Single Dad, Shitty Mom

Or: How I Learned that Parental Alienation is REAL


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Father’s Day 2013

 

It’s been almost a year since these two have seen each other. Kids change and grow so quickly; it’s sad to miss those things with your kids. It feels horrible to miss those things as a parent. I missed my daughter’s first steps. I missed her first word. I missed her first pee-pee on the potty. However, I gave Maya her first bottle. I changed her first diaper. I bought her first popcorn for her first movie theater experience. And I gave my little girl her first car trip in the front passenger seat when I drove her back home on Father’s Day.

If you read the previous post, I wasn’t really 100% sure that I was going to see Maya for Father’s Day this year. I saw her last year at this time, and four months later would be the last I’d see her again for MONTHS.

This Father’s Day was the first time Maya’s been in our home in 8 months. Thankfully Ravi is too young and won’t really remember what’s transpired over the last several months, but for Maya it’s different. She’s 7 years old, and a slave to her mother’s whims. “Crazy” does not put her daughter first– “Crazy” puts “Crazy” first; that’s a fact. It shows.

Now, the thing that you have to realize about this situation is the reason why Maya has not come to my home in nearly a year. She didn’t come because she was “afraid.” Of what, you may ask? Don’t know– that’s what her mother tells everyone. “Maya does NOT what to go to his house! I don’t know why!” Now, ask her what she has been doing to help rectify this issue. Hear those crickets? That’s right– “Crazy” has done NOTHING. Not only has she allowed this to go on– with NO valid or truthful explanation…she has perpetuated the issue beyond what any SANE asshole would deem necessary. She has invented a fantasy world, where I am this tyrannical, angry, miserly monster that abandoned her and her daughter, and continues to harass and threaten her…!!!…but with the help of (INSERT DUDE HERE), she will soon have the life she always wanted…! Hence the name “Crazy.”

According to “Crazy,” up until Sunday morning, Maya would cry at the mere MENTION of going home with me. For 8 MONTHS STRAIGHT, getting into Daddy’s car was tantamount to taking a cattle car to Auschwitz. But on this Sunday morning…NOTHING. She got right into the car happily! No argument, no crying, no screaming, NONE OF THAT. It was like it had NEVER been an issue.

To be honest, I was expecting the worse. I expected it, because THAT WAS THE PATTERN. Eleven months ago is when all this lunacy started. I would go to pick up Maya, then OUT OF NOWHERE she just started crying and screaming and acting as if she didn’t want to go with me. This continued for THREE MONTHS, with “Crazy” doing absolutely nothing about it, except telling Maya “Well, if you don’t want to go, then that’s it. I won’t force you to go.” When questioned about the behavior, “Crazy” made every claim in the book: “She’s just rebelling,” to “She’s just unusually attached to me,” to “Maybe it’s something YOU did!”

 

My mom drove me to “Crazy’s” parents house to pick up Maya; that was a neutral place where I KNEW things would run smoothly. The thing is, “Crazy’s” parents love Maya…but they don’t like their daughter too much; it’s a sad shame. They are very supportive, and were very excited when Maya was willing to get in the car with us. The thing is, I have a horrible feeling that I know why Maya was “suddenly” interested in going.

Through little bits of information, provided my Maya and her grandmother, I think what happened was this: “Crazy’s” back is up against the wall– she’s in trouble…and she panicked. Faced with the VERY REAL prospect of losing custody of Maya, she screamed and yelled at Maya to…(wait for it)…FORCE her to come to Nyack. When I first saw Maya, she jumped into my arms, I picked her up, gave her a kiss– all the usual stuff. And, you know,  you just LOOK at your kids. Even if you seen them EVERY SECOND of EVERY DAY, you LOOK at them– look at their faces, their hands, their feet…when I looked at Maya’s face, I saw that she had what looked like a small rash below the corner of her right eye. I asked her where she got that from. She said that it was because she was rubbing her eye really hard the night before, because she was crying. I asked her what she was crying about, she said her mommy was yelling and kept using the F-word…”about you, about everything,” she said.

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Nothing but bitterness and anger. For someone who has made mention of “healing” the relationship between Maya and myself, she sure doesn’t seem all that supportive. Because…SHE’S NOT. I had to send a letter written by my attorney, which outlined the beginnings of challenging her custody if ANYTHING went wrong this weekend– it took THAT for her to FORCE the right thing to happen.

Basically, she created a monster that she DID NOT want to control…until it got her into trouble. Now that she was (and, as far as I’m concerned, still is…) facing the prospect of losing custody of Maya, NOW she wants to break a habit that she enabled in my daughter! NOW, she wants to tell her– after MONTHS of saying the EXACT OPPOSITE– now, you HAVE to go to see your dad! Forget EVERYTHING I’ve been saying to you– NOW YOU HAVE TO GO!!!! And “Crazy” yelled, and she cursed. It’s so easy to bully a kid when you’re a sniveling coward.

The thing that I feel shitty about is the fact that Maya is still there, with that woman. When Maya is with us, she is calm and relaxed. She has a GREAT time with us because, among many other reasons, we are the most STABLE people in her life. “Crazy” is not good for Maya– not by a inch, not by a mile.  She is emotionally incapable of being a good custodial parent. Having Maya with us on Father’s Day showed me, once again, that I have to get my little girl away from her mother.

When I pulled up to Maya’s grandparent’s house at the end of our day, I reminded her about the time we went to breakfast a couple of months ago, when I told her that I would take care of this situation. I told her that this would not happen again– I did not want this much time to go by without seeing her. I told her that soon enough, things will not be what they used to be– they will be BETTER. I told her that we will be spending a lot more time together.

“More weekends?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said.

“Three weekends?” she asked.

“Yes, three weekends…or more,”

“Every weekend?”

“Yes, honey,” I said. “That’s what I want.”

“Okay, good.” she said.

I don’t have to disparage “Crazy” in front of Maya. I don’t have to, and I won’t. “Crazy” is doing MORE than enough to show what kind of person she is. They say that actions speak louder than words. To know “Crazy’s” words are to know the true definition of rambling, mindless, angry, bitter, vitriolic babble. Her words mean NOTHING. Her actions…well, there’s enough to write a couple of books. I think the first one should be: “How NOT to Be a Good Mother.”

For the previous week, in the back of my mind, I was expecting the absolute worse situation possible this weekend. It’s what I have always been used to thinking in these situations. And even though I was extremely pessimistic…I am always, almost annoyingly, optimistic. After all the bullshit, I STILL try. I haven’t given up, and I REFUSE to give up. There is no FUCKING WAY that I’m going to let that person pull my daughter away from me. No matter what she does, no matter what roadblocks “Crazy” wants to put in my way, I will plow right through them. It’s been 5 years since I brought her to court for a previous alienation issue. It’s taken me 2 years to get a lawyer to deal with it. “Crazy” acts as if this has all come out of nowhere. And that is one of her biggest problems.

In the end, after a pretty depressing and someone anxious week…I had a great Father’s Day. The kids where happy. Mom was happy. Christina was WONDERFUL. And Maya’s grandparents where supportive and good.

The first step in a journey for redemption, peace, and love…

 

TO BE CONTINUED…


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Pre-Father’s Day

 

I have to admit– I’m not a fan of Father’s Day.

Sure, it may sound a bit weird for me to say so, especially being the father of two kids. And I feel really shitty about not being all that into it. But it’s now been four years that I have not been able to appreciate or enjoy Father’s Day- not one bit. And this year, it’s even more painful, stressful, and uncomfortable for me.

In 2009, Father’s Day fell on June 20th. On June 19th, my father died after a 5 year struggle with colorectal cancer. I wasn’t there; I was in New York shooting a final day of interviews for a documentary. My mom had called early in the evening to tell me that they were taking Pops to the hospital; it was bad. I planned on going home the following day, as early as possible. He died at 2:17am the following day. I could write a book about how shitty I feel about not being there. It’s a frustrating pain that will NEVER going away. Sure, many people have told me that “it’s okay,” but it’s not to me. It will never be okay to me.

In the four months leading up to his death, I tried to get my daughter Maya to see him. Easter of 2009 was the most memorable of these attempts. Pops wanted to see her, and he could not. The reason? “Crazy” was the reason. Maya’s mother refused to let me take her to see him. The “why” of it, simply enough, is that she’s a fucking asshole.

“Crazy” is an inherently horrible, disgusting, despicable, toxic, emotionally damaged excuse for a human being– that’s as kind as I can be about her. See, you have to understand that in Maya’s 7.5 years of life, I have NEVER spent a holiday with her: No Christmas eve/day, no Thanksgiving, no Easter; ONLY the day or two afterwards. Never spent a summer vacation, or ANY kind of vacation, with her– never been on a plane with her. I have never spent more than two nights with her. Never. And on that Easter in 2009, when my dad desperately wanted to see her, I practically begged “crazy” to let me take Maya to see my father; she refused…because it was Easter. Mom told me that Pops cried; Pops never cried.

As I type this out now, I am being flooded with every emotion in the fucking book– I am beyond angry, beyond sad, beyond FURIOUS. After Pops died, the ONLY way I could get Maya to the funeral was for “Crazy” to be there. Do you have any idea how HORRIBLE that was for my family to have that…fucking person there?! And she’s so oblivious that she didn’t even realize how vehemently she is hated and loathed in my family– not just for keeping Maya away from my dad in those last few months, but for all the alienating bullshit that she’s put my family through. I HATED “Crazy” being there, and it was that moment when I began to get comfortable with what will be my life-long hatred for that woman.  When I tell you that I will NEVER forgive her for that…I mean, it’s just not possible for me to NOT hate her– deeply, meaningfully, and comfortably hate her. It’s a hatred that I have managed to mask from Maya. It’s a hatred that I am so comfortable with that it doesn’t manifest in any way, shape or form. There is nothing redeeming about that woman, and that is the way it will always be.

Flash forward to Father’s Day 2013. For those of you following the saga of the Single Dad, Shitty Mom blog, you know that for nearly a year now I have only seen my daughter twice, and have spoken to her on the phone three times. No contact over Thanksgiving, Halloween, her birthday, and Christmas of last year, or Easter of this year. And now we are coming up on Father’s Day. The one thing that is different this time around is that I now have a lawyer. It was hiring this lawyer that has angered and frustrated “Crazy” even more than usual, because deep down– underneath her lunacy and emotionally stunted behavior– she knows that the end is near for her. Using a letter crafted by my lawyer (which I will examine in a future post), she was informed that if she did not make Maya available to me on Father’s Day, she WILL lose custody of Maya. Personally, I think she she lose custody anyway– she is a sorry excuse for a custodial parent.

The issue at this point, chronicled here, is that she claims that Maya is “afraid” to come to my home– where I, my fiancé, and her 2 year old brother live. This is the home, mind you, that she has been visiting for the last 3 years. The home in the small village town that she LOVES…”Crazy” is telling me that Maya is afraid of that. “Crazy” won’t, however, discuss the fact that she has spent years trying to poison the well, so to speak. This is what alienators do; they brainwash the child to embrace what are seemingly irrational fears and issues. My fiancé is convinced that “Crazy” is doing this so that she can push me out of the picture, and replace me with her latest boyfriend (this is number 5 in the last 7 years). But I digress– all of this business is for a future post.

Leading up to this Father’s Day, the shit has been hitting the fan. Ever since Maya and my VERY successful brunch date from 2 months ago, “Crazy” has been crazier than usual. She tried to snub me and my mother from Maya’s communion. I’ve tried to arrange phone calls, and with the only TWO I was able to get…”Crazy” eavesdropped on one 30 minute call (prompting Maya at certain points), and the other she hung up on me. Both of these calls I have recorded, and presented to my lawyer. That’s an important side note, if you are NOT recording ALL interactions– audio and/or video– you NEED TO START!

As of today, Wednesday June 12th, I have no idea how Father’s Day will work out. I’ve contacted “Crazy’s” parents to let them know the situation; I made arrangements for my mother and I to pick Maya up from “Crazy’s” parents house. They have promised me that they will make sure that “Crazy” is long gone before we get there, which is entirely the point. As I’ve mentioned previously, “Crazy’s” parents are completely onboard with facilitating a positive relationship between Maya and I, in spite of their own daughter. On one hand, they totally understand what is going on and strongly disagree– and are disgusted– with “Crazy’s” behavior. On the other hand, they live in fear of the FACT that if they confront “Crazy,” she will alienate Maya from THEM as well. They are treading lightly, and part of me does not blame them. It’s really up to me to play hardball, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

This is what Parental Alienation is all about. I have been living with a pit in my stomach, and a cloud of anger floating above me, for over 7 years. After the death of my father, that cloud has darkened. I don’t wear these emotions for all to see, quite frankly because these problems are mine and mine alone. They have nothing to do with my kids, or my fiancé, or family or friends– this is “My Own Private Idaho”, as it were. In the coming weeks and months, I will FINALLY have “Crazy” in a court room to answer to all of this. That moment cannot come soon enough. I do feel as if this is the very beginning of the end of this piss-poor situation.

Father’s Day will never be the same as it used to be pre-2009. Nothing will change that. The only thing that I can hope for is to have some peace with my kids and my family. That’s all that matters anyway, right?

TO BE CONTINUED*

*PS…I want to apologize for the over-all tone of this post. I know it reads as angry and bitter, but it’s honest. Please forgive the excessive profanity; I won’t make that a habit, I promise.


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The Here and Now #7: With Prejudice

After MONTHS of waiting, the first round of court cases has FINALLY been settled! And the results were just as I suspected: JUSTICE has been served, and it is good!

As of today, both of the matters that had be brought against me, regarding a money-grab AND a bogus Order of Protection, have been settled and resolved without a trial. I signed the agreement last week, which I then delivered to “the plaintiff’s” lawyer, for her to sign; reluctantly…for her. Both cases were bogus from the start.

Granted, I DO owe her a little bit of money– that is the truth. It wasn’t for a lack of desire to pay it. My biggest issue was the fact that I did not trust her math, and wanted documentation to back up her demands– which she flat out refused to provide…until I was served with a petition to go to court.

The thing is, 70% of what she was asking for she was not entitled to, and was IMMEDIATELY shot down by the judge. We had a previous financial agreement, but for SOME reason she chose to ignore the simple facts expressed in it: that I was ONLY responsible for child care and medical costs.

Not only did not confer with me on these issues, she was hell bent on overspending on things that she (or I, for that matter) could NOT afford! It was HER decision to send Maya to a private school– not mine…because WE CAN’T AFFORD IT! On top of that, the judge made it clear that “private school is not ‘child care'”…therefore, I am not responsible.

I wanted to get my daughter music lessons– she has a true proclivity for music, particularly the drums. “Crazy”, instead, wanted things like dance class and other extra curriculars that, for one did NOT speak to her talents…AND cut into my visitation time– she flat out refused skipping these things, and threatened to keep Maya from visiting me if I refused to take her.

She also claimed that I owed her for 6 years of child care, even though 5.5 of those years was under her grandparent’s care. When the judge asked her if she had documentation to prove this, she lied to him IN COURT telling him that she DID! When it turned out that she could not prove her claim (lies usually do that), her claim was rendered moot.

Finally, she claimed that I owed nearly $10,000 for two years worth of summer camp. She naturally found the most expensive camps in her area, and hadn’t told me that she was doing this. Keep in mind that “Crazy” has NEVER allowed my daughter to stay with me for longer than 2 nights; in 7 years, I have NEVER had more time with my daughter than that. Because her recent alienation behavior began last summer, and because “crazy” has NEVER allowed Maya to spend summers with me…I was not responsible for last year’s $5,000 camp costs. As for this year, “crazy’s” lawyer asked me to find another camp that was cheaper that the current camp…which my fiancé was able to find after 3 minutes on the internet…$3,000 cheaper. So I am only responsible for paying 65% of $2,000, which “crazy” has to pay the remaining balance.

So, I owe for this year’s summer camp (which I paid for when I signed the new agreement),  and the previous 1.5 years of child care I can pay in monthly installments over the next 12 months. That’s fair; to me. “Crazy,” on the other hand, is NOT happy. She was expecting a HUGE payday. But that’s her– building up a fantasy world in her own head that, when reality crashes down, she blames EVERYONE ELSE for her failures. But these financial issues were of no concern to me. The thing that I was REALLY interesting in dealing with was this RIDICULOUS Order of Protection that she wanted to have enforced. But that didn’t happen.

As part of the deal, she had to agree to withdraw the Order of Protection with prejudice:

“…dismissal with prejudice, in which the plaintiff is barred from filing another case on the same claim. Dismissal with prejudice is a final judgment and the case becomes res judicataon the claims that were or could have been brought in it…”

In other words, once this Order is withdrawn, she can NO LONGER make this an issue in any court case at any other time:

“This signifies that the court has made an adjudication on the merits of the case and a final disposition, barring the plaintiff from bringing a new lawsuit based on the same subject. If a new lawsuit is brought, a defendant can properly invoke res judicata as a defense, because a court will not relitigate a matter that has been fully heard before. Often a court will enter a judgment with prejudice if the plaintiff has shown bad faith, misled the court, or persisted in filing frivolous lawsuits.”

According to my lawyer, this was the issue that she was the MOST resistant to comply with. And I can understand that– it’s something that, if she was successful in enforcing, could have jeopardized my visitation with Maya. That was her goal, after all– to corner me and make it so she could legally have TOTAL CONTROL over access to my daughter, via “supervised visitation”, for example. The thing is, not only was I TOTALLY prepared to go to trial on this bogus claim, but I had plenty of written (texts) and video evidence to debunk her claims. Not only did she file this order, but she had a social worker AND Maya’s lawyer buying into her narrative– which I didn’t fully understand, because neither had MY SIDE of the story, OR the evidence that disproved it; granted, that would have been presented during a trial. She told these people that Maya was HORRIFIED of me…which, of course, was a lie.

Bottom line is, her lawyer had to convince her that she really had no case. If she had decided to go through with it, she would have had to go on the stand and endure questioning from my lawyer. She had NO CHANCE of being successful. On top of that, she is not in any position to afford a long trial. I had to pull miracles and call in favors to get my lawyer. “Crazy” was running out of options and support. So…she conceded, and signed the agreement.

All this bullshit. ALL THIS BULLSHIT. For what!? I still don’t know. I’m not a shrink, and can’t really analyze the reasons why “crazy” is so…crazy. And frankly, I don’t care. The ONLY thing I care about is my daughter. PERIOD. On top of that, this is by NO MEANS the end of it. I am working on the NEXT court case right now– the nitty-gritty of this horrible situation; the issue of Parental Alienation. THAT is where my energy and attention are focused on. Over the next few months, we will be moving into that phase.

I’ve been telling “crazy” for YEARS that she would not get away with her behavior– that she would, eventually, be accountable for her actions; for ONCE. She doesn’t believe me. That’s no surprise– her parents have told me that they regret NOT raising her to be accountable for her horrible behavior. And to this day, even after settling these current legal issues, even after TWO POSITIVE visits with my daughter…she has NOT budged. I’m willing to bet you that when she gets the alienation deposition in the mail, she’s going to try to alter her behavior. Too little, too late.

 

TO BE CONTINUED….