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1 hour ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

I don't think the alcohol is making my situation much worse than it already had been


This is wrong. It is a mistake.

You are making it worse with alcohol.

This is not to hurt you. It's the truth.

Having said that, you need a way to counter the pain.

Pain isn't something anyone should invite.

You don't deserve the pain.

It's hurting.   

I'll say it again: You have a direction. You are digging your way out of the hole.

Or maybe you are being pulled into quicksand.

And the rope being thrown to you, is "stop the alcohol".

The right path to take is getting out of there.

The idea that alcohol or drugs won't make it worse is a fraudulent voice.

It's tricking you.

It's evil. Defend yourself.

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Is this the primary issue you posted about? I mean, is this the thing you are trying to solve? As far as looking back on your past, it's important to recognize that you don't need to justify it o

I'm concerned about the opposite. I'm concerned that you are seeking to be put on trial and subsequently condemned as a moral monster who deserves to be deleted from the face of the earth. I'm not goi

I don't know if a public forum will prevent you from getting some pot shots that will hurt you, but I am delighted that you are putting all this in writing. You may get responses from people who want

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3 minutes ago, Easy Truth said:


This is wrong. It is a mistake.

You are making it worse with alcohol.

This is not to hurt you. It's the truth.

Having said that, you need a way to counter the pain.

Pain isn't something anyone should invite.

You don't deserve the pain.

It's hurting.   

I'll say it again: You have a direction. You are digging your way out of the hole.

Or maybe you are being pulled into quicksand.

And the rope being thrown to you, is "stop the alcohol".

The right path to take is getting out of there.

The idea that alcohol or drugs won't make it worse is a fraudulent voice.

It's tricking you.

It's evil. Defend yourself.

With one important caveat: if you're suicidal and alcohol is your only or primary way of dealing with those thoughts/feelings, keep drinking until you're able to develop a better way. Don't give up your only way just cuz "alcohol bad".

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Just now, Easy Truth said:

"Alcohol and suicide have a tragically close relationship. Individuals with suicidal thoughts often turn to alcohol, and alcohol increases suicidal thoughts."

https://www.alcoholrehabguide.org/resources/dual-diagnosis/alcohol-and-suicide/

That's all fine and good, but it doesn't really help an alcoholic who quits, starts spiraling mentally, and then commits suicide.

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If one is suicidal, dealing with suicide comes first, before alcohol. Call 1-800-273-8255. That is beyond the scope of a forum thread. The spiraling issue to deal with is the "self medication". At that point, logic is not enough when facts are tainted. If one is hurting too much, we need help, proper help. Doing it alone is not enough.

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15 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Part of me isn't sure I was right not to kill her then and there.  And that is one of the primary things that still fucks with my psyche to this day.

Is this the primary issue you posted about? I mean, is this the thing you are trying to solve?

As far as looking back on your past, it's important to recognize that you don't need to justify it or try to portray it as you being virtuous - and then immediately doubting that you were virtuous. Based on your story, I don't get the sense that you did anything right during and after the pizza incident (except to get JT to know that things were not his fault). You admit that you got upset and you literally don't remember what caused you to snap. You admit that she literally feared you would kill her in one argument. I'm not mentioning this to shame you, but so that you can recognize these were major moral failings, and say that you don't want to be that person. 

You don't need to worry now about what Tiffany did or didn't do, or whether she was right or wrong. I think what counts first when overcoming issues of the past is to recognize that it's in your power to decide what to do next. 

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Anyway.  My mother eventually arrived to pick me up several hours after that.  Tiffany and I didn't interact much until then; the few times she felt brave enough to come out of the bedroom and attempt to talk to me, I didn't have any responses to give.  I gestured at the blank sheet of paper I'd gotten for her to write my permission slip on a few times, made a few backhanded comments and did a lot of sneering.  She spent most of that time locked in our room, crying over the phone to her mother, while I sat and stared at that paper.

I decided it was no use trying to reason with her about it.  I'd have to move out, get a couple of jobs, save enough money to hire the best lawyer I could and eventually wrench custody away from her through the legal system.  When my mother arrived she tried talking to me while Tiffany packed some of my clothes and books up in garbage bags.  I still wasn't able to talk much, though.  A few hours after that JT got home from preschool and I gave him a tearful goodbye.

I told him that I loved him and made him promise to be as good as he could possibly be.  Then we left.

 

The following evening my parents took me to the local Church of the Latter-Day Saints to have a private discussion with their bishop. The bishop started our conversation by declaring that divorce was against our Heavenly Father's plan, which was for each family to have one mother and one father.  I didn't quite manage to contain all of my laughter as I explained that, as convincing an argument as that surely would've been for anyone who believed in the existence of such a deity, the fact that I did not made it difficult for me to accept such a notion.  He made a few other attempts at something about the holiness of the institution and how man and woman were meant for each other, but after a few minutes of having each idea shredded in turn he eventually asked to hear the specifics of my situation.  After outlining my new plan I told them all that it was fine if they didn't believe in divorce, but I did and would as soon as I'd raised enough money to ensure that it went as smoothly as possible.  When I was done explaining myself my mother said with a triumphant smirk that since they couldn't condone my plan they wouldn't be letting me stay under their roof while I attempted it.  I said that was fine, too; thanked them for driving all the way up to Minnesota for me and asked if I could crash on their couch for a day or two (while I looked for somewhere else to stay) or if they wanted me out that very night.

My father exploded at that.  He actually jumped out of his chair and started bellowing in my face about what a selfish, irresponsible, ungrateful little shit I was.  When he paused to take a breath I thanked him for calling me selfish (since that was the whole idea) and didn't get to say anything else before he exploded again.

I really didn't know what to do.  He'd been very strict about "backtalking" when raising me; I still have a hard time expressing disagreement to anyone's face (although obviously not online) because I still associate it with that Oak paddle.  He went on and on at me; only occasionally pausing to let me agree with some question.  When I couldn't agree with him (and I couldn't on a single one of the questions he asked) he'd start up again.  The one point where I yelled "that's not true" back at him he raised a beefy fist like he was gonna flatten me out.  I glanced around the room (surely everyone could see that this was not the appropriate way for two adults to interact) but my mother and the bishop were just watching; looking very content and satisfied with the situation.

We were there the whole damn night.  After two hours he finally got me to cry, at which point my mother started jumping in wherever he paused to breathe.  Even though she never raised her voice the things she chose to say were far more hurtful.  After three or four hours I agreed to start seeing a therapist (whom I would pay out of my own pocket) and to attempt to work things out with Tiffany.  So much had gone so far sideways in those 48 hours that I just broke; I gave up and agreed to do everything they wanted me to.  The shouting and the insults stopped maybe ten or twenty minutes after that.

Oh, yeah.  I also agreed to start attending church with them every Sunday.  I really had broken down.

 

Got to go to work again.  Will continue soon.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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2 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

...what I'm primarily hoping for is some help in gaining a bit of clarity.  I expect that the clearest possible picture doesn't paint anyone involved as a saint and I was the first one to start the criticism with the title "Damaged Goods".

As long as the potshots don't involve my relationship with an imaginary sky-fairy I'll be grateful for them.

Okay, here's how it appears to me so far. After having a child together and years of marriage, you changed your mind about the marriage. But when she changed her mind about keeping her son, you turned into a villain with murder in your eyes. Perhaps you feel she made a promise and cheated you. But she has rights, and the right to her son is not something she can renounce with mere promises to you. That's what a divorce proceeding establishes. You should have known that. (Does this problem go back to your political views on anarchy or the protection of rights?) You should not have expected her to just let you take JT away, and to another state for that matter. This was your intellectual error. Own it, and stop with the murder fantasies already!

And again, I don't think the drugs are helping you. This is an intellectual problem you're trying to solve, and in my experience alcohol and weed only contribute to the fog of confusion. First clear your brain if you truly want to achieve intellectual clarity.

I don't have experience with Adderall, but maybe you could try weaning yourself off it and see what happens.

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4 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

After three or four hours I agreed to start seeing a therapist (whom I would pay out of my own pocket) and to attempt to work things out with Tiffany.  So much had gone so far sideways in those 48 hours that I just broke; I gave up and agreed to do everything they wanted me to.  The shouting and the insults stopped maybe ten or twenty minutes after that.

Oh, yeah.  I also agreed to start attending church with them every Sunday.  I really had broken down.

Your experience reminds me of people being brainwashed or tortured after being captured by Communists.  I don't know if looking at it that way is helpful or not; it's just a thought.

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Murder is, to put it mildly, an extremely drastic action.  Your emotions said to murder her, but emotions are not tools of cognition.

Morally, the situation did not justify murder at all.  If she were trying to kill you or JT, you might well be justified in killing her as a defensive action, but that wasn't happening.

Legally, you might want to ask your lawyer about it, but I have a high degree of confidence that the law would be extremely unsympathetic to murder.

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4 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

He'd been very strict about "backtalking" when raising me; I still have a hard time expressing disagreement to anyone's face (although obviously not online) because I still associate it with that Oak paddle. 

If you do see a therapist, this is one of the things you should talk about.

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I wouldn't blame you if your emotions tell you to say nasty things to your parents, or do worse to them.  I would blame you if you let such emotions rule you; emotions are not tools of cognition.

Your best approach to your parents for now is probably to have nothing to do with them.  When you achieve sufficient clarity, time, and energy, you can ask yourself if they've shown any signs of earning a different approach.  I'm not optimistic.

If you achieve at least partial custody of JT and/or visitation rights, your parents may want to see their grandchild.  If there are legal considerations limiting your options here, you will have to work within them as best you can.  You should not voluntarily agree to anything that you consider too much of a threat to JT's interests, nor anything that you can't stand.

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Just in case you still aren't sure whether you were right not to murder Tiffany, here is some more food for thought.

I presume you won't actually attend church with your parents.  From their point of view, this is breaking a promise on a matter they consider very important.  They sound like they might get pretty mad about it, too.  I don't know what they are likely to do about it.  This is an example of how anger over a broken promise can push in one direction, when a better reaction is to acknowledge the person's decision and to see where to go from there.

Is it possible you are following in your parents' footsteps by being inclined to anger?

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On 4/6/2021 at 12:27 PM, JASKN said:

Not much to untangle here. If you want your son in your life, there aren't many (any?) contexts where that would be possible after murdering his mother. If anything is going to bring up murderous feelings, I suppose it's a bitter divorce involving child custody, but if it were me, I still wouldn't be admitting as much (repeatedly!) on a public forum over which I have no editorial control.

Well, I lost custody of him.  I gained a felony for terroristic threats (for telling his mother that unless she made good on five years' worth of promises then I would "buy a gun with two bullets: one for my self and one for my murderer") and all I've got at the moment are questions that no therapist I've seen thus far has been able to answer; that and plenty of booze.  So if anyone here might be able to shed some light on these problems I've been unable to answer for myself then it's worth whatever I'm risking by spilling this publicly.

Cheers!

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On 4/6/2021 at 12:36 PM, JASKN said:

With one important caveat: if you're suicidal and alcohol is your only or primary way of dealing with those thoughts/feelings, keep drinking until you're able to develop a better way. Don't give up your only way just cuz "alcohol bad".

Hole in one, good sir.  I actually don't believe even Tiffany currently knows that (even though we're currently in good communication); I've gotten so good at portraying myself as invincible, infallible and invulnerable that it seems like most people who're actually close to me, in real life, actually end up buying into it.  Only I'm neither infallible nor invincible and you did hit that nail on the head.

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On 4/6/2021 at 12:57 PM, Easy Truth said:

If one is suicidal, dealing with suicide comes first, before alcohol. Call 1-800-273-8255. That is beyond the scope of a forum thread. The spiraling issue to deal with is the "self medication". At that point, logic is not enough when facts are tainted. If one is hurting too much, we need help, proper help. Doing it alone is not enough.

What do you think I was trying to do when I started this thread?  😆

 

I've talked to therapists about this stuff.  The questions I have all involve karmic punishment, redemption, and concepts like that.  Most therapists can't say much and simply look at me like I've just pulled out a gun; the ones who can are only able to go on about my relationship to an imaginary sky-fairy.

Most days I have a hard time getting out of bed in the morning because I don't want to live through another day of my current life.  I'm not going to end myself over it (certainly not so long as I believe it's possible to redeem myself) but that is where my head has been for essentially the five or six years since the divorce.

 

My alcoholism is a symptom; the underlying cause is that I believe my son was stolen from me, and I don't know what I could do about it without ending up in a penitentiary (which wouldn't be that much better than death).  I haven't made much progress on finding alternative solutions to that problem, but I have gotten pretty far in outlining what the problem itself is.

 

In five or six years I haven't been able to identify what the precise problem is, though.  And that's what I started this thread for.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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On 4/6/2021 at 1:07 PM, Eiuol said:

Is this the primary issue you posted about? I mean, is this the thing you are trying to solve?

I guess so.  I have other questions I haven't been able to answer yet, but they all depend on that one.

On 4/6/2021 at 1:07 PM, Eiuol said:

You don't need to worry now about what Tiffany did or didn't do, or whether she was right or wrong. I think what counts first when overcoming issues of the past is to recognize that it's in your power to decide what to do next. 

Absolutely!  Only I can't know what I should do next until I can understand what the hell happened to me!

 

Tiffany and I have been talking about trying to live together again for the past few months.  We tried that last year (just before the Wuhan Flu pandemonium started) and it did not end much better than our marriage did.  I didn't end up getting another felony, but that's just about the only improvement.

Sometimes I think to myself that whatever happened between us doesn't matter; that as long as I can go back to being JT's dad then I can handle anything else she can throw at me.  Other times (primarily when I'm remembering certain aspects of the past which she has yet to apologize for) I find myself thinking that I should've ended her five or six years ago, after all.

 

I don't know what to do next because what led me to this moment is still so goddamn confusing.

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On 4/6/2021 at 1:07 PM, Eiuol said:

I'm not mentioning this to shame you, but so that you can recognize these were major moral failings, and say that you don't want to be that person. 

No; please don't shy away from pointing out those moral failings.

 

If I should have killed her (as I often wonder to myself) then I should not have been married to her for five straight years.  Either way around it there's at least one moral failing there.  I know that and I'm comfortable with it; I wouldn't have started this thread and mentioned all this shit if I wasn't.

I really am primarily focused on what I need to do next.  But I really don't think I can get a clear picture of that until I can clearly understand everything since the divorce (which I haven't been able to do by myself thus far).  It's totally fine if you think I was wrong in any given situation; I'll probably bring up things that I think prove that idea wrong (particularly if it's about the day I left) but I would much prefer that to the barren wasteland of question marks I've been living in.

 

I won't say that this forum is my final resort, because it's not; if I can't find any clarity here then I'll continue looking for it on my own, as I have been for the past six years.  But please understand that personal criticism truly is not what I'm scared of here.

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2 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

My alcoholism is a symptom;

Agreed.

2 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

the underlying cause is that I believe my son was stolen from me, and I don't know what I could do about it without ending up in a penitentiary

What I heard was

My son was stolen from me.
She stole him from me.
That horrible #%%^#$%^
She had told me that I would bring him up.
But she was lying.
And the system helped her.
They never saw any redeeming quality in me.
I love my son.
They all took him from me.
How could people do that to a father that loves their child?
They had no right to do that.
It shouldn't have happened.

Expression of feelings is what dissipates the fog far sooner than "the reason" in this type of situation.
That's because you already know it.

You're not alone in this. We get severely injured and the why why why is the only way out. After all, knowing "why" should prevent that injury from happening again.

But this type of truth doesn't easily come out through analysis or you would have known it with your highly skilled intellect (and this is not humor, it's the truth). It's like layer after layer will only evaporate off via expression of emotion. Be it artistic or through conversation. Objectivists usually have a hard time with that.   

Branden would harp on expressing emotion to get at the core issue. He didn't say much either. Like any therapist, you're the one expected to figure your way out of the hole. (you can bring in God or Karma in therapy, if you don't, it is unethical and ultimately illegal in California to impose religion on a client)
      
The fact is "you (on some level) already actually know what the hell happened". That part of you does not want to spill the beans for very logical reasons. It's simply too painful to look at all at once. If you did, you would have to go unconscious or sedate yourself. The anger may make you burst, or the fear will tear you to pieces.
What happened is too intense.

So go slow and gentle. You're getting there. A little at a time, but it's happening.

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11 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

as long as I can go back to being JT's dad then I can handle anything else she can throw at me

11 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

I'm not going to end myself over it (certainly not so long as I believe it's possible to redeem myself)

The above, and

any reproach or bitterness you have for the way your parents treated/treat you,

any claims that you love JT or love the life you can or should have or love yourself or existence,

 

are utterly and absolutely contradictory to the following:

 

11 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

I find myself thinking that I should've ended her five or six years ago, after all.

 

Make no mistake, ending another human in such a context IS: 

becoming worse than your parents (or your ex) ever were or could be

an evil act wholly disproportional and contradictory with justice 

ensuring you ruin your son's entire life, making him an orphan while taking away a mother who he loves and who loves him, while taking away his father and making his father into a murderer... making him into a parentless son of a murderer.

ensuring your own end, an end to every possible happiness, by confirming your evil, your lack of love for your son and yourself...  and confirming such in your sons eyes, a father not to be aspired to but to be reviled as a  weak life hating self-sacrificer, the blackest of all black, an unthinking raging thing choking itself into nonexistence.

 

Life is hard, life has pain,

but it can also have boundless joy and priceless values. 

Accept the cost of pursuing joys you can reap with proper thought and action. 

Take responsibility for your lot in life, accept the past, and judge what you can do to make a future, which is better, more harmonious, and filled with value for you.

 

Accept the fact that your primitive side, your emotions, are dark, but do not accept you are too weak to fight them, and never for once think you should do what you utterly and absolutely should not do.

 

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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11 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

If I should have killed her (as I often wonder to myself)

As Easy Truth pointed out, you don't actually wonder this. You already know that this "solution" is just an absurd fantasy, used to deal with the incredibly strong feelings you have about your life situation. His basic advice is probably half of what's needed to get yourself beyond this (and you should look honestly at your role in getting yourself here. Hot anger is just one of countless ways to react to life, and it's not necessarily a good one). The other half is your choices from this point onward. What's done is done, the consequences have transpired, and what happens now is up to only you.

I've been in shit situations for extended periods of time that seemed endless – there are probably few adults who haven't fucked things up in some major way, and then eventually lived to tell about it. It's kind of the story of life. The basic facts are, you're an able-bodied young adult with years still remaining in literal multiples of the ones you've already lived. By previous standards in history, you literally have lifetimes left to live. Nothing lasts forever, and your current life scenario is no exception. Things are going to change even if you beat yourself up about it all along the way, but things are going to change a hell of a lot better if you actively choose to make it happen. Stop punishing yourself and choose to move on.

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11 hours ago, Easy Truth said:

 It's like layer after layer will only evaporate off via expression of emotion. Be it artistic or through conversation. Objectivists usually have a hard time with that.   

Branden would harp on expressing emotion to get at the core issue. He didn't say much either. Like any therapist, you're the one expected to figure your way out of the hole. (you can bring in God or Karma in

I'm hesitant to interrupt, you're doing very well, imo, ET - but I beg to differ on this about Branden's ouput.

Honoring the Self, to the chapter on the Problem of Self Alienation, opened at random:

"Avoidance always has its reasons. The organism is trying to protect itself, ensure its well-being, and preserve self-esteem--but in the wrong way.

Since emotions, negative and positive, express our assessment of the significance of different aspects of reality for ourselves, when we bury feelings and emotions we also bury ourselves. This is what it means to exist in a state of alienation. We rarely know it, ¬but we are lonely for ourselves¬. ...

To be unable to ever contain our emotions is obviously unhealthy and subversive to effective functioning. But to tell ourselves that we do not ¬wish¬ to let anyone know what we feel, when the truth is we are blocked and semiunconscious, is to practice self-deception."

HtS

In brief, one's emotions display one's values, one's being; repress, deny or negate those and one is denying oneself, one's highest value. (Which is a negation of your existence, your reality - and so, self-alienating). Pompously, repetitively and loudly broadcasting one's emotions isn't the healthy expression of them and yourself, either. Self-aggrandizement, not self-esteem.

Excuse the interruption. (HtS is *required* reading (rereading) for O'ists I think. The book ranges across many more crucial aspects than the above).

 

 

Edited by whYNOT
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You still have feelings that say you should have killed her.  I hope that by now you understand intellectually that killing her would be utterly wrong, and that you can let this intellectual understanding guide your actions.

You may need to dig deeper into exactly where your murderous feelings come from.

I take it you have more to share about what happened after, and perhaps during, the divorce

Did you have to serve time for that felony?  Do you have a suspended sentence?

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