Actual Email

I posted an open letter to “Asshole” yesterday.  It was just what it sounded like – my venting pent-up frustration at someone.   Of course, I felt much better after posting it, but I began to second guess myself.  I felt like I could come off as vindictive and passive aggressive.  This would not be surprising, since I can be both at times.  However, the post may have given the impression that I would not say those things to him.  While I may have it in me to be a bitch from hell on paper, I also can get on a verbal roll when I am backed into a corner.  I am not proud of myself when I lose my temper, but I will say that there have been times where, in the heat of an argument, I have greatly enjoyed being able to come up with just the right words or insult to get my point across.  I have even reveled a bit in the process and thought, “Take that, you bastard!” when a particularly good one hit the bullseye. [ok, I am not actually proud of that, but it has provided a sense of momentary satisfaction I cannot deny.  I try to be a better person than that, but we are all works in progress and have our faults, right?]

So, I decided I would post an actual email I had sent.  I have edited it a bit to remove any names, and, as background this was an email sent last September during a particularly long and drawn out argument over when/how he would meet Jay and when/how I would meet his girlfriend at the time.  They have since broken up and the meeting never took place (big shocker).  He is seeing someone now, I believe, though there has been no mention of my meeting her to date.  I will say that the reply I received was well thought out and tempered – and it came more than a week later once he cooled down.  He told me he felt I had been inconsiderate, rude and simply tasteless in my handling of my relationship with Jay.  And, while I may disagree, I would not deign to dismiss his feelings, as he may very well be right.   He and Jay have met and are on cordial, friendly terms, as I knew they would be.

You may be tempted to think badly of me after yesterday’s post, and I would not blame you if you did.  I am not above losing my temper.  I have not said those exact words from yesterday’s post to him, but I will should I feel the need arise.  The following email may give you a bit of perspective on my feelings about divorced parenting, so it may have some merit.  And, no, this is not his name, nor would I ever use it here.  If you are not interested in the drama of divorce, I commend you for it and do not blame you for skipping this one. 

Jack –

I am writing this with the full knowledge that it will probably do no good other than to satisfy my need to spell things out from my perspective.  I know you well enough to know that you have made up your mind about some things and it will not be changed.  I also know you lack the ability to see things from someone else’s perspective and respect their opinion, especially when it is contradictory to your own.  Your stubbornness and tendency to dig your heels in to your own way of thinking make me feel that writing this is actually a waste of time, but in the off-chance it will do any good, I will write itanyway.

First of all, I am very tired of arguing with you.  Tired to the point that I will not do it anymore.  I will not listen to you cuss at me or scream at me anymore.  One of the nice things about being divorced is that I do not have to do that – and I will not.  Your need to lose your temper and fight is not my problem.  Find someone else to take your anger out on.  If you would like to ask something of me, you are welcome to ask, but my answer will not be  bullied.  I am sick of the sarcasm and the derogatory comments.  I am done with listening to your insults and disparagements on me and my life.  You frame all this in the auspices of concern for Ezra, but it is obviously about you and your own issues. 

You have said time and again that you know I love Ezra with all my heart and will protect and take care of him to the best of my ability.  You have specifically stated that you have no concern over Ezra’s wellbeing when he is in my care, yet you will call me names and scream at me when you disagree with decisions I have made with my own life – decisions that are mine alone to make.  I do not need that kind of negativity.  I have tried very hard to make a life for Ezra that is free of that and you are the only one in my life who attempts to force it on me.

I have been nice about your relationship with S—-.  I wish you both the best and hope she will be someone who will be for Ezra like your stepmother is for you.  For yours and Ezra’s sake I want you be in a loving and happy relationship.  I hope it is permanent.  I would think you would want the same for Ezra when he is with me.  But you certainly do not act like it.  If I had the confidence that you would react to situations in my life the way I react to yours, I might be a bit more forthcoming about my life to you, but I do not.  I expect, and have every reason to expect, that discussing anything of a personal or delicate nature with you will be a problem. 

It would not matter when I told you I was moving; it would not have  mattered when I told you about Jay.  It would not have made one bit of  difference simply because I would be telling you something you would not like and the conversation would devolve into a fight.  I do not discuss things with you until I have to because you are unpleasant to talk to and you lose your temper and become rude, spiteful and mean.  So, no, I have no desire to make sure you are included and I keep you informed only when I have to.  If you were a bit more understanding and pleasant to deal with and could manage a bit of self-control, things might be different.  Starting off a conversation by saying “Don’t sound so enthusiastic to talk to me,” dripping with sarcasm is generally not a good opener.  Regardless of what we are discussing, you seem hell-bent on putting me on the defensive right off the bat.  You approach me as if I am something you scrape off the bottom of your shoe most of the time and then you berate me for not letting you into my life.

I have no problem meeting S—-.  My problem is with you bullying me about it.  And, yes, that is exactly what it feels like.  You did not extend any invitation.  What you said is, “I think it is time for you to meet S—-.”  You did not ask me anything – not my opinion, not if I had plans – nothing.  You made a statement and, I suppose, expected me to simply agree with you and have the same opinion. When I did not agree with you, you started  screaming and cussing at me.  When I finally thought, ok, since I am going to have to get Ezra from him Monday and this is apparently so important to him, maybe she could just be with him when I get Ezra and we could meet.  When I suggested that, I was told I had already turned down the “invitation.”  First, there was no invitation.  You started yelling before we ever even got to whatever you were thinking you would “invite” me to.  Second, your not agreeing to have me meet S—- when I pick up Ezra shows me that this is not about me meeting S—-. This is about you wanting me to do something the way you want it done.  If meeting S—- was the goal, you should have been fine with me meeting her Monday when I pick up Ezra. Otherwise, you are just being spiteful about me not doing it the way you want it done.

You feel as if whatever you think is right is right for everyone else. I do not.  I do understand you wanting to meet Jay.  You need to understand that Jay and I, while we are fine with you meeting, are not comfortable with some formalized introduction.  I do not like the idea of some sort of “getting to know you” dinner or anything that even approaches that.  I do not feel comfortable meeting people like that at all, much less my ex-husband and his new girlfriend.  You act as if my not being comfortable with something is not a valid reason and you also seem to think that yelling and cussing me out about that is either somehow going to make me comfortable with it or bully me into doing something I feel uncomfortable with – and that is apparently fine with you.  You’re getting what you want the way you want it is far more important than my feelings on the matter.

Another difference between you and me are our definitions of respect. I feel like I am being respectful of you and your choice of S—- by trusting that you know her and respect her and feel she is a good person.  I can have no influence on her at all.  In fact, I am sure you have given her a view of me that is unpleasant to begin with and it does not give me a warm fuzzy feeling about meeting her, anyway.  I am sure I will, if this is a long-term relationship for you, but I am not chomping at the bit.  And then you turn that around into some kind of commentary on me as a mother.  I am a bad mother because I do not want to meet your girlfriend as soon as possible.  How exactly is that?  What good will it do for Ezra’s life for me to meet her?  Ok, I will know what she looks like and that she is pleasant and can make small talk.  How does that help Ezra?  I am assuming she is not a bitch or mean to Ezra because I trust that you would not have him around someone who mistreats him in any way.  I am a bit concerned about jealousy from her son, but making sure that is not an issue falls on you and S—-.  There is nothing I can do about it other than, if I get some clue from something Ezra says, raise the issue with you.  That is it.  My meeting S—- and having some superficial knowledge of her as a person is not going to make one bit of difference in anything. 

For you, being able to see Jay and shake his hand and “look him in the eye” may be important [is it just me or does this sound more like a pissing contest than anything else? Guys, I just don’t get it].  It is a guy thing, maybe.  But I am not a guy.  I do not need that – and there is nothing wrong with that.  My having a different perspective on meeting your girlfriend does not make me a bad mother, a bad person, or someone who “does not give a shit.”  What it makes me is more concerned about the areas of Ezra’s life that are mine to influence and not focused on the areas that are your responsibility.  S—- and your life with her and Ezra and her kids are just that – your responsibility.  I show respect for you by recognizing that fact and trusting that you will do a good job at making sure that Ezra is in a loving and nurturing household.  Quite frankly, that is a lot of trust I am putting in you.  All this respect you are looking for, you have it.  You are just looking for it in the wrong place.

I think you are impatient, controlling and bullish.  I am angry that you are trying to force something I obviously do not want down my throat – and calling it respect for me.  I am upset that you would demand some kind of meeting with my boyfriend and turn it into a fight every chance you get.  Have you never heard that you get more flies with honey than vinegar?  Neither Jay nor I have any problems with you meeting.  He would have been happy to shake your hand and “look you in the eye” had the opportunity presented itself.  In fact, when you came by the house that day, you missed him by only a few minutes and that would have been just fine.  But there will not be a formal, “Jay and I are going to meet Jack and S—- tonight” kind of meeting.  If they are both going to be in Ezra’s life for years to come, there should not be this impatience.  Jay knows Ezra is your son, just like I am  sure S—- knows she is not Ezra’s mother.  She may play that role to Ezra in your life, but he knows the difference.  I am Mommy and she is S——. You are Daddy and Jay is Jay.

Maybe there is no way to tell you why I do not feel some sort of rush to meet S—-.  I know you would like one day to be able to have all of Ezra’s family together for him.  But I am telling you right now that if you continue to force and demand that may never be able to happen. Do you think that when you are screaming at me that Jay cannot hear it?  Anyone that is in the same room with me can hear it – even if I am trying to get downstairs as quickly as possible to get it away from him like last night.  Do you think that hearing that makes him look forward to meeting you?  Do you think that there is not a part of him that wonders if you are going to act like that and start a fight with me or him when you do meet him?  I know you can control yourself face-to-face and I don’t think you would do that, but how exactly am I  supposed to convince him of that when you are screaming at me?  As a matter of fact, I can remember a time when if someone talked to me that way, you would be livid and would not want to have anything to do with the son of a bitch that would talk to your wife or girlfriend like that.  What makes you think he would not feel the same way and how does your being Ezra’s father make a difference? 

Controlling your temper helps you get what you want.  You know this. You do it at work. How you feel this does not apply to other areas of your life escapes me.  If you do ever want Ezra to have a complete extended family that can all be at his birthday party or soccer games without icicles hanging from the ceiling, you are going to have to start acting like someone who can handle compromise.  You say you want these things and then you act like someone who would never be able to handle it if they actually happened.

I am sure you are furious reading this and I will not be surprised to get some angry reply.  I am only looking to make sure I am clear on what I think and feel about the whole situation.  And I will admit that I am angry and upset.  I feel this whole argument is ridiculous and I will not have it any more.  When we start having conversations like we did last night, I will hang up from now on.  There is no reason why I should have to listen to that and I will not do it.

If S—- is with you Monday, I am happy to meet her.  I don’t know what your plans are for the weekend, but you can bring Ezra home if that works better for you.  If Jay is there, you are welcome to meet him. S—- is welcome to come with you, as are her kids.

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