Dealing with a Controlling Ex
It is so difficult at times to not feel stressed when situations arise where I have to deal with my abusive ex-husband. When you have to co-parent a child with an abusive man you do have to deal with them to some extent while you raise the child. If fact just the idea of dealing with my abusive ex for any reason can get me very stressed out.
Giving my Ex my Power
The frustrating thing about that is how much power that gives him over my thoughts and my reactions. There is no way I can get into his mind to even remotely understand why he behaves like he does. I truly think the only way I could understand why he does what he does, is if i was abusive like he is. There is some level of desire for chaos, arguments, disagreements and stress that he seems to thrive in.
Abusive Men – Power and Control
When I send him a very short one sentence email that really just requires a Yes or No answer he will turn it into a dramatic series of emails where he won’t give an answer. Like he is working really hard to maintain control of the situation by not allowing closure.
For example, we booked a flight for our two daughters to fly out to visit their grandma. They are almost teenagers and we felt it would be a great experience for them to fly without parents to visit their grandma. It would be a great adventure and grandma would be their to take them on tourist trips and spoil them.
We scheduled this flight about two weeks ago and during conversation yesterday we realized it was scheduled a day too early and would be on a day my ex-husband would have custody of my daughter. My husband and I were suddenly very stressed in the thought of dealing with my abusive ex-husband or if we could change the flight. My husband realized he had waived the insurance when he bought the tickets.
Playing the Manipulative Abuse Game
When we arrived home I called the airlines to see about moving the flight date forward one day. Turns out it will cost us $300 as a ‘change fee’ for two tickets. So I made the mistake of thinking we could actually reason with my ex-husband (history has proven this to be a rare occasion) and that my husband might be able to do it. So my husband called my ex-husband and explained what happened. My ex-husband asked if the girls were flying alone (he will give her a sip of beer but he is worried about her flying alone?), my husband told him they would have a companion flight attendant. My ex-husband said he would would have to check his schedule and would let us know. This really meant he just didn’t want to give an answer and wanted to maintain his power and control of the situation.
So this morning we received an email where my ex-husband says he gave me notice three months ago for his summer vacation and he didn’t understand why this flight was scheduled during his weekend. Not sure what his summer had to do with anything because this is a week and a half after that is over. However we did schedule it on that Sunday by mistake. Now it is three weeks before their trip and we are asking him to switch weekends. This seems like such an easy request that any normal situation wouldn’t be a big deal unless major plans were already made (in this case there are no plans). He sort of mentions he might be willing to drop her off early that Sunday.
So my husband writes back and apologizes and says it was his mistake and he is sorry that it interferes with his visitation with our daughter. He says if my ex-husband could arrange to drop her off around 9:30am that Sunday morning that would give us plenty of time to make it to the airport. Several hours later my husband sends me a text message mentioning how we have not heard back from my ex yet. I told my husband we would not hear back because this was a way for my abusive ex-husband to stay in control of the situation.
My ex-husband’s email implies we purposely scheduled this on ‘his’ day and he doesn’t understand why we would do this. He knows us well enough to know we were not being malicious just to mess up his time. His non-question/accusation is a smokescreen. He implies he wants to go by the decree but goes on to no really commit to bringing her home early. That he would not really give an answer helps him stay in power. The fact that he makes us wait is just another method of his staying in control of the situation.
So I told my husband we truly need to just eat the $300 and send my ex-husband a reply that simply says, “We have it handled.” Nothing more than that. It seems we need to remove the power from his hands. To be honest I wouldn’t be comfortable with him promising to bring her back that morning because he might not and we would be out two plane tickets. Honestly it seems $300 is a small price to pay to not continue the conversation with my ex-husband.
The History of Abuse and how it Repeats Itself
I remember four years ago my church offered me a free week trip to Disneyland and it just happened to be during the first week of my ex-husbands’ two week visitation. I asked him if he could swap a week with me so we could go. He refused (after several long drawn out emails) because he said his mother was coming to visit and she lived in the same town. So I even offered to give my spot to his mother so our daughter could go and he said no to that too. So she did not get to go to Disneyland and I wasn’t strong enough to just not send her. We missed out on that opportunity. All we would have been responsible to pay was food.
In the End the Truth will Speak for Itself
I remember three years ago I was ten minutes late driving home because of traffic. That night my ex-husband called the police because I didn’t do exactly what he ordered me to do. He said to me “You will bring her to my house by 7:30pm” and something inside of me said “No! I won’t.” So I didn’t and he called the police. The police couldn’t really do anything because that is a civil matter. What he really managed to do is traumatize our daughter who has never forgotten that day. The facts really spoke for herself because I had never stayed so relaxed and calm and my ex-husband looked so pissed which really spoke volumes of what the truth really was.
Standing Up to a Abusive Bully
Maybe I should have just agreed but where does it stop. Maybe it was wrong of me to not just do what he said, although had he just asked there would not have been an issue. Exactly why do I keep needing to be the one who does what he orders (and I do mean orders). It certainly seems like he decree is a weapon and the same rules do not apply to him. It is no different today than when I lived with him, I stand up to him but always give in because I am too afraid to really piss him off. I know I should want to be happy rather than right but at the same time I also want to stand up to a controlling bully.
This was too much rambling but I hope this helps you.