Thursday, December 15, 2005

When Life Hands You Lemons...

This morning, OC's biological father came to pick her up for a 5-day visit. This is the first time he's seen her in four months. It feels weird to have her away after so long. I miss her. I hope she's safe, and happy.

I called her biological father the other day, let's call him X, because he was late paying the Jeep again. I was upset and asked him why he couldn't remember to send the payment on time, and was there anything he could do to remember to pay it every month. He said it wasn't that he couldn't remember, it's just that he is so busy he doesn't know what day it is sometimes. And no, there was nothing he could think of that he could do differently. It was at that moment that something clicked in my mind and I realized: he is not going to change. The thought that followed that one was: If I want to ease my frustrations with him, I need to change how I respond to him. Ding! Ding! Ding!

Here's the problem: He has a Jeep that was his in the divorce. It is financed through the credit union in my name. He won't refinance it because he can't easily do it. His credit is bad, and he won't ask for money from anyone to take care of it. He's fine with it being my problem. He regularly forgets to pay it, so I pay it before it gets to be 30 days late and affects my credit. Every time this happens I am rife with indignation. How could he do this? How irresponsible! What a jerk! All this time, I have been really, really, really, really upset, mad, frustrated, pissed off, and angry because of the unfairness of it all. This was my burden, and every once in a while I would call him up and tell him what I thought of the situation, but nothing ever changed.

What happened the other day when I was on the phone with him and expressing my indignation was that I realized that I was going about this in the wrong way. I do not have the power to change him, and energies put to that purpose are wasted. While X is completely irresponsible and unconcerned with how his actions affect others, it doesn't mean it has to affect me negatively. I am still annoyed that he is so thoughtless, and it's true that the situation is unfair. I can still believe that, yet let it all go. Instead of expecting him to behave in a responsible way that he has proven over and over that he will not behave, I will expect him to act the way he is. If I give in and accept what is right in front of me, and put my energies toward areas I do have the power to change, I give up an awfully heavy burden. I feel lighter, freer. What I did was relinquish myself from feeling powerlessness, which was the true energy-drainer.

It's like the camera angles in the Matrix, where you take a scene and freeze it then adjust the angle at which you view the action. When you do this, you see things that you didn't see before because with this new angle. That is exactly what happens when you shift your thinking.

I accept the fact that there's nothing I can do to change the loan being in my name even though it shouldn't be, or that it's up to him to refinance the vehicle and he won't do it, or that he doesn't place a priority on paying his bills on time. Now, I will breathe deeply and focus on areas where I can affect change. The full force of my focus will have much more power than the weak, battered front I have been maintaining. Now that I'm not wasting my time, I can accomplish a lot more.

And right now? I'm making a big old batch of sweet lemonade.


#0 said...

I think you just need to put your foot down and make him remove your name from the Jeep documentation. Its not fair to expect u to keep up with this headache for ever.

Just my 2 cents

april said...

when handed lemons, throw them back...or make lemonade, whichever -
is there any way he could pay you out and close the financing? that'd make life easier. otherwise i'd recommend a monthly, automatic eft. that should fix it right up! or, have him pay you an extra month in advance, so you're always +1 and you can pay it for him... dunno. i'm relationshipless, remember? ya...(might have to do with all that lemon-throwing...)

Occidental Girl said...

Thank you for your concern! And your ideas.

I wish there was a way I could force his hand. Alas, credit laws are more powerful than divorce decrees.

It's not for lack of trying. I have talked to my creditors and lawyer, who said the same thing, "There is nothing you can do, because it is up to him to refinance. Until it's paid off, you're stuck!"

The lawyer did say I could pay her some money to draw up paperwork to sue him, but I'd likely not get anything out of him. I thanked her for her candor, then went home and cried. (This was last year. I'm okay now.)

It comes down to, I'm lucky he pays me back at all. It sucks, but until the loan is gone ($7,631 to go, by $285 a month!) I'm doing what I can to keep on top of it and remind him to reimburse me each month. Because, it's not like he forgets! He just doesn't know what day it is!

He lives at home with his parents. He is 35 years old.

I really don't get it, but then again, maybe you can see an inkling of one reason as to why we are divorced?