If you’ve had the misfortune of breeding with a fucktard, you know that this misery just keeps paying dividends. You may successfully remove yourself from their toxicity, but your kids have to keep navigating this shit until they’re 18.
It sucks donkey balls.
It’s one thing to deal with their mindfuckery. It’s quite another to watch it play out on innocent children, as they’re goaded into the same wing nut dynamics they tried on you. Gaslighting, minimizing, blame shifting, the “pick me” dance. You want to save your kids from the pain, tell them exactly who this person is — but they love that person. And they’re kids. They don’t really get it. And if they do get it? That’s sad as hell.
Diminished expectations and jaded cynicism are what you expect from grizzled war veterans, not 6th graders. “Oh that’s how mom is. She forgets stuff.” “Oh, dad always cancels last minute. What are you going to do?”
I deal with this, even though I didn’t have kids with a cheater. (Not that I know of, I am however, an epic chump). I had kids with a mentally ill person. I know… gee, that’s so much better…
I divorced my son’s dad when my son was 4. So that’s 12 years no shows and unpaid child support, and crazy shit I won’t bore you with except to say — it’s CRAZY. But to tell you — or my son — exactly how insane it is makes me seems like one of those frothing, bitter exes, and we’re supposed to be above character assassination. Of course, this guy would have to have a character to assassinate — and he doesn’t.
What prompted today’s blog post is that I was supposed to put my kid on a plane to see his father tomorrow, for 9 days summer visit — and he canceled less than 24 hours before the flight to say that this “wasn’t a good time for him.” We live 1700 miles away. He hasn’t seen his kid in months. Oh, and as per usual, he owes me money.
I’m used to the deadbeat stuff, but to reject my 16 year old son because — who the hell knows why!? Maybe he gets some passive aggressive high off it. Maybe he’s very busy with his girlfriend, or his improving hobbies. I have no clue. It sure fucks my life up, because my husband and I are going out of town together for the week my son is away. The best laid plans…
I’ve spent today cobbling together a solution, which relies greatly upon the kindness of others. (I’m a chump. I HATE asking help from others. Hate. Hate. Hate it.) And my son is happy — he’s staying with a friend. As for his dad, my son just stoically said “Well, I keep my expectations low.” This is the second time his dad has bailed on him. The other time was Thanksgiving, again with no notice.
He rolls with it. And I hate that he has to roll with this kind of crap. That he doesn’t have a parent that cherishes him, who remembers his birthday, or shows up for his big life events. Well, I do those things, but there is a gaping hole where the other parent is supposed to be. My husband has filled that role heroically, but he treads gently as a step parent.
I suppose this is the time during this post for Uplift. I know my son loves me and knows I’m the parent who really has his back. It only takes one sane parent — I give that advice all the time. I know that his father’s lack of investment in his life is no reflection on my son’s worth, and will probably come back to bite his father in the ass some day. You only got one kid, idiot — who do you think is going to visit you in your old age? Your moldy possessions? Your girlfriend? Peripheral acquaintances from your lackluster career?
I really feel for you chumps out there who have affair partners in the mix as “co-parents.” This is hard enough without the infidelity cherry on top of the shit sundae. What is WRONG with people that they can bring children into the world and treat them like crap?
I went to the gym this morning to punch things out, and saw an older woman friend. I told her what was up. She shared that her father is dying of Alzheimer’s and she is his only caregiver. I said “you’re a really good daughter.” She said her father had not been a good father. I don’t know the specifics, except that there was some mental illness, some distance between them. She grew up to be awesome in spite of whatever his influence was or was not. She’s a lovely person and a successful lawyer. Having an absent father, she said, made her more religious. “I don’t have a father down here. I have a Father up there.” It’s how she dealt with it. It made her a better person. If you don’t believe me, ask the relative she is giving a KIDNEY too. (For real.)
Her pain made her a more empathetic, kinder person. It gave her perspective. I’m sure it gave her fuckupedness and relationship troubles too, but over all, she took something good from it. She says she prays to see the good outcomes in hard times. She visits her father now, and he doesn’t recognize her. Doesn’t recognize the lunch set before him. Or even what a closet is, let alone his own daughter. His health is failing and the stress of it weighs on her. She goes to the gym to work it out too.
Some people get better kids than they deserve. I’m trying to see the good in that.
I’m not there yet.