Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
At times I wonder if this is where my drive comes from. I have so much to be angry about when it comes to my ex, and to get me past it, I have basically cut off most contact from him. So when I start thinking about wanting full custody of the kids, I really try to do so without my hatred of him in mind. This is hard to do! But I look at all the times he has been a neglectful parent, and my blood boils, and I feel entitled.
I decided the moral thing to do would be to talk to my ex about all this before I filed papers. This was a split second decision. When I picked up the kids that Saturday, he had obviously had a rough time with them. So I asked if he wanted some pointers on making the weekends easier. Somehow we got into the whole discussion on his girlfriend, and the pregnancy mess he is in. I can’t help it, I feel bad for him. Granted, he had just as much fault in all of it. But little by little his whole life is just closing down on him. And he has closed himself off so much from everyone, especially his family. I realized that me filing would just add to everything. Granted, the custody issue really is about the kids, and not him, but it affects him. So I told him what I wanted, and asked if he would go along. Of course he wouldn’t. But he wanted to know why. I told him that the last two months have proven to be really chaotic, so much that the kids are not receiving routine care at his house, and his anger has spouted off more than once in front of them. As for the personal care, he blamed that on the fact that I was always the one who did that. But I pointed out that before he moved to RiverRat town, the kids were receiving baths, and brushing their teeth, etc. But since the move, their teeth go unbrushed, no baths are given, they wear the same clothes day and night, they have no bedtime, they watch horrible movies, etc.
I do have to say that regardless of the content of this conversation, never once did he lose his cool. He never blew up. And it remained calm. We got back on the subject of his life, and I urged him to call his mom. I even dialed the number for him and gave him the phone. After we parted, he spent all day there, and yesterday too.
Last night I talked to my mother in law just to check in to see how he was doing. Of course we got on the subject of custody. I don’t know why it surprised me, but my MIL told me that she urged my ex to hold onto his custody and fight for it. I pointed out all the neglect that was going on. She pointed out how neglectful things were when we were together, and wondered if I was acting on being a “woman scorned”.
Of course I argued with her on all this. And after the phone call (we did end it peacefully), I couldn’t help but mull over her words. When my ex and I were together, I went through a severe depression. And my kids did suffer for it. And the truth is, if I hadn’t had my parents to fall back on these past 10 months, what kind of mother would I be? My ex is going through a severe depression now with little to no support system. And while his blow ups with me are unexcusable, I can remember how much effort it was for me in my depressed state to take care of myself, let alone a kid.
And then there’s my anger. Yes, my ex has been neglectful, but had I ever really talked to him about it? Maybe he just needed some directions as to what I expected from him during these weekend visits. My whole attitude has been to watch him fall and have something for my records in my fight for custody. I know that if I told him what I wanted him to do, he would just do it. And granted, the bedtime thing won’t change, and maybe not even the movies. But these are small things that aren’t my concern. The truth is, kids watch scary movies all the time. I did as a kid.
And even in his depressed state, he has made a point of taking them to the park every weekend. He does fun stuff with them. He is so much more involved in their lives than he used to be. If the responsible stuff was taken care of, isn’t that what they need? My main concern for them when the schedule changed for them on the weekends was that they do fun stuff on the weekends. And he has not failed once during this time.
I’ve been really confused on this because I have my counselor pushing for my fight, and my parents too. I am not naturally a malicious person, and this has been tearing me up inside and keeping me up at nights. I really don’t want to feel hate, and I think my counselor has been igniting that in me. I know the reasons, so I don’t fall back in his web. But there really is no danger of me getting back together with him, or wanting to. I just don’t want him as an enemy, and I think I could move on so much easier if we got along with no legal fights at all.
So my plan is for us to get sit down together some time and just discuss all the needs of the kids and how they can be met. They’re the ones this involves, and our feelings have no rhyme or reason in this. And I also want to urge him to get into some sort of counseling to talk over all this stuff, and to help him from making anymore messes in his life.
I talked to my parents on the custody stuff today, and while I had to really explain myself, they did say that whatever my choice they would stand behind me. For once I do feel like I am making the moral decision here. And if things don’t change, then I have to make some changes myself. But I can at least give him a fair chance.
*Lord, please watch over him. He needs You, even though he in not calling out to You. He is lost. I pray that he receives the help he needs to handle all the burdens on his shoulders. I pray that he will make the changes necessary to be the father I know he is capable of being. And I pray that I let go enough to allow this to happen, and ease my mind. I pray that I can make the change in me to see and understand his human side, as I have a very large human side myself. And I pray that through all of this, we can make it to place where we are friends with no conditions, that we can let go of all our hurts and past angers, and just be friends. I pray on this for the kids’ sakes, but mostly for our own present and future peace. I pray all of this with all my heart.