Posted by Miz Insomniac
Ever had this happen? You’ve sent your child off to be with her other parent for an overnight thinking you will see her the next morning at her regularly scheduled time. As you are heading to bed you get a message in your voicemail from your ex stating that she will not be returning to you until another time several days out. It turns out he is taking advantage of the vagueness of the legal jargon in the order to garner more time for himself with his daughter. He is also, in the process, completely disregarding his child’s commitments and life and activities and routines, which she will be unable to do since he just arbitrarily decided to obliterate all of that. He doesn’t care about working together on her behalf at all. He only cares how difficult he can be and get away with it.
Yes, he’s one of those kind of ex’s. Regrettably, (I do, and I have every day since marrying him) he is my ex and this is my daughter(I never regret her, only that he is her father). I don’t mind a dad wanting to spend time with his kid. I don’t mind adjusting schedules when things come up and I don’t mind attempting to work things out. But…none of that is what he is doing here. What he is doing is a clear case of adult bullying and emotional abuse.
Here’s some background, but a bit of a disclaimer first. I’m going to be vague and speak in generalities for my own reasons. You, the reader, are just going to have to trust me when I say that spending more time with him would not be in the best interests of my daughter, for so many reasons and on so many levels. He is the evilest kind of evil: the kind that can conduct the evil while at the same time convincing everyone around that he’s doing a good thing here.
This man couches everything in terms of what is fair and right and in the best interests of our daughter, when the truth is, he does only what works for him and gives him a sense of power over someone; in this case, me. He is at best, an adult bully; at worst an abuser. In this instance, he is keeping her for a few extra days, because he thinks he can.
He can’t. I can call the authorities and insist that they enforce this. I know this. But is that really the smartest thing to do here? Is that, and the resulting tension and stress that would go with such a scene, really in the best interests of my daughter? I don’t think so. He also is banking on me thinking that way. He’s hedging his bets. Knowing I just went through my second cancer surgery, he’s banking on the fact that I won’t want to create any more stress for myself. He knows I won’t want to create a traumatic situation for our daughter (even though he’s perfectly fine with doing it himself).
Here are the issues I have with this kind of power play:
1. He utilizes the element of the last-minute surprise to his advantage all the time. He could have been a proactive adult, thinking ahead and discussing well in advance of this evening what he would like. Instead, without warning he pulls the wild card. This creates all manner of tension and negativity and he knows it. He did this routinely and intentionally in our marriage. When I reacted or couldn’t turn the proverbial Titanic on a dime, I was made out to be inflexible and “controlling”.
2. He doesn’t play by the rules. Ever. He creates them and re-defines them based on what he wants at the time. Everybody else’s schedule is at the mercy of his arbitrary dictates. It’s exceedingly difficult to operate a life with this man anywhere in it.
3. He expects to be treated with fairness and respect, but he doesn’t give that treatment to others.
It is really very sad that this situation exists. It is tough on me, but it’s worse on our daughter. I hate to say this, but I can’t wait until she turns 18 and I never have to deal with him again. But never having to deal with him again will never change the fact that I will, for the rest of my life, regret ever having met the man.