Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This Chickie Thinks #3

Another in a series of rambling advice columns by a gal whose only credentials are being old enough to know better, and drying her tears while putting on her armor in record time. (Oh, and that seminary degree and nearly two decades of experience in ministry but no one seems to care about intentionally pursued credentials any more.)

Dear Auspicious Jots,

My ex is making my life hell. We have children. HELP?!?!

The Almost Universal Agony

Dear Agony,

Is there any interpersonal pain more searing than a sour, burning divorce? And you created life with this person, too? How grand for you all.

This Chickie Thinks that divorce can be the number one test of maturity in an adult. Divorce is the result of a failure to love and that wound is often easier to show as anger than loss. It is seriously ugly stuff and the children's capacity to love can be compromised when divorce is done poorly.

I could write a book here, but no one would buy it because I have never been divorced. So I will make this quick.

You became divorced because you punched each others' buttons in all the wrong ways. To not go crazy you MUST CHANGE YOUR BUTTONS so your ex will not be able to push them. It is time for a long, serious look in the mirror. I hope to God that you did not re-mate up because that will really throw gum in your hair.

Here's what you do. You keep a daily journal and you are not allowed to express your rage at your ex anywhere in the journal. Instead you will write about what you love, what you hope to do with your life, your strengths and your weaknesses, your dreams... anything that will get you focused on your future possibilities to live anew and not your past. You can express your rage to others or talk to yourself about the ex, just not in the journal and PLEASE never in front of the children.

After two months of daily journal writing, you will find a therapist, let your rage explode in 50 minute increments, and you will go to them as long as it takes. The therapist will let you rage about your ex to a point but then will stab your psyche with a sword of your own making if you do not cease at that point. Because the bottom line is this: your ex can't make your life anything you don't let her/him make. You are the one choosing to allow the ex to make your life hell.

Caveat: Whenever you feel your physical safety or that of your children is being threatened - seek professional help and not an advice columnist.

This Chickie Thinks that divorce may be the hardest pain to see your own fault in because people tend to act like such turd buckets. But I guarantee if you get to know yourself better, work through your own stuff, and admit the variety of feelings you have instead of just your rage... you will let the ex do less and less to you.

Dear Auspicious Jots,

I am with the right person but the sex is not working out. Now what?

Leave the lights on

Dear Auspicious Jots,

I am with the wrong person but the sex is amazing. Now what?

Lights are on but no one is home

Dear Lights,

Sounds like you two have the same problem. Some people get sexual satisfaction out of the wrong partner precisely because they are wrong, while sexually rejecting the person who is best suited to them. It's a freaky human thing.

This Chickie Thinks she has a few questions: Are you able to talk frankly about sex? Is your sexual history a muddled mess? Are you addicted to pornography? Can you be very specific about what makes sex torrid and what makes it blah? Do you have unresolved feelings for someone else?

If you answer yes about having the ability to articulate your sexual interests and to know what you like - there is some hope for resolution here. If you answer yes to any of the other questions - this problem will not be resolved easily, if at all.

This Chickie Thinks (assuming the best)... Lights on - why are you getting naked and sweaty with someone who is wrong for you? That seems self-destructive unless they aren't really wrong in which case it is just mean to pretend they are to get your jollies. Time to move forward or cease because this stasis will demean you both.

No one home - if this is the right person, you had better have the extremely frank discussion about all things sex related soon. That conversation goes much better if you don't have months or years of unsatisfying encounters making you fussy. The good news is that the conversation often solves the problem because talking about it can be sexy which leads to... well, use your imagination. If talking is not a panacea, try mutually agreed upon abstention until you resolve this hurdle. Nothing like not doing it to make you really want to do it and bring you both to a new level.

And since I am in a referring kind of mood, they are called "sex therapists" for a reason.

Dear Auspicious Jots,

I am not comfortable with talking about personal things and certainly not sexual things in a religious context. Your blog is starting to creep me out. Am I a prude?

Don't Wanna Talk About It

Dear Don't Wanna,

You are not alone in this. I have started the advice column because people who came to me for pastoral counseling asked questions like these and often felt relieved to hear a minister speak frankly to them. It is not for everyone, though. Many people were raised in cultural or religious environments that shamed any link between the spiritual and the corporeal.

This Chickie Thinks that by putting the same title on the advice entries, you can just skip these and stick with the other blog entries. Also, in my non-existent free time I hope to make my tagging system more systematic so that you can use the labels to find entries that better suit you.

And even if it turns out you are a prude, I can certainly live with that if you can.

The Jotter


Anonymous said...

When I was in the process of getting away from the father of my first two kids, someone recommended a book called something like "coparenting with a jerk". I didn't read the book, but the amazon reviews were enough to get the point through to me . . . Yeah, he's a jerk, that's why you left him . . .because he wouldn't change. And he STILL isn't going to change. So you have to live with it. Tho I do still (11 years later) send him brief emails criticizing him for not even calling to say happy birthday to his son.

Jim Martin said...

You have some good advice for your readers here. Hope it is a help to you, too.