Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Another load of BS? Hmmmm, good question.

Last night Bub tells me he found out some disturbing information about my all time favorite restaurant that may change my mind about whether I want to continue eating there or not. I told him that I prefer not to know. My thinking is that disturbing things happen in all restaurants, I’ve been eating there all along and it hasn’t killed me yet, so I figure, what I don’t know doesn’t hurt me. What’s the harm in that? But this drives him NUTS! He can’t stand it that he wants to tell me something that I adamantly don’t want to hear, and that I’m not relenting and saying it’s okay for him to tell my anyway. I was trying to set a personal boundary, which I never do, and it crawled all over him. So Em says that she wants to know so he then proceeds to start telling her, right there in front of me. I state again that I still don’t want to know. He says I’m not telling you, I’m telling Em. I said, you’re still right in front of me. He says, if you don’t want to hear then you can choose not to listen. I said, how can I not hear when you’re standing right in front of me? He said, you choose not to hear me all the time. How many times a day do I say something to you and you say you didn’t hear me? (This is usually while I’m in the kitchen washing dishes or cooking and he’s in another room expecting me to hear everything he’s saying just because he happens to be speaking. He assumes that I purposefully ignore him.) I said that sometimes I don’t hear you when you’re in another room and I’m busy doing something, but we’re in the same room now. Now he’s annoyed because he still hasn’t gotten to say what he wanted, so here we go… He says, that’s just insane! That’s a stupid response because if you think that this information will affect whether or not you want to eat there, then you need to know it. If you want to choose not to let it affect you then do so, but you still need to know! I said, I prefer not to know. It’s a personal preference and I don’t see anything wrong with that. He says, I just told you what is wrong with that! Why would you just say the same thing over again knowing that I have a problem with that, you know I hate to repeat myself! (believe me, I know good and well how much he hates to repeat himself by now!) He thinks that just because my personal preference is not a valid enough reason to him, then it is wrong. Then he turns it into a parenting issue. He says, I will NOT just stand by and allow you to teach Em that she can go through life just sticking her head in the sand when she’s faced with problems like you do. You have to lead by example and show her the right way to handle things so she doesn’t turn out like you, never willing to confront anything. I feel like I’m the only one trying to teach her anything and I can’t trust you to make sure she’s doing the right thing. I can’t just tell you not to talk to her because you’re the one who spends the most time with her so I need to be able to count on you to stay on top of her and enforce our rules so that she turns out the way we want her to, and you’ve shown me that I can’t count on you for that. Blah blah blah! (This obviously isn’t verbatim; I wasn’t able to record the conversation, unfortunately, but interject a good hour’s worth of the same relentless lecturing and you’ll get the gist) Anyway, his point was that I’m an ineffective, incompetent and untrustworthy parent because I’m not constantly on her about every miniscule little thing, making sure that she’s always doing, saying, and thinking the right thing. He wants to control her, to suppress her natural personality, and mold her into what he thinks she should be. He is relentless, and faults me when she acts out because I’m obviously not enforcing the rules. He thinks I’m ruining her. I think I’m just trying to let her be a kid while allowing her to be who she is. I told him that I just take a different approach; I try not sweat the small stuff. And he says that’s my problem, that I have to be vigilant about the small stuff because that's how she learns. If she sees me sticking my head in the sand about things I don’t want to face (i.e. disturbing news about my fav restaurant) then she’ll learn that it’s okay not to face her problems head on as well. Which I completely understand, I know that I hid from things, but he has this knack for making anything he says sound perfectly reasonable and rational, it’s how he breaks people down until they have no choice but to agree with him. But was it really so wrong that I just preferred not to know this information? He thinks it was insane and irrational, so therefore it was wrong and invalid, and simply would not be tolerated. It’s like I’m only allowed to have a personal opinion if it makes sense to him, otherwise it’s stupid, crazy, invalid, irrational, and must be changed. And it always comes back to how it reflects on my parenting skills what I’m teaching Em. This is the part that scares me so much about what a custody battle might be like with him. He can always find a way to prove why his parenting style is better, and that I am basically incompetent. He can make it sound like everything he does is only for her benefit and her best interests and that I don’t take an active role in making sure she turns out right. When all I’m trying to do is protect her from his constant, overbearing control over her, and allow her to feel like she’s good enough just the way she is. That it’s okay for her to have her own feelings and opinions, even if others don’t agree. Of course I try my best to teach her right from wrong, but I also want her to be her own person with free will and the ability to make her own choices even if she must sometimes suffer the consequences of those choices. I know that I am a good mother, and that the only thing wrong with my parenting style is that it’s different from his. But I’m scared to death of his ability to convince people in power that he would be the better parent. I just couldn’t bear it if Em ended up having to live with him, it just CAN’T happen. He’s already broken her will; I can’t allow him to break her spirit as well. This is one of the things that holds me back the most, my fear of losing my precious girl to this controlling, overbearing man. The thought that I wouldn’t be able to protect her or be there for her when she needs me the most. I just don’t think either of us could handle that. And I’m scared to even allow it to become a possibility.


Anonymous Jilly said...

When it comes right down to it, do you honestly feel in your heart that he would truly WANT custody? That he'd be willing and able to attend to all the daily responsibilties and needs of a young girl? That he would be willing to go into tremendous debt to fight for custody? I very much doubt it, especially after his lawyer confirms that it is still the norm for judges to grant custody of small children (especially girls) to the mother. As unfair as it may be in some circumstances (not this one) I doubt any judge would grant custody of a young girl to a single (vision impaired) father, when (as in this case) a loving, competant mother is on the other side. Disagreements about the method to raise children do not usually factor (unless you want to go live in some crazy cult or something). Unless you have a history of drug/alcohol abuse, are on record as being an abusive parent, or have a history of irresponsible behavior, he doesn't have much of a case. In the event of a full blown custody battle, I'm sure social workers would be involved to assess the situation through home visits and Em would be interviewed as to her feelings and wishes. Truly, I don't think you have anything to worry about.

1:58 PM  
Anonymous aunt sandy said...

Wow, Bev. His behavior is terrible. i agree with jilly though. He has no chance of getting custody. I would ask a lawyer to be sure, but I would be very surprised to see him get Em.
Be strong. Don't let him break you!
Hugs and more and more hugs

1:21 AM  
Blogger Dawnyal said...

Wow. You know his "big" news was probably the same thing Jilly gave us a ways back about meat and a tube *wink* .
good for you for standing your ground and you were in now way being a bad parent nor were your wrong. You yourself said it hasn't hurt you yet. So unless it is something that has recently changed in their practices then it's probably not a biggy.

I'll ditto the others about judges more still wanting the mother to have the children. When Jeff and egg donor split, the judge begged and pleaded with her to take C. She refused. The judge finally awarded custody to Jeff begrugdingly.

11:21 AM  

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