I’ve done a ton of work on myself, I’m slowly reaching meh, and I’m practising no contact as much as is possible when doing shared care/parenting with a disordered cheater fucktoid.
But then I find myself in a situation like today — youngest child’s school concert and cheater fucktoid rocks up with 20+ years younger than me “partner.” (They met online, she lives halfway around the world and they’ve seen each other physically for the second time in twelve months) and youngest child spends the entire time he performs making eye contact with them and I may as well not exist. I then react by approaching fucktoid, telling him it’s disgusting for him to bring “girlfriend” to concert and generally make an arse of myself.
I thought I was doing so well. That I’d reached a place of peace and couldn’t care less what he did. but clearly, I was and am affected. How do I move on?
Specialist in Hope
Nothing will make you lose your meh quicker than co-parenting with a fuckwit. It is the 18-year-long shit sandwich. You hope to God you get one of those conscious uncouplings, where everyone abides by court orders, pays support, and close encounters are like friendly hostage drop-offs, but NO. You got a fuckwit. I’m sorry.
My husband calls these sorts of unwelcome people situations “the turd in the punchbowl.” I hope the visual helps you. It sums up the revulsion and incongruity of having awfulness in what should be a celebratory occasion. Oh God, Turd brought his teenage girlfriend to a children’s concert. Imagine him floating in a sea of sherbet and 7-up.
Co-parenting with a fuckwit means you’re going to probably have a lot of turd-in-the-punchbowl moments. So steel yourself. You got broadsided this time, but after awhile with more exposure, you get a kind of turd aversion therapy thing going. Oh, it’s you again. Whatever.
You’re not there yet. It’s okay. We ALL lose our cool sometimes. You know what the right thing to do here is — suck it up and endure. Reject drama. Reject him. And fake your meh, even if you have to chew through a leather strap.
It takes an enormous amount of strength to do this. If it makes you feel any better, I still struggle and I’m past the 18 year mark. My son’s fuckwit father showed up at his college move-in day after ignoring him for YEARS, rejecting visits, running up thousands in unpaid back child support, dropping kid from his court-ordered health insurance, and generally being an all around negligent, horrible person. Fuckwit wants the parenting victory lap with none of the work.
Here’s what I wanted to do at that parent convocation — scream at the top of my lungs THIS MAN IS A FRAUD! THE DEADBEAT ASSHOLE HASN’T SEEN HIS KID IN YEARS! HAS NOT PAID ONE DIME OF HIS TUITION AND OWES ME CHILD SUPPORT! BUT HE WOULD LIKE YOU ALL TO BELIEVE HE IS ONE OF YOU LOVING, SUPPORTIVE PARENTS HERE TODAY. SPIT ON HIM! REVILE HIM! SHAME HIM!
No. Instead I turned around and drove home. And let him sit in that hot, sweaty tent to listen to canned speeches without my presence.
Was it fair? Hell no. I took two days off work, packed all my son’s stuff, loaded it, unloaded it, folded his socks, made his bed… oh right, and generally raised him by myself for 19 years. But whatever. I wasn’t drinking turd punch that day.
My point is, I fucked up many times on the imperfect path to meh. You will too.
How do I move on?
You forgive yourself. You’re making the best of a horrible situation. Be kind to yourself.
Who knows the motivations of turds in punchbowls? Maybe your ex wanted to get a rise from you. Maybe he’s just narcissistically oblivious and your melt down was an added kibble high for him. Maybe Schmoopie really enjoys the warbling of small children at school assemblies? (Doubtful.)
My guess is your ex misses the pick me dance. There’s poor Schmoopie, having to do impression management, sitting on a metal folding chair for hours, so she can prove to her long-distantant fuckbuddy that she’s worthy. There’s you, recently traumatized by betrayal, having to put up with them both. There’s your son, probably reeling from a divorce, desperate for any attention from his father, even if comes with a side of teenage Schmoopie. There’s you again feeling the injustice of the imbalance.
And there is Sir Turd reveling in his centrality.
Well, fuck him, Hope. Next time, don’t react. Let that cup of shit punch pass you by.