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What to do when one person is intractable in wanting to fight.

 
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Hi Matthew, I love the title of your book. So appropriate for those caught up in it and particularly when one of the two (or more) don't want to fight.

Before I ask a question or open up to comments, I'll say this: a friend of mine is a Uni Prof who specialises in organisational behaviour and interpersonal communications. He is also a professional mediator and is called in to sort out issues for a variety of companies and inviduals. He knows the details of this case intimately, and gave up saying, "F-k it" to me personally - as in - there's nothing you can do. What do you think?


Scenario that may be shared by others in some way shape or form:

a) Common Law partnership
b) My wife thinks I am the King of her World (and says so frequently)
c) Have a child, things break down (I am there every moment in support, she now calls me SuperDad and give me a physical TShirt that says it)
d) Renewed enthusiasm, Child#2, I feel post partum hits harder. (I still provide primary care on occassion when she works)
e) I am a work from home, stay at home Dad providing, creating, forging the "simple life" wife wants, and I support
f) Move 4000km's away, buy a farm, I run it singelhandedly (and find my tribe the Permaculture people)
g) Have a third child, post partum is raging (imo). Now, she hates me. I make time to support her, the kids, the family. We spend Sundays together as a family, to recuperate. Other days I am working on the farm and in and out the house for about 16hrs a day.
h) One day, she's gone, goes to an abused womens home.
i) Court ensues. I am given joint custody but she gets all assets, the farm, house, everything due to wonky local laws about marriage. I go to court six times in 3months. She uses my CCard to commit financial fraud - extremely out of character.
j) I beg for discussion, therapy and counselling and mediation over court action. She refuses. (it would seem logical at this point that I must have been Satan to inspire this kind of action)
k) Sells the farm, moves 5000km's away to be with her family, and I follow to try and rebuild my family, leaving everything I built up there
l) Refuses to let me have overnights, suddenly coming up with a ream of paper worth of complaints to the Child Protections Services, separately including 1/4 ream of paper of complaints to the Police (who never even called me to discuss), and some others
m) Appear 35 times in Court in under 3 years
n) Steals my beloved dog and accuses me of abuse, neglect and lacking sufficient judgement to be a dog owner (though she made cards calling me the Dog Whisperer whilst still in relationship). I go to Civil Court, and my dog is returned with all allegations found to be unsubstantiated (and later discovered to be completely falsified with Veterinary reports)
o) I continue trial in just a couple weeks to finalise my appeal to Court to be in my childrens lives and have them overnight like a normal divorced couple who are rational, mature and grown up
p) I continue to suggest and request through legal and personal efforts to mediate and stay out of Court for everyones benefit.
q) That is refused time and again.
r) My 3 kids now tell me their Mom keeps them away from me (at age 4, which is extraordinarily painful and relieving at the same time, because they get it - but at far too young an age)
r) I was chaste to my partner from the day I met her until even now. I have chosen to be celibate since the day of separation
s) I lost everything I worked for until this moment in time, and inherited all the running debt of the farm, house, etc.
t) She's an extremely believable individual otherwise, and highly skilled at her people skills job where she earns 6 figures a year.


I think its impossible to get someone to stop fighting when it appears that they are illogical, intractable and unmoveable.

What appeared to be shared personal values after many, many many shared and volunteered meditation sessions before having children seems like a different human now.

- How to stop fighting already???

- Is it possible?


 
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Hi Lito,
I don't know the situation or the people well enough to give you a simple answer to your question. It seems like there's a lot of pain here for sure. It sounds from your description as if you feel mental health issues may be playing a role (at least that postpartum depression has and it's unclear what else).

What are her feelings and needs and can you communicate them to her in her own language so she believes you've really heard and understood her? That would be a big step if it hasn't already happened.

I don't believe that every relationship is salvageable, but it's certainly much tougher for everyone when there are children involved. I felt sad to read that your four year old would tell you that.

I think the book offers some evidence-backed ideas and techniques that may be useful to you up to a point, but I can't say just how useful or what the outcome of all this will be.
 
pollinator
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Wow Lito! What a story, you have my upmost sympathy. Don't know what to say. I wish for the best for you and the children. Keep strong and good for yourself.
 
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Lito, it almost  seems as if you tore the pages from my book and used them.  I had much the same experience once, beginning when the children were 4 and 6.  Post partum depression cannot be swept under the carpet.  Left alone, it will manifest beliefs that seem out of this world to you or me.  But, unfortunately, they believe that you are the problem.

I did the whole "hold it together for the sake of the children," but in retrospect, I was just holding to the idea of the way it was, and not about right now, which is the only thing that really matters.  Had I understood this from the beginning, I would not have this many gray hairs.
 
pollinator
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Lito, others need to have a good reason for communication, it needs both sides to want to.

What you need is to look for the way to stop the fight that is in you, and I know you cannot do this with a snap of fingers. I am trained in Somatic Experiencing, and this is the sort of modality that would do you good, as it is from the somatic levvel and deals with the pain. I am sure your pain is as real as if you had been hurt physically! This is why I hate the words our languages use, when we say "mental illness". No this is not mental but organic, physiological, physical! The somatic level is the kind of work that Will ease the pain in you, and Will allow you to fight if necessary, but with much less pain and thus much more strength.


This might help you recover your energy, as this sort of story is drenching. The good news is that this somatic work is a sort of inner alchimy, and that you can have a good surprise about an inner transformation of this pain… Trust the laws of the autonomic nervous system and learn about it… Become an alchimist dude!
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Lito George wrote:b) My wife thinks I am the King of her World (and says so frequently)
c) Have a child, things break down (I am there every moment in support, she now calls me SuperDad and give me a physical TShirt that says it)



This just tilted…

I have also studied social therapy and thus communication in case of violence, and you did not see it coming : it starts when people exagerate the admiration they have for you! Deception Will come. Violence is about not seeing the humanity of a person, and this is what she did from the start! She over-sees you, you are King or superDad, but you are an image, you are not really the real simple man you are. I can tell you that I flee any excessive admiration because I know the reverse Will come one day.

I have also learned in this course that there is no way to find a way out of violence if both parties are not seeing - both - that it is interesting to do so. It means the good conditions happen when involved people are forced to go on living so close one to the others that it becomes a better option to talk about it and find solutions.
 
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Qualifier:  Obviously this response is based on the small amount of information presented by one side.  What Xisca Nicolas said about that passage, caught me immediately in the same way.  

Chronic, overblown pedestal praise is a red alert and a setup for failure.  An inevitable whipping will follow and appear unexpectedly, and coming at the target sideways or indirectly through fears perceived by the offender.  The change that brings it can be sparked by anything.  Maybe the stress of pregnancy or / and related life changes exacerbated an unidentified yet pre-existing behavior challenge beyond the former wife's typical coping mechanisms.  Could have been an innocent comment by anyone.  A commercial.  An unrelated yet persistent negative memory.  May not have been specifically related to having children.  Half a lifetime might pass before the impossible person has a clue what sparked them into behaving badly.

If you research "impossible person" (or people), you will find what is described about the former wife and then some.  An impossible person doesn't want mediation.  Though both parties might be at fault for continuing a fight, most likely it is the impossible person who craves friction most of the time because, in all areas of their life, they seek out people who are not inclined to fight and circumstances in which they will be most likely to overcome resistance.

From what I have personally observed, I don't feel every impossible person knowingly chooses to be impossible.  I only know one individual who is aware and chooses to live and work remotely to avoid people as much as possible, to avoid being reminded, and to avoid dealing with consequences he feels are unfair even when he sees other people get the same consequences for the same bad behavior.  Dwelling in chronic fear must be insufferably miserable. More often I have seen that they do not recognize or know how to cope with their particular unhealthy behavior.  What an impossible person does to others is a direct reflection of their inner chaos.

I read about one admitted impossible person who managed to repair his marriage by proactively, even enthusiastically, practicing to check healthy behavior - described by his therapist - against his errant behavior.  He was rather pleased to know there was a label for this 'thing' he hadn't been able to pin down.  And especially to find out he could change it over time with patience and diligence.  He challenged himself to be brutally honest by journaling in a blog almost daily about the experience of learning to correct himself.  He said when the condition was professionally identified and explained, it clicked.  Then he wanted nothing more than to right himself.  He adored his wife and his own behavior confounded him.  He was desperate to keep his marriage intact and more than willing to try his best.

Impossible people collect and store ammo.  Stuff.  Information.  People.  The target's friends and family.  Pets.  Circumstances.  Work.  Money.  Anything that can be used against a target who might cause them intolerable pain.  All they feel they can do is obliterate the target by whatever means is possible.  And they do not discriminate.  They do this to everyone all the time.  Anyone and everyone is a potential target.  Somewhere in their mind, is an ammo-collecting bean counter adding to the ever-growing inventory.  What a blessing to discover what is happening and be able to release that baggage.  If that person is willing.

The best I can offer only from limited personal hindsight, is for the former husband to keep communications in writing, email, text - nothing verbal unless there is a genuinely objective witness present.  

To maintain contact with the children, perhaps it would benefit the former husband to deliberately choose supervised visitation so that a court appointed 'visitation supervisor' will always be present to observe and take notes regarding each visit.  It will be an ongoing struggle.  (I know someone who did this and though it took about 2 years, eventually enough notes were gathered by the visitation supervisor to turn the entire situation turned around.  Though turning things around is not their job, making that effort can change much because a different light can shine so truth can out.  My friend regained her daughter and afterward filed a restrictive order against the offending spouse.)

If the former husband in question has not, he might compile the notes as written above and request the former wife see a court ordered psychiatrist for the benefit of the minor children.  I don't like the term or loose usage of "mental health", or that diagnoses are too often inappropriately conferred, but sometimes there is an appropriate time and necessity for effective therapy.  

Being an impossible person is no less problematic for them, than the chaos they wreak in others' lives.  The sooner this former wife gets help, the sooner all will benefit.  As sad as these circumstances are for the former husband, children have fewer, if any, coping mechanisms to deal with impossible people.  They need appropriate care and attention before their lives become similarly impacted.
 
Lito George
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Folks, my automatic response email notification magodie thingie didn't work for this thread for some reason. I am only seeing these responses now

Thank you all for reading, ruminating and responding. From those who personally identify to those with well meaning advice, pointers and introspection - it is all helpful.

One thing I didn't mention previously - my professionally trained Mediator/ Prof of Communications has tentatively identified the individual as a "passive aggressive crazy maker manipulator" which makes a lot of sense to anyone who knows the details of the case. I've now studied crazy makers and I can identify so much from reading the professional works on this issue.

I agree wholeheartedly on the excessive praise bit. I too was emotionally weak and found that I had to make ever increasingly amazing feats to keep earning that moniker. Of course, I couldn't keep up and no matter what I did was never good enough at the end of the day.


My kids: I've insisted on spending every second of every day I have parenting them to help them through this absolute heinous filthy experience. Its helped significantly. The difference between when she first spirited my children away and now is vast, though I'll be honest in that I dont know what it is to Father anymore normally. Its all abnormal and always focused on healing and a bit of learning, instead of normality which is focused on growing and sometimes healing.

In Courts, its been my experience that a Father is by birthright a second rate citizen in North America. This no old trope - and I certainly didnt think that would be the case given the evidence when all this started. However, I've witnessed and experienced many fathers, including myself, be prejudiced against by Judges without any evidence to back up any claims. Its why my current trial, meant for 3 days is now at 8 days and I have yet to cross examine the Mom.

Its awful folks, and everything in me rails against revealing what she's done - because I care about her (I am by no means in like/ love with her any longer), and yet I motivate myself saying its for the kids.

Rehabilitating myself has been excrutiatingly painful, and I can only say that I am getting to the phoenix rising part now. I'll do well with the Court stuff (imo) because there is so much to show and its all very real and very damaging, but how I do it seems far more important now than ever. Surrender and genuine self love have become real world near realised goals as they were all foreign to me prior to this. Hence, my appreciation for the excessive praise in the past. Many good lessons have been learned, I can assure you. I'm not letting this go to waste.

I'm deeply SAD at a human, egotistical, intellectual and soulish level that I'll never be able to grow my children up in a happy, secure, dual parent household where they feel safe, encompassed and well guided. At this point, I can only do what I do. Having my young children verbalise their understanding of this situation is relieving but man how disgusting is it for them to know on account of their cognitive ability at age 4 that their Mom is holding them back from me?

I'll process all the information here for a bit before responding further.

 
pollinator
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Lito

I have some small experience with a person like this and perhaps a couple others a little like this. Stuff said above sounds right.

I might only add that this is not something you can "win", or even cope with, alone. You need a face to face village. Anything you can do to get out in the world in a normal way, interact with normal people in all the usual ways, will help you and your children and everybody around you. Also, find a support group that is "good enough" (don't waste time trying to find "perfect" or "great") attend religiously and stick with it all the way out the other end. None of this will "solve" your problems, but in my experience, it's seriously important, helps keep you sane and helps make it possible to make the best effort and choices as you come to them.  

Again: You can't come out of this well alone. It really, _really_, helps to find and strengthen a normal decent existence with real and constant connection to the healthy whole that you will find interacting with decent people. The mechanics are not rocket science: Join a bowling league; join a sports team at your local bar; go Irish dancing every Monday night, cook at the local soup kitchen... Whatever. Nothing too emotionally demanding, just something regular you can honestly join in on. Make a rule NOT to talk about your family problem. Just go be human for a few hours every week.

And here's the tough part: Even if taking care of yourself means seeing (a little) less of your kids, maybe not touching _every_ base a lawyer can think up, you have to take the time and energy to stay healthy and human. You won't do the kids or anybody any good if you crash and burn or turn into some kind of robot war machine. I'm sorry. I think this paragraph is going to be hard to take, but I believe it's _very_ important. If you don't allow yourself some time and maintain and commit to your own life, you won't have anything to offer your children, now or later - except war. You can't fix the world by yourself. Don't everyday wind yourself up to win regardless. That kind of churn... Well, I don't think it does any good.

Just do your best. That's what this is about, right?  Staying healthy, that's gotta be right at the top, right? You don't want to just be a dog that gets wagged by the crazy tail...  Don't forget to breath.

Ease off. Go deliberate. You'll get there.

Good luck,
Rufus
 
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