I am now recognizing how, after moving here, if we would have continued as a blended, healing, fixed family with my FOO, my ex, my kids and myself, that would have kept me in some sort of center position, like I would have been at the hub, not in the driver’s seat, but the common link. I see how unsettling this would be to my sister, who works hard to reside IN the center. And it is undeniable that for my sister and my ex, the desire to punish me runs deep. For each of their decades of attempts to control me leave them feeling less powerful and important than their egos can bear.Perhaps now, I may stop asking why, why it was so important to her to divide us as she has– Me, from her daughters, me from my mother and me from my ex. For obvious reasons, this causes tension between us and makes it difficult to co-parent in harmony. This is unnecessary added dis-harmony. Interesting to recall directly requesting for her to please send all communication for my ex through me so that it would be clear that access to my family was hinged to healthy working together. She originally pretended to be confused by the request, then showed irritation and then disregarded it. My friends were like: “You should not have even had to say that. Duh. Girl Code. Family Code. Basic Good Human Code. Hello?”
It makes perfect sense to me why my ex would enjoy his celebrity chosen status among others sharing frustration over an inability to gain submission and compliance from me. He and his sisters do this with one of their sisters, also. (According to my sons, my sister likes to regularly bring this up, as if it solidifies their likeness) He and I divorced and, naturally there is still (now heightened) bitterness which unites him with my sibling. While we were married, we had no interaction with my family. They remained strangers to each other. He watched me cry and work like a lunatic to craft letters and emails, desperate to be heard, acknowledged. My family knew of him– what it had been like as reported by me, through a struggling marriage and brutal divorce. He knew only that they either spoke unkindly to and about me or not at all–or when they could show up as rescuers or hosts for some event. He, too is this way-rescuer and host, but no basic, consistent, kind presence to be counted on.
I am pleased for my boys about the commitment to make our cross country move, as it is better for them. I am grateful that I got to work with my ex to make the move possible and a source of hope for us as individuals and co-parents. I feel good about being able to help and support with my mother’s care while it was critical. I do miss the NO Contact and zero reminders of my family issues, along w/ limited contact with my ex as I had the boys most all of the time and had to cross paths with him 1-2 times per week with NO (vile)overlap in our lives. His entanglement with my FOO makes life here more uncomfortable than necessary. I continue to marvel at a family culture that sits back in horror and remains silent as my sister DOES this–and equally disturbed by those who sit back in approval. What this models for my sons is a constant source of conflict. Very different values and principles-diametrically opposing what we practice here in our home and family.
I have been asked, by more than one person, “Why on earth would you move cross country to be close to a family with whom you are in constant conflict?” Well, here is why– 2 weeks before I got the text about my mother’s health, I approached my ex requesting 50/50 shared custody as having all of the weekday responsibility with no help or $$ for child care and trying to work full time was too much for me. He said YES, BUT only if we moved to a place where he could afford to purchase his own home. Without a second thought, I said No, with my home as the only security I had. Then, once I received the notice of my mother’s serious health condition and considered how I could not know how it was going down– was she dying, would there be treatment, how long… I could not fly back and forth nor I could I fly and stay for any amount of time. The school year was ending, the housing market was hot, my job could come with me, my best friend is here, I would be relieved of some of my parenting responsibility, my mother could know her grandsons, my ex could buy a home. All signs pointed to GO. THIS is why I chose THIS. It was terrifying and right. And so, we came, while not on good or safe terms with the family of origin, but working well supporting each other as co-parents, relocating, together, cross country, for the next chapters of OUR lives. I could serve my mother, and my boys would have a dad with his own home and we could all grow and heal, learn, and celebrate and mourn together. This appeared true for exactly as long as help was needed with my mother’s care. Upon her cancer free status, things rapidly declined to how they had always been, only nastier, and now affecting my children, who were lovingly and intentionally spared for the first 9 years of their lives.
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