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#2878633 01/03/20 05:36 PM
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Wow I sparked a lot of comments!

OK, you all baited me into a longer response =)

A few things going on for me:

- I spent a lot of the last 8 months spending multiple hours on DB forums. Including at work. It has been incredibly helpful in many ways. In some ways, it has been spinning and cycling over the same thoughts. Sometimes it has been a distraction.

- I would like to make some personal improvements this year. I have 3 young kids and need to make sure I am there for them as a single dad going forward. I still feel like I live in a temporary house, with temporary clothes for the kids and temporary furniture. So I intend to focus more energy on preparing for life ahead as a single dad.

- I have had an explosion in emotional awareness in the last year. Some of this is from DB. Some is from meditation, exercise, and working to live more in the present moment. It HELPS me. I can feel an inner calm. I am consciously trying to be more in the present. I am investing more energy towards this goal as well.

- I had a recent IC session where my counselor pointed out how my thoughts start ping-ponging around when I am in a cycle of anxiety. We started talking about it. What are the benefits, what are the downsides, etc. I want a healthier coping mechanism. That includes recognizing when I am ping-ponging, and keeping that in check.

- I also want to work on meeting some new friends this year. Not sure how I will go about doing it (Meetup?) but the last 3 months I realize I was not making much of an effort. I think this is really important, because otherwise my temptation to fill up my single time will be to go seek a new relationship at some point, which would not be a healthy or wise choice.

Of course it feels good to post here and get the incredible feedback you all provide. Maybe I have been discounting the benefit that other people have by reading my story. I get so much out of reading other people's stories here.

I came here many times the last several days to start a post. And I realized I didn't have much to say that I haven't already said. So I spent the time taking action. I looked up mediators, I looked up L's. I started reading a book on self-improvement. I meditate daily. I still come to read other people's stories and post when I feel I may have something valuable to add.

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U,

I have seen you grow in the short time I've known you on here. You have wonderful advice and you're a constant reminder that someone cares and someone is listening. I can tell that you have a kind heart and you're a great dad with those kids. For me, reading other stories inspires me. We're all going through some of the most difficult stuff life can throw at a person and having an accepting place is comforting. I've heard Meetup is great. I downloaded it but there isn't much on it for me (rural area). I would have to travel at least an hour away for any groups. The setup was easy and closer to a big city it seems like there are a TON of options for exploring and meeting new people. I heard someone suggest on another thread to create your own Meetup event so that you can tailor your experience to what you're looking for. Want a bro & brewski night? Plan it. Want to binge all of the Lord of The Rings movies? Plan it! You can set it up so that it's specifically for finding new friends, networking, or whatever you're into. Glad to hear that you seem to be more aware of your emotions and have great goals for 2020. Cheers friend!

KG


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Originally Posted by unchien
I spent a lot of the last 8 months spending multiple hours on DB forums. Including at work. It has been incredibly helpful in many ways. In some ways, it has been spinning and cycling over the same thoughts. Sometimes it has been a distraction.

Same for me, sometimes I find the forum incredibly helpful and healing, other times totally exhausting and draining. Still the good outweighs the bad for me so far though. If anything it's a great place to vent. smile

Originally Posted by unchien
I have 3 young kids and need to make sure I am there for them as a single dad going forward. I still feel like I live in a temporary house, with temporary clothes for the kids and temporary furniture. So I intend to focus more energy on preparing for life ahead as a single dad.

This is awesome. I haven't read your whole sitch but I have read some. You have a good vibe and I feel like you are a caring father. My kids are young also, so I resonate with you on trying to be the best for the kids and making everything as stable for them as possible. Spending your energy and time with your kids has nothing but positive returns.

Originally Posted by unchien
I also want to work on meeting some new friends this year. Not sure how I will go about doing it (Meetup?) but the last 3 months I realize I was not making much of an effort.

Meetup is GREAT!! I've started meet up groups on my own and joined a few when I became a new mother and I was living in H's hometown where I didn't know anybody. It helped me immensely and made me feel connected to the people in my community. I've made great friendships through meet ups and still talk to some of them now that I'm living abroad. There are lots of local Facebook groups now for different interests also. Picking up a new hobby, join a running group....etc. Sometimes you have to get creative to open new doors. Good luck!


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Hey U,

It’s nice reading the goals you have. New Years is a time to set goals but I feel that is DBers should double down on this haha.

I know what you mean about the thoughts bouncing around. Sometimes I would read someone else’s sitch and then start thinking how it compares to mine which would spiral into some bad thoughts. I’ve stepped away from the forum for a few weeks at a time which I feel helped in my case.

I also used to have a lot of anxiety as well, but as I’ve finally given up control over everything but my own actions, the anxiety has mostly gone. It took me months to get to this point but finally something just clicked and I accepted what’s going on. Anxiety is no fun and I wish you the best in dealing with it.

Sounds like you got a lot of positive things in mind which is great! Keep it up buddy.


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Ok I am a little annoyed this morning.

My kids were telling me we moved to this area just because I wanted a particular job. And that I could easily move back to the old hometown because there are several jobs.

This is not my truth and clearly my W was feeding them this. I told the kids we moved because I could not find a job in hometown to support us. (W refused at the time to look at more affordable homes - had she been willing to have a more affordable lifestyle we could have stayed). And also that I can’t move back because the jobs in hometown are not what I specialize in.

Really frustrated but I probably shouldn’t raise this concern with my W right? Just part of her story to blame me for everything. I can’t control what she tells the kids. I know in addition to her abuse/safety narrative she thinks I “forced” a move because I am some sort of narcissist in love with my job. Gah!

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Hey U -

Here's a post that job left for another LBS the other day. I found it very helpful.


Originally Posted by job
Space,

You didn't break her, therefore, you can't fix her. May of us on the Board are fixers and we want to fix our partners/spouses and we can't. If she is in MLC, she was emotionally stunted as a young child. That means, someone in authority didn't validate or make her feel as important as others. Someone, most likely a parent, didn't listen to, treat her as she should have been or their home life wasn't the best. In some cases, they are verbally, emotionally and physically abused. It takes many years for all of this hurt to bubble up to the surface and then one day, the switch is flipped and a severe crisis happens. If we aren't allowed to grow and learn during the teens, early 20's, 30's, etc., we can reach the severe crisis state. Yes, we do have quarter life crisis, but that usually appears, in the 20's/30's timeframe.

Your wife didn't just go into crisis. 18-24 months prior to the BD happening, something triggered bubbling up of hurt/disappointment within her. Now, she's experiencing the full blown crisis. You will begin to see that the woman you love has turned into the mirror image of that person, i.e., the exact opposite. She will do things that she would not have done pre-crisis. She will be operating on pure emotions and, of course confusion comes into play and with a MLC, depression is the main ingredient.

What can you do? Listen, validate and if she's complaining about something just say "I'm sorry you feel that way". Do not argue w/her because that will give her the validation she needs to push forward and say, that's why I want a divorce. They will even vilify the spouse to justify why they are doing what they are doing. The more people attempt to talk some sense into her, the more she's going to pull back and away from them.

The best thing you can do is GAL. That list you have in a drawer of the things that you want or need to do...get started on them. Now is the time for you to focus on you and what you want to do w/your life while she's on the Mother Ship. If something isn't working, then try something else. Remember...this is her journey and you weren't invited on it. Your journey will be a totally different one because you will be meeting everything head on and not self medicating. You will come out the other side, wiser and more self confident while she is still figuring things out.

MLC is not a sprint...but a marathon. Are you up for the challenge?

[/quote]


To your situation, objecting to your W's "reality" will only serve to create another sticking point between you and your W, and your goal right now is to remove yourself from the equation as much as possible. This is more for your sake than anything else.

Don't worry about what she is thinking. You can't do anything about it anyway.

All you can do control what you do, think, and say. You can't control what your W is telling your kids.

I know - it [censored].

My M and F did a ton of rewriting post-D to suit each of their own narratives. I still don't know the truth and it's been over 30 yrs.

I'm not sure exactly what you would say or how but maybe the other vets can help more with this - some kind of a neutral calm way to explain this to the kids if they ask, I would guess.

Hang in there, man

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Thanks IW. I don’t care what she is thinking but when she’s telling the kids things I don’t agree with...

I told them my version. That my job in hometown could not support our lifestyle. And that I can’t move back because the jobs there with my current company are not my specialty.

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U,

I think you did the right thing. I would try to sit them down and talk with them-- say I know this is confusing, but I want you to know that everything I have done is because I have thought it was the best thing for YOU guys. We moved because... and then really re-emphasize how much you love them and how you are always there for them no matter what. If they have any questions you are always happy to answer them... in fact, I might consider some time set aside on every visit where they can ask you questions and you can answer. You want them to feel 100% secure in coming to you with things that are brought up and are confusing to them and have that communication line between you so strong that your W can't feed any garbage into it that they would buy without coming to you. You can be the loving, positive parent.

It is deeply f***ed up that she is doing this. Like, really, really f***ed up. I'm sure she is in crisis, unable to handle her emotions on her own, but man. I'm so sorry. I agree with IW that you can't control what she says to the kids, and there is probably no point in bringing it up.


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U,

I got no problem addressing this with your W if what she is saying is simply not true. Make it clear that it is important that you done blame one another for what is happening between you.


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Thanks may.

I don’t want to be in a tug of war with the kids. The fact is we would not have moved if she would have been willing to live in a less expensive home. She refused. I won’t tell the kids that. But it is my truth. I wanted the best for my W and kids and felt like moving would provide that.

It’s really unfortunate (but expected I guess) that my W has decided to impose her narrative on the kids. It sounds like the conversation happened awhile ago. But regardless she gave them this impression.

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LH - it is her version of events. I won’t convince her otherwise. And addressing it with her (like “I would appreciate if you leave the kids out of it”) is likely to sound to her as controlling, no?

I definitely feel that instinct to address it with her. But then DB instincts tell me to just talk to my kids.

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Nope it’s BS even if it is her perceived reality. It is putting thoughts in your children’s heads that don’t belong there.

Last edited by LH19; 01/04/20 08:57 PM.

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If you don’t cut it off at the pass then the dynamic because your W (we will be nice) exaggerates the truth then you have to straighten things out with the kids which in turn you end up to them calling mom a liar.

U strength is a good thing. Show her you will not tolerate this sort of behavior in a respectful but firm way.


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I texted her and she denied and said maybe they heard it from me. She said please don’t jump to conclusions. I said well they didn’t hear it from me and it seemed a lot like her version of events. More gaslighting...

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Really spinning tonight, caught in a negative thought cycle. Just feeling lonely and lost and afraid. Unsure of myself. Intellectually I know this is just a cycle but emotionally I feel really down.

Probably to be expected I guess, given what’s going on.

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Hey,

Totally to be expected. Don't beat yourself up about it. It is OK to feel all those feelings. Can you try a session of meditation? Journal and get all those feelings down on paper?

We're all here for you.


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Hey U -

It's ok to feel down, man. I've been there too and you've helped pull me out of a lot of ruts.

Remember -

- You don't HAVE to do anything.

- There are always more than two options.

- These emotions you are feeling will pass.

- Thoughts are only thoughts, they are not reality.

Have you started reading E.T? That book came along at my lowest and it helped me claw my way out of a very negative cycle. I think you'll really like it too.

Take care, man smile

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Thanks may, IW -

I did start reading that book last week - it has been good so far, I like the style where it can be consumed in small chunks.

There are still some things that feel like cold hard facts: I need to protect myself. I need to rebuild a life including a stronger support network. I need to work on being happy. I need to be there for my kids. I am overwhelmed by life. Three kids, full time job, new city, possibly a nasty D coming...

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U, I'm so sorry for all the [bleep] you are going through. That anxiety cycle is kicking in, you're aware of it which is in tune with emotional awareness which you advised me of, yet still can't snap out of it. I know the feeling. Exhausting, cant focus on anything else, and no matter what you tell yourself, its not fully alleviating the anxiety and the other feelings it brings.

Self validate my friend, its doing so much for me. I can tell you're trying to fix or stop your own feelings to get relief from the anxiety. Stop invalidating and avoiding. Validate.

Its weird but ask yourself out loud..:

What am I feeling? (Identify it by name...fear, worry, frustration) Why are you feeling that way?

Explore it, is it normal to feel this way (yes), do others feel this way in similar situations (yes).

Tell yourself, it is totally normal and justified to feel how I am right now. I'm in an emotionally and physically exhausting situation.

Dont tell yourself to get over it, that you shouldn't feel this way, and dont tell yourself you dont want to feel this way. You do feel as you do, why not face and embrace?

The drummer from the band Skillet once said about anxiety along the lines of, "dont let anxiety chase you. Flip it around. Chase the anxiety". Chase it by validating.

You got this, U.

Last edited by Core; 01/05/20 03:19 PM.

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W and I had a phone convo tonight and it hit the fan. For anonymity's sake (not sure I would be anonymous at this point but whatever...), I will spare the long gory details. Her ideas about what this D will look like are so far out of line of what is standard, but she hopes we can "work something out that works for everyone." I kept the conversation respectful while standing up for myself, and she resorted to insults and suggesting I talk to my IC about my "problems." I had to cut off the conversation and told her I would not continue anymore if she could not be respectful.

It's pretty clear that I have 2 options. Well, really only 1.

1. Get a L, try mediation, see how it flames out when I stand up for myself, face a court trial with my W's accusations.

2. Cave into my W's demands (or requests) and watch the goalposts continually move.

Either way, my kids are going to suffer and I feel boxed in. This s*cks.

I may or may not focus my posts away from logistical details and stick to emotions. I'm a little freaked out where this may be headed.

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U,

I'm sorry you had such a difficult call. WWs are definitely in a fantasy land about what D will look like.

Have you spoke to a lawyer and were completely honest of the incidents where you made bad decisions and what type of evidence your W had against you?


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Yes and no. I haven’t had one read the apology letters through but that is my next step. I have mentioned the existence and basic content of the letters.

It is a nightmare and I feel like I’m in a tough spot. Even retaining a L will likely be construed as an act of war, where for me I think of it as a necessary protective step.

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U,

I hate to tell you this but the Cold War has been going on for probably years with her and her Generals planning their strategy. You need to decide how to combat the nuclear war on the horizon. Strike first or play defense.

Last edited by LH19; 01/06/20 04:10 PM.

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U, sorry you are going through this but I feel like your options were limited to these for a while now. You should read back through your threads and I am guessing you can see that you were probably picking option 2 for a while now. It appears that now you are more aware which is not necessarily a bad thing in terms of planning your next steps.

What is your concern with option 1 that makes you think the kids will suffer more than the current sitch (unless you were hoping you could R with your WAW)? If you retain a lawyer now for legal advice and consultation, your WAW may not even know that till you initiate some legal action against her, right?

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She will see the retainer money deducted from our savings. I would prefer to notify her rather than she finds out in a surprise aha moment.

My kids may see what happens as me ruining my W’s life. They may resent me for not making this easier on her. I feel like everything is a lose-lose.

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U,

Come on man. Your oldest is 7. The only way they would get that impression is if your w puts it in their heads and that you can’t control.


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I am wondering what you are thinking in terms of next steps then? If option 1 is not feasible for you, do you plan to continue with option 2 for some more time? Have you thought of any other options in addition to these two?


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Originally Posted by MLCxH
I am wondering what you are thinking in terms of next steps then? If option 1 is not feasible for you, do you plan to continue with option 2 for some more time? Have you thought of any other options in addition to these two?

Well I need counsel first and foremost. I can't help if she thinks this is inflammatory.

W's idea is to go into mediation unrepresented and we will hash things out. She doesn't want the kids in after-school care if she is available to watch them, she doesn't want to work FT while the kids are young, she talks about her living options as either staying in the house we own or moving to a studio in a terrible neighborhood (very black and white). It's a convenient way to argue that I shouldn't have the kids on weeknights. And she doesn't want to give up weekend time because the kids always tell her they have so much fun at my place (which clearly irritates her). Her idea is minimal impact to the kids. I told her last night that things cannot remain the same, this is what happens in a D. It wasn't very DB of me, but I refuse to perpetuate the fantasy she has that I'm going to agree with her ideas about what is best for the kids. Standing up for myself is the biggest 180 I can make.

She does little things which you could call throwing me scraps, I will grant her that - letting me take the kids for a couple hours here and there. But it's not about the important things that I want ultimately. The more I ask for something that deviates from her plan (like having more than a 4-10 parenting split), she gets emotional and starts talking like I am a defective parent and person and SHE is the supportive one watching me through some process she imagines I'm going through.

I feel like what I want is fair and simple. I want to trend to 50-50 when D4 hits K. Split our assets fairly. And I will pay support in a way that allows my W some time to get back to work, but not in a way where I am paying her not to work.

I understand my W is probably scared about all these potential changes and how her life will get turned upside-down in many ways. And her fear must motivate the allegations. I can step outside myself and empathize with her mindset even if I think it is exaggerated and overblown and, well, fiction. She has never filed a report or RO. But she still SAYS these things all the time, and I think it is a huge risk when we do start hashing things out.

Anyways, MLC, to your point, there is a 3rd option I am considering but I'm doing some legwork before proceeding with that one. It is probably the right one to take. Option 2 no longer works for me (remember MWD... do what works... Option 2 has been my MO for 9 months now...)

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Hi U,

You seem to be in a much better place today than the last couple-- glad to see that. (Are you? Or does it just come across that way here?)

The way I see it, the longer things go on this way the worse it is for you, because it is reinforcing her fantasy of what D could be like and could potentially demonstrate that you are OK with less time with the kids.

Here's another option-- what if you told your wife you were going to talk to an attorney just to be sure you fully understood what the possibilities were, and encouraged her to do the same, as a prerequisite to starting mediation? See if you could both find Ls who specialized in mediation, not the knock-down drag-out win at all costs kind? (At least in my city, there seem to be several firms that really try to emphasize the mediation path.) Mediation might actually go better and not flame out if she has counsel helping her to understand that what you're proposing is quite fair.

Hang in there!


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may ~ Thanks for the response. I'm not sure if I'm doing better or just more focused on taking some actions. I've also had my kids the last few days, which takes me out of thinking mode and more in "super busy dad" mode.

Honestly I'm feeling terrified but I have no choice but to plug forward or I will be stuck in the same situation.

In consulting L's, I have only considered the ones who prefer mediated approaches. I think it's unreasonable when people have kids, assets, etc., that they can sit down and easily mediate without counsel.

I absolutely hope she retains a L, I think we both need one and it can only help us both.

The potential allegations are a wrinkle I have to deal with. I wish we could be more civil on that point and I wouldn't be so revved up worried about the worst-case, but it is what it is

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Originally Posted by unchien
Standing up for myself is the biggest 180 I can make.


^^^ This - 100%. I have seen you make a lot of progress since you first came to this forum but I feel like you still have trouble here. One advantage of getting a L is that he/she will take care of this for you

If I could give you only one advice, I would ask you to stop analyzing endlessly and take concrete actions that will change your sitch. Stay strong

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I sent a L the letters. They are concerned about them being used as leverage in a custody negotiation.

This feels sh*tty.

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U,

Yes but they are going to have to be addressed at some point anyway. The longer this goes on the more money you’re out.


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LH ~ I agree 100%. I want a L's input on how to proceed when factoring in the letters. The last thing I want to do is escalate this into some nuclear war that I could avoid.

We've done 4-10 custody for 6+ months with no incident. I haven't been on supervised visitation. Things calmed down somewhat over time. As hard as it has been, my W has backed off on her panic. I don't give the regular text/picture updates unless it's something necessary (like one of the kids being sick).

But the threat looms.

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U,
I am not surprised that they will be used as leverage in negotiation. What I would be asking is the lawyers opinion on what they can get by using it as leverage (is it 45-55 or 40-60 etc for custody instead of 50-50). Also, what steps can you take to prove to a court that you are a good father to your kids? Documenting your time being spent with the kids over the past six months is one of them but there are other things you could probably do.

Just my opinion but when you talk to the lawyer, you probably want them to understand your entire sitch and give you their opinion on what will happen during the D. Make sure they can account for all things and not just the letters.

In one of your previous posts a while ago, you had mentioned you talked to a lawyer and they said the letters were not an issue. Curious what changed now? Is it because the lawyer did not read the actual letter at that time?

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Correct, the lawyer did not read the letters at the time. It was a 1 hour consult.

I am of the same mindset as you. I want to share with the L all the relevant details before making a decision.

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I should say... my W has *never* brought up the letters. She only acknowledged receiving the first one when I gave it to her. She has never brought them up threateningly or otherwise. Not that this comforts me.

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W texted this morning.

During our conversation 2 nights ago, she had pushed back on my request to have more weekdays/nights because I may need some after-school help for the kids, even if just for an hour or two. I pointed out she has help with the kids a couple times a week after-school. So now she is asking if I am saying I can pick up the kids after-school so she doesn't need to hire help.

Then she said "Clear communication is key."

I can think of no response that would lead anywhere helpful. Just more back-and-forth leading nowhere. She was calling me names two nights ago.

The best I can think of is: "I do not wish to discuss these matters over text" or something similar

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Hi U,

Why would she need to hire help? I'm confused... if you have the kids for certain nights, isn't that your deal to manage them, after school care or whatever? Also, isn't your W a SAHM?

Here's a (maybe crazy) idea that a couple of my Ded friends do-- the spouse who has the more flexible schedule picks the kids up from school. In one case, the mom brings the kids to the dad's house (her old house) and usually actually cooks them dinner, he gets home and she goes. In the other case, the dad picks the D up from school, takes her to his house, and the mom swings by and gets her on the way home from work. Maybe something like that would work? It seems like anything you can do to demonstrate you are being cooperative but still holding strong on your desire for more time with your children will be a positive thing, both now and potentially for the D.

Texting back and forth does seem like a difficult way to communicate. Were you guys trying to use email?

Hang in there!


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Hi may ~

Oh, my W has this idea that everything we are doing now is something that I agreed to and wanted. When we S'd, I wanted to see the kids, but also not completely disrupt their lives, because I thought we would work on the MR. Within the first few MC sessions, when I could tell even in the best case this S would be months if not years, I started pressing for more time with them. Her story the whole time has been that the current schedule is what I wanted, and not a schedule I was okay with *for a short time*.

In short, when I ask for an extra night with the kids, she says no because I might need childcare help for a couple hours. But then she is using help herself. If I point this out, she gets upset, says "This is the schedule that YOU wanted" and then the conversation goes nowhere. Last time we talked, she called me delusional.

Text doesn't work based on our history. I've tried e-mail but she rarely responds. We haven't had a 1:1 F2F at a neutral place like a coffee shop since we S'd.

Idk, I am considering proposing that we set a specific topic list and go back to MC2 to discuss just those topics. Kid schedule for the next 2 months. Childcare spending. If we deviate from those topics (and she takes it back to child safety concerns), I will not participate. MC2 is good with communication skills, but just like a MR, it takes two people willing to work on it.

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Originally Posted by unchien


In short, when I ask for an extra night with the kids, she says no because I might need childcare help for a couple hours. But then she is using help herself. If I point this out, she gets upset, says "This is the schedule that YOU wanted" and then the conversation goes nowhere.


In other words the status quo remains

Originally Posted by unchien

Text doesn't work based on our history. I've tried e-mail but she rarely responds. We haven't had a 1:1 F2F at a neutral place like a coffee shop since we S'd.


In other words there has been no good communication to change the status quo

Originally Posted by unchien
Hi may ~
Idk, I am considering proposing that we set a specific topic list and go back to MC2 to discuss just those topics. Kid schedule for the next 2 months. Childcare spending. If we deviate from those topics (and she takes it back to child safety concerns), I will not participate.

If you don't participate, does it change the status quo?


Do you see a pattern here? Do you think your wife has any incentive to change the status quo given how biased it is in her favor?

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Post # 2. Again for you.

Unchien you are separated from and about to divorce the same woman I separated from and divorced.

You're not divorced yet. I'm a bit ahead of you in this process.

Let's pretend I'm absolutely right, and let me tell you what is going to happen next.

Your wife is happy in her new fantasy world where she raises the kids without you. You'll go off, sulk for a while and do your thing. She's confident you'll get on with life without your family as it was, and accept how it is and will be forever.

But you'll realize you deserve more. That you deserve to raise your kids 50% of the time, even if at least to make sure they develop your value system and have some balance to hers. You realize you deserve to protect your assets financially.

So in a few weeks (maybe months) you're going to hire a lawyer to make things fair. You're going to draft a separation agreement that defines custody and financial support. Maybe not even file for divorce. Leave that to her and just file for the separation. You ARE separated right? Make her get the divorce.

She's going to read the separation agreement where you ask for 50% custody and fair financial terms. She's going to change.

SHE thinks she's being reasonable and you're delusional. RIGHT NOW. Imagine how she's going to feel and act when you try to move the need to what you think is fair?

Not only is she going to paint you out as the most evil person in the world (yes, to your kids even), she's going take this to court because the only way she can win what SHE thinks is fair is to have a judge learn what a horrible person you are and keep the custody as it has been. As YOU have allowed and asked from from the beginning.

You gave away everything in a bid to keep the peace and have her consider reconciliation. You had no idea she was planning this for years and just happy to get you out of the fricking house.

You have no clue how little you mean to her, and how little desire she has for you to raise your own children. But you're about to find out.

The kicker? She's going to seek a move-away. He'll she can do it now. You don't even have a legal agreement that prevents her from doing that.

This is going to get hyper-expensive. The cheapest thing you can do is start spending money now because when it is over in a few years, you can start to re-build.

My advice is to hire the very best (possibly most expensive) lawyer you can find. Call the top 5 firms in the area. Top 10 for a free consult so you force them to conflict-out of representing her. Then hire the best. You will sleep at night when this ramps up, and a good $800/hour lawyer is going to be a lot cheaper than a bad $400/hour lawyer in the long run.

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glhf,

You are currently on moderation and it would help the moderators and administrators if you would create a thread of your own. By doing so, we can learn a bit more about you and your situation which will help us in determining whether to release you from moderation much quicker.


Sit quietly, the answers will reveal themselves when you least expect them to.
The past is gone, the present is a gift and you need to focus on today, allow the future to reveal itself when it is ready.
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Originally Posted by unchien
Hi may ~

Oh, my W has this idea that everything we are doing now is something that I agreed to and wanted. When we S'd, I wanted to see the kids, but also not completely disrupt their lives, because I thought we would work on the MR. Within the first few MC sessions, when I could tell even in the best case this S would be months if not years, I started pressing for more time with them. Her story the whole time has been that the current schedule is what I wanted, and not a schedule I was okay with *for a short time*.

In short, when I ask for an extra night with the kids, she says no because I might need childcare help for a couple hours. But then she is using help herself. If I point this out, she gets upset, says "This is the schedule that YOU wanted" and then the conversation goes nowhere. Last time we talked, she called me delusional.


Hey U -

Sorry you're having a rough go of it, man. These situations are never easy, I'm learning that each and every day.

I still think your W is projecting things onto you. And I still think these projections are drawing a reaction from you, and she knows it. You are still the reason for all her problems, at least in her mind, and as long as she has someone (or something) to battle against, these things will continue.

The only reason I say that is that I think at the start of things, both you and I were kind of in the same boat. Our only big differences were that you have kids and I don't.

Originally Posted by unchien

Text doesn't work based on our history. I've tried e-mail but she rarely responds. We haven't had a 1:1 F2F at a neutral place like a coffee shop since we S'd.

Idk, I am considering proposing that we set a specific topic list and go back to MC2 to discuss just those topics. Kid schedule for the next 2 months. Childcare spending. If we deviate from those topics (and she takes it back to child safety concerns), I will not participate. MC2 is good with communication skills, but just like a MR, it takes two people willing to work on it.


Caveat - I am not in any way an expert, but IMO she might see it as controlling...?

What calmed things down in my sit was complete and total detachment. At the beginning of the sit, i was reacting to W's overblown accusations (and they were ridiculous), so I eliminated myself from the equation. Let W think all kinds of things and just do my own thing without worrying about what she was thinking.

A few questions for you:

Is she actively pursuing D or mediation?

Or is it you who wants to start moving on?

What is it you want? Do you really want D?

Does your W still want D?

Do you know what she is thinking all the time?

Are you standing?

The answers to those questions will give you clarity and help you move forward.

For the record, while IHS my W claimed to want D at least half a dozen times between 5 and 10 months ago. She has not mentioned it since August and since I pulled way back.

Point is, not all feelings are static and forever. If she said it once it was how she was feeling at that moment. Also I recognized that W was in a crisis and was not thinking logically.

Anyway - not to be harsh, but figure out what you want. That's the most important thing. Once you have a concrete idea of what you want, then you can have a plan and move forward.

Stay strong, man smile

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Originally Posted by IronWill
A few questions for you:

Is she actively pursuing D or mediation?

Yes, mediation.

Originally Posted by IronWill
Or is it you who wants to start moving on?

I want to move on. I don't know what she wants.

Originally Posted by IronWill
What is it you want? Do you really want D?

I want more time with my kids, and I want to stop spending several K per month to sustain a limbo situation that is not going anywhere.

Originally Posted by IronWill
Does your W still want D?

No idea.

Originally Posted by IronWill
Do you know what she is thinking all the time?

Nope. I know what she is thinking NONE of the time.

Originally Posted by IronWill
Are you standing?

This is the question that has me pause and think alot.

I've really stepped away from identifying myself as "standing." What does that mean in my situation? If I continue in limbo, am I standing, or am I perpetuating a situation that leads nowhere? If I file for D, am I (counter-intuitively) standing for my MR, because I am standing up for myself and my basic needs (more time with the kids, better financial situation)?

If I had to reduce this to a simple answer, NO I am not standing anymore. Emotionally I have no desire to R today. But if I was standing, I think I would be making the same decisions anyways.

I guess I see it like this: AMOAFWL would work to get fair time with his kids and a fair financial situation.

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Originally Posted by unchien


Originally Posted by IronWill
Are you standing?

This is the question that has me pause and think alot.

I've really stepped away from identifying myself as "standing." What does that mean in my situation? If I continue in limbo, am I standing, or am I perpetuating a situation that leads nowhere? If I file for D, am I (counter-intuitively) standing for my MR, because I am standing up for myself and my basic needs (more time with the kids, better financial situation)?


Well, I would let her do all the D work. Unless you're ok with knowing that you filed for D when it wasn't what you wanted in the first place.

Playing devil's advocate here - the kids would grow up knowing their Dad was the one that initiated D, regardless of counter intuition or not.

Something to think about, anyway.

Is there any way you can alleviate your financial situation with the house/expenses without jumping right to D? Is there a way to separate those two issues, or are they intertwined?

Originally Posted by unchien

NO I am not standing anymore.


2x4 - you are gonna do what you want to do, and I respect that. Just make sure this isn't an emotional decision.

Originally Posted by unchien

I guess I see it like this: AMOAFWL would work to get fair time with his kids and a fair financial situation.


If that is what you see as AMOAFWL, then that's what you need to do. For me its leaving everything out there and knowing that I tried my damndest to do all I could. It's different for all of us.

Our situations seem to diverge here, so I don't know how much more help I can be.

I am rooting for you though smile

Keep strong man smile

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Originally Posted by unchien
I guess I see it like this: AMOAFWL would work to get fair time with his kids and a fair financial situation.


Amen. Rock on, brother.



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I hope you're well, Unchien. It's been a while since I checked in to your situation and I see things are still really difficult for you - the communication, the fear about the future, the lurking threats your wife has made, the difficulty in getting the schedule with your children sorted and agreed in a way that's acceptable to you.

I guess my one piece of advice for you would be to frame all your communications - via your L, email, text, in court, in mediation (if it comes to that) in terms of what is best for the children. Not what is fair for you. 50/50 may well be in the best interests of the children (I think a good dad is priceless, a child has a right to a strong and close relationship with her/his dad and his involvement in their day to day life, not just weekends and holidays) and if it is, then demonstrating what you have been offering and are still offering, rather than concentrating on what your rights are or what you want is likely to be a more positive approach.

It sounds like your wife is - deliberately or not - impossible to communicate with. I am not sure she really wants to communicate. If you were to proceed with the assumption that communications from her were more or less nothing but noise, what would you do? I think going through a mediator or lawyer and getting everything written down by someone who isn't either of you is necessary now.

I'd also suggest that what you do with the kids while they are with you is, within reason, your own business. If you need some childcare assistance, well, you're their father and you can either be trusted to get that responsibly and with their best interests in mind, or you aren't and if you aren't, she needs to demonstrate that and you shouldn't be seeing them that much at all.

If I had a joint custody arrangement with my H I'd expect him to handle and finance his own childcare arrangements on his own time. I have no fears - real or concocted - that he'd hire a serial killer to sit with them after school. If I did have those fears, I'd expect to be asked for solid evidence of why I thought his bad judgement was likely, or why the arrangements he'd made were unsuitable. I know I am in the UK and the system might be different, but I do think you could be more assertive here and get out of the mindset that you need your W's approval for decisions you make, as their father, for what happens with them on their time with you.

She's either trying to control you, there's something more to your past behaviour you have not disclosed (I don't think that's the case) or she's genuinely struggling with an anxiety problem and the difficulty of realising she isn't ever going to be in total control of ever aspect of her children's lives. Either way, the most loving thing you can do for your kids - and I believe for your wife - is not to enable that irrationality.

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Originally Posted by AlisonUK
She's either trying to control you, there's something more to your past behaviour you have not disclosed (I don't think that's the case) or she's genuinely struggling with an anxiety problem and the difficulty of realising she isn't ever going to be in total control of ever aspect of her children's lives. Either way, the most loving thing you can do for your kids - and I believe for your wife - is not to enable that irrationality.

Hi Alison ~

Thanks for checking in!

I have been keeping communications (as much as possible) strictly business. It's only been a few days, and she seems to get annoyed if I don't respond to a non-urgent question, but I think going as dark as possible right now is best.

I am fairly sure I have disclosed my past behavior before. Lately I am a little more wary about sharing details here as things may turn into a legal situation. So I need to be vague even though I would prefer to let it all out. But I am pretty sure I have laid it all out here in my (very long) thread.

I turn things over and over in my head lately. I know I deserve a massive 2x4 for mind-reading but here goes - I think it would be useful for me to lay this out. Understand that I know the below is highly speculative:

My W thinks I have some sort of an emotional dysregulation issue. She thinks by going to MC she is being kind -- allowing me to hear her feedback and allowing me to continue to have a relationship with the kids when she could have chosen to go to court and moved away to her hometown. The MC was initially convinced, and may still be for all I know. I think she has convinced a lot of people she has told.

My W's background is in the mental health field. Some people in this field have a tendency to diagnose and categorize the people in their lives. I believe she has done this with me. This will likely never change. This is a dangerous dynamic in any relationship ... the thought that one person knows better than the other.

My attempts to earn my W's trust have only reinforced her views. Even my attempts to validate her feelings (but not admit to her truth) have only reinforced her views. Those attempts were a huge mistake. I should have stood up for myself, I should have stopped trying to win her back. Instead, I thought by moving closer to her point of view, listening, validating, etc., would help win her back. But she has treated it as admissions of guilt.

I definitely contributed to the downfall of our MR. When we moved, she was so distant. I remember even before we moved, there were signs of problems. She seemed upset one day and I asked "Are you mad?" and she yelled "F*@K YOU!" back at me (she later said she hated when I "projected" onto her). This was more than two years before we finally separated. It goes back a long way. She was probably depressed, maybe resentful. But I missed her and it felt awful. Sometimes I broke down in front of her. Sometimes she felt smothered. My attempts to reconnect were desperate, and they served to reinforce my W's views that I have an emotional problem. I've talked about my NGS and anxiety, which I have a better handle on these days. They led me down this path of more or less buying in 100% into her truth, while also trying to fix things. It's not her fault, those things are my fault.

So... she thinks she is doing me a favor by NOT L'ing up and filing for D and a move away. She thinks she is being kind. She thinks it is very difficult for her to have these fears about me but still allow me to have the kids 4 days at a time.

Have I been gaslighted? Or do I really have an emotional dysregulation issue? It has messed with my head for a long time. I hold onto certain touch-points that help ground me in reality. For instance, her saying I was "yelling loudly" a few weeks ago when all I said calmly was "I no longer want to discuss this." She mischaracterizes words, events. It gets worse when she is scared.

How do you listen and validate to someone who is sharing feelings that are based on a distorted version of reality (at least how I see it)? What if their feelings may lead to a legally problematic situation? I don't have answers.

I no longer want to play this game with her. I know it's not a game for her, it is life and death. What I mean is, I am not going to participate in her narrative. I am going to keep doing what I am doing, go to IC, read parenting books, GAL, PMA, and remain steadfast in my goals which are to be the best dad I can be for my kids, and also be to be happier, healthier UC. My W's narrative is toxic and unhealthy. The more I try to earn her trust, the more I am saying "Yes, W, your version of the truth is correct, I am truly unsafe with the children, you should be really worried about me." This may mean a legal conclusion where I am put on the stand to testify to events. It may mean getting less custody than I want with the kids. Maybe I don't get joint custody. I don't know. Maybe I go through h3ll the next 2 years dealing with this.

Maybe my kids are scarred for life. That's the one that stings the most. I don't mind going through h3ll, but they don't deserve this. My heart hurts for them. I see how easily I could pack up my bags and just let my W have her way and probably make it "easier" on the kids. That pressure is also hanging in the air.

I can't really explain how much of a mind-screw this situation is for me.

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Hi Unchien

I remember us speaking about a one-off incident on your part a long time ago. I do remember our conversation about that. I really think if that's all there is to it (and I don't at all mean to imply I think you are being dishonest) then your wife is being irrational. She seems to be controlling the narrative with the others involved in this situation here. Whatever her story or opinion of you is - it doesn't matter.

Maybe you're not ever going to be able to convince her by your words, behaviour or actions that you aren't who she believes you to be. That's going to be incredibly hard to accept, I know. And it might be years before you fully fully accept that her opinions and beliefs about your character and motivations aren't the facts of who you are. And that would also be true if she thought the sunshine shone out of your belt buckle.

More pressing than acceptance is that you are able to present clear evidence of a continued pattern of caring for and meeting the physical and emotional, educational and medical needs of your kids. She might have an opinion about your emotions. She might have professional experience. But she isn't your doctor or caregiver and there's a reason why, even if she is qualified to diagnose, she wouldn't be permitted to diagnose a close family member: she's not objective and by the standards of her own profession her opinion on you is junk.

You can give evidence of a pattern of behaviour. I know the letters worry you, but you have done what you can on that for the time being. I think this situation has gone well, well beyond you earning her trust - given that if what you say is right (and I have no reason to think it isn't) she's being irrational and her trust in you would mean nothing anyway.

Take it this way - from a mother who had absorbed more verbal abuse and toxic, emotionally dysregulated behaviour from a man than was sane or reasonable on my part (and that's on me) if this woman - a mother - truly and honestly believed you were a physical risk to your children you wouldn't be having them at all. No sense of wanting to be kind would let any sane mother put her children in danger.

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Hi U,

Reading through this (and I haven't read your entire thread but will do so) I will tell you that my impression is that she is emotionally abusing you. This is gaslighting and trying to make you think there is something wrong with you. It is NOT OK. No one deserves to be treated like this. I absolutely believe that you are doing the right thing in no longer participating in her toxic and unhealthy narrative. If she were a physical abuser, would earning her trust be a worthy goal? After reading through these last few posts, I don't think it is possible for you to earn her trust at this point anyway. She'll just keep moving the goalposts. The part about she's doing you a favor by not moving away with the kids and by telling you what is wrong with you in MC just kills me. That is wrong, wrong, wrong.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
She's either trying to control you, there's something more to your past behaviour you have not disclosed (I don't think that's the case) or she's genuinely struggling with an anxiety problem and the difficulty of realising she isn't ever going to be in total control of ever aspect of her children's lives. Either way, the most loving thing you can do for your kids - and I believe for your wife - is not to enable that irrationality.


I think Alison has a couple of really good points here I want to reinforce. One, even though I know my H is a great dad and I trust the kids with him 100 percent, I struggle with the thought of not having the same level of input and control that I do today (and frankly, I think this will bother him too). For someone who is a SAHM and might have had a lot of control over all these aspects of the household and the children, this has got to be terrifying (and probably part of the reason she made you be the one to move out, and is hanging on so dearly to this notion that you are somehow untrustworthy because that is the only way she gets to keep that level of control over their lives in a D situation). I also agree that you simply can't enable that anymore by validating or participating in any way.

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
Take it this way - from a mother who had absorbed more verbal abuse and toxic, emotionally dysregulated behaviour from a man than was sane or reasonable on my part (and that's on me) if this woman - a mother - truly and honestly believed you were a physical risk to your children you wouldn't be having them at all. No sense of wanting to be kind would let any sane mother put her children in danger.


Yes. 100%.

Your kids won't be scarred for life. You have really done so much to reassure me that the S is leading you to be a better, more present, and more intentional father. You can continue to do what you do and be the loving, rational parent. You never need to let them hear you say anything negative about your mom and you can be there for them to ask questions and know you love them unconditionally. If it gets bad, you could always have them see a therapist now so that they have the tools to deal with this situation. But you packing up your bags to make it "easier" on them? Play that out a little bit to their 20s and their narrative will be that their dad abandoned them and they'll have a whole 'nother set of issues to deal with.

You deserve to be in their lives and they deserve to have you. They NEED you. Especially if she's in such a messed up place. Don't let your W fool you into thinking that the D will be so bad that you should capitulate.

Your plan-- going dark, GAL, moving forward with the mediation process to resolve the financial and custody issues-- seems to be the right one. I can't remember, are you in IC?

You are a good person and a great dad. Don't forget that. You're doing the right thing for them.


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Alison, may22 ~

Thank you for your feedback. I can tell you put a lot of careful thought in your replies.

We all face a choice. Do we continue with the patient approach and endure our situations? Do we focus so much on self-improvement that we become happy regardless of what happens, but also continue in relationships that do not bring us joy, love, and emotional fulfillment for some indefinite amount of time (days, months, years, decades)? Is that an acceptable life choice? Can we heal from the thousand paper-cuts and deeper wounds inflicted upon us during the situations? Can our partner? This decision is personal for every one of us, and there is no right or wrong answer. And we may never get confirmation for the remainder of our lives whether we made the right choice. Such is life.

I like the saying "Life is a place of abundance" - there are a gazillion potential futures out there for each of us. Many of those futures involve a divorce and our kids going through a difficult transition. DB (as I see it) is about reframing our lives -- the goal is not to pick one future and aim for that. The goal is to be happy regardless of which of those gazillion futures our lives leads towards.

OK enough philsophical indulgent rambling

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
You can give evidence of a pattern of behaviour. I know the letters worry you, but you have done what you can on that for the time being. I think this situation has gone well, well beyond you earning her trust - given that if what you say is right (and I have no reason to think it isn't) she's being irrational and her trust in you would mean nothing anyway.
Right. I have concluded that I will face the consequences of the letters. I can't run from the past. I can't fix it by being patient and waiting. I tried that for 6 months and my W did not budge. If the past affects my future parenting rights, so be it. I am hopeful that long-term my situation with my kids can be no worse than it currently is (4 days every 2 weeks, W making the primary decisions) -- and even now my relationship with my kids is higher quality than it was before!

Originally Posted by AlisonUK
Take it this way - from a mother who had absorbed more verbal abuse and toxic, emotionally dysregulated behaviour from a man than was sane or reasonable on my part (and that's on me) if this woman - a mother - truly and honestly believed you were a physical risk to your children you wouldn't be having them at all. No sense of wanting to be kind would let any sane mother put her children in danger.

I am sure she would do the same. Absolutely.

Originally Posted by may22
Reading through this (and I haven't read your entire thread but will do so) I will tell you that my impression is that she is emotionally abusing you. This is gaslighting and trying to make you think there is something wrong with you. It is NOT OK. No one deserves to be treated like this. I absolutely believe that you are doing the right thing in no longer participating in her toxic and unhealthy narrative. If she were a physical abuser, would earning her trust be a worthy goal? After reading through these last few posts, I don't think it is possible for you to earn her trust at this point anyway. She'll just keep moving the goalposts. The part about she's doing you a favor by not moving away with the kids and by telling you what is wrong with you in MC just kills me. That is wrong, wrong, wrong.

I agree that our dynamic is toxic and unhealthy, and that the goalposts will move. I recognize gaslighting techniques. Because of what I've gone through, I resist labels, but labels do help understand and can point us in the right direction to learn more. Gaslighting implies that the other person is maybe calculating or malevolent -- I think more often than not it's just an extremely toxic way they have of relating to the world, and some of us fall prey to the techniques. It is confusing as all get out when it happens.

Last summer I read a book on emotional abuse. It was incredibly fascinating. There are clear-cut cases where one partner is flat-out abusing the other. Calling them awful names, taking away their spending money, etc. But there is so much gray area and this book explored the gray areas at length, including the dynamic where both partners are hurting each other but perhaps in different ways. The fact is... relationships require vulnerability. And with love comes the potential to hurt. It is a risk we take when we jump into the deep end of the pool.

Originally Posted by may22
I think Alison has a couple of really good points here I want to reinforce. One, even though I know my H is a great dad and I trust the kids with him 100 percent, I struggle with the thought of not having the same level of input and control that I do today (and frankly, I think this will bother him too). For someone who is a SAHM and might have had a lot of control over all these aspects of the household and the children, this has got to be terrifying (and probably part of the reason she made you be the one to move out, and is hanging on so dearly to this notion that you are somehow untrustworthy because that is the only way she gets to keep that level of control over their lives in a D situation). I also agree that you simply can't enable that anymore by validating or participating in any way.

I absolutely empathize with my W on this level. She has been a SAHM for 2+ years now. She is in a new city, will have to ramp up her career, and will almost certainly require a change to her current living situation. That alone is terrifying as you said.

I also know she likes her control, and will grasp it even more tightly in this situation. I think there are areas of our kids' lives where, going forward, I may be okay with her having that control. I'm not sure. I certainly empathize that she knows she is facing a difficult transition. I also worry about her - I think she has an unhealthy narrative running in her head that will make this transition harder for her and the kids. There is not much I can do to change that, and by starting the D process I imagine it will only get worse for some time. But... I don't think I can help her anymore. I think if my goal is earn her trust back so we can have an amicable D, that alone will take another year. In the meantime, I will have a lot of uncertainty in a continued limbo, no reasonable chance at more time with my kids, and we will continue to be financially wasteful. And my end goal would be to avoid a nasty D, which again may or may not happen regardless. I certainly don't want that, I want something that is reasonable and fair within the guidelines of the law.

Originally Posted by may22
Your plan-- going dark, GAL, moving forward with the mediation process to resolve the financial and custody issues-- seems to be the right one. I can't remember, are you in IC?

You are a good person and a great dad. Don't forget that. You're doing the right thing for them.

Yes, I am in IC. My IC doesn't necessarily dole out advice -- we explore options and then evaluate the pros/cons and he leaves decisions up to me. I like that approach.

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Hi U,

It seems like you have a good plan and youʻve thought this all through. I agree that her behavior, labeled or not, probably doesnʻt come from a place of malevolence. Sheʻs hurting and confused too. But-- I think you can feel good that you have given the situation time; youʻve completely thought every possible path through; youʻre empathizing with her to the extent possible; you know your priorities; and the status quo is just not sustainable anymore from a financial or parenting standpoint.

What do you need for support as you move forward?


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Originally Posted by may22
What do you need for support as you move forward?

Good question.

I don't have a clear answer. I am drawing a complete blank. It feels kinda good.

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Hey U -

I have some thoughts on the words "emotional abuse" I see in your thread. I will relate those thoughts as they pertained to my situation, because I think it may help me or you or others gain some perspective. You won't see much talk about emotional abuse on my thread much, perhaps the tail end of it, because it happened before I found DB. But it did happen.

On the surface of it, for six months following BD1, anyone on the outside of my R looking in would tell you that my W was emotionally abusing me. The anger, the hatred, the silent treatment for months. The complete shutdown of affection and communication.

It did affect me - badly. Friends and family saw my suffering and said I should move on, that I deserved to have someone better. That if someone was treating me this badly I should find someone new and maybe even have a family with that new person, move away, start a new life etc.

I could have looked at my sit from their perspective, that is true. I could have been D by now, had I chosen to follow their advice. But then I started reading here, and I found a lot of things that resonated with mid-life crises, menopause, hormonal issues, thyroid issues, depression related to life-changing events, etc etc. And the more I read the more I understood (very slowly) that it was not my battle that was happening. In fact, it had nothing to do with me. It was all to do with whatever it was W was going through.

So I decided to accept my situation, accept that the MR was over, and accept that the "emotional abuse" was really just a projection of W's rapidly changing and random emotional rollercoaster - that it was all part of her issues. Not mine. It was then and only then that I started to get stronger, and little by little my perspective changed.

None of this is to tell you what to do, or what to think, or how to act in your sit.

The point I'm trying to make is - if you choose to see yourself as "emotionally abused", it can form an unhealthy identity within you. And the more you think about it, the more you can cement it as your own narrative.

Yes, your W did those things, and that in no way shape or form makes them okay.

It is not ok. It is never ok.

But you have the choice as to whether or not you choose to live within that mindset. Knowing that your W is going through a huge upheaval - whatever it is - I think that empathy and kindness can show you the way to forgiving her for her actions. It will also leave you with a clear conscience - knowing that you did all you could within your power, regardless of outcome.

Personally I think you're too good of a dad, too good of a person, to let those incidents that happened half a year ago and more now dictate how you live the rest of your life.

Be the rock, man. Be the lighthouse. You've got a great future ahead of you, no matter how this turns out.

Take care, buddy:)


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Hey IW ~

I completely get where you are coming from on this point.

It has mostly been a reframing exercise to realize that I am not the monster she portrays. My W has tiptoed very close to the edge. She has used the power of her allegations to control me, and used the power of a 3rd party counselor to hammer this home. Or you can say I allowed this to happen. Either way, the dynamic has not been healthy for me, I don't believe it is healthy for her, and it's DEFINITELY not healthy for our kids.

Now... I understand that I sound like a victim saying the above. Part of telling her I won't go back to MC is to take back my own personal power. I think this is healthy. I can choose to continue living in her world, or start doing my own thing. That's just how I see it.

Going back to your point, learning about "emotional abuse" did help me reframe things. Whereas before I thought I was being patient by tolerating my W's behaviors, now I am still empathetic towards her but I am choosing to stand up for myself. This is one of the biggest 180s I can make (in my opinion).

I don't really identify with the term. I'm no victim. But coming to terms with what has been happening in our relationship has helped. I see the toxic dynamic for what it is.

I wish I could be more patient in some ways. I see my kids suffering. I know they want mom and dad to be together again. I can't make it happen.

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U,

I'm glad that you aren't identifying as a "victim". You are the only one that can allow her accusations to hurt you. Reading your sitch I've often wondered if your W is blame-shifting because of her own guilt or shame. If there is/was any truth to her concerns, it is in the past and you are working to become the best version of U. I don't personally know your past, but from what I've seen here it is clear that you are growing. I don't know that I can say the same for your W. The toxicity of the current R will take a long time to clear, if ever. Keep pushing forward pal - and enjoy the little things!

KG


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I can let her continue to project and mind-read EXCEPT when it crosses over into dangerous accusations. Some accusations are in the gray area (“you were out of control” when I was actually calm) and I need to think about where that boundary lies.

Up until the last month or so, I was trying to validate ALL of her feelings which I think played into her dangerous narrative. Perhaps I could have been more deft handling those conversations at the time.

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Originally Posted by unchien
Up until the last month or so, I was trying to validate ALL of her feelings which I think played into her dangerous narrative. Perhaps I could have been more deft handling those conversations at the time.

I find this difficult as well. Validating my H’s opinions vs calling him out when he’s flat out stating “alternative facts.” I have been mostly validating also or just keeping quiet when I’m not sure whether I should say something. But I could see the risk of being treated as a doormat and having facts twisted entirely if you leave them alone to conjure up a narrative that fits their strategy (I think I flatter them when I say they can strategize....should I say fits their “feelings at the moment).


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I was spending tonight at home alone cleaning the house, doing laundry, paused for some meditation. I felt pretty balanced and good all things considered.

And suddenly I started thinking about some things going on with S7 and just started bawling. I haven't cried in weeks. I haven't cried in pain like this since my nephew passed away several years ago.

S7 has been acting out more than usual lately. I spoke to a potential counselor today for him. S7 told me the other night that he wanted to have more family dinners, more dinners with both Mom and Dad together. I thought I heard him say "or even maybe a date."

I could tell when I spoke to him on the phone tonight he was down, and seemed to want to talk longer than usual.

I have a lot of big emotions about this and they all flooded up at the same time. He's just an innocent boy thrown in the middle of this tornado. My heart feels f**king broken. Worse than at any point during the last year, worse than at any point during the unraveling of my MR. It's not fair. I don't want this for him. I don't want this for any of my kids. I'm seeing the impact and I feel really upset and sad and angry and helpless and guilty and powerless. Upset that things came to this point. Sad that my kids have to suffer from our absurd and selfish adult dysfunction. Angry that my W didn't want to work on the MR. Angry that she blames me for it all, including S7's issues. Helpless about how this impacts the kids. Guilty for not doing enough myself to try to save things. Guilty for how I contributed to the MR problems. Powerless because I can't change the past. Powerless to protect him from having to deal with this heavy stuff.

I know ... let the emotions be, they will calm down. I'm being dramatic. I can read the above and point out all the exaggerations. Just be the best dad I can be, that's all I can do for them. Love them, protect them, guide them.

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U,

I'm sorry you had a rough night. I just want you to know the emotions you are experiencing are normal and can come on at anytime. The toughest part is knowing that your children are innocent bystanders in the process. Try to understand that you did the best you could with the tools you had at the time.

You have come a long way since you got to this board and you should be proud of your progress. Unfortunately this is a long process littered with ups and downs.


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I'm sorry you're having a tough time U.


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You're not being dramatic. These feelings need to be felt - fully - without avoidance or denial - so you make good decisions going forward and not decisions based on merely avoiding pain. You're on the right track.

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Nope not being dramatic. It's hard to sit back and watch your kids lives get destroyed because one truly selfish person decides they are "done". Be the lighthouse get 50/50 and put him first always.

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(((U)))

I feel for you so much. I don't have a lot to offer except that I can empathize so much with you and know how real those emotions are. You do need to feel them and not push them down. (I need to take my own advice on this too.)

Hugs.


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Unchien - I'm sorry this has been tough for you. Nope not dramatic. Just human.

Those of us here with kids have at one time or another posted something similar. DV (and she is one of the most grounded and compassion people here) dedicated quite a lot of her earlier threads to the impact of her H leaving on her children. You will, if you go back through my earlier threads, find some similar posts in mine.

The only way I could help my kids through it was to not burden them with my sadness and to make sure they knew they were loved by both of us . I can't underplay how hard but necessary this was. I pretended to be happy when they left to spend the day with him. I would ask them each time what they did and get excited as they told me stories of how much fun they had as a family . I would smile, say "have a great time" and wave as they left to spend the day at a theme park. Once the door was shut I would sit on the sofa and think how much fun they were having without me. When they returned, I'd smile, ask them lots of questions and respond with "wow, that sounds amazing".

Your feelings are valid and should be felt and expressed. Express them here.

You are also right in thinking your children are impacted by what has happened. It is your job to minimise that impact. The family unit may be broken but they still have two parents. And as long as those parents continue to love them then they will come out the other side less scathed. If the other parent is still I crazy town and forgets that they are parents, then it is our job to make up the difference.

Focus not on what they have lost, but what remains. The love of two parents. That is worth something.

As an aside, over the course of the 6 months before BD and up to and including when he moved out, my H had been steadily distancing himself from the children. He was not only angry with me, he would yell and scream at them for no reason. Once he moved out something clicked and he refocused and really prioritised them. I am grateful for that. My kids will say the same.


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Hey U -

I'm in no place right now to offer advice. I am in the same boat as you since yesterday. Just very down. Feeling like [censored].

Yes it will pass. No you aren't being dramatic - it's how you feel and that's ok too. Your feelings are valid too.

I would say more but I don't have it - I'm really not there today. That's ok too.

Take care, man.

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Originally Posted by unchien
I know ... let the emotions be, they will calm down. I'm being dramatic. I can read the above and point out all the exaggerations. Just be the best dad I can be, that's all I can do for them. Love them, protect them, guide them.

Not at all. Divorce is some heavy doo-doo for our kids to deal with. Parental protector instinct at play.



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U,

Are you familiar with work of Joe Dispenza? You might be interested.


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Originally Posted by LH19
U,

Are you familiar with work of Joe Dispenza? You might be interested.


His philosophies I've been following for the last year on You Tube. I discover my niece actually bought a few of his books while riding in her vehicle. The man is profound on dynamic and ability of how to change the human mind and how we interact with people and create new habits.

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Hey Uni. All those emotions you felt on the 15th. (My Mom's birthday would have been 76 :-( ) are very very real and are valid. Unfortunately you can't control how other people think, their actions, their thoughts, their emotions, their decisions, or their outcome. Hell. We can't even control how long we will be on this earth for. But we can make better choices and have a little more longevity, better connections, interactions, more positivity, growth and change in the human experience. You do have control on how you show up for your kids, and you are doing ab amazing job given the circumstances.

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Thanks for the rec.

I feel like I have both so much and so little to report on my situation.

I've been meditating fairly consistently (9 out of the last 10 days -- woot woot!). Sometimes it is absolutely maddening. I'll peek at the timer, can't find a comfortable position, my mind bounces around. "I need to get dish soap" to "I hope S is doing okay" to "Oooh when this is over I need to write myself a reminder..." Other times it is incredibly calming and blissful. Mostly it's in between.

I notice some minor effects, maybe from the meditation, maybe not. One measuring stick is noticing how I am more productive at work than I have been in some time.

I've gone to IC for a few years for anxiety. I learned all kinds of techniques which made logical sense, but I could never apply them effectively. In the moment, emotions took over and my thoughts fell into the same well-worn grooves. Now that I've embraced this sort of non-logical paradoxical path, those techniques have started happening automatically. Recognizing catastrophic thinking, projection, useful vs. non-useful thoughts.

It's strange... I've embraced this idea of just trying to turn down the volume in my brain and letting things be. It seems to help, but I can also tell it's going to be a lifelong process with no real end goal. Which is kind of a relief in a weird way.

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Hey U!

Just wanted to catch up. I don't have much input on your sitch (other than to keep growing yourself, which you are already doing). I can honestly say that you are the one who got me intrigued in meditation. I had never tried it before reading your thread, and it helps to have some quiet time to just sit with it. Not evaluate anything, not problem solve. Just to sit, focus on breathing, and make peace with the present while pushing thoughts of any future away. I'm glad the noise in your head is calming from where it was.

KG


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I'm finding it difficult to post here lately on my situation. I am concerned about posting details for anonymity's sake. There has been a lot going on, but I will keep things vague for now.

KG, some of your recent updates have really helped me get my mind set straight. I see how your W uses all kinds of different strategies to bait you into a response. Many of these, in a healthy relationship, are perfectly harmless conversation starters. But in a toxic relationship, they are not. I don't see this as a devious manipulative plan... they just instinctively revert to the same old patterns of initiating interactions and know what works.

My W has been reaching out a lot to inquire about my thoughts on what's going on with our kids. I find it really difficult not to respond. I can detach from anything involving me and her, but when kids are involved it feels so entangled. She projects her feelings onto them ("the kids are worried about <something my W is actually worried about>", for instance) and then asks what I think. As genuine as this may appear on the surface, I know it is bait, and the goal is to get me to react and then we get drawn into an exchange where I end up validating and deflecting and trying to exit as quickly as possible. But in the moment.... it is so HARD to hold back from responding.

I do not feel like she has a healthy curiosity about my thoughts on parenting. I know it is bait, and if I bite, my thoughts will be dissected, refuted, analyzed, and debated. I may be called names. I typically give a bland neutral response (such as, "Yeah, I noticed that behavior, I am also concerned")... because I don't want to be accused of not responding and hence not caring. I can deal with all the blowback, I believe I am emotionally strong enough at this point, but it feels pointless to engage. Especially when she characterizes any response that doesn't agree with her opinions as "angry" or "venomous", etc.

I've been reading some co-parenting books about how to handle these situations. I am struggling to figure out how much to engage. I have a very very fine speck of trust right now with my W. Ideally I'd like to trust her more in the future and be able to have healthy conversations about our kids. I have no clue how to rebuild that trust when there is no healthy forum to do that. MC would have been an opportunity, but W spent 6 months sticking to the same tune of safety concerns, etc. Maybe this is just what it is, and as years pass we will build trust with the mere passage of time. I am sad for my kids to see what is happening. I have the instinct to be protective and stand up for what I think is right, but I also recognize it is a losing proposition to engage with my W right now.

Perhaps in the future I will feel like my parenting opinions are respected. At the moment, it's more of her "let's be on the same page" script... meaning she writes the book and I read it. Pretty sure I'm going to be vilified (in her mind) for a long time if not forever, no matter what happens.

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U,

I completely understand. Part of my agreement is D14 cannot transport documents between each of us. So last visitation pickup I told D14 I was going out to give XW her mail. D14 begged me not to do it but I told D14 I couldn't have her do it and it would not be a problem. I went out she got out of the car and I handed her the mail and said to her "I hope you have a good day," and then came right back inside. D14 saw the whole thing. Two days later I get a formal email from her accusing me of abuse and telling me to not approach her.

How is it possible to co-parent in situations where the other person is always trying to make it seem like we are abusive in some way? Your W seems to be very similar to mine in her behavior. Do you have your children seeing there own therapists? My XW has been projecting a lot onto D14 and having her own individual therapist has helped tremedously.

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U,

do your thing, state your opinions, let her deal with the you guys "not being on the same page".

There's a lot of clinical talk, overthinking, and psychological euphemisms in your post.

Simplify. Be you. Don't be what everyone tells you to be.


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Originally Posted by "unchien"
I typically give a bland neutral response (such as, "Yeah, I noticed that behavior, I am also concerned")... because I don't want to be accused of not responding and hence not caring.

Hi Unchien, silly question. If I've followed your situation correctly, you gave up on this marriage some time ago. To whom are you trying to prove you care? If it's court--of course, your attorney's opinion comes first--but it'd be radically unusual for the court to hold against you only communicating with your ex about essential matters. Many people do not want tons of ex communication.

Originally Posted by "rooskers"
How is it possible to co-parent in situations where the other person is always trying to make it seem like we are abusive in some way?

Hmm. I've co-parented for years, and it's only required a minimum of communication. "D has a book report due on Wednesday. It'd be great if she finished the reading over the weekend." That must suck that both she and your daughter get emotional when you physical approach your ex. I guess my reply would be "I understand you do not want me to hand you your mail anymore, and we agreed D isn't to be a courier. Please confirm by Feb 23rd if you'd prefer that I mail it in batches 1x/month, else I'll mark them RETURN TO SENDER so the sender and/or post office know to update your mailing address."



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How is it possible to co-parent in situations where the other person is always trying to make it seem like we are abusive in some way? Your W seems to be very similar to mine in her behavior. Do you have your children seeing there own therapists?


I haven't spoken to H in months. When I pick up D14 from his house she comes to the car. If I had something to share I'd email it. D14 is in IC and she's on anti depressants (nice right?)

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At the moment, it's more of her "let's be on the same page" script... meaning she writes the book and I read it. Pretty sure I'm going to be vilified (in her mind) for a long time if not forever, no matter what happens.


This is why you fight for 50/50. Fight with everything you've got then be super dad. It's not words that matter it's ACTIONS.

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Originally Posted by unchien

My W has been reaching out a lot to inquire about my thoughts on what's going on with our kids. I find it really difficult not to respond.


Hey U - I may not be up on everything in your sit, but are you not responding at all when it comes to the kids?

Originally Posted by unchien
I can detach from anything involving me and her, but when kids are involved it feels so entangled. She projects her feelings onto them ("the kids are worried about <something my W is actually worried about>", for instance) and then asks what I think. As genuine as this may appear on the surface, I know it is bait, and the goal is to get me to react and then we get drawn into an exchange where I end up validating and deflecting and trying to exit as quickly as possible. But in the moment.... it is so HARD to hold back from responding.


You already know I don't have kids. But you and W have to discuss what is going on with them. Even if you think your W is projecting, and especially since you cannot be sure if it is projection or not.

I'm not saying have deep meaningful conversations. But you both have to talk. Otherwise you end up in a situation like I did with my parents. And you definitely don't want that.

I don't think it's "bait", but I do think she is testing your newfound strength. I would respond to the parts that need responding to. I have practiced this in my sit. With texting I use a lot of "I will" statements when applicable. It shows more decisiveness. I ignore anything MLC/whatever related and pick apart the text to see what the meaning is (as best I can). If there is something I don't know I will say something like "I will have to think about that. I will get back to you."

Quote
I do not feel like she has a healthy curiosity about my thoughts on parenting. I know it is bait, and if I bite, my thoughts will be dissected, refuted, analyzed, and debated. I may be called names. I typically give a bland neutral response (such as, "Yeah, I noticed that behavior, I am also concerned")... because I don't want to be accused of not responding and hence not caring. I can deal with all the blowback, I believe I am emotionally strong enough at this point, but it feels pointless to engage. Especially when she characterizes any response that doesn't agree with her opinions as "angry" or "venomous", etc.


I hate to say it, but she doesn't care. Just like my W doesn't care right now. That's all part of whatever it is they are going through. It's also why MC doesn't matter.

You can't control what she thinks. But that is her opinion, not fact.

Originally Posted by unchien

I've been reading some co-parenting books about how to handle these situations. I am struggling to figure out how much to engage. I have a very very fine speck of trust right now with my W. Ideally I'd like to trust her more in the future and be able to have healthy conversations about our kids. I have no clue how to rebuild that trust when there is no healthy forum to do that. MC would have been an opportunity, but W spent 6 months sticking to the same tune of safety concerns, etc. Maybe this is just what it is, and as years pass we will build trust with the mere passage of time. I am sad for my kids to see what is happening. I have the instinct to be protective and stand up for what I think is right, but I also recognize it is a losing proposition to engage with my W right now.

Perhaps in the future I will feel like my parenting opinions are respected. At the moment, it's more of her "let's be on the same page" script... meaning she writes the book and I read it. Pretty sure I'm going to be vilified (in her mind) for a long time if not forever, no matter what happens.


Part of separation is living alone and doing things your way. The kids are your kids too. Your parenting decisions are important too, even if it's not in her script. If she wanted you both fully on the same page, then why are you separated?

Makes no sense.

I think you're wise to keep contact low. I know because I am in the same boat. My W is all over the place and I do not want to be in the middle of this carnage.

I wish I had more advice, U. Keep posting, man. And I would recommend going back and re reading your whole sit once in a while. It helped me a lot, I think it will help you too

Take care smile

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Originally Posted by IHCLACS
Originally Posted by LH19
U,

Are you familiar with work of Joe Dispenza? You might be interested.


His philosophies I've been following for the last year on You Tube. I discover my niece actually bought a few of his books while riding in her vehicle. The man is profound on dynamic and ability of how to change the human mind and how we interact with people and create new habits.


I enjoyed watching some of his videos. It really made me think. Overall, I'm doing well, but I still machinate on things. He talks about how your body and mind cycle through past experiences. You have to train your body and mind to think about a positive future (meditation, etc.). I think GAL speaks to this--being so busy that your body and mind doesn't cycle through past experiences.

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Originally Posted by IronWill
Hey U - I may not be up on everything in your sit, but are you not responding at all when it comes to the kids?

I respond to some items. Not the ones which are bait for arguments.

I did correct course a bit this week to be a little more assertive on certain items. Assertive in a courteous and respectful way (or at least that is how I try to word things, not sure how they come across to her).

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I've been doing a lot better lately avoiding overthinking things. But I still do it from time to time.

I went on a 4h hike yesterday. I find exercising in nature is a great exercise in being present and turning down my brain volume. But I did spend some time going over things. I limited the time, then switched back to enjoying the hike.

I think what I've been looking for is an understanding of why (in my mind) we didn't try harder to work on things. I can accept the lack of closure as to why things fell apart. I have a decent understanding why, but there are unknowable things. I'm coming to peace with that.

We spent a total of 9 months in MC in the last 18 months. It just... didn't work. Not once did I feel my W was leaning in and wanting to work on things. I know that sounds blaming, and that's not what I mean. I feel like even in MC1, she was not really at a point in our MR where she was really ready for MC, ready to work together. I think she wanted me to fix my issues first.

Periodically in MC1 she would say she wanted to hear about my feelings, but I never felt validated or understood. I recall a couple times I said how I felt, then she was told by the MC to repeat back what she heard. And my W would repeat back HER interpretation which was not correct. I would say something like, "I feel like we haven't supported each other well during our move and I'd like to spend more time together" and she would say something like, "He feels like I'm not giving him enough."

On another instance, she told me, "I know how important it is for you to feel heard." Yes, it is important for me to feel heard. It is important for *everybody* to feel heard.

Truth be told, I was making some personal improvements during this time but not the deeper changes I've made more recently. I worked on my listening skills a ton, but did not have a good handle on my anxiety. So while all this was going on, I of course could have handled it better. The man I am today would have handled it differently.

Well... I'm off today to go have some fun with the kids for a special thing I planned!

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I'm trying to sort out this heavy sense of loneliness that's come back the last day or two.

One of the books I've been reading pointed out that the negative interactions between D'ing parents is another (unhealthy) way for them both to stay connected.

I don't feel like I was chasing that kind of interaction. But now things have changed - I think in a healthier direction, but also it feels strange. No more MC where I get labeled and pathologized. My W scaled back on her long texts. We have some e-mail exchanges but they are becoming more business-like.

I notice the void. I didn't enjoy the recurring soap opera, but when it's gone, what's left is an empty hole to fill.

Stacked on top of that feeling is the feeling of being completely overwhelmed about starting this D process. Even though logistically I feel prepared, I am not looking forward to the actual process.

Whereas in the past I would feel more hopeless about feeling lonely, now at least I can recognize it for what it is and not wallow in it. Thanks primarily to DB and meditation.

But it is still there.

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I can totally relate Unchien. I felt lonely all of the time at the beginning. How I dealt with it was I did the opposite of what my mind was pushing me to do which was to isolate. I had a New Year’s party and invited friends over. I said “yes” to every invitation, even if I didn’t feel like it. Eventually the feeling faded and now I don’t feel alone anymore...even when I technically am. That alone feeling, for me, was not about my XH not being around. He hadn’t been around for a few years. It was more about me. When your marriage ends, your self esteem takes a pretty big hit and that takes awhile to work through. The feeling will pass if you continue to do the work. (((HUGS)))


Me 53
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Legal SA - January 2019
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Originally Posted by DejaVu6
I can totally relate Unchien. I felt lonely all of the time at the beginning. How I dealt with it was I did the opposite of what my mind was pushing me to do which was to isolate. I had a New Year’s party and invited friends over. I said “yes” to every invitation, even if I didn’t feel like it. Eventually the feeling faded and now I don’t feel alone anymore...even when I technically am. That alone feeling, for me, was not about my XH not being around. He hadn’t been around for a few years. It was more about me. When your marriage ends, your self esteem takes a pretty big hit and that takes awhile to work through. The feeling will pass if you continue to do the work. (((HUGS)))


This resonates very much, DV.

I also say "yes" to every invitation - and also do not feel like it all the time. I do it anyway, more as a way to keep my mind occupied on other things. Plus I usually end up having fun with friends - and it has helped me to realize that I am not, in fact, a boring person nor the monster I was made out to be at BD.

The alone feeling is pretty normal. I spent a lot of time thinking that way when i was alone for 8 years after i left home following graduation. Back then, I remember wondering if i would ever find someone I could get along with, if there were any normal people out there, if I would be alone forever. I did a lot of writing and journaling back then too, and kept myself as busy as I could doing new things or things that interested me. I also said yes to everything back then.

It is sort of like getting reacquainted with yourself.

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We're here and listening, Unchien. Feel free to post here when you feel lonely.



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[/quote] The alone feeling is pretty normal. I spent a lot of time thinking that way when i was alone for 8 years after i left home following graduation. Back then, I remember wondering if i would ever find someone I could get along with, if there were any normal people out there, if I would be alone forever. I did a lot of writing and journaling back then too, and kept myself as busy as I could doing new things or things that interested me. I also said yes to everything back then.

It is sort of like getting reacquainted with yourself.

[/quote]

Yes. More like reinventing yourself. Almost anything new. A new place, a new experience, a new commitment to a purpose of yours. All this chaos, all this loss, and all this hurt. Once the dust settles around you're former life. You start to seriously ask yourself somethings like? Where do I want to go? What do I want to do? Who and what do I want to spend my time on? Are these situations good for me that I'm moving torwards? Does it benefit me or hurt me or distract me? Where do I want to be in 5 years? What do I want my life to look like? Be greatful for the former chaos and the people that created it. They are forcing us to learn and grow. Those who are no longer our cheerleaders. Leave them behind. We were never that important to them anyway. Maybe so for a time.

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Thanks all for chiming in with your support.

It feels like a heavier loneliness than the usual "well I'm separated and alone without my kids the next few days" feeling.

I worked so hard when I moved out to set up a house for my kids and me. Now that it's 7 months later, the house feels temporary, unfinished, with a bunch of hand-me-down furniture. Temporary stuff for a temporary place. It's not the community I want to live in. It's expensive. The entire area I live in lacks a feeling of community (everybody complains about that). I don't know where I want to live.

I'm working full-time. Busy again, which feels good. But it feels kind of meaningless. I'm earning money, which is necessary. And I enjoy my job enough day to day.

I've never been great at building a support network in my post-college adult life. I likely stayed in too many long-term relationships because they felt "safe" and I avoided the lonely feeling. I have one good friend in the area, a bunch of work colleagues, and that's about it. I haven't had much success during the 7 months making new friends, which is really on me I guess. Like DejaVu suggested, I usually say yes to every invitation, but I think I need to put myself out there more somehow.

I'm 40 and I have 3 little kids. When married I spent quite a bit of time with them, but I wasn't the primary parent of the household like I am now. It is daunting. W and I haven't really separated those duties yet. I haven't gone out and bought them all clothes, it hasn't made sense since I still have the clothes from moving out that fit them.

There are things going on in my situation that are probably sparking these feelings. I'm choosing not to post much of that right now. There is a re-realization that this is really happening, now that the ball is rolling.

This is one of those posts that sounds more wallow-y negative than I actually feel in the moment. It helps to let it out sometimes.

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Too much doom and gloom. Life is what you make it.

You can find friends when you decide you can.

Get out there and get involved with what you love to do. You will find friends.


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Originally Posted by unchien

It feels like a heavier loneliness than the usual "well I'm separated and alone without my kids the next few days" feeling.

I worked so hard when I moved out to set up a house for my kids and me. Now that it's 7 months later, the house feels temporary, unfinished, with a bunch of hand-me-down furniture. Temporary stuff for a temporary place. It's not the community I want to live in. It's expensive. The entire area I live in lacks a feeling of community (everybody complains about that). I don't know where I want to live.



I feel this is because you are still in limbo and the terms of your separation are not particularly favorable to you with regards to custody of the kids. The limbo results in a lot of temporary things because you don't know what the future is and so cannot commit to anything permanent. Probably not surprising that you are missing your kids and feeling lonely because of the limited time you have with them.


You said the ball was rolling now. Once things are resolved it will hopefully help you plan for a more permanent situation in the future.

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Originally Posted by unchien
Thanks all for chiming in with your support.

It feels like a heavier loneliness than the usual "well I'm separated and alone without my kids the next few days" feeling.


This is completely normal, and it's close to how I also feel most days. I've been working through this feeling with IC for the past four or five sessions now.

I do occasionally wonder if it has something to do with working through co-dependent issues. My suspicion is that it does, at least in my own experience.

Originally Posted by unchien

I worked so hard when I moved out to set up a house for my kids and me. Now that it's 7 months later, the house feels temporary, unfinished, with a bunch of hand-me-down furniture. Temporary stuff for a temporary place. It's not the community I want to live in. It's expensive. The entire area I live in lacks a feeling of community (everybody complains about that). I don't know where I want to live.


It is all temporary, it is all limbo and limbo-adjacent. That's what I spoke of months ago on your thread when i said it will last for much longer than we were thinking at the time.

What if you did something? Some small thing - changed some of the hand-me down furniture? Painted? Redecorated? It wouldn't be a drastic thing but it might help get you unstuck.

Originally Posted by unchien

I'm working full-time. Busy again, which feels good. But it feels kind of meaningless. I'm earning money, which is necessary. And I enjoy my job enough day to day.

I've never been great at building a support network in my post-college adult life. I likely stayed in too many long-term relationships because they felt "safe" and I avoided the lonely feeling. I have one good friend in the area, a bunch of work colleagues, and that's about it. I haven't had much success during the 7 months making new friends, which is really on me I guess. Like DejaVu suggested, I usually say yes to every invitation, but I think I need to put myself out there more somehow.


You don't have to have a huge support network. I like my alone time, but once all this went down I forced myself to go out and contact people, text them out of the blue just to say hi, remembered old friendships I'd neglected. It really isn't in my nature to do this, but I was tired of the incessant thinking. And they seemed happy to do stuff with me. So it was a double win.

The only way to change this is to get out there, put yourself out there and do it. You can tell yourself you can't. Or you can try doing it. The choice is yours.

Quote

There are things going on in my situation that are probably sparking these feelings. I'm choosing not to post much of that right now. There is a re-realization that this is really happening, now that the ball is rolling.

This is one of those posts that sounds more wallow-y negative than I actually feel in the moment. It helps to let it out sometimes.


Hard to know what to say here without details, but I understand and wish you the best in whatever it is that is happening smile
I agree - it's good to let it out.

Take care, man smile

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MLC ~ I think you are right about the separation limbo affecting me. W still lives in the gorgeous remote home and has not faced much reality yet. I'm in a temporary rental home, work has ramped up lately, and my income is paying for it all. I feel like my hands are tied in a lot of ways - with the kids and money in particular.

ovr ~ I have a tendency to indulge in the doom and gloom, yes. Working on it =)

IW ~ I'm also working through the co-dependent tendencies. Part of what has made this so hard is not losing my W specifically, but losing a person I could always turn to for support and sharing. Like you, I also enjoy my alone time, but feel like I should be working harder to be a bit more social. When I have opportunities I jump at them, but I have not put a huge effort into seeking opportunities.

Other updates:

It's looking like next week we will have some progress in sorting out the next steps in the D. W has been acting differently lately, a little more friendly here and there, sharing a little more about things going on with her family (health problems). I validate, there is not much of a back and forth.

It feels a bit more like how things will hopefully evolve -- into more of a business-like relationship. From what I read, this is the path forward to building a healthy setup for the kids. But I am also wary of any friendliness because we are about to go through a difficult negotiation period.

I know I'm still emotionally attached to a degree. That's okay. I acknowledge it.

On my side, I am nervous, but making sure I have a plan in place for upcoming discussions. I know they won't go exactly as planned, but having a simple plan in place will help me focus on my goals.

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This is a hard time for you, unchien. I can empathise a lot, though our circumstances are different. I am not sure this limbo feeling and the insecurity, anxiety and lonlieness that comes with it ever goes away. What helps me is to realise that when I thought 'right, this is it, this is how my life is going to be' in my marriage's better days, it led to me neglecting my personal development, relying too heavily on others for my emotional well being, neglecting GAL and risk-taking new experiences in my professional and personal life, and generally dying a way a little as a person - which trashed my family life and marriage in all kinds of ways. My H is back in the house, as you know, but I don't think I'll ever feel that deep down secure 'this is it, I don't need to work on things any more' and I won't make the assumptions I made in the past about someone else always being there, and always likely to behave in ways I like, agree with and approve of. Perhaps that speaks to trust issues on my part - perhaps it's just a more adult and grown up way of looking at life - always in flux, always unpredictable, always temporary and in limbo in one way or another. There's a mourning and a loneliness that does go along with that and perhaps it will always be there, and make me wiser and more compassionate, or perhaps it's just growing pains and I will come out of the other side acknowledging the reality of how limbo-like and unpredictable life and other people are, but being able to find something to trust and rest in and feel happy anyway.

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U,

Sorry to hear that you've had a rough patch. It can get really hard to keep a PMA all the time. It's ok to have a few days of doom and gloom - part of our grief.

On the upside, W is more friendly?! That's great! I hope that she is starting to see you as a safe space to talk and trust. Whether you eventually (I'm sure not anytime soon) reconcile, a good, healthy friendship is a good building block for co-parenting and the kids.

Keep preparing yourself to stay calm during upcoming discussions. I've even heard some people say that it's helpful to think of the most egregious things that might come up and practice responses to them.

Sending you ((HUGS))

KG


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Alison ~ It's true our situations are different, but that feeling of a lack of stability, a lack of something concrete that we can always reach out and touch... I completely get it. I wonder if life will ever feel stable again. Because the reality is we all are kind of alone in this world. That can either be a depressing thought, or a freeing one.

KG ~ I realized by not sharing details I may have given you the wrong perception. Our text back-and-forth's have died down, she seems to be more in control of herself. That is what I call "friendliness" when in fact it is more like we have transitioned into a bit more business-like relationship. Which is exactly what most co-parenting books advise you to work towards in the early phases.

First official mediation session is scheduled a few days from now. I'm expecting this to be a major turning point (but not counting on it either).

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Unchien,

I completely get you. It still hits me too. The loneliness. The emptiness. Like you I am a big fan of meditation. Live in the present, right?. But, sometimes, just sometimes, I miss making plans. My H and I had so many plans. Then I push the thought to the side, and try and come back to the present. But it creeps back.

The choice as to whether it's a major turning point (or not) is yours. You can continue as you are or you can choose to let go. If you do your co-parenting relationship will take a hit, but it will equalise once again in time.

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Originally Posted by unchien

IW ~ I'm also working through the co-dependent tendencies. Part of what has made this so hard is not losing my W specifically, but losing a person I could always turn to for support and sharing. Like you, I also enjoy my alone time, but feel like I should be working harder to be a bit more social. When I have opportunities I jump at them, but I have not put a huge effort into seeking opportunities.


Yes, same here. With time I have begun to realize that I did rely on W for some emotional stability, but not to the degree that should have broken up the R. I tried to be there too for her throughout the 21 yrs of the R, but she would withdraw and deflect from dealing with her emotional issues in the present or past, so there wasn't much of a give and take there. I think you may see it too, eventually.

My PTSD gives me social anxiety (the gift that keeps on giving - yay!) that can come on out of nowhere. I feel it flood inward and I start sweating, panicking internally and looking for the nearest exit.

Thankfully I have learned to combat this internally while almost completely keeping a normal appearing exterior, so almost no one knows I have this. My nature is to isolate and bottle up when I feel it coming on. However it is a very unhealthy way to deal with things and I am learning how to better process it now.

This week I feel like crap but I'm forcing myself to get out there anyway. I'm keeping it to short interactions with people I know rather well, it helps to calm the anxiety somewhat and relief from my headspace for a little while

Originally Posted by unchien

I know I'm still emotionally attached to a degree. That's okay. I acknowledge it.


Do you think you will ever become fully detached? I think this is something we all focus on, and strive to, but - especially if you have kids together - it will always be there in the background.





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Posts: 914
Ever notice all throughout most of our lives and experiences, the greatest ones are when we are in the moment, out of our own heads, and in someone else's? Or out of our heads, and in an experience with someone or something else? Or enjoying the present and planning for the future, and when those planned future events come to pass, having gratitude and doing it again.

Joined: May 2019
Posts: 1,556
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unchien Offline OP
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