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.
Oh Heather, my heart is just breaking for you. I am so, so sorry you are going through this.
I am so so very sorry you are dealing with this. As a child of a nasty parent after the divorce, I can tell you that it really does hurt. I hope that someday, she will be able to get past their issues and realize just how much you do love her.
i am so very very sorry.
i have felt the same things as you.
when my husband died, almost 5 years ago, my son and i bonded tight, but then..something turned, and it’s been a struggle.
his dead father is a saint, i suck.
except when i don’t.
i think, sometimes, with teens, it’s a wait it out issue, but omg how hard it hurts? so hard….
i am so sorry you’re going thru this.
hang tough, she’ll come around.
it gets better and better here..he’s 18.
Thank you…it’s so hard to even know what to say, other than, I now know what it feels like to have a broken heart. The irony of it all? She’s my only child…My husband and I tried for 3yrs to get pregnant and stopped short of IVF. I work everyday on finding something to be grateful for. Blessings to you!
Thanks Michy…I’m confident that as she grows and matures she’ll realize what’s happened, but will my heart have a place for her? I have to work on keeping the hurt out and a place of love open for her. Some days it’s tough.
I’m sorry for your experience…I can’t imagine having to manage all that as a child. I hope that your parent has stopped the negativity, realizing how destructive it is! Did it push you closer to your other parent? My heart breaks for you for having to endure that pain…thank you for reaching out!
Michele, I’m so sorry for your loss. I often wished that things would be so much better if that bastard had just died, but then I realize that I would just have a different set of ‘issues’.
My heart aches that you went through the same thing! Oh gosh, how did you do it? I find that some days are so positive and I can rationalize through everything that’s happened. Then there are those days when all I can do is sit on the couch and cry all day long. I try to find one thing to focus on each day…I have to laugh because it hasn’t worked so well lately! 😉
I’m confident that someday she’ll come around…I woke up at 2:30 this morning thinking about it all and decided that I would start keeping a journal – one that she could read someday. I want her to know that despite the pain and sheer agony, I love her more than anything in this world; that I didn’t give up on her.
It’s reassuring to know that your situation is getting better. Blessings to you that it continues to improve daily…I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. You sound like a strong woman – I admire you for staying strong through all you’ve been through!
While I’ve never been through anything close to your situation, I do know kids – especially teens – really well. The one thing I would advise is to never close off. She’s at a really tough place in life, even under the best circumstances. And she’s being manipulated and used by someone she’s supposed to be able to trust. As much damage as this is doing to you, it’s doing at least as much to her. He has removed someone from her life that she needs. He has taken love away from her. Love that she deserves.
I love the journal idea. You may want to consider sending it to her – maybe for Christmas or something – and sending her a blank journal for her to use. Maybe she will, or maybe not. But you have to keep trying.
You’ll be in my thoughts.
WOW. It’s a Kleenex kind of morning! Your words hit home – thank you sharing your thoughts. Everyday is a new experience & I’m learning as I go.
What a nice idea for the journal…I never thought to give it to her for Christmas. Her birthday is the 27th of December – it’s going to be a tough month, but it may be equally as tough for her.
Thanks for commenting…there is a certain reassurance and peacefulness in the support.
Oh Heather, I am so very sorry. I can’t even imagine the pain. I am so glad my ex and I are civil to each other. And we agreed that to punish each other would be to punish our girls. So we have been able to remain good friends. I wish your ex could have realized that. And I am so sorry your daughter is doing this to you.
Kristin, thanks for the response…You and your ex are blessed that you both put your daughters as your priority. Count your blessings and thank your ex for doing the right thing. I would give anything if my ex could/would have a civil conversation with me, but I’ve given up on that one…I’m taking things one day at a time – that’s all I can do right now! Your girls are so fortunate to have you and your ex as parents. Blessings to you all!!
Heather, I second those who think you should send the journal (& a blank one — great idea!) to your daughter. My mom is a naturally closed-off person: no hugging, no I-Love-You’s. She seems cold & distant so there’s nothing to mitigate her passive-aggressiveness. I clearly remember the first time she tried to hug me. I was 21 and instinctively jumped because it was so weird. I think it’s always been hard for us because I *am* a hugger. Anyway, my parents did behave nicely (easier for them because although he cheated & she kicked him out she still thinks the sun shines outta his bum) so I know I was very lucky on that front. But… if my mom could open up in some way, show me any kind of feeling even if it was anger, or jealousy at the time my dad spent with me when I was tiny, ANY EMOTION it would have changed our relationship; it still could. I quietly moved in with my dad when I was 14 after a horrible conversation with her that she completely denies ever happened. If just once she would show emotion it would be such a big deal; if she actually said she was sorry? Whoa. My point? Please don’t just show your daughter the bright & sunny parts of what you are feeling. She’ll sense that there is more and you’re leaving her to fill in the blanks with her imagination (or theirs!). (((hugs & love & strength)))
Thank you for sharing your story…I’m so sorry for your experience – it sounds like you’re doing alright. I wish I could show her how hurt I am…I don’t think I can right now because it gives her too much power; it gives her father too much power. He is so intent on seeing me hurt, that I can’t show her what I’m really feeling because he has her so brainwashed, that she’ll enjoy seeing me in pain, and he will too. What he doesn’t realize is that by hurting me, in the process he is destroying her. In due time I will share with her how devastated I am…she’s just not emotionally mature enough yet to be able to handle it.
I do hope that your mother comes around for you.
Lots of hugs, love and strength to you as well!!!
In due time” is good! You (obviously) know your situation better than I. 😀
Yes, you can say you don’t want to be a mother anymore. I have spent many years feeling the same way, but for a different set of circumstances. I know your heart will always be broken, but I hope and pray your daughter will come to realize what unconditional love truly means. You certainly seem to know the meaning.
this is heartbreaking. i’m so sorry you are going through this. i can’t imagine the heartache. but you are not alone. so many of us think and pray for you!