standing your ground

Do you ever find yourself suddenly having enough, like really having enough of taking crap from someone? Out of the blue, you sort of just have one of those ‘what the fuck do I have to lose by standing my ground‘ moments?

I find myself sitting here and finally making sense of something I’ve struggled with for the last 10 years or so:

I was NEVER the person I wanted to be when I was around my ex-husband. I tried to be what he wanted me to be. To make him happy. I tried to be all of the things he couldn’t be for himself. I kept so much of myself and my past hidden from him, being the perfect person that I thought I needed to be. Even since we’ve separated, it has always been about what would make things easier for him. What wouldn’t rock the boat, even if the expense was my sanity. Nothing was ever about me. When it comes to him, nothing will ever be about me. The person that he knew was a shell. He never really knew who I actually was – who I’ve always been really.

A couple of days ago, he decided to try to pick another fight with me. I finally stood my ground.

The one thing that you need to understand about my ex and his wife, is that regardless of what they say and do, different rules apply to everyone else. You are not allowed to question what they do, but they can throw accusations and insults and comments at you whenever it suits them. You are not allowed to change plans but they can show up whenever they want and expect everyone to be okay with it. You have to stand on your own two feet, but they can band together in their attack.

Anyways, here’s a little background. Our oldest son is playing football this summer. I was going to sign him up, but his father decided he would do it instead. The weather here has been completely abnormal with weeks of heat warnings and little to no precipitation–it’s incredibly fucking hot and uncomfortable. Last week, he missed two football practices  because it was awful outside (and in my opinion too dangerous to be playing in the heat). I wasn’t going to fight with him over it because I didn’t want to be outside either. Then this past Monday he missed a game (because he was with his father) and Tuesday was his birthday, so I had planned a beach party/BBQ. Tuesday morning I got a text message from my ex’s wife telling me that she would be picking him up because he had a football practice on Tuesday evening. I replied that I had made plans because I didn’t know there was a practice. I also reminded her we would be out of town the week of the 23rd. She made a few snarky comments via text, but I basically ignored her.

On the way to the beach my phone rang….it was my ex. As soon as I answered, he starts yelling at me. I told him I was in the car with the boys and couldn’t talk to him at that moment. So, he tells me ‘well, when you’re out of the car and have time, call me because there are some things we need to talk about‘.

The anxiety he causes is absolutely unbelievable. I knew I would have to return the call to prevent ruining the entire afternoon so as I headed to get changed into my swimsuit I called him back. In a nutshell, the conversation went like this:

him: (super angry and snarky) can I ask you something? So, football is basically done for the summer? why did I even sign him up if he was going to miss all of these practices/games? I paid a lot of money for him to play.

me: (calmly) can I ask you something? Why is it okay for you to allow him to miss practices/games, but when I go to do it, I get snarky messages and comments and end up getting yelled at for it? I was going to enroll him but you said you would do it. Do you want a refund?

him: It’s not about the money. No I don’t want a refund. And now you’re going away, so he’s going to miss the last week of games? I do everything for those kids and they don’t appreciate anything. You need to be tougher on them and make sure that they know who the boss is (I have been told multiple times that what our oldest son needs is a good slap). If he doesn’t want to go, you drag him by his ear out of the house and make him go.

me: well apparently it is about the money, because you brought it up. And I told you I was going away with them back in May and I gave you the dates when I told you (I have the messages saved in my phone). And I am not going to hit my kids just because they don’t want to go to a football game. I am not going to raise my kids the way my father raised me.

him: Well he’s going to hit you and then what are you going to do about it? My parents hit me when I was out of line and it didn’t kill me. He’s going to end up just like me and then what are you going to do about it? (then he’s screaming at me) you ruined my fucking life. You fucking hate me and I can’t do anything because of you. Everyone thinks I’m the bad guy. Everyone thinks I have all the money in the world. I can’t get a house because of you. I can’t do anything because of you. My girls are now suffering because of you. I have to live in an apartment because of you.

me: (for the first time ever, I yelled back) well I’m not the one who decided to become a cocaine dealer. I’m not the one who decided to leave our children at home alone. I’m not the one who decided to steal and lie and create thousands of dollars in debt and I’m not the one who decided to only think about myself and do what you did.

him: (still screaming) It was one time. We could have worked through it. We could have still been together. But you ruined everything.

me: (calm again) One time? Right! The (blank) Police Services don’t have files on people who deal drugs one time. They don’t park outside of people’s houses who only sell one time. People looking to buy drugs don’t come by people’s houses when it’s only one time. People selling drugs don’t open hidden credit cards when it’s only one time. People don’t leave their children home alone when it’s only one time.

him: I want joint custody of the boys

me: when a judge tells me that you can have joint custody then I’ll give you joint custody

him: (now he’s crying) why do you have to be like that? Why do we need a judge? I’m not going to take them away from you. You make it sound like you don’t want me to see them. If you don’t want me to see them, tell me now. I try my best. I don’t have tons of money. Everyone says I have tons of money. Everyone hates me because of you

me: I’ve never asked you to give me anything. And I don’t know who these people are who apparently hate you because I don’t talk to anyone that you know or hang out with.

him: you hate me. Everyone hates me.

The conversation continued for a bit and then I finally hung up the phone because it was just going nowhere. I felt upset and continuing to try to talk to him would be absolutely pointless. Yelling at him does not solve anything either. I’m not perfect, but I did not make the decisions that he made.

I’m working on trying to change me. It makes perfect sense that he would hate me for changing things about myself. I never really realized until lately, how much he hates not being in control. I will never, ever again be who he wants me to be. I won’t be a doormat to him anymore. His wife has no right to speak to me the way that she does either. I don’t know which part he hates more–the fact that I won’t agree to his demands any longer or the fact that I can, and do, make decisions without his consent. I will no longer allow his wife to make comments and yell at me and call me names. If they can’t be respectful I won’t communicate with them at all.

You know, him and his wife have a lot in common. I think they’re made for each other. They both think they have some right to life working out the way they want it to, and when it doesn’t, they get to act the way they want. The only trouble with that is someone has to be responsible. I’d love to run around and do whatever I want and make rules that only apply to others! I’d love the freedom to be some pissed-off criminal with no responsibilities! Except I don’t have the time! But you don’t see me walking around telling everyone they need to respect me. And you don’t see me off having more children with someone else when I can’t even take care of the ones that I have. They think my life turned out the way it did because I went away to university, got a good job and appear to have my shit together. They think every morning I wake up, look in the mirror and say “Gee, I’m glad I’m me and not someone else!” No I don’t! Because welcome to the real world, where most times things don’t go your fucking way.

So you know what? I don’t care if he was unimpressed. Because I’m feeling a little proud of myself. Because for the first time, in a really long time (maybe ever), I’m saying no fucking way to being treated like everything is my fault….at least when it comes to him.

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