“YOUR ABUSIVE PARTNER DOESN’T HAVE A PROBLEM WITH HIS ANGER; HE HAS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ANGER. One of the basic human rights he takes away from you is the right to be angry with him. No matter how badly he treats you, he believes that your voice shouldn’t rise and your blood shouldn’t boil. The privilege of rage is reserved for him alone.” — Lundy Bancroft, Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
I wrote two articles this weekend about bullying — the tradition kind of bullying and cyberbullying. It’s funny how closely my life connects to both of those articles, even though I am not a child, and I am not being bullied in school.
I’ve had several friends talk to me about this situation, and advise me to not write about it, but I am tired of being silent. I want my side of this to be heard.
As many of you have read in previous articles, I was psychologically abused by my estranged husband. You would think that after he left on Sept 14, the abuse would end, but I am not that lucky. It has continued through text, email, Facebook message, Twitter, and even comments on this blog.
Want to know what abuse looks like? Let me give you an idea:
November 2, 2014 — After weeks of going back and forth with my ex between not talking, hating each other, being civil, him realizing that civil does not equal getting back together, the cycle changed. He began using another tactic – jealousy. He told me that he had started seeing someone, and that he could no longer talk to me because he wanted to be faithful to her. I lashed out, minimally, because it did sting a bit. But then I realized that this was probably just another ploy to either A) hurt me or B) get me back. Either way, I decided to roll with it.
November 5, 2014 — After a couple of days of silence, he asked me to send the dissolution papers to him; papers I have yet to fill out because I am trying my best to work three jobs and raise two kids on my own. He told me in his request that it would be best that we pretend we never existed in each others worlds, and also that I was “just a stepping stone to get to a higher platform of bigger, better love.” (Yes, I know, this is why I am the writer…instead of him). Once again, I let it roll off my back, talked to a few friends, and moved forward.
November 7, 2014 — I got an email from my ex at around 4:30am, talking about how he had a new PS3, and wondering if I would like to talk and “catch up” later in the morning. I thought “Fuck off and die” might be too harsh a response, so I decided that silence was best. If you can’t say something nice, right? Around 4 hours later, after telling me that I only had to talk to him if I wanted to, he began emailing me. He emailed me three times, even claiming that someone was buying his phone, so I HAD to contact him back because he had to ask questions about the divorce. He then proceeded to text members of my family to get the message to me that he wanted to talk to me. At this point, I had blocked his text messages, so I only know that he sent three emails. My family members chose to not respond.
November 10, 2014 — The weekend was quiet. Then, on Monday, I received medication here that he gets by mail. I called him to let him know the medication was here, and I would return it to the pharmacy. While he had me on the phone, he asked his questions about the divorce (questions I had already answered during a previous conversation). Then, my phone died. Ten minutes later when I arrived home and plugged it in, I saw that I had three emails — one asking how he was supposed to get here for a hearing, one calling me a dumbass, and one stating that he was going to again contact my family and friends.
This is what he wrote to them in a text message:
“Can someone please tell that morbidly obese cow to contact me about the divorce. No, seriously tell her to stop eating for five min and contact me about the divorce.”
A few family members responded in the way you would expect them to respond, and he responded by talking horribly about my late sister (to my parents), as well as talking horribly to a dear family friend about her mother who is battling cancer. I heard nothing else from my ex that night.
November 11, 2014 — The shit storm commences. Since I refused to answer his emails, and his text messages were blocked, he began email obsessively to both of my email addresses. I received 347 emails between 2:32pm and 10:13pm that day. Most of these emails basically stated that I needed to call him about the divorce, I needed to write down instructions about the divorce for him, etc. At one point, I unblocked his texts to keep track of those, and he sent over 130 texts from 4:07 to 10:26pm. Then, he threatened to call my clients and make trouble for me at work. So, I decided that maybe if I called him, and I was civil, I could calm this situation down. Of course, this was the same mistake I made during our marriage, but still…I had to try.
We talked for an hour and a half or so, and I explained everything about the divorce to him, we talked about life right now, how this is a terrible situation, and about what he was going through. Then, we hung up. I thought maybe, just maybe, things would settle back down. No such luck.
November 12, 2014 — The day started off simply enough. I began talking to him, via text message, trying to keep the conversation light and civil. When he started back into the apologizing and “I love you” phase of our cycle, I tried to shut him down. I told him that the reality of the situation is that we are getting a divorce. I told him I was sorry about that, and I know that it hurts, but it is inevitable.
He then started saying that we should go back to hating one another because it is easier, and I told him that we should remain civil. Then he began texting about the role my family and I had in our separation, and talked of how he didn’t do anything wrong. At that point, he began getting vulgar, and even talking about how I performed a sex act on the phone with him the night before. This did not happen, and when I asserted that it did not happen, things started to ramp up again and threatened to contact my job about that incident, which made me worry. At that point, I contacted my places of employment to let them know that my estranged husband was psychologically abusive, and he was trying, by any means necessary, to continue to keep a hold on my life.
From 3:33pm until 11:35pm, I received 332 emails asking me why I was lying, telling me that if I did not admit to the sex act, he would continue to message me. At this point, he was blocked again on text message, and I only know of the emails. However, he did send text messages to my family once again, this time, asking if they knew about me performing the sex act with him on the phone and telling him that I am still in love with him, even though I want a divorce. He also took to Twitter, making an account to harass me, and mentioning me in his posts for the entire world to see. Thankfully, they were taken down quickly after I reported the abuse to Twitter.
November 13, 2014 — While Wednesday was ridiculous, Thursday brought indirect threats. He began emailing me, telling me that he was coming here, that he would find me and catch me. His email titles would read things like “Real soon my dear and a lot sooner than you think.” While I was 95 percent sure that he was not coming here, I stayed vigilant, knowing that you cannot ignore someone with a severe mental illness, especially one with abusive tendencies. That day brought 117 emails from 9:06am to 12:08pm and 108 text messages, which I had started to monitor again by request.
He began trying to concoct this trip he was making to Ohio by pulling pictures off the internet and sending them to me, and not emailing for long periods of time, to make me think he was driving and had no phone service. At that point, the emails ceased and the text messages began again. He also decided to start putting the question about why I performed the sex act (which again, I did not perform) all over Facebook, on my friends pages and pictures I was tagged in. He even put it on an acquaintance’s page, under a picture of my nephew’s T-Ball trophy ceremony. How sick can you get?
Anyway, the texts continued on Thursday evening, with comments like,
“Remember all your chances to answer truthfully because once I get there face to face you will be begging for your chance to have been truthful”
From 9:40pm to 12:41am on Friday, he tried to convince me that he was either on his way to Ohio or that he was in Columbus over 22 more text messages.
November 14, 2014 — He started texting me at 10:45am on Friday, trying to feed me a story about being in Columbus, and having a broke down car. He said he needed help. Since I wanted to know where exactly he was, I called his bluff and told him to turn on his locator, so I could find him. He said it didn’t work. Then, I asked for the address where he was, and he said I would probably try to set him up. Obviously, I wasn’t buying it. This went on for 33 texts, until I finally couldn’t take anymore. I told him that it amazed me that he thought I was falling for any of this, and I told him I wasn’t scared of him anymore. Granted, probably not the smartest thing to do, but what would you do with this situation?
I received another 17 texts from him throughout the day, and I realized that by responding, I gave him exactly what he wanted — contact with me. He even said as much in his text messages:
“I think you love this attention honestly. Actually I know you love the attention lol.”
I realized that he thought this was flattering…that I wanted this, and I felt, well, I felt violated.
November 15, 2014 — The morning was relatively quiet, with only three text messages. I went to my niece’s birthday party, the grocery store and then to Starbucks with the kids. When I pulled in the driveway, I got three new texts, and the game changed again:
“Is it wrong to have sweet blissful dreams of resting the barrel of a gun against your forehead before pulling the trigger?”
“I have a great idea for my Christmas present for you and your family ;-)”
“Honestly it’s for the best for everyone and I want you dead before Christmas I hope”
These are the first direct threats I’d received from him since June 2014. But, this wasn’t the “I’m going to choke you out.” This was a threat to kill me. I kept a record of the incident, stayed vigilant, and went about my Saturday evening.
November 16, 2014 — The day was relatively quiet. He sent 35 text messages that were non-threatening, for the most part, asking me to call him, and stating other random things.
November 17, 2014 — This morning has been relatively quiet as well. Three text messages asking to talk, but nothing else.
So, why write all of this out?
The answer is simple: This is my truth. This is my testimony. This is my letter to all of you about what has been happening the last few days. I have text messages, emails, screen shots and backed up cloud drives that can prove my story.
Do I think that my estranged husband is capable of killing me? No. However, I am not taking any chances. Every man who has ever hit a woman or killed a woman in an abusive relationship had a point where he was not an abuser…a point when he was not a murderer. There is always the first time. If something ever happens to me, this is my story.
I assure you, I am getting the help necessary, but I do not want to discuss that here. However, there is one more point that I do want to address. People close to me, people I love, have said I should just ignore this, that I should change my email addresses, phone numbers, and that I should just shut down my social media pages. Tell me, what would that solve? Why should I be punished because he is harassing me, stalking me, and basically continuing to abuse me from afar?
I am standing strong. I am not responding to him the way he wants me to, and my silence will continue.