Repost: Since you asked… questions and answers

My friend Alexis asked several questions in the comment section on the original Old Emails post, so I answered her in a new post. I am only reposting this because it goes with the other post, and because I think it clarifies things a bit. Just a reminder that this was written in August 2013. Things have changed somewhat since then.

Since you asked…

Alexis asked me a few questions about my “Old Emails” post.  Here are my responses to her questions and comments. Alexis’s questions are italicized.

There’s so much material here that I don’t really know where to start, so I’ll just mention a few things. I think Bill was a very brave man (though maybe he had no choice) to be worth more dead than alive to such a complete psycho.

I don’t know that it was bravery or complete guilt that prompted him to compensate her so lavishly after their divorce.  When I met him, he thought the whole thing was his fault.  He was really overwhelmed with guilt.  I was inclined to be open-minded about Ex when we first got together, but then I quickly started to see that she was totally exploiting him.  That is her typical M.O.  She finds people who are vulnerable and uses them.

This was just a little thing, but it really got to me when she was describing her co-worker who resembled Bill, and alluded to his even being writer as Bill is, except that he, the co-worker, pursued his craft diligently, while Bill went to work for the Pentagon. Precisely where the fuck does she think any of us would be if, throughout history, at least some of our brightest and best didn’t make the sacrifice of devoting the better part of their lives to careers in the military?

I read that comment a couple of ways.  First off, the gushy way she writes about the co-worker makes me think she was not over Bill.  The part about him being actually published (and who knows if he really was or not– anyone can be published nowadays) was a way of keeping Bill in check.  She likes to pepper her responses with subtle little digs that you might miss if you aren’t paying attention.  I do know that Bill’s salary in the military was what made it possible for her to be getting $2550 a month in child support for ten years.  Had he stuck with her plan and continued to work in factories, it would have been a hell of a lot less.  Also, it’s proof that despite her comments to the contrary, the girls knew who Bill was.  Apparently, they “forgot” about him as they got older, though.

Is she a really good actress? I’m trying to get inside Bill’s head and figure out what made him think she was ever worthy of even his holding a door open for her at a post office, much les marrying her. Some of those Cluster B types can hold it together for just long enough to get someone to make a commitment.

I don’t know about her acting skills, but she can be very slippery.  My mother-in-law says her presence is overwhelming.  After you talk to her, you feel like you’ve been caught in gale force winds or something.  She found Bill when he was very vulnerable.  He was a young lieutenant in the Army at a time when the Army had no tolerance for mistakes.  He had a low opinion of himself and wasn’t doing that well.  She overwhelmed him with attention and positive regard.  Once they married, that went away. 

She is not a particularly attractive woman.  I mean, she looks like a normal middle aged woman.  She’s very pear shaped, with a big butt, hips, and elephant like legs.  My mother-in-law said she looked at my legs when we first met… so did Bill.  They were delighted to see that they weren’t like Ex’s.  The one thing I noticed in pictures of her is that when she smiles, it looks very forced and fake.  I’m five years younger than Ex and, I think, a whole lot prettier.  Not that I think that I’m particularly pretty… it’s just that when I smile, you’ll believe it.   

Bill had such low regard for himself in those days that he thought his Ex was his only chance for marriage and family.  A lot of people who have seen him since we’ve married have told me they think he’s handsome (and I agree).  I have told him he could have had his pick of women.  He’s good looking, intelligent, considerate, interesting and has a good job.  But when he was younger, he didn’t believe these things about himself, so he was vulnerable to Ex and her ilk.  I always told Bill that if I ever had a son, this would be one area that I would try hard to influence.  No one likes conceited people, but it can truly be dangerous to have a super low self-esteem.

Have you been able to create a relationship with Bill’s dad and stepmother in spite of her attempts to circumvent the happening of such?

Sort of.  There were some pretty hard feelings between us for a few years after that Christmas incident when I didn’t show up.  Bill’s stepmom thought that I didn’t show up because I was snubbing them.  I’m sure Ex did her best to make it seem that way; Bill said they were crying on each other’s shoulders and whining about how I spoiled Christmas by not showing up to the slaughterhouse.  Bill’s dad was upset because he saw my refusal to attend as being uncooperative and obstinate.  They didn’t really speak to me for a few years, not that I really minded.  Back in 2009, Bill’s stepmother did apologize to Bill for that Christmas debacle that they allowed Ex to stage in their home.  And she asked him to apologize to me on her behalf.

In 2010, we went to their house and had a visit.  We talked for two or three days straight and I explained in detail why I wasn’t there.  I told them that I felt it was the most respectful thing I could do, given how wickedly pissed I was about the whole thing.  I knew if I were there, the tension would have been intolerable.  There would have been a fight.  I stayed out of the vortex for everyone’s sake– Ex’s included.  At that time, she didn’t know who she was fooling with.  They said they understood and seemed to forgive me, especially when I added that we really couldn’t afford that trip at the time, either.

But we still don’t have a very good relationship.  I deleted stepmother-in-law from my Facebook when they started talking to younger daughter again (again– things have changed since 2013– younger daughter eventually came around).  I did that because I don’t want anyone from Ex’s sphere to have access to my Facebook page.  And even though stepmother-in-law claims to be angry with Ex, they are somewhat cut from the same cloth and I think any relationship they have with the kids will include one with their mother.

As far as her current husband goes, is he as manipulated as Bill was, or is he a real tool who deserves her as much a she deserves him?

I think victim #3 is every bit as manipulated as Bill was.  I also think he’s a real tool who deserves her.  He was extraordinarily rude to Bill on multiple occasions, while Bill was always civil and polite to him.  He acted like a complete asshole in Bill’s father’s home.  And he spent a good portion of his marriage to Bill’s ex, sitting on his ass playing video games and living off Bill’s child support.  It’s only been recently that he’s gotten a job in which he might support his own two kids.  I know the Ex has told him stories about Bill… she told Bill stories about her first husband that led him to believe he was abusive.  But #3 apparently lacks any critical thinking skills, just like everyone else in that household. 

We hear that Bill’s ex is not working now, supposedly because her youngest kid has autism.  And yet she bills herself as a master’s level “educational consultant”.  This, from someone who dropped out of high school and took about twenty years to earn a bachelor’s degree.  I don’t think she has a master’s degree… but if she does, I have serious questions about the quality of the program she supposedly attended.

Have you ever met this woman in person?

No.  I chose not to meet her when we dropped the kids off after that one visit in 2003.  I chose not to attend the Christmas debacle.  Though it wasn’t my plan to avoid meeting her, I think it was a blessing we’ve never met each other in person.  People like my husband’s ex wife thrive on information about their victims.  Meeting her would give her the chance to find out what makes me tick.  As it is now, I know a whole lot more about her than she does about me.  That’s the way I like it.  As time went on, I realized she wasn’t someone I wanted to know anyway.  All I need to know about her is that she’s highly manipulative and dangerous.

Also, she has a way of overwhelming people.  I liken it to being in a shaken can of soda.  She doesn’t let people relax, settle down, and think, so they’re in constant crisis mode.  It’s exhausting, but it also keeps her in control.  I think if the people around her had the chance to settle, they would soon see what they’re caught up in.  Bill said he felt better as soon as they separated and got better and better as time went on, despite living in a tiny, drafty apartment on $600 a month.  He was much happier being almost destitute, but on his own, than he was with all his paycheck but living with her.  She is a very toxic person.  Besides, she controlled the money he brought in and she spent it like a drunken sailor on things like Disney collectible plates, Swiss Colony snacks, and trips to the temple instead of on their mortgage.  At least when he was on his own, he could control his money and start to recover from the financial nightmare. 

It took several years for Bill to get his good credit back.  I was there for those years and we kept things mostly separate for the first few years of our marriage because my credit rating is excellent.  It also took him several years to trust me with the finances.  He had to, once he went to Iraq.  I paid off all his credit cards and a couple of my own.  Ex, on the other hand, did not pay Bill’s credit cards when he was incommunicado.  He should have been handling his own money, granted, but she had convinced him that she was better with finances and again, there was the issue of her meltdowns when he didn’t go along with her demands.  Abusers typically control the money in their household; that’s how they keep people in line.  Ex was apparently under the impression that I was handling the money in our house.  See this post for more on that… (it’s a post from 2010, that maybe I’ll repost some other time…)