Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

This is the column I wasn’t supposed to write. The one that is politically incorrect in divorce court.

I no longer care.

I am done. I am exhausted. I am fighting back.

I am the quintessential momma bear

Only one thing matters to me in this world.

My beautiful boys.

I have spent the better part of three years trying to extricate myself from a marriage that failed more than ten years ago. I spent a year more than five years ago, urging a person who had given up on a marriage to do the right thing and leave. He would not. So eight months in after my children had endured enough I was finally successful in separating. Only to be approached eleven months later with inferences which made me resolve to let him back home.

I should have called his bluff. I should not have succumbed, but I did not want my children to pay the price for my mistakes. How foolish of me because they ultimately have.

It took just a year before I realized, that once again, I had no choice and this time I would retain an attorney rather than attempt separation without counsel.

Had I known the emotional and financial bullying that would pursue, I might have been too frightened to be bold enough to have walked into that attorney’s office.

I was hospitalized three times with blood clots from a hereditary blood disorder. My internist felt that the stress of all of the divorce games was negatively affecting my health. I made a decision to back off of the existing work that I had. I had never lived under such dysfunctional circumstances and the unpredictability of what would happen next was taking its toll.

Make no mistake about it. A three-year divorce is simply code for control and punishment. It is anything, but normal.

Here’s the problem. The bully is left unattended on the playground. There is no break in the adult world where teachers walk out and rescue the bullied and return them into the supervision of the classroom.

SHAME on the family and best friends of the individual who financially and emotionally bullies their spouse at the expense of their children. Shame on those grown adults who make it seem as though there is a side to take.

THERE IS NO SIDE.

There are children and children take precedence over being the husband or wife’s friend. Children are the precious asset of marriage.

MONEY IS NOT!

These individuals who allow a dominant spouse, the one who is currently in power with the income to destroy their family in anger should ask themselves…
Would they look the other way if a man was overtly abusive to a woman and children in front of them?
Would they watch a woman and children without food on the table and walk by them?
Would they outrageously convince themselves that three-year divorces are normal and couldn’t possibly damage the children?

I hope the answer is no.

I have lost total respect for the individuals who have looked the other way. I have great respect for my family and friends who did not. The people who love my children so tremendously that they have anguished beside me for three excruciating years.

The problem? The bully is arrogant. It takes the bully’s own people to call him out and stop his behavior.

This particular column puts me at risk. I may no longer get any support or potentially make myself vulnerable.

Do I care?
No
Do I need it?
Yes.
Do I want it any longer?
No!

I no longer care about getting enough money to start over and support my children, I am so angry that I myself want to elevate awareness and get the courts attention. I am prepared to lose everything.

Why?

I already have. The greatest joy in my life is being a mother and I have failed. The bully can’t take anything more precious than that from me. I couldn’t escape with my children. I couldn’t keep them out of harms way.

How is it legal for children to be the ones financially affected and uninsured during divorce?
How is it legal for children to endure the prolonged anguish of a three-year divorce?
How is it legal for one misbehaving parent to take the attention away from the children who need to be parented?
How is it legal for children to be so traumatized in divorce that they end up in harms way?
How is it legal for children to be used and confused by a parent who puts their own interest before theirs?

How is the world not as incredibly intolerant of parental bullying as they are of childhood bullying?

Where is the societal outrage?

Why isn’t this viewed as child endangerment THAT IT IS!!!!

What parent has the right to use a child in divorce? And consider their emotional well being the cost of getting something over on or winning against the spouse.

I said one thing to my husband repeatedly, even before the divorce. When are you going to decide you love our children more than you hate me?

This bears repeating and should be a universal mantra in divorce court – When will you decide that you love our children more than you hate me?

I no longer care what happens to me in divorce court. I no longer care about the system of checks and balances that I have tried to navigate to protect my children and I. None of it works. The courts are overburdened by spouses behaving badly. Judges have nearly zero time to educate themselves on an individual family and their true status. They simply do the best they can with a system overburdened by children masquerading as adults who believe that control and punishment and finances are the best way to sabotage a spouse with which they still have unresolved feelings.

I am devastated that I failed to protect my children – twice. Initially, from a parent who was behaving badly in marriage and consequently from a parent who behaved badly in divorce.

Where were the proper resources?

I often wonder if I had a dad to stand up to the BULLY maybe he would have backed down. If one of THE BULLY’S very best friends told him to move on, heal and take care of his children, again – maybe he would have backed down. If one of the BULLY’S family members had said enough, you have children do the right thing, maybe he would have backed down.

The problem?

This IS the problem with bullies, in childhood or adulthood, their behavior is tolerated by the people who know them and who look the other way.

My children do not get a second chance. I can’t redo the mistakes I made though I desperately tried to.

I tried to right my wrongs.

I tried to correct the misguided choices of an enabler and allow them the past five years to rebuild our lives and heal. To ask them to forgive me my own shortcomings and judgment, to know that both of their parents though human and flawed love them incredibly, to replace the arguments and pain with the knowledge and peace that every single thing in life shapes us and makes us the incredible people we are meant to be.

I tried to gift them with that peace.

The kind of love and comfort they deserve. To send them out into this world knowing that though my mistakes were many that when God blessed me with them, he had a plan. As imperfect as I am and the many misguided attempts I made to save our family that they are special and it is all a part of their purpose.

I kept trying to instill this in my children.

It kept being interrupted by someone who made their lives about money.

I do not get a do-over. My children are almost grown and leaving home. I don’t get to make their world safe again. I don’t get to make things right.

Instead, I have to send them out into the world with this emotional disruption. My beautiful, sweet loving boys. My boys who are:

Loving enough to point out a cute baby during Mass on Sunday
Who are caring enough to talk to an elderly person in need of an ear.
Who snuggle with our dog and talk to her like she is one of us because, of course, she is.
Who remember to tell me that they were so happy to see a family friend
Or so worried that they wondered about a friend in trouble.

Who worried about them in trouble?

Did their father’s friends and family come to visit them in these past three years?
Did they dry their tears when they watched their family crumble?
Did they call them sporadically to let them know they had safe people in this time of hardship?
Did they counsel them to try and determine how they could help and what was truly happening in their life?

The answer is no.

My family visited, dried their tears, called and counseled them. Sadly, it was no match for the destruction coming from a parent they once trusted.

SHAME…
On any individual who promotes someone they know getting everything they can out of a divorce or getting away with whatever they can in divorce. Grow up. These individuals who are exiting marriages made serious choices. We are all accountable for our behavior and our actions. They landed themselves in these situations. They need to be mature and self-responsible, not dump on their children as a means of not being accountable for their own actions.

Remember this is not a buddy you’re talking to IN DIVORCE – it’s a father. We all gave up the luxury of behaving like children once we had children.

I am the strong, independent, problem-solving, and resourceful child of a single mother left to raise five children on her own with ZERO support. If I floundered and was unable to protect my children during this experience, that tells me how dire the situation is.

I needed help. I desperately needed help. I was utterly and completely alone on the playground. I kept hoping a teacher would show up. I kept hoping a rational person who was proffering the playground would see me struggling and rescue me so that I could, in turn, rescue my beautiful children.

I regret investing so much time into my husband’s family and friends. They were not the family and friends of my children.

THEY LOOKED THE OTHER WAY.

I AM SPEAKING OUT NOW. Why? Because if I needed help. If even I couldn’t endure they bullying. If even I felt abandoned – something is wrong with not only the system, but even more outrageously with the bully’s own bystanders who act as if this is appropriate behavior when they are FLAGRANTLY ignoring abusive behavior and acting as though ti is just ‘divorce normal.’

In fact, someone said that to me recently.

“I think this is pretty typical in divorce,” they commented. I was so outraged and frustrated and done that I didn’t bother to engage. What I wanted to say was, “I wonder if those words would leave your lips if it was your children who abusively endured the adult tantrums of pro-longed divorce at the hands of an irresponsible parent.”

It was very sad to me because it came from someone who I thought loved and worried about my children, yet they brushed it off as par for the course.

I decided it wasn’t worth it because it was simply another adult who was willing to justify and ignore bullying rather than get involved AND PROTECT CHILDREN IN DIVORCE.

I hope one thing is conveyed without a doubt in this particular column – Knock it off, all you badly behaving spouses and friends and families of spouses and stop deluding yourselves that divorce is about two people. It’s about the children.

Sadly, my children could tell you that. They could tell you the undue burden they have carried at the hands of two people who brought them into this world.

If this column elevates awareness and protecting other people’s children, I believe my own children and I will find some purpose in what we have experienced.

Only what I really want is a do-over. I want to be the kind of mother that I can be proud of. One that protected them. Foolishly, I spent so much time guarding them against the harm of the outside world, never realizing that someone in their inner world could cause them such harm.

#Stopdivorcebullying #Choosechildren #CallItWhatItIsChildEndangement #ShameOnBullying Bystanderstanders

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