To the Insane Ex-Wife

I’m sure I’m the last person you want to receive an email from, but as I only have the kid’s best interest at heart I hope you read on.

I’m not going to pretend that I know what your marriage to M was like, because I don’t. I can imagine though, that it wasn’t easy. All I can say for sure is what I see now and the dynamic between you two and the effect it has on Z and M. One thing that all three of us can agree upon is that the kid’s well-being is the most important factor here, right? I can only speak for M in this matter, but I know for a fact he’s read the books, he’s listened to the therapist and he’s doing his best to do what’s right for the kids, including “keeping them out of the middle”. I can tell you that he doesn’t speak negatively about you to them or in front of them, and sometimes that’s a challenge. I’m not saying M is perfect and that he controls himself 100% of the time, but he’s come a long way since I first met him and I’d say he controls himself about 98% of the time. My point is, I can honestly say he’s trying his hardest and doing his best and he’s continuing to work at it. My concern is that the same is not happening on your end.

I’ve spoken to Z, and M has admitted that many things were said and done in front of Z and M when they were little that they should never have seen or heard. Unfortunately, it seems that this is still going on. Instead of encouraging a good relationship between Z and M, maybe unknowingly, you are perpetuating the already difficult situation. Maybe it makes you feel important, it makes you feel more loved? Maybe you WANT Z to only want to be with you? I have no idea what the reason is, but it’s obvious to everyone what you’re doing. I do, however, believe that it is NOT obvious to you. I don’t believe you would consciously sabotage your children’s well being by letting your anger and resentment for M take over your life and theirs. But that is what’s happening.  All you’re doing is hurting Z. Any therapist will tell you that. When Z complains to you about being with his dad I’m sure it’s easy to take his side, to tell him you understand, to tell him it’s ok. But you’re the parent, it’s your job to be above joining in on the father bashing. It’s your job to know that what’s best for Z is for him and M to work things out. Your job is to be positive and encourage that they work out their problems in therapy, encourage Z and reassure him that it’s possible for him to have a good, loving relationship with his dad. You’re his mom and he will believe what you tell him. If you tell him that M is a monster (because that is YOUR experience with him and that’s what you believe) then he will believe it. But you should not transfer your experiences over to your children. That’s the worst thing you can do for them.

Life was tough for everyone when you were married, but that was years ago. And that was about you, not your children. Your perception of M is just that, perception. And it’s not fair to your children to put that on them. Believe it or not, kids don’t want to hear how awful their parents are. They want to hear positive things about them.

I realize you have much pent up anger and resentment towards M, and maybe with good reason. But M can’t fix that for you, your kids can’t fix that for you. That’s for you to work out on your own. Nothing M can ever say or do will fix how you feel about him. You and M have a long and a volatile history. But don’t you see that that is not your life anymore? You’re not married to him anymore, but you still look to him for certain needs that he can’t meet. The other day you emailed him and then got mad when he didn’t wish you condolences about your friends death. It’s almost like you think there’s still a connection there with him, so you expect certain things of him, expect him to “be there” for you. You expect him to treat you as he would a friend, wishing you “happy new years”, etc…But that’s not going to happen. Just as you have perceptions of him, he has perceptions of you. You have admitted lying to him, you have admitted at times that you will not cooperate with him on certain things and you have snooped around his house. So why should he treat you as a friend? You have not given him reason to. That’s his perception. And you don’t need to be “friends” to be good co-parents, but you do need to be “friendly”. There is a difference. If it’s condolences you were looking for then you should have called a friend. If you need someone to tell you nice things and give you encouragement and be positive (which we all need sometimes), then call a friend or family. M is not going to be able to give you that. He’s not your husband anymore, he’s not even your friend. He is not responsible for your happiness, YOU are. Until you believe that, you will continue to be hurt by him.

Do you realize when you get upset at something M ISN’T doing or is doing, you’re letting him control you? You see that don’t you? If you want peace in your heart and in your mind and in your life, YOU are the only one that can give that to yourself. You have so much anger towards him that should be worked out in therapy, without him. Do you want to continue living in the past? Re-running in your mind all the things you hate about him? All the things he’s said or done to you that have hurt you? Why relive those moments? Why give them meaning? You should concentrate on yourself instead of on him. Concentrate on the positive in your life, your accomplishments, and get help so you can eventually not be bothered by his lack of engagement with you or by your differences. Yes, he’s angry about certain things in the past too, but he’s not letting it control him, and you shouldn’t either. You need to take control of your life and not rely on others for your happiness.

Do you think it benefits Z or M to see you so angry and hurt? Kids are smart, they know what’s going on. You can’t pretend with them. I’m sure they want to see their mom happy and at peace. And of course I don’t know you, but by all the texts and emails you send M I can tell there is no peace inside of you. And honestly, it breaks my heart for you. Everyone deserves happiness, true happiness. I know you know this. I know you’ve read the self-help/spiritual books, but you’re just not taking the corrective action. Therapy can be a wonderful thing with the right therapist. But it will only work if you can be totally open and honest about yourself. And that can be super hard, but well worth it in the end.

Maybe one day, if you get help and your anger for M is controlled and you don’t feel the need to lie, or be purposefully difficult, then maybe, you can gain respect for each other and have a decent, positive, friendly relationship. But you are both a long way off from that.
This email is not meant as an attack on you. I’m the first to admit that M has his own issues (as we all do) and is by no means the perfect parent. But I see him doing the work to better himself. I could not sit by any longer while watching Z and M be negatively affected by this awful situation. Do what’s right for the kids, D. Work through your anger for M and move forward. Better yourself for you and your kids. You all deserve it. I can only hope that you don’t read this and ignore the message and go straight to being defensive and attacking me. If you do that you’re doing your kids a great disservice. This email is not about me, it’s about the kids.
One last thing and I swear I’ll shut up. I realize me being in the picture is difficult for you, you even have trouble hearing my name, but I think that’s a shame. I think it would be nice if we could be friendly and teach the kids that it’s possible for everyone to get along. I think that’s an important lesson for them to learn. I’m guessing when you and M have a decent relationship then maybe you won’t be bothered by me so much. I hope for everyone’s sake that that will be the case.
Take care

~ by Stepfamily Letter Project on May 13, 2009.

6 Responses to “To the Insane Ex-Wife”

  1. Wow! Very impressive letter! You are very clever and wise, can see things objectively and all sides equally. You have a gift. I am glad your stepkids have you, and I hope BM comes around. HUGS!!!

  2. I don’t know if your email was actually sent and read by the ex-wife but very nicely worded. I wish you the best. I am struggling with my blended family situation and sometimes wish I could just give up and become some self centered person (like she is and stepson) and just be glad for every moment we have to ourselves (when they are manipulating less time with us). I need to stop fighting with my husband about this passive way of dealing with this situation 😦

  3. I stand corrected, this is by far the most helpful post. As pathetic is the reality of it is, I am amazed at how many DIFFICULT situations are describe on this site. How hard is it to grow up and love one’s child more than one’s self (or significant other who came along many years after said child)? I really don’t get that, nor do I ever want to. But seriously, if your ex can be decent to you (and speak decently to your child about you) after you’ve publicly cheated with his friend(s), you should really put some effort into not further damaging your child(rens) self esteem (it doesn’t feel good to realize your parent up and left you for anyone, much less someone who treats you like garbage, in front of aforementioned child and the rest of the world) by taking this chance to finally GROW UP and GET YOUR OWN LIFE (which unfortunately won’t be distracting yourself with whomever is willing to sleep with you next).

  4. wow!

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