I met my ex husband when I was 17, he  was 22 and in medical school. I fell for his charm. So, when it was time for me to get to medical school, I allowed him to talk me out of it.

The next thing I knew, I could only socialize with people he “approved” of. Within two years I had to apply for green card so he could get into a residency program. He got into residency at the same school I did my Phd studies in. His residency and childcare took precedence over my career prospects. So, my dreams of having a dual degree or at least a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard were crushed.

After he started residency he was always working. When I asked why he wouldn’t help with the baby, he started physically pushing me around. I constantly felt like I was walking on eggshells. Pushing and shoving, silent treatments, withholding kids, throwing plates – because it was ALL MY FAULT.  My son has eczema because I was a horrible mother.

I could not leave him and shame my family, because I chose “love marriage” over “arranged marriage”. When his sister’s ex boyfriend talked to me, it is my fault “I am cooking up something” that is reason enough to push, shove, slap, and slit wrists. I should not call the police because if I call the police he would tell them that I am suicidal and cannot or should not take care of a child. They will believe him more because he is a doctor.

Soon, I got pregnant again. Then I found out he was having an affair with a nurse (not the first time I found him cheating in 7 years of being married). When I was 7 months pregnant, my son got sick and I asked him to help me. He kicked me on to the floor. He had to go see his girlfriend on her birthday.

A few years after my daughter was born, he was served for child support by his “baby mama”. His abuse got worse. I called the police because he threw me into a fish tank, kicked my son, and threw my 3 year old daughter on the floor.  I could deal with him abusing me, but I couldn’t deal with him hurting my children. I couldn’t deal with my son growing up thinking it was normal to treat women that way. I couldn’t deal with my daughter thinking it was ok to be disrespected.

I got out of the relationship in one week with hopes that a quick divorce would mean a faster resolution, so we could work together on raising kids.

Boy, was I naïve!!!!!

What I got instead was 8.5 years and counting of court battles! I still believed kids need both parents in their life. Despite careful and conscious efforts to keep him in their life, 8 years later I lost custody of my two kids. This is after:

  • My children said they were abused by their father, and child protection services got involved (NOPE – I did not call CPS).
  • My ex was arrested for assaulting me in front of children during a visitation exchange.
  • 4 child custody evaluations, 5 custody trials that lasted over 6 days each, several hundreds of thousands spent in legal fees.

I lost custody of my children in 2016 because a new judge believed my ex’s lawyer’s fabricated documents and didn’t listen to my kids. He changed custody on an emergency petition. When the kids were visiting him over Christmas break of 2015, they called the police when he attacked my son (then 14 years old). Child protective services investigated. So, my ex made up documents to use as a basis for his “parental alienation” story.

Before the emergency hearing, both kids told me  their dad said ‘he has the judge in his pockets and he will make sure that they never see me again and I go to jail”. I get chills just thinking about it.

My situation may not be unique, but it shows there is NO textbook to help navigate a system that is inefficient, especially when you are dealing with a charming and unempathetic person with money to support unscrupulous lawyers.

My only hope is my kids survive this craziness with as little impact from the trauma as possible……