Monday, February 06, 2006

Em's revelation, my deterioration.

My baby revealed to me that she wishes we didn't have to live with daddy anymore, and that she's been thinking that way for quite a while now. She then, of course, felt immediately remorseful and ashamed for thinking such things and hadn't wanted to tell me because she thought I would be upset with her. She thought it made her a "bad person" to have these feeling about her own daddy, whom she loves and adores so much (when he's in a pleasant mood and willing to have fun and play with her). I did my best to reassure her and let her know that it's okay to feel however she's feeling and that she can always tell me about it. So we talked about what not living with daddy would mean, as far as changes to our way of life. She asked all of the appropriate 8 year old questions like who would get the video games and our beloved Precious. She wanted to know how often she would have to/get to see him, etc. etc. Of course I had no real answers since his reaction would be so unpredictable were this to actually come to fruition. I'd like to think that he'd be cooperative and understanding about the division of our things and our time with Em, but I know that won't be the case and I didn't want to scare her so I just said all that would need to be worked out between the grownups if we actually went through with this, and that she need not worry herself with things of this matter. She's worried that he'll be mad at her, and that if she could just do better he wouldn't be the way he is so much. My heart breaks for the damage he's already caused our little girl, the same damage that I perpetuate by staying. I told her in no uncertain terms that she is not responsible for ANYTHING and that daddy never needs to know that she feels this way. This is between mommy and daddy, and not for her to decide or worry or feel responsible about. Of course the conversation went on, but you get the gist of it. Basically she said she wants outta here, and NOW! I told her this is a very huge thing which must be thought through very carefully. I told her that she must consider how she would feel about having limitations on the good stuff that she likes about daddy, the fun stuff and his playfulness. That she wouldn't get to just see him everyday or whenever she wants, and that our lives would be very different. She thought about it overnight and came to me the next day saying she was absolutely sure. Then... fast forward to Sunday evening. He hadn't been on her case very much that day and was having a relatively good day, (with her) being quite affectionate and playful. They were in the floor watching a movie all cuddled up together and he kissed her on the forehead and said I love you. She turned to me when he looked away and mouthed nevermind, don't do the divorce thing. Oh dear god, what have I started? When we talked about it later she said that she changed her mind, that she was just mad and she didn't want to give up all the fun stuff. She loves him and wants us to stay with him. She said she's never gonna even think about all that stuff again and wants me to do the same. Just put it out of our minds and try to make due. I am crushed. I know that I can't depend on the whims of an eight year old to decide our fate, but how could I possibly move forward with something that she is now so adamantly against? I know it's silly but I felt empowered and really hopeful when I thought that she was all for this, as her reaction was one of the things I've been most concerned about. But now that I know for a fact that she's against the idea, well I just don't think I can go through with it. I know that as her mother, I have to be willing to do what's best for her (both of us) regardless of how she may feel. But her feelings and opinions must play a role in this kind of decision, don't they? God, I just don't want to screw her or this situation up more than it already is. I just want to do the right thing, and I'm not so sure what that is. I guess I know in my heart that we would probably be better off on our own, but is that really worth sacrificing my daughter's trust in me? I can't bear the thought of her hating or resenting me, but it's like I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't. So today, I'm just lost, spinning out of control on this emotional rollercoaster. It was all I could do to drag my sorry ass on that Gazelle this morning rather than just crawl back in bed and hide under the covers. The only things keeping me from doing just that, are the fact that Em deserves a better mom than that, and that if I did finally succumb to the depression it would only give Bub even more to use against me were a custody battle ever to actually take place. So, I shall continue on, going through the motions, even if I am a complete blubbering idiot during my precious moments of solitude. I half suspect that Em is merely trying to convince herself that all is right with the world and that we really can learn to be one big happy family if we just stick it out. Of course, what happens the next time he starts in on her, I wonder? Will she just change her mind again and continue to do so until I finally do something about it? As much as she expressed she's fed up with living this way, I really expect it to only be a matter of time before she flip flops again. But in the meantime, I'm just a mess. I refuse to push her in ANY way about this, as no child should ever feel torn in such adult matters. I want her to feel safe feeling whatever she feels, and know that I love her and will be there for her no matter what. But in a way, I almost wish now that she had never revealed her little secret, because at least then I could have remained happily in denial that she would just accept whatever happened and that it would all work out in the end. Now, I'm just not so sure. So yeah, you could say that I'm not having a very good day, but then again, what else is new? Any word yet on the do-over I put in for? It's about damn time, don'tcha think?


Blogger WifeMomChocoholic said...

No child ever wants her parents to divorce. I read somewhere that kids want their parents to stay together even if they constantly fight and are miserable. I don't want to sound harsh, but you can't let her wants and wishes determine what is best for you -- and for you as a family. And think of the example you're providing her -- you want her to grow up to be a strong, capable woman.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Dawnyal said...

I think she will flip flop back again. As long as things are smooth sailing for her, then there is no reason to change the status quo. the moment though that he flips his switch, I guarantee you she'll be ready to leave again.
My advice to you is this: I would keep soul-searching on my own and not involve Em in any way, shape or form. Once you've reached the decision that is best for all of you, then and only then let her know what you decide.

I will tell you that I am a child of divorce. Most people look at me funny when I tell them that because my parents are obviously married today. When I was 6, they split up over money. I thought it was cool I had two houses. I remember loving to go to dad's on the weekends and baking chocolate cookies with him (Yes he baked back then.) I loved my stepmom and couldn't stand the man my mom married. About 2 years or so later, they both divorced the ones they were married to and remarried. That was almost 24 years ago.
Em will be just fine no matter what happens. You are the one that needs to find in you what you want to happen in your life.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Sandi said...

I know that since Em has revealved her wishes, things seem more complicated, but really nothing has changed. See, we want to please our kids more than we want to please ourselves, but the truth is that when we need to be parents the most. Kinda like what Dawnyal said, you need to decide what is best for you and Em on your own.

You can explain to her that you came to this decision all on your own and that she did not push you towards it.

Bottom line is that it is going to be rough for her no matter what and you'll have to take measures to make it better for her no matter how she feels. And honestly, even if the cuddly TV session had never happened, when the hammer comes down, she'd have changed her mind anyway and it would have been harder then. Plus, you don't want her growing up thinking this was her idea.

I too come from Divorce. I had a very secure home with my mom and I was kinda OK with it. I never wished for my parents to get back together. The good times were so great, but the bad times were hard to take.

3:56 PM  
Anonymous jilly said...

I agree that the comments here are spot on. While Em is a huge part of your decision, she shouldn't have any part in the decision making process ~ its adult stuff (and difficult enough for the adults to deal with!) Of course you want her to be okay with whatever happens, but you'll make sure of that anyway by giving her security and reassurance that she's loved and not the cause of any outcome.

1:33 PM  
Blogger Luflic said...

I say right on to everything Jilly said here.

Decisions are difficult. Once you come to yours. I pray you have a true peace about it and then you can let Emily know what is going to happen.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Sandy said...

What was it you said about the damage already done to Em? Looks like she is starting to think she is at fault when Daddy is critical and demanding. Hum... Sound familiar? Of course she loves her Daddy. What girl doesn't? She can love him from a distance just as well. It would be healthier for her to break away from his criticism and negetivity, don't you think? Her self-esteem will thank you.

6:52 PM  
Blogger chryscat said...

My opinion.
Em is 8.
You are older and wiser. I say this with all the truth in the world behind it. You MUST make the decisions best for the both of you. Period.
I divorced the girls' dad when they were little. And yes. They would have loved for us to stick together. But it was not meant to be nor for the best.
It's a tough road to hoe, but you HAVE to do what is best for y'all.
Wishing you strength and clarity.

7:11 PM  
Anonymous Kery said...

Damn me, I had been away from blogs and stuff for some time, now I regret I haven't read all of this in time to comment... how to say it, when it mattered more?

I'm not sure I'd have any "right" to tell you anything regarding this situation with Em, but I too would agree with other posters here... She'll likely flip-flop again (the next time he goes down on her; even as adults, after all, it's easy to convince ourselves that because things are ging right now, they'll go right forever). There's another thing, too: children can be very shrewd, and perceive things/feelings we thought we were hiding very well. I did that when I was a kid as well, and I've seen it happen often enough later on in my life to realize it more. If you stay with him to please her but are feeling miserable yourself, she'll "perceive" it, sooner or later, and will feel bad/guilty about it (she must have already, as she finally decided to tell you what she told you first; perhaps she unconsciously went "I feel that things aren't right, so maybe Mom won't be mad at me if I tell her, because I suspect she thinks the same?").

Besides, no child should feel like apologising and "do better" all the time. That she seems to feel that she's not good enough and doesn't act well enough for him, isn't, well... very right.

In any case, I really hope that, in the end, the decision you'll take turns to be one that makes you and Em happy--even if it looks hard now.

{{{bunch of blog hugs}}}

7:27 AM  

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