Updated: Oct 8
This morning I wake up with the awareness feelings that have been growing in me, have solidified. I feel so incredibly free. The last traces of my mental prison have been completely demolished.
I have been freed of all sense of guilt and obligation. I don't have to prove anything to anyone, especially not to my ex-husband. I know I did everything I possibly could to try and stick to our original agreement. I didn't want to end up having to take him for child support. What I wanted for my children to have a positive and engaged relationship with their father. He will never see, nor admit how his actions led him to his current situation. He does not seem to be able to connect those dots.
In spite of all allegations, I know I did everything I possibly could have done to make that happen. He ignored every attempt. He was not willing to talk to me about the situation until it is ready to go to court, and basically a done deal. He had plenty of opportunities to avoid this outcome. When it became obvious the kids would never go to his house again, I approached him with an offer of accepting only 350 a month, for both kids, that would have started at that time, no retroactive payments. He didn't even bother to respond to me. Now he wants that deal, but it's way too late. Now he is telling me about hard child support will be for him. His partner is telling me I am determined to ruin his life. Why didn't he address this issue a year and a half ago when I tried to work it out amicably. He forced me into a situation where I had no choice to pursue him legally. Then of course, he puts on that nice guy face again.
Funny thing, I think he might have done something similar to Kim, originally, she had a pretty substantial child support deal. He talked her into having it substantially reduced. He probably thought he could do the same thing with me and come to a far lower agreement. Sorry bud, that ship sailed a year ago. And I did warn you that if you forced me to go to a lawyer I would not hold back.
The whole situation has been extremely upsetting for the kids, in particular my daughter. I tried to tell him what my daughter was telling me about the situation. He didn't seem to care about what her feelings on the matter were. He wasn't interested in exploring what it was that was making her feel that way. I know when their father first told them he was in a new relationship, they were really happy for them. From what I was seeing they were ready to accept a new person in their father's life. That changed unbelievably quickly. Yet, no consideration was given to their ability to adapt to the changes. Everything was just forced upon them, and the fact they were upset was met with bafflement. Even now, it seems the kids are being blamed for not being accepting enough, when their needs were completely ignored.
I think his partners message was an attempt to bait me, to draw me into drama so they could get some control in the situation. But I do not have to prove anything to his new partner, I do not have to prove he was abusive. I know what happened in my marriage. And whether anyone believes it or not doesn't matter. He knows what happened too. But at the same time, I think he is truly unaware of how some of his actions impacted the rest of us. He truly does not understand why we all have distanced ourselves. He thinks he was a warm loving father that gave all for his kids. And, yes, he did do some great things. There were times when he was wonderful. He wasn't always a monster. They never are always bad. There were some good things I do miss and remember with fondness. The way he would drop me off and I would walk back so I could get longer more varied walking routes. He would also drive around to find me when I was on my marathon walks and bring me water. He was really funny and could quip really funny one liners that would crack me up. He did make me feel really special. At times, he could be extremely sweet and loving. But one thing was constant, everything was always on his terms. He was loving when he wanted to be, not when you needed him to be. I remember waking him up when I was in labour. It was time to go to the hospital. As I was bracing for the pain of another contraction, he looked up at me and asked if we could do this later. Then he went and took a shower taking more than an hour to get ready. Finally, I just got into the car and drove myself.
He cannot seem to make the connection between his past behaviour and his current reception. After two years of stonewalling and ignoring, suddenly he wants to talk and make a deal. He doesn't get why you are hesitating; he figures you should just forget and trust him instantly. "We were married a long time Carolynne, I KNOW you are a good person, I trust you, I told everyone that"
I am grateful for this opportunity to have had this last interaction with him. It gave me the chance to see him objectively. When I was not being influenced by the underlying manipulations that he engaged to keep you under control. To make you think and feel what he wanted you to think and feel. With that opportunity, his ability to lie as smooth as he breathes was readily apparent. One day he tells me "Let's keep it between us" and he really emphasized "BETWEEN US" then he added, "Crystal has her own ideas, and I don't want girl problems" (and I feel ok sharing this now, because obviously he did as I got a text from her, otherwise I would not be revealing it, that is for him to do) Then the next day he was telling me how he keeps no secrets from her and he tells her everything. Thats a pretty different message than what you said yesterday, I think when you say BETWEEN US thats a secret. And he clearly didn't want my son driving over with the forms to fill out, instead he would swing by, definitely hiding.
While I was married to him, I never even questioned anything he might say. I believed everything, it never even occurred to me he would lie to me. I told him to tell her we were having that conversation, that those little lies destroy relationships, and it's a betrayal. It would be better for us all in the long run to have it all up in the open. I have been exactly where she is now, and I became every bit as enraged and ready to defend him. He knows exactly how to whip that up. It's a box he puts his partners into so they give him what he is looking for. He does manage your feelings. But not mine anymore. I am free.
It's at this point I see the old dynamics he uses to control the women around him. He triangulates them and pits them against each other. He wants to draw you into a battle so you lose your center and are more easily manipulate. Why was it so important to him (and to her for that matter) for me to think they have this wonderful open deep sharing relationship? Me thinks thou doth protest too much! But he wants me to think I was the problem. See he is fully capable of deep meaningful love, there was something wrong with you. There are a few things he has told me and kids I guarantee he hasn't told her. Yeah, I thought that too. I thought I knew absolutely everything. He is a pro at hiding in plain sight. But really who cares? What difference does it make to me? It does show me however, what he did to me. I am now just seeing it from another view.
Of course, she thinks she is different. They all think they are different. I am the special love of his life, the only woman for him. He doesn't even look at other women. I am sure every woman that has ever passed through his life got the same story. And I sure the story now is that I trapped him, he couldn't get out because of the kids. There is a very predictable script he follows. Ironically, many other abusers follow this exact same script.
In his partners text to me, I saw myself. I said and did the exact same thing when I was in her shoes. I can see she is being influenced by the exact forces that I was. She looks kinda crazy, using the fake accounts to follow me, obsessive reading my blog, ready to do battle for him. I was the same, it's a very unstable position to be his partner. The irony is, you do not really sense that in real time. All you feel is the confusion, you cannot but your finger on why. It's a slow crescendo that starts as a tiny speck in the whirlwind of lovebombing, but by the end dominates your life. She is now his victim being led into the same mental prison I once inhabited. But I do not have to prove this too her, she would never believe me at this point. I wouldn't have believed anyone at that stage of my marriage either. It doesn't matter if she believes me or not, I have no skin in that game.
I also saw how he uses doubt to control you, make you prove yourself. When I told him that his partner was following me and a guy I was previously dating with a fake account, he said "Well, I am only hearing this from you soooo" Like why would I lie about that? But the truth is, that's what he wants, he wants them to be insecure. I was the same. But I see know how he does that, it triggers you to want to prove it, to become desperate to convince him. Why should I bother, it's not my circus, not my monkeys.
I do not feel compelled to prove any of this to anyone. The people that matter know, they experienced it. They are my only real concern. The challenge ahead is to deal with the emotional turmoil that comes from children being disappointed and abandoned by their father. Of course, the story will be that it's me, keeping them from him. Anyone who chooses to believe that is free to do so.
I really do feel completely and totally free. I know when I left my marriage, I had done everything possible to save it. I know after our separation and divorce I did everything possible to try to work with him and have a positive co-operative relationship. For a long time, it was that way, until he got into a new relationship and immediately started triangulating us. My kids know I did everything I possibly could do to try and support their relationship with their father. That is all that matters. The rest is just mudslinging. I do not need to be involved.
I cannot express the feeling I have right now. I feel true happiness to my core. I am dealing with a difficult situation, that is a huge challenge, but even through that I have a sense of great personal happiness. I am proud of myself, proud of the growth, proud that I finally stood up for myself. He has lost all ability to influence me ("manage my feelings" as he used to put it,) He is not able to influence my sense of self worth.
There is nothing weighing me down anymore. I am completely totally free. It is ironic that all this has cumulated along with me achieving my financial freedom. The past three years of careful introspection and emotional excavation have paid off. I cried a lot of tears and felt a lot of pain, but every drop was worth it. I can sit her today without bitterness, and able to completely let go. I see my marriage and my former husband for what it truly was and not what I imagined it to be.
I really did believe that no matter what we would always be friends. I always thought that we would be able to work together for the kids. But you can't work with someone who cannot consistently work with you. You cannot be a father only when you feel like it. You have to be a father every day.
So for today, I will sit back and enjoy this feeling, Soak in this awareness. Celebrate the triumph and progress of the last year.
I am happy, and I am loving the life that I have built for myself. One by one I have been resolving the issues, doing my best and its paying off. I will keep my focus and keep looking ahead to my ultimate goal, which is to be the a supportive and loving mom giving my children every tool they need to work through their own emotional upheaval. I think it will be another champagne day.