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Pissed Off!!!

Old 11-01-2009, 07:27 PM
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Pissed Off!!!

A little background. My ex and I were together almost 15 years befor splitting up. One of the major factors in our divorce was my pot, and to a lesser extent alcohol use. Mind you I never lost a job or had any legal troubles due to it, but that was mostly luck and it definately was an issue.

We've been apart for over 5 years now. She has had sole custody of my son, mostly because I only recently started to get my $hit together. In the time we were appart I ALWAYS paid my child support, base on the 50K salary I was making when we split, even though I was making half of that most of the time. I'm not saying this makes me a hero, by any means, but I did take care of my responsibility there.

I had to move back in with my parrents after the divorce, partly due to finance and partly due to my emotional state (suicidal). Unfortunatly my parents lived almost a thousand miles away from my son, so I have only been able to see him a week or two a year for the last five years.

A little over six months ago, I finally got my $hit together, gave up the pot entirely, moved half way across the country where now I'm only about 100 miles away. I have a new job making good money, I'm seeing a theripist regularly to work on my "issues" and have been clean close to six months now.

Now I know that six months does not make up for 20 years, but here is my issue. When I moved back in May, we agreed that we would alternate every two weeks, she coming here, I going there, to visit. In that time, she has come up here twice and I have made 7 trips there. I work retail, so I have to work some weekends. However my job has been nice enough to schedule me off two weekends a month. I get my schedule 6 months at a time. When I got this schedule the third week of September, I told her I had the 2nd weekend of Oct. off as well as Halloween weekend. About a week later she told me that she was going out of town of her 40th birthday the 2nd weekend and her close friend (who is dying of cancer and is the mother of one of my son's close friends) was having a Halloween party on the 31st.

I am really trying to establish a relationship with my son. He's 8 now and basically she and him have a relationship and I am the guy who comes to visit every now and then and calls on the phone on the weekends. I'd call more often, but the conversations are awkward as, to be honest, we really don't know each other. I take responsibility for this situation, but I want to try to fix it, or at least improve it.

So I just let the birthday thing go. What can I do. I guess I could have insisted that he stay with me while she goes away, but I'm really trying not to be confrontational. So I'm ready to come down for Halloween. I figure I'll leave from work Friday night so we can have some extra time together. I let her know about this a week and a half in advance. She tells me that they have a sleep over at a friends house Friday night, so I should just come down Saturday morning. Fine, not happy, but I'll deal, right? She says my son and I can do some early trick or treating and then they'll go to the party. It'll be an early night as her friend has cancer and goes to bed about 7. I can deal with that.

Turns out they leave at 4PM, still daylight, no trick or treating going on, and don't come back until almost 9:30, certainly too late for a 8 year old to be out. Is completly oblivious as to why I might be upset. The next day I take my son out, just him and me, and we have a good time. In the course of the day we talk about him visiting me and staying overnight. He has never stayed overnight with me without his mother there. He says it sounds like fun and we talk about it a little bit. When I go to leave I say that I'm looking forward to him coming up to have a "sleepover" with me.

10 min after a leave I get an email from her saying that she would really appreciate me talking to her instead of him about visiting plans. In the past the issue has been that he had not stayed away from home on his own, but in the last few months he has had a few "sleep over's" with friends, including an overnight trip to a hotel (ironicaly only about 20 miles from me!!) with some friends. He does have some "issues" about staying away from home, but the only way to get past them is to confront them and see that everything will be ok. Besides, I'm his father for crissakes, and if she doesn't trust me, I'm still living with my folks, so WTF??!!

I was going to have a discussion with her about this last night, but by the time they made it home I was too tired and pissed off to be reasonable. I am still working on dealing with my emotions after just numbing them away for the last 20 years, and she brings them out more than anyone. Not her fault, just the way it is.

Now I know I've done alot of damage to our relationship in the past. I still love her and wish I could somehow make everything right and we could be a family again, but I am increasingly doubtful of that happening. But I have never put my son in harms way. I never smoked in front of him, never harmed him in any way, other than not being there for the last 5 years.

What am I to do here. I don't want to be a total dick, but I am sick of being walked over all the time. I'm finally starting to have some tiny bit of self esteem and want that to be respected. To be honest, she is a big part of why my son has feelings at all for me. She doesn't run me down in front of him, though I have given her many reasons to do just that. I'm just not sure what to do. This has been building up for awhile now and I don't know how to deal with it. So I throw it out to your guys, and especially gals. Any and all thought, advice and suggestions are welcome. If nothing else, it helps somewhat to get this off my chest. Hope everyone else is doing well. Take care all.
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:39 PM
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Wow Tyler. I've just read through it and it is hard to form an opinion on this. I can totally see why you would be so frustrated, but I can see her side too. You want to make up for 5 years of your son's life and she is a bit wary of it all maybe? I would say to "try" to keep it between you and your ex and keep your son out of the details as much as possible. I mean he should have a say as to whether he wants to go overnight with you or not, but when you ask him directly it puts him on the spot. Maybe your ex just wanted to present it to him herself so he could be comfortable with the whole idea.

You said you lived with your parents, but then moved away from them and closer to your son and ex. You then said you still live with them and she (ex) shouldn't worry. Do you live with your parents anymore?
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:50 PM
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Yeah, I'm confused too, Tyler.

You said you moved away from your parents and closer to your son, but then you said you were living with your parents again?

I agree with HorseLover. Your wife and you should discuss the issues of visitation and it shouldn't be discussed in front of your son first. That could easily end up with him feeling like he is caught in the middle of trying to please you both. And, it makes sense that your ex is being cautious with you seeing your son. She wants and needs to protect your son, and she may not be sure of you at this time.

When I was in the first months of sobriety I wanted so badly for things to be 'okay' and for everything to be fixed. It didn't happen that way. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience. Hang in there and you will get a chance to know your son and to spend time with him. I think it's great that you're working on mending the relationship with your son.
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Old 11-01-2009, 07:56 PM
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Hi Tyler....

I so applaud you for getting clean! You are so on the right track. Keep in mind, though....your ex doesn't really know the sober you. And....she may still have issues from when you were using, even is she doesn't admit it.

Slow and easy. And breathe. I do think you can have a relationship with your son....but it's gotta be slow, for your son's sake.

Horselover and Anna have some very good points. Again....a huge congratulations to you for getting your act together....this WILL benefit your son and you will see the results.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:10 PM
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Hey Tyler, I can understand your frustration and need to connect more with your son. I am divorced and can relate to the feelings involved.

I think it's important to run ideas by each other before involving the children. As hard as this is to do, I think it's important for the sake of the relationship and the trust between you and your ex.

I was recently very upset at my ex because he took my daughter to an amusement park one day with some woman he is dating WITHOUT TELLING ME FIRST. I thought it was only fair I be the first one to know that he is dating someone, not my daughter. I know your situation is different, but I came to learn that the safest course of action is talk to each other first before involving the children.

Just treat this as a learning experience and don't get too pissed off. My ex and I were able to move past our disagreement about what he did by having dinner together and honestly talking about our feelings. I hope you'll be able to do that with your ex and have you see her side as well as her understanding your needs. I was pleasantly surprised that when we aired things out and set some ground rules that we could both live with, the tension went away (or was greatly reduced).

I hope you are able to do that as well.

Take care,
Laura
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by tyler View Post
10 min after a leave I get an email from her saying that she would really appreciate me talking to her instead of him about visiting plans.
Tyler, I completely agree with this statement. I know that you meant no harm and it seems a simple matter to you. But, these things should be discussed between the adults first.

That being said, in reading your post, I was repeatedly impressed by how you acknowledged "unfair" or "not so ideal" situations and how well you reacted to the disappointment. If your ex is careful to not bad-mouth you to your son and she's working with you (though admittedly imperfectly) with getting you two together, I think that it's best just to encourage you to be patient and to work with your ex. She's not had to work another adult into her schedule in years.

I know that you must feel as though you've lost so much of your kid's life already and you want every minute that you're due. But, there's so much left... so much important time in his life... and you're going to be there, I can tell.

I'm glad that you posted. You're finding very positive ways to get your frustration out. It hasn't been that long, though. Tell youself that. At quick glance and not knowing your ex, it apears to me as though she simply needs to learn to take you into account when scheduling things. You haven't been around that long. It will take some time for her to make that mental adjustment.

But, I get the feeling that will happen. Let her know that you will be more mindful to discuss things with her first and that you were just very excited that he wanted to spend time with you. As a mom, she should understand.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Horselover View Post
You said you lived with your parents, but then moved away from them and closer to your son and ex. You then said you still live with them and she (ex) shouldn't worry. Do you live with your parents anymore?
Should clarify...I moved back in with my parents after a suicide attempt apox. 5 years ago. Moved out on my own, but in the sa me area after about 9 months. My folks retired, and this spring moved to an area that happened to be much closer to my son. I was working a crap job and had no money in the bank (also because I continued to spend my money on smoke and drink). They offered my a room in the new house while I "got back on my feet".

Have not used since I made the move in early May (had about a month clean before that as well). Found a job after a couple of months and am making double what I made before. Am trying to pay off bills and debts from my past decressions before getting my own place. Also want to make sure I feel totally comfortable with the new "clean" me, as I have "contacts" back in this area that it would be easy to fall back in with. Planning on getting my own place again either this spring or summer if all goes well.

Hope that clears that up.

Thanks
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:25 PM
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It does clear it up Tyler and thanks. I hope you understand that my viewpoint on this issue is from an adult that remembers what her parents put her through "after" they divorced. They never spoke to each other again and I was their, how should I say, messenger. I actually still am. I was and am put directly in the middle and the line of fire. Remember "Don't shoot the messenger?" I always wanted to please them and would say whatever I thought they wanted to hear at the expense of what I wanted. This is why I implore you to only communicate with your ex and not directly to your son about things. Wanted you to know where I am coming from when I offer my advice on this is all.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:56 PM
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Tyler, I had sole custody of my daughter, her father was far away. I married a man later who was a great dad, but his ex-wife had sole custody of his 2 sons. So I have been both in your wife's position, and in yours to an extent.

I always tried to just keep the anger, fear and resentment away from the kids. I always tried to maximize our time with my step sons, and make each visit really special, and I tried to do what was right for my daughter when matters with her biological father came up. Parenting is hard, and co-parenting under these circumstances is extra tricky.

Because the man I married and I went to great lengths to protect our children from the ugly parts, and love them as best we could, we have very close relationships with all 3 of the children now, they are all grown.

Be patient with her when you can. Know that you are where you are suppose to be on your journey, and be grateful for the time you share. Things will get better.~
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:05 PM
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My husband and I divorced with our daughter was 2. It can be a complicated dynamic, especially with a complicated history. For instance, you know how much better you are now, but your ex may not fully appreciate it yet. This can take a little time. She may have felt manipulated by you talking to your son before talking to her, putting her in the position of looking like the bad guy.

My advice is to acknowledge your ex's position in the situation. I mean, she has carried most of the parenting load the past several years, and she is probably very protective of your son. If there were painful years in your marriage, it could take her a little while to relax about the situation. Give it time. Sounds like you are making great progress - congrats.
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Old 11-01-2009, 11:45 PM
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Tyler,

When I moved over 1000 miles away from my grandson, whom I had been in his life from the day he was born until he was 1 1/2 in a very involved way.......I used snail mail...sent something every day...a post card...stickers...an envelope to send me some of his schoolwork or a drawing...now, in your situation every day would be over kill...but I thought I would throw the idea out there. It is neat to get mail, especially for a kid and it says you are special and I am thinking about you.
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:30 AM
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Tyler.. I won't repeat what others are saying. It sounds like good feedback though. Me? I think you need patience and lots of it. Changing expectations is key. Get some peace about this and it will go better. You have lots to make up for. This is not going get better for awhile and especially if there is friction.
You sound like you are doing much better and will continue to get better but be patient.
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:04 AM
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Patience has never been a strong point for me....shocking isn't it!!! Overall we get along quite well for a divorced couple. It just really upset me how she has treated "my time" this month. I get so very little of it, it seems she would try to treat it a little more "specially". I understand the week end away was planned before she knew my schedule, but to spend 5 1/2 hrs away at a Halloween party with her friends while I sat, alone, back at the house, really seems downright rude.

I know when she visits up here, I'd never consider taking my son and parrents out for half a day leaving her here all by herself. It's just rude way to treat a guest. I appreciate her letting me stay there, but I'm thinking of investing the money into hotel next time around.

Thanks for all the good advice. I've been doing a pretty good job with the patience thing, but it seems that no progress whatsoever is being made. Guess I'll just try to hang in there. Thanks.
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:14 PM
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I've chilled out a bit now. I'm going to try to give her a call in a bit to talk about this. I think one of the biggest problems I have is learning how to deal with my emotions. In the past it was easy, just spark up a bowl, and problem solved. Well, not really, but you get my point. I've always tried to avoid difficult or uncomfortable situations whenever possible. Getting high was one of the easiest ways to do this.

No one in my life causes more of a mish mash of emotions than her. We both still love each other, but I'm still "in love" with her. I'm don't know how to deal with the regection of that. She also gets very defensive when we discuss things. Any tiny criticism is met with denials and accucations. I love my son and desperately want to spend more time with him, and I really think we are both on the same page as far as this goes. It's how we are going to get there that is the question.

I've been numbing myself to emotions for so long that I dont' react to them appropreatly. I make mountains out of molehills. I create huge issues in my head where oftentimes only a small one really exists. Much of this happens because of my fear of confrontation. It's even worse with her because I love her and have already hurt her so much, I don't want to hurt her anymore, but it seems no matter what I do that is the end result.

Anyway, I'm going to try to have a calm, rational conversation with her, hopefully this evening, if not tomorrow. I am seeing my theripist on Wed, so hopefully she can give me some help with this. Thanks for all the input and suggestions. This stuff is hard.
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:48 PM
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It is hard stuff Tyler. Dealing with our emotions is very hard. I numbed mine for years and years. I started back in my teenage years and didn't stop until my early 40s. My dealing with emotions button never was touched until now. Also patience I believe is something many of us lack here. I know that is huge for me. I work daily on that. Glad you are feeling better.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:24 PM
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Tyler, for what it is worth, I find your written communication on this forum to be very clear. Direct but not offensive. You could try writing your thoughts/feelings in a letter, and if you like the letter after it sits for a bit, send it, give it to her, whatever. Or not. Sometimes I find it easier to communicate in writing when I'm struggling with my feelings. Just a thought.
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