As one who is not social, I choose social media to seek connection with others who relate. No matter how much friends and BF love me, they have vastly un-similar family experiences. On Social Media, I exercise my voice, words, and confusion of otherwise alienating experiences in order to connect with others doing the work of recovery.
We have returned from a beautiful time at The Great Wolf Lodge for my younger son’s birthday and today we are enjoying a celebration with friends. Family Occasions have traditionally been and will probably always be painful, difficult reminders of all the “special days” which with any thoughts of my FOO prove more stressful and anxious than joyous. I get that in divorce coparenting will be a struggle. We are after all, effing divorced because we don’t get along. What I don’t accept, is the added tension offered by my female sibling, and the effect it is having on my son. A decent human, sister, mother, woman would not continually choose to exercise her damaging will at the expense of children. This is soul-raping and vile behavior. My sister soul-raped me, for much of my life—and my troublesome reaction to life in my home was the only thing worthy of note, to those in charge…my evident instability–How was I supposed to be while being used, abused, silenced, and shamed for being a “bad abuse getter”, for not knowing how to communicate what defied articulation and decency.
Now, developing healthier coping skills, tools, and words to respond to unwholesome and unwelcome initiatives, I acknowledge, identify, and hold healthy boundaries for myself that do not involve volume or profanity. –disengaging–saying NO, which is how this officially began. I said NO–without hysteria or apology. Rapey people do not like that. A calm and unapologetic NO, That will not do. Them’s fighting words for certain personality types. If I fought back even a little, it would’ve been the same as it always was. One thing changed, the way I deal with HER. I can thank being married to someone just like her for all that I learned in this way. He trained me for her.
Aligning with your sister’s ex is probably not accepted as upright or esteemable behavior in any culture, especially where no previous relationship existed prior to their lengthy and hostile divorce. Built on unwholesome and shared resentment towards me for my fearless and clear boundaries for myself and my children. Together they can circumvent those. Because my ex also has engaged in this with his sisters and forming a strong connection/alliance that excludes a sister whom is no longer mentioned, if so, in unfavorable(righteous pitying) and judgmental ways. This is all he knows…he gets a pass because he truly does NOT know better. His family doesn’t even pretend to know better.
Jilan Catherine Ghoneim Whitney, I suspect does know better or would at least claim to. I finished reacting to and taking insults and abuse from her years ago. She has harmed me far more than he ever could, all with the blessing of my mother. So, that feels nice.
For my sons’ best interest I remain committed to needing to restore more healthy co-parenting with their dad. At least, much of what happened between us, was at some level,uninformed but still consensual….
That the stage for her shit show is a well set table, proves nothing except for the treasured illusion of grace and hospitality– using gifts and celebrations as props for this is not fooling everyone…the deception, however is unnecessarily complex and confusing for my boys. The outward appearance and message: “this is family….this is love…this is good…we are together.” That incongruity is too much for children. I am reminded of the quote: “Do not believe all that you see, even salt looks like sugar” This is the #boxingwithghosts thing, the insanity of hidden abuse and manipulation that makes you question your reality that I find objectionable. PSA: in the family of my design, proximity and meals do not equal connection or togetherness….at all. If they did, my marriage was rock solid: we lived together and shared many meals.
Strained co-parenting, particularly for “special days” rekindles the sense of “connection” and security my family of origin has
never afforded me. My sister triangulating with my ex and HIS family speaks volumes to her ability to manage the her self in a more wholesome way. I feel equal parts devastation and rage that she knowingly and righteously puts her dark shadow of a soul on my son(s), who, before this existed as pure light, typically finding the third way to resolve and de-escalate nearly any situation. He said these exact words: “I wish your sister was dead so this would stop.” do not care how he feels about Jilan Catherine Ghoneim Whitney. I concern myself with what he believes and HOW HE FEELS in his precious heart. Period. I am too familiar with the pain of thinking that the only hope for peace is the death of yourself or your antagonist. For today, I would love to say to her: “You are not a decent person. Fuck you for exploiting my children and their easy mark of a father. Gross. ”
Being unable to work with my ex to help our son through THIS, is insult to injury. My boy is wiser than to freely express difficult feelings in the presence of his father and has now resorted to hitting him(his father)…while my other son has reported to me the growing difficulty between the two during their weeks with dad.
Down the road, I foresee one of two responses to the expansive and collateral damage of this triangulation: denial & blame. Neither of which will help my CHILD. Each day that passes is another day missed to repair or at least to stop the bleed. Owning and amending harmful behavior is for the wholesome and the badass. It is too much for others. Protecting children is also wholesome and matters more to some than others.
The best I can do is to expose the bullshit, because my sister and ex care more for their appearances than they do for the wellness of these or any children. Maybe I cannot change or stop it, but I can name it and shine a light on it.
For now, I know no other way. Anything that hurts children and creates conflict for them is worthy of attention and examination. Probably they will care more once the boys are older and their pain manifests in less deniable and palatable ways. Addiction and hidden abuse are not things I will keep quiet about. That helps nobody.
This post is a bit jumbled as the madness is difficult to work with and I make no claims to being a writer, just a sharer of things, seeking clarity and unjumbledness. Writing helps. Is it even possible to ever feel clarity about matters as muddy as this? ODAT–they too shall pass….very unwholesome, I must laugh or cry. It is the best I can do for today. Right there with my little guy, wishing for whatever it takes to make it stop.
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