Talk

Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

How do I cope with passive aggressive ex?

(13 Posts)
watermelongun Sun 19-Feb-17 10:27:50

The all-too-common story: split from and now having to co-parent with abusive ex. He was sexually and financially abusive but is a real bloody charmer so the added kick in the teeth is that I'm pretty sure he's got the whole world believing he's some sort of Saint (not really relevant, but it does rub salt in the wound).

Long and short of it is that he is EXTREMELY passive aggressive, particularly by text. I really really try to detach but these acts of passive aggression are getting me down so much. I've been in a deep depression and had some pretty bad anxiety but overall really proud of how I've kept going. Except every time I feel I'm getting somewhere an exchange with him leaves me 4 steps back.

Recent examples, to paint a picture, are that he basically promised the kids they could do an activity they like on one of my 'contact days' we're currently split 50/50 'technically' but this is a story for another day grin). So I have no option but to accommodate it this time so as not to upset the DC, but made it clear that going forward he would have to stick to this activity on 'his' time (it's not a club or anything you need to commit to), and that if this was became regular it would mean the DC missing out on seeing their GPs and cousins as this is when we get together (close family! Plus the DC love seeing their cousins so it's not like I'm blocking them doing something nice for the sake of it iyswim). So the reply I get is along the lines of 'well I'm not telling them, you can tell them you don't want them to go' (to the activity). I just didn't reply. And of course, he'll go around armed with his sob story of he his heartless exW put a stop to him doing something lovely with the DC out of spite yadda yadda and yet again I'm the bad guy.

It's the constant constant little digs and passive aggressive gripes and swipes. I'm so worn down by it - it feels like I'm constantly dodging burning arrows. So far I've mainly ignored, have bitten once or twice though. How can I stop this from affecting me? It is like water torture on my MH.

He has also succeeded in getting my tax credits suspended by making counter claims that now have to be looked into by HMRC, which has taken FOREVER, all because I refused to pay his childcare costs for one of the two weekdays he has the DC (I provide (free) childcare for him on the other day). So it's not helping I'm pretty much on the breadline AGAIN because of him, when I'd worked so hard to escape his financial control. Seems like no matter what I do he'll always be there, controlling me. Whenever I build my little tower he comes along and kicks it over.

Sorry it's been a long one, the floodgates opened a bit there blush any advice on how I manage this from here would be so SO gratefully received. If it was just messages I could easily ignore, but there are so often real consequences to his malicious / calculated actions that I have deal with and then it's topped off with a nice dollop of goadiness. It's breaking me sad

noego Sun 19-Feb-17 10:50:40

So how about this for an attitude.

Who give a flying fuck what he goes around saying. Who gives a shit.

Your emotional health is your responsibility so take care of it.

watermelongun Sun 19-Feb-17 10:55:53

I don't care what he says. But his actions and words are getting me down. They just are. It feels like no matter what I do - he's got the upper hand, and I need help to change that. I'm doing my best and failing sad

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Sun 19-Feb-17 10:59:21

You are not responsible for the dc in his time so tell him to make his own arrangements for them - or you are continuing to be a door mat and will be forever more if you start off this soft. . . Your dc need you being sane and supported by family members than they need an activity with an arse hole df. .

Everytimeref Sun 19-Feb-17 11:02:55

Stop engaging. My DH ex is extremely passive aggressive and her texts would really winded my DH up, now he doesn't react and she doesn't have that control over him anymore. Remember only you are in control of how you react.

watermelongun Sun 19-Feb-17 11:15:29

I have put my foot down re: arrangements for the kids in the past, but my DD got so upset with the nursery/dropoff service he was using that I restarted doing it myself. Rather than try to manage her feelings on going, he kept telling her that she had to go but that she should ask mummy. So basically using DD as a way to manipulate me. DD was threatening suicide in the end, was really truly distraught (she's 7 sad). Of course ex was repeatedly pitching to me that I was so selfish making her endure something she hated etcetc. I literally had no option.

I am able to control my actions, and i do - I don't bite, I ignore, I'm polite and detached, but what I struggle with is the effect it's having on me. How can I stop it from getting to me? I know I sound pathetic. I am.

EmilyRosanne Sun 19-Feb-17 11:28:54

You need to stop worrying about what he says to anyone and what they think. My ex did some awful things leading up to the split but when he talks to people about why we aren't together he says that it was mutual, I always started fights with him, didn't appreciate him blah blah. It bothered me at first but now I just think what does it matter now and anyone who goes along with what he says aren't important people in my life or they would know the truth.

It's hard when the way they act affects the children, but he is counting on that and knows you will go along with his demands rather than upset the DC, it's all just a way to control you.

noego Sun 19-Feb-17 11:29:48

What happens if you become disinterested in the thought "its getting to me" Just do not believe in that thought. It is only a thought and in truth is not real. Lose interest in it and see what happens. Even if its only for an hour.
Think of it as an aeroplane flying over head. Its there but you don't notice it. You have got used to aeroplanes flying overhead. You don't nitice them anymore. Just treat this thought like that.

EmilyRosanne Sun 19-Feb-17 11:30:31

Just seen your last post, I'm sorry your DD is so affected by it all, that must be heartbreaking for you sad does her school have access to a councillor or child psychologist?

watermelongun Sun 19-Feb-17 12:01:46

Thank you for your replies. I like the aeroplane analogy, so thank you for that too - I think this is the sort of strategy recommendations I was hoping for when I posted. I know I've had a moan, but really on the whole I do pretty well on not engaging when he's being goady. And I'm pretty chilled when it comes to not worrying about what other people think too, I may have given the impression this is a bigger issue than it is sorry.

My DD is thriving at the moment. Just had a parents evening and she's doing fabulously academically and socially. She's always been a sensitive soul, so for the sake of her happiness I'm happy to take that little swipe of control from ex if it means she's ok.

I just need to find a way to deal with this inner rage. It seems to flare when he sends these snippy texts and does spiteful things. It seems to drag up from inside me all the years of abuse and things I put up with. To be honest I think it's somewhat anger at myself for allowing myself to be subjected to it. In a funny way, the ignoring and letting it wash over me sort of makes me feel like I'm still being a doormat. Like - I've been a terrible mug for allowing him to abuse me, I was/am weak, and look - I'm continuing to allow myself to be manipulated and treated like a mug.

I want instead to hurt him and shout and scream and show the world what a horrible horrible man he is contrary to the chanting persona he presents. Does that make sense? I just want to call him a cunt over and over. I know this is not constructive though - I do know that. Thanks for your replies though, I appreciate it. It's cathartic being able to vent.

jeaux90 Sun 19-Feb-17 12:07:57

Remember OP the person that cares least has the most power.

You need to care about what he does and says the least. Don't respond only communicate about the kids logistics and stick to agreed plans ignore everything else.

QuiteChic Sun 19-Feb-17 12:17:07

Do you get any 'me' time ? Are you able to do something physical like kick boxing ? Just a thought, a big pillow with his face on it ? (Obviously you'd have to keep it away from your dc) and then thump seven bells out of it. It probably sounds childish but sometimes I feel that we're so bound up by social restraints and worrying what other people think that we loose that ability to be angry, vent it and then move on.

I've also noticed that several posters recommend a separate phone, so you only have to acknowledge texts etc when it suits you. Seems to me that puts the control back in your hands.

watermelongun Sun 19-Feb-17 12:41:19

I'm going to make that my mantra I think jeaux. I just need to care the least. That feels doable. That way if he's being a prick I can have a small victory to myself that he's bothered enough to actively try to get a rise out of me. Caring the least will be a little two fingers up then won't it.

Chic I had started to do a few gym classes and found it helpful. But he managed to put the kibosh on that by messing up my tax credits so I now can't afford it at the moment angry I suppose I could go for a run or something instead, work out the anger physically. And I really like the suggestion of another phone. I'll do that.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now