ThePsychoExWife.com (PEW), like Shrink4Men, is another resource for people trying to cope with high-conflict and/or abusive personality disordered exes and partners. At least, it used to be.
In early June 2011, family court Judge Diane E. Gibbons of Bucks County, Pennsylvania ordered the owner of PEW to shut the site down.
The owner of the website, Anthony Morelli, had been anonymous and had intended to remain the anonymous publisher of PEW. That is until his eponymous ex-wife, Allison Morelli, discovered the website when she was looking for information about child custody and PEW appeared in her search results.
Apparently, as she read through the site, she recognized emails that she’d sent to her ex and different court orders that Morelli and his new partner, who operates the site with him, included in blog posts (with names and other identifying information removed).
That’s when the Crazy hit the fan.
Who is Anthony Morelli?
He’s a man, like many of you who frequent Shrink4Men, who married and divorced a woman he now suspects is an undiagnosed borderline and active alcoholic. He’s neither a psychologist nor a related mental health professional. He’s a guy, again, just like many of you, who was searching for answers regarding his ex-wife’s abusive and chaotic behaviors, and came across the diagnostic criteria for BPD (borderline personality disorder) and had a light bulb moment.
Mr Morelli began PEW in 2007 as a way to connect with others who were also struggling with high-conflict, abusive exes. Oftentimes, the tone of the articles is snarky and neither Morelli nor his partner mince words when describing the antics of Ms Morelli.
It should come as no surprise that if you’re continuously harangued, goaded and attacked by an abusive ex and have to stand by and helplessly watch your ex, enabled by an equally dysfunctional family court system, alienate and harm your children, you’re eventually going to become angry and have some unkind things to say about the ex.
I believe this is what happened with Mr Morelli and why he chose to blog his frustration anonymously.
One of the things abusive bullies, high-conflict people (HCP) — whatever you want to refer to them as — fear most is exposure. They will fight tooth and nail against having their misbehavior exposed. These types equally fear the loss of control. PEW probably represents both fears for Ms Morelli; exposure and loss of control.
Imagine the rage if your abusive ex, wife or girlfriend discovered that you read Shrink4Men and posting comments describing her toxic behavior here.
Also no big surprise, Allison Morelli apparently went kaboom when she discovered her namesake blog. And what did Ms Morelli do after discovering PEW?
Did she swallow the lump in her throat and accept that she is no longer able to control her ex? Did she consider that she has also engaged in trashing her ex, but not anonymously, over the years? Did she decide to take her lumps like an adult and not involve the children in yet more pointless conflict that should have ended with the divorce?
Apparently, it didn’t matter to Ms Morelli that PEW was anonymous and no one knew the identities of the parties involved. She was no doubt enraged that her ex dared to write about her abusive behaviors (including ongoing alcohol abuse in front of the children) that were directly affecting him and their children.
The only reason PEW is no longer anonymous and that people following this story know that Allison Morelli is PEW is because Ms Morelli, in what appears to be a desire to control her ex and portray herself as the victim, told anyone and everyone who would listen, that she is PEW — including her own children, in whose best interests she claims to be acting.
Ms Morelli brought her complaint regarding PEW to Judge Gibbons because she alleges the children are hurt by the existence of the website — blithely ignoring the fact that the only reason their children know about PEW is because she, their mother, told them about it.
If the existence of PEW hurts the children and the only reason the children know about PEW is because Ms Morelli told them, then it is Ms Morelli who is hurting the children.
Why would she tell their children about PEW if she was so concerned for their welfare?
Because she’s not concerned about her children’s welfare. She seems to have done what many a high-conflict person/abusive personality disordered individual/Golden Uterus do; she appears to be superimposing her own needs, feelings and wants onto the children. She is the one who is hurt, angry, outraged and humiliated (by her own behavior documented on PEW).
Ms Morelli brought their children into this mess she created in order to manipulate the family court judge into giving her what she wanted — the eradication of PEW. Ms Morelli seems to be using her children as tools to get her own way, to meet her need to control, oppress and suppress and she didn’t care if her children were hurt by it.
The golden uterus views mothering as a title rather than a relationship and a set of behaviors. Mothering requires selflessness at times. It requires sacrifice at times. It requires paying attention to the child and putting your time and energy into meeting their needs, which also requires seeing the child as a unique and separate individual from yourself, not a mirror of your own thoughts, feelings, and needs. A golden uterus mother fails at mothering and instead uses her title to extort things from others “in the name of the child.” Essentially, they use their offspring as a way to get their own needs met.
The children weren’t hurt by the existence of a website they knew nothing about until Ms Morelli told them. Ms Morelli was hurt by the existence of the website. Her children were hurt because she told them, probably in some self-serving attempt to villain-ize their father while gaining their sympathy.
In classic HCP fashion, she seems to be twisting the facts and donning the victim’s mantle. And, for someone who’s supposedly so concerned about PEW hurting the children, well, going on The Today Show, sure is a strange way to protect your privacy and children from a website you’re worried will cause you public humiliation.
Perhaps Ms Morelli thought if she could persuade Judge Gibbons to order Mr Morelli to shut down PEW that would be the end of it. Perhaps Ms Morelli thought she would be able to shut her ex up and do a victory lap around the courthouse. Perhaps she didn’t count on Mr Morelli fighting back.
In any event, her desire to control her ex and stop him from publishing an anonymous blog that documents her abusive behavior has blown up in her face. And now, the thing she was most afraid of, public exposure and humiliation, she has effectively brought upon herself.
In The Today Show segment, Dr Gail Salz plays armchair analyst and disapprovingly says:
“[Mr Morelli] may be right legally, but he’s not right, in terms of the family,” she told Matt Lauer. “Because at the end of the day, when a couple gets divorced you know the fallout for children. And the only way to try to help to be the healthiest for them is to preserve two good parents, even if they don’t want to be together. But it’s your job to help say to some degree, ‘Your mom’s an okay person and loves you.’ “
In response to Dr Salz’s misplaced judgment, Whenthescapegoatquits, a Shrink4Men community member, writes on her blog:
Frankly, I call bullshit on this one. When you’re dealing with a PDed [personality disordered] parent/spouse, all bets are off. Normal rules don’t apply. . . Basically, if you follow the rules this psychiatrist is suggesting with a PDed person, you get parental alienation . . .
I’ve been in therapy for over 2 years now trying to undo the abuse and crap I was put through by my mother. I found out from my dad’s partner that he was really upset about some of what was going on, but was afraid to say anything because of the conventional wisdom, don’t talk against the other parent. While this may be true in cases with psychologically healthy parents, it’s dangerous when dealing with PDed parents. The psychiatric and psychological profession needs to stop enabling these abusers this way.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
For those of you fortunate souls who’ve yet to deal with a high-conflict narcissist, borderline, histrionic, what have you, you simply have no idea what it’s like. No, really, you don’t.
Normal rules of engagement do not apply. Normal codes of conduct, consideration and decency do not apply. These are individuals with little to no empathy (or very selective empathy reserved exclusively for themselves and those whom they are currently splitting white), no conscience and no personal accountability nor responsibility. Everything that goes wrong in their lives is always the fault of someone else. They’re never to blame for their actions and poor choices.
They victimize others without batting and eye and then wail like infants who’ve had boiling water poured on them if anyone dares hold them accountable. They do not play fair and there’s no depth too low for them to sink in their efforts to retain control over everyone in their sphere.
They will light your house on fire and then blame you. They will tell you that you forced them to pour the gasoline and strike the match because you didn’t respond to one of their text messages quickly enough. Even their own children are not exempt from their dark natures.
These are schoolyard bullies/mean girls in adult bodies. Ironically, when anyone tries to hold them accountable for their bullying and other misdeeds, they’re incredibly masterful at flipping the situation and portraying the person they’ve been victimizing as the abusive jerk.
When others try to implement healthy, protective boundaries, these people typically accuse their targets of “trying to control them.” When you try to hold these people accountable for their behaviors, they flip the situation (DARVO) and accuse you of abusing them.
These people exist. Believe it.
Now, what about the children?
It’s unclear if the children have viewed the website or only know of its existence. Nevertheless, the PEW is out of the bag, so to speak.
My guess is that no matter how little or how much the children actually know, they know something isn’t right with their parents who continue to engage in conflict years after their divorce was finalized. Sometimes, the best thing you can do when dealing with an HCP is to drop the rope. Ultimately, the HCP’s goal is to keep you engaged in conflict with them — no matter what they say to the contrary.
Allison Morelli isn’t a unique case. She’s not a special, one of a kind snowflake. There are millions of abusive women just like her in the world, which is why sites like Shrink4Men and PEW have audiences. The psycho ex-wife or psycho ex-husband is an archetype; a universal motif.
It’s too bad that Ms Morelli’s feelings were hurt by PEW, but where’s the compassion and concern for people who have been damaged, and I do mean damaged, by their own psycho partners and exes and parents? It’s unlikely that Ms Morelli has even considered the harm and pain she’s inflicted over the years to her ex and children.
Furthermore, PEW is about so much more than Allison Morelli, just like Shrink4Men is more than its name implies. It’s about shining a light on the craziness and abuse many, many men and women endure in their relationships, be it with a current partner or an ex who has committed her or his life to making you as miserable as she or he is. It’s equally unlikely that Ms Morelli, in her myopic focus on her feeelings, has considered the thousands of people who get a tremendous amount of support by visiting PEW.
Then again, this is the same woman, who in a breathtaking act of selfishness, told their children about PEW.
Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do if I were in Mr Morelli’s shoes. When Shrink4Men was attacked by a gang of cyber-bullies last year, I considered closing down S4M. As many of you know, being in the crosshairs of HCPs on an obsessive mission to silence and destroy anyone who dares speak out against their abusive ways is a very unpleasant place to be.
Then I considered the lack of resources for men involved with abusive women and the sense of community and support shared by the men and women who frequent Shrink4Men and I fought back.
If I were Mr Morelli, I would fight tooth and nail to save PEW. Granted, I’m not writing about a specific individual with whom I was once in a relationship. Most of my writing is drawn from my professional experiences and the news. I’m also not a parent.
Nevertheless, I’d probably rethink the focus of the website and shift it away from the specific antics of Ms Morelli and focus more on abusive personalities as a group.* Not because of Ms Morelli’s destructive behavior and not because Mr Morelli doesn’t have the right to publish his experiences, but because of the children. Someone has to be the grown-up and Mr Morelli seems like the best bet in this scenario.
Ms Morelli will no doubt continue to bang her victim drum as long as PEW exists in its current form and the children have to live with this woman and her self-created drama — at least part-time. Furthermore, even if Mr Morelli wins his right to free speech, Judge Gibbons could give sole custody to Ms Morelli and deny Mr Morelli access. In either of these scenarios, Ms Morelli wins. Crafty.
Then again, if Mr Morelli can maintain shared custody, PEW will be just another grievance in a long line of badmouthing and other alienating behaviors Ms Morelli will most likely continue to perpetrate against Mr Morelli and their children. It also gives Ms Morelli the nugget or highly cherry picked “evidence” HCPs like to point to in order to show they’re the “victim” and you’re the jerk.
What would you do?
Would you do as Dr Salz and Judge Gibbons dictate and take down the site?
Would you fight it?
How would you explain the situation to your children?
[*Please note, Mr Morelli may have already been writing about abusive personalities in general. I don’t know how much PEW content specifically relates to Ms Morelli.]
Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. Coaching individuals through high-conflict divorce and custody cases is also an area of expertise. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for more information.
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