I Am Unbreakable... And You Are On Notice

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Pop up blog post I wasn't expecting to write today, because... well... I was working and minding my own business. I posted the first of several deeply personal podcasts, which caused one of my abusers to lash out at me. 

That abuser happens to be my ex-husband. 

The podcast hadn't even been live for a full hour yet, I didn't promote it, there was no fanfare, but obviously my ex-husband subscribes. He's a fan.  I got this text from my 8 YEAR OLD SON'S PHONE in the group chat I have with my children that said the following...

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Someone's scared he's gonna make a cameo on the podcast about abuse, huh. But let's examine this for a minute...

You're blocked on my phone for acting crazy.

You subscribe to everything I do and instantly respond. 

You responded via an 8 year old's phone in a group text ALL OF YOUR CHILDREN WILL SEE that's barely even coherent. 

But I'm a piece of shit, huh. Okay. 

I wasn't kidding when I said the events of this past weekend have empowered me. Where I was content not to air dirty laundry, keep it classy for the kids' sake no matter what, just ignore him and move on...

I suddenly couldn't. It's almost three years to the day where he violated a protective order, tossed me into a dresser badly injuring my arm to the point of needing surgery, held me hostage, took my phone away, pretended to be me on Facebook to the point of alarming my friends so badly THEY called 911, had his bond revoked 3 times for continuing to harass me while he had charges pending...

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All of that is public record. You don't need my word for shit. None of what I had to say was necessary. All of those things are factual and were corroborated. Lucky for him he benefitted from being an affluent white male in an overloaded justice system and was able to buy himself reasonable doubt on the assault charge because I refused medical treatment that night as to not have to leave my children after a terrifying incident. But he WAS found guilty of violating the protective order. An order I could not have renewed after I left the state because jurisdiction is an issue. While being out of state ensures my safety, it means I cannot have him legally held accountable for ANYTHING. 

You all know the story of my kids returning back to Chicago. I felt it was the humane thing because he was entitled to visitation, and I couldn't bare to watch my children get back on the plane crying and say, "I feel so bad for Dad. He says if we like Atlanta, we don't love him." 

The emotional toll on them wasn't worth it to me. He's a competent father, as in he can keep them fed and alive, and I point blank asked him in front of witnesses, "What makes all of this stop?" 

"The kids."

Good. You get the kids. I'll deal. 

And deal graciously I have. He has refused to let me see them, lied about my whereabouts, and there's nothing I can do unless I live in Illinois to have things enforced. I am not a millionaire. My initial victory cost upwards of $30k, nearly killed me from stress and exhaustion, and he still used emotional torture to get what he wanted. 

THOUSANDS of texts, emails, comments on social media saying the most disgusting things. UNPROVOKED. He threatens to accuse my best friend of pedophilia on the reg because he just happens to be gay. Literally threatens to ruin an innocent man's life for leverage knowing you can't come back from a mere accusation. It taints you for life. GUESS WHAT ASSHOLE, THE WORLD NOW KNOWS YOU DON'T GET TO THREATEN IT ANYMORE. 

 I don't bother him. I can't be bothered with him. I have a plan I have been enacting for the last year, and it will be spectacular in the end. I am focused on the end game, not the rantings of an abusive man-child. 

But my looking the other way ended today. I did something very scary and brave in talking about what I did, and I will not have the classic line out of "ABUSE 101 - Discount the victim as a crazy liar," derail what I have done for myself these last three years. No one who has hurt me gets the benefit of my politeness any longer. Not for a single minute. 

I ran it by THE SQUAD in both Atlanta and Chicago to make sure I wasn't just behaving in a knee jerk way. I am about fair fighting, and I HATE public takedowns out of spite. However, I had hit my limit with this as I have been hitting my limit with a lot of things I used to tolerate. 

He has been harassing me on company email and his company phone for over a year. By not speaking out I am enabling him to continue this culture of dismissing domestic abuse or allowing it because he, "provides for the kids and they've been through enough." 

So. Fucking. What. 

I make more than him. If he loses his job, tough shit. Send the kids to me. They'll eat. 

He didn't give a shit if we ate when he quit paying child support when we left and ate dollar store hotdogs for a summer. 

He didn't care about my career when he took my laptop out to the driveway, smashed it, and turned the hose on it destroying YEARS of work because I was becoming 'too independent and talking too much.'

I don't care if this ruins his career. He should know better than to abuse and harass someone on company email. I can't help he's stupid. 

"It's about time, END HIM already!" Gio reinforced. 

And I want to be clear, this isn't about vengeance. I'm not even that angry. But I wasn't taking this abusive tactic of "no one will believe you, you're crazy," another minute. I don't have to be a perfect person to be a victim, in fact, I can be a terrible person and STILL be a victim, and I don't even NEED TO BE BELIEVED... his behavior stands alone regardless. 

Fair is fair, and before I went to his employer, for harassing me some more on company time via company tech, I sent him this: 

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And he replied... on company email a nice barrage of abuse indicating that "I was very sick like the doctors said!" Blah, blah, blah, barf. 

Another classic tactic... send me something embarrassing I wouldn't DARE tell the world about because I would never want them to know!

Hi. My name is Jenn. I have generalized anxiety, depression, and PTSD caused by prolonged abuse and trauma. One time, I had a very, very difficult time after the birth of my second child and I was under the care of a psychiatrist. My husband raped me. I went to her and told her about it. I offered to be examined. 

This physician went to my husband, asked him, I honestly don't remember if I gave consent or not. A lot of the time when I was under medical care he required full disclosure. I recall having a bad pap smear after the birth of my first daughter and I had to ask the doctor for a note to take home to him stating that it wasn't caused by promiscuity. Imagine that for a second. I might have cancer, but my husband wants CONFIRMATION his wife isn't fucking around on him. 

This doctor asked him, "Did you rape your wife?"

"No, ma'am. It was completely consensual. You know, she's 'struggling' right now." 

"Oh so she must be very sick, she needs more medication." 

That was 11 years ago. It's his go-to way to level the playing field with me. I WAS a mess at the time. I was post partum and my past trauma combined with my current trauma was eating me alive. I WAS very sick. And he raped me anyway. 

He doesn't think I will tell you that because it embarrasses me. Just like he doesn't think I'll post the screenshots of him calling me a 'deadbeat whore', etc. And you know what? He's right. I didn't want to tell you ANY of this. It IS embarrassing. I'm mortified. 

Doesn't matter. It's truth time. I DON'T HAVE TO BE A SAINT TO BE A VICTIM. 

Since that last abusive jab came over on his company email, I tried to call his company, Orbit Medical. I wanted the email to HR and the email to his supervisor. I was going to send an email with all of the screenshots attached, and they could do what they want with it. 

I tried three times to get a hold of someone. Each and every time, I was put on hold for almost five minutes and kicked into a general voicemail. Call their number, hit 6 for 'all other inquiries' get told your call will be recorded for quality assurance, listen to some Muzak, get a 'you've reached the voicemail of extension whatever.'

There is no email on the company website besides the general info one. 

So I went to Twitter. Hey, I tried to keep this private. They weren't very good at being reachable. 

You can read that whole exchange here.

 

Hey guys, you hired a guy who has a CONVICTION for violating a restraining order STILL HARASSING ME ON YOUR COMPANY EMAIL AND PHONE YOU DON'T MONITOR. 

Their response? 

"No way you have the wrong guy! PM me!"

Lol, no. Here's his contact info. Publicly. We are doing this completely out in the open. 

After the initial, who? Us? I never heard from them again. No attempts to ask for my contact info, nothing. But then I got these gems. First from my 8 year old son's phone, then from my 11 year old daughter's phone:

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It's cool, bro... you can call me crazy and 'manic' all day. I'm on Twitter sending I think 4 tweets? You're texting me TWICE from your CHILDREN'S PHONES to gloat about how 'crazy' I am and how 'sane' you are. You got me there. LOOK HOW MANIC I AM NOT RESPONDING TO YOUR FUCKERY. 

Yeah, I'm blogging about it. I meant I'm not going tit for tat with him. It's pointless. 

I took that to Twitter. You can read it for yourself. I also posted embarrassing screenshots of EIGHT messages he fired off while I was in Florida this weekend calling me a 'drunk, deadbeat whore. WHO NEEDS TO SUPPORT HER KIDS." 

Fine, let the world think you're justified abusing me because I NEED TO SUPPORT MY KIDS. 

Let me tell you the truth about that. 

My kids want for nothing. I send care packages, every stitch of clothing they wear, every piece of technology they have, any subscription they want... I provide. I pay $100 a month for phone service on phones I OWN and he will make them block me and there will be days and weeks I don't speak to them. My daughter made a BURNER account on social media to talk to me. I have booked plane tickets to see them and he's whisked them out of town. 

I don't give that fucker a DIME. I spend hundreds more a month than any support order would make me, and I'm HAPPY to, but he will never get a DIME of my hard earned money from a career I built in spite of his endless sabotage. Ask me how many computers and phones he destroyed. His public smear campaigns I've never fought back against. He offered to store some things for me at his house so I could save money on luggage fees and fly basic economy on my frequent trips up. 

It's all in the dumpster now. Good thing I anticipated that and left shit I wouldn't miss there. 

So no, I don't pay HIM child support and I NEVER will. He bullied my children from me, and the end game hasn't even happened yet. It's coming. He's had 2 years to take me to court to get custody and demand child support from me. 

He won't because the kids would be ordered back to Atlanta and he would have to pay arrears. The best he could do was call DCFS and claim I abandoned them on his doorstep and he didn't know my whereabouts to get a piece of paper stating he could make legal decisions. 

He has to admit lying about that when we go back to court. That's kinda tricky...

And drunk? Yeah, I like my wine, sometimes I have too much wine too many days of the week. And we're talking like, a few glasses. Homie drinks 9 beers a night and has 4 DUIs. 

Call me a drunk mentally ill deadbeat. YOU ARE STILL HARASSING ME AND I CAN STILL BE A VICTIM. 

Let me be clear to anyone giving him the benefit of the doubt. I can literally be a crackwhore with a needle in my arm, and I would not deserve a barrage of 8 emails calling me a deadbeat whore. Not ever. 

This deranged deadbeat whore doesn't harass and abuse him. I actually bear the brunt of MORE abuse the more I ignore him. 

So here we are. After almost 15 years, I have taken his power away and revealed the worst things in his arsenal of abuse. I don't care. It has been VERY quiet since I made that gloating text public, and there hasn't been another gloating text. 

And no, I didn't respond. I hardly ever do. 

I'm sure a wall of shit will fall on me for this. Again, don't care. I will wake up tomorrow, put my head down, and keep working on the end game. I don't need a victory this second. My victory already happened in taking his last bit of power away. My victory happened posting that podcast today. 

I have endured more than you'll ever know. I worry about what my kids are enduring right now, but I know it is temporary, and I know I will be in a place to do whatever I can to help fix it when it's time. My survival has lent me the experience and empathy to at least know where to start when the time comes. I have done the very best I can under the circumstances. 

If anyone else wants to think I'm weak or will be intimidated for allowing myself to be vulnerable, you're on notice. I have no malice or vindictiveness in my heart, but if you want to abuse me? You're going to have to be ready for the world to know. I keep zero secrets, I protect no one except myself and my children from this moment forward. 

Silence is no longer an option. 

Jennifer Gulbrandsen