New orders for the children were signed a month ago. The old orders specified that the children would fly to visit their father during school holidays and I always took the children to and from the airport.
My ex with a personality disorder, told me before the new orders were signed, that he would no longer need me to do the airport run. Great. The new orders say that the father will pick the children up from home or they travel by public transport. Great again. So there is now no need for me to be involved. WRONG
This the first school holidays after the orders were signed. I get an email.
I will return them for school on Sunday. You will need to pick the boys up. I will advise flight time when I have them.
My first reaction, knowing the contempt this man treats me with, is that this is his way of demanding I pick them up from the airport. I reacted by writing an email to send back, full of anger and explaining that I don’t NEED to do anything anymore. Then, as I usually do, I waited three days for my anger to dissipate and the ability to calmly respond return.
I gave him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he didn’t mean I NEEDED to pick them up, maybe I was misreading it. Maybe I am seeing his usual passive aggressive nastiness where it doesn’t exist.
So I sent a simple reply saying that I had not made my plans for the weekend yet and asked if he was flying home with the boys.
I will be there on Saturday. The boys will be with me Saturday night .
He must be bringing them home.
A few days later …..
Have you made a decision on if you will be home on Sunday or Monday yet ? I need to book return flights. If I haven’t heard from you I will just book them on the most appropriate flight
This is sounding suspiciously like he needs me to pick them up. No. Remain calm. Give him the benefit of the doubt.
I wrote …
I haven’t been able to make the arrangements yet, but it doesn’t affect you. If you fly back on Sunday and I am here and the kids want to come home they can, and if I don’t get back until Monday evening they can just come home then.
No response. It is now less than 3 weeks until the flights need to be booked. I get home from work and my eldest son tells me ..
“I spoke to Dad. The only flights back are early Sunday or Tuesday afternoon. The others are too expensive. Dad asked if you can pick us up from the airport.’
Much gnashing of teeth and trying to stay calm on my part. I didn’t succeed. I knew that was what he wanted all along. The rest was just bluff and lies. And he did his usual trick of putting the children in the middle, asking them to ask me to do something he didn’t think I would agree to do if he asked directly.
And why wont I pick them up? I am a reasonable person, I help others at times, not always, but I know that when asked for a favour I will help when I can. However with people with personality disorders – if you give an inch they take a billion miles. And that is not an exaggeration. Over the last 5 ½ years I have gone out of my way to help the kids, dropped off and picked up at the most inconvenient times and tried not to let my anger at him shape my choices. I have tried to ‘do the right thing’. What I got in return was more and more ridiculous demands with never a please or a thank you. And 2 ½ years in court to make new orders, which he has now decided to ignore less than a month since the ink dried.
I also can’t forget the strain that was placed on my second marriage from having to constantly change plans, or not make them at all because hubby #1 always left things ’til the last minute and made unreasonable demands.
Here’s what I want to say:
Following that phone call I had to explain to Dylan that one of the many reasons that I won’t be picking him and Charlie up from the airport is the contemptuous way in which you make demands on me. ‘You need to pick them up’ and ‘I will advise flight time when I have them’. I told him I might be more inclined to do so if you had asked me nicely and asked what flights suited me best. He then asked me why I didn’t just say that to you. So I am now, for Dylan’s sake.
Have you heard the saying, you catch more flies with honey? Do you think that instead of demanding I do something that I don’t have to do at all, that asking me pleasantly might possibly get a better response?
How about ‘Katie, I am not planning to fly back with the boys this holiday. Would you be able to pick them up from the airport for me and if so, when would suit you best?’ and give me plenty of notice so I can make my arrangements accordingly?
The fact you are not even bothering with even the smallest civility any more by not addressing any emails to me or signing your name at the end just demonstrates the depth of your contempt towards me (the psychologist’s word of course).
So, please note that I won’t be picking the boys up from the airport and that they cannot spend up to two days at home alone either. Nor should they have to miss a day of school because flights are too expensive.
And I know I am banging my head against a brick wall by saying this, but if you have any requests to make of ME – ask ME directly. Please do not ask the kids to pass it on. The new orders were designed to cut down the conflict and not put the kids in the middle again so please just stick to the orders.
I will wait until the morning, cool down and probably not send it at all. It will change nothing and only provoke a response. I have learned a lesson. I really should go with my gut instinct and initial reaction. No longer will I keep giving him the benefit of the doubt.
- Passive-Aggressive: What Does It Really Mean? (everydayhealth.com)