A Minute to Myself (194)
5770: Starting Off Quietly

Waking from a Nap

On Friday afternoon I took my usual afternoon nap so that I could make it past eight o’clock still a member of the adult community. I napped on a couch in my lovely living room, facing the large sliding glass doors that are always open except when I go to sleep or when I’m not at home. When I woke the sky was in shades of gray; I tried not to think, but just to feel the coolness and the calm. When I finally got up I put on, for the first time in a few seasons, my light, at-home sweater that I bought years ago at a street market in Tel Aviv with a friend. The September chill felt more comforting than the heat of the summer. While I lay there my mind was focused on the now. It was a lovely interlude from the preoccupations of a wake and expressive self. It was a lovely interlude from the intensity of the first week of school and having to deal with exman and his stringent demand to adhere to the letter of the custody agreement that we drew up three years ago.

In a phone conversation later my mother told me that I shouldn’t think about how I had a lawyer who let me negotiate from a point a weakness and not a point of strength, but that was after we once more picked apart how utterly petty and evil my ex-husband is. It’s not that he really wants my younger daughter there, no. He even said to me in one of the fourteen calls that he made to me in the course of two hours the other night, and which he recorded, that he thinks I want her to stay with me more than is written in the agreement because I want to get more money from him. This is a man who has not paid a penny of child support since we moved out of the house in June. This is a man who ignored this wonderful girl for years while he tried to infiltrate the mind of my older daughter, until she went across the country to get away from him. This is a man who uses and manipulates.

The mantra that a friend told me I should recite to myself is “you’re out of there,” and that is good. I cannot tell you how at peace and happy I am in my apartment. And even the new school year and teaching a grade that I never taught before and needing to create all new lesson plans and teaching four different classes at religious school are all exciting and invigorating. So I know what feeling good is like. But the ache I have for my daughter is intense. As a glass half-full person I tell myself that at least I didn’t have to fulfill the custody agreement when the girls were younger, when it was both of them, that now, at least, his negativity and emotional cruelty towards me and the world will have less of an impact on my daughter, my sweet, sweet daughter who is no longer such an impressionable child.

But it’s so unbelievably hard having to deal with someone who is so very poisonous.

When I told him that I don’t want to have to talk to him, that I want to do these movement-of-daughter discussions via email and to please give me his email address he refused, because he doesn’t want to get emails from me. And when, after his recitation of his time calculations that will enable me to somewhat change the agreement for one week to confirm to my daughter’s request, I told him to just tell me when he would be over and if he was bringing Poops, his response to me was “don’t dictate to me.” My reasoned response was, “I’m hanging up.” And I did. Nor did I answer another one of his insane calls. I turned the sound off my cellphone so I wouldn't even have to be aware of them.

I know there are people who act as intermediaries between formerly-married couples so they don’t have to talk to each other. But I’m too tired of spending money on that man. I will try to deal with him on my own, and I will continue to strengthen myself by standing up to him—for me and my daughter-s. My mantra when dealing with him needs to be “He’s just a bully” because that’s all he is.

I can’t believe how endless this is.

In our conversation the other night my mother reminded me that he had told me that he will hound me until he can spit on my grave. He can’t do that. I am determined to compartmentalize my interactions with him, in fact, the writing of this post is the lighting of the fire and the extinguishing of it for this episode.


Today I wrote eight pages of my novel, which I can proudly say has reached 90 pages and which I am very pleased with. And I took Poops for two half-hour walks. And I created three handouts for my students (one each on apostrophes, commas and an in-class reading log). So I no longer let him impact me, much.

One day it will be four years from now and younger daughter will be off to college. And the burden of marrying wrong will have lifted even more from me—and them. But I will not wish those years to fly past; I want to enjoy my daughter as she grows into the woman she will become. And I want to enjoy listening to her sister blossom with each and every phone call. I will taste the sweetness and let the bitterness fall to the bottom of my cup, unstirred and undisturbed.



You'd think years of practice dealing with bullies would have made us experts in dealing with them. Apparently, not so.
Although my "hell" does not compare with yours (no custody arrangements necessary) it is my youngest who is suffering the most vis-a-vis his relationship with his father - and it breaks my heart.
I took the high road months ago - decided to be civil on the phone with my ex - no matter what he said or had done. To some extent, it is working. If he can't get a rise out of me, that takes some of his "pleasure" out of the encounters and the zingers have become less frequent. We shall see...
Good to hear you are taking pleasure in all other aspects of your life. We move on where and when we can.

And aren't naps wonderful? ;)

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Beth, I try to be calm with him and have a normal conversation. That works until he gets into his version of conspiracy theories and the taping and the twisting of reality. I have found 'tis better to hang up, because I need to worry about my sanity and not his.

Moving on, yes, it is a wonderful--well-deserved--thing.


I am so thankful for you to be in your own home. Even though you still have to deal with the ex in these ways, it sounds like you are learning how to walk away from him. The longer you are living away from that toxic environment, the stronger you will get and the affect he has on you whether with his words or whatever it is that he tries to do, will be less. Amen!

I sense a strength in this post that is so wonderful to see. I am glad you are writing and out walking and enjoying your life. I am proud of you Laura! Hugs and love, Lori


Don't let yourself poison your relationship with your daughters, don't let him spoil your new acquired free life. If you think he might do that, please get some help to get him stop contacting you. I'm sure all the money involved would be well spent if it helps so make your life better and get rid of him totally. Wish you all the best. Ciao. A.


I think you have found your mantra, Laura.
"Just four more years and I will never have to speak to him again." And I quite agree, no matter how difficult the next four years will be, enjoy your time with your daughters because it will fly by fast enough all on its own.
He is a bully and a very unhappy man - but he has no power over you. You can choose how you will react to him and turning off the ringer sounds like a perfectly resonable reaction to me.
Even though you are not quite done with him, you are, in fact, free.
And I'm waiting for the book!

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Lori, how lovely it would be if we could live our lives not needing to be strong and propping ourselves up all the time. But now, I guess I do have the luxury to collapse every once in a while. That, too, is a hard-fought joy.

Antonella, the money I have I need to buy a little apartment. It's important to me that I know I will be able to take care of myself. I just can't give any more of myself up, not to clashing against him. So far my daughter seems to be handling this well, better than me.

rockync, I cannot believe how wonderful it is to come home now. It just makes me think about how we are expected to turn off our home life when we get to work. But how do you turn off a heavy sense of being? Life. Wouldn't it be nice if work could really be second place to life? You would have thought with all of the development and advances there are that we could have reached that. But no. There really needs to be a better work-life balance. --I have no idea why I just went off on this tangent?

You'll definitely get a signed edition of my book!


"But it’s so unbelievably hard having to deal with someone who is so very poisonous."
Amen to that. How old is this guy? Five?


Laura said:
"There really needs to be a better work-life balance. --I have no idea why I just went off on this tangent?"
I imagine work became a welcome escape while you were still living in the same house with the petulant pyscho.Maybe now that you enjoy coming home from work, you are now pondering how to bring it all back into balance. And I firmly believe work should be second to life - you can always find another job, but life, you only get one crack at that!
My job is not my life, my job is how I support my life.
I have loved reading all my life and your book will have a place of honor on my bookshelves!

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

Geo. Are you sitting down? I think you will get a really big laugh out of the careers that ex has had and a big DUH will surely follow. He was a lawyer. When he tired of that, he became a financial analyst, which is probably what he is doing now.

rockync, another mantra! I thank you.


Wow. Two of my least favourite things ever in the world. Other than rap. And Jim Carrey. I'm so sorry...

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