Longing and Wishes

mBZYcIKI woke up this morning face to face with my daughter. She’d come in to my room and climbed in bed with me during the night, but she hadn’t covered up. And it’s cold out. Her face and arms and hands were chilled and smooth, and her feet were like little popsicles. So I lifted and pulled and tugged to get her under the covers, and I stayed there with her for a moment to warm her up.

These are the beautiful moments.

When I’m just looking at her. When she’s deep asleep and safe, getting warm under her mama’s blankets. When I’m watching her in wonder. Thinking about how amazing she is.

And longing to give her a better life.

She’s nine now, and she’s been living a life of high conflict since she was born. The conflict belongs to her parents, and because of that, she doesn’t know any other way.

Conflict.

It takes two, right?

So what’s wrong with me? I’m part of the equation. Can’t I just make it stop? Can’t I just walk away? Can’t I just rally and smile and shake hands and move on?

Why am I still stuck in this cycle?

It must be the worst thing I could do for my daughter. To not just walk away.

I haven’t walked away. But I clearly understand parents who do—or should I say, parents who do whatever it takes to end the conflict.

I’ve thought of the Biblical story a hundred thousand times. The one where the King says that he’ll cut the baby in half when two mothers are fighting over it, and the real mother says, please don’t! She can have the baby. Just don’t do that.

And that makes me wonder if I’m selfish or bad for staying. Because my mere presence in my children’s lives rallies a dark force within my ex-husband’s core, and that force is entirely directing at pushing me off the edge of the earth.

He used to tell me that I don’t deserve to be here.

And he has a deep thirst for revenge.

Because I left him

and tried to make a new life.

I thought at the time that I’d be breaking the cycle. Everyone talks a lot about that. Get out! Go back to school! Heal your soul! Raise your head! Elevate your life! 

Protect your children!

And then the reality of the day-to-day sets in, and that reality doesn’t protect your children. Seven years later, and the court at best ignores us. The attorneys cost too much. The system rewards aggression. And there’s nowhere I’ve found in that dynamic where “protection” and “peaceful escape” can come true.

At least not that I’ve found.

And so since I’ve been writing and thinking about longing, I thought I’d bring this all up. Because when I was lying next to my daughter this morning, I felt it in my heart. Longing for the life I want to give her. Longing for a time when my assets weren’t depleted. When my credit wasn’t destroyed. Longing to be the mom I could be without the daily assault and constant trauma. The woman I could be if I could save my kids from living out lives in which their dad tries to use them as a weapon against me. Consistently. Without fail. Year after year after year. I want to be that better woman. I want to save them from all this. I want to take them to Disney before they grow up because they’ve always wanted to go and it’s almost too late and I’m not even close to having the kind of money it takes to make something like that happen. I’m not even close to having rent this month after I pay my attorney to explain to the magistrate why my ex doesn’t actually deserve to have full custody even though he filed for it yet again. I have to pay my attorney to explain why I should still be allowed to exist as a co-parent. And I want to be more than that. I want to be the best kind of mother I can be, regardless of anything. I want to be these things for my daughter, and for my sons. I want to make even a few of their wishes come true. The things they only talk about it in the quiet at random moments.

The things they wish for.

Mostly, they don’t wish out loud much at all.

And that’s something I long for.

For them.

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Published by: H.G. Beverly

H.G. Beverly is a psychotherapist and author who is fascinated by the development of strong characters through difficult relationships. She has unique expertise in personality disorders and offers readers an insider's view of intimate life with psychopaths, sociopaths, and narcissists. Sometimes dark, sometimes ecstatic, her writing explores the full spectrum of what it means to love people who fool and hurt you—and how to rise again to love people who don't. Find her at hgbeverly.com.

Categories Alienation, Children, Divorce, Family, Professionals, SociopathyTags, , , , 6 Comments

6 thoughts on “Longing and Wishes”

  1. Have you ever thought that all your children long for is for their mommy to be happy? I was a child of divorce. My dad was a shitty husband. My mother was miserable with him. I saw her sadness behind her strained smiles and the busy-ness she surrounded herself with cleaning and cooking and caring for her four daughters. Once divorced, her spark gradually became brighter and brighter. There were many struggles. There was a period when we lived crammed in my aunt’s home. But I was happy. I was happy because I knew my mother wasn’t being hurt. I didn’t care that I shared a bed with her and my youngest sister. I didn’t care if our Christmases had fewer gifts. I didn’t care if summer vacation was camping and not going to the beach for a week. I didn’t care about wearing clothes from Goodwill. I didn’t care about those THINGS. What mattered most and what I longed for most was for my mother to keep smiling and singing. 🙂 <4

    1. Yes! I suppose this post doesn’t convey that at all. But I know what you’re talking about, and it’s kind of been my fantasy. My dream for what escaping an abusive relationship can/could be like. Spending some time living with a relative or friend, getting back on your feet, feeling your light inside start to glow again. And I’ve had these moments—I have them all the time. Moments of rebuilding and hope. I think what makes it difficult for me is that my children are constantly under fire. Their dad stirs them up into a state of anguish and then points it at me. He does this to them almost every day, and he’s been consistent with it since 2007. It’s caused them an enormous amount of unnecessary pain, and they don’t have the option of getting away from it. They love their dad, so that makes it infinitely more confusing for them. So maybe my post went too much into the financial effects that this seven year “getting away” process has had on me. It really is more about how much I long for my kids to live a more peaceful life. No money can buy that for them. And a happy mother is a beautiful thing. So you’re right in those areas. I work hard to stay happy. There’s just always going to be an ache inside me as long as I know that my kiddos are being hurt in ways that I’ve been powerless to stop. That’s a hard one.

  2. There is no right or wrong answer in a lose-lose situation choreographed by an obsessed alienator who has been enabled by the court system. My daughter was 15 when I moved & could have come with me, but she had habits & compulsions she believed she needed. I felt neither physically, financially, or emotionally safe near her dad. He also encouraged her to make false accusations against me — those accusations disappeared (was it because his attorney actually cared about consistency & evidence in that one aspect of our case?), but I never knew if they could resurface. I hope she will follow my lead & get far away from his abuse. I don’t have much hope for my relationship with her anymore =( not in this lifetime. Right now, if she could just be safe. Dear God, I feel like I can’t take another day & night sometimes with this worry & pain.

  3. Helen, I’m reading your memoir. I can’t believe what all you’ve endured while retaining your sanity in an insane situation. Thank you for articulating the pain that is constant when, no matter what you do to enjoy the beauty and love in this world — when you’re kids aren’t emotionally safe and the system has made you helpless when trying to protect your child from extreme emotional abuse and neglect (and taking a child from his/her mother is extreme neglect — only a complete narcissist would believe he could replace a loving (if imperfect) mother! I hope & pray your children appreciate you and heal and escape from the evil games presented in your excellent memoir. I’m tempted to send my ex’s 5th wife a copy!

    1. Thank you so much for the positive feedback! I’ve been carrying these experiences around for years, and this is my first experience with any kind of community validation. It means more than I can express here. Thank you.

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