Hi Chump Lady,
Thank you for being there as a light post through this journey. My question is more of a request for some classic CL snark.
My former “nice-guy” soccer coach ex-husband, (kids’ ex-father) left me and my middle-school aged children out of the blue BY A GROUP TEXT for a woman half his age (yawn at the cliche) several years ago. Let’s just say it was a bit traumatic for the three of us. My kids were adopted by us as infants and his abandonment, and the way he did it, really triggered deep wounds for both kids. My son definitively says “He’s not my father. A father creates you or raises you. He did neither.”
Fast forward 7 years and it’s been a hell of a ride navigating the teen years. Substance use, anger, picture a TV show kind of troubled teen, and you’ll see my son a couple of years ago. My daughter has had other super worrisome teen concerns. But I’ve tenaciously loved these kids, gotten them the mental health care they need, listened, held them, and cried, and miraculously, both kids are doing well right now. He’s in college, in recovery, and building a great life for himself. She’s a happy junior picking out prom dresses this weekend. It’s two steps forward one step back, but I think they’re going to find their ways. Their lives won’t be perfect but they will be good.
Some background on me. I’m an anxious person by nature, but in a normal way (thank you Lexapro). I was pretty anxious for the 2-4 years of gaslighting before his affairs were revealed. (Duh). I’ve been anxious about my kids’ problems, but it seems like a normal response to tough stuff. I work, I laugh, I love. My anxiety has served me well in mobilizing the right supports for my kids, I think.
I’ve aged 20 years in 7, haven’t had a chance to even consider dating again, but I’m rocking my job and friendships, wondering what my empty nest years will hold for a tired old lady. Meanwhile, ex lives in another state with his child bride, lives a very glamorous high-income lifestyle, and sees the kids maybe twice a year.
Finally, my request. Last night, I did something stupid. I texted him for support about something going on with the kids. My text wasn’t my high point. After asking for what I needed from him, I said “You’ll never know how much pain your leaving caused the 3 of us. I hope it was worth it for you at least.”
He responded with: “I lived with you for 20 years. Your anxiety will turn anyone to drugs and self-harm. Let them make their own mistakes and stop trying to control everyone. You still don’t get that you made me leave you and destroy the family, do you?”
All this background so you can read that text from him and validate the giant “FUCK YOU” response I did NOT send back to him.
Wow. That took amazing restraint.
On behalf of Chump Nation, let me validate that response you wanted to send.
If anyone deserves to fall backward into a vat of acid, it’s your ex. What an abhorrent little man.
Alas, trying to shame fuckwits never ends well. I completely understand the urge, however. Anyone who’s ever been left holding the bag as Solo Sane Parent gets it.
You’re there doing all the heavy lifting and he’s swanning about oblivious to the therapy bills he left in his wake. You’re attending to the care and feeding of teenagers (more frozen pizza, STAT), while he’s being glamorous. (Whatever that means. Vacations to Moritz? Sunning his balls on rocky beaches? Cruising for ever-younger Schmoopies?)
Who are you to interrupt his idyl with recriminations? He canceled his subscription to parenting! Why must you spam him with these constant reminders?
It was one reminder, Tracy.
Unacceptable! Can’t you all understand your obsolescence? He sent a GROUP TEXT!
GettingThereSlowly, this is why we preach No Contact here. He has no better angel to appeal to. Anyone who abandons his family by group text is an empty vessel in a Tommy Bahama shirt. A void. A vacant canyon of vapidity.
I mean, what’s he going to say? “Yes, GTS, I am human excrement. Here’s $10 million for your pain and suffering.”
No! It’s not going to happen. You shall be punished for your accountability demands.
Enter the Universal Bullshit Translator. (Who in anticipation of the new site launching this weekend, is revealed today in cartoon form. It wants you to know its much better looking.)
I lived with you for 20 years.
I served a horrible sentence of misery. Every moment tethered to you was an eternity. I have no idea who made me adopt two children.
Your anxiety will turn anyone to drugs and self-harm.
My abandonment would turn anyone to drugs and self-harm, but let’s blame the byproduct of my abuse.
Let them make their own mistakes
I don’t understand why you care. Have you considered a group text?
and stop trying to control everyone.
It’s ridiculous the way you try to keep children from drugs and suicidal ideation.
You still don’t get that you made me leave you and destroy the family, do you?”
You’re so controlling, you made me destroy the family! You! With all your powers! You chose that! I said, GTS, wouldn’t you rather have flight or x-ray vision? And you said, “No! I choose FAMILY DESTRUCTION.”
And then you cast me out. Made me schtup a much younger woman. You and your mind rays.
You still don’t get it.
GTS, we all wobble sometimes. (((Hugs))). Keep rocking the sane parenting.