I’ve been staring at my screen for hours trying to figure out the direction I’d like this post to go. It’s not working out so well so I figure I’ll just start writing and see where it takes me. I’ve been holding onto everything quite tightly but my arms feel full and are starting to grow weary from the weight. So, here goes…
I got a text message from the stepmother the other day and it’s starting to feel like she only reaches out to me when she wants to twist the knife a little deeper. If you’ve read any of my other posts you’ll know the situation with M has been nothing but a complete and utter disaster. I think the last I shared with you was when he didn’t want to come on a camping trip with C and I and to say it hurt would be an understatement. It’s taken me a while to feel like I could start to move away from that moment when the latest text came. I won’t get into all the details but basically she was asking if C was going to start going again on weekends now that they were back in school and then stated that in no uncertain terms M most definitely DOES NOT want to see me. It’s hard not to take a statement like that personally but I’ve learned not to bite and I don’t really know if she cares whether or not I do anymore. Either way it most definitely feels like another jab at how shitty I am as a mother.
The same day as the text came skinnyhobbit wrote a post questioning whether or not their childhood really was that bad. The first part of that post quoted another blogger’s comment: ‘The only way to break the cycle is to not behave like the ones before us. There are two ways of doing that. 1: Not have children. Avoid that problem all together. 2: Do have kids, and be a kickass parent who actually tries and wants to do and be better.’ I remember reading that section again and again, nodding my head in agreement and coming to the conclusion that I’ve made the wrong choice altogether. When I should have chosen option 1, I chose option 2 and have found myself spiraling down the rabbit hole and fucking up royally. All I remember thinking was ‘What was I actually thinking in having children? I’m not equipped for this shit at all.‘ I’m not even sure if I can honestly say that C is doing well because if the situation with my firstborn is any indication of the direction of how life with children is heading, perhaps it’s only just a matter of time before C and I end up the same way.
I figure it’s probably something I should talk to T about but I don’t even know where to start with it anymore. Besides, if things continue the way they are, the choice may be made for me in the end. We are struggling. And by we, I mean me. T is worried and I just don’t have the energy to care. More than once in the last little while he’s brought up hospitalization and every single time I vehemently disagree and refuse to talk about it. Last time he brought it up and I disagreed his comment went something like this ‘so, you’d rather die, then go somewhere that could potentially help you?‘ I said nothing, but I guess if that’s the way you want to look at it, okay.
Partly it’s my brain wondering what the big deal is and thinking that it shouldn’t even be a thing. I am fighting, rather unsuccessfully, to keep things on my own terms. But the real reason I don’t want to go is because it feels like that will be the one-way ticket to losing C.
Not so long ago, my mother told me that if I ever decided to have a breakdown (because that’s a choice, right?) I’d better not expect her to stick around to pick up the pieces. That means the only place C could go would be to his father. And whether it’s true or not, I am 100% convinced it would provide the ammunition that he needed to make sure I wouldn’t see C and that he would feel the same way as M. And yes, not being here at all would end in the same scenario and C would end up being with his dad, but at least it would be my choice how it happened. Either way, it feels like I will lose my children but at least if I’m not here, I won’t have to experience it. And this is why folks, I should have chosen option 1.
Next week I’m supposed to take my annual trip to visit my Auntie. The fall leaves haven’t reached their peak so the drive along the north shore of Lake Superior should be beautiful. I normally really look forward to going but there’s something about this time that feels different. Like maybe it’s sort of a goodbye or a way to not come back. It’s not my plan, but it feels like if it happens, it happens. Sometimes I think to myself ‘fuck the plan, just do whatever happens in the moment.‘ Is that better or worse, I wonder? Either way, I don’t panic about it.
I’ve also been thinking of maybe writing something for my mother to read when I go. I can’t tell her most of it, but maybe I could manage to tell her something. Maybe even just that I don’t care about being here anymore. Or perhaps that whether she knows it or not (I’m almost certain she knew), she left me in a house of horrors every time she’d drop me off at my aunt’s house. It doesn’t feel like she’d understand and I honestly don’t feel good about telling her anything at all so if I do it, it’ll be a last minute decision. I can’t think too much about it though, because it makes me feel ill. I still don’t know what to do about her most of the time.
Anyways, that’s sort of where things are now. Part of it feels really complicated. Part of it I’m working on accepting and am trying my best to ride it out. Part of it feels like we’re just not going to win this fight. T says we don’t have to lose. Not at all. And that we’ll work together for much better days. I don’t know. I wish my brain would work like his some days. We’ll see…
7 thoughts on “the dreaded ‘h’ word and other complications”
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So sorry you are feeling so very low. I always feel for you with your issues with your son M as I had somewhat similar issues. I have one son. He seemed to absolutely hate me from a fairly young age. He seemed to think he needed to choose between myself and his dad, and he chose his dad. He would not do anything I asked and was completely defiant. It’s one of my sorrows in life. However, now that he is an adult, we have a fair relationship, mostly on the phone, as he lives some distance. We never had that before. So I just want to say, it can be super rough with children, but they grow and things change. I suspect the same will happen for you with M.
The step mother sounds toxic. Could you block her and get your news about M from someone else?
If the ex and his new wife think you are crap, don’t accept that opinion! Children are not really under a parent’s control – so many other factors are at play. Many exes enjoy torturing their wives – don’t let it happen. You are valuable, you have cared very much and acted in both your kids’ interests always.
And problems with the other son….could be a sign of the strength of your relationship that he feels free to act out rather than walking on eggshells?
I hope you can start to be on your own side. Take care.
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The only information I get about M is from the stepmother as my ex does not answer texts or even his telephone for that matter. They don’t have a landline and M is too young to have his own phone yet.
C and I don’t fight. The fear is that if I were out of commission for whatever reason and he had to live with his dad, it feels like he would be turned against me like M was. I’m absolutely certain they would tell him that I’m crazy and don’t really love him…blah, blah, blah. C is extremely sensitive and would be destroyed. It’s just a shit situation really.
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hugs. T is right. You dont have to lose this battle. I’m sure your a kickass mom! Dont doubt yourself. The Ex and stap mom have a lot to do with all of this. I’m sure they are turning M against you. Not cool IMO! Sending you a huge hug of support. Xxx
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First, thank you for using they/them for me! ❤ Second, I don't know you well but I would say the concern you have in this post alone, plus your ongoing therapy for your own traumas shows me you're doing your best to break the cycle. I think I also wrote that parents like you are seriously amazing, because it's true. I don't believe I can be a good parent because it's probably the biggest set of ongoing triggers for so many of us survivors.
I second this! The task of cycle-breaking is gargantuan, and hey, look, you’re doing it. That’s amazing!
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I don’t think the options around parenting are so clear cut. as children, we sure would like it to be. As parents – well, it’s not so simple. You’ve made a lot of sacrifices to keep peace and stability for your boys in the face of an abusive partner. His wife is awful. And M doesn’t seem to have the skills to assess his father’s and his wife’s actions in a nuanced way – he’s a kid and depends on parents for survival, and can’t be expected to make a better choice. What I can see from my perspective is that life is long, that relationships change, that narcissists like his dad and stepmom lose jntereat when they grow tired with the dynamic or are no longer served by it. M needs you around, open a and ready (and boundaries and protecting yourself too), even if they all swear up and down that he doesn’t. There will come a day when it’s different, when this phase is over, when you can rework what you are to each other. He is 10. It may come sooner than you think.
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