It’s Been a Struggle – Update

Hey, there, friends. Long time no write on my part. I’m sorry about that. Between the election, NaNoWriMo, and some other stuff going on in our lives, my head has been swimming. I did pre-write some posts and schedule them, but not as many as I would have liked, so I’m checking in with you all today.

  • I woke up at about 3am this morning with the weight of the world on my mind. This has happened a lot since November 9. As I said in my last post, I’m very worried about The Boy’s future, more than I have ever been. His medical coverage is at risk, and that would affect us emotionally and financially. I don’t expect any progress at the national level in terms of increased programs for adults on the spectrum, either. Maybe this do-nothing congress that has been virtually re-elected will surprise me, but I doubt it will be in a good way.
  • The Boy has been struggling with some violence during his meltdowns this year, and I am investigating how we can best help him through this. We may be switching doctor’s offices, we may be switching medications (big yikes), and we may be looking into some therapy for him. It depends on what his insurance will cover. But he needs some help dealing with his anger (thanks a lot, puberty), and I’m at the bottom of my toolbox with nothing left.
  • I get my first Thanksgiving mini-vacation this year since 2012. Every other year in between, I had to work on some portion of the days surrounding the holiday. Starting tomorrow at lunchtime, I am off until Monday, and man,will that feel weird. Good weird, though. 🙂
  • Then The Boy’s birthday is right around the corner. He’ll be 15. There goes my head, swimming again…
  • And the ex reached out post-election with an eloquent text saying he knew he had neglected his son and wanted to be a regular part in his life, promising to call every Sunday. That lasted exactly one Sunday, but I suppose his heart is in the right place. The Boy will be heading to his dad’s for Christmas, and I will miss him desperately.

So, my head continues to swim, which is better than sinking, I guess. I wanted to check in with you folks. It seems like it has been forever.

I wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. ❤

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At His Dad’s

The Boy is at his dad’s after a semi-successful hand-off this past Sunday. The ex was only an hour and half late, and The Man and I only got into one argument about directions…

He seems to be happy enough, which is about all I can ask for. I will tell you that with the rocky patches we’ve had lately, I am still holding my breath. I was pretty anxious about handing him off this time, and am missing him quite a bit.

Once a year is tough. Of course the ex is already making promises about Spring Break, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it. For now, The Man and I are having a quiet week to ourselves.

I hope you are enjoying any holidays you may be celebrating, and your families most of all. All will be right again in our world in a few days.

This Close

Icon-type silhouette of an airplane. (Mainly t...I am THIS CLOSE to telling the ex to stop even trying to bother.  Over the past couple of months, he has cancelled his August visitation (which has happened three out of the past four years, probably even longer), and then immediately promised The Boy he would see him for Thanksgiving.  His “plan” was to have his mom fly down, fly back with The Boy, and then he himself would fly down again with him to drop him off, and fly back.  He claimed his mom offered to pay for her tickets, and he (the ex) would pay for his own and for The Boy’s.  Did you count how many tickets that was?

I knew before the words were even out of his mouth that it wouldn’t happen, but per usual, just nodded my head, and said, “Sure.”  And The Boy has continued talking about seeing his dad’s kitties in November (the only part of his trips he is verbally concerned with).  And every time, I remind him that it might not happen, and I-don’t-want-you-to-get-too-disappointed-if-it-doesn’t-happen…  “I know, Mom,” he says.

And he does.

The text came tonight, saying he couldn’t afford the airfare, but that his girlfriend has a cousin in our state who will be alone for Thanksgiving, so they might…

JUST STOP.

That plan won’t happen either, because you will ask me to drive four hours, one way, to the middle of nowhere the night before Thanksgiving to make this work for you, and when I won’t, it will be my fault again that you will have missed another opportunity to spend time with your son.

I’m over it.

He’s over it.

It’s so much energy on everyone’s part, and the only thing created is headache and disappointment.  I am THIS CLOSE to asking him to quit trying.

The Angry Ex: Personal Attacks

The ex hasn’t paid child support since November.  I know how the system works, and at the two month mark, I called our state system and asked what we could do.  The lady on the phone initiated action, and told me to expect notification of the action in the mail in four to six weeks.  In the meantime, the promises from the ex rolled in, explaining that he was supposed to get his tax refund, so I should see the full amount owed in the account as of this Friday (and to let him know when it posted).  And then it was, OK, it should be in there this Friday.  And then there was no text or phone call for a couple of weeks (and, funny enough, no money, either!).

Today, a payment of $100 showed as being posted.  I admit I poked the bear, but sometimes I have to tell it like it is.  I texted him, “So, not the full amount, huh?”  I just get tired of the incessant lies, and he did ask me to report about what was posted…

What came next was a barrage of personal attacks and excuses, trying to explain the various payments he claims to have made, and asking me if his girlfriend’s kids should suffer so that I could be more comfortable.  You know one of those “1 of 3” texts.

Oh, I was tempted to respond in kind, but instead, I stuck with the facts.  I reported to him that the money he said he had deposited hadn’t posted, and that we had only seen $100 on our end.

He retorted with even more personal attacks and excuses, and I didn’t respond (but I did take a screenshot of the texts!).

You see, even though the personal attacks were directed at me, they weren’t about me.  He has anger issues, he enjoys conflict, and is quick to blame anyone else besides himself for his situation.  This time it was his girlfriend’s car troubles.  Next time it will be something (or someone) else.  In any case, it’s not my problem.  He has a financial responsibility to his son, and that’s not going to go away.

And I got my copy of the notification of action taken against him today.  I’m so glad I’m not alone in holding him responsible.

But What Do I Do?

I spent some time on divorce forums after the split, hoping to find a community, mostly to help me work through my anger and hostility toward my ex.  I knew it wasn’t healthy for me to feel this way, and I still had some raw emotions, even though we hadn’t really loved each other in a long, long while.  In those forums, people would inevitably post questions about what to do when…

  • their ex didn’t pay child support
  • their ex didn’t show up for visitation
  • their ex yelled at them on the phone
  • their ex didn’t call enough
  • their ex cancelled plans at the last minute
  • their ex brought the girlfriend to parent-teacher conferences

and so on, and so on…

“But what do I do??” they would plead.

After awhile, even I knew the answer to every single question like this:  “Nothing!”

You do not have control over your ex.  You can’t make him (or her) do (or not do) anything.  The only thing you can control is your reaction to his/her actions. (Notice I didn’t say feelings – you can’t control feelings, and anything you feel is natural – let it be).  The ex doesn’t pay child support?  Find a way to live without it, and keep track.  Find out what your state agency will do for you and when.  Give them a friendly phone call and ask for enforcement.  The ex doesn’t show up for visitation?  Have a back up plan (always), and use it.  The ex yells at you on the phone?  Hang up.  The ex doesn’t call enough?  His/her loss.  (This is a hard one, when you know your child may be hurting.  Help them to know how much they are loved, use a backup plan, and know that in the end, your child will learn valuable lessons from this, and love you even more for being there for them).  The ex cancels plans?  Use your resources to cover childcare if necessary, and use your backup plan.  The ex brought the girlfriend to conferences?  In the whole scheme of things, it probably isn’t that big of a deal.  In any case, it’s out of your control, and as much as it is hard to accept sometimes, worrying about things that are not in your control is a waste of energy.  Save it for the big battles.

That being said, you can cordially express your displeasure with the ex about any of these things.  But don’t expect an appropriate, cordial response.  Document everything, know your rights, and if they are being violated (or your parenting agreement is not being met, etc.), step up and say something.  But always ask yourself if you are really just trying to control the situation.  Trying to control your ex will get you nothing but a headache.