Now it's an anniversary for two devastating acts

Old 09-18-2013, 06:01 AM
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Now it's an anniversary for two devastating acts

About a year ago, I kicked my AH out for the last time. Our anniversary was 9/17, and we had gone on a anniversary camping trip, had a great time, and when we got home I'd found out he was drinking again.

It was a week before my DS13's birthday. During DS13's birthday, my AH was missing (when I kicked him out, he took a long relapse vacation) and his parents copped out by refusing to take part in any birthday activities for DS13. It was EXTREMELY painful for him to see these people who were supposed to be his family -- and who purported to be his family -- drop him like a hot potato. His grades dropped drastically. It was the bottom under the floor. My bottom's basement.

Long story short -- let's say if you wanted a family tree I'd have to draw you a chart. DS13 was born when I was a teenager to a guy that's a capital-N Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It was a perfect storm of his vindictive and dysfunction crossed with my FOO's dysfunction, my need to please them. Our early years as parent-child were rough, there wasn't a lot of time for laughter and joy, and I was stressed to the point of breaking. NPDX and I both remarried and both had one additional child. DS13's stepmom also had a child from a previous marriage. Anyway, I've spent a lot of time trying to repair that relationship and be the best mom to him that I can be -- open, loving, nurturing, and with my neuroses and temper in check -- especially over the last two years when I decided to shed all the toxic relationships that I could. It's been a good year, all things considered, since breaking up with AH. We have a good relationship, and DS13 is a really good, well-adjusted kid with a tender heart and a deadly sense of humor.

But yesterday, 9/17, his dad, the NPDX, sat DS13 and his stepbrothers down during DS13's weekly Tuesday visit, and told them that he and stepmom are divorcing because he doesn't want to live with her anymore. No reason! Just doesn't want to be a husband and a dad. Then they ate dinner and dropped him off at my house.

Stepmom had called me earlier in the day, rambling a mile a minute, to tell me ahead of time because she thought it was unfair to tell DS13 and then dump him off on me unawares. I felt bad for her. She was unceremoniously dumped after eight years together, and now her kids are going through was DS13 was going through last year. Just ugh. She wants to find a way to remain in DS13's life and keep his relationship with his stepbrother and his half-brother functional.

When DS13 got home and we talked at length about it, he said it had opened up all these old wounds about losing my AH, who once was a great father and a good influence in DS13's life. Now his birthday is coming up, and all he can think about is how he's lost two families in a row, almost one year to the day.

I'm just heartsick that this good kid has has his heart broken like this, and ashamed at us adults for having the audacity to let our baggage spill out over these children's lives. It is not lost on me that I chose these extraordinarily disappointing and selfish guys to be the father figures in my children's lives. I'm just disgusted.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:25 AM
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I'm sorry Florence, that is so very sad for your son Can you find some consolation that it sounds like he won't have to totally lose his other family since his stepmom is still interested in keeping a good relationship with him for the sake of his brothers? It doesn't sound like she is going to do quite the same things your AH did. So things are all change for him again, but he does seem to be able to talk to you about how he feeling and that is very important and valuable and you should be proud that he thinks enough of you as a Mom to feel comfortable to do that. Don't beat yourself up about these people being in his life, we do the best we can with what we know at the time, when we know better we do better, right? And it sounds like you are doing an awful lot better. (((hugs)))
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:36 AM
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I think my heart broke just a little reading your post.

Is there time to do anything totally unique & wonderfully shocking for his birthday to change the tone for him?

I think the fact that he talks to you about any of this, that you are so receptive & sensitive from your own recovery & give him room to share in a non-judgemental environment is HUGE Florence... HUGE. You're helping him to sort out his baggage & giving him tools to sort it himself, that's an absolute gift. I put my money on DS13 coming out ON TOP as an adult.
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Old 09-18-2013, 06:46 AM
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Hi Florence,

I don't blame you for being disgusted. I'm very sorry for your son.

I actually felt like there were a lot of positive things in your post though! It is nice his step-mom is concerned about him and trying to make a plan to keep him in her and her kids' lives. It sounds like she really loves him. And it is so good that your son sits down and talks to you about his feelings. That's pretty amazing stuff, especially for a 13 year old boy.

You seem like an amazing person and mother so IMO, the concern for your son would only be with a lack of healthy male role models. Are there any men in his life who are healthy?

I know how heartbreaking it is when your kid is sad but your DS sounds really solid. Just keep being there for him and keep him communicating. I honestly believe that one good parent is enough. He is going to be fine.
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Old 09-18-2013, 07:40 AM
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Florence, I suggest that you might gain some comfort from reading the book "The Nurture Assumption". Don't beat yourself up too much over this. You can grow very old waiting for history to change. It might be more important how you move into the future than beating yourself up over the past.

There are zillions of opportunities for your son to grow and to be happy that still lie in the future and that you do have some control over.

The adult role models (esp. males) and PEER GROUP experiences that lie ahead in this teen-young adult years can be just as influential as the past has been.

Has he ever been to alateen?

You have my most sincere empathy--I am a mother.

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Old 09-18-2013, 08:55 AM
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I'm confident that he will be okay. What's bothering me today is how these things linger over our children, even after we have done all we can to minimize the effect of their bad behavior on the kids. They still have the ability to hurt our kids and hurt us by proxy.

Even with all the acceptance and modifying my expectations to mirror reality, I can still be so very surprised at the ability for these two guys to be so coldly selfish. Every time it just takes me breath away. We roll with it and move on and continue to adjust, but Christ, the low levels of humanity still shock me.

Maybe the silver lining is that I'm not so jaded to just expect the worst of people? I don't know. I need a silver lining.

Part of me, too, is concerned about how DS13's visits with NPDX are going to look after they officially split. Stepmom's influence has been good in that she provided a more complete home life for the boys at that house than they ever experienced with NPDX alone. Now that she's gone, DS13 will be alone (limited visitation, thankfully) with a Narcissist, which means basically all of his needs that don't align with his dad's will be overlooked, and his new role will be NPDX's sole source of supply. I'm trying not to future-trip this one, I just know what the past looked like. At least DS13 is older now and has the ability to fill his own needs, like managing his food and bathing and clothing. Ugh.
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:01 AM
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This is so terribly sad for your son. I'm sorry for him and for you that you have to go through this.
I too, found some hope and positivity in your post. I think you have shown your son that we can endure difficult times and life can always change for the better. I know these positive lessons can feel as delicate as a feather and these traumatic events hit like a wrecking ball. But I believe those positive lessons will endure and he will hang on to them.
He must be a wonderful kid. With such a complicated situation, step mom wants to stay in his life....I imagine she has a lot on her plate and is overwhelmed with everything. But to know, through all of this, that one of her priorities is to maintain a connection with him says a lot!
Sending you lots of hugs,
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:13 PM
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Wow... I will say the fact that you are both talking is fantastic. In my case my mom could never talk to me about these things and would shut down. So I felt even more isolated and alone.

The silver lining is you. Your ability to be in a healthy space and be able to deal with these challenges as they come up.
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Old 09-18-2013, 12:17 PM
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Florence, I am sending you great big giant recovery ((HUGS)). It hurts so much when we hurt, but when our KIDS hurt...there is nothing so painful. I totally agree with ZenMe, that you keeping the communication free and open is so huge here. I recently had a breakthrough conversation with my own 13-year old daughter, during which she declared, quite understandably, that she hates her stepdad and wishes he would drive away and never come back. It led to a very open and frank discussion of things, and she is going to start seeing a counselor this month.

Extra recovery ((hugs)) to your precious son. One thing I'm doing with my own 13-year old is spending more time with her doing and talking about her passion (right now, it's Japanese anime). We don't have money to spend on it, but we go to the local anime store and browse, look at stuff online, talk about it, draw pictures. I think having that quality time devoted to something she loves is helping her.
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Old 09-18-2013, 02:03 PM
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I just have to second what ZenMe wrote...because it is so simple and touching and is also how I feel see you, Florence.

"The silver lining is YOU"

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Old 09-18-2013, 02:38 PM
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It is so great that your son is talking to you about his feelings. You are doing a good job. My heart breaks for these children as well. My son is 16, my exAH moved out 2 1/2 years ago, and he lives only 30 minutes away but makes no effort at all to have a role in his son's life, other than occasionally demanding that I bring our son down to see him.

My son is such a quiet, smart, sweet kid. He holds all his pain inside. It's just the two of us now that his sister is away at college. I do feel your pain.
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Old 09-21-2013, 10:50 AM
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Quick update. My DS13 is disgusted but not devastated. Despite everything it was an okay week.

It's the anniversary of the day I broke up with my AH. I saw him briefly today when I dropped off DD2 and felt sad. It's like the man I loved is gone, but still walks the earth. A different kind of death.

I'm about to go on a long solo bike ride and then to a bonfire tonight. It's a gorgeous day here and I intend to enjoy it. Despite everything, life is good.
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Old 09-21-2013, 07:46 PM
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Sounds like you live in a very nice area. The nights are starting to get colder eh? Hope you had a nice time.
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Old 09-22-2013, 02:16 PM
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I understand completely how you feel because I've also gone over huge regret. But what works best is letting go of the past (impossible to change it) and focus on today. There's plenty of time to give your son a whole lot of love.
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Old 10-14-2013, 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Florence View Post
It's like the man I loved is gone, but still walks the earth. A different kind of death.
Oh, Florence, I have had almost this same exact thought so many times with my XA. Big hugs to you.

I second what others are saying about having a positive male role models in your son's life. I also think that the silver lining is you. What a beautiful thing to say. It's true too. You are wise and sane and healthy enough to be open and honest and to listen to your son. Thank you for planting the seed in my mind of how I might respond to my son if/when we are dealing with the same crap from his dad in 12 (or any number of) years. At least our kids spend more time with the healthier parent.
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