So I was exposed to the former husband while at Thing 1’s for the baby shower.
Thing 1 said, “Momma. The salty was coming off of you in waves.”
I was horrified!
I was not salty with purpose. I was there to celebrate my baby having a baby. It wasn’t about me. It was all about Thing 1. (and Husband N and Baby K)
Thing 2 says, “Oh that’s just (dad) trying to stay relevant.”
Thing 1 says, “He just wants to remind people he’s there.”
Like most narcissists, he resides in a world created by his compulsive need for adoration. When he feels threatened in any way, he tends to back pedal, blame, or talk mad shit about his perceived attacker.
Most of us simply go along with his behavior to avoid potential ugliness. Life really is so much simpler that way.
Only I was consciously different last weekend in that I simply did not engage his behavior.
I did not engage in his attempt to hug me.
I did not engage his attempt to draw me into ‘inside jokes’ or his telling of stories.
I corrected him when he falsified events with embellishments.
I was respectful and polite, but I did not behave as though we have any special knowledge of each other.
Apparently the former husband was feeling the salt because he brought it up to Husband N who directed him to discuss his concerns with me.
That will never happen. He will talk mad shit about me to anyone that listens, but he won’t have a frank discussion with me about anything.
Interestingly, he talks the maddest shit about me to our daughters. What he chooses not to realize is that they tell me what he says about me.
While we were there, he said two particular things to me that rubbed me the wrong way. But instead of engaging him, I simply responded with honesty.
When Thing 1 walked out of the room, his eyes followed her then he turned to me and said, “You did a wonderful job.” I looked up, smiled, and replied, “I sure did.”
I worked my ass off to be the best possible mother to my daughters. I know I did a good job. I know my girls are good humans. I don’t need his approval.
Much later on, he said to me, “I’m glad you’re going to be with her for the birth.”
I literally had no words with which to respond, so I just nodded.
These things may seem benign to the casual observer, however in the comment about being with Thing 1 while Baby K is born, he’s essentially giving me permission to mother my own child.
It may sound as though I’m over here like, ‘let’s talk mad shit about the ex’. But in reality, it comes from a desire to express the shift in me.
I made an entirely conscious decision to change my behavior around him.
I chose not to engage in his performance.
I kept my focus on myself, on my daughter, on the celebration.
For the first time in over thirty years, I set clear boundaries.
I was not fearful, did not walk on eggshells.
I was empowered to simply be myself.
I’m going to say that again.
I was empowered to simply be myself.
My true self.
The me that trusts what she knows.
The me that loves fiercely and without fear.
I did not engage him.
There was push back. Husband N got it the same day.
I suspect there will be further push back, my girls will get it in mad shit talk about me.
I don’t care.
Husband N has no fucks to give when it comes to his wife’s father.
Thing 1 and Thing 2 know what’s up. I hate their dad uses them that way, but I can’t solve that problem for them.
I will always be polite and treat him with respect because I love my daughters and that’s the behavior they deserve to witness. They also deserve to witness a woman with strength and dignity. A woman who loves and lives passionately without fear.
I deserve to be that woman.
I will never again accept any one else’s version of who I am.
I am my own version of me.
That is awesome. I loved to read this introspection. Good for you! The shift, it happens in midlife to so many of us, in a variety of situations. You described it really well with your ex. 🙂