Tuesday, May 27, 2008
went to look at some houses over the last few days. some affordable ones came open. not in the area i wanted - i wanted to be within walking distance of Smitten - this is a little outside of easy walk.
the area is on the edge of a not as swell area - but it is on the upswing. it is the area that will be next to get fully redeveloped.
my parents are offering to buy the house and i will rent from them and then buy it when the settlement comes. the settlement is still in its magic place between lawyers and court filings.
hopefully soon, says my lawyer.
the kids are pretty hopeful about me getting a house. son will probably be living with me full time by the end of summer. things are that bad with his mother. we'll see on daughter - it might happen with her too.
son is getting some relaxation training from his counsellor.
he had another bad breakdown the other night. we were up until about 3am...
he wasn't prepared to admit he was under stress - or that it should affect him. he just thought he should be able to deal with it. that it should just roll on by because he understands it in his head.
the counsellor is working with him on accepting his stress and his body's demands to deal with his emotions and the way they well up.
and other stuff - just not that inspired to write at this time
Monday, May 26, 2008
"So many sins can be committed in the name of saving a loved one from pain. My experience tells me that this approach cannot work. It can’t save an alcoholic. It can’t change a child’s behavior. It can’t soothe the worry of a parent."
some other back ground on the above post: her parents found out about her non-standard method of income/employment (sex blogging/sex toy reviews/etc) and also read her blog.
the wrenching story of that moment can be found here (it is also linked to in the post above)
Sunday, May 25, 2008
that was the question i asked Smitten
it followed a got it moment of my own
got it about the nature of stbx-Mrs_C
got it that she's ill
that she is really and truly fucked
i knew it before
have for awhile
but i didn't get it
there was always this bewilderment about why she would do the things she did - sort of like a child trying to understand why their parent was beating them, or a dog coming back for some pets after getting whacked around
the unanswered question of why?
and the answer is:
'cause she's fucked
it's just the way it is
i get it
there's no fixing, there's no change coming, there's no reasoning or solving, or anything
i'm such an eternal optimist
i cannot believe that anything cannot be fixed
that's part of the problem and part of the reason i was trapped
getting it first really hit me when she did her hawaii thing. then with her reactions after. then when i read some of the books i was reading.
i read the descriptions of BPD people - and the reactions of their family and spouses
one of the things that the walking on eggshells book talked about was how BPD people will alter facts to fit what they are feeling - that emotions rather than rationality create the facts of a situation
the BPD person cannot fathom how they can feel this way, so they change facts/memories to create a rationale for their feelings
i have always questioned myself - thought that i didn't get it. highly competitive family - parents who could always find something - some piece - wrong with everything i did - even if they were supportive - always something was missed or wrong. i picked friends who did the same thing to me. my wife did the same.
i feel different now
part of it is that my parents are less capable - with their respective infirmities - i cannot rely on them any more
my boss is gone - he always protected me
even stbx-Mrs_C was a security blanket of a kind - financially and her insistence that she was always correct - her insight into people (often very sharp - being beaten and abused as a child makes a person hyper-aware of others' moods and such - hey?) gave me the feeling that someone (her) actually knew what was going on
because i never felt like i got the world - that something was hiding from me
and when things didn't work out i could rely on others to tell me how the world really works - because people just didn't act the way i thought they should - i thought people should be sane - sane to my view of the world - i have found i am not in the majority when it comes to my worldview - that most people are just running scared and don't think much about what they do - they react - they don't try tot make things fit in grand philosophical frameworks and consistent ethical and behavioural structures
i have no protectors anymore
no one to shield me
so i have to stick my head up all by myself
i have to use my own eyes and order the world in my own way
a little daunting - but i have found my views to be accurate
that i am steady - even if i have to steady myself - hold myself up
i have discovered that i'm OK
i am the protector
i have children and others who rely on me
i am strong
my decisions are rational and precise - of quality - they reflect the world we live in today - not the leave it to beaver constructs of yesteryear
getting it - like when you are learning math. you do your first few problems by rote - by using the system you have been shown - you know it intellectually, but you don't get it. you get the right answer - but you feel a little panicked or anxiety that you really don't know how you got there.
and then one day you just get it. the knowledge becomes a part of you. you are fully confident in your ability because you know it - you get it
that's how i feel
that is why i wrote the blog post below - i am
i suddenly get it. i have no reason to doubt myself on the stbx front
i also realised the dysfunction of my workplace. i get it - the two realisations clicked at the same time - they are related
i have seized control - i do not have to question myself so much - i understand
there's more to the path of realisation that i will relate at some later point - but i don't feel like tracing that memory path at this time. i did some of that yesterday and it only brought me down from the high i had
brought me down from my feeling of capability, confidence, and surety
so i don't care to go there today
i may not go there much in the future
i imagine i will continue to examine my actions, thoughts, and emotions in a self-aware and self-questioning manner, but i feel different
it's like when i felt sexy for awhile (still hoping that feeling will come back) - it steeped my whole body - it was a bodily feeling
that is how i feel right now
surety and confidence permeate me - i sure hope it continues - i remember what happened to feeling sexy
but i get it
and i feel good
i do not have that deep questioning inside myself about whether i am just wrong like i usually do
i am confident and powerful
i am capable and assured
Saturday, May 24, 2008
i am capable and assured
i have people in my life who love me for who i am
i have people in my life who believe in me the way i am
i have people in my life who find me capable and competent
there are people in my life who will help me because they like me and they believe in me
i will succeed
i will be who i am, and whom i dream of being
"Some adults who enter into relationships with borderlines feel brainwashed by the BP's accusations and criticisms. Says Benham: "the techniques are simple: isolate the victim, expose them to consistent messages, mix with sleep deprivation, add some form of abuse, get the person to doubt what they know and feel, keep them on their toes, wear them down, and stir well."
interesting validation of some of my previous thoughts
Stockholm Syndrome And Being Rescued By My Son
Situation Update: March 10, 2006
Hell weekend - Part 4 (aftermath)
Desperation and Objectivity
Friday, May 23, 2008
daughter 3 sessions - ms counsellor
son 2 - mr counsellor
son's counsellor and i talked after his second session (son was in the van a few feet away - had the window open a bit). i approached him with a book that i wanted him to review if he hadn't already read it. Surviving a Borderline Parent: How to Heal Your Childhood Wounds & Build Trust, Boundaries, and Self-Esteem. mr counsellor had read it. he told me that ethically he couldn't "treat" son as though his mother was BPD unless she had been diagnosed. i countered that even if she wasn't diagnosed, that she had those behaviours and that he could work with that. he agreed. he said that it matched what son had been telling him.
mr counsellor told me that son told him that son liked to "mix it up" with his mom. to debate her - to try to argue her into changing her behaviours. i told mr counsellor that son had plenty of years of modelling to follow watching me try to "fix" and help stbx - and that son's efforts to "fix" his mom were sincere. mr counsellor said "i think that's one of the points of that book your holding - you can't fix her". mr counsellor said he had been talking to son about establishing boundaries and just realising that son's mother was simply wrong in her behaviours and actions - that they were unacceptable and that he could say that - cal her on her behaviours.
mr counsellor told me that there had been a shift in son's attitude since the previous/first session. in the first session son seemed to be still asking himself what he could do to change, and thinking that he was in the wrong somehow - that if son changed in some way his mother wouldn't do what she does. this session son appeared to be saying "mom is the one with the problem - it's in her, not me"
mr counsellor said that he had begun working with son on how to define and establish personal boundaries - especially with his mother. mr counsellor told me that mr counsellor's sister is manic depressive and has these kinds of erratic behaviours. he has plenty of experience in boundaries with a loved one - he has to help his own family through the weird episodes - the cycles. mr counsellor said that one of his other sisters still doesn't get it and phones him every time the manic depressive one is "off" - and will listen to the manic depressive one rant on for hours. even the manic depressive says (after regaining lucidity) "why do you listen to me? you know that i'm having an episode, just cut me off"
mr counsellor is working with son on two things right now - boundaries and relaxation - the sleep issues. he said that son told mr counsellor that son is really happy to be working out and says that even these couple of weeks have really helped him (son).
daughter is still happy to go to ms counsellor. i went to each of these sessions this week with intent - to make sure that the counsellors knew what they were dealing with. i had identified my perception that stbx was BPD in the initial sessions, but i believed that they discounted it somewhat as just a bitter ex-spouse.
today i had daughter read a couple of segments out of the book (if you read the excerpt that is available on amazon through the link above you will see one of the checklists i had her read). i had read stuff from this book to the kids before, but it hadn't clicked. i had daughter read some - after she read the first bit (which i will excerpt below) she turned and gave me an exaggerated look of disbelief (humourous undertones) all wide eyed and shocked looking. she was all "oh my god!"
"Since you're reading this book, it's likely that your borderline parent:
- was so intent on getting her own needs met that she couldn't take care of yours - or perhaps even differentiate her needs from yours
- looked to you to provide him with unconditional love rather than the other way around
- either emotionally abandoned you or smothered and controlled you, leading to feelings of worthlessness, shame, and rage
- made you feel that she only loved you for what you could achieve, not who you were
- had unpredictable moods, alternating between loving and cruel words and actions"
she was kind of bowled over
i remember when i read the book the first time. i felt like i had been hit by a truck. i threw up after reading it.
when i raised that book and another one called "Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care about Has Borderline Personality Disorder" with ms counsellor, she asked "why are you showing me these? does it sound like anyone you know"
i said "perhaps [daughter] can answer that question - i just had her read these checklists"
ms counsellor said "i can kind of guess who it might be"
we both said yeah it sounded like the stbx
ms counsellor said that she had wondered if that was what was up with stbx
i left them for their session and wandered about
after the session i asked daughter if she was still good with ms counsellor. daughter said yes, but said she was much happier with today because in previous sessions ms counsellor had been saying things like "you have to understand how your mom was brought up" and "that's her background and that's why she says the things she does" - these comments were about the conflict daughter was having with her mom on clothing. conduct, and bi-sexuality. daughter tried to argue - said that it was different than that kind of thing - that it was simply because her mother was a "colossal dumbass". apparently ms counsellor was addressing daughter's issues more from a standard cultural/generational analysis.
with those books beside her and daughter referring to the checklisted behaviour it put a whole new vector onto their discussion.
when i picked daughter up, ms counsellor said that next time they were going to work on some breathing and relaxation techniques and on daughter's anger
i see progress in both cases
i see real issues being addressed
Thursday, May 22, 2008
mutually agreed upon separation
works out to around 11 months salary in the base scenario, plus whatever else i (or my union rep) negotiate into the package
my workplace currently sucks. with little chance of redemption. vicious infighting and politics - and - i have one disciplinary action that has already been taken against me (under grievance) and they tried to toss another one on me today (also under grievance)
the various items that are under discussion are, in my opinion, trumped up. but that doesn't matter that much. i see a pattern, and it's a pattern i don't like. i work in a political workplace and this kind of maneuvering is de rigueur for politics. i'm on the wrong side of some people (some of our caucus) and they spend their time asking my boss about my work performance. and complaining if there is ever any tiny thing out of line with what they think is the way things should be done. or that they think is opening enough to poke me.
it's sort of like the greek gods - the worst thing a mere mortal could do is get the attention of the gods - whether they like you or not. in an environment where every day is maneuvering and jockeying for position - anyone who is under observation becomes a pawn in the game.
my boss has to respond. other staff who have made worse mistakes have not received warning letters or any such (i know because i am one of two shop stewards - and i am required to be notified of any disciplinary action in the workplace)
what's an example?
this last weekend i was requested to send out an opinion/editorial piece to the papers. the last time the biggest cheese (whose name was on it) had seen it was 2 weeks ago. the caucus and the big cheese had been making changes to all the other communications materials in the same package up until minutes before their release. that suggested to me that i should double check in case there was some nuance change that would come up in the piece that was unreviewed for two weeks
you see - our caucus can't make a decision to save their lives. they have been known to completely reverse themselves on an issue 3 times in a two hour period. it is a standing joke amongst our staff that if you don't like a decision, just wait fifteen minutes and it will change...
i tried to reach the big cheese. he was unavailable. i tried to reach my boss. he was unavailable. they were both gone from the office on friday.
i made a judgment call. i chose to wait until tuesday (it was a long weekend) to submit the op/ed. i called all the newspapers and the op/ed editors to alert them that a piece would be coming in - and how many words it was so they could block out space.
i waited until the big cheese or my boss was available so that i could confirm it was a go.
in my opinion the op/ed piece would not stale-date in 3 days
my opinion was, apparently, wrong
i got disciplined
since fall - since the election and losing government i have progressively had more and more of my communications duties taken away and have become the guy who plugs wires in - the computer guy. we got a director of communications who is - frankly - incompetent (ex-reporter - no political experience). hell - he left on a week's vacation during the last week of the legislative session. that'd be the day any of the other staff would be allowed to fuck off during session - i got shit one night because i tried to leave before 10:30pm... and i had kids waiting for me - yeah it was a special time - budget release - but my work was done
also - we have a bunch of temporary staff who are about to be laid off with the end of session. they were people who used to work with us until we lost the election and they were fired (political staff). they are like chickens in a coop - one chicken (me) has blood - they all peck at the injured one (including one dude who is the boss's "special friend" [boss is gay]. they don't advertise their relationship, because of the political environment, but i know lots - as i've mentioned before - my family goes multiple generations back - we are highly plugged in). the temporary staff are fighting for survival and advancement. you see - whoever survives the four years is extremely well placed for the gravy train and power positions if we win...
the office is a different place to work since we lost
it's beyond dysfunctional
you see - part of the jockeying is among the surviving politicians who are trying to escape personal blame for the loss of the election. also, the jockeying has begun for who is going to replace the big cheese.
it's a vicious place to be
i have a lifetime of experience, AND i get paid good money to anticipate outcomes. and this one won't work out well for me. as i said this morning - if i can't see how this will all play out, then i shouldn't be working here. my boss and the office administrator tried to say it wasn't a plan to turf me, but i called bullshit - even if there is no plan on their part, the anticipated outcome will be the same. i called a "cone of silence" - where we could speak freely and agree not to have that part of the conversation come up in the union/grievance proceedings. we agreed to disagree on parts of our respective viewpoints - but they could not argue strongly with my overall analysis - and the inevitability of my departure given the politics in play
i can get out with 11 months salary and other benefits. i can go back to school and finish a computer course in 2 semesters - about as long as i will have money for. i can get some software certifications over the summer and then go back to university in the fall for 2 semesters until april.
i have my evening teaching job at the tech college and a guy who runs a computer business i can do part-time work for.
i can get the two disciplinary pieces pulled out of my file and guarantee a good reference
there are reasons. i know shit. shit with repercussions. buried bodies and little secrets. agenda to turf me or not, it still works better for all if this happens quietly and smoothly.
so i'm reviewing the buyout offer
the plan works - a new set of certifications - the economy is booming - computer people are scarce...
"Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet"
"Just gonna have to be a different man"
"I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence"
Saturday, May 17, 2008
daughter was having a time trying to reconcile her mom saying she didn't want to leave her by herself, and then being left by herself in the mall (stbx was in the mall, just elsewhere). daughter just found it an odd incongruity.
daughter told me she was tired. that she didn't go exercise today like she had planned because she had been up until 2:30am listening to her mother and son fight. son got high (pot) last night and stbx realised it when she came home. she freaked on him for around 5 hours straight.
son called me today
tells me about a jazz concert in town at a local lounge/bar
we talk a bit
i've been pushing him to get his driver's license and a car (i'll buy the car). he is now considering it more. he rejected the idea before.
he tells me that he and his mother got into it last night. because he was high.
they argued for 5 hours. he tried to break off but she kept following him around.
he ended up going outside to his friend's car and sleeping there from about 2:30am until 7am when he went inside.
i need to talk to my lawyer...
thank god i've got them in counselling at least
about the girl she wants to go out with
a girl at her school - a grade 8 girl - 14 years old
(read daughter's dinner engagement...)
this girl has caused some trouble for daughter already. she kissed daughter at school in the schoolyard. the kids reported her. this was few weeks back
daughter called me that day - she was scheduled to go talk to the principal in the afternoon. i told her to be completely open with the principal about what was up. about her attraction and about her bi-sexuality and about the teasing and stuff in the schoolyard. to trust the principal.
it was a long discussion with the principal (whom i am on decent terms with) who likes daughter. who thinks daughter is a good kid. and even if it is a catholic school, the principal is french... she has gay friends and family herself.
they had a long conversation. daughter told me afterwards that sometimes it was maddening because the principal said almost exactly the same things word for word that i did.
principal called me. we talked. we talked about both girls. i have concerns about this other girl because she has some impulse control issues. this girl was sexually abused as a kid and does a lot of stuff just for shock value.
i have expressed my concerns about her. the principal expressed her concern that the girl is not someone daughter should be hooking up with. the principal confirmed my suspicions about impulse control on this other girl.
the girl also does drugs, says she has sex with boys, and drinks...
i have expressed my concerns about his to daughter as well.
i have not done anything to facilitate their contact.
- back to daughter's counselling session and our talk on the way back to school -
daughter talked about how she had discussed how she seems to always hook up with "the wrong kind of kids". kids who will get her into trouble. daughter talked about how she realised, while talking to the counsellor, that she was trying to "save" her friends.
that she was trying to stop them from their downward spiral. that she knew what would work to help them in their lives, but how she could never seem to convince her friends to just take her advice and live better. that they would always make the wrong decisions, no matter what she did
no really - she said the above
i am not shitting you
she said that she realised the girl she was trying to date was a lot like her mother. all the way to the childhood sexual abuse and the substance abuse issues.
that the girl was as wildly mood swinging and erratic as her mother
a lot like her mother
that it wasn't probably a good thing...
for more on rescuing read here:
control, loss of control, and rescuing
son is still trying to convince his mother to turn her life around - still ready to battle her - trying to "point out how stupid she's being"
but not me
"Observational learning (also known as: vicarious learning or social learning or modeling) is learning that occurs as a function of observing, retaining and, in the case of imitation learning, replicating behavior executed by others." - wikipedia
"Motivation: In general, observers will perform the act only if they have some motivation or reason to do so. The presence of reinforcement or punishment, either to the model or directly to the observer, becomes most important in this process."
"Many mistake observational learning with imitation. The two terms are different in the sense that observational learning leads to a change in behavior due to observing a model." - wikpedia
Friday, May 16, 2008
that they might have to consider moving in full time with me if things got really unstable
i mentioned it again today to daughter
i had picked her up to go to her counselling
her mother had gone kind of weird on her that morning
you see, daughter's appointment was at 10am. they had a school mass that morning (catholic school [government funded here]). they would be leaving for the mass at about 9:30. about the time i would be picking her up for counselling. daughter proposed that she just miss the first half hour of school as well (starts at 9am). i said OK.
her mother was still home (12:30-9 shift week) had a fit and told her that by law she had to go to school at age 12...
and booted her out the door
daughter went to school
for 15 minutes
that's when her class left for mass - 9:15am
i had called the school to excuse her for the morning
her mother had left the house by the time daughter got back to the house - gone for smokes or some such
daughter was just baffled by her mother's behaviour. her mother had told daughter that she was disappointed in her. without even saying why. just kept repeating that she was disappointed in her and that she had to go to school because she was 12 and that it was required by law.
maybe it is some kind of "look, i'm a good parent too" or "look - i'm a better parent than you" thing bubbling up in the stbx's mind. god only knows with that woman. especially after i have given stbx grief about son missing school. maybe that's it. i don't know...
but daughter was upset about it, saying "i just don't care what she says anymore"
i talked about her statement - pointing out that no matter how much you say you don't care - when someone makes a comment like that - even someone you have dismissed - it still can burn - but that it is a question of being aware enough of the hurt - because being still hurt emotionally, but thinking in your head that it shouldn't matter causes more anxiety as you feel bad, but think you should be tougher because you've decided it shouldn't matter...
if that made any sense to anyone but me
i told her that while i still thought that the best scenario for the kids would be to have both parents in their lives equally, that in recent times i had begun to worry that being around their mother was actually unhealthy for them
that their mother was causing more damage than good
that i had no agenda to make them move, or to cut off their mother - just that i was worried about the long term effects of their mother's instability. i cited her brother's break-down as an example of what i was worried would continue to happen
again - i stressed that their was no agenda - just that i was sharing my worry and concern, and that i wanted to inject the consideration of the idea of moving in with me full-time
daughter told me that she had already decided that she wanted to move out with friends when she was "17 or so" and get her own place. that she had already been thinking about changing her living arrangements.
i asked if the moving out with friends thing was because then she wouldn't have to appear to be making a choice between her mom and i. she said no, that wasn't it.
i told her that i thought that moving out on her own would be a poor choice - that at 17 she still needed guidance - and that many things can go wrong - that a positive parent can be of value
that i want them to remain living with me at least until they are done high school, and hopefully part of their post-secondary.
daughter mumbled some acknowledgment and we went inside for her counselling session.
i dropped her with her counsellor and wandered around the area until she was done
we made another appointment for next week. while driving away i told daughter to keep her appointment card secure from her mother because if her mother was rifling through daughter's stuff she might decide to go off on a tear if she found the card and decided she wanted to inject herself into the counsellor relationship (kids counselling and outcomes). when i signed both son and daughter up i made sure that i requested and instructed both counsellors to not disclose anything to me outside of fear of doing harm to themselves. i did this in front of the kids. i made sure that it was clear that this was to be a place the kids could find refuge and privancy. i made sure to outline my concerns that their mother might dig into their files if she was to contact the counsellors (stbx does not know the counsellors' identities). i asked them to not keep full records of the visits in order to make sure that the counselling records could not be subpoenaed or accessed by their mother. the kids chimed in on this as well - they don't want their mother to even know the names of the counsellors. they hadn't said anything to me, but i knew it was a concern they had from the counsellor their mother took them to - that their counsellor would be a pawn or participant. i made sure to cut that one off immediately. i am very sensitive to their feelings (yeah - i think i can confidently say that) and knew it. they hadn't even figured it out for themselves - but as soon as i articulated it they were all over it and said that they had been worried about that sort of thing - about their privacy
i have not asked about any content of their sessions
but they have shared some details
i remain open to them - as much as any parent can be, i guess
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
by son's friends, and then later intimated that it was occurring from son
and then later intimated that it was occurring from me
but backed off immediately when both kids turned on her very hard
i'm told her standard practice is to launch some wild and outlandish accusation or bizarre statement of fear and then when the kids rip into her for her bullshit, she runs off to her room crying
she's actually bonkers
i need to figure out what to do. i am loathe to allow my children around that sort of behaviour, but i am equally loathe to try to lever them out of their mother's house without their consent.
she has so little impulse control
she just blurts out whatever floats into her head
whatever bizarre imagining or construct developed out of her own past or warped sense of the universe
i said that i was prepared to do so. i told her to send me a proposal
i then sent a follow up email:
follow up to our conversation of earlier today
please advise me of what actions you are requesting me to take with regard to the line of credit and so forth
a 2 day timeline is difficult to work with and to have the opportunity to review the matter with my legal counsel
so, the sooner the details the better
her response email came this morning:
"if you are to busy, i will just proceed with a different course of action"
that is so fucking typical of the way she twists and distorts and deflects
it is not too much to ask for the details of what she wants
her two principal options:
have a lump sum transferred, or be granted unlimited access to the remainder for the credit line
that took a long time to type, hey?
so what the fuck?
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
her mother had just said no to a sleepover this next weekend. because daughter had told her that she was bi-sexual. and that stbx didn't know if daughter's friend... "how do i know that she's not your lover?"
daughter was REALLY upset
she cried for most of the noon hour. she was still angry last night and this morning.
i let her stay home in the afternoon yesterday because she had cried so hard and so long she had a brutal headache and her face was kind of swollen.
son and her decided they would "battle" their mother on the subject.
took daughter (and son) for all-you-can-eat sushi last night to distract them. i was tired and didn't want to cook after my day at work and after dealing with soothing the kids.
we had fun.
i told daughter that she could have sleepovers at my place and that son could either crash on the couch or stay at his grandparents' place to facilitate her sleepover (son and daughter share a room - bunkbeds)
son was supportive of this plan
stbx called me this morning.
she is in serious financial difficulty and wants me to allow her to access the equit line of credit.
i told her to send me a proposal
she also raised the issue with daughter and the sleepover.
she tried to get me to support her decision
i told her i disagreed fundamentally with her actions and that i thought that she should allow it to go ahead.
i pointed out that son had actually slept on the other side of the bed from a gay guy on a band trip and she didn't have an issue with it.
her counter is that son is not gay.
i pointed out that daughter's friend is not either. stbx asked how she could know that. i said daughter told her. she said she didn't know if she could believe daughter. i told her she had to just make a choice to believe her or not.
stbx caved on the issue
she said she would allow the sleepover.
she attempted to go into a whole bunch of other parenting issues and into how her life sucks and she can't cope with everything - especially parenting.
she went on about how she couldn't talk about issues like daughter's bi-sexuality with her family. that she needed someone to talk to about parenting and the kids.
she immediately went off on more teary eyed crap about how tough her life is
i told her that i had no intention of having an extended conversation on any subject, and that she had burned far too many bridges with things like false accusations of rape for us to be having swell mutually supportive conversations
i then advised her i needed to go and ended the conversation
Friday, May 09, 2008
daughter's counsellor is off plan (both family assistance and health insurance [counselling isn't yet covered under universal medicare (which it would be if i were in charge)], so i am paying cash for her visits - $75.00 a visit. son's counsellor is on my workplace family assistance plan, so 5 visits will be covered - then i pay cash because even though you can be a registered counsellor with a master's in clinical social work, my health insurance won't pay for a non-psychologist as a counsellor.
in each case i selected the counsellor for their experience and abilities, not for coverage. i wanted people who would fit well with my kids and their needs.
i'll figure out a way to pay for it all later - i'll probably have to hit up my mom and dad for help in this case.
daughter's counsellor is an associate of a lady who is widely regarded locally and nationally for her work with the Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual and Transgender community. i was referred to he first lady, but she is going in for surgery and is not taking new patients. i described my needs and she referred me to one of her associates. her associate is not a registered counsellor - though she is currently under application for registration. she is a professor of psychology at the local university who teaches clinical psychology, but bizarrely is not a registered clinical psychologist (minimum number of hours per year spent counselling is one of the reasons). she was both teach and finishing some post-doctoral work or some such in the last few years.
anyway, she's pretty wild. she's in her late 50s and is a self-professed weird person. crystals, energy, chi, reiki, hypnosis, wholism, blah, blah, blah. perfect fit for daughter - who sees herself as very different from her peers. we'll see how they get along as things progress. daughter has another appointment next week.
son's counsellor is a dude who has worked with teenaged boys for a lot of years. he is a bit jockish for my tastes (and son's) but he seems ok. he has a degree in fine arts in addition to his bachelors and masters in clinical social work, so he must have a little going on beyond his sports guy thing...
he used to live over the fence from my parents - they knew each other peripherally. he also played hockey with my brother. no close relationships. i am comfortable with that and so is son - we didn't feel the need to get someone who was totally removed.
it's hard to go anywhere in the city, and in fact most of the province and find a professional of any variety who doesn't know my family in some manner...
me not knowing daughter's counsellor is actually different. i know the other lady - she also served on the women's centre board with Smitten.
yeah - it's not a huge place where we live, and we're fairly high profile and darn well known.
[end of section written thursday may 8]
i asked my mom last night for help ($250.00 loan for 2 weeks until i get some health insurance reimbursements). help she had said would be forthcoming if it was ever needed for the kids. she gave me shit for not taking them to the same counsellor i'm seeing - the free one. telling me i could have saved my money by going there. as for the loan - she said she'd think about it. i was pretty hurt. but mom is sometimes like that.
i didn't bother arguing with her. i waited a few minutes and called her back telling her that i had been just called and told i would receive a payable from my consulting work and didn't need her help.
a lie. thinking about it i potentially should have told her that her response pissed me off and was inconsistent with her previous stance - but i may need help in the future and there is no point in burning a bridge by having a confrontation. so i avoided a potential confrontation in a personal trade off. i knew i could juggle shit and asking mom was more convenience for myself than anything, so it didn't much matter. she said she had the money and was prepared to spend on helping them - specifically talking about getting counselling in one discussion.
because i went with the not lowest cost option it was an issue. because her ideas about counselling - that a counsellor who was really good for her would be good for the kids... a sort of one size fits all approach...
yeah - i guess i'm a little more irritated than i thought
but it's her money and i need to just get over it
back to the kids:
daughter was quite enthused about her counsellor
son was a more nonchalant, but seemed to be walking a little lighter in his steps as we left
i think they are feeling positive that there must be a way out of how they feel and their rock and a hard place position.
signed both kids up for my gym. lied to the gym and told them daughter (12) was 14 in order to get them to accept her...
both kids are quite positive about going - the gym promo'd a bunch of sessions (8 hours) with trainers when i signed them up, so they will be well trained on the equipment.
stbx called and sniveled at me about money - asked for some - said she needed to pay a credit card and couldn't get a personal line of credit in time to make a payment
said i owed her money for interest on the equity line of credit that she has paid
i told her she owed me over $100,000 for my share of the house she was living in
i gave her the money - $100
if i expected anything (which i didn't) it was soon to be not forthcoming
after work when i went to pick daughter up after her intro session at the gym, daughter told me to that her mom had told her to remind me to give her the money i owed her...
i told daughter i didn't owe her mom any money, and that i was just helping her mom out of a tight spot
why did i give her the money?
i want the counselling and the gym time to be as undisrupted as possible
so i chose undemanded and unasked for pre-emptive appeasement
and she tried to strike up conversations
"so, how are you doing?" she asks me brightly on the phone when i first agree. i tell her i do not wish to talk righ tnow
when i drop the money off she tells me "you're looking great, have you lost weight?"
i've gained weight
she wants to talk
i tell her i am leaving
last time i told her flat out that i had no desire to have any conversation with someone who told me kids i raped her
this time - i didn't feel like it
i didn't want a confrontation or conversation
i wanted to go for dinner with Smitten
stbx looked awful
oh my god she looked awful
her face was heavier and puffier - even if she is skinnier
her face has that large pore look - with the bumpy skin with uneven texture and colour
like you see on an alcoholic
not saying she is
just trying to give you an idea
her hair is like straw - all wild and out of control and unkept
washed, but dry and full of static
i was really bothered by it for the whole evening
she looks awful
i guess drinking a lot and smoking more than a pack a day will start to do that
especially on top of anorexic eating behaviours
it really bothered me
but i still won't talk to her
Friday, May 02, 2008
not that she is. she just says she is. if she was broke she wouldn't spend $300+ a month on cigarettes and wouldn't buy lunch to the tune of $100-$200 a month. or spend $100+ per month on clothes and shit for daughter. or maybe she would.
she said she was broke all through our marriage too. all the time.
anyway - kids are seeing counsellors. she even signed the letter before she got the letters from me and the lawyer on the Hawaii trip fuck-ups.
you see, after son's episode the other week, i tried to get the kids counselling and get it paid through my workplace family assistance plan. they won't do approve it in the event of a marital breakdown unless both parents consent. that is how she was able to fuck with my 3 previous attempts to get the kids counselling.
i decided that i was just going ahead and would find counsellors that would take my kids either way. that somehow i would find a way to get them help - and damn the cost.
monday morning for daughter, monday afternoon for son.
i am to attend the first little bit of the counselling session with them and then it will go private. i will hang around and wait nearby.
daughter's counsellor is a lady with extensive experience in sexual identity counselling. she is the partner of my original pick. it made me happy when the original lady said "she may be just experimenting, or it might be something real and permanent. we'll help her work through it and figure out what it is."
why am i happy? because the lady is a log term lesbian. she is an advocate for the LGBT community and has done a lot of work in the community. i was referred to her by the family assistance dude. Smitten worked on the board of the local women's centre (i later found out) and thinks highly of her. i picked her so daughter would have someone who had been through it - but was also a qualified counsellor. i was happy because it meant that this lady wouldn't be pressing/recruiting daughter to join the ranks of lesbians/bisexuals.
not that there is an issue with that - if it is daughter's choice.
so the counsellor - and i assume her partner - whom daughter will see - is not just assuming that that daughter will be bisexual - it will be healthier.
i am pleased at the lack of militancy i have observed in the people i have asked for help in helping/guiding daughter. in observing this i am feeling a level of self-validation in my judgment in whom i have picked as resources and in the methodology i have employed to arrive here.
son is still messed. missed more school. having problems with sleep again.
it's funny (yeah - ha ha...) that he was having no problems up until he went out for the evening last night with his mother (to see a cousin who is in town for a short while). i will have to quizz him on last night a little more.
i was talking with Smitten about it at lunch today - he phoned me to say he'd fallen asleep while putting on his shoes (shortly after falling asleep standing up while making his lunch) and had slept in until noon.
son has to make his own choices.
he will have to bear some consequences. he made the choice to stay home a few times when he didn't have to, and so if now it is coming home to roost and he is running out of available absences before he gets suspended from his classes... and i warned him at the time that he would need those potential absences later...
he may end up having to spend a little more time in high school or doing make up classes at university.
it is the price to be paid
the price he has to bear because of the break-up. not that it should still be affecting him - but the break-up removed me as a shield - and he is not sheltered from his mother's psychosis - and it is affecting him
the price may be a year of his life
not that steep a price to pay - plenty of people have fucked around and wasted a year or two of their lives. and if this is the fall-out - the price - that's just what it has to be.
the same as if he were in a car accident and got laid up in hospital for awhile.
he's road-kill for his mother's behaviour and my decision(s) to leave.
i hope the counsellor can help son find his way past his issues
i hope we can find ways for son to sleep again
i'm on track for my own additional counselling as well
see if that does anything
Thursday, May 01, 2008
or bouncing off them
how many of you have seen the movie Roadwarrior?
she's like the marauders outside the piles of old tires that serve as walls for the compound - driving in circles and trying to leap over or break through
but more on that later - i'm fine. just irritated that i would try to address serious issues with her and then let her waste my time leaping off into tangents and "poor me" bullshit and weird revisionist history. 3 calls since yesterday - 10 minutes (4-4:10pm), 1 hour (5:15-6:10pm), 25 minutes (8:36-9:05am)
(she got the letter from my lawyer [through her lawyer] that gave a synopsis of my letter. she got my letter as well - dropped in mailbox after her second call on the way home from work)
but whatever - i got a few things off my chest. i said a few things in as raw and as blunt a manner as i could. told her she had been a irresponsible parent and such. told her she was emotionally unstable and was the source of most of the sleep problems the kids have. as she dragged things from the marriage and stuff up i provided some pithy commentary about that too. i endured the bullshit to gain the opportunity to say some of the things i wanted to say.
she is feeling way out of control and wants it back. is trying to gain it back by sucking me into engagement. i made a few mistakes in how i let her pull the conversation around, but hell - i can't be perfect the first time i try to control the conversation. it was interesting.
i don't intend to do it again. it's almost 2 hours of my life i will never get back... she's still nuts. she'll never change.
anyway, further discussion of that later. in the meantime, here's the letter as delivered:
April 21, 2008
[stbx F. stbx],
You recently went on a trip to Hawaii (Saturday, April 5, 2008). I hope your trip was a good one. I will once again offer to provide accommodation for care of the children in the context of any future travel you might undertake. It is my hope and intent to have an appropriate reciprocal accommodation in regard to care for the children around travel and vacations.
With regard to childcare arrangements, I have some concerns with how things were handled for this trip.
We exercise joint custody of the children.
You were leaving [our city] for a two-week period. One of those weeks the children would have normally been with you and one of those weeks they would have spent with me. They would also be alone for 2 more days at the end of the trip.
1) You did not advise me that you were planning to leave, and that the children would be alone for over a week, until the Wednesday prior to your departure (Saturday). This is inadequate notice and joint planning. In the future please advise me earlier of such instances – at minimum 2 weeks before such travel.
You only mentioned that you were going on a trip during a telephone call I made to you with regard to arrangements I was making with you about [Son] and [Daughter] traveling with me to the U.S. to see Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton speak.
I am not asking for details of your travel plans or life activity, I am however, asking for reasonable advance notice of times when I may be required to provide additional support to and for the children – like a week in which you are not there – as in case of an emergency, and to supervise, provide guidance, or drive them to lessons and such.
In no way should my comments be interpreted as admonishment on travel – far from it. I want you to travel.
You must let me know earlier if I’m going to need to cover supervision or support activities. If I had chosen to go out of town in that period the kids would have been on their own. Even though [Son] is 16 years old, I am not comfortable with his ability to handle extraordinary or emergency situations without guidance. Chris, who is 18, and who lives at your house, is not, in my opinion, suitably mature or capable of appropriate supervision or emergency situation handling. He is also a friend of [Son]’s and is therefore inappropriate as a supervisory adult. Chris is simply a tenant in your house and has no authority – he is not an adult in charge in your absence. He has no authority to handle medical or other situations that could potentially arise. His presence in the house is irrelevant to childcare arrangements that you should have made.
In our call (Wednesday, April 2, 2008) you raised a number of concerns you had. I needed to be elsewhere at the time of the call and did not have the time to discuss issues more fully. This is another example of why more notice time is required to deal with childcare arrangements. You should have called me earlier, or sent me a letter in advance.
You talked to me about the fact that you were uncomfortable with leaving the children on their own for a week. That they had convinced you that they wanted to try being on their own. That you felt they would likely need extra supervision. That you were concerned that they might throw a party while you were away. That you wanted me to try to ensure there were no parties at the house. You gave me no definitional parameters to accompany any of your concerns or requests.
Also, while I still own half of the house, my role in this situation is childcare, not housecare. You have explicitly removed me from any current dealing with the house while it remains your domicile and in your possession. To involve me at this point in supervision of the house without discussion and highly specific instruction as to how to deal with any situations contradicts previous communication you have directed at me, and your previous practice in arranging for others to look after your house (like when you have gone on vacation).
I have no problem with allowing the kids to try out spending time on their own as you and they advised me they wanted to do. There was inadequate time to discuss issues in that call on Wednesday night. We should have had an appropriate exchange of ideas on how to deal with that week the children would be on their own. In the future, please either call me or send me a letter/note.
2) You did not leave enough food in the house to, in my opinion, adequately cover meals and lunches during your week. You did not leave money to cover additional needs. I must underline in the strongest of terms that this is inadequate and irresponsible.
I was very distressed to receive a call from the kids the afternoon of Tuesday, April 8, 2008 telling me they thought they might run out of food, and asking if they could have $30.00 to go buy more food. They told me that you had said you would leave $50.00 for them, but that it had not been left. After some thought I advised them to contact you for guidance. I told them that I would not leave them in the lurch for food, but that they needed to contact you, as it was your domicile and your week as custodial parent.
3) You did not leave them with contact numbers or contact information on how to reach you in Hawaii. This is improper, inadequate, and utterly irresponsible. Do not do this again. In the future leave proper contact information for the children on how to reach you when you are leaving them alone.
The children only had [brother-in-law]’s cell phone number as a contact. They tried calling the number 3 times and then left a message at my direction. They tried contacting you a number of additional times. I am advised that there was never a return call received by anyone at the house. Did you have any proof/information that [brother-in-law]’s cell phone would roam/track him to locations in Hawaii?
Leaving the children without adequate means to contact you is improper and inappropriate. You should have left a list of hotels and contact numbers.
In the future leave proper contact information for the children on how to reach you when you are leaving them alone, or explicitly advise me (and the children) that I have full custody and supervision for that week, like when you or I go on holidays with them during the summer and our vacation time overlaps with the other parent’s normal custodial week. I am uncomfortable – no, I am very unhappy, distressed, and dissatisfied with the partial supervision and responsibility scenario that was left to me. There should have been a full hand-off of custody and responsibility for the children for the week in question, and an explicit arrangement for the week.
The children did not even have a written itinerary for your trip to know when you would be arriving home. You will leave a written itinerary in the future.
Further to the food issue (this write-up is partially chronological/narrative):
I went to the house to see how much food was left. I entered the house for a period of about 5 minutes to check the fridge, fridge freezer, lazy susan/corner cupboard, pantry cupboard, and downstairs freezer. Their distress, in the phone calls to me, at the possibility of running out of food put me in the position that I had to check in person. I also wanted to make sure that they were not just trying to score extra pizza and such from me. The children accompanied me throughout my few minutes in the house.
I provided some food for [Son]’s lunches and gave instructions on how they should stretch the food available at the house.
4) You did not leave them with instructions on how to handle emergencies that may have arisen. If there were a plumbing or furnace problem what would have been their action set? There was no instruction set, or plumbers to call, or even instructions to call your mother to deal with any situation.
Their response was that they would call me. I am uncomfortable with this. While I still own half the house and would have dealt with any crisis, in the past you have explicitly advised me that I am not welcome at the house.
I was uncomfortable with entering to check the food on this occasion, and felt uncomfortable with any other potential situation regarding the house. The children were at a loss at how to handle the situation regarding food. I provided them with support and guidance.
You even left your car unlocked with CDs and the broken computer inside it. After [Daughter] and [Son] expressed their concern about the car being unlocked, I gave the children instructions to lock the vehicle.
In the future I expect better handling of such situations and of joint custody and management of the children and their interests. In this letter I have outlined my concerns and my expectations about how some of these issues should dealt with.
To date I have made my expectations known through verbal contact and in writing. The events described in this letter are of a seriousness that they require comment in writing. This is the second letter I have sent with regard to inappropriate parenting behaviour.
I expect you to parent appropriately. Your actions are not appropriate parenting. Your actions around your absence cause me grave concern.
I expect the issues raised in this letter to be addressed in the context of future travel arrangements.