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checking reality

Old 09-25-2011, 11:35 AM
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checking reality

I'm striving very hard to break codependent habits, of which I have many. You know that list in Codependent No More that's like 4 pages long? Most of the things listed I can say yes to.

Anyway, I'm not looking to have smoke blown up my you know what or be agreed with just bc.... I am looking for a reality check bc I honest to god am not sure I'm doing the right thing.

Here's the synopsis. D3 is very sick. I let AH know that I'd be taking her to the doctor today and that it might cut into the time he had planned to spend with the girls (left on a voicemail). I also said that if he wanted to come earlier than planned and stay with D6 while I took D3, he was welcome to. I found it odd that he didn't answer his phone given how ill D3 has been and I texted him the same message that I left on the voicemail. Shortly before I needed to leave to go to the doctor's with D3 (and I'd told D6 she was coming too at this point) AH texted me saying "what time is the appt?". I ignored it bc I'd clearly asked him if he wanted to come early to a) see D6 and b) help out and it seemed he was intentionally not answering that. And besides he lives 30 min away and wouldn't have been here in time to stay with D6 anyway. He called as I was driving to the doctors and I told him that I was dealing with it and would be back when we were done and he could see the girls then.

At this point he got irate and I promptly hung up with out listening and turned my phone off.

I got home to him steaming mad. Accusing me of alienating him from the girls, playing games to keep him from being able to stay with D6 while I took D3 to the doctor etc...

I told him that I made it clear in my voicemail and text what was happening and told him he was responsible for the choice he made to not answer my question or say what he wanted. I told him I wasn't going to play the 20 questions game where he asks things to figure out what he wants to do and doesn't communicate in response to the actual question asked.

He told me that I should have asked him when we did speak on the phone about whether he wanted to stay with D6 and he shared with me that he'd been in our town the whole time (something he hadn't felt the need to share previously). I told him my 2 prior messages were sufficient and he was responsible for checking messages and expressing his wants. I wasn't going to pull info out of him or bug him to give him a chance to do something with the girls.

Because of this last part he told me that I am using the girls like pawns and that if I really cared about them I'd do whatever it took to ensure he had time with them.

I'm torn. Is he right? I didn't want to hound him about whether he wanted to come early bc I sent the message very clearly and he chose to ignore it. (whether he admits it or not) to ignore it even though he was at work 1 mile away the whole time and could have come over easily if he'd wanted to). But I also don't want to be accused (and this is going to get nasty in court I can just see it) of finding ways to keep the girls from him. The way he spun this (his argument) even had me confused this afternoon and I honestly don't know if what I did was healthy or not?

In the past I'd have called him incessantly and not made plans to just take both girls with me to the doctors until I heard from him. I made my plans contingent upon him and I don't do that now. I reached out, expressed that there was an option and he took his sweet time to sort of get tback to me without actually answering the question. I decided that it was not my place to remind him of what I'd already asked and I let it be. But now he's saying that I was being manipulative by doing that.

Am I?

I truly have no idea what normal is right now. If I did I wouldn't be asking this.

I am striving hard to break the codie patterns I've been in and I suspected that he'd react with anger when I did, but I didn't expect that I'd wind up this confused, wondering if I was doing the wrong thing?
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:45 AM
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Briefly, no, he is not right. IMHO you handled the situation correctly. He did not communicate as an adult, and as a friend of mine used to say...."poor planning on your part does not create an emergency on mine".

It's a shame he did not get to spend extra time with his older daughter, but that was not your fault AT ALL.

Hugs, HG
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:54 AM
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This is going to be a long term thing with him I think. He's going to play the "okay so I planned badly and didn't communicate, but you shouldn't punish the girls by not having them spend time with me bc of it" card...

And a part of me agrees. I don't know that a court is going to agree with me that his behaving in a respectful manner and responding timely to visitation issues is more important that the time he would spend with the girls. I feel like he's going to wind up able to screw with me like this and have it legally sanctioned...

Anyone experience your xA behaving this way where the kids were concerned and visits etc... and have a court say that the A had to communicate in a timely manner or tough luck?

I don't want to punish the girls, but living like this-- on my toes, jumping when he said jump and everything having to be about his time line is how I lived in our marriage. I can't deal with it now.
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Old 09-25-2011, 11:57 AM
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No, he isn't right. He's doing what he always does...accusing you of alienating him from the girls when you are doing nothing of the kind. In fact, it appears that you go out of your way to accommodate him, which is much more than I would do, under the circumstances. He needs to realize that this is NOT about him, it is about the girls and their well-being. He seems to think the world revolves around him and doesn't like it much when reality slaps him across the face. Oh well, too bad for him.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by suki44883 View Post
No, he isn't right. He's doing what he always does...accusing you of alienating him from the girls when you are doing nothing of the kind. In fact, it appears that you go out of your way to accommodate him, which is much more than I would do, under the circumstances. He needs to realize that this is NOT about him, it is about the girls and their well-being. He seems to think the world revolves around him and doesn't like it much when reality slaps him across the face. Oh well, too bad for him.
Yeah, you know what I realized just this second. This all was created bc I tried to be nice and say "hey do you want extra time with D6?". Part of why I offered it is bc I thought if I didn't, he'd probably accuse me of being selfish for not doing so. But I do it and I still am to blame.

He is a selfish, self centered jerk and he is manipulative as anything and I have no doubt he will paint himself in court as the sad father who simply asked when the appt was and will fail to neglect that he didn't mention for 4 hours that he was 1 mile away-- preferring instead for me to think he was 30 min away and thus most of the reason why I ignored his text inquiring about the time since I figured he'd have no time to get here in time anyway.

He really doesn't understand that this b.s. game of withholding information (something he accuses me of constantly) makes life far more complicated than it needs to be. He lies about drinking but with everything else it's always varying degrees of omiting information and then claiming that I try to micro manage and want every last detail of his life when I tell him that his failure to communicate causes problems.

What he wants is for me to ask him things, wait until he's good and ready to answer and make sure that I can accomodate whatever his answer is even if it's at the 11th hour. Utter selfishness. But when he's ranting about how it's my fault it all sounds so believable and I have a lot of fear that he'll convince a judge of this too.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:19 PM
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Ugh - I'm so thankful I no longer have to deal with this on a daily basis.

Here is my experience.

a) The courts set visitation. We used the standard guidelines and they are VERY specific about every last detail. One parent is not on the hook to make it work for the other parent. You honor the guidelines and make reasonable exceptions. If my xah had a funeral on his weekend it would be reasonable to allow him to make up those days at another time or switch weekends or something. If he just didn't show up, or wanted to play golf, then that wouldn't count.

b) I quit asking my xah anything. It was the only way to not go stark raving mad. I learned that after many 'lessons'. So in your case I would text and say. "D3 is sick. We leave for doctor appt. at 1pm. If you want to stay with D6 while we are gone be here before that." If he was there, he was there, if he wasn't, he wasn't. Not ideal but the only way to communicate was to have zero give and take conversation. State the facts. The smallest things turned into nightmares otherwise. I might send a text when we got back home saying 'Back home D3 has strep.' or some such thing. I did always email him all pertinent information about medical, educational, etc. stuff. That is stipulated in the visitation guidelines.

Our son broke his elbow and his dad couldn't be bothered to come to the clinic to see him or watch the other three boys, who had to sit in waiting rooms. There were probably two reasons for that a)he was probably drunk and b) he wanted to punish me. So he neglected his son. They can bleat about us using out children as pawns but from where I sit it looks very different.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:23 PM
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Yeah, I work with someone who does passive-aggressive crap like that and I have to keep reminding myself to not give him options or discuss things with him as if he were normal. Because he'll take any ambiguity and turn it into a big screw-up.

Sounds like your ex just needs to get basic info: "Will be late for visit. Taking D3 to doctors. Will call you when done. If questions, please text."

With most normal people you could give them options, "Maybe you'd like to do this or that. Let me know." But then if he were normal in the first place, he'd jump at the chance to look after older daughter, instead of dicking around. Or, you know, he's be more concerned about your daughter than picking a fight. When he saw there were options, he decided to jerk you around.

Sorry you had to deal with that. Hope your daughter is feeling better.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:35 PM
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He really doesn't understand that this b.s. game of withholding information (something he accuses me of constantly) makes life far more complicated than it needs to be.

I disagree. He knows exactly what he is doing. He does this, using the kids, because he knows you'll question yourself when they are involved. As you know from experience, this man is a first-class manipulator. His interest lies less in the girls than it does in causing you grief.
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Old 09-25-2011, 12:38 PM
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Thanks all-- you're right-- small details, trying to give an inch etc.. turn into nightmares. Of course when I do communicate that way (just the facts, coolish demeanor) I get the "you're so cold and icy and a bitch". But that's a lot more preferable to the crap today.

Lesson learned: NEVER offer AH an inch bc he'll take endlessly and then blame me the whole way since regardless of what I offer, it's never enough.

D3 has pneumonia so it's good that she's with me 99% of the time and not him bc who knows if he'd ever have taken her. Oh and btw, do you think he asked how she was? Nope. Just concerned about his "time" with them and frankly how he "appears" (wants to be seen as a great dad but doesn't want to act like one).
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:01 PM
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Yuck... I am sorry you have to deal with that. Your story gave me a snapshot of what my life would've been like had my alcoholic ex chose to stick around rather than take off to Party-Land. Single parenting was hard but I'd take it any day over dealing with an unreasonable A trying to badly co-parent. It is nice when they just go away.

Anyway, I think you did the right thing. I have zero sympathy for anyone who only has their own schedule to manage trying to make someone with small kids work around them. You have 2 little lives that come way before his and if he was "Super Dad" as he wants to appear to be, he'd be more concerned about the little one's health and getting to the doctor than finding a bone to pick with you.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
This is going to be a long term thing with him I think. He's going to play the "okay so I planned badly and didn't communicate, but you shouldn't punish the girls by not having them spend time with me bc of it" card...

And a part of me agrees. I don't know that a court is going to agree with me that his behaving in a respectful manner and responding timely to visitation issues is more important that the time he would spend with the girls. I feel like he's going to wind up able to screw with me like this and have it legally sanctioned...

Anyone experience your xA behaving this way where the kids were concerned and visits etc... and have a court say that the A had to communicate in a timely manner or tough luck?

I don't want to punish the girls, but living like this-- on my toes, jumping when he said jump and everything having to be about his time line is how I lived in our marriage. I can't deal with it now.
So, what would've kept him from coming to the doc appt. and picking up D6 while you were dealing with D3's appt?

HE did not come up with that idea, did he?

Well, I don't see how his ineptitude turns into YOU punishing your girls...?

It does not add up.

You gave him the plan. It was a reasonable plan. He made choices that prevented him from spending time with a daughter. His bad.

Document it. Save your doc receipts/time stamps/etc.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:09 PM
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wanttobehealthy-

I am no where near my Courage to Change book but it has a really good reading on planning when dealing with addiction. I forget the topic for the evening that we read it in, but it might also add to your wisdom of the current situation.

When I get close to it I will look for it specifically and let you know.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:50 PM
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"...he told me that I am using the girls like pawns and that if I really cared about them I'd do whatever it took to ensure he had time with them."

Seriously? wow, it's STILL all about him isn't it.
You did what you needed to. Your D3 was sick...not gee she has a runny nose sick but pneumonia sick... He's a moron. a selfish moron to boot.

He could have come to stay w/ your other daughter but CHOSE not to.
Now he's trying to blame you for HIS decision.
CRAZY.

Giving him options or extra time just isn't worth the hassle it causes for you or your kids. I think I would stick to the visitation agreement. If you need to take the baby to the dr. do it...just send a text and tell him you'll produce a dr's note if he wants proof.
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Old 09-25-2011, 01:56 PM
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I neglected to add that I thought of the "gee, you know where the doctor's office is... " but I did not suggest this to him. In the past I would have but this time I realized that if he couldn't figure that out on his own (of course he COULD, it was more important for him to bitch me out than to actually see D6) there was no reason I should suggest it.

And thanks blwninthewind for noticing (which I didn't) that his concern is for HIM seeing the girls-- not THEM. I am sure it won't take long for him to realize he better phrase it as "it's hurtful for the girls to be kept from me" but for now it's completely obvious it is all about him isn't it...

Thanks everyone. Like I said I wasn't looking for "oh you're soooo right" -- I really needed a reality check and would have been equally grateful even if you'd said that yes, I was being unreasonable. It's amazing how lost I can become when listening to him.
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by wanttobehealthy View Post
I neglected to add that I thought of the "gee, you know where the doctor's office is... " but I did not suggest this to him. In the past I would have but this time I realized that if he couldn't figure that out on his own (of course he COULD, it was more important for him to bitch me out than to actually see D6) there was no reason I should suggest it.

And thanks blwninthewind for noticing (which I didn't) that his concern is for HIM seeing the girls-- not THEM. I am sure it won't take long for him to realize he better phrase it as "it's hurtful for the girls to be kept from me" but for now it's completely obvious it is all about him isn't it...

Thanks everyone. Like I said I wasn't looking for "oh you're soooo right" -- I really needed a reality check and would have been equally grateful even if you'd said that yes, I was being unreasonable. It's amazing how lost I can become when listening to him.
Oh, now you know better than to think most of us, especially I, would be just blowing some sunshine up your skirt!! LOL. I've told you when you've been, uh...maybe, 'misguided' before!

You ask for reality, you'll get it!!
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:15 PM
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I have bent over backwards at times to keep my AH involved in the kids activities/lives. I would adjust my schedule, offer up ways to fit us into his hectic schedule. The nicer I tried to be... the more it came back to bite me square on my ass.

Why? Because I was enabling him, which put right smack dab in his business. Now, I stick to the facts when discussing the kids... and leave the emotions out entirely. It has saved me tons of grief. If he misses an appointment, event, meal, etc... its his own damn fault and I haven't given him ammo to use against me. He will still try and pin something on me... but that's his addiction.

When i communicate, keep it simple works wonders for me. Also, WAIT.... why am I talking? I find myself practicing what I'm going to communicate... and then check it for my motives. I need to make sire that I haven't consciously or subconsciously inserted an attempt to control the situation/outcome.

It's hard stuff.... my thinking is so distorted at times... slowly down and taking my time has helped a ton.

Thinking of you and sending lots of prayers!
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:16 PM
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Same here. I've said some things to WTBH in the past that she wasn't yet ready to hear...but, she's getting there.
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:19 PM
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Oh and side note about 'parents' rights' and 'parent alienation'. Remember, it is HIS responsibility to facilitate his time with his children.

I remember when my son's bio-dad and his girlfriend tried to tell the judge that I was keeping our son away from him and that I used breastfeeding as a secret ploy to retain 100% time, visitation, and custody. When I gladly produced receipts to the judge for the pump, bottles, cooler, liners, etc., the judge called BS on their theory.

So, please do document EVERYthing. It works.
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:25 PM
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WTBH wow he is good at making you question even the simplest of things. Some how you are trying to keep the girls from him by taking them to the doctor? and you were kind enough to leave him a message and send him a text to see if he wanted more time with D6? and he has you questioning if you did the right thing? Sounds like you went over and above trying to keep him posted and offer MORE time with D6. Hindsight not answering his call would have been best. If he complained all you would have had to say was you missed the call. I can't imagine a person in their right mind thinks you need to jump at every phone call he makes to you. He doesn't give you the courtesy of calling you back for hours. Deep breath WTBH he is a master manipulator ... you did nothing wrong!
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Old 09-25-2011, 02:38 PM
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I'm a father of two girls and I can tell you I would have been straight back to you for two reasons, one to check on D3 and two to make sure I got to see D6 on time-it's as simple as that and don't take any nonsense!
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