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Posted By: unchien The light approaches... slowly - 01/12/21 07:43 AM
Previous thread: https://www.divorcebusting.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=2912308
Posted By: 97Hope Re: The light approaches... slowly - 01/12/21 03:14 PM
Hi U!

Ugh. I'm in the last gasps of my D proceedings as well and my X is re-writing history.
Unlike you, I never hear directly from him.

Stay strong!! Thanks for sharing. It is encouraging to see how far you have come!!

x
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 01/12/21 06:17 PM
Hey 97 - Sorry to hear that. I would be able to ignore the history re-writing if our kids were not involved.
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 02/10/21 05:03 PM
It's been about a month since I posted here.

My D proceedings are spinning into a death spiral with respect to finances. I don't want to get into the particulars as usual for privacy and legal concerns. I'm spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to hit the eject button and parachute out. Unfortunately I live in a state that is very bad for the primary wage earner in these situations. It's going to be really tough for a long time. I'd like to settle but my STBXW has not been open to negotiating.

It's almost been 2 years now, but I recall finding this site and vets like LH19 advising me not to move out of my home. I still contest it was the right move -- but only because of how my custody situation played out. I have my kids equal time now and I do not regret any steps I took along the way to achieve that goal, no matter the financial cost or emotional toll it took on me. I love spending time with my kids and I know these years when they are young are precious.

Financially leaving the house has only further entangled matters. An absolute disaster.

The glimpses I now see of my STBXW -- through court filings, or things my kids will say to me off-hand, or through the rare times we communicate on the court-monitored application -- still stun me a bit. I accept that there is a lot of resentment and emotional reasoning driving her. But I am a little shocked it has devolved to this level. She is incredibly manipulative - for instance, contacting teachers and doctors through back-channels to perpetuate her false narrative. I could post things for days here about what has been happening.

I feel like I've lost some faith in humanity along the way. I trust people a little bit less now. Even good people who I have no reason to distrust. I know there are evil, terrible people in the world. But this was a woman who at one point I decided to spend my life with, have kids with, build something together. You always hear about these high-conflict D's and think both people are crazy and have explosive personalities, that they must "feed off the conflict" or have personality disorders or some other thing wrong with them. "No way this could happen to me, even in the worst-case scenario."

It happens. It's hard to come to terms with that.
Posted By: NickWing Re: The light approaches... slowly - 02/10/21 07:00 PM
Originally Posted by unchien


But this was a woman who at one point I decided to spend my life with, have kids with, build something together. You always hear about these high-conflict D's and think both people are crazy and have explosive personalities, that they must "feed off the conflict" or have personality disorders or some other thing wrong with them. "No way this could happen to me, even in the worst-case scenario."

It happens. It's hard to come to terms with that.


Brother, you said it. I was with my STBXW for 4 years before we married, and I wasnt young, I was 34. So I plenty of experience and plenty of time to judge who I was getting. She was my soul mate.

Now mine can't wait to get me out of the house so she can bring OM in. No morals at all.
Posted By: may22 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 02/10/21 08:15 PM
So sorry to hear that this keeps stretching out, but really happy to hear that you've now got 50/50 time with your kids. That is the most important thing, by far.

I have a very good friend who went through a difficult divorce and she has said the same thing to me, that she felt she had lost some faith in humanity and the ability to trust. I think that is totally understandable even as it feels heartbreaking... but I also don't know that you need to accept that as truth, forever. That is your truth today. In five years maybe you'll feel differently again. My friend has gained back a lot of what she had lost in terms of her ability to trust, and is in a relationship with a wonderful man. So don't write off the future. You've grown enormously through this entire situation and I am willing to bet your growth will continue. You are a very compassionate person. Don't forget to extend some of that towards yourself.
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 04/10/21 06:15 PM
Wow, 2 months has flown by. I have equal time with my kids, and with remote school and work and dealing with my second job (legal work) I am super busy. It's a circus at my house sometimes.

My D is still creeping along. There is movement recently away from litigation and towards a settlement on remaining financial matters which would be incredible. I don't want to jinx it. Some of the recent legal developments have probably pushed things in this direction.

I still lurk from time to time in Newcomers but I'm finding I don't have much to add. I wish everyone the best, but at the same time, I am grateful to be out of my MR. I'm likely to say "Don't put up with lousy treatment" but many of you likely have some chance of R, whereas I think my chances were nil. I can probably give a lot of great legal advice for people but that's not really the purpose of the forum here.

I'm in a new relationship now. In my previous relationships I tethered my emotions to the other person. If she's happy, I'm happy, that sort of thing. Probably due to a combination of NGS and CEN. I don't think about it that much anymore. What an awful way to live. It certainly contributed to my MR falling apart, but there's a lot of other more prominent reasons that things devolved. Other people's emotions and reactions don't impact me the way they used to anymore. I'm not bothered and stressed when someone's upset. If I feel they have been wronged, I apologize. If I don't, I validate. Self-differentiation is an amazing thing.

My GF is D'ed and has kids of her own and we both have busy lives. We enjoy time together and we give each other space for self-care and there's a heavy dose of reality. We both like being active outdoors and she is incredibly easy-going. It's just... really nice. If I feel like doing something, I say "Let's go do XYZ!" instead of "Hey, is it, um, okay, if sometime, maybe, we spend a little time doing XYZ?" I haven't told my kids and don't expect to for quite some time.

Most of what I've learned here I now apply to parenthood and work and friends and this new relationship. I'm always learning and I love that part of my life.

At some point I may jump over to the "Surviving" forum and post. In the meantime, I doubt I'll be updating my own sitch here. Things are great. Not perfect, just great. Things could have turned out much much differently. I could have much less time with my kids. DB helped me immensely in not reacting to the bait and handling my own sh*t.
Posted By: LH19 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 04/10/21 07:54 PM
Another DB success story! You were a broken man when you came to this board U. Now look at you. A man who is in complete charge of his life.

To me that’s what this site is about. Becoming the person you want to and meant to be on this planet.

Good for you U.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: The light approaches... slowly - 04/10/21 11:44 PM
U, love it! I can vouch for the emotional detachment in a R being so much nicer. It isn't that I don't care about her happiness, I do. But mine isn't tied to hers. It means I'm a much better, whole man for her too.

Great update sir! We always tell LBSs that they have this.... You're proof that if they do the work then that is true!!
Posted By: IronWill Re: The light approaches... slowly - 04/18/21 08:35 PM
Hi U

Glad to hear the update. Our situations have diverged very much from the beginning, but I am happy to hear that you are in a better place.

Stay strong my friend smile
Posted By: OnlyBent Re: The light approaches... slowly - 04/20/21 07:53 AM
Great stuff U. I haven't commented to you much but I have read you sitch cover to cover. Your journey has been impressive mate, keep at it, the journey never ends.
Posted By: Core Re: The light approaches... slowly - 04/25/21 02:26 PM
Great update U! You've been actively building a better life and the hard work is showing.
Posted By: DejaVu6 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 04/25/21 02:46 PM
Sounds like things are going really well for you U!! Thanks for the update. Always nice for people to hear about success stories like yours. Anytime you want to join us over on Surviving, you would be a welcome addition. (((HUGS)))
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/19/21 02:06 AM
Settlement complete.

I doubt I'll be continuing my thread. I might lurk and post here or there. You guys are partially responsible for me pulling my life together and getting through this, and I wanted to say a genuine thank you. Many of the people who helped me through this aren't active anymore. IronWill, AlisonUK, may22... LH, I know you are still here and I always appreciated your 2x4 smacks to my forehead even when I disagreed with them.

I have my kids half-time, I have a reasonable financial settlement, I have a future I am excited about.

I haven't posted much about the settlement process. It has gone months on end. When it came down to it, I drew a line in the sand and didn't flinch. STBXW said, "I know you are willing to go to court and waste more money rather than give me a little more" and I said "Good." I had enough. I was respectful but I had my limits and I made them clear. STBXW let me know that I ruined her life, none of this is fair, etc. And then she signed. All this unnecessary damage in the wake of the last 2 years, things I haven't posted about... and we're done with this process.

These situations are brutal and often heart-breaking and I wish you all the best.
Posted By: LH19 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/19/21 10:26 AM
U,

I’m so glad it is finally over for you and you can maybe get some peace. You came to this board an extremely anxious and broken man. You have come along way my friend! You have one of the worst WWs I can remember. Not from a wayward side but a human being side. I know you did your best to make her happy and yet you “ruined her life”. The resentment will burn over time. I see no reconciliation here and I am quite sure you have zero interest in it anyway.

I suspect you are like me and will always be a little tainted due to the breakup of your family. The taint fades and the new normal sets in. You jumped into a relationship pretty quick but I won’t ding you for it because I know you put the work in to get your head straight. Just be willing to walk away from anything that is not working for you.

Lastly, I’ll always remember that guy who use to pop on from time to time and tell you exactly what your ExW was going to do. He was spot on with his predictions. Guess it shows there are defined patterns for certain WS.

Take care and hopefully this provokes IW to come on and give us an update.
Posted By: OnlyBent Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/19/21 11:07 AM
Glad things have worked out as well as possible U. Would you say having gone through all this and working on yourself that you are grateful that it happened (even though it sucked)?
Posted By: IronWill Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/19/21 08:44 PM
Hi U -

I don't post much here anymore either but I drop by from time to time. TBH the events of 2-3 years ago feel like they happened to some other person. I'm not that guy anymore.

I think there is some irony inherent, once you fully reach acceptance and drop the rope, regardless of outcome, it just becomes life. My sit has calmed immensely. I don't feel like talking much about it anymore either, it is what the vets used to call a cheeseless tunnel. I don't know what the future holds either but that's alright, in life we never do.

I am very glad things have settled for you. It is not an easy task, but I think from what i read here both you and I are working at it and succeeding. I wish you well, my friend. Drop a line once in a while if you can smile

Stay strong smile

P.s. lol@ LH! Not much to report, my friend. If things change I will pop in to drop a line. Hope you are well also smile
Posted By: glhf Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/19/21 10:06 PM
Originally Posted by LH19
U,


Lastly, I’ll always remember that guy who use to pop on from time to time and tell you exactly what your ExW was going to do. He was spot on with his predictions. Guess it shows there are defined patterns for certain WS.



smile Want to know what's next U?
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/20/21 07:36 AM
Originally Posted by LH19
I suspect you are like me and will always be a little tainted due to the breakup of your family. The taint fades and the new normal sets in.
There's a certain amount of weight to everything, yes.

To your other comment, I would never R with my STBX. I can't even remember what I've shared here since I filed last March. I know I scaled back a lot on my postings. She truly burned it all to the ground and I will leave it at that. glhf had it right.

Originally Posted by OnlyBent
Glad things have worked out as well as possible U. Would you say having gone through all this and working on yourself that you are grateful that it happened (even though it sucked)?

Yes I am grateful OB. I imagine this is a common feeling around here. It's kind of a paradox -- a brutal process, but one that has left me happier.

Originally Posted by IronWill
I think there is some irony inherent, once you fully reach acceptance and drop the rope, regardless of outcome, it just becomes life. My sit has calmed immensely. I don't feel like talking much about it anymore either, it is what the vets used to call a cheeseless tunnel. I don't know what the future holds either but that's alright, in life we never do.
Really great to hear from you IW! I know what you mean about things just being what they are. I have so much to say and nothing to say at the same time. I'm glad things have calmed for you.

Originally Posted by glhf
Want to know what's next U?

What's next?! I want to know! (or maybe I don't....)

I went back and re-read your posts and, yeah, they were pretty much spot on. You posted right at the time I became fed up and hired a L. This process *was* hyper expensive. But we developed and executed a legal strategy that worked and, given the range of possible outcomes, I am happy. I worked my tail off, kept it business-like, and we got things done. I'll survive financially (fortunately) and I have my kids half-time.

I'm expecting in the future that my STBX will not make things easy. I told my L I'll keep her on speed-dial.
Posted By: MLCxH Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/20/21 08:39 AM
Congratulations on reaching a settlement. Hopefully this will let you move on and look forward to new goals. You have come a long way. When you first came to the board you were a classic example of how trying to nice your wife back does not work. I remember you had so little time with your kids that I had once even suggested you at least ask your WW for a dinner with the kids during the long gap between their time with you. It is only fitting that your final settlement happened with you doing a 180 drawing a line in the sand and refusing to cave in.

I have a feeling that now that the settlement is done, your interactions with WW will be a lot more pleasant. Good luck!!
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/20/21 04:39 PM
Thanks MLC - I was definitely trying to nice my W back for long before I even joined here, before things really unraveled. I still don't really understand what happened with her, but I'm also at peace with it and happy to have the life I have now.

She spewed a lot of vitriol my way last week as we finalized the settlement. I wasn't surprised, but we had gone a year of almost complete quiet other than handling logistics with our kids, so it was interesting to see that nothing had changed for her. She asked for a last minute 6 figure payment, which I declined (and offered not a penny more). She just lost it a couple times -- long ranting text threads, blaming me for everything and how none of this was fair. I guess that's how she needs to feel in order to justify her behavior and actions. Otherwise, she has to look in the mirror and accept that she dragged me through the mud, more or less extorted me for money for 2 years, made false accusations (these were not disagreements about what happened, but some outright falsifications) and has squeezed me for every last penny without accepting any responsibility to move on with her new life.

It seems like she's continued to heap all her unhappiness and resentments about her life onto me. Isn't that what happens in so many of these WAS situations (if not all)? The only reason we settled is that there was one thing my X thinks is going to bring her happiness, and there was a risk without settlement she would not get that one thing. Otherwise, guaranteed, she was going to drag this out for many more years.

Happy Father's Day to the dads out there!
Posted By: Traveler Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/20/21 05:21 PM
Hi Unchein,

Happy Father's Day! So happy you reached a settlement. I hope you continue to post here periodically. I definitely saw you mastering new skills as you worked through the process and am optimistic for your future.
Posted By: IronWill Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/20/21 05:53 PM
Happy Father's Day, U!

A thought - people are very rarely the villain in their own story. I think understanding will come in time but it will be on a lot longer timeline. My opinion: forgive her anyway. It's definitely not the easier route for you, but in time I think your kids will come to appreciate it.

Take care smile
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/22/21 03:56 PM
Forgiveness may be something later.

I'm not really consumed with resentment, nor do I see forgiveness blocking my ability to effectively coparent the kids and do my part to shield them from any conflict.

Mostly I'm consumed these days with other things. I have plenty to focus on in my life. I'm changing jobs in a few months (transition to a new role). I have 3 kids to take care of part-time. I'm moving in a few weeks. And I'm trying to plan out my finances now that there is a path out from the absolutely ridiculous spending vortex. I'm trying to be a better dad. Some family is visiting next month and it's been fun planning out adventures for the kids and their cousins.

I don't know, forgiveness is just not something I think about these days. I don't think it's really blocking me from some any sort of progress. And if I did, it's a little fresh 3 days after hearing what was fair is if she took the kids 1000 miles away and started a life without me. I've learned (with meditation and the like) that anger and acceptance can kind of balance out and co-exist, no need to try to completely resolve any of those feelings now.

Regarding villains -- I like the concept of the hero-villain-victim triangle and how people tend to use that framework to perpetuate unhealthy relationship dynamics. My X is not the villain, it just is what it is, we'll move on and adjust to our new lives. I'll never forget what happened, maybe I'll forgive (IDK, not really something on my mind) and that is that.
Posted By: MLCxH Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/22/21 04:54 PM
Forgiveness is a process and not a one time decision. There are things you will forgive her for immediately and there are other things that you may never forgive her for the rest of your life. Then there are others that you may forgive her and then some trigger occurs later and a wound opens up and you realize you have not really forgiven her smile

If forgiveness is not on your mind, that is probably a good thing because it shows you are not dwelling on the hurt. This will allow you to heal and as a consequence allow you to forgive faster
Posted By: SteveLW Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/22/21 07:43 PM
Forgiveness is not for the other person....it is for you! Bitterness, anger, resentment are a prison for YOU, not the person that has wronged you. Heck, in most cases the WAS doesn't even feel like they did anything wrong.

So forgive them FOR YOU, not for them.
Posted By: MLCxH Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/22/21 09:26 PM
Originally Posted by SteveLW
Forgiveness is not for the other person....it is for you! Bitterness, anger, resentment are a prison for YOU, not the person that has wronged you. Heck, in most cases the WAS doesn't even feel like they did anything wrong.

So forgive them FOR YOU, not for them.


You have a choice to not to forgive a person for their mistakes and at the same time choose not to be bitter, angry or resentful smile You can just choose to detach and cut them out of your life or at least some aspects of your life where they no longer influence your thoughts or feelings.
Posted By: Traveler Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/22/21 09:41 PM
Hi MLC,

Originally Posted by "Oxford Languages"
stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake.
"I don't think I'll ever forgive David for the way he treated her"

Originally Posted by "American Heritage"
To relent in being angry or in wishing to exact punishment for (an offense or fault).

If you stop feeling bitter, angry, and resentful you've forgiven a person.

To forgive doesn't mean to forget. I can forgive a person and still set a boundary of no contact.

Originally Posted by MLC
Then there are others that you may forgive her and then some trigger occurs later and a wound opens up and you realize you have not really forgiven her smile

Yes. There are people I have not fully forgiven. I like what unchien said about the last "offense" being 3 days fresh and not feeling the resentment is affecting his day-to-day coparenting. I agree we have to prioritize many options for self-improvement, letting go of anger and resentment being only one area.
Posted By: MLCxH Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/23/21 12:46 AM
Hi CW, I feel that is a simplistic definition of forgiveness. In reality, forgiveness is much more complex. If you are setting boundaries of no contact due to the prior actions of the other person, it means you are still affected by their actions and have not absolved them completely even if you choose not to be resentful.

But yes, if you go by that simple definition of forgiveness equating to not being resentful, I agree with what SteveLW said about forgiving for you and not the other person.
Posted By: may22 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/23/21 01:57 AM
Hi U,

So glad to hear from you and very relieved that the settlement has been finalized!

The discussion of forgiveness is really interesting to me as it is something I'm thinking about a lot right now. I know that DnJ talks about it on his thread over in MLC and there might be some helpful info for you there, if you have any interest. It doesn't sound like the lack of it is doing anything negative to you.

Hugs to your kids,

May
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/23/21 04:38 AM
Originally Posted by may22
The discussion of forgiveness is really interesting to me as it is something I'm thinking about a lot right now.

Thanks may, and glad to hear from you.

I actually couldn't care less about forgiveness right now. But that's what is interesting to me... trying to figure out why I don't care.

My legal situation was long and winding and something I didn't post much about here for obvious reasons. I had to detach quickly and learn to manage my interactions with XW almost perfectly, because literally everything that was said or written was liable to be filed as evidence in a courtroom. I couldn't say, "Whoops, slipped up today, raised voices with XW, what do you guys think?". She was insisting we exchange the kids in a dark location in the middle of the wilderness with no cameras, while at the same time insisting I was unsafe and dangerous. It was scary. She made false allegations. I cannot overemphasize this enough... I was under the microscope. She hired the most aggressive and notorious law firm in the area, known in particular for move-away cases. Because she refused to work for two years, I was literally on the hook to pay HER bills to fight me in court and limit my time with the kids. It is absolutely insane how the system works sometimes.

That is only the tip of the iceberg, for some flavor.

Anyways, I get it, some of you have situations that are tougher in some ways as far as questioning the relationship. You have partners that are waffling, or give you mixed signals. You still see the good in them, you still question why it can't work. They show you some hints of their old selves. Or you realize if you change that a MR 2.0 might be possible, if they are open to the idea. Maybe that's why forgiveness is more on your minds. I don't know.

My relationship was dead a long time ago. I don't miss it. I know what you all are probably thinking: "This is what WAS's do and sometime down the road they turn around and have to face their demons." Problem is, she's always been this way -- not accepting responsibility for relationship issues -- whether with her family, friends, whatever. I just don't care -- why would I want to spend any more time around somebody like that? I just missed the red flags when I met her. I have one life to live (not religious here) and worrying about whether to forgive my XW, who, quite honestly, did some absolutely heinous things the past few years -- it's just not going to happen.

Maybe I'll forgive one day. Right now I just don't care. At all. I'm not angry, I'm just indifferent to the idea. I just escaped a multi-year surreal nightmare. I just got a settlement. I'm out. I'm a better person for what I've gone through. I'm happy.
Posted By: Vapo Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/23/21 09:51 AM
Well done buddy. Happy for you. Now first you have to relearn how to breathe, take the air in with full lungs and you deserve to scream as you are victorious. As on of the last lines in my favorite movie of all times (Shawshank redemption) said: "Andy Dufresne - who crawled through a river of s*** and came out clean on the other side." That's you, buddy. You should be pround.
Posted By: IronWill Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/23/21 11:14 AM
As I said, it's not the easy or popular route. smile

Forgiveness is a process, not a destination. Its nothing you have to communicate out loud to anyone or even here on the forum. You just decide to start doing it and do it.

Neither of my parents forgave each other following their D. They are old and bitter now. Because of that, my siblings have recently decided that even our sibling relationship, which was a strong bond for decades, is now no longer worth keeping. Its breaking my heart but I get it.

Not saying that will happen for you. Every situation is unique. It is only one potential real world outcome. It is what it is and life goes on.

I'm sorry you had to go through everything you did. It sounds horrible. I can't imagine how difficult it must have been. Processing it will take time.

Take care smile
Posted By: SteveLW Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/23/21 11:52 AM
Originally Posted by MLCxH
Hi CW, I feel that is a simplistic definition of forgiveness. In reality, forgiveness is much more complex. If you are setting boundaries of no contact due to the prior actions of the other person, it means you are still affected by their actions and have not absolved them completely even if you choose not to be resentful.

But yes, if you go by that simple definition of forgiveness equating to not being resentful, I agree with what SteveLW said about forgiving for you and not the other person.


I agree it is more complex than the simple definition of it. However, I do think forgiving and holding a person accountable are two different things. I think that is what CW was getting to. An example of that is when a victim's family forgives a murderer for their crime. They still expect that the person spend the rest of their life in prison. Forgiven actions still have consequences. Not sure if you're a Bible student at all but even the Biblical definition of forgiveness still involves consequences.

But in general forgiveness involves letting go of the bitterness, anger and resentment over a past wrong. That, as CW pointed out, doesn't mean you forget the wrong as the best predictor of future behavior is past, relevant behavior. If someone steals money from me I can forgive them, but it doesn't mean I put them in charge of my wallet in the future
Posted By: SteveLW Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/23/21 12:26 PM
Originally Posted by unchien
Originally Posted by may22
The discussion of forgiveness is really interesting to me as it is something I'm thinking about a lot right now.

Thanks may, and glad to hear from you.

I actually couldn't care less about forgiveness right now. But that's what is interesting to me... trying to figure out why I don't care.

My legal situation was long and winding and something I didn't post much about here for obvious reasons. I had to detach quickly and learn to manage my interactions with XW almost perfectly, because literally everything that was said or written was liable to be filed as evidence in a courtroom. I couldn't say, "Whoops, slipped up today, raised voices with XW, what do you guys think?". She was insisting we exchange the kids in a dark location in the middle of the wilderness with no cameras, while at the same time insisting I was unsafe and dangerous. It was scary. She made false allegations. I cannot overemphasize this enough... I was under the microscope. She hired the most aggressive and notorious law firm in the area, known in particular for move-away cases. Because she refused to work for two years, I was literally on the hook to pay HER bills to fight me in court and limit my time with the kids. It is absolutely insane how the system works sometimes.

That is only the tip of the iceberg, for some flavor.

Anyways, I get it, some of you have situations that are tougher in some ways as far as questioning the relationship. You have partners that are waffling, or give you mixed signals. You still see the good in them, you still question why it can't work. They show you some hints of their old selves. Or you realize if you change that a MR 2.0 might be possible, if they are open to the idea. Maybe that's why forgiveness is more on your minds. I don't know.

My relationship was dead a long time ago. I don't miss it. I know what you all are probably thinking: "This is what WAS's do and sometime down the road they turn around and have to face their demons." Problem is, she's always been this way -- not accepting responsibility for relationship issues -- whether with her family, friends, whatever. I just don't care -- why would I want to spend any more time around somebody like that? I just missed the red flags when I met her. I have one life to live (not religious here) and worrying about whether to forgive my XW, who, quite honestly, did some absolutely heinous things the past few years -- it's just not going to happen.

Maybe I'll forgive one day. Right now I just don't care. At all. I'm not angry, I'm just indifferent to the idea. I just escaped a multi-year surreal nightmare. I just got a settlement. I'm out. I'm a better person for what I've gone through. I'm happy.


Completely understandable, unchien. I often refer to these sitches as trauma. Trauma is not easily overcome. (Coincidentally, this is also why I'm a huge advocate for IC for the LBS. Trauma requires counseling to properly navigate.) Understand we are on your side!
Posted By: LH19 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/23/21 12:55 PM
Originally Posted by SteveLW
Forgiveness is not for the other person....it is for you! So forgive them FOR YOU, not for them.

So this to me is is like telling someone to detach. Yep it's a great and beautiful concept if it were only that easy. I absolutely think you can not forgive and not be bitter. I also think forgiveness can come over time just like detachment. There are so many variables.

Let's also remember that if forgiveness was so easy we wouldn't have any LBS in this forum.
Posted By: wayfarer Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/23/21 01:13 PM
There's a school of thought in the universe that forgiveness is some grand gesture bestowed upon the transgressor by the transgressed. That some how the transgressed person is a morally superior being who is given the power to wield that forgiveness or withhold it. In my life long experiences with awful people some in my life by chance some by choice that's simply not what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is a gift to yourself. It's a path to walk away from all the anger, all the hurt, all the frustration, all the trauma. It's an opportunity to release yourself from the shackles of that time in your life and the power a person like that holds over you. Forgiveness isn't some magical absolvent of all transgressions and ill will. It's a process of relinquishing control. It's the ultimate level of detachment.

This isn't an attack on you or your progress. This isn't a 2x4. Forgiveness is a genuine part of the process here. People who ignore it or don't think it's necessary often find themselves much too far down the road wrapped up in emotional baggage, and bitterness leaving them very much alone to further spiral into more bitterness (i.e. IW's parents). You don't need to forgive exW today, tomorrow or next week. It's wonderful that you've reached a level of apathy with exW. It's also perfectly normal and acceptable to settle in to your new hopefully calmer less traumatic life before continuing on your healing journey. We all need respite. We all need times to just luxuriate in the relief of closing a chapter. But it's important that you don't get complacent in your process here. Apathy and indifference are far too often just the result of burying all the other feelings because that's what's easiest to move on in the immediate. I think that's the the main sentiment here, a reminder that the next step in this whole disaster isn't a continuous state of apathy or indifference. That at some point some day if you want to be a whole, happy, healthy U, long term, you'll need to start exploring the path of forgiveness, what it means, what it looks like, and what you need to forgive yourself for in the process. And like Steve said more often than not it's best to be going on this journey with IC. An unbiased 3rd party to hold you accountable and conversely has no truly vested interest so won't rush you through the process.

I preach about this like it's gospel. If you look at a lot of my posts to people nearing the end I bring it up over and over because understanding this fully helped me recover from my childhood trauma, and my exH. Releasing myself from the chains that bind me to people who've hurt me, who've scarred me, has changed my entire outlook on myself, my boundaries, my relationships and my chronic depression.
Posted By: may22 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/24/21 01:27 AM
U,

You have gone through SO. MUCH. I truly can't imagine how it must have felt to have the person who you chose to spend your life with and raise children together with act in the ways she has. It is simply wrong, on so many levels. I am really glad you updated as I think about you often and truly, what you have gone through--at the hands of a person who you trusted and loved--is difficult to comprehend. You are strong and I am so happy to hear you are on the other side of all this.

In reading through your post and the responses of others, I guess I would just share a few thoughts for you to take or leave:

-- you deserve a break and you should take one. You have had to be so "on" all the time to defend yourself and your children that I hope you can give yourself a major mental break for awhile, to heal and recuperate.

-- I agree that what you have gone through can rightly be called trauma.

-- I guess I wonder if you have been able to truly grieve and process all the feelings and loss you have experienced? Not saying the loss of your XW (you are certainly better off without that toxicity any more in your life than necessary) but the loss of what you thought you had, the loss of the dreams you had together? Not that this would be the appropriate time for any of that, but I do agree with WF that perhaps the current detachment you are experiencing is a trauma response and that you will probably want to address what lies beneath at some point in the future. Maybe something to consider in the new year, to at least check in with yourself?

--I know you practice yoga and meditation and surf (which I think I remember you saying was kind of a meditative process for you). Are you still doing this? I feel -- at least when you were posting regularly before-- that you were someone who was really in touch with yourself and honest with yourself about how you were doing. My question is to you is-- do YOU think you're burying your feelings under the detachment or were you able to process it all in real time? This has been such a lengthy situation and you do have such self-awareness that it is quite possible you have. And again... no need to dig into any of this now. Just a question for some time in the future, once you've been able to breathe again for a bit.

And if you are still regularly practicing meditation-- what do you think about the loving kindness meditation? That might be helpful for you, once you're ready, to think about forgiveness in a different way.

xx M
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/27/21 02:15 AM
I'm going to take a break from discussing forgiveness because, well, things are a little bit hectic here.

I just accepted a new position where I work which I am very excited about. I also am packing up to move out of the house I moved into 2 years ago this weekend. I have a lot of heavy mixed emotions -- remembering unpacking while going nearly 3 weeks without seeing my kids, learning how to be single father, spending so much time in the house during the pandemic. My youngest has been crying that she will miss this house, and I guess a part of me will miss it too, but to me it represents a transition that is ending now and there are great things ahead.

Originally Posted by may22
-- I guess I wonder if you have been able to truly grieve and process all the feelings and loss you have experienced? Not saying the loss of your XW (you are certainly better off without that toxicity any more in your life than necessary) but the loss of what you thought you had, the loss of the dreams you had together? Not that this would be the appropriate time for any of that, but I do agree with WF that perhaps the current detachment you are experiencing is a trauma response and that you will probably want to address what lies beneath at some point in the future. Maybe something to consider in the new year, to at least check in with yourself?
Oh, there's definitely some complicated emotions. What works for me is what I've learned from meditation -- being curious and observant about what's going on with me emotionally without any urge or need to resolve it. Unfortunately I've been slacking on both surf and meditation with all the things going on in my life lately (although ultimately, that's just excuse making, isn't it?)

I devoured books about my situation when I first moved out. I posted here a ton, I was staying up all night reading other people's situations and connecting with certain aspects. I had this need to resolve things. Problem solving, fixing. It doesn't work, and I was just burning energy spinning.

Maybe "try hard" works for some people. For me, I needed to just let things sit, like I said. And I started to sort things out and achieve some level of balance and equanimity. It's an elusive feeling but when it hits, it feels right. Like, I'm not ignoring things, but I'm also not letting those things define me. Easy to say, hard to do.

Another key thing that has helped me is self-care. Something as simple as not feeling guilty when I choose to be unproductive on a weekend because I need to unwind.

For now, mostly, I just need a break. It's been very intense. The negotiations became intense. My XW was messaging me with all sorts of emotional bait and it went down to the last second. So I am going to unwind a bit and disconnect from that madness just a bit while I sort out my move. But I won't be ignoring what's going on with me and how it's affecting my happiness and my relationships with other people (most importantly my kids).
Posted By: Gigi123 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/27/21 07:59 AM
I havent read all of your sitch and it sounds like you need some time to sot on all of this. In terms of forgiveness i have started listening to an audibook, colin Tipping-radical forgiveness. Its a different concept to what we perceive as forgiveness, i was very much fighting it when i started listening, but its growing on me, and i realised that i havent fully forgiven H, although i was confident I had.
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/29/21 04:15 PM
Thanks Gigi. I'm under no illusions that I've forgiven my XW.

She tried to pave a legal road to move away with our kids. She would do it again tomorrow if she had the means. I cannot forgive that, nor do I think it would really be healthy to do that today. Maybe later.

I don't miss the relationship with my XW. That's not an angry response to the kid stuff. Times were bad and she refused to work on our MR in any meaningful way. I remember driving to work listening to communication podcasts for months, trying to figure out a way to do my part to help improve things. We tried marital counseling and she asked me to wash more dishes... then, when I did so, she complained I was too loud (even when I was literally setting them as softly as possible in the washer) or doing them at the wrong time. I was not passive-aggressive about it, I readily said "Yeah, I want to do anything that might help." There was no effort, it was a checklist item to tick off. Once a month she would unload on me late at night about everything I was doing wrong while I actively listened, didn't problem solve, etc. Then, before I could respond, say, "I'm tired, I'm going to bed" and storm off. Then she would complain I didn't go to bed right away either. She made wild accusations (porn addiction, affair) because, well... I don't know, that argument started with her being upset I didn't buy her enough jewelry for Christmas. I always thought... if I just connect with her feeling, even though her accusations are completely crazy and untrue, maybe we will start to patch things together. I gave her space and she accused me of being distant. If I came closer she asked for space.

She was unhappy when we moved, regretted moving, and it was all my fault. I could do nothing right. It was amazing how I would leave work earlier than any co-worker, arrive home, and somehow I was always 5 minutes late and the kids had already started eating dinner. She couldn't wait 5 minutes. Every day. I was stressed out of my mind trying to please someone who didn't care... at... all.

The dynamics were there for her to blame me for everything. At any point she could have said, "Unchien, I'm unhappy with this move, I'd like to work out a plan to move back." Never happened. Even post-S, at any point before things really turned south, she could have said, "Unchien, I would like to move back to my family. Can we work something out?" I recall telling friends I would have moved, and accepted less than half time with my kids, provided I had some financial security (because the job market for my skills is lousy where her family lives). Never did she approach me to discuss things in that way.

Instead, she dangled her threats in front of me for a year. I tried co-parenting counseling for 6 months, mediation for 3 months. She never changed. We were talking about her request for a pedicure in mediation, at $400/hr, because she had packed some of my stuff when I moved out of our house! Always "every other weekend" with the kids and that was it, with a "Maybe I'll give you an extra night once a month" if some vaguely defined milestones (set by her, of course) were met. Always withholding the kids, always dangling a carrot several months out. I got fed up, lawyered up, and here we are. Fortunately I had the financial means to do so. I feel horribly for people in these situation who don't have 6 figures to spend and have to deal with this BS (men or women). I have an amazing life ahead of me, and she's still blaming me for all her problems. Or CoVID (when it comes to refusing to work). Phew.

The red flags were there early on in our relationship. It is not like she used to be an effective communicator, or someone who took any responsibility for conflict in relationships. I just happened to be a deferential NG and went along with it. Part of the reason I have been estranged from my parents a few years is because of my parents (they wrote the letter after all)... but part of it is my XW driving that wedge in too. Conflict just magically always came up, over the most mundane and ridiculous topics. And then, to top it off, she brought it up in court as if I cut my parents off!

Anyways, I can forgive all of the above relationship stuff. I can, and I will. I never want to be with a partner who doesn't bother to accept any responsibility or try to communicate and worth through issues. Couples who don't learn to fight, break up.

BUT... I can't forgive the stuff with our kids. It's not like my situation is over. She will absolutely move away if she can. I have legal protections and all that, but she could still try. Family court allows for all kinds of crazy things.

I think it is futile and pointless to work towards forgiving something that is a continuing situation. That's what I'm trying to say.
Posted By: Gigi123 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/29/21 05:39 PM
Im not sure why your wife wanted to move away, but it interesting to read this. I dont want to go into a load of details about my sitch, but im very much considering moving country and the kids would come with me. I want to add straight away, this decision isnt taken lightly and it has nothing to do with H. This decision is around my life going forward and a place where the whole of my family is. At the moment i have literally no support of any kind, and because of covid i havent seen my family since last august! And this just isnt the life i want to lead. I absolutely have the moral dilemma about taking the kids away. So i either stay and give up on my life close to my loved ones allowing the kids to see their dad twice per week. Or i move, have a great support network and a social circle, but that would mean facetime for the kids and seeing H a couple of times per year.
I obviously want my kids to be happy, but i want to be happy too! I guess just a different perspective on the whole moving away thing.
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/29/21 06:18 PM
Gigi ~ I don't know much about your situation so I'm not going to make the common mistake of conflating your situation with mine.

Happiness is found within.
Posted By: Gigi123 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 06/29/21 06:49 PM
Yes, absolutely, and im happy, but i could be happier, more comfortable, close to my parents who arent getting any younger, my brother and his family, all of my friends also.
I guess i picked up on your story because it was a male perspective on the situation. When H and I were together we planned to move to my home country together.

But I appreciate that the rationale for the move could be different for your W.
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 07/01/21 04:04 PM
It sounds like you two had a shared dream at one point to move to your home country, and your H is the WAS, so the dynamics may be different.

If you want to move back home, I urge you to be creative and think about ways to make that happen that give your H something he wants as well. It's not about what's fair or right. You have kids together and it is what it is. Otherwise, you are going to have to use the legal system. I also urge you to find happiness no matter your external circumstances.

As we were agreeing to the settlement terms, my STBXW let me know how unfair she thought everything was. What is fair, in her mind (or at least, expressed to me) was her moving back home to her friends and family and support network and better job opportunities and where she wants to live and it's best for the kids and on and on and on... She's made it clear she thinks I'm a bad father and person in court filings.

I can empathize with her desire to move home. I get it. If I didn't exist, that's what she would do and it makes sense. So....... why didn't she try to work something out? I *could* say that she's an uncompromising control freak, but that doesn't really demonstrate my DB skills. More kindly, I could say she was fully absorbed in her own world and probably didn't even consider that UC was a reasonable person who would work with her *provided she was also reasonable*. Trying to get her way with false accusations and court BS is a pretty bizarre tactic, but it does work sometimes and the court system allows it and there are plenty of L's willing to write whatever accusations you want them to write.

What frustrates me is that these dynamics are so common. Sometimes I wonder if there's a better system to help resolve D's for people, but I think there's no easy solution. There is an entire legal system in place to profit from the challenges people face in D. If at least one of the 2 people is going to act uncompromisingly, both are screwed. It just takes one person thinking "I want what's fair and I won't accept less" and then you head to nuclear war unless the other person is a shrinking violet. Sometimes both people want to destroy the other (not the case in my situation but I am aware it happens). There are lousy L's and ethical L's, but even the good ones can't help you if you are in a spiraling vortex headed towards legal and financial disaster. There's really only 2 options: (1) Bully your way into getting your adversary to back down; or (2) Work together with the other party to get a compromise which probably is bitter for you both to swallow but at least respects you both.

I tried #2 for 9 months. Counseling, mediation. This is what people do. They step up the ladder of conflict and try to resolve their D at the lowest rung in the simplest and most cost-effective way possible. Our mediator tried to cut down the tree limb by limb and resolve one issue at a time, and he saw that my STBXW was not going to budge on the issues that were important to me. There was no compromising. So mediation failed. By session 3 he was visibly frustrated with STBXW and telling us we were at an impasse.

I learned... I learned the way to deal with STBXW was not to compromise. I stood up for myself, always willing to compromise if she showed an inkling (which I made clear along the way), but not compromising by default. And it worked! She did not expect me to stand up for myself. We didn't end up settling financially because my STBXW was being reasonable. We settled because she backed herself into a corner with frivolous legal actions and put herself under enormous financial pressure. This was largely her own doing. If she didn't have that pressure, we would still be in court, with L's siphoning off our kids' future. This is how family court works.

Anyways... When I hear anyone (me, my STBXW, anyone on this forum or in real life) say what's "best for the kids", I automatically assume what follows is going to be something that is best for the person speaking and not actually, you know, for the kids. It's nearly always true. In fact, I would say what's best for my kids is probably not 50-50. What's best is having two parents actively involved in their lives (at least I think so based on the fact we both want that, and that is what experts say). Whether the timeshare has to be 50-50, well, that's just a tidy way for adults to handle these cases.

I share kids with a person and that complicates both of our lives. Neither of us want to have to deal with each other again. Too bad. The best thing for my kids is for me to figure out a way to co-parent and keep them out of the conflict. Oops I used the phrase =)
Posted By: Gigi123 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 07/01/21 07:41 PM
Thank you, i really dont take these thoughts lightly, these arent emotional responses to something that H does, he is a good dad, be it that a very different one now. The moral dilemma is there, its always in the back of my mind. When i moved here (uk) i was 18, i really had no plans to stay, my whole family was elsewhere, it was a gap year situation and nothing more. I met H and well it went from there, im generally a very happy person, but as i get older and particularly as the kids were born i yearned for a connection with my heritage, so we planned to move about 2.5/3 year ago.

I really dont know if there is a better way to D or separate, the reality is that noone really wins….i dont want to talk in absolutes, obv there are critical and abusive situations where you need to get out.
I tend to look at these situations not as bad or good, but certain lessons that i have to learn, things i have to work through.
I had some tricky situation at work with staff over the years and two particular ones were really testing and affected me a lot, back then i thought, why me? I look back and i realise that after each of those situations there was a breakthrough ib my life, it was work life, so it ended in promotions both times. Its like i had to go through those testing times to be rewarded. So i look at my situation with H the same, i need to work through this, this is changing me, making me better and somehow im grateful. I know there will be a breakthrough at the end. But im an adult and in control of my own life, as much as one can control things, but my kids are in the middle, and always will be. I absolutely agree with you that we make decisions based on what makes us happy, so in the best interest of the kids tends to be whats best for mum or dad, depending on circumstances. I don't really know anyone who is totally selfless when it comes to these things.
Posted By: MLCxH Re: The light approaches... slowly - 07/02/21 12:14 AM
Unichen, standing up to a bully is usually the best way to deal with them. Early in your sitch you actively enabled some of her bad behavior. Rather than blaming her, think about your actions. For example, you say she limited your time with the kids but what stopped you from refusing to move out of the house and accepting less time with the kids? As all the vets say, focus on your what you can control. This is true even in your process of healing and eventually forgiveness.

Gigi, I am not familiar with your sitch so I cannot offer specific advice. However, in my opinion children benefit from having both their parents involved in their life. If I were in your position, I would think about whether it is in the best interest of my kids to separate them from their father, especially if he is a good father to them. I would also think about how my kids would feel when they grow up and realize that I limited time with their other parent because it was convenient for ME. I am curious if the law there will allow you to move without the consent of the kids father?
Posted By: Gigi123 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 07/02/21 07:41 AM
I dont want to take over the thread with my issues. H is obv not keen for this to happen, but said he would always support the boys. Legally its complicated, kids have dual nationality. Essentially we could leave the country, and then everything else will have to go through court, which takes years. This is NOT what i want to happen for my children, not how i want to live either, looking over my shoulder constantly. So if this were to happen it would be with agreement from both parties around what this might look like.
Posted By: MLCxH Re: The light approaches... slowly - 07/03/21 12:22 AM
Gigi, it's a tough situation and I know it's not an easy decision for you or you exH. Prayers that you both can work something out that is an amicable solution!
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 07/27/21 05:55 AM
I always appreciated when some folks who went through this process posted regular updates so I'm hoping to pay it forward.

Busy month so far ~ I had to move to a new rental home and had a week off with my kids. Lawyers are trying to hammer out the final settlement agreement (we already agreed to basic terms) which is taking awhile, and I still have some massive legal bills to pay. I'm hoping I can get my feet set in the next year and start saving money rather than hemorrhaging, and find a more permanent living situation once I have access to money (although the housing market is insane right now).

The conclusion of my intense D has taken away something that was a major energy drain, but also something to focus on. It's strange sometimes to NOT have to work on legal things.

I feel a little lost at times ~ sort of a "what is the point of all this?" (I am not religious) ~ but I've learned at those times to go make myself busy -- go for a run, contact a friend, etc. I'm realizing I need to work on building up a support network now that things are opening up again to make this more manageable.

Originally Posted by MLCxH
For example, you say she limited your time with the kids but what stopped you from refusing to move out of the house and accepting less time with the kids? As all the vets say, focus on your what you can control. This is true even in your process of healing and eventually forgiveness.


I 100% agree that one shouldn't move out of the house absent an extenuating circumstance. There was a game of chicken going on because of the content of my apology letter and her implicit threats to file an RO and move away with the kids, things that a court in my state would have granted immediately and I would have had to fight for years to dig out of. She was consulting with the top move-away L in our area. Maybe she was bluffing and would not have gone through with it, but there is no way I could have handled the anxiety and stress at that time. It was incredibly toxic and she seemed like a loose cannon in the counseling sessions we were attending.

I fully admit there was a piece of me that still hoped for R. It's hard to disentangle that from the legal issues at hand. Because I definitely was adding other justifications to move out which were based on R hope -- and those I admit were very poor reasons.

I don't know, somehow, two years later, things have worked out. I'm lucky and grateful. I made mistakes, I know, but it worked out. It could have been much worse.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: The light approaches... slowly - 07/27/21 01:20 PM
"what is the point of all this?"

This is an outstanding question to ask. Having purpose in life, I believe, is ultra important to living your best life. If that means religion, great. If it means something else, that is great too. But I cannot imagine going through life with no purpose. With no end goal.

Also, I can tell you that I have witnessed people living purposeless lives in my circle of friends and family, and it seems like such an empty existence. So if that question is coming to you naturally, I think this is another 180/self-improvement opportunity! Find a purpose and live for it. Maybe it is to be the best dad that you can be. Maybe it is to find a vocation that you love and are passionate about. Maybe it is religion. Maybe it is being an inspiration to others, not just your kids.

This is why I encourage LBSs to do self-examination and figure out what their own core principles are, and then to live by those principles! Purpose driven living is fulfilling, rewarding, and satisfying.
Posted By: ballast Re: The light approaches... slowly - 07/27/21 01:41 PM
Great reply SteveLW!

There's great growth in the struggle through this, but you need to "get mean" with it and figure out for yourself how this seemingly horrible experience can actually make you a stronger, better person. That said though...it's a balancing act....don't get yourself stuck on dwelling. You must make the decision internally for yourself to move forward and not let this define your life and the person you are. When you are pushed, you must learn to stand up and keep going. I posted this elsewhere, but sharing here..."you can't be saved by what it was, you can only be saved by what it is"

-B
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 08/11/21 08:51 PM
Update ~

Coparenting is a continuing challenge. I find that I'm falling back to DB realizations -- in this case, that I'm hanging on to the hope rope of coparenting amicably -- and perhaps I need to let go.

My STBXW has a way of putting the kids in the middle. In one recent case, she had D7 excited about going to an activity during my parenting time before asking me. So then I'm in the position of either asking my boss to work a half day once a week, or disappoint D7.

She has been demanding to know my availability so she can schedule activities (rather than just propose activities). In the past, she used my schedule as part of her argument for why it was okay for the kids not to see me for regular 10 day stretches.

She also has encouraged my kids to ask me to change our custody schedule, which we just spent over a year in court over.

As badly as I want to coparent well, simply for my kids' sake, I find myself thinking I need to detach, let go, set boundaries, and stop renting out free headspace to my STBXW over these issues. Just like DB. It's hard for me to detach because I feel it is worse for the kids if we move to a parallel parenting approach, but at least for now, I don't see a better way.

Elsewhere, things are great. I ran a trail half-marathon recently and am training for more coming up. I'm almost a year into learning Spanish and still enjoying it. Kids seem to be adapting to my new rental house.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: The light approaches... slowly - 08/12/21 12:07 AM
Just do your best. Unfortunately, you can't control her, but I know the temptation to retaliate is probably strong. Just keep putting what's best for your kids first. Filter everything through that, what is best for them.

Congrats on the marathon and the Spanish. Always good to see a LBS doing productive things to deal with their sitch. Rather than self-destructive things. Well done! You're going to thrive again, you're well on your way following the path you're on.
Posted By: may22 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 08/12/21 01:46 AM
Hi U,

Hang in there. A few thoughts for you:

Quote
My STBXW has a way of putting the kids in the middle. In one recent case, she had D7 excited about going to an activity during my parenting time before asking me. So then I'm in the position of either asking my boss to work a half day once a week, or disappoint D7.

If you allow yourself to be manipulated on this one, what will she do next? I do agree with Steve that what's best for the kids should be your guiding principle, but on this one, unless it is a truly extraordinary opportunity for your D7, I'd just stick to the schedule and I'm so sorry, D7, we can't do this (but maybe you have another thing to suggest that does work with your schedule that you can do with her). Otherwise, I'm going to bet that more and more of these activities will crop up until you finally break. Don't let her use your children as a weapon against you. If she has a suggestion that works for you and your kids-- great! If she has a suggestion that doesn't-- oh well. You have plenty of activities you can plan, I'm sure, that will be great for your kids *and* work with your schedule. if you worry too much about disappointing your daughter over some unrealistic expectation that her mom gave her, you will always lose.

Quote
As badly as I want to coparent well, simply for my kids' sake, I find myself thinking I need to detach, let go, set boundaries, and stop renting out free headspace to my STBXW over these issues. Just like DB. It's hard for me to detach because I feel it is worse for the kids if we move to a parallel parenting approach, but at least for now, I don't see a better way.

I think detaching and dropping the rope on this one is exactly the right move. I remember in the thick of my sitch what really helped me was thinking-- you can't clap with one hand. It takes two people to be married and it takes two people to coparent successfully. It isn't worse for your kids to parallel parent if coparenting doesn't work or isn't an option. It sounds to me like successful coparenting simply isn't an option for you right now, no matter how much you might wish it would be. So-- focus on those kids and on yourself and be the best dad you can be without letting your ex get in the way.

(((U)))
Posted By: Traveler Re: The light approaches... slowly - 08/12/21 05:42 AM
Originally Posted by unchien
It's hard for me to detach because I feel it is worse for the kids if we move to a parallel parenting approach, but at least for now, I don't see a better way. I need to detach, let go, set boundaries, and stop renting out free headspace to my STBXW over these issues.
Hi Unchien,

Originally Posted by unchien
She has been demanding to know my availability so she can schedule activities (rather than just propose activities).
Does the label you use--"co-parenting" or "parallel parenting"--change this situation? Why do you feel angst over saying "No"? I'd say "No" even though my ex and I get along well. In general, it's none of her business what my schedule is beyond the agreed-upon custody schedule. Okay, I'd probably actually evade with, "Why do you ask?", and allow her to propose whatever she had in mind.

Originally Posted by unchien
In the past, she used my schedule as part of her argument for why it was okay for the kids not to see me for regular 10 day stretches.
Sounds like baggage. Can you let go of the past, and just say yes or no to the present request?

Originally Posted by unchien
She also has encouraged my kids to ask me to change our custody schedule, which we just spent over a year in court over.
Mine did that, too. "That's a Mommy and Daddy talk. Mommy and Daddy both agreed to this schedule." I refused to engage my kids on that topic. It came up after every handoff for like 3 months.

Originally Posted by unchien
In one recent case, she had D7 excited about going to an activity during my parenting time before asking me. So then I'm in the position of either asking my boss to work a half day once a week, or disappoint D7.
Wow, that's low and manipulative. You won't easily escape this game, either, but I can see why you may wish to reduce communication with her to the most essential items. That might be a wise approach until she reduces the manipulation and you're triggered less by her requests.
Posted By: DejaVu6 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 08/12/21 06:02 AM
That’s a tough one Unchien. My stepdaughter’s mom used to do that. She’d tell her that Daddy was going to take her skiing all day on her visit and then would mention right before the visit, “I’d like XH to take SD skiing on Saturday.” Sometimes she wouldn’t even do that and we’d hear from SD that mom said Dad was going to… In the meantime, we were both working full time and had two infants at home so he couldn’t just take off for a day and leave me with everything. Whenever that happened, we would just tell SD that we were sorry that her mom promised her but that she hadn’t spoken to us about her plans and it didn’t fit with our schedule. She may have been a bit disappointed but she also learned to take what her mom said with a grain of salt and not to expect it unless we told her ourselves that it was happening. We also set a boundary with her mom and told her not to plan any events for our time with SD. It took a few times but eventually she gave up when she figured out we weren’t going to play the game. Don’t worry about your D7 being disappointed once in awhile. Disappointment is a part of life and too many kids struggle to cope with it because their parents went to such great lengths to prevent it from happening. Think of it as an opportunity for her to develop some resiliency. This is a tough phase to go through Unchien. I promise you that it doesn’t last forever. Just keep being the best dad you can be. (((HUGS)))
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 08/12/21 10:02 PM
Thanks all for chiming in.

I don't feel angst about saying "no" but there is constant blowback.

I constantly hear how the kids are "struggling" because of what I did or didn't do. She makes it sound like the children are scarred for life because, for instance, I had to move houses recently (I rent). Or I went on a hiking trip and they were worried about my safety. Or I enrolled them in some after-school care.

I don't like the games going on with my kids, but I don't think there's much I can do other than let it go and not react.
Posted By: wayfarer Re: The light approaches... slowly - 08/13/21 04:39 PM
U,

Co- parenting is a super long road with a contentious ex. I know I'm not the only one who's done this a long time on here so I'm sure others can attest to the same thing. You will fluctuate between parallel parenting and true co-parenting from now until the end of time pretty much. My ex's involvement in parenting our D is based on his mental stability and who he's dating. However I'm the default parent regardless. We've had knock down drag out fights like I was ready to drive to his parents' house and go physically fight him in the street and he has like at least 7 inches on me kind of knock down drag out fights. We also have super sweet moments. Like he'll find something of hers from when she was little and send a pic of it to me and ask where that little girl went. Or we can joke about her himbo bf together. It's not a straight line to the finish line. And contrary to popular belief the finish line isn't at 18. I won't even discuss what we deal with with my H's ex. Maybe when you're more settled in to this or if your ExW proves to be crazy pants for the long haul.

Your kiddos are so little that I don't know that family therapy excluding mom or even trying to do what DejaVu did would work right now. I'd suggest both of those in the future.

I think for right now you can set strict boundaries, your decree should have everything spelled out as far as time with the kids. And I'm sure there are penalties. I know it's more money but if she keeps violating the court orders you can take her back to court. It's an option...(I wish there was a shrug emoji). I don't think this is a good time to just kind of let things slide. You may need to dig into the DBing bag and dig out some validation. But you may want to look into some co-parenting classes or books, or difficult communication books. I'd strongly suggest Difficult Conversations. I had to read it for a business related thing but there's a lot in there for more personal convos with difficult subject matter or difficult people. (Crucial Conversations will pop up when you search it. I've also read that for professional reasons. I think the Difficult book is much better applied to real life, and I prefer the methods.)

In the immediate I'd say things like:

-I'd really rather not deviate from the court order right now. I'd really like to stay on schedule for a little while until we get settled in to this routine. Maybe we can discuss day exchanges because of fun plans in the near future once were a little more practiced at this.

-No, I won't be giving up my time unless you plan on a fair day exchange 1 for 1. This is what's court order. I can bend on this so the kids won't be disappointed but that means you need to bend too.

-No, we can't do that. I'm sorry, you'll have to disappoint the kids but this is what's court ordered.

-I don't think it's necessary to assume the kids are struggling with every little change. No one likes change, but kids are resilient and if this change proves to be a continued problem we can address this down the line.

-I'm not saying that these kids aren't struggling, I'm not really seeing the same thing when they are with me. Could you be more explicit in why you feel that way so I can understand better?

-I don't really understand why the kids would worry for me while I'm hiking(etc). On our time I don't concern the kids with where you are or what you are doing on your time without them. That's your time just for you. They obviously miss you but they never worry. Can you help me to understand their anxiety around that better? I'd like to address that with them myself.

This kind of stuff works with my ex, and the exes of friends. I don't know how your ex will take it, but it's worth a try. Warning though, conversations like this are hit or miss with my H's ex. But she's not real good with deescalating conversations. She takes validation and any attempt at cooperation as patronizing even when it's sincere if she's in the wrong head space.
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 11/27/21 07:07 PM
WF ~ Thanks for the advice. Your last sentence sounds a lot like my STBXW.

Technically she'll be my XW as soon as our final settlement is signed off in court.

Having everything signed off is a huge relief. At the end of the day, we spent a minor fortune just to agree to equal time share and a reasonable financial settlement that I can live with, given the laws where I live. I have to shake my head at the complete waste of it all, given I made essentially that same offer before we ever went to court, but I know I'll be able to get back on my feet and move on.

There were 1 or 2 posters who chimed in anonymously once or twice on my thread who went through similar high-conflict situations. They were spot on. DB has been great for the other relationships in my life (kids, friends, colleagues, family) but the way to deal with XW was to stand up to her and craft and execute a plan.

Coparenting continues to be tough but that's going to be there always. I focus on what I can control and let the rest be noise. I may not like my kids being put in the middle for no reason, but if I can't control it, I just do my best to be there for my kids and ignore the noise.

I had the kids for Thanksgiving this week and we made a little feast for ourselves. It was very special for me -- the first Thanksgiving post-separation that I had them. They all helped cook a little feast (just the four of us) and we treated ourselves to pie for breakfast because, well, why not?
Posted By: SteveLW Re: The light approaches... slowly - 11/29/21 02:25 PM
u, it is awesome to hear from you and get an update. Sounds like things on your end are progressing. Just keep working on you! I especially love the bit about how your relationships have flourished with the changes you've made. That is what DBing is all about, becoming the best version of yourself you can. Sometimes the MR comes along for the ride, sometimes it doesn't. But as your update shows, the light at the end of the tunnel, one way or another, is real!

Great work here!
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/08/22 05:39 PM
Update ~ I always appreciated seeing "there is life after D with kids" posts from people like Gekko, Maika, etc. so here we go.

Things are going mostly great. I had the kids for a week off from school and took them skiing and snowboarding for the first time, which they all loved. I won't be working from home much longer, but for now it's been nice picking the kids up after school and getting some extra time with them while I work a bit in the late afternoons.

On a personal level, I ran a marathon recently after 6 months of training, something I thought I would never do. I'm planning to make a kitchen table in the next couple months during some free time. Things are going great with GF (also a parent of 3). She lives about an hour away, and we both are content with how things are given the realities of parenthood. We fill our free weekends mostly heading out for adventures. What I appreciate the most is being with someone who can communicate well, and the fact we both are in it for the adventure and not adding the pressure of expectations.

I was considering buying a house this spring to give some stability for my kids but the market here is crazy and I'm not comfortable putting all my savings into a house. For now I may rent for another year and wait until I'm more settled with finances. It's going to be tight but in 4 years my spousal support obligations expire and things will be much easier.

Things with XW are unchanged. We still exchange the kids at locations with cameras, primarily at my insistence given all the false allegations during our custody case. I think it makes things rough on the kids (not seeing their parents talk) and I'm hoping things gradually thaw for their sake. The kids don't talk much about what they do with XW (although the youngest let slip that BF has moved in). They tend to tell XW everything that happens at my house, and usually every 2-3 weeks I hear a complaint about something or other. I'm happy they feel comfortable sharing with their mom. The oldest 2 are in IC, but it is hard to tell how they feel about things, especially D8 who has some strong emotional outbursts from time to time. My approach is to just be consistent and solid for them as best as I can.

From time to time we go to coparenting counseling, usually initiated by XW over some perceived major issue. I don't mind going, but her approach seems to be to try to convince the counselor of her rightness, rather than trying to work together towards a solution. Recently, he suggested we have a short conversation in front of the kids, which we did -- she started telling me about her family and I mostly nodded and said "Oh" or whatever. We text or OFW about the kids once or twice a week. We still allow each other to video chat with the kids when they are with the other parent. XW often runs her calls up to an hour, sometimes having the kids read her books. I think it's too much and encroaching on my time with them, but haven't decided how to approach it. At times I have long calls with them, but usually it's a short 5 minute check-in... I'm usually busy with something or another.

As for my feelings, I would say I'm 90% indifferent with a 10% mix of residual resentment, not about the D but for how it actually transpired and the fallout on our kids. I'm a much happier person now. I'm a much better father now. I love my time with my kids, and I love my time without them. Things aren't perfect, and I often feel like I have no clue what I'm doing with life, but mostly I'm staying in the moment and enjoying the unpredictability of life.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/08/22 05:58 PM
Great update! Love it. Your XW is a piece of work. But you are managing that well. I agree 100% with you to keep meeting publicly to do the exchanges. She has shown herself capable of false accusations, and you have to protect yourself against that. Safety and security sometimes requires inconvenience. But this could be preventing more false accusations! So kudos for sticking to that.

The coparenting counseling bugs me. I feel like this is again her way of making things difficult for you. I will say, a lot of time exes that pushed for D and followed through get upset when the the LBS post-D moves forward with a new R. If things with the GF get serious, be prepared for your exW to get even more difficult. But you are handling all of this way better than I would!
Posted By: LH19 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/09/22 01:37 PM
Originally Posted by unchien
As for my feelings, I would say I'm 90% indifferent with a 10% mix of residual resentment, not about the D but for how it actually transpired and the fallout on our kids. I'm a much happier person now. I'm a much better father now. I love my time with my kids, and I love my time without them. Things aren't perfect, and I often feel like I have no clue what I'm doing with life, but mostly I'm staying in the moment and enjoying the unpredictability of life.
Hey U I could have wrote that word for word accept maybe a change to the percentages and I have a somewhat of a clue what I am doing lol.

Why do you think your exw is such a pain in the arse?
Posted By: BL42 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/09/22 04:19 PM
unchien,

Glad you checked in. Always good to read an update from folks and see how sitches progress over time.

Love the skiing/boarding with the kids, as well as the ability to work from home for more time with them around school (I can relate!).

Congrats on the marathon...that's a big accomplishment.

How did you meet GF being an hour away? Good you two are able to understand where you are in life with the kids and enjoy your weekend adventures.

Best of luck parenting w/ExW. Hopefully as you say things will thaw over time and the two of you can better collaborate when it comes to the kids. How are they handling everything btw? It must be tough for them.

Originally Posted by unchien
As for my feelings, I would say I'm 90% indifferent with a 10% mix of residual resentment, not about the D but for how it actually transpired and the fallout on our kids. I'm a much happier person now. I'm a much better father now. I love my time with my kids, and I love my time without them. Things aren't perfect, and I often feel like I have no clue what I'm doing with life, but mostly I'm staying in the moment and enjoying the unpredictability of life.
This is a great summary. Love the attitude and perspective! Keep it up.

Originally Posted by SteveLW
I will say, a lot of time exes that pushed for D and followed through get upset when the the LBS post-D moves forward with a new R. If things with the GF get serious, be prepared for your exW to get even more difficult. But you are handling all of this way better than I would!
Interesting. Have others here experienced that? I'm not there yet; it'd seem like it'd be a non-issue w/ExW moving OM2 in off the bat and them living together for a year and a half now, but who knows.
Posted By: LH19 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/09/22 04:47 PM
Originally Posted by BL42
Interesting. Have others here experienced that? I'm not there yet; it'd seem like it'd be a non-issue w/ExW moving OM2 in off the bat and them living together for a year and a half now, but who knows.
Yeah I know of a story where a LBH's new GF took his daughter to get her nails done and the WW went completely off the rails. Also my BF was dating a WW psycho and her ex got a GF and she flipped $hit and ending up going back to her Exh and remarrying him. Then of course she started contacting my BF years down the road.
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/10/22 06:52 PM
Originally Posted by SteveLW
The coparenting counseling bugs me. I feel like this is again her way of making things difficult for you. I will say, a lot of time exes that pushed for D and followed through get upset when the the LBS post-D moves forward with a new R. If things with the GF get serious, be prepared for your exW to get even more difficult. But you are handling all of this way better than I would!
Funny you mention it. My kids have met GF and her kids a couple times now and XW threw a minor fit. First she demanded I run a background check on GF, and contacted the coparent counselor to complain about how I treated her OM in the past.

The issue with OM in the past was that, while XW was withholding the children from me for 10 days at a time, I found out she had someone hanging around the kids who had been charged with a felony. I simply asked her what that was about, and she reacted like I made false accusations and allegations and denied it was him. She mentioned almost asking for a RO because I was "harassing" him. Of course it WAS him (some minor things from 20 years ago which she could have easily explained).

For anyone who has been through a custody case in family court, there is a lot of mudslinging. At one point, my youngest D (age 5 at the time) started coming to my house asking if it was okay for her to touch her own arm, her leg, wherever. XW started bugging me for helping her wipe after going to the bathroom. Sometimes D5 would have nightmares and crawl into my bed, which XW complained about. XW said D5 had redness in certain areas. I had already seen enough false allegations, so my L updated the court pointing out that it seemed XW was trying to lay the tracks for some absolutely egregious allegations, *OR* even worse that something might be happening to D5 that I was unaware of as I didn't know about the people around my kids... well, XW acts as if I made some sort of formal accusation about OM directly, when all I was doing was preventing some bogus allegations.

Anyways, that was 2 years ago now, but OM has moved in and she still makes comments from time to time how I mistreated him. So I think she has a little vindictiveness about it.

Originally Posted by LH19
Why do you think your exw is such a pain in the arse?
The obvious gut reaction would be that this is a way to keep the relationship going.

But... I think she is just a very controlling person (or, as my IC would say, she is not "controlling" but she exhibits controlling behavior... whatever, semantics). She's always been that way. I think there is a lot of insecurity underneath it all, but I spent too much time in the past trying to figure it out and don't think about it much anymore, and at this point I'm just glad to be away from it.

Originally Posted by BL42
How did you meet GF being an hour away? Good you two are able to understand where you are in life with the kids and enjoy your weekend adventures.
OLD. Dabbled for a while, had one relationship for 2 months, took about 6 months off, then found current GF.

Originally Posted by BL42
How are they handling everything btw? It must be tough for them.
As far as mom and dad not being together, they seem completely fine. I think life is hard in other ways though. I remind myself all the time how hard it would be if I had to pack up my stuff and go between 2 houses every few days.

Sometimes they want to be with their mom when they are with me, and I think vice versa as well at times. Our oldest 2 have IC going which is great (although hard to tell if it helps). The youngest seems completely fine. And then there are some things I see going on with my kids which may be completely unrelated to the D. For instance, S10 goes to a very small school and doesn't have many friends and seems sad about it.

I agree with our coparenting counseling that not talking when we exchange the kids must affect them. I have no desire to talk to XW, but I do want my kids to be as emotionally healthy as they can be. I will probably bring up this issue at the next session. It's hard... XW claimed I was yelling at her in an exchange during our court case, which was not true. I don't trust her. I want to be in front of cameras at our exchanges, and I don't want to interact with her and have her claiming something else happened. But, I also have an iron-clad custody agreement now and at some point I probably don't need to be so guarded. If the accusations come, I have a good L.

Originally Posted by BL42
Interesting. Have others here experienced that? I'm not there yet; it'd seem like it'd be a non-issue w/ExW moving OM2 in off the bat and them living together for a year and a half now, but who knows
See above. Of COURSE it's an issue. When my GF met my kids, XW went a little bit crazy. My L (a woman) used to tell me that I should tell XW, "Oh, you two should talk, you would really like her!" and that would inflame my XW haha

And of COURSE I was not supposed to take any issue with a divorced man with no kids without a steady job moving in to the fancy house with my kids while XW was arguing I shouldn't be spending more than 20% time with them.

Logic does not apply...

Anyways... I mostly ignore XW at this point unless we are conducting the business of raising our kids. She can make her own decisions.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/10/22 07:29 PM
Originally Posted by unchien
Originally Posted by SteveLW
The coparenting counseling bugs me. I feel like this is again her way of making things difficult for you. I will say, a lot of time exes that pushed for D and followed through get upset when the the LBS post-D moves forward with a new R. If things with the GF get serious, be prepared for your exW to get even more difficult. But you are handling all of this way better than I would!
Funny you mention it. My kids have met GF and her kids a couple times now and XW threw a minor fit. First she demanded I run a background check on GF, and contacted the coparent counselor to complain about how I treated her OM in the past.

The issue with OM in the past was that, while XW was withholding the children from me for 10 days at a time, I found out she had someone hanging around the kids who had been charged with a felony. I simply asked her what that was about, and she reacted like I made false accusations and allegations and denied it was him. She mentioned almost asking for a RO because I was "harassing" him. Of course it WAS him (some minor things from 20 years ago which she could have easily explained).

For anyone who has been through a custody case in family court, there is a lot of mudslinging. At one point, my youngest D (age 5 at the time) started coming to my house asking if it was okay for her to touch her own arm, her leg, wherever. XW started bugging me for helping her wipe after going to the bathroom. Sometimes D5 would have nightmares and crawl into my bed, which XW complained about. XW said D5 had redness in certain areas. I had already seen enough false allegations, so my L updated the court pointing out that it seemed XW was trying to lay the tracks for some absolutely egregious allegations, *OR* even worse that something might be happening to D5 that I was unaware of as I didn't know about the people around my kids... well, XW acts as if I made some sort of formal accusation about OM directly, when all I was doing was preventing some bogus allegations.

Yes I've seen this several times. They always use the kids. "I don't want OW around the kids!" Wait, you left for another person, but now are going to object to me introducing someone new into the kids lives? It is crazy, but I've seen that a lot with WASs.

Good job on getting in front of the false accusations. And good job on warning other LBSs about the possibility. It is like I told another poster last week, be wary, be alert, and protect yourself.
Posted By: Core Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/16/22 02:37 AM
Hey U! Sounds like you have come a long way and are doing well overall. What a journey. I smiled reading over your last couple updates and am happy to see you succeeding.
Posted By: unchien Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/27/22 05:09 PM
Thanks C, Steve,

Last week D6 was really upset at bedtime. We moved to our new city before she turned 2, but she was telling me I was "always mad" in our old city, and never liked my job. Then she asked if I ever loved mommy, and if so, then why did we one time go in a separate room and "mommy thought you were going to hurt her." Unbelievably inappropriate. She said her Mom told her these things.

I brought my concerns to XW about the messaging, and she called me "horrible" and "emotionally abusive". She said she never said those things to D6. We had an agreement for me to have the kids next weekend when I have family visiting, but XW said she will no longer honor that agreement now.

D8 and S10 are in IC. They are quiet and reserved about things. D8 clearly has some emotional issues going on, having outbursts from time to time but refusing to say how she's feeling, for instance.

I'm concerned about all the messaging to my kids. Even though my XW freaked out in denial, I still feel right in pointing out the behavior so hopefully she thinks twice next time she decides to put our kids in the middle or discuss inappropriate things with them. There is no other explanation for D6 saying these things to me. And XW's reaction was so strong and defensive and diversionary that it tells me what I need to know.

I'm really sad for my kids, and knowing that some level of this stuff will continue throughout our lives. I do believe that just being the best dad I can is all I can do -- I just wish my XW could let things go so our kids could be more emotionally healthy. Or that I could do something else.

Sometimes I think about talking to my kids about some things, but I am very very cautious about putting them in the middle of adult topics that they don't need to be exposed to.
Posted By: BL42 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/27/22 05:25 PM
unchien,

That's tough man, sorry. Not sure what advice to give other than keep trying to be the best dad you possibly can and in the end hopefully the kids see things for what they are. Hang in there.
Posted By: Core Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/27/22 07:37 PM
It never ends, does it U? This sounds awful and the sadness you have in your concern for the kids is completely rational.

Originally Posted by U
Last week D6 was really upset at bedtime. We moved to our new city before she turned 2, but she was telling me I was "always mad" in our old city, and never liked my job.
It sounds like her mom is doing one of the big "donts" in divorce and is talking bad about the Ex and also is using the kids as emotional dependents. They are being mom and dad for your ex, and its confusing - shes the adult. Your D6 has a pure love for you and cant understand why the other person she has pure love for is upset at a person such as you. You are Dad, her only one, surely she must feel weird hearing her dad put down.

Originally Posted by U
she asked if I ever loved mommy, and if so, then why did we one time go in a separate room and "mommy thought you were going to hurt her." Unbelievably inappropriate. She said her Mom told her these things.
Your ex seems to be talking to your d6 like she is one of her own girlfriends. Unbelievably inappropriate indeed.

Originally Posted by U
I brought my concerns to XW about the messaging, and she called me "horrible" and "emotionally abusive". She said she never said those things to D6.
Good on bringing up the concerns, at this point there is no sense keeping the peace, it seems exposing this is the next best way to handle it. Gaslighting is something else here. Its like she is looking at herself in the mirror and calling you everything she sees.

U-We had an agreement for me to have the kids next weekend when I have family visiting, but XW said she will no longer honor that agreement now.
C-the system is so broken, throughout this whole things your ex threw up so many red flags. I hope others know more here. I'd say document to go for full or more custody of the kids in the future. They should be in a happy home.

U-D8 and S10 are in IC. They are quiet and reserved about things. D8 clearly has some emotional issues going on, having outbursts from time to time but refusing to say how she's feeling, for instance.
C-Signs of being afraid to speak out.

U-I'm concerned about all the messaging to my kids. Even though my XW freaked out in denial, I still feel right in pointing out the behavior so hopefully she thinks twice next time she decides to put our kids in the middle or discuss inappropriate things with them. There is no other explanation for D6 saying these things to me. And XW's reaction was so strong and defensive and diversionary that it tells me what I need to know.
C-from an outside perspective hearing your side of this, this is spot on.

U-I'm really sad for my kids, and knowing that some level of this stuff will continue throughout our lives. I do believe that just being the best dad I can is all I can do -- I just wish my XW could let things go so our kids could be more emotionally healthy. Or that I could do something else.
Sometimes I think about talking to my kids about some things, but I am very very cautious about putting them in the middle of adult topics that they don't need to be exposed to.
C-I think you're right to hold off on bringing them in to adult topics yet I also get....what are you supposed to do when just the other side does it? It probably feels like youre just sitting there and not fighting back. I know some who had a spouse with BPD and they did everything the could to turn the kids against the more mentally healthy spouse. Once the kids got older, they saw it for what it was. Maybe some hope in the long run but hopefully something else can be done in the short run as well.
Posted By: Mumin Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/28/22 10:16 AM
I am so sorry to read this U. REALLY hate that kids get caught in between!

I agree it was correct to at least mention it with XW. Also completely right about being the best dad!
What about also telling her this:
"I just wish my XW could let things go so our kids could be more emotionally healthy"
Or a less controlling version of it.
Posted By: SteveLW Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/28/22 12:54 PM
Originally Posted by unchien
Thanks C, Steve,

Last week D6 was really upset at bedtime. We moved to our new city before she turned 2, but she was telling me I was "always mad" in our old city, and never liked my job. Then she asked if I ever loved mommy, and if so, then why did we one time go in a separate room and "mommy thought you were going to hurt her." Unbelievably inappropriate. She said her Mom told her these things.

I brought my concerns to XW about the messaging, and she called me "horrible" and "emotionally abusive". She said she never said those things to D6. We had an agreement for me to have the kids next weekend when I have family visiting, but XW said she will no longer honor that agreement now.

D8 and S10 are in IC. They are quiet and reserved about things. D8 clearly has some emotional issues going on, having outbursts from time to time but refusing to say how she's feeling, for instance.

I'm concerned about all the messaging to my kids. Even though my XW freaked out in denial, I still feel right in pointing out the behavior so hopefully she thinks twice next time she decides to put our kids in the middle or discuss inappropriate things with them. There is no other explanation for D6 saying these things to me. And XW's reaction was so strong and defensive and diversionary that it tells me what I need to know.

I'm really sad for my kids, and knowing that some level of this stuff will continue throughout our lives. I do believe that just being the best dad I can is all I can do -- I just wish my XW could let things go so our kids could be more emotionally healthy. Or that I could do something else.

Sometimes I think about talking to my kids about some things, but I am very very cautious about putting them in the middle of adult topics that they don't need to be exposed to.

U, this is rough. Obviously, I am not an expert in how to deal with this stuff. I have seen a lot of friends go through similar though. And a couple of family members. What I can tell you is that confronting the EX over things like this rarely goes well. We men like to take action. "Ex said something inappropriate to D6, I cannot let that go!" Well, the problem is you really need to. Unless it is something that is physically risking the child, you, unfortunately, have no control over what she says to them and tells them.

However, as the advice above from others says, just be the best dad you can be. Kids are smarter then we give them credit for. They also have more wisdom and insight then we give them credit for. When a child sees how wonderful their dad is, even though their mom is constantly telling them how awful their dad is, the child will see it for themselves and realize that what mom is telling them doesn't match up to the dad that they see and experience.

So as hard as it can be you need to learn to take the high road on this stuff. One of my best friends growing up had his parents split up. It was awful, I spent a lot of time over there and in the middle of the split things were really tense. His mom cheated on his dad. She eventually left him for the other man. She would tell my friend how awful their dad was. However, his dad fought for custody of him and his brother, and won. He was a great father throughout it all, and afterwards. His mom got them every other weekend, but as the two of them got older they began to skip those visits. No matter what his mom said about his dad, he saw that it wasn't true. Truth has a way of winning out.
Posted By: Vapo Re: The light approaches... slowly - 03/29/22 08:09 AM
What Steve said is gold.
Posted By: BL42 Re: The light approaches... slowly - 08/05/22 06:29 AM
unchien - How's it going?
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