over and out to my ex-wife

Getting In The Last Word/Text “Whatever”

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[This post is a continuation of this rant: My Angry Ex-Wife and Her Ongoing Malfunctions]

The mad fury of my ex-wife on text is pretty entertaining, once you find you can mute the alerts of incoming messages. As she veers off into la la land I can disconnect and pick up again later.

over and out for today

Boundaries like this don’t seem to have any effect. She went on for four more paragraphic messages. Then she left me a voicemail. Nope. Sorry. You ran through my patience an hour ago with drama and “what if” worries. We are no longer co-parenting. This son is an adult. He has his own agency, his own agenda, and his own dreams. We are here to keep them safe and help with retargeting when needed.

The Frame As a Coverup

My ex-wife was overly concerned with “what will people think.” She always wanted to unify our story, create a “frame” as she called it, for putting a box around an uncomfortable truth with a story that covers up the difficult parts. And then we have to agree on the frame, commit to the lie, and act accordingly. It’s exhausting.

In the case of my 23-year-old son, I’ve stopped negotiating or working through the “plan” with her. She and her husband are providing food, shelter, and a semblance of a job for him. Great. I tried that approach. There is no frame required.

Last week I asked my son to schedule a team meeting with his mom, his therapist, and me. So we could build his PLAN. My understanding of life is if you don’t have a plan, you’re probably going to get all of what you didn’t plan. Nothing. My son knows the issues. He needs to finish college. He needs to settle his anxious mind and bad habits into a sustainable lifeway. He needs to grow up.

He’s not ready to grow up. He’s back at Mom and Step Dad’s house for the extended summer break. Five months is a long time. I don’t envy any of them in that house. I am in constant contact with my son. We’re exchanging creative ideas, songs, and a few logistics about his stuff stored in my shed. I am 100% supportive of him building and articulating his own plan.

His mom would like to be involved in building his plan. She wanted to give her testimony to the new psychiatrist. She was not invited in. She was also not given permission to contact the doctor afterward. Well done, son. She’s thrashing a bit now. It’s a simple TEAM meeting for our son. She wants me to “frame it” for the therapist. Um, nope, it’s just a family meeting. Nothing dramatic on the agenda. It does require both of us, however.

The Tentative Parent

My ex-wife has always had communication problems. In middle school, my daughter would often call me during the school day saying she could not reach her mom, or get a call back, for something required for a field trip. I would make the call. But, I often wondered where my ex-wife was vanishing to. What was she doing when she went off the grid for 4 hours? I don’t think it’s appropriate for a parent of school-age children to be unreachable for long periods of time during the day, but hey, that’s me.

So, last week my son scheduled the first team meeting and asked both his mom and myself to attend. She responds to him with “tentative.” WTF? Even he had a WFT moment.

Yesterday, she wanted clarity on MY intention for the meeting. Um… It’s our son’s meeting, not mine. I just asked for a team meeting. She went on. She had fears. She had frames. She had complaints. She had projections. She had advice. She rambled on long after I put down the “I’m out” message.

This morning, the day of the “meeting,” she was up and running again. Wanting to understand why I didn’t ask her for the meeting. Why I didn’t negotiate a time with her for the meeting?

I asked our 23-year-old son to arrange a team meeting about his plans. That does not require a lot of planning, negotiations, or “framing.”

She Shoots Herself

The little bubbles of someone responding on text is a nightmare when you’re communicating with my ex-wife. The bubbles come. The bubbles go. More bubbles. She’s loading up a big one.

“If it’s over a paragraph or two, they should be emails.”

She goes on.

I no longer co-parent with my ex-wife. She killed that channel of cooperation after about two years of trying to include me. I guess she met her future husband shortly after that, perhaps he didn’t want me around as much. Well, fk them both. It’s hard, this parenting thing. And when you and your husband don’t have healthy boundaries or healthy habits, it’s going to be hard for either of our kids to just make them up.

They are both awful parents. Of course, according to the state, she was the Mom so she got the custodial parent role, a $ 2,000-a-month tax-free stipend, and a house she sold last year for a million plus. Tough titties. She left them unattended and went on vacations with her new husband. She was often unreachable by phone for hours at a time. Her two kids even bought her an Apple Watch to help with her excuse, “I just don’t keep track of my phone.” She came up with a new excuse. “Watch died. Phone died. Oh, you almost died, sorry I missed it.”

I left a dumpster fire when my divorce was thrust upon me. I am clear now that it was the best thing that could’ve happened for me. I am afraid my kids picked up the worst of her. Stoic. Unreachable. Lack of self-soothing options. Retail therapy. Dramatic and escalating text bombs.


I’m out. See you at 4 for our son’s family meeting.

Always Love,

John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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