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Starting To Look For Patterns Rather Than React

two stories here: one of a counselling session, one of a discussion this morning.

The counselling session was for our eldest child, who has had behavioural difficulties. The psych wanted to speak to us first (after a year's absence - she was on maternity leave) to see how things stood. This was about a week ago, so it's not verbatim.

I talked most, EX mostly looked morose, or cried. Psych asked, whose idea was it to split up? EX says, angrily, "it's all her idea, I didn't agree to it!". I angrily say "he's been pushing me away for a decade". I was pretty angry for the most part, and the more sad/crying EX got, the angrier I got, because I was fighting my internal urge to say "it's ok, I take it back, let's make it better", which I'd been doing for this past decade and more...

At one point, Psych asked if we were going to couples counselling. I said that I had put my foot down, that I would only go if EX paid for it - and he actually said he would pay for one, we had one scheduled for Dec. 20. But, I said, there was no going back, I would NEVER get back together with EX, it was OVER. EX looked VERY SURPRISED AT THIS!!!

Psych said, there's not much point in going to a sex therapist (said couples counsellor is in Psych's same office complex, so Psych knows this person well) when you are NOT getting back together. I recommend that you meet with a counsellor or even lawyers to work out the separation details in the most calm way possible, which is best for your child. Psych says, MY concern is for CHILD. I can counsel both of you on how this split will work, if you want, I will talk with sex therapist for you and see if I would be a good psych for you as a couple as well.

In the end, I think what was interesting was the patterns. I didn't give in to EX's whining/crying/you=fix=it attitude at all. I stated what was actually going to go down. Psych agrees EX and I should move separately & we should talk about what is going to happen if I move to another town/country next year... here's the pattern part:

I had been trying to talk with EX for the past few months about me moving with kids. I may have an opportunity to move to another town, or across this country, or to another continent even, that would open a lot of doors and be great for the kids too. EX will NOT talk, as always. Then I get angry. Then nothing happens but passive-aggressive BS. With Psych in the room, all of a sudden it became "this IS happening, let's make it work for the CHILD", which took it away from the pattern of me being angry at HIM and feeling like He's stopping ME from doing stuff.

This may not be too coherent, I have exams next week... wil finish quickly...

This morning I took him aside, said can we talk for 5 mins. I'd been thinking. We have another pattern of his hoarding issue - I try to ask, beg, whatever to try to get him to address this. I ignore it. Now I can no longer ignore, as we may be moving, and I need to get this house in order to either rent it out or sell it. BUT HE BLOCKS ME AT EVERY TURN.

I thought, can I address this without the emotion? How can I get him to see what's in it for HIM?

So I took him aside, and said, "I want to talk about your room downstairs. I know you hate talking about it, but it's the morning, you're the best you'll be all day, and I need to get this out. (this last bit because he had on the "pouty, not listening, getting ready to say something mean" face).

You know we are likely moving in about a year. To do that, we will need to rent or sell this house. But we cannot show this house with the way your room is now. We will not get top dollar if we keep yoru room the way it is. And that is TAKING MONEY AWAY FROM YOUR KIDS, not just me (this last lessened the stubborn look on this face).

Now, you are free to live as you like, yadda yadda yadda. But that comes with consequences. If I cannot sell or rent the house when needed, I will need to involve lawyers. You do not want that, I do not want that. Can we not work this out without me being the bad guy? I only want what you want, what is best ofr the kids. If you want to do the best for the kids, start thinking about it. I don't care if you want to put everything in plastic bags and pay for storage, that's your right, it's you stuff."

anyways, he went out and bought some boxes.... he seemed agreeable... in any case it went better than usual, because I dropped the "I'm so hard done by" attitude (I AM hard done by, but it doesn't help to show it to him, he just digs in his heels), and concentrate on what may get some results.

In the end I may still need the lawyer. I am not holding my breath. But I know he loves the kids, so I'm hopeful this may yield results.
zsuzsilowinger zsuzsilowinger 36-40, F 7 Responses Dec 5, 2012

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how is all this working out now ?

I like the way you changed how you approached him. I need to learn more of that. Thanks.

Zsu, you are doing very well. It is so much easier to be objective about others than about ourselves. The old saying about "the wood and the trees" gets in our way so often. . . ! We can sometimes see clearly what NEEDS to be done, but there is SO much in the way that it remains very hard to impossible to actually DO it. You have begun actually DOING it!! Good for you.

You are clearly working on identifying the patterns and addressing them, rather than working from the basis of your own feelings. And it seems this MAYbe bearing fruit.

Sounds like you have a GOOD therapist - if you can both continue to see her it may well smooth out some of the rougher edges of your separation. Funny how an objective third party can sometimes get through when your spouse has long ago ceased to take ANY genuine notice of what you say . . . !

WTF?? He moaned and cried about himself in a session about your kid?? Man up, dude.

Thank you all for your supportive responses. Baz, "The petulant wronged husband" is exactly what's been playing at this theatre, thank you for articulating it... as always, you have narrowed my focus down to the relevant facts!

And "obstructionist...partner" in finances AND in other things - cleaning, organizing, planning - as well...

Essentially, you are treating him appropriate to the facts as they stand.

Irrelevant as a husband.
Relevant as a co-parent.
Relevant as a stakeholder in the house - sort of.
Relevant as a 'partner' in assorted assets.

If he wishes to keep playing "The petulant wronged husband" it will get no traction, simply because his role as husband is done and dusted.

He may well still play "the recalcitrant room mate" (in which case you should treat him as such.
He may yet play "the obstructive financial partner" (in which case you will have to deal with him as a hostile party)

I think you are handling this as well as possible - given that the ***** is still under the same roof. I believe the pressure in your life will pop like a balloon at a kids party when he is no longer physically present in your life.

Tread your own path.

Z, I think you're doing great.

Whatever he does or does not do - and keep breathing! - you now have fabulous skills in making headway into wind, keeping your course. That's success.