Tag Archive | Abusive Ex-Husband

Post-Separation Abuse by Proxy

So, it has been nearly two years since my daughter left our house to go live with her father. Looking back, I have definitely made progress. There have been a few changes. One, my daughter is no longer so angry as she was when she initially left. Also, the fact that time has a way of softening things. Plus, there has been no contact with my ex-husband, not a single one, and I am so grateful for that fact. Plus, I went back to Alanon to take care of my emotions. Plus, I began going to Orange Theory 4-5 times a week to take care of my body.

Two weeks ago, she called me and I was on the phone with a client and texted her back. I asked if it was important. She chatted back with, “Yeah it kind of is, keep tomorrow morning open.” So, it turns out that her stepmother was supposed to be her model for her cosmetology test and forgot about it. So she asked if I could be her model instead. She said that she would pick me up because I was doing her the favor.

On the way, her GPS was getting mixed up because there was so much construction. So, she began to panic. I had her pull over, figured out where we were going, and used my phone to help get us there. She made it on time. This was a three-hour test. My part was to allow her to paint my nails on one hand. Plus, she had to give me a facial. Then I had to leave the room so she could finish her test. So, since I had two and a half hours to burn, I called an Uber and went to get a pedicure.

On the way home, we stopped and had lunch. I expected that she would just drop me off at the door, but she said she wanted to come in and see the dogs. Inside, she petted the dogs, and then followed me upstairs. My husband was extremely surprised to see her and gave her a hug. It was a nice reunion and it did not feel awkward.

Since then she had said she couldn’t come to the city where I live, it is still “off-limits”. So she is permanently banned from visiting my city. Well, his rules that she cannot come visit a particular friend who happens to live in the area. However, she is nearly 19 1/2 and the rule seems unreasonable. However, my daughter has not challenged this or questioned these unreasonable or poorly explained rules? She does not want to upset him or his wife I imagine.

It didn’t’ go unnoticed that she was able to break the rule when it was important to her. Honestly, I have been struggling with this a lot. It makes me feel like my ex-husband is still controlling me. I can visit my daughter, but only if I drive to where they live. Although, I have to remember when I lived with him, it was his rule. One of his rules was that I couldn’t plant any flowers in the front yard? I didn’t agree with this rule because it was also my house. However, I knew there would be hell to pay if I went against his rules.

So, last week was our other daughter’s birthday. I invited my daughter to go to the movies with us and sit didn’t seem like she wanted to go with us. So we went without her. Is my daughter ever going to break away from the control? I truly hope she eventually figures this out and puts up some healthy boundaries.

On a softer note, here was a letter from my mother.

A letter from my mother:

August 2, 2018

Hi Honey,

I’m sorry she chose not to go to the movies with you guys for (other daughter’s) birthday. I know that her choosing to live with (my ex) is still so painful. And frustrating. I wish we could fix it! I think it will eventually resolve it self.

You were the best mother to her. You did it all under difficult circumstances – an abusive marriage. She will see that some day.

I love you.

Mom

This was a nice note from my mother.

Passive Aggressive Games: Rising Above

Since 2010, I have been writing in this blog and posting experiences. Oftentimes I forget how dysfunctional these experiences were at the time. Time has a away of softening things and making you remember the story in a less crazy light.

My post Accepting the Painful Reality was one of the ones that really stuck out. Rereading those texts from my daughter didn’t even sound like her. Even the way it was written, perfect sentences, punctuation, and specific words did not sound like my daughter. Perhaps she was having someone help her write the perfect respond. May someday she will share what in the world her father and his wife were saying about me.

A few weeks ago, my daughter posted a picture on Instagram. She mentioned that she was no good at captions. Many times I will say something like how beautiful she is inside an out. This time I decided to caption “I got all this from my mama ;)”. It was a lighthearted comment. She does look a lot like me, but I always tell her she also has her own unique look.

So her stepmother actually comments to me “hahaha” publicly on my daughter’s feed. Honestly I was very surprised how brazen she was in making that public comment. My experiences with my ex-husband’s wife have never been positive. She has never said a kind word once over all these years. However, I was angry after getting the notification from Instagram that she commented to me on this post.

Clearly this was a passive aggressive comment that was meant to get a rise out of me. I did not take the bait, good for me! After all, this women has never met me in person. I think we talked on the phone once. She hates me because I am her husband’s ex-wife. She hates me because of whatever he says about me. He is not a honest or nice person. My experience with him was he was a cheater, liar, drinker, gambler, sports-a-holic, verbally abusive, work-aholic, and worse suspected paedophile. He is pissed at me because… what… I left all that?

My husband and I talked it over and he said, “It is really sad. She will never have what you have. She will never be her mother. She will never have kids of her own now. You are above that. Don’t even give it a second thought.” My other good friend said, “She wishes she could be your daughter’s mom.”

One of the members of my NPD group said there was a simply answer for her comment, “She is threatened by you.” Although I cannot guess how anything could be threatening to my ex-husbands wife at this point. She must know I have zero interest in my ex-husband. His behavior is so bad that I have had to go no contact with him.

Of course, I have to discuss this with my closest friend and she was angry. Her initial thought was there must be a good way to respond to that. However, I decided that the best way to deal with her was to block her on Instagram. I had no idea that you could block someone you were not connected with and now she cannot see my posts or profile. As an added bonus, I cannot see any of her comments either. Win win!

So yesterday, I met my daughter for coffee after she got off work. Side note, I am so happy she is working and starting to gain that independence. She really needs that. I asked if she had seen the comment her stepmother made to me on her feed. I added that I realize you live there and cannot say much. She said she did see the comment and tried to give her stepmother the benefit of the doubt. However, she worried that I might comment back and how that might escalate. I told her that I had given her the benefit of the doubt too, but that she really has never said a kind word to me in all these years. That I just ended up blocking her and that solves the problem.

Anyway, it was another good visit with my daughter. She mentioned that she found the Eiffel Tower necklace my husband had bought her and cleaned it off. She also showed me a picture of her stepsister and her together. Perhaps she is feeling a little nostalgic. She has not stepped foot in this house since she left a year and a half ago.

Her room looks very much like the day she left, but much cleaner. The bedspread and curtains are different. I know that it is probably time to make it a guest room, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to convert it. It seems like there would be wash of emotions. It makes me a little sad to go in there. My mother even mentioned that it made her feel a little sad during this last visit.

This has all been quite a struggle to deal with emotionally. My daughter is still not allowed to visit the city where I live, “It is forbidden.” He says it is because he is grounding her from a friend. However, she is nineteen and has been “grounded” from coming to my area of town for 2 months.

Someday, I expect my daughter will put all these memories together and it may hurt. One day she may realize how much she was being manipulated here and that maybe her mom wasn’t the problem. It is really horrible when parents pit a child against the other parent. This was my ex-husband’s personal war and all of us were casualties of that war. So pointless and unnecessary. My mother said today that a good father would encourage a daughter to visit her mother. Instead he makes up rules to prevent it.

Struggling with Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse

I have not been as diligent about writing my thoughts lately. On some days, it is still a struggle. I miss my daughter terribly and really hurts my heart how things ended up. It seems that it is not uncommon for children to make a decision to move in with the other parent. In this situation though, it was not because he was the better parent, or that I was not a good parent. I believe my daughter made a decision based on what was easiest for her teenage needs.

To catch you up from previous posts, my ex-husband is an abusive man and spent years threatening, harassing, manipulating the situation and our daughter. When our daughter was 17 1/2, he sues for custody. Doesn’t talk to us first and suggest she come live with him. No, that would be too easy. Instead, we get served with papers. He just didn’t want to pay child support for another 1 1/2 years. My ex spent years trying to get my daughter to want to live with him. He took advantage of some rebellious and difficult teenage years.

My daughter believes she came up with this decision to live with him all by herself, but I know that is not true. My ex-husband is a snake, sneaky and subtle in his methods. My daughter doesn’t really understand that the difficulty was that he would never allow me to move on with my life. He spent years working against me every step of the way. Countering every thing we were doing to make life difficult. My ex-husband also tells our daughter lies and twisted versions of the truth. The only thing that explains his bizarre behavior is books about abusive men and narcissistic personality disorder.

For exes who are experiencing difficulty moving forward or letting go of the past, it’s a common response to not want the former partner to be happy. There can be a sense of wanting to punish the old partner for things they may or may not have done in the relationship. 

— Rachel Stapleton, PLLC, mental health therapist

It does not do any good to think about the would’ve… should’ve… could’ve… because you cannot go back and change the past. Obviously knowing what I know now, it would have been better to not let him know I was pregnant. However, there was no way I could have realized that it was signing up for years of harassment, threats, and that he would flat out work against me every stop of the way. I am pretty sure my ex-husband exhibits characteristics of a narcissist and there is no such thing as co-parenting with someone like that.

The two words Narcissist and Co-Parenting cannot coexist in a relationship.

Every description I have ever read about Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) seems to describe him perfectly. My ex-husband also had issues with drinking too much and he often became belligerent when drunk. However, here are some statements about narcissist that really describe my ex-husband.

  • Grandiose, over-inflated sense of self
  • Believes he is special or brilliant
  • Super entitled
  • Requires continuous admiration
  • Lacking in empathy
  • Shows extreme arrogance
  • Interpersonally exploitative

What are my issues? It is people, places, and things. Allowing other people’s behavior to affect how I feel. It has improved after spending years of working on myself through self-help programs like Alanon, Domestic Abuse Counseling, self-help books, and years of therapy has helped me so much.

Oftentimes, I struggle with my own personal decision to continue that relationship. I knew that relationship had problems within the first two years, but I just wasn’t strong enough to leave and stay gone. I just do not understand why he didn’t just move on and leave me alone. Earlier today I found a quote that seemed to fit. Ironic, to hear my ex-husband tell this tale, he would say I was the one who wouldn’t leave him alone. It is interesting to hear the stories he used to weave with our daughter. The challenges is children have young and impressionable minds. They need more time and life experiences to fully comprehend what they witnessed. Understanding my ex-husband’s personality problems has been difficult for me to understand and comprehend. How in the world would a child get it or even a young adult for that matter.

In the past year, I have barely heard from my ex-husband or his wife. It has been such a relief to not get their attacking emails or hearing my daughter repeat what they said about me. My daughter isn’t here with us and it wasn’t supposed to end up that way. She said the other day, “We get along so much better now that I don’t live with you.” My ex-husband had told her repeatedly that mothers and daughters don’t get along. My ex was continuously putting it in her head that we were too strict, too controlling, and we were awful parents. I can only imagine the things he said that I don’t know. How much of his influence and manipulation affected this situation?

What would life have been like without any involvement from my ex-husband for all those years? Would I have suffered with less anxiety? What would my daughter have turned out if she hadn’t had someone manipulating her and twisting her head up all the time? It can’t be health or good for a child to go back and forth between two houses with environment with opposite extremes. Does it make you grow up differently? Maybe she wouldn’t have been sad not knowing her father, but it seems like it would have been healthier for both of us.

Just makes me wonder, if you removed the abusive ex-husband from the equation, life couldn’t have been worse? Perhaps he made me a stronger person and maybe a better mother? Maybe I wouldn’t have built my own business or gained the skills to work at a prominent company? Obviously I wouldn’t have met my current husband. Right now, more time and distance is required to see the good that came out of this hell. I am praying my daughter will benefit from this somehow.

Life is more peaceful today and I am trying to focus on that positive fact. However, the price seems bittersweet.

 

Downhill Battle: Teenager Post Abuse

There did seem to be a downhill battle with my daughter after divorcing a narcissist/abusive ex. You can really see the spiral downhill and how we were unable to turn it around in this story. Our daughter has become extremely irrational and unreasonable to converse with. Ugh! I did exactly what I said I shouldn’t do and argued with an extremely irritating 17 year old.

You may have ready my previous, Resentment Only Harms Myself, where my daughter had a difficult sophomore year.  Her childhood has been filled with so much hell and craziness that she really didn’t need. Sometimes I feel that we are to blame, but I know some of this behavior by my ex-husband has always been beyond my control. However, some of her decisions as of late have been brought on by her own decisions and poor choices.

Post originally written on June 25, 2016:

Background

In the Beginning

During a young age, she dealt with my ex-husbands erratic behavior along with my emotional responses to his awful behavior.  Until I found Alanon, I would often respond to him by yelling and screaming because he was getting DWI, coming home drunk, or not coming home, lying all the time.  No matter how I approached him, nothing would ever change, and eventually I became more irritable and unreasonable. Plus, whenever I would blow up, then he would say, “Look how you are behaving, look how crazy you are acting!”.  Worse, I would feel guilty for my reaction. The reason for my initial anger was justified, however when I yelled back it was like giving away my power.  Also, he knew that and would use it against me.

Breaking Point

When my daughter was around four, I remember we had the biggest argument about her fourth birthday party. He wanted to have alcohol and I was convinced this party was for little children.  It really hadn’t occurred to me that he had a problem with drinking at that time.  Once I found Alanon, I began learning that it was like he was throwing the ball and I kept picking it up and throwing it back to him.  Eventually, throughout time I learned to stop picking up that damn ball. When he would throw the ball (words, ignoring, lying, breaking promises) I learned to let it go on by without responding.  I made many mistakes, but I also learned that his behavior was unacceptable and I did not have to continue tolerating it.  By the time she was nearly five, I was buying my own house and getting a divorce.

Divorce

Being divorced from him was harder than being married to him and he made sure of that.  He found a woman who moved in with him shortly after I moved out and I had hoped he would focus on her and leave me alone.  No such luck!  He continued to be harassing and abusive for many years and still does.  Worse, he always used our daughter as a pawn. It would take me many years to learn to talk to him as little as possible.  He is so awful, to this day, I can’t believe how manipulative he is and how hateful he is.

Physical Complaints

Between the ages of four to nine, she complained of her vagina hurting and I would take her to the doctor.  They could never figure out why she was having this pain. One time, her father dropped her off and she crawled under the bathroom sink, screaming that her ‘tee-tee’ hurt.  I called her pediatrician, show said, “If you do not call CPS, then I will.”  So I let my ex-husband know I was calling because I was afraid he would be worse if I didn’t.  I was still so afraid of him at this time.  Plus, he was always threatening to take my daughter away and I was so fearful he had the finances to pull it off.

During this time, my attorney told me to record their conversations.  That night he talked to his daughter and I recorded the message.  He said, “You tell mommy we went straight to gymnastics and back, you tell her that.” When the police officer was filing the report, I remember she raised her eyebrows at that response.  He continued to be difficult after this and my daughter continued to complain about her vagina hurting. The only time she ever complained was after visiting her father.

To this day, I still do not have any answers for why this happened and it suddenly stopped when she was nine years old.

Emotional Abuse

My ex-husband used to interrogate her every time she would visit.  Asking about everything we did, if any guys were ever over.  Then he would email me screaming about this.  Funny, he had a woman living with him at that time?  He also used to pull out all the stops in manipulation. Your mom is going to get mad at you, you are going to get in trouble with your mom, who knows what else…

Whenever she visited his house, she would get whatever she wanted and had no rules.  She could eat whatever and just really had no rules or boundaries.  I get it, he was ‘fun dad’ or ‘Disney dad’. However, he would make comments like we were the ‘food police’ or his wife said I was crazy.  He even mentioned this in a chat this week about his wife saying I had borderline personality disorder.  My comment back is “What business does an assistant teacher have in diagnosing anyone with ADD or any other medical condition.”

So all through my daughter’s childhood she would come home and resent the rules. As she got older, this only became worse.  This was every other weekend we would have hell when she came home for several days.  It was almost as if she had to detox from his house.  Plus, she has been struggling in school for years. It did not help that my ex-husband and his wife were undermining all our rules and working against us throughout her entire childhood.

We have continued to go to therapy.  One mistake I made was we stopped taking her a few years ago when we thought things were getting better.  This was such a mistake, especially when we learned she was cutting herself. She also hooked up with a bunch of friends earlier this year and they were lying all the time about what they were doing.  Eventually that friendship ended badly and all her friends turned on my daughter.

Poor Choices 

Now, she found new friends and was lying again.  I have been paying attention to this behavior and her dishonesty always made me suspicious.  Earlier in the year I installed a program on her phone called UKnowKids.  She was aware I had installed this app on her phone and I told her if she is trustworthy, then we would remove the app. She just really never was trustworthy.  So this app notifies you every time it scans questionable texts.

So a text came in that said, “Going to pick up ‘friend’s name’ and the bud and the rillo.”  So my husband and I were puzzling through this message because it could have meant beer or marijuana.  So, I asked my daughter if her friend smokes cigarettes.  She said, “I don’t know.” So, I asked does she smoke pot?  She said she didn’t know.  So I asked, “Have you smoked pot.”  She said, “No.”

Plus, she had posted a video on Instagram where it looked like she was driving.  She showed me that the phone reversed it, but it was still in question.  Everyone thought she was driving.  However, I looked at the pages of her friends who commented on that post and found her friend’s page.  Wow, this girl had a ton of selfies, but had pictures of her smoking a bong and cigarettes.  Then we noticed a screenshot of a user name for Periscope and the first video is one of my daughter smoking pot with these two friends.

Well, shit hits the fan, of course.

When I was a teenager, you could certainly say I was difficult and eventually grew up. Of course my path led me to marrying an abusive man and extra years of hell trying to co-parent with him. Now, we have a child that not only grew up in a household of divorce, but had to be subjected to years of emotional abuse. Plus, we added a blended family to the mix to further complicate the issue. I had thought we did a pretty good job, but there were high-conflict outside influences and behaviors at work too. My daughter didn’t deserve all this, but this must have happened for a reason. Perhaps some day she will be able to do something good with this situation.

 

Ignore the Crazy: Emotional Abuse

Lately, I have noticed I have received less emails from my abusive ex-husband… thankfully. However, more emails have been coming from his wife. Makes me feel he is sending his minion to do his dirty work. This past week, I was out of town traveling for work and I received this email from his wife. This confused all of us and still doesn’t make sense. Maybe it isn’t nice to call her a minion, but I truly wish she would open her eyes!

Actually, when I received this email I was rather confused. Isn’t our daughter 18 1/2 now? Doesn’t she have her own car? Aside from being confused, I wondered what was the trap. It does seem like my ex-husband and his wife are always scheming. I don’t think I am being paranoid. The decree states that she comes over on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend and she hasn’t been doing that for the past year.

Divorce Decree Email

[To Me]

For the remainder of this school year, 2017-2018 [daughter’s name] will keep to the schedule of visitations per the divorce decree. That will be as you know 1st, 3rd and 5th weekends of every month. She is used to the decree routine, so going forward she will follow those scheduled visitations.

It is imperative that school is her focus this year. She will need to be picked up and dropped back off at our/her residence each visitation.

[From said Minion]

A week ago, I just have a conversation with my daughter (via text) and she was a little mad at me for inviting her over to this house. She perceives that as pushing my husband on her. Really, I am just tired of trying to live this separate relationship. She had commented that having a relationship with her just wasn’t enough for me. My response was that I didn’t know how answer that and I would just say goodnight for now.

My Husband’s Response

None of this makes any sense to me. I am not saying my daughter is crazy in this blog post subject line. I am still confused as to what their goal was in sending that email. When I sent this email screenshot to my husband his response was this:

Just reply “ok”

Or “k”

If it was I would “ok b*$%*” but that is just me. Wonder why she can’t drive? Does she even want to come over? Weird right

I don’t think it is a game

Don’t worry they don’t follow the decree anyways

Perhaps their point was to send this while I was out of town? I had told my daughter I would be traveling and it is possible they knew I was out of town? Maybe I need to not tell her when I am traveling, for now. It does seem like these types of emails arrive while I am traveling.

My Friend’s Response

I had also sent this email screenshot to my best friend and she replied with these statements. There was a little back and forth from me that I won’t include. She was just as confused as I was about that email.

What’s this all about? Why did she send this to you? You don’t have to pick her up if you don’t want to. Plus that means that you will have her all weekend if she is willing.

They are wanting a break.

That’s it.

They never asked you to adhere to the decree. Meaning get her every other weekend. They made it her choice, correct?

Oh, I think they need or want a break. Desperately!

Even a judge would say that. Can’t force them.

Also, have you thought that maybe they’re going to say you’re forcing them to stick to the decree 1st, 3rd, and 5th. That maybe they’re going to manipulate the whole situation that you’re expecting her there every other weekend and that if she doesn’t that you’re going to take them to court. This could just be a game.

I wouldn’t write back to [said Minion].

I would go directly to [my daughter’s name] and keep it straight. your stepmother and dad want me to adhere to the decree. Send the email to her like you did with me. Proof that you’re not lying.

Then ask her what she wants because it’s up to her anways. She is 18 now. Even a judge would say they can’t make her go. That’s what happened to [her son’s name]. The judge didn’t force him to see his mom at 16, 17, and 18.

At any rate, it helped to bring in the ‘rational reinforcements’. The people who could read this email and end up with the same questions I did. In Alanon, they have a statement that says, “Your mind is a dangerous place, don’t go there alone.” When dealing with abusive people, they can get in your head, and twist your mind up. Suddenly you do not know up from down or right from left. Abusers and/or Narcissists are truly cunning and baffling. A year ago, he actually had my daughter believing I have been harassing him for all these years. They also say Narcissist will enlist others to be their narcissistic supply.

My Daughter’s Response

So, since my daughter is 18 now, I sent a screenshot of the email and decided just  to ask her directly.

Hi honey. I received this email from [said Minion] that said I need to pick you up 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends. You are 18 now, what do you want to do?

After our last conversation, this came as a surprised.

She responds:

It is fine with me cause I already only see you on some weekends anyways plus I really don’t appreciate how you are trying to pressure me into seeing [my husband’s name] when you know that is not what I want

My response:

So you do want to come over on weekends?

She responds:

If it’s only u and I there then yes eventually will

I am not sleeping over

My response:

Did you read [said Minion’s] email? She wants me to pick you up and drop you back off on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends?

She responds:

Yes for now that’s okay with me cause u r constantly trying to get me to see [my husband’s name] when I’ve said I only wish to see u. I think it’s to where you pick me up or u come to and we can get sushi or something

My response:

Honey, I am with coworkers tonight. We will have to talk about this another time.

Then three hours later I sent this:

Hey honey. You  are always welcome to come over anytime. I cannot ask [my husband’s name] to leave his home. You do not need to interact with him, but he will be here. You are eighteen now, I will leave this decision to you. I always love you and want to see you.

She responds:

I love u too

Confusion Remains

So, I still don’t have a complete understanding of their goal in this situation. It did not seem like my daughter was surprised that my ex-husband’s wife sent that email. In reading her email, it sounds like she wants me to pick her up on weekends. In reading my daughter’s response it sounds like she wants dinner on the weekend. My daughter also did continuously bring up my husband’s name even though I was not. There have been a few conversations on how we can move past this anger with my husband. My daughter wouldn’t even tell me why she was so mad at him.

My Response to the Minion

I am happy to pick her up and drop her off on the 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekends. She is always welcome to come over, however [my daughter’s name] has requested that [my husband’s name] not be home on those weekends. It’s unreasonable to ask my husband to leave his own home.

I certainly want to take her feelings into consideration, so I can assure her that she does not have to interact with him during her visits. [My daughter’s name] is 18 now and I will leave this as her choice.

My Mother and My Daughter

My mother decided to give my daughter a call and asked her why she was so mad at my husband. Her response was that he had mentioned sending her to a girls home. I do remember that day when we were concerned if intervention was needed after catching her smoking pot and having to take multiple devices away from her after taking away her phone/internet privileges. She had an emotional outburst or melt-down might paint a more appropriate picture of that day. Our primary concern on that day was if we had an addiction withdrawal happening here. So I am not sure what my daughter thought he meant by that comment, but I understand what he was saying and we were both concerned if we needed an intervention.

So much has happened over all these years.

“Ignoring the crazy, keeps you sane.” by EYH

My purpose of posting these stories is for a few reasons:

  • Get it out of my head. In Alanon, we have a saying “Your mind is a dangerous place, don’t go there alone”.
  • Put it on paper. Writing it down as it happens helps me remember I am not crazy, this situation is crazy.
  • Give validation. Perhaps some people can receive validation by knowing they are not alone.
  • Receive validation. Sometimes I receive responses that help me know I am not alone.

 

Email Entry from the Past – Abusive Boss

A few weeks ago, I found an old email from 2012. This was written at a time when I was working for an emotionally abusive boss and in a very unhealthy workplace. I wrote about this experience in my blog post Working with an Emotionally Abusive Boss.

Working for an abusive boss or in an unhealthy workplace can certainly take a toll on your health. I have made the decision twice now to leave jobs where my bosses were abusive. This is one area where I could be thankful to my abusive ex-husband. First, today, I am able to recognize verbal abuse in people. Second, I have too much self respect to remain in unhealthy workplaces for long. Third, I am able to recognize the place where I currently work is pretty healthy and has work-life balance.

I am grateful that today I do not work for a company that puts this level of stress on employees. In fact, they encourage us to let them know when we feel overworked and stress. They understand that we can feel overstressed at time, but do not want it to become a normal feeling. I have worked them for over two years and they still believe this and really promote work-life balance. In fact, there are many days I am so grateful that my work is going well. This past year was pretty tough on my emotions and I am not so sure I could have handled both at the same time. I will say my current boss was pretty supportive during this past year.

On occasion, I am still struggling with my grief and pain. My daughter and I sort of have a relationship, but I only see her for a few hours 2-3 times a month. Plus, my ex-husband made sure to let me know that my daughter tells him everything I tell her. So now I feel like I should be guarded and filter what I say. On the other hand, I shouldn’t care what he thinks since I only speak the truth. It is still a sick threeway an my daughter is not old enough to get what is happening. Getting over abuse takes longer than I thought it would and especially since this is psychological warfare.

Okay, so this email was written in 2012 and it would be another five months before I would finally quit this job. I have changed the names of the parties. Ironic, I named this boss ‘Joe’ and that is the exact same name I used in my blog post from May of 2012. You can really hear my pain and struggling over the decision to quite. Plus, I think the pain was more intense because of all the experiences with my abusive ex-husband. Honestly, I just wish I could turn it all off and not feel anything at times.

January 10, 2012

Good morning John,

I hope you receive this message. This is a little long, and I am not sure if there is a real resolution here. I don’t know where else to turn and I know my speaking to you could mean my job anyway. I am also sorry to burden you with this, but I am not sure who else I can go to. I also can’t ask you to solve my problems because no one can do that but me. He rearranged my days so I no longer come to your location on Tuesdays.

You contacted me on Friday and asked how things were going and I told you they were not resolved but I think we were figuring out a solution. I was not really being truthful with you.

It is 4:30am in the morning and I cannot sleep, this has become normal for me. I feel like I am on a constant state of stress, I expect to experience this some of the time. Anxiety, unable to relax, yet exhausted, chest hurting and kind of sadness I can’t describe. The kind of stress I feel I am under is the survival mode kind you are supposed to feel temporarily and then it should stop. This is becoming the kind of stress I felt when I was married to my abusive alcoholic which I remember making me sick in every way. I left that relationship and I felt amazingly better.

Joe’s new assistant confided in me the other day, near tears, saying she is working so hard and like she cannot do her job right. The common feeling here is we all feel over-worked, like we can’t ever do enough and what we do is never good enough.

Do you think it could possibly be that Joe’s expectations are so high which is why we feel constantly pushed to do more? Is it possible that the expectations he feels are so high which is why we feel our best is never good enough?

As scared as I am to make a move, I know I cannot keep doing this or feeling this way and not expect to get really sick. Last summer when I received a raise, I was just working for corporate and now I am doing three times the amount of work. Even if I received a raise equal to my work it would not be worth the health consequence.

For my health and the sake of my family and I know this is not good for me. I am concerned if we have hit a place of no return.

I have always had the highest amount of respect for you. I think I might be hitting a place where I need to work for myself again and contract my work out. I know my personal value and I know I must take care of my health first. I am not sure what else to do but I know God will provide.

I just wanted you to be aware.

[My Name]

Other Sources:

An Open Post to My Abusive Ex

Yesterday, I posted an email string between my ex-husband, his wife, and myself. The last email I received was a personal attack by my ex-husband. Although I did not respond to his email, his comments have been ringing in my head for the past 24 hours. Obviously, this is the narcissist’s goal, keeping you off-balanced… all for their love of control.

Actually this situation is bizarre. He never takes our daughter to one doctor’s visit ever in her entire life. Now, she lives with him he is suddenly taking her in to get teeth pulled at 18 1/2 against the advice of her dentist of 7 years. Years ago, I remember when she was 13 he threatened to put braces on her one summer so it would cost me money. How crazy is that? You don’t make a decision just to cost your ex money. This type of control is completely irrational.

So, last December we discussed his removing two baby teeth since she is missing two permanent teeth. Her dentist told me to leave them as long as possible. She said they won’t last forever, but to keep them as long as possible. She said this would get our daughter into long-term situation of having to replace those implants. She said they are extremely expensive and to hold off. She also said she had clients that were in their 30s and 50s that still had their baby teeth. So, this is what I told my ex-husband. I had told him we completely agreed with pulling her wisdom teeth, but did not agree with the baby teeth. He did it anyways.

Then I receive an email from my ex-husbands wife stating she will be getting bridges and/or implants and I was responsible for 50%. She writes in the email that they CCd their attorney, obviously meant to add an element of threat. Their choice to pull those teeth is extremely expensive and really was unnecessary. Plus, last December, I told them that I did not agree with this decision and whatever costs are on them.

Sending emails like this will not change the fact that you are still responsible for 50% of the cost. Our response was just a reminder that it has been past 30 days. If you feel that you only owe a certain amount then just pay it…which you have not done.  You want to make excuses on insurance filings, etc. which has no weight here. If you can’t pay it then you could make arrangements but you think this is going to go away by deflecting the situation.

Your daughter is 18 and she chose to have this done, just like she has chosen not to see you every 1st, 3rd and fifth weekend. Why is this different?

You know as well as I do you owe this money and there is no legal jargon or opinion of yours that changes that. Wether it’s financial issues or possible divorce issues you are presently having doesn’t change anything (yes she discusses with us your conversations you have had with her). Enough is enough. Be a parent and pay what you owe…just like I did and still do.

His email is not constructive. It contains only one fact that I am 3 days late in paying him my half. The rest of his email is full of personal attacks, his opinion, and non-facts.

The bill he sent me was $2,000. Plus, he didn’t discuss this with me, nor did he give me a heads up on the price or even see if there were other options. He didn’t even have the courtesy to tell me in advance our daughter was going under general anesthesia. After receiving this bill, I contacted the Oral Surgeon and gave them our insurance information. She said she had to wait to get the response from their insurance company so she could send that to our insurance company. I am 100% sure if he received a partial refund we would never see a dime of that.

he rest of his comments about my daughter choosing to get the baby teeth pulled. Um, who is the parent here? My daughter is young and really not mature enough to make this decision. She told me her baby teeth were still growing. I am not sure why she believed that they would get bigger. Plus, this was my ex-husband’s decision. I don’t know why her teeth are so important, but he hasn’t taken her to the weekly therapy sessions he agreed to last summer. She really does need to be in counseling.

Then stating that she has chosen not to seem me every 1st, 3rd, and 5th weekend was just a mean statement. Of course she doesn’t come see me. He had worked really hard on turning her against me, my husband, and my step-daughter. He actually told her that I have been bothering him for all these years. Um, no, it certainly the other way around. Does he believe his own lies? Is he delusional?

Then he goes on to mention something about financial trouble and divorce? Neither of these comments are the truth. Then he implies my daughter is telling them everything we talked about. That kind of makes me angry. I don’t know if this is his goal to drive further wedges between my daughter and myself. Unfortunately, my daughter does not realize that every single thing she told her dad about me for all these years was used as a weapon against me.

Then he tells me to be a parent? Seriously? Coming from the parent who gets our daughter a permit right after we catch her smoking a bong in a car. This was on a video and posted online. Then he goes on and gets her a car and lets her do whatever she wants. He couldn’t possibly believe that is ‘parenting’. My daughter did tell me she is happy over there. I discussed this with my aunt and she said, “Of course she is happier, she has less accountability, nothing is required of her at his house.” At our house we had rules and you can’t get a car if you are lying, smoking pot, and failing school.

Anyway, I didn’t say any of these thoughts. Some thoughts of anger hit me like maybe he is struggling with money. Or when I left him, I would have rather lived in my car than continue living with him any longer. He doesn’t even sleep in the same bed with his wife. I know this is true because he wouldn’t sleep in the same bed with me either. I have no idea what that was all about. He slept in the room next to our daughter, during the same years she complained her vagina hurt. Everyone suspects something happened. We may never know the truth.

I keep wondering if it will ever end. Can I actually have a relationship with my daughter? Is she just going to run and tell her dad anything I say? She is on his team, whether she knows it or not. For whatever sick reason, my ex-husband just can’t be happy unless he is screwing me. Using our child against me is certainly not in the best interest of our daughter. Truly sick! I just can’t comprehend how people can act that way and never feel guilty or remorseful. What is wrong with his wife that she feels it is acceptable to talk down to me.

This make me feel anxious, sick to my stomach, angry… every emotional under the sun really.  Sometimes I am angry at myself because I just can’t allow myself to sink to his level. Mostly I feel sad about what has happened with our daughter. I am positive she will think about this differently after she grows up. I hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

 

The Games Narcissists and Abusers Play

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

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

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

Latest Saga of Emails

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

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

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

My response to her email was simply:

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

Her reply was:

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

My response was this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hi,

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

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

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

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

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

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.