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.

 

Abusive Ex- Crazy Making Behavior

Dealing with my abusive ex-husband sometimes makes me feel completely crazy.  The stuff he does is quite simply not rational and that it affects our daughter is most frustrating.  Now, this is really a simple situation that because dramatic and I allowed myself to be sucked into this drama-laced issue that I have no control over.

If I actually had control, here would be my solution:  

Recognize she just wants to know she is okay.  Calm her down, tell her we will go to the doctor tomorrow and regardless it will be easy to treat.  Taker her to the doctor the next day and get diagnosis from doctor so she hears it is no big deal and whatever solution the doctor recommends.  If it is ring-worm then we make sure it isn’t from our pets.  Situation solved.

As a mother, I would truly love to protect my daughter, but I cannot protect her from him.  I know some of this ‘drama’ is part of my own creation by the fact that I react to the situations.  I also have no control over his behavior or how he chooses to parent out daughter.

I was on my way home from work last Monday and I received a phone call from my daughter.  She never calls me when she is at her father’s house for free of being teased or made fun of because that has happened in the past.

So I picked up the phone and she says, “I have ring worm.”

My response, “You have ringworm?”

She says, “Yes, my dad looked up pictures on Google and he says I have ringworm.”

“Is he going to take you to the doctor?” I ask her, because I know he is not usually very good at ‘parenting instincts’.

“No, but got to go, I will call you back.”  She gets off the phone

So here is the extra details on this situation.  We have some pet rodents and two weeks her step-sister told her that one of her friends go ringworm from their pets.  So this was on her mind and she brought it up to me.  Now I know my daughter is very worried about any sort of virus/illness because of an experience she had when she was 9.  The doctor believed she may have been bitten by a spider or something and it turned into a staff infection.  What an awful experience that was and I think it traumatized her, rightfully so.  So, since that happened she has been pretty fearful of any reaction and asks me if it is a staff infection.

So anyways, she calls me back.

“My dad went to the pharmacy and spoke to the doctor and he brought home medicine.” She tells me.

“Okay, well I think it would be best if you saw a doctor to get a diagnosis if it is or isn’t ringworm.  If you have ringworm we might need to treat the pets too.  If they do have something you will just get it again so I really need a doctor to see you”  I tell her.

She starts crying, I am a little short due to my frustration with her father.  I know Google is a good source for information but it does not take the place for doctor.  Of course her father hasn’t exactly made the best decisions regarding our daughter.  So we are still on the phone and she is crying and he walks in and starts asking (more like commanding) why she is crying.  So I tell her to put her dad on the phone.

So I tell him, “Can you please take her to the doctor to get this diagnosed?”

“Thank you very much.  Thank you so much for freaking her out.  I had everything handled.” he snaps and then hangs up the phone.

So my daughter sends me a text saying she is sorry she messed everything up.  I told her this is not her fault.  I also tell her it was rude of me to interfere with his parenting.  Her text reply, ‘you weren’t rude but he was VERY rude to you’.

My Text Mistake

So I react this time, I am pretty good about not doing this.  I send him a text that says, “You do not deserve to be a father.”

Should I apologize?  Perhaps, but I do mean this, he is truly a shitty father.  I am not even saying this because I am the ex-wife and I dislike the man.  He truly does not do what is best for our daughter at all.  In fact I had to resist sending him a text message that says I wish I could go back 14 years ago and NOT tell you I am pregnant and save us 14 years of pure hell!  I do manage to resist sending this.

House of Excess – my abusive ex-husband’s household rules:

  • Eat all the junk you want
  • Absolutely no rules
  • She cannot take vitamins
  • Encouraged to disobey me
  • Not allowed to do homework while there
  • Watches TV all the time
  • Gets whatever she wants
  • Gets grilled with questions about me
  • She gets in trouble if she doesn’t answer their questions

Of course I have a lot of guessing about why she called me.  I think she just wanted him to take her to the doctor, hear that she does or doesn’t have ring-worms, get whatever treatment for the small rash.  I believe he did not want to take her to the doctor so he tells her what she has by looking on Google.  Then he goes to the pharmacy without her and tells the pharmacist whatever he believes and comes back and tells her he spoke to a doctor.  This way she will let it go.  I am assuming that is why she called me upset.

Anyway, so I am pretty pissed off at her father during this entire situation because he seems more interested in lying on his ass than caring for our daughter.  Yes, I know this is none of my business.   I also know he is pretty difficult to talk to and that makes it hard for our daughter to speak her mind around him.

Of course I am thinking of all the times she has come home from his house covered in hives and I am assuming that is what is happening now.  I am also thinking of all the years she was complaining that her vagina hurt and he ignores this.  Also how he barks at me every-time I take her to the doctor.  He makes it sound like we go to the doctor every-time she sneezes.  No, we go when her fever has topped 103, or when she says her throat hurts really bad.  I also take her when she has repeated complaints about her vagina hurting after coming home from her father’s house.  I haven’t heard that complaint in about five years.

She has been texting me the whole two weeks she has been there.  On one hand I hate it when she texts her father when she is here but my primary reason is because his texts are full of manipulation.  I wouldn’t mind her communicating with him if he didn’t do that kind of stuff.  She sends him a text to say ‘Hi’ and he replies ‘Don’t be sad, you will be over here in a few days’.  She never said she was sad and he injects that kind of message.

So now when she gets home at 6pm from her 2 week visitation with her father I will not be able to take her to the doctor.  I can take her to an Urgent Care on Saturday which costs more money.  Then on Monday I have to work and I had a doctors appointment for my self this week and had one interview that made me late on Monday, so I can’t be late next week.

One Way Relationships with an Abuser

Hard to believe it was 9 years ago when I made the difficult decision to get divorced from my verbally abusive husband.  Although there were so many things wrong with the relationships, it was a very difficult decision to make.  My relationship with my ex-husband as very one-sided and I always felt drained with him.

My biggest complaints would have to have been:

  • He was a married man behaving like a bachelor
    • My expectations were that we were a family and would spend more time together
  • He was not much for being a father to our daughter
    • My expectations were that he would contribute and help me raise our daughter
  • He was very emotionally disconnected for my husband
    • My expectations were that we were married and would need to compromise on more decisions
  • He drank too much and too often
    • This became a very big focus for me and I mistakenly believed his drinking was why he was so nasty
  • When he drank he was often very belligerent
    • One of my mistakes was belligerence was because of his drinking rather than the fact he was verbally abusive
  • His mood swings were very extreme and I never knew what to expect
    • This was the ‘walking on eggshells’ times, when I mistakenly believed I could make/prevent him from getting angry
  • He often ignored me as punishment
    • My expectations were that we would talk like adults and work on a solution we could both live with
  • He was extremely lazy
    • It is my belief that he felt he worked and that entitled him to do nothing when he was home
  • He watched sports all the time (no exaggeration here)
    • My expectations were now that we were married, he couldn’t continue watching sports like a single guy could
  • He used our daughter as a weapon
    • Threats to retain custody of our daughter if I left was a method of control to keep me in line

My ex-husband was rarely emotionally connected and it always seemed intimacy made him uncomfortable.    He was often stay out after work and hanging out at bars with his friends or co-workers.  His excuse was always because it was ‘work related’.  However, he had a family and a little daughter and he usually arrived home after she was in bed.

During those years I remember having very strong mixed feelings about his being out.  On one hand it made me feel physically better when he was away from home, like I could breathe.  On the other hand I was left to be a single parent and he was often playing bachelor instead of married man.  I never understood that because when I had my daughter it became easy to sacrifice these things to be a mother and raise her.

There are many times I told friends that I think he was perfectly happy with the way things were back then.  If I had just stopped complaining and been okay with his doing whatever he wanted… we might have made it.  However, being okay with all those things would have been asking myself to simply discard all my personal emotions and feelings.  I guess I really expected him to grow up and start acting like a husband and a father.

Actually, I think most of our fights were about my criticizing that behavior and he did like to be challenged.  Although he never really stated what exactly he wanted or didn’t want.  He just simply did what he wanted to do and I had better have been okay with it.  There were no questions about what would be a healthy compromise to make both of us happy.

Now there were plenty of times when he was home and we would get into fights about his not being home.  Then he would just use that as an excuse to not come home again and stay out drinking with his buddies.  I remember one he said that most of his friends were divorced.   I honestly cannot remember if I responded to statement,  but if there behavior matched my ex-husband’s behavior it wouldn’t be a surprise.

When my ex-husband was home he was usually exhausted or had a hang-over.  So usually it was like being on egg-shells when he was home and realizing if I said anything it would lead to a fight.  I use to believe I could prevent or make him angry.  It took me a long time to realize I had no control over his emotions.

When my daughter was younger she would say, “Daddy isn’t angry, he is just very serious.”   Now that same thing has become a bit of a joke to her because she knows that is not true.  So she sees people on TV who are angry and says they are just really serious.

I just ran into an old friend yesterday who I have not seen for at least 10 years.  It was nice to see her and we exchanged information again.  She had a very healthy marriage and a healthier life than what I had.  I asked her, “What did it look like from your perspective?”  She said, “You always seemed very isolated, and it seemed as though he wanted you that way.”  That was interesting because I think that was exactly what was going on that made it so hard for me to get away from him.

Verbal Abuse Physical Effects

The effects of verbal abuse can cause physical symptoms that can become emotional scars that can last a lifetime if they are not dealt with.  It can be very difficult to figure out that you are in a verbally abusive relationship and even more difficult to prove in the court of law.  That is not entirely true, let me rephrase, there was no evidence that the courts could use to label this man an abuser.  During several years of my marriage I remember seeing one doctor after another trying to figure out what was wrong with me.  There was something wrong with my physically and it seemed I was getting sicker and sicker as the years went on.  There were times I wondered if it was all in my head and of course my abuser certainly tried to make me believe that lie.  There was no way I was simply being a hypochondriac.

It took several years of doctor’s visits to uncover why my symptoms really were.  First, it seems like it very difficult to diagnose symptoms when they are chronic.  These symptoms gradually became worse over a period of 10 years of being with the abuser.  Some of the effects have lasted 8 years after being divorced although they have gradually lessened over time with various treatments.  Over the past several years many things have helped me lessen the symptoms, including; Domestic Abuse counseling, domestic abuse books, self-help books, self-help programs, Alanon, therapy, talking with friends & family, writing in journals (blogging).  The biggest part of healing through realizing that the emotional abuse is real and that I am not crazy.

Life Before Divorce

Anxiety

I had chronic anxiety and I didn’t know it because it never went away.  I always felt like someone was sitting on my chest.  Plus, many times I had heart palpitations which made me wonder if had heart problems.  My doctor ran all the appropriate tests and ruled that concern out.

Stomach Aches

I do not recall when the stomach aches first started but I remember gastrointestinal problems were constant. At one point the doctors diagnosed me with stress and gave me anti-depressants but that really didn’t do much for long.  The stomach problems continued to get worse and eventually they diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and again they gave me pills to deal with the symptoms.  Two years after we were married I decided to send myself to a specialist and they actually found a huge polyp in my colon that they removed.  Even after this issue was found and taken care of my stomach problems continued.  I would feel gassy, bloated causing excessive burping.  Sometimes the pains were so strong they were bring me to my knees.  This problem was only resolved after I left him and was no longer exposed to him daily.  The stomach problems did return often when dealing with him because the encounters were so stressful.  Even today the stomach problems can start up if we have an argument.

Migraines

The migraines were yet another symptom that was pretty chronic.  These migraines caused light sensitivity and I would see black floaters.   Towards the very end when we were really having problems, the migraines were so bad I could barely look at the computer because it made my eyes hurt.  Looking back I realize my shoulders were so tense that it may have been contributing to my migraines.   A year before I left him for good I had filed temporary divorce orders.  I had many months where I was not exposed to him and my migraines certainly were not as bad.  We did get back together for a short time after that and when I spoke to him I could actually feel the blood rushing into my head.  That was when I realized dealing with him was the reason my head was hurting.

Breaking my Teeth

The stress was so great it often caused me to clench my teeth when I was sleeping.  I had no idea but my teeth were actually getting fractured while I was sleeping.  At one point I woke up one morning and one of my teeth was broken.  I had to go to the dentist and get it it repaired.  At that time I had no idea why it was broken or that I was actually causing it with teeth clenching.   I am not sure if this was because of my shoulders being so tense but this also went up through my neck and affected my jaw.  I am not sure if the teeth clenching caused my jaw to hurt or if being so tense caused me to clench my teeth so often.

TMJ

At some point I remember my jaw really began to hurt and it clicked whenever I opened my mouth.   I remember going to my allergist first because it felt like I had water in my ears which I thought was caused by allergies.  The allergies doctor was the one who noticed my jaw shifting and mentioned the term TMJ.  At this point I had to go to a TMJ doctor and get a mouth guard made to help protect my teeth and jaw.   This issue was not covered by insurance and cost a lot of money out of pocket.  Of course my husband was hiding money and spending money like crazy an we were often too broke to keep paying for it so I stopped going.

Life After Divorce

Okay, so that is my list of health problems that occurred while I was married to the verbal abuser.  So is there really no proof that he was verbally abusive?  It sure seems like there is by looking at this long list.  After I left I had new symptoms that developed.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Whenever I dealt with him it caused excessive sweating, anxiety returned, heart palpitations, difficulty sleeping and it was impossible to just relax.   When I first left him I went through a period of what I believe was PTSD.  I remember feeling afraid all the time.  This sense of fear made sure I kept the doors and windows locked at all times.  I also made sure the blinds were always closed and the garage door.   It took me several months until I found some posts about PTSD that sent me to my doctor to discuss the symptoms.  It was then he prescribed me with an anti-anxiety pill that helped me relieve the symptoms.  As I continued to get educated about domestic abuse and put up some boundaries these symptoms lessened.  They did not ever really go away completely until I really distanced myself from my ex-husband.  Even today it can caused my entire family stress when we have to deal with my abusive ex-husband.

Hormone Imbalances

Today I am resolving some hormone imbalances that may have been going on much longer than I thought.  It turns out my stress levels are way too high and since we have been addressing these symptoms I have noticed my anxiety have really lessened.  In fact I could not recall a time when I was not living with that anxious feeling.  Today I cannot believe how much better I feel.  I am really not sure how much of this is related to that stress but I think my body living under these levels of stress for so long they actually became normal.

Today, stress is still something I have to deal often with and I continue to learn to manage the causes of stress.  This blog is on way I deal with the memories which help me release them so they do not torment me in my mind. My marriage to a verbally abusive person was very traumatic.  Actually, even being divorced from him has had some extreme traumatic events.  The best way I have learned to deal with my abusive ex-husband is to just not deal with him at all.  We still have a child together but that does not mean I have to talk to him.  For my own personal health and well-being I have had to really limit my exposure to my ex-husband.  This was actually the healthiest choice for my daughter as well.

Some of the things I have done to distance myself include:

  • Going by the Decree – if we go by what the decree says then we have less to talk about.  He knows when to pick her up and we do not have to communicate at all.   Any flexibility or communications would simply allow him to use that as a way to control.
  • Physical Distance - moving as far away as I could also seems to have helped a lot.  Honestly an attorney once recommended I move 90 miles away from him and rent a place so if he moved closer I could move 90 miles away again.  Legally speaking, there is very little I could do to prove or prevent him from harassing me, I understand why she made that suggestion.  Living too close just made it too easy for him to harass me.
  • Zero Communication – or nearly zero communication has really helped.  Going by the decree gave us a lot less to discuss and less contact means less conflicts which not only helps me but it helped our daughter too.   Also, trying to refrain from any communication about him in our house has also helped.
  • Keep Records – just in case, I would always recommend keeping documents on everything.  Any communication sent I have kept records, printed them out and put them my huge Divorce binder.   Should there ever come a time where I have to prove he is harassing me I certainly could have.

Resources:

Abusive Experience – Journal Entries 4

journal entriesLooking through those other journal entries made me hunt for one of my older journals.  I found the one I was writing when I met my abusive ex-husband.  In reading those words now I can hardly believe I could have ever felt positive things about him.  As long as I can remember he has been angry, entitled and controlling.  My journal entry actual makes him seem fun and enjoyable to be around.  Either my perception was way off or he was acting completely different when I met him.  Perhaps my having low self esteem had a lot to do with this.  It certainly made me an easy target for an abuser.  I do believe my ex-husband would not have picked a strong healthy woman because she would have left him quickly.

June 3, 1995

…Anyway, on May 13 I met a guy named Dick,he is a really great guy.  He works for an insurance corporation, and from how he talks about it, he really likes it.  He is so intelligent, I really enjoy our conversations.  It seems we can talk for hours and hours and never run out of things to say.  I feel one of his greatest qualities is his honesty, he speaks truthfully, what’s on his mind.  I like that.  (What? That is totally not my ex-husband.  Did he completely fool me?)

Are they really that different in how they present themselves when you first meet him.  I will still say today I think he is pretty intelligent, but I would consider it more manipulative in character.  He has not been a happy person for twenty years.  Even around our daughter he seems so angry, and when she was younger she use to say he was just really ‘Serious’.  Now she laughs about calling it that.

…I can’t say I am in love, but I have that fun little high you get when you are really happy.  Not to mention he is absolutely gorgeous.  He has a beautiful body, I swear he could model.  I like his eyes, and his different facial expressions he makes.  He is six feet of gorgeous incredible hunk material. I can’t seem to get him out of my mind.

Well, that kind of shows you how young and infatuated I was.  I was 21 when we met it sounds like I was completely obsessed with him.  Maybe I was so infatuated I missed any early warning signs there might have been.  He was in really good shape when we met and I remember he did not drink very much because he was working out.

Oh, in reading further,  here comes the warning signs.

June 5, 1995

Well I am on the phone with Dick.  He is a little upset right now, because he lost a bet and his friend wants the money now.  He is a really great guy, why is he so sweet, where is that little something that I can’t see.  I mean he’s too good to be true.  Common statement but, he is really intelligent, and gorgeous.  I am going over to his house tonight.  His mother is going to come visit him next week I think.  I’m a little nervous, I want his mother to like me.  Dick was raised by her, and he turned out great, so you really need to look at that as his parents doing.

Wow, again I am just baffled in reading this.  His mother was an alcoholic who was abusive and passive aggressive.  She was horrible to him when he was a child.  She was pretty awful to me to in her passive aggressive way.  She never said anything directly, always those passive insults where you question if they meant you thought they did.  Okay, perhaps I should be telling you my other secret.  The one I never talk about.  Good God, this blog is written anonymously and I still do not want to share that secret.  What is wrong with me?

June 6, 1995

I’m talking to Dick right now.  He is silly, giving me a hard time about last night because I slept on the couch.  He says his ego was shot because I didn’t sleep with him.  It’s only cause I didn’t want to wake him up.  So I went to sleep on the couch.  He really is a nice man, he’s funny, nice gorgeous and intelligent.  He says some cute things.

I like talking to him, he likes to argue with me about silly things, I think he is joking around.  I’m going over there again for the third night in a row.  I like his apartment, I feel comfortable there.  The more I’m over there, the more comfortable I feel. Tomorrow we might have lunch.  I’d have to shower there though.

Some of my comments are that I cannot read him, that he seems too good to be true and so it seems as though I was looking for a problem.  I am saying how I think I can fall in love with him but yet it was like I couldn’t get to know him.  Maybe I was not as blind as I thought.  Perhaps he was not being himself which is why I couldn’t figure him out.  Nobody is perfect and sure people put their best foot forward when you meet them.  Yet when I think of the 10 years of our relationship I cannot remember any good times.  My

June 8, 1995

Well I just got home from work, it was really tough.  First it was come back after the game.  Then it was no, I lost money on the game so I wouldn’t be good company.  My house is pretty clean, I cleaned and did laundry before work so at least I came home to that.

I called Dick to tell him I was home, he was half asleep.  I wonder if he’ll even remember I called.  I hope he calls tomorrow.  I wonder how things are going to turn out between us.  He is a really great guy.  I have not known him for an extremely long time, but things seem well right now.  Well I am exhausted, so I am crashing and I will write more tomorrow.

Okay so check out this next entry.  Okay so it was the 90′s but it sounds like I am whining and dining him, not the other way around.  Not that there is anything wrong with that but it certainly sounds like he is in control here and keeping me guessing.

June 9, 1995

Tomorrow I am ordering flowers for Dick and I am sending him roses all different colors I think.  I am bringing home one flower and putting it on my bed with a card.  I am cooking him dinner, place-mats, candles, wine, the works!  I’m cooking tenderloin, baked potatoes, corn and a salad.  I’m getting a twelve pack of Miller light.  I am having whipped cream and strawberries for desert.  Well, I had better go because I have a full day ahead.

Reading these journal entries, it is really clear that it was unhealthy, I was pursuing an unhealthy relationship that was not meeting my needs for a long time.  My ex-husband rarely did anything that required much thoughtfulness.   I cannot undo my past but I do wish I had been able to see that my ex-husband was never putting effort in like I was.   I do remember he blamed that on an ex-girlfriend.  That she hurt him and that was why he was not giving like he did with his ex-girlfriend.  So I guess I believed he would get over it and start doing that?

Greatest Lies Told About Domestic Abuse

The myths Society paints about Domestic Abuse truly prevent awareness about emotional & psychological abuse and make it very difficult to spot.  Society really paints a picture of Domestic Abuse involving physical abuse or violence.  When I talked to a lawyer one time the first question they asked me was, “Has he ever hit you?” That is very frustrating because without physical abuse you cannot prove long-term psychological abuse in the courts.  What makes this worse is there is no legal way to prevent the children from emotional abuse which is so damaging.  So even if a woman makes the decision to leave her husband she may be subjected to sending her kids over there to be emotionally abused.

Even women I talked to often excuse unacceptable behavior by saying in excusing tones;

<li>”Well, men are just jerks.”</li>
<li>”Well, he is just being a man.”</li>
<li>”At least he doesn’t beat you or cheat on you.”</li>
<li>”He probably just had a long day.”</li>
<li>”What do you expect, he is just a guy.”</li>

It really was not until I was divorced from my ex-husband and his continual harassment & threats pushed me into a Domestic Abuse support center that helped me understand he wasn’t just being a ‘jerk’ but that he was being emotionally abusive.   They described my ex-husband as a Classic Domestic Abuser.

Some of the most important things have done and wish I had done earlier are things like building up my own self esteem, creating a very healthy support network, learning more about what I will and will not accept, deciding I would rather be happy alone than miserable in a relationship.  I also believe it is really important we educate all our daughters/sons of what emotional abuse actually looks like.  Spreading awareness about what is or isn’t acceptable in a relationship to our youth is critical.  Perhaps this will make abusive relationships easier to spot and more acceptable to talk about.

I think the not-so-good ones out-number the good ones and you have to be extra careful.  It is not like they are going to be an real jerk on the first date because most pof us wouldn’t choose go on to a second date.

Resources:

Healing from Invisible Wounds – Emotional Abuse

I think one of the greatest issues I have had to overcome is healing from all the invisible wounds.  The scars left from the verbal and emotional abuse seem like they often ran deep into my core.  My first emotional abuser was not my ex-husband, he was my father.   So this is where the abuse cycle began for me and somehow I married a man who behaves so much like my father.

I believe my daughter is finally able to see my ex-husbands behavior for what it is.  She has to go to his each summer for (2) two week periods or for the entire month of July.  Her step-sister is going to her mother’s house from the end of June to the beginning of August.  So my daughter and I discussed the possibility of her staying for the entire month of July so she won’t be as bored.  Initially she thought that was a great idea and had planned to discuss it with her father.

Maturity & Awareness
However, when she came home from that weekend visitation she told me she didn’t think she could handle 30 days straight and really needed a break.  I was very surprised by the maturity of her response and simply replied, “Fair enough.”

When she came home from her father’s house this weekend I gave her a hug and said I was glad she was home.  I asked her if she had a good time.  Then I asked if there was anything she needed to discuss with me.  She said, “Nothing worth talking about.”

Are we out of the woods yet?  I seriously doubt it.  However, I am very moved by her mature responses   As much as I dislike my ex-husband’s abusive behavior, I do not want my daughter to hate him.  I doubt she could even if she wanted to.  I do want her to learn to understand him well enough to plan her comments and responses better.   It would truly shock me if my daughter could explain her father’s behavior anymore than I can.  His behavior is often beyond reason.

Planning Comments & Response
One thing I have been working on with my daughter is teaching her how to plan her comments with her father.  For instance after the entire cell phone issue where we thought he had bugged her phone.  We decided electronics were not to be taken back and forth.

So when she was at her father’s house she said she wasn’t allowed to take home the Nintendo 3D DSI because my husband and I said not to.  Well that immediately had her step-mother and father upset about that.  Never-mind the fact that my ex-husband was the one to originally make this rule that nothing comes back and forth.

Encouraged to Lie
So her step mother actually advised her to bring the Nintendo in her backpack and take it to school and just not tell us about.  Basically encouraging our daughter to lie to us.  Amazing!  This woman is an assistant teacher at school in charge a little kids.  Honestly, where are her morals.

My daughter told them no and then told us what they had asked of her.  We told her that we were very proud of her for saying No and for telling us.  We said that was a very mature thing to do.

So I did advise my daughter to be more careful with what she says to them.  I told her in the future she could avoid some of these conversations by planning her response better.  For example, if she had simply told them she wanted to keep the Nintendo at their house so it would be there whenever she came to visit that might have avoided that entire conversation.

Stop & Think
My advise to my daughter is to actually visualize a Stop Sign in her head and Stop & Think before answering.   She does want to be honest and I told her she can still be honest in her response and perhaps not give information to create this uncomfortable discussions.

I guess one of the things I am learning is to give my daughter the tools she needs to handle what she has to deal with.  By learning how to think before she replies she might be able to prevent some of the outbursts.  I no way can she control how they behave but she might be able to bypass some of the conversations.   It does seem my abusive ex-husband and his wife are ready to disagree with anything I tell our daughter.  So perhaps she should not say ‘My mom said’ and avoid the discussion all together.

I hope I am doing the right thing.  It is always hard to know when dealing with insanity of abuse.  My prayers are simple, please do not let my daughter go through years of healing from invisible wounds inflicted by her father and even myself.

Verbal Abuse Can Impact Any Relationship

I truly think God must have a sense of humor.  I am not completely rid of my abusive ex-husband or abusive ex-boss but it sure makes me feel fired up to write more about verbal and emotional abuse,  because awareness is key.

Verbal Abuse can happen in almost any type of relationship and anywhere;

    • in intimate relationships, marriages, or even families
    • at school with other kids, colleagues, teachers, and sometimes parents
    • at work with a boss, owners, management or co-workers
    • in customer service with utilities or other companies you pay bills to
    • debt collectors (these are among the some of worst)
    • by neighbors or people in your community
    • by friends or ex-friends

Emotional abuse is not limited to intimate relationships and can be found in all sorts of encounters throughout life.  Some of these situations are very short-lived like when you deal with an abusive customer service representative or perhaps a someone managing your affairs.  It is easy to not recognize these situations as abuse because they do not occur on the regular basis and it is easier to put them out of your mind.

Obviously, the vast majority of these situations would involve verbal or emotional abuse.  Of course, anything physical would allow you to take legal action.  No, this the type of abuse that is sly and usually done through words, actions or even the silent treatment.  Most verbal abusers have patterns and will often repeat these behaviors.  Almost anyone is capable of having a bad day, but these encounters should not be come the ‘new normal’.

Once an abuser or bully sets his target on you it very difficult to get out of the path.  Sometimes it requires you sever any connecting relationships in order to get away from the assaults.  Unfortunately, it is usually impossible to reason with these types of personalities.  Especially, if you are dealing with a narcissistic, sociopath or someone with a personality disorder who lacks empathy & remorse.

First example:
When I divorced my abusive ex-husband, it seemed he would use any kind of connection he could to get to me.  He would use anyone who was connected to me in order to pass messages or simply stir the pot.  You know, bizarre situations that seem to pull you back into the abusive insanity.  Where he is now talking to one of your friends and you being to wonder if they are repeating everything you say to your Ex.  Now that I have severed every possible connection, the only one he has left to use is our daughter, and he most certainly tries to use her as a pawn.

Second example:
When I left my last job, my boss would use my old co-workers to spy on me through Facebook or Linked In.  It was really sneaky and felt like stalking or rather ‘silent stalking’ (if there is such a thing).  All the while, he said nothing directly to me, but outright ignored me.  Even when I was trying to clean up connections since I was tied to almost everything within the company.  It really felt like I was getting divorced all over again on my last day.  Having to sit there while we removed my administrative access to everything.  Eventually, I disconnected myself from every connection we had in common.  Perhaps that was his personal goal?

Time to Say Goodbye
Unfortunately, some of these relationships become reoccurring and can make it impossible for you to ignore the abuser’s behavior.  Reoccurring abusive situations are often with a intimate partner, boss or management, or even someone in your own family.  If this relationship becomes one you cannot avoid and is effecting you emotionally, only you can decide when it is time to say goodbye.

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Abuse Survivors – Please Share Your Story

Domestic Abuse AwarenessLet me start by saying this, if you are an abuse survivor, please do not keep your story private.  

So many people are in an abusive relationship and have not become aware it is abuse.  Especially if it is a verbally/emotionally abusive relationship which can make it very difficult to become aware of it.  I was divorced for at least six months before I figured out I had been in an abusive marriage.  I really just thought he was a self-centered jerk.

Over the years, I have shared my story on blogs and other websites.  Initially, I think I shared my story to get confirmation that I was okay and the relationship was abusive.  Eventually it grew to sharing my story for purpose of self healing and that hopefully my story would touch a few people out there that might be able to relate.

I encourage you to… Break the Silence… Stop Abuse… Speak Up!

On more than one occasion someone has come to me because they heard or read my story a long time ago and became aware they were in an abusive relationship.  Those occasional moments made me realize how important it was for me to share my story.  It also made me feel, “My pain had a purpose.”  They say various things like:

“Years ago, when I read your story, I realized my relationship was very abusive, and…”

  • … “I am divorced with only another two years until I get my nursing license.”
  • … “I am in counseling and started saving money in case I decide to leave.”
  • … “We are separated and I moved back in with my family and they are really supportive.”
  • … “We have been divorced for a few years, I got help and I am so much happier.”

It sometimes makes me a little sad that there are so many people that have been or are currently in abusive relationship.  However, this also makes me feel that sharing my story may help a few others out there who can relate to my experiences.  I often say, “If sharing my story helps one person, it is worth sharing, then I know the pain was for a reason.”

“I am an Abuse Survivor, the pain I endured for all those years had a purpose.”

 

 

Reactive Abuse – Abusive Crazy Making Behavior

One of the biggest questions I have always asked is, “Am I crazy?”  When I am dealing with my abusive ex-husband or my abusive father, at times they have both made me feel crazy.  Whenever I allowed myself to lose my temper and react terribly to their behavior has been equally as frustrating.

My personal belief is I am responsible for my own reaction and behavior regardless of what the other person says or does. I have lost my temper on more than one occasion with my ex-husband in the past, and even recently with my father because my patience for manipulative abusive behavior is extremely short.  In some of these situations it is very likely I was exhibiting what is called Reactive Abuse.  Worse, while questioning my own personal sanity, my ex-husband has stated I am the crazy one in his emails, and even my father’s recent email said something on that sort.  They do often refer to this type of exchange as ‘crazy making’ behavior and this is  a guaranteed way to make sure your response is never right.

I remember one-time a friend said this, “You are not dealing with a normal situation, so how could you expect to feel normal?”

Crazy-Making types of behavior:

  • Blocking and Diverting
  • Blame Shifting
  • Gaslighting or Trivializing
  • Twisting the Truth
  • Manipulation
  • Passive Aggressive

This statement is something I have remembered throughout all the years whenever I start asking myself if I am crazy.  Then I remind myself to really look at the sources that are making this false statement.  Oftentimes I have had to contact a rational third party to ask them if the situation was ‘irrational’ and they usually confirm my thoughts.

My abusive ex-husband was emotionally & verbally abusive for more than 15 years.  He was abusive when we were dating, married and even while we have been divorced.  So many of the things he does with our daughter are just attempts to lash out at me.  I think that is what hurts most of all that as a mother I cannot protect my daughter from being a pawn in these sick games.  So many of his actions have been designed to get a reaction from me so he could say, “Look at how you are behaving?”  These are also designed to make sure he can say, “We both said things we didn’t mean.”  This takes the attention off of his behavior.

Some of the statements I remember him saying were the exact same things I would have stated about his behavior.  Then here he was telling me I was doing the same thing.  Then of course my rational mind would start questioning, “Am I doing that?”

  • “You are trying to hurt me but in turn you are hurting our daughter. “
  • “I am trying to be patient here but I am not getting much help from you.”
  • “Of course if we could have flexibility with one another this would not be necessary but you have chosen to go by the decree”

Comments made by my ex-husband to me, typically to make me feel like I am doing something wrong, doing the same thing to him or that I am the one who is unreasonable.  Almost all of his emails contain comments that make me feel defensive and as if I needed to respond to him.  Learning how to read his emails and only respond to facts or questions was really helpful in learning not to engage with him.

Today, I am very grateful I have a good marriage and a very peaceful household.  It is nice to feel safe in my own home.  My life has only been ‘healthy’ for a few years now and it sometimes still feels foreign to me.  It is because of my healthy home-life that I realized how unacceptable my recent work environment was and why I made the decision to resign.

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