Father’s Day is upon us, and as is too often the case it is a bittersweet one for me. I hope to shed some light on fathering, especially as a divorcee, in my own experience. I hope to give men like myself a voice, at least. I hope my message reaches someone and effects some kind of shift in mindset. Please read with an open mind and keep the comments on the upside.
A Pawn for Vengeance
Divorce is already the most miserable thing a person can go through. I foolishly thought that the pain was over at the issuance of the final divorce decree. Not when you have children together. Parenting time is such a convoluted issue that it requires an addendum to the whole decree, possibly being far more paperwork than the divorce itself. I begin to wonder what the point of divorce even is. It seems like the better course of action would have been to file a restraining order, but here is where things get stupid. Even though I resorted to calling 911 to break up one of our drunken fights gone violent, I was told a restraining order would not be issued as there is insufficient cause. The threat of another physical attack isn’t enough to justify a restraining order??
I called 911 on her craziness, I was kicked out of my own place and told (by the police) to drive my intoxicated self to my friend’s house a mere 10 miles away. Not take the bus, call a cab, or have him get me, but to drive after drinking and being attacked. She only had to change her act from insane violence to pathetic sobbing mess. Despite her yelling at me on the recorded emergency line as I called for help, she was the one allowed to stay in her own home with our infant son.
Now, years down the road, I can put a camera in her face to mitigate the attacks, but where has that left us? To my horror, it has led to a series of embarrassing investigations and a flurry of badges. Turns out, anybody can file a little anonymous report of suspicion any ol’ time they like. I already knew exactly why I was getting hassled because my son was already asking me if I would have him at all during the summer vacation.
My partner and I had to both forfeit a day of work to entertain absurd questions to child welfare about how we do and don’t parent. We answered the questions, they searched our entire little apartment, and after all was said and done the case was closed “unfounded”. At the same time, each of the children were taken out of the classroom to answer their questions. Of course, this only spurred them to come home with a bunch of their own questions. Then, only but a week later, another two cases had been opened. We took our time again to be questioned, searched, and the cases were again closed “unfounded”. That didn’t stop her from her narcissistic abuse as she sent my son to me with the misunderstanding that his dad was in trouble with the law.
After the 4th police report in almost as many weeks, immediately following a very sudden and threatening email, you can’t deny that something is wrong.
Without hesitation, she retrieved all of the reports that she had just instigated, gleaned every semi questionable bit of information from it, and filed her motion to reduce my parenting time to less than half what I have now. All of it, the kids being questioned by the police, my son not knowing if he will see his dad for the summer, my son being told that his dad is a criminal on the run, all of this because after I’ve stonewalled every other attack the only way she can get at me is through the children. Half of the claims against me are derived from what my son apparently said to her. She uses him as her informant to get very inaccurate information on my family.
While this season’s effort is to focus on fabricating a claim of neglect and perverse abuse, she has been extracting information from my son since he was able to talk, using it to disrupt our holiday and vacation plans, antagonize dissonance within my family, and create opportunities for conflict by coincidentally attending the same events. These days, it doesn’t matter if we take a trip to the beach or simply find a park to run in, we don’t say anything to the kids about our plans until we are en route. It’s practically a black ops effort just to have a picnic without her disrupting or intruding.
There isn’t much I can do to address it. Perhaps the recent series of events has been enough to at least expose her malice. However, nothing is ever going to ensure that she doesn’t use my child against me in the future.
I know for a fact this isn’t just my experience. I know that other parents have used their children for dirtier attacks than a desperate, insubstantial report to child welfare. It is not surprising at all to hear a custodial parent withhold their child from their ex, even in stark defiance of the court ordered parenting time. They get away with it because there is no such thing as a state department of parenting time enforcement.
I wish more than anything that justice was actually blind. I wish that every time I called the police for help, I actually got help. Instead, I got kicked out of my own home. I wish that the real reason I filed for divorce was taken seriously. It’s not like being a male means I can’t possibly be physically assaulted. I wish that her physical abuse hadn’t just been swept under the rug and left out of consideration. But, that all being behind me, what I really, really wish…
Is for parents to stop using their children as pawns to get back at their ex. It absolutely rips me apart to hear (most often a woman) exclaim that she’s just going to keep a man’s child(ren) away from him because she’s angry. Why should a child be subject to saying things or answering questions they can’t begin to understand? Why should a child have to miss out on time with one parent because the other one is bitter and thinking only of spiteful revenge?
Look, I think the bitterness of divorce is the same regardless of gender. But, your child is an innocent human being, not a means to get back at your ex.
I don’t expect my situation to get better anytime soon. I just hope this can reach one parent so that at least one child can maybe have a better relationship with both parents. That folks are reading and not commenting gives me hope that my words are simmering on someone’s back burner, but even if that’s not true I appreciate the respect of my place to speak. Thank you all. ✌💙🎸