Slow and Steady

I have two therapists involved in my post-divorce life. One for dealing with my X and one for helping my kid deal with my X.

Is it just me or is he really worth all this trouble? Never mind…that’s another post.

So, the other day I go to pick up my kids at my daughter’s therapist. I arrive right on time and walk into the waiting room where my X, the kids and therapist are sitting. I say “hello,” and my X orders me to wait outside. The therapist looks at me in shock. Funny, I was kind of used to be ordered around like a peon that I didn’t much take notice. He then ushers the therapist into her office so my X and she can discuss our kid without me being present.

I ignore/deflect and start chatting with the kids. I take them outside to await my X so we can exchange the kids’ belongings.

My X has been really good at hiding who he is in front of the therapists. I have repeatedly told them that he’s playing them for fools. Underneath his facade of “getting along for the kids” and “no, I don’t hate Sessica,” and “yes, I demonstrate respect for Sessica in front of the kids, and “no, I’m not creating an environment at my house that makes my kids afraid.”

After that exchange in front of my daughter’s therapist, she told me that she gets it now. She had yet to witness his utter lack of respect and complete contempt for me before. She understands his need for complete control over every situation.She noticed the change in the atmosphere of the room the instant I walked in – how tense and angry he became and how happy and relieved my kids were to see me.

For months, I’ve told both therapists this and more. Finally, they are beginning to see who he is. I cannot tell you what a total relief it is to hear validation.

The Funnel – The Only Way to Manage Communications With An Abusive Ex/Co-parent

In a previous post, “What’s Your Problem?” I shared an exchange with my X that was hostile. A bunch of crazy stuff happened before I had a chance to write this post (that I can’t share online right now). So, here is the post I should have written months ago…

When co-parenting with a hostile X, it is impossible to eliminate your interaction with that person. In our case, we have almost daily child exchanges due to the age of our children – almost 2 and 7. We have to exchange frequent e-mails and texts. We were court-ordered to see a therapist. We attend school functions together.

My X is abusive so all this interaction with him is damaging to me. I need to control and limit it.

I call the method I use, “The Funnel.”

If I could do no-contact, I would. This is the next best thing.

The Funnel is my way of limiting my X’s interaction with me and directing all of his negativity and anger into one outlet, and that’s in front of a court-ordered therapist.

He sends me abusive emails. I don’t respond. Crickets.

He sends me harassing emails. Crickets.

He glares at me. I smile. If I can’t smile at him, I smile at my kids.

He ignores me when I say hello. I pretend he did and keep chatting away.

We attend a school function together and as I sit down next to him (to show the kids we can be civil), he makes a rude comment. I ignore and start talking to another parent. I have made a lot of friends at school and at after-school functions, whereas he sits like an angry bump on a log that everyone ignores.

He yells at me on the phone. I politely (or not so politely) get off the phone.

It is only when we meet with our court-ordered therapist that I discuss any issues of depth or controversy, which is basically anything having to do with money or the kids. It is only in that venue where I feel relatively safe to speak my mind but also where I have a witness.

When I first stopped interacting with him, it drove him mad. He acted up in our therapy sessions in front of the therapist and often lashed out at her. But I think he figured out that he could not do that – since the therapist could recommend a change in custody. The sessions have definitely improved and occur much less often.

The interactions I have with him outside these meetings have improved – he doesn’t get the payoff from getting me upset, so why bother? The conflict is still there; it’s just not fed by my reactions or emotions.

Would this work without a therapist or third party?

This is no-contact, or the closest to no-contact you can do when you have joint custody. When you have a disordered, angry or hostile X, you need to put as much space between you and them as possible. A third party helps but if you don’t have one, just limit your interactions as much as possible. Don’t be accessible to your X – make them use only one form of communication when they want to discuss something with you and make sure it’s the form of communication that makes you feel the safest and most comfortable.

Fucked-up Family Tree

I took my daughter, age 7, and her friend out today to play mini golf. On the way there, my daughter and her friend were having a discussion about family.

My daughter explained to her friend how she has two brothers – one is my son and her full brother, the other belongs to her father and his girlfriend. Add in the fact that the other brother is about 9 months younger than the first brother and the mom used to be the daughter’s babysitter and still works with Dad and they’re not married but live together and the kids have to call her Mom…Fucked up, right?

The friend, a very astute little girl, has seen the family unit many times – just me, my daughter and my son. No other brother. So imagine the look on the friend’s face when she heard that my daughter had another brother. The friend exclaimed, “No you don’t. You only have one.”

My daughter corrected her but before we could explain, she looked at me and asked if I was pregnant.

I immediately thought this really practical thought – how am I ever going to buy my daughter one of those cool custom family tree posters?

tree

My guess is they don’t have a special edition called “My Daddy Procreated with His Secretary,” containing the full tree and then a branch to a whole other tree? Or one tree with two trunks? Or one big tree with a little baby trunk? See, it’s hard to visualize. Wish my X had just saved us the trouble of explaining it all by having a vasectomy.

Time Flies When Your Ex is a Moron

I’m writing this as an open letter to StillMeOnlyStronger.

Where did I go?

I am in a place where no mother wants to be. Where your kids very lives and safety are at stake if you do not take action. Where your ex-husband is a complete jerk who puts his kids at risk for inexplicable reasons and you have to be the only grown-up in the room who says enough. Where your kids are hurt by people who are supposed to love them but who are too screwed up to love themselves, never mind these perfect little beings. We are all trapped in a nightmare of someone else’s making and I want so desperately to wake up.

Time flies when your ex is a moron so I’m not sure when I’ll be back.

Boys will be…toilet water drinkers

You can try to convince me all you want that society shapes gender roles (the whole nature vs. nurture debate) but when I found my son, at 12 months, standing over the toilet with a plastic cup in his hand that he just drank from filled with toilet water, I knew he was born a boy and will always be a boy.

Girls don’t do dumb shit like this.

Well, maybe it’s pretty smart (I mean a 12-month-old who just started walking is smart enough to find a cup, open the toilet seat, dip the cup into the water and drink it when he’s thirsty is smart…sort of.)

Girls tear your heart out by telling you they hate you but they absolutely do not drink toilet water. Ever.