Over the years, I have found a few great tips to deal with abusive emails. These are two great tips and tricks to help you avoid being surprised and also how to respond to the facts. Hopefully these tips are helpful to you too.
Abusive Email Tip #1
In most email servers, you can create a special folder to house any emails you receive from your abusive ex and their extended family. Then you can set-up an automatic rule to move any emails from those email addresses into this folder. This usually will prevent it from popping up in your inbox and catching you off-guard. This is something I had to do years ago for my ex-husband and a few years ago for my father. Recently I had begun receiving abusive emails from my ex-husbands wife and so I set up a rule for her too.
Also, I set up the name ‘Warning: Abuse?’ to remind myself of what these emails normally contain. This way I can choose not to open these emails or when to open these emails. I can even choose to have someone else look at the emails and tell me if they are important or not. You can also choose to open these with a friend or trusted family member. At least this way you are not caught off-guard.
It works brilliantly!
Abusive Email Tip #2
Click reply and start by deleting the person’s name so you do not accidentally send a message. Then start with the first sentence and delete each line that is blatant lies, distorted truth, ranting & raving, opinions, and personal attacks. You can leave in any question that has been asked. So, an email that contains several paragraphs of personal attacks can suddenly become one sentence, such as; ‘what date did you send the check?’. This will help you respond with facts and ignore the emotional rants.
Delete anything that is not a fact. There is no reason to respond to opinions, personal attacks, or lies.
In the past, when I deleted the sentences one-by-one, I was also giving myself permission to also delete them in my mind. One example, is this email I received years ago by my ex-husband when I was trying to schedule my weekend during the summer visitation. He always gave me such grief over information in the decree. It is long, but this is exactly the type of emails I am talking about. Rarely was anything rational received from my ex-husband.
Thursday; June 1st, 2005 8:59PM
For the month of June I would like my weekend to be June 3-5th.
His reply Wednesday; June 1, 2005 9:10PM
That is my weekend. Per the decree you needed to tell me in writing prior to April 15th. As always I am willing to discuss but that in no way means I am going to give up my weekend as of now. (Does it really sound like he is open to discussion?)
I am getting her this weekend!!! I have checked with my attorney on this matter when you initially sent this and I do not have to give her up (per the 15th of April). (Look at the use of exclamation points, and mentioning his attorney includes a bit of a threat too.)
If you want to discuss this rationally then I am willing to but I am getting her this weekend (two day notice is not right). (Again, does he sound rational here?)
My reply on Wednesday; June 1, 2005 9:51PM
Please read paragraph 3, my attorney told me that I have to give you two weeks notice, which I did.
His reply on Wednesday; June 1, 2005 11:08PM
There is no such wording on two weeks notice on the standard possession order. This is what I know, if your attorney did tell you about two weeks notice then he is going to get you arrested. If you deny me my visitation I will file a motion and you will be arrested PER MY ATTORNEY for violating the decree. (He is positive he cannot be wrong and then includes the open threats and capitalized PER MY ATTORNEY.)
You want to go by the decree and I know what it says as I know you do by now.
Once again I will pick her up on Friday. Feel free to have your attorney contact my attorney. (This paragraph would indicate the conversation is over, but it never is.)
My reply to him Thursday June 2, 2005 7:44AM, advised my my attorney I sent him the paragraph from the decree (changing names to Mother & Father):
3. Extended Summer Possession by MOTHER – If Mother gives Father written notice by April 15 of a year or gives Father fourteen days’ written notice on or after April 16 of a year, Mother may designate one weekend beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by Faster shall not take place in that year, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Father’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day Weekend.
His reply on June 2, 2005 8:28AM
Exactly. 14 days notice on or after that date… the vague part is the 14 days. 14 days after that date is the end of April. Your interpretation is 14 days notice “anytime” after the 16th. (He still doesn’t know the answer)
I am all for abiding by the wording but I want this cleared up by tomorrow.
Of course if we could have flexibility with one another this would not be necessary but you have chosen to go by the decree, then you choose not to and then you choose to abide by it and so on and so on. You have admitted to using the decree in order to spite me…. you should have that on email as well. (I tried the flexibility with him and it always worked for him but not for me. I know I used the decree to end these types of ongoing exhausting discussions.)
There will be times when there are parties, events, etc that she and you want to attend on days when I have her. I WILL NOT deprive her of anything but you keep in mind everything you have done regarding false accusations and visitations and decree wordings. None of these actions benefits our daughter in any way. (This is a threat and the false accusations are regarding her continuous unexplained vaginal pain that I would not ignore.)
You keep in mind our daughter expressed excitement about seeing me this weekend. If for some reason you get her this weekend I hope you have something big planned because I did. (Trying to make me feel guilty.)
One last thing… it would be three weeks that have gone by without me seeing her. Do you think that is in her best interest? I think you know the answer to that. Do you think keeping her from you the entire month of July is what is best for her? (If he were truly interested in what is best for our daughter he would not create so many fights or speak ill of me to her, this is complete BS for documentation purposes.)
This is what is happening or going to happen. If you were thinking about our daughter then you would choose to spend one of those weekends with her in July. (Oh yes, his taking her for the entire month of July was his punishing me for losing control of a previous conversation.)
Never the less, I want to figure this wording out by tomorrow. (He had to mention this a second time in the same email.)
My reply to him on Thursday, June 2, 2005:
I already spoke to my attorney, it is in the decree.
If you have a problem with the decree and you no longer think it is in our daughter’s best interest, perhaps you should speak to your attorney.
Our daughter’s feelings will not get hurt if you speak to me before you make promises to her.
Although your abusers may continue to send abusive emails your way, it doesn’t mean you have to continue to allow them to be in control. You can control the situation by using these quick tips to shift the power back into your hands.
So, last month I received a $2,000 bill from my abusive ex-husbands wife. This bill was sent the day after my daughter had dental surgery and had 6 teeth pulled. They are supposed to notify me of any non-emergency surgeries before the event and not after the event. In email, she implies that their attorney was copied, obviously meant to be a threat.
I hate feeling anxiety all over again when I get an email from them. All this hell he and his wife have helped create between my daughter and myself has been devastating to me. I wound up calling the Domestic Abuse Center today and I should be able to get in to see one of their counselors shortly. Her dad is such a awful person and it kills me that my daughter is in such denial for what she does see.
The very last email is about as hateful as you can get in a response. I know not responding doesn’t mean I am agreeing with him. I really can’t understand how people can be so hateful. I know these are unfeeling abusive people. My husband says they are just assholes looking for a response. I did not respond to his last email because it is full of non-facts. My husband says he is good at throwing the ball and that is probably why he is a good salesman.
Latest Saga of Emails
On, July 22nd, I received this email from my abusive ex-husband’s wife:
Attached are invoices from [daughter’s name] oral surgery.
– EOB from insurer
– paid receipt
Your responsibility is 50%.
I was pretty surprised to get this bill and this bill seemed to simply the surgery had already happened. Plus, she wrote in their attorney’s name, implying that they CC’d their attorney. Obviously meant to be a bit threatening. I am pretty sure I am not misreading this.
My response to her email was simply:
Please send a detailed explanation about this surgery. What was exactly was done?
Her reply was:
I sent you an attachment with my previous email that explains her treatment plan. Read carefully, starts with therapeutic parental drugs and all procedures are itemized from the day of oral surgery. The GRA stands for graft.
My response was this:
What was done exactly? I do not recall any notification about this surgery. Was it medically necessary?
Her response was definitely meant to be condescending. So I decided right then that she is an irrelevant person in this conversation. I couldn’t believe they had decided to put our daughter under anesthesia without notifying me. In fact, they are required to tell me in advance and work with me. However, they never have worked with me over the years. They work against me in all situations.
At that point, I contacted the Oral Surgeon’s office directly. I turns out they pulled our her Wisdom teeth which I was totally agreed about. The thing they did that I was not in agreeance with was pulling her two baby teeth. She has two baby teeth that did not have permanent teeth behind them. The dentist we have been going to for over 7 years told me to leave those teeth in as long as possible. That they could last until she was 30 – 50 years old. Her advice was to avoid the expense and problems of putting in implants that will need to be redone every 5 -10 years. I also called her Orthodontist who basically said this was a cosmetic decision and not medically necessary. So I told my ex-husband this very thing last December.
I also gave them our insurance so they could file as a secondary expense and I am waiting for that information to come back. She told me she would have to wait until their insurance responded before she could fine with ours. So, we already expected this would take longer.
On December 7, 2016 I sent my ex-husband this:
Okay, I do agree with getting her wisdomteeth pulled. I do not agree with getting her baby teeth pulled.
I just spoke with her dentist and they recommend she keep those baby teeth as long as possible. They said these baby teeth could last her until she is 30-50 years old. Implants run $5,000 and need to be replaced every 5 – 10 years. This will be very expensive cost to pay for in the future. We have no idea what her financial position will be in the future in order to maintain these recurring cost. So again I do not agree with removing the baby teeth.
Anyway, so today I receive this from his wife.
It has been over 30 days since I’ve mailed her invoice dated July 21, 2017 regarding oral surgery 043889.
My initial email was sent on July 22, 2017. Your payment for 50% of invoice charges are overdue. Please send payment promptly.Thank you!Sent from my iPad
My response was a little less nice:
No. As I stated earlier in the month, the dentist is filing a second claim with our insurance. Once I received the EOB from our insurance, I will settle up our portion. You could have saved time by discussing this and filing both insurances on the date of service. Your inability to follow directions has caused your own delay.
It appears neither of you can be trusted to do what you say or follow the decree. Nothing either of you have done has been reasonable or rational regarding my daughter. Notifying that we owe $1,000 after having surgery you didn’t notify me about is not reasonable.
If you have difficulty understanding this email, I don’t know what else to tell you.
Then I get this response from my abusive ex-husband:
Sending emails like this will not change the fact that you are still responsible for 50% of the cost. Our response was just a reminder that it has been past 30 days. If you feel that you only owe a certain amount then just pay it…which you have not done. You want to make excuses on insurance filings, etc. which has no weight here. If you can’t pay it then you could make arrangements but you think this is going to go away by deflecting the situation.
Your daughter is 18 and she chose to have this done, just like she has chosen not to see you every 1st, 3rd and fifth weekend. Why is this different?
You know as well as I do you owe this money and there is no legal jargon or opinion of yours that changes that. Wether it’s financial issues or possible divorce issues you are presently having doesn’t change anything (yes she discusses with us your conversations you have had with her). Enough is enough. Be a parent and pay what you owe…just like I did and still do.
Funny to see that he misspelled a word here. He usually is more polished than to make a spelling error in an email. My mind is still thinking about this, but I am not going to respond. My husband believes he has told our daughter something like ‘if your mom really cared about you, she would divorce him.’ My ex-husband doesn’t seem to be okay with the fact that I am doing well and not suffering.
In my blog, I have mentioned the difficulties of dealing with my abusive ex-husband and also my abusive father. Obviously my relationship with my father had a lot to do with my selecting my abusive ex-husband. My relationship with my dad was very unhealthy, and it was the only example of a relationship I had during my childhood. So when I met my ex-husband I had no point of reference for a healthy relationship.
Today, I received a hateful poem from my father (see screenshot). I only included the first few verses, and that is a perfect enough example of the rest of the poem. My father sends this poem to his daughter to send to his ex-wife of nearly 40 years? He has been saying hateful statements about my mother sine I was five years old. Inside the email, he says; “I hope this answers your big question. Daddy”. Even that statement is dripping with sarcasm.
My father is mentally ill, has vascular dementia and has diabetes. So he is not doing so well but that is no excuse for his bad behavior. He is currently living in an assisted living home near my Aunt’s house because the police picked him up one night driving aimlessly and was involuntarily committed. He believes my Aunt plotted against him, and everyone else (doctor’s, police, judge) are all wrong and he is perfectly fine.
His poem was a clever rhyme about my mother being a whore. Funny, I probably shouldn’t feel angry after all these years but I wish he would move on. It has been nearly 40 years now since they got divorced, and he can’t get over that. He is now twice divorced because his last wife couldn’t take living with his abusive behavior. She has sent me letters saying how much respect she has for my mother because she know first hand how my father can be.
Anyway, I do feel some old feelings of anger. My aunt expects me to take care of him? When I was sixteen years old, I had very little contact with my father by choice. I just didn’t want to hear this hateful stuff about my mother anymore. I don’t care what happened when I was a little kid. I know he was physically and verbally abusive, and perhaps she did have an affair. Maybe she was seeking kindness from someone else. Knowing my father, I can hardly blame her.
He is mentally ill, and I can ask him not to send things like this to me, but he will do it again. These past two days he has sent me all sorts of bizarre emails with titles like; ‘honor thy father and thy mother’, ‘the real war’ and ‘prayer to the holy spirit’. He often gets religious in his bouts where everyone is going to hell if they don’t repent. Of course, he never means that he should repent for the things he has done. Always somebody else’s fault and somebody else to blame.
Sorry to rant, but that just made me mad. I am supposed to send a card out for father’s day, and now I feel like sending ‘Happy Father’s Day, Asshole’ to him. Just as I did when I was a child, I will keep this poem (comment) from reaching my mother. Mentally ill is no excuse for his abusiveness.
Perhaps an abusive (man or woman) will truly never become less abusive.
In a previous post Abusive and Controlling Emails – Email Traps, I discussed the situation with my father sending me abusive emails. Over the past 8 years I have become very experienced in not responding to my ex-husband’s abusive emails. However, here was my father, doing the same thing and I was allowing myself to respond to his irrational behavior.
A few weeks ago, I blocked all emails from my father in Outlook, but they were still coming through to my phone email. My father wrote an extremely abusive email where he was attacking my mother and I did respond to that email. My Aunt pointed out that my father was trying to ‘push my buttons’ by his comments. She believes he would rather have negative attention than no attention.
So last week I figured out a solution that worked very well to block the emails from coming to computer or phone. If I had known about this option, I would have done this years ago with my ex-husband when he was sending so many abusive emails to me. This may not work with all email servers but this worked great with mine.
Email TrapSolution (see screenshots below)
Logged into my Email Server
Created a new folder titled ‘Dad’ (‘Ex’ or whatever fits)
Created a filter to move anything from my father’s email to this folder
Now the emails stay on the server in the folder assigned to him
The emails are safely stored and I choose when/if I want to read them
I can also read the Email Subject to determine if I should even open them
Years ago, when my ex-husband was sending so many abusive emails, I was advised my my lawyer to print out all his emails. If I had been using this method could have logged in occasionally to print them out. Some emails servers have limit on space, so if you need to keep these you might want to print them out occasionally and not rely on only the server to keep them.
*Note* If you feel you must read the emails, this way you can be prepared to read them only on a day of your choosing.
Tips to Responding to Abusive Emails
Respond only to the facts
Click forward or reply (remove ‘To’ emails so you do not accidentally send before ready)
Delete every sentence that is opinions, ranting & raving, threats, etc…
Leave only sentences that are facts or have a real question
Reply to the questions with short factual answers
Now, the hard part, try to delete the sentences in your head too
So I am having problems with my father again after I made the decision to call him and he blasted me. You can read one of the first abusive emails from my father. Then good God, okay so he called me again and I pick up the phone. What is wrong with me? Now I feel all frustrated and angry. My father is not going to change, I guess that makes me sad, he is going to continue being weird and impossible to talk to. Perhaps, I need to find peace within myself should we never talk again. Making the decision to discontinue the relationship with my father has been something I have been struggling with my whole life. Over a period of time, I would not call my father, then I would eventually feel guilty and call him. I guess I worry if he died I would feel bad for the rest of my life.
Abusive Email From My Father
If all you want to do every time we communicate is insist on cramming your bitter, unforgiving hatred and judgmentalism down my throat, don’t bother calling or emailing me at all. If you can act like a mature adult and show some common decency (without constantly interrupting). I will listen to you, but I expect you to listen to me too!.
Whatever, I am tired of these conversations with my father. This one started when he said my Aunt and Uncle said his wife was just using him and I said I agreed. She has been living in another house for four years and has collected over $50,000 from him in four years. Although I do not agree with what she is doing I certainly can sympathize with her desire to not deal with him and if he is going to give her a check each month why wouldn’t she take it. Then I told him, “Okay go back to her and give her all your money, nobody can stop you.” He didn’t like that response either. So I asked him, “Dad, what do you want me to say, do you want me to lie and tell you something I do not believe?” My Aunt said it seems as if he is looking for someone to blame for his failed marriage. I also asked him if his wife had called him at all and he told me that was none of my business. My Aunt said she is not returning his calls or emails.
My goals… I do need to accept is okay if do not talk to my father anymore. I do not need to feel guilty for not talking to him. It is not my fault he behaves the way he does. He has had a temper problem and been rather abusive for most of my life. We had a few good years of communication recently but it seems like those days are gone. Maybe this was not the best thing to say but I did say ‘I’ a lot and not one ‘You’. I need to let him go and this is what I wrote:
Goodbye Dad, I wish you luck. I forgive you and I am sorry we are unable to get along.
Then my father sends me this response.
Seriously, My Name, I really do not need your ugly hatred!
Abusive Father – Abusive Ex-Husband
Wow, this reminds me of emails with my ex-husband. Where you say something and they respond by twisting it around by saying something that is untrue to make you feel guilty. My Aunt said he is doing the same things with her and she has gotten to the point she doesn’t want to email him. I guess he is just really mad right now and trying not to accept his wife does not want to be with him anymore. It is sad but I will bet he was okay with paying her all that money each month because it kept her attached to him.
My father has always been an abusive man but he never really took it directly out on me until recently. It makes me wonder if the same thing will happen with my ex-husband and our daughter.
Okay, so after all the problems I had with my father I decided to give him a call this morning. In this past post, Abusive and Controlling Email Trap, I explained how my father blew up at me because he believed I was writing a divorce column and advising women to get divorced. Well as it turns out there was a very Soap Opera like story going on under the surface that he was not being very honest about.
So my father was remarried 8 years ago to a women he had gone to high school with. She contacted my father at that time, they talked for a few weeks, she went to visit him and they were married 2 weeks later. Then he packed up and moved to another state to live in her house.
During the first few years I talked to her a few times and I really liked her. It seemed like they were doing good from what my father was telling me. Although over the past few years he kept saying she was staying at her parents house and I started thinking that was a bit odd over time. I wondered why she was never there anymore. Then when he blew up at me I figured he probably did that to his wife and she left. Perhaps that is partially the truth but then it sounds like she took advantage after that.
Last Christmas my father had planned on visiting my Aunt and then coming to see us for a few weeks. After he blew up on me I decided against allowing him to come visit us. I also avoided his phone calls for quite some time. However, after a period of cooling off time I decided to contact him again.
In one of our phone conversations he said his wife had moved out four years ago. I think I simply repeated his statement back to him in surprise. Then he continued to explain how he was giving her half his income each month. Apparently she refused to accept any of his phone calls unless she was collecting a check from him. I told him, “Dad, this kind of sounds like you are divorced but she has the financial support as if you were married.” I asked if she had any other income and he said she had her retirement pension. So she was getting her own retirement income, half of his income, not accepting his phone calls, not spending any time with him and living in a separate house. If this marriage was not working, I suppose this would be an ideal arrangement for his wife.
So I made the recommendation that he should file for separation so he would have a particular amount he was obligated to give her so he could support himself. Apparently he and my Aunt had a plan and he told me to call her. He said, “The walls have ears here.” So I called my Aunt to figure out what in the world was going on.
So after having a long conversation with my Aunt she filled in all the blanks. Apparently during their first four years of marriage they wracked up more than $50,000 in debt that was all in my father’s name. It sounded like he and his wife were just out buying furniture, eating out and shopping. Turns out she kept all the stuff they bought and he was living in her house which was pretty much a shack. He was spending the other half of his income paying those debts, some of his living expenses and he couldn’t afford much else. She was telling him that the money he was giving her was for renting her house. My Aunt asked me if I had seen the television show Horders before because this was what the house was like.
So my Aunt was able to get my dad to move to his own apartment, down the street from her house but in another state. While they were packing up his things to move him, his wife showed up with separation papers, this was two days after I recommended my father file for the very same thing. In the separation papers she requested he continue giving her a large sum of money each month and keep her name on his life insurance. I guess she wanted to get divorced right away but in their state you have to be separated for a full year before you can file for a divorce.
So he moved and sounded rather happy at first, but now I guess he is having second thoughts. He believes his wife can change and God would require him to forgive her. So I just got off the phone with him where he blew up at me again because I disagreed with his belief. He kept asking me if I was perfect and how can I judge other people. I told him I was not judging her but simply stating a fact. I did not say this but she sure seems like a Gold-digger to me. I did say she was using him. He used a lot of God to try to get his point across. I did ask him if he wanted me to lie to him and tell him something he wanted to hear.
Anyway, why I continue to try to talk to my father is beyond me? I have truly accepted my ex-husband will not change and have really distanced myself from any communication. However, with my father I continue to try to keep communication open. For the longest time with my ex-husband I believed his words and not his actions.
His words said he wanted us to have a good marriage and get along… but his actions were that of a bachelor, not coming home to spend time with me and our family and laying on his ass watching football for the entire weekend when he was home. His words said he loved me very much and wanted me to be happy… but his actions showed that he did not love me and could care less how I felt. He told me that our daughter and I were the most important people in his life… but his actions said work, football, drinking and himself were the most important things to him.
Now, his words tell our daughter she is the most important person in his life… but again his actions tell her football and tv are the most important things to him. My father wants to believe people can change. Sure, they can change, but only if they want to and intend to work very hard at making that happen. I wanted so desperately to believe that my ex-husband would wake up one day and we would be a happy family. However, that was just fantasy thinking on my part. Also, as long as I accepted his unacceptable behavior, he had no reason to do anything different.
Today, I soft of view my ex-husband as a teenager. He is a 45 year old man who still watches college & pro football all weekend long, hangs out with his friends and just wants to do whatever he wants to do. He has not changed his behaviors at all since the day I met him. He lets our daughter do whatever she wants and never tells her no. She gets what he is doing but of course she take advantage of that. Not that I approve of this movie at all but this part of the preview clip is almost too true of parents trying to be the ‘good parent’ to their children. Kinds of reminds me of that movie preview clip from That’s My Boy movie with Adam Sandler and the adult kids says, ”
One of the biggest changes for me was when I finally gained my own self-confidence and self-worth. Learned how to create Boundaries of what I would and would not accept. Basically, “You can continue to lay around, watch football, drink with your friends and not come home. But I am not okay or willing to live like that anymore.” I had to stop making idle threats and follow through with what I said. I think I said “I want a divorce” so often it had no impact what-so-ever on him. At that time, my words “I want a divorce” really meant I want you to hear that I am unhappy and change your behavior. Obviously, my words had no effect. So I eventually did get divorced and still he didn’t change.
So as I discussed in my previous emails regarding my father’s email with his topic of ‘You, you you… but this is about God’ and how familiar this was sounding to emails from my ex-husband. One of the emails I received years ago were regarding sending our daughter to therapy because she was having tantrums, difficulty in school and was complaining her vaginal area hurt. I have written about that time in my post titled Abusive Warning Signs – Something is Wrong with more details on that unexplained situation and there are a string of emails that really remind me of this bizarre exchange with my father. We will call my ex-husband ‘Dick’ and I have changed my daughter’s name to ‘Our Daughter’ and such.
At this point I am almost finished writing this long exchange and it is really exhausting. I can actually still feel my frustration with dealing with him to this day. It actually reminds me of the movie The Help where Abilene is stating Miss Hilly is a Godless woman who tries to scare & lie to get what she wants. Then Abilene says to her, “Ain’t you tired Miss Hilly? Ain’t you tired?” I feel like saying that to my ex-husband, “Ain’t you tired yet?” Maybe that desire to have power & control just keeps them fired up?
The Talent Show Exchange
May 10, 2005 6:13pm – Email I sent to my Ex-husband:
The talent show is this Friday and tomorrow is the last day they are having practice and it is at 5pm at Joan’s house (by your house). What are your ideas about that?
May 10, 2005 6:30pm – Email from my Ex-husband:
Ironic…. after all the emails you sent yesterday you send me this. If you take her to practice do you stay with her? I cannot remember what I had sent ‘yesterday’, perhaps that will be my next post.
I have no problem with her going to practice but I do want to see her but this limits my time with her as well as her missing gymnastics (I pay $55 per month whether she goes or not). I would trade days so that I can get her on Thursday for a couple of hours but I may not be able to get her by 6:00. If we choose this route then we can play it by ear otherwise I can suggest you bring her after practice but that seems distracting to her…. the quick visits. I say we push for Thursday but don’t mention anything until I contact you regarding my return from my 4:30 appointment. Other than his initial comment ‘Ironic…’ he is not completely unreasonable here.
Let me know.
Today, I doubt I would allow a conversation to go on for this long. It is entirely too long and drawn out. I allowed him to suck me into his control.
May 10, 2005 8:48pm – 2nd Email from my Ex-husband:
Please let me know asap so I will know if I am going to see her tomorrow or the next day.
May 10, 2005 8:48pm – Email I sent to my Ex-husband:
I know this rehearsal came as a surprise. I don’t always get a lot of notice where school functions are concerned. I agree it is important for our daughter to go to the talent show practice tomorrow so on Friday she will feel comfortable doing this with her friends. I am willing to exchange Wednesday for Thursday this week. I have to leave the house at 6:30pm please pick her up by then. Then can pick her up at your house on Thursday before 8:30pm.
Also, our daughter has been invited to Andrew’s (across the street) birthday party on May 15, Sunday at 12:30pm-2:30pm. She is really excited about this party and I don’t have any problems taking her since it means so much to her. I do not have to leave the house until 3pm so if you would rather drop her off and I can take her and then you can pick her up at 2:30pm.
May 11, 2005 2:20am – Email from my Ex-husband:
First of all I am ALWAYS flexible with you when it comes to our daughter, however, it seems that you are not following your own advice. For the past two days you have sent me somewhat stern emails regarding our daughter’s time with you and me “trying” to disrupt it. As you know I was not trying to do that. Remember, there are times you can call me to see if you can take her to McDonalds when I have her, there are times you call me to pick her up when I don’t have her because you are on your fourth step and need some time alone. There are times when you get a babysitter for a Friday night yet you don’t call me to see if I could watch her, which you did this past Friday, yet you make a big deal about this weekend and how your time is your time. I always seem to accommodate you. He is being forceful by using the capitalization and I can’t remember him ‘always’ being flexible over the past 8 years. I do remember him making every ‘yes or no’ conversation into this long drawn out ordeal. I actually remember now this ‘big deal’ I made about that weekend. He had decided to leave a voice-mail telling our daughter he would pick her up on Mother’s day to spend time with him. We had to have this long discussion about that being Mother’s Day and I would prefer he make arrangements with me instead of our 6 year old in the future.
I suggested switching days because I am aware of how important this school function is but I also mentioned that I am cramped on Thursday. If you must know the appointment at 4:30 is for laser surgery and it can’t rescheduled at this juncture I will pick her up but since I am being flexible don’t dictate what time I have to pick her up by. I will do my best to get her by 6:30. Funny, his comment ‘if you must know’ regarding his appointment, I didn’t ask. Even looking back now it seems he will be flexible as long as he is in control of the situation.
Regarding the birthday party, as always I am flexible but not sure about the picking up and dropping off and picking her up again part. This is very upsetting to her and disruptive for me. I have limited time with her and believe it or not I go out and do fun things with her lately it seems every-time my days with her have to be altered due to some event. As ALWAYS I am flexible but I am a little thrown off by the fact you blasted me for Mothers Day if you recall you blamed me for potentially hurting her feelings. Remember she called me and wanted to have breakfast .. just the three of us. Did not see you jumping in there and defusing the situation. When she does that to me I always diffuse it. He repeats the statement he is ‘always flexible’ a few times in this email. It is also funny that he comments on the back and forth but in a few emails he suggest the most confusing ‘back and forth’ schedule adjustment. With regards to the Mother’s Day situation I actually remember pretty clearly. To this day he still won’t let her have friends to play with ‘on his time’ or attend birthday parties/functions that fall on his visitation day. Now that our daughter is older she mentioned one time to me, “Mom, my dad says I can’t have friends over on ‘his time’ but you let me have friends over when I am on ‘your time’. My dad invites his friends over but I can’t invite mine.” You know I didn’t have to respond to this statement because she has made her own conclusions based on his actions over the years.
Bottom line, in the future if you need to alter or exchange days/weekends then that is perfectly fine with me. Please read the last sentence again so there won’t be a misunderstanding. Let’s both keep in mind that we consider the other schedule as well as respect the others time with and without her. Let’s also not set any expectations to her such as certain events like quick visits or parties if we don’t’ have her. He uses ‘bottom line’ or ‘for the record’ kind of statements all the time. Kind a ‘My Way or the Highway’ statement.
May 11, 2005 7:14am – Email I sent to my Ex-husband:
I will not be here after 6:30pm which is why I said that.
I cant change my plans every time our daughter’s activity happen to fall on your parenting days but I am willing to accommodate so she can attend these functions. I would think you would welcome the opportunity to participate fully with her in school activities and meet her classmates. It will give you an opportunity to know and participate in whatever she is involved in, and meet her friends. That’s part of being there for her as a parent, which I am sure you enjoy.
The other options is you can take her to both of these:
You are welcome to pick her up a few minutes early, at 4:45pm and take her to Joan’s house for rehearsal. Rehearsal is only 30 minutes. If you do that, then she will not miss gymnastics and you can bring her home afterwards as normal.
Andrew is our daughter’s friend across the street. He came to her party and brought her a present and it would be a good experience for our daughter to do the same. In addition, it would be a good experience for our daughter too about social reciprocal behavior. And as if that were not enough reason to go, they are having hamburgers and hot-dogs for lunch! LOL I am sure you two would have fun!
May 11, 2005 9:50am – Email from my Ex-husband:
I have a solution. Need to discuss with you but since you do not like speaking with me then I will break it down. No, I didn’t like speaking with him and I still do not, his controlling attitude is really hard to stomach. To this day I hate having to involve him on anything and have really put the situation between my daughter and him, “You will have to ask your dad about the party because that is his weekend.” I also do not say it with any malice.
I have a business engagement that I need to attend on Friday… I have cancelled it since I have our daughter. I suggest I get our daughter on Thursday and she spend the night with me and I take her to school on Friday. She stays with you on Friday and I come get her Saturday morning. Sunday she goes to the party and you take her and pick her up and bring her by (since you have to be somewhere at 3pm).
Note to Reader: This is really the turning point for me when I decided it was time for us to go by the decree. Firstly, Dick has me doing all the footwork regarding our daughter’s activities that fell on his weekends. He wasn’t willing to take her to any school functions but he was willing to have me pick her up, take her and then return her to him. See above on the schedule he created even after he had already stated earlier he felt all the back and forth was bad for our daughter.
Secondly, the flexibility always seemed to be one-sided and create excessive emails & conflicts. So after a discussion with a friend who brought that to my attention that this flexibility was working for him but not for me. She recommended going by the decree to end our conflicts because it had become very clear that this was some sort of ‘game’ he was playing. Any email that could have had a simple ‘yes or no’ always turned into this type of ordeal full of chaos and drama. I think my ex-husband really thrives on this chaos because of his desire to control. So in going by the decree we would no longer have to have any future discussions regarding schedules.
Understand that I am aware things come up for both you and I and we have to be flexible but this seems too difficult for whatever reason. Hmm, I wonder if the reason has anything to do with trying to co-parent with an abusive & controlling ex-husband?
If you don’t agree to any or all of this then let me know and I will pick her up today at 5:00 and I will pick her up at 6:00 on Friday and bring her back by 7:00 on Sunday. This is not a strong arm tactic… I am just growing tired of the complexity that has materialized. I just want what is best for her as always and I do miss being with her. If this weren’t a ‘strong arm tactic’ there would be no reason to say that, would there?
May 11, 2005 12:55pm – Another Email from my Ex-husband:
It is almost 1:00…. I need to know what you have decided. I have a meeting I am trying to reschedule but I can’t until I know if I am picking her up at 5:00. Let me know… if I don’t hear from you then I will see her at 5:00. Thanks for leaving me in limbo. I am trying to be patient here but I am not getting much help from you.
May 11, 2005 1:16pm – Email to my Ex-husband:
I just got home and I just had time to review all your emails. Now I am really confused at what you want to do and what you want me to do at this point. All of this comes around not being based on the decree. So at this point the decree is what is best for our daughter. Your next visitation is Thursday from 6-8pm, after that you know what the decree reads.
May 11, 2005 1:23pm – Email from my Ex-husband:
Not trying to confuse you. Are you not taking her to the talent show practice today? If so I can pick her up tomorrow by 6:30. As for the weekend I can get a sitter or take her to the child play center if need be. Please confirm we are switching today for Thursday.
May 11, 2005 1:53pm – Email to my Ex-husband:
Please refer back to the decree. At this point I am not willing to go here, I want to go by the decree. I think that is what is best for our daughter. Our communications seem to cause more conflicts than solutions. At this point the decree is best because it takes you and I out of it and we can focus on what is really important here, our daughter.
Our Daughters’s counselor gave me his card to give to you. He said he would love to meet you. He said she is very guarded about her feelings but she doesn’t seem to be depressed, her behavior exhibits anger over our divorce. Her next appointment is June 6th. I will give you his card along with the school pictures tomorrow.
May 11, 2005 2:05pm – Email from my Ex-husband:
I will pick her up at six and bring her back by 8. On Friday I will pick her up at 6:00 and bring her back at 6:00 on Sunday. Just want to confirm so there is no misunderstanding. See her tomorrow.
May 11, 2005 2:30pm – Email to my Ex-husband:
You misunderstood, according to the decree, you do not have her this weekend your visitation is the following weekend. I am aware that sometimes this is going to work in my favor and sometimes it is not, so be it.
I will continue to take her to gymnastics.
May 11, 2005 2:38pm – Email from my Ex-husband:
You told me I could have her for the next two weekends!!! Due to the Mother’s Day deal.
May 11, 2005 2:42pm – Email to my Ex-husband:
That was when we were being flexible, now we are going by the decree which starts today.
Guilt and Threats
May 11, 2005 2:49pm – Email from my Ex-husband:
I have your email that confirms you agreed to this… you actually proposed this. The day will come when you need something. Next to the CPS thing, this is the worst thing you could have done. You are trying to hurt me but in turn you are hurting our daughter. Going forward you can give me all correspondence regarding our daughter via email, don’t’ expect a response. I will send all bills, etc with her via back pack.
I should have seen this coming.
May 12, 2005 2:41pm – Email to my Ex-husband:
For the month of June I would like my summer weekend to be June 3-5.
May 12, 2005 2:49pm – Email from my Ex-husband:
Do you mean the month of July or are you saying that even though June 3-5 is the first weekend of the month (which is mine) you are awarded her by the language of the decree
I do know that there were certain dates that written notification had to be done by (4/16). I also know that i have her for the entire month of July (unless I or you gave written notice). Needless to say I will look at the decree to see if it states any language regarding to your response.
I will pick her up at Joan’s house at 6:00.
May 13, 2005 6:48am – Email to my Ex-husband:
I am not sure how you are reading my emails but when I write you these emails I am taking great care in trying not to create any problems, anger or communication errors between us. I am trying to keep you informed and involved with our daughter. There is a huge communication problem between us that seems to create unnecessary conflict.
The reason I opted to go by the decree is because it is in writing and it leaves less room for problems. If we can come up with something in writing that is outside the decree; like Wednesday instead of Thursday, I would be willing to do that. I think we need to stop the conflicts. Perhaps we can start with one year, then we can rethink next year as it comes.
Would you be willing to compromise for a solution?
Blocking and Diverting
May 13, 2005 12:02pm – Email from my Ex-husband: Here is where he blows his stack!
Please read the email below that states “thats’ when we were being flexible… now we are going by the decree which starts today”. How can I misconstrue the meaning?
You promised me that I would have her this weekend as well as the next (due to Mother’s Day). You have a history of going in and out of the decree which is based on how you feel towards me on that given day. If you recall I have been flexible throughout this period. I have moved days to Wednesday to accommodate your pool league, I was late picking her up one day and you no longer want her spending the night on weekdays and I agreed (you pulled the decree thing on me again), I chose your CPA to do the taxes, I gave you money for the dishwasher, paid for her furniture which I did not have to do (per your attorney), I was willing to take her when you went on your Alanon trip, I am always willing to take her if you have something come up or need to switch and I allow you to take her on my weekends and weekdays to go to parties, etc.
Note to Reader: We went to my CPA because the prior year he signed my name on our income return, hid the money in a secret account, and lied about it for 2-3 months. He agreed to pay for the dishwasher and daughter’s furniture during our divorce 6 months before
If you also notice, ‘he allows me to take her on his weekends to parties, etc…’ This is stuff that he should be doing.
With that being said you have returned the favor by throwing the decree at me every time you are mad, you take her to a therapist that we did not agree on, you say you will not communicate with me unless I go to therapy, AA, etc. and the last but not least you accused me and filed a report to the police on the CPA situation. I WONDER WHY THERE IS A HUGE COMMUNICATION PROBLEM!!!
Note to Reader: Regarding the Child Protection Services comment, our daughter had complaints of her vagina hurting for months after many visitations with her father. After taking her to the doctor repeatedly and found no medical reason for these complaints the Pediatrician told me I had to call CPS or the doctor would call them. Read additional details in my post about this topic Warning Signs – Something is Wrong. According to the Domestic Abuser Counselor if something were happening and I did not make the call then I was risk of losing my daughter.
You only hurt our daughter when you do these things! Read my email below that says the day will come when you need something… if you have read the decree then you know that you do not get her for an extended weekend since you did not provide that in writing prior to the deadline. I am tired of you using the decree as leverage, PER YOUR REQUEST I WILL HONOR THE DECREE!!!
May 13, 2005 2:20pm – Email to my Ex-husband:
I am done, perhaps we need a third party.
May 13, 2005 2:22pm – Email from my Ex-husband:
Bring it on. I can read and I know what the decree says. Have your attorney call me or my new attorney. I welcome it. Who is discussing attorneys? At what point did I ever say we needed to call an attorney?
Anyone reading this email can catch the first half by reading the post from yesterday titled Abusive and Controlling Emails – Email Traps. Okay, so I decided this email was worth posting because this is simply an abusive email by someone I know, in this case my father. I am also able to recognize the similarities between my father’s irrational behavior and my ex-husbands behavior. Abusive emails seem to have certain ‘core values’, regardless of the topic of the email, if you take the time to look at how it is being said you can really see the underlying values.
Underlying Core Email Values:
Attack, control, guilt, threats, blaming, minimizing, shifting-blame, twisting the facts, passive aggressive words, emotionally charged, ranting & raving and sometimes contains no facts. Also, as you can see in the email below, there is not a single ‘real’ question in this email, only statements in the form of questions. In this case, if I decides to respond only to the facts, there doesn’t’ seem to be any.
October 16, 2012 – An email received from my father:
I have done nothing recently that has deserved your bitterness and hatred. I realize that you are suffering from the aftereffects of your own unfortunate marriage, as I once did mine. Somebody once wisely told me to Get Over It! I have learned that harboring hatred and bitterness not only corrodes one’s own feelings of any affection towards others, but it causes loved ones to grieve as well. In this comment my father is minimizing his behavior and part in the problem. He has made the conclusion that I am full of bitterness and hatred because I am choosing not to engage in this argument and have made that clear multiple times. It is also interesting to see him block and diverting his part in the ‘discussion’ by casting blame on my personal experience with my ex-husband. I have been divorced for almost eight years now and the only thing I resent is my ex-husband’s manipulation of our daughter and his injecting himself into our lives as often as he does. The last sentence actually sounds like he is trying to guilt me into responding by saying this is causing him to grieve.
It is really your Ex-husband that is your problem, not me. If you and I have a problem, it is only of your making, though you may not even realize it. I have tried to have patience with you, but you seem to be overflowing with venom. I thought I could help you understand your problem from my many years of experience, but you have shut me out, blocked my emails and hung up on me numerous times. Once again you see my father is trying to shift the focus to this being my problem with my ex-husband and not my problem with my father’s irrational behavior and emails. In my father’s previous email posted at Abusive and Controlling Emails – Email Traps it certainly does not exhibit patience in my opinion. His statement sounds like he is my savior by trying to help me. Then he attempts to place guilt back on me and is shifting blame because I chose to hang up the phone. Okay, hanging up the phone is wrong, but when the conversation is that heated, irrational and your words are not being heard I choose to end the conversation by hanging up if I cannot get a word in edgewise. Perhaps I need to work on not hanging up.
I was going to email your husband and ask him to tell you for me that until you learn some manners, decency, and common courtesy, not to call or email me again, but not only would that be meddling, but it would probably incense you to further hatred and anger and make further communications impossible. I am not trying to provoke you to anger, you are doing that to yourself! My father is going to tell my husband on me? Yes he is correct that would be meddling as I am a grown adult and his suggesting he will contact my husband sounds more like he wants to enlist other people to come to his defense. I already spoke to my husband who said he agreed I should not respond. I am provoking myself to anger. I do not feel angry, a little frustrated at the situation, and too many familiar feelings between this email and the ones I have received from my abusive ex-husband. Also in these exchanges I really recognize my ex-husband’s behavior in my father which further shows I married my dad. I remember telling my ex-husband, during these types of exchanges, before I would hang up, “Oh, the cookies are burning!” (advice from my attorney)
You are going to have to work on your hateful feelings all by yourself if you will not accept any suggestions from others, particularly those from your own father, whom you seem to enjoy insulting and hanging up on. When I saw that you blocked my emails (through which you continue to spout your viewpoint while disregarding mine), I was tempted to disown and disinherit both you and your daughter because of your apparent rudeness, but then I thought that would not be showing the unconditional love that we, as alleged Christians, owe to each other. I am choosing not to engage, however he continues to try to contact me with these long emotionally charged & highly irrational emails. Remember, this entire conversation revolves around that he mistakenly believes I am advising women to get to divorced on my blog. Which I am not doing and even if I were what business is that of his? I am not giving advise for anyone to get divorced and made that very clear to him. I never asked his opinion on the matter. Now he is threatening to disown/disinherit me & my daughter, then he goes back to the ‘guilt trip’ statement.
When I saw this morning that you even continue to email me, with your many one-sided opinions, I was tempted to just delete your messages even before reading them, just as you blocked me from responding to you; but that would be crude and thoughtless of me too. What do you expect of me, calling and emailing me seven times in the last two days, and then trying to ridicule me or block my all responses? And then, you have the nerve to try to cut me off from communications with my own granddaughter as you try to control her life and who she can consider a Facebook “friend” and who she can’t? Aren’t those the very same tactics that you said you hated your Ex-husband for?
Here was the exchange:
10/15 An irrational phone call that I ended
10/15 A long ‘God will judge you’ email from my father
10/15 My short email reply correcting my father’s incorrect belief about my ‘promoting divorce’
10/16 His phone call at 8:30am the next morning stating ‘My divorce recommendations may have legal consequences’
10/16 A second call I did not answer
10/16 This long (minimizing, guilt, blame-shifting) email
10/16 Some stranger I do not know that he enlisted to email me to ‘make sure my email worked’ for ‘legitimate’ reason.
10/17 Received another email recommending a Christian book called ‘Know Why You Believe’ (religion as a weapon?)
If unconditional love sometimes requires our patience to be taken advantage of repeatedly by a misguided (hateful) relative, then I must commend my parents for their love. As much as you seem to enjoy condemning my father, at least he never hung up on me or spewed venom and then blocked my responses so I couldn’t even defend my rationale. He was much more loving than some people I know. Honestly, this first sentence makes no sense to me, ‘taken advantage of by a misguided (hateful) relative, then he commends his parents love. My grandfather was extremely verbally abusive to my grandma and physically & emotionally abusive to all three of his children. My personal belief is verbal/physical/emotional/financial abuse is not ‘Love’, it is sick. Now I am ‘spewing venom’ and I don’t think I even sound ‘venomous’ while writing this. So my grandfather was more loving than some people he knows, this email seems to be full of implied insults to me. Notice how he doesn’t exactly say what he means, this is a ‘passive aggressive’ tactic that helps person not be accountable for what they say.
Rest assured that no matter hateful you are to me, I will always try to forgive you, since you are my one and only daughter. But unless you can learn some common courtesy towards your own father (whom you are admonished to “honor” according to our God’s commandments), you are going to have to solve your difficulties strictly between you and your God, or whomever else will put up with your unmitigated hatred and apparent tantrums.. If you just want to hurl accusations and argue, please just leave me out of it! If you want respect from me, remember, it is a two-way street! (“Do unto others…”) So again I am hateful, he is loving and then reminds me I am his daughter. It really feels his definition of ‘common courtesy would my agreeing that he is correct and I am ‘misguided’. Then using religious comment again that ‘God says I am to honor my father’. Then he moves on to insulting me by stating ‘whomever’ is willing to put up with my tantrums. Now I am hurling accusations, then I should leave him out of it, but yet he continues to contact me with these emails. Then the ‘Do unto others’ which he really isn’t doing right now.
I Married My Father
Also, the interesting fact is how similar my Ex-husband and Father seem to be. People often say you marry someone with qualities like your father. I visited my father twice a year, every year, between the ages of 4-16. Somehow I did manage to pick a man that is very much like my father, even my divorce circumstances closely resemble the relationship between my father and mother.
I will say this email caught me off-guard. Throughout my entire life my father just bashed my mother repeatedly to me, but never directly insulting me. These email exchanges are the first time he has ever attacked me like this. I also do not feel like this ‘disagreement’ over my father’s incorrect assumption that I am telling all the women of the world to get divorced. That escalated into this bizarre exchange. It sort of makes me wonder if my father is really attacking my mother in this entire exchange. It also makes me wonder how awful he must have been to deal with for my mother. I never had this type of attack until now.
At the age of 16, I flat out refused to go see my father, and our visitations stopped. As a child my father blasted my mom to me, crammed religion down my throat, and sometimes had bizarre tantrums/episodes that I remember feeling very confused about. At the age of 16, I really had not processed all the words he said to me, but I had decided I did not like how it felt. He did take me on fishing trips, camping, museums and to pick blueberries & cherries which I have fond memories of. What I did not like was when he would trap me in the car or on the fishing boat and start attacking my mother.
Bad Memory Lane I do remember a time when I was between the age of 12-14, I was suppose to go to a Bible camp and we were suppose to go to the church to sign me up. We were suppose to go fishing so I wore a pair of jeans with holes in the knees (I think that was the fashion). I vividly remember my father losing his temper and yelling at me that I could not wear jeans with holes in them at church. I asked, “Dad, we are not going to church, we are just going to sign up for camp right?” At this point he really threw a tantrum, ranting and raving about my clothes. I remember he sat on the stairs and sulked, like a child would. I was still a kid but I remember not knowing how to respond to his behavior. I do not even remember if I ended up changing clothes or not because my memory stops at his melt down.
Something was very wrong with my father and nobody ever really told me what. I remember my grandparents telling me he was sick, oftentimes blaming on my mother’s leaving was why he was sick. I also remember them telling me I was going to have to take care of him one day. That frightened me as a child. I know he was taking pills but when I asked what they were he would also tell me they were Aspirin. Maybe he didn’t want me to tell my mother or something?
Now, I never saw my father drink alcohol, only tons of diet cokes. However, in the past few years he has told me stories of how he had tons of empty bottles stashed under his bed. When I attended Alanon I often felt my father’s behavior resembled that of an alcoholic but he had hid his drinking from me. I really saw the similarities between my ex-husband and father. My ex-husband was most certainly an alcoholic and very verbally abusive. My father I thought was a dry drunk, but was actually an alcoholic and very verbally abusive. They both seemed to have this Grandiosity opinion of themselves. It really seemed as if they both had two personalities and I never could predict which personality I would see.
Okay, so I am still pretty baffled at this entire episode with my father. I do not know if he is drinking again or stopped taking whatever medication he has been taking. I do know that abusiveness & alcoholism both have cycles. These cycles seem to come out of nowhere and leave one baffled and confused.
Tips to Responding to Abusive Emails – I didn’t completely take my own advice here, I was a little off-guard getting an email from my father. However I need to use my own advise in the future when responding to my father. I practiced this with my ex-husband and need to do the same thing with anyone else.
Trying to Rationalize the Irrational
Well, I just had the strangest argument with my father yesterday over the phone. I mentioned this blog and that I was sharing my personal experiences on this blog. Somehow the conversation led to my stating I believed a women in a physically abusive relationship should take herself and her children, should she have any, and get somewhere safe.
My father started saying things that divorce is not always the course. Commenting that the women could somehow appeal to their husband’s so they could change. I commented that men who are abusive will only change if they are ready, willing and oftentimes they do not see that they are abusive. Now, please know that my father was abusive to my mother, and abusive to me as a child. Throughout my whole childhood he was so bitter and resentful that my mother left and did everything in his power to try to ruin my relationship with my mother. I thought he had been working really hard over the past few years on getting over that. Well, his controlling ways certainly reared their ugly head over a conversation I thought was pretty minor. A difference of opinion but it has really blown up and escalated. In addition, I have barely had to say anything and it continues to grow.
I also explained to my father how my ex-husband would tell me he was going to counseling & to AA but he was only saying that to get me back. My ex-husband only made it to a few sessions and as soon as I was back in the door he stopped. My experience was that my ex-husband would always say he would change but in the end he always went back to being the same abusive man he had always been.
Using Religion to Control Others
The conversation with my father turned religious and I probably should have ended the call right there. He commented that in the eyes of God, he hates divorce. I replied that I did not believe God condones violence and if the man was violent is not very likely he is a man of faith. My father has been using religion throughout my whole life for a reason to condemn my mother and justify his hateful comments he made about her. His personal justification was that he was only trying to ‘save me’ from a life of ‘sin’.
Somehow during that conversation my father got the idea that I was encouraging women to leave their husband’s and get divorced. I disagree with him on the purpose of my blog. Most of the time I use my blog as my personal outlet for my journey of dealing with an abusive man from when I met him, married, divorced and now have to share custody of our daughter. My journey with my abusive ex-husband has been quite a challenge. Some days I am angry over the situation and other days I try to let it go and find peace in today. Some of my blog posts are venting where some contain facts or lessons I have learned along my journey.
Watch Out for Abusive Email Traps
So, I ended this very argumentative phone call with my father. He followed the phone call with a long email telling me it was not my place to advise people. He also stated very strongly that peopled needed to focus on forgiveness rather than anger. However, I do not feel my blog is all about anger or hatred and I responded with that thought. My response was very short, only a few sentences. I restated what my purpose of this blog and that was not advising people to get divorced or leave their husbands.
Then I received a few strong reply. The reply was full of ‘You’ and ‘Your’, in fact I counted 29 of these words in about four long paragraphs. This type of email was seeming all too familiar to me. The email was pretty much, ‘You, you, you…. but this is all about God.’ I remember getting those emails from my ex-husband. However those emails were, ‘You, you, you… but this is all about our daughter.’ This abusive email I received from my ex-husband many years ago is a great example of what I am referring to.
In fact this email was really an ‘Ah Ha!’ for me. This type of controlling & aggressive email seems so familiar to me because, with the exception of the topic, it could very well have been written by my ex-husband. It really just makes so much sense how I ended up picking a man that was so much like my father. I think I already knew that but sometimes life seems to circle back for a new lesson? I guess this is just another journey during my recovery of a lifetime of abuse. However, I have no intentions of allowing this to drag on.
October 15, 2012 – Email from my abusive Father:
If you want to know the truth, YOU are the one who judges me, my dad, even my mom, my brother, your ex-husband, all the people you like to call “abusers,” and I assume everyone else who you think may disagree with you! You will not allow me my own considered opinions, but you try to force yours on me, threatening to sever our relationship if I don’t applaud your decisions, well-thought-out or otherwise. All the people who I call abusers? Well my grandfather was abusive and my father will admit that. My father and his brother were both abusive to their wives, and statistics have shown that boys that witness abuse are more likely to become abusers. My grandmother was certainly not abusive as much as she was a victim of abuse in a generation where leaving was not an option. I never said he was not allowed to have his own opinion. However, I did threaten to sever the relationship if this abusive & controlling conversation continued. I have the right not to engage in this abusive rhetoric.
You will not even listen to the God you claim to believe in. I did not reference the Book of First John just to “cram the Bible down your throat,” but so you can thoughtfully decide if you even are a Christian, and that is between you and God, not you and me!. I also suggest that if you have an aversion to reading the Bible, that you reread (or perhaps read for the first time) the poem I wrote about “Judgment” on page 16, plus the Bible reference at the bottom. It is strictly Scriptural (From God’s lips to your ears!). How on earth did this conversation get to my not listening to God? If this is between God and myself, why is my father so upset in this email? I never said that I had any problems with the bible during our conversation. Then he is referring me to a book he wrote where he is sharing his experiences and includes scriptures. So we are discussing the Bible but he is referring to his book. As for the comment ‘From God’s lips to your ears!’ sounds more like from my ‘Father’s lips to my ears!’.
This is not an issue between you and me; it is between you and the One who died for you despite your evidently continuing “sin” of hating other people, including me! He states again that this is not between my father and I, but between God and myself. The facts in this email certainly does not seem to verify his point. My “sin” of hating other people, including him? Not sure where the ‘hatred’ comment ever came from and my choosing to end the conversation means I hate him?
If you really want to know what I think, then read my book thoughtfully before you call me again, if all you want to do is spew hatred and argue over the phone! Interesting that he is discussing his book again. I must go reread my father’s book before I call and spew hatred and argue over the phone. I chose to end the phone conversation because the tone and direction was abusive and controlling, certainly not a rational discussion.
I remember one time I was discussing something with my mom, and I was overwhelmed with blithering hatred. She finally was compelled to forcefully say to me, “You are so full of pure hatred! Go to your room and get down on your knees and pray to God to help you get your hatred out of your system and begin to show a little love and charity towards other people!” He is discussing a memory he has with my grandmother that I assume occurred when he was a child? How on earth did my discussing my Blog, as my personal outlet, lead to this type of email?
It later occurred to me she was right, and that my own hatred was actually the source of most of my own problems and that I actually did need God’s help and many years of effort to contend with it! Fortunately for me and my siblings, she chose to love, forgive and respect her husband (see Ephesians 5:22-33), and make the best of her marriage rather than get a divorce! No matter what you think, for that I can’t slight her one single bit! Because of her blessed courage and God’s help, I didn’t end up being a child of divorce myself! I do not judge you for your life and your own decisions, but I do sincerely suggest you be reconciled to God at least for your daughter’s sake! My father who was working on his own hatred spent the better part of my life (age 4-25) saying horrible things about my mother whom he hated for leaving him. Oftentimes using God in his statements full of hate and vengeance. His mother who stayed married during a time when divorce was not really an option. My grandfather was was verbally abusive to my grandmother and very physically abusive to my father, Uncle and sometimes my Aunt. My father went on to abuse my mother and myself. My Uncle went on to abuse his wife and his daughter. My Aunt went on to pick a husband, deliberately choosing the opposite of her father, and moved away and raised some pretty fantastic kids. Yet in his final sentence he says he is not judging me for my decision to divorce my ex-husband. Have to say this email sounds pretty judgmental to me.
Okay, so against my better judgement I did reply to my father.
I am not okay with this conversion or the controlling & abusive tone. The email with 29 ‘you’ and ‘your’ in one email doesn’t sound God focused to me, it sounds [Father’s Name] focused; “You, you, you… but this is all about God.” Actually I have so many email from my ex-husband where he blasted me in an email full of threats and stating; “You, you, you… but this is all about our daughter.” I tried very hard to keep my response in this email with; ‘I feel, my thoughts, my beliefs and worked hard to keep You statements out of here as much possible.
Although I didn’t agree with your opinion, I chose to end the conversation because I felt it was getting out of control. We do not have to agree on this matter, your experiences are not mine, and my experiences are not yours, therefore they are not relatable. I really feel we have been here before and I am very much unwilling to have this type of relationship with anyone. My blog is simply my own personal experience, spreading awareness and has nothing to do with revenge or hatred.
You are right this is between God and myself and I need that respected. It is really best if we table this conversation because this is not going to improve our relationship. If I am going to be judged, that is between God and myself, not you and me.
It later occurred to me she was right, and that my own hatred was actually the source of most of my own problems and that I actually did need God’s help and many years of effort to contend with it! Fortunately for me and my siblings, she chose to love, forgive and respect her husband (see Ephesians 5:22-33), and make the best of her marriage rather than get a divorce! No matter what you think, for that I can’t slight her one single bit! Because of her blessed courage and God’s help, I didn’t end up being a child of divorce myself! I do not judge you for your life and your own decisions, but I do sincerely suggest you be reconciled to God at least for your daughter’s sake!
Really? Do we need to go there? The point of my blog is not that abusive men do not change, however this conversation is kind of proving that point. If your mom was in a time & age where she could have chosen not to tolerate the abusive behavior, perhaps you would have learned earlier not to be abusive to your wife & daughter.
The next email that in that is more than a few paragraphs and contains excessive You, Exclamation Marks, and God will Judge You…. will be the time I choose to Block any future emails.
Now, I do not feel my email was inappropriate. I also refuse to carrying with these types of conversations. This is how all my conversions with my ex-husband were. However instead of all the talk about ‘God and Judgement’ it was typically how I was wrong, he was right and he was sorry he was going to have to take me to court to get custody of our daughter. Most of those emails contained excessive You/Your, Exclamation Marks and Capitalization. I will have to post one of my ex-husbands emails that is full of these types of sentences which are all about power and control. Seems to me when you do not do what they say, or agree with something they said, or refuse to talk to them… they kind of flip out and try to get you back under control. When that doesn’t work they just escalate their attempts to regain control. When you really consider who is out of control… the abuser is.
October 16, 2012 – Phone Calls Starting
Update, this morning I just received a phone call from my father. I wondered if he was calling to apologize. However, when I picked up I immediately said, “I have about two minutes for this call.” He goes on again how if I advising people to get divorced that I could face legal consequences. I replied that I have already told him multiple times that was not what I was doing. He said, “He could only imagine that I am spewing my hatred to him that I must be doing that in my blog.” I hung up the phone. Now I am thinking maybe he is drinking, on or possibly not on some medication, because this is beyond irrational. Well I had a few good years with my father where I felt he was really working on becoming a different man than the father he was throughout my life. However, I cannot carry-on this type of unhealthy relationship with anyone, not even my father. Phone is ringing again, it is my father, but I am not picking up. This reminds me of the obsessive emails & calls my ex-husband use to engage in.
Discuss Irrational Email With A Trusted Rational Friend
Of course I already had this discussion with a rational friend yesterday. In the past, when I received this type of email from my ex-husband, I needed to get a reality check. She was surprised it had gone the direction it did as well. She asked me if he was drinking or something and to be quite honest I do not know. However, nothing about this conversation and his persistence seems rational to me. He is completely fixated on the fact that I am publishing a ‘Get Divorced’ column.
Our Journeys May Be Different
As far as Divorce goes, I cannot advise anyone. It is not my place. I can only share my personal experiences and possibly direct people to Domestic Abuse Centers or Family Alcoholic Centers. Beyond that I cannot tell someone if they should stay in their marriage or not. Everyone has their own journey, my journey may be different than the one someone else should take. Nobody could tell me what I needed to do during the course of my life. I had to get educated on the topics of Domestic Abuse and Alcoholism and only then I made my decisions. I personally never wanted to get divorced, in fact I stayed married longer than I should of in hopes to save my marriage. In the end it takes two to make a marriage work and I simply could not stay in a abusive & toxic marriage. I know now that so many of my physical illness had to do with being in a toxic and emotional abusive relationship. In the end, I had to think about the health & happiness of myself and my daughter.
Tips to Responding to Abusive Emails – I didn’t completely take my own advice here, I was a little off-guard getting an email from my father. However I need to use my own advise in the future when responding to my father. I practiced this with my ex-husband and need to do the same thing with anyone else.
Last week I sent my abusive ex-husband an email basically stating that I had problems with my father for years for the same stuff he is doing to our daughter. In my email I stated how similar my father and ex-husband are. I also said I believed it was my fault for selecting someone similar to my father to marry and that is why our daughter has to deal with so much emotional abuse. I left him with a question of what kind of relationship he would like with his daughter in the future.
There is a saying, “Don’t argue with a drunk alcoholic.” I would assume the same thing applies that, “Don’t argue with an Abusive Ex.” I know better and yet my rational side forgets that there is no reasoning with the irrational.
I probably should not have sent this email to him but I was hoping it might sink in that he hurting our daughter. Our poor daughter never says a word to him. I am not sure if she means to protect him or just doesn’t want to have the discussion. She just goes over there and endures their negative attacks and insults about me. She does repeat them to me and I know she does not like how they act at times. How sad that our daughter has just learned to take it and has not found her voice to tell them to stop yet.
She said, “My dad thinks you are so awful and I am just like you.” I think I said I do not think he realizes that. Perhaps that just gives him an excuse for unacceptable behavior.
Toxic Crazy Making Comments
This week I received a reply from his wife that basically implying my problem is Borderline Personality Disorder. She basically said to look it up and there was tons of information regarding it. Then she basically states I am the one bothering them and not the other way around. At the end she actually says she hopes I can find happiness followed by God Bless.
Don’t Argue With An Abusive Ex’s Wife
If God were in their lives I would imagine we wouldn’t be having this conversation at all right now. I know when I was married to my abusive ex-husband he was his own Higher Power. I also know, looking back, all my energy was focused on him which made him my Higher Power. Therefore if our entire household was revolving around my abusive ex-husband… we were not doing so well. I know better this is a situation of “Let Go Let God.”
There is a part of me that would love to respond to her in anger or with reason but I think they are a lost cause. I do realize my trying to reason with my ex-husband is what brought on her response. I also know her email was very sarcastic and not productive. Her email is very much like one my ex-husband would send and full of passive aggressive insults. So either they enjoy messing with our lives or they do not realize what they are doing. Perhaps she is blind to what has been happening for all these years or does not care.
Let Go Let God
I know better than to send my ex-husband any comments or emails. You cannot reason with someone like my ex-husband because he can do no wrong. I know he is not rational and with all the weird things they have done and said to my daughter they are not healthy. Responding to her would be a waste of time and would just initiate a response. This is a time when you have to Let Go and Let God handle them.
Of coures I am bothered by what she says and perhaps several years ago I might have believed her comment. When I first left my ex-husband he had plenty of emails implying I was crazy. Abusive relationships are often like that and are Crazy-making if you are not careful.
Thankfully I have gotten healthier, I know what kind of relationship I had with my ex-husband and my being healthy today is just further proof of how toxic that marriage was. I was not healthy when I was with my ex-husband. Being physically sick in a relationship should be a huge warning sign that something is very wrong.