I’ve removed the two posts I made on 9/26 that quoted excerpts from material that Sam’s ex-wife left on an old hard drive of hers. She contacted LJ abuse and stated that she owned the copyright to those materials, acknowledging that they were indeed her words. That’s a legitimate reason not to use the actual excerpts without permission.
I deleted the second of those posts, though I did not hear anything from LJ abuse about that one, for the benefit of another LJ user who is an associate of Sam’s ex-wife.
However, my reason for posting them still stands—not to harass her but to defend myself and Sam against her accusations that I’ve abused R and G, and that the children were in an unhealthy home environment here.
Yes, this is another public post. Unlike the ex-wife, I don’t play the passive-aggressive game of calling something “an open letter to X” while preventing that person from reading it easily.
I have never abused any person in any sense of the word. Period. Not once. If I were to do so to anyone, I’d want someone to report it immediately, because I’d obviously be completely off my rocker and in need of serious professional help. Anyone with evidence that I’ve ever done so is invited to step right up and present it to the authorities. In fact, I ask that you do so.
Of course, one has to question the credibility of abuse accusations from a person who beat her five-year-old until she raised welts, and stated that she MEANT to beat her that hard because she was angry. When there are many witnesses to the years of verbal, physical, and emotional abuse and neglect that person inflicted on both of her children and her then-husband, and she’s left voluminous records of her own words that acknowledge all of the above as well as repeatedly exposing both children to someone she claims was a pedophile, it looks more and more like she’s looking to blame someone else for the results of her own actions.
Abusers typically seek to isolate their victims from support networks. In contrast, we’ve worked to extend the children’s contact with friends and family members. We gave them more social opportunities than they’d ever had in their lives pre-1998. We provided a home that was safe, clean, and welcoming, and entertained friends of all ages almost every week. The children were encouraged to invite friends they met at school and other places into our home. We facilitated them going to friends’ houses, Scout meetings, congregational youth group events, etc. Sam has run uncountable games for them. I became a Girl Scout leader so our girls would have good troops. Our home became a popular gathering place for the kids’ friends.
We lived in our house in Stone Mountain for three years, then moved to our current 4‑bedroom apartment, making sure that we have room for all the kids.
We’ve modeled healthy relationships and boundary settings with friends and families of origin. Some of the most incredible compliments we’ve ever received were from people who specifically sought out our company (and continue to do so) because they admired our family and the way we parented. All three kids have been encouraged to build healthy friendships with adults outside our household so that they’d have others to whom they could turn if they had any concerns. R described one of those adults to his mother as “like another Mom to G.”
We haven’t been “good time” parents. We haven’t put being friends with the kids over being good parents, because we love all three kids too much to cheat them of true, dedicated parenting, even when it isn’t fun.
In contrast, Sam’s ex-wife moved thousands of miles away from friends and family members after quitting her job and receiving notice that she was being evicted from her apartment. She moved from job to job and had no stable residence for at least a year after the move. On the kids’ first visit with her there over spring break in 2000, she was living on a houseboat with no functional plumbing. The kids had to get off the boat and go down the pier to public restrooms. They told us that one room was given over to use for the cat’s waste products, with the ex-wife’s cat shitting and pissing without any actual litterbox material or attempt to clean it up.
R has been sleeping in the living room for months, as the ex-wife hasn’t moved to a house with a bedroom for him. He has no space of his own or any privacy, according to his conversations with Sam. According to the children, their mother formerly had her own bedroom, which G sleeps in now (or shares with her mother—her stories vary). In any case, there are two adults and two children living in a two-bedroom, one-bath apartment with no plans to move to a larger place.
The kids haven’t mentioned having any friends visiting their home. In fact, G can’t name one friend in that state. R has mentioned a girlfriend and was apparently alone with that girl in her bedroom recently, a report which caused concern to us as it reflected an apparent lack of any adult supervision (or competent supervision, in any case). He has repeatedly mentioned experiencing harassment and bullying at his new school, though. G says that she isn’t being allowed to participate in Girl Scouts, although she has told us that she wants to do so.
And obviously, the children have no family nearby other than their mother.
G’s only social activities (according to G) have involved her mother’s hobbies of costuming/period dance gatherings. She hasn’t gotten to know anyone significantly or seen any of those people outside the group activities.
Not much of a support network at all, is it? In fact, it sounds much more like the isolating patterns of a typical abuser than a loving parent.
Perhaps the ex-wife doesn’t consider lack of contact with family so egregious, as she has described events like her and the children being held hostage by her allegedly alcoholic, armed father in 1998. (She certainly didn’t tell Sam about that incident, though it happened after he’d taken primary physical custody of the children.)
Abusers seldom seek therapy, especially individually and as a family, for issues, because they don’t want to take the chance of having the abuse come to light. Sam and I first started counseling as a couple in 1999. We began family therapy in 2000 and continued through this year. Every member of the family has also had individual therapy, and all the therapists have communicated with each other.
In fact, it was our family therapist who initially suggested that we consider ADHD/ADD as a possible explanation for the issues R and G were having at home and at school. We were extremely resistant to that diagnosis and took a lot of convincing before we’d consider it at all. We did a lot of research. Since Sam fit the criteria, too, he began treatment first, because he wasn’t going to subject R or G to anything he hadn’t tried if he had the same condition. Because Adderall was a major help to him, he chose to allow the children to try it. It did make a serious positive difference in their lives, and both children stated clearly to us and their therapists and physician that they WANTED to continue taking their medications.
The kids have been coached by their mother on what to say to their new doctors and therapists. Their mother is wholly against the entire mental health profession and has been adamant that her children didn’t need any kind of therapy or medication from the beginning of their treatment. She has them saying things to convince their doctors of the same—quite a change from what they said independently to therapists, physicians, and their guardian ad litem here.
So now R is off his medication. Fortunately, there’s a court order requiring that the new doctors coordinate G’s care with her doctor here for six months, so she’s still being treated for bipolar disorder. We will be surprised if that continues after the six months is up, though.
G has described what sounds like amateur hypnosis and neuro-linguistic programming treatments from her mother. That’s very troublesome, as her mother certainly isn’t (to the best of our knowledge) certified as a hypnotherapist or NLP practitioner.
Until May, Sam worked for three years in a good, if boring, job. He was in his previous job for about the same length of time, and only left it when he had the new job. Since then, he’s worked in one job until the company couldn’t afford him, and has spent many hours seeking employment and acquiring new skills to improve his chances of finding a good job.
We aren’t in any kind of crisis despite Sam’s job search, because 1) we immediately began taking steps to reduce our expenses, as any responsible people would; and 2) Sam and I have always been pretty equal in terms of what we contribute to our household financially. My income has been stable at pretty much its current level since 1999. I’ve been home with the kids so that they weren’t in daycare or having to be “latchkey kids.”
The ex-wife hasn’t worked in over 18 months, according to her statements to the court during the custody case. She’s apparently been living off her housemate instead, especially since her unemployment benefits ran out. According to her own posts, she hasn’t sought work, because she didn’t want more than a very brief commute and had other stringent requirements for a job that weren’t easily met (especially in the current market). She is modeling a very unhealthy situation for the kids, not working or doing anything else to provide for their household. In court documents, she stated that her housemate gave her a monthly allowance—that doesn’t sound as if they have wholly combined their assets, as one would expect of full partners.
Of course, her housemate has no legal liability to care for her and the kids, so we have to consider that a fairly precarious situation. He seems an honorable man, which is a comfort. Of course, I don’t have any legal liability to provide for Sam or his kids, either, but we’ve been together for five years and have no intention of changing that. We have fully combined our assets, and what’s mine is his.
Despite the fact that she hasn’t worked in so long, the ex-wife has told the children (as reported by them), though, that anything they lack is because of a lack of financial support from Sam. Somehow, that just doesn’t make sense, does it? She’s claimed that “you brag about spending money and then say you can’t afford to visit” the kids in California. There’s never been any expectation that he would visit the children in California. We live here, in what has been the children’s home for most of their lives. If their mother promised them visits there from Sam, she was speaking way out of turn. We wouldn’t have anywhere to stay there, in any case—when visiting here, the ex-wife generally stays with friends or family members.