Running a group for Separated Dads was always going to require balls and a degree of diplomatic skill. By and large, the Dads who come to our group have, in one way or another, had a torrid separation/divorce experience and have ended up in a position where their relationship with their children is fractured in some way. Sometimes severely.
The “space” OnlyDads has created is non-judgmental. Rather we offer a bit of brotherly support and advice and a platform for dads to express themselves about the most difficult aspects of their life. In a way that’s all our group does.
We are never sure who will turn up. Every meeting has a very different dynamic. But our last event almost ended in uproar!
In short, one of our Dads, during his “tell the two-minute story without any interruption time” described his ex as a f******g c**t. The no interruption rule was broken by 4 maybe 5 men who jumped down his throat and basically told him (in no uncertain terms) to retract what he had just said.
A barney ensued!
Because of my OnlyDads hat I found myself in a most difficult position. I waited until their was an impasse before saying anything.
It really doesn’t matter what I said – but in brief I suggested to the whole group that this man had a right to say anything he wanted – and it was the groups job to understand why he is saying these things and then point out to him ways in which he can get over and deal with such negative feelings.
Anyroadup – what came out in the end was that he thought the actions of his ex were not only upsetting him but were “inexplicable”.
What followed for the rest of the evening was much light-hearted banter (with 100% agreeing) that even when we were all madly in love and happy we never really understood what made our loved ones tick, and it’s just that in the negative environment that is separation/divorce this lack of understanding can quickly become infuriating!
While I do not want to get into the whole Men are from Mars debate – I came away from that evening contemplating how man’s basic lack of understanding of what makes women tick is really problematic at such difficult times!