Posted By: claire7 Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/03/16 05:33 PM
Previous thread:
Here We Are

Tonight's mantra: It doesn't matter if he agrees with me. It doesn't matter if he doesn't like it. I can still enforce a boundary.
Posted By: claire7 Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/03/16 08:05 PM
Bringing Maybell's post over from my previous thread:

Originally Posted By: Maybell
Hey, Claire,

Yes, when I get to the end of the second week my patience is wearing kind of thin, but I wouldn't trade a full weekend with them, or to myself, for anything, especially when I'm working. And in my case, it splits responsibilities like sports more evenly than if we split the weekend itself in half. It also makes it much easier for me to spend time with my friends AND with my New Guy than if I had only half a weekend every week.

Also in my case, I insisted in our settlement agreement that the summer schedule be set by April 1st to make sure I was able to get the kids into whatever childcare camps I need. Your D is so little it's difficult for you to look forward to the older school ages, but it matters a lot that we know what the summer looks like even in the early spring.

It sounds like there is so much flex in your arrangement that you and STBX are having a hard time working things out. Trust me, this will NOT get easier as your daughter gets older. We have all the holidays, etc. figured out in the agreement. God willing I got everything that will be applicable when they're teenagers...

This is the part of divorce that stinks. I hope you can find a way that works for your situation that minimizes the frustration and resentment that so many of your interactions with him seem to generate. Hugs to you!

Thanks so much Maybell. This is a really helpful perspective. I think I'm ready to go to every other weekend, and we'll figure out the rest of it. When I was trying to save my M, I thought it best for him to be here more often, to see me, and our D, in our home. But not now.

I realized something earlier -- when I raise a concern, or respond to one of his, he either determines that it's a "reasonable" request (and tells me so), and so has a friendly tone, or considers it unreasonable in some way, and is therefore curt or worse. But rarely does he attempt to see it from my perspective, or acknowledge that my perspective can be just as valid as his, even if we disagree. I'm glad to not have to carry that with me every day.
Posted By: JksD Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/04/16 05:36 AM
Originally Posted By: claire7
When I was trying to save my M, I thought it best for him to be here more often, to see me, and our D, in our home. But not now.

Hi Claire, I am bringing over some cookies as the new neighbour. smile

I totally feel you on this. Xh used to have kid for dinner every night. Now he has her 2 days and 3 nights a week.

I am thinking of cutting this down once I get my housing sitch settled. I miss my kid when she's not around and I dont have a new guy to cuddle up to.

We have to start getting on with our lives.
Posted By: Underdog Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/04/16 07:13 AM
Good mantra, Claire. And MB is absolutely right that it won't get easier.

Have a nice chat with yourself. Reinforce that mantra. Just because he says he is reasonable does not mean he is. Just because his narrative puts you in a negative light doesn't mean you are a biatch. You're the one who's the primary caregiver for your daughter, and you are in the driver's seat.

And I forgot that we also stuck to summer plans the first week in April. LOL, here we are, and I have no idea what our summer plans are.

Anyway, since it is really tough to talk to your XH, I'd probably stick to e-mailing. A work neighbor of mine uses google calendar to share with her XH. I think that's a super idea! Maybe you could create one, and map out your proposed weekends and all your D's appointments and special dates and take it from there? Maybe electronic scheduling would remove his narrative from the equation? I'm not saying you need to avoid the narrative, but I can only imagine that it throws you off your game. I suspect he knows it, too.

Jk, welcome. I would encourage you to foster your kiddo's R with her dad as well. It's important that they feel connected to both of you. I promise you, down the road, it will come back to you, so make it a good path for her. I know you miss her, but use your time to devote to things that recharge your batteries and fulfill your growth. That will also help your R with her down the road.

As someone told me early on here, no one wants to have a martyr in their house. LOL, I think it went like this: Get down from the cross! We need the wood! grin

Take care-
Posted By: claire7 Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/04/16 08:32 AM
He requested a phone call after our latest exchange because:
"I feel like we are talking past one another, or at the very least, you aren't understanding exactly what I'm saying on a couple of points."

Perhaps "not understanding" means "not agreeing" to him. So, I will try my very best to listen, to validate, and also to keep my boundaries clear. Wish me luck.

People tell me I am strong and brave and capable and inspirational. I will keep them,and all of you, in mind when I talk to him.

Just because he doesn't agree with me doesn't mean he is "right" or that I have to concede to his wishes.
Posted By: claire7 Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/05/16 08:00 PM
Sooo, had an hour long conversation. Had my Validation Cheat Sheet open and at the ready. And boy did I need it.

I learned a couple of things:

--He still thinks I am very judgmental of him. He told me that he avoids telling me about work conflicts that he has (and just solves them on his own) because he assumes I will judge him. Am I judgmental? From the beginning I've just asked that he not assume I am his default back up child care-- that it be a request instead of an assumption. I'll be mindful of that in myself... but I also realize that he is doing some projecting. He feels guilty and is mind-reading me (which conveniently gives him a reason to consider me awful).

--His empathy chip is totally broken. I validated and validated. ("Thanks for that, Claire" he said), let him talk, echoed back to him his feelings, made him feel heard. He calmed down and thanked me. Then, just to test it out, I brought up one thing that had come up -- the impact this has had on my career. His response? Crickets. Literally, nothing. He met my expectation in that regard, so it didn't really throw me.

So, where do we stand? I got some insight/affirmation of his mindset towards me (he thinks he is bending over backwards to be a good dad/ex-H and that I don't appreciate him at all and that I am greedy for his money.) and while I'm upset, I'm not totally broken and I can see him much more clearly for who he is.

That's all for now. I promised myself I would get to bed early, and I'm too spent to write any more.
Posted By: JksD Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/06/16 02:52 PM
Hey Betsey,
So this is what ppl want from me when they holler at me while I am busy cruxifying myself. wink Point noted; I will give them the much needed wood and do something else for myself.

Claire, I agree with Betsey. I have resorted to emailing because phone calls and texting didnt work. When we text, he expected me to respond within minutes and when calling, most of the times we let rip into each other.

Emailing keeps things more detacjed and less personal.

I am sorry that your xh isn't empathetic. (((Claire))) By the time they become xhs or WHs, the sensitivity chip would have dropped off or stopped working a long time ago. Not our jobs to find it for them. frown
Posted By: Maybell Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/07/16 04:35 PM
Duh, he should be solving his own work conflicts. They're HIS. If you were still married that would be different. Those are consequences of his choices. Who cares if you're judging him? That's YOUR right, as a consequence of the divorce.

Kudos to you, lady, for having an hour long conversation with him AND having the validation cheat sheet open. I'm not capable of that.
Posted By: claire7 Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/08/16 07:21 AM
Have to vent a little:
So, the day after he accused me of judging his parenting and insinuating that he doesn't pull his weight as a parent he told me that he wasn't coming for his weekly thursday morning visit. No real reason offered, but he did say that work had been very busy lately. (He spent much of our conversation the other night telling me how hard this has been on him and how it has impacted his career.!???!?!)

Then, my daughter asks if daddy is coming (like he usually does). I have to tell her no. She's visibly upset, she asks why. I don't know how to answer her. I said the truth, which is, "I'm not sure." She said, "maybe he's sick, mama." I told her I'm sorry and asked if she wanted to call or text him. She didn't want to.

The worst part is that because he seems to be pretty narcissistic, he can't empathize with her.
Posted By: Underdog Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/08/16 08:49 AM

LOL, I didn't mean you are a martyr. Just don't give in to the demands so that you become one.

A couple things for you to mull this weekend:

-He still thinks I am very judgmental of him.

This is projection, and he's probably unconsciously or consciously putting you in situations where you prove him right. I think your assessment is head on. You're not responsible for fixing how he perceives you. The only thing you can do is be fair, be true to yourself and communicate clearly. How he chooses to interpret you is not your problem.

I agree that his empathy chip is broken. He sure expects you to lather it on, but doesn't offer any hint that he considers what you might feel or think about things. Unfortunately, you can't control that. Again, I think the only thing you *can* do is point things out - which you did, and wasn't his response telling?

From where I sit, you stand where you've stood before. He's not the kind of person who is willing or capable of putting someone else's shoes on to try them on for size, and he's not going to give you the benefit of the doubt. That leaves you in the very unenviable position of waiting for fallout every time you communicate. That must be a tiring escapade. And it stinks.

I still think you should communicate via e-mail - for your own sanity. I'd read and re-read what I write, remove all emotion, ask for what you want (even if it's only information) or relay what you know he needs to hear from you and just keep on keeping on.

BTW, I've been testing out google calendars myself and so far I've been pretty happy. It sends me reminders of stuff that is scheduled over my iPhone. Maybe try it yourself first and then add him to the family folder?

I'm sorry he's letting your daughter down. That's the worst part of this power play. As an old friend here used to tell people, your job isn't to remove the hurt but to be there to help them through it. Her kids were my kids' age when we went through this, and she told me that if they could learn how to do that, they'd be super functioning adults. And guess what? It turned out to be 100% true. Don't underestimate your abilities to be such a bombdiggity parent in these situations. I'd probably guess you'll get an A in this class.

I'm also glad the validation exercise helped you navigate such an emotionally draining discussion. Sometimes it's the only tactic that works. (I've had a few of these conversations with my mom and had success too.) Great job there, Claire. BTW, I use these techniques at work when I have a client who is clearly unhappy and needing to vent. Most of the time, they just want and need someone to acknowledge their distress and make an attempt to help them through it. If you've ever been in customer service, it's the most valuable tool in the tool box. I think it made me a better parent too.

Hugs, and have a great weekend.

Posted By: claire7 Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/27/16 07:07 AM
Updating a bit...
Thanks MB and underdog and jksd for the kind and wise words. I re read these recent posts after my meeting with stbx and the lawyers the other day and it was helpful.

Confirmed that he sees himself as the victim-- his lawyer says (while we are all sitting at the same table) "my client feels like his proposal is more than generous since he will also be paying for all the add ons,and your proposal is unrealistic and unreasonable".

His lawyer actually referred to him as "my client" while we were all sitting there.

I let myself speak in anger at the meeting. It's just infuriating that he still projects his anger onto me. And he cannot accept any reaponsibility! He leaves off one of his accounts from the (supposedly corrected) net worth statement and then says "well, it doesn't have that much money in it anyway!" (Relevance, your honor! ??!) He still doesn't seem to understand the impacts of his choices. Even his lawyer was like, "yeah, that's how it works".

I won't let myself get caught up in anger again. He wants us to finalize the parenting agreement ourselves, without lawyers. (There are a few minor changes we have both agreed to in theory ). It will be a good opportunity for me to practice staying calm and sticking to boundaries. I don't have to prove him wrong or teach him a lesson. I just have to stay calm and protect my boundaries. (I won't engage in conversation if he speaks to me with contempt; I won't be bullied into agreeing with him; etc).
Now off to spend this gorgeous spring day with my gorgeous D5!
Posted By: Ggrass Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 04/27/16 04:40 PM
That's a tough one not to bullied into agreement with them to prove your nice!

Nice is overrated and it doesn't serve you well in this case.
Posted By: claire7 Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 05/13/16 11:53 PM
I think I turned a corner today! Stbx was over at my place this morning, getting ready to take our D to his office for a family event. They got into a battle over what she should wear-- he was insisting she wear something "nice", and she (strong-willed and 5), was refusing, saying that she didn't want her special dresses to get wet in case it rained today. (It did).

Then he had an unpleasant interaction with someone at her school when he called to inform them of her absence.

As I overheard these exchanges, I suddenly felt very lucky that he released me from having to deal with his controlling, self-centered personality on a daily basis. He has very little ability to perspective-take and is so concerned with how others perceive him.

I left him to battle out the clothing with my daughter and couldn't help but laugh on my way out the door. I felt free. His problems will follow him to every relationship he has. I am on a different path, excited to carve out a more peaceful future.

Posted By: SunnyB Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 05/14/16 06:58 AM
Originally Posted By: claire7
I suddenly felt very lucky that he released me from having to deal with his controlling, self-centered personality on a daily basis. He has very little ability to perspective-take and is so concerned with how others perceive him.
Amen, sister.
Posted By: claire7 Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 05/14/16 01:52 PM
More strength to report today:

At drop off, I brought up something related to D5 that I was a little frustrated about (regarding a parenting decision he made without even telling me about it). His reply was something to the affect of "I get that I could have told you about it before hand. But there are lots of things you decide and don't tell me about."

I didn't take the bait and replied, "Well, I'm just sharing a concern about this issue with you. This isn't about those things. We can certainly find time to discuss those other things if you'd like."

(It should be noted that this was something that was always a pet peeve of his.)

I feel proud that I didn't take the bait, I didn't get defensive, and I just said what I had to say and ended the conversation. He literally cannot be criticized in any way, or have any of his decisions questioned without getting visibly frustrated and defensive.

I will say that he doesn't snap at me or completely dismiss my concerns like he did when we were M (and for the record I almost never actually bring up any concerns to him!), so that's a plus, I guess.
Posted By: Mozza Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 05/14/16 03:16 PM
Well done!
Posted By: Ggrass Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 05/15/16 04:19 AM
That's great work, I have stood up for things and just ended up being taken for a row.
Posted By: claire7 Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 06/29/16 03:30 PM
Not sure if this thread will still work. I've been quiet around here for a while, but wanted to post an update today.

We met with the lawyers to resolve support and some other fin stuff. I can't believe it just occurred to me that this "negotiation" is not really a negotiation at all: I have nothing to negotiate! He pretty much holds all the cards. I'm really just relying on his sense of responsibility and integrity to negotiate a support payment that is more than what the court would probably decree. He was so arrogant in the way he spoke to me and my attorney. How is he a salesman?

So, we are almost there. I'm really ready for this to be over soon. Deep breaths.
Posted By: Maybell Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 06/29/16 05:44 PM
Can't wait for you to be through this. It's like you've been on the world's longest road trip and you're finally starting to look for the exit ramp. Safe travels, Claire!
Posted By: SunnyB Re: Claire is Still Here (2) - 07/01/16 06:44 AM
Claire, I've been wondering about you. I'm happy that the legal part is coming to a close, and hopeful you'll get what you need out of it. Hopefully you'll feel a sense of relief at having it all done. Keep posting, my friend!
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