I began the day with a child support hearing, by phone, with a man to whom I’ve not spoken in nearly six years. It was…interesting.
A few of the same issues arose, one of which is my still-simmering anger over his abandonment of our son. As I’ve written, my son has some problems which, right or wrong, I partially attribute to this situation.
Before we began the official hearing, the officer left us alone with a caseworker for the purpose of coming to an agreement. By the time we’d each spoken a sentence or two, it was clear to the caseworker that we should probably skip mediation and go into a full hearing.
We each presented our case, so to speak, or our reasoning; we were given the opportunity to ask questions. The hearing officer also asked questions, of course, and we each gave a closing statement. We had a couple of lighter moments, and even expressed a small of bit of empathy…or maybe that was my imagination.
To his credit, my son’s father did ask about the problems we’d encountered, and he did say that he had “thought it best” that he have no contact. Whether he still thinks that, I have no idea. Probably, although for myself – I cannot see where it’s “best” for my son to be kept in the dark about his father. Regardless of circumstances, they are father and son.
So that was my first hurdle, my first significant step in retaking my life. No matter what the hearing officer decides, or if my son’s father wants to come into his life at this point or not – I have done what’s best for my son.
The next thing was a matter I had been mulling over for several days. A guidance counselor at a school we were considering having my son attend had contacted my mother about the boy, his visit to the school, and his GED testing. This was, of course, against my wishes, and both the assistant superintendent and the school principal had been told that I suspected this would happen.
It did indeed, and today when the superintendent returned my call, I told him what I knew. He is treating this as a very serious breach, and the counselor will be called to task. I do not know the procedures or the timing, and I don’t really need to. It will be enough if it’s stopped. Of course, my son will not be attending school at that location, and will not be allowed to contact this man, so really it’s a moot point.
However, it’s significant for me. My mother seems to think that my son is hers. Not my other children, just this one in particular. She discusses the decisions that I make which affect him as though she has a say in them, as though it makes a difference to her, as though I am incompetent. And she apparently convinces her friends and acquaintances that this is the truth, that these things affect her. Or perhaps she doesn’t. Most likely they don’t really care about our lives and barely listen to her. It’s infuriating only to me, to think that this man, this counselor, believes that he should “report” to her – and that he actually warned her not to mention that he was doing so.
So, yes, I reported him. What he did was wrong. I should not have to be subjected to different rules based on my mother’s whims, delusions, and choice of friends. For heaven’s sake, if a parent can’t get school records without jumping through hoops, why should a busybody grandparent be allowed free reign to interfere in a family situation?
Check, and check. Two things done.
The third is the last, and the most difficult. I need to confront my mother again. Last year I wrote her a ten page letter, and got virtually no response. Of course, she thinks that by agreeing with me she can appease me and I’ll go away – or that I’ll believe that she is indeed “on my side” when she really isn’t.
I have serious reservations about her mental state – she does remind me of my son, although she’ll say the same thing about me. She has shown a definite breach with reality, for example, she doesn’t believe that my son exhibited violent behavior – she thinks I’m exaggerating. I offered to show her the police reports – she refused. She says I “catastrophize” and my sister says that “in my mind” I believe all these things happened. It’s funny how neither have been present during the episodes, in fact they live quite far away, and neither were interested in talking with my son during any of these incidents; they prefer to believe that my son is who he appears to be during annual visits with them: calm, polite, helpful, intelligent, etc.
And he is all those things. Most of the time. They simply refuse to believe otherwise, to believe me, and they have no reason to except one: my mother has often lied to and about me, and no longer recognizes the truth. And those to whom she has spread her delusions and fallacies either never knew, or don’t care enough to see past them.
So that’s my final significant step of the day. To cut all contact, all ties, all relationships. To move on and accept that I cannot be what she wants me to be, which is, best I can tell, to have never existed in the first place. That should make her happy. Why do I care if she’s happy? Because she’s my mom.