Saturday, February 28, 2015

Do Your Due Diligence

The Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath, with whom I share custody of my child(ren) and from whom I am divorced, is remarried.

His New Wife

My friends and I, we have worried for her, and prayed for her.  We have wished there was a way to intervene, to protect her from the hell she unknowingly signed up for when she allowed a psychopath into her life.

I have no contact with her because the man she married is a psychopath.
Her husband is my former husband.
I could not reach out to her without doing damage to myself.

If I could communicate with the current wife, this is what I would say to her.  And to all of the spring chickens out there, who haven't lived enough yet to understand the way the world can work.

Do Your Due Diligence

I know it is hard to do due diligence on a man who has targeted you.  He has you in his sight.  You are his goal, and he is doing everything he can to win.  To win the game.

He uses everything you say, to win you.  Any information you give him will be used.  Pro and Con.

You are impressed by his big professional status, and his big house.  You are impressed by the display of wealth.

You are impressed by my lovely, bright, articulate child(ren).  The child(ren) used as bait.

Your dreams are used as bait.

You have conveyed your dreams to him.  He seems so interested in your dreams.  He compliments  and praises your passion for life.  He promises to help make your dreams come true.  You will be a team.

I have watched from afar this dream of yours come to life.  You didn't need him to accomplish your dream.

Why does he want you so badly?

1. He wants to prove he is not a failure.  In his mind:  His wife left him, therefore, he's a failure.  He couldn't keep me, or control me.  I escaped.  He failed.

2. He wants help with the child(ren).  Raising a child is hard work.  It is work he never did much of when he was married to me, the mother.  He was largely absent from our lives.  He wants you to do the work.  And you do.  You are the unpaid help.  He flatters your mothering skills.  He's all about the flattery.

3. He wants the added income.  You make good money.  Your money offsets the expense of paying my alimony and child support.   I was a stay-at-home mom.  I didn't work.  You work.  He enjoys the financial damage control and the bonus to his lifestyle.

4. Sex?  I guess he wants you for sex.  But, there probably isn't much sex.

5. His House.  He wants to share the expenses and household chores.  It's a big house.  It takes a lot to heat and cool that monstrosity.   You help pay for the maid?  The gardener?

6. He wants a toy.  You are it.  He messes with your mind.  Dominates you.  Controls you.  Wear and Tear you down.  Good times.  Am I right?

How You Could Have Done Due Diligence

1. You could have dated him for longer.

Much longer.  You didn't date him nearly long enough, and you agreed to marry him much too soon.   You met him and married him within a year.  Not nearly long enough.

However, he kept up his act with me for nearly three years, so, if an N/S/P wants you badly enough, they can keep up the act for longer.  And, he may be on better behavior with you for longer, because you haven't gotten pregnant.  You are employed.  You could still walk out pretty easily.

Is he showing his true colors to you yet?  I know he has shown you some, but can you see it? Maybe they are still too subtle?  Is he wearing you down slowly?

2. Financial Audit.

You could have asked to see his tax returns, and an accounting of his assets/liabilities.  Not so romantic.  And he is such a liar that he would have done a reasonable job obfuscating the truth.  Obfuscation is one of his favorite communication techniques.  Have you discovered that yet?  Surely, you have.

It would have been difficult to see the truth since he was still involved in divorcing me.  Also, not so romantic.  Maybe that should have been part of the due diligence process for you.  A clue.  Like, don't agree to marry anyone who is divorcing.  Let the dust settle.  Let the cards and finances fall where they may.  Because, I don't see how you could have not gotten screwed in the process of him screwing me during our property settlement.

Why on earth would you sign up to participate with a man who is financially still entangled with his ex-wife?  I truly don't want to be mean, but, isn't that sorta Dumb?

3. Talk to the Family.

Ugh.  This one is tough because you were getting snowed from all angles.   I assume that his family was desperate for things to be made right for their darling angel.  He is the crown prince of the family, can't you see?  His mother is desperate for a daughter-in-law who will cow-tow, and whose boundaries she can violate, and on whom she can dote/smother.   I know you are aware of this by now.

I know you tended to her at the beginning and I know you are worn out with her already.

4. Snooping.

If you had snooped in his email, that would have helped.  You would have seen all the crazy emails he wrote to me.  Snooping is also extremely unromantic.  Not the foundation of trust one wants in a new marriage.  But, shouldn't trust be earned rather than freely given? 

You gave your trust to an untrustworthy person.

( Side note to my self: ALERT!  Ethical Dilemma! After being in a relationship with a psychopath, will I snoop around in a romantic partner's email account?  Horror.  That's not who I want to be!  But, that is what it takes to be in a relationship with a psycho.  Strategy.  Deception.  No Thanks!  And this is why I maintain Extremely Limited Contact with the psychopathic father of my child(ren).)

5. Steer Clear of the Man With the "Crazy" Ex-wife.

Calling me crazy was the name of his game.  By now, however, you have probably started to wonder: How Crazy Can She Be?  His argument is worn out.  Time marches on, and no sign of Crazy Ex-Wife have you seen. Maybe the fact that I won't talk to him, see him, come near him, sit with him, participate in any way with him or his family....maybe that looked crazy or questionable to you, back then.  But, maybe by now, you have seen enough of his crazy behavior, and the way he treats his child(ren) and your pet(s)...that my avoidance of him is starting to make sense?

Calling the target "crazy" is typical of an abuser.  He used his "Crazy" Ex-wife as a marketing tool to win you.  He flattered you by telling you how much better you were than me.  I don't know this for sure, but I can hear him now, complimenting you about how good you are with his child(ren).  So much better than his crazy ex-wife.  Flattery.

He's a Really Good Psychopath

You were his target.

He wanted you, and he got you.  You were easy.  You married him too soon.  You asked too few questions.  You didn't press for the hard answers.   You didn't walk away when he gave you a reason, and I know he gave you reason.

I expect that he is desperate to keep you.  I expect he doesn't want the stain of another divorce.  I expect that his game has improved, which may keep you around longer.

If you leave him, he will find another woman asap.  We are utterly replaceable.

He doesn't see us for ourselves, just for the services that we provide.  We fill in the blank.

by AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Further reading for the spring chickens: Here is how life really does work, when one is dealing with an entitled, abusive, narcissistic spouse.  
From the New York Times:  Divorce Funding Firms Help Spouses Expecting Big Payouts

Binocular Photograph by "Daniele Zanni" on flickr. 
Title "A sort of birdwatching"
Used under the Creative Commons License

Target Photograph by "Pete" on flickr. 
Title "Stay On Target"
Used under the Creative Commons License

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Another Example of An Abusive Email from the Narcissist/Psychopath: Road Rage

Here is a breakdown of a typical abusive email that I would receive from my psychopathic (narcissist) husband, while I was married.  

He is justifying a horrible incident toward the end of our marriage where he raged at me while he drove on the interstate highway at 75-95 miles per hour, at night.  

The angry outburst lasted approximately 90 minutes.  

He screamed at me non-stop, while I was still and silent in the passenger seat.  

I was afraid for my life.   

My offense was: I reacted to something he said in a way that hurt him.  

I spoke and behaved WRONG. 

We had been having dinner at a restaurant when he suddenly turned from pleasant company into Road Rage Man, from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde.  

He didn't like my tone.  

I never rode in a car with him, ever again.  

Here's the breakdown of the email: 

It is my fault that he is angry since I apologized to him incorrectly, and for that he can not trust me. 

Since I apologized wrong, he gave up and let it go.  
My bad apologizing is why he gets angry at other times.  
He controls himself when am I clearly not going to apologize correctly, but sometimes all the anger that he feels, spills out uncontrollably. 

The reason we don't get along is because I won't apologize in a way that suits him.

He tells me that: I am mean.  
I am bad. 
I am wrong.
I am untrustworthy.
I lack empathy.  
I don't understand people.   
I am afraid of people.  
I am irrational. 
I am delusional.  

I think this is a circular argument...  
He says:
I was wrong to feel the way I felt when I felt attacked by him.  
He didn't attack me.  
I attacked him because I felt attacked.  
If I attack him, he will attack me. 
And that's why he attacks me.  

Here is where the Personality Disordered Person invokes the "everyone" into the argument.  
Everyone else says, everyone else thinks....
People had warned him about me, because I'm the type of woman who incorrectly reads hostility, when none exists.  Because I incorrectly read hostility, I lash out at him. 

See?  I'm wrong!
This, of course, means that I can't trust my own perceptions.  
Therefore, I should trust HIS perceptions....  

He rehashes ancient history that I can't recall.  

A rehashing of ancient history is typically included in his arguments against me. 

He tells me:
I must change 
how I am, 
how I feel, 
how I think,
how I react
or else,
a vague threat of divorce.  

End of email.  


By AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

If this post speaks to you in some way, if you have experienced this sort of incident, I would like very much to hear about it.  Thank you.  

Photo by Jonathan Cohen on flicker. 
Title "
and miles to go before I sleep" 
Used under the Creative Commons License

Monday, February 23, 2015

On the Other Side

A Ruined Life

It wasn't that long ago, that I feared I had ruined my life.

After I left my husband, I would wake up with such a profound sense of dread, that I felt like I was sinking into the ground to be swallowed whole.  Ruin.  Mistake.  No turning back.

His psychopathic, veiled and overt threats, emotional manipulations and lies, did not stop after I left.  They increased.

The carrots were fewer.  The stick was bigger.

One major improvement was that he was no longer in my personal space.  My home became my sanctuary.  He was not allowed.

He tried, of course, to get in.  He complained that I wouldn't let him come over, that my insistence to meet in a public place for custody exchanges was bad for our child(ren) and was evidence that I was mentally unstable.  He implied that I was a liar for being afraid of him.  He outright said that I was a liar, and that he was the victim.  He said anything that pleased him.

He mostly said it in emails, since I quickly learned to never ever speak to him in person or on the phone.  The fact that I had an email-only boundary became more evidence that I was mentally unwell.  He insisted that we should have meals together with our child(ren), as a family, even though we were separated.  For the sake of the child(ren).

He said worse things in court documents.  Accused me of things so far from the truth that I was terrified of what he was capable of doing or saying.  Clearly, he would do and say anything to destroy me.  And he tried.

The financial abuse was bad during the marriage.  The financial abuse continued after I left.

You know what unrelenting stress does to a living being?  The stress was unrelenting.  Years and years of stress.  Purposeful stress from a Psychopath to his target.

The Light At The End Of The Tunnel

I felt that there was no light at the end of the tunnel.  No light at all.
I feared that I would remain in darkness forever.

It occurred to me that perhaps there was a light at the end of the tunnel.
Perhaps this tunnel was so long, that I would have to act on faith,
act as if there was a light out there.

So, I pretended.

That country song:  If you're going through hell, keep on movin'.

After a long while, I could see that there was a dim light at the other end of the tunnel.

After another long while, I could see I was almost there.

Another long while, and I was outside the tunnel, in the light.   But the tunnel was right there next to me, a big open gaping mouth of darkness.

Now, finally, years and years later, I'm on the other side.  And I know that there is a tunnel.  But I'm not sure where it is.  It's over there.  Or back that way.

Let me be clear.  The Tunnel is not Depression.
The Tunnel is the Hellish Escape from the Psychopath.

The Problem With Marriage

If he had just been a boyfriend, and not a husband,
I could have walked away, and would have, many many times.
If I had just been married, with no child(ren),
I could have walked away, and I would have.
If he had not made my life so incredibly difficult,
undermining me in so many ways, I could have walked away.
If my child(ren) had been older.

Mercifully, Children grow older.  Less fragile.  Less dependent.
They have voices.  They can speak up.
They can wash their own hair.
They can wipe their own bottom.
They can report if someone touches them in a private place...

Mercifully, the bonds of marriage finally do break after so much wear and tear.
Hope dies away after so much disappointment.
No matter how hopeful we once were, we finally do read the writing on the wall:
Something is very much the matter with the marriage, and
No, it will not improve
Yes, I must leave.

Mercifully, life made impossible to live with a psychopath
becomes so unbearable
that it is suddenly "easy" to leave.
Fears of being penniless are so much better than the alternative of having to live with a monster.
Fears of being murdered by him outweigh the fear of leaving him.
So, fine, yes please, I will gladly be penniless and live in a tiny apartment if it means I am free.
The confines of the gilded cage are so miserable, why not go out into the wild?

Mercifully, the psychopath grows so power hungry and out of control
that we see his madness for what it is.
Madness. Cruelty.
His threats and abuse are so obviously inexcusable.
So obviously abuse.
Once upon a time we excused his misbehavior for reasons x, y, or z.
Now we have lived through so much of it, for so long, we know enough to say "No".

Mercifully, our newfound spirit of "No" drives him over the edge,
and his mask falls off so often and so profoundly
that we realize the Monster is the Man.

Connected By Our Child(ren)

If I didn't have child(ren) with him, I would have healed up long ago.
I would have left him in the dust.  He would be forgotten, mostly.
A bad episode, a bad era, a bad memory.

Because of our child(ren), he has exercised
his opportunities to continue to punish, threaten, manipulate, bully.
Because of our child(ren), I must stay nearby for shared custody.
I can not flee to another town or state or country.  I'm planted.
This gives him endless opportunities to reinsert himself into my life.
It's been a wound that wants to fester, instead of heal.
Re-exposed again and again to the trauma.

His ongoing neglect and abuse of our child(ren),
his continued threats and unwelcome (and illegal) appearances at my house,
his continued financial abuses, his manipulations :
Repeated exposure to his psychopathic behavior slowed my recovery from the abusive relationship.
Repeated exposure to his psychopathic behavior slowed my recovery from the abusive relationship.
Repeated exposure to his psychopathic behavior slowed my recovery from the abusive relationship.  

My child(ren)'s upset about Daddy's Lies, not wanting to be with him, missing Mommy :
Tore me apart.

But we all grow up.  I grow up.  My child(ren) grow up.
Daddy's Problems stay the same, and we all get wise to it.
Daddy's Problem gets worse as time passes.
We stop circling around and around Daddy's Disorder,
and we move on with our lives.

On the Other Side

On the other side, there is peace.  There is happiness.

On the other side, my home is a safe place.  Every day, I become more settled.  I have peace.

I have more financial security than I ever did in the marriage.

On the other side, my time is my own.

It took a long time, but I made it through the tunnel.  Life is good on the other side.

written by AKA Rose Lee Mitchell

Photograph by "Swift Photography Company on flicker. 
Title "Light at the End of the Tunnel 2"
Used under the Creative Commons License

Sunday, February 15, 2015


The N/P* tries to lure me into a fight.
He wants my time, and my attention.
He wants contact.


The Art of Ignoring

It is only recently that I have realized how much intentionality it takes to IGNORE someone.

No Contact or Limited Contact takes practice and skill.

I have Policies and Procedures to manage communication.

All the self-help literature says that buy Ignoring the N/P, we Punish the N/P.
I have moved past a desire to Punish.
I simply do not care.

My life is worth more than that.

Less is More

Less Contact = More Peace, Sanity, Time, Happiness...

Contact = Drama. Arguing. Fighting. Confusion. Debates. Explaining. Repeating. Upset...

No Contact = Rainbows. Sunshine. Peace. Quiet. Loveliness. Kittens. Hearts. Smiles...

I can think about what matters to me.
My finances, my retirement funds, the stock market.
My future.  Dating.
Maybe I could buy a farm out in the country.
I get to stare off into space and breathe deeply and think about nothing.


The N/P wants a fight.  He wants Drama.

I want a peaceful, happy life.  Filled with Joy.

I have no interest in fighting.  I never did.

I wanted a peaceful life, with a good and decent husband, love, security, a happy home.
I wanted to care for my children.
I wanted to flourish in my career.
I wanted a sanctuary.
I wanted to make a lot of love.
I wanted health.
I wanted good sleep.
I wanted money in the bank.

What I wanted, I could not have in a marriage with the N/P.

Getting out of the marriage took a long, long time.


And now, I am out.
I focus on what is important.
I focus on my life.

I do not focus on his disorder.

Not My Problem

He will be disordered forever.
I sincerely do not care.
It is not my problem.

One can argue that the N/P is still my problem, because I have children with him.
Well, sure, okay.
If I want it to be a problem, it is.
But, I don't want it to be a problem.
And it certainly isn't a problem today.
Right now, the N/P is meaningless.
Today, the sun shines.
The N/P is not here.
The house is warm and lovely.
The children play happily.
Food cooks on the stove.
I have no worries today.

I stopped fighting with the N/P.
He is always right.  He is never wrong. 
What is there to discuss?
He wants to renegotiate such and such.
No thanks. Ignore. 
He wants to exchange information about this and that.
No thanks. Ignore.

I languished in the marriage, wishing for things to be better and different.
Because, if only xyz, we could have had such a nice life, etc. etc. etc.   

I languished after the divorce, trying to make things better and different.
Because, things could have been so much better, if only xyz.  


The N/P wants things (and people) to be broken, damaged, exhausted, difficult, confusing, etc.

My children have a relationship with their disordered parent.  I don't.
They will grow up and choose if they want to continue the relationship with the N/P.  Their choice.
The choice, is their choice.
I can move halfway around the world, if I choose.
Or, I can get that place in the country, down the road about 30 miles.

Ya know?
The N/P has no say.

Moving On

Moving on from the wreckage of the life once lived with the N/P seems to be the ultimate goal.
To heal our past.  To reclaim ourselves.
To put a new sheen on what happened.
To find redemption.
To see the silver lining.
To create something of value from waste.
To become the person we were meant to become, before a disordered con-artist came and sucked us into the swirling vortex of nonsense, pain, debt and destruction.

It's no longer about the Fight with the N/P.
The N/P no longer matters.

We matter.

by A.K.A. Rose Lee Mitchell

(N/P = Narcissist/Psychopath)

Photograph by "A" on flicker. 
Title "JOY"
Used under the Creative Commons License

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Verbal Abuse In My Marriage

I had no idea what verbal abuse was until I accidentally ran across something on the Internet. I wasn't even looking. It was a pop up on the side. I thought, "What the heck is verbal abuse?" I clicked & it was an article about a guest on Oprah's show. I ran out and bought the book the next day. Hid it in the house. It was MY MARRIAGE! Everything I didn't understand and couldn't wrap my mind around. It was all there in black & white.  

At first I was in denial. I didn't believe that my husband could be doing this intentionally. I thought that he too didn't understand that he was being abusive. I didn't show it to him or say anything. BUT when he was verbally abusive, I would say -- "Can't you see how your phrase there implies X which is hurtful to me? Can't you see how that (blah blah)." He would deny. When I suggested that "name calling" was very hurtful & should not be done, he told me that name calling was NO BIG DEAL & not hurtful & I really had a problem. His ex-wife & ex-girlfriend had called him names all the time. It's no big deal. Yep. The whole devalue & discard & the bolstering & negating my feelings.
I started reading more & more. I think all people are verbally abusive & even abusive at one time or another. It comes when we are unhappy, etc. Also, most people grow up with it to one extent or the other. My reading certainly brought chagrin to myself & I saw that I too have been verbally abusive, angry & controlling. I tried to STOP all that immediately. There are a few folks out there I really would like to apologise to.

But I also learned there are other people who are simply abusive = angry & controlling. And I finally got out of my denial & accepted that my husband was an abuser. As I told you, when I read the book about "gaslighting" and saw that he was a textbook case -- and the worse kind of gaslighter -- the book had several different types. I got very scared. I think he was an "intimidator gaslighter." If I remember. It predicted physical violence. And, as I learned from his exes -- he can be very violent. I just "handled" him very well & managed to diffuse the situation . . . or I think he sensed that if he really hit me or slugged me . . . I'd be gone & I might have him arrested.  

In the end he did get physical . . . but I had told him I was leaving. And I deeply regret that I did not call the police or get a restraining order. I wish had had taken him to the rails & gotten him convicted. And thrown out of this country.  

But anyhow. I think children either "get" that the parent is abusive & avoid it when they grow up. Or they go the other way . . either become abusive or get involved with abusers.

Hopefully you can teach your children to see the BS -- avoid it when they can . . . & to never do it themselves.

Even when I left my husband, he said to me:  "I'm not so bad. I don't beat you." Excuse me? What a jerk!  Minimizing the abuse inflicted.   AND, I will never forget the day that I told him to back off; I had no more time for his drama; I was finished.  I told him, "Yes.  I am going to the gym now."  He asked, "How can you leave me like this when I am so upset?"    Well, husband -- I am saying the exact words & doing the exact stuff you did to me when I was so upset.  I said, "I gotta go to my job.  I gotta go to the gym.  I gotta take care of myself.  I gotta work on the house."  An hour later, when I came back, he had packed a little bag & was leaving to spend time with his gal pal colleague & her husband.  He accused me of being "verbally abusive" and that "nobody speaks to a dog" the way I spoke to him. He ran away to his gal pal's house & told her & her husband that I was abusing him!  

So...he knew exactly everything that he was doing to me. And in the end, would deny everything he did to me. I was the liar & I was crazy. Sound familiar? Even had several of his gal pals in the house tormenting me & protecting him from his abusive & thieving wife!

One can never win with these types. Maybe your children will reflect & understand intuitively why you have NO CONTACT with their father. Because it's actually the sane reaction when confronted with somebody so useless & hurtful.

This post, "Thoughts On Verbal Abuse" 
was written by my Coach.

Image by The LAMP on flickr
Creative concept of what verbal abuse does to an individual"
Used under the Creative Commons License

Sunday, February 8, 2015

A Man Who Beat Me With His Words, Not Fists

"What on Earth is Happening To Me?" 

During my marriage, I did not know what was going on.  I did not have words or context for my situation.  I didn't know what was happening.  Why was life so hard?   Why was I so miserable?  What was wrong with me?

On the nursery school playground, I would listen to the complaints and stories that other mothers had about their husbands.  I would compare my complaints and stories with theirs.  Maybe the bad parts are intentionally left out, you know, for polite conversation?   Maybe my situation isn't so strange?  Maybe if I knew these women better, then I would get down to the truth of their marriage? 

During my marriage, I would minimize the bad stuff that happened.  I would forget.

Part of this was survival tactic.   Part of it was hopeful, wishful thinking.

Maybe, I wished and hoped, we could work out our "communication problems".
Maybe, I wished and hoped, the stress would subside and we would have some peace.

We had everything in place to have a wonderful, beautiful and enviable life.
We had healthy, lovely children.  We lived in a wonderful town.  We had plenty of money.
On paper, our lives looked great.  There was no reason to not live a lovely life.
I kept waiting for things to "calm down".

Things never calmed down.

Identifying Abuse

Lots of us have no experience with the kinds of overt physical abuse that we were carefully taught to avoid.  You know, the kind of abuse where the man punches you in the face.  He wears a 'wife-beater' tank top, and drunkenly comes after you.  The next day, he brings you flowers and weeps for forgiveness.  He promises to do better.   The image that comes to mind in Marlon Brando in "A Streetcar Named Desire".

I totally know how to avoid THAT guy and THAT abuse.  (or so I think)

Movie versions of overt or covert abuse are really really tricky.  Even now, they do not help or educate me.

The abuses of my marriage were more like "Sleeping With The Enemy."  Maybe if They made a movie of my story, it would play that dramatically.  Unfortunately, watching "Sleeping With The Enemy" in my youth taught me nothing about avoiding my marital abuser.   I was never ever educated to avoid the Jekyll-Hyde-Narcissistic-Psychopath that I married.  I had no idea what was happening to me.

There is a film that especially primed me for the abuse, however.  I loved the movie before I met my husband, and I watched it repeatedly.  I found it to be so appealing and compelling.  Tom Hanks is so honest and sincere, emotionally open.  Meg Ryan is so sweet and charming.  Even now, I still love it, but I watch it with a different eye.

A story about a man who deceives and charms a woman who is minding her own business.
She shares her heart with a complete stranger, via email.
The man DESTROYS her way of life (her business).
He is rude and aggressive towards her.
He IGNORES her direct requests that he GO AWAY.
He lies to her.  He charms her.  He insults her.
She allows this man into her life, and they become Friends.
He continues to lie to her, charm her, and insult her.
In the end, he confesses.  She loves him anyway.
And it is supposed to be romantic.

I will write a much more in depth analysis of this film, and how it relates to emotional abuse. 

Abuse?  Abuse. 

No one told me what to do when my husband spit on me, or dragged me across the floor, or screamed at me, raged at me, bullied/coerced me into financial situations, knocked down doors, shoved me into walls.   Oh, and sadly, there is much much more.   None of these abuses occurred until I gave birth.  

No one told me how to identify the signs of emotional abuse, the chipping away of my confidence, and my self-worth.  These abuses began BEFORE I gave birth, but I didn't notice because it was subtle and I had not been educated to know the signs.  

I still don't want to think about it.  I want the past to go away.  Just like, when I was married, I desperately wanted the truth to NOT be the truth.  I wanted everything to be all fixed and perfect and shiny, as it Could Have Been and Should Have Been.  I wanted my life to be the way it Would Have Been, had my husband NOT been a Psychopath.  I wanted my life to be NORMAL.

Shame and Secrets

To use words like “Abuse” and “Domestic Violence” makes me feel uncomfortable, and it makes most other people uncomfortable too.   After all, I don't want to think of myself as Abused, or A Victim.   I still have a desire to minimize the bad stuff.  Maybe this is what makes me resilient?

Focusing on the bad stuff brings me down.  If I think about it, or talk about it, it causes me distress.  Even now, as I write this, my breathing is quickened and I feel anxious and upset.  Cortisol is pumping.  I lived awash in cortisol for too many years.

I think a lot about the concept of Shame in the way that Brene Brown speaks about Shame.   

I find that my story is not a story that I can share with many people.  Lots of women don't want the added drama.  Lots of women simply can not relate.

I think some women can not tolerate hearing my story because they wrestle with an awful story of their own.  If they hear my story, then they have to face the truth of their own abusive marriage.  They would have to do something about it.  And right now, treading water is all they can possibly do.

I know.  I have been there.

And, it's okay.

Telling my story costs emotional energy that I don't want to spend.  I don't want to relive horrors, disappointments, regrets, and shame.  If my story was a wood carving, I don't want another chip or line pressed into it.  Let it be done.  I don't want my story to have any more weight in my life, for it is already too heavy.  If I could let my story fly away on the wings of a white dove, I would.   If I could close my eyes and forget, I would.

I have become very careful with whom I share.

I agree with this advice from Brene Brown about how to choose listeners.

The End Of The Road - Death Threats

I was able to minimize what was happening in my marriage until the death threats began.
Then, fear took over.

My husband began to threaten my life.  Not in the 'wife beater' obvious way "I'm gonna kill you, bitch!"  Nothing that overt.

I made him mad, and he began to describe how I was going to die.  Okay.  That sounds overt!
But, he did it in such a way that he could explain his way out of it (sort of) later.   Psychopathically.
I was rattled so deeply that the truth spilled out at dinner with a group of women friends.

Their reaction changed my life and possibly saved it.

I think of myself, back then, as a fish in a bowl of abusive water.  The abuse was such a normal part of my life, and "Look! Really!  It's not so bad!  I'm swimming in this water!  It must be okay here if I am able to survive!"

My amazing group of women friends rallied around me and said "NO!"

The look on their faces, the fear in their eyes, and the words they spoke told me: This Was Serious and I Was In Danger.

It was the first time I told the truth of my situation to anyone, and it was clear to me why:

To Speak The Truth Meant That My Marriage Was Over.  

Now that the truth was known, my marriage HAD to be OVER.  I was not the kind of person who could stay with an abuser once people knew the truth.   Before I told the truth, I could minimize it and fool myself into thinking that it was okay.  I wasn't trying to be a liar.  I was conditioned for abuse.   These women, who were outside the fishbowl, who had not been conditioned to withstand the abuse, told me that he treated me was NOT okay.  I knew they were right.  I couldn't possible stay with a man like that: a man who beat me with his words.

From now on, I propose that we call it by the correct name: Emotional Abuse is Domestic Violence.

by A.K.A. Rose Lee Mitchell

Great fish shot by Peter Baker on flicker. 
Title "Marie se Toet" 

Used under the Creative Commons License

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Write for the Observer

For a long time, I felt helpless when I had to communicate with my child(ren)'s father during and after our divorce.   He sent long, crazy, twisted emails.  I felt that I needed to respond to these 1000-3000 word attacks and set the record straight.  I felt that I needed to reason with him, defend myself, and share information to be a good co-parent.

I eventually learned that I was dealing with a Narcissist/Sociopath/Psychopath.  I learned the concepts of No Contact and Limited Contact.

Limited Contact is required when we share child custody with a disordered person.

I have strict Rules of Non-Engagement, which include short emails.  From time to time, I purposely deviate from my rule of non-engagement, and I write a lengthy email to the narcissist-psychopath.  

by torbakhopper on flickr

Why do I engage? 

I write to give AN OBSERVER a picture of the lifestyle and mothering I provide for my child(ren).  The purpose of the lengthy email is NOT to communicate facts to the disordered father.  No, no, no. A short email or text would do that.  The lengthy email is an advertisement for my general awesomeness, and a weapon of defense for my lawyer to use should we ever need it.  Anyone reading the lengthy email can see that I love my kids, that I am thoughtful, intelligent, insightful.

The psychopath doesn't care what I have to say, not in terms of collaboration that would help us to better care for our child(ren).  That would be CO-PARENTING.  He doesn't want to CO-PARENT.  He doesn't want to have normal, decent communication.  No.  He is looking for information to USE and ABUSE in order to MANIPULATE, CONTROL, TORMENT, etc.

Why does he do that?   He is a PSYCHOPATH.

I give him the information that I want him to have, and no other.

Since he lies pathologically, I no longer believe anything he says.  Not one single word.

If he were to say that the color of the sky is blue, I would not believe him.

Likewise, if I remark about the color of the sky, he will argue with my assessment.  I do not argue.

I think of it like this:
It's a game of Tennis, and all I do is SERVE.
I do not care if he hits the ball back.
I have no intention of volleying that ball.
We are not having a conversation about our children.
It is NOT a collaboration.  
A person can not converse nor collaborate with a PSYCHOPATH.

When I write him a lengthy email, I have archived my awesomeness.  It becomes part of the Record.  Someday, maybe, someone might actually care to read our emails.  Probably not, but maybe.  I want every single communication I have sent to the Psychopath to reflect my general Goodness, Sanity, Reasonableness, etc.  There is no reason for me to express my FEELINGS to the PSYCHOPATH, unless, I have carefully considered the BENEFIT to my child(ren) in doing so.  Someday, the psychopath may go to court, and try to prove to a judge that I am a horrible human being, unfit to raise his child(ren).  Why would I give the Psychopath any ammunition?  I don't.   In fact, I think of the lengthy emails as a little insurance policy for my protection.  


Occasional Emails to the Psychopathic Father Are Designed to Demonstrate My
1. Love for My Child(ren)
2. Intelligence
3. Thoughtfulness
4. Insight
5. General Maternal Awesomeness

by A.K.A. Rose Lee Mitchell

Beautiful Photograph by torbakhopper on flicker. 
Title "use your words" ishootwindows san francisco (2014)

Used under the Creative Commons License