Every week, a chapter of my book, “Husband, Liar, Sociopath: How He Lied, Why I Fell For It & The Painful Lessons Learned” (available via Amazon.com, just click on the title or book cover) will be published here on Lovefraud. To read prior chapters, please see the links at the bottom of the post.
Chapter 48: Toxic Emails
I spent the rest of the afternoon making phone calls to find someone who would let me store my financial files and sentimental items at their house. Melinda, a mom whose daughter was on the lacrosse team with Jessica, offered the use of her house. I only knew her casually, but I knew she had been through a physically abusive marriage. Was I putting her in danger? Was I in danger? What about the kids? I could not believe I had to ask myself these questions, but anyone in my situation would have been foolish not to. I drove my files and other prized possessions, like the kids’ baby albums, to her house.
As a result of all the scrambling, I did not get back until well after Daniel and Jessica arrived home from school. I did not tell them what had happened. I just reminded them that their father was expecting them at his place for dinner that night.
Paul’s new condo was about fifteen minutes away. I pulled out of the driveway with Daniel and Jessica at 4:25 to take them there. I asked Daniel to text his father that we were running a few minutes late but that we were on our way. We arrived at 4:40, ten minutes after the time upon which we had agreed the previous day. I avoided any eye contact with Paul when he opened the door to greet them.
Once I returned to the house, I opened my computer and checked my email. A message from Paul was waiting:
In spite of you clearly being distracted today, I would greatly appreciate your respecting my time and how much I value my time with Jessica and Daniel. My relationship with my children has always been very important to me. We had both agreed to a mutually convenient time of 4:30 p.m. for you to bring the kids to see me. You were late, and this impacted my ability to share quality time with my children. Please make every effort to be sure this never happens again.
As if to expel a toxin, my abdominal muscles spasmed. I ran to the bathroom, dropped to my knees in front of the toilet, and vomited.
The mixture of manipulation, dishonesty, condescension, and control woven into less than 100 words was sickening. Paul had broken into the house, taken joint property without agreement, been verbally abusive in public, and threatened me, yet because none of this was actually illegal (legally, it was also his house, and he did not threaten explicitly to harm me), he wanted his email to be the official record of the day—that I was irresponsible, inconsiderate, and interfering with his ability to have quality time with Daniel and Jessica, that he was the aggrieved party. It also implied that he had a close and caring relationship with both kids—something that was not true.
This is who Paul really is, an inner voice taunted as I suffocated in despair. You wasted twenty years on a man who battered you with criticism, lies, deceit, and distortion. This is the man you married! The father of your children! This is the person to whom you dedicated your life!
I willed the negative thoughts out of my head, took a deep breath, and sat at my computer to document what had really happened that day while the events were still fresh in my mind. This was the first of hundreds of toxic emails and text messages from Paul. He used a few minutes of each day to create a misleading record of events. Each email or text (which left a permanent record that could be used in court) crafted an impression that was 180 degrees opposite of what had actually transpired, often making it look like I was guilty of “custodial interference,” “parental alienation,” hiding income or assets (e.g., “I can’t find any record of where you deposited our tax refund,” which is because we did not have a tax refund), or similar offenses.
It was a brilliant sociopathic strategy. Paul’s daily onslaught forced me to spend time documenting the truth. This documentation forced me to relive each manipulative incident. This reliving kept me mired in negativity, draining my time, strength, and emotional resolve. Sharing the documentation with my lawyer caused my legal bills to soar. To Paul, this was war, and our children and our legally required communication about them was a Trojan horse that provided an entry point for an unending emotional and financial assault.
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Identifying names, places, events, characteristics, etc. that I discuss here and in my book have been altered to protect the identity of everyone involved.