Another generation in my family is now dealing with a fractured relationship and split parenting of a child. This is our 3rd generation to do this, which began with me - and I have to wonder where did I go wrong? Was it me or was it my ex-husband? This thought just occurred to me as I began to type - in my growing time, it was up to the wife, the mother, the girlfriend to make sure that all relationships worked. In other words, the female carried that burden.
I remember when my marriage was ending, and people were asking me “What did you do wrong?” “Maybe you didn’t try hard enough.” And so on went the conversation. Of course there were the friends who knew that no matter what I did, things would not change. My ex could not see any harm in his behaviour, and therefore it was up to me to change who I was.
So we parted. I remember watching him walk down the side path, past the family room, and thinking ”He will go on to have more children, but no one will want me, my child bearing days are over.” This was not because I was too old, it was because of the dangers to my health if I had anymore children. I was not good child bearing stock.
He did go on to marry one of the women from the office area at his work, and they did have two children of their own. It all sounds so sweet, straightforward and uncomplicated when you state it like this.
The truth was, it wasn’t that sweet or straight forward. The new girl on the block wanted our house, and he was happy to oblige. My ex said he would take the children from me, if that is what it took. Of course, I could have the children back once they had the house. The new girl didn’t want our children, as they were having their own. He was happy to oblige her.
I was not! No way was I giving up my children and their home.
He would arrive at the house with demands, to the point that I would get one of the male neighbours to stand under the house so he could hear what was being said. If it got too vocal he could come out and support me. My ex demanded that I price all the children’s toys, clothing, and bedroom furniture, as he wanted half of everything. This also included instructions to have my engagement and wedding rings valued at my expense, as he wanted to be reimbursed. The list of demands was very lengthy.
It became a long and drawn out process. My ex and his new girl would drive past the house late at night to see if there was a car in my driveway, trying to discover if I had a new relationship, too, in order to have more ammunition against me. It must have been exhausting for them planning, scheming, plotting, and taking me to court. Then the gods smiled down upon me - they lost!
Yes, I did have to sell the house, even though they had agreed to me buying them out. But the new girl said I was ripping them off. Their lawyer placed high demands on what I had to give them - the amount of money they expected from the sale, and when I had to pay them out. My ex was happy to oblige, and went along with all of it.
The house sold for more than the dollar price they had set on it, and within the time frame they had given me, so I didn’t have to forfeit any more money to them. I paid them the amount they stipulated, and was able to purchase another home for the children and myself. I had a wonderful team of people supporting me with this journey, which was overwhelming, confrontational, devastating and totally unnecessary. But they were getting off on their power play. Ego can be very damaging to the Soul.
To this day I still don’t know the actual emotional, mental, physical or spiritual toll it took on my children or myself. I know it took a long time to heal, to trust and to be comfortable around people.
Even after I had signed the divorce papers, and they were married, it didn't stop the power play or the games. Our children were used for one upmanship, and to get back at me for whatever they decided I had done.
Eventually my daughter moved in with them. I was against this, but she had decided it was what she wanted. They welcomed her and treated her badly. Her schooling declined, her after-school pay went to her half-brother’s account, and the money I paid to them wasn’t even spent on her. Her clothing wasn’t replaced, and when she returned home her shoes had holes in the soles. She returned home, emotionally battered, bruised and disillusioned. The stories about reunions and wonderful parents at times are just that - stories.
Our story is a long one, but one day there was silence at last. The games were over, and we were free to carry on…..