Barry, the ex-husband


I am so grateful for my friends. I’m telling you there is nothing, that a good long talk with my besties, can’t be solved in my world. Thank you to Elise and Tim for loving me so well.

So I gotta admit that allowing my children to go and live with their father for a week was hard. One of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I did NOT have a good night on Thursday night. I wallowed in my shit for hours and hours.

As I sat on the plane to Sac on Friday night I tried to figure out, Why. Yes, I was in a total over-thinking mood, all weekend. Poor Tim and Elise. They do put up with a lot from me, and how I am. I can be real mood-killer.

So, Why would it bother me so much to have the children with Barry this past weekend? When in factual light he and I had already agreed that, he would keep the children not only during his weekend, but also on Sunday, and Monday nights, while I was in CA visiting with Elise and Tim. This was only adding 2 nights on, 1 onto each end. Which again, shouldn’t have bothered me; and normally wouldn’t.

So WHY did it bother me so much?

Context.

Before Barry pulled his “Hyde-personality” and “let’s-pick-a-fight”, routine on Thursday morning, I was fine with the kids over at his home for 4 days. Had he asked me to keep them an extra day, as something nice for him; like when he wanted to take them to the beach for 4 days over the summer… I would have said: “Sure. Why not. That would be great. Easier on the kids. I wouldn’t worry about them being home for a few hours on Tuesday night when I arrived home late from the airport.”

But that is not how it went down.

Instead, it was “I’m going to take you to court and sue you for joint-custody of the kids. 50 / 50 so I don’t have to pay any child support. You’re keeping the kids away from me.”

Other than him taking me to court, nothing is further from the truth. Which I pointed out to him, in a conversation about how I don’t enforce our current agreement to the letter. Ever. AND HE AGREED WITH ME.

So why the drama?

Context.

When its me just being nice to him, he doesn’t like it. Why doesn’t he?
I am not him. I won’t speak for him.
I have my theories. Elise has her’s. Tim has his. I have mine. The gal in the check-out line at the Publix has her’s. Every one has their opinion.
Opinions are like assholes, every one has one. And they all stink.

When it comes down to it, I like to be in control. When Barry pushes my buttons this way, bullies me into doing something; I don’t like it. Even if it was something that I was going to do anyways. Its the fact that he bullied me into it. That I felt threatened, and scared of him, once again. Like I was backed into a corner; and did whatever I could, to keep him from hurting me worse, than he was already doing. I followed the ‘fear’ line of thinking. And I let it drag me right down the rabbit-hole on Thursday night.

Hook – Line – and Sinker.

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So for the last few weeks the Ex and I have been having productive, even kind, conversations with one another. Speaking on the phone mainly, and once even in public. At one point he asked about my friend, whose health isn’t the best right now. I asked about Rhonda, and her health. I even went so far as to offer to skip one of Russell’s games so that Rhonda could come and see him play baseball. Knowing that Rhonda wouldn’t come and see him play, if I was there. I really thought that perhaps we had turned a corner and that this relationship with Barry could be a good one.

I should have been more cautious. I should have been more aware of what I was leading myself into.

This morning Barry informs me that as soon as he can, he’s going to take me back to court and sue for the custody of the kids. He’s going to take them away from me, because I’m not letting Daphne come and live with him.

This lead to an arguement.

He agreed with me, when I said, “This is why I shouldn’t be nice to you. This is what it gets me.”
He said, “I was being nice to you too. But you say one thing to me, then write crappy stuff about me on that Blog of yours.”

I do, but not always. I have on occasion written nice things about him, and how I am happy to see us working together. He said that I never write anything nice. I asked him if he had read it. HE said, “No. But I hear about it.”
Me: “Then you shouldn’t listen to rumor. You should go and get the facts for yourself, instead of relying on someone else’s lies.”
He didn’t have anything to say for that.

Ulitmately this was about Daphne.

I can see it for what it is now. I can see his worry about her. I have the same worries. He can’t control her cutting, or solve her depression, by moving her out of the enviroment that gives her stability and forces her to heal. Does he really think that allowing her to just “Up and Move to Dad’s” is going to solve this?

I can see her not liking how I hold her accountable for her actions. Her words. I can see her wanting to have something “easier”, and that she thinks she will get that from Barry. He claims that he can hold her accountable. That he can monitor. Be on top of her. Make her have study hall. Make her tell him, wherever she is. Make her give up her phone, and allow him to read what is on there. Yet, he hasn’t done any of these things in the last 2 years. Not on a consistant basis. Not every day.

Because it is hard. It takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of effort. He did not show that effort when he lived at home. He has not shown that effort since the divorce. Buying the kids whatever they want, is not being a parent. Feeding them junk food, because they don’t want to eat what you cooked, is not being a parent. Being a parent means making some choices for your kids, that they are not going to like; but are what they need to do. Even if its hard.

I spoke about some of the things like this. He just sat there. He just sat there and stared at me like I grew 3 heads or something. Then he started in on how he was going to take me to court if I didn’t let Daphne move in with him.

I know in my heart that if I let Daphne move in with Barry – she won’t be around this time next year.

Okay so I know that things are up in the Universe because the Ex and I are getting along. Or maybe its just my attitude. Or this way in which I am trying to be a better person. I have a few relationships that I know need some working on. The one with the Ex-husband, is one of those. So I am trying to be kinder. Nicer.

I start with things like asking about his girlfriend. I know that Rhonda is not going anywhere. She is a part of his life, and therefore a part of my kids’ lives. So we might as well get along. I can start by just asking about her health. She has fought cancer in the last couple of years, and so I want to acknowledge that. To be kind about her. Ask about her. I don’t think I will be taking her a casserole any time soon. But this is a start.

Talking last night with Barry on the phone I even went so far as to offer to skip Russell’s baseball game on Thursday night. I know that Rhonda would like to see him play, but that she won’t go if I’m there. I can’t say that she doesn’t like me, because I cannot assume what she likes, and doesn’t. I can only say that she feels uncomfortable around me, because she did the one time that we met.

With regards to his payment of things for the kids. He’s making an effort. I appreciate when he sends the Child Support, but I don’t rely on it for the payment of any actual household bills. I would like to see him reimburse me for things like all of the back-to-school stuff, but I know that without a steady job, that makes it hard. I won’t go into him not working, as that has always been a sore subject between us. I have faith that when he has the money, he will do right by me.

We even talked about that issue, and are making a list of the funds each of us has paid out, on the children’s behalf since August. He regaled me with the stories of the latest clown-like proceedings for Pop’s probate. I told him my advice, and then told him, “I should just shut up. Its not my place to get involved. We always had that agreement, you would deal with your family, and I would deal with mine.” I even went onto reassure him, after he was talking about his brother and the situation that this puts him into. “Pop trusted you to do the right thing. I have faith that you will make good decisions there.”

When it comes to the kids I think that it is better there. He wants to see them more, and so I try to create situations that will allow that. He tells me that I need to go and do things for myself, and so I try not to feel badly about asking him to watch his own children. I’m trying when it comes to that. I feel like he’s still trying to buy their love, instead of giving them the structure that they need. So long as I’m around to provide that to them most of the time, it should work out in the long run.

We communicate well on each of the children’s needs and behaviors. He seems to be more interested in listening to how they are doing, rather than pointing out to me how I am getting it wrong. Like study hall, and food choices. He even agrees with me that Daphne should have to be responsible for the repairs of her phone. That my forcing her to pay for half of them, and allowing her to make the choices on how its repaired, is fair.

WoW! Right? He agreed with me.

So I like to think that perhaps this newer way of looking at my life is going to be a great thing for everyone. Even for my Ex-husband, whom I told today, “Hey! You know what? You aren’t bad as an ex-husband. You’re pretty good.”
Ex: “Yeah, I’ve heard that from a few gals.”
Me: “Wait, you mean I’m not your only ex-wife.”

We both laughed.

It goes back to when we were engaged, and my father that that Barry had an ex-wife. Barry and I decided not to get married in the church. I was no longer a practicing Catholic, and he wasn’t much of anything. Daddy thought that the reason we weren’t getting married in the church was because that Barry had already been married once. LoL

Seriously, I would give him a recommendation, as an Ex-husband.

I don’t usually publish stuff on here that is written by others, such as this. This has touched me soooo deeply I couldn’t let it go. I’ve watched it a dozen times in the last few days, since finding it on FaceBook. This woman has written my life. She has been able to put to words my journey, in a way that I haven’t been able too.
My gratitude to you Lucy.

Click this link to find a short movie called “Mine”

He was my comrade. Sinking into the trenches.
I wanted to rescue him…
If that meant bearing his loathing… his insults.
If I could have swallowed his sadness….
I would have.

But I wasn’t his comrade.
I was a prisoner of his war.
Until a friend made me listen (*thank you Elena*)
After 20 years, I made a break for it… (*with my children in tow*)

I am not a casualty of his war.

I am mine.

These words remind me of not “allowing time to soften the edges”. The Ex-husband has been kind lately. He actually said “thank you” to me. I know. I know. Shocking!!!! He has even taken the time to ask about the health of a friend. It makes me remember some of the things about him, that he was capable of. The things that I fell in love with. That made me want to stay by his side, and to heal his demons.

Then I remember. I pause before I fall over the side of that ledge again. I take a deep breath and pull myself back from that very dangerous ledge… of loving him. Of allowing my guard to come down and let him anywhere near that vulnerable part of my self.

I needed Lucy’s words… to remind me of the horrible things that he is capable of. Of the insults. The anger. The nights of fear for my life. The lives of my children. Of the night he was chased down by the sheriff’s dog, and arrested. Of his demons that wanted to kill me alongside of him. To remind me of what is Mine.

And what isn’t.

As for Barry.

He told me that he wanted to meet the B.T. So I told him when/ where/ who, etc. He knew that the appt was at 7:45.

At 8:20 when it was time for us to have the ‘family’ portion, Barry still hadn’t arrived. Russell peeked his head out and didn’t see Barry. “Where’s dad?”

me: “I don’t know.”
RJ: “He’s not here.”
me: “No sweetheart.”
RJ: “Can you call him?”
me: “Sure honey.”

K, the behavior therapist, “His dad?”
me: “Yes. I’m just going to call him.”
K: “He was coming?”
me: “Yes, But he hasn’t shown up yet.”

As I’m making the call, Barry drives up. So the 4 of us were in attendance. But I wanted to say ” Hey, I might be the crappy mom here… but at least I’m showing up…. and ON time.”

*frustrated*

They say, “Your Children will be your Greatest Teachers”.

If they mean that in having children, you will learn about things that you never wanted to know… they would be right.

For the 2nd time this calender year, I am faced with learning about something I never thought would cross my path. Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder.

Can I just say right now, I Do Not Like The Name.

I don’t like it one bit.

I don’t like the word “Disorder”. Or the word “Deficit”. They have such a negative connotation to me. I don’t like it. Not one bit.

So there.

Barry’s girlfriend, Rhonda, told Barry that Russell had this condition. Rhonda is not a doctor. Nor a nurse. Nor a therapist. She is substitute teacher, and she told Barry that she was sure that RJ had this. Now, as much as I am not too thrilled with another woman parenting my child. And I do have many issues with the way that Barry has brought another person into our children’s lives, without so much as a “How do you do.” And as reluctant as I was about our children being labeled in such a fashion…. I will be the bigger person here and say, “Rhonda was right.”

It started with me realizing that Russell needed to repeat the 3rd grade. Heck I wanted him to repeat the 2nd grade, after a few weeks in 3rd grade, to help him. I knew that he was struggling by Labor Day, just 3 weeks into the school year. But I had to wait it out. So I did.

Then I went round – after round – with the principle, Mrs. Billar, about him repeating this past 3rd grade year. Even going so far as to call the school board. I had him held back. Even though he officially passed, due to the FCAT test… which he told me, he simply guessed each answer on. He guessed and managed to get just the right number of points 198 to pass. If he had 197, there would have been no fight.

I did this – against Barry’s wanting – tough shit for him. But on the condition that I would have him tested for ADHD.

So I went do see Dr. Kelly – his pediatrician. She gave me the forms to fill out. Some for Barry. Some for my mom. Some for his therapist. Some for his last year’s teacher. She told me that this was mute point, as I would not be able to get his teacher to fill out forms, in the summer. She underestimated me.
lol

When I turned in all the forms, in July, she called me to tell me that she was impressed. Surprised that it could be done. Yet, impressed that I was that tenacious.

She also tested him for every thing under the sun. 7 vials of blood work taken. 28 different tests. To rule out a biological cause for his difficulties. Like a thyroid problem. Which I would like to have had, so that I could blame Barry for it.

I did not get my wish.

On August 11th I got Russell’s diagnosis. Attention Deficit Hyper-activity Disorder. Or Disease.

We talked on the phone for nearly an hour. I had a BUNCH of questions as you can imagine. She gave me a prescription for a drug
and at my insistence, one for Behavior therapy.

I started researching. I bookmarked a bunch of websites. I started reading. I got books reserved for me at the library. I even bought books off of Amazon. I even got some information from the pharmacist, on the drug that she prescribed.

I wanted to blame all of this on Barry’s genetics. After all he is the one with a history of mental disorders in his family. He is the one with a history of depression, and bi-polar, and just plain crazy. Yet, As the Doctor described what its like in Russell’s brain… I realize that I would not get my wish for this either. Dr. Kelly described for me, what it has always been like in my brain.

Only she was talking about Russell’s.

It never occurred to me until that conversation, that there was anything different about my brain. That thinking things, all the time, and jumping from subject to subject, was what every body did. That everyone had moments where they zoned out and didn’t hear what another person was saying, unless looking directly at them, and focusing their attentions on that person. That all brains wandered around, and skipped to different subjects, if the person speaking was boring. That all people, thought thoughts, all the time. Even when just thinking “there’s nothing to think about” thoughts, when that was the case.

It used to drive Barry up the wall, and I can’t tell you how many arguments arose between us, because I would ask him a simple question: “Whatcha thinking?”

When he would reply, “Nothing.”
I never believed him.
Ever.

I just assumed that all brains, thought things, all the time. You can’t have a person, who isn’t having a thought, 24/7. Its just not possible. I would get irritated by Barry’s answer. I accused him of hiding things from me, because there was no way that he wasn’t thinking some Thing. (*he usually was hiding something, but that is a different discussion of my marriage*)

So now we are here. We better understand what is happening for my son. Welcome to the world of A.D.H.D.

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