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.

 

 

Accepting the Painful Reality

smartphone abusive messages-sIn my previous post Power Over and the Abuser, I wrote about trying to pick my daughter up for the weekend visitation. I had planned on taking her for coffee or sushi and then taking her back home. However, nobody answered the door when I rang the doorbell.

On Friday, I had decided to send her father an email and we had a brief exchange. My last email to him was asking if he knew where our daughter was and if she was safe. He never responded to this email.

So, today I re-downloaded Instagram thinking if that was the only way my daughter was willing to communicate with me, I would rather have some contact then none at all. However, I quickly regretted this decision after seeing the message that was written on Friday night.  I am not 100% sure if this is her writing this message or if someone is feeding her words to say.  Either way, it is a painful reality to accept.

She says:

You said you would call me and you’d let me know when you wanted to see me. You said that I don’t have to go over there and that you’re not going to attempt to make me. You said you would not try to make me call you. You blocked me on Instagram and unblocked me and blocked me. If you wanted to see me so bad you could have called (stepmother’s name) or my dads phone or texted me through here. I also told you I would not step foot in that house if (my husband’s name) there and I don’t bluff.

So yes I am safe and I’m very happy and I don’t what to see you until I know you actually want to spend time with me and quit playing games. I should not have to deal with this I am only 17. Nobody should have to put up with this. I would love to see you when you stop with all this sneaky childish crap.

My response:

How do I know this is you?

Honestly, I not sure what ‘sneaky childish crap’ she is referring to. It sounds like my ex-husband discussed the message with her. However, I did send him a message saying I planned on picking her up. Is this even my daughter communicating with me through Instagram, and if so, when did she become so full of vitrail for me?  It pains me to see my daughter acting like a completely different person than the daughter I raised.

Also, my husband and I still cannot figure out why she is so upset at him. I even discussed this with my therapist and it just sounds like they are possibly telling her I am picking him over her? My husband is and was a good father to both his daughter and my daughter. This is certainly a lot of wasted energy spent on accusations and innuendos.

She is right that I blocked and unblocked her on Instagram one time. Then I just deleted the app from my phone for two reasons.  One, I just really do not want to communicate through Instagram. Second, she is often very hateful through text and certainly do not deserve that. When she texts me through that app, I cannot even tell if it is her or them speaking. She has said things that we are pretty sure are not her words. So either she is not writing the message or someone is feeding her what to write.

So, this is my mistake for downloading Instagram again and receiving this message. There are two more messages and I am tempted to read them, but what good could possibly come from doing that. I never thought I would see the day when my daughter seems to enjoy hurting me and sounding very much like her father. I did that because one of my readers commented that I just needed to learn how to love my daughter from a distance. So I thought if she only wants to communicate through Instagram, I would rather have some contact than nothing. Although I refuse to be a punching bag either. So, if more time is needed for healing, then I am prepared to step back.

Shayna’s comment on my previous post Power Over and the Abuser:

I think that he’s being petty and doing what’s best for him, not what’s best for your daughter. However, with your daughter being almost 18, it doesn’t seem like something you should be allowing to get you so worked up. When you’re 17, you don’t really know what’s going on.. but once you get older, you’ll look back and see that you didn’t know anything at 17. I’m saying that to say . You’re doing all this work to fight against the father, when in less than a year it won’t matter anyways bc it will change again. Then it will be up to her and only her if she sees you. I would stop wasting money, energy and your sanity dealing with the father and starts trying to figure out how to love your daugter from a distance. He will piss her off in no time. Just watch how quick she comes running to your doorstep when he starts to have to handle her messes on his own. She breathe. She ll come around on her own. If she were 16 or younger, I would tell you to go for it. But there’s no point in causing more chaos for something that’s only temporary for a few more months.

I know she is young and 17 and does not really know anything right now.  I am certain she thinks she does. However, I really do not know what my ex-husband is telling her and he has a history of speaking negatively about me for the past 12 years. Still, this is so painful. I just broke down and cried after reading her message. It just absolutely hurts. How is it that everything I do is perceived as ‘playing games’?

So, I did read the messages and she said this:

That proof enough? (and this screenshot is included)
instagram picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

My response was:

What is that?

I have no idea what this means. Unless she believes these are me trying to connect with her on something. Is that Snapchat? I don’t know. I am not creating fake names and connecting with her.  The only time I did that was right after we caught her smoking pot, grounded her and she sent out a message telling people to contact her on Snapchat, I created false profile and sent her a message then caught her using a device she snuck into the house. So I get why a teenager might perceive that as playing games. All of my friends call that parenting, not sneaky.

She replies:

It reminded me of that Angela account.

So, I was correct and she is considering that situation where I created a false profile to catch my daughter using a device she snuck home. I was going to respond to that message, but decided not to even go there.

Instead I said:

I sent a message to your dad last Sunday saying I planned on picking you up. I had planned on going to get coffee. Just hoped to see you.

This is all insane. That is why I say that I need to accept the painful reality. My daughter is lost and gone until she gets free of her dad’s influence or gets a more mature outlook on things. When I was 17, I wasn’t behaving so well towards my mother. I hated her telling me what to do and refused to follow the rules too. Most of us grow up eventually.

She replies:

I find it hard to believe that you just wanted to go get coffee. Most parents would text their child and say hey lets go watch a movie or get dinner, but you didn’t do that. You just showed up and expected me to go. Anyway I don’t care if you think this is me or my dad or (his wife), I’m just glad I could finally get my point across.

My response:

I sent your dad a message five days earlier. I figured someone would send me a text saying you would not be available. I had already told you I wouldn’t make you come here and we would just go to dinner and I would take you back.

She replies:

You blocked him. He blocked you. What did you expect?

My reply:

I blocked him because his phone kept calling (my husband) one night and he claims nobody had his phone. I don’t want to play games honey.

When you are dealing with abusive people or even children influenced by abusive people, there does not appear to be a right way to do things. Everything I do or don’t do seems to be spun into something else.  I am tired of feeling bad and one of my readers is absolutely right that it isn’t worth dealing with her father when she is almost 18. Have to hope she will figure it all out one day and see the truth.

She says:

He was calling my old phone number.

My response:

No honey, (my husband) does not have your phone number. He still has his own number. Your phone number is cancelled.

Her response:

He never called (my husband). My number was connected to his account so it went to him. He has no reason to call (my husband).

My response:

That is not true. Your phone number is connected to nowhere.

She responds:

Doesn’t matter. My dad did not call (my husband). He doesn’t even have (my husband)’s number saved. If you want to contact my dad do it through. He blocked your number the day I moved in. If you want to see me text me ahead of time and we can eat dinner or something. This is my last text to you until you quit the games your so fond of.

In abusive situations, there is often a game of ball. They throw something at you and you throw it right back. As long as you keep catching the ball and throwing it back, they will keep hurling the ball at you. I need to let this ball go on by and not catch it. Many times they will throw another ball at you and it is your choice whether to catch it or let it fly by.

I feel anxiety all over again. It certainly feels like I am dealing with my ex-husband all over again. This is a stupid conversation that has nothing to do with anything. Again, my daughter is being quite hateful in her tone. There is no way to read these comments nicely. Again, it is impossible to know if I am even communicating with my daughter.

Power Over and the Abuser

power and controlOkay, right now there is a situation that is outside my control. Although I have no desire to be in control, although with that being said… I really don’t like the feeling of being out of control either. This is clearly a Power Over situation for my ex-husband and he has all the control and I know he relishes every moment.

Side note, oftentimes I use pretty pictures of flowers and butterflies when can’t find a picture that represents my story. So now you know.

Yesterday, I dealt with a situation with my daughter and my ex-husband and it is on my mind. One reason I created this blog was to get things out of my head so I can stop thinking about them. So here it goes.

Last Sunday, I sent my ex a text message that I would pick our daughter up at 6pm. I had to contact him because my daughter has not given me her phone number for some reason. So, yesterday I drove 25 minutes to pick her up at 6pm.

My being the parenting picking our daughter up for visitation is still very new for all of us. My daughter asked me if she could skip the last two visits for Homecoming and studies. So I agreed, but I do really want to try to maintain some sort of relationship with my daughter.

I am not really sure why my daughter won’t call me or give me her phone number. All of this is rather insane. Her father bought her this phone and maybe that is why. She had told me she was “suspicious” of why I was asking for her phone number. I had told her I didn’t know what she had to be suspicious about. None of this makes any sense. I strongly suspect that this is a case of parental alienation by my ex-husband. Hopefully my daughter will one day see the truth.

Okay, so back to the story. So at 6pm, I rang the doorbell and knocked since I really couldn’t hear if the doorbell was actually ringing. Nobody answered the door. So, I drove home and decided to send him an email and it was time to get the lawyers involved.

On September 8th, we agreed to let our 17 year old go live with her father. Her anger towards me really began in the summer after I busted her for smoking pot. She became extremely angry at that time. When she went to her father’s house for the July visit, we received a suit for custody from my ex-husband. When she came home, she was more hateful than ever. She was determined to go live with her father and that was that.

So after spending $8,000 on attorney fees we agreed during medication that she would go live with her father. She is going to be 18 in April and it didn’t make any sense to prevent her from going at this age. Our agreement was that we would be joint parents and I would take the weekends and holiday visits. My request was that she needs weekly therapy until the therapist says she doesn’t need to go. We really believe his motivation at this late stage was to get out of paying child support because he paid the max. My attorney suggested no child support from me and he agreed.

He has not taken her to one single therapy session in two months. All of this is so frustrating. I have no idea if she didn’t want to be there or he didn’t want her to be there yesterday when I went to pick her up. Without therapy, she only has her father and his wife who are not really doing what is best for her.

So, I sent him an email:

Good Evening (Insert Ex Name Here),

Last Sunday, I sent you a message to let you know that I would be picking (our daughter) up tonight at 6pm (screenshot attached). Tonight, at 6pm, I rang the doorbell and knocked and nobody answered. Nor did you respond to my text or call me to let me know she would not be there tonight.

(Our daughter) asked for a little time to get acclimated and work on her schoolwork. I agreed to her request temporarily. However, it has been over a month since I have been able to visit with her.

In the past 12-13 years, I never discouraged (our daughter) from visiting you during your weekends. Also, I never alienated you with her as you have done towards me. I expect you to show me the same courtesy. 

Also, you have not taken her to one therapy session, as you agreed to during mediation. The therapist is still recommending therapy as noted in the attached letter. 

text-to-ex

He responded with this:

This is a false statement…nothing has been signed by you. I have done nothing but adhere to the mediation orders and if I recall when she was with you on your visitation I had to pick her up premature to the weekend visit due to “issues”. Bottom line, call your attorney. 

Okay, something that has been extremely helpful in the past is breaking down his messages. So, he says ‘This is a false statement…nothing has been signed by you’. It sounds like he is saying since I did not sign the agreement that I received last week yet, he doesn’t have to do what is says. However, his actions so far is to have our daughter move in and changed her schools.

Then he says ‘I have done nothing but adhere to the mediation orders…’ and by this he must mean than he has custody of her and changed schools. Weekly therapy was required and he has not taken her to a single session. Then he brings up something from the past that occurred in August ‘and if I recall when she was with you on your visitation I had to pick her up premature to the weekend visit due to “issues”.’ This has absolutely nothing to do with this situation.

Notice how he never addresses why she was not there at 6pm and simply says ‘Bottom line, call your attorney.’ He loves to use clichés in his emails. As soon as my attorney explains a section that was highlighted in the agreement I plan to have her file a judgment against him. In fact, I really want to play hard-ball here with him. Perhaps my attorney has some ideas.

‘Bottom line’ (do I sound more intelligent using this word?) he is not complying with what he agreed to do during our mediation. Plus, since our daughter does not have a car or a license yet, someone else would have to drive her away from the residence. Also, out of courtesy a simple phone call or text to let me know she would not be there did not happen either. Who am I kidding, since when has my ex-husband ever been respectful or courteous?

Obviously this is a power-play for him. He likes to be in control and he is right now. So, my challenge is to do what I can do and let it go. This does not need to become a fight for me… or something that I spend all my waking hours thinking about.

Anyone else experiencing something similar to this situation? In my next post I discuss Accepting the Painful Reality.

Verbal Abuse versus Physical Abuse

verbal abuse learningMy blog posts mainly describe the experiences of a relationship with a verbally abusive man. The reason for this is because that is my personal experience and I can only tell it from that perspective. In no way am I implying that women are not abusive or narcissistic. In fact, I believe that emotional abuse crosses all boundaries and does not discriminate based on age, race, or gender.

My personal experience is mainly describing verbal abuse because he never hit me and it took me the longest time to figure out I was in an abusive relationship. I also have a post that states that Verbal Abuse is Worse than Physical Abuse. Although, there have been a few comments from people who disagree with that statement. The reason I say that is because how long someone can endure emotional abuse without even knowing they are in an abusive relationship. When I make this statement, “it was domestic abuse… but he never hit me” am I not minimizing the abuse?

It was domestic abuse… but he never hit me.  No, it was domestic abuse. Period.

Most of us understand what a physically abusive relationship looks like and we have seen it portrayed in television, movies, and talked about in the news. What nobody ever prepared me for was how to watch out for the subtle warning signs of a toxic verbally abusive relationship. An emotionally abusive relationship can absolutely tear you down emotionally. Many people have also made comments that long after their bruises healed, the pain of emotional abuse can last a lifetime… unless you continue to work on yourself, then I believe the pain lessens.

My relationship made me physically ill and it actually made me question my own sanity. In fact, I was so physically ill and was often visiting doctors trying to figure out what was wrong. Unfortunately, doctors couldn’t diagnose “bad marriage” based on my symptoms. Actually, I take that back, one doctor finally asked me “How is your marriage?”  I had never realized that a relationship could make you ill. I thought perhaps I am just one of those people who is sick.

The verbal abuse I experienced as a child with my father had a lot to do with why I picked a verbally abusive man to marry. I had no other frame of reference and that relationship probably felt pretty normal. During my childhood, my mother was continuously selecting less than healthy men. My stepfather was an alcoholic. I am not sure what was wrong with the other guys, but those relationships were not healthy and did not work out. So, I had no idea what a healthy relationship looked like. I am not blaming my mother because I know she did the best she knew how to do at the time. She is much healthier and strong today than she was when I was a kid.

Early in our relationship, I was only twenty-one years old and so young. When I first wrote in my journal about him, I kept saying how he was a too good to be true. That he was so handsome, intelligent, and how much I enjoyed our conversations. These feelings did not last long before I ended up in total confusion of why our relationship was so difficult. My gut instinct told me that it just shouldn’t be this hard. However, he would tell me, “All relationships have problems, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.” Oftentimes, he would make me feel it was my fault or my perspective that was the real problem.

Learning how not to let other people affect how I feel is still a challenge. My ex-husband had given me plenty of practice. Also, I had to learn how to setup and keep boundaries over the years. Plus, I had to realize that most people who wanted to give advice on that matter had zero experience dealing with controlling people like my ex-husband. Oftentimes, their advice that I need to keep trying to work with my abusive ex-husband was not the best advice. Keep reading, keep learning, keep growing, never stop… even when you fall down… get back up and learn some more.

The definition of insanity is when you keep trying to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

What I learned was trying different things over and over with my ex-husband was rather pointless. He has proven over the years that he does not want to get along. It seemed that he enjoyed the chaos and drama all while claiming he didn’t want that.

Perhaps in my next post we can talk about setting up boundaries with your abusive ex husband (or wife) because that is so important for personal health.

In Alanon we have a great saying…

Take what you like and leave the rest.

Dealing with Emotions Post Verbal Abuse

emotions post abuseIt has been a few weeks since the last time I wrote a post. Lately, I have had a difficult time putting my thoughts together. My emotions are quite overwhelming at this time, too much has happened in the past few months. I guess that is why it is so difficult to write my thoughts.

Today, I feel like my ex-husband won his twisted game. Although I left him more than twelve years ago, he never stopped bothering me or trying to mess with me. My therapist said that every boundary I put in place to protect myself took away his control, this caused him to continue to use anything he could… especially our daughter… to regain control. She said that there is no way to work with his type of personality.

This, week she said to work on talking about how I feel instead of what I think. Dealing with feelings of Anger, Sadness, Fear, Disgust post Verbal Abuse. Learning to accepting emotions is one part of the journey towards healing.

Anger… Well, I feel pissed off right now. I feel so angry at my ex-husband for messing up the relationship I had with my daughter. Sure, I probably made some mistakes, but I always had her best interest at heart. This just absolutely hurts that she chose to go live with him. At seventeen, she just doesn’t see that permissive parenting or being ‘her friend’ is not best for her. She wants this freedom, car, and material things he is offering. My rules and wanting her to be responsible she considers is just controlling.

On some days, I feel really pissed off at myself. I choose this man more than twenty years ago and because I wasn’t strong enough to leave him all those years ago… now my daughter has been affected too. Plus, I doubled down in my bad decision by marrying the man and I was naive enough to believe I could divorce him and just move on with my life. Who knew he would continue with his relentless manipulation and abuse for twelve more years! Ultimately, he was able to make our daughter hate me and so now I feel like he really won his twisted game.

Sadness… I also feel really sad right now. It really hurts that my daughter picked her father over me. Of course, I feel she never should have had to make that choice in the first place. When my ex-husband would ask her questions about our lives, I would tell my daughter to say, “I don’t know dad, ask my mom.” Or say, “Dad, I really do not want to be in the middle.” However, she was never strong enough to resist him and would tell him whatever he wanted to know. Little did she know he was taking that information to use against our family. She had no idea she was playing a key role in his sick game.

Fear… I also feel extremely afraid for the future. One reason is the picture our daughter posted in her Homecoming dress looked like a girl in her early twenties instead of being seventeen. She was wearing a white skin tight, strapless and rather short dress. She was wearing red high heals and red lipstick. Plus, with that bleach blonde hair she got over the summer, she no longer looks like the girl I remember. I am afraid of the attention she is going to get for dressing that way.

My comment was, “You look very grown up.” I really didn’t feel so proud of that look, it was not age appropriate for a seventeen year old junior in high school. My therapist was rather surprised her father was okay with her looking like that. She said it was almost as if our daughter was an extension of himself. She said it was rather strange. Some of this may be due to her stepmother’s influence. A few years ago, she told my daughter she wanted a wedding ring that made her hand fall to the ground. She also said my daughter should pick some rich to marry like she did. Not exactly wise things to tell a young girl.

Disgust… I also feel disgusted at my ex-husband that he is so sick he would use his own daughter as a pawn. His desire to get vengeance against me for whatever reason is not right. I used to believe he was pissed off at me, but for what? When we were married, he was the one lying, cheating, hiding money, and acting like a bachelor. Although I think this is more about control and maybe my leaving him made me the enemy. Funny, he is married now, but it seems like he is still completely focused on me. How can his wife tolerate that?  Even my husband says he thinks my ex still has a thing for me… like the one that got away.

Now that he has our daughter living with him, not talking to me, what is next? Is is possible now that he has won his stupid game he will go away. Last time I talked to my daughter she said she wouldn’t come here as long as my husband lived here. My husband won’t tolerate my daughter’s crap and that is the primary problem. He may be sarcastic, but he has been more of a father than her dad for all these years.

I guess we will never know all the things that have been said to our daughter. My ex-husband is highly manipulative and would never say anything directly. He would come in sideways, like snake, and would sound super supportive and helpful with some passive comment meant to influence her thoughts.

How someone can be so cold and calculating, I will never understand. My mind simply does not work that way. Narcissist… sociopath… alcoholic… I really cannot tell you what the true diagnosis is of my ex-husband. Healthy people just don’t behave that way and they wouldn’t inflict harm on their own child.

Perhaps accepting that I have emotions and that it is okay to feel them is just one part of the process of healing. I know I am not the only one going through this, so many others have posted on Facebook. However, I must believe that what was meant for bad will eventually have good come from it. My personal faith is that there must be a reason God is letting this happen right now. Lessons to learn or something good is meant to come from all of this.

Are you going through something similar?

 

How to Document Verbal and Emotional Abuse

how to document verbal abuseProving 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.
Resources:

 

Video Documentary on Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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.

Please watch this video:

Documentary on Narcissistic Personality Disorder video by Jama KC!

Aftermaths of Parental Alienation by a Narcissist

parental alienation - parental warfareMy 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?

 

Sources: 

Hindsight is 20/20 – Post Abuse Reflections

hindsight-20-20 abuseAs 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.

I would welcome your thoughts about this topic.