Archives

Abuse – Power and Control – The Handmaid’s Tale

Recently I have been binge watching The Handmaid’s Tale. I must say this is probably not the best show to binge watch because it is tale of a very dark totalitarian society. Nearly every episode is dark, disturbing, and rather abusive. However, there are may parallels between the abuse of power displayed and what life was like with my abusive ex. There was a day when an unhealthy life with him didn’t seem crazy or abnormal. If your life is crazy every day, eventually crazy can become a normal day. Also, growing up with my abusive father as an example did not give me any insight or knowledge to recognize something was wrong in my relationship.

In this story, the character June (or Offred), continues to learn through pain what will and will not be tolerated. She has been deprogrammed about any previous beliefs, learns a new way of thinking, and eventually adopts this as a new way of life. In reality, this is not that different to life with an abusive person. The abuser continues to reprogram you to a new way of thinking. Their way of thinking. Your views are no longer allowed… unless they match their own views.  Just like in this show, the rules may not be stated or even clear, but you learn them just the same. However, the game is always changing and that continues to keep you off-balance. On more than one occasion, I remember feeling it may be easier to give in rather than fight.

My abusive ex did a great job of isolating me from my family and friends. In this story, you can see a similar thing where she has been removed from any other people that might make her question this reality. Outside influences are a problem for abusers, this may make you question your life. In fact, in this story, if anyone became too much of a problem they were discarded. Not so different with an abusive person. Perhaps the story is you cannot trust particular friends or family members, that the abuser is the only one who is on your side. If you are the one to leave the Narcissist first, you may be subjected to stalking or their Narcissistic rage. In the early days, I remember breaking up with my ex on more than one occasion. Somehow he would convince me to return and how things would be different. In those days, I didn’t stay away long to realize life could be healthier without him.

Just like in the story, my abuser would make me question my own reality. My abuser was really good at leading me into thoughts that he had planted in my head. In old journal entries, I can see all statements that seem like they were ‘suggestions’ put into my head by my abuser. I had never thought of myself as a vindictive person, but I wrote this in my journal  more than twenty years ago.  It was also interesting to see that I wrote “he picks me up when I fall down” and looking back I realize he may have been the one knocking me down.

September 23, 1996

I feel like there is a hole in my heart. I do not feel good. Even though I am the one who thinks we should break up, every feeling in my body hurts without him. If love is supposed to be a wonderful thing, why does it hurt so bad? He’s right I do not have anyone to compare him off of. I have never been in love before.

I do not know what to do, it’s not fair to him that I can’t let the past go very easily. I’m so afraid I won’t be able to let it go. I want to but it’s not that easy to forget. I dated him because I liked him so much. I stayed with him because he was there for me. I feel horrible inside. I want his arms around me right now for support.

Why is it that I can’t let go? What is so wrong about him that I want to break up? He is so supportive of me, then picks me up when I fall down. He loves me! Am I just crazy or scared?

Maybe it is better for him that I end this. Can I treat him well? Can I forget the past? Can I love him like I used it? I wish I knew all the answers. I love him so much I don’t want to hurt him. So why do I? Where are the answers?

September 24, 1996

I feel much better now. He came over earlier and we talked and he helped me with my homework. I love him so much it hurts. Why does love hurt so much? It is supposed to be a wonderful thing, but it hurts a lot. I am really going to work on my being vindictive, and I will start recording things in my journal more often. So I can look back and she what has changed on his part & mine. I am going to sleep now. I am tired.

In one episode in season 2, you can see where she starts believing that past actions are the reason why deserves mistreatment and that is her fault. During our marriage, I remember actually thinking that my ex was God’s punishment for some of the bad choices I made in life. My father was good at preaching about a punishing God and how my mother deserved horrible things. If that were the case, would my past actions warrant this daily abuse? In fact, you can my comments sprinkled throughout my blog posts where I blame myself for picking this man in the first place. It was was easy to start blaming myself for all the problems, pain, and suffering. In this video, you can see where June seems broken and unable to fight.

The main character Fred, uses religion as a way to control and justify his behavior. However, the show continues to show us that he is less pious than he pretends to be. In fact, the show does good job of showing the character’s weaknesses that he does not display on the surface. My ex often gave me glimpses of his inner struggles after having too much to drink. Or how often he said how important our family to him, but his actions rarely match his words. Or similar to my father who was always preaching about the bible and how I should “Honor thy father…” He used religious as a weapon for control others and didn’t really live a Godly life himself.

Elizabeth Moss also mentions in an interview that the worst thing is the sense that everything is normal when they are not normal at all. This is very similar to what it is like to be with an abusive person. Your inner gut instinct continues to scream at you that something is not right about your relationship with your abuser. The abuser often gets you to second guess yourself, doubt your instincts, and deny your intuition. The abuser needs  you to believe that you are the one who is crazy and not the situation. If something is repeated often enough it can eventually seem like the truth. Journaling for all these years has helped me keep track of what really happened so I can remember the truth.

In reality, how different is this series to life with an abuser? An abuser often consider themselves above you or that you are their property and not their equal. You are not entitled to independent thinking or allowed to have your thoughts and opinions. Oftentimes, I remember thinking that maybe life didn’t have to be this way. Maybe this wasn’t what marriage was supposed to be like. He would say, “Everyone has problems. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.” These words seemed true and made sense. Although, I would see the neighbor across the street come home to be with his family or spend time outside playing with the kids.

This tale of abuse of power and control isn’t so far from the truth. In reality those of us who have encountered abuse know these tales all too well. Now I just pray my daughter will begin to see the truth about her own experiences. Otherwise she too may end up living a unbalanced life full of too much power and control.

The Games Narcissists and Abusers Play

So, last month I received a $2,000 bill from my abusive ex-husbands wife. This bill was sent the day after my daughter had dental surgery and had 6 teeth pulled. They are supposed to notify me of any non-emergency surgeries before the event and not after the event. In email, she implies that their attorney was copied, obviously meant to be a threat.

I hate feeling anxiety all over again when I get an email from them. All this hell he and his wife have helped create between my daughter and myself has been devastating to me. I wound up calling the Domestic Abuse Center today and I should be able to get in to see one of their counselors shortly. Her dad is such a awful person and it kills me that my daughter is in such denial for what she does see.

The very last email is about as hateful as you can get in a response. I know not responding doesn’t mean I am agreeing with him. I really can’t understand how people can be so hateful. I know these are unfeeling abusive people. My husband says they are just assholes looking for a response. I did not respond to his last email because it is full of non-facts. My husband says he is good at throwing the ball and that is probably why he is a good salesman.

Latest Saga of Emails

On, July 22nd, I received this email from my abusive ex-husband’s wife:

Attached are invoices from [daughter’s name] oral surgery.
– bill
– EOB from insurer
– paid receipt
Your responsibility is 50%.

I was pretty surprised to get this bill and this bill seemed to simply the surgery had already happened. Plus, she wrote in their attorney’s name, implying that they CC’d their attorney. Obviously meant to be a bit threatening. I am pretty sure I am not misreading this.

My response to her email was simply:

Please send a detailed explanation about this surgery. What was exactly was done?

Her reply was:

I sent you an attachment with my previous email that explains her treatment plan. Read carefully,  starts with therapeutic parental drugs and all procedures are itemized from the day of oral surgery. The GRA stands for graft.

My response was this:

What was done exactly?  I do not recall any notification about this surgery. Was it medically necessary?

Her response was definitely meant to be condescending. So I decided right then that she is an irrelevant person in this conversation. I couldn’t believe they had decided to put our daughter under anesthesia without notifying me. In fact, they are required to tell me in advance and work with me. However, they never have worked with me over the years. They work against me in all situations.

At that point, I contacted the Oral Surgeon’s office directly. I turns out they pulled our her Wisdom teeth which I was totally agreed about. The thing they did that I was not in agreeance with was pulling her two baby teeth. She has two baby teeth that did not have permanent teeth behind them. The dentist we have been going to for over 7 years told me to leave those teeth in as long as possible. That they could last until she was 30 – 50 years old. Her advice was to avoid the expense and problems of putting in implants that will need to be redone every 5 -10 years. I also called her Orthodontist who basically said this was a cosmetic decision and not medically necessary. So I told my ex-husband this very thing last December.

I also gave them our insurance so they could file as a secondary expense and I am waiting for that information to come back. She told me she would have to wait until their insurance responded before she could fine with ours. So, we already expected this would take longer.

On December 7, 2016 I sent my ex-husband this:

Okay, I do agree with getting her wisdom teeth pulled. I do not agree with getting her baby teeth pulled.
I just spoke with her dentist and they recommend she keep those baby teeth as long as possible. They said these baby teeth could last her until she is 30-50 years old. Implants run $5,000 and need to be replaced every 5 – 10 years. This will be very expensive cost to pay for in the future. We have no idea what her financial position will be in the future in order to maintain these recurring cost. So again I do not agree with removing the baby teeth.
Anyway, so today I receive this from his wife.
It has been over 30 days since I’ve mailed her invoice dated July 21, 2017 regarding oral surgery 043889.
My initial email was sent on July 22, 2017. Your payment for 50% of invoice charges are overdue. Please send payment promptly.Thank you!Sent from my iPad
My response was a little less nice:

Hi,

No. As I stated earlier in the month, the dentist is filing a second claim with our insurance. Once I received the EOB from our insurance, I will settle up our portion. You could have saved time by discussing this and filing both insurances on the date of service. Your inability to follow directions has caused your own delay.

It appears neither of you can be trusted to do what you say or follow the decree. Nothing either of you have done has been reasonable or rational regarding my daughter. Notifying that we owe $1,000 after having surgery you didn’t notify me about is not reasonable.

If you have difficulty understanding this email, I don’t know what else to tell you.

Then I get this response from my abusive ex-husband:

Sending emails like this will not change the fact that you are still responsible for 50% of the cost. Our response was just a reminder that it has been past 30 days. If you feel that you only owe a certain amount then just pay it…which you have not done.  You want to make excuses on insurance filings, etc. which has no weight here. If you can’t pay it then you could make arrangements but you think this is going to go away by deflecting the situation.
Your daughter is 18 and she chose to have this done, just like she has chosen not to see you every 1st, 3rd and fifth weekend. Why is this different?
You know as well as I do you owe this money and there is no legal jargon or opinion of yours that changes that. Wether it’s financial issues or possible divorce issues you are presently having doesn’t change anything (yes she discusses with us your conversations you have had with her). Enough is enough. Be a parent and pay what you owe…just like I did and still do.
Funny to see that he misspelled a word here. He usually is more polished than to make a spelling error in an email. My mind is still thinking about this, but I am not going to respond. My husband believes he has told our daughter something like ‘if your mom really cared about you, she would divorce him.’ My ex-husband doesn’t seem to be okay with the fact that I am doing well and not suffering.

Once an Abuser – Always an Abuser

I have mentioned this before that my father is mentally ill. For this reason, I have a difficult time blaming him for his insults. However, how many times do we allow an abusive person to keep abusing us before we say, “No more!”? They say he has Schizoaffective Disorder which means he fits into one of the cluster personality disorders. However, I am not buying that he isn’t just flat out abusive too. Honestly, I believe abusiveness is also a disease and I do not believe one can recover from being abusive. It is difficult enough to recover from being one who has been abused.

In a previous post, I discussed a horrible message my father sent me about my daughter “choosing to live with an abuser over me”. Recently, my father started calling me again. To give you a little context, my father is in a Psychiatric Hospital and declared incompetent. However, that does not prevent him from being abusive to anyone he contacts. This was a message sent to me last January from my father. How sick is my father that he would send a message like this to his daughter.

“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!”

These kinds of abuse bring me full circle. After all, I feel I married my father. My ex-husband and father are like two peas in a pod. The other day, my father sent me this awful letter where he had ripped out the inside of a card I sent him and wrote insults on it and sent it back. This is definitely not love. Abuser seem to love to send you reeling emotionally and the words are so painful… they stick and they hurt.

 

His comment about my mother is just meant to hurt me. My mother and father have not spoken for more than 20 years. Obviously he just means to strike a blow and hit me personally. So, after receiving this message, I blocked my father from calling me. I did call him up briefly and let him know that he is no longer allowed to call me be abusive. That his behavior was unacceptable.

He sends me a message and says how stunned he is that I would have said such a thing.

4/6/7

Dearest Daughter

I was stunned by our phone conversation yesterday. I had no idea you were hurt so bad – you gave me a constant rant of your hurt feelings caused by the obvious fact that divorce destroys everyone’s happiness, and for good reason!

I tool, have suffered years of hellish pain as a result of your mother’s decision to leave me shattered by her faithlessness and causing me years of near-insanity.

You weren’t the only one hurt. I thank God that after 27 years of being a basket case lost in a world of misery and confusion, (name of ex-wife) was brought to me by God to pick up the pieces; but even though a 161-IQ Literal Genius, after another eleven years of trying, she could not restore me to my good sense and she turned me over to your Aunt for a dose of “tough love”, stripping me of all my worldly belongings and allowing me to be beaten unmercifully by VA staff and guards, taking all my money and freedom, and damned near all my hope. I think even Jesus cooperated! (He’s very wise and I wouldn’t put it past him.)

I guess Jesus saw something in me worth saving, and you were right, I guess it must have been something I said or did along the line that upset the applecart. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, without you. I hope that someday, maybe you can find time to help me discover what it was. I was never mentally ill, just emotionally crippled.

I’ve always wanted to just silently hug you in my arms and just be glad, as I am now, that your mom and I conceived you in love on that wonderful night in the Winnipeg Inn on that idyllic trip we managed to Canada.

During our belated “Honeymoon”.

I think we have a lot to talk about that cannot be done on a pay phone.

When can we meet?

Love,

Your Father

Regards to your mom!

Well, I am sure this letter was meant to make me feel sympathy for him, but I don’t. I am very much sick of his constantly bringing up issues with my mother as if he didn’t have a thing to do with their problems. He is the innocent one. I think not! He is a horribly abusive wordsmith. Bring up his IQ, as my therapist said… he may be intelligent, but he has an Emotional IQ of Zero.

Although he is my father and my Aunt loves to make me feel sympathy for him. She says he has frontal lobe damage and he is unaware what he is doing. I doubt that truly. He knows exactly what he is saying and wants it to hurt. Then as any typical abuser does, he is all confused of why you ‘the irrational one’ are all bent out of shape for nothing. In fact, everything he has said or done is just because my mother left him. Maybe she left because he is an abusive asshole and if he didn’t get his way he would tear you down.

He may be my father by blood, but this is not a love father who writes these messages to his daughter. This is an abusive man who is rather hateful. My mother says for over 40 years he blames everyone else for his problems and believes the doctors are wrong who have said he is incompetent. I need to remind myself where he is, say a prayer for him, and let him go. Why do we subject ourselves to abusive people, even if they are a relative.

My phone remaining blocked and no amount of guilt my Aunt can lay on me will make me feel sympathy for him.

 

Accepting the Painful Reality

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

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

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

She says:

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

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

My response:

How do I know this is you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

My response was:

What is that?

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

She replies:

It reminded me of that Angela account.

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

Instead I said:

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

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

She replies:

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

My response:

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

She replies:

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

My reply:

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

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

She says:

He was calling my old phone number.

My response:

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

Her response:

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

My response:

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

She responds:

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

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

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

Video Documentary on Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I had always been trying to understand what happened and why I continued to date my ex-husband for all those years. I thought he was so amazing when I met him. It is true that my inner voice was screaming that there was something wrong. He did everything this video describes, blaming me and my past for our problems.

When I met him I was strong and independent. Later on I couldn’t even make a decision without running it by ten people. Nobody understood what I was going through.

If you are lucky enough to have not had children with your Narc, please watch this video and save yourself years of pain and hell.  Now, my abusive ex-husband has completely blamed me and painted me as a bad guy with our seventeen year old daughter.

Please watch this video:

Documentary on Narcissistic Personality Disorder video by Jama KC!

Hindsight is 20/20 – Post Abuse Reflections

hindsight-20-20 abuseAs you know, hindsight is 20/20 and after dealing with an abusive man for more than twenty years there are decisions I wish I could go back and change. Obviously, we are unable to go back and change anything that has happened in the past. Knowing what I know now, I realize some decisions would have been so much better for my daughter and my family. Perhaps these decisions may be of some help to someone else who is going through this today.

There is a story that happened today that prompted this blog topic. For now, here are the facts, my ex-husband is highly abusive and has been emotionally abusive to our daughter. I believe my ex-husband has Narcissist Personality Disorder. We have been divorced for over twelve years, but his constant emotional abuse, under-mining of our authority, and using our daughter as a pawn has been relentless. This situation has created a perfect storm for a teenager. She thinks I am the one who has been harassing her father for all these years and her father has done nothing wrong. My reactions have certainly not always been as good as they should have. Sometimes I handled things extremely well and sometimes I didn’t. However, this has been extremely difficult and painful and I do not know what I could have done differently while co-parenting with him.

Trust My Instincts

First, all these year ago, when I was dating my ex-husband. I would have trusted my instincts and not allowed my abusive ex to talk me out of what I was feeling. My gut instincts told me there was something very wrong with our relationship and I would allow him to talk me out of that thought. He would reply with things like; “All relationships have problems…” or “You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.” I should have trusted my own gut instincts that told me something was wrong and just gotten out. I should have left, never looked back, and just accepted the pain of being lonely after a breakup. That loneliness would have been temporary compared to the hell of dealing with him for more than twenty years.

Not Tell Him I Was Pregnant 

Another thought I have sometimes, how much better it would have been if I had never told him I was pregnant. I should have just moved away and went to live with family. If he had never known he had a child, it would have been better for my daughter. Dealing with an absentee parent would have been better than seventeen years of emotional and psychological abuse. They say it is better for a child to know there father than not, but in this case, it would have been better for her to not been subjected to the constant emotional abuse.

Offer No Child Support and No Custody

My ex-husband had to pay a lot in child support. Had I known that he was never going to back off and would keep emotionally abusing our daughter for all these years… it would have been better to offer him no child support in exchange for giving his rights away. Our daughter has been a tether-cord for him to continue using her as a pawn to hurt us.  My ex-husband’s constant manipulation not only affected our daughter, but it also affected my husband and his daughter. Luckily, my husband and I stayed strong throughout this hell and we came through it.

Fought the Courts to Move Out of State

Normally geographic change do not solve a problem. However, I wish I would have fought the courts to move away from this state and live closer to my family. My ex-husband immediately put a clause that prevented me from leaving the state or moving past the surrounding counties. However, his continuous abuse has been extremely destructive on our daughter and my family. It would have been better that I had moved further away and had support of my family. Plus, if she had seen him less frequently, that might have been better for her. At least there would have been bigger breaks between his manipulations.

Bought a House Further Away

When I purchased my house, it was only five minutes way from my ex-husband and that allowed easy access for him. If I had known he would never give up and go away, it would have been better to move 90 miles away from the man. It would have made it a little harder for him to have access and continue harassing as he did. Living close to my ex-husband allowed him to pick her up during the week and ever week we had to deal with the emotions of back-and-forth visitation. In the best of circumstances, going back and forth is hard enough. However, when you are co-parenting with an abusive person, this makes the transitions even harder for the child or children.

Obviously, all these thoughts are a moot point now. However, when you are dealing with a person who is abusive or has a personality disorder there may be no winning scenario. The biggest casualty here was our daughter and then myself. Sometimes I beat myself up for not being a perfect parent in an imperfect situation. Dealing with my relentless abusive ex-husband gave our family little peace.

Most blog posts say when you break up with someone with NPD, there should be a no contact rule. Any contact with a narcissist is too much contact. However, we had children together and that made no contact impossible. However, when people (like my mother) say things like “You have to have a relationship with him… you have to work with him.” Unfortunately, people with NPD don’t play fair or by any set of good co-parenting rules.

I would welcome your thoughts about this topic.

Journal Entries from a Recovering Domestic Violence Victim

journal entries abuseI have begun writing a book because there must be a reason for this journey. Perhaps my book can help someone understand they are not alone and can help them validate their experience. Maybe a book will help someone avoid a few minutes or learn a few lessons quicker. This book will dig deeper into my insights and choices while with my abuser.

There is no understanding why I wrote this journal entry and then continued trying to have a relationship with this man. However, he was so good and making me believe the truth wasn’t what I saw. My journal post really says a lot, even though it is written from a victim’s point of view.  Less than a year later I would give birth to my daughter, I wasn’t pregnant yet when I wrote this entry. My old me just couldn’t stay away even though there was no absolutely no reason to stay with him. At this time in my life I was able to verbalize all that was wrong and there was no reason to continue subjecting myself to him. I believe during this time, I would rather have been miserable with him than miserable without him.

May 7, 1998

I just wanted to thank you, Sam. Thank you for showing what an asshole is. Someone who cares more about themselves than others, some who takes, yet does not give. Someone who chooses not to learn anything or feel they know everything.

Thank you for showing me what it is like to be used. Someone who takes and does not give, takes for granted, and makes not effort to try. By showing me using I have learned that is not something I will accept by someone nor will I deliberately do to other people.

Thank you for showing me unhealthy love. In a relationship that has so many problems that it exhausts energy more often that giving any. Thank you for showing me manipulation, of one form, making promises that are not kept. Saying things for your own benefit rather than that of others. That it is selfish to think of your unhappiness without the other person, than their happiness without you.

Thank you for showing me things I want in a man, yet more than I do not want. Thank you for giving me that strength from experiencing something I do not want. I cannot thank you for my ability to hate, the anger that takes a while to heal and burn out.

Thank you for this rotten experience of love, pain, using, manipulation, and anger. From all these things the experience and change it brought to me, hopefully I have learned to be a better judge of people. So I will not wasted time with anything that is wrong, so I can learn eventually be the right. Thank you for being a person

Generational Effects of Abuse

domestic violenceThis is a story of domestic abuse and how it often runs in families. The cycle of abuse is a tough one to break unless you begin to understand the facts about abuse.  Domestic abuse has more than one face and can affect you in many ways, including unknowingly teaching your children, by example, to choose similar relationships when they are adults. My family story includes all types of abuse, although I can’t say absolutely that sexual abuse exists, but red flags existed.

Types of Domestic Abuse:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Financial Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Spiritual Abuse

When I was sixteen, I made the decision to distance myself from my father. However, I often felt guilty for not talking to him, and that guilt would drive me to call him again. My parents divorced when I was three years old, and I visited him twice a year every year up until the age of sixteen. At the age of sixteen I flat out refused to see him and from them on I think I saw him five times in over 20 years.

There are so many times my relationship with my father confuses me. On one hand, I don’t want to be around him when he is abusive, and that is more often than not. However, I know he suffers from mental illness, and that is not entirely his fault. Now, my aunt has taken over my father’s finances, and he is in a nursing home. My father is so out of control that the thought of my taking over his care gives me panic attacks.

My father has always been ill in more ways than one. As a child, my family protected me from the truth, which probably didn’t protect me at all. My father was diagnosed with Schizophrenia back in the 1970s. Although, in the 1970s, that classification was often incorrect or not a reliable diagnosis. My father was certainly extreme in moods and his behavior often exhibited those of Bi-polar with the tendency to have manic swings.

Approximately ten years ago they diagnosed my father with Schizoaffective Disorder because there seemed to be more than one mental illness present in him. It is very likely my father is also an alcoholic, but he hid this from me very well when I was a child as I never saw him drink.  Oftentimes, substance abuse and mental illness go hand-in-hand.

I do have sympathy for my father because he was a victim if abuse by his father. My grandfather was an extremely controlling and abusive man. He regularly beat his children, but my aunt said my father, being the oldest, always got the worst of it. So it is difficult to say if my father was born with this illness or if all the trauma from physical abuse created it or exacerbated the issues.

My grandfather was also a victim of abuse from his father. What I have learned about my great-grandfather is he was alcoholic that was extremely physically abusive to his children. So my grandfather was regularly beaten, and this cycle of abuse continued when he became a parent. My grandfather never drank a day in his life and might have been considered a drunk alcoholic.

What I remember of my grandfather has he had a grandiose image of himself, and he expected his family to uphold that image. He was in the military and always dressed the part. They had a Rolls Royce, not sure if it was one they fixed up or not. When I was a child, they drove talking Cadillacs, huge expensive motorhome, and a huge boat. He was always living beyond his means to impress other people. I know they made a lot of money, but they were always broke. My grandfather was always looking for getting rich quick schemes that usually don’t result in anyone getting rich. My grandfather definitely used finances and threatening to take the children away to control my grandmother.

My father was an amazing artist, and that was not acceptable to my grandfather. So my father wound up going into the military too, and I am sure he was extremely resentful. However, I remember my father was always trying to please my grandfather, even up until the day my grandfather died. To this day, my father also talks about how great my grandfather was and doesn’t even discuss the abuse.

After my parents had divorced in the 1970s, my father had a break that landed him in the hospital. Perhaps he snapped because my mom had finally decided she had it with the abuse and took me and left. So my grandparents brought him home to live with them, and that was where I would visit my father. My aunt discusses how they took care of my father and never discussed his mental illness with anyone. I am sure they were ashamed of his illness.

When I was a child, my grandparents would often blame my dad’s illness on my mom. They told me she was the reason he was sick. They also told me all the time when I was a child that when I grew up I would need to take care of my father. That entire side of my family would just tear my mom to shreds every time I came to visit. This experience was so negative for me that was why I decided to stop seeing them when I was a teenager.

So, as you can imagine, this created a lot of stress and anger for me when I was a child. Plus, I was an only child, and I had no one to discuss this with whenever I returned home to my mother. My mother would often not say anything negative about my father, which is good on some levels. However, I needed someone to explain his illness to me, especially as I grew older and began to witness some of the outbursts.

Eventually, I came to learn more of the story about my father. However, since we never discussed abuse, I wound up picking a verbally abusive man to marry myself. My ex-husband had extreme moods too along with that grandiose image of himself. In fact, I would say I married someone who was very similar to my father. Generationally, domestic abuse does seem to run in families.

When I was dating my ex-husband, I confided in him one of my greatest fears. I knew the illness my father had could be hereditary, and I was afraid it could happen to me too. Throughout our marriage, this was my ex-husband’s favorite way to hurt me. Tell me things like, “Look how crazy your are acting.” I am sure he enjoyed throwing that bomb at me whenever he was angry.

Hopefully, I have made enough difference choices that the cycle of abuse may end with me. I pray that my daughter makes difference choices than I did. Look at how many years this cycle of abuse has been present in my family.

 

An Abuser Doesn’t Change Their Spots

girl texting fatherOur daughter is now sixteen years old, and she now has a best friend and to my dismay a boyfriend. Due to the abusive nature of my relationship with my ex-husband I have really to talk to him a little as possible. I have found this is a healthier approach for everyone, especially our daughter. Unfortunately, our daughter had to miss a lot of birthday parties, school field trips, and even Disneyland because they fell on his weekend. Now that she is older, she doesn’t want to miss all those weekend activities, and she has started negotiated visiting time with him directly.

Let me fill you in on a little back story so that this story will have more context. In the past, whenever I discussed anything with him about our daughter, he would use that to manipulate the situation or our daughter. For example, if I told him she was failing one of her classes, he would blame it on me or tell her they would go shopping on her next visit. Another example, I never let Julie eat all the junk food she wanted. Then her father would tell her that he wasn’t the ‘food police’ and she could eat whatever she wanted over there.

Dealing with my ex-husband always made me feel rather crazy. His behavior was often crazymaking and was meant to undermine my parenting or twist situations to his benefit.

My ex-husband told her that he understands that she is getting older and might want to miss some visits to spend time with her friends. He has told her this on many occasions in variations. So, our daughter decided to take him up on this offer, and she had a surprising response.

Her friends would have a party at one of the parents house, probably should call it a get together because they just wanted to hang out.

On that Thursday, she asked if she could spend only one night and come home early on Saturday to spend time with her friends. She apologized for the short notice when she was texting him. He flat out told her that would not work, and he would pick her up after school at 3:30 pm sharp. Yes, he tells her ‘sharp’ often and expects her to be ready the second he pulls up to the house.

So, she did not agree with this and persisted in making her case. He finally agreed to pick her up at 3:30 pm on Friday and take her to eat and then bring her back home. On Friday, about twenty minutes before he was supposed to pick her up, he sent her a short message canceling. She asked if he was upset that she wasn’t coming over all weekend. His response, “Figure it out.”

About a week later, he sent her a text and asked her to call him. She called, and she asked if she had figured it out yet. Then he went on to tell her how she had disrespected him and even said her best friend disrespected him too. She was pretty angry with him and honestly I felt pretty angry about that too.

I understand his feelings might be hurt that she wanted to spend time with her friends instead of all weekend at his house. However, he did tell her it was okay if she canceled to be with her friends. It was as if he was telling he go ahead and cancel to be with friends but didn’t want her to do that and was angry when she did that. I feel like he set her up to get in trouble.

Then my daughter told me that she was worried that his wife would hear his version and believe him over her. I told her she cannot worry about what she thinks about this situation. However, that is the cycle of abuse, thinking no one will believe your version over the abusers.

Unfortunately, he didn’t do himself any favors with this topic. I am curious to see if she tries to skip a weekend again after his reaction.  This was one of the first times he showed her his true colors directly towards her. Usually, his true colors are in passive aggressive comments about me.

One Way Relationships with an Abuser

Hard to believe it was 9 years ago when I made the difficult decision to get divorced from my verbally abusive husband.  Although there were so many things wrong with the relationships, it was a very difficult decision to make.  My relationship with my ex-husband as very one-sided and I always felt drained with him.

My biggest complaints would have to have been:

  • He was a married man behaving like a bachelor
    • My expectations were that we were a family and would spend more time together
  • He was not much for being a father to our daughter
    • My expectations were that he would contribute and help me raise our daughter
  • He was very emotionally disconnected for my husband
    • My expectations were that we were married and would need to compromise on more decisions
  • He drank too much and too often
    • This became a very big focus for me and I mistakenly believed his drinking was why he was so nasty
  • When he drank he was often very belligerent
    • One of my mistakes was belligerence was because of his drinking rather than the fact he was verbally abusive
  • His mood swings were very extreme and I never knew what to expect
    • This was the ‘walking on eggshells’ times, when I mistakenly believed I could make/prevent him from getting angry
  • He often ignored me as punishment
    • My expectations were that we would talk like adults and work on a solution we could both live with
  • He was extremely lazy
    • It is my belief that he felt he worked and that entitled him to do nothing when he was home
  • He watched sports all the time (no exaggeration here)
    • My expectations were now that we were married, he couldn’t continue watching sports like a single guy could
  • He used our daughter as a weapon
    • Threats to retain custody of our daughter if I left was a method of control to keep me in line

My ex-husband was rarely emotionally connected and it always seemed intimacy made him uncomfortable.    He was often stay out after work and hanging out at bars with his friends or co-workers.  His excuse was always because it was ‘work related’.  However, he had a family and a little daughter and he usually arrived home after she was in bed.

During those years I remember having very strong mixed feelings about his being out.  On one hand it made me feel physically better when he was away from home, like I could breathe.  On the other hand I was left to be a single parent and he was often playing bachelor instead of married man.  I never understood that because when I had my daughter it became easy to sacrifice these things to be a mother and raise her.

There are many times I told friends that I think he was perfectly happy with the way things were back then.  If I had just stopped complaining and been okay with his doing whatever he wanted… we might have made it.  However, being okay with all those things would have been asking myself to simply discard all my personal emotions and feelings.  I guess I really expected him to grow up and start acting like a husband and a father.

Actually, I think most of our fights were about my criticizing that behavior and he did like to be challenged.  Although he never really stated what exactly he wanted or didn’t want.  He just simply did what he wanted to do and I had better have been okay with it.  There were no questions about what would be a healthy compromise to make both of us happy.

Now there were plenty of times when he was home and we would get into fights about his not being home.  Then he would just use that as an excuse to not come home again and stay out drinking with his buddies.  I remember one he said that most of his friends were divorced.   I honestly cannot remember if I responded to statement,  but if there behavior matched my ex-husband’s behavior it wouldn’t be a surprise.

When my ex-husband was home he was usually exhausted or had a hang-over.  So usually it was like being on egg-shells when he was home and realizing if I said anything it would lead to a fight.  I use to believe I could prevent or make him angry.  It took me a long time to realize I had no control over his emotions.

When my daughter was younger she would say, “Daddy isn’t angry, he is just very serious.”   Now that same thing has become a bit of a joke to her because she knows that is not true.  So she sees people on TV who are angry and says they are just really serious.

I just ran into an old friend yesterday who I have not seen for at least 10 years.  It was nice to see her and we exchanged information again.  She had a very healthy marriage and a healthier life than what I had.  I asked her, “What did it look like from your perspective?”  She said, “You always seemed very isolated, and it seemed as though he wanted you that way.”  That was interesting because I think that was exactly what was going on that made it so hard for me to get away from him.