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Downhill Battle: Teenager Post Abuse

There did seem to be a downhill battle with my daughter after divorcing a narcissist/abusive ex. You can really see the spiral downhill and how we were unable to turn it around in this story. Our daughter has become extremely irrational and unreasonable to converse with. Ugh! I did exactly what I said I shouldn’t do and argued with an extremely irritating 17 year old.

You may have ready my previous, Resentment Only Harms Myself, where my daughter had a difficult sophomore year.  Her childhood has been filled with so much hell and craziness that she really didn’t need. Sometimes I feel that we are to blame, but I know some of this behavior by my ex-husband has always been beyond my control. However, some of her decisions as of late have been brought on by her own decisions and poor choices.

Post originally written on June 25, 2016:

Background

In the Beginning

During a young age, she dealt with my ex-husbands erratic behavior along with my emotional responses to his awful behavior.  Until I found Alanon, I would often respond to him by yelling and screaming because he was getting DWI, coming home drunk, or not coming home, lying all the time.  No matter how I approached him, nothing would ever change, and eventually I became more irritable and unreasonable. Plus, whenever I would blow up, then he would say, “Look how you are behaving, look how crazy you are acting!”.  Worse, I would feel guilty for my reaction. The reason for my initial anger was justified, however when I yelled back it was like giving away my power.  Also, he knew that and would use it against me.

Breaking Point

When my daughter was around four, I remember we had the biggest argument about her fourth birthday party. He wanted to have alcohol and I was convinced this party was for little children.  It really hadn’t occurred to me that he had a problem with drinking at that time.  Once I found Alanon, I began learning that it was like he was throwing the ball and I kept picking it up and throwing it back to him.  Eventually, throughout time I learned to stop picking up that damn ball. When he would throw the ball (words, ignoring, lying, breaking promises) I learned to let it go on by without responding.  I made many mistakes, but I also learned that his behavior was unacceptable and I did not have to continue tolerating it.  By the time she was nearly five, I was buying my own house and getting a divorce.

Divorce

Being divorced from him was harder than being married to him and he made sure of that.  He found a woman who moved in with him shortly after I moved out and I had hoped he would focus on her and leave me alone.  No such luck!  He continued to be harassing and abusive for many years and still does.  Worse, he always used our daughter as a pawn. It would take me many years to learn to talk to him as little as possible.  He is so awful, to this day, I can’t believe how manipulative he is and how hateful he is.

Physical Complaints

Between the ages of four to nine, she complained of her vagina hurting and I would take her to the doctor.  They could never figure out why she was having this pain. One time, her father dropped her off and she crawled under the bathroom sink, screaming that her ‘tee-tee’ hurt.  I called her pediatrician, show said, “If you do not call CPS, then I will.”  So I let my ex-husband know I was calling because I was afraid he would be worse if I didn’t.  I was still so afraid of him at this time.  Plus, he was always threatening to take my daughter away and I was so fearful he had the finances to pull it off.

During this time, my attorney told me to record their conversations.  That night he talked to his daughter and I recorded the message.  He said, “You tell mommy we went straight to gymnastics and back, you tell her that.” When the police officer was filing the report, I remember she raised her eyebrows at that response.  He continued to be difficult after this and my daughter continued to complain about her vagina hurting. The only time she ever complained was after visiting her father.

To this day, I still do not have any answers for why this happened and it suddenly stopped when she was nine years old.

Emotional Abuse

My ex-husband used to interrogate her every time she would visit.  Asking about everything we did, if any guys were ever over.  Then he would email me screaming about this.  Funny, he had a woman living with him at that time?  He also used to pull out all the stops in manipulation. Your mom is going to get mad at you, you are going to get in trouble with your mom, who knows what else…

Whenever she visited his house, she would get whatever she wanted and had no rules.  She could eat whatever and just really had no rules or boundaries.  I get it, he was ‘fun dad’ or ‘Disney dad’. However, he would make comments like we were the ‘food police’ or his wife said I was crazy.  He even mentioned this in a chat this week about his wife saying I had borderline personality disorder.  My comment back is “What business does an assistant teacher have in diagnosing anyone with ADD or any other medical condition.”

So all through my daughter’s childhood she would come home and resent the rules. As she got older, this only became worse.  This was every other weekend we would have hell when she came home for several days.  It was almost as if she had to detox from his house.  Plus, she has been struggling in school for years. It did not help that my ex-husband and his wife were undermining all our rules and working against us throughout her entire childhood.

We have continued to go to therapy.  One mistake I made was we stopped taking her a few years ago when we thought things were getting better.  This was such a mistake, especially when we learned she was cutting herself. She also hooked up with a bunch of friends earlier this year and they were lying all the time about what they were doing.  Eventually that friendship ended badly and all her friends turned on my daughter.

Poor Choices 

Now, she found new friends and was lying again.  I have been paying attention to this behavior and her dishonesty always made me suspicious.  Earlier in the year I installed a program on her phone called UKnowKids.  She was aware I had installed this app on her phone and I told her if she is trustworthy, then we would remove the app. She just really never was trustworthy.  So this app notifies you every time it scans questionable texts.

So a text came in that said, “Going to pick up ‘friend’s name’ and the bud and the rillo.”  So my husband and I were puzzling through this message because it could have meant beer or marijuana.  So, I asked my daughter if her friend smokes cigarettes.  She said, “I don’t know.” So, I asked does she smoke pot?  She said she didn’t know.  So I asked, “Have you smoked pot.”  She said, “No.”

Plus, she had posted a video on Instagram where it looked like she was driving.  She showed me that the phone reversed it, but it was still in question.  Everyone thought she was driving.  However, I looked at the pages of her friends who commented on that post and found her friend’s page.  Wow, this girl had a ton of selfies, but had pictures of her smoking a bong and cigarettes.  Then we noticed a screenshot of a user name for Periscope and the first video is one of my daughter smoking pot with these two friends.

Well, shit hits the fan, of course.

When I was a teenager, you could certainly say I was difficult and eventually grew up. Of course my path led me to marrying an abusive man and extra years of hell trying to co-parent with him. Now, we have a child that not only grew up in a household of divorce, but had to be subjected to years of emotional abuse. Plus, we added a blended family to the mix to further complicate the issue. I had thought we did a pretty good job, but there were high-conflict outside influences and behaviors at work too. My daughter didn’t deserve all this, but this must have happened for a reason. Perhaps some day she will be able to do something good with this situation.

 

Ignore the Crazy: Emotional Abuse

Lately, I have noticed I have received less emails from my abusive ex-husband… thankfully. However, more emails have been coming from his wife. Makes me feel he is sending his minion to do his dirty work. This past week, I was out of town traveling for work and I received this email from his wife. This confused all of us and still doesn’t make sense. Maybe it isn’t nice to call her a minion, but I truly wish she would open her eyes!

Actually, when I received this email I was rather confused. Isn’t our daughter 18 1/2 now? Doesn’t she have her own car? Aside from being confused, I wondered what was the trap. It does seem like my ex-husband and his wife are always scheming. I don’t think I am being paranoid. The decree states that she comes over on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend and she hasn’t been doing that for the past year.

Divorce Decree Email

[To Me]

For the remainder of this school year, 2017-2018 [daughter’s name] will keep to the schedule of visitations per the divorce decree. That will be as you know 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of every month. She is used to the decree routine, so going forward she will follow those scheduled visitations.

It is imperative that school is her focus this year. She will need to be picked up and dropped back off at our/her residence each visitation.

[From said Minion]

A week ago, I just have a conversation with my daughter (via text) and she was a little mad at me for inviting her over to this house. She perceives that as pushing my husband on her. Really, I am just tired of trying to live this separate relationship. She had commented that having a relationship with her just wasn’t enough for me. My response was that I didn’t know how answer that and I would just say goodnight for now.

My Husband’s Response

None of this makes any sense to me. I am not saying my daughter is crazy in this blog post subject line. I am still confused as to what their goal was in sending that email. When I sent this email screenshot to my husband his response was this:

Just reply “ok”

Or “k”

If it was I would “ok b*$%*” but that is just me. Wonder why she can’t drive? Does she even want to come over? Weird right

I don’t think it is a game

Don’t worry they don’t follow the decree anyways

Perhaps their point was to send this while I was out of town? I had told my daughter I would be traveling and it is possible they knew I was out of town? Maybe I need to not tell her when I am traveling, for now. It does seem like these types of emails arrive while I am traveling.

My Friend’s Response

I had also sent this email screenshot to my best friend and she replied with these statements. There was a little back and forth from me that I won’t include. She was just as confused as I was about that email.

What’s this all about? Why did she send this to you? You don’t have to pick her up if you don’t want to. Plus that means that you will have her all weekend if she is willing.

They are wanting a break.

That’s it.

They never asked you to adhere to the decree. Meaning get her every other weekend. They made it her choice, correct?

Oh, I think they need or want a break. Desperately!

Even a judge would say that. Can’t force them.

Also, have you thought that maybe they’re going to say you’re forcing them to stick to the decree 1st, 3rd, and 5th. That maybe they’re going to manipulate the whole situation that you’re expecting her there every other weekend and that if she doesn’t that you’re going to take them to court. This could just be a game.

I wouldn’t write back to [said Minion].

I would go directly to [my daughter’s name] and keep it straight. your stepmother and dad want me to adhere to the decree. Send the email to her like you did with me. Proof that you’re not lying.

Then ask her what she wants because it’s up to her anways. She is 18 now. Even a judge would say they can’t make her go. That’s what happened to [her son’s name]. The judge didn’t force him to see his mom at 16, 17, and 18.

At any rate, it helped to bring in the ‘rational reinforcements’. The people who could read this email and end up with the same questions I did. In Alanon, they have a statement that says, “Your mind is a dangerous place, don’t go there alone.” When dealing with abusive people, they can get in your head, and twist your mind up. Suddenly you do not know up from down or right from left. Abusers and/or Narcissists are truly cunning and baffling. A year ago, he actually had my daughter believing I have been harassing him for all these years. They also say Narcissist will enlist others to be their narcissistic supply.

My Daughter’s Response

So, since my daughter is 18 now, I sent a screenshot of the email and decided just  to ask her directly.

Hi honey. I received this email from [said Minion] that said I need to pick you up 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends. You are 18 now, what do you want to do?

After our last conversation, this came as a surprised.

She responds:

It is fine with me cause I already only see you on some weekends anyways plus I really don’t appreciate how you are trying to pressure me into seeing [my husband’s name] when you know that is not what I want

My response:

So you do want to come over on weekends?

She responds:

If it’s only u and I there then yes eventually will

I am not sleeping over

My response:

Did you read [said Minion’s] email? She wants me to pick you up and drop you back off on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends?

She responds:

Yes for now that’s okay with me cause u r constantly trying to get me to see [my husband’s name] when I’ve said I only wish to see u. I think it’s to where you pick me up or u come to and we can get sushi or something

My response:

Honey, I am with coworkers tonight. We will have to talk about this another time.

Then three hours later I sent this:

Hey honey. You  are always welcome to come over anytime. I cannot ask [my husband’s name] to leave his home. You do not need to interact with him, but he will be here. You are eighteen now, I will leave this decision to you. I always love you and want to see you.

She responds:

I love u too

Confusion Remains

So, I still don’t have a complete understanding of their goal in this situation. It did not seem like my daughter was surprised that my ex-husband’s wife sent that email. In reading her email, it sounds like she wants me to pick her up on weekends. In reading my daughter’s response it sounds like she wants dinner on the weekend. My daughter also did continuously bring up my husband’s name even though I was not. There have been a few conversations on how we can move past this anger with my husband. My daughter wouldn’t even tell me why she was so mad at him.

My Response to the Minion

I am happy to pick her up and drop her off on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends. She is always welcome to come over, however [my daughter’s name] has requested that [my husband’s name] not be home on those weekends. It’s unreasonable to ask my husband to leave his own home.

I certainly want to take her feelings into consideration, so I can assure her that she does not have to interact with him during her visits. [My daughter’s name] is 18 now and I will leave this as her choice.

My Mother and My Daughter

My mother decided to give my daughter a call and asked her why she was so mad at my husband. Her response was that he had mentioned sending her to a girls home. I do remember that day when we were concerned if intervention was needed after catching her smoking pot and having to take multiple devices away from her after taking away her phone/internet privileges. She had an emotional outburst or melt-down might paint a more appropriate picture of that day. Our primary concern on that day was if we had an addiction withdrawal happening here. So I am not sure what my daughter thought he meant by that comment, but I understand what he was saying and we were both concerned if we needed an intervention.

So much has happened over all these years.

“Ignoring the crazy, keeps you sane.” by EYH

My purpose of posting these stories is for a few reasons:

  • Get it out of my head. In Alanon, we have a saying “Your mind is a dangerous place, don’t go there alone”.
  • Put it on paper. Writing it down as it happens helps me remember I am not crazy, this situation is crazy.
  • Give validation. Perhaps some people can receive validation by knowing they are not alone.
  • Receive validation. Sometimes I receive responses that help me know I am not alone.

 

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.

 

An Open Post to My Abusive Ex

Yesterday, I posted an email string between my ex-husband, his wife, and myself. The last email I received was a personal attack by my ex-husband. Although I did not respond to his email, his comments have been ringing in my head for the past 24 hours. Obviously, this is the narcissist’s goal, keeping you off-balanced… all for their love of control.

Actually this situation is bizarre. He never takes our daughter to one doctor’s visit ever in her entire life. Now, she lives with him he is suddenly taking her in to get teeth pulled at 18 1/2 against the advice of her dentist of 7 years. Years ago, I remember when she was 13 he threatened to put braces on her one summer so it would cost me money. How crazy is that? You don’t make a decision just to cost your ex money. This type of control is completely irrational.

So, last December we discussed his removing two baby teeth since she is missing two permanent teeth. Her dentist told me to leave them as long as possible. She said they won’t last forever, but to keep them as long as possible. She said this would get our daughter into long-term situation of having to replace those implants. She said they are extremely expensive and to hold off. She also said she had clients that were in their 30s and 50s that still had their baby teeth. So, this is what I told my ex-husband. I had told him we completely agreed with pulling her wisdom teeth, but did not agree with the baby teeth. He did it anyways.

Then I receive an email from my ex-husbands wife stating she will be getting bridges and/or implants and I was responsible for 50%. She writes in the email that they CCd their attorney, obviously meant to add an element of threat. Their choice to pull those teeth is extremely expensive and really was unnecessary. Plus, last December, I told them that I did not agree with this decision and whatever costs are on them.

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.

His email is not constructive. It contains only one fact that I am 3 days late in paying him my half. The rest of his email is full of personal attacks, his opinion, and non-facts.

The bill he sent me was $2,000. Plus, he didn’t discuss this with me, nor did he give me a heads up on the price or even see if there were other options. He didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me in advance our daughter was going under general anesthesia. After receiving this bill, I contacted the Oral Surgeon and gave them our insurance information. She said she had to wait to get the response from their insurance company so she could send that to our insurance company. I am 100% sure if he received a partial refund we would never see a dime of that.

he rest of his comments about my daughter choosing to get the baby teeth pulled. Um, who is the parent here? My daughter is young and really not mature enough to make this decision. She told me her baby teeth were still growing. I am not sure why she believed that they would get bigger. Plus, this was my ex-husband’s decision. I don’t know why her teeth are so important, but he hasn’t taken her to the weekly therapy sessions he agreed to last summer. She really does need to be in counseling.

Then stating that she has chosen not to seem me every 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend was just a mean statement. Of course she doesn’t come see me. He had worked really hard on turning her against me, my husband, and my step-daughter. He actually told her that I have been bothering him for all these years. Um, no, it certainly the other way around. Does he believe his own lies? Is he delusional?

Then he goes on to mention something about financial trouble and divorce? Neither of these comments are the truth. Then he implies my daughter is telling them everything we talked about. That kind of makes me angry. I don’t know if this is his goal to drive further wedges between my daughter and myself. Unfortunately, my daughter does not realize that every single thing she told her dad about me for all these years was used as a weapon against me.

Then he tells me to be a parent? Seriously? Coming from the parent who gets our daughter a permit right after we catch her smoking a bong in a car. This was on a video and posted online. Then he goes on and gets her a car and lets her do whatever she wants. He couldn’t possibly believe that is ‘parenting’. My daughter did tell me she is happy over there. I discussed this with my aunt and she said, “Of course she is happier, she has less accountability, nothing is required of her at his house.” At our house we had rules and you can’t get a car if you are lying, smoking pot, and failing school.

Anyway, I didn’t say any of these thoughts. Some thoughts of anger hit me like maybe he is struggling with money. Or when I left him, I would have rather lived in my car than continue living with him any longer. He doesn’t even sleep in the same bed with his wife. I know this is true because he wouldn’t sleep in the same bed with me either. I have no idea what that was all about. He slept in the room next to our daughter, during the same years she complained her vagina hurt. Everyone suspects something happened. We may never know the truth.

I keep wondering if it will ever end. Can I actually have a relationship with my daughter? Is she just going to run and tell her dad anything I say? She is on his team, whether she knows it or not. For whatever sick reason, my ex-husband just can’t be happy unless he is screwing me. Using our child against me is certainly not in the best interest of our daughter. Truly sick! I just can’t comprehend how people can act that way and never feel guilty or remorseful. What is wrong with his wife that she feels it is acceptable to talk down to me.

This make me feel anxious, sick to my stomach, angry… every emotional under the sun really.  Sometimes I am angry at myself because I just can’t allow myself to sink to his level. Mostly I feel sad about what has happened with our daughter. I am positive she will think about this differently after she grows up. I hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

 

Stages of Grief – Dealing with Emotions

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

Stages of Grief

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

Fake It ’til You Make It

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

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

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

The Past Collides with the Present

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

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

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

Secrets of my Past

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

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

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

Keep a Positive Outlook

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

 

Dealing with Emotions Post Verbal Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are you going through something similar?

 

The Narcissists Ultimate Weapon – Gaslighting

gaslighting and childrenToday, I feel rather sad and it is difficult to write when I feel sad. Yesterday, I watched my seventeen year old get into the car with my narcissist ex-husband to go live with him. Everything about this truly breaks my heart. There is a new pain I feel that is so deep it is hard to even describe. Sending her to live with her dad is really not what I think is best for her.

However, she is seventeen and if she stays she will continue to be resentful and have her fantasy picture of what it would be like to live with him. Visiting him every other weekend versus living with him full time is very different. My ex-husband exhibits all the behaviors of a classic narcissist. Also, his ultimate weapon has always been gaslighting. He has done everything he can over the years to convince me that I am the crazy one here. Sometimes I do feel like I am the crazy one, but thankfully I have twenty years of documentation and a wonderful support network of friends and family to confirm it is not me.

Gaslighting – manipulate (someone) by psychological means into questioning their own sanity.

Turning Children Against Other Parent

The worst was when my daughter came home in July, from her summer visitation at her dad’s house, and began telling me that it is me who won’t leave her father alone. She literally believes the story in reverse where I am the person who is harassing her father for all these years. Over the years, he has told her twisted versions of the truth and some outright lies. In 2012, he told her that he always took care of her while I was just on my computer all the time (Abuse and Coparenting – Rising Above the Games).

So, he has managed to turn our daughter against me and she believes he is telling the truth. In the article Abusers and Leveraging the Children, they say that abusers will use anyone to do their bidding, including turning the children against the mother (or father). She was determined living with him would be better and was extremely angry and hateful for the past three months.

This hurts me that my child would see me as the abuser in this situation. Doesn’t she know me better than that? I thought I did a better job at raising her in this difficult situation. When your ex-husband turns your child against you, it leaves you wondering if you failed as a parent. Wondering if you failed to teach your children right from wrong. Feeling like you must have failed in your parenting. Perhaps the biggest problem isn’t me, but that I am coparenting with a person who is not doing the right thing. Just maybe being countered at every step helped shape this outcome in an unfortunate way?

Lawsuit for Custody

In July, we were served papers where my ex-husband was asking for custody of our seventeen year old. This absolutely made my stomach sick. We had to hire an attorney and answer their suit. His attorney also set it to go directly to court when our 2008 modification clearly states mediation must happen first. So, we had to answer his request and reschedule mediation.

On Thursday, my husband and I attended the mediation and we decided to let her go live with her dad. He asked for the custody arrangements to flip and he become primary conservator and they would negotiate the child support. My attorney asked for and we received the following:

  • Nobody is primary, it will be joint custody
  • My ex-husband has to take and pass a drug test or everything revert to the previous orders
  • Weekly therapy for our daughter until the therapist determines it is no longer necessary
  • Our daughter has to take and pass three drug tests for three months before she can get a drivers license
  • Nobody buys a car for her until she is 18 (due to getting caught smoking pot in June)
  • Our daughter needs to take a psychological evaluation
  • No child support
  • Attorney fees, we asked for all, but we got $1,500

As we discussed with our attorney and mediator. At seventeen, it didn’t make sense to fight for her at this point because we would just have an angry teenager who is absolutely convinced she wants to live with her father. She is practically an adult. Even if we had her stay, she would want to leave as soon as she turned eighteen. We did the best we could to put some safe guards around her and had to let her go.

Rose Colored Glasses

Right now, our daughter sees her father through rose colored glasses. Over the years, they have let her do whatever she wants and bought her a lot of things. She constantly came home with expensive gifts like pandora bracelet, expensive clothes, and has been promised a car. They often ‘joke’ about our unfair or extreme rules. Plus, she has been hanging out with friends who have too much freedom in their households and can confirm how we are too strict. We are definitely not overly strict, but when comparing a permissive household to our house, it probably does seem extreme in our daughter’s eyes.

The Mask Will Come Off

Perhaps living with her father 24/7 will allow the mask to come off. Just maybe, she will eventually believe the ‘truth’ she has been told may not actually be the whole truth. I have not shared with her all the details of our relationship because she does not need to know. Although, maybe this is wrong. You do not want to involve children in adult business, but maybe this just further perpetuates the false narrative the abuser tells children?

My father was very much like my ex-husband and spent years trying to make me hate my mother. The difference is I didn’t see my father as often as my daughter visits her father. Plus, my father was a bit more direct than my ex-husband’s subtle manipulation. My father would outright say my mother was satan. My ex-husband is much more convert and manipulative.

My mother and I did have a lot of problems when I was a teenager and I am not sure how much my father’s comments played into that or not. Eventually, I became aware that my mother was not the problem. To this day, my father still says hateful things about my mother and our relationship is very much estranged because of it.

Truth Will Prevail

I have to believe that eventually the truth will prevail in this situation. What I don’t know is how long it will take before my daughter realizes that I am not the abuser here.

My uncle, my father’s brother, did turn all three of his children against their mother. They wouldn’t have anything to do with their mother for years. It was a case of true parental alienation. Now, that they are all adults and married, they realized that their mother may not have been perfect, but it was mostly their father that was the problem. My cousin said she won’t even stay at her father’s house when they visit him and would rather stay at her in-laws house.

Ending the Cycle of Abuse

This has been an incredibly difficult journey. I see this story from so many levels; as a child of abuse, as a victim of domestic abuse, as a parent of a child being emotionally abused. This is so sad and I truly hope my daughter can see the light, get healthy and maybe this cycle of abuse will end with my generation. I do not know what the future will bring or what our relationship will be like in the future.

Reasons my Daughter Chooses to Cut

self harm rose thornsSo today, I was in the car and Johnny Cash song Hurt came on the radio.  This song was originally written and sung by Nine Inch Nails. When I was younger, I listened to that album over an over, and  I must have heard this song 100 times over the years and never paid too much attention to the lyrics.

Today, when I heard the first few lyrics it made me think of reasons my daughter chooses to cut herself. Songs are interesting in that way, we all hear different things based on our personal experiences. So the verse, “I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel” just makes me think about reasons someone cuts.  It is suppose to be a release to strong emotions.  Some deep emotional pain that could have happened many years ago. The pain could be so deep that my daughter may not even be aware of it.

I do not believe my daughter has cut lately, but from what I understand is this is not something to be taken lightly.  She still needs to dig into whatever emotional pain is driving this need to self-harm. I will certainly help her get all the support she needs and continue researching the topic to gain a better understanding.

There are so many articles about the reasons why people cut themselves. They say that cutting is a temporary release from deep emotional pain.  They also say that the cutting itself can become an addiction. I had not realized how many young girls are cutting today, this is more common than I would have ever thought.

According to Song Facts about this song Hurt, they say “This song is about realizing consequence and regret. It sends a powerful message that we should all proceed through life wisely, because there is nothing worse than being stuck with a label, a pain, a sickness, or a death, that we know beforehand will leave us only wishing things had been different and that we could change the choices we made.”

Johnny Cash certainly dealt with some struggles and addictions.  The movie Walk the Line shows that his brother died when he was younger and there were struggles with his father that happened over many years. So pain can stay with us a long time.  I also know this because of the struggles I had with my father throughout all these years.

It still very much pains me that my daughter is cutting and I really hope her therapist can eventually help her figure what emotional pain is driving this need to self-harm. I will continue to research the reasons why girls cut to continue gaining understanding about this issue. My mother had told me many years ago that one of my younger cousins was cutting herself.  Unfortunately, after speaking with the school counselors and our daughter’s counselor, this is not as uncommon as one might think.

Do you have any thoughts on this topic?

Here is the full lyrics from Google Play:

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liar’s chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here

What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know goes away
In the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt

If I could start again
A million miles away
I would keep myself
I would find a way

Resources:

My Anger is a Mask for Fear

butterfliesThis week, I feel like I am all over the place with my emotions.  My mind is going through the past again as this situation with my daughter and ex-husband has made all those memories resurface.  Although, it is a little better than before, I used to feel pretty hopeless at times.  Not suicidal, but perhaps a little depressed because it seemed like by ex-husband could just do whatever he wanted and get away with it.

Today, my anger is really just a mask for my fear.  I am afraid my ex-husband will successfully turn my daughter against me.  I hope it doesn’t happen, but right now she is grounded and pissed about it.  She does seem like she wants to hurt me and she is hurling her dad’s own words at me.  It really hurts that my own daughter would repeat these hateful statements.

During a conversation yesterday, she said, “You are all over the place as usual.” That is totally something my ex-husband would say.  His stupid wife, yes I said she is stupid, send me an email one time stating she felt I had Borderline Personality Disorder.  What business does an assistant teacher have to make any sort of medical diagnosis?  Seriously!

Today, was a better day with my daughter.  She didn’t make any of this easy and at times I felt like driving her to my ex-husband’s house and dropping her off.  However, I think that is what she wanted.  She is just pissed that she is grounded because she got caught smoking pot and after I took her phone away, she was caught sneaking other devices to get online twice. So her solution is that she is 17 and can choose to go live with her dad.  Plus, he tells her this an doesn’t agree with grounding her.

Yesterday, I gave her a list that said something like…

Chore List #1

You are too old for a Time-Out, so it is time for a Time-In.  Your attitude will no longer be tolerated.  As long as your attitude continues you will receive more chores.

  • Chore List

Until your behavior changes there will be no internet, TV, phones, ice-cream, etc…

Today, I gave her a second chore list because she wasn’t done with the first list and still had this chip on her shoulder. She actually came around and did the chores I asked her to do and actually talked a bit more.  She laughed a few times and seemed to let go of some of this anger.

Honestly, why do I feel the need to explain myself to my ex-husband. He has not changed one bit from the man I lived with and divorced all those years ago.  He is still just as narcissistic and egotistical as ever.  I think he really believes he is God’s gift to the world and everyone else is just beneath him. Of course he will not agree with anything I do with our daughter and often tries to work against me and not in the best interest of our daughter.

Sorry, I think I am venting today.  This should have been a fantastic week, I did a webinar for my work and I received a great review and a raise.  It was very much overshadowed by this hell.

I know we will get through all this.  Hopefully, my daughter won’t choose my ex-husband’s house because of his permissive parenting. She really can’t do anything until she is 18 and that is ten months away.  Hopefully she will grow up a little between now and then. Unfortunately, my ex-husband may continue to make hell for us.  I am not sure if he even wants custody of her or if he just wants her to hate it here.  I think she would cramp his single lifestyle.

Time will tell I guess.

Resentment Only Harms Myself


watercolor butterfliesThis has been a rather challenging week with my daughter.  I feel pretty resentful towards her father for his response or lack of response to this situation.

They say that resentment is like swallowing poison, but hoping someone else will die.

This week:

  • Received some messages that mentioned ‘bud and rillos’, red flag
  • Daughter posted video on Instagram that looked like she was driving and running a red light
  • Friend commented on video and found surprising photos on this page
  • Friend’s page led me to Periscope where the top video was one of my daughter getting high with two friends
  • Daughter comes clean about this, loses phone & internet privileges
  • Next day, gets caught sneaking an old iPhone 4 that belonged to her cousins
  • Next day, gets caught connecting to the internet on an Kindle reader
  • Same day, has a complete melt down over rules and being grounded
  • Claimes, she is 17 and can choose which household she wants to live at
  • Calls ex-husband who starts ranting at me about this
  • My husband talks to ex-husband and gets a few things through
  • Ex decides to pick my daughter up, effectively giving her what she wants
  • Although I told my ex-husband this was a bad decision, I did agree to help diffuse the situation
  • Daughter does call to apologize for how she behaved from her dad’s house
  • She is coming home today at 3pm and her grounding will start over

All of this was certainly crazy stuff.  My daughter could just be experimenting, but all the other lies of course leave room for doubt and concern. This of course makes me wonder if her grades were really due to ADD (something my ex-husband believes) or if this association with pot smoking friends and engaging in that sort of behavior is the true problem.

Given that we found out earlier in the year that our daughter was cutting her leg and now to find out she is doing drugs and admitted to drinking are all big concerns. Obviously I am concerned about the behavior, but mostly what to do about the underlying factors that is making her choose to do these things.

Obviously she is struggling with her pain, choosing friends who aren’t making the best choices, going along with these decisions, and then chooses to lie about all of this even when confronted.

Dealing with my ex-husband is beyond challenging.  He even told her at age 17, she could choose where she wants to live.  First of all this is not completely true.  Yes she can have input at 17, but the courts are still going to decide where it is best for her to live.  My ex-husband is pretty permissive in his parenting style. Plus, this would cost $50-70k, take about a year to go through court, and she will be 18 in less than a year.

She gets caught smoking pot and lying about it about a week ago.  Last week my ex-husband is ready to get her into get her drivers’ permit.  What???  She just got caught smoking an illegal substance, the video we saw certainly looked like our daughter was driving the car when they ran a stop sign.  Even if she wasn’t, the friend was high when they filmed this video, while driving. Plus, they posted this video not only for me to be able to find, but for the entire world to see.

You never know if that stuff will go away or resurface later.  Most of these friends blame my daughter because I found out.  It was really that they were all being stupid and posting evidence.  I just happen to above average tech savvy, so when honesty was a big question, I started digging a little and it didn’t take long to figure all this out.

The tamper tantrum she threw on Monday was huge and she was acting like an addict.  If not for pot or alcohol, certainly have difficulty being able to stay away from her phone (other devices) for even 12 hours.  Then as we said, by my ex-husband agreeing to pick her up, basically gives her what she wants. What happens the next time she disagrees with her consequences?

Straight up, my daughter does not like to be told what to do.  Part of me would send her over to her father’s house due to the constant fighting and refusing to follow the rules.  However, I think that would be so much worse for her since he bad talks me and gives her whatever she wants.

Resentment is like swallowing poison, but hoping someone else will die.  So resentment only hurts myself.  I need to continue to make the right parenting choices, continuing to resist reacting, and keep being consistent.  I do know, I will support my daughter until she is 18, but if she doesn’t straighten up, she will be on her own after that.  She is too disruptive right now.