Awarenesshurts, you are on the right path. Keep on going! I think you're darn mighty. You may not feel mighty right now, but think about it. He's browbeating you into taking him back, and forcibly inserting himself into the new life you're building for you and your kids. He's like an octopus - oozing and insinuating himself into your life by "doing" things for you. What he's really doing is attempting to regain control - one tentacle at a time. It's admirable that you initiated the separation process. It must have been a challenge to make the move to the new house etc. with his constant manipulations working against you! You got that done. Yes, you are mighty. Kudos!
Next up is to keep taking mighty steps down your path out of this - move to the necessary next steps to further separate yourself from him and his water torture drip drip drip of constant bullying. Yes, BULLYING - "Bullying is an ongoing and deliberate misuse of power in relationships through repeated verbal, physical and/or social behavior that intends to cause physical, social and/or psychological harm." When he cries, begs and pleads non-stop he's using the self pity channel to bully you. And bullying is psychological harm - bullying is ABUSE.
It's not surprising you're susceptible to his bullying. He bullied you into Unmet Needs MC where he has carte blanche to manipulate; where the "therapist" and he beat you down with fallacy of Unmet Needs tag team moves. And, even though you live in separate homes, it feels like he has you locked up tight. You're supposedly separated - but you're functioning in a twilight limbo that is not a true separation. He's constantly in your space "doing" for you, appears to have unfettered access to you, and appears to be controlling the narrative and flow of information between you and people who care about you - people who could support you and help get through this. Which is methodically ISOLATING you. ISOLATION is another hallmark of ABUSE.
Lean into your new life! You don't have to do this alone. Bring the separation out into the light - make it REAL for friends and family by telling them the truth about the situation. You don't have to go into the nitty gritty of why you're separated, but feels like it's time to be honest with people who care about you. Rally a core group of supportive friends and family around you and the kids! Telling others about the separation will also make it more REAL for YOU.
BluerThanBlue's assessment is spot on - "Given the extent of the financial infidelity involved, and the potential illegality of his actions, you will need proper legal representation to protect yourself and your kids, and help determine your best course of action." Yes, what he did sure does meet the definition of sex trafficking. Please retain a lawyer as part of your support team ASAP.
And, I URGE you to dig into the financial fraud.
"They met several times a week during these almost 4 years" - several web cam sessions per week for almost FOUR YEARS can add up to a SIGNIFICANT sum. You said "he gave me all the money he had gathered to support her." Use that money to retain the attorney maybe? Gently, unless a lawyer or forensic accountant was involved, you only know what he told you. The further you dig the more financial abuse you may unearth. As BluerThanBlue pointed out, unless you're wealthy, it's likely some kind of theft/fraud was involved to pay for three years of webcam sessions, and a year of real life support. Where did he "gather" (steal?) thousands and thousands of dollars? Her HI-B visa alone was probably at least $5,000.00. Maybe more. Did he take out additional mortgages on your home? Did he cash in retirement funds or college savings plans? Is he in a position of trust or power where he could embezzle? Or if self-employed, is he robbing Peter to pay Paul? What about hidden credit card debt? His desperation to keep control, to keep the marriage intact, may be tied to the financial abuse. No divorce means hidden debts/financial crimes stay hidden. For now. Bonus: unearthing his dirt also helps you to see the reality of who he is. He is not the "wise" man created in your mind.
In addition to retaining a lawyer, please work with your therapist ASAP on ways to strengthen your resolve. The right therapist will be an invaluable member of your support team. If you can, immediately start working with the therapist a few sessions a week to triage the urgent need to put up boundaries. I'm hopeful therapy will give you tools to identify his behaviors as what they really are, and strategies to put solid boundaries in place. One boundary to work on ASAP is rules around him being in your new home. Your home should be your sanctuary; your place of safety and healing. His presence there is defeating the whole purpose of being separated! Separation is supposed to give you space to heal, and the time to figure out what comes next. You can't do that if he's in your face trying to take charge. Plus it's confusing for your kids. Any visits with the kids should be on HIS time in HIS home. Boundaries not only protect you, they help your kids to have structure and a reliable, predictable environment.
You've already come so far! Truly. Don't despair. You don't have to do this alone. Don't let him isolate you! Get help! Put your support team in place. Your team will help to navigate this hell he created. One step at a time until you reach the goal. To summarize, piggybacking on previous posts:
- Retain a lawyer. Don't lose sight of the big picture while struggling with day to day realities of his psychological abuse. Protect you and the kids from his illegal doings/theft.
- See a doctor about a medical leave of absence and meds to deal with the intrusive thoughts, sleep meds etc. Recruit your doctor as a valued member of your support team. They've heard it all, so don't be afraid to be honest while seeking their help. Get that STD panel if you haven't taken care of this NECESSARY step.
- Tell the truth about the separation. Rally supportive friends and family around you. Talk to your boss about what's going on.
- Work intensely with the new therapist. Get therapy for your kids - he's manipulating and using them as well! Put up boundaries. Fight for the breathing space you so desperately need.
You can do it. I know this feels daunting. It's time to get angry. He lied to you and DEFRAUDED your family. Anger will help you do what you need to do. Anger will help marshal your inner strength to protect your family.
So, get your real world support team in place. SI is your virtual support team, but we can't take the place of the support you need in real life. Keep posting here and we'll cheer you on. Hugs to you and your kids.
[This message edited by BoundaryBuilder at 11:32 PM, Sunday, May 21st]