Divorced Encounters: Developing Wonder Woman

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I am struggling at the minute to write much for the ‘Diary of a Divorcee’.  I know this is unusual, but for some reason I no longer see myself as a divorcee.  I know I was once married, but now so much time has passed since we were together that I feel it never really happened.  It is as if it was someone else who lived that part of my life.  I have changed and grown so much in the last two and a half years that although the person I was then is still in there, it is only a small part of me.  That small part is not significant enough to really have an impact on me any more.

The fact I have struggled to write for the diary is strange in one way because at the minute I have a real battle on my hands regarding contact with my children and their father.  This is not something I ever anticipated I would be involved in (but then again I never anticipated divorce either did i?!) Not much of a psychic am I……god damn it, I really need to dig out that crystal ball!

So, anyway, due to some safeguarding issues for the time being I have had to make the massive decision to put a little bit of space between my children and their father.  This is not a decision I have made lightly, and it is not one that I could make over night either.  But when you are put in a position where you are actually questioning the safety of your children it is not something you can take a chance on really.  I’ve had numerous meetings with solicitors and other professionals to ensure I am making the right decision.  It truly has been one of the most difficult decisions ever.

Do not get me wrong…..I do not like the guy (my ex) one bit.  For the past four to five years he has made my life a misery, or at least tried to.  For the past two years I have learned to accept that this is the way he is and developed certain coping mechanisms.  These are by no way ‘bullet proof’ but they get me through most situations.  However, I would love some super hero on my side at the minute.  If only there was such a character that could come and magically neutralize your feelings and emotions when it comes to dealing with your ex partners, especially where children are concerned.  This aside, no matter how much I dislike him because of how he treats me and indeed communicates with me (in front of the kids), I have always tried to be reasonable. I have always realized that is is the children who would suffer otherwise (mainly because I saw it first hand with my parents so I have that hindsight).  I have also seen the looks on their little faces when they are repeating to me what their father has said to them about me, and they are truly sad by the fact their parents do not get along. It hurts them.

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This time though he has crossed a line which I simply cannot ignore.  Things have come to light which when I have actually been able to consider their true meaning and seek professional advice I have been advised to stop contact.  This has not gone down too well at all.  Which is no surprise, if this happened to me I would simply die without my children.  I was literally in tears writing a letter to him advising contact has to be stopped.  As I said I do not like the guy, and I do not agree with what he has done either, but if I could not see my children then someone may as well rip out my heart, screw it up and feed it to a pack of dogs.  Following that they may as well shoot me or take out my brain as I would surely go insane.  As cliche as it is to say it, my children are my life (and I make no apologies for saying that).  My ex will never know how difficult this decision has been for me as I know he thinks I am doing it for my own hidden agenda.  Even when I have written a letter explaining the reasons for my decision and the fact that it is for no reason other that I do not believe our children are safe in his care.  The sad thing is he does not have the capability to understand what he has done wrong.  He does not understand the hurt and upset he has caused nor the impact this could have on our children long term.  He blames me.  Apparently I am the cause of all of this situation and he has gone so far as to say that he hopes I will explain to our children when this is all over why I have caused this upset to them, and indeed their father.

If he wants me to explain that he has put their safety in danger, that he has spoken about our children in a way that is unforgiveable, and decided to choose his bravado over his children’s wellbeing that sure, I can do this.  But not until they are old enough to understand, and due to the nature of the incidents I am not sure when this will be, but it will not be any time soon.

Luckily, I have a strong network of family and friends behind me.  This keeps me sane and strong.  Without these people in my life I would surely struggle as an ordeal such as this tests even the strongest of characters.  My advice to anyone who is going through something similar is, no matter how difficult things appear, keep going.  Write down at the outset the reason why you are doing what you are doing.  Because believe me if your ex is anything like mine, they will try and manipulate you and break you down, trying to destroy all your beliefs and reasoning.  You have to be strong for your children.  If you do not fight for them then who will?  Your number one job when you have children is to be their protector.  You always hope it will never come to it that you will have to protect them from their father (you ve probably never even considered it!), a person who once was supposed to protect you all.  Sometimes, life happens and you just have to deal with it.  One day it will all be over, and your children will thank you for what you have done.  Never question your motivations as mother if you are truly putting your children’s welfare and well being at the center of your decision making. You can only do what you feel is right.  Similarly though, this goes for men who have this the other way around.  I know a man who is in exactly the same position with me and his ex-wife.

As a parent whether you are mum or dad, you have a duty to ensure your children are safe…..from everyone, including if the situation arises, the other parent.

May be I have struggled to write for this diary because I have needed time to accept the situation.  (And it is a lot differnt to the posts about me and the stream of bad dates or nor so great propositions). It has taken a lot of digesting, strength, courage and adjustment.  I know this is going to be a long-haul type of situation and not something which can be resolved over night.  However, I am happy for this situation to be decided by a professional and not just be pushed into a decision by my over powering ex-husband.  If the Court looks at all the information available to them and decides he should have contact, supervised or otherwise at least that decision is out of my hands and I have done my best to protect them.  Cop out? May be…..but at least I won’t question whether or not I have fulfilled my chief role as parent: Protector

B.

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Not Happy? It’s not the end

I was always perceived at school as a pretty and intelligent girl who was confident and not scared to stand up for herself.  The truth was I was shy and had very low self esteem. I constantly strived for approval from others and all I ever wanted was to be accepted.

I could never work out whether or not I was accepted and so I would do things that I would not necessarily do, and for that reason I have made some bad choices in my life.  Nothing which has ended me in prison or anything but nonetheless, if I knew what I know now things would have been very different.

My mum and dad divorced when I was 10.  I never thought it affected me until recently.  I looked back at my life and realised I have been rather destructive to myself and in  particular in relationships.  My dad was not an altogether abusive man but on occasion was physically abusive to my mum.  My mum was not an overall manipulator but could be manipulative.  It is easy for me to see why they are not together now when I look at them both.  They are both remarried and happy.  Furthermore, they are all friends which is nice to see, though it has taken them twenty years to get there.

As I always wanted to feel accepted and wanted, I became sexually active at 15.  By the time I was 17 I was pregnant, to a boy from school. He became abusive and manipulating and I let it all happen.  Getting pregnant was actually the saving grace as it gave me the strength to end the relationship as I did not want my child growing up around this man.  In short,  he kidnapped me, he abused me both physically and mentally, he stole off me and he cheated on me with numerous other girls and even one of my ‘friends’.  I did not know at the time but he was also an alcoholic and a drug user, who was also struggling with coming to terms he was bi-sexual. Not that this gave him the right to treat me in the way he did.

After I had my child I met someone who was doing well for themselves and was extremely good looking.  He even helped me look after my child.  At first things were great, we shared lots of great times.  But eventually the relationship fell apart.  He became very controlling and rather manipulative and I felt trapped.  I was 22 but felt like 32 (I am 33 now and I felt older then than I do now!) I still see this man as he still has contact with my child and for that I will always be thankful.  But what I had done was let another man look after me and do everything for me.

To be honest looking back I am not surprised I met someone else.  Not only were there issues in my relationship with control generally taking each other for granted, probably due to the fact we were very young and not really knowing how to deal with difficulties in the relationship.  Additionally, I found it extremely difficult to communicate with my partner.  I am not suprised at this either.  Although I’ve always known my parents loved me, whilst I was growing up I was not really told that they did.  I never heard the words ‘I love you.’ When I lived with my mum and dad, dad occasionally did not come home.  I remember me asking mum one morning whilst in the kitchen where dad was and she told me he had gone to work early.  Even at the young age of 8 or 9 years old I remember thinking ‘he did nt come home’. If my mum and dad had problems then they argued.  I remember a lot of bickering and sniping, but I do not remember them being particularly happy.

I guess then in some way I had been programmed not to deal with issues and to retaliate by pushing people away, because I believed they were going to leave anyway. With hindsight I now know that this is what happened with this man.  I did my best to push him away, as this was a barrier I had put up as I believed he would leave anyway.  I could not fully open myself up to love him and I could not believe that someone actually loved me for me.  We are actually engaged to be married and had bought a house together.  We had everything and could have had more.  I kept all the photographs from family holidays we had together and looking at them the other day I broke down in tears as we were actually in love.  The way we were looking at each other in the photographs was so extremely touching and it is for this reason that I have kept them as I want my child to have these so they know that we did love each other once.  In fact, I believe we still love each other now, but things have changed and us as people have changed also.  If I had the tools to salvage that relationship at that time then I would have done.  But obviously it was not meant to be.

I  jumped from that relationship into another which initially gave me the freedom and excitement I was so desperately looking for. Unfortunately it turned out to be an extremely bad decision, but this I will discuss at another time as this is a very long story in itself.

It was only after I had to make some very brave decisions and walk away from this relationship.  It was one of hardest things I have ever had to do.  But it was only then that I began to actually find myself.  Since my divorce three years ago I left my job, which I had not been happy in for over three years.  I enrolled to do a degree I had always wanted to do, and got work at a local charity.  I had desperately wanted to do a job where I felt I was making a difference to people for such a long time.  I am still single, I am still studying and I am the happiest I have ever been.  I have also taken this time whilst I have been single to reflect on past relationships and behaviours, as well as life events such as my parents divorce. I understand why I have acted in the way I have.  I have forgiven myself for some of the things I have done.  I have apologised to the relevant people for the way I have acted and I am ready to move on.  One thing I realised is as my mum never said ‘I love you’ to me as a child I constantly say it to my children.  My dad says it to me all the time, and I can easily reciprocate, but  until recently I could never say it to my mum.  Not because I did nt, but because we just never had. But mum if you ever read this please know one thing, I do love you with all my heart and now I am older I know that the words do not always have to be spoken.

Over the last couple of years I have had many discussions with my parents (separately of course) and I can see both sides of their story.  I have also accepted certain things from my childhood and forgiven and let go.

I know I am of worth.  I know I have grown up to be a good mum, a kind hearted person who does not judge others and always try to see the best in them.  I have ambition and know I will get there.  It may have taken me longer than I would have first envisioned but I know that anything is possible and I will keep going until I get where I want to be. So for all of you who have experienced set backs, losses and difficulties never give up, keep going because you will get there, even if the journey is long.  If you are not at the happy ending then you are not at the end 🙂

B.