Thursday, May 11, 2006

How do I respond?

I could feel something was coming, I know Bub's been feeling left out, out of the loop, neglected, what ever. He's been getting more easily agitated and taking issue with things. This week I got in trouble for forgetting that I was the one who was supposed to call him about finalizing some plans we had made for Em's visit the next day. I rolled my eyes as he was bitching at me over the phone and Em saw me. When she went over she asked him if he was mad at me cause she could hear him griping at me over the phone and saw me rolling my eyes, YIKES! Got to be more careful with that stuff, she doesn't need to see that from me. So then I get the whole, you need be more mindful of your reactions around Em cause she sees, etc. talk. Yeah, yeah, I know.

Along with that, Em's been calling him less and spending less time on the phone with him, so when he called her last night and she was distracted by the kitty and the fact that she really didn't want to talk, he started in on her. Not sure what he said exactly, but it was the same old thing and she just wanted to hang up on him cause she was sick of hearing it. Then he wants to talk to me so I can help him with the situation. He starts talking about her phone etiquette and not giving him enough time, blah blah blah. I said I'd talk to her cause her phone etiquette does need work, like giving her full attention, etc.

I had also sent him an email explaining that Em's counselor would need several more one on one visits with her before we should try to do a family meeting in which she would help Em to be able to talk to Bub about the problems she was/is having with him. It bugs the crap out of him that he has no idea what our problems are with him and I feel like he's pressuring us to explain before either one of us are really ready.

Anyway, here's the email he sent me today, and I just don't know how to respond. (I just copied it, so excuse all of his spelling errors and such.)

This one is a long one. I needed to say some things so here they are.

I have to be honest with you. I am having problems dealing with the situation. You must realize that you have repped my world apart. I am coping with it the best way that I can. But you are asking for a lot from me and giving me almost nothing.

Let me illustrate this by telling you how I see the situation. This is an overview of what I am going through. Maybe this will help you to understand what I am feeling. I understand this is my point of view and you don't necessarily agree with it. I am just trying to convey what I feel.

I know this message is a bit long and I am sorry for taking your time. I just think you should know how I feel. I have tried to organize this so that it makes as much sense as possible. You don't have to respond immediately. Just try to see things from my perspective. You may not be able to understand this. I just thought that I should try.

The Situation

Until you left several weeks ago I was under the impression that we both wanted to be together and that we both were working toward that goal. You told me on numerous ocasions that you were happy and wanted to be there. Then all of the sudden you call and tell me you have moved out and that you are not happy or in love and haven't been for a long time. This would have been easier to deal with if you had been honest with me about your feelings to begin with. In one afternoon everything I have worked for has been taken away and I have no say in the matter. It is worse because if you had honestly told me what you felt we could have worked on it or at least I would have had some warning. What you did tore out my heart and I don't know if I will recover. I now have a lot of trust issues with people in generall because of this. I don't know if I can every get over this simple because I don't know how to deal with it.

To add insult to injury, you withheld emily from me until you thought I was ready. That means that I was not able to allow myself to grieve or to deal with my emotions because I don't want to go without seeing emily. You are holding me hostage and forcing me to not deal with anything because I care too much to screw up my relationship with emily.

You control how and when I see her. You control what is told to her councelor. I don't even know where she goes. I don't know anything that is going on and it is driving me crazy. I must now trust you (very hard for me) to tell me the truth about what is going on.

On top of all of that, you tell me that Emily has some problem with me. You say she is uncomfortable with certain things. But she doesn't ever seem to have a problem with being alone or anything like you assume she will. She doesn't seem to have a problem. But you don't want me to talk about it with her. You don't seem to think it is important for her and I to work on our relationship in its new form. You want me to wait on a councelor to make friends with her when I feel that we could talk about the problem now at least to some degree.

When you left you made it clear that you wanted nothing to do with me. You made it so clear that I feel like It is necessary for me to refuse to deal with my emotions because if I face them I don't know that I can deal with them. I am trying to keep myself controlled and not emotional for emily, but it is hard.

The Problem

The problem is that you are controlling my aceess to emily based on the threat that if I don't deal nicely with you I won't get to see her. I am not saying that you have actually said that. But in everything that you have said I feel like that was implied. So I must play the game in order to salvage a life for myself and I must let you and anyone else accuse me of all kinds of things that I don't believe are true. Just to have the privelidge (not the right) to see my little girl.

You keep making illusive comments about the problems without actually talking about them. You say that you have a moral issue with me, but you won't tell me what. You flat out won't talk about most things. So I have no clue why my family was just repped apart but you expect me to deal with it and still remain saine for emily. I have done so thus far. But, what you have done is not fair to me or emily.

The weekend you left she called me balling. All she could say is "I want you". I had to listen to my little girl cry her heart out because she missed me and I didn't even know where she was. I couldn't help her or hold her or even tell her it would be alright because I didn't know and I still don't.

My Behavior So Far

So far, no matter how hard it has been, I have done everything in my power to make sure that I didn't discredit you or question your decisions to emily. I have tried to maintain her respect for you (even though I have questions about you dong the same).

I have done everything that you have asked. I have tried to work with you on almost everything. I have told you that I would do what I could to ensure that nothing is hard on emily. To this point I feel that my behavior has been better than anyone could expect it to be given the situation.

My Feelings

As you know, I am an upfront person. I say what I mean. I am going to tell you what I think of these things that I have been talking about. Again, I realize that you may not share these opinions. They are just here for you to be able to know where I am coming form.

You have many times in the past told me that you thought I would react differently than I did about things. You told me that on the phone about this situation a couple of weeks ago. And yet, anytime you try to predict my behavior you always assume the worst. Because of this I don't believe that you actually understand or even know me.

I am angry with you for not being honest with me about your feelings. If you had not lied to me and told me that you wanted to make our marriage work then I could have been better prepared for this and emily could have been better prepared as well. During our entire 11 years together I have been trying to get you to be honest about your feelings. I don't know what else to say. I just can't be held responsible for the problems that I wanted to work out but couldn't because you never told me what was wrong. You act like I have done something, but in truth, I have done everything short of stop the sun for you. I at least showed up and invested myself in our marriage. I have tried to work on things and be patient with you. All I got was a lack of interest back. When I told you that you made me feel like I wasn't wanted and I asked you to tell me the truth you could have done so. That was less than 5 months ago. I feel like you have emotional problems that cause this and I hope that you someday are able to overcome them. God knows, I tried to work with you on it. I feel like nothing will happen until you try though. And that is where the problem is.

If emily shares some of those same problems with you and cannot tell people when something bothers her then she should be in councelling. However, when you talk about the problem you take an accusitory stance toward me. Emily can tell me anything. I have never told her otherwise. I am her father and I will not do anything she wants. Let me give you an example. A couple of weeks ago I scared her in the hallway. We have always played like that and she has always seemed to enjoy it. However, she told me that she didn't really like it. So I haven't done it anymore. But if she were to tell me that she wanted to be rude to people, I would tell her know and still punish her if I saw her do it. Some things I have a responsibility to uphold even if she doen't like it. Do I yell at her sometimes, sure you do just as much as I do. Do I spank her, yes when it is necessary. I haven't done so in a long time because other punishments seem to work better, but if the need arose I still would. Do I somtimes make her unhappy, unfortunately yes. All parents do. You cannot tell me that you were 100% happy with everything your parrents ever did. But, I love her with every fiber of my being and I would live or die a thousand times to make her life what it should be. I always have and always will try to do what is best for her. I think you know that but you don't act like it. You act like I am some mean-ass that you have to watch for indications that you need to interveen. You may not agree with my beliefs, but you should at least be willing to ackowledge that I have different beliefs and that is ok. Just because you think I am wrong that doesn't make it true. And, just as I have done in this situation, not matter what the cost you should always consider what emily sees and what effect your actions will have. I don't elieve that you always do that.

I understand that our marriage is over and that I can't make you stay. I understand that you are not willing to try to work it out. I don't agree with that decision but I understand that you have made it. I am trying to repsect your wishes and give you space. I am also trying to keep emily from being involved with the hurtful side of this situation as much as possible. I don't believe that is 100% possible because you have basically removed her from her dad. Everytime she comes to my house she tells me that she wishes I could live with her again. So some emotional issues are going to arise from that. I don't believe you can every split up a family and leave no scars. But I am trying to help minimize the effects.

What I Want

I am trying to work with you on everything from the seperation to our arrangments with emily. I am trying to be open to dealing with things in differnt ways. I am trying my best to understand your point of view (even if I don't agree with it).

However, I need closure on some of these issues. I need time to deal with them. I need honesty and answers. I can't process, learn from or deal with any of this without knowing what is going on.

I need to feel like I can be free to build my relationship with emily without worrying about you trying to control it. I don't feel that now.

I need to know that you are going to cntinue to work with me. Like I said, from my point of view you still loved me a month and a half ago and you just changed your mind all of a sudden. I need some kind of assurance that you won't do that about emily and take her off to timbucktoo or wherever.


I do understand that you can't just say "Ok" to everything here. We must work through this stuff. I don't have the answer. I just want you to understand that things can't just stay this way. Think about this and let me know when you think you have something to talk a bout.

Help! What the hell am I supposed to say to all that? I'm not ready to try to explain, I may not ever be, and Em's not ready yet either. There's just so much more to each of our relationships that he simply cannot see and most likely won't understand. If either of us felt like we could have talked to him about any of our true feelings then we would have. He'll never accept that he is the reason why we couldn't or didn't. Or that the only reason Em's been telling him that she wishes we could live with him again is because he's finally been behaving like the daddy she's always dreamed of. She thinks he's all fixed now, or she did until he started in on her the other night, and all the old feeling came crashing back. He was more than successful in shattering that particular dream, the idiot! It was a harsh reality check that I knew was inevitable, yet I wished she could have been spared from. If only he would just go away and allow us to live our lives in peace! I hate that I'll be tied to this man for the rest of my life, and there's not a damn thing I can do about it.


Blogger Dawnyal said...

Wow Bev. Very concise and to the point and making sure to point out your faults huh? If it were me and I wasn't ready to deal with it. I would tell him that you understand he feels left out in the dark but that you aren't ready to open up just yet and that if he is feeling left out and confused it might not be bad for him to seek a counselor on his own to work out his feelings of being abandoned and leave it at that.
My other option would be to call my counselor and let her know he's seeking answers that you aren't ready to give and what would she suggest.

I also want to point out that if he is already getting pissy, it still may not be a bad idea to consult your lawyer about the financial end of this.

1:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Beverly,

First time poster, but I've been following your blog for some time now.

It seems to me that the key point to all his ramblings is that he just isn't in control. He keeps saying he doesn't like it that you have the ability to keep his feelings in check and to possibly take your daughter away.

Basically it seems he doesn't like not being in control. Too bad. You had to deal with not being in control for many many years - now it's his turn.

Your only necessary response to him is to tell him you are not ready/willing to pacify his insecurities. It is time for you to take control of your life and what you feel as a mother is best for you and your daughter. He will have to deal with his feelings and the fact that he can not any longer control you.

As far as what he says are your lies, failings and so on are just more manipulative jabs to get you to react in a way that satisfies him - very one-sided on his part.

My two cents are to talk to your counselor(s) and lawyer and take your next steps toward healing for you and your daughter. Respond to his items only if and when you choose.


2:44 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Must agree with L.--don't let him bully you into revealing things before you are ready. You can say "My issues with you are so severe that I only want to tell you in front of a third party."

While I am sympathetic to the fact that he feels "blindsided," he is really trying to manipulate you, just as he always has.

IMO, the best way to handle him is the least amount of contact possible.

And Dawnyal's suggestion about asking the counselor for help is a good idea too.

4:26 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Sandy said...

OMG! He really thinks the world revolves around him doesn't he.
As I was reading the email I was struck by the number of times he said me, I, I want. He would couch it by adding Em in the sentence occasionally, but when you boil it down he is upset and confused because he is not in control and realizes that now that you are out of the house he can't make you agree with him anymore. He kept adding that he didn't agree with you and kept referring to the fact that he couldn't change your mind.
Is this a control issue? or what?!

I think a call to the lawyer about the finances would be prudent. He will try to bully you again and use your sense of obligation to make you agree to things that you don't have to.
A call to your counselor about how to deal with this latest tyrade would also be a wise idea. You are still fragile and he knows it. He thinks if you two get together on the issues of Emily he will be able to make you see his side and feel sorry for him.
Your response to him can simply be "Not ready to discuss it yet"
Nothing else needs to be said.
Hang in there Bev,

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give a copy of the email to both your lawyer and the counselor.

Personally baesed on this letter alone I would only be looking at sorting the finances out through the lawyer. He's not going to play nice.

Interesting that even now he believes his is the only opinion that matters.

I can understand why he'd be frustrated that you won't tell him what the problem is, but quite frankly I think you're right. It wouldn't matter anyway because he wouldn't see it.

I think everyone else has given really good advice so far.


8:52 PM  
Blogger chryscat said...

He's quite the manipulative piece of work, isn't he?
Well guess what? It ISN'T all about him. And he needs to get over it. Just because he wrote you "The Novel of Bub" doesn't mean you need to buy into that crap.
Take care of yourself and Em. First and foremost.
Once again, I'll second and third what everyone else said. Have this documented and consult your lawyer again.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Paulina said...

How should you respond? How bout, " Thank you for sharing Bub, and I'm sorry you feel that way." Short and sweet and to the point.

When ever my ex sends hurtfull and accusing emails I always tell him that I'll be sure to get back to him after I print out his email and show it to my attorney. That ususally shuts him for for a while.

His hostility is a poor mask for guilt, in my opinion.

Hang tough.


9:31 PM  
Anonymous jilly said...

Wow..."My Behavior", "My Feelings", "What I Want", and several hundred "me" and "I"s. Gee, I guess he really does think this is ALL about him. Oh course he throws in the manipulative references to Em, but when it comes down to it, its all about Bub and how this is affecting Bub and how could you do this to Bub, Bub, Bub! Yes, he's definitely suffering from a loss of control issue, but so what? You could explain until you're blue in the face ~ he wouldn't accept it, so blindsiding him was necessary and inevitable if you had any chance to escape.

I agree with what everyone here has said. The shock is over and he's thinking about ways to manipulate you from afar. Don't allow him! If he doesn't want to play nice anymore, then tell him to direct all concerns regarding family assets and Em to your lawyer. Don't let him see he's getting to you at all. Don't let him know you're stressing over how to reply. My advice? Write back to acknowledge receipt of his email and tell him you will communicate with him solely with respect to issues regarding Em and the termination of the marriage and that you have no desire to engage in explanations of your life choices ~ you are simply getting on with yours and you suggest he do the same.

12:49 AM  
Blogger BethK said...

Sad, really. Sad for him, anyway and just one more illustration that you did the right thing for yourself and your daughter. He sees you (and Em) as something that needs to be 'fixed' so that you'll be an appropriate reflection of himself.

He views himself as the victim here and he is most definitely having issues with the fact that he's no longer in sole control of the situation.

You're not responsible for any of his feelings, particularly his new found trust issues(gimmee a break). You don't owe him anything because to someone like him the scales will never be balanced. You just need to focus on what's right for you and your child.

I agree with Jilly that you should acknowledge that you received and read his e-mail. I think it would be wisest to continue to having all correspondence regarding finances and divorce itself go though the lawyers. If you think it would be cathartic for you to explain your reasons for leaving him, tell him you will do it in your time in front of a counselor. Bottom line - Take it or leave it.

Oh, and when you're speaking to him on the phone he has no right to bitch at/lecture you. You are his equal (more than his equal, frankly) and if he can't speak to you, one rational adult to another, then you can and should, calmly, terminate the conversation. Your feelings count! Even when those feelings include anger and frustration. It's important for Em to see you appropriately express all of your emotions. This will help her see that she can appropriately express those emotions too.

Hang in there!

2:23 PM  

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