Co-Parenting With an Abuser

The most difficult time in my life was when I was living with my ex-husband. He controlled the finances, and I was constantly living on eggshells due to his unpredictable behavior. Today, I no longer have the constant headaches, stomach problems, and depression I experienced daily.

Although co-parenting with an abusive ex-husband can be challenging. It has also created problems between my husband and me at times because my daughter can be quite disrespectful when she talks to my husband. Unfortunately, my ex-husband has encouraged this type of behavior from our daughter.

My ex-husband’s parenting style has created problems for our daughter that make life a bit harder one some days. My abusive ex-husband’s influence on my daughter often brings out a sense of entitlement for my daughter. She likes being at her dad’s house and getting to do whatever she wants, and she sometimes rebels against rules when she comes home.

My ex-husband’s manipulative comments have affected my daughters behavior and thinking on some days. He is so arrogant, and he encourages that behavior from my daughter. He would tell her, “You don’t have to act like you are all that when you are already all that.” What kind of comment is that to tell your child? There are some occasions when my daughters comments or tones sound very much like my ex-husband.

His wife told my daughter she should pick a rich man like she did to marry. She also said she wanted a ring that was so big that her hand would fall to the floor. These types of comments seem very shallow to me. This is just how my ex-husband and his wife behave in general. They think very highly of themselves, and everyone else is beneath them.

I hope my daughter will come through this unscathed. When I was a child I had a father who was not putting my best interests at heart and I think today, I am okay. Growing up with my father certainly had an influence on my decision to pick my abusive ex-husband. My ex-husband reminds me of mine dad. My father thinks very highly of himself too, and that other people are beneath him.

I can only hope that the example we show in our house helps my daughter make the right choice. I am sure some day she will see my ex-husbands manipulative behavior at face value.

Healing the Emotional Scars

healing emotional scarsMy daughter has admitted that her father continues to say horrible things about me, and she just tunes him out. However, having seen her self-inflicted cuts on the side of her thigh/hip and it does not appear she has tuned it out. How much emotional scarring has this abusive relationship caused in my daughter after all these years?

My abusive relationship with my ex-husband and my father has certainly caused some internal emotional scarring for me. Now, I rarely talk to either one of them because they do not change. The best book I ever read that explained the abuse in a way that made sense was the book by Bancroft Lundy, Why Does He Do That? There is no rhyme or reason to why they behave like they do and I am not hopeful that they will ever change.

My ex-husband hates me after all these years. Perhaps he hates that I have left and that he cannot control me anymore. The only thing he can control now is trying to sever the relationship between my daughter and myself. He constantly says things to her like, “Moms and daughters do not get along.” or “Fathers and daughters get along better than mothers and daughters.” All of this is designed to try to drive a wedge between my daughter and myself.

Hopefully, it won’t work anymore for my ex-husband than it worked for my father. To this day, nearly forty years after my parent’s divorce, my dad still says hateful and horrible things about my mother. Seriously, he just can’t get over that relationship that ended so long ago. Now, I have made the decision not to talk to my father because I do not want to continue to subject myself to his verbal abuse. Will my daughter one day have to make this same decision?

I have made the prayer, “Let it end with me.” My hope is the cycle of abuse will not continue with my daughter, and it will end with my generation. This is my only prayer.

Abusive Kids at School

So a lot has happened this week. All of this was crazy and unexpected to say the least.

Starting on Tuesday, the school counselor called to inform me that she had received an anonymous tip that my daughter was cutting.  My daughter assured the school counselor and me that she was not cutting. I even asked her to show me her stomach and legs.  Plus, I believed her because I just didn’t see any visible wounds in any of the places she showed me.

self harmingOn Wednesday, my daughter came home, crying, and admitted she was cutting.  She showed me her leg where she had twenty 2-3 inch cuts in a row.  It absolutely broke my heart to see her wounds, especially when I heard she originally started doing this three years ago.  The only cuts are in this same location on her leg. How could I have missed this? Also, the dishonesty makes you question what else they are not telling you.

On Thursday, when my daughter was heading to the after-school bus, her friend was jumped and beat up by another girl in school. Her friend ended up hitting her head on the concrete, passed out, and then had to be taken to the emergency room. My daughter’s school is one of the best in the area and this was surprising. On the way to the hospital my daughter began receiving harassing threats via Kik chat. Comments like; u next bitch, watch your back, and your next.  Most of Thursday evening was spent with my daughter writing statements and visiting her friend in the hospital room.

On Friday, we visited the school and she gave additional information about the ‘physical altercation’ to the assistant principals. Due the threats that told my daughter she was next and to watch her back, I made the decision to bring her home today. During the school day there was a video of the ‘fight’ being pass around and some of my daughter’s friends started blaming her for not doing anything.

After listening to everyone describe this altercation, it sounds like nobody saw this coming and the other girl attacked my daughter’s friend. The ‘fight’ did not last long before people began pulling her off and my daughter went to help her friend. Then my daughter immediately called her friend’s mother to let her know. The girl who started this fight has been taken into custody and will likely end up in juvy.

Unfortunately, her best friend is now blaming her for not helping her during the fight and insists she would have protected my daughter if the situation was reversed. I am a bit disappointed in her best friend for siding with the group of friends blaming her best friend. There were over ten statements given that described the exact same situation and I imagine they were both pretty shocked and surprised. I also know, it takes a few minutes for your mind to process what is going on and it takes a bit longer to actually react.

So now my daughter has become the second victim in this entire mess.  What a ridiculous situation reaction everyone is having.  Talk about misplaced aggression. Of course, anyone looking back on the situation could say they would have done something different or that my daughter should have done something. I still can’t believe this happened at my daughter’s school.

Next Monday, we have an appointment with my daughter’s counselor and hopefully she can help my daughter sort through this mess.  Unfortunately, I think this has shown some of her friends ‘true colors’.  It is truly unfortunate that all this happened.

Although, perhaps this is a God thing. When we visited my daughter’s best friend in the hospital she had tons of cuts all around her wrists from cutting herself.  It looked awful!  I don’t think these girls are cutting together, but both of these girls are not very healthy at this time.  Maybe it is a good thing that they are not on speaking terms now.

Just maybe, this is an opportunity for them to get healthy on their own.  Recently we learned that her best friend is suicidal, cuts and is seriously depressed. There is a saying that says,”A relationship is only as healthy as the sickest person in the relationship.”  So I can’t see what either of them have to bring to the relationship at this point.

I hope my daughter is ready to focus on herself a little more. Right now, I am providing all the counseling and tools, but it will be up to my daughter if she is ready to get better. My daughter seems to have rational thoughts and wants to get healthy.  Although, it is hard to say because she has been keeping this a secret for quite some time and has been pretty dishonest lately.

This has been a hard week, and I went back to Alanon tonight.  I haven’t been in a while because I felt things were much better in our household. However, things certainly began to unravel this week, and quickly. All I can do is pray for my daughter and provide as many support and resources as possible. I really do not understand this self harming in full, but from what I understand, it is a way to cope with overwhelming emotions.


Self Harming Hotline: (914) 603-7362

My Daughter is Cutting

cutting self harmYesterday, I found out my daughter has been cutting herself. When I saw her, wounds I just covered my face with my hands and my eyes immediately began to tear up. As quickly as my tears began to flow, I somehow managed to stop and just talk to her. I just wanted to be supportive to her and figure out what to do next.

She asked me if something happened with her father all those years ago and my answer was that I just do not know. I do not have any evidence that nothing happened anymore than I have evidence that something did happen. The fact is I do not have all the pieces to the story, and my daughter does not remember. Clearly there is a big problem here, and her emotions seem to be coming out sideways.

So I called the counselor we used to see a few years ago, and she remembered us and the backstory. She also happens to specialize in adolescence who cut. The good thing is my daughter and her counselor already built up a rapport and my daughter likes this counselor. It sounds like my daughter is ready to deal with the pain.

It was huge that my daughter told me, and I know that is the first step towards healing. My feelings are so mixed, between feeling like it is somehow my fault or that I should have figured this out sooner. I know the relationship with her father is extremely unhealthy. About three weeks ago I wrote a post titled An Abuser Doesn’t Change His Spots that detailed a recent encounter my daughter had with her father. She said it was that day she started cutting again. Her relationship with her father is very emotionally abusive.

Apparently she has been cutting off and on for about three years. Right now she has about 20 cuts on her upper thigh. It was awful seeing all those cuts because I know they represent her pain. I truly wish we hadn’t stopped going to counseling when my ex-husband started harassing us a bit less. I was under this impression that we were all healing, but I was wrong.

We found some razors in the bathroom that had a portion of them removed to expose the blade. This is how she was cutting herself. The wounds are not terribly deep, but they do look painful. We are going to see a doctor tomorrow to see what we can use to heal these visible wounds. Perhaps she can start the journey healing her inside at the same time we heal her outside wounds.

It is huge that she made the decision to come forward and admit what she has been doing. I know that is the first step towards recovery.



Generational Effects of Abuse

domestic violenceThis is a story of domestic abuse and how it often runs in families. The cycle of abuse is a tough one to break unless you begin to understand the facts about abuse.  Domestic abuse has more than one face and can affect you in many ways, including unknowingly teaching your children, by example, to choose similar relationships when they are adults. My family story includes all types of abuse, although I can’t say absolutely that sexual abuse exists, but red flags existed.

Types of Domestic Abuse:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Spiritual Abuse

When I was sixteen, I made the decision to distance myself from my father. However, I often felt guilty for not talking to him, and that guilt would drive me to call him again. My parents divorced when I was three years old, and I visited him twice a year every year up until the age of sixteen. At the age of sixteen I flat out refused to see him and from them on I think I saw him five times in over 20 years.

There are so many times my relationship with my father confuses me. On one hand, I don’t want to be around him when he is abusive, and that is more often than not. However, I know he suffers from mental illness, and that is not entirely his fault. Now, my aunt has taken over my father’s finances, and he is in a nursing home. My father is so out of control that the thought of my taking over his care gives me panic attacks.

My father has always been ill in more ways than one. As a child, my family protected me from the truth, which probably didn’t protect me at all. My father was diagnosed with Schizophrenia back in the 1970s. Although, in the 1970s, that classification was often incorrect or not a reliable diagnosis. My father was certainly extreme in moods and his behavior often exhibited those of Bi-polar with the tendency to have manic swings.

Approximately ten years ago they diagnosed my father with Schizoaffective Disorder because there seemed to be more than one mental illness present in him. It is very likely my father is also an alcoholic, but he hid this from me very well when I was a child as I never saw him drink.  Oftentimes, substance abuse and mental illness go hand-in-hand.

I do have sympathy for my father because he was a victim if abuse by his father. My grandfather was an extremely controlling and abusive man. He regularly beat his children, but my aunt said my father, being the oldest, always got the worst of it. So it is difficult to say if my father was born with this illness or if all the trauma from physical abuse created it or exacerbated the issues.

My grandfather was also a victim of abuse from his father. What I have learned about my great-grandfather is he was alcoholic that was extremely physically abusive to his children. So my grandfather was regularly beaten, and this cycle of abuse continued when he became a parent. My grandfather never drank a day in his life and might have been considered a drunk alcoholic.

What I remember of my grandfather has he had a grandiose image of himself, and he expected his family to uphold that image. He was in the military and always dressed the part. They had a Rolls Royce, not sure if it was one they fixed up or not. When I was a child, they drove talking Cadillacs, huge expensive motorhome, and a huge boat. He was always living beyond his means to impress other people. I know they made a lot of money, but they were always broke. My grandfather was always looking for getting rich quick schemes that usually don’t result in anyone getting rich. My grandfather definitely used finances and threatening to take the children away to control my grandmother.

My father was an amazing artist, and that was not acceptable to my grandfather. So my father wound up going into the military too, and I am sure he was extremely resentful. However, I remember my father was always trying to please my grandfather, even up until the day my grandfather died. To this day, my father also talks about how great my grandfather was and doesn’t even discuss the abuse.

After my parents had divorced in the 1970s, my father had a break that landed him in the hospital. Perhaps he snapped because my mom had finally decided she had it with the abuse and took me and left. So my grandparents brought him home to live with them, and that was where I would visit my father. My aunt discusses how they took care of my father and never discussed his mental illness with anyone. I am sure they were ashamed of his illness.

When I was a child, my grandparents would often blame my dad’s illness on my mom. They told me she was the reason he was sick. They also told me all the time when I was a child that when I grew up I would need to take care of my father. That entire side of my family would just tear my mom to shreds every time I came to visit. This experience was so negative for me that was why I decided to stop seeing them when I was a teenager.

So, as you can imagine, this created a lot of stress and anger for me when I was a child. Plus, I was an only child, and I had no one to discuss this with whenever I returned home to my mother. My mother would often not say anything negative about my father, which is good on some levels. However, I needed someone to explain his illness to me, especially as I grew older and began to witness some of the outbursts.

Eventually, I came to learn more of the story about my father. However, since we never discussed abuse, I would up picking a verbally abusive man to marry myself. My ex-husband had extreme moods too along with that grandiose image of himself. In fact, I would say I married someone who was very similar to my father. Generationally, domestic abuse does seem to run in families.

When I was dating my ex-husband, I confided in him one of my greatest fears. I knew the illness my father had could be hereditary, and I was afraid it could happen to me too. Throughout our marriage, this was my ex-husband’s favorite way to hurt me. Tell me things like, “Look how crazy your are acting.” I am sure he enjoyed throwing that bomb at me whenever he was angry.

Hopefully, I have made enough difference choices that the cycle of abuse may end with me. I pray that my daughter makes difference choices than I did. Look at how many years this cycle of abuse has been present in my family.


An Abuser Doesn’t Change Their Spots

girl texting fatherOur daughter is now sixteen years old, and she now has a best friend and to my dismay a boyfriend. Due to the abusive nature of my relationship with my ex-husband I have really to talk to him a little as possible. I have found this is a healthier approach for everyone, especially our daughter. Unfortunately, our daughter had to miss a lot of birthday parties, school field trips, and even Disneyland because they fell on his weekend. Now that she is older, she doesn’t want to miss all those weekend activities, and she has started negotiated visiting time with him directly.

Let me fill you in on a little back story so that this story will have more context. In the past, whenever I discussed anything with him about our daughter, he would use that to manipulate the situation or our daughter. For example, if I told him she was failing one of her classes, he would blame it on me or tell her they would go shopping on her next visit. Another example, I never let Kyndra eat all the junk food she wanted. Then her father would tell her that he wasn’t the ‘food police’ and she could eat whatever she wanted over there.

Dealing with my ex-husband always made me feel rather crazy. His behavior was often crazymaking and was meant to undermine my parenting or twist situations to his benefit.

My ex-husband told her that he understands that she is getting older and might want to miss some visits to spend time with her friends. He has told her this on many occasions in variations. So, our daughter decided to take him up on this offer, and she had a surprising response.
Her friends would have a party at one of the parents house, probably should call it a get together because they just wanted to hang out.

On that Thursday, she asked if she could spend only one night and come home early on Saturday to spend time with her friends. She apologized for the short notice when she was texting him. He flat out told her that would not work, and he would pick her up after school at 3:30 pm sharp. Yes, he tells her ‘sharp’ often and expects her to be ready the second he pulls up to the house.

So, she did not agree with this and persisted in making her case. He finally agreed to pick her up at 3:30 pm on Friday and take her to eat and then bring her back home. On Friday, about twenty minutes before he was supposed to pick her up, he sent her a short message canceling. She asked if he was upset that she wasn’t coming over all weekend. His response, “Figure it out.”

About a week later, he sent her a text and asked her to call him. She called, and she asked if she had figured it out yet. Then he went on to tell her how she had disrespected him and even said her best friend disrespected him too. She was pretty angry with him and honestly I felt pretty angry about that too.

I understand his feelings might be hurt that she wanted to spend time with her friends instead of all weekend at his house. However, he did tell her it was okay if she canceled to be with her friends. It was as if he was telling he go ahead and cancel to be with friends but didn’t want her to do that and was angry when she did that. I feel like he set her up to get in trouble.

Then my daughter told me that she was worried that his wife would hear his version and believe him over her. I told her she cannot worry about what she thinks about this situation. However, that is the cycle of abuse, thinking no one will believe your version over the abusers.

Unfortunately, he didn’t do himself any favors with this topic. I am curious to see if she tries to skip a weekend again after his reaction.  This was one of the first times he showed her his true colors directly towards her. Usually, his true colors are in passive aggressive comments about me.

Dealing with Abusive Emails from Father

In my blog, I have mentioned the difficulties of dealing with my abusive ex-husband and also my abusive father. Obviously my relationship with my father had a lot to do with my selecting my abusive ex-husband. My relationship with my dad was very unhealthy, and it was the only example of a relationship I had during my childhood.  So when I met my ex-husband I had no point of reference for a healthy relationship. hateful abusive poem

Today, I received a hateful poem from my father (see screenshot). I only included the first few verses, and that is a perfect enough example of the rest of the poem. My father sends this poem to his daughter to send to his ex-wife of nearly 40 years?  He has been saying hateful statements about my mother sine I was five years old. Inside the email, he says; “I hope this answers your big question. Daddy”. Even that statement is dripping with sarcasm.

My father is mentally ill, has vascular dementia and has diabetes. So he is not doing so well but that is no excuse for his bad behavior. He is currently living in an assisted living home near my Aunt’s house because the police picked him up one night driving aimlessly and was involuntarily committed.  He believes my Aunt plotted against him, and everyone else (doctor’s, police, judge) are all wrong and he is perfectly fine.

His poem was a clever rhyme about my mother being a whore. Funny, I probably shouldn’t feel angry after all these years but I wish he would move on.  It has been nearly 40 years now since they got divorced, and he can’t get over that.  He is now twice divorced because his last wife couldn’t take living with his abusive behavior.  She has sent me letters saying how much respect she has for my mother because she know first hand how my father can be.

Anyway, I do feel some old feelings of anger. My aunt expects me to take care of him? When I was sixteen years old, I had very little contact with my father by choice.  I just didn’t want to hear this hateful stuff about my mother anymore.  I don’t care what happened when I was a little kid.  I know he was physically and verbally abusive, and perhaps she did have an affair.  Maybe she was seeking kindness from someone else.  Knowing my father, I can hardly blame her.

He is mentally ill, and I can ask him not to send things like this to me, but he will do it again.  These past two days he has sent me all sorts of bizarre emails with titles like; ‘honor thy father and thy mother’, ‘the real war’ and ‘prayer to the holy spirit’. He often gets religious in his bouts where everyone is going to hell if they don’t repent.  Of course, he never means that he should repent for the things he has done. Always somebody else’s fault and somebody else to blame.

Sorry to rant, but that just made me mad.  I am supposed to send a card out for father’s day, and now I feel like sending ‘Happy Father’s Day, Asshole’ to him.  Just as I did when I was a child, I will keep this poem (comment) from reaching my mother. Mentally ill is no excuse for his abusiveness.

Perhaps an abusive (man or woman) will truly never become less abusive.

Sometimes I Hate My Ex

monarch_butterfly_189758I must admit there are times I absolute hate my ex-husband! Times when my daughter acts entitled and as if the rules just not apply to her. It has always been a challenge parenting with such an uncooperative ex-husband. I am fully aware that children will play both parents even if the parents are not divorced.  It is just so difficult when an ex-spouse is doing all they can to be the “good” parent while making you look like the “bad” parent. When my daughter gets in trouble she does promptly call her father or go over and complain about what she perceives as unfair. My daughter has the habit of blaming things on others or having excuses for everything.

Example, just this weekend I let her stay at her friends house and then they asked me if she could stay one more night.  I agreed as long as she was home at 9am on Sunday.  So today, I get a call from my daughter at 9:20am saying her parents have passed right by our house and she wouldn’t be home until after church.  It is important my daughter does what we agree to so I can trust her.  Her response was that it wasn’t her fault. It doesn’t matter why you were late, you are responsible and have to own it. I gave her the example if you were supposed to get a ride to work and they don’t show up, work could care less what your reasons are for not showing up on time.

Although I do not regret meeting my ex-husband, because I have my daughter as a result of that.  There are times I regret just not telling him I was pregnant with our daughter.  Perhaps we would have traded off years of hell in trade for my daughter not knowing her father? I know it does no good to wish for things you cannot change, but there are times the regret just sneak in there.

monarch_butterfly_wings_flying_insectMy daughter’s therapist once said that the problem with my ex-husband’s house was it was a “house of excess”.  She said they allowed her excessive everything from junk food, shopping television, etc… She also said it was a house of excess without rules. This always made the transition periods difficult for my daughter going to visit a house where rules do not exist which makes our household seem strict in comparison.  I do not believe we are overly strict, in fact, I probably need to move more towards and autocratic parenting style.

Plus, my ex-husband is the king of manipulation and never says anything directly.  He always comes about saying something rather indirectly.  Many years ago I couldn’t figure out why my daughter was reacting to me the way she was.  Eventually, it came out that he wasn’t telling her I was mean but was saying “your mom is going to get mad at you” or “you are going to get in trouble.”  Everything he has ever done comes in sideways like that which would make it really hard for a child to realize they are being manipulated.

My daughter is 16 now and I remember being an awful teenager at that age with my mother. You see I too grew up with at father that was just determined to make me hate my mother. The one big difference between my father and ex-husband is my father was always more direct with his negative comments about my mom. He would just tell me my mother was promiscuous or that she was not going to go to heaven.  My ex-husband says things like, “you know you only have one dad and it is not your stepdad”. I am not sure how this was received, but this makes my daughter exhibit signs of guilt and perhaps feels she is betraying her dad.

I haven’t written as often because my life has been somewhat more peaceful since we moved further away from my ex-husband.  At least now my ex-husband’s wife is less involved with my daughter’s school. The school is in a completely different district and I guess it is too much trouble for them to stay involved like they were. School always has its own drama and I am grateful there is no more added difficulty as there was five years ago (read What a Tangled Web They Weave).

On many levels, my daughter is doing better but we have some disobedience going on and it is a challenge for sure. One day my daughter said that she wanted to go to her dad’s house and they never yell at her. I wrongly replied by saying “they have no rules, what would they yell at you about?” This comment from her came after a conversation that she had 5 failing grades at school and she was angry that I took her phone privileges away. I had also received calls from 2 teachers and the AP at school who all said that my daughter shouldn’t be hanging out with “that girl”. There is a girl at school my daughter knows and she does seem like troubled soul. Wearing the dark black eyeliner and they recorded a video of this girl ‘pretending’ to be high. The only reasons I know

I had also received calls from 2 teachers and the AP at school who all said that my daughter shouldn’t be hanging out with “that girl”. There is a girl at school my daughter knows and she does seem like troubled soul. Wearing the dark black eyeliner and they recorded a video of this girl ‘pretending’ to be high. My step-daughter refers to this kids as the raccoons because of their excessive eyeliner thing. It seems that my daughter could be heading down a wrong path.  I know I certainly did when I was her age.

I had also received calls from 2 teachers and the AP at school who all said that my daughter shouldn’t be hanging out with “that girl”. There is a girl at school my daughter knows and she does seem like troubled soul. Wearing the dark black eyeliner and they recorded a video of this girl ‘pretending’ to be high. The only reasons I know she was pretending is how lucid she was at the end of the videos. There was also another video of a boy pushing this girl’s head suggestively towards his lap.  These kids are only 15/16 years old

Anyway, all this stuff is a challenge on its own and it make is extra hard when you have a parent working against you.  Unfortunately, my daughter is just a pawn, and this parenting style is not really in her best interests.  I will say that kids don’t think so much these days on their recording and posting online, kind if leaves a timeline print of their activities.  My ex-husband says I shouldn’t keep on her because I will just push her away. So what I should just let her do whatever she wants by his standards.

Healing from Emotional Abuse

abusive ex-husband - peace and closureMy personal journey in healing from the emotional abuse. No communication, distance and time helped us find closure and peace.

Today, I am happy to say things have settled down in the past few years. It is my belief things have changed because we moved further away from my ex-husband. Normally a geographical change does not fix all situations because wherever you move, ‘there you are’. However, when dealing with a controlling and abusive ex-husband I think geographical moves may be necessary.

When we initially moved my ex-husband told our daughter I moved her away from him to make it harder for him to see her. My ex-husband, his wife and my daughter’s school were the motivating factors in why we decided to expand our search into other areas in the city. It is still hard for me to believe all that crazy stuff happened in the first place.

Insanity at Daughter’s School

My ex-husband’s wife (who was his girlfriend at the time) transferred to my daughter school as an assistant teacher. My ex-husband signed a Power of Attorney giving his girlfriend full-parenting rights over our daughter. His girlfriend was starting visiting my daughter at lunch daily. Every day giving her gifts (flowers, erasers, pens, candy, etc….) which began to create jealousy with my daughters friends who were not receiving this special treatment. My daughter issues with her friends is what prompted me to go to school to complain.

The school staff informed me that his girlfriend had the same parenting rights I did. What? Even my ex-husband doesn’t even have the same parenting rights that I do. According to my court, signed Divorce Decree he wasn’t even allowed to pick her up during school hours unless it was an emergency. So how in the world did the school allow a ‘secretary’ signed Power of Attorney give her the same rights as I have?

We dealt with that craziness for two years and then I decided it was time to transfer her out of that school. During that same time, my husband and I were looking for a slightly bigger house. Then suddenly, perhaps out of frustration, I said to our realtor, “Where else in this city have we not looked?” So she began showing us different homes in other neighborhoods around the city. As soon as we saw this neighborhood we knew we wanted to live here. Then we began looking at all the homes that were available and here we are.

You can read additional posts that I wrote about that insanity in What a Tangled Web They Weave blog post.

Geographical Move Creates Closure

When we first moved in the summer of 2010, we decided not to tell my daughter about our decision. My ex-husband is very manipulative and had way too much control over her at the time. My daughter was only ten years old at the time and would often answer his questions to make him happy. So we looked for houses on the weekends she visited her father. We had told her one week before we were moving and showed her the house. Then when my ex-husband picked her up we handed him the address of where he would need to drop her off.

He was super pissed to get blindsided like that, and I can’t blame him entirely. However, with all his scheming we really did not know what to expect from him and decided not to let him know until it was a done deal.

He told my daughter that I moved further away so he couldn’t’ see her as often. He (well his behavior) was the motivating factor to expand our house search further out. However, he was not the reason we chose this house. The first year he kept with his Wednesday through Sunday visits. He had to pick our daughter up after school on Wednesday, drop & pick her up Thursday a Friday and then bring her home on Sunday. It was a 40-minute drive from his neighborhood to ours.

The second year he told our daughter, he was just going to pick her up on Friday through Sunday from now on because he knew she had friends she might want to visit instead. It is my believe that it was just too much work for him to drive that distance so many times per week. Plus, he drives a truck and gas prices were not helping. However, it was better for my daughter to have a less disruptive schedule which helped life settle down here.

Peace and Closure For Our Family

In 2011, I remembered feeling very angry for a while about my ex-husband. It seems like I was finally able to grieve and go through emotions I had not been able to go through for years. I moved into my house on October 2003, and my divorce was final the next month. My ex-husband spent all those years harassing me, threatening to take our daughter from me and worse using our daughter as a pawn. Our poor daughter has had more than her fair share of tears. Our poor daughter has to learn how to be a child of divorce in a parental warfare type situation.

My ex-husband is a very manipulative person. It took me the longest time to figure out what he was telling her every time she visited him. She was afraid of me at times because he would tell her things like, “You are going to get in trouble with your mom.” Or, “Your mom is going to get mad at you.” His comments were very indirect and passive, and it took my daughter a long time to realize what he was doing to her.

My daughter is 15 now, and it has gotten better. She says he still says awful things about me, but she lets it go in one ear and out the other. Hopefully, she is truly able to do that. It is unfair of my ex-husband to do that to her. His efforts to alienate our relationship did not work so I think he doesn’t a hard anymore.

Zero Communication and Facts Only Rule

Every divorce book or co-parenting book I have read says you should co-parent with your Ex and try to create a similar home structure for the child. It seems that a normal divorce situation is hard enough but when you are dealing with an abusive (or perhaps narcissistic) ex, this makes all rational and logical solutions null and void. The rules are very different when you are dealing with a toxic ex, narcissistic ex or abusive ex. Moving further way from my ex-husband was probably the first step to our finding some peace.

I do believe the biggest factor that has helped ease our daughter’s suffering was to enact the Zero Communication Rule with my ex-husband. That means I never talk to him by phone. Any email communications are written with the Facts Only Rule. For example: “I took her to the doctor, she has Strep, I have attached the receipt, your half is $X for the doctor co-pay and antibiotics.” Also, I never ask him questions or request his opinion on any matter. I have even learned it does no good to tell him about her grades or any other subject. In the past when I would tell him about her grades he would just blame me for her struggles.

One of my biggest problems was getting advice from family members or other friends (some who had not even dealt with divorce) that simply wouldn’t work with my abusive ex-husband.. Plus getting rational and logical solutions to deal with my irrational ex-husband probably wasn’t the best advice for my circumstances.  This slideshow is excellent advice and eventually I did all these suggestions after learning the hard way.

1. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid that every divorced couple should be able to co-parent. If you have a relentlessly high-conflict ex, try parallel parenting instead: different houses, different rules, and as little contact as possible.
Virginia Gilbert, licensed marriage and family therapist (Source)

Dreaming About The Abusive Ex

I haven’t posted anything in a while.  I guess because things are going pretty good and there is no crisis or drama going on.  I really do not talk to my ex-husband at all, I have found it is better for my daughter if we do not talk.  Any form of contact seemed to bring on this series of attacks but he would use our daughter as the weapon.  It is like they can’t stand that they can’t get to you and the children to inflict harm.

I am not sure why my ex-husband continues to make appearances in my dreams.  He isn’t yelling or being verbally abusive in my dreams.  It is almost like when we were first dating and he was trying to be nice.

Dreams are weird. Sometimes they make perfect sense when you think back to a movie or show you watched.  Other times they make no sense at and are bizarre like something out of Alice & Wonderland.

When I remember my dreams the next day it makes me wonder if I am perhaps trying to get closure.  My dreams are impossible, he is being nice, he is not being his arrogant self.  He listens, seems interested and concerned. All the characteristics he does not seem capable of exhibiting.

Although, I have accepted that closure & a peaceful relationship with my ex-husband is not possible.  Not because this is not something I would be capable of but because I seriously doubt he could ever be a decent person towards me.

Somethings just will never make sense or have absolute answers.