Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tyranny of texting

My former wife sends hundreds of texts a week, trying to micro-manage the kids' activities and to a very much lesser extent, mine.  She's like a little Hitler   :-)  except uses texting rather than armies to get her way.

The kids find "being spammed by Mom" very annoying and are often resistant to her unsolicited advice.  She gets angry if they don't answer her texts instantly yet she might not reply for days.  I spent many years in our marriage tiptoeing around, afraid of provoking her anger so that now I constantly remind the kids that Mom's anger is her issue. 

But they generally have the strength of character to resist. The great advantage is that the kids have a choice.  My oldest daughter shrugged: "If Mom gets angry, that's her problem.  I'll just move in with you."

Because of our coming-out / divorce drama my wife and I hadn't filed our income taxes for the past four years. I was extremely concerned about Revenue Canda swooping down on us with threats of hefty fines or jail time.  

The problem was that our taxes were quite complicated and needed to be filed jointly. My wife had lost all the paperwork and was in no shape emotionally to cooperate.   But this spring, to her credit, she prepared four years' worth of both of our tax returns and the kids' tax returns as well. 
  
I just got back the Notice of Assessment and my refund was around $4,000 (woo-hoo!) and the late filing penalty was only $92.30.  What a relief, to have dodged that bullet!

Typically, my wife texted me to ask for copies so she could compare our refunds.  If they weren't equal, she said, one of us (meaning me) would give some of the refund to the other person. (meaning her)   I texted back: "No, our refunds won't be equal nor should they be."  Under Revenue Canada rules and our divorce agreement, I don't pay tax on my spousal support payments but she is taxed on them as income.
This prompted a torrent of texted abuse, "You think I'm out to take your money..."  (too late, she already has it, there's nothing left to take) "... and I'm out to cheat you... blah, blah, blah"  (I know she wouldn't cheat me).  But in the end, I held my ground and the topic was dropped.

Our worst texting conflict happened last night when I gave my son permission to drive some two hours with a friend to their family cottage.   I agreed but made the mistake of not clearing it with my wife.  My son's view on everything is:  "It's okay as long as Mom doesn't find out."

Somehow, she did find out and texted me about planned trip: who knew what and when?  She didn't think our son should be allowed to go (he just got his drivers' license the day before!) and tried to stop it. When I resisted her texted bossiness, she quickly became insulting and abusive.  Most unusually, she abandoned the texting and phoned to continue her tirade and name-calling.

I finally broke in to say that I no longer had to tolerate this sort of abuse.  If she couldn't speak respectfully, then we would not communicate at all.  I hung up the phone, unplugged it and shut off my cell phone.

Knowing how enraged she could become when thwarted, I worried that she would drive the short distance to my house to yell at me in person.  So I drove into town for a late-night visit to the grocery story and went to bed without turning my phones on again.

The whole episode left me exhausted and emotionally drained.  It reminded me in a flash of all the angry, bullying behaviour I dealt with during many years of our marriage.  I escaped!  And despite the financial hardships and the turmoil of divorce, it's all been worthwhile.
 
 

16 comments:

  1. Doesn't all that texting she does run up the cell phone bills horribly? If she's concerned about money, mightn't she be informed that she should cut out the constant micromanagement by cell text and save everyone, herself included, some useful cash?

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  2. Our plans have free unlimited texting! It is very inexpensive for cell phone companies to offer unlimited texting since one text costs them 1/1000 of one cent to send.

    My wife is quite frugal and watches her money carefully. It makes me feel better to know that she's not frittering away the spousal support which I'm paying her.

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  3. Nice to have your own life back again, eh? If needed, can you change your cell # and not tell her? She has your home phone

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    1. Yes, it's fantastic to be away from all that. That's one reason why I'm in no rush to get 'hitched up' again.

      I'd never change my phone# or block her number. We really do get along really well 95% of the time. To prevent her from calling me would be pretty disrespectful and might cause a negative reaction.

      We are constantly texting our parenting decisions and which kid is located where so we really need to be in easy contact. The fact that we have kids together means that we will ever be out of each others' lives completely.

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  4. This wasn't the encounter with Spanking Fetish Dude post that I was hoping for, but it's alway good to hear your point of view. Did your cell phone voice mail blow up with angry tirades on it?

    Now, with your son gone for a couple days, will your house become a weekend retreat for another hoard of twenty-somethings?

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    Replies
    1. Sorry, Jack. My Spanking Dude post will have to wait. I prefer to blog in real time so I don't forget my reactions and emotions as I am going through the crisis. I posted about texting problem as it was going on.

      Well, my two daughters are still here although I can host discreetly in the Love Nest. More to the point, since POF.com changed its rules, there have been very, very few twenty-something boys in my bed. They can't find me! I'm still working on a solution to that problem.

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  5. Thought I add another two cents. My first lover just left his wife, so we had to deal with her anger. They went to see a gay pyscho (sp) (counsellor) and he told her she had every right to be angry. Then she went to see him by herself to deal with it. Maybe boldly tell your ex to do the same??

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    1. Thanks for your input! My wife has seen four different therapists, one visit each, and complained about each one. As my doctor said (who is also my wife's doc), "She's looking for someone who will tell her what she wants to hear."

      But I just heard (from a mutual friend) that my wife is now on meds for her depression, a big step for her.

      And yes, anger and bitterness from the "wife of" is perfectly natural and expected. I have moved onto an exciting new life and she feels that she is too old / fat / angry / man-hating to ever be with another man, ever again.

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  6. Although it sounds like dealing with your wife's texting is unpleasant, I have to say that I found the Hitler comparison a little out of place. Although any two things bear some resemblance to each other, I doubt she is very much like a little Hitler.

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    1. Sorry, I was joking and / or exaggerating about the Hitler references. LOL It's hard to convey emotions with just text. I've added a :-) to the post!

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  7. I always wonder in cases like this (whether it's the former wife or former husband - I've seen it both ways) when the "offending" party will wise up. Sometimes never, other times, they FINALLY figure it out. I'm sure your children would appreciate the dawning on her part, and even though you're the adult, I'm sure you can hope for it, too!

    It's good the taxes worked out OK. I visited my BFF not too long ago and noticed a box that had been on her couch for several years was gone. I asked about it. She said her husband had finally filed the last 7 years taxes! Holy CRAP! The IRS is much less gracious in their penalties - I suspect any refund(s) they get will be curtailed considerably.

    I think you made the right decision with your son. I have no idea what the custody arrangements are, but if he's with you, then you get to make the decisions, IMHO. And he's proven himself to be trustworthy, and a decent driver. This will be the proof in the pudding!

    Peace <3
    Jay

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    1. Thanks, Jay! I am quite sure my former wife will never figure out that her bossiness is driving friends and family away. My son's highway trip went well, by the way. He lives more with me but we still consult each other on most parenting decisions concerning him.

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  8. Not being blessed with children, I can only imagine what it must be like in a day and age with IM and texting. Enmeshment and boundary issues must be intense.

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  9. Being able to communicate with one's children via texting is a Godsend! Teens will happily receive and send surreptitious texts to their parents while they're with their friends without everyone knowing that their "mommy" is checking up on them. As long as the parent doesn't do it to excess.

    I looked up "enmeshment" and I think it deserves its own post!

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