The Lotus Remains
0 comment Friday, September 26, 2014 |
The lotus blooms with the rising sun and close at night. Similarly, our minds open up and expand with the light of knowledge. The lotus grows even in slushy areas. It remains beautiful and untainted despite its surroundings, reminding us that we too can and should strive to remain pure and beautiful within, under all circumstances.
This won't be a fun post; this is me lancing a wound which has festered for much too long. This is my attempt to reclaim someone I was, oh, years ago, but who I have had to forget due to just trying to hold things together. When you lance a wound, it smells awful - it lets a lot of horrible gunk out and it gets everywhere. It's not a very antiseptic process, but it allows things to get better.
It will get better.
I have been trying to be "friends" with the ex for some time now - but I've had several bombs dropped on me lately. It's his old behaviour, really; leave me in the dark until he's managed to establish what it is he wants to establish, and then tell me after the fact when it would be even more damaging for me to try and fix the issue. The surrogate child which he has laded time and money on because she's pretty much everything sprog isn't - the room-mate who is now a girlfriend (but isn't really, or something). I already guessed, and tried to call him out on it, but he denied it - even claimed I was being ridiculous. Well, I was right. Thing was I didn't understand the extend of things. How bad it was getting, and how it was affecting my son.
Lately my son has been exhibiting some worrying behaviour; angry and working himself into a nervous frenzy when waiting for his father. When his father came for sprog's Daddy Day on Sunday my son was nearly at meltdown point. I've never seen this before - he used to be all smiles, now his dad showing stresses him out. I realised why soon enough - even though of course his father didn't say anything to me; he'd brought the girlfriend and daughter with him for Sprog's day out. I could see them in the car. I couldn't believe it. A day which is supposed be just for him and Sprog has now turned into a family affair. In short, the one day during the week he gets to see his dad, a day which should be all about HIM, is instead divided up four different ways - 100% attention turns into 25%. For a child with autism, that's - well, that's hell.
When sprog came home, he had a huge meltdown over something completely unrelated. This resulted in ex giving him a softly-softly routine I've never seen him do before; a routine he's obviously been using on a child other than his own. The end result? Even through sprog's yelling, he was smiling. Again, I was stunned; he was acting up because he was getting attention; probably the first completely focussed-on-him attention he'd received all day. I wish I could say I kept my temper but I didn't. I was so furious. I ushered ex immediately out of my house, had to play Evil Disciplinarian to stop the tantrum - and after five minutes of my methods, it was all over. I talked to my son as gently as I could, and found out his father has been bringing his Surrogate Family to every single outing they've had. "She has to come! Daddy said!"
Dear gods...
I talked to three different child professionals, just to see if I was going to blow my stack over something trivial. That's what I've learned being married to ex, you see; all my friends think I'm the "strong-willed one" who rules the roost. It's not true; every time I've ever had a concern or could see something was wrong, I was dismissed as being "illogical". After all, Ex is the one with the IQ no test can measure. That he's also on the Aspergers/OCD spectrum is immaterial - those aren't real diagnosis, they're just trying to hold him back. Any objections I have are due to jealousy (which is true to some point, but after playing the stay at home wife while he was off with girlfriend 1, 2, 3, or 4, that's something I think I can be forgiven), or just not knowing all the facts. That I don't know all the facts because he refuses to tell me them is immaterial. "I'm the only father this little girl has ever had, don't you understand that? What else am I supposed to do?"
I don't know...maybe be the only father your own child ever had? But no, that's just silly, jealous, weak-willed me talking. I've been taught to second-guess every instinct I've ever had. The strong-willed person every single one of my friends thinks I am has completely disappeared into this wishy-washy woman who can't stand up for herself or her son. Well, after all, that was how Ex wanted it.
So, now, I have a son who is desperately using whatever tactic he can to get his father's attention; he'll parrot his father's rationalisations and firmly adhere to them because Daddy is Always Right. But his heart knows something is wrong, and he has no idea what else to do. I can't do anything either - if I tell his father off, forbid the girlfriend and daughter from coming, then I'm the Bad Woman, and my son's ire will come down on my head. It's the way it's always been - ex's family insists I'm the heartless bitch of an ex because they don't realise the girlfriend was in the picture several months before our breakup. They don't know there were seven girlfriends by the time I finally gave up on the Ex; that he was home only three nights out of the week. They "don't know all the facts"; and I don't have the energy to fight the argument.
I know on some level the Ex doesn't realise what he's doing; it's the Aspergers. He truly is incapable of understanding the damage he's doing. But as has been put to me over several days, he is no longer my problem. It is no longer my job to keep trying to explain and explain why this isn't good for our son, and why sometimes I'm not just being a jealous bitch, but I'm actually trying to save the relationship between him and his son. And it's become brutally clear to me that he'll continue to "not tell me all the facts" and just do as he pleases - until I find out, get angry, and then realise there's nothing I can do and have to acquiesce.
He wants to "stay friends"; not for Sprog's sake - but because to a person with Aspergers, change is scary. To actually have to finally sign the divorce paperwork, to have me completely out of his life - that would be a change. He wants everything to stay exactly as it is, for the world to do exactly what he thinks it should do. He's also the most manipulative man I've ever met; physical violence against women is one thing, but let me tell you - mindgames are much, much worse. If I anger my ex, I know I'll pay for it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, it might not come till 10 years from now, but it will come. He'll find a way to completely crush and destroy my world, and he'll never be caught, never be blamed. But he'll make sure I know it was him. I'm completely sure of it.
There is a part of me - the small grieving young girl in me who got enough abuse as a child that i swore I would never ever be involved with an abusive man like my father- who has just realised this is abuse. I've fallen right back into the mess I swore I'd never do. It doesn't matter if he has Aspergers, just like it doesn't matter that the physically violent man is a victim himself and cannot help himself. He's doing it - and I reason I haven't stuck up to him is because I know he'll get back at me. Just like every domestic abuse victim is terrified of leaving her fist-heavy man.
Good god, how did I become this?
"We'll stay friends." But friends are people I can trust. It's become quite clear I cannot trust this man anymore. It may feel like kicking a puppy, he may get that blank look of incomprehension on his face - "What is your problem? I'm not doing anything wrong; I have to move on with my life!" Yes, he does - but he doesn't want anyone else to do the same, to leave him behind and leave him alone. He hates being alone and unadored more than anything else in the world - that's why he needed a harem of women to always be there when he needed the reassurance.
That's not my job anymore.
I want him completely out of my life. I don't want to store his stuff here because he doesn't have the money for storage - if he wasn't spending money on a child that wasn't his, he MIGHT have the funds to do this sort of thing. I don't want phone calls of "Hey, what's wrong?" - that same note of utter lack of comprehension after he's just dropped yet another bomb on me. I need to not only lance this wound, but cauterize it. No contact, no more, at all, ever again. I'm no longer his translator to the Mainstream Social Game. I need to move on with my life too - and that means getting him completely out of mine.
I'm calling on legal aid today - he wanted to avoid the full on divorce route because he said it would "be too expensive" but then he's the one making the upper-end six digit figures. He can stop buying clothes for his surrogate child, stop blowing money on his replacement family and deal with his original one first. Then he's free to do as he likes. But it's time for not just him to move on, but me as well, and not to trust to him to settle things as I know he'll do so in his favour, not mine. I'm tired to constantly looking for traps and wondering if I've being told the whole truth. Let that be someone else's job. And whatever damage will be done with his relationship with his son is also no longer my problem. I can only be there to dry my son's tears and assure him no matter what, I love him.
Somewhere along the line - not now, it doesn't feel possible now - I'll have to learn not all men are scum. I honestly don't know if that's possible. I'll have to learn to rise above the wave of hurt and shock and betrayal and not turn into a bitter woman. I watched my mum do it; and I see myself already following in her footsteps against all my better wishes. I don't want to turn that bitterness to my son, and ruin my relationship with him as well - never being able to move past the man who betrayed her, never moving on.
I want to remember who I used to be; the cackling laughing woman who loved her makeup and her dramatic clothes and wild curly hair. I want to remember what it means to not give a damn when people stare at me - whether it's because they see my ex snogging his girlfriend in front of me, or the way my son starts to scream for no reason, or because I have a piercing and am a tall, fat chick or whatever else they take umbrance to. I want to remember what it was like to dance wherever I pleased and not shrink in the public eye, stammering apologies for being disabled, having a disabled son, for being poor, or black, or too tall, or just for existing. I used to wave the Two-Fingered Salute to greed and cruelty and took care of my own and damn the consequences.
It may mean I Pimp My Ride and tie dye my wheelchair. I'll wear any damn shoes I want because I won't have to walk in them much. I'll watch videos over and over with sprog and we'll shake our bums and play hula-hoops. Fine, and good. But it also means I want to not play "just friends" with a man I no longer even want to see. That I don't have to constantly explain why four different psychologist for children say child time needs to be 100% his time - and no, it's not because they don't understand. I don't want to be clung to in a death grip because someone else can't face change. I don't want to fight a battle I should no longer have to fight, or discover after-the-fact truths.
I fully expect to see a wedding ring on his finger as soon as the ink dries on the divorce paperwork. But then, I also fully expect to hear that the girlfriend of convenience wakes up and realises that a surrogate man she isn't really attracted to isn't worth keeping around, even if it will hurt him to say goodbye. Either way, either way, I don't want it to matter to me. I want that wound lanced, clean and healed over without the scab being constantly knocked off to bleed anew.
I'm trying to get the lotus to bloom. To tend it, nuture it, and make it happen. Let's see if I still have the knack to grow, rather than to just wilt and sink below the waves.

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