How can you learn to trust your own judgement again?


Just a little background. I was married for 20 years to a man who didn’t like to work. When I met him, he said he was agnostic and in a period of transition. He then he had a sudden conversion back to Catholicism about the time he asked me to marry him. I put him through college and supported him and our two children. He always told me that I was too nice. After about 7 years of being married to me, he started telling me I was overweight and unattractive. He would get drunk and go into rages that scared me to death practically. Even when he was sober, he could be kind of scary, like the time he kicked the cat against the wall crushing its voice box so it could no longer meow.
He lied to me quite a bit and I totally believed him. Then he would come back and tell me he lied to me. I always forgave him.
He started telling me to leave him. He didn’t want to be married anymore. I cooked, cleaned and did his laundry and supported him financially. He would get drunk, bash the church and mock my moral standards. When he was drunk, he would corner me, screaming in my face, and while daring me to lay a finger on him. (I knew better than that. He told me if I ever laid a finger on him he would take me out.)

I left him. He then began pressuring me for a divorce and threatening to take our disabled son if I wasn’t “reasonable.” I gave him everything including the house, everything in the house, and the ability to claim the kids on his taxes. I didn’t even ask for child support. (He didn’t want our son.)

He recently told me that he has had a girlfriend since before we were divorced. He said it is getting serious. He is selling the house and moving to the state she lives in. He says he wants me to meet him halfway between where I live and he will live so he can have our son for two weekends a month. Our son has autism and does not transition well. Also, he has told me he can’t guarantee that he will take our son to church.

I am an intelligent person even though it may not sound like it. I have a master’s degree. I always thought that I had good judgement, until lately. I look at what a colossal mess I have made of my life and my children’s life and think that I must be crazy to have married the guy in the first place.

I don’t trust my own judgement anymore.

Also, I don’t want my ex- to have my son for 2 weekends a month. My ex- says he will get a lawyer and take my son away from me. I don’t have the money for a lawyer. Right now, the visitation says he is supposed to have our son for one day a week. I love my son so much, but I am afraid to let his father have him for 2 weekends a month. It would also place a heavy financial burden on me to meet my ex- halfway several times a month.

I want to know what you think would be fair for my husband without me having to let my son go three hundred miles away from me a couple of times a month.


I’m sorry Gal. You know, sometimes, sensible people can make wrong choices, too. It happens…and it happened. That said, with regards to this situation…I would not jump through any hoops for him…this isn’t a normal joint custody situation, in my eyes. Your ex was abusive…and who knows when that ‘side’ will resurrect itself again? I can’t imagine a judge, knowing that information, granting him to have your son twice per month. You have to protect your son, it’s not about getting back at the ex…it’s strictly about what is in the best interest of your son. Your ex just wants to control you some more, how horrible.:frowning: That’s all this is about…may or may not love his son, but he still wants to pull your strings. Do not let him. I would seek a priest about this, and try to find a lawyer who works on retainer…they’re out there. I will pray that things work out. I don’t blame you for being fearful for your son, over this. (((hugs)))


Hmm well it is your husband who is moving AWAY from his children in order to pursue his honey, so I do not think you should be inconvenienced to drive out of your way to facilitate his visits. He has already shown that his sex life is more important than being near his kids, so it’s pretty gutsy for him to insist on these visitations. IF he cared about seeing his kids, he would move to the same town as you and make himself available to them 24/7. Well, actually IF he cared about them at all he would get rid of the girlfriend, clean up his act and grovel at your feet for forgiveness so that you can be a family under one roof. Obviously this is not the case.

I have to be a bit harsh with you for a moment - QUIT BEING A DOORMAT!! Really, truly, stop it. I think you really need to get to the root of WHY you let a man treat you like this for so long. It is not stupidity on your part, you sound like a very smart, educated women. So with that ruled out…what is it? You need to determine this. It might hurt, but in the end you will emerge more powerful. Please do not start dating again until you have spent time with a counselor (Catholic one preferably).

Since your son has autism, constantly being uprooted is probably not in his best interest. You need to get a really good lawyer, one that specializes in the rights of the handicapped perhaps, and fight him. You need to bring up his verbal abuse and drinking problems…a child with autism needs a very stable and peaceful environment. Your son has a sorry excuse for a father…that’s okay, God, his heavenly father will pick up the slack where your ex-husband left off. He truly will.

Lots of prayers on this end.


You have two issues here. One is the legal issue. You MUST find a lawyer. Beg, borrow and steal the money to get the lawyer to stop this insanity. Your ex is a classic narcissist. They love to make threats. They bully their way through life. This time do not let yourself be bullied. Your son’s life depends upon it.


The courts make custody choices based on the best interest of the children. You need to tell a lawyer everything you told us. Get teacher affidavits, doctor testimony, neighbor statements… anything to prove what we all know without even meeting you: That you are the one who has singlehandedly raised your son.

Newsflash for your soon to be ex… (and his clueless girlfriend who will eventually come to hate him too. Sooner rather than later.) The courts make custody decisions based on the best interest of the child. You can put an injunction against him taking the kids out of the school district. He can’t move and control where you live. The county you live in now has jurisdiction over your children. Do NOT move anywhere to follow this fool, even halfway.

If he leaves, he surrenders his rights to visit the kids. And he can’t sell a house you own out from under you. SIGN NO PAPERS WITHOUT A LAWYER’S ADVICE!


This man doesn’t want the boy. Neither does his girlfriend. I promise you. He wants to hurt you. He wants to intimidate you into not seeking child support or alimony or joint property.

Do not fall for that.

A good lawyer can make your husband pay the legal fees. And judges don’t take kindly to parents who drink and run around and abandon kids with handicaps. The certified domestic relations order signed by the judge will tell you both who claims the kid on taxes.


Your second issue is also serious. How do you trust your judgement again?

Well, think of sitting in a movie theater… the lights go off and you watch a movie. You enter into a mutual agreement with the movie actors and director… a willing suspension of disbelief. You agree that what you are watching is happening. You get drawn into it. You watch it and react emotionally to the scenes in front of you as if you are a real spectator and participant. You internalize it. But then the movie stops. The screen credits roll, the music swells, the lights go up and poof! It’s over. Back to reality. Up the aisle you walk, out the door to your car. You aren’t still living in the movie. (We hope.)

Life is like that. Sometimes we enter into a willing suspension of disbelief with some people. We allow ourselves to get drawn into someone’s act. We ignore little things. With each lie we ignore, each warning sign we talk ourselves out of, we get drawn further and further into their movie screen. Usually we do it and find too late it’s a really bad movie. A violent movie.

Once we are in deeply, we realize it’s fake. It’s a trap. We can either escape or stay and keep a false peace and false sense of safety. Sometimes the movie ends and we’re evicted from the theater. Like you just were.

How do you trust yourself again? After all, how DO intelligent people fall for that nonsense which they realize was nonsense when the lights go up and the curtain closes.

The same way you got into the mess… one little choice at a time. You reclaim yourself. Every hint you ignored on the way in, you acknowlege on the way out. That lack of real spirituality, his laziness, his lies, his temper, his drinking… Every time he took advantage of your basic human decency, every time he sponged off your labors to enrich himself, every time you gave him permission to mistreat you – recognize that at some level you accepted it. It’s not that you were stupid or uneducated… you just entered into a silent agreement with him that you would ignore all that and suspend disbelief at everything around you. You wanted to believe this lazy parasite was a good man. Amazing what we can convince ourselves of if we try hard enough.

From now on you refuse to turn off the lights and watch his fantasy film any more. When he lies, you say “He’s lying.” You don’t ignore it. When he threatens you, you tell him he can’t do that anymore. Each time you choose to see what is really there rather than what he tells you he wants you to believe, or what you tell yourself in order to keep the false peace, you are affirming your real judgment, not the 20 years of filmmaking you participated in. He was the star in his own life. He always will be. Now it’s your responsibility to point out to yourself and your children the difference between reality and fantasy.

Deep down, we know Tinseltown is a crummy and fake place. You stayed this long for many reasons. Now you have better reasons to leave than to stay. Your judgment wasn’t really off. You just ignored it. Now the lights are on. You see clearly. Move on. And forgive yourself. Don’t worry about forgiving him. Leave that to God.


Ditto to what Liberanosamalo said about this guy being a classic narcissist. Get a hold of some literature on dealing with people with this personality disorder and you will see clear patterns, and you will be better equipped to deal with him. Also, Liberanosamalo is correct in saying this is not about him wanting the kids. He could care less about them…they are pawns to hurt you. This girlfriend of his is either really naive and stupid, or a very nasty women that enjoys stirring up trouble.

I didn’t address your question about trusting your own judgment. For now…to be honest, your judgment has been pretty poor. That harsh, I know, but you kind of said it yourself already. I think you REALLY need to call upon the Holy Spirit every minute of the day for discernment. We all suffer from poor judgment, that’s why we NEED God, and his Church to guide us. Hunker down with Christ, pray like you have never prayed before. Suddenly you will find yourself thinking and saying things that seem way too wise for you to have thought of them on your own. That’s the Holy Spirit guiding you.

Quick Amazon search on some books that might help:


Here is my advice. You can’t trust your own judgement right now. That’s understandable considering all you’ve been through.

So in the meantime, listen to your friends, your relatives, your parents (if they’re still around), and anyone else that you respect and admire. (Don’t listen to your ditzy friends!)

Lean on the understanding of people who are older and/or wiser than you. Let them help you make judgements.

Sometimes everyone tries to tell us that we’re making a bad decision, and we just don’t listen. We think we’re right and they’re wrong. Well, until you get your judgement mojo back again, rely on others heavily, and tell them that you are relying on them to help you make good decisions about life issues.

BTW, I think that those on this forum who are telling you to get a good lawyer are wise and I hope you listen to them! Yes, it will cost, but work out some financing and do it. In the end, it’s money well spent.


Thank you Whatever Girl, Mercy Mia, Liberanosalmo and Cat. I talked to my parish priest about it. He said that I shouldn’t bother with trying to meet my ex- halfway across another state. He said that my son didn’t need to be confused with seeing his father with another woman. He said that my son needs the stable, loving environment that I provide for him. All the other stuff would not be in the little fella’s best interest. He said that since my ex- is the one moving away from his son, he should be the one to drive back to see his son.

The priest said I was too generous, in his opinion. He said that if my ex- threatens to take me to court, gently remind my ex- that he doesn’t pay child support. He said if it goes before another judge, my ex- could end up paying child support, insurance and possibly even be forced to pay a settlement to me when he sells the house. He said he would almost guarantee that my ex- wont press the issue any farther. I feel comforted by this.

Thank you again.

The Gal Next Door


You need to call a lawyer.

You have property to divide.

Your priest is right. You are being too generous.

This is not a time for generosity. You are not called to be generous to someone who is destroying your family and tearing apart the lives of his children.

Would you pay for the moving van for him to cart off all your possessions? No! Don’t be helpful to someone who does not have your best interests at heart.

I know you have spent the last 20 years modifying your behavior in the dim hopes that if you are (fill in blank… nicer, wiser, gentler, smarter, more aware, cleaner, neater, quieter, louder, more passionate, more attentive, less attentive, sadder, happier, angrier…etc…)
then it will go better for you. And he might reward you with being pleasant or generous.
if the mood strikes him.

Those days are over. You do not tailor your behavior to the performance he promises you if you follow his script. All you’ve been doing for 20 years is reading the script to the life of his movie. You don’t do that anymore. He found a new actress to play your role. Now she’s reading his script. (Your dog-eared copy. Same soundtrack even, if he’s like mine. Sent all his new girlfriends the same songs and movies as me.)

Part of reclaiming your judgment is you stop letting him control your reactions and you stop dancing to his tune. It didn’t work did it? He’s gone. It didn’t make him nice to you. It didn’t make him a good husband or father. So stop.

Now you learn to make decisions based on what YOU and your CHILDREN NEED.




We already divorced and I already gave him the house and all it’s contents. He has had this girlfriend since before we were divorced. I got the kids. He has just suddenly become interested in his son. For our son’s entire life, he just acted like a sperm donor towards him.
(Except when he yelled at him.) It’s only been since he met this woman that he has expressed any interest in our son. He also bought us some food this month, which is a first. I’m not sure where this change of heart is coming from.


Sorry, I somehow missed that the divorce was final. And you let him choke on the house and furniture… which you probably don’t miss the memories attached to all that stuff…

With that kind of person, change means something. But don’t trust that it’s anything good.

Don’t move. Ignore the food. Whatever his act, he’s probably using the child as a pawn.

Sorry if I’m cynical. I’ve learned the hard way.


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