Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Set-up/Pull-down Cycle

Recently I received a letter from my ex with this sticky note on it, ‘The IRS requires this form to formalize my claiming #####’s (one of my children) exemption from 2009 onward. Please sign Part 1 and Part II, make a copy and mail it back to me in the envelope provided. Thanks in advance, ####
Ok.  So I contacted my lawyer to make sure I was signing something I should be signing. My lawyer told me it was ok. Two weeks later, I get a text from the ex threatening to file a contempt charge against me if I didn’t send him the paper in 2 days (note, the sticky note did not give me a date to have the paper returned to him). This was funny since there is nothing in the divorce decree saying I have to sign this paper so he can’t file contempt charges against me. Why doesn’t he just ask me in a nice way? Why does he have to threaten me? I respond quite well to kindness.  Ask anyone.

I have talked to several divorced people and some of the advice I have received is to take the high road. Be better than the ex. Do not stoop to their level. No matter how much you want to retaliate, do not. Let them get the last word in. Do not respond to their anger. Do not respond in kind.  Be better than them.  I did so now. Instead of waiting to return the letter out of spite, I returned the letter exactly when he demanded that I return it.

Then the burn. I receive two text messages from him, a few minutes apart. The first text is the Set-up:  ‘Thank you for returning the letter.’  The second text is the pull-down:  ‘Unfortunately it was too late for me to apply for my tax return’.  I laughed and laughed. First of all, this is a lie. This all happened in July, well past April, so he had already filed an extension, and a person can file multiple extensions. Second, this was so indicative of our marriage. He would set me up, only to pull me down.

He would give me a compliment, ‘You look beautiful’ only to pull me down, ‘unfortunately the house is a mess.’ Or this one, ‘I need dinner ready at 6:00 so we have lots of time to spend together’ only to not show up till 7:00 with no phone call or explanation as to why he was late. This was the rollercoaster of our marriage. I’m so glad I do not have to put up with that behavior anymore.

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