Wednesday, March 28th, 2018
names have been omitted in this post
It was a cool March day that included rain and a bleak sky... our recent warmer temperatures had been temporarily interrupted by a spring shower. I had made my way across the parking lot spotted with pools of rainwater and entered the six story building to attend the therapy session scheduled that day. Dressed in faded boot-cut style jeans and a well-loved dark buttoned shirt with the sleeves rolled back I now sat on the loveseat across from the reunification therapist with my hands clasped in my lap… the nearby tabletop lamp was bathing the room in a warm glow. The therapist, with smooth just past chin-length blonde hair that flipped up at the ends smiled at me and took notes as our session delved in further. I was really ready to have this process behind me. I had done individual therapy for several years during my marriage… in the event of my youngest sister’s passing and in that also dealing with residual issues that stemmed from my time gone in high school… and my rocky relationship with my father. Upon filing for divorce I had then routinely met with my children’s therapist regarding our son and daughter’s emotional health for several years followed with my own individual therapy during my divorce and even post-divorce. I had no doubt therapy is sometimes needed, useful and even a blessing… but there also comes a point where you’re in a better place, ready to move on and just live life. I wanted to successfully reach the other side of this process of reunification and not have any more therapy sessions on my calendar… hopefully that would be sooner rather than later… because anyone who has been through this knows… with each new therapist, amicus, ad litem, attorney, you have to re-hash the entire ordeal and you get really tired of semingly repeating yourself over and over again… wondering each time if THIS time you’re actually going to make some progress and real change for the better will take place.
She spoke, “You have to admit your ex is in a really tough position. The court has ruled he has to be encouraging and give support to this reunification process between you and your son. If he doesn’t he faces reprimand from the court and yet if he does encourage him to do it he likely faces backlash from your son… he will definitely be the target of your son’s anger.” She pointed out.
I nodded “Oh yes, I see all that. And considering he’s alienated him from me how difficult will it be for him to now tell him he must do the therapy and forge a relationship with me after telling him otherwise for how many years? Wow, I imagine our son may come back at him and call him a liar… I mean… now he’s having to tell him what? ‘You just need to do this for a while to make everyone happy… and then you can just walk off?’ Nothing would surprise me anymore at this point…. “ I murmured.
She looked at me thoughtfully and tilted her head… “Yes… you really do have to have some empathy for your ex considering the anger he may endure.” She told me.
I felt my blood boil instantly. I cringed and shook my head “I don’t feel any empathy for him… not one bit. He did this. He caused this, where we are today. He cheated, he ruined my family and then he alienated our son from me and then if that wasn’t bad enough took more custody of our daughter.” I paused then added “Any consequences he faces here forward from the children is the fallout effect from his own behavior.” I retorted.
"How do you believe we are to make progress on the reunification therapy when your son is living with your ex?” She asked me, her question taking me by surprise.
“Well…” I said “I think that’s a very fair and good question. My ex will have the opportunity to undo any progress made in this process. Honestly I don’t feel comfortable having our son live under my roof considering his past aggression. That leaves looking at a third option that would be neutral during therapy.”
She looked at me with interest and nodded “So what about looking at that? Maybe a family member that could take him during this?” She asked me.
I thought on it and finally shook my head “There just isn’t really a good choice.” I told her regretfully “I mean, his mother is an enabler and helped with the alienation.” I pointed out referring to my ex mother in law. “And my sister has a full plate with kids, one who has special needs and a husband and she works fulltime. So that doesn’t work. My mother lives with me and that isn’t an option because my son has anger toward her as well from the alienation. The only people I can think of would be the neighbors he spends all his free time with… but we aren’t related…. I don’t think you can ask someone to step in and take on that much responsibility you aren’t even related to… it would be asking a lot and I wouldn’t feel it would be right to do… I couldn’t ask that of them.” I told her.
She nodded and took notes, “I would agree with you… what about a foster family? Taking him for the interim?” She asked glancing up at me.
I immediately felt a sense of overwhelming protection for my son “Oh hell no…” I told her “That’s not happening. It’s no secret a lot of foster families are abusive. I’m not trying to make the situation worse.” I informed her sharply. “I don’t know if you are aware of this but much of the system is corrupt.” I added.
She didn’t say anything and the silence hung in the warm hued room. I let it hang like a wet piece of laundry that needed to dry… taking my time and then finally I spoke “Look, I just want this fixed, okay? I am tired… I am so exhausted. This mess just goes on and on and unless you’ve been in this and gone through it you just don’t really understand. It’s extremely depressing and isolating to go through all this... the divorce, the alienation, the courts. Basically what this has been is domestic abuse he’s waged against me by using the children. That’s what this is. And the courts don’t see it for what it is. They don’t understand anything about personality disorders and alienation… they think it’s all me. They think I pushed my son away when I only stopped contacting him because after offering time and time again to go to dinner, get ice cream, etc he blocked me on his phone… and then my ex told me our son didn’t want to talk to me anymore, that he was scared of me when I tried calling his phone. It was just getting worse not better the more I tried. My ex has twisted and spun everything to suit himself. The courts don’t look at cheating as an affront to the family and an upheaval to the children’s lives. They don’t recognize that when someone is cheating they are CHOOSING that new person over their kids… because they are risking their family unit and the children’s stability.” I told her.
She nodded “I agree, the courts don’t see it that way. They just state the marriage dissolved over irreconcilable differences. Most of the states are that way now.” She replied.
I smirked and shook my head “Yeah, it’s a shame, really.”
She nodded and spoke "So, what would you say if I told you that now your son is saying ‘My mom abandoned me and didn’t want me?’ … “ She asked me.
My jaw nearly hit the floor “Oh really? So that’s it, huh? That’s the new bullshit his dad is telling him to say?” I shook my head with disgust. “Funny how it changes… years ago in 2014 he was saying ‘I’m scared of her.’… after I called the police on him because of his fits. So now which one is it?” I asked.
She nodded and spoke “Now apparently he is saying you didn’t want him when he was a baby. That you wanted a girl.”
I paused and sat there a moment reflecting back on the time period leading up to when we found out I was pregnant. I remembered telling his dad at the time I wanted a girl. I remember wondering, stressing, even having anxiety over the prospect of having a boy… I had been the eldest of three girls growing up. I hadn’t had any brothers, no male cousins and honestly had no clue about how I’d connect with and raise a boy. I think that’s a likely understandable and maybe even common reaction to being uncertain about caring for an unknown… But in that I also knew at the end of the day the most important thing was regardless of whether we had a boy or girl was we had a healthy baby. I had expressed fears of raising a boy to my then husband and my preference for a girl and yet even I knew regardless what was important was to have a healthy baby. But that’s the thing about being married to someone personality disordered…. while you lay beside them in your most intimate and vulnerable moments and voice all your fears and uncertainties and even desires… guess what? THEY ARE TAKING NOTES. They are silently taking down everything you say and compiling it away in their heartless filing cabinet… only to use that information against you one day…in revenge like a cobra they lie in wait… waiting for the perfect opportunity so that they can use it to annihilate you any way they can.
I spoke “There’s only one person who I told that when we were trying for a baby that I really hoped for a girl… only one. And that’s my ex. Wow… sounds like he told our son that just to create more division between us. Only a monster would do that… tell a child that. My son has changed the story from he’s scared to now I didn’t want him… his father just changes it to suit himself.” It reminded me of when my own grandmother had lied to me at seventeen; when my mother had discovered she was pregnant with me she was upset because I wasn’t planned. My mother when I went to her about the conversation was furious because what my grandmother had said couldn’t have been further from the truth and my grandmother who had never liked my mother merely wanted to cause a rift between my mom and I. I had been down this road before and it was all too painfully familiar… people like them try to create rifts and triangulation between family members simply because they can and it amuses them… there is no hobby to satisfy a narc like playing chess with people and their lives.
She nodded, taking notes “So do you have a support system for all of this? How do you get through it? Do you have people you can lean on?” She asked me.
I nodded and spoke “I do… I have close girlfriends I can lean on… I have my mom and a particular close guy friend… he knows of the situation very well…. He gets it. He told me that my ex is never going to stop… I just have to take it one day at a time and make the rest of my life the best I can.” I replied.
She smiled and spoke “I think that’s very good advice… it sounds like he is someone who you can really trust to give you good advice.” She told me and then asked “Is he someone who you think could potentially meet your ex and maybe help the situation?”
I practically laughed “Oh God no… I wouldn’t want them to meet. I don’t think that would be a good idea at all considering the damage my ex has done.”
“Why wouldn’t you want them to meet?” She asked with curiosity.
“Because however much deserved he’d probably like to kick my ex’s ass.” I replied pointedly.
It's a tale as old as time... boy meets girl... they fall in love and before long one realizes it's not really love but instead a despairingly slow death of their marriage and family... leading to a permanent fracture. Eventually more hurt is inflicted as the one who was cheating wields more damage using the children as mini weapons of mass destruction. It's essentially domestic abuse that has continued well into life post divorce; when two lives should be well footed in new chapters... where if co-parenting isn't possible at minimum parallel parenting should be utilized. But instead the court system gives more power and ammunition to the one who is already sinfully guilty of wreaking havoc and loss.
The court system hands them the bullets for another round and stand by as the sociopath continues shooting at you yet blames you for being hit... it's a system that is detrimental to families because the court system does not understand this behavior; this psychology and the mind of a manipulator. They do not understand that evil exists outside a criminal court room and poo poo you away as being hysterical, lying, high strung, paranoid and dramatic or exaggerating. They do not realize they have given power to the one who really needs to be handcuffed, who needs to be tied up and locked up. They do not realize the devastation of your heart they have contributed to. They do not see or do not care what has happened to your precious babies and your demoralization as their mother. They instead aid and enable the monster you unwittingly married and then chastise that you married he or she... like you would have knowingly married someone so evil... like you would have willingly procreated with legs wide open like an open house with someone so despicable. You're treated like trash and kicked when you're already down. You feel stripped of all refinement and nobility and instead are talked to like the lowest pond scum possible. Then ironically you are met with hands outstretched for child support or monies paid for out of pocket expenses on top of it... and when you don't pay up(?) you're called a deadbeat and a loser... when you simply cannot afford the expenses and are in contempt not out of willful contempt but pure math that doesn't work because you've been set up to fail.
It's something no one should ever have to be subjected to. I guess what makes it all worse is it's fueled by the same person who once told you "I love you".... but divorce or not... no one who is truly capable of love can become the monster you've endured. No one who can truly love can strip a good, loving and morally sound parent of their children. No one who can truly love would wound your heart like they have. So we can go back to the beginning... they never truly loved you to begin with. They merely used you. They used you to look good. They used you to have a family. They used you to get ahead. And then when it all soured and your time and supply was up... ding! they exacted revenge upon you... and it worked. It makes for one hell of a life and one hell of a story... because as we all know it's a tale as old as time... revenge makes for one hell of a story and makes many lives hell.
Proverbs 21:15 ESV
When justice is done, it is a joy to the righteous but terror to evildoers.
Romans 12:19 ESV
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written,
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”
Hebrews 10:30 ESV For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.”
And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”