What Don’t You Fucking Understand?

I don’t usually feel I need to justify anything I write here, but I need to say something. I feel like I have to follow up. I have some more pieces to the puzzle that was this weekend. I have to write this down. When I went to court years ago, the fact that I wrote about the few good things, the fact that I used humor and put a positive spin on my situation was used against me. Writing about the bad times means that people see the ugly underbelly, which I was not totally ready for. It was too close–I was living it.

It also begs the question of why a person tolerates the terrible things they are writing about. Reader, I was not ready for that judgment, and I was not ready for the changes I needed to make. Not until 2003, but you know that story already.

Now I am letting it out, for good or for bad. I need to tell you. I know there is a sea of people out there who are going through this too. I need someone to hear what divorce with kids can be like, what this pointless bullshit tug of war is like. I hope you do better than I did, but I think I am doing well now. Time is healing.

So Franny walked into my house last night, having been dropped off at the appointed hour after missing a day of camp for really no good reason. This is about as corny as I get around here, but I will tell you that she walked in BEAMING, like glowing, and I saw she was so happy to be home, and it seemed like all the kermitflailing from this weekend was pretty fricking moot. She made a beeline towards me and we all squeezed her and Strudel immediately started gabbling at her.

I was so relieved when I saw she was okay and not really upset. During his long harangue on the phone Sunday night I discovered that Franny is “very unhappy at my house” and because I did not reply to his first email saying that he wanted me to pick her up in West Seattle at a party she “thought that I was injured or sick” and that he was “thinking really hard about child support and changing her living situation.” Perhaps I will think really hard about my student loans and see if they get paid off.

I will confess to you that it really, really hurt me to think that Franny was secretly unhappy here, or that she was worried about me in any way this weekend.

“Franny,” I said, tentatively, “were you worried about me when I did not reply to the email from your dad about changing your drop off time?”

“No,” she said. “I know if something was wrong, P. would call us.”

Knife turned against me. I could hear the unspoken, “You are a bad mother” in his words. I told him I heard him use that manipulative tone on dozens of people over the years, and it was not possible for him to guilt me into agreeing to anything.

Later I took her to see the new house and we had a serious talk on the way there. I felt like a shitheel asking her if she was unhappy, and would she like to talk or change anything? I felt very “I just thought you should know” and I despise being that person, but what to do? How to get to the bottom of these things? No one else will.

Franny began crying and screaming furiously in the backseat. She really flipped her Pop-Tarts for a second. Nothing makes her madder than having words put into her mouth. “When he lies about what I say, I feel so used,” she said.

Now he proposes that she move to where he lives for middle school. He is even being kind enough to not charge me child support. He is trying to backroom negotiate with me, in spite of the fact that he has already completely broken the parenting plan.

He was kind of slurring and not tracking the conversation well on Sunday (“What are you talking about? What does that mean?” he kept saying) and I assumed he was taking her to some kind of family barbecue/party thing, but I found out he was screaming at me from a grown up bash, and he probably was drunk. I kind of wish I would have recorded it and set it to music so he could have his own Bale Out moment. I had a feeling his wife was not around since he is not allowed to swear at home.

Anyway, as usual I am ha ha deflect everything with humor, but I am concerned. I am not scared, but concerned. I am afraid that since he has seen his sister recently that she has given him some of her infamous advice, but I could be very wrong. I would be shocked if his wife wanted him to throw thousands at dragging me back into court to call me a whore, dogfucker, satanist, whatever. I think this is much ado about nothing and I can forgive the drunken blowup. As P. said, “It must be hard not to have a reverse gear.”

I am sad I am going to miss the Capitol Hill Block Party due to packing, especially my BFF Atmosphere. This seems appropriate today.

14 thoughts on “What Don’t You Fucking Understand?

  1. I’m so sorry that you have to deal with this miserable BS.

    Using your children against your ex is probably the worst thing in the world to do. My father used to love to tell my mother how “upset” we were when we’d come home from visiting her. He’d always spend hours asking us what mom had said over the weekend…I think playing a part in that sort of knock-down, drag-out nastiness when you’re just a little kid warps you. I still feel guilty, all these years later. I feel like I betrayed her, or made it worse somehow. The deal was that there were certain things that you had to say to make him happy.

    I particularly like the whole “I’m threatening to change our custody arrangement because I’m mad that you didn’t do what I wanted” thing. That’s a nice touch. My dad did that one too, except it was more of a “I’m mad because you embarrassed me” kinda thing. When my mom called CPS because my stepmother was smacking us around and locking my autistic sister in the basement, he threatened to take her to court for child support.

  2. It sounds like he is leaving himself a paper-trail to lose custody altogether—I’m guessing after the last battle, you probably keep immaculate records of SeaFed’s endless trail of garbage-parenting: Changing the rules, forging your signature (I still can’t get over the seriousness of this one), going Mel Gibson on the phone… My heart goes out to poor dear Franny. I hope she knows that just because someone claims to love you doesn’t mean that they are therefore allowed act like an asshole 24/7. Being manipulated sucks hugely: being manipulated by a family member is such a betrayal. I remember being her age and finding out that sometimes grown-ups are total jerks, and I remember being so disappointed: I thought that somehow the two were mutually exclusive. BOY WAS I WRONG.

  3. I’ve been Franny. My mother married this douche bag who abused me. He left my sisters alone but he had a special eye for me. “Two peas in a pod” was how he described it. I still don’t know how that justifies molesting an 11 year old but then, I’m not psychotic.

    But he turned my own mother against me. He would put words in my mouth or twist and turn what I truly did say and it would all come back on me ten fold. It got to the point where my mother wanted nothing to do with me and would go out of her way to stop being near me. Because I was wrecking her marriage. All this did was isolate me enough so that the abuse could continue and get worse. As bad as it gets when you’re a girl, no matter how old you are. I’ve been in Franny’s position of helplessness and uncontrollable fury. She’s entitled to lose her Pop Tarts over that shit and I started crying for her when I read it.

    I don’t know you and I don’t know your kids. You and I joke around on Twitter and I check this blog at least once a day but that’s the extent of our “friendship” or whatever it is. But you are awesome. This means that Frannie is awesome by proxy. If you haven’t already, can you tell her how awesome she is and that none of the shit her father is pulling is her fault? Because that’s what I needed to hear when I was little and no one said it to me.

  4. Thanks, Brittany. I am really sorry that happened to you, that is completely unfair.

    And thank you everyone else for your comments. I appreciate it.

  5. Oh no, the sister-in-law’s advice. That’s some bad stuff.

    Gawd, SeaFed never fails to fail does he? I had a lying step mum and it was a very confusing landscape as a child. That Franny has you to talk/scream/sob with, and get down to what’s true in the matter is invaluable.

  6. I am so impressed by your parenting. It had to be so hard to start that conversation with Franny, especially when she got so upset. Thank the pointed head of Tom Cruise you are there for her to come home to. I suspect that SeaFed is just trying to punish you, again, some more, for not allowing his bullshit to stand. As if. Thanks for sharing, SJ. Peace

  7. I don’t have children and I’ve never been married, so I can’t exactly judge this situation, but from reading through your blog and from prior encounters with you, I know that you’ll always do the best thing in each situation, no matter what life throws at you. You’re one of the best parents I know, in my opinion. From what you’ve said, you’re raising your children to be every amount as awesome as you are.

  8. I hate fighting with my ex too. He never pulls any punches and most of them are based on nothing. He once told me that he “kinda goes crazy” when he is mad and “will say anything.” No shit. Even knowing that it is hard to hear it and I definitely avoid fighting with him. Luckily he is a decent father, although there are a few things we don’t see eye to eye on.

    My mother was one to badmouth my father, and even if some of it was true, I really didn’t need to know it at that age. It didn’t have to do with his and my relationship and only damaged what we could have. She also told him (and me) that I was really unhappy going over there, which I eventually believed (with the help of a difficult step mother entering the picture). Great set up.

  9. @iasshole

    No problem. It took me a long time to get over the trauma inflicted on me by people who knew better. One thing Franny has that I didn’t is a mother who listens. Kudos to you.

  10. “much ado about nothing and I can forgive the drunken blowup” I suspect you are probably right, people like him typically can’t get their sh^t together to actually see a legal battle through. Men like him on the other hand typically do have women or other family members get their sh^t together for them, but because the current wife really has no incentive to do so…you are probably going to be OK.

    Keep your head up and don’t give him too much energy. This is just his guilt and need to proof that you are not better than him manifesting in this immature game he is playing.

    After all the pain, the unfairness of it all: at least we can say thank GOD that we are no longer with them!

  11. I only know you from your blog, but you seem like a wonderful mother. I am further along than you in your situation, but what you write is very similar to mine. I left my ex when my children were one and two years old and several years later remarried. I decided never to say anything bad to my kids about their father and to let them judge on their own, looking forward to the day when they could make their own decisions not to spend time with him, a decision they did eventually make as teenagers. I know it is very stressful and painful to have this constant threat in the background. But I really think you are doing the most important thing, which is providing a stable base for your daughter to come home to and grow up in.

    My 1-year old is now 27. When she got married last month, she asked her step-father to walk her down the aisle. She made this decision with no bitterness about the past.

    I just wish to reassure you that this won’t last forever and that your child surely knows that you love her.

Comments are closed.