I read your other answers. Firstly, I am not blaming you for anything that your ex did. I understand that these were horrible times. However, in that difficult environment, how did you treat your children? Were you loving and kind? Did you trust them or displayed controlling behaviours? Did you help them when they needed you? Did you take responsibility for your actions or did you blame all of your mishaps on your partner and the situation?
While I was on my surgery rotation in medical school the chief resident sent me down to the library to get a medical test book prior to making rounds. As I got back I heard the chief of surgery ask”Where’s Sonja?” and the other medical student who knew the chief had sent me for the book said “Oh she’s probably goofing off, you know how girls are.” I dropped the book and he turned around and all 123 lbs of me went into rage mode and with one hand on his neck and the other on his chest I threw him up against the wall and pinned him and said “You knew damn well I was sent down to the library to get that book.
If you want to look good, look good by being good, not by trying to make someone else look bad.” Chief resident rescued him and chief of surgery clapped his hands in appreciation and picked up the book and then pretended nothing had happened. It went all through the hospital that the skinny girl pinned the much bigger guy and he was the laughing stock for quite a while. Extreme rage can make you very strong. One night I was looking out my bathroom window and I saw my neighbor in her bathroom, holding her hairbrush, singing and dancing in front of the mirror. I couldn’t stop looking when she started to primp and pose. I finally quit looking, scared that she might catch me watching. It was really entertaining, though.
He started accusing me being this James Smith and ignoring his calls. I tried to convince him for a few minutes but after realizing I am getting nowhere, I told him I can not spend any more time with him on the phone and hung up. Phone rang immediately and I did not answer. A couple or may be 3 days later, he was on the phone and we went through the same rigmarole, “James Smith is not here” “I don’t know who he is”. “Nobody around me knows neither”. This time he started threatening me with contacting my employer and getting me fired etc. I said, “Go ahead and do whatever you can as I have no idea who you are and you have no idea who I am”. The next day it went into me being an asshole for not paying my debt and a lot of other invectives.
At this point I recorded his phone number, his name, his company name and everything I possibly can and went to my HR department and filed a complaint and asked my desk number to be changed. They immediately contacted legal and company attorneys got involved and the phone calls stopped without having to change my desk phone number. This happened at my first workplace in the US. I did not even know you could buy small stuff like computers on credit. I thought credit was for things like home mortgages or cars.
Maybe the other answers are right and you need to set up clear boundaries to your children. But maybe, it’s also time to see where you went wrong and show your children that you can do better now. Maybe have an open conversation about what they think, it usually takes two for a conflict. I know this may seem harsh. I have been in an abusive relationship for 7 years, and it’s vitally important afterwards to get out of the victim state. You are not a victim anymore, you are a strong independent woman who takes responsibility for her own life and doesn’t give that away to others, not even her own children.