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Is this boundary setting or feeding ego kibbles?

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nekorb posted 4/18/2014 19:28 PM

So...WH put in a bid on a condo today. We are still living together and it's awful - for me anyway.

Anyhoo- he tells me he's going out for drinks after work and will be late. Then texts me later to say his friends are celebrating him putting in the offer. This triggers me horribly and I have a mini-meltdown with my BFFs via text.

So I get my break up music stoked up and playing and start to recover. Then WH arrives home and starts telling me how he is going to arrange his fucking furniture in his new place if he gets it. I do my best to look disinterested and not let on that I'm about to burst into tears. He keeps talking as if this is some grand adventure. I stay busy with paperwork and avoiding contact.

So my question is this: I want to go downstairs and say,"listen, I realize you think this is some grand adventure you're heading out on, but this is really painful and difficult for me and I don't want to hear about it except to know when your move out date is going to be so that I can make sure to have my new washer and dryer before then.".

Is that setting a boundary or feeding ego kibbles? Should I just say nothing? I don't want to poke the bear as we are still negotiating the settlement.

Advice please.

Dreamboat posted 4/18/2014 19:36 PM

Setting a boundary is refusing to discuss it with him. It is walking away, leaving the house, closing your bedroom door, engaging the kids in an activity (great time to give them a bath or help them with their reading!), whatever. It is pretending that you do not even hear him and not responding.

Don't tell him anything. He will just use it against you. In fact, if he knows it bothers you then he is likely to tell you even more and try to engage you even more.

I want to go downstairs and say,"listen, I realize you think this is some grand adventure you're heading out on, but this is really painful and difficult for me and I don't want to hear about it except to know when your move out date is going to be so that I can make sure to have my new washer and dryer before then.".

THAT would be engaging him, not 180, not NC, and not setting a boundary.

You are expecting him to act in a rational manner. He will not. Unremorseful WS get a perverse pleasure out causing pain to the person they vowed to love and honor for the rest of their lives.


tesla posted 4/18/2014 19:36 PM

Um, honestly...if he started talking about this shit again, I'd look at him and say, "Stop talking to me about this."
He asks why or says something to bait a reaction, you say, "I'm uninterested in this."

Or, every time he starts talking...get up and leave the room.

Fuck this guy.
I cannot even imagine going through in house separation.
Sending you strength and mojo.

SBB posted 4/18/2014 20:43 PM

I went through something similar. He would seek me out - in False R he told me he just wanted to talk to me, even if we were fighting. I asked him why he didn't care that I was dying and he was making it worse - his response was I just wanted to talk to you. Selfish even at my lowest. I now know it was ego kibbles he was looking for.

nekorb, what is stopping you from closing the bakery? There's an emotional bakery too - not just a physical one.

I know what is stopping you so I'll say this as gently as I can. He is gone, friend. The man you love is dead and gone. Don't lie to yourself and say you're just trying to keep the peace, you're doing it for the kids or any of the other lies we tell ourselves.

What he is doing is not proof that he is conflicted or that he's about to see the light and remember what he is losing. It is proof that he is callous, cruel and a c*** of a human being.

Telling him or showing him how much this is killing you is not going to stop it.

Stop talking to him. Stop listening to him. Stop being in his presence. Get a lock on the inside if your bedroom door. Avoid him as much as you can. He will continue seek you out - it is up to you to protect yourself.

Remind yourself that he likely has the stench of an OW all over himself as he speaks to you.

Why is he telling you he'll be late or what his movements are? It is none of your business anymore except as it relates to his involvement in the care of your children.

There is nothing you can do to make this pleasant - except perhaps for him. There is nothing you can do to make him 'see' what he is doing. He is choosing this. Why are you trying to make it easier on him?

Show him just as he is showing you - by your actions. Move away when he tries speaking to you. Grab your phone and call a friend. Freeze that fucker out.

It stops when you say it stops. I know you're hurting right now - boy do I know it. But you absolutely must put an end to this crazy making bullshit. I STILL regret allowing him to see any of my pain. I regret that I allowed him to see how vulnerable I was.

He is not special or unique. Most of them do this for as long as we allow it. Stop allowing it.

little turtle posted 4/18/2014 21:00 PM

My XH was the same way. He even asked me for relationship advice for him and OW.

Don't tell him your feelings. Continue the 180.

StillLivin posted 4/18/2014 22:19 PM

SBB is right on the money.
He isn't conflicted, he is seeking ego kibbles. My STBX did the same thing just in his own style.
I wanted so bad to believe that he sought out my advice on things because he was conflicted or needed me still.
Hell, the day he took his phone off of our family plan, and the day before he packed his shit and left, he was asking me to help him choose the new cell phone he was going to get. You know, the same phone he was going to use to cheat on me with to call Shrek and text her 100s of times a day with.
How unbelievably heartless. Then the next day, he wanted me to help him pack and kept asking which towels were his. AYFKM, the same towels you have been using all year Asswhole.
Then he kept telling me, "I'm really leaving you!"
As if the first 4 or 5 times in an that hour I hadn't heard him.
It's because they want to see us break. They want to have that power and control to destroy us. Makes them feel like men. Pffft, real men take care of their wives, not try and destroy them.
Just get up and walk away when he starts in with this shit. Walk away. Don't give him any idea of the pain he is inflicting because that is his goal, to hurt you.

StillLivin posted 4/18/2014 22:19 PM

sorry double post

[This message edited by StillLivin at 10:42 PM, April 18th (Friday)]

nekorb posted 4/18/2014 22:51 PM

Thanks for the clarification and advice! I knew y'all would have the answer!

He's been asking me stuff about the linens and such too, SL. "Is there a particular brand I should look for?". Blank stare.... No.

I will remain strong. I will not feed kibble.

SBB - I do know he's gone. I do. I just am horrible at setting boundaries and I'm getting a crash course! They are not something I've ever had until several years ago and I still hadn't really learned to set it still hurts. And it hurts to see how he is treating our DD when she needs so much support right now. It is SO unlike him....her daddy...

But...I'm learning. Thanks!

StillLivin posted 4/18/2014 22:55 PM

I'm so sorry he is hurting you. I hope you know thoroughly that you and DD do not deserve ANY of this.
If for some reason, you accidentally give some ego kibbles, just dust yourself off and get back to the oven and shut it off.
It happens to all of us because we are thinking like sensible folks, not selfish cheaters.
Just remember, if it looks like he is conflicted, but his actions aren't saying otherwise, then he is not conflicted but fishing for more ego kibbles. Don't give him any.

crazynot posted 4/19/2014 02:44 AM

Sorry, Nekorb, I know how hard this is. I remember the day I found him looking at rental properties online as one of the worst in my life. But I am GLAD your husband is doing this, because your healing will start the day he leaves. Just, and you know the sense of this, DON'T ENGAGE with him as he makes his plans. I cannot understand why he wants to taunt and goad you with his linen-buying, but he obviously enjoys it. He can't do it if you're not in the same room.

nekorb posted 4/19/2014 06:31 AM

But I am GLAD your husband is doing this, because your healing will start the day he leaves.

YES!! And the triggering will be gone...mostly. I know my girls want him out of the house. I asked my son how he was feeling about dad moving out. He shrugged and said,"I don't know. He's never here anyway. He's always at work. We only see him on the weekends.". That made me sad for the kids that they see he is making work his priority. They know he works with OW, so you know that is in their minds as well.

This whole situation is such a dichotomy of emotions. On the one hand, I NEED him out of the house. It is so painful to see him every day. On the other hand, I'm DREADING the day he moves out, as I know it's going to be devastating. Oddly enough, when I think about that day, what comes to mind is the video clip I have in my head of the day my mother left.

Dad and I were standing on the front step. He had his arm around me. The moving truck pulled out and she backed out in her yellow car. She was crying. I was crying. That was the beginning of the shitstorm. Hello abandonment issues.

I'm hoping that my oldest will be available to take the younger two AWAY that weekend. It will be difficult with her job, but I'm hoping her boss will be lenient/flexible under the circumstances.

Thanks for the support!!

osxgirl posted 4/19/2014 07:39 AM

In my opinion, an iPod (or similar device) and noise-blocking headphones (I think in-ear headphones with foam tips that make a good seal work best for this) are your best friends for this situation.

He starts talking, just put them in and continue about your business.

Obviously, this is with the caveat that you only do this if it won't cause more problems than its worth.... but I think it would be a great way to both get your point across and help keep your sanity without saying a word.

nowiknow23 posted 4/19/2014 08:05 AM

Dad and I were standing on the front step. He had his arm around me. The moving truck pulled out and she backed out in her yellow car. She was crying. I was crying. That was the beginning of the shitstorm. Hello abandonment issues.
((((((nekorb))))))) My heart hurts for that little girl.

Sweetie - I know it will be difficult when he leaves. I also want you to know that it will be freeing. And empowering. And HEALING. Tears, yes. But a lightness does follow.

Keep remembering - he is not your mother. You are not your father. Your kids are not you. The past is the past, not a map for the future. Things can and will be different than they were when your mom left. Big hugs.

crazynot posted 4/19/2014 11:47 AM

Why don't you take your kids, all three, away for a weekend when he moves out? Refuse to be there for the 'removal van' scene... start your new life without him and let him scuttle away unseen, without an audience. And do something fabulous, with his money, with your kids. Drink champagne, watch a funny movie, go shopping... XXX

nekorb posted 4/19/2014 12:14 PM

Crazynot- primarily because I need to be here to monitor what is leaving the house. The kids and I DO have a fabulous vacay planned for just the four of us, and hopefully it will be after moving day!

crazynot posted 4/20/2014 00:40 AM

That's great that you have a vacation planned, Nekorb... but I'd still counsel not being there when he moves out. Perhaps move some of your very personal stuff into a room that locks? You CAN refuse to let this be the big iconic scene.

nekorb posted 4/20/2014 06:51 AM

It's going to be an iconic scene all right. My posse of BFFs is coming over for moving day. One has assigned herself the task of vacuuming the empty spots as every piece of furniture is removed. One may be starting the trim coat of fresh paint in the den- she isn't totally sure she can come yet.(mr. Mover, please empty the den first!)

When all is said and done they are going to help me move furniture so the house doesn't look like we've been robbed when the kids come back. We will get the storage area rearranged so it looks like non-packrat humans live there.

Then we will make pizza.

I know that before all that post move other stuff gets going I'm going to have to have a minute of crying and sobbing....relief, sadness, grief, etc. that's the part I'm dreading. That little bit of agony I know is necessary to start moving on. Then - game on!

One of them knows the owner of a local furniture store. We joked about having the furniture truck idling behind the moving van waiting for them to pull out so I could get my new furniture delivered. Lol

I would have far too much anxiety if I wasn't at the house quite honestly. I will have people that love and care about me right there with me!

crazynot posted 4/20/2014 06:55 AM

FANTASTIC!!!! I LOVE your BFFs!!! And vacuuming the spots as 'his' stuff gets moved is just brilliant. What a fabulous way to deny him his drama. GO YOU. You will feel awful, yes, there's no way round it. But this is not the end of you, Nekorb. You're a really good person who loves her family, you're clever, witty and smart and there is an amazing future for you out there.

NeverAgain2013 posted 4/20/2014 08:05 AM

Honestly? Showing ANY kind of anger or despair or ignoring him whenever he talks about what linens to buy or how to arrange his furniture is ego kibbles enough.

You know what I would do? I would act JUST as excited as he is that he's LEAVING. No disappointment, no ignoring, no clipped words, NONE of that. Stop feeding his ego.

I'd then proceed to highly advise Mr. Asshat that the BEST towels to buy for his condo are the deep red ones. They're not only a hit with the ladies, but act as a whitening agent when you wash them together in hot water with all your whites.

Tell him that the color scheme in the Simpson's home is what's new and cool and hip right now - right down to the corncob curtains in Marge's kitchen. Offer to help him pick out curtains and paint for his new bachelor pad.

Be sure to advise him that the best refrigerator setting for fresh produce is as high as the refrigerator can possibly get. Instruct him that 8 good scoops of coffee from the can is the perfect recipe for brewing 2 cups of coffee for himself in the morning.

Tell him to be sure to set the iron at the highest heat setting for anything he needs to iron, including the new synthetic hunting lodge curtains you help him pick out for his condo living room. Explain the merits of using half a jug of laundry detergent in each wash to really get out those ground-in stains. Tell him the secret to really good microwave popcorn is an 8 minute cook time set on the highest temperature he's got.

Good lord woman, you could be having so much freakin' FUN at his expense right now!! Screw his damned ego.

I think having a houseful of woman on his moving day symbolically vacuuming each empty space he leaves is just the ultimate ego kibble for him. That's just a blatant display to him that you need their support because his leaving means THAT much to you. I'd NEVER, EVER give him that.

Don't put on a show for him. He doesn't DESERVE it.

Wait for him to be GONE and then you and your friends can do whatever is necessary to make yourself deal with it.

devistatedmom posted 4/20/2014 08:31 AM

Sorry Never, I can't agree on this one. No matter what she does, a guy like this is going to think it's ego kibbles. Shoot, if she scratches her nose he will think it's all about him.

Her friends are there to support her. He can't start crap with her while her friends are there telling him to move on, nothing to see here. We constantly tell people to have friends there to support them and stop the WS's from bullying him.

I love some of your suggestions...but I think her having her friends there to support her and help make sure he doesn't take things that he isn't suppose to is just what the doctor ordered.

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