It's hard when you're on the receiving end of someone else's trigger. But we can get better at identifying our own triggers and triggered moments. And there are ways to help our partners notice when the rage or sadness that is coming out of them, might be a bit bigger or deeper than the infraction that caused the initial pain.
My job, as your partner, is to let you off the hook when I can, to hold you accountable when I can't, and to make distinctions about the difference.
Anger is not easy for any of us. I have a problem with rage. When a partner gets mad, that's usually okay. It's hard, but it's no longer scary. When…
I don't think my ex-wife or my ex-girlfriend derived any positive benefits from attacking me. And perhaps, their momentary feeling of superiority and vindictiveness was worth the price. But both these women attacked me and took actions to hurt me and my future prospects.
The sad part is my kids don't get much of me and my happiness. They get something less than joyful, most of the time. I can see it and feel it in them. But there's no amount of money or grief that can bring back those lost years. Today, there is only "Where do I go from here as a good dad?"
Do my friendly offers for help, or extra carpool support, or running errands with them, make any difference in the timbre of her voice? Nope. She's not done with me, she's furious with me, still.
I can let go of my side of the problem, right now. And that's my healing. My ex-wife, she's got her own road ahead. I no longer have to take her inventory. I can let her sail her own boat without my input or dependence.
At some point along the way, I fell behind on my child support payments. I tried to be clear and honest about the situation. I asked for a bit of leeway in how I would repay her. And for whatever reason (I don't think it's healthy or helpful to say what another person is thinking) she felt it was in the best interest of the kids to file our decree with the Attorney General's office.