Monday, January 01, 2007

a shaky start

This new year is beginning whether I'm ready or not. In light of what happened on December 26, I'm not so sure that I am.

Bruce, my child's father, took the child out for a few hours that day. When he brought the child back, he stated that he wanted him overnight next Saturday. I said, "Ask C. He's sitting right there."

C said no, very meekly- it was the first time he'd had the courage to stand up to his controlling father.

Bruce: "WHY?"

C: "I don't want to."

Then the tantrum began- Bruce's, not the child's. He ransacked my house, grabbing everything he'd given the child, all the while yelling about what an horrible person and mother I am, how he doesn't even like the child, how he's never going to see the child again, and other such ranting.

He took the flat-screen TV he had given C this Christmas, and tore its speakers off the walls. He wheeled C's bike out of my garage. He took C's favorite possession, his laptop, while yelling for C to give him his iPod and clothing. He tore the shirt off the child's back, and when C re-appeared a few minutes later wearing a different shirt, he took that one as well. Because I had been running through the house trying to hide C's favorite things from Bruce, this took quite a long time. I was trying to calm Bruce down and get him to stop, but it was futile.

Midway through the tirade, I ordered Bruce off my property and threatened to call the police. I can't even imagine why I didn't follow through. It was as if I was paralyzed with shock and fear.

Shortly before he left, Bruce actually demanded that I "put the child in the truck." At least I had enough sense to refuse! What mother would send her child off with a raging madman?

Finally, Bruce threw C's new TV out of his truck into the street and drove over it, in front of the sobbing child who was naked from the waist up on a chilly winter day.

Our lives changed that day. It would be absolutely irresponsible of me to have it any other way. I did call the police after Bruce fled, and filed a report. The next day I contacted a highly regarded domestic attorney. On Wednesday I'm taking C out of school to see a child psychologist.

Until now, I had allowed Bruce to see the child whenever he wanted to even though we had never been married and had no legal arrangement. He paid no child support. That deal could have worked if Bruce had been capable of behaving with integrity.

Acting upon the advice of my lawyer, I informed Bruce (in a public place) that he could either get counseling for himself to learn how to be a loving and caring father, or he could go downtown and file for custody. He scoffed at the counseling, which I totally expected, and he said he'd be contacting an attorney. "It'll be a while, (he'll need time to save up the money for the lawyer's retainer) but I'm gonna do it."

So now I wait. Someday, probably in a few weeks, or sooner if he can get somebody to loan him money, I'll be summoned to court to determine custody of my child. I did everything I could to prevent this, because court-ordered visitation would undoubtedly have meant that my reluctant child would have had to spend MORE time with Bruce than he already was, but now I have no choice. Hopefully now, the judge will see that Bruce has a maturity problem, and visitation will be non-existent or supervised.

Oddly enough, I have felt relieved since this happened- nervous, apprehensive, yet relieved. Bruce had been bullying and controlling me, and to a lesser extent the child, for years. I put up with it, and the lack of child support payments, all for the sake of avoiding a standard visitation schedule. C was usually unhappy with Bruce, especially during his rare overnight visits, and I was willing to pay a dear price to keep it out of court.

Now, for the time being, Bruce is out of our lives. The albatross is lifted. Much to my surprise, I feel like a completely different mother, one who is more responsible, involved, and effective than ever. I never realized how my spirit was being stifled before this happened.

So, Happy New Year. Here's to positive life changes and new beginnings.

36 comments:

kathy said...

Toxic parents can do more harm than they think! I'm glad you're taking C for counseling. My 9 year old step-daughter is in counseling because of her mom's unhealthy mind and lifestyle, and it has helped!
As for the lawyer, I doubt your ex will ever save enough for that. The only time my ex ever got one was after I took him to court for child support - he never battled me for custody.
Good luck!

Desiree said...

Ironic how life works out sometimes isn't it? I'm really sorry for what you had to go through. I have in my past some abusive relationships so I know how scary and stressful that whole scenario must have been for the both of you. You sound strong and resolved. I'm glad to read that. I'll keep you and yours in my prayers. I'm sending you big cyber hugs! Mom's need those too!
(((((((((((((((((hugs))))))))))))))))))

Betty said...

Dear Kathy,

I'm relieved to hear that your step-daughter has benefited from counseling. And wow, I'd be so thrilled if Bruce never filed. I fear that he will, because C was the only good thing in his life! I hope your prediction is accurate, though, believe me.

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Desiree,

I appreciate your thoughts, prayers, and hugs, as well as your observation that I seem strong and resolved. I have actually entertained thoughts of forgetting about what happened and going back to the same old, but I know I can't do that.

Hugs,
Betty

Trée said...

{deep listening}

All the best to you Betty in this New Year.

Betty said...

Dear Tree,

Thank you for listening. I wish you a new year filled with love, peace and truth.

Hugs,
Betty

Enhance Life said...

Hi,
Thank you for sharing that post with us. I am guessing it wouldn't have been easy to write.
I feel you did the right thing by talking to your lawyer.

I am wishing you and your little one, a great year ahead. One without hurt and pain....

Sham
Enhance Life

Enhance Life said...

Hi,
Thank you for sharing that post with us. I am guessing it wouldn't have been easy to write.
I feel you did the right thing by talking to your lawyer.

I am wishing you and your little one, a great year ahead. One without hurt and pain....


Sham
Enhance Life

Betty said...

Thank you, Sham. It wasn't a pleasant topic to write about, and I wasn't sure I could. When I first began blogging, my writing was more humorous and frankly, it was more appealing. Then my blog became more like a journal- I'm not sure why. I wish I could become funny again.

Hugs,
Betty

Mark said...

Betty,
My heart hurts for you and your son. It is such a shame when the adult becomes the child.
Be safe, embrace your son with unconditional love and smile knowing that you are a great parent!

Betty said...

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your very kind words. Knowing that there are people like you out there keeps me going.

Hugs,
Betty

Lisa said...

Betty,

You are doing the right thing by taking your son to counseling. But please don't worry about Bruce Amighty getting custody of your child...even if he filed for it (which he probably won't...I'm sure he very much enjoys coming and going as he pleases), there would be no reason for a court to take the child away from his mother. It doesn't usually work that way. I'll bet that he just CONVINCES you otherwise...and they can be SO convincing...

I would advise you to Google "Narcissistic Personality Disorder". There IS a name for Bruce's disorder...and he DOES have a disorder! This is NOT normal behavior, it is very, very sick. You'll be shocked when you see the criteria for the diagnosis of NPD. I'll bet he meets quite a few of them! Once the light bulb goes off and you find out exactly what you're dealing with, you will be able to handle him in a different way...you will no longer let him bully you, and you will no longer walk on eggshells. These people are toxic; unfortunately, some of them are stuck with us forever, so we have to learn how to live in a healthy way while dealing with them.

...I'm sure you've realized that I've dealt with someone like this in the past (and the present, and most likely the future)! Good luck to you, have faith in God and stay strong!

Take good care,
Lisa

Betty said...

Dear Lisa,

I followed your suggestion, and I am amazed that you figured this out from so little info on Bruce. But you're right on the money. He meets ALL the criteria for NPD. Pretty scary. I always suspected a mental problem but couldn't label it. Thank you for the clarity- it does help to see that I was dealing with a truly disturbed person, and it wasn't all my fault, contrary to his ranting! Thank you!!!!

Hugs,
Betty

Sideways Chica said...

My dearest Betty...I am sad but proud for you. I know you have been trying to juggle this situation for far to long by yourself. I hope you took photos of all the damage done. Of course the real damage can't be captured with a camera.

Stay strong chica...and if you waver, then reach out to stronger, less emotionally involved hands to pull you and the child from harms way. I happen to know you have someone like this in your life. Please give him my regards. ;)

Ciao bella...hugs, hugs and more hugs!!!!

P.S. I concur with Lisa.

Betty said...

Dear Teri,

I did indeed take photos. And today I took him to our child psychologist whom we hadn't seen in a while. I was extremely impressed with how she handled the situation, and the child opened up to her when I left the room. (And I don't know what he told her!)

Bruce also left a message on my phone today, in which he begged me to let him see the child. He still hasn't ever admitted to any wrongdoing- he's just trying to re-engage me, to pull me back into the dance. I am not returning the call. I am having to find my strength, that's for sure, and it's about time.

Hugs,
Betty

Lisa said...

Betty,

My ex-husband has NPD. I didn't know about it while we were married, but then again, he had me so convinced that I was the cause of all of our problems, I wouldn't have thought to even consider that he had a disorder! When he left me for another woman, he actually had the nerve to say to me, "I wish you could just wait for me, then when we're like 45, we can get back together and spend our golden years together." Can you imagine? I was 33 at the time...yeah, THAT'LL happen!!

The abuse was always emotional, always psychological, and sometimes physical. Why I didn't wake up sooner is beyond me. It took me a long time to find myself again after we separated, but thank God I was able to cut loose to some extent. He'll always be a part of my life because of the kids, but now that they're older, it's not as bad as it was.

Good luck to you and hang in there!

Take good care,
Lisa

Priyamvada_K said...

Whew! That's a lot to handle on one day, lady! Kudos for standing up and not letting him drive off with the child. It beats me how someone can rage like that in front of a child, and pull poor C into this whole madness. Gosh...Hang in there. I don't know if any judge would allow visits with someone who has such a temper problem. Let's hope for the best.

Hugs,
Priya.

Betty said...

Dear Lisa,

I know what you mean about not knowing why you didn't wake up sooner. It took extreme drama to get me to make a move- I guess he had me believing that everything was my fault, until Dec. 26. I'm glad you have been able to heal from your horrendous experience.

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Thank you, Priya. I agree that it's hard to imagine any judge allowing a man with such a temper to have unsupervised visitation. Yet Bruce is still leaving messgaes on my phone in which he continues to blame me, and he hasn't even admitted that he did anything objectionable! It's scary.

Hugs,
Betty

Rain said...

My ex was just as sick. Good thing that you called the police, do so every time, otherwise it is your word against his. Keep a journal, it is good in court. He will be ordered to pay child support and if he doesn't want to pay he may leave town like my ex did, we can only hope right?
Now he has a warrant for his arrest that keeps him out of my life. Good luck.

Betty said...

Dear Rain,

I'm sorry you had to go through that. I have kept a journal detailing Bruce's behavior, but I was assuming it would be useless in court. Thanks for letting me know otherwise.

Hugs,
Betty

Kacey said...

Dear Betty, I am horrified that any adult could even think of acting that way towards a child. You poor little boy should never have to deal with that again. I agree with Lisa and Teri in their comments. I'm happy that you took photos of the damage. The phone messages should be saved, so the judge can hear his attempts at manipulation. If he continues to call, you need a restraining order to keep him away from you and your little guy. Be careful, --- he sounds like a nutcase! I'm so sorry that you are going through this.

Betty said...

Dear Kacey,

I think you're right- I'm dealing with a nutcase. Those phone messages are on my cell phone, and they are automatically erased after 21 days or something. I'm going to call Verizon to see if there's a way to save them permanently. Thanks for reminding me about that.

Hugs,
Betty

Kelley Bell said...

I echo Tree.
{Deep Listening}

Damn. (Hugs)

I am proud of you Betty. Sorry too, but proud.

Bless your heart for protecting that child.

Betty said...

Thank you, Kelley. Standing up to people has not been my forte in life, so this is obviously a lesson I've needed to learn. Thanks for {listening}!

Hugs,
Betty

Dawn said...

My heart ached reading this post. I cannot believe that a father would act so irresponsibly, and in front of his child too.

Here's to a new year and a great start!

here via blogexplosion.

Rich said...

2 words:

Restraining Order

With that kind of a tirade, you could make a very easy case for psychological abuse. If it's been going on for years, you need to get him completely out of your life. Get the restraining order and call the police the second he tries to ignore it.

Lisa said...

When my ex-husband threatened me on my cell phone, I put it on speaker mode and taped it onto a tape recorder. That's what eventually got him arrested.

I guess I should share that thankfully, after he hit rock bottom, he found God and developed an extremely successful business. He's definitely a lot easier to deal with, although we were never compatible as a husband and wife should be to begin with, and never will be.

Take good care,
Lisa

5TH Street Forum said...

wow

what an A**

i hope everything turns out well for you and "C"

Betty said...

Thank you, Dawn. It really was unbelievable, and afterwards, the father wanted to go on as if nothing had ever happened!

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Rich, yes, you are right- I am not allowing any contact between us and the father. Only a court order will change that.

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Dear Lisa,

That was a brilliant move. I finally convinced Bruce to stop calling me, so I won't have any such opportunity, it seems.

Hugs,
Betty

Betty said...

Thank you, 5th Street Forum. Right now we are enjoying a period of relative peace, waiting for Bruce to file.

Hugs,
Betty

A "Mother of Two" said...

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Hope to hear from you!

cass said...

Wonder what he'd do if you sued him for back child support? If he wants to screw you in court, that's exactly what I'd do: get him to pay up.

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