Thanks for all the encouragement, I really appreciate that someone is out there and willing to listen.
Kirsten has started to pack up all her stuff but I haven't issued the ultimatum - yet. I very calmly asked for her to pack up the rooms as I was going to need them clean and empty for the boarders. "Poker Face" ...She looked like I'd thrown a bucket of water over her.
I explained that I was advertising with the local Uni to take in a couple of students. My word she did not take this news very well at all, saying things like "What am I going to do with all my things - there's not enough room at Jarrod's - I'll have to throw everything out - this is ridiculous You can't do that". "That means someone else will be using my bed" "They won't be here for tea on Sundays will they? - Dad You won't want strangers here?" "What if Chloe needs to stay overnight with you - does this mean you can't babysit?"
I thought this was priceless. Anyway I kept a neutral tone and told her she could use our loft storage area for some of her belongings but as it was already being used for that purpose she may need to sort out some of her possessions and have a good clean out.
As for using her bed YEP (mine anyway), being there for Sun tea YEP(I'm a good cook), babysitting Chloe would have be arranged but I stated one room would remain as the guest room, we get a lot of relatives visiting.
Mark this really hit home that "I was moving on" and she wouldn't be able to return anytime she liked, in effect her back door was being closed. Next time a fight erupts with Jarrod she won't be able to manipulate her way back into our home as easily. I was cool calm and collected the whole time she ranted and it was like she just ran out of steam. At the end she said she was surprised I hadn't discussed any of this with her before and I just said "You don't live here anymore - you've got your own life now - go live it - I wish you well"
I was totally amazed at how quickly her attitude changed when she figured I wasn't entering into an argument with her, it was brilliant and actually felt wonderful to be in control of my own reactions, thanks to the book. I wouldn't turn her away from our door but walking in and out will no longer be an option and she got the message I can't be manipulated.
I'm still working on the money thing - one battle at a time. The "cat issue" I'll deal with when the time comes. I'm just taking one problem at a time and trying real hard to let the rest wash over.
Since my last email we have had a big family get together where all my children (3) and their partners etc came to our house for a luncheon. This may not seem very big to other people but since my eldest son lives a couple of hours away from the rest of us we very rarely manage to see each other all at once. Matthew (eldest) arranged with everyone to be present, even contacting Kirsten directly to extend the invitation. Neither of my sons bother with her very much of late and this dissention in the family hasn't really helped the overall situation - you should have been there at Xmas - could have cut the air with a knife.
I think they both feel protective of me and their Dad and disapprove strongly about Kirsten and her life choices. Apart from that Kirsten has had some tremendous fights with both of them and the sister in laws and the boys just closed ranks and kept their distance from her.
Anyway the visit went pretty well although Jarrod didn't attend, apparently they had another blow up about him coming to any of our family functions. I was very proud of myself as normally I would try and point out to Kirsten how this one sided relationship with him isn't very fair when she is always ready to blend in with his family at all times. I just put that poker face on and didn't even comment about it - I reckon I'm getting pretty good at this stuff.
You know in general I think my change in attitude is having an extremely positive affect on my relationship with Kirsten. Rather than TELL her what to do I sit back now and consider my whole approach and I am trying more to just influence the right decision - it's no where near perfect but life is a hell of a lot easier. Ultimately I may have no gains in changing Kirsten's decisions but I can control my reactions and I no longer feed the anger. After the family visit she commented about being left out of things a bit and again I didn't try and reason with her. Normally I would come right in there with things like "This is how you've treated others What do you expect? etc", or be the peace maker and make excuses for everyone. Not this time, I just let it all go,they all have to figure out in their own way.
Anyway Mark thanks for listening,