Over the years, I have found a few great tips to deal with abusive emails. These are two great tips and tricks to help you avoid being surprised and also how to respond to the facts. Hopefully these tips are helpful to you too.
Abusive Email Tip #1
In most email servers, you can create a special folder to house any emails you receive from your abusive ex and their extended family. Then you can set-up an automatic rule to move any emails from those email addresses into this folder. This usually will prevent it from popping up in your inbox and catching you off-guard. This is something I had to do years ago for my ex-husband and a few years ago for my father. Recently I had begun receiving abusive emails from my ex-husbands wife and so I set up a rule for her too.
Also, I set up the name ‘Warning: Abuse?’ to remind myself of what these emails normally contain. This way I can choose not to open these emails or when to open these emails. I can even choose to have someone else look at the emails and tell me if they are important or not. You can also choose to open these with a friend or trusted family member. At least this way you are not caught off-guard.
It works brilliantly!
Abusive Email Tip #2
Click reply and start by deleting the person’s name so you do not accidentally send a message. Then start with the first sentence and delete each line that is blatant lies, distorted truth, ranting & raving, opinions, and personal attacks. You can leave in any question that has been asked. So, an email that contains several paragraphs of personal attacks can suddenly become one sentence, such as; ‘what date did you send the check?’. This will help you respond with facts and ignore the emotional rants.
Delete anything that is not a fact. There is no reason to respond to opinions, personal attacks, or lies.
In the past, when I deleted the sentences one-by-one, I was also giving myself permission to also delete them in my mind. One example, is this email I received years ago by my ex-husband when I was trying to schedule my weekend during the summer visitation. He always gave me such grief over information in the decree. It is long, but this is exactly the type of emails I am talking about. Rarely was anything rational received from my ex-husband.
Thursday; June 1st, 2005 8:59PM
For the month of June I would like my weekend to be June 3-5th.
His reply Wednesday; June 1, 2005 9:10PM
That is my weekend. Per the decree you needed to tell me in writing prior to April 15th. As always I am willing to discuss but that in no way means I am going to give up my weekend as of now. (Does it really sound like he is open to discussion?)
I am getting her this weekend!!! I have checked with my attorney on this matter when you initially sent this and I do not have to give her up (per the 15th of April). (Look at the use of exclamation points, and mentioning his attorney includes a bit of a threat too.)
If you want to discuss this rationally then I am willing to but I am getting her this weekend (two day notice is not right). (Again, does he sound rational here?)
My reply on Wednesday; June 1, 2005 9:51PM
Please read paragraph 3, my attorney told me that I have to give you two weeks notice, which I did.
His reply on Wednesday; June 1, 2005 11:08PM
There is no such wording on two weeks notice on the standard possession order. This is what I know, if your attorney did tell you about two weeks notice then he is going to get you arrested. If you deny me my visitation I will file a motion and you will be arrested PER MY ATTORNEY for violating the decree. (He is positive he cannot be wrong and then includes the open threats and capitalized PER MY ATTORNEY.)
You want to go by the decree and I know what it says as I know you do by now.
Once again I will pick her up on Friday. Feel free to have your attorney contact my attorney. (This paragraph would indicate the conversation is over, but it never is.)
My reply to him Thursday June 2, 2005 7:44AM, advised my my attorney I sent him the paragraph from the decree (changing names to Mother & Father):
3. Extended Summer Possession by MOTHER – If Mother gives Father written notice by April 15 of a year or gives Father fourteen days’ written notice on or after April 16 of a year, Mother may designate one weekend beginning no earlier than the day after the child’s school is dismissed for the summer vacation, during which an otherwise scheduled weekend period of possession by Faster shall not take place in that year, provided that the weekend so designated does not interfere with Father’s period or periods of extended summer possession or with Father’s Day Weekend.
His reply on June 2, 2005 8:28AM
Exactly. 14 days notice on or after that date… the vague part is the 14 days. 14 days after that date is the end of April. Your interpretation is 14 days notice “anytime” after the 16th. (He still doesn’t know the answer)
I am all for abiding by the wording but I want this cleared up by tomorrow.
Of course if we could have flexibility with one another this would not be necessary but you have chosen to go by the decree, then you choose not to and then you choose to abide by it and so on and so on. You have admitted to using the decree in order to spite me…. you should have that on email as well. (I tried the flexibility with him and it always worked for him but not for me. I know I used the decree to end these types of ongoing exhausting discussions.)
There will be times when there are parties, events, etc that she and you want to attend on days when I have her. I WILL NOT deprive her of anything but you keep in mind everything you have done regarding false accusations and visitations and decree wordings. None of these actions benefits our daughter in any way. (This is a threat and the false accusations are regarding her continuous unexplained vaginal pain that I would not ignore.)
You keep in mind our daughter expressed excitement about seeing me this weekend. If for some reason you get her this weekend I hope you have something big planned because I did. (Trying to make me feel guilty.)
One last thing… it would be three weeks that have gone by without me seeing her. Do you think that is in her best interest? I think you know the answer to that. Do you think keeping her from you the entire month of July is what is best for her? (If he were truly interested in what is best for our daughter he would not create so many fights or speak ill of me to her, this is complete BS for documentation purposes.)
This is what is happening or going to happen. If you were thinking about our daughter then you would choose to spend one of those weekends with her in July. (Oh yes, his taking her for the entire month of July was his punishing me for losing control of a previous conversation.)
Never the less, I want to figure this wording out by tomorrow. (He had to mention this a second time in the same email.)
My reply to him on Thursday, June 2, 2005:
I already spoke to my attorney, it is in the decree.
If you have a problem with the decree and you no longer think it is in our daughter’s best interest, perhaps you should speak to your attorney.
Our daughter’s feelings will not get hurt if you speak to me before you make promises to her.
Although your abusers may continue to send abusive emails your way, it doesn’t mean you have to continue to allow them to be in control. You can control the situation by using these quick tips to shift the power back into your hands.