Trying to co-parent with an irresponsible Father

Updated: Feb 6

At one point in time, my separation and divorce was pretty amicable. When we first split up, we agreed to divide everything in half, and have joint custody with the kids going back and forth as they pleased. I knew he hated child support, and I felt child support might cause problems and interfere with him seeing the kids. I make good money, so I knew I didnt really need him to pay support. As long as he kicked in every once in a while. I just wanted everything to be smooth and cordial.

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Originally our plan had been to stay married but separated. But over time I realized I wanted the finality that having a formal divorce provided. I was anxious so I went ahead and paid for the whole thing myself. We worked out a separation agreement using a template I had bought off some internet law firm. I had it notarized by our real estate lawyer to at least one set of legal eyes looking it over. It was a smooth and fairly straightforward process. More importantly it was moving ahead. For many years he had prevented me from leaving by just refusing to co-operate, I have heard this is a pretty common tactic to keep you stuck.

At first he was coming to see the kids several times a day. I know what he was really doing, he was monitoring me. He would drop in when ever he wanted, it was disturbing. I would be out in my yard trying to relax then boom, there he was.

He also would call, telling me what ever big news he had. I told him that had to stop. The cord had to be cut. In my mind the relationship was over and it was over forever. I wanted to get out from under his thumb. I needed him to stop calling me and stop dropping in unexpectedly.

While we got along after our separation, it was an continuation of the abuse of boundaries that existed in the marriage. He would come to my house like he still owned it, he would just come take stuff anytime he felt like it. I noticed one time some teeth whitening strips disappeared. I search everywhere for the missing pack, or even just the packaging. They were gone. Later, when I was talking with him on the phone, he casually mentioned that he had gone to my house to let the dogs out and throw some logs on the fire. He was not supposed to be in my house. I asked him how he got the code for my door. He informed me that the kids had given it too him. I realized at this point, this is something he had been doing for a while and frequently and he had likely helped himself to my teeth whitening kit. This was a full year after our separation. How could he possibly believe it was ok for him to enter my house uninvited at this point.

While he felt he could enter my home and property at any time he wanted, the reverse was not true. I definitely was not permitted to go drop by his house any time I wanted. His kids were not allowed to enter his house when ever they wanted either. My ex would remove the batteries from the door lock so my kids would not be able to enter using their code when my ex was not home.

It was one of those situations of someone wanted their cake and eating it too. He wanted to have his house where he could do what ever he wanted, but also still have his old life with me. I wanted nothing to do with this, I wanted him out of my life. I did want to be able to get along for the sake of the kids. So I tried to make things as easy as possible. I still loaned him money, until one of my friends told me that had to stop. He had to be responsible for himself now, I was still bailing him out. I had spent my whole adult life bailing him out. It was time for change.

My kids never went to his house for the first 9 months after our split. Finally at Christmas I sent them over because I needed a break. And I also wanted the opportunity to get to go out and date. Maybe have someone over, its tough to do that when you have an emotional kid in the house. There was no way I would have anyone around while my daughter was here. She was too emotionally raw and upset about the family splitting apart to be able to handle any interlopers.

After 3 weeks, my daughter came back, but my son didn't return, he choose to stay at his dads. My son liked the freedom there, his father didnt ask him any questions, didn't monitor him, and let him do what ever he wanted.

The end result, my son went on an year long drug binge that ended with him nearly getting killed when he believe he could dive under a passing truck while in the midst of a drug-induced psychotic break. He ended up in the mental ward for a month. When he got out, the first thing he did was head to his fathers house. He spent maybe three days there. My daughter was there with him, while his father worked nights. One night my daughter called and told me something was wrong with her brother, he was acting weird. She thought he might need to go back to the hospital. I took him to the hospital. He was back in psychosis. As I waited for my son to get admitted, I asked my ex-husband if there was anything in the house that my son could have taken. I had learned that my ex-husband had a habit of eating marijuana edible gummies. I specifically asked my ex, if my son might have gotten into his supply. My ex-husband just went silent. Stopped answering my calls, and ignored all my texts. My son was getting admitted to the mental ward, not able to compose a sentence, and my ex-husband would not even discuss what my son may have taken with me. Nor would he discuss it with the doctors.

It left me with fear, because if the psychosis was just spontaneously reoccurring that meant that his chances for recovery were extremely low and it might be something like schizophrenia rather that drug-induced psychosis. I was terrified that our son was never going to recover. Later, when my son was able to talk again, he told us it was an edible from his fathers stash he had taken that had caused him to go back into psychoses. My ex-husband never owned up to this, never apologized for leaving a stash of edibles in the house with a drug addict recovering from psychosis. He just went silent. Like a coward.

This is his standard method of dealing with conflict or anything uncomfortable. He just doesn't, instead he just ignores everything. No answer, no response. Its was extremely frustrating. In this instance, my ex had put our sons life in danger. The doctors had explained that with every reoccurrence of a psychotic episode, the likelihood of a full recovery decreases. After my son got into his fathers stash, he spent another month in the hospital. This time the doctors recognized that the father was the problem, my son was released to my care with a full plan for his recovery. Unfortunately my son was 18, I couldn't force him to do anything. So once he was home, he did what any drug addict would do, go back to where they could do drugs, he headed straight back to his fathers. This lead to several more months of drug abuse on the part of my son. I tried to talk to my ex, I could see my sons erratic behaviour and I knew he wasn't getting the care he needed. Things like daily structure, proper nutrition, and making sure he was taking his medication.

One day early in October, my son called me because he needed a bicycle helmet for school gym class. When I picked up my son, and I noticed his teeth were in horrible condition, I asked when they were last brushed. My son told me he didnt have a tooth brush and there was no toothpaste at the house. I was horrified, I bought my son the supplies he needed, toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash and toner along with some mouth wash. I noticed my sons demeanor was very disturbing, something was clearly very wrong. At this point my ex and I were on decent terms, I called him and told him I wanted to talk to him about our son. I was really concerned about his mental state and we needed to intervene to get him off drugs or we might lose him for good. My ex said, ok call me tomorrow.

The next morning, I happen to notice on Facebook that my ex is now in a relationship. It isn't all that shocking, by this point we had been separated a year and a half. It was going to happen at some point. I was expecting it. The next day, I called my ex at the agreed appointed time, I decided to just address the elephant in the room. "Congratulations on your new relationship" I said. I was expecting him just to say "Thanks" and we would continue on with the discussion about our son. Instead, he said " Oh that's why you are calling" and hung up on me. I freaked out! I was trying to talk to him about our son! My son was clearly mentally unwell and needed immediate help. And this asshole was refusing to talk to me. And even worse, was using this occasion to try and portray me as a crazy stalker ex obsessed with him. It was terrifying frustrating and sickening all at the same time. My biggest fear was my son would never recover from his drug induced haze and enter a state of permanent psychosis. My ex completely

shut me out and I was unable to have any influence or get help for my son at all for the next several months. I watched helplessly on the sidelines as teachers called me out of concern regarding my sons behaviour. My son got expelled from High School because he wasn't bothering to attend. Meanwhile, my ex was telling everyone I was just freaking out because he had moved on and I couldn't handle it.

To say this was frustrating is quite an understatement. I was watching my son slowly completely lose his mind, and my ex husband was oblivious, not to mention still gaslighting me. (The problem wasn't my son's drug use, it was my jealousy) To cut a long story short, my son did end up having another psychotic episode. Luckily for me, my son had run out of money and was no longer able to loan any to his father, and his father kicked him out of the house. My son came home in very bad shape. He was a skeleton, he had lost a tremendous amount of weight, his face was sunken in, and his eyes were empty hallows. He was talking about how he was a ninja, and had powers. He believed he had freed the ship that had been stuck in the Panama canal. The list goes on and on. My son would rage at me, he believed I was some kind of devil. We ended up taking him back to the Emergency Room, hoping to get him on medication before the situation was to far gone and the only option would be full admittance. My son is terrified of going back to the mental ward, he told me he would kill himself before he would go back there.

In his delusions, my son believed I was trying to trick him, that I was trying to poison him. He believed the medication I was giving him was melting his internal organs. We finally got my son to agree to go to the ER. The one stipulation my son had, his dad would have to take him. Since my ex-husband refused to talk to me and had me blocked, one of my kids messaged him. My ex-husbands answer, "I can't, I have had a drink" and that was the end of it. This man that drove everywhere high on gummies couldn't go to the ER with his son because he had "A drink". A real father would have hired a cab if that's what it took. This man wouldn't even leave the party. He never called later to find out how his son was doing. He didnt check in, he never came to visit him. I was desperate to keep him on the medication long enough for the psychosis to subside. The doctors told me it would take 6 to 8 weeks. Every night was a battle. I needed all the help I could get. It finally got to a breaking point, I could not get my son to take the medication any longer, we were so close we were at 5 weeks. It was not his father that stepped up, it was my oldest son and his girlfriend. Even though they both work full time and have very little time for themselves. They took my son and spent a weekend talking to him. Somehow they got through. He came home and took his medication and finally stabilized.

This type of behaviour is very common for my ex-husband. Yet, apparently its my fault that his kids want nothing to do with him. He doesn't take care of any of their needs, they dont want to ask him for anything because he always just disappoints them. He says he will do stuff, then just stops responding.

I could tell many more stories about the completely irresponsible things my ex has done. How he has let his children down. How much he has hurt them. A couple of days I sent him a message, expressing my anger and frustration. And yes, I called him a loser and a bunch of other derogatory names. I have been carrying a lot of anger. I have rage inside at the damage my ex has done to our son. The consequences of the lack of action, and actively blocking me from help my son, while my ex did nothing for him except facilitate his drug use. I have sent several rage filled missives

Then suddenly, this afternoon I realized my ex just is not worth it. My son is here with me now, he is doing better, he has a long way to go but he is recovering. My ex clearly is an idiot. He bears the responsibility for what has happened, he prevented my son from getting the help he desperately needed. He will have to live with himself and those consequences. But he will never admit it, he is never going to apologize. The kids all see it now. Everyone sees it. I am still angry, at the damage. But really, the man is just a complete tool. And me spending any time thinking about it, being angry or even wasting my breath to express that to him is a complete waste of time. There is no point. My energy has to go towards taking care if the kids and doing the best I can to help them get through the emotional turmoil they have endured.

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