Trying To Keep My Perspective

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Yesterday was vistation.  We knew it would be tense.

The last few vistations have been rough, and the kids have seen increased agitation in their father.  In March he sat and glared at them and watched them as they walked out to go to the bathroom.  My 16 year old was afraid.  He is afraid.

I called the ex to see if we could switch weeks, so the kids could go to their oldest brother’s wedding.  He never returned my call.  When he called the kids a week later, they asked him.  He told them he was moving but didn’t give them the address and didn’t call again at his regular call time. 

The night before visitation, Friday, at almost 9 o’clock, my 16 year old called his dad to see if visitation was still on.  I suspected their dad had no intention of giving us the new address but would then file contempt charges against me for denying his vistation.

He angrily told E it had not been two weeks since he’d called.  He snapped out that he had called Sunday before last.  His call time is Sundays at 6. He had not called in 12 days and three hours when our son had to call him to get his new address, but we’re not going to call that two weeks.

There’s been no child support again. 

I dropped the kids off at the lovely older cottage with the new truck and the Harley Davidson parked in the carport.  I could see all of the weight equipment he claimed he had to sell in desperate poverty post divorce.  It was arranged in the garage in a way that was obvious it is being used.  And, I headed to work……my sixth day in a row. 

The kids usually ask to be picked up anywhere between 1:30 and 3:30.  The last two times they did stay until 5:30.  When I left work at 3 I texted the kids to see if they were ready.  E was obviously PANICKED.  They wanted to leave, but their dad was riled.  They were afraid.  He didn’t want them to go yet and was acting hostile.

E begged, “What do I do???”

I told him to explain to his dad that they had appointments to get haircuts for the wedding.  That only infuriated him more!  “Why does your mom do that?  Why does she schedule stuff during MY time?  I could take you more!  You do realize that, don’t you?  I have the RIGHT to take you more!  Why does your mother do this?”

I’ve never done that before. 

However, it was a legitimate reason.  I work six days a week.  It’s what you have to do when their deadbeat dad refuses to pay child support consistently.  And, they needed haircuts for the wedding.  They hadn’t had haircuts in months.  But, bottom line is, they were afraid of their father and wanted out of there.

When I got there I was cool and acted like everything was fine.  I’m really good at that. He and my family trained me well.  Let’s play pretend this is normal and no one sees you’re a monster.

I handed him mail that had come to my house for our 19 year old.  He grabbed it and acted like he was going to throw it on the ground.  He stood in the doorway of my car as though he might get in, blocking the kids from getting in, and went into a tirade about how they hadn’t eaten and he didn’t realize I was going to get them soooo early. 

I calmly explained that it was about the same time I always pick them up and that with my work schedule it was the only time I could get the kids to the barber without taking time off work.  His eyes were sharp and his jaw was flexing.

He then offered me a smart TV.  He has three and only needs two.  He thought the kids could use it in their room.  I said no thank you to which his glare sharpened and his mouth pulled tight.  He leaned further into my car and snapped, “Fine!  I just thought they could use it upstairs.  It was given to me, and I don’t need it so I thought I’d give it to the kids!” 

I remained calm and smiled and explained that the kids have tablets; we have a TV; and (as he knows full well) I think too much technology isn’t good for their study habits or their behavior.  And, if we watch TV, it’s all together.

He argued that the boys could use it for their video games in their room.  I stood firm.  They play in the living room. No thank you. 

I thought he might lunge at me.  I could clearly see what E was texting about.

He went back to arguing about losing his time, and I offered to bring them back to him to have dinner with him AFTER the haircuts.  He backed off and let the kids in the car wth that.

After the haircuts, from the barber shop, I called him.  He answered but wasn’t home.  We waited an hour for him to come back before I left the kids with him to eat pizza.

Another hour passed, and I retrieved my emotional children.  They started in on how he has all of our old furniture in his new place.  The expensive furniture he claimed he had to burn because I had allowed it to ruin.  They told how there is a shotgun hidden in the top of the entertainment armoire and a pistol in his bedroom.

His boss, the one who is not garnishing his wages as he’s supposed to, is the one who is renting him this cute little house.  His boss is well connected, a big wig in this town.  His boss is good friends with my cousin who fired my teenager without reason or notice.  His boss is enabling him and further victimizing us, all in the name of being a good Christian. 

I’m fighting to keep my perspective. 

This man who had nothing but a sleeping bag, a small mat, a stereo, some plastic bowls, and A LOT of debt when I married him, walked away with A LOT of very nice material goods.

When I married him I had so much, so very much, but no debt.  And, all I walked away with, for all of my years of hard work, was his debt, the full responsibility for my wounded children, and a broken down body.

It’s hard not to be angry.

The youngest two crawled in my bed and asked to sleep with me.  My little girl was sobbing.  In between gasps she expressed her fear that her dad would take her away from me.  With two kids in my bed tossing and turning and moaning all night, needless to say, I didn’t sleep.

As I lay there in the dark listening to their fitfulness, random thoughts seemed to come from outside myself.  The Son of God had no place to lay His head.  Elijah thought he was alone and was fed by the birds.  Jeremiah was lowered into the pit.  David was hunted by Saul and later by his own son.  Job lost everything, including his children.  Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers, lied about, falsely accused, wrongly imprisoned, and then forgotten. Lazarus was covered in sores and ate with the dogs.  Jesus was hunted and eventually murdered by His own people.

Each case was unfair.  Unjust.  They suffered things they did not deserve as a direct result of the wickedness of others. 

My Sister Survivors, on days like yesterday we need to keep an eternal perspective….. we’re in good company.  We’re on the right side.  And, in the end, our team wins.  Stay strong.  Fight the good fight.  Our redeemer is coming back but next time it’s with a double edged sword, riding his horse into battle.  Do not grow weary in doing good, or what is right.  Your reward will be great.  Possess the spirit of Jael but maintain a soft heart.  And, look up, our redemption draws near. 

I’m Still Here

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I’m sorry I’ve been away.  I miss you all.  My computer died.  I can’t afford to replace it.  And, it’s really difficult blogging from my phone. 

And, I’ve been dealing with a lot.  Physically.  Emotionally.  Financially.  Relationally. 

I’m working six days a week and am also trying to get wood in for next winter while battling the last few pieces of wet wood we have left this winter.  We’re cold all the time.  The breaker for the dryer finally went, so I’m hanging wet laundry in the cold living room and also driving into town late at night to a laundromat.

I’m tired all the time.

My ex bought a really nice truck, a TV, sound bar, a Harley, a tablet, and two pistols…..he has a girlfriend and hangs out in the bars a lot.  I shake my head at the unfairness of it all. 

He glares at the kids during visitation.  He lays on them.  Puts his head in their crotches.  He talks incessantly about taking them places and teaching our teenager to drive. ……. the kid he tried to kill in his car.  Yeah, the teen is really excited about getting in a motor vehicle again with him.  Not.  They HATE visitation.  They develop headaches and stomachaches the day before they have to go, and, a month ago, my youngest suddenly developed an obsession with hand washing upon returning from vistation.  She can’t get clean enough to satisfy “whatever” is bothering her.   Where is their justice?

One of my closest friends rarely has anything to do with me anymore and only makes snotty remarks when I do see her.  She has money and social position.  Her friends have money and social position.  And, the ex has wormed his way into their circle.  They look past the long, unkempt hair and beard, the dirty clothes, the lecherous expressions, and self-indulgence.  They feel sorry for him.  I’ve become a “story teller” in their eyes.  Where is my validation?

There seems to be no rest.  No peace.  No end to this nightmare of a life he forced upon us.

But, in the middle of it all…… my second son, the one who suffered the worst and most severe abuse, asked me to do the flowers for his wedding.  He and his fiancé trusted me and gave me creative license to create something with no direction from them. 

Their wedding was sweet, tender, and beautiful.

Then, the time drew near for their baby to be born, and my son let me know I was to be there with them as they welcomed Little Man into the world. 

When the day arrived I got off work, showered, and hurried to the hospital.  It was a long night of terrible suffering for my tiny daughter in law.  My son, too.  He threw up.  He nearly passed out.  He left the room to go to the chapel and pray.

In the final moments I watched as my son stood at his wife’s head, wringing a cool cloth onto her forehead, and as her angry mother stepped back into a corner, hurt that her laboring daughter snapped at her.  I recognized those dynamics so well!  This was supposed to be all about her mother, but the young wife forgot that in her pain.

I lifted my daughter in law’s upper body with each push, encouraging her as she worked to birth her firstborn son.  I could feel the power and strength of every muscle in her body. I could see my grandson making funny faces before his body was out.  And, I was in awe of her. 

Until that moment I cared for her.  But, suddenly, I loved her fiercely and respected her immensely.  I bonded with her.

She gave me the most beautiful gift.

She let me witness the amazing strength and beauty of femininity at its fullest.  She loves my son.  She brought him to his knees before his Lord.  She let’s me love her son.

I stopped by their house after work yesterday just as she was leaving for urgent care.  In her exhaustion, she fell asleep with a contact in and her eye is full of blood.  So, I sat with my son and held my grandson.  My son and I visited, though it was obvious I was disrupting his TV show on Bible history.  We just relaxed and talked while the baby slept cuddled to my chest. 

The beer bottles have been replaced by the Bible on the coffee table.  My son’s pained and angry expression has been replaced with a mix of worry and contentment.

And, I was content.

In the home they’re making together, healing brokenness and looking ahead, I found an hour of rest, fairness, justice, and validation.  And, hope.

My ex devastated our lives, but We’re Still Here.

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright

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Today is Valentine’s Day.  Not a single card, flower, or piece of chocolate.  No sweet messages of love for me.  I’m alone.  Sitting in my old bathrobe, sipping the coffee I just made, in front of the fire I started.  Alone.

I went to a Jonny Lang concert Friday night.  Alone.  I bought a single ticket before Christmas.  And, I walked in there Friday night all by my lonesome.  While couples and groups chatted and laughed and hugged, waiting for the show to start, I sat and worked on my book.

My seat was dead center, six rows back in the intimate little venue.  I actually made eye contact with Jonny twice.  Squeal!  Once was while we were all singing in unison, “Everything’s Gonna be alright.”  Now, concerts can be almost spiritual–it’s a strange thing–but he had us sing that over and over and over again until I think every soul in there believed it.  Perhaps that was his purpose.  But, when he looked at me and sang those words as I was singing them, they penetrated my spirit.

The couple next to me included me in their conversation and kept offering to buy me drinks.  We hugged when I left, and the woman told me we’ll all get the same seats next year so that I’ll never have to be alone at one of Jonny’s shows.

Yesterday I spent the afternoon and evening buying and delivering Valentine’s for my kids and grandkids.  As I walked into one store, a darling toddler with a crop of dark, wavy hair caught my eye.  He’d gotten away from his mother and was reaching for the sliding door.  I gasped.  That cute little guy was going to get his fingers caught!
His mama was quicker than he was though and grabbed him away just in time.  As she stood up I realized that’s my grandson’s mother!  It was then that I noticed my 4 year old grandson had kept walking out the door as his mother struggled with his brother.  I froze and beamed, waiting for him to notice me. 

He did.  He yelled my name and came running, arms out.  He hugged me over and over again, telling strangers that walked past, “That’s MY grandma!”

After they left, his mama sent me a video text of him telling me he loves me.

My final stop was my daughter’s house.  She breaks my heart on a weekly basis, but she has valiantly birthed two little girls who don’t see me through her eyes.  The loose afro bounced as my granddaughter came to me.  That bear hug must have taken every once of strength a 2 year old could muster!  She rubbed my hair. 

We’d been exchanging texts earlier in the day.  My daughter would read mine to my granddaughter, and she would record voice messages to me…….”I love you, Nammy.”  These hugs were the culmination of our verbal love fest that morning.  We’d both been looking forward to seeing each other all day. 

Her baby sister cooed and “talked” back to me, smiling, and opening her mouth, asking for kisses.

So, I’m alone on Valentine’s Day.  In a cold house.  With nothing but what I make for myself.  Yet, I’m bathed in a sense that “Everything’s gonna be alright.” 

Everything’s gonna be alright. 

Thank you, Jonny.  Thank you, strangers I sat next to.  Thank you, my sweet grand babies.  Thank you, Lord.

Everything’s gonna be alright.  Everything’s gonna be alright.  Everything’s gonna be alright……

Happy Valentine’s Day

Losing Hope

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It’s like the tide.  It ebbs and flows.  Recedes and swells.  As with the natural cycle of life, hopelessness seems to have a regular place in the time and space of a survivor’s life. 

High tides wash in, slamming the shore with blessings and sweet friendship. All you can do is stand on a high point and take in the majesty of God’s goodness.

But, then, almost as suddenly as the waters rose, they shrink back out into that cold, dark depth of seeming nothingness.  And, that’s how you feel.  Like nothing. You stand on the low point with the ground beneath you being pulled out.  You stare at the debris now revealed and realize it had still been there all along. It had just been temporarily hidden by the fleeting high tide. 

With trembling, weak hands you cling to the wet, slimy stones and fight to climb back up. “Look how far you’ve come!”  “Yes, but, you had so much to overcome.”  “At least you’re not living with him!”  “Are you sure that’s really how it was?  I only hear these stories from you.”  Empty words of bullshit ‘comfort’ echo off the rocks.  Easy for the ones to say who live in the glass houses perched upon the highest rocks.  There they are and perhaps always have been protected from the raging seas below. 

If I let the water pull me out with the sand and floating seaweed, would they blame me for my lack of strength? 

I stoop to pick up the garbage scattered along the barren shoreline and place it in my bag.  A broken piece of glass pierces my flesh.  As I watch the blood trickle down my finger it dawns on me….. they want me to stay down here.  They can’t be above if there’s no one below.

http://popchassid.com/you-are-the-second-abuser/

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This is an EXCELLENT read and explains my silence the last few months.  I cannot bring myself to say the words I want to scream out.  From my adult children to one of my dearest friends to acquaintences I’ve known for years to those who read this blog and make PTSD inducing comments……..I have silenced myself because I just can’t bear up under the secondary abuse.

Women Hating Women; The Sisterhood of Self Loathing

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I remember the evening I really began to love other women.  It was in a group counseling meeting at the women’s shelter the spring of 2011.

There they were.  About twelve of them.  All broken.  All crying.  Lives a mess.

As they cried and shared openly their pain and struggles, I saw the raw beauty of femininity for the first time in my life.  It was as though someone wiped a window clean and where I’d once seen distorted, ugly hags, I now saw delicate and lovely maidens.

In that moment I suddenly noticed the elegance of one’s posturing, the cuteness of another’s painted toes, the smoothness of an older women’s long legs in shorts.  Each one possessed some quality of unique and outstanding beauty that I had not noticed until I saw them through the new lens.  The lens of Sisterhood.

I was raised in an extremely misogynistic world, so I fully understand the jealousy and fear that haunts so many women.  But, it still disturbs me.  It angers me.  Now that I’m no longer wallowing in it.

Growing up, I was constantly compared to my friends.  I wasn’t as pretty, athletic, hard-working, sweet, curvy, smart, etc, etc, as my friends.  My parents began so many sentences with, “Why can’t you be more like…….” or, “It’s too bad you aren’t built more like……”  I was mocked for things I couldn’t help, such as my big nose and my flat chest while my friends were admired and flattered for seemingly everything, and that set them up, in my mind, as my competition.

I saw other women as a threat.  ALL women were my competitors, and I paled in comparison to them all.

I was taught and told that women can’t be trusted.  All women are whores.  All women are gold diggers.  All women are backstabbers.  All women are liars.  So, I didn’t trust women with the jewel of friendship.  It was difficult for me to feel close to girls, and I certainly didn’t trust them with my secrets or around my boyfriends.

And, many of them proved me (my parents) right.  They stole my clothes, slept with my boyfriends and first husband, tore apart other relationships with their lies.  They were the mean girls.

My own mother was the vilest creature of all and naturally was the first and foremost representation of womanhood in my young eyes.  Can you imagine what she taught me about trusting other women?!

So, I get it.  Still, I feel anger well within me when I see women attacking women.

I’ve noticed when male friends on Facebook post bitter memes about how awful women are, it is mostly women who like them or comment, “LOL!”  When a woman makes the news, it is mostly women in the strand of hateful “fry her!” comments at the bottom of the report.  Yet, when a father was recently arrested for kidnapping his child, it was mostly women who came to his defense because, they said, the poor man probably had a mean ex who would have kept his child from him.

Last night someone posted a picture of a beautiful black woman who is an outspoken advocate for girls’ protection from female circumcision, a survivor of it herself.   Some company or organization was offering money to the individual or group who had the most likes.  I immediately liked it and then, out of, I guess, a sick and morbid curiosity, began to read the horrible comments made by other women.  They hijacked the entire post and began nastily arguing that women need to “get off of it” and quit being hypocrites because, in their minds, it’s no different from male circumcision and “no one says a thing.”

Women were telling other women to stop talking about the horrors of holding down a little girl and, without anesthetic, scraping off her clitoris and inner labia, then stitching her outer labia closed, leaving her in shock and at HIGH risk of infection and denying her the possibility of sexual pleasure as an adult.  I’ve read accounts of physicians who were horrified the first time they saw the results of this, when they were called in to deliver babies through the mess these women’s mothers, aunts, and grandmothers–other women–left them with.  I’ve read stories of girls dying and nearly dying from infection, not at the time of the “procedure,” but later…..when they began menstruating and the blood was not able to escape completely, or from urinary tract infections caused by not being able to clean themselves or even relieve themselves thoroughly.

I’m not advocating male circumcision, but that’s not the same thing.

Last night someone else posted a picture of dirty work boots and a loooonnnnng rant about women needing to appreciate their husbands and how hard their men work.  Awhile back someone posted a video rant by a large breasted blonde telling women to “quit bitching at [their] men and just let them go hunting”…..”they need that man time after how hard they work for us.”

A few men, of course, liked these posts.  But, again, it was mostly women who responded positively and glowingly, cutting down other women with the assumption that women in general just don’t appreciate men the way they should….the way men deserve to be appreciated, admired, honored.

I’m not a bitter man hater.  I like men.  I love men.  I miss the scent of a man, the feel of a nice bicep, the sound of a deep voice.  I think wives should appreciate their husbands.  But, men are not superior, Ladies!  They do not have more value or worth than we do.  Our work and labor should also be appreciated.  The same judgment or mercy should be equally applied across the board.  If you are of the inclination to believe a man is innocent until proven guilty, then that gentle approach should also apply to women.  If you are apt to judge a woman quickly, you’d better judge men quickly then, too.

The bottom line is….we are all sinful, fallen human beings.  We all do wrong: men and women.  And, we are all human beings created in the image of God.  We all are of great worth: male and female.

That evening, back at the women’s shelter, in 2011, I alternately cried and laughed hysterically as I shared the history of abuse in my marriage and released all of that stifled emotion.  And, those beautiful women sat and listened with compassion, as I had sat and listened with compassion to their similar stories.  As I saw that they did not hate me, distrust me, judge me, or desire to compete with me, I relaxed into a Sisterhood of support.  I began to finally put down the heavy rod of self-hatred that I’d been carrying on my back my entire life.  I was free to love other women and allow them to love me back.

We need other women.  We need deep, real friendships with women.  I think the devil scored big when he convinced us to hate each other, when he convinced us to hate that core part of ourselves…..femininity.  He robbed us of an incredible gift…the sisterhood of support.

When Did Being the Victim Become the Crime?

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I haven’t connected to television programming in twenty years, so I’m horribly out of step with that aspect of our culture, which is HUGE.  One other friend and I often sit in silence at dinner parties while everyone else enthusiastically discusses the latest episode of the hot-right-now shows they’re all watching regularly.  I don’t even recognize the names of any of the actors or actresses.

In group settings, the conversation always seems to eventually get around to that subject.  And, it did again when my brother, sister-in-law, and I sat and watched my children swimming.  My half-brother absolutely loves a show called Naked and Afraid and told me I just had to see it.  Fortunately, there were a few episodes on YouTube, so I could take a gander at his obsession and feel a part of that conversation at a later date.

During one of the reunion episodes of the show the majority of the group verbally attacked one woman who had bowed out early from her expedition.  One of the men condemned her for sitting around and playing the victim.  She reduced to tears.

In my mind, as I was watching this verbal barrage, she was a victim! I didn’t care for how she presented herself, but she was plainly being bullied.  She had clearly been ostracized during the time they were all Naked and Afraid and now she was being bullied to tears by the same group of people who obviously thought it was okay to treat another human being like that in a do or die situation.  And, the greatest insult they could hurl at her was that she “made herself” a victim.

I hear it constantly.  I see it on Facebook.  Stupid memes everywhere.  Inspirational quotes plastered around.

DON’T BE A VICTIM!

And, yet, there are victims.  Victims of identity theft.  Victims of natural disaster.  Victims of random crime.  Victims of drunk drivers.  Victims of sexual exploitation.  Victims of war.  Victims of domestic violence.  Victims of bullying.

But, don’t “make” yourself a victim.

I don’t know.  Just my personal opinion, but I think we should make being a violent person or an exploiter or a criminal the thing to NOT be.

Our culture, and especially our institutes of higher learning, churn this garbage out.

Ayn Rand in Atlas Shrugged states, “People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.”

She eloquently twists it all around to make the culprit the victim.  My apologies to all of those who fell in love with Ayn Rand in college, but what a bunch of hogwash!

Steve Maraboli doesn’t even try to sound deep and philosophical.  He just says it…..“The victim mindset dilutes the human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce our power to change them.”  And, even better,  “Today is a new day. Don’t let your history interfere with your destiny! Let today be the day you stop being a victim of your circumstances and start taking action towards the life you want. You have the power and the time to shape your life. Break free from the poisonous victim mentality [emphasis mine] and embrace the truth of your greatness. You were not meant for a mundane or mediocre life!”

C.R. Strahan makes it all sound so spiritual and righteous (which, then, does that make admitting to victimhood unspiritual and unrighteous?) when he says, “Forgiveness has nothing to do with absolving a criminal of his crime. It has everything to do with relieving oneself of the burden of being a victim–letting go of the pain and transforming oneself from victim to survivor.”

The “burden of being a victim”………I say that burden is placed upon an individual the day the cruel person chose to be a perpetrator.  And, I think our society needs to break free from the poisonous stamp of approval it gives offenders whenever the greater encumbrance is placed upon the broken and abused individual.   Every time we tell a victim to stop making themselves the victim we remove accountability from the one who is truly to blame for the wound…..the one who inflicted it.

The definition of the word victim is “a person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.”

We are effectively removing responsibility from those who should be held accountable for their actions and crimes and are, instead, placing that responsibility on those injured.  And, that is what feeds the violence.  If you are of an inclination to hurt others and you know that no one around you is going to hold you liable for what you do, why not?  What is stopping you?  What restricts the evil?

The Good Samaritan did NOT ask the wounded man what he had done to put himself in that position, and he is our example given to us by Christ.  Yet, most of the time, our first question is, “What is your responsibility in all of this?  What did you do to put yourself in this position?”  His first response was not to lecture the man on the forgiveness and grace he “owed” the robbers.  He generously and kindly tended to the man’s needs, seeing he had been wounded.

He generously and kindly tended to the man’s needs, seeing he had been wounded.  That is all.

The Narcissistic Sociopath Finds Support and Protection in the Courts

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The heavy darkness bore down upon me until it forced me out of bed.  Unable to sleep or even breathe for its weight, there was no place of rest to be found for me tonight.

It has been over four years since he stormed out of our home in a fit of rage.  Two and a half years have passed since the divorce was finalized.  And, yet, on Thursday I received notification from the court that he has retained an attorney and filed a motion to have his domestic violence conviction set aside.

Merely checking the mail had no longer caused me horrific anxiety.  Now, that reprieve has passed, and I find myself avoiding the mailbox once again these last couple of days.

The DA’s office does not think I have a chance of winning should I request a hearing.  “He’s kept his nose clean in the eyes of the law before and since his conviction,” they claim.  The Chief Administrative Assistant was shocked the judge denied his motion to have this conviction set aside in 2011.  But, I had a newly signed personal protection order, and he angrily exploded in the courtroom, frightening others present.  The judge got to witness the narc’s other side that he typically reserves for private moments.

What do I have new since the 2011 hearing?  She reminded me……that was over four years ago.  He is threatening and manipulative with the children.  She responded, “That isn’t illegal.  That happens in a lot of families.”  In the eyes of the law that continued demonstration of poor character does not indicate that he is still a threat to us or anyone else.  Poor character is not against the law.  They do not see the continuum here.

So, I can’t sleep.

Why is he trying once again to have this conviction set aside?  What is his ultimate motivation?  Is it simply that he wants to open up the possibility of returning to a former line of work that is easier than the work he currently does?  Or, is he setting the stage for another ploy to gain custody?

The narc and I both know that the best defense is a good offense.  The best way to defeat an enemy is to remove their ability to attack you.  I am quite certain this latest motion of his is just that.  I know he would claim in court that it has everything to do with job hunting, as he would claim the abuse was an isolated incident.  But, I know he’s really just removing his weak spot–a conviction for a violent crime–in order to thwart my ability to counter attack should he go for custody again.

If I request a hearing and plead my case before the judge who listened compassionately to a child’s testimony of abuse and then awarded the abuser unsupervised visitation……..the judge who illegally awarded the narc, with a standing domestic violence conviction, a rifle and waved off my attorney’s protests that it broke federal law…….the judge whose own pastor came to court and sat with my ex’s nonbelieving family as “moral support”……….will he have a change of heart and validate my very real fears?   Or, will he once again side with the abuser and give him what he asks for?

The known-to-be-corrupt DA’s office isn’t even supportive.  They obviously don’t want to take this to hearing.  Last time, the Assistant DA did.  He was eager to keep the record in place.

If I request a hearing anyway and enter the courtroom alone, without the support of the DA, swimming upstream and fighting against everyone, and the judge orders the record set aside and sealed, the narc will be empowered by his success.  He will know for certain he has the best enabler he could ask for….the courthouse….covering for him.  That would most definitely give him the green light to fight for custody again.

Of course, any attorney would then argue that I’m just hateful and paranoid, a fantastic backdrop for a case of parental alienation, because I’m still holding on to this “one isolated incident” from eight years ago.  I’m still trying to make the poor narc pay in spite of him being a model citizen in all other regards.  Just another bitter woman.

And, I would miss work, lose clients, fall behind on the kids’ schooling, the children would miss out on extracurricular activities, and I’d be broke, living in squalor while trying to pay a worthless attorney to plead my cause, knowing full well he’d had a friendly dinner with the opposing attorney the night before and that my fate was decided before we ever stepped foot in the courtroom.  Every ounce of energy and every dime would go to contesting the narc and his latest antics.

My only other option is to not request a hearing and just allow the conviction to be set aside.  Go on with my life with no regard to what he may pull next.  Go to work, pay my bills, run the kids to birthday parties and dance classes and piano lessons, rebuild my credit with the dream of buying a modest home….live.  Live and breathe and sleep, trusting in God that He will protect us and has a plan in all of this mess.  Focus on a positive direction for the children and myself regardless of the narc’s latest antics.

He frequently said, “Bad attention is better than no attention at all.”  He loves to fight.  He loves contention.  He’s constantly agitated over some perceived injustice because others simply don’t treat him as special as he should be treated.  So, he slanders them and creates difficulties in their lives to make himself the center, as he feels he should be.  I don’t want to hand him that pleasure by charging into a losing battle.  “Supply” feeds the narc, and I’m simply finished being that source for him.  If his nourishment is cut off here, he will be forced to look for it elsewhere.  He needs it.  He craves it.  Like an addict, he is single-minded and focused as he seeks his next “hit.”

I panic at the thought of facing him in court again.  I have tremendous anxiety over the idea of him actually having the children in his custody!  But, at some point, we must go on with our lives and not live in continual reactivity to his demands for attention.  My time and money and energy must go into rebuilding a life worth living, not struggling with the vicissitudes of a life that I’ve extricated myself from.  And, I have to let the narc see there is nothing to feed on here.  Not any more.

Going Against Conventional “Wisdom” Within the Church Regarding Abuse, Infidelity, and Divorce

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I never listen to the Dove, a local Christian radio station, because I have viewed it as “too schmarmy Christian.”  By that, I mean, I’ve thought it plays into the stereotypical phony voiced love/grace/mercy at all costs teaching that is so prevalent in the Christian community at large today.  But, ya know what?  My heart was just hard, and God revealed that to me this morning.

I never listen to the Dove.  But, last night my teenage son bought me a secular CD I’ve been longing for for quite some time.  We listened to it on our way home, and he popped it out to bring it in the house when we arrived back home, leaving the system on.  So, when I started the car this morning, to head to work, the stereo system was on, and, for some weird reason, it was set to the Dove.

At first I listened more for my own entertainment.  I was going to mock it.  Through the static I could hear them laughing and throwing around the “grace” word.  But, it did NOT go where I thought it would!  I was convicted.  And, I was fed.  And, I was validated.

http://thedove.us/shows/counselor-patrick-doyle-veritas-counseling-discusses-hardened-heart

War Room: Dishonoring God

adayinhiscourt

war-roomby John Ellis

 *Spoiler Alert*

I didn’t wake up last Monday morning thinking about War Room, the Kendrick brothers, or Christian movies in general. Perusing one of my favorite websites while drinking my morning coffee, I read a wrap-up of the weekend’s box office that briefly discussed the success of War Room, a movie I hadn’t thought about in months since I had watched the trailer. Delving further, I clicked on several links to reviews of War Room and came across a statement that prompted me to write a brief article on the Kendrick brothers. I didn’t write a review of War Room, nor was that my intention; writing the article, based on my knowledge of the Kendrick brothers’ movies, I was mainly responding to movie critic Scott Renshaw’s comment. However, my post generated so much buzz, both positive and negative, that I made the rash…

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