and he picked up her phone and he threw it in the pool and he said “No, you’re not doing it.”
Now, this client also was wondering how her husband always knew what she was up to. This is something that I deal with a lot of my clients and when we sit down and we do a divorce roadmap, and you’ve probably [00:03:00] heard about me talk about these before, but what we do is we try and mitigate any risks and a lot of risks that happen with many clients, especially in this day and age, we’ve got drop boxes. If you’ve got anything that is Apple related, they are all able to sync with one another. We’ve got Google Docs and like just a Google drive and everything is able to sync and make our life easier. Well, that’s supposed to be what it does.
What this technology does special all of these cloud-based Technologies, what they do is they can certainly, put us in a precarious situation. Whilst they might make our life easy, especially for business purposes, if your partner or someone you knew wanted to know what you’re up to and they know your password or especially if you’ve got children, and you’ve got an iTunes account [00:04:00] and the kids are using your iPad, then there’s the chances that your spouse can also have access to what’s going on in those networks and has access to your messages or your documents.
We’ve had a few clients whereby their partner has updated their Dropbox with legal documents and information and they’ve been able to see them. Whilst their partner didn’t know this, our client was obviously able to read all of the correspondence, all the legal letters that were going back and forth, and whilst this was our client, and we were telling them not to read it, that it was illegal, the temptation was there. I’ve also had clients that have been able to read their partners’ emails because on their computers at home, they’ve still got all of the memory of the password and those sorts of things because if you think about it, when you go onto your laptop, it [00:05:00] asks you do you want to remember the password and clients have been able to read their partners’ emails and whatever correspondence has been going through even, you know, after two years after leaving the relationship.
If we get back to this client that I’m talking about right here, what was happening with her was she had an Apple iPad and an Apple phone, and he had an Apple phone and they were using the same Apple password. What was happening is every time she was getting a text message, because if you look at your phone you either have a green or a blue message, every time she was getting a text message, he was getting the same text message on his computer so he was always aware of who was contacting her, what they were saying, any organization that she was up to, where she was going. All of those sorts of things. He was always aware of what she was up to. Then one day, the receptionist [00:06:00] at the family business said to the wife, who was my client, said to the wife, “Look, I think it’s really strange. When you were in here the other day, your phone was beeping. I noticed that–” let’s call him Fred– “Fred’s iPad was beeping at the same time and it seems to beep when there’s messages coming through it. It’s all just a little bit weird.” and the receptionist was able to put together a few different sorts of steps to find out that the ex-husband was getting the wife’s text messages on his iPad. So he was well and truly aware of what she was up to at any given stage and then answered a few questions for her because she was always wondering why he knew what she was up to where she was going. It was like he knew what she was thinking, but he was actually just reading all of her correspondence and text message.
These become the catalyst when she confronted him about this and he picked up her phone and he threw it in the pool. That was when [00:07:00] she knew that she had to leave, that things were just getting too controlling, she felt like a prisoner in her own house, that she was really not getting any income or anything like that. He was providing her money, and whilst he may have turned around and said look, “You’ve got everything that you want and need.” Let’s be honest, you know, she was living on a lovely house, brand new 40 square property with swimming pool, she drove a BMW. So from the outside in everyone thought that they were a really happy couple and getting along really well.
From her perspective, she said, “I’ve got everything I could want.” except they were not equal, she did not get treated with respect and she loved him, but all she wanted was it to be a normal relationship and it was not. She decided to leave him after a lot of, let’s say soul-searching, and she thought, “Well, even though I love him, life just has to be better than this. I [00:08:00] can’t continue to live the way I am.” She started working with me and we tried to put together as much information as we could and it was difficult. I’ll be honest, it was difficult because when she left the family home, by leaving the family home, she also left all of the paperwork, everything that she might need to be able to help a lawyer, she had no bank statements, she was unable to answer a lot of questions around what sort of debt the family was in because she never knew that, he handled all that sort of stuff. She had no idea about credit cards, overdrafts, if there was any redraw facilities, and the list just went on and on. We went around to certain banks and asked questions on her behalf, with her obviously, and found out a few things that she was not aware of. There was some loans that she didn’t know about, there was some credit cards that she certainly was not aware of, and the list [00:09:00] went on.
It showed that without having any control in the relationship or finding yourself in this sort of relationship, she had no idea where her life was going to go and he was leading everything. 12 months down the track and what he’d done is he’s gone and hired another factory, he’s tried to move assets to another place so people can’t find them when he’s asked for assets, what the business is worth, he’s saying that it’s worthless. These are all the things that you would expect from a person who is very controlling and he’s certainly not prepared for her to have anything.
Last night, I get a phone call from her and she is absolutely at her wit’s end. I can see she’s at breaking point and she’s been there on various occasions throughout this journey, but with the help of her family and my team, we’ve been able to bring her back to understand why [00:10:00] it is that she feels the way she does. She said to me last night on the phone, “I should have just stayed. Maybe I should go back. If I go back, all of this will go away.” But what she doesn’t understand is, and it’s very hard for her to see this through all the pain that she’s dealing with because here she is, living with one of her adult children. They’re paying some bills for her because, obviously, she can’t get a job. She hasn’t worked for many, many years. So she struggling to find employment. She can’t get any help from the government because it seems that when they do searches on her, she’s got assets in her name. They’ve got an investment property. They also own a factory, but what they don’t know is that all that money is going to him and not to her. Every day she is struggling just to survive. Not only physically, but mentally it is taking a serious toll on her. [00:11:00] So we have her in a counselor and we make sure that she’s getting the right support that she should.
Last night when she said to me, “I just can’t do this. Maybe I should go back. It would be so much easier if I just go back.” It reminded me of when we are born. I’m sure, not that I can remember when I was born, but as a baby who’s coming through the birth canal, I am sure it is scary as– They’ve been in this amazing environment that has been warm and comfortable and they’ve grown and it’s all they have known. All of a sudden, here they are. They’re either coming out of the birth canal into this bright light and cold and they’ve been squashed and they’re scared, or they’re being born by Caesar, and all of a sudden, once again, there’s light and out they come and into this bright bright world. [00:12:00] It reminded me of that is what she’s going through right now. She’s being reborn. All she can remember is what it was like before and whilst at the moment, what she feels is how it’s like she’s going through the birth canal right now. She’s just dealing with such emotional trauma that she just is looking to ease that pain. To ease the pain, it’s easier just to go back to where she was rather than think of where she could go and where she can be.
Nothing has happened as quickly as she thought because her ex-husband has been quite manipulative, but then he was like that anyway in a relationship and that’s what I said to her. “What did you expect from him? He was never going to play nicely because he hasn’t played nicely all of this time.” He’s locked her out of the house, he’s put CCTV through the property so that if she ever turns up, he’s straight on the phone to her telling her to leave. He’s threatened her that [00:13:00] if she turns up to the house the car that she currently drives, which is the only thing that she’s got, is in his company’s name and he will come and take it off her. So she so petrified by everything that she feels completely contained and that’s his game. That’s what he wants her to feel like.
What we will do, we have no choice but to now probably consider taking him to court, that maybe only at this particular stage, two percent of my clients have gone to court and that’s only when we’ve tried everything possible to get it sorted out, but she’s at breaking point, we need to get her some income, we need to make sure that she’s got some money so she can set herself up. But this beautiful client is currently being reborn. She’s being reborn into a new person and that’s what I tried to tell her yesterday. When this is all over, she will be amazed at the strength and the [00:14:00] resilience that she’s shown through this turbulent time, and I could not be prouder of her.
I know it’s painful. I know it hurts her. I know she’s scared. But I also know that she’s got a wonderful group of people around her that love and care about her and at the moment, whilst it does not feel like she’s getting anywhere, every little day, she’s taking a step closer to getting this sorted out. I often say, “No marathon is won without one step at a time.” and she’s been strong enough to do that and I will get her through this no matter what. She will come out of this as a much better person and she will survive, and he will continue to be a manipulative person who will probably move on to someone else, and if only we could let that other person know the sort of person he is and prevent [00:15:00] her from going through any future harm, that would be a wonderful thing, but we can’t do that.
I just wanted to let you know, if you find yourself in this position right now, and you find yourself thinking maybe it’s easier to go back than it is to keep going and doing what I’m doing. Remember my analogy of the birth canal. What you were going through right now is you are being reborn. You are being reborn to be someone that you probably will never recognize or you didn’t think would be possible, but you will be a better and stronger person after everything you’ve gone through. I promise you that if you stay strong and you have a plan, and you have a great team around you, you will survive.
That’s it for this episode. I know it’s a little bit different to normal. I’m talking to you right now. If you are struggling, please believe that everything will [00:16:00] be okay. Please believe that you will get through this and stay strong. If you need any help or support from me or my business, please let me know because we are here to help and that’s what drives me every day to get out of bed every morning.
So thank you for listening. Please like subscribe and leave a comment if you like about this podcast. I look forward to having a chat with you next week. Bye for now.
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