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Doing better with this response thing

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kg201 posted 8/10/2014 19:32 PM

I was at dad's weekend with my son at his camp over the last few days. I had to turn him over to my X at 1:00 because that is when the moms came to be with the campers. We had a few bad exchanges this past week so I was not pleased to see her in person, and ignored her as I said goodbye to my son! and hello to my older son who had come with her. As I was walking away I heard her say, "hello Kris" in a snarky way. I kept going. I knew she was going to be pissed about my ignoring her and I planned responses in my head for the whole two hours home.

And then an hour after I returned I got the text from her saying, "When in front of the children, please acknowledge my existence. Our children would appreciate it, even if you don't give a shit about me."

I wanted to respond with, "you're not fooling anyone with this caring about the kids thing." OR "you fired me from giving a shit about you."

But I haven't. And I feel good about that, even though I soooo want to. Those of you who have read my threads know that not responding to her bull has been hard for me.

The last part, the "even if you don't give a shit" part is the first time she has verbalized the " it's all about me." I have read on SI about how other waywards has spent countless hours asking for their BSs to have a pity party for them , but this is the first time I have seen my X put it in words (I have known This from her actions, but not her words).

Anyway...I am curious to see whether she is going to keep on this issue if I don't respond.

caregiver9000 posted 8/10/2014 19:46 PM

I will loudly applaud your lack of response!!!

Kudos to you, sir.

tesla posted 8/10/2014 19:58 PM

Good for you!
Keep cutting those strings that she has attached to you.

hopefulmom44 posted 8/10/2014 20:14 PM


I perfectly understand your position! I have an extremely difficult time talking to my STBXWH when he brings me the kids. However, my kids can sense the tension between both of us and I try my darnest to be cordial with him during drop off. My kids are very sensitive right now. I think it's because my transition is very recent.

Nature_Girl posted 8/10/2014 21:34 PM

Soon you will be a perfect image of this man!

LifeIsBroken posted 8/10/2014 21:54 PM

Hmmmm, KG…. if you acknowledge her existence, well, you would have to acknowledge her existence ! I don't recall reading any rule where you have to acknowledge her in any manner at all. Your children aren't stupid. They know you're divorcing, right ? Personally, I don't believe in rewarding bad behavior. Their mother behaved badly. If you 'acknowledge' her, it could be argued you are rewarding her bad behavior by being civil to her - thus sending a mixed message to the kiddos. Personally, I'd be willing to bet your lack of acknowledgement bothers her a whole lot more than it bothers the children.

Nature_Girl posted 8/10/2014 21:56 PM

Personally, I'd be willing to bet your lack of acknowledgement bothers her a whole lot more than it bothers the children.


SBB posted 8/11/2014 01:45 AM

Ooooh, I'm liking those skinny crickets you are sporting!

Ignore - I got the same bullshit. Sorry, the kids would have appreciated their father not fucking around and exposing me (and them by proxy) to STDs. They would have appreciated not being dragged into this mess he made.

Before I was good at NC I said to the sad clown: "What you think of me matters less than you might imagine."

I now say it to myself whenever he dangles some puny bait in my face.

That was pure baiting, in case you missed it. There are about 3 different attempts to bait in only a few words.

1) you ignored me;
2) you're hurting the kids;
3) you don't care about me.
4) and 5) if you include her even noticing WTF you are doing AND feeling the need to contact you about it.

Bitch needs better bait.

Stay strong KG. You don't have to respond to this and it would be better if you didn't - it would be a bigger FUCK YOU to her and it will also make you feel stronger in the long run. I completely ignore this stuff - no matter how crazy it got. I did take the bait a few times and I ALWAYS felt worse for it.

I wish I had taken photos of the bite marks on my fist to show you I KNOW how hard it is in the beginning. But the more you do it the less hard it is.

Ironically, that is also why they find it so easy to cheat over and over again. Fuckers.

Softcentre posted 8/11/2014 02:54 AM

Well done KG!

The Arse does the whole "Bye!!!" in an angry voice because I only pay attention to the children at handover and refuse to look at him even if he talks to me. He hasn't had the guts to text/email me about though.

Also look out for them emailing/texting just before/after handover to try and 'spoil' your time (either alone time, or time with the kiddos). The Arse does this a lot. He gets crickets unless it's urgent & within my NC rules. And I don't even look at his emails until the children are in bed and I'm feeling happy to deal with his arsery.

You did great

Sad in AZ posted 8/11/2014 05:21 AM

I disagree; no contact when you are in person should be a polite 'hello'. Her snark aside, she is right; you should behave civilly in front of your children. Ignoring her is childish, and sends a very bad message to your kids. You should treat her as politely as you would treat a stranger.

If she tries to engage further, a small smile, and 'Gotta go!' puts an end to any further engagement. If she responds angrily to this via text, then you just ignore.

Here is a helpful article from the Healing Library:

Softcentre posted 8/11/2014 05:38 AM

Sad in AZ - I think it depends on how you feel you'd react.

If I greet The Arse face to face (as I've tried to do in the past) I get tense/angry, the kids pick up on it,The Arse picks up on it and gets ego kibbles. He does keep trying to engage me, but I ignore. He tries to ask me whether the kids have [fill in blank here]. I just help tighten a shoe/rummage in my handbag while I reply...and he gets no kibbles.

Instead, I put the whole focus on the children. Being smiley with them and excited for them (seeing them happy makes me smile). They go away feeling happy and jumping with excitement. I feel sad that they're gone & hurt, but happy that they're happy IYSWIM?


Sad in AZ posted 8/11/2014 05:48 AM

If I greet The Arse face to face (as I've tried to do in the past) I get tense/angry

You can change this response; you are a sentient human being and you can retrain yourself to not react this way. If you are creating tenseness and communicating this to your children, you are the problem, not your ex (in this case only; not in the sordid mess.)

Softcentre posted 8/11/2014 06:07 AM

Sad in AZ - My IC said I shouldn't pretend I was ok with The Arse, even in front of the children, if I'm not, because it teaches me to lie to myself and deny my feelings (something I did far too much during our M). I'm not tense if I don't have to look at him. So I choose not to look at him. It works for us. I'm glad your way works for you. There isn't just one way of dealing with this kind of thing.

Sad in AZ posted 8/11/2014 06:19 AM

One more try: It's not pretending you're ok. It's being civil. Read the article in the healing library. It's a good one, and it's tried & true. Taking the high road where your kids are concerned (and that is my only concern--not the feelings of the ex) is always a good thing.

neverbeokay posted 8/11/2014 07:29 AM

Agree with Sad in AZ. It's passive aggressive to ignore and children pick up on that. A simple reserved, breezy, or careless acknowledgement - not a conversation - is all that is needed.

A bonus is that it is even more infuriating to them when they realize they can no longer push your buttons.

kg201 posted 8/11/2014 08:00 AM

Thank you once again SI. I appreciate the responses.

I think both of you, Sad in AZ and Softcentre, are correct here. The ideal would be to be civil during transitions and I think that in general I have been.

The problem this weekend was that last week there were several times where I did respond to her texts and ended up pissed off (NC is a good thing). So I knew I would be angry if I saw her this weekend. As Softcentre said, I wanted to avoid being angry in front of her and the kids. In fact, my goal was to leave the camp before she came. The problem was that she was going to be late, and my son was appearing anxious about it. So I decided to stay with him to reduce his anxiety. The way I responded when she and my older son arrived was not ideal but it was the way I could manage the anger from the previous week.

I did realize this morning that the reason I was able not to respond to her text this time was because I had the two hour drive to think about it. I knew she was going to say something and the gap allowed me to make the decision to not respond. That is why the suggestion to come to SI and write it out before doing anything is a good one.

SI = a long car ride from camp.

[This message edited by kg201 at 8:00 AM, August 11th (Monday)]

Abbondad posted 8/11/2014 08:18 AM

I go through this at our occasional face-to-face exchanges as well, and one time I also received a "please be nice to me in front of the children" emails.

I have never been anything but "nice." However, I am distant. Cordial and polite but distant. I nod when she blathers to me in a contrived happy tone about how great the kids are, what they did, etc. And then I get the hell out as fast as possible.

What she wants is to play Happy Family. In my situation, I believe in doing so she gets a crumb of cake from the closed bakery. I won't play the game. But again, I reign in my anger for the children's sake.

Polite, distant and then...zoom. Pedal to the metal. That's my advice.

Lola2kids posted 8/11/2014 11:30 AM

I agree with a lot of these points of view.

At times I can appear detatched and cordial.
Sometimes I am uncomfortable and tend to avoid eye contact with him and try to focus on the kids even more.

It depends on the situation and the exchanges we have had away from the kids.

He crosses the line sometimes and comments on my lack of eye contact right in front of the kids.

Honestly, I try the best I can to be cordial but I agree that if we have been butting heads about something (him taking the kids on vacation with OW and her son for example) this will affect my mood and response to him on exchanges.

I'm hoping it gets better for you kg201.
This sucks.

Gemini71 posted 8/11/2014 11:34 AM

Personally, I'd be willing to bet your lack of acknowledgement bothers her a whole lot more than it bothers the children.

As NG said, BINGO!

Personally, I smile and nod at Dipshit. That is enough. In this particular case, crickets were the only appropriate response to a snide "Hi Kris." If she ever speaks cordially to you, reply in kind.

As others have pointed out, this is a plea for a pity party.

caregiver9000 posted 8/11/2014 13:48 PM

I look at exchanges with the ex the same way I do someone in line with me at the grocery store. If you bump my cart and apologize sincerely, I will smile and nod. If you make snarky remarks about the contents of my cart, I will ignore you. If there is nothing causing us to interact, I will stand politely and wait my turn, but I am not your best friend or obligated to entertain to.

I think in response to snark, the best response is the one you would have your kids do in response to a school yard bully pulling the same kind of thing. You don't want to punch her in the throat, but you don't cater to a bully either. Ignore.

I am not friends or friendly. I am not rude. My kids see me modeling boundaries and hopefully, the fact that I have enough self respect not to be socially nice nice with someone who has proven time and again to be emotionally and psychologically unsafe. If they ever get to the same point, I will be satisfied if they model their behavior after mine whether it be with their father, a bully or failed relationship with a peer. Could they get away with ignoring this type of interaction with a boss or a teacher? Probably not, but that involves an imbalance of power. My ex is not my boss and as much as he would like to have power over me, I am not obligated to be "nice" nor are there any consequences for it.

Of course, I feel I should disclose that I am pretty hard core on this due to discussions with therapists on how to protect my kids from abuse. Teaching them that socially acceptable responses are not healthy when dealing with someone who is unsafe.

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