I understand that my family is a bunch of stubborn people. But you know what, that doesn’t mean that I have to hang out with them. I don’t have to be constantly reminded, of how much they dislike my choices. Of how perfect Barry is. Of how much they hate to see what I’ve done to fuck up his life.
I know this though – I am grateful for who they are. How they have behaved. For it shows me, how I want to be for my own children. I will never ever tell them that, the person abusing them is justified. I will never choose someone else over them. Ever.
I got your message the other day. First of all, the days you mentioned conflict with already scheduled events. The kids and I will be away camping this Saturday and Sunday. Beyond which, I have informed Momma about why I am not coming to your party. That decision is final.
So, I don’t know what issues between us can be solved by one dinner meeting. I found the strength to call an end to Barry’s “Bullshit”… his telling me how worthless I am and trying to drag me down to his level. Barry’s attitude is “Poor me. The world is stacked against me.” He had opportunities to pull himself up. He had enough opportunities to work full time, to make more money. But he chose to take out his frustration on me and the kids. It was always somebody else’ fault.
You and Momma gave me no support, (“this is your fault for involving the police Marcella, I can’t help you”) even when Barry was arrested and charged with domestic violence. Which by the way, the State gets to determine; not me. They based the charges upon the evidence of what they found. From police reports, the 911 call, the children’s statements of what they saw. I didn’t tell them what to charge him with. And in this state, do not get to make that decision (“see what a mess you’ve made of his life because you had to call the police”). You directly supported Barry, though it all. With bail money and a place to stay during the court ordered physical separation. You may not remember Mother’s Day, but I had to wait until he left, to even see my own mother that day (“well this is his home now because of you. I won’t make him leave”). As well as, my children, because they were court-ordered to be with him on the weekends; at your home. I was family, and my own family chose him over me.
In this struggle, I have found that I am a STRONG WOMAN! I would have hoped that you would be proud of me, and my strength. I can remember your lessons, to me as a child, of the importance of doing things on my own (“carry your own luggage and what you choose to pack”). You taught me that being able to make my own money, (“if you want to go to that out of state school you’ll need to get a job”). Solving my own problems (“figure it out for yourself”). Caring for my own needs; and those that I am responsible for, like my children, (“don’t ever think about coming home pregnant”). That being a responsible adult was something that I should become. That you found admirable.
Beyond the lessons of taking care of myself, I have not asked my family for any financial help; partly due to the fact that every time I have brought up the subject of divorce, in the past, in trying to obtain your support, I was quickly lectured on the importance of marriage (“we don’t get divorced in this family”). Of its impact on children’s ability to even do well in school (“I see kids all the time that are doing badly because their parents divorced”). You would be happy to know, that the months following the divorce, each of the children had teachers telling me that they were all doing so much better in school.
So I am making my own way with my kids. Barry’s financial support is the minimum he can get away with under the law; but that, along with my salary and bartering skills, is enough, to keep the house over our heads, and food on the table. I am thankful. Unlike many women, I wasn’t forced by economics to stay in an unhealthy situation, physically and psychologically unhealthy, both for my kids and me.
My family did not support me, nor consider my feelings, during the divorce. Evidently you didn’t feel I was justified in getting a divorce, because you continued social contacts with Barry, some behind my back. I was terribly hurt by this, and, at one time, I might have crumbled under the pressure. However, today I will not crumble.
I respect you as my father, because I was taught this, just as I was taught to be a strong woman. But I don’t have to like who you are, or the choices you’ve made (“I love you but I don’t like what you’re doing”). Nor do I have to spend time with someone who can’t support me, in my choices. Or even respect me for them.
In loving respect,