I’ve never written for a blog. I mean, I tweet, but to share something so insanely personal? I can’t believe I’m doing this…but then hell, the guy with one ball had the courage to tell his story, so surely I can muster up the courage to tell mine! Single-jingle, you’ve inspired me! Well, okay, that’s a half-truth. Aunt Becky inspires me too; and can I say that I secretly want to be her when I grow up? (ed note: *blushes*)
I know you may be shocked with the title of this. I mean, come on, what parent would ever admit that they would give back their precious little heathens?
I am an eternal optimist. My glass is always almost-full & I can always find something positive in every person and situation. I am the oldest of six children, raised in a home that cherishes family. My parents are both alive and still married. My mother’s parents were married for 68 years and they raised eighteen children. My grandmother died first and when she did, my dear grandfather told me that he would die from a broken heart; and he did, six weeks later.
So, when my ex-husband (the charmer that he is) and I divorced almost nine years ago I was the second one in my mother’s entire family to divorce. As painful as the divorce was, little did I know that I would experience a pain so great, and so severe, that it would cause me to question my very existence.
My ex told me on 9-11 that he wanted a divorce; that he had never loved me. Great, gee thanks you asshole. He was psychologically and verbally abusive for most of our marriage. He wasn’t like that when we dated, or even for the first two years that we were married.
Honestly, it was as if a light-switch had been flipped the day we brought our daughter home from the hospital. He was angry with me because I was giving our newborn too much attention. WHAT?!? Are you fucking serious?? Yes, he was. That started the downward spiral of our marriage. He would tell me to do something, but when I did what he asked, he yelled at me because I either didn’t do it exactly as he thought I should, or he denied ever asking me to do it in the first place. In a nutshell, he expected me to play ball but kept changing the rules of the game without telling me.
I decided that I didn’t want our daughter thinking that our marriage was the example she should use as a basis for her future relationships. I knew our marriage wouldn’t last, but I had to wait for the right time. During our separation we worked with a child psychologist negotiating our co-parenting plan. Afterward, the psychologist told me that she believed that he was a sociopath. Perfect…and I have a child with this guy.
The first three years after we were divorced weren’t bad. We actually got along well and cooperated. Don’t get me wrong – the guy was still an asshole and thought he could/should control me, but I guess he was just less of an asshole. Well, that lasted until he met and married his current wife. Now, I’m not blaming her, but she certainly hasn’t told him to straighten his shit up. In fact, I believe that the two of them feed off one another.
You see, as parents, we all know that kids naturally try to pit us against one another, right? Well, it can be even worse with children of divorce. As soon as these two yahoos got together, they began telling my daughter what a terrible mother I am and how I must not love her because I don’t do this, or a I don’t do that. Step-monster has told my daughter that she thinks I’m a bitch; they both told my daughter that they think I dress funny, I’m stupid, I’m fat, I talk funny, etc…the list goes on and on.
I share this with you for you two reasons:
1.) If you’re a parent and pulling this bullshit – STOP THE SHIT NOW! You think you’re hurting your ex, but really what you’re doing is demoralizing and destroying your child. My divorce attorney said to us (before he would take my case), “it’s not divorce that screws up the kids, it’s the parents.” That was the smartest thing that man ever said.
2.) When I divorced, I made a promise to my daughter that she would never know exactly how I feel about her father; that while I may not agree with what he does, what he says, or how he lives his life, I would demand that she respect him as her father. I’m not perfect but I’ve done a pretty good job of this. I think I’ve called him an asshole a couple of times, immediately realized what I had done and asked her for her forgiveness.
Last July, after picking up my 13-year old daughter from an extended weekend with her father and step-family, she got angry with me and became belligerent and uncontrollable on our way home. I will say right here that I believe in corporal punishment, but only when it’s used sparingly. There are just some kids that need a good swat on the behind – mine being one of them.
So, I did what many parents have done and will continue to do and that was to swat (there IS a difference between a swat, a spanking, and a beating) her.
It was done to get her attention and only after I had pulled over on the side of the road in an effort to calm her down and talk through why she was so angry. I swatted her on the leg – she was wearing shorts – there was no redness, no mark, no nothing. That night she was hugs & kisses begging to do ‘girls night’ (girls night consists of us hanging out doing whatever she wants to do & always ends up with us giggling and snuggling in bed).
The next day she went back to her dad’s and thus began my personal journey in hell.
My beautiful, precious daughter accused me of beating her. Yes, beating her. I’ve never even kicked a dog, how could I beat my child? I may have had visions of killing severely maiming my ex, but I could never intentionally harm my child. Because my ex never questions anything that our daughter says and wants so badly to believe that I am the bitch that has made his life hell (it couldn’t possibly be because HE’S made his life what it is today), he believed her and hot-lined me.
Then, he took her to a therapist (which may just be the smartest thing the asshole ever did), and the therapist hot-lined me. It was at this point that I suddenly realized that if my daughter was so willing to make these false accusations against me, what would she say about my husband, her step-father? I emailed her father and suggested that until our daughter have several therapy sessions and we figure out what’s going on, that I thought it best that she stay with him. And there she has remained.
Working with the division of family services, or children’s division (whatever clever name your state has given it), is akin to having your annual exam (ladies) and inviting everyone in to see your vagina. They invade every freaking part of your life. Fortunately for me, the caseworker I was assigned to work with was thoughtful and compassionate.
I spoke with her on the phone and she explained to me that I was being accused of physically abusing my daughter. I felt as if I had been kicked in the stomach. I wanted to vomit. How could the child I so dearly love and would give my very life for say such monstrous things?
The only logical, rational reason I could come up with was that she was being influenced by her father and step-monster.
The case worker then proceeded to tell me that after her interview with my daughter and her father, she had decided not to interview me. Her conclusion: “This is not a case of abuse or neglect, but a custody issue and I am closing the case.” Thank God – what a relief!
My hell isn’t over. I haven’t seen or talked to my daughter in over three months. While I retain joint physical and legal custody of my daughter, I don’t want her here if she doesn’t want to be here. Do you know the story of Solomon? If not, look it up…you’ll understand me.
So, why do I not want to be a mother?
The pain I have experienced over the last three months is so intense that there are many, many days that I just don’t feel like I can go on. I have been rejected. Repudiated by my own daughter. She won’t return my calls; won’t respond to texts or emails; won’t have anything to do with me. I sit down every Sunday and hand-write her a letter updating her on what’s happening in our family. I tell her about Buddy, the family dog she left behind and how he lays down in front of her door almost every day waiting for her to come home; I tell her about her new cousin Ainsley that has a hemangioma on her eyelid and may go blind; I tell her that all of her aunts, uncles and cousins ask about her every time I see them. I also tell her that we love her and miss her.
What I don’t tell her about is the intense sadness and pain my husband and I have inside as a result of what’s been happening. I struggle most days just to get out of bed. I don’t want to go to work, I don’t want to do the things I used to love doing, I just don’t want to do anything, or be anywhere. I cried everyday for two months. There are still days when all I do is sit with a box of Kleenex and cry all day. Seriously. All day. I hate coming home – because it reminds me of her. But where else would I go? Dying seems like an attractive alternative sometimes, but then I realize that would give my ex too much pleasure. Fuck him.
I don’t want to write to her anymore. In fact, I don’t want to be a mother anymore. There’s just too much heartache and pain. Where the hell is the reward? She doesn’t respond to any of my communications, so why keep up the charade?
Through this experience I am learning what it truly means to love another human being. To be able to look past the faults of another and still love them with all your heart and soul is an incredible place to be. I’m also learning what it means to forgive. Not to just say “I forgive you,” but to really feel it in your heart.
Wait, wait, wait a minute! I’m not forgiving that son-of-a-bitch father of hers, not sure that I will ever be at a point where I can forgive him for what he’s doing to her. I’m working on forgiving her. I realize that this isn’t all her…she’s torn. She is a true ‘daddy’s girl’ and adores her father. However, she needs to bear some responsibility in this. I have to believe that as she grows and matures she’ll realize what she’s done and she’ll be embarrassed and will regret her actions.
I’ve also learned that to be rejected by one’s child is perhaps one of the most painful experiences, other than the death of a child, that a parent can ever experience. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. I tried that…there’s this guy that I really can’t stand, yet I pray that he never experiences the pain and agony I live with every day.
What do I say when people ask how my daughter is; how is she liking the 8th grade; how is she doing in school; what sports is she playing this year? Uh, hell if I know. Call her father. I’ve moved all of her pictures from public viewing at home – it’s just too painful. I put away all of her personal belongings in her bathroom and have redecorated it…again, too painful to see her stuff. Her bedroom door is closed and I haven’t been in there for two months. Too painful. When I go in there I am reminded of all of the love and the fun that we shared together. I am also reminded that she’s not here.
For all you out there that are divorced with children, please let this be an example of what NOT to do and remember what my attorney said, “it’s not divorce that screws up the kids, it’s the parents.” Your children deserve the best of what you have and that includes treating your ex with kindness, compassion, and respect.
I will see her for the first time next week in a joint therapy session. I’m sure it’s going to be awkward and I expect her to be cold and distant. I am going to do my best not to cry. I’m going in armed with drugs. Buspar and I have become very close friends in the last couple of months.
In my heart, my hope is that next week will be the beginning of the end of my personal journey to hell.