Kids complicate things

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Kids complicate things

Post by michael_a2000 » Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:30 am

Hi all,

This is my first post on here and I really could use some advice.

I've been reading and re-reading Power of Now for a while and find it quite profound. It has helped me immensely on my journey towards becoming more loving, happier and present in my life. But I have one aspect of my life, which is still the source of a lot of conflict that I really want to deal with.

I'm married to my wife and together we have 3 toddlers (3,4 and 5). I love her and we could build something amazing together – but I’m alone in doing it. She refuses to awaken and I have never met such a stubborn person who would rather destroy her life than changing bad behavior. Most aspects of her life are plagued by unawareness and is lived in the dark. Through that state – she constantly bullies us (me and our kids), acting like a tyrant with no empathy or humility. She feels entitled to everything and is profoundly defensive. Everything to her is an attack.

She is living as a slave to her own ego.

But I know her real essence when I see it, and it’s beautiful. I want to be married to that! But I know that she comes from an extremely dysfunctional family with no ability whatsoever to communicate.
I understand that according to “...Now”, I’m supposed to stay present and avoid being “sucked” in to ego debates and the whole attack/defend mechanism. I get that. But what about when it comes to our kids? I’m completely at a loss as to how to handle that!

Sure I can stay present and calm and non-defensive, when she “acts out” towards me – but what about when she acts out on my kids? When she rolls her ego over them like a tsunami. Should I just smile and let them take that blow with no tools whatsoever to protect themselves? Just let them “follow their own path”?

So I am FORCED to enter a defense when she attacks my kids. Right? Otherwise they will be sucked into the ego state and grow up as slaves to their own egos – exactly repeating my wife’s history growing up. I HAVE to shut that behavior down and execute complete zero tolerance as I see that development to be absolute disastrous for their success in life.

I have tried over many, many years, to say in a calm manner: When you do [that], it makes me feel bad. I would love for you to stop doing [that]” – absolutely no effect whatsoever. Next day, she has forgotten we ever had the conversation. Sure if we didn't have the kids, I would walk away, given that she doesn't respect my boundaries. But that too would leave the kids exposed to her ego.

I’m quite desperate for solutions or any ideas as to how to handle this – right now I have nothing.

Take care :)


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Re: Kids complicate things

Post by lmp » Thu Feb 04, 2016 9:06 pm

Hi Michael,

have you ever felt or noticed that she tries to turn the children against you in an argument? I'm asking because I believe that someone using children as allies is a poor sign.

If you feel that your children truly do not understand what is taking place, it can be a good idea to explain to them privately and answer any questions they may have rather than being passive about it.

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Re: Kids complicate things

Post by lmp » Fri Feb 05, 2016 3:07 pm

I once was in a similar situation to the one you describe, our three kids are now all past twenty. If you decide to stay for now for the sake of the children that seems as a natural and fine choice by me. You could even suggest some couple counselling with moderate hope of change with a few issues, some things might change even if not exactly the ones you wish for right now. If you decide to leave then I think that an important issue to look into as soon as possible is the one of custody and visitation, don't underestimate the consequences of this sometimes complicated question, depending on what your preferences are in such a matter look into if it is likely or possible where you live.

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Re: Kids complicate things

Post by Manyana » Fri Feb 05, 2016 11:31 pm

I remember Eckhart saying once that often a particular (not easy) relationship can act as an important teacher and we learn and develop through that relationship. So in effect she/her behaviour is your spiritual teacher.

Seeing it this way allows the person not to be seen as the enemy but as something valuable. It also gets us out of being stuck in 'I wish she/he/they would change mode' and puts emphasis back on observing ourselves and learning in relationship.

I am not saying it's easy and often some space from that person is needed, but remembering/choosing to look at it from a different angle may help.

I watched Eckhart's short talk "Toward Self-Realization" for the first time recently, and this piece stood out:

"Some humans are heavily disguised, god disguising him/her/itself very well. And with others the disguise is not so heavy but the heavy disguise is more challenging, more fun in a way. I am talking of course about difficult humans........Give him or her the space to do their act and you don't need to re-act. Let them do their act but you don't need compulsively to react, because if compulsively you react you adopt your disguise again and you play your part in the drama or the dream of existence".

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Re: Kids complicate things

Post by smiileyjen101 » Sat Feb 06, 2016 8:46 am

Welcome to posting Michael.
It's an interesting journey isn't it. Maybe kids illuminate things :wink:
Through that state – she constantly bullies us (me and our kids), acting like a tyrant with no empathy or humility. She feels entitled to everything and is profoundly defensive. Everything to her is an attack.
What you are describing in her behaviours is more than somewhat narcissistic. Narcissism (the overt sense that one has more entitlement than others, lack of empathy, grandiose attachment to their expectations of others) occurs for many nature/nurture reasons, most of which anyone else is not capable of changing in or for anyone else. It's permanent as far as I've experienced. Like any other chronic condition it is at best, managed, rather than cured.

It's fear based and can be extremely destructive to the person as well as their targets in continuing the cycles of fear and abuse that ego play allows.

It is abuse - misuse of any other for one's own gains.

To allow an abuser to continue to act in that manner traps them in the cycle as well as their targets, so clear boundaries - regardless of how many times you have to reinforce them is the only way forward. Maintaining your own consciousness through that is where awareness of your own ego and awareness / capacity / willingness will come into it.

By loving example you can teach your children how to navigate respectful boundaries. You can empower them age appropriately - while at the same time showing them the reality of accepting that the only reason we need this knowledge is because some people are incapable of respecting boundaries, (you don't need to expressly say that mummy happens to be one of them, but by how you handle your wife's unreasonable behaviours will teach your children how to handle her and other people's unreasonable behaviours - without blame, with acceptance of the reality of it).
Honesty to and about your self, and to and about others is the highest form of love.

It allows everyone to be very clear about the realities. Not using it as a weapon but purely in awareness and integrity not fooling yourself or anyone else that these behaviours are going to change any-time soon. They can however be managed and limit the impacts on your wife and on those she comes into contact with.

As ET says the only sane responses are accept, change or remove oneself from the situation.

The difference this makes is that we do what we can do, and teach our children how to manage that.

Neale Donald Walsch says it really well - "you limit what you choose to experience, not what another is allowed to experience. This limitation is voluntary, and so not a limitation at all."

So the response is - in love in gratitude & generosity, in calmness - once might be an accident, twice might be an unconscious habit, three times and it is a pattern of behaviour - it's the tool that one reaches for in their toolbox of capacity.

We all respond within our own individual levels of awareness, capacity &/or willingness. It's easy at times to assume that someone is just not 'aware' or just 'unwilling' when something is pointed out to them and changes don't ensue as we would desire or even as they have expressed their desire.

It is just as possible that someone does not have the capacity. And in fear, capacity is clouded.

You cannot stop your wife from being who she is with all the experiences and capacity that she has to this point, only she can do that, in her own time, if she is able and willing. But in reality in many cases it's like asking a diabetic to not need insulin in order to process food - without the capacity to process oxytocin (the cuddle hormone) some people are incapable of experiencing and navigating empathy. And, if they ever do suddenly feel it, it scares the crap out of them. It's alien, it's unnerving and absolutely it invades and devastates their sense of self and entitlement.

Someone once asked me in relation to an extremely narcissistic person - to try to understand what their world would be like, how would they be able to navigate their world without the only tools they have learned work for them? That is, bullying, exploding, going from victim to bully in cycles until they get what they want, regardless of the emotional cost to others.

The answer was/is... they wouldn't be able to - so ability - not willingness, was the key.

Most people with normal levels of being able to experience and process the elements of empathy would be mortified at the thought ... and so we excuse their behaviours, or kid ourself that they can change, and the truth is, they just might not be capable of changing.

So, it is up to you to decide, what will you accept and not accept. It's up to you to decide the boundaries and the consequences. When/if you do this... I will do that.
Not as a threat, not as punishment or as a weapon against them, just as a statement of intent. As NDW says in Conversations with God part 2 - it's a declaration of Who You Are.

What we are prepared to accept is a statement of who we are.

Clear communicated intention - of what we will do, not what we will expect any other to do, is a cornerstone of effective leadership, and something that your children will benefit from learning from your example.

Love - always gratitude & generosity in balance - and represented at its highest in honesty - can help - love for self and for others in balance.

As NDW says 'This does not mean you must submit to abuse (& please do not teach your children that by example you can break the family dysfunction cycle with your awareness, capacity & willingness). It means that love for yourself and for others is always the solution. Loving another does not mean granting them the right to abuse you, nor does it mean sentencing yourself to a prison of your own device in which you live a life you would not choose, in order that another may live a life that they do choose."

So, where to from here? Learning about boundary setting and maintaining. Be that through research or with the help of a domestic / family violence counsellor - I know that may sound extreme, but that's what it is when people in a family all have to walk on eggshells over one person's grandiose sense of entitlement.

Your children are absolutely entitled to feel safe, loved and nurtured in their own home. If they cannot be that in your home then you need to do what you can about that.

Again as ET says the only three possible responses, accept - not applicable in this situation, change - you can only change the elements that you can change... and you may be surprised at just how much you can do if you focus your attention on that, or, remove yourself - and your children from the situation, either temporarily as a given response or permanently if nothing changes.
I know her real essence when I see it, and it’s beautiful. I want to be married to that!
You are married to both sides of her. Remembering her essence will help you to move forward in love, in honesty and in gratitude and generosity for her, for your self and for your children in balance - in harmony.

You can only do your best within your awareness, capacity and willingness. And, recognise that while she is doing the same, you still cannot tolerate these behaviours impacting upon you and upon your children. This is how the cycle of dysfunction continues, sometimes through multiple generations.

Teach them something new. Teach her something new, by your love and leadership. Let your love and leadership be something she can feel safe in - even if it's not what her ego would desire :wink: If she cannot tolerate it, she will leave. Instinctively she will accept, change or remove herself from the situation.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen

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