Proving verbal and emotional abuse is very difficult and keeping good records may help if you case ends up in court. If nothing else, it will help protect your sanity if the abuser starts claiming you are the one with the problems. This is very common where the abuser accuses the victim of the abuse. In fact, there are times when they will actually flip the entire situation to make it sound as if you were the one instigating the problems.
Record any incidents of verbal abuse. Record these events as soon as you are able and be as accurate as possible. You will be surprised how much you forget as time goes by and the journal entries will ensure you have entries to help you remember clearly.
First, Safety First
If you are making plans to leave your abuser, this can be one of the most dangerous times. Do not share this information on Social Media or with anyone other than trusted friends or family.
Keep a Journal
It is a good idea to keep a journal of your relationship. First, these documents may just help you realize that you are stuck in a pattern of abuse and help you accept that he/she is not going to change. Second, keeping good documents can be useful in case you ever end up going to court. Keep in mind, if the abuser is telling stories that are untrue, it can be very difficult for them to keep their facts straight.
Create a Free Email Account
If you are worried your abuser might read the journal, you can create a (Hotmail, Google, or Yahoo) email address and send yourself emails. Just remember to go back and delete the sent email and them empty your trash. You can also forward any emails from the abuser straight to this mailbox. The nice thing about emails is they will include a time and date stamp on every email.
It might be a good idea to save these to a secure file sharing storage like Box.com, Dropbox.com or iCloud. If you are in a safe place, you can print out these emails and store them in a binder for safekeeping.
Create a Blog or Journal
You can also create a WordPress blog for free or buy one at Godaddy. This blog can also be set to require a password to access the website. This will also allow you to record you stories and save them and each post will include a timeline. Just be sure to back up the blog to a storage sharing or allow Godaddy to auto back-up your blog. You can also sign up for an free online journal to document all incidents.
Use a Voice Activated Recorder
Another thing you can do is keep a voice activated recorder and record any exchanges and then store them on your computer or an online file sharing storage. You can use a voice activated recorder and set your phone to speaker in order to record the entire call. These can be very inexpensive and start around $29 per recorder. Although they are a little pricey, they have recorders that look like pens, and you can even write with these too!
Save Text Messages
You can either print or get screenshots of text messages and store these in the online file sharing storage. Although, keep in mind, saving text messages can be more challenging. If at all possible, consider blocking them and making the abuser email you instead.
Keep in mind that your Social Media accounts can be used against you. Also, be sure to create difficult passwords and if possible memorize these passwords and change them frequently.
If you have any other thoughts, please feel free to share them in the comments.
I had always been trying to understand what happened and why I continued to date my ex-husband for all those years. I thought he was so amazing when I met him. It is true that my inner voice was screaming that there was something wrong. He did everything this video describes, blaming me and my past for our problems.
When I met him I was strong and independent. Later on I couldn’t even make a decision without running it by ten people. Nobody understood what I was going through.
If you are lucky enough to have not had children with your Narc, please watch this video and save yourself years of pain and hell. Now, my abusive ex-husband has completely blamed me and painted me as a bad guy with our seventeen year old daughter.
My daughter visited me this weekend and things didn’t go as I expected they would. Perhaps this was too soon for her to come home to visit. Right now, my daughter sees me as the bad guy and she is especially mad at my husband. Plus, we had to deal with three months of hateful behavior and blaming me for all her problems. This was while her father was suing us for custody. It always seemed like my ex-husband was playing a continuous game of parental warfare, and although none of us wanted to play, he was winning.
“If you dig ’80s movies, you might remember War Games. What did the computer realize about thermonuclear war? The only way to win was not to play.” – by Eric Barker
On Friday, I picked her up and we came home. She came home with a big suitcase to pick up all her stuff to take to her dads. The only issue we had was I was there a little early and sent her a message that I was outside when she was ready. Then a few minutes after the hour I sent her a message asking if she was here. About ten minutes after the hour I rang the doorbell and then she comes out with a big suitcase. I asked if she would please let me know if she was running late. She said that she didn’t think I would want her to stop to to text me. I did feel a little frustrated about this because for years, she won’t make her dad wait for a second without being ready, but she doesn’t feel any need to be timely with the rest of us.
Another brief conversation was when I asked her why she hadn’t given me her phone number. She said, “Well, you didn’t ask.” So I asked if I could have her phone number. Here is a little back story to why I don’t have her phone number. My ex-husband disagreed with us taking away our daughter’s cell phone whenever she was in trouble for lying, smoking pot, or failing school. He told us it was ‘ludicrous’ that we would take her phone away. We consider her phone to be a privilege and if she is making poor choices she loses that privilege. So he decided to get her a new phone so it could not be taken away. When she went to live there in September, I decided there was no reason to have two phones and had planned on selling her phone. We are stuck in contract for a little over a year. My husband had an older phone, so I wound up taking her phone (since it was pink) and gave him my phone. She and I have been texting through Instagram over the past two weeks.
Okay, so on Friday night, we went out to eat dinner. We decided on Sushi. My husband did not join us because he thought it might be best for just the two of us to go. Last time, we went to dinner, she was not super thrilled that he was with us. Her behavior did become worse and worse by the time she made it to ninth grade. She became more rebellious and began hanging with friends who make it a point to be deceitful. I do not think the pot smoking video I found was the first time and she admitted to a few other occasions of drugs and drinking. Hard to say how long this has been going on.
That night, she and I went out to eat dinner. My husband did not come. I do think there are some frustrations and resentments between them. He is pissed off on how disrespectful she is to me and how she talks to me. She is pissed off at him because of how he talks to her. He thinks it is because he won’t put up with her disrespect. He says she is a teenager and she needs to be respectful when she is in our home. What pisses him off is when hears her talk to me, he hears my ex-husband is talking to me.
Let me tell you about my husband. So, my husband is a great guy. He enjoys helping around the house. He cooks, he cleans, he builds things, he fixes things, and he works hard. My only complaint about my husband is his temper and he knows that is my big issue. However, his temper pales in comparison to my ex-husband’s temper. First, I never feel unsafe with my husband. When he loses his temper, it is usually done in a passive way and it irritates me to no end. It is clear that he is upset and when you ask him what is wrong, he says ‘nothing’ and it is obvious that is not true. Usually it is over other things; like his work, or something won’t work, or that someone didn’t do what they said. Then he gets over it pretty quickly after that. He isn’t good at dealing with his feelings in a constructive way, and that is what irritates me. Other than that, I really can’t complain about anything.
So the relationship with my husband and my daughter actually was going pretty well for years. The only problem was my ex-husband had told her that she only has one dad. That my husband is not her real dad and she doesn’t have to do what he says. I am really not sure what else has been told. I believe these comments were due to my ex-husband’s insecurity because my husband has been more of a father to our daughter than her biological dad. My husband has also been a full time dad of his daughter who is now eighteen. We haven’t had problems with her and she is still living with us while working full-time and going to school. This daughter is also pretty intolerant of my daughter blaming others and when they have conversations, she has told her exactly that. My daughter is sneaking around smoking pot and my step-daughter is not.
So, now to Saturday. We had been up and had done quite a few things and my daughter woke up sometime after 10 am. She was in the kitchen cooking breakfast. I said good morning to her. We had discussed cleaning her room (because it is a disaster area). She asked if I could give her a little time to wake up first and I said okay. Then I asked her not to forget to send me her number. Then she said this, “I am suspicious of why you are asking for my number.” I asked her what she meant. She said, “Well, why are you asking for it now? Why didn’t you ask for it earlier?” I had said that there was nothing to be suspicious over, and that I had told her the day she left to go to her father’s house that I didn’t have her number and she would have to call me. She kept asking why I was asking now and I did say I was surprised I had to ask at all.
This conversation just escalated from here and she seemed mad at me for more than one reason. To start this conversation did not go that bad. I did say, if she wanted to go home early, that would be okay, but I wasn’t going to fight all weekend. Things escalated from here and I asked her to pack her things and it was time go early. She brought up again that her dad doesn’t care about me and this stuff is my problem. She went upstairs and didn’t come down for a while. Then she came down slamming her suitcase down every step. A plastic piece brook off the suitcase and I picked it up and swept up all the tiny pieces of plastic from the stairs. She asked me what I did with the piece of suitcase and I said I threw it away. She asked if I was sure it couldn’t be repaired. This suitcase may belong to her father.
She called her father and asked him to pick her up and he agreed. I asked if she was going to say goodbye to my husband and his daughter (I said their names). She walked into the kitchen, stood there for a second, and then walked out. My husband and step-daughter were in the middle of having a conversation and then she just walked out of the kitchen. Then I asked her why she didn’t say goodbye. She said, “I am not saying good bye, nobody said hello to me. I never feel like I am part of the family” I did comment that, “You are always part of the family.” Well, my step-daughter overheard that and said some comment about she didn’t know she was leaving. My husband said, I didn’t realize you were leaving (they didn’t). Then my daughter says to my husband, “When I was hear on Friday, you didn’t say one word to me.” He said, “Well, you didn’t say hello either.” She replied, “Well, you are the adult here.” He said, “Well, you are the one who likes to argue.”
Our conversation didn’t get better. She blames me for all our problems. I said that I was very sorry she had to go through this difficulty, and that it was not her fault, but I refused to take all the responsibility for these challenges. She continued to blame me and I did pull out a huge binder of all my communications with her dad and said, “You keep stating things that are not true, the truth is here, this was incredibly difficult.” She asked, “Why do you have all that?” I said, “Because your father has been threatening to take you away from me since you were five years old.” The one thing I said that I regret saying is, “I wish I had never told your father I was pregnant with you.” This was hurtful and not good to say, but I can’t tell you how much I wish that. My ex-husband has been a plague on our lives.
“Such men are loathsome and I find it almost impossible to feel any empathy for them, though of course they never come for individual treatment so I don’t actually have to try. The word I use to describe them is reptilian: they seem so cold-blooded, without any genuine feeling for other people, and their desire to inflict pain or even destroy their former spouses seems inhuman, snake-like.” – by Joseph Burgo
I hate my ex-husband for all the challenges we have right now. It is hard to say how much difficulty we would have if this was just a normal teenage situation. However, co-parenting with my ex-husband has been more than difficult and he has done everything he could to undermine our authority and relationship. Was I the perfect parent, no, probably not. Did I purposely try to screw up my kid’s life, absolutely not! Co-parenting with an person who seems set out to destroy you just makes for an impossible situation.
“The narcissist initiates an all out war against you. He knows that you will go down–he will be the triumphant winner. Winning is the only thing that the narcissist knows besides his perpetual god—-money, property, social prestige, raw power over others. This is an extension of his extreme sense of self entitlement, grandiose inflated ego, blind ambition and lack of a developed conscience.
Narcissists Never Play Fair; this is not part of their psychic structure.” by Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D.
So, she decided to take her suitcase and walks out to the sidewalk to wait for her dad to pick her up. This was in the middle of the day, but I stood watching her through the window until I saw his truck pull up to pick her up. I get that she is mad at me, but she throws out blanket statements, but doesn’t want anything said back.
My husband feels she is just a mouth-piece for her father right now. My husband is furious and said that any hope of reconciliaton right is never going to happen, that my ex-husband will screw that up.
“He experiences the continuing reality of a woman who rejected him as a continual threat, a constant assault upon his ideal self-image; as a result, his defenses remain on continual alert against it. At the least provocation — that is, whenever shame threatens to emerge — he will viciously strike out, like a snake assaulting its prey.” – by Joseph Burgo
Years ago, I thought I was only dealing with an alcoholic, but it just wasn’t the full picture. When I went to domestic abuse counseling, they could describe my relationship perfectly without my saying anything. It was as if they had a window into my life. However, reading about Narcissism, that is probably the best explanation of my ex-husband. So are more situations of domestic abuse rooted in narcissism?
As you know, hindsight is 20/20 and after dealing with an abusive man for more than twenty years there are decisions I wish I could go back and change. Obviously, we are unable to go back and change anything that has happened in the past. Knowing what I know now, I realize some decisions would have been so much better for my daughter and my family. Perhaps these decisions may be of some help to someone else who is going through this today.
There is a story that happened today that prompted this blog topic. For now, here are the facts, my ex-husband is highly abusive and has been emotionally abusive to our daughter. I believe my ex-husband has Narcissist Personality Disorder. We have been divorced for over twelve years, but his constant emotional abuse, under-mining of our authority, and using our daughter as a pawn has been relentless. This situation has created a perfect storm for a teenager. She thinks I am the one who has been harassing her father for all these years and her father has done nothing wrong. My reactions have certainly not always been as good as they should have. Sometimes I handled things extremely well and sometimes I didn’t. However, this has been extremely difficult and painful and I do not know what I could have done differently while co-parenting with him.
Trust My Instincts
First, all these year ago, when I was dating my ex-husband. I would have trusted my instincts and not allowed my abusive ex to talk me out of what I was feeling. My gut instincts told me there was something very wrong with our relationship and I would allow him to talk me out of that thought. He would reply with things like; “All relationships have problems…” or “You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.” I should have trusted my own gut instincts that told me something was wrong and just gotten out. I should have left, never looked back, and just accepted the pain of being lonely after a breakup. That loneliness would have been temporary compared to the hell of dealing with him for more than twenty years.
Not Tell Him I Was Pregnant
Another thought I have sometimes, how much better it would have been if I had never told him I was pregnant. I should have just moved away and went to live with family. If he had never known he had a child, it would have been better for my daughter. Dealing with an absentee parent would have been better than seventeen years of emotional and psychological abuse. They say it is better for a child to know there father than not, but in this case, it would have been better for her to not been subjected to the constant emotional abuse.
Offer No Child Support and No Custody
My ex-husband had to pay a lot in child support. Had I known that he was never going to back off and would keep emotionally abusing our daughter for all these years… it would have been better to offer him no child support in exchange for giving his rights away. Our daughter has been a tether-cord for him to continue using her as a pawn to hurt us. My ex-husband’s constant manipulation not only affected our daughter, but it also affected my husband and his daughter. Luckily, my husband and I stayed strong throughout this hell and we came through it.
Fought the Courts to Move Out of State
Normally geographic change do not solve a problem. However, I wish I would have fought the courts to move away from this state and live closer to my family. My ex-husband immediately put a clause that prevented me from leaving the state or moving past the surrounding counties. However, his continuous abuse has been extremely destructive on our daughter and my family. It would have been better that I had moved further away and had support of my family. Plus, if she had seen him less frequently, that might have been better for her. At least there would have been bigger breaks between his manipulations.
Bought a House Further Away
When I purchased my house, it was only five minutes way from my ex-husband and that allowed easy access for him. If I had known he would never give up and go away, it would have been better to move 90 miles away from the man. It would have made it a little harder for him to have access and continue harassing as he did. Living close to my ex-husband allowed him to pick her up during the week and ever week we had to deal with the emotions of back-and-forth visitation. In the best of circumstances, going back and forth is hard enough. However, when you are co-parenting with an abusive person, this makes the transitions even harder for the child or children.
Obviously, all these thoughts are a moot point now. However, when you are dealing with a person who is abusive or has a personality disorder there may be no winning scenario. The biggest casualty here was our daughter and then myself. Sometimes I beat myself up for not being a perfect parent in an imperfect situation. Dealing with my relentless abusive ex-husband gave our family little peace.
Most blog posts say when you break up with someone with NPD, there should be a no contact rule. Any contact with a narcissist is too much contact. However, we had children together and that made no contact impossible. However, when people (like my mother) say things like “You have to have a relationship with him… you have to work with him.” Unfortunately, people with NPD don’t play fair or by any set of good co-parenting rules.
On some days, I feel very sad and on those days I allow the regrets to plague my thoughts. My regrets are that I choose to marry an abusive man and now our daughter is affected by his psychological abuse. However, since I cannot change the past, it does no good to think of past choices.
Yesterday is gone, there is only today. Although we can make plans for the future, we have no control over what happens in life. We must trust that everything that has happened or will happen is for a reason.
More than ten years ago, I remember one night laying in bed, thinking I was going to die one day. Living with my abuser had profound affects on my health and I continued to get sicker by the day. The doctor’s had no idea what was wrong with me and therefore there was no solutions.
My ex-husband seemed to be unconcerned with my illness and would often bring home Starbucks or food. At some point, I wondered, “Maybe he is doing this to me?” My ex-husband seemed to hate being married to me, but had no desire to get divorced. He also had made it clear that he would get custody of our daughter if I decided to leave. I had thought that I was rather crazy to think of such things.
Who thinks their husband is poisoning them? Today, I doubt he was actually feeding me poison, but once I got away from him I began to feel much better. Dealing with my ex-husband is so toxic, I realize that living with him would have eventually killed me. I would have ended up with some debilitating sickness or cancer due to the stress.
So on one day when I felt incredibly sick, I remember thinking, “God, please come into my life and show me how to believe in you.” Looking back now, that is when my life began to change in a way that would allow me to leave my abuser and start a new life. That day I began to take steps that would make me a stronger person. This is a day I would begin to grow in my own personal faith and spirituality.
Dealing with abuse is too much for one person to handle and it is so comforting to believe there is something greater than myself that can help me and guide me. This trust I have in God also helped me overcome the fear that made me sick and often kept me paralyzed and unable to get away.
They say that Religion is for those who do not want to go to hell and Spirituality is for those who have already been to hell.
So, am I sad that my teenager decided to go live with my abusive ex-husband. Of course! On occasion I feel like I must have done something wrong for this outcome to happen. The truth is, I was simply outmatched in a game I wasn’t playing. Teenagers can be challenging in the best of circumstances. So, when you have a person who is working against you and providing a teenager’s dream life (no rules, no responsibility, freedom, a car), you are simply outmatched.
Now, I can only hope that our daughter grows up and can determine when she is being manipulated. That she hopefully won’t make too many bad choices or perhaps avoid any permanent consequences. The truth is, I have no control over our daughter’s choices and this point. Now, it it time to keep her in my prayers and hope that she realizes the truth. I also must trust that this same God is watching over our daughter and protecting her too.
It is easy to excuse games the Narcissist plays as potential ‘oversights’, however past behavior really predicts present and future behavior. Time to rise above the games. Time to think ‘game over’.
So, it has been one week since my daughter left to live with her father. This week has been full of sadness, relief, peace, pain, grief, and some anger.
First, at times I feel sadness, because letting her go was the last decision I ever wanted to make. It was bad enough before with her visiting every other weekend and being subjected to his psychological abuse. Now she is there 24/7 and only gets relief every other weekend. The relief and peace come from not having an angry and defiant teenager living in our household. The anger is definitely directed to my ex-husband who helped create this mess.
Last week, we asked about picking her up for dinner and it was okay and we went to eat Sushi. My daughter was distant. She continued to talk about her driver’s license and her car. I realize in her teenage mind, that is a very important issue. One thing I realized today is that my daughter’s beautiful smile went away around Spring of this past year. This was when she began hanging with a group of friends that drink and smoke pot. Perhaps that is when we lost her? Only time will tell if this was a temporary thing or something more.
Today, I called her new school and found out that my ex-husband did not even list me as an emergency contact. So, I drove there today and she added me to the list and gave me logins to access her grades. She said she had thought they were in a hurry, but she wasn’t so sure that was the case. Then she said, “I think the order of contacts should be Dad, then you, and who is next?” I said that his wife should be next because she lives closer to the school and then my husband.
I did briefly discuss the problems we had with the school district in 2010 and she assured me that would not happen at this school. Lets hope we don’t have a repeat of the school hell from 2010 (What a Tangled Web They Weave). This new school is part of the district that created hell for our family with my ex-husband and his wife. This situation was one of the reasons we chose to move away from that city.
After, I found out that he did not list me as a contact, I was very upset. My mother comments, “What did you expect?” She is right, yes I often expect him to act like a normal person, but he is not a normal person, and never has been. He has a double standard that exists. When she lived with me, he said, “I should have constant contact with my daughter.” Now that she is with him, she has a cell phone, but I do not have that phone number. Interesting.
I would love to think this was all just an oversight on their part. However, past behavior is often how you can predict future behavior. My ex-husband has been consistent for all these years and not much has changed. However, I will say nothing and now I am on the list and can stay connected with her grades and how she is doing.
This is all super sad and frustrating. You would think everyone would be tired of playing games by now.
What became increasingly frustrating about this entire situation with my daughter was that the courts do not consider Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) a real thing. The attorneys said that although they all know it does exist, they are not allowed to talk about it in the courts. She said they will often use code words to describe this syndrome instead. There is an ongoing debate about PAS in the court system. It sounds as if it has become a tool in the court that can be abused by either the father or mother
First, let me say that I believe Parental Alienation is a real thing. During my childhood, I was a victim of Parental Alienation by my father who was constantly tearing down my mother. I will never know how much his comments factored into my anger as I became a teenager. Not only did this anger affect my mother, but it also helped influence some very poor decisions that would affect my life for years to come.
Now, my father’s criticism of my mother backfired for several reasons. My mother was not the awful person my father tried to describe. Also, as a young girl, his criticism of my mother eventually led me to internalize his comments. I had actually made many of the same mistakes that made my mother so awful in his eyes. To this day, my father will still say hateful things about my mother and his behavior has factored into my decisions to limit the amount of contact with him.
My abusive ex-husband has spent years talking negatively about myself and my husband to our daughter. I had truly thought I was doing a good job of countering these comments, but once she became a teenager she began to become more openly defiant. She absolutely refused the follow the rules and even claimed our rules were extreme. There are differences between my ex-husband and my father. My father’s verbal assaults on my mother were very direct and he would flat out say she was promiscuous or refer to her as satan. My ex-husband is very subtle and passive aggressive in his comments.
During the years, my abusive ex-husband and his wife were very good and coming across as the supportive and understanding parents. My ex-husband managed to convince our daughter that I am the one who won’t leave her dad alone. Over the years I sent my ex-husband several emails, asking for him to stop talking negatively about myself and my husband. We also requested that he contact myself or my husband if he had any questions instead of asking our daughter.
Even if the courts considered PAS a real thing, I do not know how you would prove such a thing. My daughter thinks I am a awful mother and my ex-husband ‘hung the moon’. Her memory of events has been altered to fit a plausible narrative that paints me as the bad guy. So now, at the age of seventeen, we agreed to let her go live with her father. He has offered a house with few rules and consequences. Plus, he has promised her a car. Moving to live with my ex-husband sounds like a teenager’s dream come true.
Now, I accept that I was not always perfect and at times I definitely ‘reacted’ instead of ‘responding’. However, I always tried to teach our daughter right from wrong and it included apologies whenever I reacted in a way I shouldn’t. It was very difficult hearing my teenager talk to me like my ex-husband would speak to me and I should have done a better job of not taking it personally. Teenagers are also pretty good at playing both parents, even in the best of circumstances. My advice to anyone else, is hold your tongue and wait until you can ‘respond’ and avoid ‘reacting’. Easier said than done I know.
We will see over time if my daughter gains a different understanding living with her father full time. I was only 21 when I met my ex-husband and it took me the longest time to figure out our relationship was one of emotionally and psychologically abuse.
Today, I feel rather sad and it is difficult to write when I feel sad. Yesterday, I watched my seventeen year old get into the car with my narcissist ex-husband to go live with him. Everything about this truly breaks my heart. There is a new pain I feel that is so deep it is hard to even describe. Sending her to live with her dad is really not what I think is best for her.
However, she is seventeen and if she stays she will continue to be resentful and have her fantasy picture of what it would be like to live with him. Visiting him every other weekend versus living with him full time is very different. My ex-husband exhibits all the behaviors of a classic narcissist. Also, his ultimate weapon has always been gaslighting. He has done everything he can over the years to convince me that I am the crazy one here. Sometimes I do feel like I am the crazy one, but thankfully I have twenty years of documentation and a wonderful support network of friends and family to confirm it is not me.
Gaslighting – manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.
Turning Children Against Other Parent
The worst was when my daughter came home in July, from her summer visitation at her dad’s house, and began telling me that it is me who won’t leave her father alone. She literally believes the story in reverse where I am the person who is harassing her father for all these years. Over the years, he has told her twisted versions of the truth and some outright lies. In 2012, he told her that he always took care of her while I was just on my computer all the time (Abuse and Coparenting – Rising Above the Games).
So, he has managed to turn our daughter against me and she believes he is telling the truth. In the article Abusers and Leveraging the Children, they say that abusers will use anyone to do their bidding, including turning the children against the mother (or father). She was determined living with him would be better and was extremely angry and hateful for the past three months.
This hurts me that my child would see me as the abuser in this situation. Doesn’t she know me better than that? I thought I did a better job at raising her in this difficult situation. When your ex-husband turns your child against you, it leaves you wondering if you failed as a parent. Wondering if you failed to teach your children right from wrong. Feeling like you must have failed in your parenting. Perhaps the biggest problem isn’t me, but that I am coparenting with a person who is not doing the right thing. Just maybe being countered at every step helped shape this outcome in an unfortunate way?
Lawsuit for Custody
In July, we were served papers where my ex-husband was asking for custody of our seventeen year old. This absolutely made my stomach sick. We had to hire an attorney and answer their suit. His attorney also set it to go directly to court when our 2008 modification clearly states mediation must happen first. So, we had to answer his request and reschedule mediation.
On Thursday, my husband and I attended the mediation and we decided to let her go live with her dad. He asked for the custody arrangements to flip and he become primary conservator and they would negotiate the child support. My attorney asked for and we received the following:
Nobody is primary, it will be joint custody
My ex-husband has to take and pass a drug test or everything revert to the previous orders
Weekly therapy for our daughter until the therapist determines it is no longer necessary
Our daughter has to take and pass three drug tests for three months before she can get a drivers license
Nobody buys a car for her until she is 18 (due to getting caught smoking pot in June)
Our daughter needs to take a psychological evaluation
No child support
Attorney fees, we asked for all, but we got $1,500
As we discussed with our attorney and mediator. At seventeen, it didn’t make sense to fight for her at this point because we would just have an angry teenager who is absolutely convinced she wants to live with her father. She is practically an adult. Even if we had her stay, she would want to leave as soon as she turned eighteen. We did the best we could to put some safe guards around her and had to let her go.
Rose Colored Glasses
Right now, our daughter sees her father through rose colored glasses. Over the years, they have let her do whatever she wants and bought her a lot of things. She constantly came home with expensive gifts like pandora bracelet, expensive clothes, and has been promised a car. They often ‘joke’ about our unfair or extreme rules. Plus, she has been hanging out with friends who have too much freedom in their households and can confirm how we are too strict. We are definitely not overly strict, but when comparing a permissive household to our house, it probably does seem extreme in our daughter’s eyes.
The Mask Will Come Off
Perhaps living with her father 24/7 will allow the mask to come off. Just maybe, she will eventually believe the ‘truth’ she has been told may not actually be the whole truth. I have not shared with her all the details of our relationship because she does not need to know. Although, maybe this is wrong. You do not want to involve children in adult business, but maybe this just further perpetuates the false narrative the abuser tells children?
My father was very much like my ex-husband and spent years trying to make me hate my mother. The difference is I didn’t see my father as often as my daughter visits her father. Plus, my father was a bit more direct than my ex-husband’s subtle manipulation. My father would outright say my mother was satan. My ex-husband is much more convert and manipulative.
My mother and I did have a lot of problems when I was a teenager and I am not sure how much my father’s comments played into that or not. Eventually, I became aware that my mother was not the problem. To this day, my father still says hateful things about my mother and our relationship is very much estranged because of it.
Truth Will Prevail
I have to believe that eventually the truth will prevail in this situation. What I don’t know is how long it will take before my daughter realizes that I am not the abuser here.
My uncle, my father’s brother, did turn all three of his children against their mother. They wouldn’t have anything to do with their mother for years. It was a case of true parental alienation. Now, that they are all adults and married, they realized that their mother may not have been perfect, but it was mostly their father that was the problem. My cousin said she won’t even stay at her father’s house when they visit him and would rather stay at her in-laws house.
Ending the Cycle of Abuse
This has been an incredibly difficult journey. I see this story from so many levels; as a child of abuse, as a victim of domestic abuse, as a parent of a child being emotionally abused. This is so sad and I truly hope my daughter can see the light, get healthy and maybe this cycle of abuse will end with my generation. I do not know what the future will bring or what our relationship will be like in the future.
When I read the story about Megan Short’s murder, it really struck home for me. This relationship ended tragically with her husband Mark Short shooting his wife, their three kids, their dog, and then shot himself. It was reported that this relationship was a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship. Physician violence has not been reported in this tragic situation.
The reports say the police had been called on more than one occasion and Megan’s family was aware there were problems. Megan Short was advised to file a protective order but she made the decision to leave the relationship instead. The day she was supposed to move into her own place was the same day her husband shot her, her family and himself.
The reports say on her Facebook page she clicked an article titled He Didn’t hit me. It was still abuse. This article tells a story about a verbally abusive relationship where there are no visible wounds. Movies and television show do a good job of painting a picture of domestic abuse as physical violence.
However, in the situation with Megan Short, they say she had never been physically abused but her husband wound up murdering the entire family. Just because the abuser has not hit you yet, does not mean he won’t. I do not mean to paint a dark picture of emotionally abusive people, but I do believe they are unlikely to change. Just read Why Does He Do That by Bandcroft Lundy for more detail about abusers.
Another case that ended tragically was the case with Jessica Gonzales. She was able to obtain a restraining order against her estranged husband. The report does not state whether he was abusive or not. However, on one day her husband picked up the kid at her home without her knowledge. She called the police multiple times and asked them to go get her children. That day, he took them to an amusement park and then murdered the three girls and then fired on the police station and was killed. You can read more about this case at Gonzales Vs. Castle Rock.
I have admitted that my relationship with my ex-husband was domestic abuse, but then I say, “But he never hit me.” Why do I feel the need to state that? Why do I feel a verbally abusive relationship is less abusive because it was not physically abusive? Did he really have to hit me?
He prevented me from leaving the house, he used our daughter to control me, he threatened to take custody of our daughter, he kicked a hole in our bedroom door. His comments would constantly make me worry about what he ‘could do’ to me. When he was happy with me, it was ‘our house’ or ‘our car’, but when he was upset it was ‘his house’ or ‘his car that he let me drive’. Plus, his drinking and drug use often led to extremely unpredictable behavior.
The day I told him I was getting divorced I really believed he might kill me. After leaving him I do remember feeling so afraid to leave my house. His harassing phone calls and emails would consistently keep me on edge. Then he would grill our daughter for information and then leave those messages on my phone. He would talk to my friends and try to get them on his side. I eventually stopped talking to them because I didn’t want him having any insight into my life. He has used our child as a pawn for so many years.
So, does it matter if they hit you? His verbal assaults were often damaging enough. If you are in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship and you are thinking about leaving, be sure to protect yourself and take extra precautions. Even if they have never hit you, think about safety first and read articles like Getting Ready to Leave.
Today, I had to make a super difficult decision. It is likely I am going to have to let my daughter go live with my abusive ex-husband and his wife. I do not believe this is the best decisions for her, but she will just resent me if she stays, and will likely move in eight months when she turns eighteen. My heart is absolutely breaking over this decision.
She is a casualty of the parental warfare my ex-husband is waging on our family. It is so sad, because I feel like nobody wins here, everybody loses. Unfortunately, he has waged war and our daughter is a victim in this horrible situation. She is a casualty of parental warfare.
Sending her to live with my abusive ex-husband seems like the worst thing for her. His permissive parenting will not be good for her, but she is almost an adult and may have to learn the grass is not always greener.
She has been absolutely hateful since June, ever since she was busted smoking pot. As soon as we took away her privileges, she threw a tantrum and called her dad, her dad swooped in and picked her up didn’t discourage her behavior. Plus, he took advantage of her anger to help turn her against me. In the end, I am not sure if it made any difference all the decisions I made or the lessons I taught. In then end I feel like I lost our daughter anyway.
The problem is, that I chose to marry this man all those years ago, and he would never stop being abusive. No matter how I responded, he just continued to user her as a pawn in his personal game. Perhaps God is working some miracle here for all of us. Only time will tell.