Monday, March 7, 2011

That which angers you, controls you

My new mantra. Well, not so new. My mantra since August 27, 2010, the "date of separation".

Tyler often infuriates me. I won't go into detail, but I will say that I don't think I've ever felt as angry and helpless about anything in my life as I have about the events that led up to and followed our separation. The problem with divorce (okay, one of the problems) is that once both of you realize that it's over, it can be like no-holds-barred cagefighting. Because you have nothing to lose, and you both know exactly how to swing to hurt the other person the most.

I want to write about something and I don't want it to come off as me bitching about Tyler, because I reallllly try to avoid doing that in "public", though I'm not sure how to avoid that particular slant... I guess I'll try to just focus on my own feelings about it rather than his actions. So here goes.

He was leaving to go traveling somewhere for awhile and asked if he could come by to see Caroline on Sunday before he left. I agreed. He'd been there a couple minutes and then he told me he had a significant other he was bringing around Caroline. At first he made it sound like she was just a hookup. I asked him to leave. He said he would go and went to give Caroline a hug goodbye. She cried and ran to me and buried her face in my chest. He came over and tried to take her and she screamed "No!!!" He kept reaching for her so I said angrily, "She said NO." He turned around and left.

Not my proudest moment. Nor his.

We continued text-fighting about this for some time and then he told me that the girl wasn't just a hookup, that they had been dating since September and that he was taking her with him to visit his parents the next day. At first this made me feel better, because I don't want random people coming in and out of Caroline's life, and I would rather have it be someone he is serious about. But the more I thought about it, the worse I felt. Are you ready for this? I'm about to get ugly... but honest... whether it's logical or fair or not.

I was married to him for three lonely and miserable years. He left me to raise our child alone while he went off and traveled the world and focused on his career. He doesn't get to be happy this soon. He doesn't get to go play house with some girl and my daughter, who I have raised and cared for and put my heart and soul and entire existence into. He never takes his full amount of visitation and now I feel that it's because he's been spending time with this girlfriend instead of his child. He can't even take the measly 48 hours he spends with Caroline every two weeks and just spend it with her... he's got to bring this girlfriend around then, too? It's no wonder they don't have a bond. And who does she think she is, that she can push herself into our child's life not two weeks after her parents get divorced, with all the upheavals this poor kid has had in the past six months?

But you know what it is, really? I'm afraid. The thought of another woman playing mommy to my child makes me physically sick. I know that Caroline spends 90% of her time with me, and she always has, and our bond is strong, and that fear isn't rational. But I can't help it. That mommy instinct is out of control and I have never felt such rage towards someone I don't even know.

She is my daughter. She will never be yours. Back off.

That's how I feel. It must look so ridiculous and illogical from the outside but on the inside... that's all there is, and I can't seem to make it go away. For me, this is the most painful part of the entire divorce. Him, I was prepared to lose... I wanted to lose... but not her...

But I've got to get it under control. That which angers you, controls you. That which angers you, controls you. I need to write it 1000 times, like I'm in detention or something. I chant it to myself as I walk around school. I will get through this. Just like I've gotten through everything else.


Anonymous said...

I think I would feel exactly the same way as you, that would be such a tough situation. Your mantra is a good one. Another one I've heard before is that feeling anger towards another person is like drinking poison and wanting them to feel the effect of it. Hang in there!

Desi said...

I'm not going through the same thing, but I'm confident that I would feel the same way as you. Whether its rational or not...its how you feel and I am positive you are not the only mom that would feel that way.

myrlyo said...

I just want to meet up with you and cry and hug over mass amounts of wine and cookies. Are you free this weekend? ;-)

Mrs EyeCanSee said...

If I were in your shoes....I'd feel the exact same way. Who wouldn't?

And he's been dating her since Sept? Didn't you say you split the very end of Aug? Wow he doesn't waste anytime!

Emily Hanley said...

Wowza. Well...I'm not divorced, nor do I have a child yet... but I know EXACTLY what you mean. So he started dating this girl the moment the split became final? That's fast. And I, too, would be sick with thoughts of some other girl in the home of my ex being motherly (heck, even if she was sitting on the couch the entire time, it would still irk me.) But, Caroline is your daughter and she will always love you the most. It's primal. I love the new mantra and think it totally works. Oh, and I totally want in on the cookies and wine invit from "myrylo", lol!

MJS said...

Hey Julia,
Here's my jumble of a comment on this:

From having grown up in Caroline's position I want you to know that she will ALWAYS know that YOU are her mom. Not just literally, of course, but emotionally too.

I feel like its so important for the child not to feel they have to choose betweeen parents... if you act as if it is just not even a question (i.e. not getting into mom vs. girlfriend/stepmom), it will be less of an issue. And even if she became close with an eventual step parent (either of your eventual new spouses), it will absolutely NOT replace the real parent -- unless the real parent cannot move beyond anger and thus becomes emotionally unavailable.

Not saying any of this is easy, but I think you are so on the right track, and part of that is addressing and handling your own feelings in a responsible way so that they don't come out inappropriately.

And as a last note, I think your anger is entirely legit. So much so, that I genuinely feel angry on your behalf! (...and I've also heard and think Anon's comment re: "poison" is wise too).

Best wishes on this. It's so hard, but you're strong and getting through it so well. Keep it up; you have all of our support! :)M

Lyndsay said...

I "know" you from TB, and I don't think I've commented in a while. However, I must say, I would be just as angry if my daughter was introduced to someone new that fast. Plus, I would have the same "illogical" thoughts as you. I think your feelings are normal and very valid.

edmo said...

As a person who was also in Caroline's position, I just want to say that sometimes it's way better and more fun and easier to visit your father (someone you WANT to know but don't often feel like you do, since you aren't with him that much) when he is with someone. At least, it's how I felt. Honestly, no one will replace you. But if you consider Caroline, perhaps you'll accept Tyler being with another woman because it will make life for Caroline easier. She's already an only child from your marriage, so she has no siblings to go see her dad with. Him having a woman he's in love with might allow Caroline to open up more with him and have more fun when she's visiting with him. Just a thought. I hated when my dad was single and I always felt like he was there to try to entertain me, and vice versa. It felt more normal and like a family when he was with his fiance. Just another way to look at it.

shelia said...

Perhaps if you weren't so busy whining about your ex, you'd be happier, too. Instead you're just feeling sorry for yourself and blaming things on him when he's not miserable, too.

Julia said...

Oh SNAP. It just got REAL up in this betch. ::z-snaps:: Hahaha.

I usually make it a policy to ignore rude comments, but I can see where you're posting from... so I'll just say that I'm trying to mourn the death of my marriage, and this is the best I can do right now. I am sad about all of it, and so is he. We are both doing what we can to heal. I know that we'll both find peace eventually. Until then, I might just have to "whine" a little. :)