Who wants a crybaby?
The Ex Files
My daughter's been acting out a lot lately. It's got to be tough to jump back and forth between two homes. She's feeling a lot of rage about it. I know I wouldn't want to do it. So tonight my EX and I met at the shrink's office to discuss what to do.
The half hour we spent in her tiny little room is the most time I've been with him since we divorced. It made me very tense. As I sat there, I could feel bile rising up in my throat. I rarely look him in the eye anymore which also makes having a dialogue kind of interesting.
He was fairly composed as we talked parenting strategy. I got the feeling he was trying to pretend everything was ok. Or maybe that's just wishful feeling on my part...
Then the therapist brought up something interesting. She explained that our daughter was having a difficult time talking about how she felt. And the doctor felt that her relunctance was based on my EX's behavior. She explained: "S" gets two examples of behavior. She gets angst and sadness from her mom. And she gets distance and avoidance from you."
And it was like a bomb went off in my head.
In just two little words, she captured my EX's personality brilliantly. That magic combo of distance and avoidance. Throughout our marriage, he distanced himself from me while he avoided talking about his feelings. Then she asked him if he empathized with our daughter over the holidays about how we weren't a family anymore and how hard that must be for her. (My daughter had discussed in therapy how my EX's family never talks about the divorce or how she must feel. They just pretend that everything's hunky dory. Think how Twilight Zone that is.)
He said he did talk with her about that but then he gave these references - "Well my sister-in-law got together with Bonk and my mom called her, too." Talk about not answering the question. So the shrink probed more and said, "That's not what I asked. I asked if you talked to your daughter. Not Bonk."