I called Bart today, thinking he'd be in a good mood because of his win. I hadn't heard from him which is unusual. All my kids call me a lot, but he calls every day and sadly part of that is because he really just has his girlfriend and nobody else to talk to. But he isn't lonely. He just won't go out and make friends. I am going to demonstrate how frustrating it is to talk to him and to try to give what I feel is good advice. He simply shoots everything down. I have been sick to my stomach since yesterday worrying about the case. This is going to go on. It won't stop. I can't be sick every day. I have a husband, a job, and three other kids plus one more grand and my hobbies and interests too. He does have anxiety disorder, but so do I and I saw my therapist before work today to get some calming perspective. Me: Hi. What's up? B: Well, you told me not to talk about the GAL and the psychologist so I can't tell you. I'm respecting your wishes. (I told him to please not bring them up unless they are actually a fact of life in his case. They are a high stress issue and the next court case isn't until Sept). Me: Did you hear from S? (lawyer) Are you sure they will be in the picture? B: Oh, I'm pretty sure. Her attorney brought up the GAL and S. asked if I'd want the same one or another one. I'm not sure what to say. Me: So there will be a GAL? B. Well, I don't know yet. He asked me that a while back, just in case. I know ex has the money because she did get an attoorney. Me: Ok, I have a suggestion. (Trying to sound upbeat) This could go on and on and you aren't the only guy having to go through this. Other men have to and they manage to have a life in between the court dates, as hard as they are. You will probably win no matter what. S. is such a good lawyer and her lawyer has been in ethical trouble (she has). Just listen to your lawyer and you'll be ok. B. It's the waiting I can't handle. Me: Well...you have no choice. B: Duh. Me: Look, you can't spend the next weeks doing nothing but worrying about this. Wait for something to actually happen. Think about something else. Do something fun. B: (soberly) I can't help it. Maybe YOU can think of other things and distract yourself, but I can't. Plus there isn't anything to do. (He never does much except videogames and movies, even though his girlfriend is full of ideas) Me: Well, that's how I deal with stress now. I distract myself and, if I can't, I get professional help to get advice from somebody else and that really helps. Did you ever think of joining a group of people who are divorced? For self-help? B. (gloomy voice) Oh, they're all religious around here, and even if they weren't, I don't need to hear about their problems. It will only make me feel worse. Me: That's not how groups work. They also share their experiences and can help. B. That isn't how it was for me (He has gone to one group for anxiety one time) Me: I know it's not healthy to put your life on hold for things you can't predict. Your son needs you to be in top shape. B. I AM ALWAYS STRONG FOR HIM. And you know what? If I had four kids, like you, and one was having a hard time, they would just have to understand that the one in trouble needs me and they would have to be put on the backburner (this is not exact words. None of this is). My son is everything to me and I am his protector. He has nobody but me. (He'd have his siblings if he'd keep in touch with them) Me: Well, all I can tell you then is to trust your lawyer. Remember who he is. And try to take your mind off of this until something actually happens. Nothing did yet. B: But it will. I know Ex. Me: (phone rang. I don't know how to switch from one person to another and he knows it. One could say Saved by the Bell) Oh! That's Jumper from City and it's raining there. I need to take this call. B: (reluctance) Ok. Bye. So now I'm off the phone, dreading the next round of custody 2. Yet Bart is GOING to get residential custody. She has no case. GAl wasn't the best, but...you know what? I can't control it and I can't forget the rest of my family, my job, and everything else because he is having a hard time now. Or should I? He sure made me feel guilty. It's true that the other kids are doing well...but then they usually are. I feel awful. Don't get me wrong. It must be horrible to go through this with an ex like he has. But he won't do a thing to make it better or help himself. Nothing. And I can't be on call 24/7. Jumper called all excited because her boyfriend, who we haven't met yet, wants to take us all out for dinner tomorrow night. Although I know he makes a good living I told her we'll pay half. I can't ignore HER happiness and excitement because Bart is sad. Can I? Should I? Of course not. I would tell YOU guys you can't. Bart does have a job, a house and a car so he isn't a counter-culture kind of man. But he absolutely does not have a full and exciting life while he is in the prime of it and he doesn't seem to want one. Therefore when something comes up, like this, he has nothing to take his mind off of his problems. And he won't take advice. It is so frustrating to try to help and get stonewalled all the time. Not that you all don't know about it. Also, although he doesn't ask for money, he expects me to drop everyone else and just focus on him during these hard times and I can't. Ok, well, just a vent. I can feel my stomach starting up again. Ugh.