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F*cking XH does it again...just need to get it off my chest(58 Posts)
Can?t sleep and need to get this off my chest. I started it under another thread but didn?t want to hijack so here?s the story again.
Split from XH at new year after I discovered his affair. Pattern since then has been we try to be civilised for a while then I say something he misinterprets or that just doesn't suit him and he turns into a bully. He attacks me or just flat out ignores me for days or even weeks. Followed by profuse apologies. Over and over again.
Last straw was over a month ago. DD has a big event coming up in March that I really would have liked to plan together. In fact he sent the first message to me saying 'we really must work together on this.' But once he realised I was on board he changed his tune - rebuffed all my requests to discuss it, agreed to a meeting then cancelled it at the last minute. Said he was going to handle it all and there was nothing to discuss. I finally decided, for my own sanity, and for DD's sake, not to fight with him and just let him do it. I even handed over all the research & ideas I already had. It just wasn't worth the fight.
Today, over a month after we last talked about it, he sent me an email saying please can we discuss it!!!! (He's either realised it's too much hard work or doesn't want to look bad by excluding me). I've been really good at not engaging in any battles with him for a while now but feel this is maybe too big to ignore. So I sent him this:
?No, I really don't think we can. Based on your past behaviour I do not trust you to behave rationally and respectfully towards me for any length of time. But feel free to use the information I gave you if you want it. Or don't. I'm sure you and [xxxx] will figure it out. Good luck.?
And this is his reply:
?It is my hope that you might feel, as I do, that it is tough but possible for us to put aside the way we have both behaved at times and the things we have both said in anger and haste. If we are exactly never going to be friends again, we can at least try to look to the future rather than the past and behave in a civil and respectful way towards each other for the benefit of <DCs>. This is what they want and need from us and I am fully committed to doing exactly that. DD and I don?t want to do it without you?but I can?t force you..?
Arghh!!!! He is so fucking infurating. This is what he does every bloody time. He acts the complete TWAT then when I say I?ve had enough, he goes all?.surely we can work together but if YOU don?t want to?..
Please, please, please can someone tell me how the hell you deal with someone like that? I have thought of several responses ? ?Keep telling yourself that long enough you might even believe it? or ?The boy who cried wolf rings a bell? or just ?Fuck off and go to hell you lying son of a bitch?!
balia It continues to amaze me and simultaneously break my heart just how many of us have had to go through the same thing. I used to think only really really stupid people or people with real problems or people in soaps had affairs and acted like this. What an eye opener this last year has been. The saddest (or maybe the most laughable!) part is that it is just the worst kind of cliche - even down to the very words that come out of their mouths.
I've come such a long way but still trying very, very hard to master the art of NOT. RESPONDING.
Wow, just read the whole thread and right up until your post about the talk I was thinking, no, don't do it - but then when I read how sensitively you managed it I actually felt quite tearful!
When I was in your position I didn't tell DD about the 'real' reasons for our split, thinking that was best, not to say anything negative about her Dad etc - only to discover later that she new all about it and thought I didn't know, so had no-one to talk to!
If, however, it helps at all, I find a stock reply to the 'we must work together' blackmail type emails along the lines of 'Many thanks for your opinions, which I have considered when making my decision about the best course of action. I will be doing (whatever you have said already)'
It will drive him mental.
He likes the run-ins. Maybe he wants your attention, maybe he remains angry and resentful over your divorce or aspects of it.
Either way don't fuel him. Be amicable and succinct in every communication. He pisses you off, your response " that's lovely thanks" "ok not a problem". Think American customer service.
How long can he go on faced with that?
By the way - feels good to have my own personal cheerleader!
Thanks Katniss - no doubt he will be fuming when he figures it out but I don't really give a shit about his reaction. If my motive was just to piss him off I would have done it a long time ago. Lucky you not having the ex in your life anymore - I can only dream of such a day! However, he is a decent dad to them so I wouldn't want to stop him seeing them.
Go yoga! Go yoga! [passes pom poms around]
Wow, very brave decision to make, but sounds like you and the dc's handled it really well. It comes across in your posts that you want the best for DC's rather than point score against FWEX.
I too had an ex like yours, he was also abusive, I ignored the digs and gibes but he upped the ante to provoke a response. I don't think he expected the response to be a pc turning up on his door step serving him with a harassment warning.
2 years later, I have a sense of peace from not having him in our lives in any way shape or form. Dc's are so much happier and emotionally healthier.
I just added my tale, to prepare you that he may up the ante too. No doubt the children will at some point mention that you have told them about his affair and he won't like having his halo sullied! But ignore, ignore, ignore...and if it all gets too much, know that such a thing as a harassment warning exists. I didn't know about them for a long time, and it was a huge relief to have someone (the police) on my side.
Best wishes for the future.
Thx Hesterton. Can't say I always handle everything this well but I do feel good about this.
I think you handled that incredibly well. I also agree that in many ways the truth is the fairest thing, because they know there's more.
Well they seem absolutely great today.
Thanks so much for all the advice & support.
I also had a chat with them about him not coming to the house anymore. He's now doing ridiculous things like sitting and visiting with them in his car in my driveway! He had managed to convince them that if I wouldn't let him in the house that this was the only possible way he could see them during the week (again, they believe everything he says to be true and get mad at me).
So I pointed out to DCs that he only lives 5 minutes away and that if he wants to have a short visit with them during the week I would be more than happy to drop them at his shop or his flat after work and he can drop them home again an hour later or after dinner or whatever suits him. Hopefully they will soon realise that all his excuses are just that!
Well done! You are helping the children to make sense of what is happening.
Well done yoga sounds like that was just what the kids needed to hear x
Yes thanks, I thought that was quite good too!
and FWIW I think you did an exemplary job of walking the line of truth without badmouthing and i especially like that it is your job to be mad at the Ex
Well done yoga,
don't forget they may want to revisit the conversation from time to time and check in with you about their feelings.
sorry x-posts, thanks so much for your thoughts stru & fool, it feels good to know that this knowledge will hopefully be a growing experience for them rather than a burden.
Thanks Nonnus but I've thought about what I think my kids can handle and decided on balance they would be a lot less confused and therefore better off knowing (and that I wasn't just doing it to make myself feel better).
So I sat them both down tonight. Started with all the usual stuff about how much their dad and I each love them and will always be there for them. Then I tried, one last time, to explain without telling them the whole truth. I asked how they would feel if they had a friend who was nice to them one day then mean the next then nice, then mean etc. DS piped up and said, "just like XXX in my class!" I asked how he felt about that. DS said he didn't like the boy and didn't want to keep being his friend because even when he was nice he knew he was just going to be mean again soon. (Great, I thought, we're getting somewhere!) So I explained that was kind of how I felt about their dad, that even though he would never treat them that way, that i didn't trust him to be nice to me anymore and the best way I knew how to handle that was to not be around him anymore.
But that's where I lost them - just like every other time, they jumped on me and said "But you're mean to dad too!", "Dad says you upset him too", "I don't understand why you can't just let him come over, that's so mean of you" etc etc
So I kept it simple but I told them. I told them that their dad met OW (they know who she is) and she became his girlfriend while he & I were still together. When I found out about this I was really, really hurt and upset. And even though daddy said sorry he also said he loved OW and so, even though it was really, really hard, I realised we couldn't be married anymore. And it still makes me upset and hard to be around him.
Reaction from DS was amazing actually. First he burst into tears and sobbed in my arms for about 15 minutes (at which point I coudn't decide if I'd done completely the wrong thing or if it was good for him to finally let some of his emotions out). Then he went off for a bit, got washed & into pjs. When he came back he cuddled up to me again, much calmer....*and thanked me*. I asked him what for and he said because it all makes a lot more sense now. I told him he didn't have to be mad at his dad for it, that was my job. We cuddled again and he went to bed.
DD was more upset about the event I posted about in my OP so we talked about that. I told her that of course I would still be part of it and help her in any way I could but that her dad & I just wouldn't be sitting down together to work out the details. She seemed happy with that. So we cuddled for a bit and she went to bed too.
So all in all a positive outcome I think.
my oldest 2 are 11 and 9. they were the recipients of emotional and verbal abuse from their father (though he did not have an affair).
i believe that age-appropriate truth is the only way to go. That does not mean mud slinging. but they will know a lot more than you think they do, they will also be support and validation for one-another so i would tell both or neither.
children in families where things have gone wrong need enough information to make sense of the world that is around them. Believe me what they make up will be more devastating and harmful than any amount of truth.
So long as you keep giving them permission to love their father, to see the good things about him and don't ask them to "side" with you, they will have the freedom to make up their own mind as they grow.
I respect Nonnus' opinion but disagree purely because these children are already living lives embroiled in the emotional issues. Talking about them gently and carefully and allowing them to engage with the troubles they experience will not burden them, it will help them carry the burden that they already have.
i'm 18 months down the line and finding that I've finally learned the broken record technique and am realising that detachment makes me far happier than rising to the bait.
What's helped if working out what makes me feel good and therefore has a positive knock on effect on the Dcs. I have had to defend my boundaries several times until the point gets taken on board and also I make a habit of not responding to communication without doing something else before so I can digest or better still not responding unless absolutely necessary.
No sure re telling the DCs too much but I've made a point of not giving the impression that their father is Mr Wonderful cos I think being able to see him clearly rather than hero worship an abusive liar will make it easier for them to cope as they get older.
I wouldn't start talking to an 11 and 9 year old about their father's affair myself. Way, way too much information and they are a long way off having even an inkling of the emotional skills to understand these very adult issues.
I know it is hard in your position, but really I would try to keep the issues between you and exH between you and exH, and deal with the parenting issues separately. Children of that age should not have to deal with emotional issues they are not equipped with life skills to deal with.
I don't know - 9 is young and he seems to be less effected by XH's behaviour just because he's a more easy going child, doesn't get as wound up about stuff in general. On the other hand, I suspect he quietly takes in everything that goes on around him, he is quite clever (in a 'street smart' way as well as academic) and I hate the idea of telling one but not the other.
Maybe it depends on how he's affected by XH's behaviour? I think if that were necessary I'd do it in separate conversations, age/maturity appropriate? 9 is young tho, isn't it, to be hearing all that stuff?
Again, age appropriate truth and explanation for DS - you do not want a situation of 'don't tell your brother'.
Thoughts for you tonight.
Thanks - definitely going to do it tonight, just still undecided about whether to include DS in the conversation. He's only 9..
Yoga I came to the same conclusion as you - my DD is slightly older but I decided it was time to abandon the 'he's a lovely guy' image and be honest about what her F had done (affair). I didn't do any mud-slinging but explained calmly that that was what he'd done and that was why we'd split up and why I found it difficult to deal with the OW. She seemed to accept it and has acknowledged that his behaviour is often unreasonable. I had similar conversations with my (older) DSs - just to clarify where I stood and what the situation was. I really feel it cleared the air.
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