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Abuse Stories: A Dehumanizing Experience

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Respond to Abusive Emails: Tips and Tricks

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

Abusive Email Tip #1

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

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

It works brilliantly!

Abusive Email Tip #2

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

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

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

Thursday; June 1st, 2005 8:59PM

Dick,

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

Samantha

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

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

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

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

Dick

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

Dick,

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

Mary

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

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

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

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

Dick

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

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

His reply on June 2, 2005 8:28AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dick

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

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

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

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

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

Reasons For No Contact With Abusers

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

Emotional Health

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

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

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

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

Do This

Block Them

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

Email Hacks

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

Reacting vs Responding

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

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

Maybe, Don’t Do This

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

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

[To Me]

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

[From Minion]

My response:

[To Minion]

Check your mail.

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

[From Me]

Her response:

[To Me]

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

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

[From Minion]

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

[To Minion]

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

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

[From Me]

Her response, really hateful and full of lies:

[To Me]

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

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

[From Minion]

Get Healthy Support

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

Oh, she is lying!!!!

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

It’s a sick game. Sick, sick, sick.

Another good friend said this:

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

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

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

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

My counselor replied:

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

Last Response

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

Closing Thoughts

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

Songs About Abusive Relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reasons to Document Verbal Abuse

Tonight, I read through a few of my blog posts from seven years ago. My thoughts and points about the situations seem perfectly reasonable and rational to me today. So, either that means I am still sick today in my thoughts … doubtful… or the situation was crazy… probable. Documentation may or may not be useful in court, but it is extremely useful for personal validation. Throughout the years I have continued going to therapy, reading self-help books, and going to self-help meetings. Plus, I am surrounded by friends who are healthy and trustworthy.

Personal Validation

In my blog post Validation – I am not Crazy I am discussing the situation with my ex-husband and his wife signing a power of attorney giving his girlfriend (later his wife) full parenting rights at school with our daughter. First, why would a father sign his rights over to a girlfriend? His decisions to not participate in parenting did not mean the school had rights to give his girlfriend the same rights as I had. So this was my primary concern was that the school told me his wife had the same parenting rights as I had with our daughter. This is not a right they had to give away, especially without my permission or notifying me. Plus, I was actively participating in her school activities and functions.

To this day, I have problems with how the school district behaved. I hope this type of situation is unique to this school district. The schools my daughter went to prior and after this situation have not behaved in that manor. This leads me to believe in the nepotism situation. Simply because she was a assistant school teacher in their school, they gave her extra rights, and  I do not believe they would have otherwise.

Interesting enough, I was posting about her inappropriate behavior that didn’t bother me at first. I wrote, “We love you and miss you pumpkin” signed his wife’s name. Little did I know this type of behavior would continue and excessively. At first, I thought maybe this is just a really kind woman who enjoys sending gifts to our daughter. If my ex-husband and his wife hadn’t been so manipulative on so many different occasions then it would be easy to overlook as nothing. The ongoing game suggests there are always motives at play.

Parenting and Abuse

In my next post, Keeping Children Out of the Middle, I discuss the challenges of preventing this unhealthy behavior from touching our daughter. It is true, once the school was involved with my ex-husband’s manipulative games; it was impossible to keep it from touching our daughter. Divorce is tough enough without adding any additional layers. The school should have been a neutral ground. School had been the one place where she could go that our divorce dysfunction wouldn’t touch her. After that, our daughter had to deal with divorce hell everywhere she went. The school didn’t protect our daughter. They shouldn’t have remained neutral. Thankfully, we never had this type of experience again with the school again.

My ex-husbands manipulations and abuse have been documented over and over again in my posts. Yet, today my daughter is living with her father. How does that happen? This situation is quite sick and twisted. There is no rhyme or reason. No rational or logical explanation. I just realize I have to be okay with the fact that I did the absolute best I could. That I truly had my daughter’s best interest at heart at all times. My best friend constantly says that I handled this better than most people would have under the circumstances. Maybe there was nothing I could have done to change the outcome.

Pain is for a Purpose

Also, I need to keep in mind that everything happens for a reason and/or purpose. It has been really easy to focus on the negative experiences over the past year and that type of thinking surely keeps me stuck. So I realize I need to change my thoughts with purpose. Maybe my daughter is away so I can get healthy and get some freedom away from my ex-husband. There has been a lot less communication with him since she left. Maybe the lesson here is for my daughter to gain a different perspective. Whatever the reason, I must remind myself that I trust my higher power (I choose to call my higher power God) and that means there are no mistakes.

Surviving Emotional and Verbal Abuse

Lately, I have been listening to the P!nk Radio station and the song Titanium comes on every so often. Every time I have heard this song it touches me deep inside. Today, after hearing this song once again, I realize my thoughts need to change to one of strength again. The reason my ex-husband does not seem able to move on is because he knows I am happy now. I have survived without him and even thrived without him.

I’m bulletproof nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall, I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium, I am titanium, I am titanium, I am titanium

Today, I have little reason to speak with my ex-husband. This past year has been more than difficult. My daughter choosing to go live with my ex-husband and the tension in our relationship has cut me  deep. One year ago, it was difficult to function and I am quite sure it was depression. After about 4-5 months, I started forcing myself to work out and work on my hobbies. Overtime it was no longer something I had to force myself to do. Today, I am still very sad over what has happened with my daughter and myself. It felt like he won and I was beaten. I no longer want to feel like he won.

So this song Titanium was written by co-written by David Guetta and sung by Sia. Although the version I have heard lately was a ballad sung by Madilyn Bailey. This song was written thinking about someone with a strong hearted and strong willed person. This song describes ignoring the words or abuse and allows it to bounce off us or ricochet. Saying that we need to stand our ground. This is a message of strength for those who deal with bullies.

The reason this strikes a chord with me is because isn’t this what abusive people do when they continue to attack us with words and lies? Aren’t they just bullies? They make up untrue versions of stories and work to get people to take their side. Convince others that you are the “crazy” one and the “problem”. They seek to hurt someone else in every way possible. The only issue is we are dealing with Narcissists, I am not sure they ever feel remorse. Although I am also sure they are never actually happy.

Another challenge to this situation is that people who have not experienced emotional and verbal abuse think you should just move on and “get over it”. Over the years, I have done a great job of taking the higher ground and doing my best not to sink to his level. Don’t get me wrong; there have been occasions I wish the man were dead. Sadly, there have been times I questioned if I could go on like this?

My ex-husband did a great job of making me afraid to leave him all those years ago. He did an excellent job of making me believe he would kill me if I ever left. Initially, I remember being afraid to leave my blinds open. At that time his behavior was so irrational and had no idea what he was capable of doing. Plus, he was drinking and doing drugs and that created even more uncertainty. It also took me a while to adjust to the peace and quiet in the home. I had become so used to chaos and drama that I didn’t know how to live without it.

He also did a great job of putting our daughter in the middle and using her as a pawn to do his dirty work (much like he does with his wife today). He spent years manipulating her and working to turn her against me. His ultimate goal, I believe, was just tor hurt me. My mother would say, “We don’t know that.” How could it not be more clear that he doesn’t care about his daughter’s emotional well being. He is okay with putting her in the middle and trying to get her on “his side”. He also took advantage of a teenage girl’s differences with her mother as the perfect opportunity to get her to agree to move in with him. He promised her cars and a license as long as she moved in with him. Just to save himself a year and a half of child support. None of of this was about our daughter.

Today, I am a strong person and I refuse to allow my ex-husband to rent space in my head for the rest of my life. It is sad that he has turned our teenager against me and I truly hope she come around. It pains me that it may be best to let her go so I can be healthy. Right now, she is living in his home and does not seem to be independent from my ex-husband. I need separation from my ex-husband and to move on.

This song describes how they are the ones who get hurt. In some ways that is true. How can someone who spends so much time and energy trying to make another person miserable even be slightly happy? Also, how can his wife be happy with her husband spending so much energy trying to control situations around me. It is sad because our daughter is the casualty of his warfare and I realize I cannot save her. However, she knows strength through me and I believe she will remember that as she matures.

Cut me down
But it’s you who has further to fall
Ghost town, haunted love
Raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones
I’m talking loud not saying much

I realize, some time needs to be spent working on myself and feeling my own strength again. It can be difficult because my loved ones don’t quite understand verbal abuse. My own mother often will say “get over it”. My ex-husband has been pretty relentless over the years. The ultimate hit came when he turned our daughter against me. This emotional assault knocked me down further than I have even fallen in the past. I refuse to stay down and I refuse to allow him to win his sick twisted game.

Stop Trying To Co-Parent With A Narcissist

One of the biggest lessons I learned throughout this entire experience is it is impossible to co-parent with a narcissist or abusive person. Whether you Ex is a woman or man, if they are a narcissist, there is no such thing as cooperation. It frustrates me that he gets as much attention as he does. He is not worth my thoughts or time.

There was so much energy wasted on my part trying to reason and rationalize with my ex. He played dirty, was not cooperative, and worked against me every step of the way with our daughter. One article mentions it might be more accurate to say “Parenting in Spite of a Narcissist”. This couldn’t ring more true. This article says, “You spend your time and energy undoing the damage that the narcissist has done to the children.” This statement couldn’t be more true. After all these years, my daughter still left to live with him for car and less parenting.

Another thing, my ex has not been diagnosed. My therapist believes he exhibits the behaviors of one of the cluster personality disorders. I used to just think he was an asshole. However, as time has gone on, I realize normal people do not do the things he has done. Something is definitely wrong with my ex. Happy, well-adjusted people do not continue to wage war against their ex for so many years. Whenever I read about domestic abuse and narcissist personality disorder, there are so many statements that sounds so true. On the other hand, my father has been diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder. That means he exhibits Schizophrenia and Manic behaviors. My ex-husband really reminds me of my father. This page describes several symptoms of Narcissist Personality Disorder, and every one of these statements sounds like my ex.

A real father would not turn his daughter against the mother. Some who loved his daughter would not take advantage of the difficulties between a teenager and her mother. She was caught smoking pot and lying. A caring father would have stood with the mother (ex or not) instead of against the mother and taking advantage of teenage rebellion. A real father would have insisted his daughter follow the rules and own up to her own mistakes. This father would not turn the daughter against the stepfather and stepsister. None of this sounds unreasonable to me. However, this is all fiction when dealing with a narcissistic abuser.

Another thing I realize is that I need to stop beating myself for the mistakes I made. There really wasn’t a right answer with how to deal with a manipulative ex who was working against me every step of the way. My ex had years to become a master at spinning his web of lies. Many times his stories contain enough elements of the truth and sometimes it sounded like he believed the stories he sells. This is probably why he good at being a salesman and gets to practice this every day.

One of my problems is I don’t play his game back and I never will. That is just not the kind of person I am or who I strive to be. Over there years through Alanon, counseling, and reading self-help books, I am usually aware what is my part and what is not. One of my problems is I use to react vs respond to his attacks or outbursts. I have done better at it over the years by not responding to his personal attacks. It does not mean that I don’t go on to think about what he said for hours or even days. It also doesn’t mean I don’t wish I could say something back.

Right now, I am struggling with how to have a relationship with my daughter. My ex has done such a great job of screwing everything up. My daughter is living with him now and won’t come visit if my husband is home. I am still struggling to get the full answer for why she is so mad at my husband. Maybe he is just easier to blame? In my ex-husbands last email he implied he thought I was going through a divorce. Divorce isn’t even on the topic of discussion. Maybe he wishes I was suffering more than I am.

So, I am pretty angry at him right now. Trying to find it within myself to forgive him again. I just don’t know how to have a relationship with her that doesn’t involve him. I realize she needs more time to mature and realize the truth. I don’t feel like I can have any real conversations with her that won’t get back to the spider. My mother asks why I give him so much power. It is hard because it seems like my daughter is on his team for the time being. To say she is on his team, means there is an ongoing game, and I don’t want to play games.

Now I am trying to navigate the waters of the damage my ex-husband left in his wake with our daughter. Learn how to be a parent in a different and more difficult situation. At least when she was in my home I knew I wasn’t trying to poison her against her father. My primary goal was to teach her right from wrong and to trust her gut instinct. This is something I am not exactly sure how to handle. It does seem extremely important that I take care of myself so I can be the healthiest person possible.

This post was written from a mother in grief. However, I will rebound and my words will come from a place of strength. This is just not how I feel today.

 

Email Entry from the Past – Abusive Boss

A few weeks ago, I found an old email from 2012. This was written at a time when I was working for an emotionally abusive boss and in a very unhealthy workplace. I wrote about this experience in my blog post Working with an Emotionally Abusive Boss.

Working for an abusive boss or in an unhealthy workplace can certainly take a toll on your health. I have made the decision twice now to leave jobs where my bosses were abusive. This is one area where I could be thankful to my abusive ex-husband. First, today, I am able to recognize verbal abuse in people. Second, I have too much self respect to remain in unhealthy workplaces for long. Third, I am able to recognize the place where I currently work is pretty healthy and has work-life balance.

I am grateful that today I do not work for a company that puts this level of stress on employees. In fact, they encourage us to let them know when we feel overworked and stress. They understand that we can feel overstressed at time, but do not want it to become a normal feeling. I have worked them for over two years and they still believe this and really promote work-life balance. In fact, there are many days I am so grateful that my work is going well. This past year was pretty tough on my emotions and I am not so sure I could have handled both at the same time. I will say my current boss was pretty supportive during this past year.

On occasion, I am still struggling with my grief and pain. My daughter and I sort of have a relationship, but I only see her for a few hours 2-3 times a month. Plus, my ex-husband made sure to let me know that my daughter tells him everything I tell her. So now I feel like I should be guarded and filter what I say. On the other hand, I shouldn’t care what he thinks since I only speak the truth. It is still a sick threeway an my daughter is not old enough to get what is happening. Getting over abuse takes longer than I thought it would and especially since this is psychological warfare.

Okay, so this email was written in 2012 and it would be another five months before I would finally quit this job. I have changed the names of the parties. Ironic, I named this boss ‘Joe’ and that is the exact same name I used in my blog post from May of 2012. You can really hear my pain and struggling over the decision to quite. Plus, I think the pain was more intense because of all the experiences with my abusive ex-husband. Honestly, I just wish I could turn it all off and not feel anything at times.

January 10, 2012

Good morning John,

I hope you receive this message. This is a little long, and I am not sure if there is a real resolution here. I don’t know where else to turn and I know my speaking to you could mean my job anyway. I am also sorry to burden you with this, but I am not sure who else I can go to. I also can’t ask you to solve my problems because no one can do that but me. He rearranged my days so I no longer come to your location on Tuesdays.

You contacted me on Friday and asked how things were going and I told you they were not resolved but I think we were figuring out a solution. I was not really being truthful with you.

It is 4:30am in the morning and I cannot sleep, this has become normal for me. I feel like I am on a constant state of stress, I expect to experience this some of the time. Anxiety, unable to relax, yet exhausted, chest hurting and kind of sadness I can’t describe. The kind of stress I feel I am under is the survival mode kind you are supposed to feel temporarily and then it should stop. This is becoming the kind of stress I felt when I was married to my abusive alcoholic which I remember making me sick in every way. I left that relationship and I felt amazingly better.

Joe’s new assistant confided in me the other day, near tears, saying she is working so hard and like she cannot do her job right. The common feeling here is we all feel over-worked, like we can’t ever do enough and what we do is never good enough.

Do you think it could possibly be that Joe’s expectations are so high which is why we feel constantly pushed to do more? Is it possible that the expectations he feels are so high which is why we feel our best is never good enough?

As scared as I am to make a move, I know I cannot keep doing this or feeling this way and not expect to get really sick. Last summer when I received a raise, I was just working for corporate and now I am doing three times the amount of work. Even if I received a raise equal to my work it would not be worth the health consequence.

For my health and the sake of my family and I know this is not good for me. I am concerned if we have hit a place of no return.

I have always had the highest amount of respect for you. I think I might be hitting a place where I need to work for myself again and contract my work out. I know my personal value and I know I must take care of my health first. I am not sure what else to do but I know God will provide.

I just wanted you to be aware.

[My Name]

Other Sources:

Effects of Verbal Abuse and Stress

So, this entire situation has been stressful for my body. Stress takes a serious toll on my body and I have physical symptoms that are impossible to ignore. I have done a better job managing them over the years, but getting over years of verbal abuse has been a challenge. Some days are better than others and certain events certainly trigger past feelings. My ex-husbands relentless manipulation and using our daughter was extremely stressful. In the end, all my trying to rise above, be the bigger person, not react… was all for nothing… she left anyway.

On symptom occurs when I am sleeping and I clench my teeth more at night. One of my molars has broken three times in less than 15 years. The first time was when I was married to my ex-husband. Living with him produced so much stress I was breaking my teeth in my sleep. During those years, I also had tension in my neck, TMJ symptoms, migraines, and light sensitivity. Today, I realize if my teeth are taking a beating, I need to find way to reduce the external stressors.

Another physical symptom is a rash that doesn’t seem to go away. I have been diagnosed with Skin Lupus and nothing seems to work on these rashes to make them go away. They show up and stick around for months. One website suggests that stress could cause the first appearance or trigger flare ups for someone who already has the disease. This rash first appeared five years ago when I was working at a very stressful job, it went away for several years and showed up about a year ago. However, no treatments have worked to remove this rash. I guess I can be grateful it is just red and only itches on occasion.

Another symptom is difficulty sleeping. I just do not sleep well anymore. I can get to sleep, but after a few hours I wake up and it is a challenge to get back to sleep. So I feel chronically tired. The doctor gave me Belsomra to try and it had an opposite effect and kept me up all night. I have also tried Melatonin which gets me to sleep okay but doesn’t keep asleep. Plus, my clenching my teeth at night can really hurt my jaw, affect my ears, and sometimes causes headaches when I wake. My past revisits me in my dreams. Sometimes I have dreams where I am dealing with my ex-husband again.

Another issue is anxiety which is often triggered by fear. I love my daughter so much, but our current situation is not a good one. She is living with my ex-husband and is looking at him through rose colored glasses. My ex-husband and his wife are extremely passive aggressive and they have been undermining me at every step for more than a decade. One of my fears is will this be an issue forever? Will she ever open her eyes and see the truth. One fear is accepting that she might not ever see the truth, may never want to see the truth. That thought truly frightens me. Plus, I am afraid if she is unable to see the truth, she may end up marrying an abuser or narcissist herself.

This past year has been extremely stressful. Dealing with my ex-husband since our divorce was over 13 years ago. You would seriously think we were newly divorced. Learning how to deal with him, or not deal with him rather, was difficult enough. The worst thing was how he would manipulate and use our daughter to get to me. As a mother, you want nothing more than to protect your child. This was something I was unable to prevent. It is shameful when someone uses their kid to hurt another person. I find it impossible to believe that person really cares about their child to subject them to that.

Another challenge was after our daughter became a teenager. She began pushing the boundaries, rebelling against the rules, and believing the grass might be greener. Plus, whether she would choose to admit it or not, she did learn how to play us agains each other to get what she wants. In the very end, she said many hateful things to me and I heard her father through those words. My response wasn’t so great. My husband’s response wasn’t always so great. We knew we had no control over what my ex-husband and his wife did with my daughter, but we should have had better control over our own reactions. That part of this I do have to own.

One plus side, I have not had one conversation with my ex-husband in an entire year. However, this bonus is bittersweet because I lost my daughter in the process. Although some say I haven’t lost my daughter forever and that she will come back around. I truly hope so. Sometimes it seems like he will never let me get away and be happy. Like he will win at all costs. I am grateful he and I haven’t had a single conversation in the past year. Although this is a game I never wanted to play, didn’t sign up for, and there are times I feel like he won.

Still trying to believe that everything happens for a reason. Hanging on to the belief that some day I will look back and realize this happened exactly as it was supposed to. However, I certainly don’t feel that way today.

 

 

 

Domestic Abuse Therapy – Post Abuse Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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