Intellectually I know that it is counter productive and makes no sense to expect anything at all, anything even remotely approaching care or consideration, from my children’s father. I know he is a narcissist and I know that he hates me. I know that he will always be the victim in every situation and that I will always be wrong, bad, crazy or plain evil. I know that it is unhealthy to expect anything else. I know that the very definition of insanity would be expecting him to change. In a way, it is easy to accept that he abhors me and probably wishes me dead. I can accept that he wanted to be on the other side of the country to me and basically never speak to me again. I’m okay with that.
What I’m not okay with is how completely he disregards the needs and feelings of his children. I find myself entirely filled with rage, disgust and despair. And I get disappointed, angry and upset EVERY SINGLE TIME he fails to meet even a minimum standard of decent parenting.
In March, my younger daughter scratched her eye on a school field trip. It was luckily fairly minor and healed within a few days with antibiotic drops, but it was still her eye, and it was still scary. I took her to the ER at the children’s hospital here and I notified her father about the injury and need to seek medical care. I’m legally required to notify him of doctor’s appointments and medical information, but he never replies or acknowledges the information I send. It makes me SO angry that a parent, living across the country, would not even text or call to check to make sure his kid was okay.
This week my daughter fell playing soccer and got a concussion. Again, I took her to the ER and again I notified her father. I sent him the handouts the Dr gave us and let him know how the injury occurred. His child has a mild brain injury and he couldn’t even text or reply to the email to check on her? Really?
I can’t imagine under any circumstances that I would not want to check to make sure my child was okay. I would be on the phone or texting back the minute I got the email. I’d be calling her myself to see how she was feeling.
An empathetic, kind person might even ask me how I was doing. Thank me for taking her to get prompt medical attention. Thank me for taking care of her during the recovery period. Apologize for not being there. React like a normal human and a loving parent.
It’s isolating being a solo parent. It can be lonely and it can be scary when your child is sick or hurt. It is a lot of responsibility making the decisions alone. It’s hard caring for children without much of a break. It’s bad enough if you are fully alone, or if the other parent is supportive but far away, but it is terrible when the other parent is absent, but not gone and completely working at cross purposes to co-parenting.
I find it very triggering. I’m so angry and I just want to scream at him. But he isn’t here and he won’t be here. I don’t even know if he reads the emails I send, so there isn’t much point in screaming endlessly into a void. On the other hand, I’m legally required to continue keeping him informed so I feel trapped.
Sending him a message about his child’s health and not getting a response makes me angry. But if he replied I can almost guarantee that the response would upset me just as much, if not more. It’s a lose-lose-lose situation. And the worst part of it is that my kids can see just how little he cares. He almost only ever engages with them on his terms. He rarely directly answers their questions (if at all) and often gives roundabout confusing half-answers and suspects them of sneaking around (when they are just asking for a simple password!). It is truly maddening.
We are all trying to get on with our lives. A lot of positive things have happened over the last few months. A greater sense of stability and normalcy has settled into our days. I’ve been struggling to know exactly what to write about in this blog and what direction to take it in going forward.
For much more of our day to day lives we are freer now. I can make decisions more easily and accomplish more in a shorter amount of time. But weeks like this I still feel caged. I rage at the legal system which has literally forced me to stay in regular contact with my abuser, no matter whether or not he actual responds (or even reads my messages). I still don’t feel free because he still has some level of control over aspects of our lives. I try to rise above and to think as little as possible about him and the harm he has caused, but it’s not always possible to block it out.
It’s difficult to move forward knowing that he will never face any legal consequences. He was able to pick up, move to another province and more or less start over. He still thinks that I’m “mental” and his mother still thinks that I belong in a mental hospital. “Once a mental person, always a mental person” she told my daughter.
People who can repeatedly call a child’s mother “mental” to their own children are not good people. He is not a good person. I know that, but I’m still angry. And I’m angry at myself for the strange twisted hope and disappointment I feel every time he fails, yet again to ACTUALLY CARE about any of us.
And the fact that I care SO MUCH means that I am an empathetic, kind, loving human who wants what most people want: connection. My humanity allows me to be deeply hurt, but I would not trade it for his empty life.