How Do I Deal With My Feelings About My Ex Husband?
I started dating my ex.Husband at 17, and we moved in together when I was 19. I thought he was a good guy.
I knew he could never hurt me because he had no idea who I really was. I grew up in a house hold where my father was unfaithful and I learned to never let anyone in so I could not get hurt. We got married when I was 23. Prior to the marriage we had been out drinking and I said some things that made him angry and he punched a wall next to my head.
Throughout the entire relationship he told me that nobody liked me and that the only reason people put up with me was because they liked him. We got married when I was 23. Throughout the entire relationship I was unfaithful. I was trying to find things he could not give me. I'm not making excuses, I just want you to understand what I was doing.
When I was 26 I got pregnant. I did not know who the father was and I did not think it was right to have the baby so I got an abortion. About 7 months later I got pregnant again. This time I decided to have the baby. I wanted someone that gave me reason to change and grow up. When I gave birth to my son I changed. I stopped cheating because he became my world and I only wanted to do things that made him proud. When I gave birth I hyphenated his last name knowing that we would not stay married.
After giving birth I heard that I was fat. I didn't trust my ex with my son so he was never alone with him. I did not leave my son with his father until he was 4 years old and that was only to run to Walmart. My ex is a hunter and I repeatedly said I did not want our son around the dead animals and the one time he took our son to a friend's it was to show him a dear hanging.
He and his body were skinning it when I showed up. I immediatly removed my son from the situation. During this time both my ex and I drank a lot. The final straw in our marriage was one night my ex had cluster headaches and my son was asking him a question and he got so angry and just flipped on my son. The next day we left.
Shortly after leaving (within 4 weeks) I meet an old friend. He and I had known each other for 8 years, and saw each other maybe 2 times a year at class and never talked outside or had any contact other then in the class. We talked, and everything changed. We started seeing each other.
Meanwhile my ex was already involved with a woman and her three kids. Since the divorce we have gone through so much. It seems my ex is not happy and has no place to go so when he and his live-in girlfriend fight somehow I get blamed. I got married and had a baby. While in labor I was dealing with lawyers and the ex.
I was released from the hospital on a Friday and on that Sunday I was in a parking lot with 2 police officers because the ex stated he was not returning my son to me till Monday morning even though we had a court order that he would be returned that Sunday at 7.
Shortly after this the ex came to my house and tried to take my son for a visit and I explained that it was not his time. I was holding my newborn and I felt that if I didn't have him in my arms my ex would have hit me. He was screaming and ranting in front of both my children. My husband heard this and called the police. I filed a police report.
We have constant battles over holiday time even though we have things in writing. I agree to change things if my ex needs my son for differnt events but it's a one-way street. My ex then sends text messages trying to make it look like it's me not being flexible.
For instance I asked for 4 hours on a Sunday morning from 7 am to 11 am for my baby's baptism and he wanted 17 extra hours for that. Everything that takes place he says is my fault. He says I am a horrible parent by sending text messages about things he has done that he tries to blame me for. I know this is a lot of rambling and may not make sense but I am so upset I am trying to give as much info as I can to try and and get advice.
Response from Dr. DeFoore
Hello, and thanks for telling your story here. I can tell that you're having a tough time with your situation. It sounds to me like you're doing a lot of things right. You're doing the right thing, even when he does not, and that's good. You do the right thing because that is who you are, and it does not depend on him. Keep focusing on your new family and creating joy there.
Your biggest risk is not what your ex does, but what you do about him in your own mind. When you think of him now, you focus on what he's done in the past, and predict what bad thing he might do in the future. This adds to your stress, and doesn't help you at all.
Here is what I suggest--every time you think of him or have to deal with him in any way:
1) Tell yourself, "That is going to get better." Then think about something good in your life.
2) Picture yourself handling future encounters the way you want to. Use this two part imagery process for overcoming anxiety and positive mental rehearsal. This will help you replace the fear you have of what he might do.
3) If you can stretch this far in your mind, picture him making better choices and getting involved in other things so that he has less time to cause you problems. This may seem unrealistic, but that's not the point. It will lower your stress to imagine him being a better person and making better choices. It might even make a difference in how he acts--it's worth a try!
Use this positive journaling process to shift your mental focus to the good things in yourself and the world around you. The more you do this, the stronger and more confident you will be. This will be good for you, your marriage and your children.
Make up your mind to create the life you choose, and believe in the goodness in your heart. You can do this.
My very best to you,
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