Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Laugh at the Crazy"

I'd like to thank everyone for all the excellent advice and support on my last post about the latest drama with my ex.  I was overwhelmed! 

Usually when I blog, I can manage to be Miss Mary Sunshine, ever the optimist!  But right now, I feel like crap.  We're back in a spell of -25 C temperatures;  I'm so tired of the cold and darkness!

I'm in the final stages of buying a used car (which is always an unknown quantity), I'm extremely stressed out about the letter I am writing to my ex about our spending on the kids, I have a very bad sore throat from a cold and I'm extremely busy with my new classes and a project I'm organizing in our city schools for Pride week.

On the plus side, all three of my new classes are fantastic!  Such bright shining faces!  I'm so lucky to be working with young people every day.

My therapist was a sensible, older man (65+) who I had seen a couple of time during the height of my coming-out / separation / divorce drama.  It was an enormous relief to be able to tell another person everything about my wife's erratic behaviour AND to receive professional feedback in return.

In the hour-long session, I told him virtually everything ....  all of the stories which I've blogged about here and many more which I haven't.

His main observations:

1.  My wife will most likely become more and more demanding and unpleasant as she approaches old age .... with everyone, not just me.  For many people, getting older doesn't necessarily mean getting nicer.

2.  She probably will be angry at me for the rest of her life.  That's her problem.

3.  My wife still needs to be needed by the kids and so is trying to achieve that by buying things for them.

4.  Her level of spending is unacceptable and unsustainable for both of us. I need to protect myself financially.  He suggested that I send her a carefully-worded, non-accusatory letter outlining the reasons for my concern and the new rules for our spending on the kids.  The rules will ultimately benefit both of us.  These are:

-we will stick to the spending limits in our divorce agreement.  (no mandatory spending on oldest child,  only educational support for middle child and prior agreement on any extra spending for our youngest)

-receipts must be provided for full accountability if any payments are to be made

-a record must be kept of all correspondence (on paper or e-mail)

-any spending outside of our agreement MUST be approved in advance by the other party.  He said:  "If she spends money on something without your prior approval,",  he shrugged, "then, that's her problem."

Other observations:
5.  My ex-wife has way too much time on her hands and has too much time to brood and to get angry.  She went into retirement without a plan to fill her time.

6.  He told me to instruct my children not to tell their mother anything at all about me.  Hearing that I am happy will just fuel her anger.

7.  In addition to my wife's A.D.D., depression and anger management issues (all diagnosed), he is convinced that my wife's symptoms point to bipolar disorder.

8.  As to the abusive texting, he said:  "Don't worry about it!  Just laugh at the crazy."   You still need to maintain communcations with her;  both of you will always be parents to your children.  Divorce is forever.

If she texts me many times during the day, don't respond instantly as that will just feed into it.  Respond the next day and she if her behaviour changes.

He said:  "Most people, mostly men, emerge from divorce financially ruined.  You both got out of your divorce virtually unscathed compared to most people;  you both own beautiful homes, have good incomes and your pensions are intact.  You've achieved a highly successful divorce and you should just count your blessings."

"When you complain about her texting, you remind me of some person living in a town which has been wiped out by some terrible tornado.  Every house has been destroyed except for yours, and you then go around complaining about some dust on the carpet." 

"Just laugh at the crazy."

26 comments:

  1. "Just laugh at the crazy" is some pretty solid advice. It goes hand in hand with "You can't argue with crazy". XOXO

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    1. Yes, I wish I had been told that years ago!

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  2. Of course, she is buying for the kids to get them on her side. Good this was pointed out. Too bad she is not seeking counseling as she needs it and needs to find a life. Retirement? How old is she?

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    1. My ex is turning 59 this year, so she's just over 7 years older than me.

      She retired two years ago when she achieved the years of service to get an unreduced pension.... we knew about her retirement date decades ago and it was not related to our divorce drama.

      The girls are concerned and upset about her excessive spending. They're too smart, frugal and independent to be bought. My son is independent as well but he is quite happy to accept all the "stuff", but it will have no bearing on his strained relationship with his mother.

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  3. Let's all remember that she didn't say "I do" to a gay man. Let's hope it all works out for you, your wife and your kids Buddy. I guess you worked out you were gay over time, good on you. Did your wife!

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    1. Being gay is not the reason for the divorce. Her discovery may have precipitated it, but it wasn't the cause. And if his wife hasn't worked it out, that would be her problem. Did you miss the part where she has mental issues? Buddy was willing to put up with it and had done so for many years.

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    2. chicken and the egg, I'm afraid. She either had mental issues when he married her and/or mental issues could not have been ameliorated living with a man who is gay. That had to have spill over, unless he wasn't really "born that way".
      None of this is said to come down on Buddy Bear but I think there's also nothing wrong with the compassion Justin expressed. Just because you like Buddy Bear doesn't mean you have to dump on his wife

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    3. My wife has certainly suffered from emotional and mental health issues for most of her life and certainly all of her adult life. I just wasn't aware of it when we married but they were all pre-existing conditions. (I was 28, she was 36). The include A.D.D, serious depression of various types and anger management issues, all of them professionally diagnosed.

      My figuring out I was gay in mid-life did not cause these problems but it did exacerbate them, for sure. But the biggest stressor to our marriage was the birth of our third child. This sent my wife into a tailspin of depression and anger from which she has never emerged.

      Our marriage was a deeply troubled one for many years. Even if I had been straight, our marriage had no hope of surviving. But again, my being gay was the final really big spike on the coffin.

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    4. I'm not dumping on her. Merely pointing out that the Buddy didn't chose to be gay. And if there was ever any love in the marriage, she should have tried to help him. In my case, my wife said she would while she was plotting against me. There were tools to help her like therapy etc. How can you say chicken or egg? She did have mental issues. HE was supportive, she wasn't. It really is that simple. I have no sympathy for her. You say they "had" to spill over. Based on what? Your preconceptions? How many married gay men do you know? If you have read Buddy for as long as I have, you wouldn't have said that.

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    5. During our marriage, my wife never did try to destroy me and we really did love each other. But she might be trying to do so now.

      I sometimes feel sorry for the wreckage which her mental and emotional health issues have caused in her life. I might add, this situation would have ecisted had I been straight. But she steadfastly refuses to seek meaningful professional help.

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    6. hey skier, no need to be so defensive. In almost all relationships there's 3 sides his side, her side (or the other his) and the truth. I believe the wife had mental health issues early on. But he married her knowing that. She otoh didn't know he was gay. Maybe he didn't either but to an already unhealthy partner, finding out your spouse is gay is going to take some strength and emotional resilience for a person to get through. If that person is already struggling, well....what do you expect?

      And to be fair to BB, he's recounted some really lovely things she's done like try to fix their tax situation etc. A truly vindictive ex would have dumped the mess on him.

      I don't think it's necessary to see this in terms of "good and bad". She was hurt and she's not healthy. And in most ways she seems her own worst enemy. Nothing I've heard makes her so vicious that's she's undeserving of a little compassion.

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    7. Thanks, anonymous for your balanced comment! My wife and I did love each other (I'm quite sure of that) and despite the turmoil, still care about what happens to the other.

      But I absolutely did NOT know about her emotional and mental health issues. She had moved over 1,000 miles to my town just before we met so I didn't not meet any friends from her past life.... and I met her entire family the day before out wedding.

      None of her issues were apparent during the time when we dated, got engaged and in the early part of our marriage. But with the stresses of one, then two then three babies gradually the cracks started to widen.

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  4. I thought of commenting on the previous post, but then I figured the therapist would probably be more helpful than anything I could say. And he certainly was. That's a lot of good advice you got from him. She may not change overnight, but this should bring some improvement.

    The most important thing, IMO, is the steps to protect yourself from having to share unauthorized spending on her part.

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  5. I am glad the therapist advised you as he did--very much what I had thought was the way to go. Just make sure to keep copies of everything, and I think you'll get through this OK. I'm concerned for you -- I think we all are -- but you're a strong guy and you'll come through.

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    1. Thank you, Will! Yes, I am often concerned for my physical health and I am struggling with a number of stress-related conditions which I haven't really blogged about.

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  6. To add to what everyone else is saying... please continue to share what is happening in your life with us. We may just be anonymous strangers to you... but we all want the best for you. So please vent when you need to. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

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    1. Thank you, Terry! That is very special of you to say that. I'm always curious as to where my readers and commenters live. Feel free to e-mail me privately!

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  7. please keep seeing this therapist; it's for your good mental health. his suggestions are intelligent ones.

    and, oh yeah, {{{{{hugs}}}}} because you need them.

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    1. Thank you, sweetie! {{{{{hugs}}}}} back at you!

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  8. I am happy the therapist gave you tools to protect yourself. They sure make sense to me. I think your stress levels will drop precipitously as you use them religiously.

    Peace <3
    Jay

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  9. I got a good chuckle from the therapist's advice, Buddy, and I'm guessing you see the humor in it too. There's wisdom there, and I thank you for posting it. It's a good reminder to me to let go of some of the stress I hold onto.

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    1. Thanks for writing, Adam! I try hard to shed my stress but I'm not always successful.

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    ReplyDelete
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