Thursday, May 24th, 2018
some names have been omitted in this post
this post contains language
They say the human body can withstand going without water for three days. They say it can withstand going without food for at least a week. The thing about humans is we usually do whatever is necessary to survive even taking drastic measures and risks if need be. In extreme negative life circumstances not everyone may make it out of the darkness and that's a horrible shame... whether it's war, disease, personal battles of demons and long term depression, financial debts and ruin, job loss or the death and loss of a child. Some human beings either out of long term dire situations or poor choices made in how to survive those situations end up meeting their death. But even in the worst possible of times life is NOT meant to be lived in survival mode forever... only an interim to get through point A to point B. Eventually escaping exhaustion and long term stress; functioning on adrenaline for so long we will eventually reach the destination of burnout. The question is how long do we have before that happens? And how long can a human being survive after heartbreak? How long can a mother or father fight for custody of their children and or go without them? These are all questions I'm sorry for anyone to have to grapple with and ask themselves... man or woman.
Survival it seems they say is only for the fittest... but at what point do we say I'm just not going to accept only surviving anymore? At what point do we say enough to the insanity? At what point do we know that a sip of water, a stale cracker or mercy from the person we procreated with or the family court system is never going to give us what we need to survive... so our only choice is to toss our empty cup at them.... scream from our parched lips and kick at the dust that was once our lives and turn to walk away... at what point do we say "I cannot continue living like this" and "my heart cannot take another heartbreak" because I'm going to have a breakdown or blow my brains out? At what point do we stand on the edge of a cliff... dying a little more each day or walking away to thriving? Out of self preservation? To save our sanity? At what point do we say "I didn't become a parent so I could be abused every day the rest of my life.... " So we stand there on the edge... wavering in the wind between prison and freedom.... dust circling our feet and hair whipping in the outer expanse.... our stomach feeling like it was kicked in, our body and mind numb and eyes no longer able to produce tears.... emotions just out of grasp.... except for maybe white rage.... our heart feeling like a drinking glass busted into a million jagged pieces... let me tell you... it's no way to live. And on that note... no ex spouse, ex relationship or yes, even child is worth taking your life. Let me be clear: There is so much good to be found in life beyond this mess... as parents we may wrap our whole identity into being a mom or dad... but there is YOU. There is you that is a whole and worthy human being on their own.... worthy of so much more than what you're living... and if you're going through this hell that is also known as co-parenting with a sociopath and enduring aggressive child custody litigation through the family court system.... not one of them is worth a hill of beans.... they can all jump on the express train to hell.... because they are the devil and one day when it's hot they will be the one gasping for water... parched and without a fountain of freedom in sight.
"Could I jump in with some stuff from last time?" The reunification therapist asked me and my son as we all three sat circling the long glossy conference table.
I nodded "That's fine. I have some stuff I need to clarify too." I replied.
"Your son said the conversation may be more open if it's just the two of you... so dad is waiting in the waiting room today. Is that a fair statement? I think that takes a lot of insight on his part." She informed me. I nodded and she continued, "So I think part of why what were doing here is difficult is because there's been so much time pass. The thing with the recording was something he remembered that was troublesome to him. So talk about what that was like for you." She said.
I spoke "I didn't record the phone conversations the kids had with their dad. I recorded the conversations I was having with them when they'd come back over to my house from their dads. They were telling me things about dad. At the loft apartment he had during the divorce process he had a druggie he picked up at a bar on 7th street that he took back to the apartment. He had her around the children. Incidents like that. Later after the divorce was final and he moved back into the marital home he was having women into the house at all hours of the day and night and he was letting them in through the garage. So there were a lot of things going on over there at the house that I was concerned about and as a mom I had a right to know about them. So when the kids would come back over to my house and they'd tell me about these incidents I recorded them. With a hand held recorder. So yes, I did." I relayed to the therapist. I didn't feel one bit of guilt for doing it either. If a parent isn't going to do the right thing you do what you have to document their poor parenting and morally ill ways.
"Okay... " The therapist nodded, "So she's acknowledging recording." She told my son. He failed to understand I was the parent and I could record anything I wanted to. For some reason he thought he was in charge.... kind of like his father. I didn't need his reprimanding.
"So why didn't you mention the recording at the appointment last week?' He asked me.
"I didn't feel comfortable at the time. It was too adversarial with your dad in the room." I replied.
"And I think that's understandable..." The therapist nodded "and challenging too." She affirmed. "And I'm going to accept responsibility for having dad in the room last time."
"I feel like when you were recording us you were using us like little birds to know what was going on. I get it's normal to ask what's going on but to ask about every single event and person in the house I think it ridiculous." My son informed me.
"So let's sit with that for a moment... "The therapist nodded "What term would you use for how you felt?" She asked him.
"A messenger." He replied.
"I don't know if that was your intent or not." She asked me.
"That wasn't my intent at all. My daughter was coming to me and telling me that their dad was pulling her brother into the upstairs master bedroom and having 'private talks' with him and how he was slowly turning him against me. So I'm over there of the thinking I've got to fight this somehow, find out what is going on over there." I told her.
"Like you weren't trying to tell us what to believe!" He yelled at me, slamming his hand down on the conference table.
"Okay... I need you to use a calm tone of voice please." The therapist advised him after jumping in her seat.
"Basically what we have ... this is the situation in a nutshell... Dad was alienating and I was doing what I could to fight it." I replied, "Maybe my tactics weren't wise but I was doing what I was trying to do to fight it. And it obviously didn't work as you can see because we now have this situation we have today and we're here." I told her and she nodded. I continued, "I mean, any mom... or dad for that matter if that was the situation... if they are seeing that they're slowly losing their child emotionally and I guess that connection... their going to do what they can to fight it." I added.
"So let me ask you this... then why is it you kicked me out? You clearly didn't care." He retorted at me.
"Let's come to back to that...." She replied, addressing my son, "You said something I think is the root of a lot of difficulty for you. It's that you believed mom was telling negative things about dad." She told him yet then turned to me, "What I'm hearing is that you were desperately trying..." She trailed off.
"I was desperate. I felt like I was losing my child." I admitted.
"Well, good." My son told me with a hateful tone. He acted so nasty. It's amazing to me how people can easily dish it out but never accept any responsibility for their horrible actions and ugly words.
"Well, hang on a second because I think the other part of it is hearing your mom's tactics were wrong." She said.
"Yeah. She's a stupid idiot!" He snapped, glaring at me.
"I don't need to be called names." I told him sternly glaring right back.
"That is pretty rude..." The therapist told him seemingly aghast at his behavior. His behavior was a reflection of his father. This "therapy session" was merely a continuation of his father's verbal and emotional abuse toward me.
"I don't care what you have to say!!!!" He screamed at me suddenly.
"Then why are you here?" I demanded.
"I'm forced to be here because of YOU!!!" He screamed back at me, slamming his hand down on the table once again. "But YOU chose to do this!!!" He yelled, "I told her I didn't want to!"
"Well, you can choose to sign off and pull out..." I told him.
"I tried!!!" He yelled.
"Slow down, slow down!" The therapist scolded him softly trying to regain control of the therapy session.
"Some of the things I said to him is I want him to have the opportunity to see things differently." She told me, "And for him to talk about what it's been like to be in his shoes. He's said very clearly that he doesn't want to be here. He's doing it because he kinda has to." She said.
"I don't get a choice!" He snapped.
Dear God I sure didn't get a choice when I got sucked into this hell by your father, I thought to myself.
"I was pulled into this because of YOU!!!!" He screamed at me with hatred In his eyes. I would have no idea until almost a month from this appointment date that he'd been asssesed for homicidal ideation toward me and my mother. There was seemingly no fixing this mother son relationship and quite frankly as abusive as he was I was seeing less and less ability for it to happen.
"No, you were pulled into this because of your father!" I replied right back.
"Hang on...." The therapist tried to interject but she was steamrolled by my son who spoke over her.
"No, the judge and Gina Galloway (his personal therapist) told me and so did she, " He replied pointing to the therapist sitting between us, "It was your choice to do this. So don't bullshit me!" He yelled at me again.
"The judge said 'I expect you to do this...' " I told him, "I think the papers said.... "I trailed off referring to the final order signed by the judge.
" 'I think??!!" 'I think??!!' " He exploded at me, "Are you going to bullshit us?!" He asked.
She spoke, "I do think this is your choice.... and yes, you were following a court order but you also wanted to try with your son." She affirmed with me.
"I wanted to reach out and at least make an attempt, yes." I replied.
"Well, why didn't you do that several years ago?" He asked me.
"Because I didn't know that this was an option. I didn't know about reunification therapy. No one told me." I admitted.
"And I will say... when parents are really stuck, their desperate, they are helpless to make things better because they just don't know.... we expect our parents to know better. And they can't always know everything. So it was a suggestion that mom participate and I don't have the rest of the order but the suggestion was that you try." She nodded.
"I wanted to at least make an attempt;" I affirmed... "The following week when we were to exchange the kids again after I had his grandmother Mimi pick him up that last day he lived with me... back then we were doing fifty fifty and exchanging every Friday. I told him," I said, referring to my son, "If you can behave yourself you can come over here if you won't hit or hurt anyone. And I talked to his dad as well about it. And obviously he chose not to come. I wanted him to come over but I wasn't going to put up with the behaviors." I informed her... "Each time... I think it was the next following week I was able to reach out asking him if he wanted to do this or that, I was calling him on his cell phone, we were chatting and I have photos of text messages that we had on his phone for awhile. But as the months went by I couldn't reach him anymore and finally I found out he'd blocked me. So then I called his dad and he'd put him on the phone but he didn't want to talk or interact. I'd ask him about homework, how his day was and he'd just be like 'yeah, yeah, yeah... okay, bye....' click. And so those were the types of interactions we were having at that point. I wasn't making any progress. It wasn't productive." I explained in detail.
"Nor were you going to!" My son snapped at me.
"So does that sound like an accurate picture of what was happening?" She asked him.
"Yeah, I'd definitely agree with that." My son admitted. I was glad I had this recorded.
"Okay." She affirmed pointedly, "So really your mom WAS making an effort."
I spoke, turning to him, "So what exactly is your problem with me? Why do you hate me so much? Why do you have so much anger toward me?" I asked him, "When you were little, when Daddy and I were still married we were buddies, we were close. If you want to take your fits aside we had a good relationship." I told him.
"So I think your mom's frustration is reasonable. Why are you so angry?" She asked him.
“I've told you. I feel like I'm not cared about. I feel mistreated. And I'm not wanted. And I was kicked out." He told me angrily.
"Sometimes we care a whole lot but we mentally, our capacity is just filled and we can't manage. I didn't know what to do. I'm not a bouncer. No one gives you a guidebook. I was at a loss and while were on the subject my calling the police on your fits... I was told to do that by Mark Rhodes who was his therapist through Cook Children's up in Cityview." I informed her.
"Oh, wow.... " She gasped.
"I told him, 'I don't know what to do about this'." I added.
"If I'm in mom's shoes I don't know what to do or try for help. And you didn't come with a manual." She pointed out to him.
"It started derailing the very first night of the divorce." I spoke. "When his dad was served papers for infidelities he started twisting the truth to get their allegiance. At that point our son was coming to me saying 'there's all this stuff going on at dad's that shouldn't be going on...' He knew because he's a smart kid so he was telling me. But later it became a thing where I was asking and he did not want to share anything with me. That was later... it was a process." I shared with her. My ex had initially tried to alienate our daughter but when he wasn't successful with turning her, he'd turned to our son and began working on him.
"She kicked my dad out that first night." My son lied. Oh, how the truth was twisted. Yes, his dad was to leave the martial home that first night; that's how divorce papers via the court worked... you were served and expected to leave the house. Don't cheat. Don't lie. Don't be a loser. Then you won't get kicked out.
"The court stated for him to leave the marital home due to the suit of divorce." I stated again. For some reason this was rocket science for some folks. If you cheat and screw up your family you shouldn't get anything. Throw them out on their ass without their stuff and their kids... maybe less people would commit infidelity. I was so done with assholes that thought they could do whatever they wanted and not have any consequences when it came to marriage. I had no patience for them... I should have been a judge... good God we needed some new ones.
"Yeah to this day I'm glad I'm not living with you." He glared at me.
"You know... you grow up and you have the right and insight to say this person is a cheater and a liar and you get to choose to surround yourself with the type of people you want to be around. You get to choose the character of those you want to be around." I told them.
"He's having trouble seeing the good in you." She told me.
"There is no good." He sneered at me.
"If that's the way he feels that's the way he feels." I shrugged sadly but matter of fact.
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