Monday, January 04, 2010

Another moment in which I put my doubt aside for the greater good...

I am not sure how to feel about this.
My children were offered a heartfelt apology from their father.
The therapist who is supervising visits helped him prepare an appropriate and much-deserved apology, and he told them how sorry he was, how wrong his actions were, and how scary he knew it was. He told them he would never do it again to anyone.
Bubbles has been pretty direct with him, "Daddy, you have to be nice. You can't hurt people!"
This apology means a lot to him. It also means a lot to Supergirl, who has been conflicted about how she should feel about her father, her beloved daddy, since he hurt someone and didn't seem very sorry. They needed this, to be sure. And I appreciate that they got it.
But don't they also need sincerity?
What kind of father agrees to deliver a heartfelt apology to his children, while simultaneously planning for a custody hearing in which he hopes to prove that his actions were defensive and that I deserved it. Not only did I deserve it, but I don't deserve to be a mother. You know, after how many years plus the last 8 months of single-mothering. How does apologizing to his children for doing something terrible while he is trying to take their mother away from them translate into sincerity? Won't the kids eventually figure that out?

I really hoped that the co-parenting class would open up his eyes. I know, I know...that would require putting his children before himself - a tall order to expect.
Every single time I have entered Family Court, he has manipulated the court's time to re-frame his criminal court conviction. THEY DON'T CARE, but he effectively reminds me (and anyone else present) that I deserved what he did to me. This is in the name of the future our children - who are, you know, the reason we are going to Family Court.
Every single professional involved in this case has recommended that the children see their father with supervision, yet he insists I am the only one behind this, and that I am doing it to 'to retaliate'. (retaliate? against?? being choked??) I want to move forward; I hope the therapist he is seeing is helpful and that he is ready and willing to exact change in his own life.

But I have had it with the game playing and the pawn moving and really, it's enough. Everyone can see through it.
Is it worth it anyway for the children to receive an apology, even if it isn't sincere?
Because this isn't about my doubt, but it is about our children and their ability to heal from this, I have hope; I think it is.


Sophie said...

He couldn't possibly have a hope in hell of getting custody.


Astarte said...

I think it doesn't matter if *you* find it to be sincere, as long as *they* do. It will make them feel safer, and help to resolve their inner conflict about how to feel about someone they still love and want to forgive. While it'll suck if they start trying to take his part in an effort to convince you to forgive him as well, at least they will have peace of mind about it, which really he's the only one in a position to give, unfortunately.

As far as he goes, I can see him being so deranged that he can either a) split reality so that in his 'kid reality' he really is sorry, somehow, at least in how it impacted them, or b) be planning on using this to irritate the hell out of you by thinking it will make them run a defense for him at your house. Either way, he's a moron, and it's not worth spending another moment thinking about. The kids feel better, and that has to be the end.

Candy said...

Maybe you have to view this as a visit from Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. Neither of those are real either, but there's plenty of time for your children to find out about that in the future. Right now, they need the illusion.

Melissa P. said...

I was abused by my boyfriend for a year ,my senior year of high school. The last time he was literally strangling me in the bowling alley in front of our friends. Did he ever say he was sorry, no, Will he, no. I was terrified of him for 30 yrs. Yes he still lives by me.
But, I decided to not be a victim and not be paralyzed by fear.
I have finally let go of that feeling. Not an easy thing to do.
Do not be his victim!
It is your life and he is a loser.
He will never say sorry to you and mean it.
I wish you the best!

Evie_Edlund said...

Won't the kids eventually figure that out?
Yes, they will, eventually. But they are probably quite a bit too young to understand that someone can be good for one person and unsafe for someone else. My own father, for example, was a wonderful person to work for, but a really rotten father and husband. That takes a long time to understand.

The life lesson here is that just because someone is sorry for doing something doesn't make it safe to live with them again. Safe is very absolute and pretty concrete.

Keep in mind, kids are very black and white, so they want to and probably do believe him when he says he is sorry. But his actions have the consequence that he cannot live with you and the kids anymore, because it is not safe.

Just because someone is sorry (1) doesn't change the consequence and (2) doesn't mean it is safe to be with them.

He is trying to hurt YOU, he's embroiled in a power struggle with YOU. He isn't looking to change that, and for that reason, it is not safe for him to live with you.

But what the children need assurance of is: is daddy safe for THEM? I hope that you can work towards confidence in that for them (I haven't gotten the impression from your writing that he is unsafe to them). It's a hard reality, but it is reality.

Kids aren't stupid, they know who takes care of them, and it isn't daddy. And his actions are not uncommon in family court, I would be fairly confident that they've seen this flavour of asshattery pretty much every day.

Jennifer Newby said...

the thing with kids is... they grow up and figure stuff out for themselves.... He will have to live with what he did forever. They on the other hand can learn from his mistake, and be the better people about it...

Headless Mom said...


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