Monday, August 13, 2012


I am a feisty, sassy, in control, independent, strong woman.

That is why I am more surprised than anyone that I turned into such a doormat during my marriage.

I feared Bryan's temper - the way he would freeze me out, or yell at me, whenever I displeased him.  I didn't have to insult him to make him angry: I would just say, "Are you sure we can afford that?" or "Please don't speak to me in such an angry tone," and he'd go into his lizard brain, angry and cold, and over time I took on more and more behaviors to avoid provoking those responses.  I was the stereotypical frog in boiling water: when I first got in, the temperature wasn't too bad, and by the time I realized that it was boiling, I was nearly cooked.  In this way, I stopped saying, "That is not okay with me," as often as I should have, and I found myself in a marriage that was so broken that the only way to fix it was to get out.

I'm awake now.  My eyes are wide open, and I LOVE that I have my sassy streak back.  Not sassy in a "don't you talk to your mother that way!" kind of way, but in a playful, feisty, strong, in control way.  I love rediscovering my sassy self, whether it's reigniting my career, going on an adventurous road trip with my daughter, or just finding the courage to say, "My life is worth it, and I won't live like that any more," in response to my unhealthy marriage.

But in the midst of a divorce, I'm finding that it's still possible to fall into the old ways, and it's troubling.

Bryan has been borrowing my car.  Without asking.  He's been bringing Katherine to my house, without asking, and inviting her friends over here, and eating my food.  While I was gone, he slept in the guest room for a few days, saying that his place was too hot.

We had discussed the childcare schedule repeatedly, and he has repeatedly forgotten, and then acted like it was an inconvenience to him to watch his own child. (Need I remind you that he is being paid to sit on the bench?  And that I am working full time, and yet we're arranging childcare left and right, patching together a summer schedule?!)  When I came home from vacation, he acted as if he was shocked that he was on duty for 24 hours, even though he hadn't seen his child in 10 days.  What's worse than that is that when I tried to gently remind him of our conversations about the schedule, he was snarky and rude in response, and when I said, "I don't think Katherine needs to hear this, could we talk about it later?" he was rude again.

Okay, so he's rude.  This is no surprise, and I don't want to waste my life thinking about it any more.  But what I do need to figure out is this: how do I avoid nasty fights (especially in front of our daughter!) while sticking to my guns?  It is NOT okay for him to spend time in my house without me.  Our agreement is that if Katherine forgets something, she can come over here with him to pick it up, but NOT hang out here.  And do I really have to say "get out of my fridge!" and "stay away from my car!" again?!

I can't imagine what he would do if I went over to his place to hang out.  I don't know why I'd even consider it, and yet he keeps coming here....even to sleep here when I was gone.

But I hate the fighting.  And I hate it worst of all when it's in front of Katherine, who doesn't deserve that in her life.

My current plan is to document this stuff and then bring it up in front of the mediator.  At close to $300/hour that is a very expensive plan, but I can't think of a better one. 

Readers, do you have advice?  Please do not advise me to speak using "I statements" and using positive language; please do not advise me to use non-inflammatory language and stick to only the facts; please do not advise me to have these conversations in email so that it's non-emotional in tone and there is a record of who said what.  I'm way ahead of you there, I'm doing that, but still I need to confirm things, and still we need to communicate, and still, these exchanges continue to be a bit ugly.  I could understand why Bryan would get upset with me if my conversations went "You asshole, we talked about this seven times last week, can't you get it through your thick head that you agreed to take Katherine tomorrow while I'm at work?" but I do not understand why when I say, "I have you down for taking Katherine tomorrow, does that still work?" he instantly gets defensive and short with me, acts like we've never had the conversation and that I'm suddenly imposing on him (never mind that it's HIS daughter too!). I don't want to get in fights....

I'm not a doormat.  I'm Wonder Woman.  Really.

But I don't just want to take it, either.  Being a doormat doesn't suit me.  I do NOT wish his dirty feet upon me.  And he can't act like he lives here and he's not granted a free pass to bail on his daughter just by saying "Well, I forgot" whenever he feels like it.

So - during divorce, how do you keep it out of mediation or litigation, and encourage civil conversations?  How do you deal with an ex's amnesia regarding agreements?  How do I point out "here is the email thread where you agreed to all of this!" without adding fuel to the fire?

How do you stay out of the doormat pose? 

Am I alone in this?  I'd love to hear what you have to say - thanks.


  1. Change the locks on the house and put a steering wheel lock on the car.

  2. I'm with Anonymous. You've been civil and discussed the house and the car with him. It's not ok for him to keep ignoring the boundaries. I think you should keep your interactions to emails and texts as much as possible, very business-like and there's a paper trail (electronic trail?). It sucks, but maybe arrange for back-up childcare if/when he flakes? You can't get pulled in to reminding him what he's agreed to. He's pushing your buttons. Chin up, Wonder Woman!

  3. It's already been said - but you must change the locks on your house!
    You have your place, he has his own; allowing him free access to your living space is taking congeniality a bit too far. It should likewise be fairly simple to confiscate his car keys.

  4. For entrances with low to medium foot traffic entrance mats with light wear resistance are a good choice. Where the foot traffic is heavier and more frequent it’s best to select an entrance mat with medium wear resistance. Entranceways with very high foot traffic require a mat that is more durable so an entrance mat with heavy wear resistance is the best solution.

  5. See also more and compare for best prices deals for Doormats Compare here!