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Longterm
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« on: December 04, 2019, 04:40:25 PM »

Hi all.

I had an email last night stating that it has been 6 weeks and 1 day since my decree nisi was granted. It said I could now apply for a decree absolute which I did immediately. I did wonder how long it took but was very surprised when I got an email this morning stating my marriage is now at an end, I am divorced.

I have been thinking the past few hours how I feel about this and decided to jot it all down.

The first thing I thought about was how tragic this has all been. I dont think the breakup of a family, especially a breakup that has been highly destructive is something that can be celebrated, nobody won here, there are no victors.

I waited for the kids to get back from school/work before telling them. I tried my hardest to be all supportive and calm telling them something that they will always remember but was a bit stunned by their response. They are over the moon that I have divorced their mother??? One son wants to throw a party? I tried to be serious and told them I'm here if they want to talk and I just got laughter and "gimme a high 5 dad". I dont know what to make of it all?

Anywho, one of the girls at work asked me if I have any regrets and if I still felt like it was the right thing to do. I have had a think and the answer is no, I dont have any regrets. I am glad that I gave her the opportunity to fix her broken relationships and the damage she had done, I am glad that I went through the pain and the suffering because I feel like I learned a tremendous amount, I am still learning, granted, but i feel as though i am a better dad now, and a better person. I feel as though my mind is more open now and I survived some serious crap, some crap that I will never forget.

I am aware that the games etc will carry on and there will be much to deal with moving forward, yet I am glad that I have drawn a line, because that's how it feels, my responsibility to her just ended, she is not a ******** anymore so her problems are not mine. I can sit here and honestly say I tried to fix her and my family but it was futile and ultimately not up to me to fix.

I have learned a lot I feel, especially my own behaviour and my contribution to the marriage problems, I will be taking this with me as I move forward in continuing to understand and overcome my own issues that led me down this path to begin with. Especially my triggers and low self worth. My naivety is a big problem for me, I am very gullible at times and this is one of the main reasons I plan to stay single for the foreseeable future, I simply dont trust myself as I am a magnet for cluster b. I will instead work on building self esteem whilst continuing to support the children.

LT.
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kells76
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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2019, 05:20:13 PM »

Thanks for sharing with us, Longterm.

Excerpt
I will instead work on building self esteem whilst continuing to support the children.

What a great focus.
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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2019, 05:40:17 PM »

My parents divorced when I was 17.  I remember when my dad left.  I don't remember when the divorce was final.

At first, I was shocked and sad and angry.  Then, like your kids, I was happy.  My parents' marriage was not good.  They were both happier when they were apart.  My life was a lot calmer when they weren't together.  My parents tried to date after the divorce was final.  My younger sister threatened to move in with my grandmother if they got back together.  They just weren't good together.

I'm glad your kids aren't upset.  I am glad that you feel at peace with your decision.  I hope that the future for you and your children is very bright.
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« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2019, 08:10:01 AM »

I have learned a lot I feel, especially my own behaviour and my contribution to the marriage problems, I will be taking this with me as I move forward in continuing to understand and overcome my own issues that led me down this path to begin with. Especially my triggers and low self worth. My naivety is a big problem for me, I am very gullible at times and this is one of the main reasons I plan to stay single for the foreseeable future, I simply dont trust myself as I am a magnet for cluster b. I will instead work on building self esteem whilst continuing to support the children.

LT.

I'm waiting on mine too and have the same goals. Many of my age mates are retiring, and I really don't want to undertake a new relationship at this juncture either. And that's perfectly fine.
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« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2019, 08:41:52 AM »

Thank you for sharing.  Many of your thoughts hit home for me.  Good luck on your journey.  jdc
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Longterm
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« Reply #5 on: December 05, 2019, 12:54:45 PM »

The kids were at home today due to an issue at school. They never mentioned the divorce at all. My youngest and I went to the library (he loves the place) and he did talk quite extensively about his mom but again, never mentioned divorce. He was talking about his fear and anxiety with his mother, something we all share unfortunately. I did my best to comfort and reassure him as usual.

I think fear was one of the driving forces surrounding my decision to divorce. Not just fear of her but fear of my own decision making. I feel as though her return and my allowing that to happen says much more about me than it does her. I simply needed the divide to be bigger, more concrete and to eradicate any reason to have contact. I feel more comfortable now. Another issue I had problems with was obligation. Whilst married I was her husband, this I feel has played all kinds of head games with me and forced me to question my own morals and what I stand for in regards to being obligated to help and support somebody who has treated the kids and myself appallingly. The trauma bonding is brutal but my obligation has lifted and I'm happy about it.

Now theres guilt, do I feel guilty? In essence I have abandoned her, I have drawn a line in the sand and said "no more". There is no part of me that feels a shred of guilt. I think the reason for this is that I did genuinely try to fix the problems but learned that I was pissing in the wind, there was simply nothing I could do to save my family. It takes 2 and when 1 is hell bent on destruction there is nothing to do but concentrate on the things we can control.

Another thing I feel has helped me is her new relationship. Honestly, hear me out here. I think we are all left with the agonising rumination, the self doubt, was it really her/him or am I in denial and BS'ing myself? I think my ex wifes (I like saying that) behaviour in her new relationship showed me that nothing changed when the primary source was replaced. Lying, cheating, drug use etc, it all replicated itself. I would say she has opened my eyes even further the past year and proved to me in no uncertain terms that I have nothing to feel guilty about. If we put the marriage to one side and look at the kids, I would say there is a lot of guilt there. I feel as though I spent 20yrs trying to please and keep my ex happy. This blinded me to the damage that was being caused to the children, I failed them and it is something that will always haunt me. I have concentrated on being better, being there for them more than what I was. Me and my daughter were living in a room, really not ideal, my ex dropped 8k worth of debt on my head and I had no money. I literally starved myself and was living on £10 p/w, my weight plummeted to 69kg and I ended up on meds.......but i did it. I payed off most the debt and saved up 6k. We moved and the kids have their own rooms now, we are much happier and we have a much more stable environment. There is no shouting, there is no walking on eggshells and I enjoy being home these days. I feel as though the kids and i have an unbreakable bond, they see me as somebody who is very strong and capable,   also very reliable and open to talking about their feelings.

They dont know how much I have suffered I think as I shield it from them, they do not know I have been suicidal several times and struggled many days (I thank you all for listening to my moaning) They also do not know that they have kept me going, they have kept me focused. I find them to be brave, inspirational and I am incredibly proud of how they have dealt with circumstances that have not been fair to them.

We can all talk about the things said and done by our exes, there are some truly shocking stories on this site.....but, what about OUR truly shocking behaviour? I went back to a relationship with a drug addict, a women who had treated my kids and me in such abusive ways, a woman who has put me in hospital several times, a woman who has tried to alienate me from my own children. If that's not dysfunctional then I dont know what is. I remember back in the "early days" reading about BPD and it hit me like I ton of bricks that the "non" often has severe issues of their own. I knew judgement day was coming, I knew it was time. The split has been like opening pandoras box for both of us i feel. Her behaviour is on full display, she no longer has the calming effect that was me, she is exposed......but so am I. I see myself as severely damaged, the marriage has not helped, it has made my issues worse but these issues were alive and kicking way before she came along.

I lack confidence, self esteem and self love, I am codependent, amongst other things. These things were not highlighted before, these are things I found out about myself during the last few years. I have been and will continue to address these issues as painful as it may be, it will benefit the kids and any grandchildren that may come along.

The continued assault on my character continues to this day, I dont post about it much because I understand the behaviour and work towards letting it bounce off me. She is who she is I guess but I dont have to listen to it. It will more than likely continue for some time but I now have no reason to have contact and for that i am thankful, i am happy i am divorced.

LT.
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« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2019, 02:59:17 PM »

Excerpt
We can all talk about the things said and done by our exes, there are some truly shocking stories on this site.....but, what about OUR truly shocking behaviour? I went back to a relationship with a drug addict, a women who had treated my kids and me in such abusive ways, a woman who has put me in hospital several times, a woman who has tried to alienate me from my own children. If that's not dysfunctional then I dont know what is. I remember back in the "early days" reading about BPD and it hit me like I ton of bricks that the "non" often has severe issues of their own. I knew judgement day was coming, I knew it was time. The split has been like opening pandoras box for both of us i feel. Her behaviour is on full display, she no longer has the calming effect that was me, she is exposed......but so am I. I see myself as severely damaged, the marriage has not helped, it has made my issues worse but these issues were alive and kicking way before she came along.

Thanks for this insight. Really good point to remember -- when we're in the thick of dealing with the other person's problem behaviors, which are real, we often give ourselves a pass or cast ourselves as the saint, the martyr, the "hey, I'm not perfect, but at least I..." kind of person. You know... "I'm not perfect" but then there's the unspoken "but I'm sure not as bad as them" clause.

When I keep focusing on how awful the kids' mom and stepdad are, and I don't choose to work on myself, then I am alleviating my own discomfort about how broken I am by focusing outward instead of inward.

Good topic, Longterm.
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Longterm
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« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2019, 04:06:29 PM »

Excerpt
  When I keep focusing on how awful the kids' mom and stepdad are, and I don't choose to work on myself, then I am alleviating my own discomfort about how broken I am by focusing outward instead of inward.

Yes. I think 2 significant things happened for me. Firstly she came back, I always knew she would and looking back I think I was waiting for this. This kept my thoughts fixated on her. Secondly i have begun to explore my own issues through therapy surrounding why i act the way i do, it has been eye opening to say the least.

Her coming back convinced me nothing could be done, this shifted my focus. Therapy has also shifted my focus and has pointed me in another direction, a direction out of this mess, through me.

Looking inward is horrible, it is much easier to concentrate on others dysfunctional behaviour. A band aid of sorts, it still doesn't solve the problem though. I think we have to concentrate on our own happiness, easier said than done for me but nonetheless, I need to work towards it.

I expected to be fairly upset at divorce. I remember thinking a good while back that it would signify failure. I dont feel like I did fail, I honestly feel like I did what I could. I feel free and refreshed.

We are all looking forward to xmas so going to enjoy that first, I honestly cannot wait. I've not made a trifle for a few years so that's a must this year. I'm going to have a good think next year about what I want and formulate a plan in regards to finding myself you could say. I've got a few things swirling round my head at present but no concrete plans. I may try new hobbies, join local support groups or do some local volunteer work, just thoughts right now, there is a lot I could do.

LT.
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2019, 12:48:16 AM »

Hi LT. I’ve been following your situation here and on PSI. You’ve done well for your kids. I imagine it was a bit confusing to receive the response that you did after telling them about the divorce, but don’t forget to accept the validation. AKA, pat yourself on the back for keeping it together while going through hell. Also, you’re right, looking inward is hard. It’s the hardest part in all of this. It’s easier to see the dysfunction in others. Yes, we were dysfunctional ourselves to get into and try to stay in relationships like this, but we’re here now. This is a very positive thing for you.
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« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2019, 10:57:50 AM »

Excerpt
Therapy has also shifted my focus and has pointed me in another direction, a direction out of this mess, through me.

What a profound and powerful statement, LT. That is a statement of hope. I love it.
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Longterm
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« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2019, 06:27:51 PM »

Hi WTL  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Excerpt
   I imagine it was a bit confusing to receive the response that you did after telling them about the divorce

Yes indeed. I have had a few days to sit on it now. Non of the kids have mentioned it apart from my daughter tonight. She said it was in my best interests and she is glad because we are all better off as far away from her as possible. She also said something that struck me, she said "I hope she feels like crap and I hope the way she has treated us all haunts her". Now first things first, I did my dad bit, I told her that I understand her anger but its important that we move forward together productively, in a non retaliatory way, that her hurt and her anger is something that she can talk to me or her T about to process it constructively. It then hit me, I had never thought about how my ex feels about the divorce, what emotions she may be going through, especially when you consider the youngest has jumped ship too. Bottom line, I haven't thought about it because I dont care. I feel as though she has had more than enough of our time and the pain caused is finally at a point where enough is enough. If that makes me a bad person so be it, I feel as though my empathy and compassion for her are non existent and that's where I'm at I guess.

I have detailed before how the kids mental health is greatly improved when they are not around their mother. I have provided for them another way, a way out of dysfunction, a safer environment, that is all. They have all chosen to distance themselves from her, they have made their own lives their priority right now and that has little to do with me. They are not like me in some ways, they have stood up for themselves for a start. They have fought the dysfunction whereas I simply accepted it, this is why I said I wish I was more like them.

Excerpt
  What a profound and powerful statement, LT. That is a statement of hope. I love it.

I'm fairly reflective right now  Smiling (click to insert in post) I feel the best I have ever done about this whole situation. My own personal issues are going to claw me back from time to time, I accept that. My self esteem is battered and it's going to be an uphill struggle, I'm fully aware of this. I will continue pushing through but i cant help but feel like a huge weight has lifted off me. I can concentrate on other things now.

LT.
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« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2019, 08:54:51 PM »

A positive prediction:  When your kids are older and grown and seek out their own relationships, they will have had your (admittedly belated) example on what are normal, functional and healthy relationships versus abnormal, dysfunctional and unhealthy ones.
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2019, 11:21:27 PM »

LT,

You are not a bad person for running out of compassion or empathy for someone who is now lying in the bed she herself made.

Natural consequences must be painful if they are to be the results of bad choices. If your ex is experiencing the dissipation of her relationship with her children, of her own doing, believe me, you do not owe her anything. A rapist? Around her SON!!! No, you are not a bad person for not feeling compassion on her consequences.

Deep down, I suspect you still feel some empathy for her in the sense that her illness is a tragedy, in and if itself. You can distinguish between that and the consequences she must now experience due to her choices, and your empathy for your children supersedes any you might have for a person who has been given every opportunity to choose the right priority, relationship wise.
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« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2019, 11:17:51 AM »

We can all talk about the things said and done by our exes, there are some truly shocking stories on this site.....but, what about OUR truly shocking behaviour?

Thanks for saying this, LT. I think about it all the time.

I barely recognize who I was, what I tolerated, how much I enabled. It has taken a long time, almost a decade, to go from shame to embarrassment to self-love and with that, humility, which seems to always have a sting of pain. With my FOO, I was groomed to allow abuse. Finding a way off that path has been a hero's journey to the darkest side and back out to the light.

I'm not good at doing this all the time, but one touchpoint I turn to is realizing: it's a form of love to let people solve their own problems. They are capable. I can walk with them and at the same time focus on where my own feet are stepping.

I don't know I'd want to do any of this again. At the same time, I am grateful that I learned these lessons and found a way to be healthy.

My son was happy the day we moved out, too. I prepared for great distress and instead he made jokes.

The full effect of their complicated childhoods takes years to unfold and process, for them and for us.

 Virtual hug (click to insert in post)
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Longterm
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« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2019, 06:39:46 PM »

Excerpt
  Natural consequences must be painful if they are to be the results of bad choices. If your ex is experiencing the dissipation of her relationship with her children, of her own doing, believe me, you do not owe her anything. A rapist? Around her SON!!! No, you are not a bad person for not feeling compassion on her consequences.

My youngest is on my mind a lot lately in regards to his relationship with his mother. At present there is NC. You mentioned  the dissipation of her relationships with the kids.  There has only been 1 contact with my daughter since may, ending in a huge fight. My son has had 1 contact which he instigated, she let him down, rebooked the following day then was 2hrs late, I think he spent around 1.5hrs with her. He has not mentioned anything since so I actually asked him the weekend if he is in contact with her, not for a while he said. Since the youngest has been with me communication  has slowly dwindled. She tries to drag empathy out of him, she wants him to feel sorry for her but there is not and hasn't been any understanding of how he feels or what he wants, it just doesn't matter to her. I think what has caused the divide is this, along with her selfishness.

There was no fight when my daughter left, no fight when my son left and there is no fight now the youngest has left. Just projection, blame and her very present anger towards me.

There is no "this isn't working" or "why does my child not want to talk to me" or dare I say it "how have i contributed to this". Is she dealing with painful consequences or did she get what she wanted?

Excerpt
  Deep down, I suspect you still feel some empathy for her in the sense that her illness is a tragedy, in and if itself. You can distinguish between that and the consequences she must now experience due to her choices, and your empathy for your children supersedes any you might have for a person who has been given every opportunity to choose the right priority, relationship wise.

I have been mulling over this since thursday. You are right, I guess there is still empathy in regards to knowing there is something wrong. This can be a really dangerous train of thought though when taken too far. Mary told me that whenever I feel any sort of empathy for her to quickly remind myself what could potentially happen to me. I have (in a sense) trained my brain to see empathy towards her as dangerous for myself and the kids.

I think BPD or cluster B is a tragic set of circumstances. What I try to remind myself these days is that it is not my fault or that of the children.

Hi livednlearned

Excerpt

Thanks for saying this, LT. I think about it all the time.  

 Smiling (click to insert in post)

Excerpt
  With my FOO, I was groomed to allow abuse. Finding a way off that path has been a hero's journey to the darkest side and back out to the light. 
 

I am walking this path now, there are reasons I was in a relationship that was detrimental to me. I am glad you are in the light now.

Excerpt
  I'm not good at doing this all the time, but one touchpoint I turn to is realizing: it's a form of love to let people solve their own problems. They arecapable. I can walk with them and at the same time focus on where my own feet are stepping. 

I like how you put that, it's very true isn't it. I like to fix things so have always struggled with this. I was my exes rescuer and to many degrees has been the kids. I'm working on encouraging the kids to do things for themselves, to think about their own needs and solving their own problems, I think this will help them as they get older.

Excerpt
  My son was happy the day we moved out, too. I prepared for great distress and instead he made jokes. 

They can surprise us with their responses cant they, they have surprised me quite a lot the past few years.

Excerpt
  The full effect of their complicated childhoods takes years to unfold and process, for them and for us. 

I am fully aware of this, I will walk beside them  Smiling (click to insert in post)

LT.
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