07/30/07 08:31 AM
how can I overcome this?

Hello all. I hope everyone has a good Monday today. I am writing (yet once again) in hopes of inspiration, consolation, advice, anything.... Mostly, I am writing because I am so tired of me. Two of my grandson's were baptized yesterday and, of course, my ex-husband was there. Instead of being brave and bold, I remained meek and estranged. It seems to be the only way I react in his presence. He arrived late for the ceremony so I managed to be okay except for a few tears because it happened in the church that every important event in my life has happened in (including our marriage, my parents' burials and all of my children's sacraments. All of my children were involved in the Baptism and a good friend of mine came to church with me. I was expecting both him and his "new" wife, but he showed up alone. I give her perhaps credit for this, but I have no idea of why she didn't come. For all I know, she could have been busy with her own children somewhere.
Anyway, they were taking pictures and I saw him alone sitting in the back of the church and I told one of my sons to go get him for the picture. He strode up to the altar and without really even looking at him we exchanged "hello." That was that. And, that was all there was.
At the party immediately following, we stayed away from one another. My children all spent time talking to him; interestingly enough (?), they didn't spend hardly any time at all with me or my friend (whom they haven't seen for a long time). To make a long story short, one of my sons had to be back at the airport probably just a little over an hour into the party. I had offered to drive him. When I left, I told my son and d-i-l that I'd be back later. By the time I got to the car while my son was gathering his stuff for the trip to the airport, I started to cry. My friend understood and later told me she could see that about 10 or 15 minutes before we left that I was glancing toward my ex-husband and that she could see my mood change. I wasn't angry; I was just so upset and so hurt -- still.

Anyway, after I drove back from the airport I called yet another one of my sons and pretty much blurted out -- is your father still there. He was, indeed, still there. I said I wouldn't go back then, and my son accused me of acting like a baby. Well, that didn't help my mood (and this is one of the "sensitive" sons...).

So, ultimately I took another hour drive, crying all the way, sat in a Walgreen's parking lot for about a half hour, crying and talking to a girlfriend on the phone and then drove home.

This is finally my point: all I wanted last night was for either my daughter or one of my 4 sons at the party -- or my d-i-l, to call and say, "hey, come on back. It'll be fine." No such call ever came.
At midnight, there was a message from my d-i-l (we work together) asking if it was okay that she come in late today because the party was still going on... She mentioned, "oh, sorry you didn't come back to the party."
Luckily, I guess, I didn't even hear the phone ring so I retrieved the message this AM as I was getting ready for work. Apparently the party went on another 7 hours + after I had left for the airport.
So, my question is this -- am I just a royal baby for not going back? There was no place in the world I wanted to be more than at that party with my children and grandchildren. But, there were two reasons I didn't go back: 1) I didn't think anyone cared if I was there or not and 2) I knew that my children would have a better time with their father if I was not present. I believe both 1 and 2 came true. But, for me, it was just another such event when both of us are invited that I have to bow out of or not attend and then everyone else has a good time and I am left "home alone," so to speak.
What do you all think? Sorry for the long-winded story line, but I was so upset last night and I am still so incredibly hurt today. I know I was abandoned and betrayed by my ex-husband and there is nothing I can do but accept that, but whenever these scenarios occur (and there have been about a dozen of them over the years), I really feel I've lost my whole family...
Thanks so much for listening. I just feel so low today I can hardly stand it. I'm not sure I'm going to make it through work without crying half the day (and that would not be a good thing...). Take care all, bacall

07/30/07 09:46 AM
Re: how can I overcome this?

Oh sweetie - my heart really does go out to you. I am struggling with some of these same feelings - even though I'm not quite where you are at in life. I don't WANT to be around my ex or anyone in his family at all! I had to see his parents this weekend when they passed my daughter back to me and it was sooooooo awkward and awful. If I had to be in a party room with them for any length of time, I would be struggling just like you are.

I have some thoughts...but I'm a percolator, so I'm really going to have to sort this out before I can give you a better post.

All I can say for now is that you can't turn the hands of time back, so while you are feeling sad today, try to work on letting go a little bit. You acted as you did for good reason so try to be kind to yourself. Beating yourself up and feeling like a "royal baby" isn't helpful at all!!!

HUGS to you, Bacall!

(Carpal \'Tunnel)
07/30/07 11:18 AM
Re: how can I overcome this?

Kids (even grown-up kids) are egocentric and wrapped up in their own lives.

Your kids think that you know that they love you and that they don't have to tell you that you are wanted.

Do you believe that if it was your ex that drove to the airport that they would have called him and asked him to come back?

Your ex was willing to take a "back seat". You are the one that sent son to drag him up for pictures. And then you sound a little jealous that all the children wanted to talk to him.

Are you looking for your kids to "side w/ you" and hate your ex for what he did to their mother? Are you looking for them to "love your best"?

None of your feelings are wrong! You are very eloquent with words. Your hurt and sadness is palpable.

So many posters feel that their children want BOTH parents at these special events but in my case; the children have told me many times that they are NOT comfortable w/ us both attending.

It is not because they "would have a better time with their father if I was not present." My kids "say" that they are "afraid" of what he will do, if I show up.

We have had only one event that we both attended. There were 400 people between where he sat w/ gf and where I was sitting. But even then I could tell ODS was tense and stressed.

My kids have asked me to NOT attend when their father has threatened to make an appearance. I have acquiesced to their requests.

They have asked that I not even drive on the road that gf's house is on because that "will make dad mad". But they are SOL.

There is only so far I am willing to bend over backwards; driving out of my way in the opposite direction to accommodate my ex is not a reasonable request.

When my kids went away for the past week w/ their dad. They didn't call me once. It is a combination of not wanting to make dad mad and the fact that they are definitely "out of sight; out of mind" sort of boys.

It is not a measure of their love for me.

Sometimes the more "obvious" we are that we "need" a person's love the more that need drives them away.

I understand why you didn't go back. I also would not have. I can see my kids anytime. I would rather spend time w/ them when I am feeling positive, comfortable and happy.

I would rather be alone that stuck in the situation that you described.

(Carpal \'Tunnel)
07/30/07 12:37 PM
Re: how can I overcome this?

First let me start by saying that no one's feelings are ever "wrong". We feel the way we do and that's that. Let's look at the bigger picture for a moment now....

Your x stayed away from you, he didn't flaunt his new life in your face. He came alone, he wasn't mean or intrusive towards you and he was simply there for the same reasons as you were. To spend time with your mutual children and grandchildren and spend time with them on a family occasion.

I can see your son's point in being a little upset with you about not coming back because of your x. He didn't ruin your day Bacall, you ruined it. You wanted your kids to read your mind and and call and ask you back. Perhaps they didn't because they felt you should put your own feelings aside and care more about them than what your x was doing. I'm not saying that to be mean, but I've been in their shoes and had to put my foot down with my own parents (particularly my mom) and say this is what I'm planning, either you'll be there or you won't. I want you to be, your grandchildren want you to be but I will not beg you. You are both their parents and they should never have to choose sides.

I don't know their reasons for spending time with him and not you, I can only speculate that maybe it's because he was there alone and you were with a friend so they may have figured you had someone to talk to. I know it's not the same but it's really the only thing I can come up with that makes sense.

Again, I don't mean to hurt you. By your posts I know that you are a very sensitive person, but I think that someone needs to let you know that in this case your actions were a little selfish. Since I've been divorced I've tried to live by the philosophy that I will always love my kids more than I hate my x or anything he's done to me in the past.

07/30/07 12:47 PM
Re: how can I overcome this?

Dear Debi, Thanks for the tough love approach. I understand your words, and as you say, our feelings, unfortunately for me these days, are my feelings. Yep, I have to admit it -- I was jealous a little, I guess. And, I do agree with pretty much most of what you said. I was expecting more from them than they have ever showed me -- as far as at least thinking about me (like, where is Mom?) and perhaps just knowing I needed a bit of a prod. But, I guess I felt that way because I would have called one of my children up -- or a friend, etc., if I was at a party where I knew they wanted to be and also understood the hesitation...
But, they are not me and I am not them -- obviously. I am still hurt and since this is not the first time this has happened, I'm guessing it will not be the last. I know I have only choices: grin and bear it as long as I can (only could stand it for about 2 hours yesterday) or not attend at all. I wish I could develop a protective armor so that I could stay, but I just simply don't know what to do. Thanks for your insights. bacall

07/30/07 12:49 PM
Re: how can I overcome this?

Dear Cici,
Thanks for your kind words. I know you are near the beginning of all this and I could well imagine your pain with your inlaws. The pain doesn't necessarily go away, it ebbs sometimes and the really either lucky or steadfast people seem to be able to eventually overcome the hurdles. It is hard to believe how difficult communicate is -- even for those of us with a lot to say! Take care and please do write later-- bacall

07/30/07 12:56 PM
Re: how can I overcome this?

Well, Phoenix, yes, a little bit of everything you've said is true. A little jealous, yes. A lot of hurt, heck yes. It is funny (well, not really funny at all) what you said about your kids being afraid of what he would do if you showed up. I think for me the indifference that my ex-husband exudes is part of my hurt. Just as I don't go up to him to talk, keep in mind that he does not approach me. And,I do not sit glaring or angry-looking at all. The whole time I was there I tried to focus on the other people that were visiting. But, all in all, there is just something physically palpable that bothers me when I'm in his presence. I can't even really describe it -- but it usually takes me several days to get over the experience. I was just hurt by my children's not thinking about me and maybe that is too much to ask -- but, on the other hand, maybe it is not. But, it is what it is and I know only my reaction to it is what counts. And, that is what I really need help with -- how to be okay and let it go (the proverbial lesson to be learned, I know). I liked what you said about needing someone's love can drive them away -- it is one of the hardest things about divorce -- you have already lost a "love," so to speak, so sometimes you feel you are forever more on shaky ground. Thanks for your insights. bacall

(Carpal \'Tunnel)
07/30/07 01:25 PM
Re: how can I overcome this?

you have already lost a "love," so to speak, so sometimes you feel you are forever more on shaky ground.

-----> I completely understand what you mean by this. Not from my divorce because I don't think my x and I cared enough about each other for that to be the case, but with my x SO. Even after 2 years I am so hurt by what he did to me that I'm not sure I'll ever fully recover. I'm thankful that I don't have to see him and his wife. I'm thankful we have no connection anymore, yet I know that what happened has changed me forever. It would take someone very, very special and patient to put me back on solid ground again and get me to believe that it's worth it to re-open my heart. I never felt that way after my divorce. Now I just can't seem to move on and believe in relationships anymore..

(Carpal \'Tunnel)
07/30/07 02:47 PM
Re: how can I overcome this?

"Lost a "love," "

We have lost a love.

I was thinking about him the other day. I was sad after going to a memorial for a dear friend. My EX could always make me feel better. He would be silly or irreverent, or both. He could make me smile.

I was already sad due to the death of my friend and then missing my EX made me sadder.

It is stupid to miss him. Yes, he was a showman and could bring out the laughs but he was/is not a good person. I was not a good person when I was around him. I had to compromise too much to keep him; to the determent of my children.

Those facts don't make the "feelings" any less intense.

I guess I was thinking about death due to my friend.

I was wondering do you think we would miss them as much if they had died instead of the divorce?

In my case, I don't think so. I think my sadness is grief. Grieving over the loss of the man I thought he was; grieving for the marriage I thought I had.

I am a loving person. I love easily. I think I will have love again but I will never have "those times" again.

I grieve I guess for the loss of the "shared memory" of those carefree younger days. Some of friends and family that we shared those times with are gone and he is gone. So few left to share, laugh and love those memories with anymore.

I am/have made new ones. The people I let close to me these days, I scrutinize and assess much more critically than I ever did my EX. He would never have past muster w/ the older wiser me.

It is weird because Debi and others wonder whether they could fully love and trust again.

I feel the opposite. I will NEVER wear the "Pollyanna" glasses again. Those close to me these days have proved many times over that I can trust them.

I think I can trust and love more deeply because of my experience.

07/30/07 03:30 PM
Re: how can I overcome this?

Dear Phoenix,
Boy, did the following lines ring true for me:
"I think my sadness is grief. Grieving over the loss of the man I thought he was; grieving for the marriage I thought I had."

I wonder how many of us feel that way? My guess is a large number. I always made my ex-husband a better person than he was; conversely, I believe he made me a worse person than I was so he could leave...

I, too, have taken off the Pollyanna glasses, but as awful as it sounds, I so very much wish I could have left them on. People are and were not what they seemed or perhaps it was strictly my wishful thinking... Whatever the case, the older and wiser me is certainly so much sadder. The wisdom acquired has been through the pains of fire and I can't say it has been valuable or helpful at all. It has saddened me more about life in general and certainly my own in particular.
Interesting comments you made. take care, bacall

07/30/07 04:29 PM
Re: how can I overcome this?

Dear bacall,

I really don't know what to say to help you. We're so different in many ways, and I'm fortunate that I somehow am able to roll with the punches and take charge when I really need to, while others seem to get lost in the rapids and let the river carry them away. Consequently, it's often difficult for me to offer advice without coming off harshly.

But I'll try. Life is hard. We all know that. And life often throws us hardballs, sometimes one after another. And we wonder why it does so. I've learned that it does so because we're not learning the right lessons and until we do, things will continue to be tough, and those hardballs will keep coming our way.

In order to learn lessons, move on, and find happiness, we first have to look ourselves straight in the eye, face our demons, figure out what drives and motivates us, and then find a way to correct behavior that is not working in our favor.

I've learned over the years that if something is scarey, intimidating, or evokes any negative feelings and/or anxiety, the best thing to do is, to face that something. To do it. Even if it scares the poop out of you:).

But before you do the thing that scares you, research it, read up about it, arm yourself, figure out how you're going to approach the situation, strategize and then do it.

Also understand what it is about doing a particular thing that makes you uncomfortable, sad, angry, anxious, whatever. Once you figure it out, it'll be easier to come up with a plan to face it and do it.

You mentioned how you lose courage when around your X. How you wish your kids were more "there" for you. And how painful these family events are for you.

There are two books I think might really help you. I've recommended them a zillion times on this site over the years and many have mentioned how much the books have helped them. Chances are you might have read them already, but in case you haven't, they are "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz and "The Unmistakable Touch of Grace" by Cherly Richardson. I cannot stress enough how much both of these books have helped me. Maybe they can help you too.

The other suggestion is that you try and break out of the victim mode. I don't mean to sound harsh, but it's such an easy role to fall into. I've done it and still do every once in awhile, but now I'm able to catch myself. It's so easy to look to others for answers, to make you happy, to define you, to blame if life isn't going as well as you'd like. And much harder to look within for the answers and accept responsibility for our own happiness. It's hard work and often painful when we come face to face with our shortcomings.

So it's often necessary to change our outlook and the way we think and act in order to bring forth positive change.
This is not easy to do and it takes alot of work to figure what we have to change and how much to change before we can take that first step.

At the risk of coming off too "new age-y" (which I'm definitely not!), you get back whatever kind of energy you put out. Negative, attracts negative energy/consequences; positive attracts positive energy/consequences.

So when you're at these family events, most likely you're projecting your sadness, anger, or feelings of rejection or isolation to your family. This makes them feel uncomfortable and this may result in them avoiding you. And so you've attracted the very thing you don't want and this in turn perpetuates the cycle of rejection at these events.

Maybe if you went to one of these family events with a huge smile plastered on your face; said hello to the X and say how glad you are that he's able to be at the function; and just act confident and positive, then you might start to attract more of what you're looking for.

When I had to meet the X's OW/2nd Wife at YS's graduation, I was a nervous wreck. The X's brother and his wife were going to be there too and there I was, on my own with older son as my escort. But I put on a brave front, greeted the OW with a smile and handshake, hugged my X in-laws and told them how good it was to see them, offered to help them all find a seat in the auditorium and things went pretty well from there. I did the thing that scared me and it changed everything. Inside, I wanted to run to the ladies room but something inside me took charge and I'm glad it did.

At the next event, try taking charge. Act positive and confident. I bet, you'll be happily surprised at the positive results. Positive attracts positive; negative, negative.

I don't know if I'm making any sense, but if you want things to change then you've got to take charge bacall. Read the books recommended. If you have already, maybe read them again and really try and soak up the knowledge they offer. They'll help you find the answers your looking for.

Hope I've helped even a little bit...


(Carpal \'Tunnel)
07/30/07 05:28 PM

The next time give your children the script you have written in your head.

In your eyes the day should have gone like this... meet at the church. Your kids all hug you and kiss you on the cheek and look pityingly at their father. He sulks in the corner wearing a dirty tie and mismatched socks. You smile through a few tears and stand supported by your friend and your children as their father stands at the end of the crowd.

When your son fetches his dad for a picture you stand there looking brave and smile as your ex says under his breath "I am sorry I caused you pain." You turn and say with a slight sob "Thank you. It means a lot to me."

He says he has to leave early because "it's for the best" and your kids all agree and promise to call him tomorrow. The party continues and you are the centre of attention and everyone tells you they are so glad you came along and how brave you were seeing 'dad' again.

Reality Check... Life is not a script handed to us. You expect your children to love one parent or at least pay more attention to you than their father. Their father did a terrible thing in your eyes however he did not divorce his children. You are asking your children to pick and choose who their loyalties lie with. And when they refuse to play your little victim game you collapse because you are not getting your own way.

Yes it takes a while to get over being dumped. My ex didn't even dump me for another woman. He just didn't want to spend the rest of his life with me and would rather have been alone than with me. At least you knew your 'enemy' existed. I had a big void of nothingness as my 'enemy'. However my ex found something to fill that void which gives you a focus for your anger.

If my mother had done what you had done I would have told her to grow up and be an adult. To come back to the party and stop drawing attention to herself and away from her grandson.

Sometimes bacall I wonder how you even breathe in and out. Your entire life is spent navel gazing about your divorce. Guess what? Your grandchildren will grow up with memories of a grandmother who did not come to any family event if their grandfather is there and spends most of the time crying in the car and talking for ages on her cell phone to her friend rather than spending her time with her grandchildren.

Bacall, I know full well I am about to get blasted for being cruel, unfeeling and harsh. I am pretty good at being harsh around here and have been accused as such many time before on this site so nothing is new. But really, stop wallowing in self pity and become the wonderful grandmother you can be. Do you think your grandchildren will care if you are divorced or not? Or will they care that you continually allow your own personal demons to take over and ruin all their parties and gatherings because she will not su ck it up and be the woman she can be.

So ..... either write your family a script for every family event or just leave your children out of your lives and never see your grandchildren grow up. Or you can deal with your anger and frustrations and pain once and for all and walk into a new life albeit alone but confident of being a good mother and grandmother. You used to post about what a wonderful mother you were, well times change and your children no longer need craft days and funny face sandwiches and bedtime stories with scary voices. They need a mother who is there for them and will not let anything get in the way of her children and grandchildren. A mother who offers to babysit at the drop of a hat. Who can be trusted to bring her family famous upside down pineapple cake to every gathering. A mother who can sew on a button or do your laundry because your washer is broken AGAIN... and she pays for the laundry detergent. I had to get over the distaste for my daughter's boyfriend if I am to see my grand daughter. And she is more important to me than he is.

So what is it to be? Self Pity Party into eternity or improving yourself and be a wonderful parent/grandparent? One wonders who do you love more? Your pain or your children and grandchildren? Honey, time to become less selfish and more selfless.

(old hand)
07/30/07 06:36 PM
Re: how can I overcome this?

Bacall you got such great advice and some of it is a bit have not lost your family they are still there but divorce changes it and we either wallow in it and never move forward or we grieve it, cry, rage and be sad and then try to get to "life after divorce". There is nothing we can do to change others. You cannot change that your husband betrayed you and left, the marriage is over. For many of us in long term marriages, the marriage is over but what goes on is family. Yes its different and not what we expected but at some point we have to get out of our own way especially if "our" own way is standing in the way of recovery. The posters are right your adult children do not know what you wanted them to do and maybe they have adjusted and accepted it. I am sure it was just as difficult for them but they have moved forward, there is nothing they can do but do that. If you cannot be where your X is then fine but you can still be a terrific grandmother, a mom and a person they want to be around. When we are sad we give out an aura of sadness and misery...and the truth is that no one wants to be around us when we are like that...we are not fun when we are like that, our attitude can pull everyone down. I have met you and you have SO much to give back to your children...yes your framework of family is forever changed with the divorce but that does not mean you can't still have family somehow you have to get to a place where you can let this go and move forward to your life with them. You are still mom and grandma and by the overwhelming sadness and grief you are still experiencing you may be clouding the good times you can be having...your kids can't fix it only you can do have to give yourself permission to let it go as hard as it is and recover to where you can enjoy your family, they are still your family and the heck with the X and his new wife...I do not mean to be harsh but some of the posts are right on with advice. Somehow you have got to move forward and not put the responsibility on them to give you a good time. We make our own good time in this world and I have faith that you can do that but its hard work plus you have to want to do it and I am not sure if you still want to do that. Give yourself permission Bacall to let this go...maybe your kids feel uncomfortable with you crying I know mine would and at least yours are polite mine after all that time would hve told me to get over it...not a good way to handle it but it would have been reality.

As I said you are a great person with so much to offer, you work hard, have interesting job and do so many different things...dig down and find that Bacall that can start to live her life...redefine happier...accept that yes divorce really threw a whammy but you are strong and you have what 5 enjoy..embrace them, be the fun mom/granny you can be and I think you will see a big change in the way you see things and the way they see you.

you can do it bacall I know you can...we have all been aren't alone in this hard journey....have faith

(Carpal \'Tunnel)
07/30/07 08:07 PM
Re: Easy


I think you made many good points for all of us...

BUT expecting me to go back to a party like that w/ the ex there would be like expecting a person in a wheelchair to get up and walk; expecting a person w/ a fear of flying to get on an airplane; expecting a blind person to see; etcetera, etcetera, etcetera... All the good intentions and “rah-rah” speeches would not get my feet to go through that door.

I guess I just know my limitations better. I would have gone to the church but made up an excuse to miss the party afterwards.

Annie said it best:
"If you cannot be where your X is then fine but you can still be a terrific grandmother, a mom and a person they want to be around."

I immerse myself in my children's lives but not to the point of interacting w/ the ex. Right now, for me that would be like pouring alcohol in a gaping wound.

Like ObiOne said in the other thread. I put on a great jolly front in front of my kids, friends and family when it comes to the EX but I’m pretty sure the façade would fall apart if tested in an actual encounter.

(Carpal \'Tunnel)
07/30/07 08:57 PM
Wow Kiwi......

I had this whole awesome response written and my computer decided to eat it.....let me see if I can recreate it. Kiwi, you made excellent points and brought to mind an incident that comes from my own history.

My parents separated in 1982. NINETEEN EIGHTY TWO. I had my first son in 1989 and my second in 1992. My father remarried in August 1992. TEN YEARS after he and my mother separated and ultimately divorced. Although my mother acted like he threw the perfect fairy tale marriage down the toilet, I can honestly say that I knew at 12 that my parents weren't going to make it to matching rocking chairs on the porch **LOL**

My father remarried perhaps a week before my second son was born in August. He was christened in October 1992. I invited everyone -- my mom, grandmother, aunt, brother and his family, my father and his new get the picture. Before I go any further, let me say that my mother turned into a bitter hateful woman when she and my father separated and she had thus far refused to interact with him in any manner.

Mom and some of my family stayed down at the oceanfront in Virginia Beach. I think my ex's parents were down there also at a different location. My dad and his wife stayed in a hotel nearer to my home as they had to leave the same day of the baptism.

Checkout time for them was about 11 and they came over to my house. My stepmother was helping me finish up some little stuff and we continued to kind of piddle around, waiting for everyone else to get there.

My mom and the rest of the troops arrived at about 1 pm and we followed each other to the church for the 2pm christening. Afterwards we all went back to my house for a party, family get together, whatever you wanted to call it -- we were celebrating the christening of my son, that was enough of a reason for a party.

For whatever reason, my mother decided after about an hour that she needed to take my grandmother and oldest nephew out for something to eat. She then proceeded to disappear for over FOUR HOURS. She returned long after my dad had gotten on the road back to NY and the party had pretty much broken up.

I was mad as HELL.

A few weeks later, my mom happened to make some derogatory remark about my father and I just BLEW. I told her that her behavior the day of Casey's baptism was disgraceful, that not only did SHE have a new baby grandson but so did my father and that as we were having a party in MY home, she could either abide by MY rules and behave acceptably or she could just stay home and sulk because I wouldn't choose between her and my father.

When she started speaking to me again, she apologized for her behavior, told me what it was that had gotten her upset **trivial** and said she wouldn't ever do something like that again. You have to understand that my mother had spent the previous ten years putting down my father to me, something she said she'd never do.

The next twelve years were hard -- the kids and I didn't come back to the Williamsburg area until 1999 -- but when we did, she was always around, she was my best friend, she helped me with my children, did things with them.....something she wouldn't have been able to do if she chose to remain on the outside of things.

My mother did not interact civilly with my father until late 1997, after she had almost died the previous spring. She suddenly realized that she was only hurting her children by acting the way she was after so long and from then on, she was always polite and welcoming to my father and stepmother.

I lost my mother suddenly in 2004 to cancer that no one knew she had. My father came to the funeral, supported my brother and I, stepped in as a pall bearer when one was late arriving and showed the respect due my mother as the mother of his children. He made sure that WE were okay **at least as much as we could be** and made us both aware that he was always available to us.

I spent the day today taking my children AND my ex halfway to Pennsylvania to meet another of his family members who would take them the rest of the way to his home. His mother had been hospitalized last week and was placed into a residential hospice on Thursday evening. It was while we were traveling north that he recieved a call from his sister, advising him that their mother had passed away at 1130 this morning.

Do I hate my ex? No, of course not and I wish him no harm. Why would I take him halfway home? Two reasons -- it was ridiculous to have him spend a fortune flying when I'd have to bring my children ANYWAY. And I did it for my CHILDREN, who saw that despite being divorced, we could work together to get through one of the hardest times imaginable without rancor or bitterness -- there just isn't any. I made a decision long ago to love my kids more than I hated my ex.....

The moral of this story bacall, is that you are a fascinating, wonderful woman with intelligent things to think about and talk about. You ask interesting questions, you've always made me think.

You can choose to avoid graduations, Communions, Confirmations, weddings because your ex is there or you can pull up your big girl panties, paste a smile on your face and enjoy the event and the accomplishments of your children and grandchildren. You aren't required to be more than polite and civil to him and God knows we can all do that while wishing that a well timed tidal wave would wash over him and carry him away.....**LOL**

You can choose to remain an involved mother, grandmother and beyond or you can continue being a victim because your ex did you wrong.

I would never seek to minimize the pain that you've gone through or the hurt you've experienced but YOU are content to be a victim....or a martyr.....when you should be enjoying your life.

I've not had the privilege of meeting you in person, someday I'd love to......but I have to echo what Kiwi said, need to move on, get past it if not over it and immerse yourself in what sounds like a terrific family. Your children do NOT have to choose between their parents unless it is forced upon them. Do you want to be the one that forces such a choice? I wouldn't ever take that chance. It's much easier to get along for a few hours than hurt my children and eventually my grandchildren.

(Carpal \'Tunnel)
07/30/07 10:28 PM
PR, you can make a graceful exit

You stand up and say "Thank you for the lovely time. The babies look so sweet. However I promised to read to a blind friend this afternoon. I will call you tomorrow." And kiss everyone goodbye and shake your ex's hand and leave.

I KNOW about hard. I know. I had to appear the 'good parent' while my ex had his MLC in a trans-Tasmans Sea fashion resplendent with corvettes and Harleys and boys toys.

It took time but I got there. I had a few Parking Lot Banshee moments (thanks Melanie for some rather vivid memories there!) but I survived.

I refused to let my misery engulf my children. They are too precious to inflict them with all their father's little stupidities. however now they know them all and mine as well. But I cannot EVER ask them to choose and decide that they would rather be with one parent than the other. How can I do that? I don't read minds although Mr Kiwi has his doubts.

If I hadn't remarried I would have concentrated on being the best mother and ultimately grandmother I could. I would read to my grandchildren, I would walk them in the park and throw leaves in the air in Autumn, I would give them a bottle of water so they could write words on my drive.

My children? I am their mother but also their grown friend. They owe me nothing and I owe them everything for the love and joy they have brought into my life.

I can now talk to my 19 yr old who has made me a grandmother long before I should be one. She confides in me and tells me how bad things are with her boyfriend and how controlling his mother is. As much as I want to 'fix' her life I won't. But she knows who to come to when she needs help. And one day it will all work out for the best.

Bacall, you are a mother and grandmother. So you are no longer a wife. Bit no one can take away your children... unless oyu drive them away with the shroud of misery and self pity you carry. You are a much better person than that. I know this. Remember, Mr Kiwi says I can read minds!

(Carpal \'Tunnel)
07/31/07 12:39 AM
Re: PR, you can make a graceful exit

"You stand up and say "Thank you for the lovely time. The babies look so sweet. However I promised to read to a blind friend this afternoon. I will call you tomorrow." And kiss everyone goodbye"


That is the stage that I am at, now.

I can talk the talk w/ my kids but can't quite get to the walk the walk.

My kids benefit from their relationship w/ my ex. I do not begrudge them that and I have done everything I can to promote it.

My kids have been very vocal about NOT wanting to be in the same room as us.

They have been exposed too many of his outbursts which my presence sets off in him; they feverently wish to never experience another, again.

Up until now the Order of Protection has precluded me having to even think about it.

Someday, I will not be afraid of him. That day is not today.

As long as I am able to mask my feelings to the kids; I feel that I am fulfilling my job as their mother. There are so many handy dandy excuses; I have no plan on letting them catch on.

The little events are not so hard: birthdays, graduations, etc...

My ex claims to no longer believe in God so no chance of him showing up for christenings, communions, confirmations..

I still don't know how anyone handles "the wedding" all those "extra" parents! Dads and StepDads; Moms and StepMoms: 4 sets of relation..

Well as the Groom's mom; I just have to show up; so I guess my part is easy :)

Thanks Kiwi. I think your posts are quite helpful.

07/31/07 09:27 AM
Re: Easy

Well, gee whiz, I am certainly glad that I read your post this AM and not yesterday. Holly cow -- I probably would have spent even more time in the ladies room crying! And, please don't criticize that -- you know, I'm still going through the whole mid-life process, too. Anyway, your words stung but did hit home.

This might sound strange to you but all I want to be is understood. I was fine with my ex-husband being there -- it is fine that my children have a relationship with him -- it is as it should be. He has hurt me immeasurably and it hurts like heck to see him be his old charming self and delight people with his sarcastic wit and ironic grin. Someone asked me if I still loved him, and I replied that I had no idea. He is such a stranger to me now. Did I ever really know him?

I understand the getting on with your life. Keep in mind that I don't post regularly anymore, and although I guess it really is selfish, but when I am really low, I often turn back to the DS board because there really aren't a lot of people in my life to talk to about these issues.

I get unstuck for awhile but then some event triggers so much; I'm sure I'm not at all unique in the fact that this whole thing has been without the well-known buzz word -- closure.

And, the whole victim thing. Yes, that is true and I am guilty as charged. I wanted a John Wayne to run interference for me early on in the divorce process because, quite simply, I am no match for my ex-husband -- either in his cold approach to me or the fact of his gigantic family behind him. I had my kids and a few close friends who still don't even know what to make of the whole thing. That was lousy for them and lousy for me, too.

I walked around in shock and denial and all this happened initially when we were going through some pretty serious stuff with one of our kids. Bingo, he's gone and "moving on" and I'm waiting at the corner by the red light.

The yellow light of caution has started to come on in my life. I have to admit each day is a struggle (like it is for millions of people everywhere). Perhaps I am simply tired of all the work that seems to be needed just to stay afloat.

And, for those of you who think I spend my days wallowing in self-pity and grief, believe it or not, I use this board for those exchanges but live a pretty normal life, with a job and a part time teaching job, spend leisure time with my kids whenever they are available and willing, volunteer, go to movies and out to dinner and coffee with friends, have taken up bike riding and trying to take up playing the piano.

Maybe one of the things I should do much better is to be grateful for all I have. I do appreciate everything anyone does for me. My biggest problem these days is a sense of my life being over; I do believe my "work" on earth is complete. My children are all independent adults.

I know I am resisting reality and you would have thought I would have learned by now that all there is in life is what is real. I guess so many years spent in denial and false hope have put me over the edge and the real world is so much more unpleasant than I would have imagined. I used to be the person who would find something favorable in anyone at all. Maybe I lived a sheltered life and didn't have too many people do crummy things to me -- or maybe I overlooked all the crummy things and made them better in my mind to allow me to live the life I wanted.

Whatever the case, I know better. I'm so sorry I didn't go back to the party -- but that day, I just so very much needed to know that someone wanted me there. I didn't want to be begged; I just wanted someone to pick up a phone and say, hey, c'mon back. And, believe it or not, one of the main reasons I didn't go back was because I felt the kids would have a better time with their Dad if I wasn't there.

That is part of my larger problem. I told one of the kids to get him for the picture. They were not going to include him. I wanted him included. But, all I want is to be included, too. It seems like sometimes the kids make the choices. I would very much like to be able to talk to him, although I have no idea what to say.

I understand the negative creating negative... But, one of my problems is just the opposite. I think I'm seen as the one to call always when something goes wrong and it is always expected I will help. People always find me when something goes wrong and they need someone to fix it. I have always said yes to everything. What my children obviously haven't been able to see yet is that I need help with this issue. I need to be able to face their father again--why I'm the one running away all the time is beyond me, other than the power I still give him over me.

Any ideas how to stop that from happening because that would really, really be helpful.

Well, I'm rambling now, so I'll stop. Thanks for the strong words -- perhaps eventually all this will sink into my rather weary mind someday soon. take care, bacall

07/31/07 11:03 AM
Re: Easy

Hi Bacall, Your line about maybe being sheltered and not having experienced people do crummy things to you hit home with me. I also feel like my life has been "sheltered" and have had exactly one boyfriend/man in my life until my divorce. I never experienced the high school or college dating scene and traumas that some of my friends did, because I was joined at the hip with ex from age 17 to age 46. Maybe not joined at the hip, but we were a couple and I was completely happy that way.

You could say that some of us have not been hardened to life's realities and were coasting along when suddenly our exes jammed on the brakes. I could not even say the word divorce (about myself) at first, it was so unbelievable.

My children (two sons) are not really on their own yet, but this fall both will be in college. One of them is much more compassionate and communicative than the other, but both felt startled and irked about their dad's choice to leave. I have shared some surface level frustrations with both about my unexpected new life, but don't feel that they should know what I "really" think of it all.

Similar to your ex, mine is quite an outgoing type, seemingly comfortable in any situation and with anyone, and able to lighten the mood wherever he goes. "A great guy" to most people. I have avoided contact when I could, mainly so that I didn't have to meet the new gf. He's perfectly entitled to having one now, I just am not sure how I'd react. I hope whenever it happens I can do the confident thing.

The idea that I started this long answer with is, could you have a heart to heart with one or more of your children? Explain that you realize you're having difficulty with situations like the past event, and acknowledging that you too would like to be able to enjoy the occasions for the sake of all. But letting them know that you are still a work in progress. Combined with your day to day even keel, this would show them that you're aware that you have some moving on yet to do, but in general you are making it. Maybe you've already done this?

07/31/07 11:05 AM
Re: Easy

I guess my point was, ask for a little support without really asking for it.

08/05/07 12:05 PM
Re: Easy

[quote] his might sound strange to you but all I want to be is understood. [/quote]

I can completely understand this and all of your other posts in this thread.

If there is a problem, I think it is this - you want to be understood by your children and they do not want to understand. Even as adults, they are your (plural) children. First of all, unless they have gone through it, they might not be able to understand. They might be saying to themselves "if it were me, I would behave in such and such a mature way"...but it hasn't happened to them so they really don't know the intense feeling of betrayal and loss that you feel.

But even if they could understand it, when it comes to you and your ex, they don't want to. They want to be shielded from it.

That's because they love you and they love their father. If you were just the neighbor down the street, they would listen with compassion. But your loss, your anger, your hurt, your loneliness - these things are too much to bear so they reject them and they will reject you if you try to make them "understand" this.

You need to seek understanding from someone who is not going to say "this is my father; this is my mother; what do I DO with the information, understanding, or pain?" because when people you love are in pain, you try to DO something about it and your children are in no position to do something about it. That just creates anxiety in their own lives. Don't do that to them.

I think that you need to be more SELF-CENTERED, not less. You need to think about what will ultimately make you happy - which seems to me to be a close and loving relationship with your children. If you feel like putting in a show and then hugging everyone and leaving is what would make you happy, then do that. If you feel like being there with them would ultimately make you happy, then do that. But don't create a self-fulfilling, negative prophesy. Don't say THEY don't want me there and then act like YOU don't want to be there. That will just hurt everyone in the end.

08/08/07 08:57 AM
Re: Easy

Thanks for some incredible wisdom -- you are apparently right -- as I spend my life trying to "second guess" everyone, I am doing quite the poor job of it. I really appreciated the "be more self-centered" idea. It seems I keep perpetuating the cycle of not getting what I want (and you are exactly right -- all I really want is a close relationship with my kids -- their relationship with their father is strictly their business now, not mine. I have accepted that fact intellectually, and although I will probably always miss us being a "family" ever again, the die has been cast and there simply is absolutely nothing I have the power to do to make it whole again. Maybe that is another stumbling block for me -- I tried and turned myself into a pretzel (as they say) over many, many years, trying very hard to accommodate everyone's desires and wishes. In the end, as everyone says, I seem to have failed everybody, most notably myself.

So, I am going to take your advice. I am going to do what I want to do a couple of times and see what happens. Putting myself last in many situations has only served to hurt me even more.Thanks for the insight -- there was just something in the way you said what you said (and many others have said very similar things to me) that finally struck the chord in my brain.

Hope all is well in the land of your life. Bacall

(old hand)
08/08/07 10:40 AM
Re: Easy

This is an amazingly diverse (opinion wise) thread and is so full of heartfelt advice and sentiment.

Being the opinionated type, I would like to throw two cents in.

Something I believe most people would or could benefit from realizing is this. One would not concern themselves so much wondering what others think of them if they realized how seldom others did. That sounds harsh and judgemental but it really is true.

This world does not offer rhyme or reason only reality, often harsh. The concept of something being fair or unfair is a myth. Fair is where you ride the rollercoaster. It is what you pay the cabdriver (fare). Things "are" quite simply what they "are". What is, is, what is. No more no less. The most one can hope to have is an equitable interaction with life.

What happens to us in life is not half as important as what we do about it. Reality in itself is a concept. Our concept of things, our perception "is" our reality. We have the power to shape this...............

You are obviously intelligent, experienced, and genuine bacall, as well as articulate. Every post I read (everyone's) in this thread exuded competence. Embrace this competence and let it be your reality.

08/08/07 01:37 PM
Re: Easy

Dear Drew,
Your comment is both philosophical and practical (a sometimes diverse accompaniment,to say the least). But, I really do appreciate the compliment. As you say, "reality" so often does make sense and I think many of us (certainly not me alone) overload ourselves tremendously looking for that magic "answer" as to exactly what went wrong in our married lives. For some of us, it becomes a process hard to break away from -- taking away from us the day-to-day act of living and instead refocusing our energies on things past, decayed and no longer relevant to the situation at hand. I have to admit - guilty, guilty and then guilty again. Sometimes I have begun to realize (albeit late) how lucky I must have been in my life to have had this be my Achilles heel (which I often call it now). I am extraordinarily grateful for the people who have stayed by my side -- in one way or another -- saddened and, yes, truly disappointed by those who have chosen to look the other way because of either feelings of unpleasantness or lack of genuine feeling in the first place. But, after all the dust is settled, I have learned one important thing recently -- we (each individual) controls -- as best we can-- our own destiny at least as far as what we choose -- actively to think about -- or not think about. The DS board has really helped me sort out a lot of things that I don't necessarily think I could have on my own and even having found this source was a kind of gift.

Anyway, thanks for your words. I think the slogan -- it is what it is -- has perhaps been captured by the younger people today but its importance in everyday life can't ever be underestimated.

Take care. Bacall

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