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Struggling to forgive my child's mother

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  • #65549
    Dan
    Participant

    Hello again. I thought I’d give a little update on this & put into words how things are since I first posted about 6 months ago.

    After my last post I still carried anger & resentment for a few months. I I had a new girlfriend for a while but I finished with her after a few months as I couldn’t be hers & hers alone. I’m not at a point in my life where I want only one woman. I would be perfectly happy to have 5 girlfriends or 10, who all know about each other. That might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it’s my life & my choice. I do know however, that it is a result of my treatment in the past by the girl who is central to this entire thread; that I’ll never give any one girl the power to hurt me like that ever again.

    We were at court a few months ago because I was trying to get my contact with my child move out of a supervised centre & into my family or somewhere else. I was seeing him regular up to then & I still am but she would never agree to moving out of it so that’s why I went to court. Anyways, court didn’t work because she made me look really bad with Facebook & twitter statuses that I was venting about it in. I launched an appeal because I had good defence to come back to the judge with, but a few days later I pulled the appeal because I realised it wasn’t going to help me at all being stressed out & that it would only serve to feed the hate & resentments that had been inside for so long. I did it for my own sanity & decided to let go of trying to make things happen as I wanted them to, & have left it in her hands to decide what happens & when.

    So after that I wanted to let of anger, resentment & hate for my own health & I told my ex i forgave her for everything & that I no longer held anything against her. I’d said it before of course, but this time I felt I’d had enough, 3 years. I really made a point of finally doing something conclusive to help me heal for good. I wrote out a list of all the reasons I felt hard done by & took a cycle to the docks at the edge of the city & read over the list twice, out loud, & then watched it burn as I looked out to the sea. The next day I booked some counselling sessions & I’ve got one session left next week of 6. I’m not sure it’s “fixed” me since I still get pissed off about it from time to time.

    I think maybe I just have to accept that I’m going to get angry now & again, because it did happen & it’s obviously never going to fully leave my memory? I also read a line the other day that “memories are just a memories until you assign a feeling to it”. Which made me stop & think. It is correct & if I’m honest this is how I have been dealing with it subconsciously for a long time now where I allow the thought to just drift on. It is just those other times like once a month where I allow myself to think about it for 10 minutes & get more & more angry & feel the hate rising. Then I’ll do 10 rounds on the punchbag & be ok.

    The point here is I know I haven’t truly & fully let go of that anger & hate because sometimes it still pops back in when I think about the things that hurt me. Yes I told her I forgave her & I do wish it were as simple as just saying the words & that would be it, but it isn’t that easy. I thought by me telling her honestly that I forgave her that it could see it as a starting point of the process of me beginning to truly heal. It’s been working yes, but like I said, I still get upset sometimes which if I follow the feelings get emotional which turns to the rage where I hate the men she was with & want them all to die horribly. The feeling soon pass, or I take them out on the punchbag, or I meditate. But is it going to be like this forever? Will I ever be truly free?

    If any or all of the men I mentioned before died I’d gloat about it & feel like shouting from the rooftops how much I don’t give a shit & they deserve it. I know that’s not good for my soul. I think it goes without saying that I’d still be happy to beat their shit in if any of them crossed paths with me.

    I am forgiving her, but hold hate for everyone else involved. Counterbalance in the wrong way I know.

    I’ve thought about the future & the possibility of my ex moving in with a new man & starting a new life etc, the thing I wouldn’t like about this is my son spending more time with some other dickhead than me. I’ll never be ok with this kind of situation & I feel this could potentially harm me in the future. Could I stand there & shake hands with some other guy playing stepdad to my own son? No, I’d want to punch him.

    I should point put that this woman is a brilliant mother to my son & literally have nothing to worry about or fear for his safety. I sleep easy at night knowing he is in good hands with her & that he is safe. I have told her this & applauded her for it on occasion, just to let her know I truly am grateful for her care, love & attention of my boy. I am always seeing the good she does for my boy & trying to make it make up for the bad, but former the good has not yet won, & those past hurts still come back to overwrite it.

    I do have loads of positive things going on in my life, it’s just I know this issue still burns underneath it all, because I feel it every so often.

    #65554
    Matt
    Participant

    Dan,

    Thanks for keeping in touch, and its great to hear you’re doing better. Forgiveness isn’t a light switch, such as one writing and burning and forgiving, and then done. Rather, forgiveness is like learning to pull your foot off the gas pedal, step aside from our aggression, and learn to accept people as they are.

    Consider doing some more writing, such as stating your anger toward the men you wish to punch, the anger at your ex, frustration with yourself for falling back into aggression, and so forth, and then at the end, write out the intention to forgive and heal your hurt feelings. Write it down, burn it, offer up your heartfelt prayer to be free of it all. Over time, it erodes. Notice how “it comes up sometimes”, but doesn’t take control like it used to? Great work!

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #65568
    Dan
    Participant

    Thanks Matt, & yes that is correct, it clearly has got better since last time, & tenfold when considering how I felt exactly 3 years ago.

    My counsellor told me it’s not about trying to remove the memories, but about changing the way I approach & think about them, so for example rather than getting all angry when thinking, just accept the thought, remember that I’ve already felt this anger before many times & it isn’t serving me well, then move on. I generally do this anyway as I’ve said.

    I even think a very small but stubborn part of me actually WANTS to stay angry on some level no matter how small. Which may sound silly but we have to remember that the hate etc was a part of me for 3 years, I lived with it.

    I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. Like I said I’ve lots going on with new studies of child development & sports psychology starting in less than 2 weeks. I’ve also taken up a breakdancing class haha so I’m looking forward to spinning round on my head & all that 🙂

    #65577
    Matt
    Participant

    Dan,

    The counselor sounds wise to me, the memories won’t necessarily go away, but the way you relate to them is changing. That’s what the forgiveness does, it opens up a place for the old icky feelings to go, such as the years of hate still tied into memories meeting up with your open heart and dissolving. Then, memories, but with peace.

    As far as hanging onto the anger, wanting to keep some of it, that makes sense too. Its like we wish to honor ourselves by holding onto the anger… keeping the injustice of it all fresh, real. This is silly though, like wanting to keep a broken leg so we can remember that guy that kicked us. The anger doesn’t do anything productive, it just feels painful, so why bother? Be free of it, in my opinion, turn away from it, hug it, laugh at it, whatever… but don’t dwell. Let the leg heal, anger fade, and you’ll still remember, still be alert, but you just won’t limp. 🙂

    Breakdancing, huh? That sounds unusual and awesome. Bravo!

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #65616
    Dan
    Participant

    Haha yes, breakdancing. I’ve always been interested in doing it & then a few weeks ago I decided to just go for it & booked a 3 month course, which began 3 hours after my final exam for a module. So it was also a treat for my hard work & effort over the year 🙂

    I can honestly say that all the hurt is subsiding. It does take time, hell it takes time. It’s such a slow process but it’s better than remaining stuck in bitterness forever. If I hadn’t taken certain steps I wouldn’t be so fortunate, primarily me moving away. If I hadn’t done so things would have been very different.

    I also stumbled upon something a few months ago called “Emotional refocusing techniques” which you use in the moment when you feel stress/anxiety/anger/etc creeping in; you stop in your tracks & take a time out, breath deeply while focusing all your energy on the area around your heart, make a sincere effort to activate a positive feeling, ask yourself what would be an efficient, effective attitude or action that would balance & de-stress your system, then quietly sense any change in perception or feeling, & sustain it as long as you can.

    I haven’t been doing the above even though I really thought id hit the jackpot after discovering it. Because if I only get angry every now & again then this “Freeze frame” refocusing technique will really help me. Ok I think I have used it a little bit but not to the full extent of coming out positively. I was just doing it to contain the pain.

    But, I’ll use them every time from now on, properly.

    #69517
    Dan
    Participant

    I’m still hurting. It can easily be triggered for example I asked her yesterday if I could take my son to the cinema on 2 of the Saturdays in January since I won’t make it to the contact centre in time. No. She will only allow either the contact centre or his home until she feels comfortable to even think about anything else (I have seen criminals get better treatment & access by their kids mother).

    Oh yeah, she recently told me I could come out to her house instead of the contact centre, if I could make my way out there. The thing is I can’t really, she lives way out in the country & after travelling the first 40 miles I would have to find my way 20 miles further but I can’t afford taxis & don’t have a regular, reliable lift I can organise. It’s a catch 22 situation.

    I promised her I was going to let all the past stuff go. I admitted that I still felt down about it sometimes but that it was my problem & she would never again get s*** off me about it. I did really well, but I have a couple of times referred back to things from the past, which she hates me doing.

    I often tell her what an amazing mummy she is (which she is) & I do give her credit. I give her money. We split Xmas costs etc plus I gave her a lump sum as well to help over Xmas.

    As it is now I see him every fortnight at the contact centre. Yes I have been told by her I can have more time if I am able to make it once a week, & even out to her house, but right now I just can’t afford that.

    Did the counselling work? No. I still get mad at the past. It gets reignited when she says something to annoy me like last night when she said I couldn’t take my own son to the cinema, I’m reminded of all the reasons she’s been a b**** to me.

    Other times it just happens when I think about it all myself. Which is often, but at least every other week it gets to me really bad where I’ll think of everything she did, feel my blood boil, get enraged, hope & wish that all the men that were involved are savagely decapitated & castrated , then 20 minutes later I’ve cooled down & I’m ok again. Or I’ll have a few rounds on the punchbag to release it.

    It would be nice for the pain & bitterness to be permanently gone but the sad thing is I think I’ve had to accept that I’m going to get angry every now & again & that’s just the way it is for me. It’s one thing practicing forgiveness towards the person responsible for all the pain & wishing them well, but another to think about forgiving the men involved, I can never see me wishing them well, or hoping good things happen for them, in fact I only wish wretchedness on them, & if I’m to be 100% honest here some of them are very VERY lucky that I moved away, I’ll say no more than that. It’s disturbing that it’s 3 & a half years later & I’m still hurting so much, looks like in 10 years I’ll STILL probably be.

    I’ll keep trying to let go though. I’ll keep on keeping on & living as well as I can despite the underlying bitterness & resentment I have.

    #70295
    Ferretgal
    Participant

    Dan, have you ever heard of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), aka Tapping or Meridian Therapy? There are a lot of books and websites about it. It’s helped me with a number of issues. The biggest problem I have with it is it seems too easy or simple to work; but it does. However, you do have to use it/do it for it to work. An analogy is for years my son claimed that the herbal remedies I use for preventing and treating colds didn’t work; they didn’t work for him because he wasn’t taking them! As I said to him, of course they didn’t work sitting in the bottle. (He takes them now, and they work.) If you are interested, let me know via a post and I can email some simple instructions I wrote up for my sister.

    Although the situation wasn’t nearly as bad as yours, I did have a divorce from my son’s father after he abruptly left us when our son was only 13 months old. Way too much history to go into here, but suffice it to say that he’s still paying some child support back payments (our son is now 25 years old), as compelled by Support Enforcement (not me) to keep his driver’s license. I tried hard not to talk negatively about him to our son, who recently reestablished contact with his dad, about which I’m happy.

    I have found that one way of helping with anger and resentment is to try and put myself in the other person’s place and try to understand where they are coming from. Difficult feelings are often the result of our (mis)interpretation of another’s actions. And since we can never truly crawl into another’s skin, doesn’t it make sense to put a positive spin on their actions? Even if that interpretation isn’t “accurate.” (And do we even know our own motives all the time?)

    Another technique I’ve used when I’m having a problem is to imagine what I’d tell a friend who came to me with the same issue. For example, if a coworker is unfriendly or a boss is unfair, I try to put it in the best possible light. So I realize that others have their own problems which might affect their actions toward me–but it may have nothing to do with me. Perhaps my crabby coworker had a fight with their spouse, or is having financial problems. Maybe my boss is ill or worried about their own job.

    Without going into a bunch of history, I do know what it’s like to feel betrayed by someone that I trusted. And it seems to me that’s what’s at the bottom of much of this: you feel betrayed. It might help if you could identify an “original” betrayal, perhaps from when you were very young, to understand why this cuts you so deep. Not to justify, just to gain insight.

    You are entitled to have any feeling you have (not to act upon it however, as you clearly understand). You also seem to understand that these negative feelings are hurting you more than anyone. Have you considered that as your son gets older, he’ll be in the middle of these bad feelings between his mother and you? That can’t be good for him. But you clearly want to be part of his life. So, however entitled you are to these feelings, maybe it’s time to stop justifying them (by repeating what she and others did to “do you wrong”) and let go. As you seem to realize, you can’t go back and redo the past; you can only go forward. Wishing you peace and happiness.

    #70939
    Dan
    Participant

    I’ve heard of emotional refocusing techniques, is that the same thing?

    I was considering doing more counselling in the new year but I think it’s possible that’s just going to keep me in hurt mode, where I’m rehashing all the details of what I’m angry & bitter about. I’ll just end up leaving the room worse than when I entered because all the feeling that come with the memories will have been resurrected. If I find that I do really need to do more counselling then I will, but first…

    On Christmas Eve as I thought hard over a glass of wine, I made a decision to grant me ex forgiveness. I have told her before loads of times that I trying hard to forgive her, & sometimes I told her I did forgive her because I thought I was nearly there, but deep down I still seethed & was lying to both myself & her. However, I decided on Xmas eve that enough was enough, I text my ex & told her that whether it mattered to her or not, that I was giving her true forgiveness for Christmas, that it was my gift to her. I then once again praised her greatness as a mummy, pointed out that I’d sometimes been overlooking all the good things she does by dragging up,the past & messing things up all the time. But ultimately that it was over, that I was going into the new year with a clean slate & no past stuff clouding my life. I told her that I let go of the past…. Then I went onto facebook & blocked everyone who I have resentments for, from the men who have got new lives & kids etc, to the friends of my ex who are responsible for some aspects of my pain. I can’t see any of them now. A clean slate.

    I’m confident I really mean it this time, & I do actually feel different, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I remember making a decision to “forget the past” at the turn of 2012, yet 3 full years later I was still stuck hurting. No way am I going to do another year feeling like that.

    The forgiveness is the combination of a couple of things..

    I have been trying to get through this for 3 years. During that time I have attempted to forgive my ex various times, probably up to 10 times. Each time I failed & some of those times I knew I was lying to myself & to her. As a result I think I have come to that point where I have simply had enough of the hurt I hold. All the attempts at forgiveness have been leading up to this & now I finally get to go through with it for good. The difference this time is exactly that, that I feel different than I did all the other times. I don’t have that inner voice telling me “you don’t really mean it Dan you’re full of s*** & you’re still mad as hell”.

    I have always felt so “scarred” that I made a point of reminding my ex what she done every so often, which effectively meant I shot myself in the foot on many occasions where the s**t I wrote on Twitter or messages I sent calling her a slag in retaliation to stuff she said kept us from progressing. I accept my part in that.

    But now I see that rather than carry on being in the role of the hard-done-by ex who is bitter, I’m going to truly be the better person that I know I am. I think 3 years is enough for my ex to know she never done right by me, & she will always know that without me having to remind her periodically.

    In response to your suggestion that I try to find an “original” betrayal. Well not a direct betrayal but something deeply important to me was taken from me & there are reasons why I’m so livid about it – one of which is that something that was always important to me as i grew up into a man was that whenever I’m going to become a father that there would definitely under no circumstances be any other man having sex with the woman who carried my child apart from me, the natural father. The fact that this was taken away from me, coupled with the fact that I loved the woman, made it all the worse I believe. That’s why it cut so deep.

    It is something that can never, ever be undone. There is nothing that will ever rectify it or make up for it. Nothing can ever make me be ok with what happened. I will never accept it even though it is past.

    In the 3+ years it’s been since, some of the men I’m angry with are all happy families with their new girls & getting married & having babies, & I’m stewing in envy & bitterness hoping they all die? It’s not exactly fair that they get to do what they done in 2011 & then go on to live their life without consequence

    The most poetic justice would be for it to happen to him/them. For his gf to become pregnant, run off on him, get involved with another man, screw around with other men, exclude him from the pregnancy. Basically my story turned around on him. That would be justice alright.

    I worry about the future & the possibility of her getting married or something & a new guy being around my son more than me. I don’t like the idea & I don’t see me accepting that. I don’t want to be with her after all she’s done, but I certainly don’t want another man helping to raise my child. I see there being problems in this regard if this kind of thing ever happens.

    I do feel better though. Things are still rocky with my ex from time to time & I know they will be but I don’t let it get to me anymore. I’m just going with the flow.

    I also think all the hate I’ve been harbouring has been stopping the right woman coming into my life. Now that I’ve let go lets see if I’m right 🙂

    #70941
    that-girl-next-door
    Participant

    Anger is about lack of control, Dan. But we always have a choice – we might not like it – but their is always a choice in how we respond to any situation. From your first post you said you had been in a relationship with this woman for just 3 short months and she happened to fall pregnant to you. My thoughts were that you were fortunate she even told you she was pregnant with your child. Many women wouldn’t under those circumstances. Sounds like you have come along way in your outlook which is positive. Especially now you have a child that will look up to you, and want to model your behaviour. No child deserves an angry father, I’m sure you’ll agree.

    #70978
    Dan
    Participant

    When I think about it if she hadn’t told me until after he was born maybe I wouldn’t have went through all the pain I did. Then again maybe it would have been worse. We’ll never know now.

    The anger at what she did was impossible not to feel. Having sex whilst pregnant with my child is not something I was able to turn my my nose up at, not even now. I’ll never be ok with that.

    However I’m not allowing the hate to consume me any longer. 3 years is long enough. I may still get angry now & again if I think about it but I won’t allow it to fill my soul.

    I want to be truly happy & find the woman of my dreams. I know it’s not possible to do that whilst harbouring hate.

    I still hate the guys I’m p****d off with & people around my ex. But I don’t need forgive them, I just won’t assign any more feeling to any thoughts about them. They just don’t exist.

    #70979
    Dan
    Participant

    I agree my son doesn’t deserve an angry father but it’s not something he witnessed or experienced.

    I was bitter inside, not outside.

    #71530
    Sunfl0wer
    Participant

    Wow, you have some amazing advice here!! The support you have received and reading about how you are responding and trying to implement it all is truly amazing and drew me in to read it to this point. How beautiful!

    There is not much I can add, but I did want to try to say a couple of things..

    “I should point put that this woman is a brilliant mother to my son & literally have nothing to worry about or fear for his safety. I sleep easy at night knowing he is in good hands with her & that he is safe.”

    “but a few days later I pulled the appeal because I realised it wasn’t going to help me at all being stressed out & that it would only serve to feed the hate & resentments that had been inside for so long. I did it for my own sanity & decided to let go of trying to make things happen as I wanted them to, & have left it in her hands to decide what happens & when.”

    I think this was a wise choice. You may want to revisit these thoughts and ponder them and if they are in harmony or conflict with your frustrations over the cinema incident.

    “During that time I have attempted to forgive my ex various times, probably up to 10 times. Each time I failed & some of those times I knew I was lying to myself & to her.”

    “However, I decided on Xmas eve that enough was enough, I text my ex & told her that whether it mattered to her or not, that I was giving her true forgiveness for Christmas, that it was my gift to her.”

    Please consider that forgiveness is more a gift to yourself.

    How odd it would be for me to have a man tell me that he bought himself a year membership to a gym to get himself healthy and is starting to feel great already, and that is his gift to me for Christmas.

    #71879
    Dan
    Participant

    I know I have done so well but..

    Was seeing my kid yesterday in the contact centre. I wasn’t prepared for what I was presented with. Outside the contact centre sat this guy’s car who was an ex bf of my child’s mother from before I was with her.

    He is a slave-waste-puppy-go-fetch asshole that has always been & always will be sniffing around my ex – she would use him to bring our alcohol to my house when I was with her for example, etc etc.

    The back of the car was to me & I stared at the car as I made my way into the centre, 99% sure that the car was that of this guy.

    Turns out it was him, & he had ran my ex & my child over to the centre.

    I’m not happy about this at all. It’s bittersweet because “aww he’s such a nice guy running your child over to see you” but, I fucking hate him & we have bad blood between us. The bad blood is because he did everything in his power to try & drive a wedge between me & my child’s mum when we were together.

    My cousin goes to the contact centre & is his friend. He told me that on Facebook this other guy was checking in on Facebook “partying” or “drinking ” at my ex gf’s house recently.

    Whether they are together as bf & gf now isn’t even important. I’m fuming that he brought my child to see me. If they are together, I’m fuming that he see’s my child more, yet I haven’t been welcome near her house until recently.

    Oh yeah she had words with the main contact centre woman that she wants to move it to her house & that we’ll work that out soon enough.

    Fair enough, but what if for example I go to the house & this other guy is there? Or it may be a case where I need her to collect me for the final few miles, what if she sends him or collects me with him? Well to be honest I’d be clarifying everything first & I will refuse if he or indeed ANYONE who would be in the role of bf.

    I can’t accept a situation like this. I’ve recently forgave her at Xmas for all the past shit, but now this part of the past has been resurrected – he is one of the men I suspect had sex with her whilst pregnant. Does that mean I still want to hurt him? Yes it does. I would get satisfaction from it. However I don’t fancy a long jail sentence.

    What should I do now? I don’t know. I’ll see what happens over the next few weeks & if we work out me seeing my boy in her house etc, but..

    I want to beat the fuck out of that guy. I do imagine that if our paths cross outside my child being with him, that I’ll drag him out of his car & bite lumps out of his face.

    I’m sorry for sounding like a nutter.

    #71885
    Sunfl0wer
    Participant

    Have you considered the possibility that you may be more triggered to anger with visitations at her house as there may be personal effects of other people in her life there?

    #71892
    Dan
    Participant

    Please I don’t want to sound like a tool but I explained above what I’m angry about.

    I’m trying to see some compassion that he ran them over so my son could see me. But not, I’m sorry to say I want to hit him hard.

    Thankfully I live 50 miles away.

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