How to handle verbal abuse from the ex. UPDATE #7 - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 05-16-2010, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here is a recent interaction from my exhusband. I'm not sure how to address it.

Some background: We have a 2 month old baby that he cares for when I'm at work. Ex is a very angry passive aggressive person. In our interaction, he becomes agitated when I didn't remind him of our baby's Dr. appointment. He brings up trading in a car that's in both of our names and then becomes enraged that I want to discuss it over email.




Ex: "When is his Drs appointment"

Me "He just had it"

Ex: "What?!? I asked you last week about it and you said you thought it was someday this week and you didn't tell me the day. I wanted to go. You knew that."

Me: "It's not my responsibility to remind you when it is. You never asked me again about it."

Ex: "BLAH BLAH BLA BLA BLAH" (Insert passive aggressive rude statements here)

Me: *handing him baby* "I can't talk to you if you're going to be hysterical"

Ex: "Hysterical! I'm not hysterical! You're the one who is hysterical!"

Me: "No, I'm completely calm."

Ex: "So are you going to be able to go with me next week to trade in the car? I don't want it anymore." (First time he's mentioned this).

Me: "Hmmm, I'll have to think about it. Please email me some more information on that."

Ex: *sarcastically* "Oh, so that's what we're doing now? We're emailing each other about everything instead of talking about things."

Me: *walking towards door* "Yes, that is what we're doing"

Ex: (in other room) "Fuck off!"

Me :"Excuse me?"

Me: "That's completely inappropriate. It's in the baby's best interest that we treat each other respectfully"

Then I left to go to work


I know I need to address this and I'm going to write an email today about it. We have a mediation coming up in a few weeks, and I'll meet with my lawyer closer to the mediation. I want to make sure I handle this in the best way possible. TIA Mamas

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#2 of 18 Old 05-16-2010, 04:00 PM
 
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I think you did well in that exchange. The big thing is to not engage. He was totally baiting you, trying to set you off and became more aggressive when his first attempts didn't work. I think it is wise to email about important things because then there is a record to refer back to, and he is much less likely to be abusive if you can prove it. I don't have much other advice to offer, just try to minimize his opportunities to talk to you like that, especially in front of your DC.
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#3 of 18 Old 05-16-2010, 05:46 PM
 
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Sounds to me like he just lost the right to speak with you directly, as he's clearly not up to the responsibility. I'd limit him to email 100% for anything but the most basic exchange at dropoffs, only speaking in person to hand over the child, with any needed info (time last ate, etc.). I'd keep it all in email or texting from now on. Maybe when he calms down that can change, but it sounds like it may be a while.

Also, on those emails, you can email him about doctor appointments and such so he can't say he doesn't know, and he doesn't have to read your mind to know when to ask. This may reduce conflict as well. I imagine the baby hasn't got too much going on yet, but later it might be easier to use a shared google calendar to keep each other posted on those things while minimizing unrelated and unnecessary interactions.

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#4 of 18 Old 05-17-2010, 12:34 AM
 
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Subbing. Omigod, NewDirections. I'm going through exactly the same thing. And because I've dealt with it for so long, I don't have enough distance.

My ex got mad at me today, and it was the last straw kind of thing. Something clicked inside me that said enough.

I decided that I was going to make my own mental health the absolute priority. I've been tolerating his behavior because I rely on him for babysitting and child support. But my attitude changed today. I will hire babysitters and go to court to garnish his wages if I have to. I will take myself out of any situation that would put me at his mercy or give him access to me. I think the route I want to take will be long and hard, but I'm just in a place that I will not take any more s**t from him.

Single, working mom to 6 yo ds, who may have spd, but is a happy little camper .
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#5 of 18 Old 05-18-2010, 03:21 PM
 
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I hear ya too. My kids are older and I could really care less how any person talks to me, UNLESS my kids are there! Mine are 6 and 10 and fully aware what it means when their dad calls me a f'in b!tch. not fun. We started off doing texts and emails only, and then his behaviour improved for a while. Now we are back to written only (text/email).

Our situation is that he tends to call and ask me these baiting questions (much like you described above) during the middle of the day. Well, I stay at home and homeschool my kids, so they are usually always with me! I don't care to have back and forth with XH while the kids are in earshot. It's better for me to email him at night when kids are in bed so I can actually focus on finding ways to say things non-judgementally, non-offensive, etc.

There have been times when he's been so PO'd at me, and it would be when he was picking up the kids, that i would flat out refuse for him to have the kids. not often, but it does happen

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#6 of 18 Old 05-18-2010, 09:16 PM
 
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Mama that sucks! and I totally get it, my x is terribly verbally and emotionally abusive at times.
But to add a pro-active idea into the mix, maybe the two of you could set up a google calender where you both list everything that has to to with your babe as well as common stuff- then it is his individual responsibility to keep up to date- if you guys are having these problems and the babe is only 2 months it may be good to set it up now before the busy life of a toddler or school age child takes over.

Much love to you mama! and good for you to write the conversation down... that was a crucial thing for me to do for a while with my x.
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#7 of 18 Old 05-31-2010, 12:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Mamas,

Thanks for the support You ladies are awesome

I told Ex that everything will be done via email and I've stuck to this. It has made things easier. He made a false alligation a few weeks ago that I've been "hostile" in person during the drop offs and pick ups. I emailed him that in order to protect myself from these alligations that all drop offs and pick ups will be tape recorded. I know this probably can't be used in court, but it keeps him on his best behavior

I also created a google website and calendar and that's where I put Drs appointments. That seems to be working ok.

I also focus on being completely calm and robotic when we are exchanging the baby. I show no emotion towards Ex at all. He can try and push my buttons all he wants, but he won't get a reaction

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#8 of 18 Old 05-31-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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'Calm & robotic' I love that! I actually practice my 'neutral' voice prior to pick-up/drop-off with my ex and remind myself that my kids are listening when he tries to start something.

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#9 of 18 Old 05-31-2010, 07:13 PM
 
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In some areas, a tape recorded conversation can be used in court. Check your local laws.

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#10 of 18 Old 05-31-2010, 08:23 PM
 
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You are doing awesome. Good job!

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#11 of 18 Old 06-01-2010, 01:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EarthRootsStarSoul View Post
In some areas, a tape recorded conversation can be used in court. Check your local laws.
I think that since he has been notified that you will be recording, that it just might be acceptable in court. Its the secret recordings they don't like. But do check your local laws, you never know when you might need stuff like that.

And congratulations on turning things around!
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#12 of 18 Old 06-14-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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I don't use this (yet), but my attorney recommended it to me, as my ex crosses numerous boundaries when "communicating".

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#13 of 18 Old 06-14-2010, 08:29 AM
 
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you did so well! It's so tempting for me to engage. I've gone back to discussing everything through email too because he's too angry.


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#14 of 18 Old 06-14-2010, 10:26 AM
 
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I deal with this same problem also. I'm really happy to see that you have taken the initiative to get yourself away from the situation and communicate with him through another way.

This same stuff is the reason I am going through a divorce. I don't deal with it nearly as often now that I have been separated for over 1.5 years, but there are occasional flare ups. I find that the easiest way to deter a hostile environment or verbal abuse is to simply ignore it. My "ex" went off on me once about a diaper rash. He started yelling at me in front of my child about how she had a diaper rash and it was my fault. I simply said "ok" and walked back into my house. I guess the key is don't fuel the fire, because that is just what they want.

Someone mentioned recording conversations...as long as you state that you are recording a conversation (and do so once you have already pressed record) then it should be valid for any type of court case. But, since you are recording, he will probably act better knowing there is evidence against his outbursts.

Good luck to anyone dealing with this. It isn't easy! Especially if you have been dealing with it for a long time.

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#15 of 18 Old 06-14-2010, 10:35 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NewDirections View Post
Hi Mamas,

Thanks for the support You ladies are awesome

I told Ex that everything will be done via email and I've stuck to this. It has made things easier. He made a false alligation a few weeks ago that I've been "hostile" in person during the drop offs and pick ups. I emailed him that in order to protect myself from these alligations that all drop offs and pick ups will be tape recorded. I know this probably can't be used in court, but it keeps him on his best behavior

I also created a google website and calendar and that's where I put Drs appointments. That seems to be working ok.

I also focus on being completely calm and robotic when we are exchanging the baby. I show no emotion towards Ex at all. He can try and push my buttons all he wants, but he won't get a reaction
Before you actually DO tape-record him, make sure its legal in your state. He now has an email from you telling him that you are going to do something that could be illegal. Well, actually, since he has knowledge it probably isn't illegal.

But I would check before doing that.
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#16 of 18 Old 06-14-2010, 11:36 AM
 
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That is great. I'm glad it is working out for you. Makes everything easier when there is peace. I would like to add tape recording laws are different in every state. In CA you do have to let the other party know BUT you also have to have their permission. If there is no proof he agreed to it then no it wouldn't hold up.
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#17 of 18 Old 06-14-2010, 02:05 PM
 
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tape recording a conversation is a GOOD IDEA. not to present it in court. but to be able to quote him word for word. it provides a great transcript. along with details. time date.

my ex is the same. even after 6 years. we do our exchanges at school. we talk over the phone. and we NEVER talk face to face.

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#18 of 18 Old 06-14-2010, 08:44 PM
 
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thats pretty much where we are. I insist on email for everything important. rarely i will call although he always wants to talk. I get flustered easy though so he starts saying stupid crap and I get confused or paniced (which is his plan) so email works better for me. it is much easier for me to write the facts and not get flustered. easier to disengage. And I have a record of everything he says.

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