Anyone reading this email can catch the first half by reading the post from yesterday titled Abusive and Controlling Emails – Email Traps. Okay, so I decided this email was worth posting because this is simply an abusive email by someone I know, in this case my father. I am also able to recognize the similarities between my father’s irrational behavior and my ex-husbands behavior. Abusive emails seem to have certain ‘core values’, regardless of the topic of the email, if you take the time to look at how it is being said you can really see the underlying values.
Underlying Core Email Values:
Attack, control, guilt, threats, blaming, minimizing, shifting-blame, twisting the facts, passive aggressive words, emotionally charged, ranting & raving and sometimes contains no facts. Also, as you can see in the email below, there is not a single ‘real’ question in this email, only statements in the form of questions. In this case, if I decides to respond only to the facts, there doesn’t’ seem to be any.
October 16, 2012 – An email received from my father:
I have done nothing recently that has deserved your bitterness and hatred. I realize that you are suffering from the aftereffects of your own unfortunate marriage, as I once did mine. Somebody once wisely told me to Get Over It! I have learned that harboring hatred and bitterness not only corrodes one’s own feelings of any affection towards others, but it causes loved ones to grieve as well. In this comment my father is minimizing his behavior and part in the problem. He has made the conclusion that I am full of bitterness and hatred because I am choosing not to engage in this argument and have made that clear multiple times. It is also interesting to see him block and diverting his part in the ‘discussion’ by casting blame on my personal experience with my ex-husband. I have been divorced for almost eight years now and the only thing I resent is my ex-husband’s manipulation of our daughter and his injecting himself into our lives as often as he does. The last sentence actually sounds like he is trying to guilt me into responding by saying this is causing him to grieve.
It is really your Ex-husband that is your problem, not me. If you and I have a problem, it is only of your making, though you may not even realize it. I have tried to have patience with you, but you seem to be overflowing with venom. I thought I could help you understand your problem from my many years of experience, but you have shut me out, blocked my emails and hung up on me numerous times. Once again you see my father is trying to shift the focus to this being my problem with my ex-husband and not my problem with my father’s irrational behavior and emails. In my father’s previous email posted at Abusive and Controlling Emails – Email Traps it certainly does not exhibit patience in my opinion. His statement sounds like he is my savior by trying to help me. Then he attempts to place guilt back on me and is shifting blame because I chose to hang up the phone. Okay, hanging up the phone is wrong, but when the conversation is that heated, irrational and your words are not being heard I choose to end the conversation by hanging up if I cannot get a word in edgewise. Perhaps I need to work on not hanging up.
I was going to email your husband and ask him to tell you for me that until you learn some manners, decency, and common courtesy, not to call or email me again, but not only would that be meddling, but it would probably incense you to further hatred and anger and make further communications impossible. I am not trying to provoke you to anger, you are doing that to yourself! My father is going to tell my husband on me? Yes he is correct that would be meddling as I am a grown adult and his suggesting he will contact my husband sounds more like he wants to enlist other people to come to his defense. I already spoke to my husband who said he agreed I should not respond. I am provoking myself to anger. I do not feel angry, a little frustrated at the situation, and too many familiar feelings between this email and the ones I have received from my abusive ex-husband. Also in these exchanges I really recognize my ex-husband’s behavior in my father which further shows I married my dad. I remember telling my ex-husband, during these types of exchanges, before I would hang up, “Oh, the cookies are burning!” (advice from my attorney)
You are going to have to work on your hateful feelings all by yourself if you will not accept any suggestions from others, particularly those from your own father, whom you seem to enjoy insulting and hanging up on. When I saw that you blocked my emails (through which you continue to spout your viewpoint while disregarding mine), I was tempted to disown and disinherit both you and your daughter because of your apparent rudeness, but then I thought that would not be showing the unconditional love that we, as alleged Christians, owe to each other. I am choosing not to engage, however he continues to try to contact me with these long emotionally charged & highly irrational emails. Remember, this entire conversation revolves around that he mistakenly believes I am advising women to get to divorced on my blog. Which I am not doing and even if I were what business is that of his? I am not giving advise for anyone to get divorced and made that very clear to him. I never asked his opinion on the matter. Now he is threatening to disown/disinherit me & my daughter, then he goes back to the ‘guilt trip’ statement.
When I saw this morning that you even continue to email me, with your many one-sided opinions, I was tempted to just delete your messages even before reading them, just as you blocked me from responding to you; but that would be crude and thoughtless of me too. What do you expect of me, calling and emailing me seven times in the last two days, and then trying to ridicule me or block my all responses? And then, you have the nerve to try to cut me off from communications with my own granddaughter as you try to control her life and who she can consider a Facebook “friend” and who she can’t? Aren’t those the very same tactics that you said you hated your Ex-husband for?
Here was the exchange:
- 10/15 An irrational phone call that I ended
- 10/15 A long ‘God will judge you’ email from my father
- 10/15 My short email reply correcting my father’s incorrect belief about my ‘promoting divorce’
- 10/15 My father’s ‘You, you, you… but this is all about God’ email
- 10/15 My fact based response
- 10/16 His phone call at 8:30am the next morning stating ‘My divorce recommendations may have legal consequences’
- 10/16 A second call I did not answer
- 10/16 This long (minimizing, guilt, blame-shifting) email
- 10/16 Some stranger I do not know that he enlisted to email me to ‘make sure my email worked’ for ‘legitimate’ reason.
- 10/17 Received another email recommending a Christian book called ‘Know Why You Believe’ (religion as a weapon?)
If unconditional love sometimes requires our patience to be taken advantage of repeatedly by a misguided (hateful) relative, then I must commend my parents for their love. As much as you seem to enjoy condemning my father, at least he never hung up on me or spewed venom and then blocked my responses so I couldn’t even defend my rationale. He was much more loving than some people I know. Honestly, this first sentence makes no sense to me, ‘taken advantage of by a misguided (hateful) relative, then he commends his parents love. My grandfather was extremely verbally abusive to my grandma and physically & emotionally abusive to all three of his children. My personal belief is verbal/physical/emotional/financial abuse is not ‘Love’, it is sick. Now I am ‘spewing venom’ and I don’t think I even sound ‘venomous’ while writing this. So my grandfather was more loving than some people he knows, this email seems to be full of implied insults to me. Notice how he doesn’t exactly say what he means, this is a ‘passive aggressive’ tactic that helps person not be accountable for what they say.
Rest assured that no matter hateful you are to me, I will always try to forgive you, since you are my one and only daughter. But unless you can learn some common courtesy towards your own father (whom you are admonished to “honor” according to our God’s commandments), you are going to have to solve your difficulties strictly between you and your God, or whomever else will put up with your unmitigated hatred and apparent tantrums.. If you just want to hurl accusations and argue, please just leave me out of it! If you want respect from me, remember, it is a two-way street! (“Do unto others…”) So again I am hateful, he is loving and then reminds me I am his daughter. It really feels his definition of ‘common courtesy would my agreeing that he is correct and I am ‘misguided’. Then using religious comment again that ‘God says I am to honor my father’. Then he moves on to insulting me by stating ‘whomever’ is willing to put up with my tantrums. Now I am hurling accusations, then I should leave him out of it, but yet he continues to contact me with these emails. Then the ‘Do unto others’ which he really isn’t doing right now.
I Married My Father
Also, the interesting fact is how similar my Ex-husband and Father seem to be. People often say you marry someone with qualities like your father. I visited my father twice a year, every year, between the ages of 4-16. Somehow I did manage to pick a man that is very much like my father, even my divorce circumstances closely resemble the relationship between my father and mother.
I will say this email caught me off-guard. Throughout my entire life my father just bashed my mother repeatedly to me, but never directly insulting me. These email exchanges are the first time he has ever attacked me like this. I also do not feel like this ‘disagreement’ over my father’s incorrect assumption that I am telling all the women of the world to get divorced. That escalated into this bizarre exchange. It sort of makes me wonder if my father is really attacking my mother in this entire exchange. It also makes me wonder how awful he must have been to deal with for my mother. I never had this type of attack until now.
At the age of 16, I flat out refused to go see my father, and our visitations stopped. As a child my father blasted my mom to me, crammed religion down my throat, and sometimes had bizarre tantrums/episodes that I remember feeling very confused about. At the age of 16, I really had not processed all the words he said to me, but I had decided I did not like how it felt. He did take me on fishing trips, camping, museums and to pick blueberries & cherries which I have fond memories of. What I did not like was when he would trap me in the car or on the fishing boat and start attacking my mother.
Bad Memory Lane
I do remember a time when I was between the age of 12-14, I was suppose to go to a Bible camp and we were suppose to go to the church to sign me up. We were suppose to go fishing so I wore a pair of jeans with holes in the knees (I think that was the fashion). I vividly remember my father losing his temper and yelling at me that I could not wear jeans with holes in them at church. I asked, “Dad, we are not going to church, we are just going to sign up for camp right?” At this point he really threw a tantrum, ranting and raving about my clothes. I remember he sat on the stairs and sulked, like a child would. I was still a kid but I remember not knowing how to respond to his behavior. I do not even remember if I ended up changing clothes or not because my memory stops at his melt down.
Something was very wrong with my father and nobody ever really told me what. I remember my grandparents telling me he was sick, oftentimes blaming on my mother’s leaving was why he was sick. I also remember them telling me I was going to have to take care of him one day. That frightened me as a child. I know he was taking pills but when I asked what they were he would also tell me they were Aspirin. Maybe he didn’t want me to tell my mother or something?
Now, I never saw my father drink alcohol, only tons of diet cokes. However, in the past few years he has told me stories of how he had tons of empty bottles stashed under his bed. When I attended Alanon I often felt my father’s behavior resembled that of an alcoholic but he had hid his drinking from me. I really saw the similarities between my ex-husband and father. My ex-husband was most certainly an alcoholic and very verbally abusive. My father I thought was a dry drunk, but was actually an alcoholic and very verbally abusive. They both seemed to have this Grandiosity opinion of themselves. It really seemed as if they both had two personalities and I never could predict which personality I would see.
Okay, so I am still pretty baffled at this entire episode with my father. I do not know if he is drinking again or stopped taking whatever medication he has been taking. I do know that abusiveness & alcoholism both have cycles. These cycles seem to come out of nowhere and leave one baffled and confused.
Continue Reading: Abusive and Controlling Emails – 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