I am angry. I am furious. I am fed up. I am done.

If only saying the words was as effective as making them true.

Eleven years of schooling left. Eleven years of his manipulation left.

This time, it’s Easter. He sold them old. He took the money and left me the kids. That was the deal.

But of course it wasn’t the deal. It wasn’t enough.

Because he wants whatever hurts me most. Whatever still allows some control.

Easter is mine. As is Christmas. And birthdays. But he only wants the ‘occasions’. He wants to tell the world he’s having the kids for Easter. And he wants to hurt me because these occasions matter to me…

I said no. The parenting orders clearly state no. The courts are on my side. There’s nothing he can do about it…

Ho… ho… ho…

FaceTime.

Oh… yes he did…

Mummy! Please, please, please can we have Easter with daddy?! We never get to see him and he can see us that weekend!

Umm, why isn’t he here this weekend? Or next? Or the one after? The one before Easter? The one after? The school holidays?

But mummy…. he’s promised to take us camping and fishing and on the boat and there’s going to be loads of Easter eggs and all the family will be there….

So, yes… there is something he can do about it. Not legally… but he is the king of manipulation after all…

He tried to speak to me as they FaceTimed. I replied: You’ve never done Easter in your life. You weren’t even there for half of them and when you were, you were asleep.

He didn’t even try to deny it… I thought he would. He lies. Incessantly. He rewrites history. But he just agreed…. and that was somehow worse…. because he KNOWS he doesn’t care about Easter! He KNOWS it’s just so he ‘wins’. Just to hurt me because Easter DOES matter to me….

And I hate him… I can’t even begin to describe the deep seated hatred I feel… that I try to quell and ignore… I want him to live until he is old and alone and to die a painful, miserable death… I want him to suffer for all eternity…. and even that won’t be enough after the hell he put us through for all those years… and yet, they were young enough that he has re-written history for them and they think he is amazing. Because it’s so damned easy to be an awesome parent when you only spend a weekend with them every 2 or 3 months…

And I want to believe in karma. I want to believe in an afterlife. I want to believe that somehow, he will get what he deserves….

But I don’t believe in these things. Not enough. The kids think he is incredible. He is so much fun and he’s never grumpy or mean. And if one more person tells me they’ll realise when they’re older, I think I will actually hit them. I really do… because there is absolutely NO guarantee that they will realise when they are older! He is favourite uncle. Disney dad. He is awesome and fun and always happy.

And so… I doubt myself… maybe it was me… maybe I am all those things after all… maybe… maybe… and I hate him… so very, very much.

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Sometimes, when the phone rings, I still forget to breathe even after the message has been delivered… even after I know he’s safe… for now…

Those phone calls shred me… they leave me broken… and I cannot even begin to imagine how they leave him…

I don’t know the words to say. I don’t know what he needs to hear. All I can hear is the despair and the fear…

He was sobbing… so hard… He’d screwed up. One mistake. Just one. And his whole world has fallen apart.

I’ve spent hours sitting with a teen just listening and hearing and trying to offer whatever support they need…. listened to them tell me of the weekend… the plans they’d made… the bath they’d run because they’d heard it soothes the pain of the knife… or the concoction of pills they’d researched to make sure it was enough… I’ve listened to teens tell me of the anger and despair and hurt and hatred and fear…. and I’ve listened to them tell me that they just want it all to end…

I’ve listened… and my heart has broken… and broken even more for the ones I didn’t get to listen to… the ones I knew who didn’t seem to talk to anyone and just went ahead and did it….

And my heart has broken and ached for the family and friends they have left behind…. and for the life they just couldn’t continue…

But now… I listen to my own teen… a five hour drive away… and there is nothing I can do… just listen… pray… hope… and make deals with the Universe that somehow he stays safe…

I don’t know the words to tell him… I find myself repeating the same thing… trying to get him to remember that I love him… that my heart would ache for eternity… but he says to me – I’ll be dead, I won’t care… I make light of it and tell him I’ll bind his ghost to me for eternity and he will have to listen to me nag and tell him off for all time… but there is no humour in him today…

I ask how he is hurting himself now and he confesses he is still cutting… So I find myself asking – how deep… and he tells me – just quick and across the surface, just blood and pain, lots of slices… I ask if there’s something else that might work… he says no, this works… So I ask him to just not cut deep…

He begs me not to tell his father… It’s why he called… because he has screwed up and his father is going to kill him… My brain is registering – yay, he doesn’t actually want to die… but I know this is not it… He doesn’t want to face his father’s wrath…

So I talk to him forever… calming him… trying to somehow find a speck of reason… reminding him there are people he can see, talk to, phone… but he doesn’t want them so I let the thought slide…

His father calls. He’s furious. He’s home and waiting…. So we are on a 3-way conversation suddenly and I dance again… twisting words… catering to the ego… convincing him that he can help his son… he can be the hero…. and I hate this. I hate this manipulation of the manipulator. But I learned well over the years. I just need to remain calm and remember that it is not about me… this is about my son…

So I have lessened the punishment for the crime. I have pacified the ego. And I am left with such a bad taste in my mouth as I use his tricks against him.

But my son is without a phone and determined to stay where he is… begging me to move there… to upend everyone to move there… because he hates the city and he loves his new friends at the new school… but he just can’t stand living with his father…

But with this is the knowledge that even if I upended the world of my other children to cater to this one, he would hate me too… or is this just what I tell myself? Because all the professional voices are still in my ear reminding me – he needs to be with you. Being with his father is a bad option.

But how do I balance this? Because when he is here and decides he no longer wants to be, the lives of my other children are in danger…

I don’t know how to be so far away and to still be there… I don’t know how to choose the safety of three children over the safety of one, and still sleep at night… I don’t know how to do any of it and I’m so tired of people who have not lived it having an opinion and a solution I haven’t asked for….

And underlying all of this… the bit we are not meant to mention… if I had a time machine… I would go back in time and not have children… not because I don’t love them, because I would sacrifice my life over and over for them…. but because I can’t bear the pain I see… I can’t bear to watch him suffer the way he does and I can’t fix it…

And I just can’t find enough words and enough time to fill him with enough love that he can see a way out of this… because my words don’t touch him…

Phone rings… Local number… Okay…

Hi… It’s *my children’s school*…

The pause is too long…

Oh… You’re children are fine…

And at that point, I realise I’ve been holding my breath and my heart is beating a crazy rhythm…

The fifth bomb threat in four weeks was two days ago – we’d had two quiet weeks… We’re all checking our phones every other minute. The kids are so used to evacuations by now that they’re actually finding them irritating! But the parents aren’t… We’re torn between furore and panic. What if THIS time it’s real?! And how dare they do this to our children? 

But they seem to be no closer to finding them… 

Sometimes… I like to wallow… And that’s when I can’t help but think – I’d just like someone to love me more than themself for a change… How nice would that be! 

I know my mother must have once upon a time… I just don’t recall it… Ever… I don’t think my father ever has. I don’t think he’s ever placed anyone’s needs s c comforts before his own. But I’ve seen my mother with my sister and my sisters kids… So I know she kind of can… Or at least… She can fake it…
And I married my mother, or father, or both… 

So just sometimes… I want someone to love me more than themself… But not in that creepy stalkerish way… I want to love them too… And as soon as you start putting clauses in there, it seems, the whole thing becomes impossible… 

Please don’t grant me strength…

dd

He got married yesterday – which is great – because he’s (mostly) now leaving me alone. People seem to think I’ll be bothered… and it’s odd… there’s a part of me that IS bothered… but it’s bothered that I made such a bad choice for a husband and the father of my children.

Not for a second have I regretted leaving. So many people told me I’d have doubts… but not one.

I was sifting through paperwork last night, trying to find evidence of qualifications… my paperwork methods really leave a lot to be desired… Sifting through emails… found some relevant documents… and found some old emails from the first 18 months after the split. The abuse. The insanity. The threats. The manipulation.

So I was already feeling a bit rattled… going back down that path is hard…

The kids are there for the wedding. They’re on a train home at the moment actually. The eldest went – the first time in a very long time. He dropped the kids home on 3rd January. They’re there for the wedding this wknd. He wants them for Easter. I said no.

Because, you see… he sold his kids out. All he wanted was the money. So I gave him the money, and he gave me the kids. I can’t seem to make anyone understand. The legal papers state he is entitled to every second weekend and from Boxing Day until New Years Eve. A phone call on a Wednesday evening between 7 and 7:30PM. That’s it! Anything else can be granted, but is not mandatory.

I don’t stop my kids from seeing their father. Ever. He sees them for a weekend every 2 to 3 months – his choice. He was living here for 5 months, knowing for 3 and a half that we were moving here. Two days before we arrived, he took a job near his new girlfriend’s town – a girlfriend he had known for two weeks. Yes, he married her yesterday, but he chose her over seeing his kids, after knowing her for only two weeks.

He wants Easter. I said no. I don’t argue, it’s just not going to happen. Ever. I have the legal documents. I have photos of him still in bed every year on Christmas, Easter and birthday mornings (the birthdays he was there for). He never cared about those occasions. He cared about what presents he received and what food and alcohol was on the table. That was it.

So my eldest has sent me a text. Dad and the whole family have convinced the kids to come here for Easter. All of them, mum. The whole family. Everyone has been at them about it the whole time.

So I am furious. It’s not going to happen. He can take it up with the courts. But yet again I am the ‘bad person’. Every time they come home… “Mummy, if we moved to *** we could see daddy all the time”…. Umm, no…. daddy moved there, we’re not going…. “Mummy, daddy said if I go and live with them I can have an iPad”…. Umm, you have an iPad! “But I’m not allowed to take it to daddy’s place, but if I move there, I can have one for there and one for here”… Umm, you’re not moving to your dad’s…

Eleven more years of schooling. Eleven more years of this manipulation.

Someone… please find me that patience….