Trying to Rationalize the Irrational
Well, I just had the strangest argument with my father yesterday over the phone. I mentioned this blog and that I was sharing my personal experiences on this blog. Somehow the conversation led to my stating I believed a women in a physically abusive relationship should take herself and her children, should she have any, and get somewhere safe.
My father started saying things that divorce is not always the course. Commenting that the women could somehow appeal to their husband’s so they could change. I commented that men who are abusive will only change if they are ready, willing and oftentimes they do not see that they are abusive. Now, please know that my father was abusive to my mother, and abusive to me as a child. Throughout my whole childhood he was so bitter and resentful that my mother left and did everything in his power to try to ruin my relationship with my mother. I thought he had been working really hard over the past few years on getting over that. Well, his controlling ways certainly reared their ugly head over a conversation I thought was pretty minor. A difference of opinion but it has really blown up and escalated. In addition, I have barely had to say anything and it continues to grow.
I also explained to my father how my ex-husband would tell me he was going to counseling & to AA but he was only saying that to get me back. My ex-husband only made it to a few sessions and as soon as I was back in the door he stopped. My experience was that my ex-husband would always say he would change but in the end he always went back to being the same abusive man he had always been.
Using Religion to Control Others
The conversation with my father turned religious and I probably should have ended the call right there. He commented that in the eyes of God, he hates divorce. I replied that I did not believe God condones violence and if the man was violent is not very likely he is a man of faith. My father has been using religion throughout my whole life for a reason to condemn my mother and justify his hateful comments he made about her. His personal justification was that he was only trying to ‘save me’ from a life of ‘sin’.
Somehow during that conversation my father got the idea that I was encouraging women to leave their husband’s and get divorced. I disagree with him on the purpose of my blog. Most of the time I use my blog as my personal outlet for my journey of dealing with an abusive man from when I met him, married, divorced and now have to share custody of our daughter. My journey with my abusive ex-husband has been quite a challenge. Some days I am angry over the situation and other days I try to let it go and find peace in today. Some of my blog posts are venting where some contain facts or lessons I have learned along my journey.
Watch Out for Abusive Email Traps
So, I ended this very argumentative phone call with my father. He followed the phone call with a long email telling me it was not my place to advise people. He also stated very strongly that peopled needed to focus on forgiveness rather than anger. However, I do not feel my blog is all about anger or hatred and I responded with that thought. My response was very short, only a few sentences. I restated what my purpose of this blog and that was not advising people to get divorced or leave their husbands.
Then I received a few strong reply. The reply was full of ‘You’ and ‘Your’, in fact I counted 29 of these words in about four long paragraphs. This type of email was seeming all too familiar to me. The email was pretty much, ‘You, you, you…. but this is all about God.’ I remember getting those emails from my ex-husband. However those emails were, ‘You, you, you… but this is all about our daughter.’ This abusive email I received from my ex-husband many years ago is a great example of what I am referring to.
In fact this email was really an ‘Ah Ha!’ for me. This type of controlling & aggressive email seems so familiar to me because, with the exception of the topic, it could very well have been written by my ex-husband. It really just makes so much sense how I ended up picking a man that was so much like my father. I think I already knew that but sometimes life seems to circle back for a new lesson? I guess this is just another journey during my recovery of a lifetime of abuse. However, I have no intentions of allowing this to drag on.
October 15, 2012 – Email from my abusive Father:
If you want to know the truth, YOU are the one who judges me, my dad, even my mom, my brother, your ex-husband, all the people you like to call “abusers,” and I assume everyone else who you think may disagree with you! You will not allow me my own considered opinions, but you try to force yours on me, threatening to sever our relationship if I don’t applaud your decisions, well-thought-out or otherwise. All the people who I call abusers? Well my grandfather was abusive and my father will admit that. My father and his brother were both abusive to their wives, and statistics have shown that boys that witness abuse are more likely to become abusers. My grandmother was certainly not abusive as much as she was a victim of abuse in a generation where leaving was not an option. I never said he was not allowed to have his own opinion. However, I did threaten to sever the relationship if this abusive & controlling conversation continued. I have the right not to engage in this abusive rhetoric.
You will not even listen to the God you claim to believe in. I did not reference the Book of First John just to “cram the Bible down your throat,” but so you can thoughtfully decide if you even are a Christian, and that is between you and God, not you and me!. I also suggest that if you have an aversion to reading the Bible, that you reread (or perhaps read for the first time) the poem I wrote about “Judgment” on page 16, plus the Bible reference at the bottom. It is strictly Scriptural (From God’s lips to your ears!). How on earth did this conversation get to my not listening to God? If this is between God and myself, why is my father so upset in this email? I never said that I had any problems with the bible during our conversation. Then he is referring me to a book he wrote where he is sharing his experiences and includes scriptures. So we are discussing the Bible but he is referring to his book. As for the comment ‘From God’s lips to your ears!’ sounds more like from my ‘Father’s lips to my ears!’.
This is not an issue between you and me; it is between you and the One who died for you despite your evidently continuing “sin” of hating other people, including me! He states again that this is not between my father and I, but between God and myself. The facts in this email certainly does not seem to verify his point. My “sin” of hating other people, including him? Not sure where the ‘hatred’ comment ever came from and my choosing to end the conversation means I hate him?
If you really want to know what I think, then read my book thoughtfully before you call me again, if all you want to do is spew hatred and argue over the phone! Interesting that he is discussing his book again. I must go reread my father’s book before I call and spew hatred and argue over the phone. I chose to end the phone conversation because the tone and direction was abusive and controlling, certainly not a rational discussion.
I remember one time I was discussing something with my mom, and I was overwhelmed with blithering hatred. She finally was compelled to forcefully say to me, “You are so full of pure hatred! Go to your room and get down on your knees and pray to God to help you get your hatred out of your system and begin to show a little love and charity towards other people!” He is discussing a memory he has with my grandmother that I assume occurred when he was a child? How on earth did my discussing my Blog, as my personal outlet, lead to this type of email?
It later occurred to me she was right, and that my own hatred was actually the source of most of my own problems and that I actually did need God’s help and many years of effort to contend with it! Fortunately for me and my siblings, she chose to love, forgive and respect her husband (see Ephesians 5:22-33), and make the best of her marriage rather than get a divorce! No matter what you think, for that I can’t slight her one single bit! Because of her blessed courage and God’s help, I didn’t end up being a child of divorce myself! I do not judge you for your life and your own decisions, but I do sincerely suggest you be reconciled to God at least for your daughter’s sake! My father who was working on his own hatred spent the better part of my life (age 4-25) saying horrible things about my mother whom he hated for leaving him. Oftentimes using God in his statements full of hate and vengeance. His mother who stayed married during a time when divorce was not really an option. My grandfather was was verbally abusive to my grandmother and very physically abusive to my father, Uncle and sometimes my Aunt. My father went on to abuse my mother and myself. My Uncle went on to abuse his wife and his daughter. My Aunt went on to pick a husband, deliberately choosing the opposite of her father, and moved away and raised some pretty fantastic kids. Yet in his final sentence he says he is not judging me for my decision to divorce my ex-husband. Have to say this email sounds pretty judgmental to me.
Okay, so against my better judgement I did reply to my father.
I am not okay with this conversion or the controlling & abusive tone. The email with 29 ‘you’ and ‘your’ in one email doesn’t sound God focused to me, it sounds [Father’s Name] focused; “You, you, you… but this is all about God.” Actually I have so many email from my ex-husband where he blasted me in an email full of threats and stating; “You, you, you… but this is all about our daughter.” I tried very hard to keep my response in this email with; ‘I feel, my thoughts, my beliefs and worked hard to keep You statements out of here as much possible.
Although I didn’t agree with your opinion, I chose to end the conversation because I felt it was getting out of control. We do not have to agree on this matter, your experiences are not mine, and my experiences are not yours, therefore they are not relatable. I really feel we have been here before and I am very much unwilling to have this type of relationship with anyone. My blog is simply my own personal experience, spreading awareness and has nothing to do with revenge or hatred.
You are right this is between God and myself and I need that respected. It is really best if we table this conversation because this is not going to improve our relationship. If I am going to be judged, that is between God and myself, not you and me.
It later occurred to me she was right, and that my own hatred was actually the source of most of my own problems and that I actually did need God’s help and many years of effort to contend with it! Fortunately for me and my siblings, she chose to love, forgive and respect her husband (see Ephesians 5:22-33), and make the best of her marriage rather than get a divorce! No matter what you think, for that I can’t slight her one single bit! Because of her blessed courage and God’s help, I didn’t end up being a child of divorce myself! I do not judge you for your life and your own decisions, but I do sincerely suggest you be reconciled to God at least for your daughter’s sake!
Really? Do we need to go there? The point of my blog is not that abusive men do not change, however this conversation is kind of proving that point. If your mom was in a time & age where she could have chosen not to tolerate the abusive behavior, perhaps you would have learned earlier not to be abusive to your wife & daughter.
The next email that in that is more than a few paragraphs and contains excessive You, Exclamation Marks, and God will Judge You…. will be the time I choose to Block any future emails.
Now, I do not feel my email was inappropriate. I also refuse to carrying with these types of conversations. This is how all my conversions with my ex-husband were. However instead of all the talk about ‘God and Judgement’ it was typically how I was wrong, he was right and he was sorry he was going to have to take me to court to get custody of our daughter. Most of those emails contained excessive You/Your, Exclamation Marks and Capitalization. I will have to post one of my ex-husbands emails that is full of these types of sentences which are all about power and control. Seems to me when you do not do what they say, or agree with something they said, or refuse to talk to them… they kind of flip out and try to get you back under control. When that doesn’t work they just escalate their attempts to regain control. When you really consider who is out of control… the abuser is.
October 16, 2012 – Phone Calls Starting
Update, this morning I just received a phone call from my father. I wondered if he was calling to apologize. However, when I picked up I immediately said, “I have about two minutes for this call.” He goes on again how if I advising people to get divorced that I could face legal consequences. I replied that I have already told him multiple times that was not what I was doing. He said, “He could only imagine that I am spewing my hatred to him that I must be doing that in my blog.” I hung up the phone. Now I am thinking maybe he is drinking, on or possibly not on some medication, because this is beyond irrational. Well I had a few good years with my father where I felt he was really working on becoming a different man than the father he was throughout my life. However, I cannot carry-on this type of unhealthy relationship with anyone, not even my father. Phone is ringing again, it is my father, but I am not picking up. This reminds me of the obsessive emails & calls my ex-husband use to engage in.
Discuss Irrational Email With A Trusted Rational Friend
Of course I already had this discussion with a rational friend yesterday. In the past, when I received this type of email from my ex-husband, I needed to get a reality check. She was surprised it had gone the direction it did as well. She asked me if he was drinking or something and to be quite honest I do not know. However, nothing about this conversation and his persistence seems rational to me. He is completely fixated on the fact that I am publishing a ‘Get Divorced’ column.
Our Journeys May Be Different
As far as Divorce goes, I cannot advise anyone. It is not my place. I can only share my personal experiences and possibly direct people to Domestic Abuse Centers or Family Alcoholic Centers. Beyond that I cannot tell someone if they should stay in their marriage or not. Everyone has their own journey, my journey may be different than the one someone else should take. Nobody could tell me what I needed to do during the course of my life. I had to get educated on the topics of Domestic Abuse and Alcoholism and only then I made my decisions. I personally never wanted to get divorced, in fact I stayed married longer than I should of in hopes to save my marriage. In the end it takes two to make a marriage work and I simply could not stay in a abusive & toxic marriage. I know now that so many of my physical illness had to do with being in a toxic and emotional abusive relationship. In the end, I had to think about the health & happiness of myself and my daughter.
Continue Reading: Abusive and Controlling Emails – Email Traps 2
- Email Traps 1 (Current)
- Email Traps 2
- Email Traps 3
- Tips to Responding to Abusive Emails – I didn’t completely take my own advice here, I was a little off-guard getting an email from my father. However I need to use my own advise in the future when responding to my father. I practiced this with my ex-husband and need to do the same thing with anyone else.
- How Not to be Afraid of Receiving Abusive Emails – Boundaries, Prepared, Appropriate Response, Keep Sense of Humor, Remain Compassionate, Debrief (rational friend)
- Wiki- Abusive Calls & Emails
I can’t thank you enough! This was so helpful to me…especially today!