The Key is to Respond not React

Last night I had a very strange dream about my ex-husband.  I have these dreams from time to time.  In the dream he is trying to get along with me.  In my dream I am unable to communicate with him even in that state.  It is nearly impossible to communicate with an abuser.  I am not sure why I have this dream if it is because I should make a better effort.  I have already tried that and he is unwilling to communicate with me at this time.  Perhaps I am wishing we could get along better?  I am not even sure why I thought about him last night anyway, he was not on my mind when I went to bed.

My ex-husband likes to engage and he enjoys getting a reaction.  In the past he would behave a certain way and I would react.  He would say certain things and I would react.  It took me a really long time to figure out how not to take the bait with him.  He always seemed to enjoy chaos and peace never lasts long with him.   Chaos and crisis use to be normal to me and I am so grateful that is not true in my life today.

The other trick is that I may not respond physically to an email or in speaking to him… but I would spend all day defending myself in my own head.  His constant put down comments, “You are too sensitive.”   He would make references that I was the on not trying to be peaceful.  I would honestly sit there thinking for hours if I was the one being difficult.  Then I have to sit back and examine the facts.  Most of his emails consist of blocking and diverting and we never discuss his efforts or behavior.  Apologies are not something I will see anytime soon from him.

His emails to me are full of accusing words, angry, his opinions…

“You are only hurting our daughter when you act like that.  You can say what you want but our daughter will love me.  You are never happy and you always change your mind.  I am only thinking about our daughter.”

Seriously, this is pretty close to the emails he use to write.  It is basically like this…

“You you you you you, and I am only thinking about our daughter.  You you you you you, and I just want whats best for our daughter.”

Over time I learned to respond to him in pure facts.   Normal people cannot argue with facts but he likes to have the last word and that often meant arguing with facts.   With him I would have to send an email with bullet points, kind of an executive presentation.  Obviously I am keeping names out.

Dear Ex-husband,

I took our daughter to the doctor today.

  • They said she showed mild signs of ADD.
  • They recommended we continue taking her to see the therapist
  • They discussed the negative and positive effects of medication
  • They said medication may not be a good option for her because of her difficulty in sleeping
  • They recommend we maintain an structured consistent environment

Your Ex-Wife

That is how I deal with my ex-husband today.  It takes constant practice and I realize you get good at things as you continue to do them.  So the only way to get better at dealing with him is to deal with him.  Although I am smart enough to try to deal with him as little as possible for my own health and my daughters.  I also have to set up boundaries and I only communicate with him through email because it allows me time to think so I can respond and not react.

3 thoughts on “The Key is to Respond not React

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  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!


  2. It’s amazing how much chaos they can create with even tones, a slight smile and some carefully crafted manipulative and malicious words.


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