Sunday, April 19, 2009

Letting go of the Anger and Other Things

I'll start with an updat on last weeks update - I spoke to the mother of the girl allegedly dating a drug dealer and she is making some discreet enquiries.  She was grateful for the heads up and I guess time will tell whether the story is right or not.

I've been asked to run for another committee and I'm weighing it up.  I have to find the passion for the sport again.   I find that I have lost a lot of respect for people involved and although I think I can do a better job than some of them I worry about the impact on available time.  I am enjoying having weekends off and spending time in the garden.   That will likely change if I take this position on and I am not prepared to do it unless I am 100% committed.  Maybe I still need some more time away from it.   Maybe I will never fully embrace it again.

My contract is up in about 8 weeks so I am going to ask the boss tomorrow what his intentions are.  I look back twelve months and realise how much I have learned in this role but recognise that there is still a lot more to be done.   I remember the first couple of months when I was floundering not knowing anything at all about ISO 9001 or 27001, being a novice in Business Continuity Planning and Risk Management, but as the months wore on and my background knowledge increased and I was able to call on my former experience both in the police force and as CEO of one of the largest not-for-profit sporting groups in the country, I started to realise that I could make a difference and I like to think I have.   I guess I'll find out soon if my boss concurs.

I do keep dwelling on anger and an incident yesterday made me think a bit more about the impact of a marriage breakup on the kids and the log term impact on them.  I won't go into detail of the actual comments made to me here because that'll just get me into more trouble but I thought I'd make a few general comments.

I know better than some how comments made to children can have a profound impact on their lives, as can the actions of others.   Often there is no malice in the comments and no actual forethought about the long term impact of those actions.  I started to think about what impact it may have on kids to find that their parents no longer love each other and I have come to this conclusion.   Younger kids, if they are lucky, get the unconditional love of their parents, and that love is something totally different to that of the love between a husband and a wife.  Maybe to those who haven't gone through a marriage break up this is not something that is true.  But I think for those of us who have it ought to be self evident.

I think that kids can feel threatened by that.  For them the love of a mother and father is the same as that of the love for their brothers and sisters and it is unconditional, just like that of a parent for a child.  But when a marriage goes wrong, particularly when they don't see what was wrong, then it is something that is very hard to understand.  Perhaps in those cases, the worry is that if one parent falls out of love with the other, it is not a big stretch to think that they may also fall out of love with their children.  They don't understand, maybe they can't understand, that the love is different.

It seems to me that the parent who has the bulk of the custodianship of the child has a great responsibility to ensure that the child is protected from the detail of the breakup.  There are some things that children don't need to know and both parents should do their absolute best to ensure that kids know that they are loved by both parents equally.  If they hear criticism of one, then the fears of losing that love creep in and the kids can hang onto anger about the breakup far longer than they should.   Maybe they can never really understand it until they get older.   It is difficult for the parent who is seen as the instigator of the breakup to defend themselves in those circumstances without bagging the other parent.  And as tempting as that is at times it is far better to keep quiet about things even when it means they still cop the bulk of the flak from the kids.

Sometimes the whole truth and nothing but the truth ca do way more harm than good.  Why be vindicative enough to drag the other parent off the pedestal.   There may be a future time and place for everything to be told, or maybe not.

I know that I have often referred to Don Miguel Ruiz and his book "The Four Agreements"because it had such a profound impact on me.   Back in the early days of this blog I wrote a piece about The First Agreement - Be Impeccable with your Word and I think it applies here.  It's an orphan piece that drew no comments at the time so I would be interested in any comments on that now if anyone has the time to read it.

I know that there are a lot of readers of this blog who have gone through marriage breakups.  Tell me how your kids coped with it and how you may have tired to protect them from the detail.


Kari @ How I Became a Fiscal Fussbudget said...

My daughter was months old when her father and I split and we were never married.

However, she has asked questions over the years. I'm not sure if you have any religious beliefs or not but I broke it down like this for our child and she seemed to accept it openly and without much upset after that.

Sometimes God has a right mom and a right dad for a child but has other plans for the mom and the dad. Sometimes a child needs these specific parents and it isn't in the big plan for the mom and dad to have a loving relationship forever.

She was about 6 or 7 when this came up.

Now she has a wonderful step-mom added to the mix too and I tell her how lucky she is that so many people are in her life to love her. BTW she is 11 now.

Now, I'm not very religious at all. In fact we no longer practice but she had a general concept of God and religion as it related.

Recent blog post: Emotional Spending

Loz said...

Kari - that was a wonderful way to explain the situation and I trust your daughter will grow into a wonderful woman without holding onto the hurt

Recent blog post: Letting go of the Anger and Other Things

Briigt said...

When my daughter's father and I split up, he saw her less and less, so we didn't have the same problems most divorced people go through. However I believe you shouldn't slander the other parent. I think its important to remember that kids love both their parents.

Recent blog post: Feral Beryl

Stephanie said...

I think you're doing the right thing by taking your time in weighing the decision re the committee. Sometimes what fit nicely into our lives once, doesn't really mesh with the new life we've created. terms of time management - and what we value enough to spend our time on.

I'm sure you are a huge asset to your new position. And I'm sure your boss will confirm that when you talk to him.

As far as the marriage/children situation. I would say that children are absolutely impacted deeply by what is said during an already emotion-filled upheaval in their lives. In my humble opinion, if both parents show each other respect in front of the child - through their words/action, whether or not the other parent is present - and make certain the child knows they are loved unconditionally...that is probably the healthiest way to handle such a trying time.

Recent blog post: There Are Places I Remember

Loz said...

Couldn't agree more Briigt and I have bitten my tongue many times :)

Recent blog post: Letting go of the Anger and Other Things

Loz said...

Hi Steph - I agree with what you say. Sometimes it is hard to do that simply because in attemtpting to explain actions or words they have to be put into the context of what you were reacting to at the time and that may mean an apparent criticism of the former partner. But in doing that you risk the kids, who don't want either parent depedestalised, erecting a barrier against that truth, because as we all know, truth is often brutal. As I said in the other post being impeccable with your word doesn't mean not lying, it means understanding the power that your word has and recognising that it can have both positive and negative connotations.

Recent blog post: Letting go of the Anger and Other Things

pam said...

Not sure if I dealt with it great re my daughter, and believe me she saw her share of fights despite my best efforts otherwise. One side of the equation can't do it all if the other side of the equation isn't doing their part. If that made sense. The truth is that paths will continue to coincide at different points -- weddings, grandkids, etc., so hopefully civility can reign eventually. Tell us more about your committee post someday!

Recent blog post: MUTE MONDAY - OUTRAGE. I'm still outraged 14 years later. My cousin was one of those firefighters. My building rocked like a rocking chair.

Peter (Worldman) said...

I think it is finally good that you talked to the mother.

For the extension of your contract, I am confident that there will be no problems.

As for the breakup of my first marriage, at least there for no problem for the kids, as we did not have any. And that was good, because it was a painful thing already like that.

Recent blog post: A "MUST SEE"

Loz said...

I guess that some people need a villain because the alternative is accepting some of the blame yourself and that has all sorts of ramifications for your own self image. I was always one to walk away from the fights and that is still my natural inclination to my detriment at times :)

Recent blog post: Letting go of the Anger and Other Things

Romany Angel said...

As you know I am good friends with someone whose wife is determined to paint him in the blackest terms possible. Some of the kids are starting to see their mother for the bitter and twisted woman she is and have resumed their relationships with their father while for others there is still a divided loyalty.

It's a pity that some adults can't put the needs of their children ahead of their own agendas. Isn't a marriage breakup difficult enough without going out of your way to make it harder?

I admire you for taking the high road Loz and instead of defending the truth you are putting the kids and their securities ahead of yourself. One day the truth will come me on that.

suzen said...

I went back and read Ruiz from your 2007 blog - excellent blog - and I do agree we really need to understand the power of words - how casually (or thoughtlessly) we may say something that has a profound impact on somebody else - children in particular. Becoming mindful of the power of words should make us pause and think before we speak - something I've struggled with, I'm too spontaneous for my own good! I'm learning to hold the image of duct tape on my mouth.

I totally agree with Romany Angel. Your "job" is just to love those kids to pieces, trusting that love and truth always comes out in the end. Feel free to borrow my duct tape any time - it's saved me from making unnecessary commentaries on what my adult kids are doing (or not) with their lives, thereby preserving our relationships.

Glad to hear your talking to that mom over the drug dealing went smoothly. You obviously have a gift for handling things well - sending you hugs!

Recent blog post: Spring Cleaning - An Ending Beginning

Loz said...

I did ask my boss yesterday and indications are good, but after last year when I was terminated two years early I have learnt not to count my chickens

Recent blog post: People who wear baseball caps backwards shouldn't open their mouths

Loz said...

I think I've said before that much of what has been said about me was probably insensitive rather than vindictive, although I must admit I do wonder at times particularly as other people fill me in on some of the details I'm missed.

I am no angel and I'm not sure I can even claim the high road because at the end of the day I am doing what everyone else does and that is view things with my own perspective. However, I have never claimed that I own the right and only viewpoint and I think others may have done that.

Recent blog post: People who wear baseball caps backwards shouldn't open their mouths

Loz said...

Duct tape gladly accepted :)

Recent blog post: People who wear baseball caps backwards shouldn't open their mouths