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Old 06-12-2024, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
20,534 posts, read 14,983,068 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamajane View Post
If you haven't talked to your kids about this, it's never too late. It sounds like they are discovering they can't necessarily get away with certain behaviors without consequence. I hope your son takes responsibility for his actions that got him arrested and understands why it was wrong.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bu2 View Post
Seems like a perfect opportunity to do that. He has a reason to listen.

Now some people have the attitude that people are always trying to screw them and its always someone else's fault, so he may not listen. It sounds like your ex thinks that way. That is a really self-defeating attitude. They need to understand that even more than knowing they can't fly off the handle. If you take responsibility for your actions instead of blaming others, then there is room for improvement.
Oh yes, absolutely. I talk to this son a LOT. Every day, often multiple times a day. And I've been hitting hard at a particular belief I hold which is that taking responsibility is not a matter of beating yourself down with guilt, but having control and empowerment for your own choices, outcomes, and future. While he does have some struggles with his mental and physical health, he's been sober for the last 3 months (since the arrest) and he's in a "do everything the court says and you won't go to jail" situation here. He is trying to get as much learning and growth as he can from all of this. And he is very insightful and does listen, when he's sober, to the things that he's being told about all of this.

Thing is, it really does not matter if he can say, "but SHE did xyz" which has at times been his position...it was an all around train wreck of a relationship with both parties being utterly off the rails... I told him straight out, a month or two before this happened that if he kept messing around with this girl, he was GOING to end up in jail. Not that he may or he might, but he was GOING TO. They were driving around on drugs and alcohol (well, she was driving, until she totaled the car) it's a wonder no one was killed. Being responsible always includes knowing when to walk away. It can be a hard lesson to learn, but it's an important one. And not that it matters a lot to this conversation, but he didn't beat her up, they got in a drunken scuffle on the side of the road. She was threatening self harm and trying to leave, he was trying to get her to stay put and let him get an Uber to get her home. Both of them were hammered. She hit him, too. Neither of them sustained any injury. But they were seen and it didn't look good, so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Damnitjanet View Post
My ex's Mom was mentally ill. I am not saying that you're ex's behavior is right or justified. It's not. This situation is screwed up and I completely understand your anger and resentment here about this situation. You are totally justified in feeling angry about this situation.

Tactically though, how successful have you been in the past when you actually expressed anger at your ex? Can you honestly think of a time where getting angry with him made this situation better?

If you go blow up at your ex is that going to make him more willing or less willing to work with you productively in dealing with your son?

I will say the times, I got angry at my ex's Mom, that never went well for me. It was just putting fires out with gasoline. It just created a complete sh*tstorm.

As to your son getting arrested, even if you got angry at your ex, how confident are you that ( you in standing up to your ex by getting angry at him) would stop your son from getting arrested? Mental illness often creates impulse control issues. Young men who aren't mentally ill also regularly hit their girlfriends. Are you blaming your ex here so you can also blame yourself for your kid hitting his girlfriend?

Sometimes life is just messy and no one is to blame. Maybe the problem is just mental illness is a really screwed up situation. Does blame really need to be assigned and apportioned here?

I see nothing wrong with putting distance between you and your ex and would encourage you to do that to the extent it is feasible to do so.

But in the limited times you need to actually deal with him, I question whether it's constructive to actually direct your anger at him.

As to your ex spinning stories about you, trust your kids more. They both have extensive histories with both of you. Yes they listen to what you both say, but they also judge both of you on your past interactions with them. They will see through both their Dad's and their Mom's bs.
No, I've said repeatedly that there's no point in confronting my ex. I know that. I do feel some frustration about that fact, but it does not change it. This is more a matter of looking honestly at my feelings, I'm tired of pretending I like him. I don't like him! I can be cordial at the necessary level without pretending to be his buddy, or pretending to share his opinions (on subjects unrelated to our sons) which I am not, and I do not. I'm not talking about blowing things up there. Though it sure would be nice if one day I don't have to talk to him anymore. I used to have a lot of fantasies of giving him a piece of my mind, very much the way one might fantasize about quitting a job and unloading on a jerky boss on that last day, you know? But I have stopped having those one sided mental conversations. Haven't really done that for years.

I mean it was not so many months ago around here that I said that I still had some kind of familial love for him just because we were together for so many years. That I cared, that I wished him well. Well, I think I've had about enough of that. Not that I wish him ill, I just don't wish him anything. He will get whatever he cares to get for himself, and since his life has been years of passive aggressive slow suicide it probably won't be good, and it isn't my problem to care about one way or another. But being fawningly forgiving doesn't necessarily make me a better person. It might make me a liar.

And, too, as I've said, part of my feeling of needing some emotional honesty there has to do with interaction with my sons. I don't want them to feel as though I condone their father's behavior. Or that it isn't harmful, just because they don't see any really emotive explosions from me about it. And I want them to know that they have the right to feel whatever they feel about these things, too...and yet, we all do still have to control our behavior.

But no, I have no intention of blowing up at anyone or flying off any handle at anybody. My therapist might think it's weird that I can sit there calmly and tell her that I am very angry...whatever it is she thinks I ought to be doing to perform that emotion for her, I do not know... But I don't want to be a "fly off the handle" person. I never have been and I don't expect to start. I just want to let myself feel what I feel, because I don't think that denial of it has been the right path.
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Old 06-12-2024, 11:31 AM
 
19,989 posts, read 12,517,790 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
Oh yes, absolutely. I talk to this son a LOT. Every day, often multiple times a day. And I've been hitting hard at a particular belief I hold which is that taking responsibility is not a matter of beating yourself down with guilt, but having control and empowerment for your own choices, outcomes, and future. While he does have some struggles with his mental and physical health, he's been sober for the last 3 months (since the arrest) and he's in a "do everything the court says and you won't go to jail" situation here. He is trying to get as much learning and growth as he can from all of this. And he is very insightful and does listen, when he's sober, to the things that he's being told about all of this.

Thing is, it really does not matter if he can say, "but SHE did xyz" which has at times been his position...it was an all around train wreck of a relationship with both parties being utterly off the rails... I told him straight out, a month or two before this happened that if he kept messing around with this girl, he was GOING to end up in jail. Not that he may or he might, but he was GOING TO. They were driving around on drugs and alcohol (well, she was driving, until she totaled the car) it's a wonder no one was killed. Being responsible always includes knowing when to walk away. It can be a hard lesson to learn, but it's an important one. And not that it matters a lot to this conversation, but he didn't beat her up, they got in a drunken scuffle on the side of the road. She was threatening self harm and trying to leave, he was trying to get her to stay put and let him get an Uber to get her home. Both of them were hammered. She hit him, too. Neither of them sustained any injury. But they were seen and it didn't look good, so.



No, I've said repeatedly that there's no point in confronting my ex. I know that. I do feel some frustration about that fact, but it does not change it. This is more a matter of looking honestly at my feelings, I'm tired of pretending I like him. I don't like him! I can be cordial at the necessary level without pretending to be his buddy, or pretending to share his opinions (on subjects unrelated to our sons) which I am not, and I do not. I'm not talking about blowing things up there. Though it sure would be nice if one day I don't have to talk to him anymore. I used to have a lot of fantasies of giving him a piece of my mind, very much the way one might fantasize about quitting a job and unloading on a jerky boss on that last day, you know? But I have stopped having those one sided mental conversations. Haven't really done that for years.

I mean it was not so many months ago around here that I said that I still had some kind of familial love for him just because we were together for so many years. That I cared, that I wished him well. Well, I think I've had about enough of that. Not that I wish him ill, I just don't wish him anything. He will get whatever he cares to get for himself, and since his life has been years of passive aggressive slow suicide it probably won't be good, and it isn't my problem to care about one way or another. But being fawningly forgiving doesn't necessarily make me a better person. It might make me a liar.

And, too, as I've said, part of my feeling of needing some emotional honesty there has to do with interaction with my sons. I don't want them to feel as though I condone their father's behavior. Or that it isn't harmful, just because they don't see any really emotive explosions from me about it. And I want them to know that they have the right to feel whatever they feel about these things, too...and yet, we all do still have to control our behavior.

But no, I have no intention of blowing up at anyone or flying off any handle at anybody. My therapist might think it's weird that I can sit there calmly and tell her that I am very angry...whatever it is she thinks I ought to be doing to perform that emotion for her, I do not know... But I don't want to be a "fly off the handle" person. I never have been and I don't expect to start. I just want to let myself feel what I feel, because I don't think that denial of it has been the right path.
I bet you will feel so much better if you can get with a good therapist and work through this to where you want to be.

What you are saying makes a lot of sense and sounds really healthy for you and your family. Your sons definitely should not think you condone your ex's behavior.

I also don't know about your therapist wanting you to be very emotive talking about it. I have talked to people about some pretty intense things with no real emotional display, and sometimes because of that they didn't take it very seriously or believe I was feeling deeply about it. But I feel like our sincere words should be enough.
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Old 06-12-2024, 12:06 PM
 
Location: Mayberry
36,597 posts, read 16,184,592 times
Reputation: 72967
You can't change him, you can only change your reaction to him. If you're holding it in, you have to let it out through therapy.
I still have things come up where I have been wronged. I removed them from my life. I'm alone, so I can release anger and then let it go.

Now my friend from Colorado moved here about 6 years ago. We became friends, her hubby was still in CO. closing down he psychotherapy business. She went to Puerto Vallarta with friends, 20 yr friends from CO. A couple weeks after she came home, received an email from them about her behavior and how terrible the trip was, not a lot of detail. Hasn't talked to them since. A 30 yr friend she went to visit on the coast had her leaving early, and staying in a hotel and returning home. Some argument, between friend and husband and her. She won't talk about it and has not reached out to her at all.

^^^^This I totally don't understand losing friends left and right. I think about it all the time. I have mentioned it a couple times. But just nothing responsive.
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Old 06-12-2024, 01:10 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
20,534 posts, read 14,983,068 times
Reputation: 39887
Quote:
Originally Posted by tasmtairy View Post
You can't change him, you can only change your reaction to him. If you're holding it in, you have to let it out through therapy.
I still have things come up where I have been wronged. I removed them from my life. I'm alone, so I can release anger and then let it go.

Now my friend from Colorado moved here about 6 years ago. We became friends, her hubby was still in CO. closing down he psychotherapy business. She went to Puerto Vallarta with friends, 20 yr friends from CO. A couple weeks after she came home, received an email from them about her behavior and how terrible the trip was, not a lot of detail. Hasn't talked to them since. A 30 yr friend she went to visit on the coast had her leaving early, and staying in a hotel and returning home. Some argument, between friend and husband and her. She won't talk about it and has not reached out to her at all.

^^^^This I totally don't understand losing friends left and right. I think about it all the time. I have mentioned it a couple times. But just nothing responsive.
This situation makes me wonder if she has alcohol issues. Like maybe she doesn't normally drink, but when she does, she makes a horse's backside of herself, y'know? I once took a "friend" on a trip...honestly someone I should not have been friends with, but that's beside the point. He was normally tolerable, sometimes even fun and pleasant to be around. But on that trip, he was HORRIBLE. Ended up getting really drunk and destructive, wrecked the hotel room I paid for...just a nightmare. I stopped speaking to him after that. Now he was no 20-30 year friend or anything, but even if he were...anyone who acts like that is someone I don't want in my life.
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Old 06-12-2024, 02:42 PM
 
Location: SF/Mill Valley
8,963 posts, read 4,101,179 times
Reputation: 6327
Quote:
Originally Posted by elyn02 View Post
I agree.

I remember being told that I make a mountain out of a mole hill (might be true). But I came back and said then don't make a mole hill where there wasn't one.
Yeah, the point is to express one’s (reason for their) anger calmly rather than ‘make a big deal out of nothing’, especially relative to acquaintances or casual friends who couldn’t care less. Actually, it can be inappropriate regarding folks we know as well, if the other person is not emotionally-invested/interested, particularly if it’s grounded in their past. Hence the importance of working through (and expressing) anger in a healthy manner i.e. assertively vs. aggressively (as well as appropriately).
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Old 06-12-2024, 03:11 PM
 
7,701 posts, read 4,266,855 times
Reputation: 7082
Quote:
Originally Posted by CorporateCowboy View Post
Yeah, the point is to express one’s (reason for their) anger calmly rather than ‘make a big deal out of nothing’, especially relative to acquaintances or casual friends who couldn’t care less. Actually, it can be inappropriate regarding folks we know as well, if the other person is not emotionally-invested/interested, particularly if it’s grounded in their past. Hence the importance of working through (and expressing) anger in a healthy manner i.e. assertively vs. aggressively (as well as appropriately).
Nothing to disagree with here.

To be honest, the best way I learned to express my anger calmly was to have it modeled for me, not explicitly, but through observing others in real-time. I know you mean well, but it was difficult for me to determine when I was assertive vs aggressive. And the answer to that was just spending more time with people who made sense. As my network built up, for example, all one woman had to say was that I was her friend, then all kinds of support poured in, the anger just wasn't there anymore.
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Old 06-13-2024, 04:06 PM
 
Location: In your head
1,080 posts, read 598,819 times
Reputation: 1650
I just give it time.

Sometimes I vent to close confidants. Sometimes I might shout into a pillow. Sometimes I will take it out in a run or bike ride while achieving personal records to boot .

But at the end of the day, I just give it time. And eventually I'm not angry about it anymore. I am typically very good at moving past the thing I'm angry about after I've had my moment to gripe about it.
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Old 06-19-2024, 11:01 AM
 
Location: US
3,352 posts, read 1,165,463 times
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Pistol shooting, a great stress reliever. Better than Tai Chi, ha ha.
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Old 06-21-2024, 08:15 AM
 
Location: In the bee-loud glade
5,584 posts, read 3,391,723 times
Reputation: 12353
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
Oh yes, absolutely. I talk to this son a LOT. Every day, often multiple times a day. And I've been hitting hard at a particular belief I hold which is that taking responsibility is not a matter of beating yourself down with guilt, but having control and empowerment for your own choices, outcomes, and future. While he does have some struggles with his mental and physical health, he's been sober for the last 3 months (since the arrest) and he's in a "do everything the court says and you won't go to jail" situation here. He is trying to get as much learning and growth as he can from all of this. And he is very insightful and does listen, when he's sober, to the things that he's being told about all of this.

Thing is, it really does not matter if he can say, "but SHE did xyz" which has at times been his position...it was an all around train wreck of a relationship with both parties being utterly off the rails... I told him straight out, a month or two before this happened that if he kept messing around with this girl, he was GOING to end up in jail. Not that he may or he might, but he was GOING TO. They were driving around on drugs and alcohol (well, she was driving, until she totaled the car) it's a wonder no one was killed. Being responsible always includes knowing when to walk away. It can be a hard lesson to learn, but it's an important one. And not that it matters a lot to this conversation, but he didn't beat her up, they got in a drunken scuffle on the side of the road. She was threatening self harm and trying to leave, he was trying to get her to stay put and let him get an Uber to get her home. Both of them were hammered. She hit him, too. Neither of them sustained any injury. But they were seen and it didn't look good, so.



No, I've said repeatedly that there's no point in confronting my ex. I know that. I do feel some frustration about that fact, but it does not change it. This is more a matter of looking honestly at my feelings, I'm tired of pretending I like him. I don't like him! I can be cordial at the necessary level without pretending to be his buddy, or pretending to share his opinions (on subjects unrelated to our sons) which I am not, and I do not. I'm not talking about blowing things up there. Though it sure would be nice if one day I don't have to talk to him anymore. I used to have a lot of fantasies of giving him a piece of my mind, very much the way one might fantasize about quitting a job and unloading on a jerky boss on that last day, you know? But I have stopped having those one sided mental conversations. Haven't really done that for years.

I mean it was not so many months ago around here that I said that I still had some kind of familial love for him just because we were together for so many years. That I cared, that I wished him well. Well, I think I've had about enough of that. Not that I wish him ill, I just don't wish him anything. He will get whatever he cares to get for himself, and since his life has been years of passive aggressive slow suicide it probably won't be good, and it isn't my problem to care about one way or another. But being fawningly forgiving doesn't necessarily make me a better person. It might make me a liar.

And, too, as I've said, part of my feeling of needing some emotional honesty there has to do with interaction with my sons. I don't want them to feel as though I condone their father's behavior. Or that it isn't harmful, just because they don't see any really emotive explosions from me about it. And I want them to know that they have the right to feel whatever they feel about these things, too...and yet, we all do still have to control our behavior.

But no, I have no intention of blowing up at anyone or flying off any handle at anybody. My therapist might think it's weird that I can sit there calmly and tell her that I am very angry...whatever it is she thinks I ought to be doing to perform that emotion for her, I do not know... But I don't want to be a "fly off the handle" person. I never have been and I don't expect to start. I just want to let myself feel what I feel, because I don't think that denial of it has been the right path.
To start, from an earlier comment you made, "Impotent Pillow" will be the name of my new band. Yeah, I'm old and I don't even play an instrument, but I got a band name and that's a start.

What I bolded seems like a really healthy expression of anger. Isn't that anger's definition, having had enough of that, whatever that is? Interestingly, that anger doesn't seem to be entirely directed at your ex's behavior, but also at how you've tried to accommodate the mess he made of his life and his dragging you and your sons through that muck. You won't continue to twist yourself in knots trying to make sense of him or your response to him anymore.

But anger is "I think I've had enough of that". The clear implication is that I won't be having more. A boundary. Although I probably have more respect or comfort with the flashes of anger that are meant to activate us act to correct some wrong, in our world those occurences are rare. And in any case, you seem to be dealing with the long simmering kind of anger, wanting or at least wishing there was something like justice in situations where justice seems to be on leave.

But absent justice, setting a boundary is a healthy way go. Even if the boundary is partly with yourself and your thoughts about the thing that has you angry. Enough of that is a really great place to land in a world that goes on turning without much apparent notice or concern for how ****ed up things can be. And there's ample room for that boundary in the concept of "good woman".

Last thing, knowing you a bit, don't confuse your ex's behavior or the behavior of other significant people in your life for a healthy boundary setting kind of anger. Mistreating someone is not an expression of anger. Responding effectively to that mistreatment so that it won't happen to you again is.
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Old Today, 08:54 AM
 
Location: Southern MN
12,273 posts, read 8,705,156 times
Reputation: 45631
I'm rereading here and realized what I want to say. Think we all missed it although some alluded to it in the temporary feeling comments.

Anger is identified by psychologists as a "masking" emotion. That means another more difficult feeling to admit or express is hiding under the anger.

So when anger over an issue keeps returning it's probably because the more important feeling is not finding expression/resolution. Often we aren't even aware there's a more problematic feeling there and sometimes we know but it's too vulnerable a situation to expose. We feel hurt, unimportant, abused, left out, any number of things we don't want to say out loud or even admit to ourselves.

Sorry, can't remember who said earlier in this discussion not to let "them" win. It would feel like a win/lose situation when you are concealing your real needs. And frankly you can't always discuss those real needs with people who aren't supportive.

But there is no battle with others at all. The struggle is always with the self. You own it all and, good news, you fix it all. The real work is to look into your heart and ask why does this make me feel so angry and to challenge whatever personal rule you may be carrying that demands anger of you. Whatever it is, however righteous or true, it's not working for you.
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