Sometimes there is just nothing you can do
Just accepting a situation and walking away has always been something I have had trouble doing. I have always been a fixer. I will keep trying long after it becomes obvious there is no hope. In my mind if you talk long enough or explain you can work out your differences and come to a negotiated solution. The fact is, that is not always true. I have never been good at recognizing this, or exiting these situations. In spite of all that had happened in my marriage, there is really no reason for us to not to be able to get along. it's over it's done, there are no residual feelings. I wasn't looking for revenge. I just wanted to move on. The only remaining issue is the kids.
I shouldn't be shocked by what has happened, its pretty consistent with his behaviour over the years. Much of the verbal abuse I endured over the years was related his tendency to reject responsibility. My goal has always been to make sure the kids are secure and felt cared for in our home. The on going turmoil and conflict often made this impossible. And honestly, I think for many years I failed at giving them that secure base, particularly with my two older children.
But I will admit, I don't think I really saw the truth of the situation at the time. In my mind, I saw it as a difference of opinion about what level of support the kids should get from us. I don`t think that is what it was. I think he did not have the same level of concern. When it comes to my kids, I am all in. I give everything I possibly can and then some. That isn't necessarily a good thing, but its the way I am. My ex would often get jealous and angry at attention and resources that were given to the kids. Particularly the older boys. He always has been a bit of a toddler throwing tantrums when in comes to resources and attention.
I never expected he would turn his back on the kids the way he has since the divorce. I didn't want to go to court and have to force him to provide for his children. In our divorce, I knew child support is something that is an issue for him. So I bent over backwards to prevent that from happening. Paying support for his previous child was an issue in our marriage for many years, it often left us with nothing for our family. I didn't understand that situation at the time. I believed everything he said about her. I believed he had raked him over the coals and took everything he had. She was always calling and trying to talk to him. He made it seem like she was crazed and still obsessed with him. And to be honest, it did look that way. But now that I am in the situation. I realize she was likely making a genuine attempt to look after her son. He told me she had trapped him, and he had never wanted to be in a relationship with her. He hated living with her, and he was embarrassed to be seen in public with her. All things he says about me now. I remember telling her that he had said this about her, she laughed and seemed incredulous. I believe now he was lying to me, and her laughter was a real response to the absurdity of that lie. This is just the cycle he puts the women who have been in his life through. Once your are done, you are garbage, he never loved you anyway, it was a trap etc. etc.
History is repeating itself. I have been completely dedicated to making the transition as smooth as I can for my children. For a little while, my ex was too. As long as he thought there was something in it for him. His interest in the kids disappeared once I made it clear to him that I would never take him back. His engagement with the kids completely dropped. It's time to accept, he is always going to speak negatively about me, no matter what I do. He spoke that way while we were married, why would he change now.
The reality is, that when it comes down to it, his interest is really only in himself. He has abandoned his children, and he wants to blame me for it. He cannot accept his own role in his situation. I have foolishly believed that by reaching out, somehow I could appeal to a sense of concern for them, and he would start acting like their father. He seems to be completely oblivious to how much he has hurt them. It`s stunning that he would see as a uncooperative bitch for doing this. But really, that is who he is. He has done some incredibly tone deaf things that have alienated the kids, and somehow that is my fault. With him, as with any abuser, its always your fault. There is nothing I can do that will change that. He will never see how his actions are affecting his children. I have to learn to stop trying to prove him wrong and just let him sit in that position. There is nothing I can do about it, because blaming me is the only way he can live with himself. If he had to acknowledge the truth of what has happened, he wouldn`t be able to cope with the shame.
The time has come that I have to accept that is just who he is, and no amount of talking is going to change it. My actions have not helped the situation at all. Trying to talk to him just gives him fuel. I am still dancing the abuse dance, and I need to stop. I do not have to allow him any power. It is his responsibility to support his children, there are mechanisms in place to enforce that responsibility. It not my job or responsibility to ensure he is ok with it, or to ensure that it isn`t a huge disruption to his life. That`s his job. If he suffers because of the decisions he made, that's on him.
Even as he isn`t in my life, the old dynamics are at work. First is the stonewalling and ignoring my messages, Even though there was a serious crisis, he still used that opportunity to exercise power by refusing to talk to me or work with me to help my son. When my son said he was going to commit suicide by cop, my ex refused to help support him, he didn`t even answer my message, as if I was being a drama queen. My son was nothing but a skeleton, clearly in need of a serious intervention. Normally a father would suspend their own interests to get their child though. Instead he just told everyone I was jealous and freaking out. The stonewalling went on for a number of months, just completely ignoring me. This is done intentionally, the underlying message is you don`t matter, and his intention is to hurt. Its his last bastion of power. A pathetic one at that. When you stoop to using a mothers concern for her child as a vehicle to debase her, risking his life in the process, you are a special kind of piece of shit. Even though it is clear now, he has never for a moment admitted he was wrong, Instead he says, `the way you talk to me, why would I answer` fuck sakes, our son ended up in the psyche ward! twice!
In terms of the kids, he never bothered to make sure their needs were being met or that they were provided for. He inflicted damage, but the healing he left that entirely up to me. This is also a continuation of the dynamics in our marriage. He would always do what ever he wanted to do, and it was up to me to make sure everything went smoothly and deal with any of the issues that would arise. He ran up bills, I was supposed to just pay them and make sure money was available when ever he needed it. If money was not available, he would accuse me of mismanagement and wasting all his money. Like always he just expects me to look after everything. He has no concerns for them. And as usual he is not keeping his commitments. And he is not the least bit embarrassed about it. He fully expects me to take up all the slack, and I don`t think he concerns himself about the implications of his actions on the kids well being. He justified ignoring his first son by saying he couldn`t deal with the mother. He didn`t care how much that child was being hurt either. He felt it was not his responsibility. For some reason at the time, I bought this explanation.
This goes back to a pattern that I have followed our entire marriage. I always just step in and fix things. I have protected him from the consequences of his own actions for years. I have accepted blame. Its my innate codependency at work. Ted has always just done what ever the fuck he wanted to do, and I had to deal with it. He promised his daughter he would pay half the cost of her exchange. Then he didn`t, I offered him a way out, offer him the opportunity to do demo for me and I would cover his half. He just flat out refused. No he wouldn`t pay what he promised, he won`t make any arrangements and no he wouldn`t do anything to compromise. I would just have to deal with that. He counts on me taking care of things like I have always done, because he knows I won`t let the kids down. He has such a level of entitlement that no qualms about making me pay the whole cost. Yet somehow, I am the one being difficult. My being angry about it is the problem, not that he did it in the first place.
In order to move on from the frustration of this, I have to acknowledge what is going on here. Its more abuse. Its not their action that is the problem, its your reaction. ``I am not going to deal with this because your being a bitch`` umm yes, of course I am angry. You have dumped the full weight of responsibility of taking care of the children on me. I don`t get to latitude move on. I have a right to be angry. You are being an asshole here. But we have been conditioned to believe we are the problem, don`t rock the boat, do what ever it takes to make things blow over. I am done with that. I won`t take the blame anymore. I will use the mechanisms available to me to deal with this. Luckily, we have a court system and a family responsibility office that will force him to take care of his responsibilities and taking advantage of me will end. I am grateful for that. Thank god there are these systems in place.
When it comes his relationships, he needs an opponent. In this case it will be me. He needs me to be the bad guy that is messing up his relationship with his kids. It has to be my fault. That way he can triangulate me with his new wife. Play the victim. ``oh that horrible ex of mine, she took me for everything I had and now she is interfering and won`t leave me alone, not like you honey, your special and the love of my life.`` So, when I try to engage him, that is always the direction he will steer, he will never co-operate. He is doing the exact same thing to me that he did to the woman before me. This is who he is. And in time, he will do the same thing to the next one. I am sure she thinks they are the loves of each others lives, but its only a matter of time. When the pressures of real life and his poor judgement kicks in, he will revert to type.
The kids and I know what he has done and how he has behaved. There are people who will believe his bullshit, but that doesn`t matter. I have to step back and look at what is truly important. I have wasted time and energy trying to wake him up, when he has no interest in getting along or co-operating. I have decided I have to cut all ties completely. I will be changing my phone number and my email address for complete privacy. There is no point in making any more effort. I have been left with no choice but to have to go to court for child support. I did not want to have to do that, I had thought it would ruin his relationship with the kids. But the fact is, it doesn`t make a difference, he ruins his relationship with his kids on his own. It`s not my job to fix that. All I can do is do the best I can to support them and nurture them through these difficult times. Give them as much love and support and I possibly can, and help them deal with the pain of being abandoned by their father.
I am willing to do what ever it takes to ensure my kids feel safe and secure. They are my children, and for me that is the ultimate responsibility. If I need to put other things on pause for a couple years to get them securely into adulthood. That's ok its my job, but it isn't fair. I believe in the end, karma will look after this. Maybe this is the karma, maybe his only involvement being force to pay child support is what is for the best. Everything is so much calmer for the rest of us now. The kids actually seem to be more settled without him as part of their lives. One thing is certain, being mad about it isn`t going to help, I have to accept its completely outside of my spear of control. This will take some work, I am still mad, I don`t think that will disappear overnight. But I have to keep reminding myself what really matters. I need to put my energy where it serves myself and the kids the best. And that is focusing on building the best life full of love.