Sunday: 11.March.2007

No blog entry in 10 days: What gives?

No entry in 10 days. That hasn't happened in many moons. The last time was probably back when I backpacked the mountains of Yosemite (& grew a beard). So something is up.

I need to feel an entry before I can write. I rarely write just to add words .. which seems trivial, if not phony.

In trying to understand this recent silence, I feel (not sure) it stems from a combination of the back injury and increased co-parenting contention.

Custody battles, as you know, are notoriously emotional. And when trouble befalls (as with the case of a debilitating injury), my instincts are to put emotional things on hold, and deal with the crisis sans emotion (to avoid distracting from the issue at hand).

today's entry continues here

This method of dealing with crises (sans emotion) dates back to my early days in the Navy, when I rode a nuke sub, where I ran a reactor plant. Unlike the nuke plant, unfortunately, I know relatively little about parenting. (But I'm-a learnin'.)

The military trains you (via endless, elaborate drills) to handle emergencies in a manner that is logical & methodical (calmly). Emotion has no place here. If you're freaking out, paralyzed with fear, or overcome by some other emotion, you won't likely (the theory goes) be very effective at dealing with a crisis.

I think this is why (shifted out of a feeling mode) I haven't made an entry (here) for so long. That back injury kicked my butt. Thru me for a loop. Major-league sukage. Pain, after a while, becomes oppressive. Every movement a struggle.

This week was the first time I woke to find that my back actually felt good. That same night, coincidentally, I woke during a dream where I was crying (real hard, like little kids do .. altho about something embarrassingly silly).

I woke feeling dramatically refreshed (both physically & emotionally) despite the fact the cry was only in a dream. (Weird, huh?) So it seems my emotions were whacked .. after being suppressed a month.

I've been dealing with increased co-parenting challenges recently. In addition to attending co-parenting classes, I now (after more than a year of this) have acquired plenty of (first-hand) experience.

One skill they teach at these co-parenting classes (and one which happens to embrace the military's method of handling a crisis) is that, when you find yourself getting angry, realize that adrenaline is being released (which instills the fight or flight instinct). In arguments, adrenaline tends to make a bad situation worse.

It has been difficult to bite my tongue when a 'discussion' begins to degrade into an argument. But I'm improving. I've learned (the hard way, unfortunately) that no amount of discussion (argument) is ever going to lead to resolution.

These co-parenting classes teach the anger-management technique of avoiding (saying or doing) anything for ~20 minutes, cuz that's how long it takes for an adrenaline spike to dissipate.

Surely you realize, that if you live with someone for any length of time, that person likely knows how to push your buttons, how to spin you up. (And vice versa.)

It has become clear (this past year) that the (negative) emotions associated with custody disputes require a (positive) outlet .. in order to "process" them.

Stress, I'm sure you know, is a killer. And custody disputes tend to engender tons of stress. How to deal with this killer stress? That's the question.

Friends, who can lend a sympathetic ear, are the #1 way. (Exercise is a close second.) The ability to talk about your troubles and express your feelings can be (as Freud discovered) therapeutic, especially if you have someone sympathetic to listen.

I have two friends (1 male, 1 female) who I can tell anything. They listen remarkably well, and know my whole story .. from day one, so I never have to rehash details.

A few other folks I can talk to, but aren't on the same level as the primary two. I can't blame these others for not being on the same level as the other two. My story is admittedly depressing. Heck, I wouldn't want to listen to someone as depressing as me.

In fact, I have stopped strangers mid-sentence, raising a hand and saying, "I'm sorry, I have so much negativity in my life right now that I simply can't listen to another word. I'm saturated." (We all have our limits.)

Now if the negativity is related to another custody dispute, then I *can* hear that (cuz misery love company). In fact, I sometimes feel guilty that I get so much enjoyment from hearing the tales of woe of others. I have even apologized, saying, "I know I shouldn't take pleasure in your misfortune .. but your story really makes me feel better."

The stories many of these guys have to tell are much worse than mine. I can't help, sometimes, but laugh out loud, as they relate their misfortunes. The fact becomes clear: my situation could be worse (much worse).

Well, I've shared enough on this topic. I'll conclude by relating something the bug did this week, while we were waiting at a traffic light. (He sits up front, beside me.) While holding one of his sandals, he said, "Here dada," holding it out.

When I tried to grab the sandal, he jerked it back and laughed outrageously. Then he repeated the offer, only to jerk it back again when I attempted to take it from him. This obviously caused him great joy.

"Are you teasing dada?" I asked. "Are you fooling me?" Again he laughed, this time squeeling with delight, before re-offering me the sandal.

This was the first time my two-year-old played me like that. Not sure whether this represents a rad developmental milestone, but it was a first for him.

We also watched Finding Nemo this week (another first), a great father/son story, inspired by (as you might expect) the challenges of parenting.





Posted by Rad at March 11, 2007 04:37 PM

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