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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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13 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

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.

I'm pretty sure there are Objectivist therapists out there.  I saw one in New York who is probably retired by now.

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13 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

The questions I have all involve karmic punishment, redemption, and concepts like that. 

I presume at some point you'll ask us these questions.

I don't believe in a supernatural karmic force that brings people's actions back to them.  I do think that irrational actions tend to give bad results and rational actions tend to give good results.

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14 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

But please understand that personal criticism truly is not what I'm scared of here.

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 going to do those things, because that never serves to improve your life. 

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On 4/6/2021 at 5:31 PM, Doug Morris said:

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.

🤣  Yeah.  It's pretty unsympathetic to even discussing murder, too.

 

And my parents were trying to brainwash me.  My father later expressly vowed to "break me down" the way they do in boot camp.

My parents really aren't relevant, though, except in relation to why I lost custody during the divorce.  I haven't spoken to either of them in about five years and the last thing I said was basically "you are evil and damn you".

There are times when I do that to people in my life whom I believe are evil and not contributing anything good to my own life.  I've done it to Tiffany too except that I can't exactly walk away from her and leave it at that, which seems to be the root of the rest of this.

On 4/6/2021 at 2:39 PM, MisterSwig said:

Perhaps you feel she made a promise and cheated you.

That's precisely it.

 

At the time I was also certain that she was only trying to keep him in order to hold me there, too.  I'm less certain of that now (she's adamantly denied any such thing pretty consistently over the course of the following five years) but we had agreed, explicitly, perhaps hundreds of times that if anyone was to try and raise him alone then it should be me.

But I guess she does have rights.  That's true.

Quote

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!

195b2ea616ef15e0a35ff51dd36d4df8--star-wars-stuff-memes.jpg.62298e08ba15475f2ff0218c5ae67281.jpg

---

 

I've put my finger on precisely what the problem is.  I want to be able to simply walk away from her forever, the way I did with my parents and countless other people who are no longer able to bother me, but I cannot do so without walking away from JT as well.

The way I've been dealing with that for the past five years has been to alternate between evading what happened during the divorce (which allows me to deal with her in a perfectly friendly and civilized way) and suddenly remembering what happened in overly-vivid detail and snapping right back to the darkest mental place I have ever been in.

I really do think I have PTSD about it, complete with sudden flashbacks at seemingly-random intervals.

 

I'm gonna come back and continue reading everyone else's feedback another day.  Discussing these things takes a lot out of me.  But you've already helped me to clearly identify what the problem is, which puts me in a much better position than I was in even as of two nights ago.  Thank you.

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On 4/8/2021 at 1:45 PM, Eiuol said:

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.

If I was convinced of that then I would simply delete myself, without giving any of you the opportunity to stop me.

 

It is something that has occurred to me.  I do believe in the functioning of the moral law and I don't believe it'd be possible for me to end up suffering as much as I have without some very egregious sins to have caused it.  I'm still not sure exactly what those are (which is part of why I started this thread) but I do know that I was not the best person I could've been, during the divorce, and that this is part of what's currently making it difficult to become my best self again.

But I really did not start this thread for the purpose of self-flagellation or to hear the final verdict confirmed in other peoples' eyes, who do not even know all of the relevant details (as I myself do).  I started it because the precise nature of my problem has been very unclear for a very long time - and clarity is what OO does best, when it's functioning at its best.

I think I've identified the precise nature of my problem.  I'm still at a loss for any kind of solution - but given that nature I also know that it cannot last more than nine more years (since JT is precisely halfway to adulthood right now).

 

In the worst case scenario I may end up drinking a good deal more than I should and making an ass of myself on this website in those nine years (both of which are symptoms of that underlying trauma).  But knowing that there's at least a time limit on my punishment would make it totally irrational for me to end myself before I'm free again.

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2 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

The way I've been dealing with that for the past five years has been to alternate between evading what happened during the divorce (which allows me to deal with her in a perfectly friendly and civilized way) and suddenly remembering what happened in overly-vivid detail and snapping right back to the darkest mental place I have ever been in.

I really do think I have PTSD about it, complete with sudden flashbacks at seemingly-random intervals.

Once you see it as "I will not walk away from my son", it is in fact a direction.

It may not be specific, but it is the overall direction ... your purpose.

No question there is some PTSD there. It means you have to clarify things through the fog that it creates.

Then it is a question of how to achieve "not walking away from JT" the best way possible. It's going to have to be a compromise.

The court system is not on the side of fathers. It's just the way it is.

You have to play the game. What does Tiffany want? What kind of trade is she willing to go through. She knows that you are the one person that she can trust the most to take care of her child if she can't.

"What do I want" is actually a very hard question to answer in this case. But the answer is right in front of you.

What does being with JT look like with all the constraints you would face right now. And yes, you will be giving up a lot.

But you know what you're fighting for and you know you are willing to pay the price for JT.

It's a hero's journey.

The question is: Is the fairy in the bottle a friend or a foe?
 

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12 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

I've put my finger on precisely what the problem is.  I want to be able to simply walk away from her forever, the way I did with my parents and countless other people who are no longer able to bother me, but I cannot do so without walking away from JT as well.

You can't always get what you want.

I think you're getting closer to the root of the problem, but you're only scratching the surface. This issue clearly cuts to the core of your value system. I suspect that you still have some irrational idealism in you, perhaps from a religious upbringing. You seek an impossible goal if you want to remain in good standing with society. You won't get away with murder and be allowed to keep your son, and your ex won't give up custody. Yet you still cling to this ideal fantasy. You can't achieve it so you make no progress. You spin your sinister hamster wheel and suckle on the drug dispenser in order to evade the fact that your goal is irrational.

You need to live for a different goal more suited to objective reality and your particular situation. Do you have part-time custody or can you only visit your son? If you can only visit, then make partial custody your goal. Talk to your ex nicely, and see what it would take for her to support you gaining 50% custody.

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3 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

You need to live for a different goal more suited to objective reality and your particular situation. Do you have part-time custody or can you only visit your son? If you can only visit, then make partial custody your goal. Talk to your ex nicely, and see what it would take for her to support you gaining 50% custody.

@Harrison Danneskjold

Furthermore, imagine your best you.  Imagine who you would be, what you would say, how you would act, what you you would think, what you would achieve when you reach the person you are striving to be... or even just image the you, which you would be if you were only half way toward your goal...

Work towards becoming that person.

 

How would that person get along with the world?  What could that person's relationships be? with parents, the ex, and with a son who has new happiness, peace, and pride filling his life?  How truly happy could that person be?

Isn't that dream a compelling one?  One worth actually working toward?

 

It's within your reach, reach not measured in inches and seconds, but dogged effort and years...   you need to decide... really decide... to reach towards it, and never EVER stop.

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

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.

I'm really trying not to.

 

I know that human memory is not entirely accurate (although certain key memories about major turning points in my life, including the ones which sometimes surface as "PTSD-like flashbacks", certainly do feel pretty accurate) and that if there is any unavoidable amount of skewing it certainly will be in my own favor.  I am, after all, always awesome.  :P  But that's one part of why I'm taking such great pains to underscore those things I probably did wrong (the other part being that "I did nothing wrong and everyone else was simply pure evil" -although not actually an impossibility- is not a conclusion that I could learn anything useful from).

Furthermore, as I said, Tiffany and I essentially repeated our old relationship all over again last year (the memories of which are much fresher and more nuanced than those from five years ago) and I do have a diary I began writing a month or so after I moved back in with my parents.  I'm not sure if either of those would ultimately be relevant but if they are then I can elaborate on much surer epistemic footing.

On 4/6/2021 at 2:39 PM, MisterSwig said:

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!

Firstly, thank you.  That's precisely the constructive sort of criticism I'm looking for.  And I am trying to own whatever mistakes I did in fact make.

 

Secondly, I disagree that "her right to her son is not something she could've renounced with mere promises".  It sounds like something you've got good reasons for thinking, though, so if you could elaborate on those I would appreciate it.

 

Thirdly, whether or not I should've expected her to simply let me take JT is actually one of the primary points I've gone over and over in my own head for all these years, and haven't made much progress with.

On the one hand, she did promise it countless times over the course of five years.  All I was doing was taking her at her word.

On the other hand, perhaps I truly should not have done that.  I did have good reasons for placing the value of her word as essentially nothing and I didn't integrate them into the plan I formed after the Pizza Incident.

 

It actually occurred to me, consciously, at one point while I was still in the planning stage.  I asked myself if I thought she'd keep to any of those promises when the rubber hit the road.  I then thought to myself "no; as obnoxious as she can be, she isn't THAT bad" and promptly disregarded it.  This was then another of the things which flashed through my head when she did change her mind about JT and I changed my mind about her survival.

 

I even pointed all of that out to her last year, in an attempt to own my own mistake of placing any value on the noises she had been making.  For some reason this led to a particularly vicious fight.

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On 4/6/2021 at 5:31 PM, Doug Morris said:

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.

The way I saw it (and still do see it at this moment) is that she stole my son from me.  If anyone besides his own mother had ever attempted that then they would be dead and I would be able to walk into prison with a grin on my face.

 

It's funny, actually; there was a brief period just after I'd made my terroristic threats in which she confided in me that her current boyfriend was thinking of trying to gain partial custody of JT, and I (who'd only been out of jail for a few weeks) laughed that this wasn't a problem and that he and I only needed to discuss the matter.

We did discuss the matter.  He said that he'd also grown rather attached to JT in the time he and Tiffany had been living with him (but that he simply could not stand Tiffany) and that he'd like to continue seeing the boy.  I said I'd actually love for him to see a whole lot of JT (he reminded me a lot of myself, actually, and I thought he'd be a good influence) but that I had enough trouble worrying about Tiffany, herself, and made it clear what I thought of the prospect of some random third party getting involved.  He hasn't mentioned it again.

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On 4/6/2021 at 2:39 PM, MisterSwig said:

But she has rights, and the right to her son is not something she can renounce with mere promises to you.

Do I not have any rights, though?  I know she does (and I probably was right not to murder her simply because my emotions said to) but do I not have any rights at all?

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10 minutes ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

It's funny, actually; there was a brief period just after I'd made my terroristic threats in which she confided in me that her current boyfriend was thinking of trying to gain partial custody of JT, and I (who'd only been out of jail for a few weeks) laughed that this wasn't a problem and that he and I only needed to discuss the matter.

We did discuss the matter.  He said that he'd also grown rather attached to JT in the time he and Tiffany had been living with him (but that he simply could not stand Tiffany) and that he'd like to continue seeing the boy.  I said I'd actually love for him to see a whole lot of JT (he reminded me a lot of myself, actually, and I thought he'd be a good influence) but that I had enough trouble worrying about Tiffany, herself, and made it clear what I thought of the prospect of some random third party getting involved.  He hasn't mentioned it again.

Jesus; is that something I should be proud of or ashamed of?  He was obviously a better parent than she is.  What really is my problem?

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I won't be able to figure much more out tonight but there is one interaction Tiffany and I had during the divorce proceedings (while I was living with my parents) exclusively through music.  She sent me this song:

Which had been "our song" ever since we'd first heard it on the radio.  It perfectly encapsulated the good thing we had going on when we first met and neither of us had a care in the world.  It still remains the perfect description of what happened there.

I knew precisely what she meant to convey by sending me that, though, and responded thusly:

 

Still not sure if I should feel good or bad about that.  But it is a thing which happened.

Edited by Harrison Danneskjold
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12 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

I think you're getting closer to the root of the problem, but you're only scratching the surface. This issue clearly cuts to the core of your value system. I suspect that you still have some irrational idealism in you, perhaps from a religious upbringing. You seek an impossible goal if you want to remain in good standing with society. You won't get away with murder and be allowed to keep your son, and your ex won't give up custody. Yet you still cling to this ideal fantasy. You can't achieve it so you make no progress. You spin your sinister hamster wheel and suckle on the drug dispenser in order to evade the fact that your goal is irrational.

You need to live for a different goal more suited to objective reality and your particular situation. Do you have part-time custody or can you only visit your son? If you can only visit, then make partial custody your goal. Talk to your ex nicely, and see what it would take for her to support you gaining 50% custody.

Damn.  I'm gonna have to spend a while chewing on that one.  Thank you.

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8 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

How would that person get along with the world?  What could that person's relationships be? with parents, the ex, and with a son who has new happiness, peace, and pride filling his life?  How truly happy could that person be?

Isn't that dream a compelling one?  One worth actually working toward?

Yes, it's compelling, but my gut reaction (before any of the chewing I will do on it) is that it's totally unrealistic.  My own parents, right off the bat, truly are evil and I don't think my son would gain much from associating with them.  Anything he could gain is also stuff I'm perfectly capable of delivering myself without any of the ultra-religious trimmings they'd certainly add to it.

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10 hours ago, StrictlyLogical said:

It's within your reach, reach not measured in inches and seconds, but dogged effort and years...   you need to decide... really decide... to reach towards it, and never EVER stop.

That's the thing.

 

I am willing to do the reaching.  I wouldn't have started this nightmarish goddamn thread if it weren't for that.  Only I'm not sure where to reach towards.

@Eiuol was right when he said that what's truly relevant is not my past but my future.  And I am ready to commit to having the best future I can.  The only thing is the issue of my son, which never fails to make things cloudy and unclear.  Part of me wants to walk away from his mother entirely, on the conviction that my life will surely be better without her in it, and part of me cannot let go of him.  It's all a god damn mess.

 

THAT is where every therapist I've seen thus far has been stumped.  I'd see Gina Gorlin in a heartbeat, if I had the chance, only I believe she lives in California (while I will be stuck in this Minnesotan Hellscape for at least two more years, due to my felony).  That was the entire point of smearing all this horrible shit across the entirety of the internet.

 

I just don't know which way is up.

 

Good night.

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

Secondly, I disagree that "her right to her son is not something she could've renounced with mere promises".  It sounds like something you've got good reasons for thinking, though, so if you could elaborate on those I would appreciate it.

To renounce something means you formally give it up, like with a public announcement or legal proceeding. If she just casually and privately said that you could have JT, that doesn't count. That doesn't have the weight of a serious agreement before witnesses or government officials.

In addition to that, the state protects parental rights against misguided parents themselves. The value of a child to its parents can be so great as to be considered a natural right. Renouncing such a right should require a public act of serious intent.

Furthermore, the state ensures parental rights also for the sake of the child, whose best interests might include reunification with a parent who has come to his or her senses after a grave error. Even parents who consent to adoption typically have a month to change their mind.

5 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Thirdly, whether or not I should've expected her to simply let me take JT is actually one of the primary points I've gone over and over in my own head for all these years, and haven't made much progress with.

When was the last time she promised that you could have JT? Was she doing it even after the pizza incident?

Also, you two were pretty young and very much developing your values. As those initial years went by, shouldn't you have expected her to become more and more attached to her son? Isn't that how it normally works?

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8 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Part of me wants to walk away from his mother entirely, on the conviction that my life will surely be better without her in it, and part of me cannot let go of him.  It's all a god damn mess.

 

Walking away from his mother entirely without letting go of JT is not possible.  You need to identify which options are possible and then choose one of them.

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10 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

Do I not have any rights, though?  I know she does (and I probably was right not to murder her simply because my emotions said to) but do I not have any rights at all?

Normally you would have rights but it sounds like you were legally punished because you violated the rights of the mother and were (still are?) an objective danger to her. I mean, you're still openly fantasizing about killing her. 

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On 4/10/2021 at 11:29 AM, MisterSwig said:

I think you're getting closer to the root of the problem, but you're only scratching the surface. This issue clearly cuts to the core of your value system. I suspect that you still have some irrational idealism in you, perhaps from a religious upbringing. You seek an impossible goal if you want to remain in good standing with society. You won't get away with murder and be allowed to keep your son, and your ex won't give up custody. Yet you still cling to this ideal fantasy. You can't achieve it so you make no progress. You spin your sinister hamster wheel and suckle on the drug dispenser in order to evade the fact that your goal is irrational.

You need to live for a different goal more suited to objective reality and your particular situation. Do you have part-time custody or can you only visit your son? If you can only visit, then make partial custody your goal. Talk to your ex nicely, and see what it would take for her to support you gaining 50% custody.

Yep.  Sorry; I can't stay long (I have to go to work soon) but that's exactly right.

The reason I chose the name "Tiberius" for my son was in honor of the only StarFleet cadet to ever beat the unwinnable scenario (the Kobayashi Maru); like him, I don't believe in no-win scenarios either - as long as one has a properly calibrated idea of what "winning" means.  Mine isn't.  Thank you.

 

When the three of us moved back in together in either May or March of 2019 it was with the explicit idea of 50% custody in mind.

She'd been saying it wasn't fair to characterize what happened as her "stealing my son" since she never intended for that to happen; she said it was more like a car accident with some tragic consequences, and asked what it would take for me to ever forgive her.  I pointed out that legally if you accidentally break someone's leg then you are responsible for fixing it (or paying to have it fixed) and said I might be able to consider forgiveness if she gave him to me.  We eventually came to the idea of moving back in together on the condition that I would get half custody of him after I'd dealt with my drinking problem, gone through an anger management course and demonstrated that I could financially provide for at least half of our bills.

Tiffany and I also got back together romantically again.  We had explicitly agreed that our relationship should have no relation to our being roommates and coparents; if one went south then we'd continue the others all the same.  But it was surprisingly easy for me to get over what had happened while getting to see JT every day and knowing that I was on a path to regain a permanent legal say in his upbringing.  In less than a year I had breezed through all the conditions she'd set on partial custody.  I've gotten pretty adept at getting and keeping a stable job (again - I currently have two); the anger management course was an irritating waste of time but only took one hour a week and I no longer felt the need to be in a constant state of numbness.  I could actually be happy.  I even started programming again, although Google temporarily broke one of the API's I was planning to use and ended up not fixing it due to the Wuhan Pneumonia (although I really should check and see if they've fixed it now).

Somehow one of the conditions on partial custody became her ability to trust me, though.  I have no idea when it happened; only that we had started out talking about sobriety and productiveness and ended up talking about how I could prove that I wasn't trying to take him altogether and leave her alone (and about how much she hates to be alone).  I really wasn't trying to do so at the time; the plan was for partial custody, which I truly felt I could be excited about.  But given everything I had been saying between that point and the divorce I never did fault her for having a few reservations about that.

 

Then there was one particular night last February-ish.  We were both working at the same great company (RLF Assembly; they're excellent people and do excellent work) and were still in a relationship.  She had been complaining about not spending enough time with me lately and I had promised that we would spend some quality time together that evening.

 

We'd both gotten up that morning, gone into work and been the best employees we could be.  After work we'd gone home and for several hours I got to be the best father I could be (although I can't recall what she was doing during those few hours).  Around six PM I cooked everyone's dinner, which we all ate while watching Phineas and Ferb together.  Tiffany had asked a few times when we'd get to spend that alone time together and I'd said after JT went to bed at 8PM.  I spent one hour coding while she got on Facebook and JT played Terraria.  At 8PM sharp I put him to bed, got in the shower and prettied myself up as best I could, intent on finishing the day as the best boyfriend I could be.  I believe it was 8:30 or 8:45ish when I leapt totally nude into bed.  Seriously; the only thing I was missing would've been a rose between my teeth.

She continued talking to people on Facebook.  I apologized for my tardiness; she said it was fine and continued typing.  I tried asking a few questions about what she was discussing and with whom but only got brief, monosyllabic answers.  After a few minutes it became obvious that she was too engrossed in Facebook.  I shrugged (thinking to myself that whatever she was discussing couldn't possibly be as good as what she was missing out on) and started watching Netflix.  Around 9 I took a sleeping pill (not alcohol but a sleeping pill) which started taking effect around 9:30ish.

At this point she started yelling at me for falling asleep.  I said I was sorry and that I'd taken a sleeping pill earlier, to which she fumed "why the fuck did you do that?!"  Then she told me to go sleep on the couch.

I gritted my teeth and said that she should not make that request; that she was being irrational and I was not appreciating it.  She maintained that she wanted me to sleep on the couch so I bit off a "fine!", threw on some clothes, laid down on the couch and promptly fell asleep.

I woke up to her asking me to come back to bed.  I said that I was perfectly comfortable where I was, but she kept at it.  After a few minutes of very one-sided arguing (the only thing my brain seemed capable of rousing itself to say was "no") she said that it no longer mattered because she'd just taken a bunch of pills.  I asked her how many pills and she said she didn't know.  I asked if it was a dangerous amount and she said yes.

That was when I sat up, looked her in the eye and asked if she had really just taken a dangerous amount of pills over my refusal to come back to bed.  She said it wouldn't matter soon and scurried back into the bedroom.  I called her mother and her friend nextdoor, told them both of the situation, explained what an effort it was for me to merely remain conscious at that moment and asked if somebody would please drive that girl to the hospital.

When I handed the phone to her she told her mother that she hadn't actually taken any pills.  She handed the phone back to me, her mother told me to calm down and I told her mother that being CALM about the topic of SUICIDE is in fact not the appropriate response.  I also pointed out that since she had either lied to me or to her mother (since she cannot have both taken a bunch of pills and also not done so) the correct course of action remained for SOMEBODY to drive her to the hospital.

 

I'm out of time but a few weeks after that I broke up with her.  I wanted to remain roommates and coparents and everything else which we had specifically planned for; just not the romantic part at that time.  She's since made it clear that she would not be willing to grant me any degree of custody, ever.

I know I could still technically fight her for it in court, but at this point I am a felon (specifically for making terroristic threats to her) and I strongly doubt how much of a possibility there would be for me to win anything at all.

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5 hours ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

I woke up to her asking me to come back to bed.

2007319552_ghostbusterssayyes2.jpg.247681e1616c6794cdfcd199933a79f1.jpg

It sounds like she was desperate for you to make romantic moves, and you had trouble handling her. She begged for your attention, and you promised affection. You should have made it happen. It's kind of your job to make it happen, unless you're with a masculine woman who likes to take charge in bed.

Maybe she was testing you by focusing on Facebook. Maybe she was playing coy or disinterested, because she wanted you to take charge and make a move. I think some women long for that experience of an aggressive man coming on to them, showing genuine attention and working hard for that sexual reward.

Even if she was just holding a grudge and giving you a hard time for being late, you could have treated it like a game. You could have said something funny or clever: "Alright, missy, what's it gonna take for you to put down the phone, do I need to start tickling your feet?" You then could have started touching her and making it happen.

If you generally like her, put in the effort to show it. Don't make her beg for your attention.

If you generally dislike her, be honest and end the charade. Accept that you screwed up your custody rights and maybe work with a lawyer to find a path toward more visitation leading to possible limited custody despite her wishes. If you first have to clear your record and stop drinking, focus on making that happen.

As for her feigned suicide, it was a dirty trick, and it seems she was trying to mess with you. But why did she resort to such a tactic? Could it be that she was desperate for your attention and concern, and she similarly had trouble handling you?

Some women think their man should be able to read their mind. But really they just want you to try to read their mind. They want you to pay attention to them and notice their nonverbal cues. Part of being a man is recognizing these cues and figuring out what they mean.

If you're willing to give her what she wants or needs, just give it to her. It's not exactly the most unhealthy thing in the world for a woman to be desperate for a man's attention.

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Great meme, by the way.  That was epic.

23 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

It's kind of your job to make it happen, unless you're with a masculine woman who likes to take charge in bed.

She is, which is how I like it.

I can't stand the subtle sorts of games that characterize most relationships (like you mentioned); I like to be direct and I get along best with those who can be equally straight-to-the-point with me.  The very first night Tiffany and I met (way back when I was 19 and she was 20) I'd marched into a total stranger's house because a couple of vague acquaintances from high school had invited me there, equipped with a stolen bottle of Bacardi's rum.  After several hours of drinking I looked Tiffany in the eye and simply suggested she give me a tour of her bedroom.

I'm not good at playing the usual games and they irritate me anyway.  We never would've been an item in the first place if that had been one of the requirements.

On 4/11/2021 at 9:33 PM, MisterSwig said:

If you generally like her, put in the effort to show it. Don't make her beg for your attention.

If you generally dislike her, be honest and end the charade.

That is the question, isn't it.

 

If it weren't for JT I really don't think I'd continue having anything to do with her.  Even if she shaped up and became the best possible version of herself tomorrow, at this point there's so much baggage involved (and any opportunity to remember it takes a pretty hefty toll on me) that I probably wouldn't bother interacting with her ever again.  But her legal guardianship of JT is a fact which I've more recently come to deal with by outright evading such baggage.

 

23 hours ago, MisterSwig said:

As for her feigned suicide, it was a dirty trick, and it seems she was trying to mess with you. But why did she resort to such a tactic? Could it be that she was desperate for your attention and concern, and she similarly had trouble handling you?

Yes.

After hanging up on her mother I spent an hour or so talking to Tiffany and her friend from next door.  They made it clear that it had just been a ploy that she'd been driven to out of her love of me.  Rather than calming down and forgiving her (as they both seemed to expect) I pointed out that is suicide almost always a sin (with the rare exceptions of those who're stuck in Nazi concentration camps, for example) and began listing the reasons why it was such a dirty trick.  I mentioned that it implied some very unkind things about everything going on in her life, including myself; that (since her name was the only one on the lease and since she also had 100% legal custody of JT) the consequences of her death would not be good for me and finally that given all the very public statements I'd made about her death over the years it would also be very bad for me if she ever were to die in my presence.

In retrospect I can see what was missing from this list (how I personally feel about her continued survival) and how offensive that omission must've been.  But I wasn't paying much attention to my own personal feelings (in a way I think I was living out the opposite sort of vice to that floating idealism you mentioned).  Maybe it was precisely the sort of admission she immediately made it out to be; I really don't know.  When we'd originally moved back in together the subject of our divorce had rapidly become taboo in our conversations, and then inside my own head; I was consistently evading anything which related to it, which makes it difficult even in retrospect to know for certain.  All I know is that the situation spiraled into progressively increasing darkness immediately following that.

 

She truly had seemed to be dedicated to living her best possible life before we moved back in together.  I recorded a few of our conversations during that time, on the hunch that she might revert to some of her old habits; just to have evidence for myself that the change was real and not just in my own head.  This was the reason why I'd initially agreed to attempt any sort of romance again (that and the feeling that, with the roadmap towards future custody explicitly in place, I would eventually be able to truly forgive her).  That one particular night I mentioned seemed to have broken her.

 

After offering all the reasons and arguments I could think of why she owed me an apology for that dirty trick, the conflict ended with her shouting "nobody wants to hear your opinion" at me.  I smiled, said that was fine, laid back down on the couch and promptly fell asleep.

The next morning I got up, readied myself for work, entered our bedroom and woke her up as well.  She mumbled that she was awake and would be out the door in a few minutes.  When the time came I woke her up again to inform her that she was about to be late, threw on my shoes and coat and flew out the door.

She ended up being about an hour late (maybe more).  We were working at a very small company, though, and when she came in and apologized the CEO replied that it was alright, just this once, since we were still new.  She sat down across from me, got to work, and several minutes later asked how I was doing.  I shrugged and said "it sounds like you're asking me for an opinion".  She asked if I was still upset about the previous night, which I pointed out was also a request for my opinion.  After a few minutes of this she was reduced to pleading with me to "just say something" to which I laughed that I wasn't gonna give her any of my opinions.  I was waiting for some direct apology for something; anything that had happened the night before, but instead she eventually picked up her purse, apologized again to the CEO and fled the room.

 

You're damn right I was still upset.

Firstly, I despise the word "opinion" because it can literally mean anything; a thought, belief, feeling; any mental thing which one wants to tag as "unreliable and bad".  It is an anticoncept.  She knew that this was what I thought of that term and I was demonstrating precisely why in that exchange; any mental state she inquired about could easily be classified as one of those opinions which nobody wanted to hear.

More importantly, throughout all the good times we've ever had together she has been heavily reliant on my consultation.  JT has been too but since I am his father that probably should go without saying.  It's one of the big rewards for being a decent parent.  They came to me with any questions they had a hard time answering and I would gently try to nudge them in the direction of the answers which were usually pretty obvious to me.  They were grateful for the help and I was grateful for what sort of compliment the questions themselves implied, and also for a chance to feel like I was useful.  Sometimes it's nice to know that you're needed.  That was the other half of the slap in the face which I took from "nobody wants to hear your opinion".

When I'd said "fine" and ended the conversation, what I meant was "that's a lie (and one which hurts me pretty badly) but it's alright; I'm gonna make you eat those words".  And I did.  I'm not sure I really should've made her eat those words, in retrospect, but I really did.

I'd promised the CEO that I'd talk to her on my lunch break, to ask if she was planning on returning to work.  She was asleep when I found her and, after letting her know that everyone was very confused and that our employer wanted to know if she was coming back that day, she asked me if she should go back.  I shrugged that she was a grown woman, pointed out that she was much more likely to keep the job if she did return and left it at that.

She didn't keep the job.  She did spend one day working at a nearby grocery store (before being fired for "rudeness") and a bit longer at GoodWill, but within a month or two she was neither working nor looking for work.  The only input I gave was that I wanted to break up, but remain roommates and coparents.

 

I know I don't have to give quite so many details (and I'm trying to streamline this a bit more) but I want to see what conclusions other Objectivists would reach from the same set of concretes.  For the moment, however, I am pooped.  Live long and prosper.

 

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29 minutes ago, Harrison Danneskjold said:

I know I don't have to give quite so many details (and I'm trying to streamline this a bit more) but I want to see what conclusions other Objectivists would reach from the same set of concretes.

Do you have any reason to suspect that someone would reach a different conclusion? Or are you just saying it because "what if"? 

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