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Author Topic: Restraining order and divorce advice  (Read 18871 times)

pisces55

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Restraining order and divorce advice
« on: Jul 29, 2007, 08:14:18 AM »
I am looking for advice.

The following is a long letter I wrote to my wife's sister. It details the events leading up to a few weeks ago.

"On the evening of --- K. and I had been arguing. The previous two weeks had been rocky- the last 8 months have been rough- with Sara and I being on the outs because of an incident in a restaurant where she thought I had embarrassed her, and K. and I constantly bickering. S., who seems to hold the reins in the household, had told her therapist that she didn’t want me in the house anymore, and she had managed to convince B. and E. to go along with her. I must admit that I was not on my best behavior- I was angry, resentful, hurt, not just because of these actions, but also because since day one I had been struggling with acceptance in the household. I have my own thoughts about why this happened: K’s reluctance to submit her children to any stressful changes (the dating, the marriage, and my moving in were stressful enough), a deep need for her to maintain a positive relationship with her kids, and her disinclination to display any signs to the kids that I was important in her life: no displays of affection, no hugging, kissing, or holding hands in front of the kids, no post- marriage dating. It seemed that she was fearful that the kids would feel abandoned if she let on that I was an important to her. Anyway, that’s my opinion.

So, along with the arguing, I did make an effort to lighten the mood that evening by trying to make-up with K. This was huge mistake because it ended up contributing to the whole mess. As I was trying to talk to her, she went out the front storm door and forcefully attempted to close it as I was going out. She was pushing the door closed, I pushed in the opposite direction not knowing she was pushing the other way, and she let go. The door slammed into the aluminum siding, making a small dent.

Later, while I was serving dinner, a brief verbal exchange occurred between S and I. I said, strongly and in a forceful tone: “S, what’s bothering you, tell me what you’re feeling.” She said: “You are a f____g d____bag, I hate you, I hope you burn in hell!” She went to her room. I said: “K, can’t you get her to talk to me?” From K: “You can’t tell her what to do!” B was in the room; he began to whimper. K became very angry. She called the police as I begged her not to, and within an hour, I was evicted. The complaint stated that she felt that she was in danger of serious imminent physical harm.

Lisa, there were no threats, no aggressive body language, no yelling, no swearing- on my part- or anything to suggest that I was about to hurt anyone. I have never hurt anyone in my entire life. I have never imagined hurting anyone. Ever. I have never, in my entire life, had any such allegations made against me, much less actually acted upon by any person, court, police agency, or any other bureaucratic entity.

My feeling is that she believed that her children were in danger from serious psychic harm. Her children are quite emotionally fragile, and I was shattering their peaceful existence.

The story doesn’t end here, not by a long shot. I had been very depressed since the beginning of the year. I was seeing a therapist; I was on antidepressants. The situation in the house, the marriage, my job- which was going badly- and my dad’s recent illness (he is currently on hospice) had punched a hole in my ability to cope. K was obviously depressed, but she would not admit it. She wanted me gone; she had told me so in not so many words over the previous weeks. This had been a constant theme: that I had wrecked her calm, placid existence by moving into the house. Her privacy, her space, her alone-time she felt was gone.  I was so stressed: I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t think, and I was using alcohol (very small amounts, but enough) to self-medicate my way out of depression and the situation in the house. On ---, four days before leaving the house and upon Ks advice, I abruptly stopped taking the antidepressants:

 Email from K:
I really sincerely think that SOMETHING is different in the last few months.
I honestly - as a physician - think you should seriously consider that the
Lexapro, like other SSRI's can have adverse effects on people EVEN without
a previous history of problems. What I'm getting at is that it can cause
some hypomanic-like symptoms, which can sometime manifest as aggitation,
restlessnes, impatience, sleep trouble, mood swings, irrational a/o flight
of ideas, unable to concentrate, jumping from one thought to the next
rapidly, rapid speech with thoughts jumping from one subject to the next,
and sometimes intermixed with depressive/suicidal thoughts.
That's why they've put more stringent warnings on these meds, not only for
adults, but, as you might know, for kids as well with some increases in
suicides when people are put on these meds and not closely followed up on.
I'm saying this in a matter of fact way, please believe me; I see
something is different; I'm stepping back and trying to sort this out; I'm
not judging you. REALLY,

This was a huge mistake, as I immediately fell into a state of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, a medically documented effect that includes deepening depression, suicidal ideation, and irrational behavior.  I had terrible thoughts of hurting myself. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and it finally happened on the morning of ---.

After I left the house, I went to a motel and took an overdose of blood-thinning medication. It was double my usual dose: not enough to really hurt me, but enough to get me to self-admit myself to an area hospital. The overdose was as result of a deep despair; I thought that getting kicked out of the house was the absolute rock bottom. I was distraught, confused, lost and in trouble, and I knew that I needed help; not just for the overdose- that was not serious- but for my emotionally instability.

I spent ten days in the hospital, eight of them in the Unit for Behavioral Health. It was actually a tremendously exhilarating experience. My depression lifted with intensive therapy and a new antidepressant. I learned a lot about myself, and I left there with a new outlook on life. I wasn’t going to let a relationship or anything outside of myself change who I was. I was a new man.

In the meantime, K had filed a complaint for a temporary restraining order, and while in the hospital on ---, I was served. This was without a full hearing, or notice to me that such was occurring, and it was granted for one day. The order (known as an “ex parte” order, or “one- sided”), although good for only the weekend, could, upon application by K, be extended for an additional period of time. Unfortunately, on ---, I was still hospitalized and could not attend the hearing. K went to court and without any opportunity for me to be heard, to offer my side of the story, or even to obtain counsel, she was granted an extension of the order for one year. There really never was the least bit of substance to the allegations of potential violence that she had made in her original complaint. (I don’t think she lied; I believe that in her mind, she thought she was protecting her children.) However, since I was not present at the hearing, the order was extended.

I was discharged from the hospital on --. I went back to work and began the process of moving on with my life. I was still seeing my therapist, and I had an upcoming appointment with a psychiatrist. I was attending AA meetings because I didn’t want to revert to old habits, and I was interested in doing away with the mindset and erroneous thinking (“dry drunk behavior”) that goes along with problem drinking. I felt good, and I knew I would be OK, regardless of the circumstances. I still felt I had a chance to reconcile with K, and I was anxious to communicate with her. I had retained the services of an attorney in order to attempt to vacate or withdraw the restraining order, and in so doing, I hoped that we could begin the process of rebuilding our relationship.

Unfortunately, during the late afternoon of --, I was on my way home from work and stopped at the  to do some quick food shopping. While shopping there I accidentally encountered K; she usually works later (5pm) than the time I went food shopping (3:30pm). I panicked; I thought she had seen me. I had been trying so hard to avoid her; I was deathly afraid of running into her. Foolishly, trembling, I spoke to her. In a quiet tone I said: “K, I didn’t see your truck, I didn’t think you would be here, I am so sorry, please don’t call the police, I beg of you, please don’t have me arrested.” Well, she took the opportunity to call the police and I was subsequently arrested for allegedly violating the no-contact provision of the restraining order. I spent the night in jail, and the next day was led into the courtroom in leg shackles and handcuffs, and subsequently released with a return date of ---.

The supermarket incident was the straw that seemed to break the camel’s back. Rather than seeing the encounter as an honest mistake, as a desperate, stupid attempt by me to talk to her, she took it as a deliberate effort to disrespect her boundaries. Again, my opinon.

On --, I was placed on administrative leave from my job. Apparently, they had gotten word- I’m not sure how, whether K complained or otherwise- of the --- incident and of the restraining order that included Ks worksite. On ---, I was fired. Leaving the hospital that day, I was served with divorce papers. I felt like I had been socked in the mouth- twice. Although I was very upset, I was pleased with the way I coped: with meditation, prayer, and reaching out to my sisters, lawyer, therapist and my new friends at AA (committed AA members are the most wonderful people).

Anyway, here I am. I feel neither remorse nor regret. I have no feelings of anger or resentment towards K or the children. I am still interested in working things out with her, although I think that that is highly unlikely considering the circumstances.

I still love her; I can’t turn it off like a light switch. I like the kids; in fact, I was doing a darn good job of building a relationship with them. B and I got along very well, E was warming up to me, and S and I had had a lot of very good discussions regarding her future plans, school, music, etc. We got along reasonably well, at least for the first 7 months of so.

K and I have not communicated at all for the last 6 weeks. Any attempt at communication will land me in jail for a minimum of 3 months without bail. Communication includes letters, phone, email, gifts, communication through a third party- anything that could be construed as an effort by me to communicate with her. She is very angry and headstrong; I don’t think it will take much.

I am going to attempt to vacate the restraining order and get the arrest thrown out of court. I’ve retained counsel and I intend to vigorously defend myself and to seek, among other things, to have my name cleared of all wrongdoing and to undo this Kafkaesque nightmare that has led to the unfortunate events described above.

Funny, the threat of divorce saddens me the most. We never tried marriage counseling. In the week before I left the house, K had gotten the name of a counselor from her child psychologist. For days, I asked her to call, but she said she was too busy. By the end of the week, she stated that she had lost the number. There was premarital counseling, but K wasn’t very enthusiastic about it. We seemed never able to really communicate, to compromise, to work out our differences and to work towards a mutual goal.

All my possessions- personal paperwork, PC, photos, clothing, medications, books, movies, and mail- are still in the house (or I imagine, boxed and moved into the garage). I can’t get anything until the vacate hearing, and we don’t have a date for that yet. I’m looking for work and trying to focus on my future. I’ve resigned myself- surrendered- to an acceptance of whatever evolves. I so much want to tell K that I am sorry for the mess I have made, and to let her know that whatever happens, I will always love her, and that I will never forget her.

So it seems that I did end up explaining my point of view, and in giving justification for my behavior, for which I accept total responsibility. However, I think I kept the record of events rather objective, and I believe in the reasons I have given for my conduct. I have not been abusive in any respect, but I think that K feels that I disrespected her and her children’s boundaries and their feelings, and for that, I am deeply sorry.

Attached is a letter of apology that I wrote to K. I’m not sure that she will ever get to see it. At this point, if she does see it, I’ll probably be locked up.

I hope that if you haven’t heard about all this, that you will contact her. I am so very worried about her and her children’s health and stability, and she probably needs to talk; she has virtually no one to speak to except her therapist, and I’m not even sure if she is still seeing him. She needs to tell her story, to have someone on her side.

I miss her so much.

The take-home message of all this: I screwed up, I’m sorry, I love her; I want to go home, although I know that I probably won’t, not without a lot of changes on the part of both of us. I am not drinking, I am psychologically sound, and I am the man she married. In the last few months, K had told me that she wondered what had happened to that man. I now know that he had vanished in a mountain of overwhelming stress that resulted in an illness, and he has surfaced better than before. It’s heartbreaking that K has cast me out for being sick, and has seemingly closed the door on our future with a reverberant thud. This sounds resentful, but it’s not; I am resigned to whatever happens. "

In  the last few weeks, I hve had a hearing on the arrest. My wife is tying to have me punished somehow, and I ran into her in the court parking lot and she tried to have me arrested again. The case was continued to October.

I don't want to get divorced. We could work this out through mediation and counseling. Maybe I'm a fool, but I still love her. Any advice out there???





 

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