Tag Archive | Abusive Ex-Husband

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.

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.