Thursday, July 30, 2015

Melancholy...or, The Other Shoe

I got the news that my girlfriend’s mom passed, and my hubby’s step-mom’s brother passed—leaving our world behind all in the same week end.  My heart hurts for these families (now my family) and for all the people we’ve lost along the way.  I wish I could make a bridge to heaven so I could see them again, at least for a hug.  I was crying yesterday, just thinking about it.

Melancholy—well…it’s time to be honest and confess that’s the preamble to what’s been going on in the background and occasionally the foreground.  Hubby and I have been arguing, again, about how to best deal with my ex-husband, again, and it’s gotten to the point where I just don’t see us doing anything but going around and around the carousel, spinning our wheels, getting nowhere.  He can’t demonstrate an understanding that my “take the high road,” “disengage,” “do not behave like Exie behaves,” “concentrate on the children and not on what Exie might be thinking/plotting/doing,” approach is something to be considered.

And…I can’t take the constant pressure to “bully the bully back” approach that he wishes me to take.

Hubby wants a “win.”

I’m no longer fighting. 

That is not to say I’m a doormat.  When issues of private school, or supporting DD1’s ballet, or enforcing payment of medical and health payments, I’m all about being firm and strong and not taking any bullshit.

But as for the other stuff?  I can’t force Exie to change his personality.  Sure, he may lean on the girls for his own emotional care-taking, or conduct phone visitation in a less than stellar way, and that is why we have a play therapist for the girls, a neutral third party to be sure it doesn’t go beyond annoying.  Since 2011, I learned:  1) I can’t put a stop to Exie’s behavior, 2) my job is to help the girls be strong, find their voices, and stand up for themselves, and finally 3) rising to the passive-aggressive bait will invite more headaches and conflict in my life.  I’m done.  I leave Exie at the door.  Because fighting with the Exie, in my eyes, gives Exie the “win,” because he permeates our household like a third person.

Hubby sees it as he has no say in the matter and he wants to DO something about it.  He sees Exie’s behavior as harmful to me and the girls.  That I’ve been so ‘beaten down’ by Exie’s behavior, that I don’t see it, and that he has a fresh pair of eyes and he’s angry that I let Exie “get away with things.”  Even when we’ve consulted FOUR attorneys, who advise there are certain battles to fight (private school, extracurricular activities, copayments), but others are pointless to fight (passive-aggressive behavior—there’s no statute on being a jerk; there’s no prosecution for just boing a douchebag).

I’m no longer a victim.  Exie’s behavior is frustrating and sometimes I get pissed off, but I’m no longer tolerating any abuse in my house.  That is enough for me.  It’s not enough for Hubby.

So after two years of this back and forth, I hit the wall.  I could no longer see any way forward unless we started marriage counseling.  So that this argument can happen with a therapist, a moderator, a third party, rather than screaming at each other in our home.  And yes, screaming.  I’m done.  DONE with that. My heart breaks.

And to my hopeful surprise, he agreed.  Our first session was yesterday.  The discussion was heated, he raised his voice, and it was good to hear the therapist point out that while Hubby says he’s angry at Exie, it sounds like he is more angry with me.  And when she pointed out that maybe, there’s nothing that can be done, he railed against that, refusing to accept it, but it was nice to hear that what I’ve been maintaining was acknowledged.

Likewise, his very strong feelings of anger at the injustice of some asshole being able to “get away with it,” was also justified.  He has every right to feel as upset and frustrated and angry as he does.

So while I still see our situation as between a rock and a hard place, that we’ve carved out a safe space to have these discussions—rather than arguing in front of the girls (this happened twice in one week, which is why I hit the wall—I did NOT sign up for inviting more negative and unhealthy behavior in my home), I am hopeful.

We will be going again next week.  Please pray for my little family.

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