Thursday, March 7, 2013

Anatomy of the Overt Email Threat

Anatomy of the Overt Email Threat From the Psychopathic or Narcissistic Ex-husband With Whom One Shares Child Custody

This is a breakdown of threatening emails I typically receive from my Ex-Husband. He will

a. Present a kind, decent and professional tone.
b. Pretend Helpfulness. 
c. Lie about me as if it were a fact.  
d. Pose as a righteous, good, upstanding man.  
e. Slather on the drama.
f.  THIS ONE IS VERY IMPORTANT: State that it’s not just HIM that sees it HIS way.  It’s EVERYONE.  It’s THEM against me.  Make it seem that I am outnumbered and alone. EVERYONE is on his side.  
g. Tell me what I should be doing if I were being Right and Good and Worthy, like him.
h. OVERTLY THREATEN to sue for full custody if I don’t do his will.   
i. Try to induce guilt with a lie couched as fact.
j. Demand answers to questions he asks about vague issues that he made up.   

Item j. doesn’t make sense.  That’s right.  It doesn’t make sense.  It’s crazy making.  That’s what it’s like to deal with a Psychopath or Narcissist.  Nothing makes sense.  It’s a red flag that you are dealing with a Psychopathic or Narcissistic person.  Get away quickly.  

An important part of the threat is that He Created This Issue.  
It’s a non-issue that he has made into an issue in order to ATTEMPT to:

1. Scare Me
2. Control Me I know what he is capable of.  He is reminding me of his viciousness.  He is saying: don’t mess with me. I’m more powerful than you. 
3. Destroy My Happiness Good things are happening in my life.  He hears about it.   He wants me destroyed.   He thinks: I have failed at destroying my ex-wife? Quick, let me do something to mess with her head.  
4. Engage with the Target I’m the target.  He used to control me.  He doesn’t control me anymore. This makes him mad.  He wants me back UNDER HIS CONTROL.  Even though it looks as if he has moved on, he wants me back UNDER HIS CONTROL.  

When he sends the email he: 

5. Releases Tension Something is not right in his life.  I’m the dog that he kicks when he’s down.  Money
trouble?  Relationship trouble?  Anything.  Stress?  He kicks the target with a threatening email, and he feels better.  
6. Engages With the Target Even if I don’t respond, he engaged by pressing send.  It’s like he’s using porn.  He had sex with himself.    
7. Gets Off On It  Yes I do mean sexually.  I think he gets sexual pleasure from writing the email and sending it to me.   And if he doesn’t get sexual pleasure, then he gets some sort of pleasure.  Like a child tearing the wings off of butterflies. 

My tactics: 

Plan A:  Ignore the hell out of him. 
Sometimes this works, but N/P’s hate being ignored, so it can make it worse.  

Plan B: Write a very pleasant email where I say something to soothe the dragon.  
This usually works, and he goes away for a while. 
Plan C: Let the cards fall where they may.   (also a general life strategy)
I’m not in charge of the universe.  If he wants to actually go to court to fight for custody, there’s nothing I can do to control him.  So, I’m not gonna worry bout it one lil bit.  I’m gon go have some fun, make some dough, get some sleep, enjoy my life, and relish the fact that I am no longer married to a Psychopathic Ass.  

Be Well People.

Beautiful Photograph by S-A-M on flicker.
Title "Strength"
Used under the Creative Commons License

More reading: Grey Rock


  1. Thank you for posting this, things like this give me the tools to learn how to deal with a narcissist, it's just sad the court system doesn't do anything about it. After 16 times before the same judge you would think that the patterns shown would be called out cause he never wants to go to trial, and the judge is on of those judges that doesn't like going to trial.. you can't mediate a narcissist there's no way. The only ones that truly suffer is the children cause there in and out of court.

    1. Dear Claudia,
      I am so sorry that you must also deal with a narcissist-ex.
      16 times before a judge is appalling. I know it is exhausting and probably so expensive.
      Thank you for your comment. I am glad that you found it helpful. You made me realize that a lot of folks had read my post. You have inspired me to share more about my this journey.
      I wish you the best.
      AKA Rose Lee

  2. I found your post over a year ago. And I was surprised it describes so accurately the emails from my ex. It was a consolation that not only I find such emails abusive and manipulative. And you've caught the narrative of those emails very well.

    Now I've just read your other posts - very helpful. For last 5 years I've been going through experiences of a shared custody with N/P ex. Myself I was a wreck and 'no engagement' method helped me a lot.

    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I am sorry that you have to deal with a N/P ex too.
      Thank you for letting me know that my posts are helpful.
      I try to write to and for the "me I used to be".
      All I wanted to know back then was: how do I make it stop??? What do I do, or NOT do, or SAY, or NOT SAY, to make this problem go away.
      AKA Rose Lee

  3. I too found your blog over a year ago and pinned this post. Reading this I am nodding my head emphatically to every point. Except my ex narc's threats are a bit more veiled and subtle...e.g. "perhaps we need a judge to settle our differences" and "mediation is going to be difficult for progress to be achieved should you follow through on your threats to seek enforcement measures" (referring to his failure to follow court ordered payments - and my deadline I gave him to get caught up on arrears before I register with the free enforcement agency). He is such a sneak. So much education is needed on the very well disguised psychopaths and how to deal with them in litigation....when they don't resort to the overt stuff so much, and have honed the craft of trying to look like the innocent party.

    1. Thank you for commenting. It's important to point out what you say: that the threats are veiled. Very veiled. Yes.

      When the ex-narc writes to me, with the veiled threats, and I start feeling fuzzy headed and paranoid (symptoms of cognitive dissonance), I will write what he is ACTUALLY SAYING. It helps me.

      The veiled threats can be extra disturbing, since a reader who doesn't know the abuser can't SEE the abuse happening in the email. Maddening. You put it so well: "the very well disguised psychopaths" & they "have honed the craft of trying to look like the innocent party."

      That's why I mostly stick with texting, since it's so much harder for the ex-narc to pontificate and threaten in that format.

      Be well,


  4. Unless you have been there, I don't think you can truly appreciate this. I have told my friends that he was sexually aroused by the battle, by controlling me, by making me cry, by ripping me to shreds. I saw their looks of confusion...they didn't get it. It's true. This is how my ex feels powerful and "manly" -- by tormenting the target (me). Disengaging from his drama is a constant process.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I have mentioned the conflict/arousal to very few people, so it's helpful to me to hear that I'm not the only one who has observed it. I wish you luck in your dealings with him. -AKA Rose Lee

  5. I just found your post and it touched me too as I struggle to get out of a marriage to a narc/psycho with children. Even your replies to other's are so thought out and insightful. Thank you for sharing your insights. It is very supportive.

    1. Thank you for letting me know. I appreciate hearing from you. Best of luck. :)

      -AKA Rose Lee

  6. Yes--this is exactly my circumstance. His emails upset me so much but people can't read them like I can. His are exactly as you said--the implied threat. My threats are like the other gal who commented--more subtle and covert--like everything else with this SOB. But he has me to a point where I cannot read my own emails--then he takes me to court and said that I am not working together with him to provide the best care for my kids!! He is winning the war on winning people over. :( He used the "I only want my kids to be cared for and safe". Then he set about showing that I was mentally unbalanced!! Then he got a professional to say that I what poor judgment. Then he parlayed that into a judge taking legal custody away from me--after the narcopath lied about me in court. Now he has all kinds of "evidence" that I am a bad mom and that I am damaging to my kids. Now he uses this evidence that he manufactured by parlaying bulshit into reality. Now he is seeking full custody because of those lies nd because the kids hate him--also MY fault. Either I have one of the most cunning narcopaths ever--or I am the stupidest person ever because I have somehow gotten completely destroyed by him--money, reputation, house, credit, life, and now kids are the last to be taken from me totally. Can't seem to ever fight back as he is a million steps ahead of meThey will never survive the onslaught of boundary issues and gas lighting that they will encounter. How do I stop this and how do I save them??? I have has 6 attorneys and NONE of them got what he was doing and all were "won" over to his side with something that nobody will share with me. When I meet them--the yare all about me getting justice. Buy the time they have talked with or met his attorney--the yare telling me that I am lucky if I would get custody in a trail..... All I have done--ever--was love and care for my boys. However---he has done something to my name that just completely helps him get whatever he wasn't. I have been"set up" with co-parenting classes that HIS attorney picked and now "family therapy" that the coparenting attorney and his attorney picked. I smell the same set-up I smelled when his attorney got to pick th psychologist.!!! They are only meeting wit hme and the boys which at first I thought was a good thing. Now I realize it is to say what he accuses me of--tht I smother, tell them too much, rely on them for emotional support..... None of ha tis true but so ealily provable with a few well placed questions. My son told the therapist tha he helps by hugging me when Icry. That is normal for a boy t odo and I just lose my young nephew and ws crying a lot--but didn't react fast enough in the sessin to say that was why I was crying so they implied thatI am suing him and trying to put him in the "mans role " of the house!!! I am supposedly the one who also treats them like babies--so which his it, right?? Why can't a mom get a hug from her son when he sees her crying an why isn't seen as a good thing-- I have taught them empathy.

    They don't ask how often that happens or why that happened--the only tape the sessions and make me feel like I am about to be executed. Really they make me feel like I have been a bad mom and that I will lose custody because of this. He gets off on keeping me in this state of panic.My first nightmare came true--they believe hm all the time. Then I lost 50% custody. Now he is shooting for the rest of the pie. The 50% custody I have and the house and the money and the lack of debt to him.... I have failed miserably to protect my children and made every mistake that I could. I am the poster child for how NOT to deal with a narcopath. My children will suffer. I am out of ideas and options. I was stupid. I lost it for me and now for them. :(

    1. Hi Veronica,

      I am so sorry for your trouble. And for your struggle.

      I have thought a great deal about how to respond to your post, and I have replied here.

  7. It's so frustrating to see that I'm not alone and these jerk offs are lying and manipulating EVERYONE.

    It is so validating to know that people understand what I'm going through. Some just don't get it and say he's a douche and a retard, but they just don't get the magnitude of the mind games.

    I love having people to relate to here!!! But I am sad that there are people going through this same parenting bs as me :(