Bodies in the Basement Blog Series: Liberation

Of all the things we survivors of abuse have in common, the inability to get the abuser to just go away after the relationship is over seems to be one of the most universal. We finally escape, begin the road to recovery and the abuser just will… not… stop. Another thing we have in common is that the abuser continues to say things like we are the ones who won’t leave them alone or won’t move on, which is a clear sign of the need for narcissistic supply. I’ve told you some of how that has played out in my life, but I want to give some more explicit detail now because, based on some conversations I’ve had recently, many of you are stuck wondering when in the name of everything holy your abuser will just go away!

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.
– Michael Altshuler

What He Does, and I Don’t Do

In the months since finally having the courage to block my ex-husband’s phone calls, text messages and now postal mail, he has not stopped. At all. He continues to call from numbers that are blocked and will then on occasion call from an unblocked number at his office, which I then have to block. You read that right: even though he knows his number is blocked, he still attempts to call me from the blocked numbers and it records on my phone company call log. After refusing to communicate with me by postal mail for two years, he now sends a letter approximately every week to 10 days, always with something controlling, demanding or confrontational in it, frequently under the pretense of communicating “about” the children. He drives by my house when he is in town, despite being instructed not to and told that I have a surveillance system with night vision recording. This takes some doing because I live in a subdivision that’s far back from any main road, so it’s not as though he needs to drive past my house to get to the gas station. He puts on a big act about wanting the best for his children but shares with them confidential and upsetting information, while my stock answer is, “That’s between me and your father.” Meanwhile, I have called him a total of zero times. I have sent him letters with rants, threats and/or demands a total of zero times. I have set up a website for him to keep track of the children’s schedules and appointments so I would not have to mail him the information, even though I send a quarterly schedule of regular activities, and have posted a total of zero messages to him on it.

Anyone who has even just a few divorced friends knows that this could be very different. I could call his cell phone and work phones any time I wanted, scream, leave messages, call him every name in the book, say whatever I wanted and he couldn’t prove that it was even me who called. He is blocked from my email, but I have 3 different email addresses for him to which I could be sending nasty emails that he wouldn’t be able to respond to. I could do things like call his bosses, call the police repeatedly and post things all over the websites of the groups he belongs to. I could fight with him in the parking lot of Walmart when he picks up the children, right in front of them, and let them know what a vicious, lying, cheating, manipulative person he really is. I could post all about him on those cheating spouse websites. I know people who have done some or all of those things and I bet you do, too. If you have been reading Bodies in the Basement for a while, you know that I never name him and my last name is not the same as his. Have you ever searched some of these blogs and found how someone not only names their abuser but provides specific information about him, his family, his contact information and other identifying details? I won’t do that because it could potentially harm my children. More than that, I just don’t want anything to do with him or his life. I simply want the past to stay where it is and him to just leave me alone.

The Narcissist Cannot Just Go Away

Ah, but narcissistic abusers can’t do that. If you have found yourself on the receiving end of abuse, you know that it appears impossible for the narcissistic abuser to let go. Yet, interestingly, they continue their “crazy making” behavior (gaslighting) by claiming to anyone who will listen that it is you who is not letting go… it is you who perpetuates the problems… it is you who continues to terrorize them. My friends, that is yet another page out of the Universal Abusers Playbook! Just like the “Wedding Ring Game” (off, on, off, on… just to try to hurt you with it) and the attempts to make you feel as though you are the one with all the “problems”, this ridiculous merry-go-round of terror is a common theme. The only time my ex-husband hears from me is when I send him a medical bill for the children and their schedules, except for the times I sent him instructions to not contact me directly. I have finally resorted to writing “RTS” (return to sender) on the mail he sends and throwing it right back into the mailbox unopened… after, of course, I scan it into my computer so I can keep track of dates and the number of times this lunacy happens.

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You Are Securing Your Freedom!

What C.C. doesn’t bargain for, as with most abusers, is that I no longer care to “keep the peace at all costs”. While some people have had frustrating and unfulfilling experiences with the law, I am availing myself of all remedies available to me. Restraining orders are free and simply require that you provide good and reasonable documentation. It is not necessary for you to continue to suffer the wrath of this crazy person who insists upon continuing to try to terrorize you long after you, the person who he/she blamed for all his/her unhappiness and troubles in life, have left the relationship. Stop it, now! Do whatever you have to do, as many times as you have to do it. Don’t whine, don’t moan, don’t give in… Just DO IT. What you are doing now is securing your freedom. Remember that climbing Mount Everest is just as much work coming back down as it is going up, but those who persist, think carefully and use all the available tools are the ones who triumph.

Don’t waste your time, effort, money or anguish on proactively pursuing something just because you’re mad. But don’t you ever, for one second, hesitate to fight back when your abuser attempts to continue to control or damage you. It’s your life (and likely the life of your kids, as well) and you deserve to live in peace and move forward to receive all the good things that are waiting.

“Go away” is a complete sentence. If your abuser won’t, then find out the laws in your area and determine what you can do to fight back. It’s time. You’ve suffered quite enough.

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Aubrey Cole

Aubrey Cole

I survived a quarter century of psychological, emotional, economic and sexual abuse. When I got out, I vowed to help others do the same and founded the Emotional Abuse Survivors Network project in 2012. Now, I offer hope and healing to others on their journey as they rediscover themselves. My forthcoming books, Bodies in the Basement and Define Winning, chronicle my experiences, escape, and recovery. There is nothing so special about me that others can't emerge and thrive.
Of all the things we survivors of abuse have in common, the inability to get the abuser to just go away after the relationship is over seems to be one of the most universal. We finally escape, begin the road to recovery and the abuser just will… not… stop.

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