Ben H. Swett
Temple Hills, MD
August - September 1990

Compiled from a series of letters and telephone calls. Questions sent by Ken, for me to raise in prayer. The answers I received are shown in italics.

I pray only to Jesus. I asked Jesus each of Ken's questions, one at a time. After each question, I quieted my mind and recorded whatever came unbidden. The reply is through a group of souls who were formerly human beings but now serve as angels. They do not give their names. Their salutation is "We care" and their signature is "Deo" which means "of God, for God, to God."

Transcript made available with the permission of Ken and Karyn.

1. In the relationship between Karyn and myself, there is the question of a "double standard" regarding how each looks at the other's child. I know that I am often harder on Shea than I am on Kimberly or Charlene. My thought is that Shea is here on a day-to-day basis and so should receive family discipline, while Charlene is only here occasionally and should be treated as a guest.

We care. Double standard is not fair. Be equitable. From neither source is saying "my child, your child" correct. Each ought to see each child as a person, not as a possession. "My child" and "your child" are improper views. Children are people.

Children are people. In attempting to treat them fairly, should one attempt to make adjustments for what others may or may not give at special times like birthdays or Christmas? If one child may get more from one side of the family (which we have no control over) and another child may get less from the other side of her family (which again we have no control over), do we attempt to make adjustments in what we give to attempt to make them as equal as possible?

No, do not try to compensate. Conveys wrong message--"ought to be equal in what you get"--leads children to compare, envy, compete for things as right rather than receive as gift. To be equitable is to give good things to each child. This conveys message: we love each of you, even if others do not. Sets example.

2. My love for Karyn has never changed, never varied. She kept trying to tell me she was sick, but I was thinking she was not serious. I thought, "What else is new? What are you going to do about it? If you were serious, you would go to a doctor," but she doesn't go to a doctor. I was not sensitive to what she was saying, because of similar things in the past. On Thursday before I moved out, she almost had a breakdown. She called my father and said she had to have Charlene out of the house, but I had not realized she was that sick or troubled. My question is, "Why can't I comprehend what Karyn is really saying or feeling? What do I have to do in order to understand what she's really saying or meaning by her actions?"

She does not go to a doctor because she is afraid of doctors, and what they may do. There is some justification for this. Do not try to talk her out of it. Just listen and show that you care.

You do not comprehend because you think you do. When you presume you know what she means or what she is feeling, you do not think to ask her.

What can you do? Assume that you do not know her inner thoughts and feelings. Resist the temptation to guess. Later, in a quiet moment, gently ask what she was thinking or feeling, and let her explain. Listen without comment or argument. Thank her for the explanation, and tell her you will think about it. That is what is meant by taking a person seriously.

No further questions, the response was very helpful, thank you!

3. On this trip, Karyn didn't call when she got there. I was worried, then angry. Anxiety feeds anger, and vice versa. I write angry letters and tear them up. I get angry when I'm feeling hurt. Karyn thinks I moved out in order to hurt her, but I did it because I felt I had to get control of the situation.

OK. Good to recognize linkage. You cannot control what she does or does not do, but you can notice your own reactions and control their manifestation in what you say or do. Better to write angry letters and destroy them than to speak in anger.

Tell her why you moved out. But realize that she will decide whether to believe you or not, and you cannot control her decisions.

How do I control my anger and hurt? Once it starts working on me it just seems to fuel itself and it grows and grows. How do I get control of the situation to prevent this?

"How to control own anger and hurt" ... excellent question! First, control manifestations; don't let your feelings damage others. Second, acknowledge that source is in self; don't deny what you feel or blame it on others. Third, look inside for specific thoughts that cause those feelings; experiment with them in private and notice reaction; learn how inner self works--then can control reactions by selecting what you say to yourself when situation arises.

"It seems to fuel itself" ... after exercising self-control as above, ask the Lord to send His angels to encapsulate and remove any lost ones or dark ones who take advantage of your hurt or anger by amplifying it and prolonging it.

"Get control of the situation" ... often cannot. Self-control is the issue.

4. I feel like an anvil with two hammers hitting me from both sides, between Karyn and my daughters. Why can't I do right by everybody? What do I need to do from this point forward, to preserve my love and relationship with Karyn and at the same time preserve my love and relationship with my daughters?

Can do right by everyone. That is not the problem. Problem is to see what is right in each case. Purpose is correct: to love all and maintain relationships.

Can love, no matter what they say or do. Cannot control other side of relationship. So. Do what is right and realize others will do what they choose.

Anvil feeling comes from wanting to please. Sometimes impossible. Not always the same as doing what is right. It is enough to please each one fairly frequently.

We see this: you adhere to principles, to see what is right. That is good. But look at this principle again: you have placed daughters as equal to wife, and before wife. That is not fair. She has earned what they have not. She ought not be your only concern, but neither last priority nor over-ridden by others demands. Tell this to all involved, so others will be less likely to take advantage of unearned priority.

No further questions, I do understand and will attempt to work things out, thank you!

5. Karyn seems to perceive sinister motives in me. Why is she assuming ulterior motives? For example, I bought a hub-cap for Shea's car, just because it needed a hub-cap, but Karyn asked, "What's your real reason for buying it?"

You cannot control what she assumes. Only she can do that. Suspicion feeds on itself. Based on past hurts unreleased--real or imaginary, by you or by others.

Can look within self. See own motives clearly, honestly. Recognize unworthy motives and resolve not to act on them. Change viewpoints that cause them.

When she asks, "What's your real reason?" respect the question. Try not to react to your feeling that it indicates suspicion: answer it honestly and let it go at that.

No further questions, thank you!

6. I'm scared, to the point of tears. I've got a wife I love very much, and I would do anything for her, but I seem to have screwed it up. Within 48 hours after I moved out, I wanted to go places with Karyn, to hold her hand, to talk with her. It didn't seem important before; in 48 hours, it was.

Good. Perhaps you have learned something that many do not learn before their separation becomes permanent. Tell her what you have learned.

I did tell her I can live with or without anyone--we both can--but that doesn't mean I don't want to be with her.

OK. She takes such statements personally. You intend them as statements of fact. Remember how she hears. Don't try to "educate" her; speak to her personally.

No further questions, thank you!

7. I am afraid (?) to get close to Shea. I don't like to go to her school events even though I know it makes Karyn happy. Why am I afraid to get close to Shea?

It is not Shea. Afraid Karyn may use your affection for Shea to manipulate you. Suspicion from past experience in this and previous marriage.

No further questions, thank you!

8. Karyn on several occasions when mad at Kimberly or Charlene has made the comment; "I don't know why you don't just forget about them. You have Shea and myself, and that should be plenty." Why after a comment like this do I tend to put more distance between Shea and myself? Why do I want to "hurt Shea" for a comment Karyn has made?

Same as above. Karyn does not see results of such statements are opposite to what she wants. It is not right to abandon your daughters; and not right to be pressured to do so. Only put them in proper priority.

It is not right to hurt Shea, or withdraw from her, for something she did not do. Recognize the source of your feeling. Do not allow it to hurt an innocent person.

No further questions, thank you!

9. Karyn wants to go somewhere (vacation or just a get-away) and I'm not the least bit interested in "getting away." Why?

OK. Normal. Karyn sees it good to get away from same old stuff. You see it good to stay around home. Neither is wrong. Some of both is possible. Can go fairly often, as: important to her; a gift of time from you. Make suggestions, but also let her lead. Honor planned vacation schedule if at all possible, as: keep promises. Only go cheerfully, not as a martyr or a tour boss. Relax. Have some fun too.

No further questions, thank you!

10. Both Kimberly and Charlene have on several occasions lied to me and used me. Why do they keep telling me things that are not true and using me? Why do I resent it so when Karyn tries to point this out to me?

They lie to you because they choose to lie. And because they get away with it. They use your mixed feelings of affection and guilt to get what they want because they choose to manipulate you. And because they know it works.

You cannot control their decisions to lie and manipulate. You can decide whether or not you will let them get what they want from you that way. You resent it when anyone points this out because you know it is true. You do not want to face that truth because it makes you feel less worthy as a person--and as a parent--so you react against the message and the messenger.

How do I better understand when Kimberly or Charlene choose to lie to me or try to use me? If I apparently know they are doing it, why do I not realize that's what they are doing? How do I make myself aware of the fact they are doing it?

How do you know when anyone else is trying to con you? Look at them as people--not suspicious, but not blinded by thought, "my daughter." Then observe what they do, over time, to understand them as people.

11. I feel that deep down in my heart I love Karyn more than even she knows. Why then am I not willing to do the things that I know will make her happy? Why do I always put what I want to do in front of what I know would make her happy?

Two questions here. Three levels of answers.

If you do things that make her happy, her happiness may depend on you. At core, you know each person's happiness should be free, independent of anyone else.

If you feel compelled to make her happy, she can use that feeling to manipulate you. You do not wish to be a slave to her pleasure and displeasure.

From these two valid reasons for not trying to please her in everything, you find a subconscious excuse for simple selfishness. That is not good for you.

It seems almost like two different factors that are at odds with each other. On one hand I am told that I know each person's happiness should be free and independent of anyone else. Yet Karyn needs to have affection to feel secure and wanted. How do I display that affection without feeling that I'm compelled to do it, which you have said is not good either? How do I overcome the selfishness? I want to make Karyn happy, how do I do that without (one) feeling obligated, (two) with that affection being given freely and independent of anyone else?

Take our previous "three levels of answers" from bottom up:

1. Notice situations and ask your self, "Am I being selfish?" Act on answer.

To overcome selfishness, remember "selfishness is not good for me." Display affection by choice--don't get hooked to her response. When feel compelled, investigate inner source of that feeling. Check rebellion. Can do good by choice even when compelled, as "Go extra mile." Sets you free from own reaction.

2. If fear she is trying to manipulate, observe her over time as with daughters.

3. If feel she is getting too dependent, seek further guidance from the Lord.

12. These are just a few of the questions I have. My mind it seems is full of the most powerful word in the English language: "Why?" I do know this, I do love Karyn and I want to see us work this out. I know that I have hurt Karyn and some of that hurt and the questions it has raised will never go away. I also feel that Karyn has a lot of stored anger that she needs to get out of her system. After over ten years of being divorced from Charles, why does just the sight of him or one of his lady friends cause so much anger and hatred to surface? Its not healthy and many times I see the same attitude or mood when adversity arises in the form of Charlene or Kimberly.

We see. You do care. And "Why?" is obedience to command "Ask, seek, knock."

True, you cannot change the past. But old hurts and doubts can go away. The one who holds them can also release them, so they do not affect the present or future.

Yes, Karyn holds grudges--and they eat at her. She would be healthier and happier if she chose to release those who have trespassed against her. But she thinks "to forgive" means to forget, or pardon, or excuse. She feels that she must justify either herself or the other person. That is not true. To forgive means to let go, to release inwardly, to let the trespass go into the past and the trespasser go his own way. This keeps old hurts from spoiling one's present and future. And that is why the commandment "forgive" was given to each of us, for our own sake.

I understand, but I'm still concerned for Karyn's well-being and the effect it has and will continue to have on our relationship.

Good. Continue to care. And also apply message to your own old hurts.

13. As I said, I am looking for help from anyone who can provide it. I know I do not have the answers. Maybe you and the friends or even a psychiatrist will be able to help me. I hope so. Thank you for your help and for caring enough to want to help!

You are welcome. It is our pleasure.
Peace. Deo.

14. Thank you for your letter of 21 August and thank you to the friends. The responses provided a lot of food for thought. They have also raised additional questions to further understand the point they were making. I am also a little confused, because as Karyn and myself were going over the responses, she was saying, "See, that's exactly what I was telling you," and I was saying, "But that's exactly what I was telling you." Its more of the same, seeing something but seeing it 180 degrees apart.

"More of same ... 180 degrees apart." Yes, that is core of difficulty. Each is pointing at other, saying, "That is what I said. You should do it." Remember, our messages are for all. Better to look at each message, side by side, and say, "That is true. I should do it." Apply to self, not other. Then results.

15. I know from my discussions with Karyn that she too has additional questions. My chief concern is for us to start seeing things closer to the same, accepting the fact we will always view things a little different because we are after all individuals.

Yes. Good concern, and good insight.

16. Again, I want to thank you for caring enough to want to help. We still have a long ways to go to overcome all of this but I still believe that with a little effort on both of our parts, we can work this out. In closing let me express my personal apology for all the trouble and anguish this whole mess has caused the members of the family. I am sorry for that!

You are welcome.
Yes, can succeed.
We require no apology--your effort is commendable.


Ken and Karyn did get back together, and are doing well. And Ken improved his relationship with his step-daughter, Shea. Before she graduated from High School, she successfully petitioned the court to have her last name changed to his. In so doing, she chose him to be her father, and he chose her to be his daughter.

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