Tag Archive | how to respond to abusive emails

How to Respond to Abusive Emails: Tips and Tricks

Over the years, I have found a few great tips to deal with abusive emails. These are two great tips and tricks to help you avoid being surprised and also how to respond to the facts. Hopefully these tips are helpful to you too.

Abusive Email Tip #1

In most email servers, you can create a special folder to house any emails you receive from your abusive ex and their extended family. Then you can set-up an automatic rule to move any emails from those email addresses into this folder. This usually will prevent it from popping up in your inbox and catching you off-guard. This is something I had to do years ago for my ex-husband and a few years ago for my father. Recently I had begun receiving abusive emails from my ex-husbands wife and so I set up a rule for her too.

Also, I set up the name ‘Warning: Abuse?’ to remind myself of what these emails normally contain. This way I can choose not to open these emails or when to open these emails. I can even choose to have someone else look at the emails and tell me if they are important or not. You can also choose to open these with a friend or trusted family member. At least this way you are not caught off-guard.

It works brilliantly!

Abusive Email Tip #2

Click reply and start by deleting the person’s name so you do not accidentally send a message. Then start with the first sentence and delete each line that is blatant lies, distorted truth, ranting & raving, opinions, and personal attacks. You can leave in any question that has been asked. So, an email that contains several paragraphs of personal attacks can suddenly become one sentence, such as; ‘what date did you send the check?’. This will help you respond with facts and ignore the emotional rants.

Delete anything that is not a fact. There is no reason to respond to opinions, personal attacks, or lies.

In the past, when I deleted the sentences one-by-one, I was also giving myself permission to also delete them in my mind. One example, is this email I received years ago by my ex-husband when I was trying to schedule my weekend during the summer visitation. He always gave me such grief over information in the decree. It is long, but this is exactly the type of emails I am talking about. Rarely was anything rational received from my ex-husband.

Thursday; June 1st, 2005 8:59PM

Dick,

For the month of June I would like my weekend to be June 3-5th.

Samantha

His reply Wednesday; June 1, 2005 9:10PM

That is my weekend.  Per the decree you needed to tell me in writing prior to April 15th.  As always I am willing to discuss but that in no way means I am going to give up my weekend as of now.  (Does it really sound like he is open to discussion?)

I am getting her this weekend!!!  I have checked with my attorney on this matter when you initially sent this and I do not have to give her up (per the 15th of April). (Look at the use of exclamation points, and mentioning his attorney includes a bit of a threat too.)

If you want to discuss this rationally then I am willing to but I am getting her this weekend (two day notice is not right). (Again, does he sound rational here?)

Dick

My reply on Wednesday; June 1, 2005 9:51PM

Dick,

Please read paragraph 3, my attorney told me that I have to give you two weeks notice, which I did.

Mary

His reply on Wednesday; June 1, 2005 11:08PM

There is no such wording on two weeks notice on the standard possession order.  This is what I know, if your attorney did tell you about two weeks notice then he is going to get you arrested.  If you deny me my visitation I will file a motion and you will be arrested PER MY ATTORNEY for violating the decree. (He is positive he cannot be wrong and then includes the open threats and capitalized PER MY ATTORNEY.)

You want to go by the decree and I know what it says as I know you do by now.

Once again I will pick her up on Friday.  Feel free to have your attorney contact my attorney.  (This paragraph would indicate the conversation is over, but it never is.)

Dick

My reply to him Thursday June 2, 2005 7:44AM, advised my my attorney I sent him the paragraph from the decree (changing names to Mother & Father):

3. Extended Summer Possession by MOTHER – If Mother gives Father written notice by April 15 of a year or gives Father fourteen days’ written notice on or after April 16 of a year, Mother may designate one weekend beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by Faster shall not take place in that year, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Father’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day Weekend.

His reply on June 2, 2005 8:28AM

Exactly.  14 days notice on or after that date… the vague part is the 14 days.  14 days after that date is the end of April.  Your interpretation is 14 days notice “anytime” after the 16th.  (He still doesn’t know the answer)

I am all for abiding by the wording but I want this cleared up by tomorrow.

Of course if we could have flexibility with one another this would not be necessary but you have chosen to go by the decree, then you choose not to and then you choose to abide by it and so on and so on.  You have admitted to using the decree in order to spite me…. you should have that on email as well.  (I tried the flexibility with him and it always worked for him but not for me.  I know I used the decree to end these types of ongoing exhausting discussions.)

There will be times when there are parties, events, etc that she and you want to attend on days when I have her.  I WILL NOT deprive her of anything but you keep in mind everything you have done regarding false accusations and visitations and decree wordings. None of these actions benefits our daughter in any way.  (This is a threat and the false accusations are regarding her continuous unexplained vaginal pain that I would not ignore.)

You keep in mind our daughter expressed excitement about seeing me this weekend.  If for some reason you get her this weekend I hope you have something big planned because I did.   (Trying to make me feel guilty.)

One last thing… it would be three weeks that have gone by without me seeing her.  Do you think that is in her best interest?  I think you know the answer to that.  Do you think keeping her from you the entire month of July is what is best for her?  (If he were truly interested in what is best for our daughter he would not create so many fights or speak ill of me to her, this is complete BS for documentation purposes.)

This is what is happening or going to happen.  If you were thinking about our daughter then you would choose to spend one of those weekends with her in July.  (Oh yes, his taking her for the entire month of July was his punishing me for losing control of a previous conversation.)

Never the less, I want to figure this wording out by tomorrow.  (He had to mention this a second time in the same email.)

Dick

My reply to him on Thursday, June 2, 2005:

I already spoke to my attorney, it is in the decree.

If you have a problem with the decree and you no longer think it is in our daughter’s best interest, perhaps you should speak to your attorney.

Our daughter’s feelings will not get hurt if you speak to me before you make promises to her.

Although your abusers may continue to send abusive emails your way, it doesn’t mean you have to continue to allow them to be in control. You can control the situation by using these quick tips to shift the power back into your hands.

Tips to Responding to Abusive Emails 3

When I was first divorced from my abusive ex-husband I was extremely afraid of him.  He made many threats and acted on only a few.  In my situation my ex-husband is really nothing but a bully, all bark and no bite.

Warning: I will say if you are receiving threats please do not dismiss them as empty threats.  Abusive men have control issues and can certainly be capable of doing almost anything to attempt to regain that control.  If they send you any threats of bodily harm or physically harm you please contact the authorities and see if you can get a restraining order against them.

Lets go through one of the emails he sent me in the past.  This one is a bit long and I will include red comments after each sentence.

Email exchanges regarding summer visitation per our decree:

Thursday; June 1st, 2005 8:59PM

Dick,

For the month of June I would like my weekend to be June 3-5th.

Samantha

His reply Wednesday; June 1, 2005 9:10PM

That is my weekend.  Per the decree you needed to tell me in writing prior to April 15th.  As always I am willing to discuss but that in no way means I am going to give up my weekend as of now.  (Does it really sound like he is open to discussion?)

I am getting her this weekend!!!  I have checked with my attorney on this matter when you initially sent this and I do not have to give her up (per the 15th of April). (Look at the use of exclamation points, and mentioning his attorney includes a bit of a threat too.)

If you want to discuss this rationally then I am willing to but I am getting her this weekend (two day notice is not right). (Again, does he sound rational here?)

Dick

My reply on Wednesday; June 1, 2005 9:51PM

Dick,

Please read paragraph 3, my attorney told me that I have to give you two weeks notice, which I did.

Mary

His reply on Wednesday; June 1, 2005 11:08PM

There is no such wording on two weeks notice on the standard possession order.  This is what I know, if your attorney did tell you about two weeks notice then he is going to get you arrested.  If you deny me my visitation I will file a motion and you will be arrested PER MY ATTORNEY for violating the decree. (He is positive he cannot be wrong and then includes the open threats and capitalized PER MY ATTORNEY.)

You want to go by the decree and I know what it says as I know you do by now.

Once again I will pick her up on Friday.  Feel free to have your attorney contact my attorney.  (This paragraph would indicate the conversation is over, but it never is.)

Dick

My reply to him Thursday June 2, 2005 7:44AM, advised my my attorney I sent him the paragraph from the decree (changing names to Mother & Father):

3. Extended Summer Possession by MOTHER – If Mother gives Father written notice by April 15 of a year or gives Father fourteen days’ written notice on or after April 16 of a year, Mother may designate one weekend beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by Faster shall not take place in that year, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Father’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day Weekend.

His reply on June 2, 2005 8:28AM

Exactly.  14 days notice on or after that date… the vague part is the 14 days.  14 days after that date is the end of April.  Your interpretation is 14 days notice “anytime” after the 16th.  (He still doesn’t know the answer)

I am all for abiding by the wording but I want this cleared up by tomorrow.

Of course if we could have flexibility with one another this would not be necessary but you have chosen to go by the decree, then you choose not to and then you choose to abide by it and so on and so on.  You have admitted to using the decree in order to spite me…. you should have that on email as well.  (I tried the flexibility with him and it always worked for him but not for me.  I know I used the decree to end these types of ongoing exhausting discussions.)

There will be times when there are parties, events, etc that she and you want to attend on days when I have her.  I WILL NOT deprive her of anything but you keep in mind everything you have done regarding false accusations and visitations and decree wordings. None of these actions benefits our daughter in any way.  (This is a threat and the false accusations are regarding her continuous unexplained vaginal pain that I would not ignore.)

You keep in mind our daughter expressed excitement about seeing me this weekend.  If for some reason you get her this weekend I hope you have something big planned because I did.   (Trying to make me feel guilty.)

One last thing… it would be three weeks that have gone by without me seeing her.  Do you think that is in her best interest?  I think you know the answer to that.  Do you think keeping her from you the entire month of July is what is best for her?  (If he were truly interested in what is best for our daughter he would not create so many fights or speak ill of me to her, this is complete BS for documentation purposes.)

This is what is happening or going to happen.  If you were thinking about our daughter then you would choose to spend one of those weekends with her in July.  (Oh yes, his taking her for the entire month of July was his punishing me for losing control of a previous conversation.)

Never the less, I want to figure this wording out by tomorrow.  (He had to mention this a second time in the same email.)

Dick

My reply to him on Thursday, June 2, 2005:

I already spoke to my attorney, it is in the decree.

If you have a problem with the decree and you no longer think it is in our daughter’s best interest, perhaps you should speak to your attorney.

Our daughter’s feelings will not get hurt if you speak to me before you make promises to her.

Looking at all this back and forth conversation we continuously had makes me think he is trying to keep the conversation going.  Maybe it is to hold on, I do not know, but he often dragged even the simplest emails out for days.

Related Posts:

Tips to Responding to Abusive Emails 2

When I first began receiving emails from my abusive ex-husband that were full of ranting & raving, opinions and comments that were meant to make me look bad.  There was a part of me that felt if I did not respond to his untrue comment then that was admitting it was true.  Learning to disconnect from my abusive ex-husband and only respond to real questions or facts took some practice.  My attorney also told me to be sure to document everything which I began doing by sending emails to myself.  He would often say to put my ex-husband on notice which I did in the following email.

Email to my Ex-husband on December 22, 2004:

Dick,

Unless you want to speak specifically about our daughter, I do not want to engage in any conversations with you.  Our daughter could hear your conversation and she said, “Daddy always yells at you.”  My life is not your business, I do not need to tell you if I am going out to play pool, going out with friends, or going on a date.  Do not yell at me regarding anything about my life.

I do not consider it a waste of time to send emails like the one above, send email journals to myself and document unusual events.  Although many events never had resolutions it is very helpful to occasionally reread those entries to remind me that the problem was not so much with me.

Often when I read these emails throughout the years I can see how much healthier and stronger I became each year.  I am so much stronger today.  When I discussed these thoughts to my mother she often remembers a comment she made to a counselor more than 30 years ago.

My mother said, “Sometimes I just wish he would die.”  The counselor replied, “Instead of wishing he would die, why don’t you just continue to get healthier.”

I like that comment the counselor made.  To be honest if I were anything like the person my ex-husband’s emails make me out to be… his crazy ex-wife, etc…  He should be grateful I am not crazy or I might have already run him down in the street and then roll back and forth to make sure he is dead a long time ago.

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Tips to Responding to Abusive Emails

Tips to Responding to Abusive Emails:

The nice thing about emails is you have a record on file with dates.  You do not have to respond to the abusive email right away.  It is easier to stay unemotional via email than it is over the phone or in person.  My abusive ex-husband use to bait me continuously and it was easier to stay emotional disconnected through email than it was over the phone.

  1. Respond only to the facts
  2. Click forward or reply (remove emails so you do not accidentally send before ready)
  3. Delete every sentence that is opinions, ranting & raving, threats, etc…
  4. Leave only sentences that are facts or have a real question
  5. Reply to the questions with short factual answers
  6. Now, the hard part, try to delete the sentences in your head too

Dealing with my abusive ex-husband was very hard. Honestly, I will not tell you it has ever been easy.  In fact, as much as I hate to admit it, when I get an email from him today it can make my hands shake.  Although it has gotten easier with time and setting up personal boundaries.

There are a few ground rules with my abuser:

  • He is not allowed in my house ever.  He has proven he is not a safe person and therefore is not allowed in my house where I feel safe.
  • I do not communicate with him over the phone.  He has a temper and is very manipulative and I will not talk to him via the phone.
  • He is only allowed to email me because I can choose when or if I respond.  The emails allow me time to think so I can respond rather that react.

These are a few of the ways where I make sure I protect myself from my abuser.  My personal challenge is teaching my daughter to say, “I don’t know, ask my mom.”  She is not very good at not responding to his questions and unfortunately gets put in the middle more than she ever should.  There are times I wasted my time asking him via email not to put our daughter in the middle.  One thing I have learned is my abusive ex-husband uses my daughter to get to me and any information I give to him letting him know it is working only hurts her more.  I truly wish I would have known years ago not to let him know she had told me anything because I believe that was his goal.

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Abusive Emails – How to Respond

I wanted to post these emails because as ridiculous and abusive as they are you may be dealing with something similar.  Okay, short recap to perhaps explain the context of these emails.  Our daughter, at the age of five, was complaining that her vagina hurt on more than one occasion after coming back from visiting with her father.  After taking her to the doctor repeatedly and finding no medical explanation it was strongly suggested by her pediatrician that I get her into therapy.  I did my best to show willingness to communicate to my ex-husband and hopefully get him involved in a solution.  Looking back it is possible I should have ignored him but with all his threats of taking my daughter away I did my best to follow my attorney’s advice and document everything.  This is how the conversations went, long drawn out and a complete waste of time (obviously exact facts will be removed):

My email April 6, 2005 6:28pm:

Our daughter has an appointment with [Blank] Child Center, they are on our plan, appointment is on April 25th. [Phone Number]

My ex-husband’s response April 7, 2005 8:09am:

I think you are underestimating how resilient our daughter is.  She is a healthy normal child.  It is normal for her to feel the way she does but I know that if you continue to push her into therapy and disrupt her school you will cause more harm than good.

I have two huge concerns regarding you thinking she needs therapy… if she is in red for two days in a row you think she needs therapy, if she expresses anything regarding her feelings you think she needs therapy.  If you, as an adult, want to go to therapy, then so be it but for some reason you think EVERYONE needs to go.  I have an email from you that states “you want me to go to therapy in order to have a relationship with you.”  We are divorced you know?  She has a yeast infection and you start making false accusations as well as send her to child protection for abuse.  Look what you put her through due to a yeast infection: took her out of school for 3 days in a week, tried to keep her from seeing me and lied to me by saying Child Protection told you I could not see her (I have that on email as well) and after speaking with them they said they did not say that.  Newsflash; just because someone goes through adversity does not mean they need counseling.  We are divorced and I think our daughter is doing great under the circumstances…. maybe you need to look at yourself in order to help her.

Bottom line, you have a history of wanting to go to therapy but now you are bringing our daughter into your world of hysteria (for lack of better term).  She is very happy with me and she continues to ask me if she can spend the night after gymnastics, this past Sunday she wanted to say one more day…. could it be that she senses happiness in my house and that she draws from that?

Take this for what it is worth, when I pick our daughter up you always have this look of despair or sadness.  Don’t read anything into this other than if I see it then she sees it.

I know we want what is best for our daughter but you keep in mind that I will not stand idly by and let you put her through a mess like you did recently.  She is my daughter and I will make sure she is taken care of.

I know by sending this you will not reconsider nor do I need a response unless you feel like responding… I am just letting you know how I feel and as always if you somehow misconstrue this as a threat then once again you would be wrong.  I just want what is best for our daughter and I am voicing my opinion.

My response April 7, 2005 2:05pm:

I am simply following the advice of (removing names) Dr Pediatric Specialist, Dr Pediatrician, Domestic Abuse Awareness Center and Child Protection to get her into counseling.

His response April 7, 2005 5:12pm:

Your reply is evidence of what I am talking about… you forgot Dr Suess!!! Classic response.  Use your own mind and stop listening to everyone else.

Your decision on our daughter’s well being has me concerned!!

My response April 7, 2005 5:30pm:

This conversation is over.

His response April 7, 2005 5:32pm:

I will be involved in my daughters life. I am simply voicing my concerns.

My response April 7, 2005 5:37pm:

Voicing your opinion and controlling are two different things.

This is where I had to enlist 3rd party help after voice mails.  My response April 12, 2005 5:11pm:

 I have done my research, I feel comfortable with trying this center, they have been around for over 100 years.  Our therapist believes I should take her to this center for the evaluation and clearly she is going through something.  Your saying it is just for crack babies is not fact base only hearsay, I did not hear anything I felt the need to respond to as your information was not fact based.  Also your messages are too scattered and you were not sticking to talking about our daughter, going on about the dogs and how I need to eat more calories, I found no reason to respond at that point.

I also spoke with our therapist and if you really want to meet with me you can set up an appointment with him for us to do that.  I will not meet with you anywhere but at our therapist’s office with third party present.  History has proven our conversations are unhealthy and I am simply not willing to go there anymore.

The Center has many different programs that deal specifically with our daughter’s situation; Divorce Adjustment Issues, School problems, Tantrums…. You are welcome to visit their website (included link).  I have seen behaviors in her that tell me she is having a difficult time adjusting to these changes.  They can help her understand her feelings.

Therapy has never hurt anyone and often it is necessary to help people have a healthy outlet.  You spoke twice of them putting kids in foster care, I am not concerned one bit about what she will say, are you?  If we keep doing nothing we will keep getting the same results.

His response April 12, 2005 6:58pm:

 Since you are not willing to work with me on this then I have no choice but to take a route I did not want to go.

This is not a threat.  I am concerned for my daughter’s well being and I want you to know that I feel she will be emotionally healthier with me so I plan on taking you to court.  You will be contacted by the courts soon.

I am sorry that you have made me do this but understand I only what what is best for our daughter.

Your accusations and constant please to get both our daughter and myself into therapy is very alarming.

You will be contacted soon.

My response April 12, 2005 9:25pm:

You say that there are issues that we need to resolve in person.  Please send me a list of things you feel cannot be resolved by phone?

His response April 12, 2005 11:25pm:

I gave you the option(twice) to resolve this by phone and/or in person.

I was even willing to take our daughter to the person you initially wanted even though I do not think she needs therapy… I also was willing to find someone we both can agree on even though I don’t think she needs therapy.

Your response and lack there of was evidence that you have no intention of communicating with me one way or another.  In regards to the dog I was simply telling you about her health but I will no longer keep you informed of your dogs if you choose not to know.

Regarding your calories…. I stated that people who have seen you lately thought you looked thin an unhealthy.  I have seen you and I concur but of course that is just my opinion.  With that being said I have concerns about our daughter especially if your health is in question.

Bottom line… I am being honest with you when I say this, our daughter is my only concern, this has nothing to do with you and I but I feel that the courts need to know what you are doing in regards to our daughter’s well being and your lack of communication with me in regards to our daughter (even on the phone) has given me no other alternative.

I do not want to go this route but you have left me no choice.  I do wish it could be different and I am sorry it has come to this.

Another email from him on April 13, 2005 6:50am:

If you want to talk (on the phone) then let me know.  This is the last opportunity I will give you.  Once again this is not about you…. I want what is best for our daughter.

My paperwork is in order, I just have to make the call but I was hoping you would choose to include me in the decision making process regarding our daughter and I am ademant that she does not go to this Center.

I am not bluffing on this…. once I go through with this I can’t turn back so please let me know when you want to discuss.

My response on April 13, 2005 10:35 am:

(Abusive Ex-husband’s Name)

I have cooperated with you on all matters thus far.

1) I have told you I am afraid of your anger and your temper, which I do not feel you can control.  However, I did tell you that I would meet with you at the Dr.’s Office with a third party.  I have the right to make the decision to meet in a place that I feel safe

2) I have a referral from the Dr.’s office stating that our daughter’s regular Physician recommends therapy for her.  Are you suggesting I disregard her doctors recommendations regarding the health of our daughter?

3) I never said I did not want to know about the dogs. Stop putting words in my mouth.

4) My weight is not an issue with my Physician.  I follow all recommendations by my doctor regarding my health.  To date, there are no health issues and I am willing to obtain a written note from my doctor for you and your Lawyer if necessary stating I am perfect health.

I asked for a list of issues you feel need to be discussed regarding her health and wellfare.  You did not answer my questions so that we can get these issues resolved.

Again, I ask you, what issues about our daughter do you need to address, and which ones do you feel can not possible be resolved via email or the phone?

I have the right to my feelings.  Feelings are not right or wrong.  I do not feel safe alone with you because of your temper and anger issues.  Again, I tell you that I will indeed meet with you at the counselors office to address those items on your list that my lawyer and I feel cannot be resolved via email or phone.

His response April 13, 2005 11:34am:

Once again you are not reading my emails correct.

Let’s get this straight.  I do not want to meet with you in person nor do I want to see you for any reason other than to pick our daughter up or drop her off.  I have stated  that we can talk on the phone in regarding to choosing a Dr.  Not sure what you are talking about in regards to a counselors office.  Once again a phone conversation is all I am requesting.

By talking on the phone this should eliminate your paranoia.  My issue was clear.  I want to choose a Dr that we BOTH agree on.  If you read you will see that I was willing to take her to the original Dr or find one we agree on… does that seem like I am disregarding any recommendations?  Talk about putting words in someones mouth.

In regards to anything else your attorney can speak with my new attorney once you are served.

Our daughter is all that matters to me so keep that in mind going forward.

My response April 13, 2005 1:04pm:

(Abuse Ex-husband’s Name)

Your issues with this facility are not clear to me.  I need you to list your reasons for not wanting to take our daughter to a licensed, certified facility with approved medical doctors that was recommended to me by several health care professionals, in addition to accepting her insurance.

If you have valid reasons, such as successful claims to the Better Business Bureau, or anything at all that can be validated other than your personal opinion based on hearsay, I will consider another alternative.

I want to stress that I will not under any circumstances consider any place that does not accept her insurance.

I do not want her ability to go to counseling based on your willingness to make payments and continue treatment, but rather a Doctor’s opinion on whether continued therapy is in her best interests.

Again, if you have valid, document-able proof that this is not the best place tor our daughter to obtain the help recommended by her physician., I would like to review that information.

More to follow.