Currently, I am in the process of going through court to collect child support from my former
husband. We had an agreement which would have meant 50/50 and no support required, but for various reasons that fell though. The end result is, I have full responsibility for the kids and bear the full financial burden. When I made the agreement, part of my thought process is that is would help preserve the children's relationship with their father. He had a very negative experience prior with child support and I knew it was a major issue for him. I didn't want him to have that experience again. I was trying to make it as easy on him as possible.
Unfortunately though, he didn't live up to his end of the bargain. I really did everything I could to avoid going to court. First I tried to facilitate the original agreement, drawing up schedules and encouraging the kids to go over regularly. Due to his new circumstances, they felt unwelcome. I am not even sure he is aware that he was doing that. It seems like he is completely blind to the impact of his actions. So, they don't go over there at all anymore, nor do they spend any time with him. He has also failed to keep his promises. I also let him take the backhoe to his house so he could fix it up, with the idea he would be able to make up extra money with it. (I never however gave up my ownership of that backhoe) He, without talking to me or even informing me sold it. And it seems, he sold it (or perhaps lied to me about what he sold it for) for far less than what it was worth. He has no hesitation when it come to short changing me, or ripping me off.
The fact is, if granted the child support will really help me, and I will definitely be using it to supporting their needs. But, with that, I feel guilt. I know he does not actually have the money. Quite honestly, its all his own fault. He has made his choices and it's been bad money management on his behalf. When we split, he had a very low mortgage payment with good terms. So the pickle he is in, is all due to his own financial mismanagement. But I still feel guilt that I will be increasing his hardship.
The question I am asking myself is, how could I possible feel sympathy for someone who has shown so little compassion for me? This is a person that was cruel and unrelenting in his vicious attacks towards me. Why would I feel bad for doing something that is meant to secure the future of my children. It's a difficult thing. I really do feel bad for him. But then I remember him screaming at me, the accusations, the names and the threats. Why do I feel sorry for him at all. He deserves everything that is happening to him, and he deserves what is going to happen as well. (and we can all see the writing on the wall for that one)
I think this really ties back to boundaries. What is my responsibility and what is his. I have always tended to take on responsibility for others issues, and he has always been more than happy to dump his burdens on me. That was always been our pattern. He fucked things up and didn't give two shits, and I would fix it. Of course, he would berate me for the consequences of dealing with his actions. I specifically remember him screaming at me for wasting all "his" money when I was actually paying the credit cards he had run up. It was a frustrating and extremely painful experience. His financial situation is not my fault. He made the choices he made, and I have to learn not to feel bad that he got himself into that pickle.
The fact is, I tried really hard to make it easy for him. I made him offers reduced support that would have avoided the unpleasantness that will come with the heavy financial burden his is likely about to have imposed upon him. I tried talking to him about what was happening with the kids in order to prevent the estrangement. Not only did he not listen, but he stonewalled and belittled my efforts. Feeling any guilt or concern for him at this point is only betraying myself. Nobody is going to respect me if I don't respect myself. Having concern for someone else's situation drains energy and diverts my attention from more constructive pursuits.
So, what is the first step for this? I guess number one is recognition and acknowledgment. My responsibility is to take care of myself and my kids. He has certain responsibilities to support them, that isn't my fault or my doing. I have to remind myself. He has made choices that lead to his current situation, and I am not responsible for that. I suppose this is part of my codependent tendencies, which tend to get me in a lot of trouble. My focus on others as opposed to taking care of myself, lead to a lot of our problems in the first place. Self-sacrifice is not an attractive or constructive behaviour. It really didn't help anyone. I have to keep reminding myself of the facts. These thoughts are thoughts I will have to challenge and overcome. I need to learn to stay focused on my areas of responsibility which are my goals and my situation. Not his, nor anyone else's. So, for the next little while when I those feelings I will remind myself of all of these points, and hopefully put it all behind me. It's not my job to save him.