Tag Archive | divorce

I wish I was wrong

Sometimes, I wish my powerful survival instincts were wrong. Sometimes I wish my gut feelings about people were an over-reaction. This time I was so correct, so painfully correct.

My brother has been hurt again. Stabbed in the back by a talented trickster. Is his ex-fiancé a sociopath? Perhaps. Is she a people-user? Yes 100%. Is she a liar, and able to put on a convincing show of love to get what she wants? Yes.

My brother’s wife left him about 2 years ago. She just up an left and said sorry I don’t love you, haven’t for years, and oh yeah by the way I have this other guy I’ve been sleeping with for years. I’m going to go live with him now, good luck with our kids, I don’t want them either. You guys are such a drag. And she moved out to escape motherhood and the lovely life they had in exchange for one full of parties, late nights and excessive drinking.

My brother peeled his flattened self off the road after she ran that truck over him. He stayed strong for his kids and kept everything afloat. He provided stability in the middle of chaos and unimaginable pain.

And then here comes facebook. He starts chatting with an old friend who listened with a sympathetic ear to his troubles. Their friendship escalated into the hope of a new love. He allowed her into his hurting heart, and then into his home. She soon proudly wore a diamond ring.

I wanted to be happy for my brother, but I had so many warning bells ringing. I could not stand this new girl, and even feared her. My reaction was so strong that I warned him to be careful, and then completely avoided her. Even though I knew little about her, she triggered every survival instinct in me to run away.

–When she moved in with him, she found a great job at a prestigious hospital within a week. She then lost that same job the next week. (I don’t think she ever looked for a job or intended to look for one let alone actually got hired)

–She hung all over him and acted like she owned him, ALWAYS touching him, even caressing him at my niece’s wedding during the ceremony (sociopaths use touch to control people, making you feel good and in contact to produce warm fuzzy feelings constantly and also to make a barrier to anyone else getting near you – first step towards isolation)

–She had 2 previous divorces, 1 with a messy custody battle still ongoing

–She was willing to move her daughter into a house with a known pedophile living there in a locked room. No problem, that’s normal.

–She seemed overly interested in a business deal my brothers were working on

–She made it obvious to me that I no longer knew my own brother and that she knew him better than anyone

–She instantly started converting him, making him go to her church, follow her schedule, follow her rules

–She put down everyone in his life making her appear his hero

–She put herself in  spot where he felt compelled to help her and her kids – he now felt responsible for them

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Recently her true colors have been revealed. In preparation for the upcoming wedding, they opened joint banking accounts. (yes I hear you groaning already, yes you know what she did). Yup. She cleaned him out. Withdrew nearly every cent, putting it towards the custody court fees. She did not care that he now had no money to pay the mortgage that month. His problem. Even though she lived there too with her 1 kid. The signs were there prior to the cleaning out – her daughter suddenly needed an expensive dance class, her daughter had a new tablet and many apps, data charges billed to his account. And then the big whammy.

He decided to end it. not just the money, but he found they were incompatible as parents, he didn’t like how she handled disciple and let her kid do anything, never enforcing respect and spoiling her saying she was entitled to it all.

Well, when he asked her to leave, she responded with a threatening letter, basically saying she would never leave and if he tried to make her go, she would sue for him for all he has got and make his life a living nightmare. He took this letter to his lawyer, who whistled, and said we better be careful with this one – she is a professional user/abuser and knows how to work the system. He looked up her records and founds dozens of court cases where she is always the poor victim and makes out big.

Apparently, if you ask someone to move in with you and they sell their house, under the promise of marriage – they are actually entitled to remain in your house and get you for breach of contract or false pretense or some crap. She has been cooking, cleaning and watching his kids, acting as a wife, and may actually get some money for ending the engagement.

She is sneaky and sly and making him uncomfortable in his own home.

I knew. So sad, but I knew it. I got chills and nauseous and AFRAID when I was with her. I knew.

I wish I was wrong. Not sure how this will turn out or how to help my brother. I told him I love him – all I could think to do. He is not alone. He needs to know that.

He finally got AF out of his house and has realized his fiancé is just as bad. The lies, the manipulation, the coercion, the control.

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Now look at this from another angle. Of course he selected someone like our parents as a mate. We love what is familiar. He hasn’t gotten out like me, he’s been immersed in sickness, living with AF, living in denial. He let this fiend into his heart and house not truly believing that people like this exist. Always he has doubted, skirted how terrible our childhood had been.

What a terrible way for him to learn this lesson, but I do hope he has learned it once and for all. People with cold hearts exist in this world and prey on those with unsuspecting, innocent, good hearts.

I still have a good heart – but the unsuspecting nature disappeared along with my innocence in early childhood. My heart aches for my brother, the pain he has endured these past few years. But I know he will grow and learn and rise up strong from all of this, and he will go on one day with his head held high. Because that is what we do when we don’t know what else to do. We may ly down and cry, we may fall into despair, we may scream “Why me” up into the heavens – but in the end, one day, we find ourselves, we find our way, and we go on.

I love you big brother. Mean people suck.

 

 

The Universe is Laughing At Me

Haha, very funny. I get it. I do. Lesson learned.

I have been complaining too much I think. I have written many times about how much I hate small talk and wish people would open up and have real discussions. Be careful what you wish for.

I am suddenly immersed in a neighborhood issue and getting to know way more than I ever wanted to know. I’ll back up and tell the whole story.

I’ve lived in my small town for over a decade now, but up until last summer I barely knew any of my neighbors. I had chatted with my closest neighbors, an elderly couple, from time to time when we were both outside doing yard work, but that was about it. Everyone else got a smile and a wave, and I probably wouldn’t recognize them if I ran into them anywhere else.

Then last summer, My then first-grader had a friend knock on our door and invite him over to play. He lived on the street behind us and we never knew. That was the catalyst to my kids’ social life. We were introduced to several other families just a few houses away, all with kids in the same age range as mine. Hurray! Well, hurray for my kids. It was hard on me, very hard on me. Suddenly, my safe haven, my home where I could hide and no one knew I was here – was invaded nonstop by loud, stomping, giggling, yelling and running little people. They would knock on the door anytime from 8am to 9pm. I no longer felt safe, and was annoyed that I couldn’t wear my jammies all day long any more. But I knew I had to give that up for my kids to have friends and feel like they belong here. So I got dressed – every day. (That doesn’t sound impressive unless you understand how many years I have been hiding here, working from home, sometimes not going outside for weeks at a time) I set boundaries – no friends before 10 am or after 7pm; No friends in the house when I have a meeting; You must ask me before going from one friend’s house to another.

Things settled down, though I am so happy summer is over and I have my peaceful house back during the day! The stress was building up in me from the constant noise and excitement with very little down time.

When I would go to pick up my kids, I would chat for a few minutes with the mom, babysitter, grandpa, etc while they search for shoes and get their bikes. All of these few minutes added up to a whole lot of trust and information being shared:

One mom is divorced, single, unemployed, on medicaid and disability, and started calling me to “ditch her son with me” for an hour here and there while she did errands. I have never asked her in return, but I would consider it if needed. My gut says she is scamming the system, but she takes good care of her son otherwise.

Another house has 6 kids, parents always working, teenagers run the house mostly.

Another house has a couple of nice little girls, and a really sweet, really fat dog. And a young cat that fights with my cat if he sneaks out.

Another house has “Pawpaw” and “MeeMee”, the grandparents of a sweet little girl that spends weekends there often. Everyone started talking about this little girl. They said she is living with the grandparents until the caseworker decides her placement. I didn’t hear much more all summer. My kids played with her nearly every day. And then school started.

Day 1 of school. I send kids to the bus stop, and see they are screaming to someone. I am not dressed, so I don’t go off my porch, but I call out and ask who they are talking to. It is their friends – duh, that live 1 street over. I never thought about it. I decided we should wait at the school bus stop with all the other families the next day, it seemed silly to have my kids wait alone 1 block over. But, and this is a big butt, it would mean I have to go with them. They usually get the bus on my street, and I would stay on my porch and watch them. Been doing that for 5 years now. I can’t see this other stop, it is around the corner. Was I ready for this change? I was already used to getting dressed every day now, this didn’t seem impossible. It did mean I would have to go chat with the other moms every morning. Wha! But I face challenges now. Gulp.

So Day 2 of school, I take my coffee and my phone and head to a very crowded corner with about 7 kids and 4 adults. A man is there I have never seen before, talking loudly on his cell phone. I quickly figure out this is the father of the girl living with the grandparents. He hangs up the phone and starts sharing details of lawyers, court dates, visitation rights, child support. (He was talking to the other parents, but did not care that I heard, I just shuffled about and waited to introduce myself, but he never made eye contact with me). He says they set up the first visit for today, not that she cares about Patty, all she cares about is her stuff, her phone. He then shares some scary sounding details about his ex, how she would leave this 1st grader home alone, and how she would kick the father over stupid things like phones. She sounded terrible, and I was so sad for the little girl in this messed up situation. I hoped the mom never abused the girl, it was bad enough to see her father getting attacked.

Day 2 continued, I have a dentist appointment. I hate the dentist, not personally, just hate going. I hate the small talk they do while your mouth is full. I was prepared for a few hours of pain and discomfort. But I was not prepared for this fun little twist the universe sent out to my plot. The small talk started as usual, but quickly turned into real serious talk. See the conversation below.

English: Dentist - Faroe Islands

How was your summer? We have ways of making you talk. Bwahahaha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Dental assistant 1 (DA 1): How are you, how was your summer, are the kids back in school?

Me: Fine, really nice, and yes.

DA 1: Where do they go to school?

Me: I tell her the city.

DA 1: My daughter is living in that city. (She tenses up and trembles a bit).

Me: (I notice her tension, but decide to be polite and practice my chatting skills) Oh? What grade is she in? Does she go to this school?

DA 1: I think so. (Now appears angry. Why? I am confused, and I am done talking. I look away, not wanting to get involved. long pause) My husband stole her away from me and I have not seen her in 2 months. I’m not sure the name of the school, but she’s in first grade. I get to see her today for the first time all summer. My lawyer got me visitation – supervised though.

Me: (big eyes, open mouth in shock. This is too weird.  Could this be the mom of the little girl living with her grandparents on the street next to mine? My heart is racing. I decide to put it out there) Are you possibly Patty’s mom? I think my kids have been playing with your daughter all summer.

DA 1: (narrow eyes, voice full of venom) Yes!! He took Patty away from me! He’s making me fight just to see her again, telling everyone I abandoned her! And that I’m the worst Mom! Just because I left without waking her up. I mean who wakes up their kids at midnight just to say they are leaving? Anyone would let them sleep. I didn’t abandon her, that’s ridiculous.

Me: (I now have two swabs hanging out of my mouth, local numbing. I just shrug my shoulder at her, not sure what to say. What did I get into here? What am I supposed to do? And oh crap – I can’t even end this torture, I’m stuck in this dentist chair for the next few hours! A captive audience for her to interrogate!)

Dentist comes in and gives me several shots of novocaine. Another assistant comes in.

DA 2: So you know Patty? How is she? Is she adjusting? Poor girl. The whole situation is such a terrible mess. Her ex is so wrong to do this. They are treating her like a criminal.

Me: (I’m mostly numb now but manage to mumble) Yes Patty is a nice little girl and has had a fun summer. My kids like her very much and her grandparents are taking good care of her from what I can tell, but I don’t really know anything.

DA 1: (She comes back in, still shaking, so glad she isn’t my dentist and not the one drilling today! She leans in really close to me. ) Do you ever see my husband? Does he talk about me?

Me: (Crap, crap, crap, crap crap. I can’t lie. I should, but I can’t. I don’t have it in me. If you ask me a question I have to answer it honestly, I know no other way.) Ummm, I didn’t see him all summer, but he was at the bus stop this morning before school, and talking about a fight you two had, and generally saying not so nice things about you.

DA 1: I only kicked him when he wrestled me to the ground to get the phone. He’s lying.

Me: (How did she know which story he told me? It must be the only one he has to spread around. Hmm.) Oh.

DA 1: Well I’m going to get him, he’s not going to win. I’m taking a tape recorder with me today when I visit Patty and I know she’ll tell me everything he’s been saying.

Me: (Oh Man, my parents used to do that to me mid-divorce. They even recorded the phone calls, trying to get anything they could twist and use against each other in court. It was never about what was best for the family, it just about hurting each other. Poor Patty caught in the middle like that. I’m totally numb now and mumble some ackowledgement) Ahhhaannmm.

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I was never so happy to see the dentist come in to drill my teeth and stop this painful discussion. I don’t know if she is lying or her ex is lying. I do know her daughter is hurting and neither of them are handling this well. I found out from the Grandma that her Mom and Dad were separated, and Patty was living with Mom in an apartment. I guess Mom had a habit of leaving Patty sleeping at night, all alone, while she went out somewhere. They are guessing she went out with her boyfriend, the reason they got separated, for a late night booty call, but who knows.  She appeared to be an educated, professional, civil, polite woman and I can’t understand why she would think it is ok to sneak out at night and leave a 6 yr old home alone. I guess Patty woke up one time and could not find her mom, got scared and called her dad. He went to get her, and the police arrested the mom when she finally returned. The dad took Patty away and the police took away her rights as a mom, saying she was a danger to her. She has not been allowed to even talk to her on the phone all summer. Wow.

I no longer have any problem with small talk. In fact I love it. Hey there, how’s the weather? Cooler today? Yup.

PS: I think this dental assistant saw my address in my file and was fishing for information from the start. It was all too unreal how it unfolded, and I am way too familiar with manipulation not to recognize it. And I also noticed that DA 2 asked about the girl, how she was doing, and showed love and concern. DA 1 did not. She was only concerned with her own reputation and ‘getting back’ at her ex.

 

 

Life After Rehab – Biography of My Schizophrenic Brother, Part 5

Eventually, one day, my brother was deemed to be rehabilitated and my family was supposedly all supportive and not dysfunctional now, so he was sent back home with us. The weeks in rehab passed with little outstanding events to recall, except for the one day my brother started a fire in his room.

I was home with Mom when they called, so I finally got to go beyond the buzzed locked doors and see the room where my brother had been living all these weeks. When we entered his room, he was just reclining on his bed, arms behind his head, staring at the ceiling, like this was the most carefree peaceful vacation spot. He looked up at us, said his usual, “Hey” and looked back up at the ceiling, like we were interrupting the show. The counselor showed us a dark spot on the wall near the electrical outlet, and said Mom had to pay for the damages, then looked at my brother, and said thankfully no one was hurt.

Mom went out into the hall to talk with the counselor, leaving me alone with my brother. I was staring at the scorched mark on the wall when he said, “I just wanted a cig. It was late and I couldn’t wait until morning smoke time, so I lit one here” I remember him laughing as he told me the story. “It was cool, the spark grew so big, guess I used too much paper this time, but it was cool, like a fireball – Fooomp!” He smiled and laughed and called himself stupid, but in a gentle way. I asked him how, feeling proud of him. He said he used a pencil, that lead is conductive to electricity and usually just sparks a bit, not a big Foomp like this time. Then he laughed again, “At least I still have my eyebrows – I jumped back real quick.” I laughed with him. Wow it was so great to hear him laugh. Was he all better now? And it felt great to hear his secret for starting fires, like he was  so cool like MacGyver and also a bit like we were partners in crime. We got to take him home that day – a few days early, I think they didn’t want any more fires.  And he had convinced them all he was better, with his gentle joking and good attitude.

It was beyond tough for him to return to school with his new reputation. Everyone knew where he had been, or thought they knew, and rumors had spread of all kinds of things. He was getting through it, day by day, until something happened at school. Our high school had a courtyard where the teachers and older students went out to smoke (Remember when that was allowed?). Every year, A Mama Duck would nest in the bushes out there, and parade her little ducklings past all the classrooms. My brother told me about them, and even took me there once after school to see the newly hatched babies. He was so gentle, and showed me how to stay back and stay quiet to not scare them. We brought them some bread and just enjoyed the cute little show in silence.

Mama Duck-1395

Mama Duck-1395 (Photo credit: MSMcCarthy Photography)

The next day after school, my brother was distressed. I didn’t know what was wrong, but he was just sitting and rocking on his bed, this terrible look on his face. He saw me, and just said, “No matter what they say, I didn’t do it. I’d never. I couldn’t.” And then he took off out of the room, got in his car and left. I had no idea what was wrong. Until the phone rang, and I overheard my Mom speaking to someone, she had to go into the school, but no, she didn’t know where my brother was right now.

Someone had stomped the ducklings. With their feet. Cruelly, and disgustingly stomped and smashed the entire fuzzy little family. The Mama Duck was going berzerk, that’s how the Principal even noticed. And someone had blamed my brother for this horrible deed, saying they see him out here often, and well you know his past. Everyone easily believed that “the druggie” did this. I knew he didn’t. But I think that was the final straw for my brother. He stopped trying to fit in, like it was pointless if everyone thought he was so terrible.

He got back into drugs. He started a car radio theft ring – they busted him with 5 in his locker at school. He sold them to buy the drugs. He was locked up a few more times, sometimes my parents let him stay in jail overnight – to teach him a lesson. He got really thin and pale, and his green eyes no longer sparkled. He stopped looking at me, or anyone else. He left our world, no longer able to cope. If he was home, he was alone in his room , door locked, and his electric guitar screaming out what he himself was unable to express. He still went to school, off and on, but only took Home Ec – 4 sections of it – his senior year, just to get enough credits to graduate. His graduation was not a huge celebration like our oldest brother’s, more like a ‘Thank God you actually did it’ dinner, at a Mexican restaurant, of course, so he could get his tacos. And the only reason he stuck it out and finished high school, was so he could follow his dreams of being a rock star. He knew he would get a better job in California with a high school diploma. He left us just days after graduation. Just got in his car with his guitar, a duffel bag, and a dream, and he left our small town where everyone had labeled him a murderous, loser druggie, and believe me – he did not look back.

I was in Middle School then, when he left. I was 11. My parents were planning to get a divorce. My Dad was scheming to get me to live with him, to convince me Mom hated me still, and to make me sign those custody papers. My mom put a twin bed in their bedroom and slept there next to dad in the big bed now. She started going to college, in preparation for the divorce. My dad had that all planned out too, gave her 2 years to live there with us, get an associate’s degree and learn to support herself. My scoliosis was advancing, the brace was not working, and my doctors were discussing surgical options. And now 2 of my brothers were gone, one in college and one in CA. My other brother was now in high school and drifted away from me, too busy with his friends and girlfriend to talk to me any more. I hated it at home, and did everything possible to avoid going there. I rode my bike everywhere, to the mall, to the library, to the park, to my friend’s house. Sometimes I just rode with no destination, just to feel like I was moving, and stuck in my own personal hell.

It was weeks – yes freaking weeks! – before my brother called us from California. If my parents worried about him, they sure did not show it. In fact they seemed relieved that he was gone, that they were no longer responsible for this failure. My Dad made it clear he would not support any losers in his house once we were 18. The call was long distance from a pay phone, so it was brief. He was OK, had a nice apartment with his band mates, and sold his car for a motorcycle. He had a job delivering pizza, and had lined up a few gigs for the band. He had slept in his car or on the beach the first few weeks until they found a place to live. He said the tacos were amazing in CA! He sounded – happy.

That made me happy, but I missed him. And I was jealous, so extremely jealous – he was free. He got out of this house. That’s when I became even more determined to be a perfect student, get a scholarship, and go to an amazing college. I wanted out. I wanted to prove myself to the world, show everyone I wasn’t a stupid worthless girl like my Dad said. I wanted to be famous and the best at something, win awards for my writing and poetry, cure cancer, be the first asthmatic female basketball MVP, design rockets, and maybe even create world peace too, ya know, in my free time.