Q: My son's dad simply ignores my questions when he doesn't feel like answering. I am trying so hard to be flexible, co-operative, kind, helpful, and even forgiving in the face of his hurtful, mean-spirited manner and downright rude behavior. I feel so angry I get to tears. I can't yell, scream, or curse, so I end up crying. I feel so hurt that this man I made a child with could treat me so terribly. I don't know how to deal with it. I can't do this alone. He hates me and I can't change it. No matter how nice I am or the nice things I do, they are disregarded in an instant if he is angry. He's almost got me believing he's right. We can't co-parent. It might be impossible.
A: Oh honey, I feel your pain. It's almost unbearable, isn't it? I've been there, too.
He's not right about you, and may never be able to see you clearly again. And that's not your fault.
And to preserve your sanity and your kind heart, you are going to need to rely on your friends for support. Specifically, in my opinion the best kind of support in this situation is a safe place to rant, rave, and express your grief, without having to listen to advice or reframing. You just need to let it all out to someone, to unburden your heart which is growing so weary from carrying all of this pain.
I hope you can find several friends who will agree to play this role for you. Ask them if they'd be willing to just listen, and say nothing more than mmm hmm, uh huh, and that's hard. No buts,
or you shoulds, or he shoulds. Just pure listening, with no judgments.
Ideally, someone can listen while you yell, scream and curse, too. (And you may offer to listen to them in this way as well. Everyone needs pure listening for one reason or another!)
I think you'll find that you feel much better after that release happens. And since this is an ongoing situation, you'll need ongoing listening.
What may begin to happen as you unload these feelings is that you'll stop looking to him for a reflection of who you are, and start looking within you and to your close friends. It's gradual, but it does happen.
You are right that you can't change him. But you can take good care of yourself, and you can begin to let go of any expectation that he will be nice, which might sound sad at first, but soon becomes a true relief. It's much easier to deal with the reality of the moment when we are not so busy wishing it was some other way.
You'll figure this out. It might not look like other co-parenting arrangements you see, but parallel parenting can work just fine. No matter what, he can never take your integrity from you. Keep taking the high road while releasing and venting your inevitable and normal feelings of frustration and grief to your friends. I think someday you'll look back on how you handled this and feel very proud of yourself. What you are doing is incredibly hard.
I hope this helps. Please keep in touch.
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