I wrote this thinking I wouldn’t publish it. I am scared to let it be seen by “the wrong people”. But if I am not honest in my writing and open about my struggle then what is the point? I feel completely alone in this right now and like the only mother who has ever thought that it would just be easier to give up. In my heart, I know that I’m not alone and that is why I think it is necessary to put that horrible, inadequate feeling into writing so whoever else is having this same struggle knows she is not alone. Because, really, isn’t that why I started doing this in the first place?
So, that having been said, can I request respite from our parenting schedule? Respite from any contact with the man who tried to destroy me and now tries to do so with our son? Because I just don’t know how I can keep doing this for at least 14 more years. I don’t. It is so hard. I set boundaries. The court set boundaries. It doesn’t matter. It is when I get the “super cooperative” emails about trying to work together that I feel like I might actually vomit. There is this clenching in my chest that keeps me from breathing at all, let alone obnoxiously like Brené Brown suggests calm people breathe, and sometimes it brings me to my knees. Literally.
If I could do it, that is, if I wasn’t a rational, sane person this is the response I would send:
I’m sorry, you are trying to work with me and do what’s best for Liam when you just stood before our family court judge and lied about paying child support, lied about me violating court orders, and lied about how much money you make? You and your weasley little attorney stood before our family court judge and said that I was harassing our son to get him to say that you were hitting him and you now want me to believe that you want to work TOGETHER? Maybe you want to work together because the judge put you in your place repeatedly, told you to stop harassing me and to stop being a selfish fool, but guess what. I don’t want to hear how you are trying to be proactive about potential conflicts in our parenting schedule. You want to work together but you have already violated the court order we received less than a month ago and already have 4 weeks of child support in arrears? Which, by the way, Probation will be garnishing from your savings account tomorrow. I don’t want to hear how you don’t want to interfere with my court ordered holiday time on our son’s birthday so you’ll let me pick him up at 9:30 instead of 10:00 that morning, even though he will be in school and even though you are intentionally interfering with that time by using vacation time that ends that morning when Liam would normally be at home, waking up in his own bed right around the same time that I pushed him out of my vagina 5 years prior.
Wait, do you not remember how or when that happened? That’s funny, but I guess it makes sense, considering you had just woken up from a full night’s sleep. You may have been pretty groggy still when Dr. Huang said if you can’t get him out on this push we’re going to have to go in and get him. So I pushed with everything I had, tore through to my ass and got that baby out on my own so there wouldn’t be any more interventions.
As you snored away in your cozy chair that night I was hooked up to IVs and fetal monitors, unable to move. I would have given anything to just put on some Chapstick because my lips were so dry from breathing heavily and biting my lower lip, but the tube of Chapstick was just out of reach and you, my sorry excuse for a husband, were too busy sleeping that you couldn’t hand it to me. While alarms went off and nurses rushed in to check our baby’s dropping heartrate you were fast asleep making sounds of a mortally injured warthog. You slept through the doctor alerting me to the possibility of an emergency C-section. You slept through the sympathetic looks of the nurses who, after getting to spend a little time with you, knew I needed someone to support me but knew that waking you wasn’t going to help anyone, least of all them.
I am scared that I am going to give up because I don’t know how much more of your abuse I can take. I thought leaving you would be the end of it. I thought it would be impossible for a judge to give shared legal custody to a man who had all but abandoned his wife and infant child for the entire first year of his life. If I’d had any idea that I would have to turn my son over to you for 107 hours and 6 overnights every two weeks I never would have left you in the first place. I would have stayed to protect my son from the terror of having to be alone with you.
Giving up the battle for my son wouldn’t mean just giving up on Liam, it would mean surrendering everything that is good in my life: my family, my friends, my husband, and all of the things I have worked so hard to make possible. You tried to destroy my life, and you did, but I rebuilt something better than I could have ever imagined. I am scared because I just can’t. I’m at the end of my rope and I’ve tied the proverbial knot but I don’t know how much longer I can hang on. I love my son more than life, but there are days when I wonder just how bad his life would be if I disappeared and never had to deal with you again.
Your Intelligent, Fierce, Unwavering Ex-Wife”
Experts say that the only way to heal the wounds of narcissistic abuse is to go into full no contact mode and never make contact again. Instead, I have to continue “cooperating” with a sociopath who is completely incapable of thinking about someone else’s needs, mine or our son’s. Instead of healing myself from the wounds of narcissistic abuse I have to repeatedly go before a judge and fight for the right to parent my child, and then get permission to parent from the man who once looked me in the eye and screamed: “you’re a whore for everyone but your husband.” I still get to regularly have him growl at me, occasionally flip me off, and twice a week drive off with my son improperly secured in the back of his car. So much for no contact.
But I love my little boy. I would give my life to protect him. I don’t know what my next step is but I know I will take it. I am so scared and so tired. I just want it to be over, but I’m not willing to accept the only ending to this nightmare so I will stay in it as long as I have to. These monsters are real and I’m wide awake.p
So, instead this is how I’ll respond:
“Parental birthdays are not recognized by our court order as holidays. Though I appreciate your proposed accommodation for my birthday next month, I feel it is best that we stick to the ordered schedule.”