These are excerpts from my relationship with my ex. Situations that when I look at them now, I shake my head and wonder how I could have been brainwashed so utterly and completely!
You’ve read about the house story in What Happens When You Ignore Your Gut Instinct – 2 if you’ve been following this blog. You already know that we (my daughter and I) moved to a new house to start a new life together with my ex as per his suggestions and persuasions. We were now in a house almost twice the size as the first one. Higher mortgage payments, higher heating costs, higher property taxes…pretty much everything cost a little more than the first house. I was on the hook for everything as my name was conveniently the only one on the deed. My ex would breeze in from time to time, drop in some money from the child support (never in the full amount at a time which I could actually do something with). I know what you’re going to say, I was lucky, at least he paid. This is true, no argument. However, when you’re struggling to get out from under and the reason you’re in this predicament is the very person that you’re dependent on for the income; it is frustrating to say the least. So my daughter and I carried on, we seldom had much in the way of extras but I have raised a young lady who has a contentment in the simple things in life. That in itself is good. It is in no way a reflection of what my ex did or did not do. He simply was NOT involved in our lives in a major way in this house. I counted change to put gas in the car to get to work. We ate well due in no small part to my parents who always made sure to send along stuff for the freezer when we or they visited. I think my daughter learned to count in the grocery store when I had her help me keep track of the items going into the cart by dollar value. We always had such a tight budget that I would go in knowing exactly how much we could afford to spend, sometimes $25; sometimes more. My ex would pop in occasionally but would usually spend more time conversing with me than paying attention to his daughter; he always seemed to feel the need to control me or at least keep track of what I was doing. Periodically there would be stretches of a month before I would hear from him. The valuable time that a parent should be spending with a child. When he was there, his cell phone was often going off as he would not leave it in the car, so you can imagine the quality of time that was had. He had yet to be honest with me on where our relationship stood; by that time, finally, I had figured it out on my own. After 7 years of complete and utter bullshit! So our daily grind went; drop daughter off at in-laws, drive in traffic to work, work til 5, drive home in traffic, pick up daughter at in-laws, errands on the way home, make supper, help with homework, bath and bedtime….and of course, storytime. Sometimes just for an added bonus, I would have to spend time on the phone to get some utility re-connected ’cause I didn’t have enough money to spread around. Added bonuses were soccer nites, swimming nites, brownie nites….school trips etc. Also, this incidentally was the same period of time when my ex saddled me with a car payment again as explained in What Happens When You Ignore Your Gut Instinct. When the house was quiet was always my time for reflection, tears and mostly anger at myself for allowing this latest debaucle to happen. I never once regretted the time or effort in caring for my child. When other parents were out on the town; I knew where I needed to be or more importantly where my daughter needed me to be. That was enough for me. We carried on in this house for about a 2 years; it was a time full of financial stress.
What Really Happened:
During this time, while I was thinking my ex was working so hard at work, came a startling revelation. He had started up with a new woman; not bothering to let me off the hook by telling me. While I was struggling to put food on our table, he was putting thousands and thousands of dollars into the renovations of his new home. (In later years, we were invited over to the home. The finishes in marble and granite, room upstairs converted into a gym complete with equipment, leather furniture, expensive extras; all the bells and whistles. It made me reflect, not in a good way, to the troubled times that we had making ends meet.) He was actually beating up the other woman #1 and stealing money from her still in order to fund his home renovations. This included forging her name on cheques or breaking into her house to steal items. At one point, he picked up granite for countertops for the new house, by pretending to be an employee of a local builder – but didn’t pay them back.
At this point, I still thought I was stupid to believe anything he said….but I guess it boils down to the fact that I was raised to believe that there’s good in each and every one of us. FAT CHANCE!