Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Black Abyss Beckons

Another self-pity kind of day here, and I am trying really, really hard to pull myself out of it. Taken as a whole, I have a pretty good life, and I know that. All of the kids are healthy and happy, school started without incident yesterday (nobody missed the bus or forgot their backpacks or anything of that ilk), we got the dog we wanted and Eli also got another pup, we have great friends, I love my job...the list goes on. So I hate it when even though I can acknowledge how many really great things I DO have in my life, I still sometimes feel like I am just too tired and beaten down to keep moving forward. Today is one of those days.

Steve and I got into a huge fight last night. Huge. One of the biggest ones we have had. See, he was complaining about how 15% of his check is now being garnished because of some student loans that he has never paid. And I laughed; inadvertently, without meaning to cause a fight, I laughed. Because I make half of what he does, there are five of us and I don't get any financial help from anyone but him, and 25% of each of my checks is currently being garnished because of a bill of my ex-husband's. In addition, I do not have a mother who packs my lunch every day, buys groceries for me, helps me out when I am short because I spend too much money on crap, etc...So yeah, I laughed, because he was trying to play this sympathy card that just doesn't work for me. He also complained about the fact that he has to pay the car payment-which we agreed to in lieu of child support, as it benefited us both more to do it that way than to have him ordered to pay child support. I made a comment to the effect of him really getting off easy, at which point he blew. Totally and completely blew.

And while my rational mind kind of understands why he might feel like he is being shafted, I guess I really don't. Using the Child Support Calculator for my state, his actual ordered support would be $415, plus he would also be ordered to provide his medical insurance, approximately 85% of medical costs not covered by insurance, as well ad 85% of the daycare for Owen. Adding it all up, it comes to $705 a month. So yeah, just looking at the the numbers on paper, I would have to say that he is getting off easy, financially. Add to this the fact that he has purchased a case of diapers three times in over two years, bought clothes one time (and actually, his sister bought the clothes, he just picked them out), and paid part of one doctor bill when Owen had to go get allergy tested at 8 months old. The bill which was still almost $500 AFTER insurance, the bill I am still making payments on because he paid less than $100. So, yeah, I would say that financially, he IS getting the better end of the deal.

He also brought up the fact that he has to ask permission every time he want to take Owen, that I won't let him have Owen overnight unless he is staying somewhere with a family member, he "never" gets to see Owen, and maybe he should take me to court to get custody. And that just broke my heart and made me angry both. He hasn't stopped to think that the REASON I put the no-overnight-limits on his visits is because last time he had the kids-my other three included-overnight while my dad was in the ICU in another town, he got totally fucking drunk and some really, really awful things happened. I don't let him take him overnight because I don't trust him to not drink, or have his PO stop by the house and do a search and maybe arrest him, or pass out and leave Owen running around with no supervision or care. In addition, Steve can see Owen pretty much whenever he wants to on his days off; 90% of the time he chooses to ignore the opportunity to spend time with Owen and instead goes and visits his family or goes four wheeling or whatever it is that he does. And God knows I understand the need/desire to have time to do what you want to do, but don't then tell me that I am not letting you see your son. Just-don't.

I don't have the energy for this kind of hassle. I just don't. And I am so angry and hurt that he is only thinking in terms of money, as if he should be considered some fucking hero for shelling out $465 a month. In the meantime, in addition to the things I provide for Owen on a financial level like, oh, diapers and food and daycare and clothes and such, I provide everything for that baby. Everything. I am the one who gets up with him, who takes him TO the doctor, who nurses him when he is ill, who is in the process of disciplining him and potty training him. What I get are comments like this: "Why doesn't he know his colors yet?" instead of, "How nice that you have taught him to say thank you every time you give him something, or say please every time he asks for something." I get the, "He is two, shouldn't he be potty trained by now?" instead of "Wow, he is sleeping in a big boy bed and drinking out of a real cup!" And yet he isn't there to help, or to be part of the process, through choices of his own.

I think one of the things that made Steve the angriest last night was that after a point, I said, "I am not going to fight with you about Owen anymore. I am just NOT, because it only hurts Owen in the the long run. If you don't agree with the way things are, then you can take me to court and I can explain to the judge why you can't be trusted. And I can have child Support Services order child Support from you and I can make the car payment myself. But I am not going to let you try to make me feel guilty or responsible for your poor choices." For him, part of the fun is getting a reaction out of me, and when that stopped happening (to my credit, I think I only called him a a fucking dick once before I calmed down!), what was the use?

I still went to bed in tears last night, though, and today don't really feel much better. It shouldn't have to always be a battle. I shouldn't have to explain to a nearly 40 year old man that these are natural consequences to his choices, nor should I have to explain that his child support-be it in the form of making the car payment or a cash payment-is not about him giving something to me, but about him helping to support this child. I should not have to question my decisions or my parenting or the choices I have made, because he clearly doesn't have what it takes. And on a far deeper level, I should NOT have to be doing this alone, but due to the fact that he woke up one day-quite literally-and decided he no longer wanted to be in a relationship with me, I AM. I told you all I am whiny today, but it isn't fair, and it fucking sucks. I just feel myself being sucked back into a depression again, and I am trying desperately to pull myself out of it-because I hate self-pity, and I know that there is nothing I can do or say to make Steve have a different attitude. Nothing.

So. Always something, right?


goin-crazy said...

I wouldn't know what to do with myself if there wasn't always something. It sucks. That's all I can say to you is that it really, really sucks! I will bring the hats, we can have a pity party together.

Anonymous said...

Utterly and completely sucks. I hate hate hate hate hate it. I've never been so anxious, fearful, angry, depressed, scared, stressed, sick to my stomach in my entire life. I wish there was a glass wall I could put up between us, that would allow me to parent like "I'm supposed to" and still protect me from the ugliness and pain that he causes.

Anonymous said...

Hugs to you. I'm feeling about that shitty today too.

rebs said...

I take much medication to keep me on the good side of the black abyss.

But at the end of the day, they don't do much for the fact that some people just suck. Or that there are bad people out there. Or stupid people.

This morning my almost-3 yr old cried for her dad for 5 minutes, making me feel like absolute sh!t. I can love her and kiss her and take care of her and pay for her daycare and make sure she's clothed and fed during my time with her, but I'm not Fun Daddy. It leads me to a dark place in which I wonder whether she wouldn't be happy living with him full-time instead of splitting her time 50/50.

Anonymous said...

Totally and completely sucks ass. And I'm so sorry to hear that you're struggling.

I don't know a single single parent who hasn't stood on teh edge of the dark abyss at least once. We stand there, gazing in, thinking how nice it would be to be in there because at least we'd have some time alone.

But then our friends, our blogging buddies, our children's needs pull us back. Those friends prop you up until you can stand on your own again and get away from the abyss.

Thinking of you, Kori and sending single mama love your way.

Immoral Matriarch said...

"I am not going to fight with you about Owen anymore. I am just NOT, because it only hurts Owen in the the long run. If you don't agree with the way things are, then you can take me to court and I can explain to the judge why you can't be trusted. And I can have child Support Services order child Support from you and I can make the car payment myself. But I am not going to let you try to make me feel guilty or responsible for your poor choices."


Xbox4NappyRash said...

You told him what needed saying.

40 year old baby.

Hot Tub Lizzy said...

I'm in the process of a divorce, and don't have established child support yet, just he "agreed" to pay $500 a month (2 kids)... well, then he ended up unemployed, so no money for 2 months, and now I have to keep asking him. Yesterday I texted him "Have you sent me any money recently?" I got back "WHAT DO YOU NEED MONEY FOR"

Oh. My. WORD... wanted to kick his ARSE.


Susie said...

Ya did good...

I think it is very rare that men completely understand the fact that there is more to raising a child than just the financial contribution. And that is a generalization and I am sure there are men out there who totally get it. Even my wonderful hubby, doesn't get it sometimes.

My ex- is supposed to pay me $150 a month. That's it. He got off easy. While I do eventually get the money from him, it may take weeks before he gets it to me. In the meantime I have a 12 year old who needs things for school, needs food, clothes, etc. He never wonders who is paying for that. But it is a big imposition to get his little bit to me.

I digress. You are doing great and you are allowed to have those moments of stress. You are allowed to question yourself, on occasion, as long as you get back to the point that you know, you are doing a wonderful job with your kids. They are happy, they are healthy, and yes, they are safe, all because of you.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, Kori. I wish I knew what to say. He is getting off easy. I'm always amazed at how they never seem to recognize that.

Single Parent Dad said...

Right-on Kori.

Get that chin up, goddamit, you hear.

p.s. Is that American enough for ya (see what I did there)

Melissa said...

You told him exactly what he deserved. I can't believe he is being so selfish and narrow about the situation. That's crazy.

It's ok to vent and rant and all. You need to in order to keep your sanity. Absolutely nothing wrong with it.

Hang in there. Remember you have lots of bloggy friends who are here for you. :)

LarryG said...

you got my prayers Kori.
hang in there.

FreedomFirst said...

A thousand hugs. I'm really sorry this is a bum day. You know, the first thing I thought of when you talked about his complaint of not being able to take Owen overnight, is why didn't he offer that when you wanted the kids out of harm's way the other night? At least you wouldn't have had Owen to worry about, even if he didn't want you and Sam there.

It's a very good thing that you told him you aren't fighting about it anymore. Sometimes you just have to stop letting shit make you stink. You were exactly right and I hope you know it deep inside.

Any possibilities yet on the bankruptcy thing, so they can't garnish your wages any more?

Don't waste sympathy on Steve, everything you said is exactly right and you have every right to feel that his problems pale in comparison to yours.

SingleWorkingMommy said...

I'm sorry, Kori. That sucks.

I've been there so many times. I seriously know what you are going through. That fight with Steve? It could've been me and SD mere months ago. Eventually he came around, (sort of) but he still pulls crazy shit from time to time. I'm with Susie in that lots of men just don't get it.

Hugs, and you gotz my email if you need it girlie.

April said...

I'm so proud of you for telling him that! That's awesome! I know it still feels shitty and all that, but you handled it really really really well. Congrats, Kori.

JT said...

UGH! I'm with you on this 100%. I dropped over a year of back support because I am never going to see it, I'm still holding several months over his head, because by god, he can at least come up with that much. He's never manage to have the girls more then a few days without family there to take care of them, yet he had the balls to call me the other day and announce he's DECIDED, he wants ONE of them to live with him. He couldn't change diapers, he can't take care of them now, he literally goes into rages over behavior that I think completely ordinary, and all of the sudden he wants ONE of them to live with him. Sometimes I really hate men.

JT said...

I have to re-word that. I don't really hate men, I have an incredibly great one that I'm thankful for every day.
But. It's a very sad fact that I have wished more then once for my X-asshole to just drive off a cliff, because I would get twice as much money from social security, and none of the hassle I get from him now.

LaskiGal said...

You did it!! You stayed out of the fray. You took a much higher road and stayed calm. Give yourself credit for remaining level-headed and thinking of your child first.

I'm proud of you for being so strong.

You are strong. You know that, right?

You are.

Lynette said...

I say, you told him what he had coming. It's hard enough doing it on your own without somebody come in complaining about HOW you do it.


I'm sure you're doing a kick ass job raising your baby boy, so keep up the good work and screw what he says.

Jennifer said...

Ugh--what a nightmare. I'm sure you're drained dry after a fight like that. I think you made the right decision to stop fighting about it--all it does is get you upset. Don't let him think he's upsetting you--that's obviously what he wants! Hugs to you!!

Kori said...

You can whine and wallow in self-pitty if that is what you want to do. But you've vented it's now time to get up, dust off and keep going forward. Your children depend on you Kori you and you alone. You can overcome this. I believe in you. Your strength is amazing and inspiring with everything you have faced and been through.

It's weird for me to write these thing to you it's what I say to myself on a daily basis. I'll be praying for you and I'm here to listen anytime you need me.

Dingo said...

He is getting off easy and if he stopped acting like and adult than as if he's Owen's age, maybe he'd man up and stop his bitching. What nerve and selfishness to try to play the "poor me, I have no money" card with you. Can't you train Harley to bite him or something?

MoziEsmé said...

I'm so sorry - for you and for Owen! Hope things are going better now!