Passive Aggressive Games: Rising Above

Since 2010, I have been writing in this blog and posting experiences. Oftentimes I forget how dysfunctional these experiences were at the time. Time has a away of softening things and making you remember the story in a less crazy light.

My post Accepting the Painful Reality was one of the ones that really stuck out. Rereading those texts from my daughter didn’t even sound like her. Even the way it was written, perfect sentences, punctuation, and specific words did not sound like my daughter. Perhaps she was having someone help her write the perfect respond. May someday she will share what in the world her father and his wife were saying about me.

A few weeks ago, my daughter posted a picture on Instagram. She mentioned that she was no good at captions. Many times I will say something like how beautiful she is inside an out. This time I decided to caption “I got all this from my mama ;)”. It was a lighthearted comment. She does look a lot like me, but I always tell her she also has her own unique look.

So her stepmother actually comments to me “hahaha” publicly on my daughter’s feed. Honestly I was very surprised how brazen she was in making that public comment. My experiences with my ex-husband’s wife have never been positive. She has never said a kind word once over all these years. However, I was angry after getting the notification from Instagram that she commented to me on this post.

Clearly this was a passive aggressive comment that was meant to get a rise out of me. I did not take the bait, good for me! After all, this women has never met me in person. I think we talked on the phone once. She hates me because I am her husband’s ex-wife. She hates me because of whatever he says about me. He is not a honest or nice person. My experience with him was he was a cheater, liar, drinker, gambler, sports-a-holic, verbally abusive, work-aholic, and worse suspected paedophile. He is pissed at me because… what… I left all that?

My husband and I talked it over and he said, “It is really sad. She will never have what you have. She will never be her mother. She will never have kids of her own now. You are above that. Don’t even give it a second thought.” My other good friend said, “She wishes she could be your daughter’s mom.”

One of the members of my NPD group said there was a simply answer for her comment, “She is threatened by you.” Although I cannot guess how anything could be threatening to my ex-husbands wife at this point. She must know I have zero interest in my ex-husband. His behavior is so bad that I have had to go no contact with him.

Of course, I have to discuss this with my closest friend and she was angry. Her initial thought was there must be a good way to respond to that. However, I decided that the best way to deal with her was to block her on Instagram. I had no idea that you could block someone you were not connected with and now she cannot see my posts or profile. As an added bonus, I cannot see any of her comments either. Win win!

So yesterday, I met my daughter for coffee after she got off work. Side note, I am so happy she is working and starting to gain that independence. She really needs that. I asked if she had seen the comment her stepmother made to me on her feed. I added that I realize you live there and cannot say much. She said she did see the comment and tried to give her stepmother the benefit of the doubt. However, she worried that I might comment back and how that might escalate. I told her that I had given her the benefit of the doubt too, but that she really has never said a kind word to me in all these years. That I just ended up blocking her and that solves the problem.

Anyway, it was another good visit with my daughter. She mentioned that she found the Eiffel Tower necklace my husband had bought her and cleaned it off. She also showed me a picture of her stepsister and her together. Perhaps she is feeling a little nostalgic. She has not stepped foot in this house since she left a year and a half ago.

Her room looks very much like the day she left, but much cleaner. The bedspread and curtains are different. I know that it is probably time to make it a guest room, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to convert it. It seems like there would be wash of emotions. It makes me a little sad to go in there. My mother even mentioned that it made her feel a little sad during this last visit.

This has all been quite a struggle to deal with emotionally. My daughter is still not allowed to visit the city where I live, “It is forbidden.” He says it is because he is grounding her from a friend. However, she is nineteen and has been “grounded” from coming to my area of town for 2 months.

Someday, I expect my daughter will put all these memories together and it may hurt. One day she may realize how much she was being manipulated here and that maybe her mom wasn’t the problem. It is really horrible when parents pit a child against the other parent. This was my ex-husband’s personal war and all of us were casualties of that war. So pointless and unnecessary. My mother said today that a good father would encourage a daughter to visit her mother. Instead he makes up rules to prevent it.

Parental Alienation – Parental Alienation Stories

In this post, I am going to discuss what Parental Alienation is and how it affected my family. In my personal experience, there have been three separate situations where it exists and in all three stories men did it.

Parental alienation is the process, and the result, of psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members.

Recently, I have spent hours listening to Amy Baker, Ryan Thomas, and Jennifer Harman discuss in depth about parental alienation. Richard Gardner wrote about this in 1987 and coined the the phrase Parental Alienation Syndrome. He believed that this syndrome was used during divorce by on parent in child custody disputes to the child(ren) against the other parent. In those days, he typically found this to be something that was done by mothers against the fathers. This would make sense, since in early days of divorce; children typically resided with their mothers. However, Amy Baker said that in her research about 75% of the cases were done by the mothers and the other 25% by the fathers.

Gardner also mentions that abuse was not present in his cases. In my situation, verbal and emotional abuse was present in all three situations. I also have strong reasons to suspect sexual abuse may have also occurred. Additionally, all the men I describe below also exhibit Narcissistic behaviors. Plus, I recognize that each of these men are also extremely controlling and emotionally abusive.

Additionally, there were many cases where PAS was legally misused to get custody of the child from mothers who simply had ‘normal parenting’ rules. Anyway, regardless of the criticism attached to this ‘syndrome’. my personal accounts show evidence that it is very much a strategy used to influence children to turn against one parent.

Child of Parental Alienation Syndrome

My first experiences with Parental Alienation Syndrome would have to be my own experiences. My father spent my entire childhood speaking awful things about my mother. In fact, his parents often said horrible things about my mother too. Their primary goal was for me to side with my father or to turn me against my mother for her perceived wrongdoings.

My parents divorced when I was four years old and I began visiting my father twice a year every year from that age forward. During every visit I would hear awful things said about my mother by almost all members of the family. My father called her promiscuous and often said that she was the reason we didn’t have a happy family. He even wrote a poem with cartoon unicorn illustrations telling a story about an unfaithful wife cheating on the husband. This started when I was absolutely too young to even comprehend what he was saying. He often used bible scriptures to justify his comments.

His constantly tearing her down was very hurtful to me as a child. It created so much confusion and I grew into a very angry teenager. Additionally, I was an only child and so there was no one to talk to about this adult business I was hearing. My mother was often not at home because she was a single working mother and dating. So, as you can imagine, leaving an angry teenager alone with very little supervision was a recipe for problems. During those days, I was skipping school, drinking, and hanging out with other troubled teenagers. Then I grew up to marry an abusive man who did the same thing to our daughter.

My father’s comments did two different things. First, they probably created some challenges between my mother and myself. I was very disrespectful and angry. Plus, looking back, I believe most of my rebellious behavior was meant to get attention. That saying that ‘bad attention is better than no attention’ is probably exactly the truth. Another thing, I ended up making many of the same mistakes as my mother throughout my life. So, if my mother were a bad person for those things, then would I be a bad person too?

My aunt discussed how uncomfortable this made her feel when witnessing them doing this to me as a child and my cousins. She told my cousin, “I always liked your mom.” She said she really wanted to make sure my cousin new this about her mother. My aunt definitely believes all of us experienced PAS by our fathers. She also agrees that my grandfather also contributed. My grandfather was extremely controlling towards his wife and children.

My mother told me once that my dad and grandfather drove across several states after their divorce and stole her car. Then they called her up and asked her to meet with them at a restaurant. They told her if she gave back the stocks she had been awarded in the divorce, then they would give her the vehicle back. She said she didn’t know what else to do and gave them back. A decade later, my grand parents were forced filed bankruptcy and so the company was worth nothing today anyway.

Witnessing Parental Alienation

My second experience was witnessing my Uncle turn his kids against his ex-wife. He promised one of my cousins his dream vehicle if he moved in with him. My cousin so badly wanted this vehicle that he agreed to move out of his mothers house to live with this father. My grandfather fully participated in this maneuver and may have helped pay for the vehicle too. In my experiences, Parental Alienation is a family business. So, my Uncle was successful at turning all three of his children against my Aunt. As children, they didn’t dare say anything because he provided a roof over their head and food to eat. So they went along with everything and didn’t visit their mom.

In my experiences, Parental Alienation is a family business.

Now, all my cousins are in the 30s, married with kids of their own. Now, they realize that the problem wasn’t with their mother and that 90% of the problems were because of their father. However, you do not get to make up that lost time they missed with their mother. I spoke to my aunt about this very thing and she said, “I have forgiven their father, but my children have not.” Now his kids have moved away and rarely visit their father. Whenever they visit, they will not stay in his house. It does not seem like the damage of lost time has been repaired with their mother, but they are no longer estranged from her.

Becoming the Targeted Parent

My third experience was dealing with my ex-husband working to manipulate our daughter for all these years. In my daughter’s journal, at the age of 9-10 she wrote all the time about how she couldn’t sleep, her stomach hurt, and her V hurt. I wrote a blog post in 2011 about Journal Entries by my Daughter. V stands for vagina and one pediatrician said to stop using nicknames. I guess if she said that “XXX touched her TT’ may not be as powerful as ‘X touched her vagina.’

My daughter used to complain about her vagina hurting from the age of 4 – 9 and despite our frequent visits to the doctor we were never able to prevent. The first complain happened at the age of 4 and was one year before we divorced. The one common denominator was that every complaint preceded with a visit with her father. All the red flags are present, but we never had an admission from our daughter, and the doctors never discovered medical explanation. My daughter does not remember and there was not medical proof. I have written about this topic over the years.

My ex-husband would continuously put our daughter in the middle of situations or under-mine my authority. Our daughter was subjected to his subtle, but continuous manipulation. This often created confusion for our daughter. Plus, she would become anxious right before a visit with him and then whenever she returned home she was a different child. It would take days before she would start behaving like her normal self. Then we would have to do it all over again the next week.

I never understood exactly what he was telling her. However, I know my ex-husband all too well and his subtle manipulations discussed as ‘helpful suggestions’ from someone who cares. At the age of 5 or 6, I remember her coming home from her father’s house and saying “Mommy, you scared me.” I remember being completely surprised by her comment since it seemed to come out of nowhere. Later on, I asked her “Honey, earlier you said I scared you. What did I do that scared you?” She replied, “I don’t want to talk about it.” To this day, I have no idea what he might have said to her to make her say that.

This blog is full of stories about what my daughter would say or what my ex-husband had told her. The crazy situation where her school was no longer a neutral ground. In one conversation when she was around 16 years old, I told her that I was really sorry she was in the middle of our divorce. She told me that it wasn’t my fault. I agreed, but my response was that I am sure I could have done a better job in my responses. She said that she understood and how hard it was to not feel angry with some people. One year later, she barely speaking with me and we were being sued for custody by my ex-husband of our 17 1/2 year old.

Amy Baker describes the challenges of dealing with teenagers and how they can be difficult all by themselves. How an Alienator can ride on the coattails of those difficult teen years by promising the children more freedom, less rules, or in our case a car. Initially, when my daughter first left, she wouldn’t give me her phone number for months. I wrote about it in my blog post in 2016 titled Parental Alienation Syndrome – Courts Deny It Exists. It was like I had been completely rejected.

Plus, over the past two years, many people have advised me to tell my daughter the truth. However, in almost every one of the articles and videos I have watched, they say the exact opposite. They often advise to listen, love them unconditionally, and ask questions to help them develop critical thinking skills. They say the child really needs this because the alienator is not going to love them without conditions. Another thing Amy Baker said was that you shouldn’t take what the child says personally because they are only repeating what the Alienator told them. We were definitely guilty of taking her attitude and hateful words very personally.

Life After Parental Alienation

So, right now my daughter is still reaching out to me. Over the past few months we have gotten together many times for dinner or met at coffee shops. Often she will sit with me for 2-3 hours at a time. My new approach is to just listen, be supportive, and ask her questions when appropriate. I might say, “Oh, how did that make you feel.” Last week, she said her father told her to pay attention to how boys treat their mom. He told her if they treat their mom bad they would treat you bad. My response was, “Oh, I am not sure I completely agree. Men can often treat their mothers wonderfully and treat wife or girlfriend badly.”

Anyway, I am not going to talk about our past or my experiences with her father. It doesn’t matter. It does, but telling her the truth is not going to help our present situation. She needs more time and life experiences to figure this all out. Plus, she still lives under my ex-husband’s roof and she will have to live by his rules. His rules are controlling and not appropriate for a 19-year-old adult. However, this is something our daughter needs to figure out for herself.

My Parental Alienation Blog Posts in Order

Hopefully this helps someone else going through a similar experience. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about this topic as well.

Other Resources:

Abuse – Power and Control – The Handmaid’s Tale

Recently I have been binge watching The Handmaid’s Tale. I must say this is probably not the best show to binge watch because it is tale of a very dark totalitarian society. Nearly every episode is dark, disturbing, and rather abusive. However, there are may parallels between the abuse of power displayed and what life was like with my abusive ex. There was a day when an unhealthy life with him didn’t seem crazy or abnormal. If your life is crazy every day, eventually crazy can become a normal day. Also, growing up with my abusive father as an example did not give me any insight or knowledge to recognize something was wrong in my relationship.

In this story, the character June (or Offred), continues to learn through pain what will and will not be tolerated. She has been deprogrammed about any previous beliefs, learns a new way of thinking, and eventually adopts this as a new way of life. In reality, this is not that different to life with an abusive person. The abuser continues to reprogram you to a new way of thinking. Their way of thinking. Your views are no longer allowed… unless they match their own views.  Just like in this show, the rules may not be stated or even clear, but you learn them just the same. However, the game is always changing and that continues to keep you off-balance. On more than one occasion, I remember feeling it may be easier to give in rather than fight.

My abusive ex did a great job of isolating me from my family and friends. In this story, you can see a similar thing where she has been removed from any other people that might make her question this reality. Outside influences are a problem for abusers, this may make you question your life. In fact, in this story, if anyone became too much of a problem they were discarded. Not so different with an abusive person. Perhaps the story is you cannot trust particular friends or family members, that the abuser is the only one who is on your side. If you are the one to leave the Narcissist first, you may be subjected to stalking or their Narcissistic rage. In the early days, I remember breaking up with my ex on more than one occasion. Somehow he would convince me to return and how things would be different. In those days, I didn’t stay away long to realize life could be healthier without him.

Just like in the story, my abuser would make me question my own reality. My abuser was really good at leading me into thoughts that he had planted in my head. In old journal entries, I can see all statements that seem like they were ‘suggestions’ put into my head by my abuser. I had never thought of myself as a vindictive person, but I wrote this in my journal  more than twenty years ago.  It was also interesting to see that I wrote “he picks me up when I fall down” and looking back I realize he may have been the one knocking me down.

September 23, 1996

I feel like there is a hole in my heart. I do not feel good. Even though I am the one who thinks we should break up, every feeling in my body hurts without him. If love is supposed to be a wonderful thing, why does it hurt so bad? He’s right I do not have anyone to compare him off of. I have never been in love before.

I do not know what to do, it’s not fair to him that I can’t let the past go very easily. I’m so afraid I won’t be able to let it go. I want to but it’s not that easy to forget. I dated him because I liked him so much. I stayed with him because he was there for me. I feel horrible inside. I want his arms around me right now for support.

Why is it that I can’t let go? What is so wrong about him that I want to break up? He is so supportive of me, then picks me up when I fall down. He loves me! Am I just crazy or scared?

Maybe it is better for him that I end this. Can I treat him well? Can I forget the past? Can I love him like I used it? I wish I knew all the answers. I love him so much I don’t want to hurt him. So why do I? Where are the answers?

September 24, 1996

I feel much better now. He came over earlier and we talked and he helped me with my homework. I love him so much it hurts. Why does love hurt so much? It is supposed to be a wonderful thing, but it hurts a lot. I am really going to work on my being vindictive, and I will start recording things in my journal more often. So I can look back and she what has changed on his part & mine. I am going to sleep now. I am tired.

In one episode in season 2, you can see where she starts believing that past actions are the reason why deserves mistreatment and that is her fault. During our marriage, I remember actually thinking that my ex was God’s punishment for some of the bad choices I made in life. My father was good at preaching about a punishing God and how my mother deserved horrible things. If that were the case, would my past actions warrant this daily abuse? In fact, you can my comments sprinkled throughout my blog posts where I blame myself for picking this man in the first place. It was was easy to start blaming myself for all the problems, pain, and suffering. In this video, you can see where June seems broken and unable to fight.

The main character Fred, uses religion as a way to control and justify his behavior. However, the show continues to show us that he is less pious than he pretends to be. In fact, the show does good job of showing the character’s weaknesses that he does not display on the surface. My ex often gave me glimpses of his inner struggles after having too much to drink. Or how often he said how important our family to him, but his actions rarely match his words. Or similar to my father who was always preaching about the bible and how I should “Honor thy father…” He used religious as a weapon for control others and didn’t really live a Godly life himself.

Elizabeth Moss also mentions in an interview that the worst thing is the sense that everything is normal when they are not normal at all. This is very similar to what it is like to be with an abusive person. Your inner gut instinct continues to scream at you that something is not right about your relationship with your abuser. The abuser often gets you to second guess yourself, doubt your instincts, and deny your intuition. The abuser needs  you to believe that you are the one who is crazy and not the situation. If something is repeated often enough it can eventually seem like the truth. Journaling for all these years has helped me keep track of what really happened so I can remember the truth.

In reality, how different is this series to life with an abuser? An abuser often consider themselves above you or that you are their property and not their equal. You are not entitled to independent thinking or allowed to have your thoughts and opinions. Oftentimes, I remember thinking that maybe life didn’t have to be this way. Maybe this wasn’t what marriage was supposed to be like. He would say, “Everyone has problems. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.” These words seemed true and made sense. Although, I would see the neighbor across the street come home to be with his family or spend time outside playing with the kids.

This tale of abuse of power and control isn’t so far from the truth. In reality those of us who have encountered abuse know these tales all too well. Now I just pray my daughter will begin to see the truth about her own experiences. Otherwise she too may end up living a unbalanced life full of too much power and control.

Domestic Abuse Survivor – Renewed and Stronger

Today is another day, I feel renewed, and stronger. There is no way I am going to give up and allow my twisted ex-husband to win his sick game. This entire situation has been unfair and flat out wrong. I was a good mother and did not deserve this type of treatment from my ex or his family.

There is no way I am giving up on my daughter. However, I realize that it is time for me to shift focus back to myself, my health, and my family again. That does not mean that I won’t reach out, but it may be time to protect my heart. She continues to reach out to me for a reason despite the roadblocks my ex keeps setting up for her.

In the last two years, I have missed many moments in my daughter’s life. Not being present for her homecoming or prom. Unable to be part of helping select her dress. Thankfully, I was able to be at her graduation and made it to the stadium ridiculously early to get a good seat so I could get great pictures. I found myself stressing out over running into her father and I am so grateful our paths didn’t cross.

My daughter didn’t love the pictures I took, but all our family and friends on Facebook enjoyed seeing the photos. I did not receive a graduation announcement, but my mother gave me the one she received. I am also sad that my family didn’t get graduation announcements either. My mother and I shared some tears about this situation too.

Moving forward, I will continue to educate myself about this situation and share my story. It time for me to get back to Alanon and other support groups. There may be others who need to hear my story and may be able to identify.

Today, I am a survivor of domestic abuse. I got out and moved on with my life.

  • My career is on the right track. Considering he told me years ago, “Nobody will ever hire you without a college degree.” Not true. My company really likes me and they give me raises twice a year.
  • He told me, “I don’t want you living in a roach infested apartment.” Well, guess what? My house is quite lovely. It also has a lovely garden full of beautiful flowers that we planted. It is also the second house I have owned without my ex.

These words are for me and they can be for you too:

  • Do not let your narcissist ex define you.
  • Do not let his words become your truth.
  • You are better than that.
  • You are a good person.
  • You do not need his negativity.
  • He does not own you.
  • You are a survivor.
  • You are strong.
  • You are beautiful.
  • God loves you.

 

 

 

Rising Above – Parental Alienation and the Narcissist

It has been while since I have written. Sometimes it can be just too painful to write in this blog and think about these painful topics. Since my daughter left, it has been a difficult ‘almost’ two years. However, looking back, I realize that healthy progress has been made.

My daughter keeps reaching out to me, but it is clear her loyalty is to her father. About 5 weeks ago, I received a tearful call from my daughter and she said a lot in 30 seconds. I will paraphrase what she said, “Mom (maybe she said Mommy), I hit a curb and my tire is flat, and I can’t reach my dad. I do not remember Step-Mother’s phone number because he took my phone away because I went to X-Friend’s house. I would call Ex-Boyfriend’s mom, but we broke up.”

So, I told her that I would try to reach her dad. She asked if I could send her Step-mother’s phone number. So I sent my ex-husband an email with the subject line “Daughter’s name is trying to reach you” and included the friend’s phone number in the body. I also texted her Step-mother’s phone number.

One of the next times we got together she shared a great deal with me. We sat visiting at Starbucks for more than three hours. She told me what happened with her boyfriend and that was why she went to the friend’s house. I had suspected that was the reason and that she was looking for comfort after a break up. I knew she had really liked this boy and they had discussed moving in together. Although they were very young for those types of big decisions, I just told her to give it time, that time would tell.

Apparently her dad had threatened to pack her (I think he said sh&$) and send her back to my house. So I became a threat. I replied, “Oh, send you back to your mean mother.” She laughed. It was a good visit and I just tried to be supportive. During that same visit she had mentioned that she wasn’t as mad at my husband as she was even six months ago. She did tell me that she was just mad at how he treated her. My husband was pretty mad at how she was behaving before she left. It was a difficult situation for all of us and I am not sure any of us handled it right.

Now, she is forbidden to visit her friend in the city where she lives. This happens to be the same city where I live. It has been about 4-5 weeks since this situation unfolded. After she lied, her Step-mother shunned her for nearly three weeks. My daughter had mentioned how hurtful that was to her. I am not sure what shunning would accomplish, but it seems very punishing.  One article calls this “Silent Treatment Abuse” and says it is a strategy to control someone.

Anyway, we suspect (my mom, husband, and good friend) that this is just another way for her dad to control the situation. My mother mentioned that it seemed like my daughter was starting to get closer and maybe even getting to the point of not being so angry at my husband. That is when her dad created stricter rules to forbid her from coming to our area. My husband believes it is because her dad and his wife are afraid she might be coming to our house. It is interesting because our daughter is 19 years old now. It is time to start treating her as an adult now. There would still be rules that make sense for the household.

Our other daughter still lives with us while she is going to school. She pays a small amount of money that mostly covers what we pay for her car insurance. Then recently we added in 25% of the utilities. However, we do not ask where she is going, who she is going to see, or what time she will be home. She has not broken our trust. We do not ask questions. The only rule is that she needs to call if she is going to be really late so we do not worry. It is still difficult to navigate adult teenagers in the house, but I think we have handled this well.

So, my daughter graduated from high school last week. I never received a graduation announcement because her step-mother didn’t send me one. She did send one to my mother though. We also learned there was a graduation picture that nobody from our side of the family received. This frustrates me because over the years I always gave my ex-husband copies of school pictures. In fact, I took several photos at graduation with my camera using telephoto lens. I thought the pictures turned out very well. I took the time to correct the red eye and sent my ex-husband copies. If he wants to keep those pictures, it is his choice, but I felt that was the right thing to do.

My daughter sent me a text message that said, “Hey btw I wanted to post the pics of me and u and me and nana but I didn’t look good in any of them. So I posted different ones.” The pictures she posted were one of her by herself, one with her dad and his wife, and one with her cousin. This made my mother cry. My mother told her that she flew all the way here and they will never have that moment again. This also made me feel angry and sad because over the years I was the one going to her activities at school. My ex-husband never really participated in school activities. In fact, she wasn’t’ allowed to do homework on his weekends. However, it may be innocent and she truly didn’t like the pictures. It also may be that she didn’t want to upset her dad either. It is possible that it is all subconscious too.

During my mother’s visit, my mom discussed flying my daughter out to see her in the state where she lives. My daughter asked who was going to pay for the travel. My mother said she would pay for it. My daughter said she is looking for a job and what about that. I explained that is considered a preplanned trip and you can just tell the company I am traveling between these dates. Most companies understand this an allow you to take the trip or start after the trip. However, when she talked to my ex-husband he said no to this idea. Then told her that no company would hire her if she was traveling. So, now she can’t come to the city I live in or the state where my mother lives. In this video, Amy Baker discusses the tribal warfare about 20 minutes into the video.  She even discusses how the child will miss major events like funerals. My daughter was not present for my grandmother’s funeral in November 2016. She had to do her schoolwork and missed that trip where my entire family celebrated my grandmother’s life.

Anyway, I was really getting to the point where I almost feel it is time to protect my heart and walk away. However, then I started watching some videos from adults who experienced parental alienation as children. It sounds like they don’t really want the alienated parent to go away. So, maybe I just need to change my approach. I need to be more loving and take this less personally. She is stuck in the middle of this crazy mess and it is truly unfair. This fact has frustrated me for years that she is in the middle of such a Toxic Divorce. It always frustrated me on how powerless I was to stop it.  My ex-husband is very high-conflict and I believe thrives on chaos and drama. As difficult as it may be one some occasions, I need to continue to rise above, and be the bigger person.

In fact, I strongly believe some of their actions are done to hurt me and maybe they hope I will send them an email. I have resisted any contact since last October. It was bad enough to engage is a spat with his wife via email last year. I do really try to take the high-road, but I do often feel controlled and angry. I do not want to be controlled by my ex-husband. There are times it seems like I will never get away from him.

Now, I need to focus on my family (my husband and step-daughter) and myself. I am going to keep reaching out to my daughter, but I need to protect my heart in the process. It may be years before she figures it out and I need to make sure I continue to live my life. One scripture that continues to come to mind is one from Genesis where God will turn an awful situation into something good.

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20

I need to hold steady to the belief that good will come from all this. Something good must come out of all this suffering, maybe it is so I will continue to share my experiences so someone else can know they are not alone.

Struggling with Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse

I have not been as diligent about writing my thoughts lately. On some days, it is still a struggle. I miss my daughter terribly and really hurts my heart how things ended up. It seems that it is not uncommon for children to make a decision to move in with the other parent. In this situation though, it was not because he was the better parent, or that I was not a good parent. I believe my daughter made a decision based on what was easiest for her teenage needs.

To catch you up from previous posts, my ex-husband is an abusive man and spent years threatening, harassing, manipulating the situation and our daughter. When our daughter was 17 1/2, he sues for custody. Doesn’t talk to us first and suggest she come live with him. No, that would be too easy. Instead, we get served with papers. He just didn’t want to pay child support for another 1 1/2 years. My ex spent years trying to get my daughter to want to live with him. He took advantage of some rebellious and difficult teenage years.

My daughter believes she came up with this decision to live with him all by herself, but I know that is not true. My ex-husband is a snake, sneaky and subtle in his methods. My daughter doesn’t really understand that the difficulty was that he would never allow me to move on with my life. He spent years working against me every step of the way. Countering every thing we were doing to make life difficult. My ex-husband also tells our daughter lies and twisted versions of the truth. The only thing that explains his bizarre behavior is books about abusive men and narcissistic personality disorder.

For exes who are experiencing difficulty moving forward or letting go of the past, it’s a common response to not want the former partner to be happy. There can be a sense of wanting to punish the old partner for things they may or may not have done in the relationship. 

— Rachel Stapleton, PLLC, mental health therapist

It does not do any good to think about the would’ve… should’ve… could’ve… because you cannot go back and change the past. Obviously knowing what I know now, it would have been better to not let him know I was pregnant. However, there was no way I could have realized that it was signing up for years of harassment, threats, and that he would flat out work against me every stop of the way. I am pretty sure my ex-husband exhibits characteristics of a narcissist and there is no such thing as co-parenting with someone like that.

The two words Narcissist and Co-Parenting cannot coexist in a relationship.

Every description I have ever read about Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) seems to describe him perfectly. My ex-husband also had issues with drinking too much and he often became belligerent when drunk. However, here are some statements about narcissist that really describe my ex-husband.

  • Grandiose, over-inflated sense of self
  • Believes he is special or brilliant
  • Super entitled
  • Requires continuous admiration
  • Lacking in empathy
  • Shows extreme arrogance
  • Interpersonally exploitative

What are my issues? It is people, places, and things. Allowing other people’s behavior to affect how I feel. It has improved after spending years of working on myself through self-help programs like Alanon, Domestic Abuse Counseling, self-help books, and years of therapy has helped me so much.

Oftentimes, I struggle with my own personal decision to continue that relationship. I knew that relationship had problems within the first two years, but I just wasn’t strong enough to leave and stay gone. I just do not understand why he didn’t just move on and leave me alone. Earlier today I found a quote that seemed to fit. Ironic, to hear my ex-husband tell this tale, he would say I was the one who wouldn’t leave him alone. It is interesting to hear the stories he used to weave with our daughter. The challenges is children have young and impressionable minds. They need more time and life experiences to fully comprehend what they witnessed. Understanding my ex-husband’s personality problems has been difficult for me to understand and comprehend. How in the world would a child get it or even a young adult for that matter.

In the past year, I have barely heard from my ex-husband or his wife. It has been such a relief to not get their attacking emails or hearing my daughter repeat what they said about me. My daughter isn’t here with us and it wasn’t supposed to end up that way. She said the other day, “We get along so much better now that I don’t live with you.” My ex-husband had told her repeatedly that mothers and daughters don’t get along. My ex was continuously putting it in her head that we were too strict, too controlling, and we were awful parents. I can only imagine the things he said that I don’t know. How much of his influence and manipulation affected this situation?

What would life have been like without any involvement from my ex-husband for all those years? Would I have suffered with less anxiety? What would my daughter have turned out if she hadn’t had someone manipulating her and twisting her head up all the time? It can’t be health or good for a child to go back and forth between two houses with environment with opposite extremes. Does it make you grow up differently? Maybe she wouldn’t have been sad not knowing her father, but it seems like it would have been healthier for both of us.

Just makes me wonder, if you removed the abusive ex-husband from the equation, life couldn’t have been worse? Perhaps he made me a stronger person and maybe a better mother? Maybe I wouldn’t have built my own business or gained the skills to work at a prominent company? Obviously I wouldn’t have met my current husband. Right now, more time and distance is required to see the good that came out of this hell. I am praying my daughter will benefit from this somehow.

Life is more peaceful today and I am trying to focus on that positive fact. However, the price seems bittersweet.

 

Abuse Stories: A Dehumanizing Experience

Here is a story about verbal abuse from one of our readers:

Domestic Violence is a slow dehumanizing experience. I couldn’t even see it was happening. I wondered what was wrong with me. I thought it was abuse. I tried to get him to believe it was abuse. However, I should have just trusted my gut. I left him once, but I was embarrassed and I knew my religious parents would not accept my decision.

It started out with him dismissing how I felt. He was angry and yelled. I told him I didn’t like him yelling. I ask him to stop. Instead he broke the table into seven pieces and said, “He would show me what real yelling was like.” He continued to throw a fit and eventually stopped only after I broke down crying and apologized.

I was in the kitchen washing the dishes and I lived in Germany. The emotional, mental and verbal abuse was just a way to dehumanize me. Self doubt grew and the relationship dynamic began to change. It was not about a man and woman trying to care for each other. It was the first step of a man who wanted his way and nothing else. Had I known it would have led to me being repeatedly raped and abuse in every form. I believe I would have left. However, I thought he would eventually be able to change. The truth was never something he could admit. I was afraid of him and he didn’t consider that truth worth any value.

Later on in our relationship, it was little things. I was hungry and he would tell me I was not hungry. I was hurt and he would tell me I was not hurt or tired. I would ask to stop and go to the restroom and he would tell me to hold it. I was allowing myself to be controlled and IF I didn’t allow him to control me I would have to pay a price. He would withhold affection, if I didn’t do what he wanted. He would withhold money. He would withhold contact from my family. I couldn’t make phone calls home.

I worked and made money. However, I believed that the man should be in charge. I handled the finances but it was only IF he approved. He was terrible with money. So his commander actually told him to give me the finances and put him on a budget. I made about 15k and he made 12k. Yet, I couldn’t spend money except for $125 on groceries. He got $50 a week for candy, gum, and soda. This was not a choice. If he wasn’t allowed then he would throw a fit. We both got fun money for $50 a month. I saved mine up for 4 months.

The moment I finally decided to buy my item. He threw me down on a rock took all my money from my wallet. Handed me my drivers license and told me that was all I was. He took everything I had, tried to run me over with the car and abandoned me about 10 miles from our home. A soldier ask me if I was ok and asked if he should call the MP’s. I was disabled at the time and had difficulty walking for almost three years.

He knew that I couldn’t run. He felt powerful when he intimidated me.

Instead, I walked home because. I couldn’t take a cab. My husband who took my wallet with my credit cards and my money. By time I finally got home. He made me agree that I would buy a BOZE speakers with my money. I kept going for counseling, but no one explained it was abuse and I should leave. All I knew was, I hated my life. I was pregnant and knew that I was trapped. I could never leave. It was my wrong religious beliefs, pride and wrong mindsets that lead to wrong decisions.

It was at that point that he began to rape me. He used the Bible against me. The bible says not to withhold sex unless it is for prayer and for a short time. So now I had to have sex with him. Or he was allowed to go sleep with other women and it would be my fault. He had changed all of his actions. To only have consequences for me. He had no accountability for his lust of women or money. He would stare down women and then use me. I confronted him about lust and how it was not appropriate. His mouth would actually drop open when he looked at some women. It was difficult, because he was correct. I didn’t know his heart. But at this point, I knew he did not love me, he did not care if I was hungry, sleepy, hurt or lonely. Every need or desire I had would never be met.

Eventually, I became a mother and my children were my greatest joy. He decided to use them against me as well. I continued in church and raising my children. He went to Korea for a year. His sex addiction grew. I finally filed for divorce when my church support me in filing for a legal separation.

My daughter was in second grade. He had just returned from Korea. I and my son were both sick. He had been verbally and physically rough. But he force me to have sex with him. While he watched my daughter play with our neighbors granddaughter. She was outside watching my daughter and her granddaughter while she sprayed her plants. He said he loved her and wanted to watch them play while he forced me to have sex. I felt so sick. I had already gotten a counselor. We had doctor who worked with the sexual prisoners at the jail. He came to our house each week for 1 hour. He would not even come to the counseling session. I filed for a divorce. IF only this would have been the end. I had good alimony and full custody. But I was afraid.

He decided to see another counselor. So I stopped the divorce and we moved back to Kentucky. Where he basically, bid his time trying to drive me nuts. He had affairs and went to counseling with our pastor. But it was all a lie. He had a girlfriend he kept at his sisters and he still was out at bars. HIS sex addiction was a major problem. I didn’t think it involved anymore children, but I didn’t know.

He was grooming some of his nieces. I spoke to a counselor and she explained to me what he was doing. My mother confronted him for running his hands over his nieces breast in-front of her. Then he tried to convince me that his niece had never been at my moms. I knew she had been. I started noticing little things. I was in the pool and instead of carrying me around the pool or having any fun with me. He would carry his nieces around the pool and normally two at a time with his hands between their legs. He kept saying nothing was wrong. The were about thirteen and eleven. I was getting sick to my stomach.

The verbal, mental, and psychological abuse was a normal pattern. I remember he went out with his girlfriend and sister and I told him I was going. I went with him, but I didn’t have the guts to ask if they were dating. My son told me they were having an affair. I really was just concerned about my daughters and nieces safety.

My niece told me he made her uncomfortable. So I told her to tell a counselor. I told my counselor. She reported him to the cabinet. This investigation began in May 2005 and as soon as my husband got the paperwork. He filed for divorce and tried to have me declared of unsound mind. Legal abuse had occurred when I filed for divorce in Washington. But his lies were of no consequence to the case. The Kentucky divorce was built on so much perjury. He went to my work. I lost my job, my house, my kids. The school where I worked didn’t believe him. I had a restraining order, but he broke the order on the day I was volunteering at my school.

We got back together in June. He continued to lie in the courts. It was all about control I thought. We worked with counselors again. He didn’t care about me, the kids or what was best for them. I went with the counselor to the house. She pointed out that he could not continue to lie to his family. He had to admit to the affair and tell them what had occurred. He told me that he had full custody of the kids and I needed to return them to him. My counselor rode with me to take my children back to our house. I had an apartment that I had moved into in April. My parents had moved into it because their house was being built. I could believe that he really didn’t care about the children. He was all about winning. Or what he believed was winning.

I went in to talk with him and left the children and counselor in the car. She had come to persuade him. My son was sick with worry and she was very concerned for his well being. I went into the house alone and he tried to call the police on me and I grabbed the phone. Then he threw me against the dresser. My arms were swollen my back was messed up. He was thrilled with excitement, he ran to another room to call from the house phone. I went outside and My counselor told me we would have to leave the kids there. Or we would be breaking the court order. She took me to the hospital.

This was the first time I finally reported the physical abuse. They took photos and did a domestic violence exam. I couldn’t protect my children from him. The divorce court never could see the facts about the abuse. The court did something about the physical abuse. They gave him 22 weeks of anger control classes.

My divorce took about three years. He took me back to court to stop his pension and say that I owed back child support. The legal abuse has yet to be acknowledged by the court. However, I just learned that I need to see a victims advocate and point it out to her. The divorce court will not acknowledge it. I didn’t know that this whole time I was going to the wrong court about the perjury.

I won’t share the horrific stories. But I will say that I finally learned who he truly was during the divorce. While I was in the hospital. He called and instead of ask about me. He spoke to the social worker. All the abuse he had done to me. He basically told the story with him as the victim. So he definitely understood what he was doing was wrong.

His sex addiction and his issues with children were investigated but she said nothing could be proved. She pointed out to me that they knew men had broken children’s arms and unless the man admits to the wrong nothing happens. I was very gullible to believe that it would be substantiated. During my counseling I had asked my husband why he hid his brother raping the babysitter and molesting his two step sisters. I was enraged that he would hide the information. Even today, I have not yet told my children about their father. However, this is my first step. My counselor told me to start telling the truth to people. I really do not want to tell my children. However, I believe they should at-least know. They are adults now and my granddaughter is my concern.

I also decided to finally go forward regarding the legal abuse. I figure the recurring rape is not something I want to pursue. But I honestly would like for all of it to be told. I listen to Joyce Meyers story and I think how it helped me to grow. I was sexually molested when I was in 8th grade by a group of guys. Plus later, I was raped by a boyfriend and then a stranger. It really changed me. I am not powerless. The truth does set us free.

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How to Respond to Abusive Emails: Tips and Tricks

Over the years, I have found a few great tips to deal with abusive emails. These are two great tips and tricks to help you avoid being surprised and also how to respond to the facts. Hopefully these tips are helpful to you too.

Abusive Email Tip #1

In most email servers, you can create a special folder to house any emails you receive from your abusive ex and their extended family. Then you can set-up an automatic rule to move any emails from those email addresses into this folder. This usually will prevent it from popping up in your inbox and catching you off-guard. This is something I had to do years ago for my ex-husband and a few years ago for my father. Recently I had begun receiving abusive emails from my ex-husbands wife and so I set up a rule for her too.

Also, I set up the name ‘Warning: Abuse?’ to remind myself of what these emails normally contain. This way I can choose not to open these emails or when to open these emails. I can even choose to have someone else look at the emails and tell me if they are important or not. You can also choose to open these with a friend or trusted family member. At least this way you are not caught off-guard.

It works brilliantly!

Abusive Email Tip #2

Click reply and start by deleting the person’s name so you do not accidentally send a message. Then start with the first sentence and delete each line that is blatant lies, distorted truth, ranting & raving, opinions, and personal attacks. You can leave in any question that has been asked. So, an email that contains several paragraphs of personal attacks can suddenly become one sentence, such as; ‘what date did you send the check?’. This will help you respond with facts and ignore the emotional rants.

Delete anything that is not a fact. There is no reason to respond to opinions, personal attacks, or lies.

In the past, when I deleted the sentences one-by-one, I was also giving myself permission to also delete them in my mind. One example, is this email I received years ago by my ex-husband when I was trying to schedule my weekend during the summer visitation. He always gave me such grief over information in the decree. It is long, but this is exactly the type of emails I am talking about. Rarely was anything rational received from my ex-husband.

Thursday; June 1st, 2005 8:59PM

Dick,

For the month of June I would like my weekend to be June 3-5th.

Samantha

His reply Wednesday; June 1, 2005 9:10PM

That is my weekend.  Per the decree you needed to tell me in writing prior to April 15th.  As always I am willing to discuss but that in no way means I am going to give up my weekend as of now.  (Does it really sound like he is open to discussion?)

I am getting her this weekend!!!  I have checked with my attorney on this matter when you initially sent this and I do not have to give her up (per the 15th of April). (Look at the use of exclamation points, and mentioning his attorney includes a bit of a threat too.)

If you want to discuss this rationally then I am willing to but I am getting her this weekend (two day notice is not right). (Again, does he sound rational here?)

Dick

My reply on Wednesday; June 1, 2005 9:51PM

Dick,

Please read paragraph 3, my attorney told me that I have to give you two weeks notice, which I did.

Mary

His reply on Wednesday; June 1, 2005 11:08PM

There is no such wording on two weeks notice on the standard possession order.  This is what I know, if your attorney did tell you about two weeks notice then he is going to get you arrested.  If you deny me my visitation I will file a motion and you will be arrested PER MY ATTORNEY for violating the decree. (He is positive he cannot be wrong and then includes the open threats and capitalized PER MY ATTORNEY.)

You want to go by the decree and I know what it says as I know you do by now.

Once again I will pick her up on Friday.  Feel free to have your attorney contact my attorney.  (This paragraph would indicate the conversation is over, but it never is.)

Dick

My reply to him Thursday June 2, 2005 7:44AM, advised my my attorney I sent him the paragraph from the decree (changing names to Mother & Father):

3. Extended Summer Possession by MOTHER – If Mother gives Father written notice by April 15 of a year or gives Father fourteen days’ written notice on or after April 16 of a year, Mother may designate one weekend beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by Faster shall not take place in that year, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Father’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day Weekend.

His reply on June 2, 2005 8:28AM

Exactly.  14 days notice on or after that date… the vague part is the 14 days.  14 days after that date is the end of April.  Your interpretation is 14 days notice “anytime” after the 16th.  (He still doesn’t know the answer)

I am all for abiding by the wording but I want this cleared up by tomorrow.

Of course if we could have flexibility with one another this would not be necessary but you have chosen to go by the decree, then you choose not to and then you choose to abide by it and so on and so on.  You have admitted to using the decree in order to spite me…. you should have that on email as well.  (I tried the flexibility with him and it always worked for him but not for me.  I know I used the decree to end these types of ongoing exhausting discussions.)

There will be times when there are parties, events, etc that she and you want to attend on days when I have her.  I WILL NOT deprive her of anything but you keep in mind everything you have done regarding false accusations and visitations and decree wordings. None of these actions benefits our daughter in any way.  (This is a threat and the false accusations are regarding her continuous unexplained vaginal pain that I would not ignore.)

You keep in mind our daughter expressed excitement about seeing me this weekend.  If for some reason you get her this weekend I hope you have something big planned because I did.   (Trying to make me feel guilty.)

One last thing… it would be three weeks that have gone by without me seeing her.  Do you think that is in her best interest?  I think you know the answer to that.  Do you think keeping her from you the entire month of July is what is best for her?  (If he were truly interested in what is best for our daughter he would not create so many fights or speak ill of me to her, this is complete BS for documentation purposes.)

This is what is happening or going to happen.  If you were thinking about our daughter then you would choose to spend one of those weekends with her in July.  (Oh yes, his taking her for the entire month of July was his punishing me for losing control of a previous conversation.)

Never the less, I want to figure this wording out by tomorrow.  (He had to mention this a second time in the same email.)

Dick

My reply to him on Thursday, June 2, 2005:

I already spoke to my attorney, it is in the decree.

If you have a problem with the decree and you no longer think it is in our daughter’s best interest, perhaps you should speak to your attorney.

Our daughter’s feelings will not get hurt if you speak to me before you make promises to her.

Although your abusers may continue to send abusive emails your way, it doesn’t mean you have to continue to allow them to be in control. You can control the situation by using these quick tips to shift the power back into your hands.

Reasons For No Contact With Abusers

There are several reasons why you should consider going No Contact with Abusers, Narcissists, and Emotional Manipulators. There may be reasons why you cannot block the person, but you can take steps to ensure you are not surprised by their emails.

Emotional Health

You deserve to protect your emotional health from abuser, narcissist, and/or emotional manipulator. If they send emails that are not constructive and do not offer any value you may want to consider blocking them completely. If this person cannot behave properly and uses emails for personal attacks, threaten or bully, emotionally blackmail, or send blatant lies; you may want to keep these messages out of your life for good.

Lets face it, this person has learned enough about you to know exactly what to say to hurt you, push your buttons, or make you feel bad. A person who is constantly using email to lash out to hurt you is not emotionally well or healthy and has not earned the right to continue contacting you. This is a perfect time to create some boundaries to protect your emotional wellbeing.

Boundaries – a line that marks the limits of an area; a dividing line. This is like setting up a wall to protect yourself from people who are not trustworthy or are unhealthy. This wall can serve to allow healthy inside this wall and keeping unhealthy people out.

Another reason, lets say you receive an hateful email, and you choose not to respond. You may find yourself playing those hateful messages inside your head all day long. There is no reason for that and it is healthier for you to go No Contact instead.

Do This

Block Them

If you do not have any good reasons to receive their communications, it may make sense to block them in your phone. There is no reason to allow them to call or send you text messages. Phone calls are harder to control with an abusive person. Even if you have mentally prepared yourself for this phone call keeping the call under control can be a challenge. Text message are similar to email, but it is harder to save these message unless you screenshot all your messages. You may be resistant to blocking them off completely, but this will help you move on and become stronger.

Email Hacks

If blocking them is not possible, here are some email hacks to help control the situation better. You may want to consider creating a special folder and create a rule when those email(s) show up it automatically moves it into that folder or smart mailbox. By keeping these emails out of your Inbox, it will give you time to mentally prepare yourself before reading those messages. This will prevent the email from popping in the middle of the day when you are unprepared. If you are unprepared, you may find yourself reacting in you response instead of responding.

Reacting vs Responding

Reacting means than you are not in control of you response. For example, if you received a hateful email and sent an immediate reply, you response may be full of anger, frustration, and may provoke back and forth. For example, if you were having a bad day and this email showed up unexpected, you might be more apt to react to the situation.

Responding means you are in control of you response and tone. You may have received a hateful email, but you take time, pause, take deep breaths, or maybe even respond at another time or day. When you take time to think about how you would like to respond helps you reply with controlled responses. Taking time will help you avoid responding when you are emotionally charged with fear, hurt, or anger.

Maybe, Don’t Do This

Yesterday, I received an email from my abusive ex-husband’s wife. Whenever she sends me emails they are condescending, rude, an full of personal attacks. Although I have received less emails than I used to from my ex-husband, it hadn’t occurred to me to create a special folder for her emails into. There is no reason for her to talk to me. She is extremely abusive and unhealthy and I really do not need that in my life.

I didn’t exactly react, but I didn’t exactly respond either. So you can see why putting this in a special folder to avoid random emails. As, I mentioned in one of my previous posts, it seems like his wife is doing my ex-husband’s dirty work. I consider her like his personal minion and doing his bidding.

[To Me]

It has been over 30 days since a payment has been received for [daughter’s name] medical/dental expenses. Please advise when a payment will be rendered.

[From Minion]

My response:

[To Minion]

Check your mail.

Ask your husband, maybe he is hiding money in another account like he did with me. (include a screenshot of this payment sent out by the bank 7 days ago on Oct 13th) This message was truthful, but I really didn’t need to say it, but my frustrations were high after receiving another email from her and this is how I responded. So of course she is going to strike back. 

[From Me]

Her response:

[To Me]

My husband is an amazing man. He would give his right arm for me. He showers me with gifts all the time just Bc he loves me.  No deception in our marriage. The man I know would push someone in front of a bullet and save himself. We have never talked about these things, maybe deep down she knows there is a problem.

We have only receive a payment of $100.00 from you. Should I make a google spreadsheet for you to keep a running outstanding balance for you?  I don’t think I need to. Stop playing games and step-up to your mothers responsiblilites.

[From Minion]

My response, I have really grown tired of her bullying:

[To Minion]

My motherly duties exist since I gave birth to her and raised her for over 17 years with just a smidgen of your involvement. I will always be a REAL mother and have the responsibility as a REAL mother.

Oh my! Someone went on a tangent. Insecurities much?? How did you go from payments to “he showers me with gifts.” Weird. I did voice these thoughts with the help of a dear friend. There are so many things I would love to say, but I continue to hold back. 

[From Me]

Her response, really hateful and full of lies:

[To Me]

You make me laugh. [Daughter’s name] is healthy and thriving living with us. Everyday we peel back the layers of damage you have done to her.  No one falls for your victim act anymore.  Take a look in the mirror.  I’m sure you don’t like what’s looking back.  

I know you will respond to this bc you have a “last worder” personality & that makes me laugh, too. This was a low blow and my good friend even said, watch out when she replies, they will hit below the belt… and she did. 

[From Minion]

Get Healthy Support

After sending this message to one of my trusted friends who has known me for more than ten years she sent a text back saying:

Oh, she is lying!!!!

She is using a strategy of the narcissist (and some addicts): they don’t accept any responsibility for what they did (THEY damaged [daughter’s name]), but they are quick to say “It’s all your fault.”

It’s a sick game. Sick, sick, sick.

Another good friend said this:

Just remember they may try to hit below the belt like they have done in the past. Don’t let it get to you.

If they reply, just laugh because you will know you got to them.

All email screenshots were sent to my counselor along with this comment:

Okay. Trying not to let her message affect me. I know I didn’t damage my daughter. I did thrown the ball back a few times. I know better. I am just tired of being bullied by them.

My counselor replied:

I think it is okay to fight back. She sounds awful.

Last Response

There are no regrets over sending this message. Plus, there is no sickness in my stomach. Also, I thought about it carefully and waited all day. A good friend helped me with the wording and this was not sent when I was angry. Now their email will go to a special and forgotten folder. Once my daughter has graduated I will block the both of them completely. I also know this response is hitting her below the belt and isn’t exactly that nice. I am just sick of being a doormat for my ex-husband and his wife. There is no reason for them to speak to me the way they do. In the past, I have always taken the high road and it doesn’t stop them from attacking. So, I realize no matter how I respond, it will not have a positive response ever.

Closing Thoughts

So, do what you need to do to create a healthy atmosphere. I have created my folders and rules for both my ex-husband and his wife. I am not going to be caught off-guard again. It is time to stop allowing their emails to show up unexpected. It is time to set up healthy boundaries to prevent toxic elements from entering my life.

Songs About Abusive Relationships

Over the years, I have always been able to identify with lyrics of songs. There are so many songs written about being hurt by abusive people, narcissists, and emotional manipulators. A few songs like Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri, Because Of You by Kelly Clarkson, Fighter by Christina Aguilera, and now this song Praying by Kesha. Knowing others have struggled and I am not alone in these experiences. That is also another reason I write in this blog so that maybe it will help someone else who is going through something similar.

Well, you almost had me fooled
Told me that I was nothing without you
Oh, but after everything you’ve done
I can thank you for how strong I have become

On more than one occasion, my ex had me believing I wouldn’t be able to survive without him. He said he didn’t want me living in some “roach infested apartment”. He told me I wouldn’t be able to get a job because I didn’t have a college degree, that no one would hire me. These were all lies, I have accomplished so much and he was wrong about everything. I have a great husband, wonderful job, and live in a beautiful home.

‘Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is “I wish you farewell”

Living with my ex-husband was never without chaos and daily insanity. Every day I walked on eggshells and the environment was so toxic that I became sick all the time. In fact, I was worried that I had cancer or would eventually die and then my daughter would be left with him. Also, I was afraid to leave him because I was sick, but he was the reason I was sick. I wrote about this in one of my blog posts Was My Husband Poisoning Me or Was the Relationship Toxic?

I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’

Despite all my ex-husband and his wife have done. I still do not wish them ill will, in fact I wish they would find a higher power (or God) and be happy. This is something I have prayed for not only for myself, but for my daughter as well. Not that I haven’t wished on a few occasions that he would stop breathing, but these moments are short.

I’m proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come
‘Cause I can make it on my own
And I don’t need you, I found a strength I’ve never known
I’ll bring thunder, I’ll bring rain, oh
When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name

At times I have focused on the negative more than the positive. There was a time in my life where more negative things seemed to happen over positive things. But that is not today! Today I have many things to be grateful for and I have to remind myself to think that way. This past year has been especially difficult, but I am too strong to let it knock me down. Today, I continue to become a stronger and healthier person. Maybe without my ex-husband I wouldn’t have had so much motivation to get healthier and stronger.

You brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is “I wish you farewell”

In 2004, I left my ex-husband for the final time. I have never regretted the decision to leave to this day. At one point I remember the pain of the present was greater the fear of the unknown. Then I had to navigate being a single parent and parenting with an abusive ex-husband.

I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’
Oh, sometimes, I pray for you at night
Someday, maybe you’ll see the light
Oh, some say, in life, you’re gonna get what you give
But some things only God can forgive

I definitely still wish him the best. I still pray for good things for my ex-husband and his wife. I hope he will wake up and see the truth of what he has been doing. Not for me, but for my daughter. She deserves that from her father.

I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’

The reason I like this song is because it does speak of being hurt by someone, but it also focuses on the hope and future. This song talks about forgiveness for those who wronged you. This forgiveness is not for the other person it is for myself. Letting go of resentments. There is a saying in Alanon about resentments being like poison, but that they only harm the one with the resentments.

“Resentments are like swallowing poison, but hoping someone else will die.”

I will continue to focus on joy and happiness. I have come too far to allow his negativity to continue to be part of my life. One day, I think my daughter will come to see the truth and understand. Now my focus needs to be on continuing to work on my own health and become the healthiest person possible.