Tag Archive | abuse and co-parenting

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.

 

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.

 

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.

Healing After Losing Daughter to Abusive Ex-Husband

The other day, I realized something really significant about this entire situation with my ex-husband and daughter. The time I spent with my ex-husband was really not very good. There are not many good memories to dwell on about him. In fact, most of the time things were pretty bad, sometimes okay, but never really good. I think things might have been good in the beginning, but the verbal abuse, DWIs, cheating, lying, kicking holes in doors, hiding money… all this pretty much drowned out any good memories.

After my divorce, my ex-husband just would never leave things alone and constantly created problems and chaos. He would continuously use our daughter as a pawn to stir the pot and create problems. In most situations outside my ex, I can look back and realize all that was good for some particular learning experience.

Regarding my ex-husband, I never could figure out what good it was for, except our daughter. She was the one good thing that came out of all that negativity. Maybe that was what it was all worth, to have my lovely daughter. I know this situation was super hard on her too. No kid should ever have to be in the middle of a parental warfare.

However, when she decided at 17, she wanted to go live with my ex-husband that pretty much broke my heart. After all these years of my raising her and trying to teach her good things, she chooses to go live with my ex-husband. Although I know she is just a teenager right now and what he promised her sounds like a teenagers dream come true. Now, she does get to dress and do pretty much anything she wants. Now, I have to let her go and pray she will come through it all okay. 

Although, I suspect my daughter would believe her motivations were not about the car and promises of freedom. However, we all know my ex-husband sued for custody or because I am an unfit parent, not because he was the better parent, but because he knew he could save a year and a half of child support. My ex-husband has been trying to hurt me for all these years and I believe that was the primary motivation. Taking advantage of my daughter’s teenage rebellious state was just the ideal time to get her to agree to go.

So today, now when I look back and think about the twenty-five years of hell of dealing with my ex-husband. Plus, co-parenting with my ex-husband was really impossible. The better term would probably be oppositional parenting. I tried to be a good person through all this and kept doing my best to do the right thing. Damn that Alanon and teaching me personal accountability! Just sometimes it would have been nice to act like an asshole to him like he was to me. However, what good would that have done for our daughter. Although, what good did trying to do the right thing do? I still lost her in the end anyway.

How frustrating this all seems right now. Yet still right now, I have to believe this is all happening for a reason. That some good will come out of this awful situation. Looking back, I feel sad that my ex-husband still had so much control over this household. His continue manipulation created so many additional problems and I am not sure what I could have done difficulty to change the outcome. However, I do not believe things happen the way they do on accident. There is a purpose, even if I am unable to see what it is right now.

The best thing I can do is continuing taking positive steps towards healing. I am doing better that I was seven months ago. Today, I am able to sleep better at night. Also, I am taking better care of myself with exercise and doing things I enjoy. I know I just need to keep doing the next right thing. One very positive note, I have zero contact with my ex-husband now. That has been incredible! I just hate that our daughter had to leave for us to not have to deal with him.

 

 

The Abuse Did Not Happen

This made up narrative by my abusive ex-husband on how I was the problem just upsets me. Today, we are boxing up books for a room remodel and just listen to these titles of books collected over the years:

  • Why Does He Do That
  • Toxic Parents
  • Abuse No More
  • Joint Custody with a Jerk
  • Your Kids and Divorce
  • Successful Single Parenting
  • The Verbally Abusive Relationships
  • Victory Over Verbal Abuse
  • Relationships
  • From Survival to Recovery
  • The DNA of Relationships
  • The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage
  • Paths to Recovery
  • Energy Zappers

Wow, now this is quite a list of books I have collected over the years. So many of these books were read to help figure out how to navigate parenting with an abusive ex-husband. Honestly, I am not sure if any of it made a difference or not considering the outcome.

In the end, my daughter chose to go live with my ex-husband. She has no idea that the lawsuit costs us more than $7,000 and what a waste considering he did not do what he promised. He agreed to take our daughter to weekly therapy and he did not keep that promise. Although, taking someone to therapy who didn’t want to go would not have made any difference. Still, these were the terms and he agreed to these terms.

I am not sure how to feel about all of this at times. On one hand, my daughter made these decisions and she claims it wasn’t for the car or lax rules promised. However, many teenagers rebel against the rules, however how many have a parent that conspires with the child to undermine the other parent’s authority. This probably happens more often than I know.

Lets face it; my ex-husband out manipulated me because I wasn’t playing that game. Over the years I really tried to do what was right. His constant undermining created a very challenging situation as our daughter entered teenage years. Was I a perfect parent through this entire situation, probably not, but I know my priorities were in line.

Sometimes you can do all the right things and still feel like you lost a battle that you didn’t want to be in in the first place. Sometimes your heart can just get broken beyond explanation. No suicidal thoughts here, but I certainly felt at times I would rather be dead than feel the crushing pain of losing your daughter to an abusive ex-husband.

This sounds like a pity party today. I truly want to believe that everything happens for a reason. It seems throughout my life it always has worked out for the best. Unfortunately, you cannot see into the future to see how everything will turn out.

Tomorrow my daughter and I have planned on going to a movie. In less than two weeks, my daughter will turn eighteen. She might get a car for her birthday. She has two grades below passing, but my ex is not considering her safety when he makes decisions. Neither is he helping her grow into an independent young woman either. My ex-husband likes people to be dependent upon him because that gives him the power he so craves.

During one of my therapy sessions, I had mentioned that it seemed like all of this is my fault. That I picked this man and for that reason we have all this pain. However, as she pointed out, I did not pick this man planning on divorce and years of emotional pain for us all. Maybe I did handle this situation wrong. Honestly, I just do not know.

What I do know is I am a survivor and I will survive this just as I have everything else encountered during my lifetime. My daughter may see the truth and may choose a different outcome. My daughter may end up navigating through her own painful choices as I did. Maybe, I did everything right considering everything that we encountered. I have never spent so much time away from my daughter as I have during the last sixth months.

My daughter was first in my life for so many years. First in a good way though. I always made she was able to participate in school activities, make it to birthday parties, and tried to give her the healthiest mom I could be. I spent years going to Alanon and therapy in my efforts to be the healthiest mom I could be for her.

Today, I am struggling, but I know I will survive all of this. Maybe there are lessons for everyone here that I just cannot see. Maybe this is going to work out exactly as it should, but I won’t know for years to come. All I can do is continue to work on myself, take care of myself, and be the best person I can be every day.

 

 

 

Navigating Through Parental Alienation (PAS)

navigating parental alienationDuring the holidays is when I realize that this is a sad time and perhaps I feel a little blue. Navigating through the effects of Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is not easy and there doesn’t seem to be a right answer other than prayers and time.

Today, I read about a new term called Hostile Aggressive Parenting (HAP) and this definition makes a lot of sense. It describes this as an aggressive form of abuse and maltreatment. However, it does say that HAP leads to PAS. It is my believe that either parent and even guardians can contribute to destroying the relationship between child(ren) and either the mother or father.

As a child, I experienced my father’s constant verbal assaults against my mother. His goal was most certainly to turn me against my mother or take his side. To this day, my father will still say hateful things about my mother. For this reason, I rarely speak to my father, although I still love him regardless. Plus, my father’s stories often contained elements of the truth, but unfairly put my mother down. He would say my mother was promiscuous and even refer to her as ‘satan’.

As a young adult, I also witnessed my uncle (father’s brother) turning his three children against their mother. It wasn’t until they were grown adults and married with families of their own that they came to realize there might be another side to the story. Although my Aunt may not have been perfect, more of the harm came from my Uncle then from her. Now they have a different relationship with their father.

Since my daughter was little, my ex-husband has been constantly undermining my parental authority with our daughter. He would call us the ‘food police’ and basically say our rules were extreme or unreasonable. We had some rules, but I would never consider our rules extreme. My daughter has journal entries from when she was ten years old, where she expresses her confusion about whose rules to follow and how to answer his questioning her. This ongoing parental warfare caused unnecessary stress in our daughter’s life during her childhood.

journal entry about rulesjournal entries questions

Once she became a teenager, she was open to moving in with her father, especially since he was offering her a ‘stress free house’ (read no rules) and a car. However, it is so sad the distance my daughter has put between us so quickly. It has been over two months since she left to live with her father. Still, she does not give me her phone number and my only way to communicate is through the Instagram app. It has been over a month since I have seen my daughter and I hope to see her on December 2nd.

Recently, she reached out to me and was asking if we could get together. Her tone seems to have improved a bit and she seems less angry? Maybe time will help? The problem is she still lives with her father and his motives are not so good. Everything he has ever done has an self-serving purpose. I cannot control my ex-husband or his wife, but hearing my daughter speak in a manner that is definitely not her is frustrating.

Last week, we went to my hometown to celebrate my grandmother’s life. My grandmother lived a long life and she was 97 1/2 when she passed away. We invited my daughter and she said she could not go to another state and miss even one day of school. Honestly, she is struggling with her grades and I am not sure one day would make that big of difference. Anyway, we had a huge family photo and it was sad for several of us that my daughter was not in the picture.

My mom is frustrated on some days and gets very angry at my ex-husband. I am not really sure how much of this is just her being a teenager. Dealing with teenagers can be a challenge without adding combative co-parenting to the mix. Today, I read an article called Offsetting Parental Alienation that gave me some hope. However, the other day I read a comment on Facebook from one of our readers that said their ex-husband was destroying their relationship with their grand babies. This thought just breaks my heart.

I hope my writing about this is helping some people. It is helping me to write these thoughts down. In July, after we were served the suit for custody, my stomach was upset nearly the entire month. In August, when my daughter was home and hostile towards us, we were completely on edge the entire month. In September, I felt extreme grief, knowing that I might have to let her go. In October, my feelings moved into a depression and it was a little hard to pull myself out of that. In November, I am beginning to accept my reality and trying to accept life with my daughter at a distance.

My prayers are constant to for God to keep her safe and protected. I still pray for my ex-husband and his wife and hope they will find their own happiness. Although, I know people rarely change. For now, I will continue to work on myself and continue working on my own health and happiness.

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.

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.

Children – Casualties of Parental Warfare

flowers roseToday, I had to make a super difficult decision. It is likely I am going to have to let my daughter go live with my abusive ex-husband and his wife.  I do not believe this is the best decisions for her, but she will just resent me if she stays, and will likely move in eight months when she turns eighteen. My heart is absolutely breaking over this decision.

She is a casualty of the parental warfare my ex-husband is waging on our family. It is so sad, because I feel like nobody wins here, everybody loses. Unfortunately, he has waged war and our daughter is a victim in this horrible situation. She is a casualty of parental warfare.

Sending her to live with my abusive ex-husband seems like the worst thing for her.  His permissive parenting will not be good for her, but she is almost an adult and may have to learn the grass is not always greener.

She has been absolutely hateful since June, ever since she was busted smoking pot. As soon as we took away her privileges, she threw a tantrum and called her dad, her dad swooped in and picked her up didn’t discourage her behavior. Plus, he took advantage of her anger to help turn her against me.  In the end, I am not sure if it made any difference all the decisions I made or the lessons I taught. In then end I feel like I lost our daughter anyway.

The problem is, that I chose to marry this man all those years ago, and he would never stop being abusive. No matter how I responded, he just continued to user her as a pawn in his personal game. Perhaps God is working some miracle here for all of us. Only time will tell.