Archive for the ‘Decisions’ Category

This is a conversation that I’ve had with my wife as well as my parents on several occasions. It’s also the subject of many articles on PAS (parental alienation syndrome) and HAP (hostile aggressive parenting). The offending parent hasn’t let go of the previous relationship and is seeking to control the other parent (their ex) by using the child as a weapon. Honestly, to say that this isn’t effective would be a complete lie. Has the lack of relationship with my daughter hurt me? Yes of course it has. Has the stress of dealing with it all had an effect? Again, yes of course it has. The interesting thing is that since I am a healthy, right thinking adult I don’t see this as a rejection by my daughter, but as a manipulation of B’s feelings that has led to the current situation. I’m not consumed by my emotions concerning my estrangement with B. SHE IS ON MY MIND DAILY, but the negative emotions don’t effect me daily.

The person that this has consumed is M. I’m dealing as well as possible and B thinks that she is content with her life or at least willing to accept it. M is left to come up with ways to further her end goal and spin given situations. B is growing and changing and the hold M currently has will fade. If it isn’t me, it will be a boy, or school, or who knows what. B is growing into a young adult and will see things clearly in what I hope is a short period of time. M on the other hand will be left grasping to control the emotions of others. I’ve moved forward with life and I’m raising my step children and have a wonderful marriage. So as you see, M is the only person that is stagnant in her life. She has the same job, the same “boy friend” (we’ve been apart since 2008), the same rental home, and even the same vehicle. This seems to be a very common theme among parents that are guilty of PAS and HAP. They become stuck emotionally and even physically where they were in the past. As the Vince Gill song says, “There ain’t no future in the past”, life moves on and everything changes. Sometimes those changes are good and sometimes they suck, but the constant is change.

What I have found is the key to dealing with all this is living in the present and looking to the future. B will not always feel the way she does now, and if I’m stuck in the past being hurt I might miss the opportunity to heal the relationship. Hence I recently made a decision that is backed by B’s counselor. I’m backing off, waaaay off. I won’t be going to court constantly (we’ve been three times in the last three months), attending B’s doctor’s appointments, etc. B has made it clear that I am not welcome at her doctor’s appointments and that I am not wanted. The only real reason for me to be there is to get information and to give information to the doctor. I have to trust that M won’t intentionally harm B just to spite me. You may think I am wrong or you may agree, but at this point all I am doing is repeatedly chasing B from having a relationship with her father. The more I push to be in B’s life the more she pulls away. The other thing is that as long as we continue this fruitless court battle the more M is a subject of daily conversation. I don’t know about you, but I DON’T WANT MY EX TO BE A PART OF MY CURRENT MARRIAGE. The only way to accomplish this is to break the cycle that has proved ineffective in changing my relationship with my daughter, thus removing M from having the ability to do and say things that effect daily life.

As a parent it is our job to teach our children what is right and wrong, it’s our job to guide them. We can’t make decisions for them and when they make the wrong decisions the consequences are theirs to own. B is making decisions and she has consequences. That’s not to say that when she has a change of heart that I won’t be waiting with open arms, because I will. No matter how long it takes, I will be here and love her with all my heart. I simply have to focus on the family that is here, now, in the present that does love and accept me. They too deserve my time, energy, finances, and love. I can’t give those things to them if I am constantly torn  up emotionally by B or concentrating on my next move to counter M’s insanity. If M want’s to be crazy, she can do it without me. I don’t want or need her in my life as she only hurts those around her. In some way I believe this may have all been a tactic for her to remain present in my life and keep me from having a healthy marriage. It hasn’t worked, and since this isn’t a game I am taking myself off the field.

Well, I spoke to my attorney and the motion for contempt should be filed today. M’s attorney, bless his heart, wants new wording in the custody agreement because he was to inept to recognize the agreement was not to his client’s liking. So I should have a court date this week or next and I’m sure there will be some type of motion made from M’s side to amend the custody order. From here I feel that a no mercy approach is in order. I plan to nail M to the wall at every chance possible. We have tried to imagine what her next move will be or what the next drama will be, but when dealing with someone that isn’t mature or stable it is rather difficult. We have had the foresight to recognize that things may become outlandish. If that is the case, it’s fine and we’ll deal with it. Honestly the weirder it gets the better for my relationship with B. It can only go so far before B looks around and says ” what the hell, really?”

So at the moment we are waiting and hoping for swift movement on the part of the court. We also have found a group on FB about PA. It has been a great resource and has help me not to feel so alone in this. I don’t think that the court will move quickly, and I don’t think M will abide by any order unless forced. To be truthful I think M may even go so far as to play the martyr so that I can be blamed and look bad in B’s eyes. I don’t put it past her to attempt to absorb financial punishment or even a night or two in a cell. It’s really strange to think that M is that far removed from reality and so deep into her “game” playing mode. If the past is any indicator the truth is that we should expect the most extreme and strangest behavior possible.

So I am sitting here waiting to see what will happen to force this into a counselor’s office, where it all should have been years ago. I pretty much know based on her behavior how M is reacting. What I don’t know is how B is, or is going to react. I have no idea of what the outcome will be. I keep hoping that my hopes are correct and that the Lord will bless B with the “ah ha” moment where the light switch just goes on. The truth of the matter is that there has been a lot of time that has passed and that it is much more likely to take a long period of time to heal and regroup emotionally. B has been subjected to what many consider child abuse by emotional manipulation. I tend to agree and that is a serious thing. Abuse of any kind is difficult to heal from and sometimes it is a long road to what most would consider a normal emotional place. So as a father I have no idea what to expect, and truly just want that relationship with B back in any healthy form. I’m not sure what is left of the relationship we had or if it can be restored. Will it be something new and completely different? A lot of time has now passed and I just don’t know what to expect.

As far as I am concerned there is nothing to forgive B for. She is a victim in this and although she has made decisions of her own, those decisions were made while under the emotional control of an unhealthy adult. There are no feelings that I need to resolve with B, I just want to be able to be a father again. I just want to see those moments that only happen once. The look on her face when her team wins a game, the smile when she gets off the phone with her latest boyfriend, those moments. I feel like I have lost so many of them over the last year and a half. So, no I am in no way angry with B. M on the other hand, is another issue altogether. Yep, I am mad as hell that she is so sick and manipulative as to use a child as a pawn in a sick game of her own making. That is something I have to work on. Not vomiting on her from disgust while in her presence is going to be a challenge. Unfortunately I will have to be in the same space as her and hopefully one day co-parent B with her. That is going to be rather interesting.

One of the biggest mistakes in the treatment of PAS is that many counselors concentrate solely on the child. Not the child’s relationship with the non preferred parent and not the relationship between the parents. The relationship with the child has to be healed and the relationship between the parents must be healed. Without that healing the cycle will just continue indefinitely. The truth of the matter is that the child isn’t the issue, the parent or parents are. The parents need counseling as much or more than the children. It’s the alienating parent that has caused the damage and the other parent that has dealt with the damage, and the child has been hurt and damaged from the actions of the parents. The whole family unit has been effected and needs to be healed. That includes step parents, and siblings as well as grand parents etc. The animosity has to stop and be healed or it all just continues.

So here I sit waiting. I’m waiting on the court to do it’s job. I’m waiting to see how B will react when counseling starts. I’m waiting to see how weird and wild M will get before this all is resolved. I’m waiting to see how difficult it will be to forgive and move past all the hurt and anger. I’m waiting and ready for it to all be resolved and done. I’m waiting to once again be a father to my child.

All the waiting is just killing me!

Well I recently got B’s new phone number. It’s been over a year since I had a working number for her and just the idea of being able to call or text her is pretty exciting. In the past if I called M she would let it go to voice mail or on the rare occasion she did answer, she’d say, “I’ll let her know you called.” Honestly I am not expecting much of anything to change, but at least now I can call and hear her voice…even if only on voice mail. Side note: We have a consult with the court ordered counselor!

I’ve talked about the fact that I think a lot of ingredients and a lot of people contributed to B being in the emotional place that she is. I think taking a look at all the major players is a good idea. I know that my parents being married for over forty years has effected my outlook on love as well as all the relationships in my life. To start with we have B’s biological mother. Strange side note, she and M are now friends! They’ve always hated one another….so strange. Ok, back on track. We’ll call the womb donor R.

R and I met in high school and started doing all the things we shouldn’t have done. It was a little hard not to. Her home life was just ridiculous. Her parents were long divorced, but her mother had just gotten custody of her. R basically had gone from a religious nut-job of a father to a no rules, drunk mother. I actually bought food for the house and stayed late into the wee hours on many occasions so that she and her younger sister weren’t alone and had food. All of which were insane considering the fact that R’s mother and step father made good money. He was a pilot and she worked in the IT industry. The problem was that mom was out partying/whoring around (the woman tried to seduce me not once but four times), and step dad was working all the time literally. This was her mother’s fourth marriage by her own choice and she wasn’t even close to 40 yet. I felt the need to be rescuer and white knight, which was a bad move. You can see where a teen girl might get a little screwed up in that type of situation. It really brought out the worst in R. She was selfish, lazy, and generally not really that nice of a person. The issue was that I loved her (17YR OLD LOVE ANYWAY) and felt responsible for her. Notice I say I loved her, and not that I was in love with her. There is a huge difference and I was too young to understand that. Shortly after graduation, B was on her way into the world. Three months along and in a wedding dress, and for all the wrong reasons on both sides. She needed a meal ticket and I felt like I needed to take care of her. Within a year of marriage R and I were not even friends and room mates was as close to a relationship as you could describe what we had. Looking back I know postpartum depression was an issue, but at twenty I couldn’t spell it much less understand it.  A couple of years later, her mother died in an alcohol related motorcycle crash and her hole grew even deeper. B was a constant source of stress for her and I was just there. To be fair, I had a couple of serious car accidents during the time we were married and that too was a huge stress in our lives. The short version is that we never should have married, I should have asked for custody of my child and gone about life. B never saw love or affection from R for the first four years of her life. I think the divorce was a huge relief for R, and she was able to pursue things for herself and try to find happiness. She did all those things, and gave me full custody of B and within a year, she stopped seeing B. I held her feet to the fire and made her do things correctly, and it was just too hard on her. Several years later R would give up all parental rights. Enter M….

M was the product of a broken marriage and had very little contact with her biological father. She and her step father were close, but it was a bit of a strange relationship. Let’s just say there are several things about the man that made me question his character and question the childhood experiences of M. The relationship is just “different”. I’m not making any accusations, but the signs were and are there. M’s mother was an addict the first time I met her and to my knowledge still is. There are three sisters and the whole family dynamic is volatile and based on who can use the other the most. It was bad enough that M had moved out prior to turning 18 just to get out. Not the best background and a huge red flag, but I had hopes that she had risen above it. She had unfortunately not and is very happy being who and what she is. M and I did have several good years, but I truly think she was playing house. She was trying desperately to be the person she was expected to be by me and my family. The problem is that she never was that person and the strain was too much to bear. You can’t pretend forever and she is no exception. By the last few years the change was obvious and she tried less and less to convince anyone of who she was. At this point she doesn’t even try to put on a front to my knowledge. Every time we have contact, she is all games, all lies, and all “what can I get out of this situation”. I’ve said an awful lot about M in previous posts, so I won’t take up any more space for her here. You have a pretty damn good idea of who she is and what her character is. Not to mention I get tired of even thinking about her.

Now, for some self examination. This should be fun, NOT! I’m  a pretty decent guy by most accounts, but I have spent most of my life rebelling against one thing or another. For the most part I have run from God as often as possible. You see, my dad is an ordained baptist preacher and I didn’t want any part of that. Most of my teens were spent pursuing what made me happy or what I enjoyed. Mostly girls and a few good fights from time to time.  Sex and fights are  pretty fun past times, but both have serious consequences. Brianna was not the consequence of a fight obviously.  Being a decent guy, I wanted to do the right thing and hence my white knight complex. Doing the right thing means a lot of different things depending on the situation and I was too young to understand there were options available to me. I did my best to be a good husband and father, but the husband part was out of my hands. It was a dead relationship from the start and the dysfunction was very obvious.  From early on B was the victim of the dysfunction and felt the constant stress. I worked a lot to survive both financially and emotionally. The more time I spent away the more the grass looked greener. So I mowed a few lawns over the years and then had to deal with the guilt I felt. Dysfunctional or not I was married and it ate away at my soul to be that person, “that guy”. I think on the whole I was a good father, but a really shitty husband. The divorce from R was such a blessing for us both and was healthy for not only us but B as well. I then hooked up with M and like I said for a while it was good. My white knight complex is what got me in trouble yet again by ignoring all the big red flags. I take responsibility for the influence that M has on B . I also take full responsibility for the abandonment that B feels from not having R in her life. So I completely acknowledge my role here. This is all partially my fault and I know it. I don’t beat myself up because at the times I made those decisions I wasn’t mature either emotionally or spiritually. The past is just that and you learn from it an do your best to overcome the consequences of your actions. I hate that B has to be a victim of my decisions and would give my life to change it all, but it isn’t possible and I have to live with it. You see if I had made better choices, B wouldn’t feel abandoned by R and wouldn’t cling so tightly to M because of those feelings.

So the three parental figures in her life have thoroughly screwed up B’s emotional health! However, B is making her own choices now and shares a bit of blame as well. Most stories have two sides, but this one has four. So there ya have it. The highlights of the players in this sordid mess we have made of my daughter’s life.

I know there are those that read my blog and wonder how I ever let this happen. How could a loving father become estranged from his daughter in such a dramatic way. My answer is that it is easier than you think for drastic life changes to occur before you ever see it coming.  I certainly never could have imagined that “Daddy’s Little Girl” would turn against me and want nothing to do with me, but she has. From the time of her birth, literally, B and I were extremely close. Just my opinion, but even closer than most father’s and daughters.  B’s womb donor, as I refer to her, was ill equipped for motherhood and married life. She had her emotional issues and her own personal problems. That left me as the main care giver as well as the one showing B affection. It was a role that I relished and loved every moment of. I may be big, bad and tattooed but I’ve always been very sensitive as well. It really wasn’t hard for me to be a father and I really loved the role. The womb donor, not so much. She wasn’t much of a wife or a mother, but when we divorced it did leave a hole that was in need of filling in both my life and B’s. I had custody, and was receiving child support because I had B full time. The problem was my job. I was a cop and my family really had to step in and help.

I won’t pull punches, there was a girl I was involved with and had been for a while when the womb donor and I separated. After a few months, she decided to step up to the plate. Here is where M enters the picture as well as B’s life. She was wonderful with B and I saw my daughter blossom under her care. Of course my heart was gone, completely stolen. If she loved my kid that much, how could I not love her? On went the blinders and out went common sense. There were a lot of warning signs, and a a few neon stop signs that I totally ignored before we married. I should have at least paused, but I didn’t. Her broken home, the way we got together, her basic out look on love and relationships should have told me to put on the brakes. The problem was I was lonely, hurt and needed love as much as my little girl did. It’s how the mistakes started, but they didn’t end there. I think M enjoyed the role and was getting what she wanted from her life. She had a husband and child that adored her, a new car, a new house, and really didn’t want for much. Not a bad deal for her by most accounts.

Me on the other hand, I had issues. I was working my ass off and spending less and less time at home. I had to keep up, and keep moving so I was around less and less for B. I became angry when M became jealous. You see wearing a badge isn’t without it’s peril and I don’t mean guns and knives. Women literally throw themselves at you. M knew this because she had been one of them, and it’s how we got started. She also knew that I obviously wasn’t immune to them, hence her jealousy. I was angry because she was jealous and I felt like the odd man out at home. It was a combination of ingredients that were forming the perfect storm. The marriage was on the decline, but things changed dramatically. In 2005 I faced major health issues. Those issues took me out of the loop even more and I literally only saw B when she got home in the evenings after school and cheer leading. I pretty much sat at home for over a year. Every thing had changed and not for the better. Less money, less time, and more stress was pushing an already weak marriage to the breaking point. I had become the insecure one and her insecurities hit a peak when I finally got back out into the world.

During all this I wasn’t able to spend the time with B that we had both been accustomed to. M had become the major influence in her life. In a lot of cases I was left to play the heavy when it came time for discipline and the like. I had gone from being B’s everything to a side note in her life, but I didn’t realize how that would come to haunt me in the future. From the moment of our separation,  I feel like I was portrayed as the “bad guy.” Honestly, anyone with any common sense would have seen the writing on the wall, but I didn’t. I didn’t even see my child being intentionally pulled from my arms. It’s clear now that the end of the marriage was calculated and a working plan for a rather long time. M had become unsatisfied with me in general as well as finances and life. To put it plainly, she was tired of trying and was finished. For some unknown reason she was angry with me for not living up to her ideals. For years all the time it was Mommy and B against Daddy. It didn’t matter if it were a board game or an inside joke. Speaking of jokes, there was the one where they both talked about Mommy’s “boyfriend” (we were still very married at the time) and made constant jokes about it. You see for years it was obvious that M was setting a tone of making me the odd man out. It was ok not to include me, it was ok to make jokes at the expense of my feelings. M was teaching B not to take my feelings into consideration, she was teaching her not to respect me as a parent or as an authority figure.

By the time we divorced it was very easy to transition into a Mommy vs Daddy mentality for B. It was also very easy for her to pick sides. It had been her and her mother against me for years already even if it were just a joke at the time. When a tone is set in any relationship it is easy to maintain rather than to change. To change takes strength and courage that most grown ups don’t have. Take battered wife syndrome for example. A wife who is beaten daily will defend the abuser, her husband at all costs. I saw it time and time again in police work. If adults can’t see things clearly and be that strong, how can I expect a child to? It’s been four years now and even with all the back story, it still took until last year for the estrangement to occur. I think B did a valiant job of standing her ground until she grew tired and I remarried. My marriage gave me a safety net and she knew I ‘d be alright. She saw that I now had others in my life to fill the void she would leave. I don’t believe all this went through her head at her age in a black and white form. It is more based on feelings and decisions or lack of decisions as well as the reactions to them.

You see, the estrangement started long before there were any custody issues or we were even divorced. B had been conditioned for so long that when the divorce came, and then her mother ramped up the drama when I remarried…the decisions had already been made. B was caught in an unseen trap that I myself had been victim to. There were years that I was estranged from my family to varying degrees during my marriage. As a person, you make choices based on the information and feelings you have available. I don’t blame B for the choices she has made, nor will I ever hold them against her. I’ll just continue to love her and wait to welcome her back with open arms. I often wonder how any loving parent could allow this to happen, but you see it’s very easy when you want to see the best in the ones you love most.

 

I really feel like some clarifications may be needed for those that aren’t a part of the “inner circle.” I don’t want anyone thinking that I have given up or given in. The fact of the matter is that I just see the reality of the situation that I am currently in. The reality is that B is not a small helpless child. My daughter will be 16 in a few short months. This isn’t a case of brain washing, nor do I think every alienation situation is. The truth is that a child, and in this case my child, has made decisions actively to be where they are and doing what they are doing. That isn’t to say that I believe that M has no part in this.

Looking back this was set up for many years to mentally condition B to make the decisions that would lead to this.  Pointing fingers is extremely easy to do, but honestly I have made a lot of mistakes along the way as well. I don’t blame B nor do I totally blame M for the situation. I also played a role in this whole messed up deal. I saw warning signs that I ignored, because I didn’t want to see them. No one wants to look at their spouse and see a manipulative horrible person. That is almost impossible to do, even for the most intelligent well adjusted person (I don’t claim to be either). I could have made some better choices prior to the divorce as well as after that would have had an effect on where things are. While in the midst of the divorce things got about as nasty as you can imagine. I actually took 8 or 9 months off from having any contact with my ex, M. My parents, sister, or anyone but me would pick up and drop off B. I simply didn’t trust her and had no desire to be put in jail over some lie or BS that never happened. Yes it was that bad! I’m not sure what I could have done that would have impacted what is happening now, but I do know that B didn’t see her parents as a team working together for her. She saw two people that had zero trust for the other and a tremendous amount of malice.

All that malice is gone on my part. What it has been replaced with is anger at what is happening in the moment. I don’t look back and hate M for the things she has done, but I do get annoyed, pissed off, or frustrated when we have to deal with stupid issues now. When I think of M now it just makes me sad for so many reasons. The same can be said for B. They both aren’t allowing themselves to feel true happiness and love from the people that surround them. B has made the decision to cut me, my parents, both step-siblings, her cousin, aunt, uncle……..shall I go on? Out of her life. M could have partners in raising B and a pretty decent ex (if I do say so myself) if she only would allow it.

So I am hurting from not being able to be in my daughter’s life, but there is a lot of pain on the other side as well. Living in an emotional box and refusing to feel isn’t without pain. B is hurting herself as much as she is hurting me. The difference is that I have life experience and maturity that she doesn’t have. I’m simply better equipped to deal with emotions and life in general. I honestly worry how the decisions she  is current making will effect her long term. My biggest fear is that she will stay emotionally in a place where she blames me regardless of the reality of the alienation. There really is no right thing for me to do. I followed the advice of therapists and gave B space. That space turned into her saying that I abandoned her in favor of my wife and family. So then I pushed to see her, and she reacted violently as did her mother.  It’s the worst kind of catch 22 possible for a parent. The harder I try the further away she gets, but if I do nothing I feel like a horrible parent and she feels abandoned.

That’s why we see the current custody situation as a win for both sides. I’m not forcing B to see me, and she finally has to attend therapy and discuss things with a professional. I hope she gets some perspective on things and begins dealing with her emotions. Well, I have a lot more to say, but that will more than likely continue for a while. So I think I will end things now and try to enjoy the weekend.

Well it’s been damn near a year since I last posted and everything was converted to private during that time. Blame my attorney! She was watching out for me and is as good as any lawyer I have ever met. A lot has occurred since my last post, some good and some bad. We’ve been in court for various silliness, the funniest one was for child support. I was served for being behind on my child support which is direct drafted from my account. Withing 15min I had proof from my bank, the clerk of court as well as child support enforcement that I was current. The issue came down to the fact that my ex, “M” had moved and not provided the child support people with a viable address. Her attorney nor her even tried to call and get any answers, so off to waste a judge’s time we went. Our state also requires mediation in custody disputes and she refused to cooperate, so again we went to court. The judge found in favor of my wishes and the states, but it was pure stupidity and nothing but games.  At least I tried to work it out and hold up my end. I gave her multiple options that she refused because as she said,”It isn’t what I want I am just doing what my daughter B wants.” Whatever…..

We did spend three months, twice a week staring at one another in a parking lot…NOW THAT WAS FUN! To avoid contempt charges M did bring B to our usual meeting place but they just sat there and refused to do anything else. My parents did attend one of those meetings where B was pretty hard on them and M played her usual games. By the end of the three months I had a few conversations with B  where she made her wishes very clear.  Honestly, I was just emotionally drained and couldn’t take it anymore. My mood would change the day of the meetings and my sleep patterns would go to hell, so I explained to all involved that we should probably end the meetings. If it had that much of an effect on me I knew it had to be effecting B in a negative way. The last thing she needs is more negative in her life and I didn’t want to continue to pursue her if all it was doing is pushing her further away. In the end I had a couple of really good conversations where B did say that she loved me and expressed her reasons. The reasons weren’t logical, but they were as far as she is concerned, as valid as anything else in her life.

I’ve continued to send B at least one e-mail a month expressing my love and that I miss her but not pushing or prodding her in any way. I guess I could say that I am at peace with where things are. It would be a lie, but I could say it anyway. Where I really am is at a point of quiet resignation. It seems that I am in a lose/lose situation. If I push her to see me it pushes her further away, but if I don’t she can say that I am not trying hard enough (which is one of her reasons). In the end, following the advise of therapists was the wrong thing to do. Giving her that space allowed her to use that time to say that I just don’t try or that I didn’t try enough. Again, damned if I do and damned if I don’t. There really is no right thing for me to do and I understand that as much as one possibly can.

It’s been a couple of months since I saw B last and we have had a few lawyer visits since. The modification of custody finally resurfaced and we literally just put it to bed yesterday. Through our attorneys we finally came to an agreement on the custody issue. It’s a bit of a hollow victory for both M and myself. M got the custody changed from 60/40 to at the wishes of B and a couple more dollars a month. I got court ordered counseling and more information on what is occurring in B’s life. We’ll see how it all plays out, but I expect contempt charges and more court dates if history is any indicator. To this point I have avoided filing any contempt orders, but enough is enough. You can only be burned so many times before it’s actually for the good of the child to make sure things are enforced to the letter of the law.

Well that pretty much brings things up to date and I don’t want this blog to be about bashing my ex. If it does then I am as guilty as I believe she is and just as big a problem. My goal is to vent, be honest, let other parents know they are not alone, and maybe help myself deal with it all. I’ve found a lot of good resources that I want to share and I’ll post again sooner rather than later. Please feel free to comment, it’s nice to know someone is listening out there. 

By now you all know that I am an NFL lineman sized cry baby about this whole deal. Being a big, tough, strong guy doesn’t prepare you for the emotional train wreck of fatherhood. People’s opinions range from stopping contact completely and just waiting all the way to forcing B to visit every time the court says I have a right. B should be here with me a minimum of 14 days a month. That means that half of every month I am remembering that she isn’t here.  Where is the happy medium that allows me to maintain sanity, but lets my little girl know that I miss and love her? It seems that my weekly e-mails sending my love and emotions as well as updating her on our life, have only fueled the fire. E-mails from my ex are few and far between, but when we get them they are always nothing but venom. Everything is always spun a full 180 degrees and twisted until there is no reflection of reality at all. It seems that my e-mails have only given M the ability to know what ammo to use to cause the most damage. That leaves me in a vulnerable position. So I let my daughter know how much I love and miss her and my ex knows I am emotionally ripe for attack. An army doesn’t attack it’s enemy at it’s strongest point, it finds the chink in the armor. My love for B is that weak point. I can’t just turn it off. As vile as I now know my ex to be, it took a long time to turn off that love. You never really turn it off, so much as see the reality of life and move on. It isn’t so clear cut with a child. No matter what I will always love B, and everyone who knows me knows that fact.

My ex surely knows that fact. We spent a year short of a decade together and she saw the inner workings of Big Daddy the whole time. I don’t hold anything back. I’m very passionate about life, love, and my beliefs. M’s modus operandi is to attack me through love. I loved my career, so she made false legal claims that would insure I’d never wear blue again if proved in court. They weren’t proved because they were false, but the suggestion alone was enough to cause many possible employers to question the wisdom of hiring me. I could site many examples, but this isn’t about M, it’s about me and B. So, before I go off on a tangent I will get back to where I was going. My question is where is the middle ground? How much of my heart do I put out there? I’ve been very conservative over the past several months to give B breathing room and not force myself upon her. Even so, M has found avenues of attack. Where does the balance lie between protecting myself and being open enough that B knows my love will never change?

I really fear an attack by B on our visit scheduled on the 21st of July. I asked for a phone call the third week of June through M. I was informed that B was willing to see me on the 21st but didn’t wish to speak to me via phone. M knows that legally she can’t keep B and I apart, but she can make it as hard as possible. I could take legal actions but that would only exacerbate the situation. Now it makes no sense to me that a child doesn’t wish to speak to me by phone, but is willing to spend time with me a month later. The only thing that I can figure is that several weeks is enough time to get B worked into a frenzy against me before seeing me. What else could it be? I’m not expecting the visit to go well. My expectation is that B will feel forced into the visit and be angry with me before I even pick her up. I have no great agenda up my sleeve. I simply want to see my little girl, and ask one question. Are you happy? That is all I want or need to know. If B is happy and wants things to continue as they are then I am happy on some strange level. At 15 she doesn’t have the foresight to see or understand that and I realize that fact. If she felt this rejection, she would be angry. The fact of the matter is that she does feelW rejection from #1 and that is part of the problem. The fear of M’s anger because of what both she and B view as rejection is what is keeping B locked into her current state. It’s sad that a woman in her 30’s and a 15 yr old are on the same emotional and psychological level, but they are.

The bottom line is that B is taken care of. No not in the way that I would like, but she has a roof over her head, food in her stomach, and is doing well in school. Legally a parent has to be an axe wielding mass murder to keep them away from a child. M is not addicted to any narcotics that I know of and hasn’t gone on any killing spree that I have been informed of. Therefore legally I can’t keep her away from B. That influence is in B’s life and there isn’t much I can do about it now. As I said before, people’s opinions vary but I have become very resolute that my current course of action is correct. Give B time and show her love and at some point she will come back to me. It is going to take far longer than I am comfortable with, but what choice do I have? Continual emotional warfare isn’t healthy for her or any of us. If I push, that is all that will happen. M will feed off the drama and B will be pushed yet further away from me. Nothing I do is right. Everything is twisted to look like I don’t have B’s interest in mind or at heart when nothing could be further from the truth.
Right now that middle ground is hard to find. B needs to know I love her and that nothing will ever change that love. I need the emotional warfare to end for my emotional well being. I have to be able to focus on the things that are important. Over the last several weeks, my eating, sleeping, work, and other relationships have suffered tremendously. Thank God my wife and I are both self employed. Hell, I almost fired myself the other day! How do I let B know how much I love and miss her without leaving myself open to the attacks from M that leave me broken and scarred? So, e-mails one a week? Once a month? Only on special occasions? Do I call on her birthday? Are gifts even a good thing? What the hell do I do?