There is a real problem with child stealing through divorce custody arrangements in our world today and it isn’t always taking the child physically out of reach. There seems to be a need by one parent or another to continue the argument and hurting through their child or children in a divorce. I was raised by a mom after she left my father and he was never talked about. I did go with him on a few summer vacations, but after the divorce I never saw him again and he was never mentioned again by my mother, or members of the family. His phone number, his address were not offered to us and all talk of him was discouraged and we were left to make our own minds up about him and in time we stopped asking and stopped caring about him. It was like he never existed, but I have always felt that I was missing something.
Children need to have balance and that is usually given to them as a result of having a relationship with both parents and no matter what you tell them or put forth negatively about their dad or mom they will one day seek them out to find out for themselves and woe to the parent who has lied and cheated the child out of that relationship out of spite, hurt feelings, or the need to have control. It is this stealing of a child that I wish to address in this post.
I bring this up because a situation has arisen out of the past, because the mother of my youngest daughter realises now that all that she has done to keep our daughter from me through spite and anger over our separation and ultimate divorce has back fired. All of the lies about me, the needless calling of the police on me and the enforcing of strict visitation clauses did not work and my daughter and I have over the years developed a deep mutual respect and love for each other that is honest, open and devoid of hidden secrets waiting to be told by a vindictive person such as her, or a person looking to hurt my children through past mistakes of mine.
I was forced long ago to make the right choices where my youngest daughter was concerned by the ex – wife who gave me little chance at visitation rights (1 hour every 2nd Saturday of a month under her supervision at her house) from the age of 1-year-old until she was 2 years old. I had made the mistake of telling the person whom I chose to marry every dirty detail of my past and now 3 years later for the sole purpose of getting total control of our daughter in a custody fight she was going public with the information. If my ex-wife had truly thought that I was a danger to my daughter I could have understood why she did what she did, but just to gain total control and thereby stick it to me I thought showed exactly who she was and now my daughter sees through these actions exactly who she was and is and I find myself feeling sorry for my ex-wife who wasted a great opportunity to have a loving relationship with her daughter then as she does now, spending all of her time trying to make my life miserable using my daughter as the weapon, instead of building a relationship and memories based on the wonderful times they could have had together.
I went to every visitation day even when it became apparent that my ex-wife was going to call the police as soon as I was admitted to the house. A typical visit would go like this. (I would show up for my visit and shortly after I would enter my ex-wife would demand more money, or try to discuss why we got the divorce and I would tell her not on my only hour if she wanted more money go through the courts and if she wanted to discuss the divorce to have her lawyer call mine.) My ex-wife would get very angry and call the police telling them that she had asked me to leave her home and that I had refused. When the police arrived they would ask me to leave and I would say that I still had time left on my visitation and that it was only 1 hour every 2nd Saturday of the month and they would say too bad go to court and try to change it, but you have seen your daughter and it is time to go. I occasionally challenged this and then they would run my criminal record and if I had a traffic ticket outstanding they would use this as an excuse to arrest me and thereby end the visit.
I was free of her supervised visits in her house when my daughter turned 2 years old and the time was increased to 3 hours every 2nd Saturday which gave us time to go on trips to Mount Royal and feed the squirrels, or go to the petting zoo close by. The funny thing is that although it was not a lot of time it became a very special time for me, but more importantly for my daughter and those times are etched in her mind and memory to this day. Her mother on the other hand thought that she did not have to do anything special where my daughter was concerned and so did little with her that sticks out in my daughter’s memory and my daughter keeps telling her so. After totally controlling every aspect of my daughter’s life for 12 years (allowing her to go nowhere alone with the exception of school and my house on visitation times) my ex-wife met the man she is married to now and dropped my daughter off in the early hours of the morning in her pajamas rang my doorbell and got back into her car and drove off, not even waiting to make sure that I was home. My daughter does remember that and this is part of the problem, her mom thinks that she needs to forget it and never mention again and should be grateful for everything else she did for her.
I mention this because now my daughter is a young woman with 2 children and her mother is very angry at the world and feels betrayed by our daughter. She bases this feeling on the grounds that she gave up 12 years of her life to raise our child alone with little relief or break from me and that my daughter only remembers the times that I visited making my ex-wife supposed sacrifices a wasted effort. My ex- wife has asked me to explain to my daughter what a dead beat dad I was so that there will be a justification for her actions, but I cannot do this because it is not the truth. I was anything but and the record speaks for itself and my daughter’s memories are correct. It was indeed a bad time for us back then young dumb lots of drinking, but the measures that the court and her through anger forced on me actually made me a better father perhaps than even I knew I could be. I have asked my ex-wife what have you done to be a good mother after the 12 years old drop off? Where are the good memories that mother and daughter shared and I am always met with anger and bitterness, but no boasts of vacations, long walks, or anything else are ever mentioned. Unable to reconcile that she has already wasted so much time and unable to forgive herself her heart has hardened and now she is moving and acting out in a fashion that will not see her have a loving relationship with her two grandchildren either and this makes me sad for my daughter and my grandchildren.
I know what it is to make mistakes, because I have made many, but I also know the value of changing one’s self for the better and moving on to what is relevant and important today. This war of words and deeds on her part has spilled onto the internet on my family’s Facebook pages and therefore in front of the whole world in the form of her putting nasty little remarks under family pictures that seek to embarrass me, but they are embarrassing my daughter and making her very angry.
I think that if you are a parent you should be trying to show your love to your children and keep them out of harms way. I believe that you have an obligation to protect your child from all danger even if it means protecting them from an abusive father or mother, but this should not be taken advantage of and used to punish a father or mother like was done in my case.
What you will end up with is what my ex-wife is feeling right now, which is a situation where her daughter now a woman wants answers, because the father she was denied access to is not the monster that her mother has portrayed him as for all of those years and has in fact proved to be supportive of her and her children. A father whose memories are of walks in the mountains feeding squirrels and going to petting zoos and visiting museums. A father who when she was no longer wanted by her mother took her in and raised her and stood by her and now is her son’s favorite toy and trusted baby sitter.
Was I a perfect father and husband ? The answer is no, but I have no secrets from my children because I knew that one day everything that I have ever done would be brought forward and used to hurt me while making justification for minimising the time that we could have been spending together and to justify the sudden drop off on the doorstep. Do yourself a favor if you are planning to steal a child in this manner, Please, just do not do it. Instead of trying to make the other look bad, do things that make you look good. Make special memories of your own so that when you are talking to your child you do not have to say the other parent was a loser, but can remember that you were not and the great memories that you share with your child.
Time has a way of making everything very clear and showing us for who we really are inside. For some of us it is a good thing and for some of us it can be a pretty scary time. To look at your image and see a picture similar to that of Dorion Grey must be scary, but to think that your child can see through the magic of the picture must be horrifying as you grow old alone and lonely. Whatever the problem with your ex-mate, unless there is a danger physically, or mentally to your child that you can prove when the child asks why you took away the other parent I suggest that you do not let your anger, hurt and bitterness stand in the way of the other parent and especially your children having the love and relationship that they are entitled to have, less they become the hero and you get to feel the wrath of your child and the alienation that this usually brings.
- There’s no such thing as a good divorce: the kids always suffer (smh.com.au)
- Torn Between Two Parents! Dealing with Battling Separated/Divorced Parents. (oldschoolteach.wordpress.com)