You’ve been doing well in thinking about “could haves” rather than “should haves”. You know that you would never have deliberately chosen the crap option. You said that it doesn’t feel like you and DD1 have a bad relationship – indeed, when we reframe that, it turns out that you and she have a positive relationship. Which of course not only sounds a lot better, but is the truth!
Of course, we can always improve things, be they relationships or anything else, and you are going to continue to be more open to DD1, spending more time with her, now that you are no longer distracted by the difficulties with A.
Speaking of A, you’d only talked to him regarding the children in the previous week. You’d been engaged in a long email argument, with him using Control and Manipulation Ploy 3.2, i.e. accusing you of being abusive. So you have stopped communication. Well done. We thought it might be a good wheeze not to bother reading any more of his emails – what would be the point of putting yourself through any more unpleasantness?
It really doesn’t matter if he thinks he has “won” the email argument: you know that’s not the case, you know you have taken control, and he can think what he likes. It doesn’t matter anymore, because you are no longer trying to influence how he thinks in order to save the relationship.
I know this may seem a difficult concept, to be secure in what you are thinking and not worry about what he may or may not feel. This is his problem. He will stay stuck in a bad place unless he decides to get out of it. It doesn’t any longer need to affect you.
You know that, whatever you had done or said, it would never have been good enough. Because of how A is. Not because of any lack in you.
We spent some time talking about the possible physical risk, and I suggested that you contact your local Women’s Aid and the Police Community Safety Unit for advice. You can get the front door sorted quickly and need some professional advice for the patio doors. I suggested that you might get a new mobile which you can keep with you (bearing in mind that he can cut off your current mobile as it’s in his name). If he did try to get in the house, remember to not mention that it is your estranged husband when you dial 999 – and, if needs be, you can run into the street shouting “fire” – that gets people’s attention. And/or you could get a large, scary-looking (but obviously soft) dog!
You mentioned that you have the eternal optimist problem (which I share – although I think it is preferable to be optimistic and disappointed sometimes than pessimistic and occasionally pleasantly surprised!) but you are now moving away from thinking “I can make him understand” (which clearly is impossible) to thinking he’s (and I quote!) a tosser!
You’d been thinking about telling A that it’s all over, and we decided it would be better to wait until any potential new relationship has blossomed sufficiently. Or, if there is indeed no relationship, it would still be better for you to wait until he’s got more used to you being apart. You can draw a line under the past very effectively without him necessarily knowing that you have, particularly bearing in mind his potential aggression.
You are going to email the CORE evaluation to me, and I believe you are going to do a little work on the Culture Web if you have time.
You told me that you were having two major flashbacks and I think we will deal with those next time, when we do some relaxation and guided imagery. In the meantime, I asked you to practice constructing (a bit like one of the Sim games) a special place to go to in your mind, and you are going to send me a photo of the beach you have in mind.