Tag Archive | verbal abuse

Parental Alienation – Parental Alienation Stories

In this post, I am going to discuss what Parental Alienation is and how it affected my family. In my personal experience, there have been three separate situations where it exists and in all three stories men did it.

Parental alienation is the process, and the result, of psychological manipulation of a child into showing unwarranted fear, disrespect or hostility towards a parent and/or other family members.

Recently, I have spent hours listening to Amy Baker, Ryan Thomas, and Jennifer Harman discuss in depth about parental alienation. Richard Gardner wrote about this in 1987 and coined the the phrase Parental Alienation Syndrome. He believed that this syndrome was used during divorce by on parent in child custody disputes to the child(ren) against the other parent. In those days, he typically found this to be something that was done by mothers against the fathers. This would make sense, since in early days of divorce; children typically resided with their mothers. However, Amy Baker said that in her research about 75% of the cases were done by the mothers and the other 25% by the fathers.

Gardner also mentions that abuse was not present in his cases. In my situation, verbal and emotional abuse was present in all three situations. I also have strong reasons to suspect sexual abuse may have also occurred. Additionally, all the men I describe below also exhibit Narcissistic behaviors. Plus, I recognize that each of these men are also extremely controlling and emotionally abusive.

Additionally, there were many cases where PAS was legally misused to get custody of the child from mothers who simply had ‘normal parenting’ rules. Anyway, regardless of the criticism attached to this ‘syndrome’. my personal accounts show evidence that it is very much a strategy used to influence children to turn against one parent.

Child of Parental Alienation Syndrome

My first experiences with Parental Alienation Syndrome would have to be my own experiences. My father spent my entire childhood speaking awful things about my mother. In fact, his parents often said horrible things about my mother too. Their primary goal was for me to side with my father or to turn me against my mother for her perceived wrongdoings.

My parents divorced when I was four years old and I began visiting my father twice a year every year from that age forward. During every visit I would hear awful things said about my mother by almost all members of the family. My father called her promiscuous and often said that she was the reason we didn’t have a happy family. He even wrote a poem with cartoon unicorn illustrations telling a story about an unfaithful wife cheating on the husband. This started when I was absolutely too young to even comprehend what he was saying. He often used bible scriptures to justify his comments.

His constantly tearing her down was very hurtful to me as a child. It created so much confusion and I grew into a very angry teenager. Additionally, I was an only child and so there was no one to talk to about this adult business I was hearing. My mother was often not at home because she was a single working mother and dating. So, as you can imagine, leaving an angry teenager alone with very little supervision was a recipe for problems. During those days, I was skipping school, drinking, and hanging out with other troubled teenagers. Then I grew up to marry an abusive man who did the same thing to our daughter.

My father’s comments did two different things. First, they probably created some challenges between my mother and myself. I was very disrespectful and angry. Plus, looking back, I believe most of my rebellious behavior was meant to get attention. That saying that ‘bad attention is better than no attention’ is probably exactly the truth. Another thing, I ended up making many of the same mistakes as my mother throughout my life. So, if my mother were a bad person for those things, then would I be a bad person too?

My aunt discussed how uncomfortable this made her feel when witnessing them doing this to me as a child and my cousins. She told my cousin, “I always liked your mom.” She said she really wanted to make sure my cousin new this about her mother. My aunt definitely believes all of us experienced PAS by our fathers. She also agrees that my grandfather also contributed. My grandfather was extremely controlling towards his wife and children.

My mother told me once that my dad and grandfather drove across several states after their divorce and stole her car. Then they called her up and asked her to meet with them at a restaurant. They told her if she gave back the stocks she had been awarded in the divorce, then they would give her the vehicle back. She said she didn’t know what else to do and gave them back. A decade later, my grand parents were forced filed bankruptcy and so the company was worth nothing today anyway.

Witnessing Parental Alienation

My second experience was witnessing my Uncle turn his kids against his ex-wife. He promised one of my cousins his dream vehicle if he moved in with him. My cousin so badly wanted this vehicle that he agreed to move out of his mothers house to live with this father. My grandfather fully participated in this maneuver and may have helped pay for the vehicle too. In my experiences, Parental Alienation is a family business. So, my Uncle was successful at turning all three of his children against my Aunt. As children, they didn’t dare say anything because he provided a roof over their head and food to eat. So they went along with everything and didn’t visit their mom.

In my experiences, Parental Alienation is a family business.

Now, all my cousins are in the 30s, married with kids of their own. Now, they realize that the problem wasn’t with their mother and that 90% of the problems were because of their father. However, you do not get to make up that lost time they missed with their mother. I spoke to my aunt about this very thing and she said, “I have forgiven their father, but my children have not.” Now his kids have moved away and rarely visit their father. Whenever they visit, they will not stay in his house. It does not seem like the damage of lost time has been repaired with their mother, but they are no longer estranged from her.

Becoming the Targeted Parent

My third experience was dealing with my ex-husband working to manipulate our daughter for all these years. In my daughter’s journal, at the age of 9-10 she wrote all the time about how she couldn’t sleep, her stomach hurt, and her V hurt. I wrote a blog post in 2011 about Journal Entries by my Daughter. V stands for vagina and one pediatrician said to stop using nicknames. I guess if she said that “XXX touched her TT’ may not be as powerful as ‘X touched her vagina.’

My daughter used to complain about her vagina hurting from the age of 4 – 9 and despite our frequent visits to the doctor we were never able to prevent. The first complain happened at the age of 4 and was one year before we divorced. The one common denominator was that every complaint preceded with a visit with her father. All the red flags are present, but we never had an admission from our daughter, and the doctors never discovered medical explanation. My daughter does not remember and there was not medical proof. I have written about this topic over the years.

My ex-husband would continuously put our daughter in the middle of situations or under-mine my authority. Our daughter was subjected to his subtle, but continuous manipulation. This often created confusion for our daughter. Plus, she would become anxious right before a visit with him and then whenever she returned home she was a different child. It would take days before she would start behaving like her normal self. Then we would have to do it all over again the next week.

I never understood exactly what he was telling her. However, I know my ex-husband all too well and his subtle manipulations discussed as ‘helpful suggestions’ from someone who cares. At the age of 5 or 6, I remember her coming home from her father’s house and saying “Mommy, you scared me.” I remember being completely surprised by her comment since it seemed to come out of nowhere. Later on, I asked her “Honey, earlier you said I scared you. What did I do that scared you?” She replied, “I don’t want to talk about it.” To this day, I have no idea what he might have said to her to make her say that.

This blog is full of stories about what my daughter would say or what my ex-husband had told her. The crazy situation where her school was no longer a neutral ground. In one conversation when she was around 16 years old, I told her that I was really sorry she was in the middle of our divorce. She told me that it wasn’t my fault. I agreed, but my response was that I am sure I could have done a better job in my responses. She said that she understood and how hard it was to not feel angry with some people. One year later, she barely speaking with me and we were being sued for custody by my ex-husband of our 17 1/2 year old.

Amy Baker describes the challenges of dealing with teenagers and how they can be difficult all by themselves. How an Alienator can ride on the coattails of those difficult teen years by promising the children more freedom, less rules, or in our case a car. Initially, when my daughter first left, she wouldn’t give me her phone number for months. I wrote about it in my blog post in 2016 titled Parental Alienation Syndrome – Courts Deny It Exists. It was like I had been completely rejected.

Plus, over the past two years, many people have advised me to tell my daughter the truth. However, in almost every one of the articles and videos I have watched, they say the exact opposite. They often advise to listen, love them unconditionally, and ask questions to help them develop critical thinking skills. They say the child really needs this because the alienator is not going to love them without conditions. Another thing Amy Baker said was that you shouldn’t take what the child says personally because they are only repeating what the Alienator told them. We were definitely guilty of taking her attitude and hateful words very personally.

Life After Parental Alienation

So, right now my daughter is still reaching out to me. Over the past few months we have gotten together many times for dinner or met at coffee shops. Often she will sit with me for 2-3 hours at a time. My new approach is to just listen, be supportive, and ask her questions when appropriate. I might say, “Oh, how did that make you feel.” Last week, she said her father told her to pay attention to how boys treat their mom. He told her if they treat their mom bad they would treat you bad. My response was, “Oh, I am not sure I completely agree. Men can often treat their mothers wonderfully and treat wife or girlfriend badly.”

Anyway, I am not going to talk about our past or my experiences with her father. It doesn’t matter. It does, but telling her the truth is not going to help our present situation. She needs more time and life experiences to figure this all out. Plus, she still lives under my ex-husband’s roof and she will have to live by his rules. His rules are controlling and not appropriate for a 19-year-old adult. However, this is something our daughter needs to figure out for herself.

My Parental Alienation Blog Posts in Order

Hopefully this helps someone else going through a similar experience. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about this topic as well.

Other Resources:

Abuse – Power and Control – The Handmaid’s Tale

Recently I have been binge watching The Handmaid’s Tale. I must say this is probably not the best show to binge watch because it is tale of a very dark totalitarian society. Nearly every episode is dark, disturbing, and rather abusive. However, there are may parallels between the abuse of power displayed and what life was like with my abusive ex. There was a day when an unhealthy life with him didn’t seem crazy or abnormal. If your life is crazy every day, eventually crazy can become a normal day. Also, growing up with my abusive father as an example did not give me any insight or knowledge to recognize something was wrong in my relationship.

In this story, the character June (or Offred), continues to learn through pain what will and will not be tolerated. She has been deprogrammed about any previous beliefs, learns a new way of thinking, and eventually adopts this as a new way of life. In reality, this is not that different to life with an abusive person. The abuser continues to reprogram you to a new way of thinking. Their way of thinking. Your views are no longer allowed… unless they match their own views.  Just like in this show, the rules may not be stated or even clear, but you learn them just the same. However, the game is always changing and that continues to keep you off-balance. On more than one occasion, I remember feeling it may be easier to give in rather than fight.

My abusive ex did a great job of isolating me from my family and friends. In this story, you can see a similar thing where she has been removed from any other people that might make her question this reality. Outside influences are a problem for abusers, this may make you question your life. In fact, in this story, if anyone became too much of a problem they were discarded. Not so different with an abusive person. Perhaps the story is you cannot trust particular friends or family members, that the abuser is the only one who is on your side. If you are the one to leave the Narcissist first, you may be subjected to stalking or their Narcissistic rage. In the early days, I remember breaking up with my ex on more than one occasion. Somehow he would convince me to return and how things would be different. In those days, I didn’t stay away long to realize life could be healthier without him.

Just like in the story, my abuser would make me question my own reality. My abuser was really good at leading me into thoughts that he had planted in my head. In old journal entries, I can see all statements that seem like they were ‘suggestions’ put into my head by my abuser. I had never thought of myself as a vindictive person, but I wrote this in my journal  more than twenty years ago.  It was also interesting to see that I wrote “he picks me up when I fall down” and looking back I realize he may have been the one knocking me down.

September 23, 1996

I feel like there is a hole in my heart. I do not feel good. Even though I am the one who thinks we should break up, every feeling in my body hurts without him. If love is supposed to be a wonderful thing, why does it hurt so bad? He’s right I do not have anyone to compare him off of. I have never been in love before.

I do not know what to do, it’s not fair to him that I can’t let the past go very easily. I’m so afraid I won’t be able to let it go. I want to but it’s not that easy to forget. I dated him because I liked him so much. I stayed with him because he was there for me. I feel horrible inside. I want his arms around me right now for support.

Why is it that I can’t let go? What is so wrong about him that I want to break up? He is so supportive of me, then picks me up when I fall down. He loves me! Am I just crazy or scared?

Maybe it is better for him that I end this. Can I treat him well? Can I forget the past? Can I love him like I used it? I wish I knew all the answers. I love him so much I don’t want to hurt him. So why do I? Where are the answers?

September 24, 1996

I feel much better now. He came over earlier and we talked and he helped me with my homework. I love him so much it hurts. Why does love hurt so much? It is supposed to be a wonderful thing, but it hurts a lot. I am really going to work on my being vindictive, and I will start recording things in my journal more often. So I can look back and she what has changed on his part & mine. I am going to sleep now. I am tired.

In one episode in season 2, you can see where she starts believing that past actions are the reason why deserves mistreatment and that is her fault. During our marriage, I remember actually thinking that my ex was God’s punishment for some of the bad choices I made in life. My father was good at preaching about a punishing God and how my mother deserved horrible things. If that were the case, would my past actions warrant this daily abuse? In fact, you can my comments sprinkled throughout my blog posts where I blame myself for picking this man in the first place. It was was easy to start blaming myself for all the problems, pain, and suffering. In this video, you can see where June seems broken and unable to fight.

The main character Fred, uses religion as a way to control and justify his behavior. However, the show continues to show us that he is less pious than he pretends to be. In fact, the show does good job of showing the character’s weaknesses that he does not display on the surface. My ex often gave me glimpses of his inner struggles after having too much to drink. Or how often he said how important our family to him, but his actions rarely match his words. Or similar to my father who was always preaching about the bible and how I should “Honor thy father…” He used religious as a weapon for control others and didn’t really live a Godly life himself.

Elizabeth Moss also mentions in an interview that the worst thing is the sense that everything is normal when they are not normal at all. This is very similar to what it is like to be with an abusive person. Your inner gut instinct continues to scream at you that something is not right about your relationship with your abuser. The abuser often gets you to second guess yourself, doubt your instincts, and deny your intuition. The abuser needs  you to believe that you are the one who is crazy and not the situation. If something is repeated often enough it can eventually seem like the truth. Journaling for all these years has helped me keep track of what really happened so I can remember the truth.

In reality, how different is this series to life with an abuser? An abuser often consider themselves above you or that you are their property and not their equal. You are not entitled to independent thinking or allowed to have your thoughts and opinions. Oftentimes, I remember thinking that maybe life didn’t have to be this way. Maybe this wasn’t what marriage was supposed to be like. He would say, “Everyone has problems. You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.” These words seemed true and made sense. Although, I would see the neighbor across the street come home to be with his family or spend time outside playing with the kids.

This tale of abuse of power and control isn’t so far from the truth. In reality those of us who have encountered abuse know these tales all too well. Now I just pray my daughter will begin to see the truth about her own experiences. Otherwise she too may end up living a unbalanced life full of too much power and control.

Abuse Stories: A Dehumanizing Experience

Here is a story about verbal abuse from one of our readers:

Domestic Violence is a slow dehumanizing experience. I couldn’t even see it was happening. I wondered what was wrong with me. I thought it was abuse. I tried to get him to believe it was abuse. However, I should have just trusted my gut. I left him once, but I was embarrassed and I knew my religious parents would not accept my decision.

It started out with him dismissing how I felt. He was angry and yelled. I told him I didn’t like him yelling. I ask him to stop. Instead he broke the table into seven pieces and said, “He would show me what real yelling was like.” He continued to throw a fit and eventually stopped only after I broke down crying and apologized.

I was in the kitchen washing the dishes and I lived in Germany. The emotional, mental and verbal abuse was just a way to dehumanize me. Self doubt grew and the relationship dynamic began to change. It was not about a man and woman trying to care for each other. It was the first step of a man who wanted his way and nothing else. Had I known it would have led to me being repeatedly raped and abuse in every form. I believe I would have left. However, I thought he would eventually be able to change. The truth was never something he could admit. I was afraid of him and he didn’t consider that truth worth any value.

Later on in our relationship, it was little things. I was hungry and he would tell me I was not hungry. I was hurt and he would tell me I was not hurt or tired. I would ask to stop and go to the restroom and he would tell me to hold it. I was allowing myself to be controlled and IF I didn’t allow him to control me I would have to pay a price. He would withhold affection, if I didn’t do what he wanted. He would withhold money. He would withhold contact from my family. I couldn’t make phone calls home.

I worked and made money. However, I believed that the man should be in charge. I handled the finances but it was only IF he approved. He was terrible with money. So his commander actually told him to give me the finances and put him on a budget. I made about 15k and he made 12k. Yet, I couldn’t spend money except for $125 on groceries. He got $50 a week for candy, gum, and soda. This was not a choice. If he wasn’t allowed then he would throw a fit. We both got fun money for $50 a month. I saved mine up for 4 months.

The moment I finally decided to buy my item. He threw me down on a rock took all my money from my wallet. Handed me my drivers license and told me that was all I was. He took everything I had, tried to run me over with the car and abandoned me about 10 miles from our home. A soldier ask me if I was ok and asked if he should call the MP’s. I was disabled at the time and had difficulty walking for almost three years.

He knew that I couldn’t run. He felt powerful when he intimidated me.

Instead, I walked home because. I couldn’t take a cab. My husband who took my wallet with my credit cards and my money. By time I finally got home. He made me agree that I would buy a BOZE speakers with my money. I kept going for counseling, but no one explained it was abuse and I should leave. All I knew was, I hated my life. I was pregnant and knew that I was trapped. I could never leave. It was my wrong religious beliefs, pride and wrong mindsets that lead to wrong decisions.

It was at that point that he began to rape me. He used the Bible against me. The bible says not to withhold sex unless it is for prayer and for a short time. So now I had to have sex with him. Or he was allowed to go sleep with other women and it would be my fault. He had changed all of his actions. To only have consequences for me. He had no accountability for his lust of women or money. He would stare down women and then use me. I confronted him about lust and how it was not appropriate. His mouth would actually drop open when he looked at some women. It was difficult, because he was correct. I didn’t know his heart. But at this point, I knew he did not love me, he did not care if I was hungry, sleepy, hurt or lonely. Every need or desire I had would never be met.

Eventually, I became a mother and my children were my greatest joy. He decided to use them against me as well. I continued in church and raising my children. He went to Korea for a year. His sex addiction grew. I finally filed for divorce when my church support me in filing for a legal separation.

My daughter was in second grade. He had just returned from Korea. I and my son were both sick. He had been verbally and physically rough. But he force me to have sex with him. While he watched my daughter play with our neighbors granddaughter. She was outside watching my daughter and her granddaughter while she sprayed her plants. He said he loved her and wanted to watch them play while he forced me to have sex. I felt so sick. I had already gotten a counselor. We had doctor who worked with the sexual prisoners at the jail. He came to our house each week for 1 hour. He would not even come to the counseling session. I filed for a divorce. IF only this would have been the end. I had good alimony and full custody. But I was afraid.

He decided to see another counselor. So I stopped the divorce and we moved back to Kentucky. Where he basically, bid his time trying to drive me nuts. He had affairs and went to counseling with our pastor. But it was all a lie. He had a girlfriend he kept at his sisters and he still was out at bars. HIS sex addiction was a major problem. I didn’t think it involved anymore children, but I didn’t know.

He was grooming some of his nieces. I spoke to a counselor and she explained to me what he was doing. My mother confronted him for running his hands over his nieces breast in-front of her. Then he tried to convince me that his niece had never been at my moms. I knew she had been. I started noticing little things. I was in the pool and instead of carrying me around the pool or having any fun with me. He would carry his nieces around the pool and normally two at a time with his hands between their legs. He kept saying nothing was wrong. The were about thirteen and eleven. I was getting sick to my stomach.

The verbal, mental, and psychological abuse was a normal pattern. I remember he went out with his girlfriend and sister and I told him I was going. I went with him, but I didn’t have the guts to ask if they were dating. My son told me they were having an affair. I really was just concerned about my daughters and nieces safety.

My niece told me he made her uncomfortable. So I told her to tell a counselor. I told my counselor. She reported him to the cabinet. This investigation began in May 2005 and as soon as my husband got the paperwork. He filed for divorce and tried to have me declared of unsound mind. Legal abuse had occurred when I filed for divorce in Washington. But his lies were of no consequence to the case. The Kentucky divorce was built on so much perjury. He went to my work. I lost my job, my house, my kids. The school where I worked didn’t believe him. I had a restraining order, but he broke the order on the day I was volunteering at my school.

We got back together in June. He continued to lie in the courts. It was all about control I thought. We worked with counselors again. He didn’t care about me, the kids or what was best for them. I went with the counselor to the house. She pointed out that he could not continue to lie to his family. He had to admit to the affair and tell them what had occurred. He told me that he had full custody of the kids and I needed to return them to him. My counselor rode with me to take my children back to our house. I had an apartment that I had moved into in April. My parents had moved into it because their house was being built. I could believe that he really didn’t care about the children. He was all about winning. Or what he believed was winning.

I went in to talk with him and left the children and counselor in the car. She had come to persuade him. My son was sick with worry and she was very concerned for his well being. I went into the house alone and he tried to call the police on me and I grabbed the phone. Then he threw me against the dresser. My arms were swollen my back was messed up. He was thrilled with excitement, he ran to another room to call from the house phone. I went outside and My counselor told me we would have to leave the kids there. Or we would be breaking the court order. She took me to the hospital.

This was the first time I finally reported the physical abuse. They took photos and did a domestic violence exam. I couldn’t protect my children from him. The divorce court never could see the facts about the abuse. The court did something about the physical abuse. They gave him 22 weeks of anger control classes.

My divorce took about three years. He took me back to court to stop his pension and say that I owed back child support. The legal abuse has yet to be acknowledged by the court. However, I just learned that I need to see a victims advocate and point it out to her. The divorce court will not acknowledge it. I didn’t know that this whole time I was going to the wrong court about the perjury.

I won’t share the horrific stories. But I will say that I finally learned who he truly was during the divorce. While I was in the hospital. He called and instead of ask about me. He spoke to the social worker. All the abuse he had done to me. He basically told the story with him as the victim. So he definitely understood what he was doing was wrong.

His sex addiction and his issues with children were investigated but she said nothing could be proved. She pointed out to me that they knew men had broken children’s arms and unless the man admits to the wrong nothing happens. I was very gullible to believe that it would be substantiated. During my counseling I had asked my husband why he hid his brother raping the babysitter and molesting his two step sisters. I was enraged that he would hide the information. Even today, I have not yet told my children about their father. However, this is my first step. My counselor told me to start telling the truth to people. I really do not want to tell my children. However, I believe they should at-least know. They are adults now and my granddaughter is my concern.

I also decided to finally go forward regarding the legal abuse. I figure the recurring rape is not something I want to pursue. But I honestly would like for all of it to be told. I listen to Joyce Meyers story and I think how it helped me to grow. I was sexually molested when I was in 8th grade by a group of guys. Plus later, I was raped by a boyfriend and then a stranger. It really changed me. I am not powerless. The truth does set us free.

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Songs About Abusive Relationships

Over the years, I have always been able to identify with lyrics of songs. There are so many songs written about being hurt by abusive people, narcissists, and emotional manipulators. A few songs like Jar of Hearts by Christina Perri, Because Of You by Kelly Clarkson, Fighter by Christina Aguilera, and now this song Praying by Kesha. Knowing others have struggled and I am not alone in these experiences. That is also another reason I write in this blog so that maybe it will help someone else who is going through something similar.

Well, you almost had me fooled
Told me that I was nothing without you
Oh, but after everything you’ve done
I can thank you for how strong I have become

On more than one occasion, my ex had me believing I wouldn’t be able to survive without him. He said he didn’t want me living in some “roach infested apartment”. He told me I wouldn’t be able to get a job because I didn’t have a college degree, that no one would hire me. These were all lies, I have accomplished so much and he was wrong about everything. I have a great husband, wonderful job, and live in a beautiful home.

‘Cause you brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is “I wish you farewell”

Living with my ex-husband was never without chaos and daily insanity. Every day I walked on eggshells and the environment was so toxic that I became sick all the time. In fact, I was worried that I had cancer or would eventually die and then my daughter would be left with him. Also, I was afraid to leave him because I was sick, but he was the reason I was sick. I wrote about this in one of my blog posts Was My Husband Poisoning Me or Was the Relationship Toxic?

I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’

Despite all my ex-husband and his wife have done. I still do not wish them ill will, in fact I wish they would find a higher power (or God) and be happy. This is something I have prayed for not only for myself, but for my daughter as well. Not that I haven’t wished on a few occasions that he would stop breathing, but these moments are short.

I’m proud of who I am
No more monsters, I can breathe again
And you said that I was done
Well, you were wrong and now the best is yet to come
‘Cause I can make it on my own
And I don’t need you, I found a strength I’ve never known
I’ll bring thunder, I’ll bring rain, oh
When I’m finished, they won’t even know your name

At times I have focused on the negative more than the positive. There was a time in my life where more negative things seemed to happen over positive things. But that is not today! Today I have many things to be grateful for and I have to remind myself to think that way. This past year has been especially difficult, but I am too strong to let it knock me down. Today, I continue to become a stronger and healthier person. Maybe without my ex-husband I wouldn’t have had so much motivation to get healthier and stronger.

You brought the flames and you put me through hell
I had to learn how to fight for myself
And we both know all the truth I could tell
I’ll just say this is “I wish you farewell”

In 2004, I left my ex-husband for the final time. I have never regretted the decision to leave to this day. At one point I remember the pain of the present was greater the fear of the unknown. Then I had to navigate being a single parent and parenting with an abusive ex-husband.

I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’
Oh, sometimes, I pray for you at night
Someday, maybe you’ll see the light
Oh, some say, in life, you’re gonna get what you give
But some things only God can forgive

I definitely still wish him the best. I still pray for good things for my ex-husband and his wife. I hope he will wake up and see the truth of what he has been doing. Not for me, but for my daughter. She deserves that from her father.

I hope you’re somewhere prayin’, prayin’
I hope your soul is changin’, changin’
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin’

The reason I like this song is because it does speak of being hurt by someone, but it also focuses on the hope and future. This song talks about forgiveness for those who wronged you. This forgiveness is not for the other person it is for myself. Letting go of resentments. There is a saying in Alanon about resentments being like poison, but that they only harm the one with the resentments.

“Resentments are like swallowing poison, but hoping someone else will die.”

I will continue to focus on joy and happiness. I have come too far to allow his negativity to continue to be part of my life. One day, I think my daughter will come to see the truth and understand. Now my focus needs to be on continuing to work on my own health and become the healthiest person possible.

Surviving Emotional and Verbal Abuse

Lately, I have been listening to the P!nk Radio station and the song Titanium comes on every so often. Every time I have heard this song it touches me deep inside. Today, after hearing this song once again, I realize my thoughts need to change to one of strength again. The reason my ex-husband does not seem able to move on is because he knows I am happy now. I have survived without him and even thrived without him.

I’m bulletproof nothing to lose
Fire away, fire away
Ricochet, you take your aim
Fire away, fire away
You shoot me down but I won’t fall, I am titanium
You shoot me down but I won’t fall
I am titanium, I am titanium, I am titanium, I am titanium

Today, I have little reason to speak with my ex-husband. This past year has been more than difficult. My daughter choosing to go live with my ex-husband and the tension in our relationship has cut me  deep. One year ago, it was difficult to function and I am quite sure it was depression. After about 4-5 months, I started forcing myself to work out and work on my hobbies. Overtime it was no longer something I had to force myself to do. Today, I am still very sad over what has happened with my daughter and myself. It felt like he won and I was beaten. I no longer want to feel like he won.

So this song Titanium was written by co-written by David Guetta and sung by Sia. Although the version I have heard lately was a ballad sung by Madilyn Bailey. This song was written thinking about someone with a strong hearted and strong willed person. This song describes ignoring the words or abuse and allows it to bounce off us or ricochet. Saying that we need to stand our ground. This is a message of strength for those who deal with bullies.

The reason this strikes a chord with me is because isn’t this what abusive people do when they continue to attack us with words and lies? Aren’t they just bullies? They make up untrue versions of stories and work to get people to take their side. Convince others that you are the “crazy” one and the “problem”. They seek to hurt someone else in every way possible. The only issue is we are dealing with Narcissists, I am not sure they ever feel remorse. Although I am also sure they are never actually happy.

Another challenge to this situation is that people who have not experienced emotional and verbal abuse think you should just move on and “get over it”. Over the years, I have done a great job of taking the higher ground and doing my best not to sink to his level. Don’t get me wrong; there have been occasions I wish the man were dead. Sadly, there have been times I questioned if I could go on like this?

My ex-husband did a great job of making me afraid to leave him all those years ago. He did an excellent job of making me believe he would kill me if I ever left. Initially, I remember being afraid to leave my blinds open. At that time his behavior was so irrational and had no idea what he was capable of doing. Plus, he was drinking and doing drugs and that created even more uncertainty. It also took me a while to adjust to the peace and quiet in the home. I had become so used to chaos and drama that I didn’t know how to live without it.

He also did a great job of putting our daughter in the middle and using her as a pawn to do his dirty work (much like he does with his wife today). He spent years manipulating her and working to turn her against me. His ultimate goal, I believe, was just tor hurt me. My mother would say, “We don’t know that.” How could it not be more clear that he doesn’t care about his daughter’s emotional well being. He is okay with putting her in the middle and trying to get her on “his side”. He also took advantage of a teenage girl’s differences with her mother as the perfect opportunity to get her to agree to move in with him. He promised her cars and a license as long as she moved in with him. Just to save himself a year and a half of child support. None of of this was about our daughter.

Today, I am a strong person and I refuse to allow my ex-husband to rent space in my head for the rest of my life. It is sad that he has turned our teenager against me and I truly hope she come around. It pains me that it may be best to let her go so I can be healthy. Right now, she is living in his home and does not seem to be independent from my ex-husband. I need separation from my ex-husband and to move on.

This song describes how they are the ones who get hurt. In some ways that is true. How can someone who spends so much time and energy trying to make another person miserable even be slightly happy? Also, how can his wife be happy with her husband spending so much energy trying to control situations around me. It is sad because our daughter is the casualty of his warfare and I realize I cannot save her. However, she knows strength through me and I believe she will remember that as she matures.

Cut me down
But it’s you who has further to fall
Ghost town, haunted love
Raise your voice, sticks and stones may break my bones
I’m talking loud not saying much

I realize, some time needs to be spent working on myself and feeling my own strength again. It can be difficult because my loved ones don’t quite understand verbal abuse. My own mother often will say “get over it”. My ex-husband has been pretty relentless over the years. The ultimate hit came when he turned our daughter against me. This emotional assault knocked me down further than I have even fallen in the past. I refuse to stay down and I refuse to allow him to win his sick twisted game.

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.

Effects of Verbal Abuse and Stress

So, this entire situation has been stressful for my body. Stress takes a serious toll on my body and I have physical symptoms that are impossible to ignore. I have done a better job managing them over the years, but getting over years of verbal abuse has been a challenge. Some days are better than others and certain events certainly trigger past feelings. My ex-husbands relentless manipulation and using our daughter was extremely stressful. In the end, all my trying to rise above, be the bigger person, not react… was all for nothing… she left anyway.

On symptom occurs when I am sleeping and I clench my teeth more at night. One of my molars has broken three times in less than 15 years. The first time was when I was married to my ex-husband. Living with him produced so much stress I was breaking my teeth in my sleep. During those years, I also had tension in my neck, TMJ symptoms, migraines, and light sensitivity. Today, I realize if my teeth are taking a beating, I need to find way to reduce the external stressors.

Another physical symptom is a rash that doesn’t seem to go away. I have been diagnosed with Skin Lupus and nothing seems to work on these rashes to make them go away. They show up and stick around for months. One website suggests that stress could cause the first appearance or trigger flare ups for someone who already has the disease. This rash first appeared five years ago when I was working at a very stressful job, it went away for several years and showed up about a year ago. However, no treatments have worked to remove this rash. I guess I can be grateful it is just red and only itches on occasion.

Another symptom is difficulty sleeping. I just do not sleep well anymore. I can get to sleep, but after a few hours I wake up and it is a challenge to get back to sleep. So I feel chronically tired. The doctor gave me Belsomra to try and it had an opposite effect and kept me up all night. I have also tried Melatonin which gets me to sleep okay but doesn’t keep asleep. Plus, my clenching my teeth at night can really hurt my jaw, affect my ears, and sometimes causes headaches when I wake. My past revisits me in my dreams. Sometimes I have dreams where I am dealing with my ex-husband again.

Another issue is anxiety which is often triggered by fear. I love my daughter so much, but our current situation is not a good one. She is living with my ex-husband and is looking at him through rose colored glasses. My ex-husband and his wife are extremely passive aggressive and they have been undermining me at every step for more than a decade. One of my fears is will this be an issue forever? Will she ever open her eyes and see the truth. One fear is accepting that she might not ever see the truth, may never want to see the truth. That thought truly frightens me. Plus, I am afraid if she is unable to see the truth, she may end up marrying an abuser or narcissist herself.

This past year has been extremely stressful. Dealing with my ex-husband since our divorce was over 13 years ago. You would seriously think we were newly divorced. Learning how to deal with him, or not deal with him rather, was difficult enough. The worst thing was how he would manipulate and use our daughter to get to me. As a mother, you want nothing more than to protect your child. This was something I was unable to prevent. It is shameful when someone uses their kid to hurt another person. I find it impossible to believe that person really cares about their child to subject them to that.

Another challenge was after our daughter became a teenager. She began pushing the boundaries, rebelling against the rules, and believing the grass might be greener. Plus, whether she would choose to admit it or not, she did learn how to play us agains each other to get what she wants. In the very end, she said many hateful things to me and I heard her father through those words. My response wasn’t so great. My husband’s response wasn’t always so great. We knew we had no control over what my ex-husband and his wife did with my daughter, but we should have had better control over our own reactions. That part of this I do have to own.

One plus side, I have not had one conversation with my ex-husband in an entire year. However, this bonus is bittersweet because I lost my daughter in the process. Although some say I haven’t lost my daughter forever and that she will come back around. I truly hope so. Sometimes it seems like he will never let me get away and be happy. Like he will win at all costs. I am grateful he and I haven’t had a single conversation in the past year. Although this is a game I never wanted to play, didn’t sign up for, and there are times I feel like he won.

Still trying to believe that everything happens for a reason. Hanging on to the belief that some day I will look back and realize this happened exactly as it was supposed to. However, I certainly don’t feel that way today.

 

 

 

Verbal Abuse Stories: Blame-shifting

Here is a story about verbal abuse from one of our readers:

I read this blog and it was like putting a mirror in front of me. I had never seen so clearly before what my ex was like…

I split up with my ex about 2 1/2 years ago during the death of my father. This was an incredibly stressful time in any case, my dad was extremely ill and wheelchair bound with cancer, my mother who has Alzheimer’s didn’t understand what was happening and was suicidal. My ex chose this time to ramp up the pressure on our failing relationship big time until we ultimately split, an event which he carefully timed for my birthday.

He then refused to move out of the house and used my fathers illness as an excuse to “blame me” for not sorting out the divorce quickly enough. Frequently he used to say “so your dad’s dying? I suppose that trumps everything does it, see how patient I am being” in a very sarcastic way.

A couple of months later my father did die in the early hours of one morning. I spent the day taking my mother to the chapel of rest to see him and sorting out a death certificate with my sister. On my exhausted drive home I was an hour later than planned. I rang him and he yelled at me because I had stopped him going out to a pub quiz that evening. Again I got the “Your dad dying is more important than me is it?”. Yes really.

It took a year after that before he finally moved out. During that time he spent every moment he could putting me down, refusing to sort out any of the finances or paperwork, and criticising my progress when I actually was able to do so. He tried very hard to ruin my new relationship, whilst embarking on his own and telling her she was the love of his life.

The bit that chimed most was the refusal to arrange anything for kids pick up or vacation. He is constantly refusing until the last minute to say which of us is picking them up, refusing to keep to regular agreed times on his side, won’t say yes or no when I try and plan to go on holiday… and so on.

Last week I finally saw the light properly and clearly. I was sent an email in which he accused me of making him angry by not getting angry, and that it was a form of my ongoing abuse of him. It was so bizarre and funny that I laughed, and suddenly realised I had still been looking for approval, still allowing myself to be put down even all this time after we were divorced.

Enough is enough. Somehow because he had never hit me I didn’t view it as abuse. I forgave the angry outbursts at me and the kids, the controlling behaviour, the constant put downs whilst positioning himself as a saint. I told myself over and over again he had changed, but he hasn’t. I don’t suppose he ever will. I feel sorry for his new partner but interfering would only open me up to more abuse.

Thank you for posting these thoughts. Thank you for helping me see I am not alone.

Verbal Abuse is Domestic Abuse

Several years ago, when my ex-husband was constantly harassing me and threatening to take our daughter away from me. I found myself walking through the doors of a local Domestic Abuse Counseling Center. Years earlier, I had started attending Alanon, because I was pretty convinced he had a drinking problem. Alanon helped me come to terms about his drinking, but it did not fully explain his abusive behavior. 

I cannot remember how I heard about the Domestic Abuse Center, but I set up an appointment to meet with one of their counselors. I remember sitting in the chair and listening to a woman describe my relationship in detail as if she had been a fly on the wall inside our house. She explained to me that my ex-husband was exhibiting behaviors of classic domestic abuse. So apparently my experiences in my relationship were less unique than I had originally thought. They also said that, Women often make decisions about their future based on information of what hasn’t happened yet.

“Women often make decisions about their future based on information of what hasn’t happened yet.”

At this time, our divorce had already been finalized and I was dealing with the continuous threats, harassment, and difficulty of co-parenting with an abusive person. Dealing with my ex-husband left me in a state of constant fear. His threats left me with continuous anxiety and fight or flight stress. Plus, we had a daughter and meant we had to have some contact. He was emotionally abusive, and his behavior was destroying me from the inside out. My belief was that Domestic Abuse had to be physical, I had no idea that Verbal Abuse was Domestic Abuse. It seemed like my ex-husband always knew when to stop, and exactly how far to not take it to be able to justify or explain away his bad behavior. Also, because he never hit me, there was nothing I could do legally to stop him.

I started attending counseling sessions at the Domestic Abuse Center. They had a door that was extremely thick and always locked. This was a scary thought to me that they were taking such precautions. However, today, after reading about so many stories where when tried to leave their abusive partners and were murdered. I get why they would be so careful.

It can be extremely dangerous when dealing with abusive partners, just read some of these stories:

Years ago, on DrIrene.com‘s website, I found a questionnaire that really hit home and made it hard for me to deny that I was in a verbally abusive relationship. Although he had never hit me, I was extremely afraid of him. I really believed he might kill me if I decided to leave. Perhaps my relationship was worse than I had thought, especially after reading these questions, and having answered yes to almost all of these questions, except for a few.

Does your partner:

  • Ignore your feelings? – Yes
  • Disrespect you? – Yes
  • Ridicule or insult you then tell you its a joke, or that you have no sense of humor? – Yes
  • Ridicule your beliefs, religion, race, heritage or class? 
  • Withhold approval, appreciation or affection? – Yes
  • Give you the silent treatment? – Yes
  • Walk away without answering you? – Yes
  • Criticize you, call you names, yell at you? -Yes
  • Humiliate you privately or in public? – Yes
  • Roll his or her eyes when you talk? – Maybe I did that?
  • Give you a hard time about socializing with your friends and family? – Yes
  • Seem to make sure that what you really want is exactly what you won’t get? – Yes
  • Tell you you are too sensitive? – Yes
  • Hurt you especially when you are down?
  • Seem energized by fighting, while fighting exhausts you? – Yes
  • Have unpredictable mood swings, alternating from good to bad for no apparent reason? – Yes
  • Present a wonderful face to the world and is well liked by outsiders? – Yes
  • “Twist” your words, somehow turning what you said against you? – Yes
  • Try to control decisions, money, even the way you style your hair or wear your clothes? – Yes
  • Complain about how badly you treat him or her? – Yes
  • Threaten to leave, or threaten to throw you out? – Not so much
  • Say things that make you feel good, but do things that make you feel bad? – Yes
  • Ever left you stranded? – No
  • Ever threaten to hurt you or your family? – No
  • Ever hit or pushed you, even “Accidentally”? – No
  • Seem to stir up trouble just when you seem to be getting closer to each other? – Yes
  • Abuse something you love: a pet, a child, an object? – Yes
  • Compliment you enough to keep you happy, yet criticize you enough to keep you insecure? – Yes
  • Promise to never do something hurtful again? – Yes
  • Harass you about imagined affairs? – Yes
  • Manipulate you with lies and contradictions? – Yes
  • Destroy furniture, punch holes in walls, break appliances? – Yes
  • Drive like a road-rage junkie? – No
  • Act immature and selfish, yet accuse you of those behaviors? – No
  • Question your every move and motive, somehow questioning your competence? – Unsure
  • Interrupt you; hear but not really listen? – Yes
  • Make you feel like you can’t win? Damned if you do, damned if you don’t? – Yes
  • Use drugs and/or alcohol involved? Are things worse then? – Yes
  • Incite you to rage, which is “proof” you are to blame? – Yes
  • Try to convince you he or she is “right”, while you are “wrong”? – Yes
  • Treat you like a sex object, or as though sex should be provided on demand regardless of how you feel? – Yes

Your situation is critical if the following applies to you:

  • You express your opinions less and less freely. – Yes
  • You find yourself walking on eggshells, careful of when and how to say something. – Yes
  • You long for that softer, more vulnerable part of your partner to emerge. – Yes
  • You find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior? – Unsure
  • You feel emotionally unsafe. –  Yes
  • You feel its somehow not OK to talk with others about your relationship. – Unsure
  • You find yourself doubting your memory or sense of reality. – Yes
  • You doubt your own judgment. – Yes
  • You doubt your abilities. – Yes
  • You feel vulnerable and insecure. – Yes
  • You are becoming increasingly depressed. – Yes
  • You feel increasingly trapped and powerless. –  Yes
  • You have been or are afraid of your partner – Yes
  • Your partner has physically hurt you, even once. – No

If you are wondering if you are in a Verbally Abusive relationship, it may be a good idea to locate a local Domestic Abuse Center and learn more about your situation. If you are still living with your partner, make sure you take safety measures. The time when a women (or man) is leaving their abusive partner can be the most dangerous time. Counselors at the Domestic Abuser center can help you learn more, while helping you take any safety measures.

Resource Books:

  • Why Does He Do That? – Bancroft Lundy
  • The Verbally Abusive Relationship – by Patricia Evans

 Questionnaire from above is from Dr. Irene’s website.

Will Verbal Abuse Turn Deadly?

weeping woman - closeup on eye with teardropWhen I read the story about Megan Short’s murder, it really struck home for me. This relationship ended tragically with her husband Mark Short shooting his wife, their three kids, their dog, and then shot himself. It was reported that this relationship was a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship. Physician violence has not been reported in this tragic situation.

The reports say the police had been called on more than one occasion and Megan’s family was aware there were problems. Megan Short was advised to file a protective order but she made the decision to leave the relationship instead. The day she was supposed to move into her own place was the same day her husband shot her, her family and himself.

The reports say on her Facebook page she clicked an article titled He Didn’t hit me. It was still abuse. This article tells a story about a verbally abusive relationship where there are no visible wounds. Movies and television show do a good job of painting a picture of domestic abuse as physical violence.

However, in the situation with Megan Short, they say she had never been physically abused but her husband wound up murdering the entire family. Just because the abuser has not hit you yet, does not mean he won’t.  I do not mean to paint a dark picture of emotionally abusive people, but I do believe they are unlikely to change. Just read Why Does He Do That by Bandcroft Lundy for more detail about abusers.

Another case that ended tragically was the case with Jessica Gonzales. She was able to obtain a restraining order against her estranged husband. The report does not state whether he was abusive or not. However, on one day her husband picked up the kid at her home without her knowledge. She called the police multiple times and asked them to go get her children. That day, he took them to an amusement park and then murdered the three girls and then fired on the police station and was killed. You can read more about this case at Gonzales Vs. Castle Rock.

I have admitted that my relationship with my ex-husband was domestic abuse, but then I say, “But he never hit me.” Why do I feel the need to state that? Why do I feel a verbally abusive relationship is less abusive because it was not physically abusive? Did he really have to hit me?

He prevented me from leaving the house, he used our daughter to control me, he threatened to take custody of our daughter, he kicked a hole in our bedroom door. His comments would constantly make me worry about what he ‘could do’ to me. When he was happy with me, it was ‘our house’ or ‘our car’, but when he was upset it was ‘his house’ or ‘his car that he let me drive’. Plus, his drinking and drug use often led to extremely unpredictable behavior.

The day I told him I was getting divorced I really believed he might kill me. After leaving him I do remember feeling so afraid to leave my house. His harassing phone calls and emails would consistently keep me on edge.  Then he would grill our daughter for information and then leave those messages on my phone. He would talk to my friends and try to get them on his side. I eventually stopped talking to them because I didn’t want him having any insight into my life. He has used our child as a pawn for so many years.

So, does it matter if they hit you? His verbal assaults were often damaging enough. If you are in a verbally and emotionally abusive relationship and you are thinking about leaving, be sure to protect yourself and take extra precautions. Even if they have never hit you, think about safety first and read articles like Getting Ready to Leave.