Tips to Responding to Abusive Emails:
The nice thing about emails is you have a record on file with dates. You do not have to respond to the abusive email right away. It is easier to stay unemotional via email than it is over the phone or in person. My abusive ex-husband use to bait me continuously and it was easier to stay emotional disconnected through email than it was over the phone.
- Respond only to the facts
- Click forward or reply (remove emails so you do not accidentally send before ready)
- Delete every sentence that is opinions, ranting & raving, threats, etc…
- Leave only sentences that are facts or have a real question
- Reply to the questions with short factual answers
- Now, the hard part, try to delete the sentences in your head too
Dealing with my abusive ex-husband was very hard. Honestly, I will not tell you it has ever been easy. In fact, as much as I hate to admit it, when I get an email from him today it can make my hands shake. Although it has gotten easier with time and setting up personal boundaries.
There are a few ground rules with my abuser:
- He is not allowed in my house ever. He has proven he is not a safe person and therefore is not allowed in my house where I feel safe.
- I do not communicate with him over the phone. He has a temper and is very manipulative and I will not talk to him via the phone.
- He is only allowed to email me because I can choose when or if I respond. The emails allow me time to think so I can respond rather that react.
These are a few of the ways where I make sure I protect myself from my abuser. My personal challenge is teaching my daughter to say, “I don’t know, ask my mom.” She is not very good at not responding to his questions and unfortunately gets put in the middle more than she ever should. There are times I wasted my time asking him via email not to put our daughter in the middle. One thing I have learned is my abusive ex-husband uses my daughter to get to me and any information I give to him letting him know it is working only hurts her more. I truly wish I would have known years ago not to let him know she had told me anything because I believe that was his goal.