Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Father's Legacy

As I've stated before, I've been told by professional therapists that the fact that my kids are willing to open up and be honest with me about their feelings is a good thing. It doesn't mean that I've not been stopped dead in my tracks by what they say or how they feel.

I do my best to keep my mouth shut about what is going on in the deepest, darkest recesses of my spleen. In most simple divorce cases, nothing good is ever accomplished by parents playing the kids off the other parent. Kids are not pawns in a game. Kids are unfortunately more like tennis balls, getting lobbed back and forth from one environment to the other. Hopefully, they can maintain their "resiliency". Hopefully they can "bounce back".

Hopefully one more therapist won't use these words with me again or I will set my hair on fire while singing Tip Toe Through The Tulips.

I am tired of jargon. I am tired of being told my kids are doing the best that can be expected. I'm tired of being told I'm doing the best that can be expected.

Whose expectations? Who gets to be the all knowing, all seeing person that points the trident of Poseidon at the unfortunates and deem one ok and another not?

There is so much more going on here than just a simple divorce. My kids discussed divorce with me before I ever discussed it with them. When I was called out to the garage on that snowy December day to be told by my husband that he was a cheater, I told him that our kids had mentioned the fact that I should divorce him long ago.

"What did they say?" He demanded. Of course, at this time I only knew he was a cheater, not a pedophile. "What are they supposed to say?" I shot back. "That you don't give a damn about any of us. That you never lift a finger to be a part of the family. That you don't act like a father."

In retrospect, I believe he looked relieved by that answer. He was fishing for whether I knew about his molestation of our daughter. Somewhere in the sick, disgusting recesses of his mind, I think he was looking for absolution for his perverted behaviors. From the fact that he felt it was ok to contact me at work after admitting to molesting our daughter, I honestly don't believe he felt an ounce of remorse for what he had done to his family.

Oh, there was remorse. There was remorse for the fact that he had finally discovered the straw that broke the camel's back. There was remorse that I wouldn't be one of those women who discover that their husbands are child molesters and feel the need to choose their spouse over their child. (They exist. I know three people personally who were molested by fathers and their mothers are still with those men and are in full knowledge of what they did. Needless to say, their daughters are basket cases.)

This has been a very dark couple days for me as I find myself haunted every waking moment by wondering what the fuck could be going on in a person's head that could do this. That could harbor a secret so heinous and still choose to live among the people that he perpetrated it upon.

And of course, there is the flip side. All the stories that I could never disclose here that should have been red flags. All the times of being hurt and running interference between my husband and kids. All the therapists that have shown me how our situation was no different psychologically than a woman who was being physically beaten. She will stick with a marriage until the abuse turns to her children and then she will realize that if SHE isn't worth saving, at least her children are.

To listen to your son tell you how much he hates his father and how he is ready to testify to that fact at his name change hearing makes me travel through all those years, all those hateful comments, all that indifference, all the times when a flippant remark would cut him off at his young knees and realizing how much cumulative damage has been done.

This coming from the child that wasn't molested.

After spending time with another guy who took an interest in him and explained things and enjoyed his company my son turned to me and said "That's more than I got out of dad in 15 years..." Yeah.

There are times when my heart just breaks.

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