Long Term Effects of Emotional Abuse

Living without my daughter for the past eight month has been a difficult adjustment. First we went from barely speaking and she was so angry with me. Now, we visit regularly, but only for a few hours every other week. Now we text each other more frequently. This is certainly not how I pictured our future.

My daughter has shared some experiences with her father. I have just listened and have not offered any advice. I am not sure if she is waiting for me to give advice, but I want to tread carefully here. This is new territory and I do not want to cause any rifts in our relationship.

She has shared that she had some boys over at her dad’s house and was surprised that he did not get angry with her. However, she also said that he would not allow her to go to the store at 9:30 pm on a Saturday because “there are predators out there.” I couldn’t help but think he is one of them.

Yesterday, I told my mother that she would not be allowed to drive over here. For some reason I knew that would be the case. I didn’t want to be right. However, nothing my ex-husband does comes without strings.

Today, she shared that her dad will not let her drive to where I live. We are about a 15 minute drive away from where he lives, so it isn’t the distance I do not think. His reasoning was that she needed to finish up school. All school season, she has been failing one class or another, but he continued to get her driver’s permit & license and purchased a car for her. My friend said he is just trying to exercise his power & control.

I told my husband that at some point my ex-husband will get upset and then it will come out that it is “his” car. There are always strings attached and I have a feeling that will surface, especially if she ever “crosses” him. When we were married and he was happy with me, it was “my car”, but when he was angry it was “his car”. There were always strings attached to every situation.

It is difficult to sit back and let situations unfold as they may. However, I believe that is the best way to handle things at this time. I have to trust that God is working here and this will work out for good. I have to believe everything is going to work out exactly as it is supposed to.

 

 

 

Healing After Losing Daughter to Abusive Ex-Husband

The other day, I realized something really significant about this entire situation with my ex-husband and daughter. The time I spent with my ex-husband was really not very good. There are not many good memories to dwell on about him. In fact, most of the time things were pretty bad, sometimes okay, but never really good. I think things might have been good in the beginning, but the verbal abuse, DWIs, cheating, lying, kicking holes in doors, hiding money… all this pretty much drowned out any good memories.

After my divorce, my ex-husband just would never leave things alone and constantly created problems and chaos. He would continuously use our daughter as a pawn to stir the pot and create problems. In most situations outside my ex, I can look back and realize all that was good for some particular learning experience.

Regarding my ex-husband, I never could figure out what good it was for, except our daughter. She was the one good thing that came out of all that negativity. Maybe that was what it was all worth, to have my lovely daughter. I know this situation was super hard on her too. No kid should ever have to be in the middle of a parental warfare.

However, when she decided at 17, she wanted to go live with my ex-husband that pretty much broke my heart. After all these years of my raising her and trying to teach her good things, she chooses to go live with my ex-husband. Although I know she is just a teenager right now and what he promised her sounds like a teenagers dream come true. Now, she does get to dress and do pretty much anything she wants. Now, I have to let her go and pray she will come through it all okay. 

Although, I suspect my daughter would believe her motivations were not about the car and promises of freedom. However, we all know my ex-husband sued for custody or because I am an unfit parent, not because he was the better parent, but because he knew he could save a year and a half of child support. My ex-husband has been trying to hurt me for all these years and I believe that was the primary motivation. Taking advantage of my daughter’s teenage rebellious state was just the ideal time to get her to agree to go.

So today, now when I look back and think about the twenty-five years of hell of dealing with my ex-husband. Plus, co-parenting with my ex-husband was really impossible. The better term would probably be oppositional parenting. I tried to be a good person through all this and kept doing my best to do the right thing. Damn that Alanon and teaching me personal accountability! Just sometimes it would have been nice to act like an asshole to him like he was to me. However, what good would that have done for our daughter. Although, what good did trying to do the right thing do? I still lost her in the end anyway.

How frustrating this all seems right now. Yet still right now, I have to believe this is all happening for a reason. That some good will come out of this awful situation. Looking back, I feel sad that my ex-husband still had so much control over this household. His continue manipulation created so many additional problems and I am not sure what I could have done difficulty to change the outcome. However, I do not believe things happen the way they do on accident. There is a purpose, even if I am unable to see what it is right now.

The best thing I can do is continuing taking positive steps towards healing. I am doing better that I was seven months ago. Today, I am able to sleep better at night. Also, I am taking better care of myself with exercise and doing things I enjoy. I know I just need to keep doing the next right thing. One very positive note, I have zero contact with my ex-husband now. That has been incredible! I just hate that our daughter had to leave for us to not have to deal with him.

 

 

Verbal Abuse is Domestic Abuse

Several years ago, when my ex-husband was constantly harassing me and threatening to take our daughter away from me. I found myself walking through the doors of a local Domestic Abuse Counseling Center. Years earlier, I had started attending Alanon, because I was pretty convinced he had a drinking problem. Alanon helped me come to terms about his drinking, but it did not fully explain his abusive behavior. 

I cannot remember how I heard about the Domestic Abuse Center, but I set up an appointment to meet with one of their counselors. I remember sitting in the chair and listening to a woman describe my relationship in detail as if she had been a fly on the wall inside our house. She explained to me that my ex-husband was exhibiting behaviors of classic domestic abuse. So apparently my experiences in my relationship were less unique than I had originally thought. They also said that, Women often make decisions about their future based on information of what hasn’t happened yet.

“Women often make decisions about their future based on information of what hasn’t happened yet.”

At this time, our divorce had already been finalized and I was dealing with the continuous threats, harassment, and difficulty of co-parenting with an abusive person. Dealing with my ex-husband left me in a state of constant fear. His threats left me with continuous anxiety and fight or flight stress. Plus, we had a daughter and meant we had to have some contact. He was emotionally abusive, and his behavior was destroying me from the inside out. My belief was that Domestic Abuse had to be physical, I had no idea that Verbal Abuse was Domestic Abuse. It seemed like my ex-husband always knew when to stop, and exactly how far to not take it to be able to justify or explain away his bad behavior. Also, because he never hit me, there was nothing I could do legally to stop him.

I started attending counseling sessions at the Domestic Abuse Center. They had a door that was extremely thick and always locked. This was a scary thought to me that they were taking such precautions. However, today, after reading about so many stories where when tried to leave their abusive partners and were murdered. I get why they would be so careful.

It can be extremely dangerous when dealing with abusive partners, just read some of these stories:

Years ago, on DrIrene.com‘s website, I found a questionnaire that really hit home and made it hard for me to deny that I was in a verbally abusive relationship. Although he had never hit me, I was extremely afraid of him. I really believed he might kill me if I decided to leave. Perhaps my relationship was worse than I had thought, especially after reading these questions, and having answered yes to almost all of these questions, except for a few.

Does your partner:

  • Ignore your feelings? – Yes
  • Disrespect you? – Yes
  • Ridicule or insult you then tell you its a joke, or that you have no sense of humor? – Yes
  • Ridicule your beliefs, religion, race, heritage or class? 
  • Withhold approval, appreciation or affection? – Yes
  • Give you the silent treatment? – Yes
  • Walk away without answering you? – Yes
  • Criticize you, call you names, yell at you? -Yes
  • Humiliate you privately or in public? – Yes
  • Roll his or her eyes when you talk? – Maybe I did that?
  • Give you a hard time about socializing with your friends and family? – Yes
  • Seem to make sure that what you really want is exactly what you won’t get? – Yes
  • Tell you you are too sensitive? – Yes
  • Hurt you especially when you are down?
  • Seem energized by fighting, while fighting exhausts you? – Yes
  • Have unpredictable mood swings, alternating from good to bad for no apparent reason? – Yes
  • Present a wonderful face to the world and is well liked by outsiders? – Yes
  • “Twist” your words, somehow turning what you said against you? – Yes
  • Try to control decisions, money, even the way you style your hair or wear your clothes? – Yes
  • Complain about how badly you treat him or her? – Yes
  • Threaten to leave, or threaten to throw you out? – Not so much
  • Say things that make you feel good, but do things that make you feel bad? – Yes
  • Ever left you stranded? – No
  • Ever threaten to hurt you or your family? – No
  • Ever hit or pushed you, even “Accidentally”? – No
  • Seem to stir up trouble just when you seem to be getting closer to each other? – Yes
  • Abuse something you love: a pet, a child, an object? – Yes
  • Compliment you enough to keep you happy, yet criticize you enough to keep you insecure? – Yes
  • Promise to never do something hurtful again? – Yes
  • Harass you about imagined affairs? – Yes
  • Manipulate you with lies and contradictions? – Yes
  • Destroy furniture, punch holes in walls, break appliances? – Yes
  • Drive like a road-rage junkie? – No
  • Act immature and selfish, yet accuse you of those behaviors? – No
  • Question your every move and motive, somehow questioning your competence? – Unsure
  • Interrupt you; hear but not really listen? – Yes
  • Make you feel like you can’t win? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t? – Yes
  • Use drugs and/or alcohol involved? Are things worse then? – Yes
  • Incite you to rage, which is “proof” you are to blame? – Yes
  • Try to convince you he or she is “right”, while you are “wrong”? – Yes
  • Treat you like a sex object, or as though sex should be provided on demand regardless of how you feel? – Yes

Your situation is critical if the following applies to you:

  • You express your opinions less and less freely. – Yes
  • You find yourself walking on eggshells, careful of when and how to say something. – Yes
  • You long for that softer, more vulnerable part of your partner to emerge. – Yes
  • You find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior? – Unsure
  • You feel emotionally unsafe. –  Yes
  • You feel its somehow not OK to talk with others about your relationship. – Unsure
  • You find yourself doubting your memory or sense of reality. – Yes
  • You doubt your own judgment. – Yes
  • You doubt your abilities. – Yes
  • You feel vulnerable and insecure. – Yes
  • You are becoming increasingly depressed. – Yes
  • You feel increasingly trapped and powerless. –  Yes
  • You have been or are afraid of your partner – Yes
  • Your partner has physically hurt you, even once. – No

If you are wondering if you are in a Verbally Abusive relationship, it may be a good idea to locate a local Domestic Abuse Center and learn more about your situation. If you are still living with your partner, make sure you take safety measures. The time when a women (or man) is leaving their abusive partner can be the most dangerous time. Counselors at the Domestic Abuser center can help you learn more, while helping you take any safety measures.

Resource Books:

  • Why Does He Do That? – Bancroft Lundy
  • The Verbally Abusive Relationship – by Patricia Evans

 Questionnaire from above is from Dr. Irene’s website.

Once an Abuser – Always an Abuser

I have mentioned this before that my father is mentally ill. For this reason, I have a difficult time blaming him for his insults. However, how many times do we allow an abusive person to keep abusing us before we say, “No more!”? They say he has Schizoaffective Disorder which means he fits into one of the cluster personality disorders. However, I am not buying that he isn’t just flat out abusive too. Honestly, I believe abusiveness is also a disease and I do not believe one can recover from being abusive. It is difficult enough to recover from being one who has been abused.

In a previous post, I discussed a horrible message my father sent me about my daughter “choosing to live with an abuser over me”. Recently, my father started calling me again. To give you a little context, my father is in a Psychiatric Hospital and declared incompetent. However, that does not prevent him from being abusive to anyone he contacts. This was a message sent to me last January from my father. How sick is my father that he would send a message like this to his daughter.

“As far as “behavior” is concerned, “Judge not lest you be judged.”   For one who found her first true love while performing at a “peep show,” and what great judgment you demonstrated in your choice of a first husband, and the fact that your daughter, my granddaughter, has chosen to live with an “abuser” rather than you, you do not sound like you are in a position to judge anybody!   I suggest that you “judge yourself, so that God and others do not have to!”

These kinds of abuse bring me full circle. After all, I feel I married my father. My ex-husband and father are like two peas in a pod. The other day, my father sent me this awful letter where he had ripped out the inside of a card I sent him and wrote insults on it and sent it back. This is definitely not love. Abuser seem to love to send you reeling emotionally and the words are so painful… they stick and they hurt.

 

His comment about my mother is just meant to hurt me. My mother and father have not spoken for more than 20 years. Obviously he just means to strike a blow and hit me personally. So, after receiving this message, I blocked my father from calling me. I did call him up briefly and let him know that he is no longer allowed to call me be abusive. That his behavior was unacceptable.

He sends me a message and says how stunned he is that I would have said such a thing.

4/6/7

Dearest Daughter

I was stunned by our phone conversation yesterday. I had no idea you were hurt so bad – you gave me a constant rant of your hurt feelings caused by the obvious fact that divorce destroys everyone’s happiness, and for good reason!

I tool, have suffered years of hellish pain as a result of your mother’s decision to leave me shattered by her faithlessness and causing me years of near-insanity.

You weren’t the only one hurt. I thank God that after 27 years of being a basket case lost in a world of misery and confusion, (name of ex-wife) was brought to me by God to pick up the pieces; but even though a 161-IQ Literal Genius, after another eleven years of trying, she could not restore me to my good sense and she turned me over to your Aunt for a dose of “tough love”, stripping me of all my worldly belongings and allowing me to be beaten unmercifully by VA staff and guards, taking all my money and freedom, and damned near all my hope. I think even Jesus cooperated! (He’s very wise and I wouldn’t put it past him.)

I guess Jesus saw something in me worth saving, and you were right, I guess it must have been something I said or did along the line that upset the applecart. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, without you. I hope that someday, maybe you can find time to help me discover what it was. I was never mentally ill, just emotionally crippled.

I’ve always wanted to just silently hug you in my arms and just be glad, as I am now, that your mom and I conceived you in love on that wonderful night in the Winnipeg Inn on that idyllic trip we managed to Canada.

During our belated “Honeymoon”.

I think we have a lot to talk about that cannot be done on a pay phone.

When can we meet?

Love,

Your Father

Regards to your mom!

Well, I am sure this letter was meant to make me feel sympathy for him, but I don’t. I am very much sick of his constantly bringing up issues with my mother as if he didn’t have a thing to do with their problems. He is the innocent one. I think not! He is a horribly abusive wordsmith. Bring up his IQ, as my therapist said… he may be intelligent, but he has an Emotional IQ of Zero.

Although he is my father and my Aunt loves to make me feel sympathy for him. She says he has frontal lobe damage and he is unaware what he is doing. I doubt that truly. He knows exactly what he is saying and wants it to hurt. Then as any typical abuser does, he is all confused of why you ‘the irrational one’ are all bent out of shape for nothing. In fact, everything he has said or done is just because my mother left him. Maybe she left because he is an abusive asshole and if he didn’t get his way he would tear you down.

He may be my father by blood, but this is not a love father who writes these messages to his daughter. This is an abusive man who is rather hateful. My mother says for over 40 years he blames everyone else for his problems and believes the doctors are wrong who have said he is incompetent. I need to remind myself where he is, say a prayer for him, and let him go. Why do we subject ourselves to abusive people, even if they are a relative.

My phone remaining blocked and no amount of guilt my Aunt can lay on me will make me feel sympathy for him.

 

The Abuse Did Not Happen

This made up narrative by my abusive ex-husband on how I was the problem just upsets me. Today, we are boxing up books for a room remodel and just listen to these titles of books collected over the years:

  • Why Does He Do That
  • Toxic Parents
  • Abuse No More
  • Joint Custody with a Jerk
  • Your Kids and Divorce
  • Successful Single Parenting
  • The Verbally Abusive Relationships
  • Victory Over Verbal Abuse
  • Relationships
  • From Survival to Recovery
  • The DNA of Relationships
  • The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage
  • Paths to Recovery
  • Energy Zappers

Wow, now this is quite a list of books I have collected over the years. So many of these books were read to help figure out how to navigate parenting with an abusive ex-husband. Honestly, I am not sure if any of it made a difference or not considering the outcome.

In the end, my daughter chose to go live with my ex-husband. She has no idea that the lawsuit costs us more than $7,000 and what a waste considering he did not do what he promised. He agreed to take our daughter to weekly therapy and he did not keep that promise. Although, taking someone to therapy who didn’t want to go would not have made any difference. Still, these were the terms and he agreed to these terms.

I am not sure how to feel about all of this at times. On one hand, my daughter made these decisions and she claims it wasn’t for the car or lax rules promised. However, many teenagers rebel against the rules, however how many have a parent that conspires with the child to undermine the other parent’s authority. This probably happens more often than I know.

Lets face it; my ex-husband out manipulated me because I wasn’t playing that game. Over the years I really tried to do what was right. His constant undermining created a very challenging situation as our daughter entered teenage years. Was I a perfect parent through this entire situation, probably not, but I know my priorities were in line.

Sometimes you can do all the right things and still feel like you lost a battle that you didn’t want to be in in the first place. Sometimes your heart can just get broken beyond explanation. No suicidal thoughts here, but I certainly felt at times I would rather be dead than feel the crushing pain of losing your daughter to an abusive ex-husband.

This sounds like a pity party today. I truly want to believe that everything happens for a reason. It seems throughout my life it always has worked out for the best. Unfortunately, you cannot see into the future to see how everything will turn out.

Tomorrow my daughter and I have planned on going to a movie. In less than two weeks, my daughter will turn eighteen. She might get a car for her birthday. She has two grades below passing, but my ex is not considering her safety when he makes decisions. Neither is he helping her grow into an independent young woman either. My ex-husband likes people to be dependent upon him because that gives him the power he so craves.

During one of my therapy sessions, I had mentioned that it seemed like all of this is my fault. That I picked this man and for that reason we have all this pain. However, as she pointed out, I did not pick this man planning on divorce and years of emotional pain for us all. Maybe I did handle this situation wrong. Honestly, I just do not know.

What I do know is I am a survivor and I will survive this just as I have everything else encountered during my lifetime. My daughter may see the truth and may choose a different outcome. My daughter may end up navigating through her own painful choices as I did. Maybe, I did everything right considering everything that we encountered. I have never spent so much time away from my daughter as I have during the last sixth months.

My daughter was first in my life for so many years. First in a good way though. I always made she was able to participate in school activities, make it to birthday parties, and tried to give her the healthiest mom I could be. I spent years going to Alanon and therapy in my efforts to be the healthiest mom I could be for her.

Today, I am struggling, but I know I will survive all of this. Maybe there are lessons for everyone here that I just cannot see. Maybe this is going to work out exactly as it should, but I won’t know for years to come. All I can do is continue to work on myself, take care of myself, and be the best person I can be every day.

 

 

 

Stages of Grief – Dealing with Emotions

It has been two months since my last blog entry. Over the past few months I have gone through several stages of grief.

Stages of Grief

It began with fear and trying to decide what to do about the situation. Then it evolved into overwhelming sadness with frequent bouts of crying. Sometimes I felt extremely angry at my ex-husband for his manipulation and taking advantage of our daughter. Some days I felt angry at myself for selecting my ex-husband all those years ago. Sometimes I hate my ex-husband and wish he was dead, but then I feel guilty for thinking that way. Maybe some of this anger is misdirected, on many days I feel like I have no-one to blame but myself.

Fake It ’til You Make It

A few months ago I made myself start exercising again in an effort to pull myself out of the funk. Thinking of that old saying; fake it ’til you make it. Last week, I began doing my crafts again and I think that is helping. Lately, I have entered a new phase… perhaps this is coming to the point of acceptance or maybe I am just getting used a new normal. On some days I still feel like a victim, but it does no good to think like that. However, it doesn’t change the anger of all the years my ex-husband has been screwing with us and how much I tried to counter it with good messages, to end up losing my daughter anyway.

Yes, so this sometimes sound like a pity party to me. Last week, I began doing some of my crafts again and I think that is helping. My daughter still will not give me her phone number. She still communicates with me through the Instagram app. It is very bizarre.

Just writing this blog post makes me feel like I want to cry again. Maybe that is okay. Plus, I know full well that this journey will not be linear. Of course the journey has just begun and we have no idea where it will take us.

The Past Collides with the Present

There has also been some hell going on with my father at the same time. However, that is another story that probably needs its own blog post. In one of his emails to me he said that my daughter would rather live with an abuser than me. I know my father is not in his right mind, but that doesn’t remove the sting from his words. My father is a very abusive man and uses words as a sword. However, it has been difficult to discontinue all contact with my father completely. Although I rarely speak to him.

“As far as “behavior” is concerned, “Judge not lest you be judged.”   For one who found her first true love while performing at a “peep show,” and what great judgment you demonstrated in your choice of a first husband, and the fact that your daughter, my granddaughter, has chosen to live with an “abuser” rather than you, you do not sound like you are in a position to judge anybody!   I suggest that you “judge yourself, so that God and others do not have to!”

My daughter may struggle with her relationship with her father as much as I struggle with mine. No matter how hateful he is, I still love my father. Plus, he really hasn’t been much of a father and doesn’t deserve my loyalty. Maybe that is why I picked my ex-husband. My ex-husband reminds me very much of my father. My ex-husband reminds my mother of my father.

Secrets of my Past

His comment about meeting my first true love while performing at a “peep show”. What a hateful comment. Yes, I used to be a topless dancer. Life happened, however my ex-husband is certainly not my true love and I did not meet him where I was working. I met him out at a bar one evening. Today, this is my big secret in life and I do not tell anyone about this. Although this blog post is anonymous, I still haven’t been able to discuss this part of my past on this blog until now.

Why should I feel ashamed of my past. It is my past and it does not define me today. This was also something I decided to tell my daughter before she left. I was worried my ex-husband would tell her first. If he told her this, his motivations would not be for a good reason. So I felt it was better that it came from me than him.

Last week while in therapy, I told my counselor I had felt like this was my fault for picking my ex-husband. She said, “you didn’t pick someone on purpose that was abusive and you didn’t plan on getting divorced.” She is right, I picked someone who I thought was a nice guy. The person my ex-husband portrayed to me was not the person he really was. I really liked him in the first year, but he wasn’t being real in the beginning. When he was being his true abusive self, I didn’t like him one bit.

Keep a Positive Outlook

I keep telling myself that everything is going to work out in the end. That my daughter will come around and see the truth. That one day we will mend our relationship. Maybe she will see that I am not a bad person and I wasn’t a bad mom. I know I was not perfect, but I continued working to improve myself and our life. I hope one day she can see the truth.

 

Navigating Through Parental Alienation (PAS)

navigating parental alienationDuring the holidays is when I realize that this is a sad time and perhaps I feel a little blue. Navigating through the effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is not easy and there doesn’t seem to be a right answer other than prayers and time.

Today, I read about a new term called Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP) and this definition makes a lot of sense. It describes this as an aggressive form of abuse and maltreatment. However, it does say that HAP leads to PAS. It is my believe that either parent and even guardians can contribute to destroying the relationship between child(ren) and either the mother or father.

As a child, I experienced my father’s constant verbal assaults against my mother. His goal was most certainly to turn me against my mother or take his side. To this day, my father will still say hateful things about my mother. For this reason, I rarely speak to my father, although I still love him regardless. Plus, my father’s stories often contained elements of the truth, but unfairly put my mother down. He would say my mother was promiscuous and even refer to her as ‘satan’.

As a young adult, I also witnessed my uncle (father’s brother) turning his three children against their mother. It wasn’t until they were grown adults and married with families of their own that they came to realize there might be another side to the story. Although my Aunt may not have been perfect, more of the harm came from my Uncle then from her. Now they have a different relationship with their father.

Since my daughter was little, my ex-husband has been constantly undermining my parental authority with our daughter. He would call us the ‘food police’ and basically say our rules were extreme or unreasonable. We had some rules, but I would never consider our rules extreme. My daughter has journal entries from when she was ten years old, where she expresses her confusion about whose rules to follow and how to answer his questioning her. This ongoing parental warfare caused unnecessary stress in our daughter’s life during her childhood.

journal entry about rulesjournal entries questions

Once she became a teenager, she was open to moving in with her father, especially since he was offering her a ‘stress free house’ (read no rules) and a car. However, it is so sad the distance my daughter has put between us so quickly. It has been over two months since she left to live with her father. Still, she does not give me her phone number and my only way to communicate is through the Instagram app. It has been over a month since I have seen my daughter and I hope to see her on December 2nd.

Recently, she reached out to me and was asking if we could get together. Her tone seems to have improved a bit and she seems less angry? Maybe time will help? The problem is she still lives with her father and his motives are not so good. Everything he has ever done has an self-serving purpose. I cannot control my ex-husband or his wife, but hearing my daughter speak in a manner that is definitely not her is frustrating.

Last week, we went to my hometown to celebrate my grandmother’s life. My grandmother lived a long life and she was 97 1/2 when she passed away. We invited my daughter and she said she could not go to another state and miss even one day of school. Honestly, she is struggling with her grades and I am not sure one day would make that big of difference. Anyway, we had a huge family photo and it was sad for several of us that my daughter was not in the picture.

My mom is frustrated on some days and gets very angry at my ex-husband. I am not really sure how much of this is just her being a teenager. Dealing with teenagers can be a challenge without adding combative co-parenting to the mix. Today, I read an article called Offsetting Parental Alienation that gave me some hope. However, the other day I read a comment on Facebook from one of our readers that said their ex-husband was destroying their relationship with their grand babies. This thought just breaks my heart.

I hope my writing about this is helping some people. It is helping me to write these thoughts down. In July, after we were served the suit for custody, my stomach was upset nearly the entire month. In August, when my daughter was home and hostile towards us, we were completely on edge the entire month. In September, I felt extreme grief, knowing that I might have to let her go. In October, my feelings moved into a depression and it was a little hard to pull myself out of that. In November, I am beginning to accept my reality and trying to accept life with my daughter at a distance.

My prayers are constant to for God to keep her safe and protected. I still pray for my ex-husband and his wife and hope they will find their own happiness. Although, I know people rarely change. For now, I will continue to work on myself and continue working on my own health and happiness.

Journal Entries by my Daughter

how to document verbal abuseThe other day, my stepdaughter found an old journal that belonged to my daughter. She opened it up and read a few pages. Once she read one particular post, she brought the journal down to me to show me the entry. Although this is personal posts, the first one she showed me very much upset my husband and myself. I was very much conflicted, because these were my daughter’s private thoughts. Due to our precarious relationship, I was really curious to what she recorded.

My daughter’s journal entry simply said:

I hirted in the V today it realy hirted.

journal entries

Reading this entry made me incredibly sad. When she says her ‘V’ hurt, she is referring to her vagina. It looks like this entry was written around 2008, but there is no dates on several of these entries. We believe she was only ten years old at this time.

My husband and I talked about some of her entries and we were both so sad. She had several posts saying her ‘V’ hurt and one she mentioned it hurt when got home from her father’s house. She also posted often that she couldn’t sleep. There was another post where she mentioned she didn’t know whose rules to follow. Another she said her father kept asking her questions because he ‘thinks’ I was telling her stuff.

I felt a little sad for reading her private thoughts, but it it amazing how much she is choosing not to remember at this moment. Although I cannot say for sure he did something to her, I strongly suspect something happened. However, with all our visits to the pediatrician, children’s hospital, and therapy… we never found out anything for sure.

Another post said:

Sometimes I act happy but I am realy confused or mad I have to tell my dad how I feel but I can’t. he thinks my mom tels me stuff.

journal entries

No little girl should ever have to feel this way! It angers me so much that my ex-husband has put her through so much hell for his own selfish reasons. I hope to God that he did not do something to her, but there is just no logical explanation for her continuous complaints about her vagina hurting.

My daughter did ask to get together via Instagram chat. At this time, I am still trying to figure out how to navigation our new relationship. Recently, I sent her a card that mentioned our relationship being in a new place, but that I believed we would get through it because I love her too much. I wrote in the card, “It sounds like you are angry and frustrated and I am sorry for that. I feel really sad about our relationship right now.” I am not sure if that had anything to do with her reaching out to me or not.

What confuses me is how she can remember the story different than reality. For example, in the post above, she comments about him asking her questions, but she now believes I was the one asking questions. How did the narrative change so much? Is this just a clear case of brainwashing?

On some days, I just do not know how to feel about all that has happened. Plus, as I mentioned in previous posts. My ex-husband was supposed to take her to weekly therapy as part of our new agreement. He has not taken her to one session. My attorney says he is playing a game with me because he knows he cannot be held in contempt until the order is filed. I asked my attorney what would prevent him from never signing the order. I am still waiting for her answer.

 

 

Accepting the Painful Reality

smartphone abusive messages-sIn my previous post Power Over and the Abuser, I wrote about trying to pick my daughter up for the weekend visitation. I had planned on taking her for coffee or sushi and then taking her back home. However, nobody answered the door when I rang the doorbell.

On Friday, I had decided to send her father an email and we had a brief exchange. My last email to him was asking if he knew where our daughter was and if she was safe. He never responded to this email.

So, today I re-downloaded Instagram thinking if that was the only way my daughter was willing to communicate with me, I would rather have some contact then none at all. However, I quickly regretted this decision after seeing the message that was written on Friday night.  I am not 100% sure if this is her writing this message or if someone is feeding her words to say.  Either way, it is a painful reality to accept.

She says:

You said you would call me and you’d let me know when you wanted to see me. You said that I don’t have to go over there and that you’re not going to attempt to make me. You said you would not try to make me call you. You blocked me on Instagram and unblocked me and blocked me. If you wanted to see me so bad you could have called (stepmother’s name) or my dads phone or texted me through here. I also told you I would not step foot in that house if (my husband’s name) there and I don’t bluff.

So yes I am safe and I’m very happy and I don’t what to see you until I know you actually want to spend time with me and quit playing games. I should not have to deal with this I am only 17. Nobody should have to put up with this. I would love to see you when you stop with all this sneaky childish crap.

My response:

How do I know this is you?

Honestly, I not sure what ‘sneaky childish crap’ she is referring to. It sounds like my ex-husband discussed the message with her. However, I did send him a message saying I planned on picking her up. Is this even my daughter communicating with me through Instagram, and if so, when did she become so full of vitrail for me?  It pains me to see my daughter acting like a completely different person than the daughter I raised.

Also, my husband and I still cannot figure out why she is so upset at him. I even discussed this with my therapist and it just sounds like they are possibly telling her I am picking him over her? My husband is and was a good father to both his daughter and my daughter. This is certainly a lot of wasted energy spent on accusations and innuendos.

She is right that I blocked and unblocked her on Instagram one time. Then I just deleted the app from my phone for two reasons.  One, I just really do not want to communicate through Instagram. Second, she is often very hateful through text and certainly do not deserve that. When she texts me through that app, I cannot even tell if it is her or them speaking. She has said things that we are pretty sure are not her words. So either she is not writing the message or someone is feeding her what to write.

So, this is my mistake for downloading Instagram again and receiving this message. There are two more messages and I am tempted to read them, but what good could possibly come from doing that. I never thought I would see the day when my daughter seems to enjoy hurting me and sounding very much like her father. I did that because one of my readers commented that I just needed to learn how to love my daughter from a distance. So I thought if she only wants to communicate through Instagram, I would rather have some contact than nothing. Although I refuse to be a punching bag either. So, if more time is needed for healing, then I am prepared to step back.

Shayna’s comment on my previous post Power Over and the Abuser:

I think that he’s being petty and doing what’s best for him, not what’s best for your daughter. However, with your daughter being almost 18, it doesn’t seem like something you should be allowing to get you so worked up. When you’re 17, you don’t really know what’s going on.. but once you get older, you’ll look back and see that you didn’t know anything at 17. I’m saying that to say . You’re doing all this work to fight against the father, when in less than a year it won’t matter anyways bc it will change again. Then it will be up to her and only her if she sees you. I would stop wasting money, energy and your sanity dealing with the father and starts trying to figure out how to love your daugter from a distance. He will piss her off in no time. Just watch how quick she comes running to your doorstep when he starts to have to handle her messes on his own. She breathe. She ll come around on her own. If she were 16 or younger, I would tell you to go for it. But there’s no point in causing more chaos for something that’s only temporary for a few more months.

I know she is young and 17 and does not really know anything right now.  I am certain she thinks she does. However, I really do not know what my ex-husband is telling her and he has a history of speaking negatively about me for the past 12 years. Still, this is so painful. I just broke down and cried after reading her message. It just absolutely hurts. How is it that everything I do is perceived as ‘playing games’?

So, I did read the messages and she said this:

That proof enough? (and this screenshot is included)
instagram picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

My response was:

What is that?

I have no idea what this means. Unless she believes these are me trying to connect with her on something. Is that Snapchat? I don’t know. I am not creating fake names and connecting with her.  The only time I did that was right after we caught her smoking pot, grounded her and she sent out a message telling people to contact her on Snapchat, I created false profile and sent her a message then caught her using a device she snuck into the house. So I get why a teenager might perceive that as playing games. All of my friends call that parenting, not sneaky.

She replies:

It reminded me of that Angela account.

So, I was correct and she is considering that situation where I created a false profile to catch my daughter using a device she snuck home. I was going to respond to that message, but decided not to even go there.

Instead I said:

I sent a message to your dad last Sunday saying I planned on picking you up. I had planned on going to get coffee. Just hoped to see you.

This is all insane. That is why I say that I need to accept the painful reality. My daughter is lost and gone until she gets free of her dad’s influence or gets a more mature outlook on things. When I was 17, I wasn’t behaving so well towards my mother. I hated her telling me what to do and refused to follow the rules too. Most of us grow up eventually.

She replies:

I find it hard to believe that you just wanted to go get coffee. Most parents would text their child and say hey lets go watch a movie or get dinner, but you didn’t do that. You just showed up and expected me to go. Anyway I don’t care if you think this is me or my dad or (his wife), I’m just glad I could finally get my point across.

My response:

I sent your dad a message five days earlier. I figured someone would send me a text saying you would not be available. I had already told you I wouldn’t make you come here and we would just go to dinner and I would take you back.

She replies:

You blocked him. He blocked you. What did you expect?

My reply:

I blocked him because his phone kept calling (my husband) one night and he claims nobody had his phone. I don’t want to play games honey.

When you are dealing with abusive people or even children influenced by abusive people, there does not appear to be a right way to do things. Everything I do or don’t do seems to be spun into something else.  I am tired of feeling bad and one of my readers is absolutely right that it isn’t worth dealing with her father when she is almost 18. Have to hope she will figure it all out one day and see the truth.

She says:

He was calling my old phone number.

My response:

No honey, (my husband) does not have your phone number. He still has his own number. Your phone number is cancelled.

Her response:

He never called (my husband). My number was connected to his account so it went to him. He has no reason to call (my husband).

My response:

That is not true. Your phone number is connected to nowhere.

She responds:

Doesn’t matter. My dad did not call (my husband). He doesn’t even have (my husband)’s number saved. If you want to contact my dad do it through. He blocked your number the day I moved in. If you want to see me text me ahead of time and we can eat dinner or something. This is my last text to you until you quit the games your so fond of.

In abusive situations, there is often a game of ball. They throw something at you and you throw it right back. As long as you keep catching the ball and throwing it back, they will keep hurling the ball at you. I need to let this ball go on by and not catch it. Many times they will throw another ball at you and it is your choice whether to catch it or let it fly by.

I feel anxiety all over again. It certainly feels like I am dealing with my ex-husband all over again. This is a stupid conversation that has nothing to do with anything. Again, my daughter is being quite hateful in her tone. There is no way to read these comments nicely. Again, it is impossible to know if I am even communicating with my daughter.

Power Over and the Abuser

power and controlOkay, right now there is a situation that is outside my control. Although I have no desire to be in control, although with that being said… I really don’t like the feeling of being out of control either. This is clearly a Power Over situation for my ex-husband and he has all the control and I know he relishes every moment.

Side note, oftentimes I use pretty pictures of flowers and butterflies when can’t find a picture that represents my story. So now you know.

Yesterday, I dealt with a situation with my daughter and my ex-husband and it is on my mind. One reason I created this blog was to get things out of my head so I can stop thinking about them. So here it goes.

Last Sunday, I sent my ex a text message that I would pick our daughter up at 6pm. I had to contact him because my daughter has not given me her phone number for some reason. So, yesterday I drove 25 minutes to pick her up at 6pm.

My being the parenting picking our daughter up for visitation is still very new for all of us. My daughter asked me if she could skip the last two visits for Homecoming and studies. So I agreed, but I do really want to try to maintain some sort of relationship with my daughter.

I am not really sure why my daughter won’t call me or give me her phone number. All of this is rather insane. Her father bought her this phone and maybe that is why. She had told me she was “suspicious” of why I was asking for her phone number. I had told her I didn’t know what she had to be suspicious about. None of this makes any sense. I strongly suspect that this is a case of parental alienation by my ex-husband. Hopefully my daughter will one day see the truth.

Okay, so back to the story. So at 6pm, I rang the doorbell and knocked since I really couldn’t hear if the doorbell was actually ringing. Nobody answered the door. So, I drove home and decided to send him an email and it was time to get the lawyers involved.

On September 8th, we agreed to let our 17 year old go live with her father. Her anger towards me really began in the summer after I busted her for smoking pot. She became extremely angry at that time. When she went to her father’s house for the July visit, we received a suit for custody from my ex-husband. When she came home, she was more hateful than ever. She was determined to go live with her father and that was that.

So after spending $8,000 on attorney fees we agreed during medication that she would go live with her father. She is going to be 18 in April and it didn’t make any sense to prevent her from going at this age. Our agreement was that we would be joint parents and I would take the weekends and holiday visits. My request was that she needs weekly therapy until the therapist says she doesn’t need to go. We really believe his motivation at this late stage was to get out of paying child support because he paid the max. My attorney suggested no child support from me and he agreed.

He has not taken her to one single therapy session in two months. All of this is so frustrating. I have no idea if she didn’t want to be there or he didn’t want her to be there yesterday when I went to pick her up. Without therapy, she only has her father and his wife who are not really doing what is best for her.

So, I sent him an email:

Good Evening (Insert Ex Name Here),

Last Sunday, I sent you a message to let you know that I would be picking (our daughter) up tonight at 6pm (screenshot attached). Tonight, at 6pm, I rang the doorbell and knocked and nobody answered. Nor did you respond to my text or call me to let me know she would not be there tonight.

(Our daughter) asked for a little time to get acclimated and work on her schoolwork. I agreed to her request temporarily. However, it has been over a month since I have been able to visit with her.

In the past 12-13 years, I never discouraged (our daughter) from visiting you during your weekends. Also, I never alienated you with her as you have done towards me. I expect you to show me the same courtesy. 

Also, you have not taken her to one therapy session, as you agreed to during mediation. The therapist is still recommending therapy as noted in the attached letter. 

text-to-ex

He responded with this:

This is a false statement…nothing has been signed by you. I have done nothing but adhere to the mediation orders and if I recall when she was with you on your visitation I had to pick her up premature to the weekend visit due to “issues”. Bottom line, call your attorney. 

Okay, something that has been extremely helpful in the past is breaking down his messages. So, he says ‘This is a false statement…nothing has been signed by you’. It sounds like he is saying since I did not sign the agreement that I received last week yet, he doesn’t have to do what is says. However, his actions so far is to have our daughter move in and changed her schools.

Then he says ‘I have done nothing but adhere to the mediation orders…’ and by this he must mean than he has custody of her and changed schools. Weekly therapy was required and he has not taken her to a single session. Then he brings up something from the past that occurred in August ‘and if I recall when she was with you on your visitation I had to pick her up premature to the weekend visit due to “issues”.’ This has absolutely nothing to do with this situation.

Notice how he never addresses why she was not there at 6pm and simply says ‘Bottom line, call your attorney.’ He loves to use clichés in his emails. As soon as my attorney explains a section that was highlighted in the agreement I plan to have her file a judgment against him. In fact, I really want to play hard-ball here with him. Perhaps my attorney has some ideas.

‘Bottom line’ (do I sound more intelligent using this word?) he is not complying with what he agreed to do during our mediation. Plus, since our daughter does not have a car or a license yet, someone else would have to drive her away from the residence. Also, out of courtesy a simple phone call or text to let me know she would not be there did not happen either. Who am I kidding, since when has my ex-husband ever been respectful or courteous?

Obviously this is a power-play for him. He likes to be in control and he is right now. So, my challenge is to do what I can do and let it go. This does not need to become a fight for me… or something that I spend all my waking hours thinking about.

Anyone else experiencing something similar to this situation? In my next post I discuss Accepting the Painful Reality.