Tag Archive | Abusive Ex-Husband

My Anger is a Mask for Fear

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

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

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

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

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

Chore List #1

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

  • Chore List

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

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

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

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

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

Time will tell I guess.

Co-Parenting With an Abuser

light on pink daisy

The most difficult time in my life was when I was living with my ex-husband. He controlled the finances, and I was constantly living on eggshells due to his unpredictable behavior. Today, I no longer have the constant headaches, stomach problems, and depression I experienced daily.

Although co-parenting with an abusive ex-husband can be challenging. It has also created problems between my husband and me at times because my daughter can be quite disrespectful when she talks to my husband. Unfortunately, my ex-husband has encouraged this type of behavior from our daughter.

My ex-husband’s parenting style has created problems for our daughter that make life a bit harder one some days. My abusive ex-husband’s influence on my daughter often brings out a sense of entitlement for my daughter. She likes being at her dad’s house and getting to do whatever she wants, and she sometimes rebels against rules when she comes home.

My ex-husband’s manipulative comments have affected my daughters behavior and thinking on some days. He is so arrogant, and he encourages that behavior from my daughter. He would tell her, “You don’t have to act like you are all that when you are already all that.” What kind of comment is that to tell your child? There are some occasions when my daughters comments or tones sound very much like my ex-husband.

His wife told my daughter she should pick a rich man like she did to marry. She also said she wanted a ring that was so big that her hand would fall to the floor. These types of comments seem very shallow to me. This is just how my ex-husband and his wife behave in general. They think very highly of themselves, and everyone else is beneath them.

I hope my daughter will come through this unscathed. When I was a child I had a father who was not putting my best interests at heart and I think today, I am okay. Growing up with my father certainly had an influence on my decision to pick my abusive ex-husband. My ex-husband reminds me of mine dad. My father thinks very highly of himself too, and that other people are beneath him.

I can only hope that the example we show in our house helps my daughter make the right choice. I am sure some day she will see my ex-husbands manipulative behavior at face value.

Healing the Emotional Scars

healing emotional scarsMy daughter has admitted that her father continues to say horrible things about me, and she just tunes him out. However, having seen her self-inflicted cuts on the side of her thigh/hip and it does not appear she has tuned it out. How much emotional scarring has this abusive relationship caused in my daughter after all these years?

My abusive relationship with my ex-husband and my father has certainly caused some internal emotional scarring for me. Now, I rarely talk to either one of them because they do not change. The best book I ever read that explained the abuse in a way that made sense was the book by Bancroft Lundy, Why Does He Do That? There is no rhyme or reason to why they behave like they do and I am not hopeful that they will ever change.

My ex-husband hates me after all these years. Perhaps he hates that I have left and that he cannot control me anymore. The only thing he can control now is trying to sever the relationship between my daughter and myself. He constantly says things to her like, “Moms and daughters do not get along.” or “Fathers and daughters get along better than mothers and daughters.” All of this is designed to try to drive a wedge between my daughter and myself.

Hopefully, it won’t work anymore for my ex-husband than it worked for my father. To this day, nearly forty years after my parent’s divorce, my dad still says hateful and horrible things about my mother. Seriously, he just can’t get over that relationship that ended so long ago. Now, I have made the decision not to talk to my father because I do not want to continue to subject myself to his verbal abuse. Will my daughter one day have to make this same decision?

I have made the prayer, “Let it end with me.” My hope is the cycle of abuse will not continue with my daughter, and it will end with my generation. This is my only prayer.

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.

Sometimes I Hate My Ex

monarch_butterfly_189758I must admit there are times I absolute hate my ex-husband! Times when my daughter acts entitled and as if the rules just not apply to her. It has always been a challenge parenting with such an uncooperative ex-husband. I am fully aware that children will play both parents even if the parents are not divorced.  It is just so difficult when an ex-spouse is doing all they can to be the “good” parent while making you look like the “bad” parent. When my daughter gets in trouble she does promptly call her father or go over and complain about what she perceives as unfair. My daughter has the habit of blaming things on others or having excuses for everything.

Example, just this weekend I let her stay at her friends house and then they asked me if she could stay one more night.  I agreed as long as she was home at 9am on Sunday.  So today, I get a call from my daughter at 9:20am saying her parents have passed right by our house and she wouldn’t be home until after church.  It is important my daughter does what we agree to so I can trust her.  Her response was that it wasn’t her fault. It doesn’t matter why you were late, you are responsible and have to own it. I gave her the example if you were supposed to get a ride to work and they don’t show up, work could care less what your reasons are for not showing up on time.

Although I do not regret meeting my ex-husband, because I have my daughter as a result of that.  There are times I regret just not telling him I was pregnant with our daughter.  Perhaps we would have traded off years of hell in trade for my daughter not knowing her father? I know it does no good to wish for things you cannot change, but there are times the regret just sneak in there.

monarch_butterfly_wings_flying_insectMy daughter’s therapist once said that the problem with my ex-husband’s house was it was a “house of excess”.  She said they allowed her excessive everything from junk food, shopping, television, etc… She also said it was a house of excess without rules. This always made the transition periods difficult for my daughter going to visit a house where rules do not exist which makes our household seem strict in comparison.  I do not believe we are overly strict, in fact, I probably need to move more towards and autocratic parenting style.

Plus, my ex-husband is the king of manipulation and never says anything directly.  He always comes about saying something rather indirectly.  Many years ago I couldn’t figure out why my daughter was reacting to me the way she was.  Eventually, it came out that he wasn’t telling her I was mean but was saying “your mom is going to get mad at you” or “you are going to get in trouble.”  Everything he has ever done comes in sideways like that which would make it really hard for a child to realize they are being manipulated.

My daughter is 16 now and I remember being an awful teenager at that age with my mother. You see I too grew up with at father that was just determined to make me hate my mother. The one big difference between my father and ex-husband is my father was always more direct with his negative comments about my mom. He would just tell me my mother was promiscuous or that she was not going to go to heaven.  My ex-husband says things like, “you know you only have one dad and it is not your stepdad”. I am not sure how this was received, but this makes my daughter exhibit signs of guilt and perhaps feels she is betraying her dad.

I haven’t written as often because my life has been somewhat more peaceful since we moved further away from my ex-husband.  At least now my ex-husband’s wife is less involved with my daughter’s school. The school is in a completely different district and I guess it is too much trouble for them to stay involved like they were. School always has its own drama and I am grateful there is no more added difficulty as there was five years ago (read What a Tangled Web They Weave).

On many levels, my daughter is doing better but we have some disobedience going on and it is a challenge for sure. One day my daughter said that she wanted to go to her dad’s house and they never yell at her. I wrongly replied by saying “they have no rules, what would they yell at you about?” This comment from her came after a conversation that she had 5 failing grades at school and she was angry that I took her phone privileges away. I had also received calls from 2 teachers and the AP at school who all said that my daughter shouldn’t be hanging out with “that girl”. There is a girl at school my daughter knows and she does seem like troubled soul. Wearing the dark black eyeliner and they recorded a video of this girl ‘pretending’ to be high. The only reasons I know

I had also received calls from 2 teachers and the AP at school who all said that my daughter shouldn’t be hanging out with “that girl”. There is a girl at school my daughter knows and she does seem like troubled soul. Wearing the dark black eyeliner and they recorded a video of this girl ‘pretending’ to be high. My step-daughter refers to this kids as the raccoons because of their excessive eyeliner thing. It seems that my daughter could be heading down a wrong path.  I know I certainly did when I was her age.  The only reasons I know she was pretending is how lucid she was at the end of the videos. There was also another video of a boy pushing this girl’s head suggestively towards his lap.  These kids are only 15/16 years old

Anyway, all this stuff is a challenge on its own and it make is extra hard when you have a parent working against you.  Unfortunately, my daughter is just a pawn, and this parenting style is not really in her best interests.  I will say that kids don’t think so much these days on their recording and posting online, kind if leaves a timeline print of their activities.  My ex-husband says I shouldn’t keep on her because I will just push her away. So what I should just let her do whatever she wants by his standards.

Healing from Emotional Abuse

abusive ex-husband - peace and closureMy personal journey in healing from the emotional abuse. No communication, distance and time helped us find closure and peace.

Today, I am happy to say things have settled down in the past few years. It is my belief things have changed because we moved further away from my ex-husband. Normally a geographical change does not fix all situations because wherever you move, ‘there you are’. However, when dealing with a controlling and abusive ex-husband I think geographical moves may be necessary.

When we initially moved my ex-husband told our daughter I moved her away from him to make it harder for him to see her. My ex-husband, his wife and my daughter’s school were the motivating factors in why we decided to expand our search into other areas in the city. It is still hard for me to believe all that crazy stuff happened in the first place.

Insanity at Daughter’s School

My ex-husband’s wife (who was his girlfriend at the time) transferred to my daughter school as an assistant teacher. My ex-husband signed a Power of Attorney giving his girlfriend full-parenting rights over our daughter. His girlfriend was starting visiting my daughter at lunch daily. Every day giving her gifts (flowers, erasers, pens, candy, etc….) which began to create jealousy with my daughters friends who were not receiving this special treatment. My daughter issues with her friends is what prompted me to go to school to complain.

The school staff informed me that his girlfriend had the same parenting rights I did. What? Even my ex-husband doesn’t even have the same parenting rights that I do. According to my court, signed Divorce Decree he wasn’t even allowed to pick her up during school hours unless it was an emergency. So how in the world did the school allow a ‘secretary’ signed Power of Attorney give her the same rights as I have?

We dealt with that craziness for two years and then I decided it was time to transfer her out of that school. During that same time, my husband and I were looking for a slightly bigger house. Then suddenly, perhaps out of frustration, I said to our realtor, “Where else in this city have we not looked?” So she began showing us different homes in other neighborhoods around the city. As soon as we saw this neighborhood we knew we wanted to live here. Then we began looking at all the homes that were available and here we are.

You can read additional posts that I wrote about that insanity in What a Tangled Web They Weave blog post.

Geographical Move Creates Closure

When we first moved in the summer of 2010, we decided not to tell my daughter about our decision. My ex-husband is very manipulative and had way too much control over her at the time. My daughter was only ten years old at the time and would often answer his questions to make him happy. So we looked for houses on the weekends she visited her father. We had told her one week before we were moving and showed her the house. Then when my ex-husband picked her up we handed him the address of where he would need to drop her off.

He was super pissed to get blindsided like that, and I can’t blame him entirely. However, with all his scheming we really did not know what to expect from him and decided not to let him know until it was a done deal.

He told my daughter that I moved further away so he couldn’t’ see her as often. He (well his behavior) was the motivating factor to expand our house search further out. However, he was not the reason we chose this house. The first year he kept with his Wednesday through Sunday visits. He had to pick our daughter up after school on Wednesday, drop & pick her up Thursday a Friday and then bring her home on Sunday. It was a 40-minute drive from his neighborhood to ours.

The second year he told our daughter, he was just going to pick her up on Friday through Sunday from now on because he knew she had friends she might want to visit instead. It is my believe that it was just too much work for him to drive that distance so many times per week. Plus, he drives a truck and gas prices were not helping. However, it was better for my daughter to have a less disruptive schedule which helped life settle down here.

Peace and Closure For Our Family

In 2011, I remembered feeling very angry for a while about my ex-husband. It seems like I was finally able to grieve and go through emotions I had not been able to go through for years. I moved into my house on October 2003, and my divorce was final the next month. My ex-husband spent all those years harassing me, threatening to take our daughter from me and worse using our daughter as a pawn. Our poor daughter has had more than her fair share of tears. Our poor daughter has to learn how to be a child of divorce in a parental warfare type situation.

My ex-husband is a very manipulative person. It took me the longest time to figure out what he was telling her every time she visited him. She was afraid of me at times because he would tell her things like, “You are going to get in trouble with your mom.” Or, “Your mom is going to get mad at you.” His comments were very indirect and passive, and it took my daughter a long time to realize what he was doing to her.

My daughter is 15 now, and it has gotten better. She says he still says awful things about me, but she lets it go in one ear and out the other. Hopefully, she is truly able to do that. It is unfair of my ex-husband to do that to her. His efforts to alienate our relationship did not work so I think he doesn’t a hard anymore.

Zero Communication and Facts Only Rule

Every divorce book or co-parenting book I have read says you should co-parent with your Ex and try to create a similar home structure for the child. It seems that a normal divorce situation is hard enough but when you are dealing with an abusive (or perhaps narcissistic) ex, this makes all rational and logical solutions null and void. The rules are very different when you are dealing with a toxic ex, narcissistic ex or abusive ex. Moving further way from my ex-husband was probably the first step to our finding some peace.

I do believe the biggest factor that has helped ease our daughter’s suffering was to enact the Zero Communication Rule with my ex-husband. That means I never talk to him by phone. Any email communications are written with the Facts Only Rule. For example: “I took her to the doctor, she has Strep, I have attached the receipt, your half is $X for the doctor co-pay and antibiotics.” Also, I never ask him questions or request his opinion on any matter. I have even learned it does no good to tell him about her grades or any other subject. In the past when I would tell him about her grades he would just blame me for her struggles.

One of my biggest problems was getting advice from family members or other friends (some who had not even dealt with divorce) that simply wouldn’t work with my abusive ex-husband.. Plus getting rational and logical solutions to deal with my irrational ex-husband probably wasn’t the best advice for my circumstances.  This slideshow is excellent advice and eventually I did all these suggestions after learning the hard way.

1. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid that every divorced couple should be able to co-parent. If you have a relentlessly high-conflict ex, try parallel parenting instead: different houses, different rules, and as little contact as possible.
Virginia Gilbert, licensed marriage and family therapist (Source)
Sources:

Healing from Invisible Wounds – Emotional Abuse

I think one of the greatest issues I have had to overcome is healing from all the invisible wounds.  The scars left from the verbal and emotional abuse seem like they often ran deep into my core.  My first emotional abuser was not my ex-husband, he was my father.   So this is where the abuse cycle began for me and somehow I married a man who behaves so much like my father.

I believe my daughter is finally able to see my ex-husbands behavior for what it is.  She has to go to his each summer for (2) two week periods or for the entire month of July.  Her step-sister is going to her mother’s house from the end of June to the beginning of August.  So my daughter and I discussed the possibility of her staying for the entire month of July so she won’t be as bored.  Initially she thought that was a great idea and had planned to discuss it with her father.

Maturity & Awareness
However, when she came home from that weekend visitation she told me she didn’t think she could handle 30 days straight and really needed a break.  I was very surprised by the maturity of her response and simply replied, “Fair enough.”

When she came home from her father’s house this weekend I gave her a hug and said I was glad she was home.  I asked her if she had a good time.  Then I asked if there was anything she needed to discuss with me.  She said, “Nothing worth talking about.”

Are we out of the woods yet?  I seriously doubt it.  However, I am very moved by her mature responses   As much as I dislike my ex-husband’s abusive behavior, I do not want my daughter to hate him.  I doubt she could even if she wanted to.  I do want her to learn to understand him well enough to plan her comments and responses better.   It would truly shock me if my daughter could explain her father’s behavior anymore than I can.  His behavior is often beyond reason.

Planning Comments & Response
One thing I have been working on with my daughter is teaching her how to plan her comments with her father.  For instance after the entire cell phone issue where we thought he had bugged her phone.  We decided electronics were not to be taken back and forth.

So when she was at her father’s house she said she wasn’t allowed to take home the Nintendo 3D DSI because my husband and I said not to.  Well that immediately had her step-mother and father upset about that.  Never-mind the fact that my ex-husband was the one to originally make this rule that nothing comes back and forth.

Encouraged to Lie
So her step mother actually advised her to bring the Nintendo in her backpack and take it to school and just not tell us about.  Basically encouraging our daughter to lie to us.  Amazing!  This woman is an assistant teacher at school in charge a little kids.  Honestly, where are her morals.

My daughter told them no and then told us what they had asked of her.  We told her that we were very proud of her for saying No and for telling us.  We said that was a very mature thing to do.

So I did advise my daughter to be more careful with what she says to them.  I told her in the future she could avoid some of these conversations by planning her response better.  For example, if she had simply told them she wanted to keep the Nintendo at their house so it would be there whenever she came to visit that might have avoided that entire conversation.

Stop & Think
My advise to my daughter is to actually visualize a Stop Sign in her head and Stop & Think before answering.   She does want to be honest and I told her she can still be honest in her response and perhaps not give information to create this uncomfortable discussions.

I guess one of the things I am learning is to give my daughter the tools she needs to handle what she has to deal with.  By learning how to think before she replies she might be able to prevent some of the outbursts.  I no way can she control how they behave but she might be able to bypass some of the conversations.   It does seem my abusive ex-husband and his wife are ready to disagree with anything I tell our daughter.  So perhaps she should not say ‘My mom said’ and avoid the discussion all together.

I hope I am doing the right thing.  It is always hard to know when dealing with insanity of abuse.  My prayers are simple, please do not let my daughter go through years of healing from invisible wounds inflicted by her father and even myself.

Verbal Abuse Can Impact Any Relationship

I truly think God must have a sense of humor.  I am not completely rid of my abusive ex-husband or abusive ex-boss but it sure makes me feel fired up to write more about verbal and emotional abuse,  because awareness is key.

Verbal Abuse can happen in almost any type of relationship and anywhere;

    • in intimate relationships, marriages, or even families
    • at school with other kids, colleagues, teachers, and sometimes parents
    • at work with a boss, owners, management or co-workers
    • in customer service with utilities or other companies you pay bills to
    • debt collectors (these are among the some of worst)
    • by neighbors or people in your community
    • by friends or ex-friends

Emotional abuse is not limited to intimate relationships and can be found in all sorts of encounters throughout life.  Some of these situations are very short-lived like when you deal with an abusive customer service representative or perhaps a someone managing your affairs.  It is easy to not recognize these situations as abuse because they do not occur on the regular basis and it is easier to put them out of your mind.

Obviously, the vast majority of these situations would involve verbal or emotional abuse.  Of course, anything physical would allow you to take legal action.  No, this the type of abuse that is sly and usually done through words, actions or even the silent treatment.  Most verbal abusers have patterns and will often repeat these behaviors.  Almost anyone is capable of having a bad day, but these encounters should not be come the ‘new normal’.

Once an abuser or bully sets his target on you it very difficult to get out of the path.  Sometimes it requires you sever any connecting relationships in order to get away from the assaults.  Unfortunately, it is usually impossible to reason with these types of personalities.  Especially, if you are dealing with a narcissistic, sociopath or someone with a personality disorder who lacks empathy & remorse.

First example:
When I divorced my abusive ex-husband, it seemed he would use any kind of connection he could to get to me.  He would use anyone who was connected to me in order to pass messages or simply stir the pot.  You know, bizarre situations that seem to pull you back into the abusive insanity.  Where he is now talking to one of your friends and you being to wonder if they are repeating everything you say to your Ex.  Now that I have severed every possible connection, the only one he has left to use is our daughter, and he most certainly tries to use her as a pawn.

Second example:
When I left my last job, my boss would use my old co-workers to spy on me through Facebook or Linked In.  It was really sneaky and felt like stalking or rather ‘silent stalking’ (if there is such a thing).  All the while, he said nothing directly to me, but outright ignored me.  Even when I was trying to clean up connections since I was tied to almost everything within the company.  It really felt like I was getting divorced all over again on my last day.  Having to sit there while we removed my administrative access to everything.  Eventually, I disconnected myself from every connection we had in common.  Perhaps that was his personal goal?

Time to Say Goodbye
Unfortunately, some of these relationships become reoccurring and can make it impossible for you to ignore the abuser’s behavior.  Reoccurring abusive situations are often with a intimate partner, boss or management, or even someone in your own family.  If this relationship becomes one you cannot avoid and is effecting you emotionally, only you can decide when it is time to say goodbye.

Sources:

 

Daughter Secretly Texting Abusive Ex-Husband

Using Children as PawnsOkay, so over the weekend we had an incident with our 13 year old daughter not coming home when she was suppose to. Basically she was going out with a friend, to the mall and was suppose to be home at 1pm.  So, at 1:30pm I am trying to call and text her cell phone but she had it turned off.  She finally turns it on at 2:30pm to call and tell us she is running late and is on her way home.  They arrived home at 3:30pm.  So we had to have the conversation over responsibility and her turning off her phone was unacceptable.  She said she didn’t realized she needed to be home at 1pm and I challenged her on that.  I also said she should have let us know that she wasn’t at the mall that is close to the house.  So we decided to ground her from her iPod and phone.

The Plot Thickens
While we are sitting there with her & holding the iPod, the screen lights up with a text message and I was puzzled because I didn’t know she was texting on her iPod.  So I asked her to unlock it and we noticed right on the chat screen text messages to her dad and his wife.  Seeing the text messages wasn’t so bad as the fact that she appeared to be hiding this detail.  (Plus, we have had problems with this in the past which I posted at Abusive Ex-husband Texting Our Daughter.)  She later admitted that she didn’t intend to not tell us but decided not to mention it later.  Then comes the conversation about ‘Lying by Omission’ or ‘Lying through Actions’ which is the same thing as lying.

So officially I am my mother now.

Text Messaging Content
Anyways, we did look through the chats between her father & her as well as the ones between her step-mother and her.  The ones with her father were typical and had the occasional one-upping or a very subtle manipulative comments.  For example; she asked him if she was here or there during Spring Break this year.  He said you are at your moms.  Then he sends another text that says, “Don’t be sad.”  (What, don’t be sad to be away from him or here with me?)  She replies, “I wish I could be with both of you for Spring Break, but I get to see you next year.”

The chats between her step-mother were stranger.  It was like she was communicating with another 13 year old not a woman who is almost 50 years old.  Mostly comments about shopping and her step-mother asking her to send pictures of her new skirt.  Or that her father had just bought her another right from Jareds.  It seemed extremely age inappropriate.  On a side note, her step-mother told her that she needed to find someone rich like her father to marry.  (Really, is that what she really believes?)

Trusting Your ‘Gut’ Instinct
So, yesterday I looked in her settings because I wondered what apps have been installed.  I am not sure why I was looking, I just had this ‘gut’ instinct that there was something wrong.  I noticed her Bluetooth was on and there really isn’t a reason for it to be on as she doesn’t have one and it eats up the battery life.   As I was about to disable Bluetooth I notice it was trying to connect to a Blackberry.  Nobody in this house has ever owned a Blackberry phone.  However, her father use to up until recently when they got iPhones.  So this bothers me because there seems to be so much sneakiness going on.

Apparently my daughter gets teased if she doesn’t reply to his texts fast enough.  She also gets teased about texting me on weekends which has made her stop completely.  So this all bothers me.  When she is at his house she is not allowed to text me.  Then when she is here with us she has to keep in constant communication with both of them?  Certainly a double standard and some seriously manipulation going on with a 13 year old child.

So I am bothered by this Blackberry connection.  I know the Bluetooth settings do not seek out a connection like the Wifi does.  They do keep a memory of that connection.  So when she got home after school I asked her about the iPod trying to connect to a Blackberry.  I let her do most of the talking & thinking about why that might be.  Eventually she did say, “Well my dad use to have a Blackberry and so did my step-mother.”  She seemed very puzzled about this connection.  Of course I am really worried that she might have his old Blackberry upstairs in her room (hopefully not).  It wouldn’t surprise me based on his threats to get her a phone so he could keep in constant communication with his daughter.

We also thought back to the time when my ex-husband told our daughter that her step-father shouldn’t be saying specific names to her, I think he called her ‘tird’.  It took me a few minutes to figure out that obviously my ex-husband was reading her text messages.  (You can read that post under Abusive Ex-husband Reading Daughters Text Messages.)  So, now she is not allowed to take any type of technology over to her father’s house.  I also have told her that she is not allowed to bring any devices from her father’s house.  My ex-husband has made a career out of lying and is very good at it.  I hate the thought that he may be encouraging our daughter to be sneaky & not tell the truth (hence lying).

Examining My Motives
So, I am spending some time examining my motives here.  Do I have a problem with ‘him’ texting her?  I have never blocked my ex-husband from contacting our daughter.  I probably should have because of his constant manipulation, negative comments about me and that her own father is a really bad influence.  The secondary reason I should have blocked him is because it is clear she can’t handle texting him without getting a major attitude and her grades drop.  Do I have a problem with his wife texting her?  Not as much except that it does seem a bit creepy that an adult is communicating at a teen level.

I am pretty sure my daughter does not catch his subtle manipulations.  Although, I would imagine she might get the negative emotions that come along with manipulation.  I kept hoping as she got older she would figure out what he was doing and not play along with him.  However, his behavior is helping her become a very difficult teen to deal with.  In fact all this lying and sneaking around has really got to me recently.

Yesterday, I pretty much blew up on her.  I told her I was not going to allow this lying, sneaking around and constant attitude to continue going on in this house.   She blamed her father for what she was doing, that she is unable to say now.  I told her, I agree that she is a child and for many years she was just ‘caught in the middle’.  However, I told her that now she is older and is contributing by making decisions to lie/deceive us.  I also told her that this was going to stop right now because we are not doing this for another 5 years.

So, she said “Okay I will tell my dad.”  I asked her, “What will you tell your dad?”  She replies, “I will tell him how I feel.”  I told her I felt that was all good in thought.  I reminded her that she has tried to tell him how she felt a couple of times and it didn’t work.   I told her what she really needs to do is sit back and really listen to what is being asked.  If it is a question about me she needs to think before responding.  She can reply with a simple, “My mom had a great weekend.”  Then go on to change the subject and talk about his week and what they are going to do this weekend.  If he starts saying something negative about me, she can reply with, “I don’t’ really want to talk about that.  I just want to spend time with you.”

I have no idea if what I am doing is correct or not.  I have tried not to put her in the middle but she simply does whatever he asks or goes along with whatever he does.  My concern was this, and I told her this, that she is getting older and responsible for her behavior.  I told her I was not happy with her father’s decisions sometimes but I cannot control that.  I also said I cannot control what goes on when you are at your father’s house but I will not have this behavior going on in this house.

I have to say this, but I really feel tempted to give her to him.  She is the pawn and his using her as a weapon only hurts her.  I know living with him would probably be unhealthy for her.  However, her sneaky & deceitful behavior is not okay.  He has such power over her and she cannot say ‘no’ to him.   Part of my feeling is if she lived with him, he could no longer use her as a weapon against me.  Since he has this continues ‘Win at all Costs’ thing going on… and it has been 8 years since our divorce.  I have had to deal with trying not to play his games and teach her how to do the right thing all these years.  He encourages her to disobey me and that I am wrong or over-reacting to everything.  The attacks are relentless.

Maybe I am just exhausted of this ongoing parental warfare with him.  I do not want to play this game he is hell bent on playing.  This is upsetting this house and hurting my marriage.  My ex-husband’s constant manipulation makes it so difficult for all of us to deal with my daughter.  She has been with me/us 70% of the time and she is behaving more like her father than how I have raised her.  We have very contrasting parenting styles, basically whatever I do he does the exact opposite.  I am encouraging my daughter to take responsibility for her actions.  To do the right thing no matter where she is at.  To be considerate of other people’s feelings… do unto others.

Unfortunately, there are times you just simply are too tired to deal with a barrage of abusive attacks.  I felt this way when I was married and I guess I do now too.  In the past I feel this occasional crash and I want to give up.  Then I regroup and get strong and carry on.  I suppose this is one of those times.

Previous Posts

Family History of Abuse

Broken FamilyWell, many things have transpired recently with my father.  It turns out my father was diagnosed with Bi-Polar Disorder many years ago.   In previous posts, Abusive Email Traps, I had listed some of the bizarre interactions I had with my father and how much they reminded me of my abusive ex-husband’s behavior.   When I was married, my ex-husband’s behavior was so unpredictable irrational and he would exhibit extreme mood swings.   There were times I truly questioned if he was possibly Bi-Polar and using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate.

Since October 15th my father has become increasingly harder to have a relationship with.  One moment he is extremely pleasant and then an instant later he is yelling at me about something.  Then he follows by sending some email that contains distortion of the facts an twists the entire conversation around to where it is my fault.   This is the same types of twisted emotional encounters I had with my ex-husband during many conversations or emails I received.

Over the weekend they were able to obtain a court order to force my father to get a medical evaluation which is was so against.   Apparently he spent a great deal of time shouting at my Aunt about the entire situation.  Although, as she listened to his words she realized he was really angry at the doctor, not really at her.   He was just taking his emotions out on her.  I guess my father would not want to display this behavior in front of the doctors.  The doctor called me late Friday night to ask my thoughts about his behavior.  She asked if I was afraid of him, and I had to tell her that I did not want him to come and visit me because I was fearful of my family’s safety.  Especially after all his ‘God will Judge You’ emails that seemed so much like a religious zealot.

My Aunt and I talked on the phone for over 5 hours yesterday about all sorts of things.  One of her comments really gave me a change of mind about my grandmother and her relationship with my grandfather.  See, I had always believed my grandmother had lost herself or was broken to continue to live with my grandfather and tolerate his abuse.  Although, to hear my Aunt describe it sounds quite different than what I had pictured.

Apparently when my Aunt was in her mid-thirties she asked my grandmother why she stayed all those years.  I think my Aunt wanted to know why my grandmother didn’t leave to protect her children.

My grandmother said, ” Things were very different in those days.  There were no women’s shelters at that time.  Besides, where would I go and how would I have been able to support my children.”

“Why would you continue to allow dad to call you ‘stupid’ or all the names he called you?  He was so horrible to you, how could you tolerate that?”  my Aunt replied.

“Look, I graduated in the top 10% of my class.  I knew I wasn’t stupid even if he said I was.  I would just ignore his outbursts and let them roll off my back.” my grandma stated.

Apparently, my great-grandmother had told my grandma that she was welcomed to come visit her, but if she was fighting with her husband not to bother.  During this time the divorce rate was pretty low at only 10-15%.   During these years a women would have to have proof of the cruelty to even have grounds for divorce.   Then if she had proof, she would have to figure out where to go and how to support her children if she had any.

During the late 70’s when my mother wanted a divorce from my father.  She was not working and as a Catholic a divorce was really frowned upon.  However, when things got so bad between my father and mother she finally made the decision to divorce.  She wanted to get as far away from his as possible and moved several states away to live with her mother.

When I was making the decision to get divorced in the early 2000s, I never made the decision lightly.  I took was a stay-at-home mother and was very worried about where I could go and how I would support my daughter.  When things continued to get worse and my ex-husbands behavior became increasingly erratic I finally made the decision to go forward with it.

At that time, he was so difficult to live with I didn’t care if I had to live in my car I was not going to stay with him.  Of course, my attorney filed a ‘no fault’ divorce.  The bad part about this is he could continue to mentally abuse our daughter… although if we are entirely honest about it none of this has to do with our daughter as it has to do with his desire to punish me.  She was always just a pawn in his games.

To be honest, I really wanted to avoid divorce because I had been a child of divorce.  However, living with an abusive man began to take such a toll on my health I am not sure how good of a mother I could have been.  I still worry that my daughter may one day pick an abusive man.

It does seem we have a family history of picking abusive men.  I have told my daughter she really has a choice to make.  I told her about my Aunt and how she purposely picked a man that was completely unlike her father.  My Aunt said my Uncle is very calm and rarely loses his temper.  One thing I realized is my mother never met a man that didn’t treat her badly so I guess she probably couldn’t tell me other types of men even existed.

Awareness… people cannot make another choice without awareness.  How can you know abuse if you are not aware of what is abusive? How can you choose a non-abusive man to marry if you are not aware of what that picture looks like?  How can you choose a different life than what you have always know unless you are aware of what behavior is acceptable or unacceptable?

I remember questioning to myself… What if all men were just like my ex-husband?  What if I left him, met someone else and they were just the same?  Odds are I would have picked the same because I was very familiar with abusive men.  I had always known  men who were abusive and that would have felt ‘normal’ to me.  I was also very aware how many women leave one relationship only to pick someone who is the same, slightly better or even worse.  I really had to work hard on myself because I really did not want to make that same mistake again.

After all… People tend to repeat what they know.

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