Here is where I am at —overall, happy. I managed to get my divorce finally finalized more than a year ago. I have a full-time job, half-time parenting and a boyfriend. I have a home and a dog and all the basics that a woman could want plus a little more. I’m not a spiritual woman, but I will say that if blessed is the word, I will take it as an accurate descriptor.
However, in the interest of making a long story short, what I also have is a nasty ex. I have given up on the Kool-Aid of every body gets along and gone with parallel parenting and as absolutely minimal contact as possible.
Thats not the case with him. I regularly ignore his barbs and just respond with polite fact-based info if at all. This week, however, he got to me. I admit that. He did.
I took my kids to the lake. I rubbed them liberally with Bullfrog sunscreen. My oldest managed to rub it off his shoulders (just the top of the shoulders) by toweling off a lot. My bad, I didn’t reapply as he did not seem to be burning and none of the rest of us were. He later presented with a burn in a limited area that he had rubbed. I took care to treat the burns and sent him on to his dad’s on the regular exchange day.
I got an email from the ex telling me it was the “worst sunburn he has ever seen” and asking me how I could have let it get so bad. I ignored it as I had just been pulled in to a miniature email battle the day before accusing me of doing something I hadn’t actually done, so I did not wish to re-enter the tit for tat. My ex took my son to the doctor. He took pictures of him. He was having his one-year wedding anniversary party that weekend and had my son take off his shirt and show multiple guests his burn. He sent more emails. There’s a lot more to the story, but you catch the drift.
My ex has a tendency to do this. While he was cheating and living in the house and preparing for divorce he regularly took pictures and tried to make recordings which he attempted to use in court. He never directly mentions my name to my kids, but makes really, really big deals over things like sunburns and mosquito bites they got while at my house while in front of them. I admit I lost it the other day and said, hey, I really would like you to know that I’m really not as bad as I get portrayed sometimes, guys. To which they said, gee, mom, he never says anything about YOU. I felt immediately guilty and sorry.
My question is this. Is there any way to combat this other than by being as standup as possible in my actions (which I really strive for) stable, respectful and such? I’m fairly sure there is not, but if there is one positive thing I can say in my own defense that establishes that at least I don’t think I’m a crappy parent (nor do I think my ex is) and would like to be treated as such I would love to know how. I’m willing to just eat it and keep going, because I’m good at it at this point. But man I get sick of it every now and again.
Thank you for listening,
Just Want to be Judged Fairly
Just wanted to be judged fairly? Ha. Not gonna happen. You bred with a fuckwit. I’m sorry.
Because being cheated on, divorced, and single parenting isn’t enough punishment. Nor is it enough to have to endure your children celebrating “anniversary” weekends with the Schmoopies. (I did the math. Seems the wedding corresponds nicely with your divorce date). No, you have to parent with Inspector Javert there — consumed with crimes against SPF levels. Jesus.
Every parent who’s ever bred with a fuckwit can relate to this nightmare perfectly. It’s the rage channel. He can’t direct his control and fury at you any more, so he’ll do one better — he’ll triangulate with your children. He’ll subtly and not-subtly demean your parenting. He’ll threaten you with court. He’ll “document” your crimes. And he’ll do it all with the veneer of the Outraged Parent Who Is Just Concerned for His Children. Nice bit of diversionary impression management there. Pay no attention to the cheating, and the breaking up the family home, and whatever other bullshit he’s up to. You’re The Real Villain Here.
JWTBJF, I just have big hugs for you, and not a ton of advice (although I’m sure CN will chime in). FWIW, I lived this. I got sued for custody pro se by a man with a mental illness who owed me thousands in back child support. Yep, THAT guy liked to get on the stand and accuse ME of bad parenting. The same guy who went years without seeing his child, or dropped him off his court-ordered insurance without a word. The proverbial turd in the punch bowl who shows up on college move-in day to play Great Benefactor and Proud Parent when he hasn’t bought so much as a PENCIL.
I know the taste of this shit sandwich well, my friend. These freaks don’t change. But you know who does change? You. And your kids. And your relationship.
They see you as the Sane Parent. You’re mom, who puts on the SPF, and chills. He’s the nutter who freaks out and embarrasses them in front of a room of guests to see their sunburn. You let them play outside. He loses his shit over mosquito bites.
Stay in your lane, Sane Mom. Let him keep being a freak, and you keep on being awesome. Do NOT take the rage bait. He so very badly wants to mindfuck you, and intimidate and bully you. And make you doubt your awesome mightiness. Maybe I am a bad mother. Maybe that’s why he left for Schmoopie. Maybe Schmoopie always carries DEET for every occasion? Don’t go there. That’s where he wants you to go — with his centrality. With his judgement and anger always in your head.
But you’re so much better than that. You with your new life and new boyfriend and great kids. You with your HAPPINESS.
Don’t let him steal your joy. You let him document that sunburn all he wants. He can call HBO and get a film crew. Then he can take all the family court judges to the IMAX theater to watch Crimes of a Sunburn together.
Until they haul you off to jail for felony bug-bites, hang in there. You’re the sane parent and your kids know it. You’ve got this. Fuck him.