I really loved your three things list, U. They all resonated with me deeply and I thank you for sharing.
Originally Posted by unchien
Three things that helped me immensely the last couple years:
1. Mind-reading: Waste of effort. It's so easy to look at somebody's actions or words and assume one knows what the other person is thinking. This is especially true in troubled relationships.
2. Narratives: Everybody journeys through life telling themselves little stories to help make sense of their reality. People cling to their narratives like barnacles on a boat. Some people in crisis (such as the deterioration of a MR), can look inwards, take responsibility for their role in the conflict in their lives, and come out stronger. Change is possible, but not easy, and the vast majority of people don't make lasting changes because it requires rewiring how you think, act, behave. It requires accepting responsibility and editing the narrative. That is HARD. It is an act of ego destruction. And similar to mind-reading, it is wasted effort to try to convince somebody else that their narrative is "wrong".
3. Villain / Victim: False narratives. It's easy to feel like a victim, or to assign my X as the villain, or both. Deciding to be the victim is deciding to be powerless and to hand over agency of my life to some mysterious obscure outside forces. Similar, deciding my X is a villain is letting go of my agency over my life. "Poor me, look at what this evil person is doing to me, destroying my life." Whatever she is doing is what she feels is best for her life.
This also struck me in a profound way. Another act towards ego deconstruction. Powerful.
Originally Posted by unchien
I also check myself regularly -- this is not about trying to be the "bigger" person. I'm not trying to be any better than my X. I'm just worried about what I can control.
IW ~ I've taken on learning a new language. Mostly for fun, but maybe with the idea of traveling once this pandemic is over. And I've been exercising like crazy, although with no particular goal in mind.
I just wanted to reinforce with you that you're a truly incredible father. Your children are very, very lucky to have you. They know it in their bones. They may test it; they may feel conflicted given the D and your wife's behavior... but they know it as deeply as they know anything.
Hugs for having to miss Halloween. OF course you are not being replaced by OM. You're their dad whether you are allowed to trick or treat with them or not. And next year will be waaaaay better than thiis year!! However, I can imagine how it must feel, and just wanted to send you some empathy vibes on that one.
On the villian/victim/hero triangle-- I've spent some decent time applying this in a work perspective, and it has always made sense to me (step outside the triangle! Be the coach, not the hero!). But my IC asked me a couple of weeks ago if if I saw this dynamic in my R with my H (and AP)... gosh, it was so much harder to apply it in a personal situation. I definitely saw how my H and I were struggling with the villian- victim narrative, but it felt so much more difficult to assign the hero role, and figure out how AP fit into the whole picture. Anyway, just a note that this resonates with me, and wondering if your wife has the hero figure in her narrative, somehow.
Sending good vibes to you, U.
Me (46) H (42) M:14 T:18, D9 & D11 4/19 - 12/19: series of escalating BDs 9/20 - present: R and piecing
My sitch is kind of in L h3ll. I'm not going to post about all the details. I am trying to think strategically how to extricate myself from this at minimum cost (financially and emotionally) but, just like an eroding MR, I can't control other people. I obviously can provide instructions to my L. I'm finding my stress level is fairly high and I need to double down on self-care a a bit.
I wish I could find more ways to build up a support network during the pandemic. That is what I struggle with most.
My X has an OM now. Technically I've been told he's "a good friend" but I'm not gullible. The fact she is dating doesn't bother me and I'm not surprised by it.
But OM spends a ton of time with my kids. I've dated a little bit, but I would never introduce someone to my kids right now, not while we are still in the middle of sorting out our D.
I wouldn't even know about OM except my littlest always brings him up, even though I never ask. My older two have clearly been instructed not to mention OM, and will change the subject if my youngest mentions his name. It's really weird. I don't pry, I just say "Oh OK" and move on.
I know this is all ridiculous and I should let it go. I can't control it. But it nags at me. I didn't get a picture of my kids trick or treating while OM and X took them out. It hurts to feel replaced as a dad, not as a husband. Even though I know they only have one dad.
There is one other aspect that really frustrates me about my sitch. My X is controlling and will distort facts to justify what she does. She did this when we were happily married, I just wasn't at the other end of it at the time.
She has tried in many subtle ways to minimize my role with our kids. I really went through h3ll the last 18 months dealing with her threats of withholding the children. I made it out intact, but I know she will continue operating this way. The legal process will end eventually and I'll be left having to deal with her manipulations forever.
Probably some of this has to do with my insecurity about being a good father and my general lack of a support network where I live. Maybe this is something I will start discussing in IC.
Thanks for reading.
I've been gone a while doing my military stuff; on here getting caught up. It is so tough to keep slogging through this crap; sorry you are still in the muck. This post man...it sounds just so similar to mine.
Everything from the kids telling each other "Shhh...mom says we cant tell dad about that" when one of them slips up to the awkwardness they have in even being able mention OM name to feeling left out of their lives as a parent.
It hurts bad to not get any info on anything they do, i hear you loud and clear there. I haven't gotten a single picture of my kids from WW in over 2 years now. Not one. No holidays, no birthdays, no weekend trips; nothing. It is like the live in a desert and have no communication or photography ability. I take as many as i can when they are with me; its all i can do. I post them all over the house and the kids take notice. They love looking at them..."mom doesn't put up pictures of us" they'll tell me. So i make it a priority to keep printing new ones and keep some old ones to remember things we have done.
Hang in there; support networks are tough without a covid...theyre next to impossible to establish with it. I am here and i trust that most everyone else on this site is here for you. I for one am thankful for the support here. The light at the end of the tunnel is there...it just isn't as soon as we'd like sometimes.
Me40; W38; S12; D9 BD11/19/2018 D filed 12/20/18 D Final 7/2020 Being the best example I know how for my kids to see.
LB ~ I had the same idea about pictures when I moved into my place. I have a wall mounted frame with clips that holds 30 or so photos that I update every now and then. The kids love looking at them.
The slog is tough but now that I have a court-ordered schedule with the kids I am much more at peace. More productive at work. Not wasting time thinking about what may or may not happen.
My X reaches out every few days with a random thing about the kids. There is always some distortion of the facts or the past. At the same time she claims to want to work together and I find it incredible she can believe in such contradictory facts. Anyways... the days that are quiet and drama-free are enjoyable and I seem to get more and more of those lately which is fantastic.
OB ~ I'm trying to learn Spanish, using a combo of apps, podcasts and watching some Netflix with subtitles. I have a fluent friend so I get to practice from time to time when we chat. I'm really enjoying it so far, hoping one day to make use of it traveling somewhere.
scout ~ Not sure about plans. I'd like to take the kids to the snow before Christmas but the COVID guidelines are very strict where I live at the moment and I am very risk averse with exposure. I took them last winter and they loved it. For Christmas, I'm throwing some ideas around in my head but trying not to over-stress. My XW used to go way overboard with the holidays and that is definitely not my style. Next weekend we will be decorating the house and putting the tree up which will be a great start! I'm trying to balance my desire to create a special experience with my desire to enjoy the time too.
My youngest (D5) had a little meltdown before bedtime tonight.
As a brief recap, we all moved here (about half-day drive) about 3 years ago, away from where my STBXW's parents live and many of her friends. It was a hard but mutual decision. My W wanted a huge house in the best location, and I just could not find work to support that lifestyle. I felt immense pressure, and also did not have great job prospects in that town. My W also had put a 1-year ticking deadline on making the decision. I had even proposed we punt and wait another year given the intense pressure of an arbitrary deadline. But she wouldn't have it. So I found a great job in the place we originally met many years ago, one that would support the lifestyle my W wanted, and we agreed to move.
Somehow my W has a narrative that this move was entirely about my happiness. In fact, I would have stayed in our old town if she would have accepted living in a more reasonably affordable area.
My W was obviously unhappy with the move, would not admit it, and blamed me. At the time, I was trying so hard to make my W happy, and obviously failing. (As in, placing way too much pressure on her putting a brave face on things). Recipe for MR disaster.
Anyways, back to D5...
She was upset about moving away from the place "that was best for her" (when she was 2). She said Mommy told her we all moved because Daddy wasn't happy.
It really upsets me that she is writing narratives for the kids. I don't involve them in our issues. I just said tonight that there are grown-up issues sometimes, but the important thing is that I love her very very much.
I wish I could "solve" this problem, but I can't. One of my friends went to family reunification therapy after a nasty custody battle and suggests it, but in his case that was court ordered. I think my only option is to have faith that my kids will grow up and see things clearly.
I wish I could say I accept this, too, is out of my control. But it cuts deep. I want to just move on and be dad to my kids, and my X seems determined to involve them in her version of events. This is a lifelong battle. I know others here who have followed me have gone through similar, feels like I am doomed to a never-ending drama.