…pushes away his own child?
It takes a special kind of man to step into the life of a single mother and her child, and then step up and adopt that child and raise her as his own. I married such a man. He has his flaws, oh does he ever have flaws, but he loves my child the way a birth father should love his own child. He’s not perfect, and he makes a lot of mistakes. He also sacrifices so much of himself, his time, his physical and emotional resources to be a dad.
On the flip side, it takes a special kind of a$$ hole to cut down and demean his own flesh and blood, the child which he helped to create. I divorced such a man. Sure, he has some positive qualities, but they are all over shadowed by his willingness to throw insults at her which are about me, and since she was created in part by me, she feels these are personal attacks towards her. I spent the majority of her life trying to help her obtain and maintain some sort of positive relationship with him. I refused to say a bad word about him to or around her because I wanted her to have the opportunity to form her own opinion of him.
Let’s go over some facts. I have plenty of bad things I could have told her about him: he was, and still is an alcoholic in denial; his top priorities were always based around his wants…friends were more important than family…cheating on me with my best friend, cheating on me again with my cousin; he never could hold down a steady job; his way of standing up for me was telling his step-brother not to call me a b!tch because only he could do that.
He told her she is a man-hater, and that I have raised her to be that way. The fact is, I raised her to be independent and stand up for herself. The men in her life…almost all of them…have let her down, not once, but over and over again. The majority of men in her life, my ex especially, have hurt her and caused her pain, so it is no surprise to me that a strong and independent young woman such as her would want to remove men from her life.
When she just a couple weeks old he and his stepmom took her and left. He said I didn’t keep a clean enough house, and that there were too many dirty diapers laying around the house. Let’s go over some more facts…He refused to help care for her at all. I was very sick and what little energy I had went into caring for her, so diapers would pile up during the day and be thrown away at night before I went to bed. A couple days after my friends drove me for hours to get her back, I was rushed into emergency surgery to fix complications from child birth which was the cause of me being so sick and low on energy. When the police went to his dad’s house to get her and give her back to me, she was sleeping in a dresser drawer and the police were disgusted by how dirty she was.
He had many chances to have a relationship with her. He would move close to us to be near her and then decide that it was too hard, so he’d go back to where he came from. Of course he blamed me every time because I would not allow him to be around her while drunk or stoned, and his friends he would have her around would have to be clean and sober as well. Knowing my ex, and his demeanor while under the influence, I did what ever was necessary to protect her.
About a year and a half ago, he said he was ready to commit to building a relationship with her but he didn’t have the money to move and would need help with housing until he could get a job and pay for a place on his own. So I paid for him to move, and he lived in our home, rent free, under the agreement that he would get a job and help keep our vehicles running. Well the job he got required him to be awake early in the morning, which he was unable to do on his own, so my husband would wake him up everyday. He was late too many times because he would fall back to sleep, and was fired. Other jobs came and went in similar fashion. Both of our cars died within weeks of each other and we were left without transportation. During this time he began a power struggle with her. He demanded respect but gave her none. She outright disrespected him one day, and I came to the conclusion that in that particular situation, she was in the wrong and needed to apologize. She went to talk to him and he rejected her and pushed her away. I gave him notice at that time that he had a week to get out of my house.
I don’t care who you are, parenting is hard. You don’t get to turn your back on your children when they hurt your feelings. Yet that is what he has done her entire life. Of course it’s my fault that he would only call or try to communicate around special days, like his birthday, her birthday, Christmas. I kept the same phone number, and when I would change it, I’d let him know. In fact, I’ve had the same phone number for 4 1/2 years now, yet it took him 4 months to notice we moved. I always encouraged her to talk to him even when she didn’t want to. So yeah, it’s my fault.
At the age of 16, she decided that she no longer wanted him in her life, a decision I fully support, and a decision that is not easy for him to accept. He keeps insisting that I got what I want…a mini me. She is a mini me, but she is all of the good that I wanted for myself but never achieved, and all of the emotions that I never learned to deal with appropriately, and she is smart, and caring, and she has the biggest heart (which she has learned to keep locked away so no one else can damage it). She is an amazing young lady. She has the potential to do great things in life.
There have been times as her mom, when I have felt tremendous frustration, when I have wanted to give up, when I have said hurtful things because I didn’t have the skills to properly handle situations, when I have let things get out of hand, when I have made mistake after mistake, when I have had to apologize for doing or saying something I shouldn’t have, when I have held her and comforted her, when I have felt pride, when we have laughed so hard we cried. I am not a perfect parent. I am still learning everyday. But I will never give up on her, and I will never walk away from her. She is a reason for me to get up every morning. She has been my whole world for just under 17 years, and nothing she can do or say will change my unconditional love for her.