Responses to the Ex-Wife

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.

Abuse Accusations
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.

Home Envi­ron­ments
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.)

Health Issues
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.

Finan­cial Stability
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.

Cur­rent Mood: 😡annoyed
Cur­rent Music: Urban Tapes­try “Wait­ing For Frodo”
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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