The situation is that we have the last bit of court paperwork to file, and I haven't had the time to do so because of work and school. He offered to come down to do it for me, and I happily took him up on this offer. And so there was to be an exchange that was not child related.
I do not want to see David's face.
I don't want him to breathe my air.
These are of course sarcastic manifestations of "I really don't like you and I know that when we interact it goes south very quickly." Sarcasm is part of my very slow to burn style of fighting. Even though we were not fighting at this point, like the sailor said quote: stormy weather. Even if I am only using this sarcasm for to quell my internal churning of abhorrence and formulate a plan of action to resolve the issue.
Identify the issue: I have to give paperwork to my ex, which means I am vulnerable to being goaded into a fight I do not want to employ the labor to have. (This assumption is based off of previous encounters we've had.)
--Note that I am using I statements. I don't have any responsibility for his half of things, nor is it my job to plan how he needs to behave. I am only responsible for me.
I have decided that I do not want to give him access to my person. We will communicate minimally via text messaging or email.
I have a few choices for how to make this happen.
- I can have someone else make the exchange for me, but that is taking someone's time and there's already enough collected time in the world wasted on this individual.
- I could overnight mail it to his mom's house, but then I'd be wasting money.
- Leaving it somewhere that he can retrieve it from, but there is risk involved in making sure that it gets to the right hands.
I've determined a place for this to happen. As for time, I decided not to have it happen while I wasn't home. No, I do not want to interact with the fella, but I also didn't want something to happen while I am away. For example, him attempt to break in or if he gets into a fist fight with my neighbor or something random that probably won't happen but since I really don't know who I'm dealing with anymore, could possibly happen.
I also didn't want it to happen abruptly after getting home or during a time when I would likely be eating or cooking, so I chose 7. 7 is a good number. And, to boot, the good thing is that he asked me what time would work best for me. I've been psychologically conditioning him to behave a certain way when dealing with me, and it has worked.
I love school.
Now, the outcome I wanted was to leave the papers tucked into my screen door, he shows up and gets them, and he leaves. It pretty much went off without a hitch, except that I forgot to sign something. He texted me, and then knocked on my door, and then attempted to call me.
None of these things were unreasonable, they were just annoying. I chose to respond via text message, because I wouldn't have to see his face or hear his voice. And because I didn't want to see his face or hear his voice, I told him to leave the paper that needed to be signed, go back to his car, and I will tell him when he can come back.
"Why don't you just come out here with a pen?" he asked.
Welp, I don't want to. He's come to my turf, he's going to have to do things the way I am comfortable doing them. I insist that we do it my way.
The word he always resorts to when he realizes that I am not budging is "Fine!" Not "okay," or "all right," but FINE. Well, he said Fine and went to his car, texted me from his car to say he was at his car, I got my taser and opened my door to get the paper, sign it, and put it back. The taser was just in case he was standing there and I needed to give him a warning zap to respect my boundaries. Okay, no it was really just in case in the unlikely event that he was getting me to open the door so he could get physical.
Except he had follow up questions. I didn't know the answer to them and said so.
And that was that.
And you may be thinking to yourself "why does everything have to go your way?" The answer to that was stated toward the beginning of this story: I am only responsible for me. I remember what happens when we interact in person. I have the intelligence to make this easy on both of us. Also, I am naturally in charge of everything. Leadership skills for the win.
I mean--why assume that he is going to take charge? Why assume it will go well this time? Why bother planning? Why hope that he can change?
He can't change, that's why the marriage ended, and it's not up to me to put that burden on him anyway. Only you can prevent forest fires is the most absurd You Statement of the century. It should be that only I can prevent forest fires, because only I can be responsible for my actions.
Of course, the fact that there was slightly more interaction than I had planned on had me venting out my annoyance to friends. One of my friends, Kevin, the widower of my friend Angie said that this story reminded him of a time that we drove down to San Diego to visit them.
When was it? Hmm... back when Ang and I were hanging in San Diego. You and David came down and spent a day (with yummy sausages). You and Ang chatted away and I ended up taking a boat ride with D.
Yeah, said boat ride was fun in the sun, but I really got the impression that there wasn't much going on upstairs, or maybe he just wasn't boat-savvy. That led to me having a little "heart to heart Dad to Son" kind of talk with him on just what exactly his plans were, where he saw himself right now, step up or step off, etc... Didn't get any return on that, so I shrugged and let him do his thing.
His thing consisted of keeping to the shoreline 'cuz he could see the bottom of the lake and any fish he was trying to catch and I guess it seemed to him easier to fish like that. I pointed out that we were in a boat designed to go into the lake where larger fish were and yes it requires more investment of time and patience but better returns in the long run. That analogy just glanced off his noggin like a skipping stone. After about 5 minutes of "in the lake", he headed back to shoreline fishing: His Thing.
The first thing that came to mind after reading this was "this is the perfect metaphor to describe why my first husband did not work for me--how I like a certain amount of investment and risk and living up to potential, and how he displayed none of that."
The second thing that came to mind after reading this was "He has a phobia of water."
When I told Kevin about his water phobia, Kevin said "well he could have just mentioned that instead of going through all that worry, but he didn't."
Speak up for yourself because You are responsible for You.