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Ask Coach Jen K. Your Own Question

Coach Jen K.
Coach Jen K., LMSW, CPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1722
Experience:  Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Life Coach
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My ex husband and I have been divorced for 10 years. We have

Resolved Question:

My ex husband and I have been divorced for 10 years. We have one child from our marriage. For the last 10 years we have battled with each other. He has refused to provide financial, physical and emotional support for our son the entire time. A few years ago, I think he tried really hard to start coming around and becoming a batter father. Sadly, it appears anytime child support begins to be too much for him he digresses and get overly angry. I can not communicate with him and (in my opinion) anything rational I try to explain he freaks out.

I admit that there have been lingering feels for years and during our first 8 years after the divorce we would have this rocky relationship. One second he'd hate me, the other he was just mad, the next he felt he made a mistake, and then it would cycle again. It is so frustrating, but 2 years ago I mentally couldn't take it anymore and I moved on. Last year he announced his new perfect relationship with a girl he had just had a child with. Knowing he was happy and moving on was what I think I needed and I no longer have these feelings of a possible reunion between us and our child. I am so disgusted by how he treats our son and in 10 years he has only seen him twice and talked a handful of times with him.

After his 8 month vanishing and not returning or accepting my calls, my ex called me and began to explain that I ruined him. The fact that I cheated before we married and didn't tell him until after we were married makes him furious. He says I didn't give him a choice to be with me and because of that I have created this terrible life for him. He seems to be a wreck. Yes I cheated and yes I didn't give him the choice to stay, but it has been 10 years since our divorce and I would think he'd be over it by now. Not to mention, for that 8 years he often told me how he loved me and felt like an idiot for running away. If he has this perfect happy household now, why does he have so many emotions about me cheating before we married? He even said he can't ever see our son until he's older because he can't stand the sight of me. Why is this happening? How do I deal with the situation? I scared that my mistake when I was 19 yrs old will hurt my son!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Coach Jen K. replied 1 year ago.

CoachJenK :

Hi. Welcome. I am a Licensed Master Social Worker with more than 20 years experience working with individuals and families on a variety of issues.

CoachJenK :

I hear your turmoil, but I must say that you cannot take responsibility for your ex's behavior toward his son.


 

CoachJenK :

Everyone makes mistakes in judgment but that does not give him the right to abandon his child and if he chooses to do so that is his choice.


 

Customer:

Oh I know this, but its so frustrating and I can not logically understand why he allows our issues to effect his relationship with our son.


 

CoachJenK :

because of his own issues and his own failings. It is terrible that this is happening to your son but clearly his anger has gotten the best of him and he is taking those feelings out on his child.


 

CoachJenK :

he would have to look deep within to work out his feelings and i dont hear a man that has that ability.


 

Customer:

he mentioned that he began seeing a counselor, which really surprised me.


 

CoachJenK :

it is surprising but wonderful news. that is where he can process it all...let go of this anger and do right by his child.


 

Customer:

And the way he was talking made me believe him, but why after so many years is he going to place this blame on me and why is he so concerned with it


 

CoachJenK :

it will be in therapy where he will have to look at all of it and realize that all the blame is not on you


 

CoachJenK :

it sounds as if he has many unresolved feelings and powerful feelings toward you....mainly still love and anger that it didnt work.


 

Customer:

i tried to tell him he was right; I made that mistake, I didn't give him a choice, I lied, etc... and my saying sorry just seemed to make him more upset


 

CoachJenK :

I believe you have dont what you can in that regard...at some point we have to let go and move on from the hurt.


 

CoachJenK :

for how long can you beat yourself up for a mistake made so many years ago? you need to go easy on yourself here and that mistake is not what is hurting your son now. Your exs choice not to be a father to him is the issue.


 

Customer:

exactly! I try not to place blame on me and I think I can rationalize this pretty well, I just get so confused. Im nice I get yelled at.. Im mean I get yelled at... I dont call for months I get yelled at and everything else i do i get yelled at. The mind games get hard and Im constantly having to reassure myself that Im not crazy... does it ever get better? I'm always around to be this sounding board for him because im scared if I don't he's going to have a reason for walking away


 

CoachJenK :

he already has walked away and i think it is time to take care of yourself and your son and let him take responsibility for his behavior. you have apologized and done what you can to make things right. 13 years is a long time to hang onto this anger and be manipulative because of it.


 

CoachJenK :

really the only thing that should occur now is him being a father to his child. If he cannot come around and do that then it is on him...not you. nor does he have to see you...he can pick up and drop off without interacting with you.


 

CoachJenK :

if he reamins angry and out of his sons life he feels justified not paying support.


 

CoachJenK :

time for you now and your son!


 

Customer:

well he can't do that... hes in PA and im on the other side of the US. because he hasnt seen him, its ordered that I be there during the first few visits. I guess this is where I am so emotionally immature... I can't even imagine sharing my son with him, let alone his girlfriend, who I think is just as much of a irrational person as he is


 

CoachJenK :

I understand it...hard to share with him as he has been so absent and it is hard as there is this woman. all of those feelings are normal, but I can hear in you a wonderful mom and someone who will do what is right for your son while putting your needs aside.


 

CoachJenK :

and then I am glad you are with them so you can make sure your son is being treated well.


 

CoachJenK :

you be the rational and calm one...that goes a long way no matter how they chose to behave. you will always know in your heart that you have done what is best for your child.


 

Customer:

a question: I have held his butt to the fire for the entire 10 years... When he trys to get out of child support, I find his new job. I have taken every measure I can to make sure he at least contributes financially... sometimes it works and other times it just takes me longer to figure it out. I also get really REALLY mad when he brings my family into this and tells them and our mutual friend what a terrible person I am... so I put a website up :( dedicated to posting facts about our situation... im have our recorded phine calls, emails and anything else that factually shows what I deal with... my mother and father think Im wrong for doing this abd I should just let him be the one in the wrong.... in many ways, but not all the time I am proud of this site and like the fact that it is a running document of the nonsense


 

CoachJenK :

I think you can have a running document without a website. i think that just fuels the fire and continues this bad cycle between the two of you.


 

CoachJenK :

keep notes for yourself but nothing public.


 

CoachJenK :

just because he says things about you doesnt


mean it is true or that others believe.

CoachJenK :

you need to take the high road here and be an example for your son


 

Customer:

ugh, i know it does... Im just so sick of it... and its been my little way of getting at him. After so many years of taking the high road I had enough


 

CoachJenK :

I totally understand and it feels good to get him a bit but just think of your son and what you want him to learn and do in his life.


 

Customer:

it is down. I took it offline last night


 

CoachJenK :

good. proud of you


 

CoachJenK :

sorry to sound like your parents. :-)


 

Customer:

lol


 

CoachJenK :

we are all on the side of what is best for you and your son.


 

Customer:

thats ok... i know... and i try to be as well


 

CoachJenK :

yes and hard at times because of all he has and hasnt done


 

Customer:

is it normal to think that it doesnt matter what i do or say or how i act because his history shows hes never going to be a good father


 

CoachJenK :

I think he has shown who he is and unless he does some really great work in therapy he may have difficulty making changes.


 

CoachJenK :

if he does the hard work then he can do better.


 

CoachJenK :

if he desires. it is less about what you say and do and what he wants inside himself.


 

Customer:

ur right... my biggest challenge is not wanting to make this a black and white situation... i real just want him in or out... no more surprising moments of reflection from him. no more calls. i find it hard to move on with my son when he calls and stirs everything up again. i dont know how to stay neutral and i dont know where to put my foot down with him.


 

CoachJenK :

so hard for you. leave him out of the equation when you think of these things and just think more in your own mind what the right thing to do is for yourself and your son.


 

Customer:

but thats what confuses me... i havent figured out what i listen to versus what i wont listen to... when hes absent entirely for months on end, my son and i are fine... but when he calls i feel obligated to listen and put up with his nonsense because if i dont i could be blamed for them not having a relationship... even though i know his past shows he at fault for this i still feel like that doesnt matter and what i do today is all that matters


 

CoachJenK :

you dont have to listen to the nonsense...all you have to talk about is the child you share together.


 

CoachJenK :

you live far from each other so hearing other nonsense isnt necessary. only figuring out visits


 

Customer:

but i cant... he talks over me, when i try to bring it back around to my son he brings up more issues... i try and try to keep it only about our son, but then he pushes it and eventually I snap about something he said and have to put my 2 cents in.

CoachJenK :

"anything else we need to discuss about....I need to hang up now if not."


 

Customer:

do i hang up the phone at these times? is it ok to not talk when hes like this? even when I need to handel important issues regarding our son it turns into these conversations...


 

CoachJenK :

that is clear. You need to step out of this dynamic and worry less about his blame


and his nonsense. he will do those things no matter how you act.

CoachJenK :

" I can only speak with you if it involves our son"


 

CoachJenK :

let him go off on a tirade. you calmly and politely say, I will talk to you when you are calmer and you can focus on our son.


 

Customer:

is there a way to do this and still get the answers and solutions you need.


 

CoachJenK :

time will tell. hard to predict until you make some changes in how you respond.


 

Customer:

true, i guess i wont know until i try.


 

Customer:

i wont hold my breath though


 

CoachJenK :

exactly!!!!!


 

CoachJenK :

the only thing you can control is how you respond. set the boundary and dont fall in the traps.


 

Customer:

ok i can try this approach and try to stay out of his traps


 

CoachJenK :

excellent. come back to me anytime to let me know how you are doing.


 

CoachJenK :

put for coachjenk at the beginning of your question and it will come to me.


 

Customer:

thanks for being my sounding board!!!! have a great day!


 

CoachJenK :

please take a moment to click on the rating tab to offer a rating of my work


 

CoachJenK :

my goal has been to give you excellent support.


 

Coach Jen K., LMSW, CPC
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1722
Experience: Licensed Master Social Worker. Certified Life Coach
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