DISCLAIMER: LONG. Trigger topic for me. I am VERY sorry you endure this.
I will try to keep even keel. Sorry it is a novel back!
Given these things...(purple mine, designed to help YOU think all this out and make your decisions. Not that I actually expect you to answer ME here. Your life decisions are yours to make. I have faith you can decide things for YOURSELF. )
- 1) I am not immune to his emotionally manipulative tendencies. (Could put this on a card by the phone. Or clear tape it on there.)
- 2) He has this way of convincing me that he’s absolutely right and I should agree with him even though I KNOW he’s spewing a bunch of BS. (Could choose to "Agree" to his side right away, and walk away and make your OWN choice. Then you minimize your exposure to his brainwash BS. You do not have to lie. Just say "Yeah, I hear what you are saying." He can take that as agreement. But you can just confirm your ears are operational.)
- 3) He knows that I do desire to make him happy and he takes advantage of that. (Could put making YOU healthy above all. Even making him happy. If you enjoy people pleasing -- please your kid. Child is not dangerous to your health.)
- 4) We are going through a divorce and I have to make myself NOT listen to him in order to protect myself and our kid (1 year old). (Could put ALL these bullets on a card actually. In your purse. To read before, during, and after any engagement with him. )
How am I making these decisions:
- I want him to have as little influence as possible on our kid. I don’t want our kid learning these behaviors from him. (Influence on kid happens via time spent with kid. Since you cannot trust him not to be emotionally manipulative to YOU an adult person, how is exposing a child person with no judgement at ALL helpful toward the goal of of him having little influence on child? Is his condition stable? Is he medicated? What's the dx? Are his disorders an impediment to caring for child properly and safely?)
- I do want him to have a relationship with our kid. I think that would be good for my soon-to-be-ex. And he is really good with kids when he’s not angry at them. (How does this reconcile with what is good for your SON? How does this reconcile with at least 3 & 4 above? (But really 1-4) Since this person is unstable, how will you control when he is or is not angry and your child's exposure to that? You cannot control your's ex's mood meter. You can control your child's time with whom somewhat.)
- I want his family to have a relationship with our kid, as they have been heavily involved in kid's life. (that has nothing to do with him. So 1-4 do not apply UNLESS they break boundaries with you. Like if you left kid with grandma and grandma left kid with ex and ex got angry and punched kid out... sounds like you could spent time thinking here on what wants, needs, and limits are for the extended relatives? Then talk to the relatives in question? What would you write out for yourself?)
- I have no idea how to get the courts to take his mentally and emotionally abusive tendencies into account. There’s not any particular incident that I can point to as obvious. It’s a lot of memories all muddled together in a soup. And it’s not very obvious to an outside observer. Print speakoutloud list. Highlighter each and every single item. Make a journal if incidents, esp now if new ones pop up in the "separation abuse" category and "use the children against you" category. That's a start. Call up local women's shelters for advice -- they have seen it ALL and perhaps you can get a counseling appt for how to best organize your evidence in divorce process. Also talk to your divorce mediator/lawyer person.
MY CURRENT REALITY
- I feel like I can’t think logically about how to deal with him, ESPECIALLY in the heat of the moment. I don’t get explosively angry at him like I used to, thank goodness, and I at least notice that he’s manipulating me now. But still it is really hard to overcome the effect he has on me. Read the entire speakoutloud.net website. You are not the first. You won't be the last. *hug*
Could think about what is best for YOU now. And what is best for KID now. Before you think about what is best for him. Everyone holds their OWN bag first. Are you holding YOUR baggage first? Then the kid? In that order?
You are now a single mother, you have no emotional obligation to this soon-to-be-ex man. You are in the process of emotional detachment. It IS gonna be hard and you ARE gonna go through the stages of grief. You are vulnerable -- watch out for Mr Wacky piling on fresh at this time.
You can get through this. Hang in there.
I’d love some outside opinions. I feel like I can’t really share this with most people, as they would basically say he’s a horrible person and give me reactive advice. I don’t need reactive advice, I need honest, sane, boundary-setting advice. Or encouragement or SOMETHING.
You are a grown up person. You are fully capable of making your own grown up decisions. You have decided to divorce this man for your own very good grown up reasons. Just keep on keepin' on lady! Move it forward one baby step at a time.
I am sure you can set limits just fine. It's the he keeps on crossing the line.
Right? He lacks respect. If this is the case?
Be specific -- boundary line with your limit. Have a consequence. DO the consequence.
You are a firm but fair traffic cop. Traffic cops DIRECT how to drive safely around on the tricky road. They don't tell you WHY to drive or WHERE you are going to do WHAT. They assume you know how to operate your car.
You are a traffic cop on the road of you-ness. If he wants to drive on this you-road? HERE is the road he has access to. Other roads on this property are PRIVATE and need ID card. He has no card to access those parts. Security clearance revoked. Here is HOW to drive on that road. Here's what happens when he drives off the road. He asks you things -- it is a green for go, red for no, yellow -- proceed with caution. Tell him his traffic light color. [/color]
Ex: "No. I am not willing to talk to you on the phone in general. (the red light limit). I am willing talk on the phone about divorce things (yellow light) [/COLOR]but only if you email me your agenda. I add my bullets points. We schedule talk time and go down the printed agenda bullets to keep us on track. (the How of green light-ness) No rambling on and on and on. No going round and round in circles. (red lights) 60 min. Times up, it is up, table agenda for next session. (red light limit and how of green lightness to future) Respect my boundaries, those are the limits. You do not respect? I hang up phone. (CONSEQUENCE)"
If he gets pissy about you being MEAN or something because you hang up phone?
How are you being mean? You stated the thing that you are willing to do, and how you are willing to engage. He doesn't have to engage. You are in charge of how you behave. He is in charge of how he behaves. What is more fair? He behaved thus. THIS happened. He was in charge of avoiding the consequence or not by his behavior. Plenty of red lights, yellow lights, and green lights on how to drive on the road of you ness. Not your prob he bad driver and he fell off road!
Sigh. Expect song and dance like that. Set CONSEQUENCES.