Re: Family fell apart, but no end to drama in sight
Had my custody visits this weekend. This was the first time they were relatively long (8hrs) and all went well with the kids. We had fun and I was able to keep myself together in front of them, but I'm having so much trouble handling my emotions, both about missing life with them, and about their mother's behavior.
After 4 months of a no contact restraining order, I thought she would calm down and become more civil. She only seems to increase her level of disregard for my feelings (and the kids'). The first day we went through the whole drama of the custody exchange at the gas station, with her mother also coming in a second car to supervise us. A lovely humiliating detail, I hadn't previously mentioned, which I'm sure is not emotionally healthy for the kids. (Her mom coming is not court mandated, but she is there every time). An hour later I call my adult daughter to meet us for lunch, and she asks that I come to the house to pick up and walk the dog. I say I'm not sure if I was allowed to do that, but she insists that her mother is making the request and it is OK. I agree to come by and sit in the car and have the dog brought out by my daughter. I felt OK because the lawyers had previously arranged once before that I pick up my adult daughter this way. I also didn't want to make a scene by refusing this. Everything went OK with the transfer and walk, but what the heck do the kids think of all this madness? They must know at some level that they are just being used to hurt me and falsely show both the courts and her parents how scared she is of me.
The second day, more of the same happened. Her mother comes up to me at the gas station and tells me they are running late because she can't get one of my daughter's moving along. They are 25 minutes late. Later, without being heavily pressed about it, this daughter mentions that my wife didn't wake her up until just after the time we were supposed to do the exchange. My daughter was very clear about knowing what that time was, and said she felt bad about being late. Here's the only thing good about this: She actually blurted this out when we were with her assigned county social workers. Unbelievable! Not only is my wife irresponsible enough to be that late, but she blames it on my daughter. This is so clearly abusive. It actually sounds like my daughter was quite quick in getting ready. I have a follow up meeting with the county workers tomorrow and we will certainly discuss this.
One daughter was 10 minutes late for a religious ed class because of this. The other showed up for a full day out with a pair of boots that were half separated at the sole, although she has other decent footwear. She also sent them without the bathing suits they needed for swimming, which they were looking forward to doing with me. I had my daughter arrange to get the bathing suits, and we did the same awkward exchange at the house we did the first day.
I'm starting to think I need to just get duplicates of everything I need for my kids (bathing suits, shoes, etc.) and keep them with me. My wife clearly has no interest in being cooperative, and this will drive me crazy. The county workers have even mentioned to me that for the sake of our children she should modify the protective order to at least allow email communication to facilitate some of these simple details. Apparently piling more hurt onto me is way more important than exhibiting basic decency for the sake of the kids. The adult daughter is back to college this week, so she won't be there to facilitate the manipulation for a while.
Of course the other manipulative ace she has is still being played. I called up tonight after the visit at my assigned time to say good night to my daughters, and of course she answers again. WTF? She's either completely insane, or the most cruel person I've ever met. All these petty games while my daughters, especially the one, are in serious trouble. It would be one thing if the kids were mostly fine and she were doing this, but they are a complete mess as I mentioned in my previous posts. All of this is not going to end well. I'll need to walk a very fine tightrope to come out of this unscathed and protect my children.