I’m not very happy right now.
A week or so ago, Becky and I set a boundary that the kids don’t go over to friends’ houses after dinner on school nights. We made that boundary because of the feeling we had in our home when they came home and were entitled, bratty, and disobedient.
Tonight we had dinner, I took Madi to dance, and all felt fairly good.
Then dinner was over and Caleb started begging to go play with his friends again.
Initially it went well: both Becky and I were on the same team and said that that wasn’t going to happen, that we were just going to be here as a family.
But Caleb whined, he begged, and he manipulated the situation from my perspective.
I tried to step in and remind of the boundary, and was told to just stay out of it.
Ultimately, it didn’t end well. I was mad. Becky was mad. And we got in an argument for the first time in possibly two years.
It didn’t feel good.
I feel resentment.
I feel anger.
I feel pissed off that our little 11 year old can get in between us and cause chaos, all because he’s being selfish and entitled and playing the self-pity card.
I don’t feel like Beck was on my team. I don’t feel that the boundary we set was honored. Instead, it was pissed on and justified as to why today it wasn’t essential.
That’s not recovery to me.
What is the purpose of a boundary if it’s meant to be broken, manipulated, and applied only when it’s convenient? If we don’t feel a boundary needs to be created, then let’s not create it.
Yes, I feel mad that the boundary wasn’t kept, but more I feel that my opinion doesn’t really matter to Becky. WE made the boundary together – it wasn’t something I put in place and something I was bound to be right about. It was US, TOGETHER.
What was my part in this?
I didn’t feel like Caleb should get to go out with his friends.
I didn’t feel this was one of those “exceptions to the rule.”
I was about being right.
I was controlling.
I was attempting to teach without understanding his perspective.
I felt mad that Becky wasn’t honoring what we’d talked about, but I realize this was my pride.
I want to surrender these feelings.
I want to be at peace.
I want to be more understanding, while at the same time setting and keeping boundaries we decide on.
If we feel a boundary needs to be changed, let’s talk about it privately and come to a conclusion together – away from the whining and opinions of the kids.
I want to be on the same team as my wife.
I don’t want to have fights like this over who’s right, who’s wrong, and all that.
I feel tempted to just isolate and not talk. I feel tempted to play my own self-pity card or resentment card. I feel my mind playing games, making a case for why I was right and she was wrong or why they were both wrong. The whole fight and what proceeded it are re-playing in my mind, pointing out where she was wrong and shaming her.
I don’t want this.
On my knees. On the phone. Write it down.
Who can I call? Peter, Sean, or maybe Steven.
Call with Sponsor
My call went really well. I told him what happened and felt the whole time like I was making a case for myself on why I was right.
He didn’t buy that and dug deeper, asking me what I was feeling, not what I was thinking.
Ultimately we got to my feelings – I’d felt shame at Webelos that hurt my feelings. I tried to blow it off like it was no big deal but it was – I felt like I wasn’t important and wasn’t respected.
That carried over to how things went with Caleb and the boundary. I wanted to feel respected and it didn’t go the way I expected. This led to resentment and anger – all pride on my part.
I called and talked with Becky after my call with Peter and that went well too.
I have yet to talk with Caleb but plan to do that, maybe tonight or tomorrow morning.
I still feel down but am glad that I was able to talk to my sponsor and get things sorted out a bit.
That’s an experience I don’t want to repeat.