The Broken Road

It is incredibly normal for a new wife to fixate on the ex-wife in relationships where there are kids. It is super healthy and most fixate for much longer than I did. We talk about our pasts, and we talk about our present, and I would be lying to say that his ex doesn't continue to come up. Unfortunately this is because of her rampant immaturity, teenage parenting style, and flagrant disrespect of us and the children. However, I find myself as time goes by over-analyzing responses, remembering the way things are said, and taking it far more personal when the kids buy into her manipulations. I can't tell if that is because of the old step mom/birth mom rivalry that some psychologists say are inevitable, if it is because I know that I do more for the kids than anyone else in their lives and seem to get no credit, if it because there is this total disconnect in our worlds, or if at the heart of the matter it is simply that I am jealous of my fiance's past.

Whatsmore, I find that sometimes I am not sure if it bothered me more was that I was jealous of his past, or that he was not jealous of mine. Which is crazy when you think about that statement! However, I wondered if my fiance somehow loved me less than I love him because he doesn't seem to be worried about my past. He didn't seem the LEAST bit intimidated by the fact that my ex-husband and I had a wonderful life together for about a decade, that he was my first marriage and first love and that he had so many of my life firsts. And when I finally communicated this to him I realized that part of respecting a relationship is respecting how people cope and manage their feelings. He admitted that of course he wish he got me in my 20s, of course he wished that he got me forever, but that he has more of a "god bless the broken road" outlook on our pasts. To be honest, this was one of the most enlightening moments of our relationship. He is made of magic, this man I love. Of course he would somehow make a Rascal Flatts lyric poignant. lol.

Sometimes I forget how to rise up

Sometimes I forget how to rise up
Is it the way I hold my head?
Is it the way I walk?
The swivel in my hips?
The way the words leave my lips?

Sometimes I forget how to rise up
I have never asked for much
I have never asked too much
I look down as I walk
I mumble as I talk

Sometimes I forget to rise up
I am lonely and I am broken
I am lost and I am afraid
I realize I am so bruised
I realize I've been so used

Sometimes I forget to rise up
I cry myself to sleep
I feel weak as I weep

Sometimes I forget to rise up
Is it the way I love?
Is it the way you don't?

Sometimes I forget to rise up
I have nothing left to give.
I have used up all my fight.

Sometimes I forget to rise up
But he sees through my flaws
He lifts me from lifes claws

Sometimes I forget to rise up.
But love lifts me.

What I Wanted to Say vs What I Said

What I wanted to say to my fiance's ex this morning:

Good Morning,

You don't like to be put on the spot, and I understand it could be intimidating that when arguments pop out it is in a text thread that has your ex-husband and his fiance. There are things that need to be said and things that I want you to know.

In the book I am reading there is this line “For reasons I will never understand, Judith will always be at war for the soul of our son.” And I think in many ways, it might apply to how Jason & I feel you act/react to us and the kids. I tried so hard to be your friend. After a year of your unwarranted comments to Jason and the kids about me, I text you to say I forgave you for the past and move forward. How did you react? You felt it necessary to proclaim to the kids that you were not sorry for things you had said. About a half year later I convinced Jay that we should reach out to your mother and sister because you were clearly depressed and acting on it. When you found out how did you react? Anytime we argue you find it necessary to project and call me angry and unhappy.

Unlike the way you do not know me at all, I know you quite well. I have an extensive background in adolescent psychology and in a moment of sadness at things you had said to Jay about me I once ranted, "Let me guess? Someone put too much of an emphasis on the importance of good looks and told her she was better than other people when she was young?? She had sex with men who were older and had bad sexual experiences? She had control issues and maybe was a cutter or had a purposely botched suicide attempt? She felt like she had to be in control of everything from how you dressed to how you talked? She blamed you, the kids, and everyone else but herself for her life and never tried to be better?" He was dumbfounded that I knew that. But I've seen these teenage behaviors in class all the time. And your behavior towards us, the way your happiness is tied to romantic relationships but you don't really let people see that, your few real friends, what you allowed to happen to Enzo-- all of it while acting like you are infallible and have never done anything wrong. Whether you want to admit it or not you are a textbook example of narcissistic personality disorder.

I am your opposite. I absorb the emotions of people around me and read them and I find joy in helping. I wanted to help you very much. I think maybe you do know that about me and maybe that is why you are so jealous. I wish you could see the effect of your words. I wish you could have seen your little kindergartener crying because she didn't know what to do because her mother told her she shouldn't love her Dad's girlfriend or hold her hand.  I wish you could have heard the things your therapist said to me, I wish you could have seen how your exaggerations hurt me when we spoke. More than that I wish you cared. I wish you were less concerned with covering up your own actions by projecting on me and Jason. You aren't fooling anyone.

I have never tried to compete with you but you present it to the kids like there is “team mom” and “team dad” or that they could possibly love one of you more than the other. As I have said to you a million times over, I am in no way attempting to take your place and in no way competing with you. How on Earth can you ever win a competition when the other party isn't competing? You can't. But your words are slander and they slice the kids as they do me.

You have spent two years taking me for granted and I think the time has come for you to accept that (1) I am not going anywhere, (2) your selfishness only hurts everyone else including you and the kids, and (3) I have never tried to take your place or be this villian you make me out to be. You can't wish me into being a bitch, just as you can't wish yourself away from being a slut... even if that is easier for you than admitting the truths of life.

Keep My Name Out of Your Mouth,

What I actually said:

I wanted to reach out and ask, again, for this to be a peaceful relationship. We have no choice but to have to interact, but we do have a choice as what is said to the kids. You can project on me and I see it a mile away and can ignore it, but kids don’t understand psychological complexities and we can’t explain those things away. Lets just all try and start fresh.

Thai Spring Roll Recipe!

One of my colleagues pointed out that my favorite raw Thai Spring Rolls would be easy to recreate and for a short time these were a huge staple in our house!
  • Once you have the spring roll wrappers all you need is some chopped up avocado, spinach, and sliced carrots. 
  • When you wet the wrappers they become pliable and you have to really figure out what works for you-- I like to rinse them lightly and leave them for a moment. 
  • You only have to shape your ingredients in the center and fold everything else up. 
  • The spring rolls can be dipped in chili sauce for a spicy bite as well! 

Actual Text Messages

Here is an actual conversation that took place in a group chat between me, my fiance, and his ex-wife.

I was really depressed one Friday evening. I had been suffering from a bout of depression for almost a week and had gotten really bad news at work that day. When I picked the littles up from school the littlest told me that " says that she loves me more than anyone else so that I have to love her more than anyone else. She said there is no way that you love me as much as she does so I can't love you as much as I love her." I was taken aback by this.  I love these children as my own. I went right into mom-mode so to speak. I asked her what love is. She said "taking care of someone, wanting to be with them, putting them first" and I said "Well that sounds like the way I care about you! Doesn't it?" She shook her head up and down. "Does mom do those things?" She said "no" so I told her "Mom said something on purpose to make you feel bad about loving me. I'm not going to tell you to love me more and I'm not going to tell you I love you more. I'm just going to love you."

When we got home I went in my room, closed the door, and sobbed. By the time my fiance got home I was a disaster. I was already feeling so low and this just destroyed me. I have been dealing with this woman saying shit like this (and lets consider this mild) for 2 years. I have never developed a thick skin. I try, I really do, but I just don't have one. I just feel too much.

He was pissed. He text his ex-wife. She told him she "didn't even read" his messages and told him it was harassment and he was being accusatory. Here are the highlights of what he had sent her:

"Stop telling the kids they can't love Melissa or love her as much, or constantly feeling the need to tell them that you're their mother.  They're not fucking idiots, they know you're their mother, they know Melissa is not. You are single-handedly fucking them up. If you didn't do such a shitty job at being their mother, then you wouldn't have to feel so threatened, so insecure.

How would you like it if every time they said something about Joe, I called them stupid little bitches, or fucking retarded, or whatever shit you call them, and then tell them they can't love Joe as much as they love me.  Or, Joe's not your dad, I am your dad.  Or, isn't it weird that Joe has no kids and wants to be around you guys? There is something wrong with Joe. The only thing is, I wouldn't.  Because I'm not a complete self centered asshole narcissist with very deep insecurity issues. I actually have told all three of them that it's OKAY to like Joe, you won't insult me nor Melissa if you like him, or think he's funny, or have a story to say. Because unlike you, I feel that 4 people who love and want to be around the kids is better than 3.  More the fucking merrier.

This woman loves YOUR kids, provides for YOUR kids, makes sure YOUR kids have the things they need at the cost of sacrificing her own wants and needs. The kids love you, and you're lucky you're their mother, because I don't know they would if you were the step mother.  You could quite literally slap all three of them in the face, and they would still love you just as much. All Melissa does is love them, and provide for them, and you fucking vilify her. You need to grow up for them, you need to be strong.  You need to be what Melissa always tells them, brave.  Brave to do the right thing, brave to face adversity, brave.  Because right now you're weak, you're insecure, you're selfish."

I felt a lot of things that evening but when my fiance told me about this I felt like he was willing to fight for my happiness and my love and that things would be okay. I also knew better than to think his ex-wife didn't read the texts. She likely read them multiple times. She will likely talk about them at her court-appointed therapist appointments this week. We have been finalizing where the kids will be going to high school and my fiance and I wanted to talk things out with her soon so I thought I would offer to meet on Sunday, maybe she would put her best foot forward, and also be clear that, like my fiance, we are done putting up with her bull shit.

Me: Please come over at 11:30 tomorrow to talk things out about the kids school. The kids can play video games and we can put the dogs downstairs. If you would like to do this with just Jason, that is fine as well. Jason told me about his texts to you last night and how you ignored them even though it was (as it always is) about the best interest of the kids. Discussing schools and settling it on your terms is better than ending up in court.
Me again: And, so that you are aware, using the word harassment does not make it harassment but you have repeatedly slandered/defamed me to multiple people (and in public) for two years and that is both illegal and could be easily proven in court.

ExWife: No Melissa. The agreement is that whoever has the kids drops them off

Fiance: Then you can pick them up at 3:10, 4:15, and 4:45 and bring them to our house.

ExWife: Excuse me? You drop them off at 12, that is what is in the court agreement states and that is what you will do unless it's otherwise agreed upon

Fiance: And you will bring them to us on Wednesday.  S at 3:10, T from after school study, and A after her softball practice

ExWife: Sure I'd be happy too
Also ExWife: You two are making this relationship far more difficult than it needs to be. And that can be shown in court with the pages and pages of horrible accusatory texts you've sent me.

Fiance: Couldn't be the adult easy way, all you had to do was stop being nasty to the kids about us, and do what's in their best interest regarding school, but you couldn't do that.  You have to make every thing hard.  I'm going to file a court order for them to change schools

Me: It is not "harassment" or "accusatory" to react/respond to slanderous, defamatory remarks or send a message that is longer than you would care to read. You should consider looking up the definitions of words you use.

ExWife: If you don't recall, we agreed to switch schools already

Fiance: We did not, you wanted a statement saying I wouldn't go for more custody before you agreed to anything

ExWife: Melissa, stop trying to fight with me and just be happy. It must be exhausting being so angry all the time.

Fiance: I can meet you at superior court whenever you want.

Me: Enough projecting. You've slandered us repeatedly over the last two years. If it happens again I'm hiring a lawyer and you can deal with a defamation of character lawsuit too. This is not a threat; this is my formal request for you to stop the slander. I have taken the high road and tried to help you in ways your own friends/family never did, meanwhile, you have tried to make the kids love us less with your words (there's proof of that in YOUR texts) and you have spread untruthful information about us to other adults.

ExWife: Aren't you guys with the kids? Who's taking care of them right now?
Also ExWife: I agreed to the school change. I'm on your side. I am not out to make everything more difficult, contrary to what you both believe.

Fiance: Who's with the kids? Stop.

Me: If you are not trying to make things more difficult STOP.
Stop being so big and bad behind txt but not answering your phone
Stop telling the kids that they need to love you more, guilting them, calling them horrible names
Stop being so obsessed with the fact that we are happy and you don't know how to be that you try to ruin everything at our home
I'm living my happily ever after and so is Jason and you have to take care of you

At this point she actually stopped.

Next morning, Fiance: Just wanted to double check on doing drop offs instead of pickups.
It was a switch we didn't mind because it was easier for you since there are two of us. This week, you will have to get S at school at 3:10 and then bring her right over to our house. Then at 4:15 get T at school and bring him right over to our house. Then at 4:45 get A from softball and bring her right over.

ExWife: You know that is absolutely ridiculous. I know you do

Fiance: Yes, that is why we had been willing to do pickups instead of dropoffs during the school year.

ExWife: Fine, I'll be there at 12

So to recap:
Here is a woman, who when faced with the threat of court was willing to lie and say she already agreed to the school we had chosen. Why? Because she knows we were the ones with the kids best interest at heart.
Here is a woman, who calls text messages in which my fiance points out nasty things that she has called the kids and said about us "horrible" and "accusatory" but never EVER denies them. She has never once in two years denied saying any of the heinous things the kids have told us. Not once. Not a single time she cursed at her 6 or 8 year old. Not a single time she has said terrible things about me. She just says "harassment".
Here is a woman, who wanted the ease of having the kids dropped off to her but then (even though I do that same running around all the time and it would mean she got to see them later in the day than usual) was not willing to spend 90 minutes in the car picking the kids up and dropping them off.

Can a narcissist be selfish or is that redundant?