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Author Topic: Can't quite put my finger on it - Part 2  (Read 254 times)
Enabler
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« on: November 08, 2019, 09:36:26 AM »

This is a continuation of a previous thread: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=340662.0

Skip,

I think my fear with agreeing to a neutral or incorrect narrative now is that in time that incorrect narrative can be changed.... and when it's changed, I will likely change with it. e.g. we start with neutral, later when life doesn't work out so well for her fantasy she moves towards 'it was all Daddies decision', then I'll likely move towards 'it was Mummy's decision'. Then begins the natural question of "well Daddy, if that's the case, why did you agree to it being a joint decision?".......... there's enough lying going on, one of the values I teach the kids is to not lie, and I lead by example by avoiding lying to them. If we start with a lie, regardless of whether or not 'it matters' or even if it's 'for the best', I see it inevitably coming back to haunt you.

An old colleague separated with his wife in 2016, it was a mutual decision as things weren't going well. They sat down and told the kids in a mutual way.... he leaves.... that very week she starts screaming at him over the phone and telling the kids he's abandoned them. He's only just having nervous communication with his 2 sons whom he was VERY close to before he mutually agreed to leave..... and that was a case of a mutual decision for him to leave.

My W likes to lie.... A LOT

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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2019, 09:36:35 AM »

What's the underlying intent here?

 
The underlying intent and the explicit intent is for all parties to own their thoughts, feelings, words and actions.

For instance, from what I know of Enabler if he agreed to  a "joint statement" that said "we" have decided to divorce, that would be a lie/untruth/inaccurate.

I can't imagine it would in anyway be healthy for kids to look back one day and realize that on such an important matter their Father didn't "tell the truth".

I come at this from a similar angle to other "family secrets" that are actively hidden from children and they find this out much later in life.  Adoptive kids not knowing they are adopted or that a person they assumed was a bio parent isn't a bio parent.

I think most advice is to bring these things out as early as possible, say them as succinctly as possible, and then pivot to focusing on the child and that the adult loves the child and is there for them....while being open for more questions.

Said another way:  I don't think Enabler should say the divorce is "mom's fault" or that "mom is bad" or any other thing such as that.  

I'm also not suggesting there would be no "consequences" (bad behavior from wife) because of this.  We simply can't know that ahead of time.

If me make decisions, especially on such big issues such as this about what a disordered person may or may not do....who are we handing our power to?

Clarity:  If I knew that Enabler actually wanted out...I would have different advice.  

There is no way to escape that this will "hurt" the kids on some level.  I'm not suggesting this is OK.  I am suggesting this is how life works and generally kids become more resilient by coming through their "hurts" than by having a padded world of nothing ever hurting constructed around them.

So...I would generally reject any axiom that seemed to say "Must find pathway to least hurt of children".

At the end of the day I would suggest an example of Enabler speaking his truth, being resilient and loving his kids while he lives life in the face of things he doesn't want, yet has to accept will result in MORE resilient children, not less.

Best,

FF
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2019, 09:43:17 AM »




  Then begins the natural question of "well Daddy, if that's the case, why did you agree to it being a joint decision?".......... there's enough lying going on, one of the values I teach the kids is to not lie, and I lead by example by avoiding lying to them. If we start with a lie, regardless of whether or not 'it matters' or even if it's 'for the best', I see it inevitably coming back to haunt you.

 
My W likes to lie.... A LOT


Lots of powerful stuff here.

I am personally aware of many bad divorces and good divorces.  I would suggest Enabler should not make decisions on his situation based on what happened in others.  My guess is there is a lot of "facts" that we aren't aware of.

Which circles back around to Enabler living out his values.

Best,

FF
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« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 09:48:10 AM »

To add to this, my assumption would be that anyone making a large decision like this would have thought through the consequences of that decision.

One of the consequences is that the children will be hurt / damaged.

However, my assumption would be that my W would have weighed up the consequences of the children being hurt / damaged with the 'NEED' to extricate herself from the marriage, and as such, she should have confidence in 'owning' that decision.

Put another way, example.... my daughter wants to go to a party, all her piers are going to be there, I know there's going to be lots of drugs there so I say she can't go. I know that her friends will likely make fun of her not going and that might hurt her. BUT, I own the decision not to let her go to the party because her not going is better for her (and me). She may not like me for my decision, but my job is not to be liked, it's to parent her effectively. (it's an example, I know there were plenty of other ways that scenario could have been handled).
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« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2019, 10:17:10 AM »

T  I know there's going to be lots of drugs there so I say she can't go.

 (it's an example, I know there were plenty of other ways that scenario could have been handled).

If I remember right...you are ESTJ...right?

Sometimes scary how close we are on things.

I get the impression I'm a bit more "in your face" about things than you are (which is OK)..but we seem to focus on many of the same principles.

If it was me I would agree to take my child and stay at the party.  If my child protested...I would be befuddled and ask for understanding of how a party is ok for just her but not me.  

Basically I've never had a kid take me up on one of these.

Note:  My bluff has never been called on this.  I assume I would go.  I don't exactly remember the details (i don't think there was a drug concern) but I "said yes" to some requests and then added a caveat of "I'll of course take you and stay."  

Also left open the option to invite kids over to our house (we are very liberal about kids coming over)

Anyway...

Best,

FF
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« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2019, 10:59:53 AM »

Clarity:  If I knew that Enabler actually wanted out...I would have different advice.

Enabler, if you have any hopes of salvaging the marriage, I don't think it helps that cause to get all wrapped up in this stuff. It's not at all attractive.

If you want a low-medium conflict divorce, its extremely important to not do things that push it into high conflict as once a divorces hits the high conflict stage, its rarely chills. I have seen many a member push a divorce into high conflict as a defensive or anticipatory action. She may push it there, but I wouldn't do anything to encourage that.

There is a payoff for parents to have child damaging battles at the end - there is some satisfaction or balancing that is sought. For example (example only), its easier to accept that our partner is an evil wench than think, I didn't give her a good life and so she went looking for better and found it. It's a natural reaction - but it doesn't serve us well in the long run.

Are you familiar of the concept of parallel parenting. It is often recommended when the parents can't let go of the "old partnership" and try to set the rules and control the other parents parenting.The think is "I divorced you so you have no control over me, but I still have control over you".  Parallel parenting is where each parent does what they think they should do when they have the kids and there is no "cross-talk".

I'm not suggesting that you parallel parent, but you should know what it is. There is a bottom line message in parallel parenting, "I have no more say in what my partner says, does, or thinks - no matter how bad - I accept that".

So if I could net this all out...

If you have any thoughts of saving the marriage, move forward with the divorce in a friendly way. Let her do her thing. Be on time. Be respectful. Don't quibble. If she badgers you, listen, give her an "I hear you", "Ok", "No" (if necessary) or "If you do A I will do B" and don't give attention to the emotion of it all.

If you have any thoughts of cooperative co-parenting after the divorce, you have let her do what she, as an independent adult, wants to do. If she badgers you, listen, give her an "I hear you", "Ok", "I'll make the decisons in my home, you make the decisons in yours" (if necessary) or "If you do A I will do B" and don't give attention to the emotion of it all.

If you want the kids to stay close, treat them well, and always say brief respectable things about mom. That is what they want to hear. They don't want you to blame her, her to blame you, or anyone to blame them - they want you to get over it and get back together.

Lead by example.

That said, its still possible you wife with fight you for every penny, try to take the kids away, practice PAS, smear your character, and kick your dog. Divorce sucks. There is little you can do to stop this stuff other than to try and not ignite it.

Divorce is one of the worst things that happens us, man. It's bad on so many levels... the person with trusted the most in life, turns on us... we feel violated, betrayed, abused.  In the end it boils down to a custody plan, and a property settlement and everything else is moot.

Find people who have good post martial relations with the kids and asked them how they did it.

Don't be another guy, 10 year from now< advising newbies on "how not to do what I did".
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« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2019, 11:36:48 AM »



There is a bottom line message in parallel parenting, "you have no more say in what you partner says, does, or thinks - I accept that".
 


I couldn't find much of anything to disagree with in Skip's post.

Certainly parenting by mutual agreement would seem preferable, yet what happens when you can't agree.  You default to parallel. 

Announcement of the divorce would seem to be the first parenting decision of the divorce and it doesn't appear there will be mutual agreement.

So...Enabler says what he thinks is best.  Enabler wife says what she thinks is best.

Switching gears:   There seem to be two broad approaches to parenting. 

One says that if two people focus on the kids, put them first and all that....that you will raise healthy kids. (basically put kids first)

There is another one that says that if you focus on healthy and happy marriages...you will raise healthy kids.  (basically put marriage first)

I would think that thought could be extended to divorce.

Enabler could think first about putting himself first and being the best parent/adult/example he could be

or

He could put his kids first and put himself second.

Clarity:  I'm in the marriage first camp so my advice flows from there.

Best,

FF
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« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2019, 11:41:42 AM »



The central question seems to be.

To what extent should Enabler (and others in the same position) go with specific intent to NOT ignite a fuse that may take a divorce to a high conflict level.

Specifically this question is getting played out if Enabler should accept that "we" don't want to be married ( perhaps not igniting the fuse) or if he should state that he does not want a divorce (and perhaps trigger his wife)

First of all.  Does anyone disagree with the big questions.

Second of all.  Enabler, you know your wife best.  What do you think she will say in a family meeting if you state that you do not want a divorce?

Best,

FF
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« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2019, 11:52:11 AM »

The kids have got to come first. As a step mother believe me they could not care less who is at "fault." They just need to feel secure. Talking about how "your mother wants this but I dont" is not showing integrity or honesty. It is simply being insensitive to the needs of the most innocent and vulnerable people in this whole mess.
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« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2019, 11:52:26 AM »

Second of all.  Enabler, you know your wife best.  What do you think she will say in a family meeting if you state that you do not want a divorce?

Excerpt
Clarity:  I'm in the marriage first camp so my advice flows from there.

Enablers wife is 'disordered' … so that clouds and distorts anything she says certainly … not to mention good order, discipline, and morale in the "marriage camp", to include child rearing.

Excerpt
FHL writes … "The kids have got to come first... (kids) need to feel secure.
I agree with ^this^.

Formflier, you have told me in the past, as well written to others, "don't allow a disordered person to determine your ____ .

… I don't remember the exact ^word^ right now...

To me … the ^above^ applies here,

So there is the answer to your above statement / question ""What do you think she will say in a family meeting if you state that you do not want a divorce?"

This is going to be "tedious" anyways Enabler approaches it …

Red5
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« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2019, 11:57:44 AM »

  Talking about how "your mother wants this but I dont" is not showing integrity or honesty. 

ugg..

I do NOT think Enabler should say this.

He should only talk about himself and his values/desires/decisions.

Best,

FF

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« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2019, 12:06:19 PM »

 Welcome new member (click to insert in post)   I just want to jump in with a specific comment about telling the children you do not want a divorce but please realize I do not have kids nor have I been married.  I have been a kid with a disordered parent though.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Telling the kids you do not want the divorce is involving them in private adult issues that they do not need to be a part of.  Nor should they be a part of it IMO.  It is not their business.  Again, I say this as a kid who had parents with a horrible marriage and a disordered parent who shared everything.  It is too much stress, hard to comprehend and scary.  

Why even go there?
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« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2019, 12:09:21 PM »

He should only talk about himself and his values/desires/decisions.

*Values drive desires, desire drives decisions, decisions are "checked" by values … wash rinse repeat.

*If the marriage is healthy (first), the children will follow along smartly, no problems … but when things go south … and the marriage is held onto to the point of destruction of everything else (children), … then we got problems.

I've read, and this only a scenario to shine light onto my thinking here … and nothing against step parents, I am one too … to older adult children ... *how many times have we heard of, a disordered step parent, or even a bio parent (disordered) saying, "its me or the kids" … "I must come first" … "me me me" … "or else".

As stated, we all feel for Enabler, he is a good man, and doesn't deserve this, he like many of us, only want peace and happiness, and for his children to be safe and secure in their beds at night.

Red5
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« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2019, 12:10:08 PM »

As a step mother believe me they could not care less who is at "fault.

I asked Dakota what he thought. He said, will you be at my birthday party. He was 15. Birthday was 9 months in the future. It still makes me sad to think about the look on his face.

Questions are going to be like:

       Was it my fault?
Will you get back together? Is it really over?
If I do something bad will we split too?
What am I going to tell my friends?
Will you and dad both be at my birthday party?
Can I still sleep at Austin's house when it’s supposed to be my night at dad’s?
Dad says I can eat in my room.. Why can’t I do that here?
Do you still love daddy?
Where will I live?
Will my life ever be normal again?
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2019, 12:48:13 PM »


Why even go there?

Good question!!  One to be given serious consideration.

Since this is a joint family discussion, Enabler may have no choice in "going there or not". 

It's good to think through various questions that will likely come up.  Almost as important to think about what will be said when questions come up out of the blue (which you can be assured there will be one or two)

Best,

FF
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« Reply #15 on: November 08, 2019, 01:40:41 PM »

21/03/2017 – You come home from counselling and tell me you wish to get a divorce because I am abusive to you and the kids
Sporadic communication regarding the divorce
19/10/2017 – First legal mediation session
07/11/2017 – Second legal mediation session – instructed to complete Divorce Petition
04/12/2017 – Email from you detailing plans to sell the house and tell the children on 6th Jan
Sporadic communication regarding the divorce although no specific reasons for delay
28/03/2018 – You send off divorce petition but do not inform me
02/04/2018 – You inform me that you have petitioned for divorce
03/05/2018 – I receive divorce petition
04/05/2018 – I return divorce petition completed with no objections and inform you via Whatsapp
18/06/2018 – Divorce petition response confirmation and application for decree Nisi arrived
10/08/2018 – Decree Nisi application form sent off
No communication re Decree Nisi
24/08/2018 – Email from you requesting completion of financial analysis and disclosures
05/09/2018 – Discussion with you where you disclose that you have sent off the Decree Nisi application a month ago
01/10/2018 – Discussion about financials
27/11/2018 – Second discussion re financials
No further discussions
23/01/2019 – Discussion about her not being able to move forwards and not being able to move backwards
No further discussions
19/05/2019 -  Discussion regarding pushing the divorce process forward and “not being able to do this for another 10years”, and seeing mediator and getting him to facilitate. “Doing this for the next 10 years” hadn’t even been discussed.
23/09/2019 – Email from you regarding kicking off the mediation process with mediator again.

I get your frustration. The divorce process and family court is zoo.

It may help to adjust your expectations of the process. It will be messy. Vert messy.

Judges, attorneys, principals, physicians see so much crap that they just don't want to hear about anything but the mission critical facts.

      Hello, your wife didn't pick up the kids today from day care, are you coming by 6 PM, yes or no.
Again!!! She knows this is my most important work presentation of the year. She said she would be there. Do you believe this! Will you tell her that this is unacceptable next time you see her. The kids come first. She needs to be where she says she will be.
Yes or no?
Yes.
Thanks. Bye.

We have one member here who was fired by the pediatrician.

Documents will come in late, incomplete, inaccurate - its the norm - no one cares. People lie, make false accusations, rewrite reality - no one gets to concerned. The Judges, attorneys, Principals, physicians do the best they can do get to what is needed to get their objective met and ignore the rest - and they make mistakes in the process - they are OK with that. There are too many people in divorce battle for anyone to truly care or want to get into the details.

In the best interest of the kids often means we don't care about details of the parents battle. They will do their best to split the assets fairly and according to the standard formula. You have to put bullets into people before they alter the formula.

I'd suggest doing what they do - decide what is mission critical, and don't worry about the rest.

With that I'll ask the hard question - what are the mission critical items?

    Place to live?
Custody agreement?
Property settlement?
Transition plan?

PS: Yes, I exaggerated a bit - but not too much. The pediatrician did fire the parents and child.
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« Reply #16 on: November 08, 2019, 04:10:43 PM »

My ex lied about assets during our divorce and when I confronted him outside the courtroom, he said, “I’m going to get everything I can out of you.” I then went on a paper chase to back up my claims and was mostly successful. It pays to be meticulous and well organized.

As a five or six year old child who was asked which parent I would choose in a divorce by my BPD mother, then told as a high school student about her suspicions that my dad was having an affair when he was taking night classes at the local community college, I’d agree with Harri that sharing adult relationship stuff with children is out of bounds.
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« Reply #17 on: November 08, 2019, 08:21:58 PM »

My approach in my marriage has been to be as "grey rock" as possible so as not to fuel any of my h's emotional reactions. When he decided to move out and file for divorce, he said "we" need to tell our daughter (13 at that time) that "we" are getting a divorce. I sat there while he did this - but I had been talking with our daughter about her fears about a divorce for probably a couple of years at that time. H used to throw the divorce word around a lot when he was stressed, making d fearful. After h moved out, daughter needed to process things, and I was there for her. She also was aware of his tendency toward relational drama and had mentioned that on her own to me several times. I didn't need to defend myself or my position - I decided to let h's actions speak for themselves. My focus was on being the stable and safe parent who listens and cares for the kids.

Enabler, your kids are smart and can figure things out on their own. They are watching and will try to make sense of all of it. My kids don't know all the factors that have led to where we are now.

We talk about not JADE-ing with our SO; I think that applies to kids and others, too. Trying to defend yourself will just add extra relational drama that distracts from the conversation that needs to happen.
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« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2019, 06:29:33 AM »

I'm in the camp of not speaking to the kids about how their mother wants the divorce and you don't. It is TMI ( IMHO)

My parents didn't divorce but they had huge arguments when I was a kid. Mom would then take me aside and talk to me about my father. She would threaten divorce and say why she wanted one to me.

Dad would rarely say something- usually only if I asked him. By my early teens I had an idea of what was going on but it was also naive- I could only process as much as I understood for my age.

At times my mother treated me like a confidant and I was her emotional caretaker as much as I was able. I recall giving her relationship advice. I was a young teen and had my first teen puppy love boyfriend. Well we held hands and kissed! And I figured if we could get along, then so could my parents and told her how.

Surely way more was going on with my parents than this, but I could only filter it through a child/young teen perspective. I also see as a parent that it was inappropriate to discuss the details of their issues. Your kids can only perceive as much as they can. Keep it simple and don't bring them into this. They will understand more when they are able to.
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« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2019, 09:34:56 AM »

My issue with the title of this thread is "likes" to lie. I think it's more than this. One is perspective. When someone is in victim perspective, it changes how they see things. The "lie" might seem real to them, or justified in their "self defense".

Or it can be a mechanism to avoid shame. Shame for being seen as the one who broke up the marriage. Shame for being seen as having committed adultery. One way to deal with this is to change the story.

Sometimes there could be enjoyment from lying. There's a certain sense of control from keeping people from knowing what is going on.

But I think a large part of it is shame avoidance and saving face. A sort of emotional survival. Do bears like to growl? Or do they do it as self defense?  I think when someone is dysregulated, they act out of their instinctual part of their brains. Yes- they are responsible for their behavior but I'm not sure they like it.  I think it comes from their own difficult feelings and their need to take care of them with the tools they have. They may like that it helps in the moment.
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« Reply #20 on: November 10, 2019, 04:33:46 AM »

Wow, I’m touched by the effort everyone has gone to to respond so thoughtfully. There’s so much to respond to.

Co-parenting can parallel parenting: my utopia would be to co-parent, but really that’s always been my utopia and it’s clearly not worked, it’s ended up in a situation where I support her in her parenting choices and look for support in my parenting choices and don’t get it. Bold statements are made about ‘working together’ ‘aligning ourselves’ and then almost instantly ignored. An excellent example was recently (I believe I mentioned on a post or two), as part of this recent flurry of emails going too and forth my W sends me an agreement given to her on a church led Divorce course on how we should deal with the children. Point 8 was:

Excerpt
Please can we try and agree similar house rules or boundaries together? We may not always agree but at least then we can tell them that we’ve spoken about it and that we know somethings allowed in one of our homes, and not in the other. My hope is that they will experience us parenting together in this way, and will not be able to play us off against each other.


That very evening she marches into D11’s room and announces that “from this day forth we will be putting all iPads and phones in a box before dinner time.” Long story short it took her less than 12 hours to totally flout the very core of the guild lines she had sought to get me to adhere to. Incidentally no phones or iPads have been put in my boxes yet. So, I don’t believe it is possible to co-parent, she can’t stick to her own rules let alone rules she doesn’t completely agree with. Her rules change constantly and I’m not sure I’m willing to commit to aligning myself to keep up with the changes. D11 and D9 seem to appreciate I have a set of expectations that don’t change and have verbalised they are happy about that.

Divorce process - This concept of saying one thing and doing another is a thread that flows through the divorce as well. She wants a collaborative divorce with minimal use of lawyers and using a mediator to collaboratively discuss the decisions. This fits with the view (false in my opinion) she has of herself, for want of a better term “saint Enabler W”. However collaborative law requires someone to be collaborative, be open, to be truthful and honest, to not play games, to be completely consistent with their resolve to get the job done amicably....... and she’s none of those. So, I’m on a path at the moment that she wants to walk down, a path that is relatively inexpensive, is emotionally tough for her since there are no lawyers to outsource the tough work to and pretty much I’m aware that it’s the worst path she could have chosen to get a divorce done quickly as she “says” she wants. So, from my perspective I have to allow it to be tough enough such that she finds it tough, but not too tough that she goes down the big guns route which would just eat money and lead to more conflict. So, the delays are not at all due to lawyers slowing down the process, it’s all her, all her.

Telling the kids - I think where I’m at is that I see no benefit to me blaming my W for the divorce, and besides I don’t believe that is 100% true. It is her choice though. However, I refuse to suggest that it was in any way my choice. As many of you have said, the kids are pretty smart and know enough to know. If she chooses to lie then they will see straight through her.

Enabler
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« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2019, 04:37:16 AM »

Notwendy, you are totally correct in your note about my W and her lies. I was being tongue in cheek about her lies. Some I think she doesn’t even realise are lies as they are her truth, some I know eat her up inside hence she has stomach problems.
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« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2019, 06:11:26 AM »

Enabler, I suspect she has feelings she doesn't want to face. I think many dynamics in a BPD relationship are due to this- people "using" the other person(s) to manage their own feelings. For the pwBPD - projection, denial, lying, dysregulations, Karpman triangle dynamics- serve this purpose. For the co-dependent and enabling partner- focusing on their BPD spouse, enabling, rescuing behaviors also serve this purpose.

You didn't do what she looked to you to do- which was to make her feel OK. But you were destined to fail at this because her feelings are hers- and she looks at external causes for them. I think at the beginning of a relationship- it works for a while, the painting you white part. But any partner would inevitably fail at what is an impossible task. Since she doesn't see the feelings as hers, she now is looking for another "solution" and believes it is divorce and OM. She may also truly want one. She's a legal adult and can decide this.

I think in some ways you may be hoping she would "see the light" and what kind of husband and parent you are, but people see things through their own perspective.

In the Karpman triangle, people tend to take victim perspective. But a victim doesn't have choices. Your wife makes her own choices. There is one true victim here and it is the children. They don't have choices, so look out for them. It may not be possible to co-parent the way you want to with an inconsistent parent but if/when you have your own place, you would have control of that and their time with you.




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« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2019, 11:08:35 AM »

Telling the kids - I think where I’m at is that I see no benefit to me blaming my W for the divorce, and besides I don’t believe that is 100% true. It is her choice though. However, I refuse to suggest that it was in any way my choice. As many of you have said, the kids are pretty smart and know enough to know. If she chooses to lie then they will see straight through her.

Enabler

Harri’s post is exactly my sentiment upon skim of this thread, as well as Notwendy’s.

I suppose I am also looking at this from the perspective of a child who was raised in lots of dysfunction and what I would wish for my child self.  (Apologies if butting in and also for butting in waaaay late as I did not read context from previous thread.)

The way I hear the bolded section above from you is that it is important to you to communicate to the kids that none of this is what you wish for them and that you do not feel that you are in anyway leading the events that are coming in the kids near future.  I hear you wanting to be somewhat blameless.  I feel that is the wrong stance to take, and wrong way to focus as it leaves the kids feeling more insecure and uncertain than necessary.  Yet I do feel there is a way to communicate to the kids that there is great sense of security in your relationship with them.

Even if a kid outright asks who filed, or who left first or such... I still feel it is better to redirect the child to facts of the situation that are unchangable so they can feel some kind of stability in the face of a lot of uncertainty.  (I don’t believe they actually want/need to be in a position where they are supplied enough info to take sides, to judge one parent... even if they are asking such, simply set the boundaries with the kids that you are the parent who simply refuses to go there with them, period.)

As a child I would want to feel at least one of my parents is reliable, in control of the events surrounding my being raised by them, and also protecting me from being in the middle of the emotional turmoil happening.

Way I see it is you can participate in objective/informative/supportive conversations with the kids without exposing them to the adult matters.

Conversations where you ensure that the narrative mostly cannot change because it is a narrative that reflects your static values, values that should stay mostly stable for the kids and for you to have something to revolve your ongoing understandings around.

I think this can be a SET tool... not sure if I can do it correct but will try...  (or maybe it is out of order and actually a ETS instead, idk)

Ex:

Empathetic statements: “Mom and dad haven’t been getting along in a way that adults should get along in order to provide you kids with the environment that you deserve from both your parents and need to thrive and grow well.  You deserve to have two parents in your life that can love you without so much conflict happening around day to day matters. (insert personal examples like... You know how upsetting it was when... xyz happened... that kind of thing shouldn’t have happened, nobody likes that... I’m sorry we have not shown you how two adults can relate with more kindness towards one another as you deserve to have that demonstrated and you deserve to experience what it is like to not grow up around so much chaos and stress.”. I want better for you guys and all of us, both your mom and I both want to do better.) [no matter how dysfunctional the spouse is... I assume they wouldn’t argue with the assumption of ”wanting better,” no?]

State Truth somehow: ex... ”Mom and dad are getting divorced... this is what is changing...”
(Imo, absolutely essential that only actual truths are communicated.  Don’t burden kids with possibilities.  Only talk of divorce when it is 100% done or as close to 100% as humanly possible, or only when decisions have already been finally made between adults because otherwise you are allowing the kids to experience the same emotional whirlwinds of life uncertainty that come with partnering with a spouse with BPD.  They didn’t sign up for that emotional rollercoaster, so don’t invite them to ride emotions of uncertainty with you adults as you adults are experiencing your uncertainty.  If wife exposes them to uncertainty, redirect kids to your stable values and sentiments as your best effort at buffering any damage.)


Explain pragmatics of what that will mean to them.  Kids imo, usually really need to hear the pragmatics of how their life will be affected.  Usually dealing with the emotional aspect is an ongoing, not planned, an ad lib kind of thing as emotions stir up over time to be worked through, but usually that initial shock they need to just know what it means for them... where will they go to school, if they have to give up friends or such, different living situation, etc.  (Just because you and w are experiencing and consumed with lots of emotions now, does not mean they are to share that.  They need to be kids.  They need to continue their life with friends and such with minimal distractions to thrive in other areas of life simultaneously during home stressors happening.)

Is this an S? Maybe I butchered the whole SET thing, idk.
“You deserve more days like the time....  <insert fond memory that kids can imagine with you>). ....
”My hope is that....” <insert what you see as positive moving forward, attention on stuff that affects kids, not the relational personal adult dynamics.  NOT “your mom and I will quit fighting so much if apart more”> “  try kid geared focus. ...you kids will be able to continue to do the things you love like... sports, friends, etc... and your mom and I will continue to love you both, and still do the things we love to do with you like make cookies, bike ride, idk... whatever is meaningful to you guys.

A bit of a long winded ramble, sorry...a bit not so organized, but maybe something in there useful.

Summary:  Get way the heck away from conversations that are about the other parent at all period!  They need to know that they are on your mind as most important, a priority, etc.  Instead of discussing w, discuss what this will mean to them, how much you care about them, and how they will be loved the same and many of their activities may remain the same.

The only room for a child to exist in a conversation about which parent is to blame is in a most dysfunctional platform to provide a child to rest in.
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« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2019, 11:27:28 AM »

I'm a words guy.  I see a massive difference in blame, responsibility and choice.

I don't see a person saying this wasn't my choice in any way suggesting they are blameless.  Those are two totally different conversations.

In a perfect world I can see some potential benefit in not having the conversation with kids at all.

I'm read a lot of very thoughtful replies yet I still don't see benefit in Enabler participating in presenting a falsehood/inaccurate statements to children about the status of the family.

I absolutely would advise him to be succinct in telling his truth/disagreeing with his wife.  I would absolutely advise him to quickly pivot to focusing on the kids.

Yes minimizing conflict and not triggering pwBPD is important, but there has to be a healthy limit to the focus on those goals.

Sometimes conflict is healthy or the natural result of holding a boundary/telling the truth.

So, really...the question seems to be where is "the line".  

Best,

FF

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« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2019, 11:52:49 AM »

Even though my parents never divorced, they still engaged in triangulation with me. I remember many “Who do you like better?” conversations. These were such starkly bizarre moments for my young brain that I can explicitly remember where I was and many details of the environment.

If Enabler tells the children that it wasn’t his decision to divorce, then he’s set up an “us versus her” dynamic.

It’s very difficult to be a child who loves both parents and then have to side with one of them over the other. Obviously no child wants their parents to split. If Enabler tells them it’s not his doing, then their mother becomes the villain.

Kids aren’t oblivious. She’s been going out at night with the Other Man. They’ll come to their own conclusions about who was responsible for the divorce.
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« Reply #26 on: November 10, 2019, 12:49:51 PM »

Quote from:  formflier
Yes minimizing conflict and not triggering pwBPD is important, but there has to be a healthy limit to the focus on those goals.
Not triggering enablerW has nothing to do with what I said though and is not what I see as the goal here, certainly not the primary one at least.  My focus was/is on the kids, not enablers needs and not on wife's needs.   Answer kids questions when they ask them, not before in anticipation of what you think they need and not from a perspective of what is important to you as an adult.

You can still act according to your values and maintain your integrity without bringing kids into private adult issues.

Quote from:  enabler
However, I refuse to suggest that it was in any way my choice. As many of you have said, the kids are pretty smart and know enough to know. If she chooses to lie then they will see straight through her.
In general I agree with this but that is 'in general'.  Kids are smart, they see and hear things and come to their own conclusions all the time.  When you have a dysfunctional parent with presumed mental illness who has had a big part in raising the kids, along with another more healthy parent who is more healthy but..., it is a crap shoot as to how they are going to interpret what they see and hear and what conclusion they will come to.  

Kids process the world and their experiences in the world from an "I" perspective.  Take a look at the questions Skip listed a few posts above.  *That* is what their perspective is.  How does this affect me and my world?  What is going to happen to me?  What could I have done better?  What did I do wrong?

Quote from:  formflier
I still don't see benefit in Enabler participating in presenting a falsehood/inaccurate statements to children about the status of the family.
He won't be presenting a falsehood, he would simply not be discussing private adult issues with kids.  

If they ask "Dad, do you want to get divorced" answer the question without creating a triangle and do it in a way that maintains your integrity.
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« Reply #27 on: November 10, 2019, 01:21:00 PM »



If they ask "Dad, do you want to get divorced" answer the question without creating a triangle and do it in a way that maintains your integrity.

And how would you suggest Enabler maintain his integrity if in a family meeting Enabler wife says

"Your Dad and I think it best we divorce."

or

"We have decided to divorce"

or...heaven forbid.

"Your Dad and I think it best for you children if we divorce."


You get the picture.

Best,

FF
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« Reply #28 on: November 11, 2019, 12:06:33 AM »

Staff only

This thread reached the post limit and has been locked and split.  Part 3 is here: https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=340788.0

Thank you.
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