Okay, I admit I have not attained “gray rock”. I have to maintain contact with my ex because we share custody. We have been cordial lately, but I find that I have only two settings: Either I am hateful and resentful, or I am friendly and forgiving. Hatefulness and resentment take too much energy and don’t help me or my children to move on.
But my other “setting” seems to come with my heart firmly on my sleeve. And part of me expects something in return for my kindness. Never mind that when he was my husband he really never noticed me, or gave a hoot about appreciating me, or caring about my needs, (it was all him — no surprise there). Anyway I made the mistake of trying to seek some sort of comfort from him yesterday. (I was feeling sorry for myself, being alone as a single parent while he’s off focusing on himself and OW). Here is the text he sent:
“I do appreciate what you do. You have raised two great kids and I love you for that. You aren’t alone. You have them.”
Please run this through the UBT and help me see him for what he is so I can get back to focusing on my new life and not what he took from me!
I know from experience that single parenting is hard, and can at times be desperately, overwhelmingly lonely, but DC never EVER let the fuckwit who made you a single parent see you sweat. Don’t share your pain with them. Don’t ever look to them for validation. It’s kibbles and centrality to fuckwits. All you’re doing is handing them your power on a great big silver platter.
And don’t do the opposite either — pretend as if you’re Best Friends, the happy satellite to his new life with Schmoopie. Watch your pets while you’re in Aruba? Cancel my weekend plans because your custodial time is not convenient right now? Oh sure! What are friends for!
Marriage chump was bad. Divorce chump is worse.
BOUNDARIES, woman! BOUNDARIES!
part of me expects something in return for my kindness.
Toxic people don’t do reciprocity. They think your kindness is their due and they feel zero obligation to be kind back. So quit projecting your values on to this person. Be kind because that’s who you are. Not because you think nice-ing him into consensus could work. (It never works.) Save your kindness for those deserving of it — like your kids. Cheating ex gets Gray Rock. (And maybe a bag of flaming poop on his doorstep… okay, that’s not meh, but I can imagine it.)
Never mind that when he was my husband he really never noticed me, or gave a hoot about appreciating me, or caring about my needs, (it was all him — no surprise there).
And YET. It. Actually. Surprises. You.
Trust that he sucks. If you believed in who he was — a person who’s never given a flip — you would not seek comfort from the sucky.
So, about that text. Let’s put it through the Universal Bullshit Translator, okay?
“I do appreciate what you do.
I appreciate the kibbles. Do you hurt? Gee, I’m powerful.
I appreciate the way you do all the heavy lifting on this parenting thing, leaving me free to pursue my new life with Fuckzilla. Only I get a new life. You may maintain my shrine. Polish the memories. Gloss my image. Do it for the Good Times we shared, and remember I need a sitter next Thursday.
You have raised two great kids and I love you for that.
Dear former wife appliance, Your job as birthing vessel is now over and I thank you for your service.
Please accept this divorce summons, a reduced standard of living, and the loss of your health insurance as a token of my gratitude.
I would’ve given you a gold watch, but here’s some single parenting instead. #yourewelcome
You aren’t alone. You have them.”
And isn’t that all you need, really? All that responsibility to keep you warm at night? And vomit in your hair? And moan that it has a fever? And might not make it to the bathroom in time?
You aren’t alone! You have them. Those nameless pod things you birthed. (What are their names again? Them. Them will suffice.)
Isn’t it nice the way I turned this shitty thing I did — cheating on you and abandoning my family — into a FAVOR I did for you? #yourewelcomeagain
DC — go brush up on Gray Rock. I’m sure Chump Nation can give you a few pointers. Hang in there.