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August 6, 2005

One Two punch ... (or: Thanks for reminding me why I divorced you)

The weekends have always been a problem. This weekend is no different. I could have bet $10 that the x would not even call this weekend since Joseph is out of town. I mean, why come for visitation just for Jasmyn? Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather when he called last night. He talked to her for a minute or two then asked to talk to me. I reluctantly took the phone, not knowing where this was going but hoping for the best.

The first few minutes were spent asking about Joseph, where he is, what he's doing and when he is coming back. Then he over explained what is going on with him trying to get back to work. I don't know why he felt the need to go into such detail.

No, I take that back. I do know why he was chatty. He had been avoiding me for weeks because he hasn't been paying child support. Last night he just wanted to let me know that he IS going back to work and that he didn't forget about child support and he will be paying again soon.

At least that was all I thought it was. I am so naïve. I told him Jazz and I may be going to see an old friend of mine from Massachusetts who is in NC with her family. He asked a few questions about her, about her husband, about how they have been doing, just small talk.

I told him how much I respect the fact that they have been committed to each other and their kids and how hard they have worked to build their life together. I don't have many friends but I've known this one for 25 years and I have to say this for her husband; he never abandoned his family, he never cheated on his wife, he never forced his wife to do anything that went against her moral core. In my eyes, he's a good husband. When he pushed me to tell him when we were going, I told him our trip would be worked around his visit so that he wouldn't think I was trying to keep him away from his daughter.

As he started talking about when he would pick up Jazz, he slipped a comment in about how he thinks that Jazz and I 'gang up' on Joseph and that is why he feels so alone. I defended myself calmly and was very proud that he didn't manage to piss me off.

Then he started to say how he tries to be Joseph's friend, how he tried to do things with him because he is alone and lonely. He even said that he taught Joseph how to drive his car and lets him drive it in his yard.

I bristled at this and that was my mistake. I reacted with my heart rather than my head. See, I have a problem with parents that bend the law just so they can be cool in their kids eyes. The kid is 13 and there is a big difference between a friend offering to teach him how to drive when he knows he's not supposed to and his FATHER offering to teach him how to drive when he knows he's not supposed to.

He knows about peer pressure. He knows how to get out of things he doesn't want to do with kids his age. With his father, how does he say no? He can't. He has no way to say no without wondering if that will be the one thing that will make his father give up on him and leave for good. He actually told me that his father taught him how to drive but he made me promise not to tell him ... and I didn't let on that I knew. I just took a deep breath and I told the x what I thought about that.

I told him while it is ok to be a friend to your kid, you have to remember that you are their parent first and foremost, that everything you do and say to them or in front of them has more weight because of that.

I didn't even realize what I had done. In karate, it is called leaving yourself open. In boxing, it's leading with your chin. In my life, judging by the hits I've taken, it is par for the course.

"Do you do the same thing with the kids?" he asked.

"Of course I do," I said warily, realizing a second too late that he had noticed an opening and was circling his prey.

"Then what are you teaching your daughter?"

"What do you mean?" By now, the vise started pressing on my heart and I felt the panic starting to rise.

"Listen, I'm not telling you how to live your life but what are you teaching your daughter by letting your boyfriend come stay in the house every month? What is she learning?"

And there it was. 20 minutes of casual chatting turned into that. And that is why my x and I can never be friends. I always say he's stupid but it's amazing how just that one dig suddenly made me feel like an absolute idiot for leaving myself open.

He never had my best interests at heart, he never cared about my happiness, he never trusts me and he never will. How could I be a friend with a person like that? He is a narcissist and it's a persistent character disorder. We will always be connected by our children but I can never trust him to care about them more than he cares himself or, ultimately, about hurting me for defying him.

I don't want to only remember the worst about him. Doing that makes me seem like a petty person and leaves me with all the negativity of our relationship in my heart and I can't be truly happy like that.

But I can't exactly look back at the good times of our relationship because I don't remember any of them. I don't have happy stories, happy pictures. It's almost as if 15 years of my life has been wiped clean, as though the fact that I was ever married to him went right out of my head the day I got the divorce. I try to only think of him as the father of my children and try to find the good in that, namely that I have 2 great kids.

When dealing with him, I prefer to take each day as it comes and hope that he has changed and every time he shows me he hasn't, I walk away determined to get rid of the negativity and go on toward tomorrow in a more positive way.

Unfortunately, today was the tomorrow that was supposed to be more positive and I still have a bitter aftertaste in the back of my throat for what he did yesterday.

What I wanted to say:
"If you would stop being such an officious prick for a second, you might realize that I am a happier, healthier person now than I was when we were married. That makes me a better parent. The fact that I have someone in my life that does care about both me AND my kids, that takes their feelings into consideration when he makes decisions that will effect them, that actually makes me feel smart and safe and happy should make you happy. But you can't be happy unless I am miserable and, I'm sorry, asshole, but I'm not going to give you the satisfaction."

What I did say:
"I have to go now. This conversation is over. Call if you want to see your daughter this weekend. Goodbye."

And then I hung up the phone, closed the door to my bedroom and cried until I couldn't anymore.

I am such a fucking wuss.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Prosemonkey published on August 6, 2005 12:09 AM.

Day 5 ... Saint Sharon, patron saint of the bitten tongue was the previous entry in this blog.

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