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- Separation & Divorce
The Best Interest of the Child
My ex-husband "took my sons away from me", he didn't really weasel or use trickery on me, he used my love for them, my unconditional love. First, he showed up at my relatives where I had gone with the kids and got the eldest who was 11 - and within a chat with him, asked him if he was leaving with him; he said yes to him and then my son told me that he had said he would go with him because (through crocodile tears) he didn't want to change schools, he just started making new friends and was in sports, that he just wanted his "life". How do you say "too bad?" I knew that he was unhappy about leaving to begin with as he was in tears the entire drive to my sisters and it broke my heart.
His father was very controlling and verbally abusive to me and he was distant with his kids big-time, but he didn't abuse them. I did not feel it was an awful thing to let him go with his own dad, I did feel that it wouldn't be long and he'd be calling me to come to get him, it is exactly what I thought, so I let my son go with his father, it wasn't as if he wouldn't have me, or couldn't at any time move in with me and his younger brother, who stayed with me.
Months later the youngest was taken on a "family" trip to Disney with his brother and father, upon return from that trip, he was sad and just began crying one Saturday, I asked him what was wrong and he told me that he couldn't tell me because he didn't want to hurt my feelings. I explained to him that nothing he could say would make me unhappy with him or upset with him at all, he then told me that he wanted to move back into his house with his brother, who he missed and wanted to go back to his school where he had friends and knew everyone and had much better grades; He wanted to sleep in his own bed- but he didn't want me to cry and if I was going to cry he would stay with me. I told him I had to think a little and my reasons were selfish, my reasons for wanting to think a little was because at that moment all I could think was..oh my Gawd...my life is over, he now will have EVERYTHING, I did not care about moving out of our "new house," I did not care about walking away from money I spent years helping him earn for our family, it didn't bother me to work for someone aside from myself..but now..what will I have after 15 years? Bad memories? As all of this was racing through my mind and what felt like my blood, it suddenly occurred to me I was being controlling and selfish. I was focusing on what I lost and what HE gained, but I was not focusing on my sons' interests, I was instead thinking of how gutted I was and how my heart felt so shattered.
There is no doubt that their father knew I would consider the kids before myself, and he had every reason to know that since I always considered him before myself, and that is how he was able to control and verbally abuse me for 15 years. I never said he was dumb, by far he was not.
Going back a little in this story, when initially I left with my sons I went to a relatives house with the full intention of getting my GED, a job and our own place to live and I did all that.
During this time, there was a lot of gossip surrounding me and my reasons for leaving, I found this quite insulting because any one who knew us, knew he was very controlling, and verbaly abusive.
Most also knew that he was never home, and yes while he was a very hard worker, he played just as hard and it was only the last year or so that most of the money he earned didn't end up in a bar room after hours. Leaving me to fend off the bill collectors, the electricity company in the middle of winter nor the repo man from the truck. I was the only carer for the children in our house, and I was severelly verbally abused if I didn't have things done in a way that suited him, such as his dinner or the cleanliness of the house. While he was never there, those moments he was, he left cheerios under the reridgerator and heaters as a point of proving how filthy and disgusting I was that they were there for days and I never saw them because I never cleaned under those things, like a f**ng pig. I had 3 kids in the apartment and one was an infant. One particular night all I had to cook was hotdogs, and they along with a pan of hot spinich went flying across the floor, then he also grabbed a cheese server and threw that as well, with glass shattering everywhere, at that time, I was heavily pregnant and my brother-in-law was there who was horrified, as his brother storned off to go "out to get his own f**ng dinner and then to the bar" he began cleaning up the mess with me. I felt so sorry for his brother who I don't think up to that point had a full understand of how his brother really was. He looked not only shocked, but also very sad.
After I left, about 10 years after this incident, I was gobsmacked at the rumors I was having an affair and that is why I left him, I was sleeping around...the accountant we used for many years even repeated this to a friend of mine, one that I had left. I learned fast that people will stand by you when you have money, but walk away from it and you are as good as dirt...except for a few friends that actually had integrity and a true belief in me.
The gossip didn't end there, it went on to made up conversations, to seeing me at places I was never at with people I was never with. It esclated to not only the accountant, but a bank teller saying she saw me somewhere and actually had a conversation with me. This was not at all funny to me, my once good word was being destroyed and there was nothing I could do about it. These rumors and this gossiping cost me a lot. in retiliation, my belongings were burned along with my dresser, some of those things were priceless to me, such as some drawings by my deceased Aunt. Things like clothing too were up in flames because of liars and because he was a jealous and vindictive narc. (Narcissist)
Working Through It
I got up at 4:00 a.m.every morning to get ready for work, my job was almost an hours drive away. I had to get my son up and ready for school at 5:45 a.m. so he could be brought to my nearby sisters to catch the bus to school with his cousins. I would leave from there and travel to work where I opened at 7:00 a.m. I also had a beeper that I needed to have with me at all times for work so that even if I were home at the end of the day and I was needed if I had to travel back to fix a machine or fill in for an employee who didn't show and no one else could fill in for them and there were many times that I did have travel back with a little boy who had homework to do and was tired too.
When my son admitted to me that he wanted to move back home with his brother, and I finally came to realize that this was not about me, but about him, as it was his brother, I did not have a choice but to let him move back. Sure, I could have said no, then what? Have him resent me? Let his childhood continue to be unhappy and nothing but a daily struggle? His father and I did not get along at all anymore but he was not an abusive father. I was not working normal hours and therefore there was no quality time with him or his brother with me. I didn't have money like I used to, I couldn't stop for gas and buy him the bag of chips or Yahoo drink, I couldn't take him out to eat or take him to the mall to buy a game, things they were used to doing all the time. I know some will say that he will adjust, well it looks like he didn't and it looked like he needed some normalcy in his life, didn't it? It was not up to my young child to stay with me so I don't cry, it was up to me, as his mother, to let him be happy and feel a sense of normalcy like his brother, and when you cry, too bad!
Love your child(ren) more than yourself, more than your pride, more than your perceived notions of what others think. Who cares what other's think, at the end of the day what matters, all that matters is what your children think and how they feel, that their wants and needs are in line with how they live so they can feel a sense of balance.
You are Nothing and Will Have Nothing without Me
The phrase I lived and breathed while married to him. When I left I was determined to accomplish an education, a job and a place of my own to live and I did just that. I didn't do it alone. My oldest sister watched my son when I went to night school, she watched him before he left for school and before I got home from work. She fed him many dinners and breakfasts. I was so happy and grateful to have had her help.
When I found a place to live, luck struck again, my younger brother who was a truck driver needed a place to live also as he was separated from his ex and had his boys on the weekends and even though he would not be home all week, only weekends, he offered to pay half the rent so that he had a place to come to weekends with his boys, and so we rented the townhouse.
After I was living there with my youngest son for about six months, and I think it was finally apparent I was not moving back "home" despite the calls, the failed dinners out with the kids and even threats made to me and also my co-workers he decided that I was to have nothing and he went to my place of employment with his pick up truck full of bark mulch and repeatedly backed into the drivers side of my new"ish" SUV because it was bought while I was with him and because he could as it was insured under the company name which was his name and in our state you can destroy your own property if you want to. So....he destroyed it and I was left at work with no way home and a boss who was going to fire me for bringing this kind of negative attention to his business, and he did fire me.
That day, I had to get a co-worker to give me a ride home, where I sat and fully understood how much this man hated me and how much he wanted to control me and take away any pleasure or luxury I had in my life. I thought about how much I had given, how much I had sacrificed to make him happy and how it was never enough, it was never, ever enough. I remembered begging him to change before I left, and warning him I'd leave if he could not or would not act like a husband and involved father if he found it so repulsive to be in my company why in the Lords name did he want me there? I'd just found out, didn't I? This was the "you will never have anything without me" bit.
It wasn't an Escalade but it was More Than I ever had
The Most Important
All That Glitters Is Not Gold
After my youngest son went back to his father's house and was with his brother again on a full-time basis, I went to pick them up and the youngest was riding his bicycle and as I watched him from my car, I noticed that he had a gleam in his eyes, one that I hadn't noticed had gone missing, but it had and seeing it again made my heart so happy because when making a decision like I had, you constantly wonder if you did the right thing. That was my affirmation that no matter how heavy my heart or deep my pain, I had indeed done what was right by my son(s).
After one of the weekends was over, I was told by the boys how they are treated when they go home from my house, they are yelled at to get in the shower to wash the stench off them, they are ridiculed for even coming to be with me, they listen as their father tells them what a dirty "this and that" I am and a lot of other foul things, the same things he would call me when I when I lived there.
It was not long before the boys were too busy weekends to come to see me and I suspected it wasn't busy as much it was dreading the verbal beat down when they returned home. I understood because there were those follow-up year's that I was so depressed and so lost that even when they did come, I was not really present in any kind of motherly way, I was lost inside myself, and very depressed. I am sure that contributed also. Nothing good can come of any of this and I saw that all the good I thought I had done was
Nothing good could come of any of this and I saw that all the good I thought I had done was a mirage, it was surface happiness for them, but their confused and bitter feelings were as real as mine.
The conclusion to this story is that not only am I happily married, so is he. The children are grown and the oldest has a good relationship with his father and works for him, he also has a lovely girlfriend and they are happy. The youngest is struggling but it is from life choices and while the choices may have something to do with coming from a broken home, I do not believe that is the case at this point.
I also have two beautiful older daughters who were not mentioned in this story because they were not directly involved in any of this. They are being mentioned because I love them too and they matter.
I think to sum this up, it is always best to live your life with the best interest of your children at the forefront, but I also think that if you see that situation changes, don't ever be intimidated or afraid to make the necessary adjustments, just be sure that the adjustments aren't to stop your tears, but only to stop theirs.
© 2017 Lisa