I would say I’m no expert. But I’ve been through 7 years of college, training in domestic violence advocacy, had many clients who have been victims or perpetrators, and my own 17 years of personal experience. I’d like to think at this point, I know something about something. That $50,000 for a piece of paper must count for something.
Sometimes the abuse from a relationship continues, especially if there are children involved and the relationship with the abuser is court ordered to continue. The following is just a quick bulleted list off the top of my head of ways to deal with continued harrassment, etc.
1. The best weapon is SILENCE. I don’t mean don’t ever talk about it with other people. I mean silence with the abuser. Don’t say anything. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t call. Don’t email. Don’t leave comments. Don’t play into the game.
2. Understand that everything he does is a tactic to make you suffer in some way. There are many different tactics: Being super friendly, guilt-tripping, oh poor me, demanding, and threatening. See them for what they are.
3. Talk to other people. If he finds a way to get to you, don’t respond directly. If he tries to “state the facts” about you, spread rumors, or convince people that you’re the abusive one, find someone else to tell your response to.
4. It’s really all about getting your attention. In any way possible. Good or bad attention. It doesn’t matter to him. Just keep saying this to yourself.
5. Keep your integrity at all times. Speak your truth. Don’t be nasty about it. Whatever he says is a reflection of him and people will see this eventually. Don’t worry about what they think of you. Be polite and strong and don’t play his game. You’ve broken up with him now. He’s trying to suck you back into a relationship. Any relationship. Stay strong.
6. Be willing to give up everything that he still has any control over. As long as he has something you want: money, house payments, vehicles, friends—he’ll have leverage to pull out and use against you whenever you do something to make him unhappy. Pretending to play along to get what you want feels dirty. Take the initiative and cut the ties yourself before he can threaten you. You don’t “need” what he has. You want it, and that’s a different thing.
7. Don’t hide what he’s doing. It feels embarrassing to you for other people to read his emails or listen to his messages. Put it out there openly. It feels terrible at first. But it makes HIM look terrible, not YOU. For example, the comments my abuser left on this blog were supposed to feel bad to me. He expected I wouldn’t publish them. It was another secret way he could abuse me. So I posted them. He doesn’t want to look bad to other people.
8. Be happy. He wants the focus on him. Brush him off like an ant and concentrate on your new life. He’s just an annoyance and you have so many good things going on. If you don’t then make some. Every day without him in your life is a gift. Enjoy it.
9. Your friends might want to get into an argument with him. I don’t know if this is good or bad, as the heat is taken off you for the moment. But it still feeds into the harrassment. Besides, he won’t listen to anyone else and will only start bullying them as well.
10. All the bad things he says about you aren’t true. Sure, there’s a small pebble of truth what he says. And around that he’s wrapped lies and name-calling and made up events and craziness that would all blow away if the big fan of truth was turned on it. It’s the small bit of truth that can eat at you. Don’t let it. You did what you had to do to survive. You did WELL.
11. Don’t overanalyze or even analyze at all what he’s up to. All of this abuse stems from an overwhelming insecurity on his part. He can’t be without you and feel like someone worthwhile. That’s why he clung so tightly and made it so impossible for you to leave, in many many ways. It’s his problem now. Don’t try to figure it out or come up with ways to appease him.
12. Live a life that’s TRUE and BRAVE. For you.
I hope this helps. You might find yourself giving in again and again to the temptation of responding to him. Eventually, you’ll come to a place where you realize it just doesn’t get you anywhere. Not really.