Life is actually quite good… but it has some really terrible moments… and they’re the ones I need to write about at the moment…

The kids and I found some super cheap flights to Hawaii… over Christmas….

So…. bit the bullet and asked the teen son if he wants to join us….

and…

all hell broke loose with their father…

because technically, he is entitled to have them from Boxing Day until New Years Eve.

He is ONLY entitled to have them every second weekend, and that 6 day period over the Christmas break…

I pointed out that I gave him longer at Christmas, a week in October, his wedding (not his allocated weekend), Easter…. These are basically the only times has has seen them…

As his time with them is obviously flexible and has no set pattern, this shouldn’t be an issue. He can have them over New Year for the same amount of time. Longer even.

But no…

He has to argue…

Because that his is need in life… the fight…

I blocked him on my phone – so he’s now emailing instead…

He told me he’s planning to go to Germany for Christmas. I countered by saying – well that’s great, you won’t be around anyway so the kids will be in Hawaii… No… apparently he’s not going if the kids aren’t going to Germany…. Umm, the kids were never going to Germany….

So he wants to stick to the letter of the parenting orders… Okay, so teen son will spend holidays with me now and you will only see them on the set weekends and that 6 days over Christmas – that’s it?

Oh no… of course that’s not it… He wants me to take the kids to see him when he wants to see them…

Umm, no… you left here to be near a girl you’d known for 2 weeks…Yes, he’s since married her, but he’d known her 2 weeks and moved 5 and a half hours away from his kids to be near her. I don’t have to drive them anywhere…

So here is my question… why do I engage? He only wants the fight. The kids will be going to Hawaii because they’ll talk him into it. Why can’t I break those old habits though? Why do I give him what he needs?

And why does my teen son now hate me once again? Because his dad is upset and that is my fault…

At these moments, I can’t do this parenting thing… I really can’t. If one more person tells me I’m a great parent, I’m likely to throw something solid at them. Because when they say this, all I see is my kids in turmoil and my teen son in particular… I see the tears and the heartbreak… and I know that their father is the one picking the fights over everything, but I have to take some responsibility here…. Oddly though, my son’s most recent mental health team were adamant that I shouldn’t be blaming myself… which is so nice to consider… something to clutch in those darkest moments… Because I see that I should have left… that I should have taken them and run so long ago… that I should have taken the risk of dragging them through the courts so it was documented… that I should have gone to the police when it was all fresh and the evidence was there…. I can’t go back in time and make him accountable.

And people can’t seem to see his manipulation… He says things and they believe him. Just like that. They believe the lies he spins.

I tell them stories to explain it: Miss 9 Facetiming him and saying goodbye. He says: I love you sweetie. I wish I could see you every day… but someone took you away from me.. didn’t she?

Or Master 8 – mummy, you have to give back my birthday money because daddy said you steal it.

The older two, it’s different… he says things to Miss 16 such as – wow, you’ve finally lost some weight (she’s always been thin)… or, this is why you have no friends (she has dozens)…. To Master 14 he plays best friend – how could you dog me, mate? I thought we were friends….

With them all, he plays on their weaknesses…

My son sent me texts abusing me – swearing, name calling…. identical to the ones his father was sending me… so I assume they were sitting beside each other on the couch, as they do, sending messages, laughing and attacking…

So how do I do this parenting thing? I want to run away… I am so exhausted by the tightrope… I can’t keep everyone balanced and happy… and when he isn’t getting his way, it’s always my fault…

I was talking to someone the other day about living in a country town. That everyone saw the nice guy and told me how lucky I am, what a great guy he is…. The friend I was talking to about it looked at me and laughed and said – oh come, on… no-one actually said that surely… as if they would!

Another friend I tried to explain it to told me that at least I hadn’t experienced real domestic violence…

He told me himself once: Oh come on, you’re being a drama queen. You should be grateful. I never put you in hospital, although I wanted to…

He’d tell me: the only reason I don’t hit you is because if I start, I know I won’t stop until you’re dead… and then he’d punch a hole in the wall beside my head… sometimes with a hand around my throat… smash the door down to get to me if I locked it… throw things at me… smash anything near at hand…

When we broke up, at one point, he claimed he didn’t have a temper. The house was three years old and the car was two. I pointed out all the broken things and holes… Over the next two weeks, he fixed them all…. so none of it ever happened…

We lived on a farm… no neighbours… no witnesses…

The kids still tell stories of what he did to the animals… I didn’t do the farm stuff so I didn’t realise… but they remember….

But no-one else knows… because most of it was mind games…

And now his eldest son does the same things… or tries…. and I find myself confused and frightened once again… I lose myself in those feelings and memories… I wake some nights unable to breathe… Some days there will be a memory and I panic… I hear a noise outside or a creak within, and it all comes flooding back… I run a mile from any guy who might even vaguely, possibly, kind of have a temper or any need to manipulate and control…

But I’m fine. Life goes on. I’m strong. Ask anyone. They’ll all tell you tiny snippets of things they might know or may have heard… but none of them really know… and you tell me there’s no such thing as PTSD from DV….

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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….

The straw…

I was reading this blog post today:

She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes by the Sink

and it made me think… I remember feeling like this… saying these words…

“But it’s important to me…”

Which has taken me down memory lane, reflecting…

Our biggest fight was about drinking. I didn’t like him drinking every single night. Yes, it was only one or two most nights, but I hated it.

I explained it over and over… both of my parents are alcoholics… I’ve always sworn I will not raise my children in a house where either parent drinks every night. I don’t care what anyone else does – that’s their choice. I’m not judging them either. I just cannot raise my kids in that environment. It’s too many memories. The smell of the stale beer cans for a start… The words ‘Hey *child*, can you get me a beer from the fridge’… I can’t do it.

Over and over… and over…

Me: If you don’t have a drinking problem, then you shouldn’t need to drink every night….

Him: I don’t have a problem and I don’t need to drink, but I’ve worked hard every day and I deserve a drink…

And there it was… every single time… ‘I DESERVE a drink’…

Me: But it matters to me. I’ve explained it to you. Over and over… and over… I’m not asking you to never drink again (although, if I did, you should be willing to consider that)… I’m asking you to not drink every night. I’m asking you to go to the pub and have that drink with friends there even. If you need to have that drink, drink it where the kids can’t see…

Him: This is my house. I work hard… I DESERVE a drink…

The final argument was about this – the one that began the ultimate end… He was drinking when I wasn’t around or when I was locked in the Office working… telling the kids not to let me know… on the way home he’d grab a ‘roadie’… but, in one of those bizarre moments, I looked in the cupboard and realised the large vodka bottle that was full two weeks earlier, was empty…. and suddenly, the conversation spiralled…

Me: (finally) When was the last 24 hour period in which you haven’t had an alcoholic drink?!?

Him: I don’t know… a couple of months? Does it matter? I DESERVE a drink… I work hard…

Me: You’re getting the kids to lie to me for you?

And that was it.. The moment I just looked and thought – what am I doing?

It wasn’t about the alcohol – well, it kind of was… but it was about the fact that he wouldn’t ever put me first. Not once. It was always his needs, wants and desires before anyone else.

I didn’t want to be his mother. I didn’t want to always tell him what to do. I didn’t want to always be the ‘bad’ person making the hard decisions. And… I wanted someone who respected my hopes and dreams and wishes… my hurts as well as my joys… Someone who would have given up alcohol altogether if I asked, because it was important to ME. As simple as that.

Watching a TV show with my 16 year old and she said – I want an Alba! My reply? Don’t we all…

An Alba. An Alice. A mother…. one of those nurturing ones…

Obviously, I am failing at meeting these needs…. although she claimed that I am a great mother, but she wants the grandmother… She has 3, none of whom she has seen or heard from in a long time…. none of whom have ever worked out the nurturing part of parenting….

It’s days like today when I particularly want an Alba of my own… or, as discussed with the teen, perhaps just someone who makes me a priority… Mild concussion, a pulled muscle in my back, too much work to catch up on and kids who need love and adoration… Today, I would love an Alba…

But do they even exist? Did they ever? This brings me to one of my favourite soap boxes… the cyclic nature of our generations.

We seem so focused on the inherent narcissism of the youth of today. So many catch phrases. So much condemnation. But! We seem to forget… someone created them…

I’m part of society’s middle child – Gen X… and I am a middle child… so I’m personally blaming the Baby Boomers. The narcissists currently ruling our society. The narcissists quick to point out the flaws of our youth, and the parents raising them…

The Battlers did it tough – two wars and the Depression… so they created an incredible world and doted on their Baby Boomer children.

These BBs then found themselves in an adult world with low interest rates, low mortgages, low cost of living, jobs aplenty… innovation and change… everything at their feet…

Then came poor Gen X – the middle children. Raised in the shadow of their glorious parents. Raised in a world of fear – the Iron Curtain, The Berlin Wall, the Cold War, AIDS and HIV…. Raised to know they were never good enough and never going to be…

And now. The BBs refuse to step aside. They insist on working – not because they need to or even because they particularly love their jobs, but because they can’t let someone else take over… take the glory…

The narcissists of the adult world – belittling others, seeing no fault in themselves, unable to let someone else have the limelight… They’ve left a world where the cost of living is no longer tenable, where housing is unaffordable for most, where jobs just can’t be found (because they won’t leave!)…. and where they look at the youth and use their favourite art form… projection….

So Alba… was she ever real? Or just the fantasy of a narcissistic generation. The projection of the self they want the world to see….

I don’t understand the bully mentally… I  know why and how and what… I just don’t understand it.

I have spent most of last night and half of this morning trying to minimise the damage done to a friend by strangers on social media. Why? They are strangers. Why be cruel?

I don’t understand people. I don’t understand the incessant need to be mean. Selfish. Completely arrogant. Narcissistic.

And there it is. The catch phrase of the decade – narcissism. Is it really just a symptom of current society? Are we overusing the word? Is social media heightening awareness? Or also creating an increase in the instances?

People are closing in on me at the moment. I need more silence in my head. I am exhausted by nastiness. Blatant cruelty. I’m also rather fed up with one sided conversations and giving far too much energy to friendships, when the energy is not reciprocated.

I need silence. I need sustenance. I need someone to boost me for a while.