There have been so many hoops in the process.
Decide to be done.
Not give in to the promises to focus on his family when I’ve heard it so many times.
Try to amicably agree on custody.
Lawyer up after threats and attempts to bully me into submission.
Get through court.
Get through the second court date.
After that, my therapist said: when can we work on you having to track less, focus less on that? Finally relax a little?
In my head I said: fuck, maybe never.
Out loud I said: I don’t know. This is a long haul thing with people like him.
Then pandemic life started. And I wasn’t in therapy for months except one zoom session. Then I had my daughter all day weekdays since I lost childcare twice after her preschool closed. Because she started melting down after overnights started with dad.
And then x filed the ex parte accusing me of neglect. And the judge dismissed it but scheduled another date to assess custody time.
So I’m tracking again. Meticulously. And back to documenting things with x I was only documenting to myself (and my lawyer) thinking I had a year or so before a court would listen to my concerns.
But his ex parte opened that door only six weeks after our final court order. That’s a good thing. Overall.
But I’m back logging and tracking. And having to message him on some of these things that I would have kept to myself and saved for future court dates.
So he attacks.
In the first seven days of June? Thirty messages from him. Some threatening to involve police. Others just aggressively telling my why I have to do exactly what he says. Him demanding I bend to his will or risk legal action.
All after I already said I’d be raising these issues with the judge later this month to avoid these conflicts in the future.
Threats. Bullying. Lies.
I am about ready to schedule my own therapy again. The weather’s nice and she said she’ll do outdoor sessions.
I can hear her asking, after I catch her up on the last twelve weeks, ‘when can you relax a little?’
That’s the question. For all of us in these parenting situations.
The attacks come. When you stand your ground and hold boundaries then they really start flailing and swinging.
He didn’t get what he wants in court last month. He didn’t get what he wanted in mediation last week.
So now the threats again: police, sue, you better or else.
I will be documenting stuff for years. Even if I don’t intend to file any more motions in the future, I can never know when he will. When he will, yet again, lie about what happens and try to get a court to ‘punish’ me for not doing everything he wants.
So how do I do that and disengage from the feelings those threats can stir?
Its better now. I can read his abusive messages and sit with them and see them as empty vessels that the court won’t entertain. I know if he does call the police, I have my court orders and my documentation that is organized and accessible.
But how do you keep living amidst this drama?
You just do. On one hand.
On the other: you work for it.
You consciously change how you address these things. I now wait to open messages and know I won’t need to respond to 95% of them. And even that 5%, I can think about for days, if needed. I generally wait at least 24 hours. To make sure I respond unemotionally. To make sure he knows I don’t play that rapid-fire game anymore.
Sometimes now I can even chuckle when he makes what he thinks are official sounding legal threats. Jumbling legal terms and trying to sound official.
From the guy who sent his proof of service form to me instead of the court.
I can laugh at some of that now.
That’s a big deal.
And I’m working on changing the way that too long at the front door with him, when he raises things in front of our daughter (what he tells the court I do when he’s just trying to be nice and civil) makes my chest restrict a little.
I go down the stairs now calm and I’ve re-organize how my body responds to his presence so I’m not already in fight or flight.
But then he says something that I have to reply with: please send a message. And then smile and kiss my daughter hello or goodbye.
And my heart speeds up a little.
I’m ready for therapy to start. To tell her that I now know for sure this game he’s playing will never stop. On his end.
So I have to document. For my daughter’s sake.
But she and I can work on how to keep that in the binders. How to keep that in the designated times.
How to continue to detach from the things he says that are hot air and bully tactics. To cut through straight to what needs to be addressed.
Already, when he sends me an 11:00pm message pleading with me to get immediate psychiatric help, I wait a day or two to open it and then I laugh. And show it to some friends who can laugh with me to counteract the isolation of being the only one to see these things as they really are . . .
Then I log it in the timeline. I put it in the binder. And I file it in an email folder so it’s out of sight. And then I continue my life, the one without him there in front of me.
The real one: where I’m not psychotic.
I must be vigilant. For my daughter’s sake. But I am making a meditation of it, a kind of self-care ritual to it where it allows me to put it all away for one day when it’s needed.
Vigilance is one of this mama’s meditations. Bullet points like breaths in and out. Calendar notations like bookmarks on a specific time spent preparing.
So I can rest. So I can parent. So I can live.