“Thank you once again for being the martyr Saint.” Everyone tells me not to give these words another thought given their source. Don’t let him get in there. So, this is where we are at after 8 years of divorce? Name calling and anger. A distorted reality.
Saint? Maybe. Martyr? Inaccurate. This term is the most insulting. This one is hardest to shake. Exaggerating circumstance to play victim and get sympathy. I am not a victim. I do not walk around this world crying the blues and asking people to pity me. I do not walk around announcing to the people I meet, I’m a single parent, feel sorry for me. Do not feel sorry for me! I do not feel sorry for me. Sometimes I feel lonely. Sometimes I feel angry that I do this all alone. But I do not pity myself, I am not a victim, and never want to be treated like one! Ever! That will not go over well with me.
Have I had to muster a lot of strength to deal with my ex-husband with class and grace? Yes, the energy it has taken to protect my children from the truth and to ensure they did not hate their new stepmom, because they wanted to, has been exhausting. That is just a fact. Please don’t feel sorry for me, I’m not asking you to. I don’t want to live in sadness and anger. I consciously choose not to. Do I visit sadness and anger? Occasionally, but not for long. I need to. I’m human. Everyone needs to connect with their emotions, reflect on circumstance, so that they can move past it. Face it and conquer it.
Am I going to downplay being a single parent? No!!! It’s a tough gig!!!!! To deny that it can be a struggle would be a lie. I am not a liar. It is wrought with worry and insecurity. Fear of failure. Fear that it will have long term impact on the well-being of my children. The cure for this? Love. Dancing in the kitchen together. Singing at the top of our lungs. Hugs and kindness. Friends and family who love us and support us.
Anyone who knows me, knows I like to fly under the radar and only when I need to release stress, will I vent out the facts and feelings surrounding a situation. I need to, to survive. I asked to create this blog so that I can tell parts of my story and maybe in doing so, something will resonate with someone else and it will help them. Reality? There’s probably a handful of people reading this. People I have told about it. People who already know. I am not looking for attention and I certainly don’t need anyone’s pity. I have not and will not exaggerate anything here. I will state the facts and my feelings. People who are not ‘feelings’ people won’t get it. That’s okay, it’s not for you.
So, where is this coming from? My ex-husband and I are revisiting our parenting agreement. He feels that his budget is tight due to significant child support payments. Key word “budget”. Change your budget because your children aren’t going anywhere! My ‘sacrifice’ in our divorce has been my time and his, his bank account. This is a constant source of friction. Him complaining about paying. I don’t set the amounts. Call a lawyer, figure out what the payments should be. For eight years, I have made this statement.
Eight years later, it is still an issue and now that I have busted my hump doing all of the hard work and the kids are essentially self-sufficient, my ex wants to have joint custody. Why? Budget, finances, a desire to cut costs… Most weekends my children do not want to go there. They say he is angry and yells and boots them outside for hours on end while he sits inside. They wander around the ghetto of Ottawa, killing time. My ex has taken to bashing me in their presence and his wife has too. The bashing is usually financially motivated. After all of the damage control I have done. Playing the devil’s advocate. Being the peacekeeper. Shielding. I find myself thrown under the bus. I can’t accept it anymore. This day could not be avoided. My ex-husband is selfish, angry and verbally abusive. He says sorry but then repeats bad behaviour. That’s what abusers do. The kids were going to figure out who he is, how he is, sooner or later. I hoped they wouldn’t. I hoped he’d change. It’s not to be. Change is not to come and now I have to stand up and do what is necessary for my babies. I’m not being a martyr!! I am being a mother.
At the time of my divorce, I used to think “Who will want me? Who will want us? This life. How will I do this? Who will ever sign on for this?” Abused and alone, trying to survive the devastation of a life’s plan blown to pieces… I used to believe that a man would be the solution, a partner and this lead me to bring some undeserving people into our lives. I am not a perfect parent, I have made mistakes big and small. My children have always known love, we have survived many things because we are a family. I am strong and from my strength they gain strength. Have they seen me crumble? Be sad? Yes, they have. I used to think that was weakness and it was unpleasant for them, shocking even. They saw tears but they saw me rise out of it. We’ve talked about being human and we’ve acted as family do. Hugging and loving each other through challenging times. Unfortunately and fortunately, they have seen that you do not take someone’s abuse. You do not stay in unhealthy relationships. You push your way through and come through the fire, smiling and with love in your heart. My children have said they wish I could have my happy ending because of the bozos we have known here. The temporary heartbreak. I don’t need a man to be happy. My children are my happy ending. They are the reason I get up in the morning, they are the reason I survive, they are where I find my strength. They are Love.
Am I tired? Yes, so tired. I feel weak. Do I need a night off sometimes? Yes. Some women do not get that. Some women never get that. I am fortunate. My circumstance actually calls for gratitude because it could be so much worse. We are blessed. We will be okay.
I haven’t always been strong. I have gone to the ‘darkside’,. I have wanted to check out. In the first year of my divorce, feeling like a failure, I threw myself into my work, I worked out like a beast and I drank like a fish on my kidless weekends. There’s nothing to be found in a bottle but it’s bottom. A metaphor for life. I wont settle for bottom. My children deserve more.
I’m not sure I have the fight in me to deal with the custody battle that looms but that is what the lawyer is for. I’m handing the load to someone else, finally. It has been hard to tell our story to the lawyer. To relive it, revisit the emotions. To keep the anger in check because if I lose it, we all lose here. So hard. Yesterday, I opened the email from my lawyer. She summarized my concerns so succinctly in a draft letter and it reads so blunt. The truth. The hard truth, like a punch to the gut. There is worry about his reaction. Will he take it out on the kids? He already is. October 24, he took it out on them verbally. They don’t want to go there, I don’t want them to go either. ENOUGH!!
I always wanted to be a mom. I never saw it playing out this way. I never knew love like this until I held my children in my arms. My son is my first experience with love at first sight. I have never had my heart fill like that. Pure love. Who knew that your “heart could walk outside of your body”. All I want is for them all to know love and their worth. I thought they needed their father in their lives; a man. A man does not abuse his children. He does not bash the mother of his children. That is not a man.
I can do both. I have been the one to tie a tie, Youtube, yay! I have been the one to toss the baseball and show my son that I can hit the ball well, to his surprise. Taught him how to swing a bat. I have taught them how to swim, how to catch frogs. I have sparred in my living room with my son. I have shown them strength and love. I hope my son is learning how to be a man. A real man. Sometimes we learn what to do by seeing what should not be done. Concept attainment – Barry Bennett
I woke up to this in my Twitter mail…
I’ll find the strength, I always do. I’m a survivor! Not a victim and not a martyr. Go ahead, try me!!