Tag Archive | Abusive Ex-Husband

Domestic Abuse Therapy – Post Abuse Recovery

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Children – Abusers Weapon of Choice

My mother was visiting this week and things just weren’t the same without my daughter. Normally, my daughter would be here and happily participating in all activities. This year, my mother and I had three short visits with her instead. My daughter has stated that she does not want to see my husband or his daughter. She said she felt like she would be judged.

The only thing I know for certain is my husband was not the primary problem here. However, I do feel he could have done a better job in how he responded to my daughter’s defiance. Plus, we both could have done a better job not responding to my ex-husband. Dealing with my ex-husband constant chaos, drama, and lawsuits certainly created disruption. When you are dealing with an abusive ex-husband who is parenting against you, I am not sure there is a perfect solution. Nothing could prepare you on how to deal with a controlling and manipulative ex-husband.

The visits with my daughter were good and she actually drove herself to meet us. She was early and remembered to say thank you for the meal. She also told my mother she was so glad she was able to visit with her. These are good signs that our daughter is growing up and maturing.

Continued Self Improvement

In the last fifteen years, I spent a great deal of my time working on self-improvement. Working on improving myself is something I expect I may have to do for the rest of my life. Sometimes I feel like I move on, but don’t really get over the abuse. Maybe it would have been easier to get over the abuse if my ex-husband hadn’t been constantly creating problems and using our daughter as a weapon against me for all these years. It has been 13 years, and I felt like our entire family was under constant attack. Never did we go a period of more than 6 months without some drama or hell being created by my controlling ex. After my daughter left to live with him when  she was 17 1/2, it seemed like my ex-husband has finally left us alone. The price… losing my daughter to my abusive ex-husband.

  • Alanon – I began going to this program in 2003 and it was extremely helpful and I still go on and off today
  • Domestic Abuse Counseling – in 2005, I started began seeing a Domestic Abuse Counselor and attending a group meeting
  • Reading – over the years I have read many books about varying topics: Joint Custody with a Jerk, The Verbally Abusive Relationship, Why Does He Do That, Codependent No More, etc…
  • Writing – I also spent time writing in my journals as well as this blog in an effort to continue moving forward in my journey of healing

Teenagers Playing Sides

Dealing with a teenager can be difficult under any circumstance. Then when you add an abusive ex-husband and his manipulative ex-wife to the equation creates one big problem. Plus, my remarrying resulted in a blended household that created another challenge.

Teenagers can be really good at playing one parent against another even when you aren’t dealing with divorce and abusive ex’s. It seems like teenagers can learn very early on who to go to get whatever they want at the moment. One good article is Surviving (Your Child’s) Adolescence that talks a great deal about how children and teen learn to push buttons to get what they want.

Perfect Storm

It does seeme like this situation of co-parenting with an abusive ex-husband was very harmful to our entire family. My daughter has certainly had some challenges in dealing with him. This situation seemed to create a perfect storm of challenges where there was never a single solution. Plus, it seems like there was never a day where drama and chaos didn’t exist.

Actually, it did some good to read those blog entries. I have forgotten so much of the manipulative stuff he has done over the years towards our daughter and myself. It is truly sad for our daughter that she had to go through that for so many years. It is more frustrating that there was nothing I could do to prevent any of it. No child should ever have to be put in the middle or asked to pick sides. Even today, I just don’t have any solutions to all that has rocked our family.

 

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.

 

 

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.

Power Over and the Abuser

power and controlOkay, right now there is a situation that is outside my control. Although I have no desire to be in control, although with that being said… I really don’t like the feeling of being out of control either. This is clearly a Power Over situation for my ex-husband and he has all the control and I know he relishes every moment.

Side note, oftentimes I use pretty pictures of flowers and butterflies when can’t find a picture that represents my story. So now you know.

Yesterday, I dealt with a situation with my daughter and my ex-husband and it is on my mind. One reason I created this blog was to get things out of my head so I can stop thinking about them. So here it goes.

Last Sunday, I sent my ex a text message that I would pick our daughter up at 6pm. I had to contact him because my daughter has not given me her phone number for some reason. So, yesterday I drove 25 minutes to pick her up at 6pm.

My being the parenting picking our daughter up for visitation is still very new for all of us. My daughter asked me if she could skip the last two visits for Homecoming and studies. So I agreed, but I do really want to try to maintain some sort of relationship with my daughter.

I am not really sure why my daughter won’t call me or give me her phone number. All of this is rather insane. Her father bought her this phone and maybe that is why. She had told me she was “suspicious” of why I was asking for her phone number. I had told her I didn’t know what she had to be suspicious about. None of this makes any sense. I strongly suspect that this is a case of parental alienation by my ex-husband. Hopefully my daughter will one day see the truth.

Okay, so back to the story. So at 6pm, I rang the doorbell and knocked since I really couldn’t hear if the doorbell was actually ringing. Nobody answered the door. So, I drove home and decided to send him an email and it was time to get the lawyers involved.

On September 8th, we agreed to let our 17 year old go live with her father. Her anger towards me really began in the summer after I busted her for smoking pot. She became extremely angry at that time. When she went to her father’s house for the July visit, we received a suit for custody from my ex-husband. When she came home, she was more hateful than ever. She was determined to go live with her father and that was that.

So after spending $8,000 on attorney fees we agreed during medication that she would go live with her father. She is going to be 18 in April and it didn’t make any sense to prevent her from going at this age. Our agreement was that we would be joint parents and I would take the weekends and holiday visits. My request was that she needs weekly therapy until the therapist says she doesn’t need to go. We really believe his motivation at this late stage was to get out of paying child support because he paid the max. My attorney suggested no child support from me and he agreed.

He has not taken her to one single therapy session in two months. All of this is so frustrating. I have no idea if she didn’t want to be there or he didn’t want her to be there yesterday when I went to pick her up. Without therapy, she only has her father and his wife who are not really doing what is best for her.

So, I sent him an email:

Good Evening (Insert Ex Name Here),

Last Sunday, I sent you a message to let you know that I would be picking (our daughter) up tonight at 6pm (screenshot attached). Tonight, at 6pm, I rang the doorbell and knocked and nobody answered. Nor did you respond to my text or call me to let me know she would not be there tonight.

(Our daughter) asked for a little time to get acclimated and work on her schoolwork. I agreed to her request temporarily. However, it has been over a month since I have been able to visit with her.

In the past 12-13 years, I never discouraged (our daughter) from visiting you during your weekends. Also, I never alienated you with her as you have done towards me. I expect you to show me the same courtesy. 

Also, you have not taken her to one therapy session, as you agreed to during mediation. The therapist is still recommending therapy as noted in the attached letter. 

text-to-ex

He responded with this:

This is a false statement…nothing has been signed by you. I have done nothing but adhere to the mediation orders and if I recall when she was with you on your visitation I had to pick her up premature to the weekend visit due to “issues”. Bottom line, call your attorney. 

Okay, something that has been extremely helpful in the past is breaking down his messages. So, he says ‘This is a false statement…nothing has been signed by you’. It sounds like he is saying since I did not sign the agreement that I received last week yet, he doesn’t have to do what is says. However, his actions so far is to have our daughter move in and changed her schools.

Then he says ‘I have done nothing but adhere to the mediation orders…’ and by this he must mean than he has custody of her and changed schools. Weekly therapy was required and he has not taken her to a single session. Then he brings up something from the past that occurred in August ‘and if I recall when she was with you on your visitation I had to pick her up premature to the weekend visit due to “issues”.’ This has absolutely nothing to do with this situation.

Notice how he never addresses why she was not there at 6pm and simply says ‘Bottom line, call your attorney.’ He loves to use clichés in his emails. As soon as my attorney explains a section that was highlighted in the agreement I plan to have her file a judgment against him. In fact, I really want to play hard-ball here with him. Perhaps my attorney has some ideas.

‘Bottom line’ (do I sound more intelligent using this word?) he is not complying with what he agreed to do during our mediation. Plus, since our daughter does not have a car or a license yet, someone else would have to drive her away from the residence. Also, out of courtesy a simple phone call or text to let me know she would not be there did not happen either. Who am I kidding, since when has my ex-husband ever been respectful or courteous?

Obviously this is a power-play for him. He likes to be in control and he is right now. So, my challenge is to do what I can do and let it go. This does not need to become a fight for me… or something that I spend all my waking hours thinking about.

Anyone else experiencing something similar to this situation? In my next post I discuss Accepting the Painful Reality.

Verbal Abuse versus Physical Abuse

verbal abuse learningMy blog posts mainly describe the experiences of a relationship with a verbally abusive man. The reason for this is because that is my personal experience and I can only tell it from that perspective. In no way am I implying that women are not abusive or narcissistic. In fact, I believe that emotional abuse crosses all boundaries and does not discriminate based on age, race, or gender.

My personal experience is mainly describing verbal abuse because he never hit me and it took me the longest time to figure out I was in an abusive relationship. I also have a post that states that Verbal Abuse is Worse than Physical Abuse. Although, there have been a few comments from people who disagree with that statement. The reason I say that is because how long someone can endure emotional abuse without even knowing they are in an abusive relationship. When I make this statement, “it was domestic abuse… but he never hit me” am I not minimizing the abuse?

It was domestic abuse… but he never hit me.  No, it was domestic abuse. Period.

Most of us understand what a physically abusive relationship looks like and we have seen it portrayed in television, movies, and talked about in the news. What nobody ever prepared me for was how to watch out for the subtle warning signs of a toxic verbally abusive relationship. An emotionally abusive relationship can absolutely tear you down emotionally. Many people have also made comments that long after their bruises healed, the pain of emotional abuse can last a lifetime… unless you continue to work on yourself, then I believe the pain lessens.

My relationship made me physically ill and it actually made me question my own sanity. In fact, I was so physically ill and was often visiting doctors trying to figure out what was wrong. Unfortunately, doctors couldn’t diagnose “bad marriage” based on my symptoms. Actually, I take that back, one doctor finally asked me “How is your marriage?”  I had never realized that a relationship could make you ill. I thought perhaps I am just one of those people who is sick.

The verbal abuse I experienced as a child with my father had a lot to do with why I picked a verbally abusive man to marry. I had no other frame of reference and that relationship probably felt pretty normal. During my childhood, my mother was continuously selecting less than healthy men. My stepfather was an alcoholic. I am not sure what was wrong with the other guys, but those relationships were not healthy and did not work out. So, I had no idea what a healthy relationship looked like. I am not blaming my mother because I know she did the best she knew how to do at the time. She is much healthier and strong today than she was when I was a kid.

Early in our relationship, I was only twenty-one years old and so young. When I first wrote in my journal about him, I kept saying how he was a too good to be true. That he was so handsome, intelligent, and how much I enjoyed our conversations. These feelings did not last long before I ended up in total confusion of why our relationship was so difficult. My gut instinct told me that it just shouldn’t be this hard. However, he would tell me, “All relationships have problems, you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.” Oftentimes, he would make me feel it was my fault or my perspective that was the real problem.

Learning how not to let other people affect how I feel is still a challenge. My ex-husband had given me plenty of practice. Also, I had to learn how to setup and keep boundaries over the years. Plus, I had to realize that most people who wanted to give advice on that matter had zero experience dealing with controlling people like my ex-husband. Oftentimes, their advice that I need to keep trying to work with my abusive ex-husband was not the best advice. Keep reading, keep learning, keep growing, never stop… even when you fall down… get back up and learn some more.

The definition of insanity is when you keep trying to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

What I learned was trying different things over and over with my ex-husband was rather pointless. He has proven over the years that he does not want to get along. It seemed that he enjoyed the chaos and drama all while claiming he didn’t want that.

Perhaps in my next post we can talk about setting up boundaries with your abusive ex husband (or wife) because that is so important for personal health.

In Alanon we have a great saying…

Take what you like and leave the rest.

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.