This summer has been tough so far. But I have been taking advantage and I have been doing some things for myself which is at the crux of the book No more Mr. Nice guy. I am almost finished reading it!!
But I'm feeling waves of guilt because I've learned I do (and will soon be "did" I promise you!) have some qualities of a Mr. Nice Guy.
I always put everyone first regarding needs. At the age of 16, I saw how other girls (who were my friends) were treated by abusive boyfriends. At a younger age I also saw how my father manipulated my mother and was passive aggressive with her. He would bad mouth women at times going back to when his mother abandoned his family when he was 8 yrs old. I vowed never to become the ego centered, testosterone crazed male or like my angry father.
I thought being a Mr. Nice Guy would win over the girl. Win over my friends and people I worked with and knew. And now I realize that I can no longer do this. I'm not saying turn into the thing I vowed never to become, but to no longer fear what others think. To take care of myself first without the fear of others thinking I'm selfish or a bad person. To have some sense of balance. The Mr. Niceguy persona pushed me at times to be passive aggressive & controlling. I was a caretaker too, especially when my EX was sick mentally & physically. And I ended up doing all the work around the house so she would have her energy. I thought it would also help in our sexual relationship, but it did not. All of my Nice Guy attributes were getting me nowhere. And she resented me for it. She lost respect for me. Especially how I mishandled post D-day.
I firmly believe it was this type of behavior that was responsible for the problems I contributed to in my marriage. I keep reminding myself it had nothing to do with my EX cheating on me, but it's hard to ignore the "What if I wasn't a Mr. Nice Guy in the first place??" Even coming here and stating this realization fulfills a Mr. Nice guy behavior of "playing the victim".
I wonder now if she decided she did not want to return to our marriage because I was not worth it, that I was a bad controlling manipulative person.
Some of you are probably asking why am I dwelling on this. I'm already divorced. I'm wondering the same thing. I guess the book made me realize I wasn't the "perfect" husband and now I feel a good dose of fresh guilt on my shoulders. This sucks.
I won't give up on the book. I hope this is just my unstable emotions talking as I go through this grieving period of my divorce. I still believe the book will help me recognize my unhealthy behaviors and correct them. Thanks for listening.
To piggy back on my realization of being a Mr. Nice guy. I think I messed up today. I sent my EX an email about our son who is struggling with acting out while he's with her and her BF for the summer visitation. I offered 3 suggestions regarding how to use discipline that I use at home and that if we work as a team, it will help our son. But after sending it and reading another chapter from the book, I realized she'll probably take it as me being controlling. Crap.
I don't think it's controlling to offer suggestions about how to jointly discipline your son, IMHO. Don't overcompensate and become Mr. Butthead Not attractive either.
I hope you're right. It's very likely that she's convinced herself that I am a bad person lacking any hint of goodness and that this letter (that most would find positive), she would find negative and manipulative.
But despite those fears, I've decided to send it anyways because I can't live in fear of what she would think. I avoided a lot of issues in our marriage for that very reason!!
It's funny about the overcompensation part. Since I've been a Mr. Nice Guy my whole marriage, I've found myself with anger and disappointment about that. I can easily find myself overcompensating and being a butt-head. So I need to be careful.
The letter I sent I luckily decided to edit. When I typed it and then read it, I realized it was
1. Too long
2. I was blaming, especially towards her BF
3. I repeated myself several times.
So I edited it like a terrible movie. When it was sent, it was much shorter, to the point, and much less negative.
So there's been no response from my EX on anything. It's too bad, but I'm not going to get all angry and worked up. I'm just doing the best I can as a father and if she doesn't want to see that, it's her own fault. I'll keep video chatting with my kids and make sure they're comfortable and safe.
Thanks Shoeguy. You might be right. I really haven't had a chance to look deep down at my flaws until now. And when I did I was on the crazy rollercoaster again. Maybe it's just part of the process.
I was doing much better yesterday. All it takes is some sound advice from others and you feel better. My goal now is no longer needing others to make me feel better when I'm down. That I can do it myself.
Also, the link above won't work properly because this sites blocks the F word. Type the F word into the space where there is **** and it should work. (It takes you now to the site but not the article.)
The problem isn't with being nice. It's with not expressing your needs directly. Or asserting your worth. Read up on codependency too.
Of course women want a nice man. But that does not rule out assertiveness. Putting your needs last and expecting people to appreciate it, is actually very controlling behavior. BTDT, had to learn myself. And making your needs very, very small is unhealthy. We all strive for balance.
No one is perfect. It takes two to make a marriage, and only one to end it ! Think positive, atleast you are using this experience to learn more about yourself. And that will help you out when you meet someone else. Think forward, and try not to dwell on the past. It's almost like we have to train our brain to think this way, but it works.
H-dad Im in the same town as you, and Ive noticed that I cant find any kind of meetings or anything for divorced Dads. theres a lot I'd like to talk about and vent about if there was a setting like that.
I think you got it under control, keeping an eye on the kids, and making sure the ex's biased dream-state frame of mind doesnt cloud her judgement when the kids are involved. Especially in a discipline scenario.
My ex is the type that thinks her new guy could do no wrong, and I hope for everyones sake including my own that shes right in this particular judgement call.
"Putting your needs last and expecting people to appreciate it, is actually very controlling behavior."
I did this at work. Accepting the opportunity to cover more bases, taking over entire departments on my own, performing job descriptions no where related to my original function. I had expected to increase my value by performing these other job functions, and saw them as an opportunity, but now I just do them, no increase in salary or benefit for them, so Im feeling hugely taken advantage of and exploited.
Im looking for another job, but this market really really sx right now.
I guess in this area, I was afraid that if I didnt do them, that I would be thought of as incapable or unwilling, thusly, a crappy employee. On the turn side, I hoped that doing them well and preventing the company from having to hire others to do it, would increase my value and provide a means for an increase or raise.
I get a pat on the back and Im welcome to come on back tomorrow.
I dont know how to cope with this.