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You take a lot from her. I don’t know if I could.

Yes I do.

I freely admit that I take a lot from my daughter. I am the brunt of most of her outbursts. I am the one person that she blames for every thing wrong in the world. I am the one person that simply cannot do anything right, nor help her in any way, at all. I am the one person that she truly hates in this world. Heck, I’m worse than every boy who’s ever broken her heart. Yes, to my daughter, I am the Antichrist.

For me, being a parent means that I have to be there for my kids… No. Matter. What.

Even, being there for them, when they are at their lowest points, and are so angry, hurt, and upset with Every Thing that they Know; they lash it out at anyone within arm’s length. As the saying goes… “Hurt People… Hurt. People.” Generally themselves, the most. Most people run and hide. After all this is the sensible thing to do when confronted with someone who is bound and determined to hurt someone, something, anyone, anything – to make it feel better. ((not that this actually makes anyone feel better, as we all know))

Me. I stand right there next to her. Doing my best to make sure that in her fury; she doesn’t harm herself. Sometimes… Well, sometimes, I get a bit battered and bruised, in the process.

Yet, I don’t know that I like the alternative.

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.

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.

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.

Daphne, J and I talked today about this trip to OH that Daphne wants. She misses Taylor already. Its been a whole 2 weeks. You’d think that her right arm has been taken off. I understand the whole “BFF” thing. I do. I have had those types of friends myself, in my life. I know the void that happens when they move away from you. Especially so far away that you can’t just drive there for a cup of tea, or glass of wine. When they move so far away that even a weekend trip is out of the question. I get it. I do.

But does she have to go now? I mean there are so many things that I don’t think Daphne realizes about her being off in OH. She claims that stress is what causes her to hurt herself. Does she think that there won’t be any stress in OH? That somehow, traveling 900 miles away will suddenly keep her from cutting her skin with sharp objects?

It’s the teenaged sense of immortality, that makes her believe in the magic of things like this. I know it. I was a teenager once. I know, I seem so old, that it was the dark ages, when I was a teenager. After all, we didn’t even have FaceBook, Instagram, or even the internet back when I was a teenager. Let alone cell-phones, to keep us in constant communication with each other. We had to rely on new fangled things, like Answering Machines.

J knows my worries. She is a good therapist; in that she doesn’t dismiss my fears, as irrational, or stupidly over-protective. She may not believe that they are rational, and valid. Yet, she never lets on, or lets me believe that they are anything, but. J and I spoke a bit about it, and she was happy to know that I had my own support system, for getting through this time with Daphne. J is confident that if the things we have agreed upon, are fulfilled, that Daphne will be okay in OH for 5 weeks. That she will make it home, in 1 piece.

Daphne has to complete Three (3) tasks in order for me to buy the tickets. These tasks are not out of the realm of appropriate according to J. J told Daphne that she agrees with my conditions. That they were do-able, and reasonable. At this point, I think that Daphne would agree to just about anything, to get to go to OH for the summer.

1) Daphne has to be back in 34 days. She cannot miss more than 4 weeks of appointments. After the 5th one, she would be required to re-apply for therapy. Meaning, more paperwork. It was a 2 hours process the first time around. I can only imagine what the paperwork would be like for a re-apply.

As well, J feels that Daphne is not cured. She is far from it. The type of therapy that she needs is not something that she can do over the phone, at this point in her healing. She is far enough along, to take a few weeks off; and will be further along, with condition #3.

2) Daphne has to tell Terri about her condition. Straight up. She is at the place in her healing, where she has to lay claim to it, and not be afraid of being honest about her addiction. She has to be able to stand up and be honest with those around her, as well as herself. This is part of who she is, as a person. There can be no hiding it. The more upfront about it, and what it means, to her day-to-day life, the better equipped she is at handling it.

So tonight Daphne and I made a call to Terri.

It was hard, and yet I was so proud of Daphne, at her verbalizing her disorder, out loud. She is such a strong person, my sweet baby.

I was amazed with Terri. Hearing her reaction to Daphne’s confession, made me weep with joy, at her compassion. Not only did she already know, but she told Daphne how proud she was of her, for voicing it out loud. They talked a little about the things that Daphne could do while in OH, to help with her urges. Such as having the baggie of ice in the freezer for those moments when the urge is too much.

The 2nd part of this part of the requirements, is that Terri has a right to know what Daphne is bringing into Terri’s home. It’s extremely important for Daphne’s safety that Terri know what is going on. But more importantly, it’s a sign of respect for Terri.

What made me sure that this would be okay, was Terri letting me know that when she knew what Daphne had, she went to the internet and began to research. She did this of her very own accord. To be better prepared for helping Daphne, and watching for signs. For that emergency situation, if she found Daphne unconscious; she would be able to explain to the paramedics, and get the best help for Daphne.

3) Daphne has to complete five (5) more sessions of therapy before she gets to go to OH. That gives me four (4) more weeks to get used to this idea. To talk it out with my Sweetie. To talk it out with Daphne. To have Daphne do more work, on her healing. Serious work. J and I agree, that if Daphne is not seriously working on her healing, then this won’t happen. We can’t let Daphne go off, if she’s not well enough to make it through. Just having Taylor’s presence isn’t enough. The last cutting, was when Taylor was here.

Having agreed to the terms and conditions of her release to OH… I booked the flights tonight. She leaves on the 18th of June. Which I guess is as good a day, as any. It’s the 20th anniversary of my wedding to her father. So there has to be a little bit of luck in that, right?

After all, that is what lead to Daphne being in my life at all… so, I will take all the luck, I can get, my hand on.. to keep her in it.

There they were, 12 angry red lines across her skin. Criss-crossing down her left forearm, in little scribbled X’s.

I’m powerless to stop her from doing it.

Did her counselor notice them? Did she talk to her counselor about them? Did it make her really feel all that better? What triggered her to do it, this time? Will she do it again? What happened to her promise to talk to me first? Where does she get the blade?

All questions that I wanted to ask her – tried to quietly ask her – nearly begged her to answer me.

I’m powerless from getting any answers either, it seems.

Instead all that I could do was hold her hand, under the table, and continue to eat our lunch, at my God-mother’s memorial.