The Tortures of High-Conflict Divorce


Sometimes, the most sobering and the hardest part of the high-conflict divorce is the constant barrage of reminders of what a f@#*ing moron you were.

The signs were there, but you weren’t thinking straight.

A friend tried warning you, but it was a half-hearted attempt, and it was too late.

You’d been burned by love in the past, and  in the state you were in you were willing to settle for something a little bit less.

You’d been living in isolation, and it distorted your judgment.

You know that you should just put all of this behind you. You try to, every day. However, when you are chained to the rock of co-parenting with a psycopath  narcissist  someone with Borderline Personality Disorder  a difficult person, it’s hard, if not impossible, to do so.

So it’s Sunday, and we there’s a big informational meeting about our son’s upcoming trip to Israel. All the travelers and their parents are gathering at a Jewish day school about a half hour away. I will be driving the Kid as it’s my weekend. The former wife asks if I’ll be staying until the end–she needs to return to help a friend who is preparing chocolates for Taste of Boston. I say, sure, but I have a condition. She grumbles and rants, afraid that I’m going to ask for something reasonable, like she actually return something of mine that is a family keepsake that she decided to appropriate in the divorce. No, I ask for her to bring one of the chocolates. (I like chocolates). She says she’ll see if she can. I say, If you can.

I get to the meeting first. The organization running the camp is quite smart, at least in terms of self-preservation, and they bill me and the former wife separately. They also make us separate packages of the informational material. They’d rather go to the trouble of sending out separate bills and info than to have to listen to us call and accuse each other of being the bad parent.

Because I get there first, I grab the heavier packet. The packets are identical, except that the heavier packet has two luggage tags in it. The kids are supposed to use these luggage tags so that everyone in the group can have their bags identified by anyone in the group. I take the heavier packet. Why? Why not? I know that the former will have a strong sense that she is entitled, for chissà quale ragione,  to be the keeper of whatever keys need keeping. This belief is also reinforced by its correlate, that I am not capable of handling things. (In fairness, many women subscribe to this myth: men would be dead in their houses with their guts being eaten by the cat within days  of last contact were it not for the intervention of the Ever-Feminine.)

True to form, when the former arrives she comes up and asks for the luggage tags. When I answer that I’ll hold on to them, she goes on to demand them. Loudly, vocally, and of course, without regard for the fact that we are in public.

We are reliving our bad marriage all over again, in a microcosm.

It’s not a big deal, the luggage tags. But the assumptions and treatment are galling. So I say, calmly, I think I’ll just hang on to the tags.

The former wife stomps off, loudly, “Well, then you can’t have any chocolate!” IMG_0211 Play my way, or you can’t have any candy. Story of my married life.

 

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