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Old 05-23-2013, 11:28 AM
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Hi,

I'm new to this site as well, just stumbled upon it yesterday, hoping to find some fair advice.

A bit about me: I met my ex in 1995, we got married in 2000, and were separated in 2011. We have two beautiful children, a girl and a boy, and I fought tooth and nail to ensure that I had joint and shared custody of my children. They are a very important part of my life, and will always be.

Looking back on my marriage, I endured a lot. I was isolated from my friends, and the only people I could associate with were her friends. I was constantly berated in front of them, and made to feel like an idiot and worthless. I was accused of never being home, despite the fact that I would go to work, and come home, and spent 16 hours a day at home. I was encouraged to pursue my hobbies of writing and photography, but when I tried to find time to take for myself for that, I was made to feel horrible that I wasn't home, so I eventually gave up on my hobbies.

When we were pregnant with our first, we had a discussion about where to go from here. We decided that, since I had a career, and she had just worked in minimum wage jobs, that it would probably be best that she stayed home until the children were in school. But, when she stayed home, she did nothing to support the family. Spending the days on the computer. I would change my daughter before I left for work, then come home and find her in the same diapers. Both our children had diaper rash so bad that they were bleeding. Dishes and laundry were piled up, and I would get frustrated with the mess. She would scream at me, "It's half your mess!" and even though I would do dishes and laundry, and clean the house, I was constantly told I never did enough to help out.

In the end, the day she walked out, a great weight was lifted off my shoulders. We still had $30,000 in joint debt, and we had just purchased a new home less than 1 year before she left. She was refusing to pay any portion of the debt, and was demanding that I sell the house...she even went as far as sending an agent over with papers to put the house on the market. I struggled for months to keep making the loan payments, and eventually I gave up, and was forced into bankruptcy. I walked away from the house as well. I realize I could have remained there, and had her take me to court to get the house awarded to me as I was continuing to make the mortgage payments and maintaining the residence.

The day after she walked out, I found evidence that she had been having an affair for at least 6 months before she left. I confronted her with this information, and she admitted to it. Rather than trying to make amends, she continued the affair (and continues it to this day), and got mad because I found out.

After I left the house, I got a very angry phone call from her, screaming that I "couldn't just dump garbage off at the house." When I went back to my new place, there sitting in my driveway was three large garbage bags, dumped off by her. None of these belonged to me. I suspect a neighbour took advantage of the vacancy of our old residence, and dumped off the garbage at my place. I called her, and she refused to do anything about it. So, I had to involve the police at that point. This was the second time I had to call them about her harassment, and intimidation of me. The first time, she had constantly broke into the old house while I was still living there to "pick up her things". I had to change the locks, because she had one set of keys, and her boyfriend had the other set of keys. He had made physical threats to me because I revealed his affair with my wife to his wife. I asked her politely to notify me when she was coming, and what she was planning to take from the house, so we could arrange some kind of civil transfer. She completely refused, and chose to break in while I was at work, and take things. I asked for an inventory of what she took, and again she refused because I wasn't entitled to that information.

And, it's been all downhill from there. When I moved, I was talking to her on the phone, and asked a leading question, "Do you want my new address?" Her response was, "YOU HAVE TO TELL ME!" Fine, I understand that. It's your obligation, as a parent to know where the children are at all times.

Last year, she moved to a new address. I called her and said, "The kids told me that you moved. Can you provide me with your new address please?" She outright refused. I had to take the issue to my lawyer, and I was instructed to tell her that I couldn't return the kids until I knew where they would be living and with whom. It didn't have to go that far, a day after I delivered her letter, she wrote back and told me the vicinity she was living in, but not the unit number. She told me that I "wasn't allowed on the property or she would call the police." I guess she felt like she was paying me back because I stood up to her harassment. I had served her with a trespass notice, and told her that she can only come onto my property if it involves the kids. Yet, she still continues to drop off letters in my mailbox that are extremely demanding, and have nothing to do with the kids.

When it was decided to pay for support, I agreed for the betterment of the kids. I had offered to pay her privately, yet she insisted on going through FRO. I had even given her a year's worth of cheques, and she handed them back to me.

Over these past two years, I have only been met with hostility. She acts as though I'm the one stalking and harassing her. Her parents have blocked my home phone so I can't call the kids when they are staying over there. Her answering machine picks up after one ring, and I only call to talk to the kids at night...most nights, my calls aren't returned. She would rather have them spend a night overnight with the babysitters, or farm the kids out to her parents for the weekend than have anything to do with them. She told me, during our marriage, that she never wanted kids in the first place, and only had them because I wanted kids. In the end, the only reason why she has the kids is so she can collect child support from me to buy booze for her and her boyfriend, and get more tattoos.

I'm not bitter. I'm not angry. I'm just frustrated at the unfair treatment I've gotten over the last 2 years. I've been a good father to my kids. I take them to all their doctors appointments, attend all the school meetings, I'm in constant contact with the school on their progress (my son had some temper issues the past few years, but it has tapered off after the separation surprisingly...at least in my care, from what my daughter says, and what I've been told from the teachers, things are much the same when they are with the mother).

My thoughts and concerns are for my kids and my kids only. The weeks that they're with me, I am theirs 100% of the time.
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:47 AM
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Welcome to the forum and my condolences.

Was there a question in there that you wanted advice on?
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:03 PM
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I do have a number of questions, one of which just got answered about paying too much for child support.

My biggest issue is how do I deal with such a hostile and negative influence in my children's lives? I've set all my bitterness and anger aside because it serves no purpose to me or my children. What's done is done. I don't wish her ill, nor do I wish her health. I just wish her to be a stranger in my life. But, I find that impossible to do when I'm constantly being met with her attempts at manipulation, and hostility to me.

For example, the arrangement for transfer had been that I was to drop the kids off to her place, and she drops them off to me on the alternating weeks. However, since she moved, she has refused to allow me to drop them off. She has outright refused me to know their whereabouts whatsoever. I know this is wrong, but I can't get her to understand that. It's like she feels that I'd be stalking her place when the kids are with her, or something. I gave her no reason to feel that way, and I don't know where she's getting that from.

We got off to a really bad start. I tried, when we first got separated, to get things sorted out for the sake of the kids, and my own sanity. I tried calling her to find out what we were going to do about the loan, and how we were going to get that sorted out. I got reasonably upset when I found out about the affair. But, I made no threats to her, nor did I do anything to harass her.

She has tried to manipulate me, and take advantage of me from the get-go,and I need it to stop once and for all. I know I can't make her do anything, but I just want her to stop trying to make me do things, and try to get her to stop trying to beat me down and use the kids against me.

Last Christmas, my daughter sang in a choir in a public venue. I knew that my ex wouldn't be there, because she was working, and I offered to bring my daughter myself. The response I got was, "If you do, I'll call the police!" I knew she wouldn't have any grounds if I took my daughter anyways, but I didn't want to cause trouble for the babysitters.

I just want it to stop...and I'm at my wit's end here. I just want to live in peace, and have happy go lucky kids.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:25 PM
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A lot of posters will chime in since they've been through specific situations with these things...but one thing I can tell you from my own experience is "less is more" with regards to communication with your ex.

Frankly, one of two things is going to happen. Either you're going to find some happy medium by communicating properly...or you're going back to court at some point. Either way, you need to start communicating only by email. Under no circumstances should you be spending so much time on the phone with your ex. Its not verifiable, provides no record of what happened, its easily misconstrued, and it leads to emotion and subsequent confrontation. So stop the phone calls immediately.

The next thing I can say is that conflict lessens (or stops) when you stop participating in it. Its pretty obvious to me in reading your post that despite your assertions...you still have a lot of hostility and resentment towards your ex. That's perfectly normal but you need to start working on it. Her life is her business at this point. And she is the children's mother...and whether or not you agree with her methodology, she will decide how to parent her children while they're in her care. Just concentrate on you and your home life with the kids when they're in your care.

If its her access day, you offer her some help through email and she tells you to eff off...then eff off. She doesn't require your help. And frankly, although other posters may have different thoughts. If she's picking up the kids, they're not complaining about deplorable living conditions and doesn't want to tell you where she lives...then don't worry about it.

Quote:
She has tried to manipulate me, and take advantage of me from the get-go,and I need it to stop once and for all. I know I can't make her do anything, but I just want her to stop trying to make me do things, and try to get her to stop trying to beat me down and use the kids against me.
Its hard to manipulate someone who communicates clearly only by email, doesn't engage in drama (particularly by phone) and follows the access schedule, as laid out in the SA.

A lot of people stay engaged in conflict with their ex out of lingering habit and lingering emotional connection. Sometimes, even having a negative connection is better for some people than having nothing at all.

The first thing you need to do if you're really serious about wanting the problems to stop is to look in the mirror. The solution isn't completely on your shoulders but its the most effective way to start the fix.

Last edited by Pursuinghappiness; 05-23-2013 at 12:30 PM.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:53 PM
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Hmm...fair enough. She's refused to even communicate through e-mail as well, and it's taken quite a while to get a communication book going. I would write her a letter with information about the kids, activities, medical or school concerns, or whatever, and it would get returned unread.

I am trying to move on, seriously. But, when I get letters from her, like, "I will pick up the kids at 9am. Only call if they are at the babysitters," it gets my hackles up. That wasn't the arrangement in the first place, and please don't think I have any intention of calling otherwise. In the past 2 years, I have only called a handful of times, and only to ask where she would prefer to have them dropped off.

Like I said, it's more frustration for me...that I keep hitting a brick wall.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Hmm...fair enough. She's refused to even communicate through e-mail as well, and it's taken quite a while to get a communication book going. I would write her a letter with information about the kids, activities, medical or school concerns, or whatever, and it would get returned unread.

I'm not suggesting you don't/can't have valid concerns about her parenting style. What I'm suggesting is that your concerns, unless court/CAS actionable, are a waste of time and while you may have a momentary feeling of frustration (as I always do)...take a deep breath, feel validated that she's an ass and move on.

Look, if you send her a communication book...nice/good thing to do..and she doesn't read them, then whatever. You can't get a court order which will force her to read.

Quote:
She's refused to even communicate through e-mail as well...
I'm always baffled by these statements. So if she refuses, she's the decider huh?

I guess my ex would be shit-out-of-luck if he took this attitude since I refuse to communicate by phone and the court would support my reasons why. I suppose in your case, the communication book is a good substitute. If she doesn't read critical information, at least you can prove that you sent it.

Quote:
But, when I get letters from her, like, "I will pick up the kids at 9am. Only call if they are at the babysitters," it gets my hackles up. That wasn't the arrangement in the first place,
So you have two choices here. Either put your foot down and tell her no....or...if its not that big of a deal and isn't too disruptive...recognize that situations will need modification on both sides and manage it.

Understand, you got divorced for a reason and now that you are...you have zero control over what she does. What you can control is how you manage your own environment, your own reactions, and your own life. When she does something that is a completely unacceptable on your access time, then tell her to go eff herself and say no. But if its manageable, accept that you're co-parenting with a jerk, manage it and move on.

In time, things do calm down and get better but ONLY if you strive to reduce conflict.

You can't teach metaphyics to a cockroach...and you cannot teach an ahole to treat you with respect. Get over it.

Your primary concentration should be to make the best, happiest, least conflicted environment for your kids when they're in your care. Eventually, they'll be old enough to make their own decisions.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:38 PM
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Fair enough. I know the communication book will fail eventually...these things always do with her.

It was suggested to us, "The kids have a hard time going a full week without seeing or hearing from the other parent. Perhaps you two could setup a date night with the kids."

Ok, I'm down with that. I'd like to take the kids out to dinner on every other Wednesday or whatever, and she can come and get them on my Wednesdays. No problemo.

Well, that worked for 1 week. I picked up the kids, took them to dinner, dropped them off at a reasonable time, she didn't come to pick them up on my week, and when I tried to follow up the week after, it fell through.

The Women's Centre said, "Your daughter would like you to write notes to her each week, so she can read them when she's with the other parent. She will also write you notes. Here's a lovely heart-shaped envelope she made for you to put the letters in."

Ok, I love that idea. Anything to bring a smile to my daughter's face. So, I wrote her a letter, she wrote me one, we exchanged them, I told her to read it when she got to mommy's. The envelope never came back, nor did any notes to the kids from the mother.

So, I don't have high hopes for this communication book to work either. I did set my foot down the drop offs, and said, "This will be fine this week, but going forward, I would rather drop the children off to you at the scheduled time to ensure a safe transfer." I don't have high hopes for any kind of positive reply, and it's very likely the communication book won't make its return to me on Monday.

I know I can't make her read it. I know I can't make her do anything. But, I try to be civil...I've written so many poisoned letters that found their way to my garbage can before I sent them out. I also understand that it's not about us anymore, as there's no us. I gave up on us the moment she walked out the door? Why? How could I ever trust anyone ever again after walking out? But, that doesn't mean that things can't be civil. I had hoped, initially, that we could just set our grievances aside. Not continue on as a couple, but to try to salvage some friendship from what we had...for the sake of the kids. So there wouldn't be so much tension during drop offs, and so we could communicate things, such as, "Daughter's interested in choir, meetings on are such and such a night. If you can't take her, I can." Or, "I'm going to be out of town this weekend, would you mind taking the kids early?"

But, I guess that was too much to ask. Now, all I want is for her to treat me as a stranger. And to admit that (not to sound boastful) I am a good dad to those kids. Yes, our parenting styles didn't mesh which was some of the issues in our marriage, but the kids are in no danger with me. I am more than capable of meeting their needs, and I do what I need to do to keep them happy and looked after.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:38 PM
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It's always good.... once you get past your initial reaction - to hear constructive criticism. However, I don't have much to give you. Frankly I don't know how you have made it this far. I think you should try to find a support group or a counsellor to help you deal with this. You will have to be very selective... i.e. don't pour your heart out to someone just b/c they have some kind of qualification. Good counselling might be (should be) based on a scientific foundation - but it IS an art in the end. Also, there is help available to anyone for a very low fee - often at no cost for short periods. If you can afford better, pursue it.

Books by Bill Eddy (I think a social worker who became a lawyer) might help. His name comes up often in this forum for a reason. You will gain insights, tips, etc. dealing with a high conflict co-parent.

Try to avoid extremely long posts here ... b/c it'll increase the odds of getting meaningful responses. Sorry, ha ha, my reply is a bit long. Your ex sounds god awful - even if your report is biased by a certain degree of subjectivity... definitely a bad situation. The ongoing impact of her hostility towards you must be contained... you have to find compromises that work... you need some support. Also, you need to determine your role in perpetuating this dynamic.

I think your concerns about your children are warranted. How are they processing this? Not well perhaps.

Last edited by sjandme; 05-23-2013 at 01:45 PM.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:43 PM
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Thanks, sjandme. Sorry, I'm a talkative person. It feels like I've been through a lot these last 2 years, and things aren't aiming to get any better...only worse.
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Old 05-23-2013, 01:49 PM
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Be a phoenix. You already have your ashes. Time to fly again.
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