Domestic Abuse Therapy – Post Abuse Recovery

So, last week I called the Domestic Abuse Counseling Center to see about meeting with them again. During the past few months I felt like I was regressing again. One of my dear friends pointed out the we are nearing the anniversary when all this hell with my daughter started. Nearly one year ago, in the very end of June, my daughter told me “Mom, no matter what happens. I want you to know I love you.” This was right before she left to visit her father for 30 days in July. In July, my stomach was upset, and it seems like we knew something was coming. Then we received a lawsuit where he sues us for custody of our 17 1/2 year old.

It was a good idea to meet with the domestic abuse advocate. It was validating and reassuring to talk to her during that hour. She said, my daughter did not choose my ex-husband over me. That she did not choose to leave me. My daughter decisions had more to do with what she wanted at that moment. She said she is not thinking into the future or the long-term effect this would have on our family.  She said, she is not saying that my ex-husband and his wife didn’t influence the situation. She kept stating that I did nothing wrong. She also said, that my daughter was not thinking much about how this affected other people in our family.

She also said something interesting. She said that the reason he didn’t ask me for child support is because that any judge would see it as financial instead of being about his daughter. She said his lawyer most likely advised him not to ask for child support from me. She said any good lawyer would know this and would advise him to avoid that topic. We (my entire family and close friends) believe that my ex-husband sued to get out of paying child support for another 1 1/2 years. It is also believed that his primary goal to get her in a car was so he doesn’t have to worry about driving her anywhere if she can drive herself.

So, I am on a waiting list to speak with the Domestic Abuse Counselor. Although I currently have a counselor, I am not so sure she is helping me recover. Plus, they have a upcoming program for Post Abuse Recovery and that is exactly what I need. It seems like I just felt abused all over again with all that has happened. Although my daughter made choices, my ex-husband certainly helped create additional issues. My daughter may not remember all his meddling over the years, but I remember plenty and wrote about more than I even remember. I agree with the advocate, they likely influenced her and helped her arrive at her choice. My ex-husband was so good at talking you into our out of things while making you believe it was your idea. His behavior has given me no indication that he has changed.

I am not so sure I did nothing wrong, but I worked very hard to be a good parent with my daughter. I made plenty of mistakes, but tried very hard to work on them so I wouldn’t make the same mistakes again. I tried to teach my daughter values. Simple things like saying please and thank you. I encouraged her to do the right thing no matter where she was. Recently, I have seen signs that she is growing up and remembers these things I taught her. I tried to give her tools on how to deal with her father when he was asking her questions, like; I don’t know, ask my mom. Dad, I don’t want to be in the middle. I guess it just hard to tell a parent something outside what they want to hear.

A few weeks ago, my daughter said she was not allowed to drive to the city I live in until she finished school. I thought it was interesting that he had some rules and that one of those rules meant she couldn’t come visit me. The other day she made plans to come see me on Sunday. Then yesterday she called and said her dad already had plans for them to go to his mother’s and they forgot to tell her. Then today she says that he won’t give her the gas to drive to see me. I told her I would put some gas in her car. I am not sure if she is just afraid to ask him or if he is just controlling the amount of freedom she has.

It is interesting that he has discouraged her from getting a job. Told her that he will just give her money. However, he doesn’t give her enough money to fill up her tank. I mentioned that it might make sense to get a job and have her own money. I thought I would write this down because in the past I have noticed that in my journals I often wrote down the same song with a different tune. So it makes sense to write this one down to see if that is the case here.

Today, we spent some time together. She said thank you and seemed to appreciate everything. I have noticed lately that she goes out of her way to say thank you for things. That is nice to see and shows me that she is maturing as well. Today, we had a few conversations about the past and she actually said that she was a bit difficult from ages 12 – 16. She also said she never hated me. She said she wished we would have gotten along better. I am still not sure if getting along better meant that she wanted us to be friends. During her childhood, it was never my goal to be her friend; it was my job to be her parent.

Last weekend, she came home briefly to see the remodel we did to the house. She said she missed being at the house and it felt good to be here. She also appreciated that her room pretty much looked the same. I told her it can’t always stay the same if she doesn’t visit. It does make me feel sad to go in there. It is nice that it felt good to be in our house. About twenty years ago, I visited my father’s house and it didn’t feel good at all to be in that house. It made me feel like child again and took my strength away. I knew I had to get out of there as quickly as possible. I am glad she didn’t feel that way.

These are all good signs that our relationship is turning a corner. She is eighteen, no longer lives with me, and I need to respect her choices. I need to keep working on listening and asking more questions. However, after the entire gas situation I did suggest she get a job at a department store or clothing store. She would probably enjoy it, get paid, and get a discount on makeup and/or clothes.

 

 

Children – Abusers Weapon of Choice

My mother was visiting this week and things just weren’t the same without my daughter. Normally, my daughter would be here and happily participating in all activities. This year, my mother and I had three short visits with her instead. My daughter has stated that she does not want to see my husband or his daughter. She said she felt like she would be judged.

The only thing I know for certain is my husband was not the primary problem here. However, I do feel he could have done a better job in how he responded to my daughter’s defiance. Plus, we both could have done a better job not responding to my ex-husband. Dealing with my ex-husband constant chaos, drama, and lawsuits certainly created disruption. When you are dealing with an abusive ex-husband who is parenting against you, I am not sure there is a perfect solution. Nothing could prepare you on how to deal with a controlling and manipulative ex-husband.

The visits with my daughter were good and she actually drove herself to meet us. She was early and remembered to say thank you for the meal. She also told my mother she was so glad she was able to visit with her. These are good signs that our daughter is growing up and maturing.

Continued Self Improvement

In the last fifteen years, I spent a great deal of my time working on self-improvement. Working on improving myself is something I expect I may have to do for the rest of my life. Sometimes I feel like I move on, but don’t really get over the abuse. Maybe it would have been easier to get over the abuse if my ex-husband hadn’t been constantly creating problems and using our daughter as a weapon against me for all these years. It has been 13 years, and I felt like our entire family was under constant attack. Never did we go a period of more than 6 months without some drama or hell being created by my controlling ex. After my daughter left to live with him when  she was 17 1/2, it seemed like my ex-husband has finally left us alone. The price… losing my daughter to my abusive ex-husband.

  • Alanon – I began going to this program in 2003 and it was extremely helpful and I still go on and off today
  • Domestic Abuse Counseling – in 2005, I started began seeing a Domestic Abuse Counselor and attending a group meeting
  • Reading – over the years I have read many books about varying topics: Joint Custody with a Jerk, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Why Does He Do That, Codependent No More, etc…
  • Writing – I also spent time writing in my journals as well as this blog in an effort to continue moving forward in my journey of healing

Teenagers Playing Sides

Dealing with a teenager can be difficult under any circumstance. Then when you add an abusive ex-husband and his manipulative ex-wife to the equation creates one big problem. Plus, my remarrying resulted in a blended household that created another challenge.

Teenagers can be really good at playing one parent against another even when you aren’t dealing with divorce and abusive ex’s. It seems like teenagers can learn very early on who to go to get whatever they want at the moment. One good article is Surviving (Your Child’s) Adolescence that talks a great deal about how children and teen learn to push buttons to get what they want.

Perfect Storm

It does seeme like this situation of co-parenting with an abusive ex-husband was very harmful to our entire family. My daughter has certainly had some challenges in dealing with him. This situation seemed to create a perfect storm of challenges where there was never a single solution. Plus, it seems like there was never a day where drama and chaos didn’t exist.

Actually, it did some good to read those blog entries. I have forgotten so much of the manipulative stuff he has done over the years towards our daughter and myself. It is truly sad for our daughter that she had to go through that for so many years. It is more frustrating that there was nothing I could do to prevent any of it. No child should ever have to be put in the middle or asked to pick sides. Even today, I just don’t have any solutions to all that has rocked our family.

 

Long Term Effects of Emotional Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Healing After Losing Daughter to Abusive Ex-Husband

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Verbal Abuse is Domestic Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Does your partner:

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

Your situation is critical if the following applies to you:

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

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

Resource Books:

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

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

Once an Abuser – Always an Abuser

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

4/6/7

Dearest Daughter

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

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

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

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

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

During our belated “Honeymoon”.

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

When can we meet?

Love,

Your Father

Regards to your mom!

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

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

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

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

 

The Abuse Did Not Happen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Stages of Grief – Dealing with Emotions

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

Stages of Grief

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

Fake It ’til You Make It

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

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

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

The Past Collides with the Present

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

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

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

Secrets of my Past

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

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

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

Keep a Positive Outlook

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

 

Navigating Through Parental Alienation (PAS)

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

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

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

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

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

journal entry about rulesjournal entries questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Journal Entries by my Daughter

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

My daughter’s journal entry simply said:

I hirted in the V today it realy hirted.

journal entries

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

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

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

Another post said:

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

journal entries

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

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

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

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