Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Balancing Family Emotional Needs

My wife and I were speaking several days ago.  It was a this and that sort of conversation.  I was trying to nail down a date for KC to have a sleep over with a buddy and I mentioned about Fiona's next visit.  K took a breath and said that she needed to talk with me about Fi.  She said that she worries every time Fiona is here that she will rage and that something will happen that will physically or emotionally hurt the other kids. She said she had not shared how deeply she felt about things because she feels guilty and she knows we are totally not on the same page here.  The trauma we went through in 2008 is still fresh and raw to her in ways that it is not to me.She is "stuck" mentally there, remembering the rage and destruction and fear.

I knew that K didn't feel the level of commitment to Fiona that I feel. I  did not realize she was still afraid.  Due to her work schedules she is often not available to visit with us when Fiona is here and is usually never home when Fiona calls. I imagine that I should have come to the conclusion that she was afraid, but I am a creature of almost unfettered optimism.  I totally missed it.

The resulting discussion was hard but honest.  I said that I would write to Jane and explain how she felt and keep the overnights to single nights for the foreseeable future.  However I also said that I would not walk out of Fiona's life because I truly believe that when you sign on to parent, you are there forever.  Part of K does not feel that she "is" Fiona's parent.  And I can't speak to that.  I do know that I am.  I also know that the bonds I have worked so hard to knit between the kids are deep.  To do anything that did not honor that would be incomprehensible to me.

Jane was amazing as usual when I explained the situation in a very lengthy email .  She said that it was likely my wife had PTSD and she recommended EMDR as a resource to her.  I told K about this and also about the tapping that I have learned about from the wisdom shared in Blogland. I don't know if she will reach out to those resources, or not.  I do know that life just got a bit more complicated!

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