I’m visiting the blog less. I sometimes wonder if that is a good sign. That I’m not dwelling on the crappy parts of my life…because I tend to seek out this forum when I need reassurances and support that I don’t seek from my peripheral life. I always share my disappointments and fears with my mom and my closest bestie, but the rest of my “community” around me doesn’t really know the inner struggles I face. I am one big “front” of strength and assuredness. Little do they all know…
…I fell apart yesterday. It has been awhile since I’ve had a moment like this…the doubt, the frustration, the crushing feeling of loss and self pity. Why yesterday though…
…I’m sure you can guess. Yet another run in with the ex. I just need to keep my mouth shut and remain superficial with my interactions. But the guilt I feel that this isn’t the “healthy” new age way to deal with the father of my children because “GOSH, don’t I know he is willing to be ‘friends’ and what’s my problem anyway?”
My problem. Well, my problem is this…I’m a highly emotional human being.
I have feelings.
I think about things.
I over analyze things.
I lean towards self-righteous at the same time I self-deprecate.
It’s the rational vs. the emotional. My emotional is strong. I can’t help it. Sometimes it takes over without my consent. Trust me, I continuously work at overriding it. 😦
SO the incident THIS time…
My ex has an opportunity to return to a job position he previously held that requires more travel, and this time back at it, more leadership opportunities to puff him up and make him feel like a hero and ‘the man’. He is using the opportunity to “make more money” as an excuse to justify his desire to be the “big man” again, and even admitted so during our conversation. (wouldn’t the money help with the house situation?)
So why did this throw me over the edge you ask??
My son (14) and I had a conversation about the job prospect just recently. My son expressed that he doesn’t feel that his dad has been there for him for a long time (even before the divorce) and so their relationship lacks trust and faith. He mentioned my ex’s comments about returning to this position and his lack of desire for that to happen. When I asked if he had talked to his dad about it, he said all he told his dad was that he didn’t like that he would be away on travel again and the routine would be disrupted. He didn’t feel secure in telling him that he felt it threated their already weak relationship.
So now fast forward to yesterday. My ex, yet again, brings up this job prospect TO ME. I have made a habit of each time he brings it up, telling him he has to do what he thinks is best for him. I have given NO personal opinions.
Yesterday when he brought it up YET AGAIN, I asked, “have you talked to the kids about it?”
His response was “yes, (our son) says he doesn’t like how it will affect the routine, (our oldest daughter) seems to be indifferent, and (our youngest daughter) is fine with it and doesn’t seem to care one way or the other.”
Why? Why did I feel it necessary to translate this to him? This is how I explained it to him…
1. Our youngest is fine and doesn’t seem to care, because she really has no clue what consequences this job change will create for her…as far as she is concerned, a job is a job is a job…she doesn’t see that it will take you away from her because that’s the parent’s job to see that potential and weigh it against the possible trade offs.
2. Our oldest daughter is indifferent, because she is indifferent about even going with you on your visitation time as it is! (which my ex attributes to her being a teen and ‘distancing herself’ from him naturally – sorry, but I consider this a clueless denial that their relationship is broken because of their interactions and his dealings with things in general)
3. Our son is NOT overly concerned with the “routine” but rather that you won’t be available and you will continue cancelling visitation more often than you do now and being absent more than you are present, like it was before when you had this job.
Then I made the mistake.
My ex had made a comment that if he takes the job, he is hoping that I will/can be “accommodating” and understanding with his availability. Translation: He can no longer keep to a schedule for visitation. He will need me to work around his schedule and allow him to see the kids whenever he has time available.
*sidenote: Um, why do I need to schedule mine and the kids’ lives around YOUR schedule, just because you know you can always count on me to be here – BECAUSE I AM THEIR MOM AND I ALWAYS WILL BE HERE!!
So what was my mistake?
I opened up a bit about his relationship with his son…I commented that I thought if he took the job, that it would ruin the already strained relationship.
He had no idea!
As far as he was concerned, his relationship with our son is just fine.
Ok. Maybe I’m just delusional. Maybe my son is totally playing me. Maybe he is totally playing me AND my ex and feeding EACH of us the same line of “I don’t have a good relationship with XXX”…but I don’t think so.
So then my ex wanted to know just what I meant about ‘strained’ and I disclosed some of the concerns our son has shared with me. I disclosed emotional content to him.
I don’t feel that I betrayed my son in any way…that isn’t my issue.
My issue is that I give of myself and my emotions in an effort to help…and I empty myself with no return. No emotional investment comes back in any way. No disclosure of emotions or response other than “thanks for sharing and talking with me today”. And not only that, but there is never really any change of behavior…or acceptance that there is a situation at all that needs to be dealt with. I show vulnerability and he thanks me for it. That’s it. Thanks.
And then when our conversation was all over, and I expressed that I can’t and don’t have these types of conversations with him for just that reason…that it’s always one sided and there is never really reciprocation, he then expresses how it’s my fault he doesn’t, because he “doesn’t feel safe” talking to me out of fear of “being judged”. Blame. Blame. Blame.
I expressed that for my own emotional health, I need to keep my distance from him. I’m sure he doesn’t get it. I can discuss the kids in a general way, but I can’t invest myself in other ways for my own wellbeing.
So ultimately my expectation is this…he may not accept this position…and he will say it is because I told him his relationship with his son will suffer. If it suffers anyway, he will believe that his not doing what he wanted to do with his life was “my fault”…I will again be the blame bag to dump on.
Eliminating the emotional connection with him is my only recourse from continuing to feel like the blame bag of emptiness.
I will continue to try and help my children navigate this situation and their relationship with their dad in any way I can to help make it easier for them…
I am not here to help him with HIS relationship with the kids…
I am not HIS mom…
I have to protect myself.
I get ya…
I wrote about this just the other day in my private journal (not on my blog), about how it is interesting that I found it so hard to let go of the thought that I had to make things work for him. It is almost as if I cannot let go of that ‘wife’ role, you know the caring bit. I sometimes still feel that it is up to me to make things right between him and the children. I would say, of all the things to ‘let-go’ of, that is one of the last one that lingers.
The other one, that is even harder, is that I feel it is my role to ensure the divorce will have no negative ramifications for the children. Mrs Fixit. Mum will make it right for everyone.
I have trouble letting that one go as well.
It is mind-blowing really that he was able to let-go of me completely without a backward glance and yet I cling on to this ‘duty’ to him (for our children’s sake).
I am not sure whether I have provided any help to you today, except to let you know that I understand what you mean because I am still in that place too. Although my situation is a bit easier because my children are older and can make the connections to him themselves, it is still hard not to feel for them when the effects hit them hard.
Elizabeth, it definitely helps to know it’s not unusual or me being psychotic! lol I think it may be easier if I didn’t feel that he truly still believes that I SHOULD be fixing things for him! I don’t know how one person can be so skewed in their thinking. It almost makes me question my own rational thinking and wonder if it truly is ME that doesn’t ‘get it’ in some way. The crazy cycle continues! hahaha At least I can laugh at it these days…much better than a couple years ago…or even last year…thanks for reading and commenting.
Almost 9 years on I can still feel this way with regard to my ex! However, the realisation that I respond emotionally first and rationally second has helped me in dealing with these situations. I work on the principle that I cannot change him, only my reactions to him and the situations he creates. Sometimes it means I have to hold my breath & not speak at all. I try to deal with emails & texts factually, it’s not natural to me, but it does help. You’re not alone and you desire for you children to be ok is what’s driving you. They WILL be ok, because they have a mother who cares x
I try to curb my emotional reactions as well. Sometime it works better than others…somehow he always figures out the way to find the button to push that I have tried to hide…but then again, I must be letting him do it too in a way.
Pingback: Because it hurts… | Making Sense from MY Perspective