Prompt 106: That time you were bullied nearly to your breaking point. What did you do? What didn’t you do?

Prompt 106: That time you were bullied nearly to your breaking point. What did you do? What didn’t you do?

The time I was bullied to my breaking point was my divorce.

My ex had $13 million reasons to win the divorce. She has substantially more than I do. She used her finances to destroy me nearly every step of the way.

After I received physically custody five months into her filing for divorce she switched attorneys. My attorney at the time had been doing a good job externally but did not treat me with respect.

She often called me names. She told me I was stupid, that I didn’t know what I was doing because I didn’t have a law degree and would often tell me how to parent.

In many ways, I felt bullied by her. About three weeks after my ex hired a new attorney I did the same. The new attorney was nearly completely the opposite. He was kind and respectful by often seemed intimidated by my ex’s new attorney.

Her new attorney was a shark and did whatever she could to get an advantage. One of my sons twice came home from a visit with his mom with bruises up and down his body.

We proved it to the children’s attorney about when the bruises happened. They lied about what happened and when. Nothing was ever done about it.

Throughout the course of the divorce process, they lied and made things up about my family and things that were going on with the kids. The opposing attorney had absolutely no ethics. Her style was to bully her opponent and it worked.

The judge believed everything they said.  Everywhere I went, everything I did or said was used against me. The judge looked at the case as everything I did as negative and everything or someone acting for her did as positive.

Never in my life have I been made to look more ineffective than I was in this case, literally and figuratively. The case was never even. The judge that ruled her way came after new attorneys were hired. After the new judge was appointed I was constantly bullied and my attorney did little to stop it.

When he did try he lost every time.

Prompt 105: A time you’ve been ashamed of yourself

The time I was ashamed of myself was when I was arrested for trying to reason with a utility worker who came to my house.

One of our utilities was turned off. I thought my then wife had paid the bill and she thought I did. A woman came to our house to reinstate the utility. When she went to turn it back on, she said she was unable to do so.

I tried to reason with the woman. I closed the door to my house and asked the woman can’t we work this out. She called her dispatcher. I immediately opened the door and let her out.

I said some things I now regret. After calling her dispatcher, the police were notified. They came to my house and I was charged with keeping the woman against her will. The entire thing was 30 seconds.

It is something that changed the course of my life. My eventual conviction has kept me from finding work, played a major role in the end of my marriage and likely cost me custody of my children.

One 30 second mistake has influenced the remainder of my life. We all have things in our life we are embarrassed or ashamed of. Many or most don’t have to have it have a major impact on the rest of their life going forward.

I wish potential employers, romantic interests, and the court could look past my mistake. I regret it tremendously. I did not hurt anyone. I hope if someone commits the same mistake in the future they will not be judged as harshly as I was.

We often judge people based on a piece of paper. One action in our life should not define us as a person. We should be judged by the entire sum of our actions throughout our lifetime.

I hope that in the future this will be the case.

Prompt 104: Write about a Time a Parent Gave you Bad Advice

When I was a senior in high school I was going to a football game with my friend. Because the game was in the city my mom would not allow me to leave the house in shorts. The temperature that day was 75 degrees. 

When I was a senior in high school I was going to a football game with my friend. Because the game was in the city my mom would not allow me to leave the house in shorts. The temperature that day was 75 degrees.

My mom grew up in a very proper and well off family. My grandmother especially expected things to be done a certain way. We grew up a town over from where my mom did.

Her learned from my grandmother that when you go to the city you wear pants. This should not apply to a football game. To appease my mother I wore jeans. I either wore the shorts under the jeans or brought them with me in the car.

When I got to my friend’s house to pick him up I shed the jeans. The high temperature that day was 75 degrees. It felt much warmer. From that day forward I never wore pants on a hot day again.

There are many times when we should listen to our parents. The way we dress when we get to a certain age should not be one of them. The game was played the day before I turned 18.

My children are currently much younger than that. I would always let them pick out what they wear. I would hold veto power and still let them choose the alternate outfit. Sometimes I would have to lay out two outfits and make them pick.

One of my daughters is very strong willed and stubborn. She likes to wear dresses but refused to wear skirts. I learned quickly as a mostly single father that it was not worth it to argue over that. What was most important is that still is comfortable.

As long as my children look somewhat presentable I work with them on what to wear.

Prompt 103: Describe what you sound like when you’re angry. Take the perspective of someone in earshot behind a closed door, listening .

Prompt 103: Describe what you sound like when you’re angry. Take the perspective of someone in earshot behind a closed door, listening .

What I sound like when I am angry would be a very subjective answer. I have evolved in my ability to control my anger.

Like anyone that has been through a divorce many things about my personality were exaggerated. One of those things was my temper and impulsivity. The hell my divorce put me through mellowed me out in many ways.

The biggest thing I do when I get angry or passionate about anything, in general, is to raise my voice. With ADHD I often get so passionate and wrapped up in making my point I subconsciously tune out what the other person is saying.

What also would have come through in the past was my intention and need to be right. I focused very intently on the principle of everything. Standing on principal is what was important to me. I didn’t look enough at what the person I was arguing with was thinking.

Whoever was in theory behind the closed-door within earshot listening to the argument should have been able to discern that from the argument. I would speak about what was the cool thing, the right thing or what I perceived that I or whoever was on my side of the argument to be treated fairly as the important thing.

I have had to learn the hard way that it is much better to be able to discuss things civilly more than arguing. So many friends and colleagues of mine have had to deal with awful divorces that many of us are numb to arguing.

What should come out of someone who would listen to my arguments that while I might have been angry it is because I am passionate and feels things deeply. I want those close to me to do things the right way. I used to care far too much about what others think.

We all need to do a better job of understanding each other. This has spilled over to the way that arguments are conducted on social media. If we learn how to better debate and not argue, a lot more would get accomplished in the world.

Prompt 102: In Your Family What’s Your Way to Make Amends?

How my family would make amends varies largely on the definition of Family. When I was married we used to use a virtual reset button. 

How my family would make amends varies largely on the definition of Family. When I was married we used to use a virtual reset button.

Both my ex and I had short tempers. When we got upset with each other we would both say things we didn’t mean. That, in turn, could cause the silent treatment. Depending on what the disagreement was the length of not talking to each other could vary.

I began the idea of pushing the reset button. It was a way to reach out and nonverbally express love and a truce. Sadly it took a devastating illness for me to realize how irrational some of our disagreements. These worked both ways.

One, in particular, occurred shortly before she faced a life-threatening illness. On a warm summer night, we were having dinner outside on our patio. We grilled dinner but were boiling corn on the stove. I forgot to put the corn in the pot. She got extremely upset and was screaming at me. This was a common occurrence.

When she would become upset with me, she would scream, verbally abuse me and call me names. Some of those names included Hitler a moron and telling me I was like her father.

She didn’t often make amends to me through in-person apologize or do something nice to show me her love. If we use an unspoken apology as something that is done through something that is actually not said orally then did apologize to me through non-spoken words.

I would often receive an email the next day while she was at work apologizing and explaining why she acted the way she did. I remember the last night we ever spent together before her illness vividly.

I was going through some things in my personal life that were very difficult. I had a very down day. She had plans to go out with her mother and sister. I had to beg her to stay home. She went out with them anyways. I later found out her reason for leaving wasn’t what she initially told me.

When she returned home that night she crawled into bed after I was already there. She tried to seduce me. I was so upset she left that I pushed her away. She did eventually hold me in bed.

Some of the non-verbal ways I would try to make amends were by buying her flowers, chocolate or something else she would like from Trader Joe’s. Ultimately, it seemed like there were too many outside influences in our relationship that any amends were only temporary.

I could never compete with others in her life who should put on a much higher plane of importance than I was on. Her siblings, one sister in particular and friends ultimately were too much to overcome. Their dislike towards me and my family weighed down on her and caused us to split.

 

Prompt 101: You get three do-overs what would they be?

I tend to be a very reflective person that is often full of regret. 
Having gone through a vicious divorce I could say I regret the relationship. What I truly wish I could do over wa how the relationship evolved.
I’ve frequently discussed my dream of getting married, having children and raising a family together. All those dreams were realized. 

What we didn’t no how to do was co-exist in a relationship. Having a do-over and truly lending what made each other happy to thrive in our marriage is something I think about almost everyday. Our children have spent a good portion of their lives going through hell. 

Both families were far too involved in our marriage. I begged her to move to another state. It would preferably been Florida or Arizona. We had family and friends in each state. My do-over would be to go some place to live and focus on the family we created.

It never seemed to be about that though. She said she couldn’t do that to her sister, mother and friends. Like in that order. Sadly it felt like being married to dozens of people and lot just one. I would have done more to make her happy an try and put her first. Hopefully that would have made our relationship better. 

My second do over would be when I volunteered at the World Cup soccer in 1994. I was fortunate enough to volunteer on the field for the opening ceremonies and first game. 

I worked in the office for two months prior to everything opening up. I was asked to be the volunteer coordinator. I was nervous I’d screw up and never get another chance at something like that. 

In reality the opposite happened. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity succeed or fail. Had I done well my entire career and subsequently my life might have gone in another direction. 

As it was I had a great experience, but nothing that led to anything that gave me opportunities I hoped to get as a result of volunteering. 

My final do-over would be when I got in some trouble over a quarrel with a utility worker. I said something I regret did something I should not have done that will impact me the rest of my life. 

It did not involve any physical harm but it is not something I am proud of. I feel very misinderood over what happens and wish I could change my actions. It’s something that will always follow me and not something I can presently change. 

Prompt 100: List Three People you Consider Enemies. Why So?

I used to hate people and consider people enemies who didn’t treat me right or would hinder my ability to have the things in life that I wanted or were important to me. I have learned to dislikes people’s actions instead of the entire person.

Going through a lot of adversity maybe even what some would consider hell has hanged my perspective on life. There are always going to be people out there who do not like you. Some might even go to the extreme of doing what they can to hinder you from having any success of happiness in life. Some people might consider those people to be enemies. Is it worth the time to dwell on that?

Sadly having been through a vicious divorce and custody battle I have seen the ugly side of many people. Seeing people that once loved each other and grew to have a strong dislike or hatred is heartbreaking.

I’ve heard many stories of spite, vindictiveness, pettiness and flat out lying in custody battles and   divorces so that people are able to get what they want.

When children are involved it’s soul crushing. Neither side is truly winning if decisions are made that hurt children. Do enemies really matter at that point.

Our country seems to be heading in this direction. Screwing our enemies seems to be more important than the common good. 

Politics have become far more partisan than doing the right thing. People don’t cooperate across the aisle anymore. Voting is more on party lines seemingly than ever before.

I’ve had to learn the hard way it’s more important to focus on what’s good than to self define who I might consider my enemies to be. The old adage is poltics makes strange bedfellows. 

This is often true in reverse in divorce. People who were once loved and hopefully best friends become adversaries and some would say enemies. 

I don’t like to look at things that way. Sometimes someone who might have been an adversary or if we must say enemy in the past could become and ally and vice versa. 

What’s always best is to keep an open mind. Hate the act but not the person and try to examine what’s best for eye greater good relative to the situation at the time and in the long run.

Instead of determining who the enemy is, look at the situation and how everyone can benefit for s compromise.