Is it wise to talk about my abusive marriage after getting divorced?
March 27, 2018 11:22 PM   Subscribe

Not *totally* out in public, but to a limited set of facebook friends whom I trust. But still. It's facebook. It's the internet. I cannot guarantee 100% that it will stay within this group. My main concern: I never ever want my kids to know. Secondary concern: I have kids with the abuser with whom I share 50-50 custody; and I don't want to threaten the co-parenting relationship.

MeFites, I am a writer. I process things by writing. It helps me survive. So there is this, first of all.

~*~

I am also someone who has learned the value of speaking my truth and being entirely forthcoming about my experiences without feeling ashamed.

Some part of this comes as a reaction to my repressed childhood: I had abusive, intrusive, controlling parents with whom I coped by never ever ever letting anything leak out of me. As long as I lived at home, EVERYTHING about me was my secret: boyfriends, grades, friendships, dreams, even basic needs.All through grade school I begged friends to share their scissors and glue with me because I did not tell my parents I needed them to buy me craft supplies.

Then I was thrown out of home as a young adult, at which point I breathed free. Part of that was because I told everyone everything, with no regard for polite social secrets. For example: when I took a day off from college classes to have an abortion, I just told the professor without embarrassment and didn't care that some students were listening.

1. Living like this has been so liberating. I am not choking my whole self down anymore.

2. It helps me find my tribe. My childhood was utterly isolated and I never had anyone to lean on, but as an adult, when I speak my truth, I find support, and it's wonderful.

3. It resonates with my political beliefs. I am not ashamed, goddammit, and I will speak up in order to let others know they are not alone.

4. It helps me feel like I'm making up for my childhood as a lying liar who lied about everything.

These are powerful motivators for me to tell my story.

~*~

I have just left an abusive marriage. I kept the abuse secret for over a decade not because I wanted to but because I didn't know it counted as abuse. This may sound dumb, because it's so freaking obvious, but this is what being a victim of abuse is about. *shrug* I just didn't know.

I didn't even know when I left him. I left for completely different reasons: "I am unhappy," and "Yes, I know this makes me a selfish bitch and it's unfair to you, but I want to be happy and I can't be happy with you." I never confronted him about abuse because I didn't know it was abuse.

But now, 18 months later, I have worked through my denial and self-blame and all the crap you can imagine (therapy, yay), and I KNOW NOW. This is the truth. When he pushed me, it was abuse. When he raped me, it was abuse. When he told me I secretly liked the kind of sex I did not want, it was abuse. When he made me ask permission to buy a cup of coffee, that was abuse. Etc.

I now feel like an utter fraud for keeping this secret. I want to be free of it. I want to be myself, fully and entirely. I want to speak my story and find my tribe. I want to stop feeling like a lying liar who lies. I want to make other victims to feel less ashamed and less alone. I want to tell it all, and tell it all under my own name, and I want to name his name too. No. Bloody. Secrets. I'm not ashamed.

~*~

I don't plan to be entirely irresponsible about it. I plan to write about this on facebook and limit the share list to a limited (~50) group of friends who are (a) not mutual friends with my ex, and (b) have dealt with some form of abuse in their own lives as well.

It's just that in THEIR case, they did not share openly - just in one-on-one conversations with me and others. I am planning a semi-public post.

Also, they mostly don't have kids with their abusers, or if they do, they don't have co-parenting relationships with their abusers to keep up for the next 10-12 years. I do. My ex was only abusive towards me. Suffice to say, he's not a narcissistic abuser or a sociopathic one. His abusiveness stemmed from completely different issues that manifested in OUR relationship as abuse, but with his coworkers it was just "ugh, what a dick, he can go fuck himself", and with our kids as "Daddy, stop yelling, that's mean!" and he catches himself and corrects himself immediately, because he loves them. He didn't love me. Whatever. It's complicated. But take my word on this. He's a good, hands-on, involved dad. And you can bet your ass I am monitoring the situation closely for any hint of abuse, ready to have a custody battle if the time comes.

~*~

So that's the sitch. What do you think? Is my idea to process this out in semi-public wise? Should I keep all this to myself or stay anonymous, even though this idea just makes me angry and feel suffocated?

What dangers am I not seeing????
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
What dangers am I not seeing????

Don't post anything on the internet that you aren't willing the entire internet to see and weigh in on.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:45 PM on March 27, 2018 [78 favorites]


I plan to write about this on facebook

This idea strikes me as fundamentally unsound. Facebook and retention of personal control are not ideas that sit comfortably side by side.
posted by flabdablet at 11:46 PM on March 27, 2018 [44 favorites]


Also, what ActingTheGoat said.

Information wants to be free, and Facebook wants to monetize yours.
posted by flabdablet at 11:47 PM on March 27, 2018 [6 favorites]


Call these friends. Do not post it on Facebook. Someone will screenshot it. It will be seen by people outside of your intended audience.
And you don't know when that will be. It could be years or decades from now.
posted by k8t at 11:48 PM on March 27, 2018 [21 favorites]


My main concern: I never ever want my kids to know.

If that position ever changes, it should not be because one of your kids' class bullies has dug your writing out from under some rock where trolls gather and weaponized it against your kid.

Is my idea to process this out in semi-public wise?

The thing about the Internet is that it doesn't really do semi-public. All it takes is one careless leak and all of a sudden anything can turn up anywhere.
posted by flabdablet at 11:58 PM on March 27, 2018 [13 favorites]


I don't think your choice is between "process it in a semi-public way" and "keep it all to yourself." I would advocate a middle ground, where you tell people you trust one-on-one (phone or in person) or in small group situations, verbally. Not only does this remove fear of future screenshots and your kids finding out that way, I would guess that it will provide more of what you seek -- emotional support, commiseration, etc. I know Facebook groups can provide support (I belong to a few and it's great) but it's still much, much more powerful when the interaction is less mediated by your computer screen. Even IM or something over Facebook would be safer than an actual post though; then you just have to trust that the one person you're conversing with isn't a dick.
posted by forza at 12:11 AM on March 28, 2018 [15 favorites]


If you would only share this if you could be reasonably certain that it would stay within that group you mentioned you'd be curating for it, you absolutely shouldn't share this. People like to gossip, even your friends, even your friends who've been abused, and someone will do it—without even taking Facebook's inherent leakiness and byzantine privacy settings into account, something that is available to 50 people might as well be public.

Do you write fiction? That is what I usually do when I want to write about something but I want to control the... I guess occasion people have for thinking about it—that extra layer of abstraction between the facts of the matter and all but the most obviously roman a clef fiction is very good at filtering distractions but letting the truth through.
posted by Polycarp at 12:54 AM on March 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


Don't share this on facebook. If you need to write about it, write in your journal. Talk to your friends about it: either on the phone or in person.

I understand where your motivation is coming from, so I also want to say: you're not a lying liar who lies. Lots of people develop strategies as kids that allow them to survive, and lots of people realize as adults that those strategies are counter-productive and/or harmful once they're in a healthier place. But it's not fair to blame your kid-self for not figuring out a better solution because a) sometimes there wasn't a better solution and b) you were just a kid doing the best you could.

It is equally unfair to blame yourself for not seeing the abuse in your marriage sooner, since abusers make you doubt yourself and if the abuse ramps up slowly, you're like the frog in the pot of boiling water, so it's hard to see how far from normal you've gotten. If one of my friends or family members told me that they'd just realized that their old relationship was abusive, my reaction wouldn't be, "Why have you been lying to me about it all this time???" It would be, "I'm so sorry to hear that. Do you feel like talking about it some more over coffee?"

Also, in my experience, trying to fight your demons by seriously overcompensating in the other direction just causes other problems down the road. I think it's a better idea to try and find the middle road somehow.
posted by colfax at 1:43 AM on March 28, 2018 [10 favorites]


Have YOU thought about monetising your story, as fiction? If writing is therapy (and I know how powerful this can be), better to do this on your terms, and NOT on Facebook or any other web service. If you want to tell friends, tell them face-to-face, or by phone. ANYTHING that goes out on the web, including email, is not to be trusted to remain secret/confidential.

If writing your story as fiction does not appeal, just buy an exercise book and an economy jumbo pack of biros, and start writing ...
posted by GeeEmm at 2:07 AM on March 28, 2018


First, congratulations for getting away. Been there, done that. Like others said, it's not like your choices are stand on a worldwide Facebook stage with a megaphone, where nothing is private, or silently holding everything in until you explode. You're missing a middle ground.

You chose to ask this question anonymously so you understand the risks of sharing personal information online. You can't guarantee anything you write on FB won't eventually be made public without your consent and I think you know it's not a good idea. So no, don't write about this on FB.

Blog, write a book, find online support, there are many ways to reach out and share by writing. But FB is most def not a safe and private haven at all.
posted by yes I said yes I will Yes at 2:31 AM on March 28, 2018 [6 favorites]


I am so sorry that you went through all of this, and so glad that you are out and safe. But making a Facebook post about your abusive marriage is an incredibly self destructive and dangerous impulse. Please seek immediate therapy to help yourself find some kind of healthy understanding of boundaries, safety, and social discretion. Right now it seems like you have a pattern of two modes which are the total polar opposite of each other: the total silence of keeping your abusers secrets and internalizing that into the shame and self-blame of feeling like you are a liar, and the empowering as a child and young adult, but incredibly destructive and self-destructive as a parent, no-holds-barred honesty and public processing of your personal life that you hope will heal the wounds of your abuse. You need to find some kind of middle ground between these two extremes of “tell nothing” and “tell everything” and hopefully sooner rather than later, and before you end up making a Facebook post that gets your ex to take you to court for defamation and a custody adjustment. I know the seething feeling of injustice of having been abused by someone who is still accepted by their community. It is so, so, so hard to take. But if it is true that your ex is physically violent, that he is a rapist, then this is someone who is ultimately not going to be safe around your children, and you are going to need to formulate a strategy for keeping them safe from him. Emotional purging on Facebook before you have any kind of strategy in place is not a good plan. Be safe, take care.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:06 AM on March 28, 2018 [27 favorites]


I was a little shocked when you said you planned to share this on Facebook with 50 people. That is a LOT of people. No way this stays as private as you want. Someone is going to accidentally overshare, and once that happens, this will not be private. That doesn't mean you need to stay quiet, but this is something that needs to occur in person, really (and if you want to keep it semi-private, you still can't do 50 people). There are tons of ways that what you think has been clearly written can be misconstrued and misinterpreted.
posted by Aranquis at 3:09 AM on March 28, 2018 [5 favorites]


Gently, I would point out that your kids are already keenly aware of the dynamic between mom and dad. Of course there are very many conversations and acts that they have not directly witnessed. However human beings, particularly in families, particularly children, are profoundly aware of emotional states and respond accordingly, and it shapes them.

Somewhere along the line you learned that it wasn’t safe to speak up. Odds are good because people around you demonstrated the value of hiding the truth.

I understand your impulse to shield your children from painful truths. As you grapple with your own challenge with speaking openly, you may want to consider what your choices model for your kids. “Something bad happened and we never, ever, ever talk about it”?
posted by Sublimity at 3:31 AM on March 28, 2018 [42 favorites]


It's facebook. It's the internet. I cannot guarantee 100% that it will stay within this group. My main concern: I never ever want my kids to know.

Don't do it, then. If you process by writing, write it out somewhere private.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 4:41 AM on March 28, 2018


Yes, kids know what is going on between their parents, and now that you are divorced, they know things did not work out between you. They have seen and heard your ex disrespecting you, it is not a secret from them, just something they can't talk about, repeating the pattern of your childhood silence.

Please do not post any of this on Facebook. You might as well take out a billboard on the highway. Telling 50 people on the internet amounts to the same thing. Plus it would not be impossible for computer-savvy ex or kids to get your Facebook password. Facebook is not the safe way to deal with any of this trauma. Talk to a very few close friends in person instead. And eventually talk to your kids, this kind of family secret is toxic and builds walls.
posted by mermayd at 4:49 AM on March 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


Those of us silenced in childhood often find the combination of semi-private, semi-public space online seductive, because we can put our stuff out to what feels like a sympathetic audience without having to manage their individual emotional responses, and in a way that we can kind of turn it off for a bit. So I get the impulse- do I ever.

But...I wouldn’t, if this is truly something you don’t want everyone to know. There are many other ways to find your voice - support groups, one on one with friends, non-fiction writing groups, etc. I think you would be better served with something like that first, while you continue to recover, so that at the point where you are ready to share more widely you have the knowledge and space to make decisions for yourself and your kids from solid ground, from longer experience with coparenting, etc.

Not sharing today in this way doesn’t mean forever silenced.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:03 AM on March 28, 2018 [6 favorites]


My childhood was utterly isolated and I never had anyone to lean on

I agree with Sublimity. Why would you re-create this reality for your own children?

I also agree that before you begin telling your story, time in therapy will be helpful for you to understand what that story is, and to discern a way to share and process your experiences mindfully, not in an extreme-cathartic manner, but a thoughtful, responsible, and balanced one.
posted by Miko at 5:16 AM on March 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


Your two wants are in conflict. You want to be able to share information online; you don't want that information getting back to your kids. There's absolutely no way you can prevent that from happening, and it will. Guaranteed.

You have to decide which is more important: to calm your soul by talking/writing it out; or to keep the details from your kids.

The compromise would be to write this for yourself, saved neither online nor on your computer, but on an encrypted flash drive. That way nobody can accidentally stumble on it and use it against you or your kids. Don't put it online and don't share it even verbally with others, not even as a fictionalized account, if you don't want the kids to learn of it.

A friend's husband kept an online journal and he, too, wrote out stuff to process it - including accounts of things that happened in their community. Fictionalized, but based on real events. But then things blew up in the community, and some activists found his journal, figured out who wrote it, and made what he'd written in his online journal part of their fight. Which resulted in his entire family being targeted and their lives destroyed. His kids had to change schools, he lost his job and has been hounded ever since, rendering him unemployable. And the thing is - he never saw it coming. Who would've thought a group of perfect strangers would've found his (supposedly anonymous) journal, figured out who wrote it, and incorporate it into their community war?
posted by Lunaloon at 5:46 AM on March 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


1) 50 people is not a limited amount of people, and people don't think of FB as private at all. I know this because I'm no longer on Facebook and I definitely get screenshots from close friends like, "oh here's what's been up with Jane!" This will not stay private. Proceed accordingly.

2) I urge you to consider the effect of impersonally spamming a group of 50 survivors of abuse with a story about abuse. It might feel emotionally freeing to you, but be burdensome or even triggering to those friends.

That's not to say you don't deserve support or to tell your story! But I agree with forza that this is the type of thing best managed one-on-one or with smaller groups.
posted by lalex at 5:49 AM on March 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


As someone who was previously in an abusive relationship, I would not be super excited to discover that you had chosen me to burden with this particular information on that basis, especially if I did not share this information publicly and now you're going to put me into a group that contains only other people who also told you this information in confidence. This is the opposite of honesty and forthrightness. You have a secret and you're asking a very large group of people to keep this secret for you, putting them into a position where either they can't know who else is in this group or they at least can't know why you chose them, and that's just... not okay to do with people who confided in you and didn't ask for this.
posted by Sequence at 6:44 AM on March 28, 2018 [13 favorites]


A good friend of ours also processes things by writing about them. She basically liveblogged her separation and eventual divorce to a curated group of friends, and is also continuing to try to co-parent with her ex.

Information, of course, leaked. I don't think the ex-husband ever knew about the actual blog, but it certainly became obvious to him that way too many people were implausibly familiar with the finer details of their relationship. It also led to a lot of sides-choosing and busybodying among friends and friends-of-friends; there were at least a couple situations where words written in anger got fanned up by the group into Major Catastrophes. I believe it made what was always going to be a difficult process far more fraught and complicated than it needed to be.

I'm not going to say you shouldn't tell your story. It sounds like you have strong motivation to, both based on the simple facts of what happened, and your personal relationship to and history with secrecy. Doing this will be difficult and painful, but that doesn't mean it's the wrong thing to do.

But if you do do this, do so in the knowledge that there is no such thing as "semi-public". That just means "public". Assume that everything you write will be seen by your ex-husband, eventually; and by your kids, eventually. (In the worst case it literally will be; in the best case it'll be some second- or third-hand grapevine version of it.)
posted by ook at 6:54 AM on March 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I hope the chorus of the advice above doesn't push you back into staying silent. Like you, I didn't realize the extent of my ex-husband's abuse until years later. And I also struggled with how to process that information. While facebook may or may not be the best place to share that information, I would urge you to find an outlet for your newfound voice. Don't silence yourself the way your parents and your ex-husband did.
posted by A hidden well at 7:19 AM on March 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


If you talk to a number of people, you could use a message that can get back to the kids. After all, dad is yelling at the kids and that’s not ok. If dad’s behaviour escalated when you’re not there to other abusive behaviour, you want the kids to be ok telling you so you can do something. Your kids safety and stability is more important than a co-parenting relationship.

When I left my emotionally abusive husband and took my daughter to a shelter after she witnessed his tirades, it was so empowering for me to tell her that dads behaviour was not ok, we shouldn’t be embarrassed because this happens to a lot of women and children, and we will find people to help us get back on our feet. She still wanted to see her dad after this, I focused my remarks on his behaviour and not his worth as a person.

I am guessing you figured out you suffered abuse in therapy? The urge to share the experience is one to talk about with your therapist. I would also explore the fear of your children learning about what happened, because your children might need to know.

Good luck
posted by crazycanuck at 9:04 AM on March 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Don't share this on Facebook. It will NOT stay secret. Among other things, if you and your ex ever find yourself in a custody dispute--and, despite your statements, I do not believe that an abusive spouse can ever be trusted not to be an abusive parent, especially when it comes to kids with the same person--his lawyer can and will subpoena Facebook for that information. The process is a little tricky, but, if a court is persuaded the information is relevant, Facebook will end up having to hand it over.

I know you didn't ask, but you cannot stay silent to your kids about this forever. I understand not wanting to poison a co-parenting relationship, but, if you never explain to your kids that what they undoubtedly observed was abuse, they will think it was okay. Do you understand what that means? They will likely do it, or accept it, in their own relationships.

Best of luck to you. This is a tough situation.
posted by praemunire at 9:49 AM on March 28, 2018 [7 favorites]


While I agree 100% re: avoid, like the plague, putting ANYTHING on social media you're not comfortable with the entire world seeing, I'm going to go slightly against the communal wisdom which says don't put anything down in print, ever.

I can relate somewhat to your situation; I'm a very private person as well, in part due to childhood factors and in part, I suspect, simply due to how I am. I'm not a writer myself, but I've kept a journal for years, and that's often been what's kept me sane during difficult times. So I know what it's like to write through one's emotions, and how sometimes it's not enough to just write for yourself. Not only because you want to share the information or the experience, but also because I often find I write differently when I write for an audience, and through doing so can come to realisations I might have missed had I just been scribbling in the journal which is for my eyes only.

I'm going on the assumption that some of these people you were considering sharing with are close enough for you to have a conversation about this sort of thing with. How would you feel about bringing up the subject, and your concerns, and then sending them your writings via email? I've done this a couple of times with trusted friends, where we started an email exchange about a heavy subject in one of our lives and discussed it back and forth between each other. For my part I've made it clear to these people that this is Not For General Consumption, even between our mutual friends, and that they were acting as confidante. So there was no confusion wherein I had to worry about someone saying 'oh I was talking to myötähäpeä recently about $thing happening' and then the story getting into general circulation.

Doing this with 50 people wouldn't be practical, but if you have a few trustworthy people to discuss with in depth, it may mitigate the feeling that you're being secretive or dishonest by not broadcasting the issue to an entire group. This way you're getting it out, processing through your writing, getting feedback, and have the opportunity to do a sort of deep dive on the subject, and where other people are concerned it can be something that's not hidden, but not shouted from a communal platform either. As for the wider world, perhaps you can work out some deflecting phrases for when the subject comes up, like 'I don't discuss this on social media' or 'Well, if the relationship were ideal we would still be together' so that you don't have to feel like you're either lying or spilling your guts. Think of it as 'taking the high road' vs. 'keeping a dirty secret'. Such an approach is not uncommon in situations where kids are involved.

(Personal 'horrors of social media' anecdote: I once put something up on Facebook without filtering the audience, going on the assumption that most of the people in one's friend list don't see/pay attention to one's status updates, particularly if they almost never like or comment on them. Someone I know saw this, wildly misinterpreted it, and when she couldn't reach me she flipped out and rampaged all over my privacy, using her access to my friend list to contact multiple people she didn't personally know, and grilled them for information about my whereabouts and well-being. Even after she was informed that I was ok and to calm the fuck down, even after all those people had means to ask me myself what was happening, she chose to further trample my privacy by taking all the information she had collected and then disseminating it out to everyone she had contacted, shrilly scolding me that it was her responsibility because through my failings I had caused them all to be worried about me. Nevermind the fact that most of them hadn't been worried, until she decided to take matters into her own hands and make them worried. I had personal details I would never choose to share, shouted from the rooftops. All because of a fucking status update, and one person who felt she was entitled to use that information in whatever manner she chose. Had I simply blocked her from seeing it, I would have got a couple questions, answered them, end of story. It's shocking to see how quickly something can get out of hand, and all it takes is allowing one wrong person to wedge their foot in that door. Don't let this happen to you.)
posted by myotahapea at 10:03 AM on March 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


Social media is leaky by design. I think you want a therapist for right now, and possibly an in-person therapy group, and when you've had more time to process (and your kids are more mature, and better able to process), you can consider being more public about your history. And as pointed out above, trying to have a civil co-parenting relationship and not giving your ex reasons to seek primary custody or cause other difficulties for you are real concerns. I'm so sorry you're going through this.

What dangers am I not seeing????

You believe your kids haven't clocked the dynamic between you and your ex, during the marriage or now, perhaps because they're still so young. When your ex-husband has a new woman in his life, your kids are definitely going to witness his abusive behavior toward her. Working with a therapist now, having scripts and coping techniques prepared in advance, will help your kids and you.
posted by Iris Gambol at 12:23 PM on March 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


this is unfair to you no matter what you do, because everybody has the absolute right to keep their private trauma private and not share the details just because someone else wants to know. mothers not excluded.

but if someone knew that my parent, or anyone close to me -- father, brother, best friend, husband -- was a rapist, and deliberately kept it a secret from me for the purpose of making me more attached to him in ignorance -- that's also a terrible violation.

you shouldn't have to keep it a secret and you shouldn't have to tell; you have a right to privacy even from your children. and I can see that while they're young enough to be physically forced to stay with him it could be worse for them to know. or worse for you if he finds out you told the truth. but at some point they should be spared the details but told the basic facts. wait to talk publicly in any forum until you're prepared to handle it if they find out, however long that is. but if you need to talk, it's worth the risk. you deserve to speak freely and any trauma to your children will be from what he did, not what you said. their father is still an abuser whether you talk about it or not.

abusing a child's mother harms that child. nobody who does that is a good dad.
posted by queenofbithynia at 12:36 PM on March 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


Don't do it. Source: did something similar and had it backfire. Your ex will see it. Someone will screen shot and send it to him, or his lawyer. You cannot guarantee that he won't see it. Even the people you trust completely, are not completely trustworthy. Buy a paper journal.

Also: my sympathies for what you have gone through. Stay strong.
posted by mareliz at 12:45 PM on March 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


If you *must* write to process... (I get it - I did the same when I became an instant widow at 32)... then create a *completely* anonymous blog page that does not have any ties to your regular email address, phone number, facebook page, photographs of yourself - nothing. Don't even use your own name. You may possibly refer some of those Facebook friends to look at the page from time to time, but I wouldn't push it - as that, too, could get dicey if too many details were to be connected to you, and they were to connect the dots. If they could connect dots, then so could an attorney which may use just about anything you say against you in said possible upcoming custody battle. But at least it would be a record, and a means of processing. ~And there may be others who find your blog and benefit from it... but you must remove all desire to connect with these ~50 odd fb friends through this platform.
posted by itsflyable at 1:05 PM on March 28, 2018


My answer is NOT about the writing on Facebook question, but something you said in your question that concerns me to a much greater level.

You haven't stated the age of your children, but let me assure you of one thing: your children, on some level, ALREADY KNOW.

They may not yet be able to classify it as abuse, but they know.
They may find themselves (in either role) of the same situation in the future, and frame it to themselves as "Not abuse, because my dad was like that to my mom, and my mom never called it abuse, so IT IS OK."

Think very, very carefully about how to proceed with your current mindset on the children "never" finding out.
posted by stormyteal at 6:58 PM on March 28, 2018 [9 favorites]


Writing about this on Facebook is not your only option. There are many supportive forums where you could find support while posting pseudonymously and with much, much lower (but not non-nil) chance of anyone ever finding out it was you writing about yourself. Find one of those if you need to both write and seek support. Do not look for it among people who know you in real life if you want to keep this process separate from your real life.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:59 PM on March 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


I think this is an excellent idea. I am also an over-sharer, and it has only been a positive, healthy thing for myself and those around me. In a contextually appropriate way, I'm open to everyone (my current and potential employers, my colleagues, my friends, the woman sitting next to me on a plane) about my abusive childhood, by mental health, my rape, my sexuality, my kidnapping... Not everyone has had the best reactions, but I could care less about them. The positive feedback that I've received, however, has been overwhelming. So many people were so grateful I was so open, because it allowed them to start discussing their own experiences as well. And so I fully support you being open and honest with your friends on Facebook, especially to those you think it could help.

In terms of not telling your children, I agree with one of the posters above: they know already. Finding age-appropriate and respectful ways of talking to them about this will help them process it all.
posted by hasna at 12:44 AM on March 29, 2018 [1 favorite]


n-thing the fact that your kids will know, and also adding that at some point, your kids will have to process the fact that someone they love or received great affection from is also deeply abusive. From the 10-12 years of co-parenting I'm guessing that they are not ready to have that conversation, but I also think it is fairer to them to let them know exactly with whom they are dealing and to give them that awareness that people can be wonderful and terrible at the same time.

also n-thing being careful with whom and how you share; there's a reason why everyone does it one-on-one, in person. I would be less wary if there were little stake in it, but I think the overriding concern is that it may be weaponized - not just against you, but your children as well.
posted by ahundredjarsofsky at 12:47 AM on March 29, 2018 [3 favorites]


My main concern: I never ever want my kids to know.

Well then, you can't tell anyone your kids will ever have any contact with, not ever, not in person, not on facebook. 20 years from now they could be talking with an old friend of yours and ask them if they know why you got divorced or something, maybe you've even shuffled off this mortal coil yourself at that point and your friend figures it won't matter to you anymore.

Get a therapist and tell them.

Another option is to set up an anonymous blog.
posted by yohko at 1:58 PM on March 30, 2018


You are a divorced mother of two minor children in 50/50 custody. The one and only person whose opinion matters most for the next 12 years is your family court judge. That person, and/or that person’s sudden replacement on the bench, has the power to make things very bad for you and your children if you violate their orders, if there are any, about non-disparagement of your children’s father. What does your live, local lawyer recommend you do??

I’m in your shoes, but with 17 years of parallel parenting left (to me, it’s not co parenting). Please get therapy to figure out why you insist on labeling your rapist abuser a “good dad,” which is a logical impossibility on these facts. Consider that you are maybe not yet ready to write about this under your real name to an audience of 50 on Facebook because you are still extremely vulnerable and are not seeing the entire situation from a place of wise clarity. Not yet. Consider that you may at some point want to take him back to court for full custody and don’t want your Facebook-published words to sway your future family court judge that you’ve engaged in any type of “parental alienation.”

My answer here is based on reading between the lines of your stated priority of wanting to protect your kids from the harm of knowing the truth, too soon, at too young of an age, about their father.
posted by edithkeeler at 5:17 AM on March 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


I did something like this, with a list of about 30 friends, and it was enormously helpful for me in working through a divorce. For me, Facebook was for a lot of reasons a better place for it than others: it was people I knew in real life, putting things in posts did not demand as much from them as if I’d specifically e-mailed them something, and it was able to deepen my relationships with people I wouldn’t have been entirely comfortable discussing it with in person.
The risks of it not remaining private were, in my situation, outweighed by its benefits. If you perceive much greater consequences to it becoming more public, the calculation may be different for you.
posted by metasarah at 10:38 AM on April 2, 2018


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