Friday, May 22, 2009

A Book I Picked Up

Not an Al-Anon book for sure. And before I tell you who the author is, I want to tell you what he writes.

He writes what I could not write - but I feel it, and I have the same problem. My wife is an alcoholic, and she is, well, crazy. Yes. I said it. And she is feeding my child reasons as to why I am seeking a divorce. Ranging from I have/had a girlfriend (untrue) to I am a mean person.

It pisses me off. And today, I am bummed out. My wife heads to the beach with our child and does not work, does not seek work, nor does she have to. She is feeding our child untruths.

I prayed to God this morning and last night, asking for him to show me what it is I am not seeing, what I am not getting. I got on my knees asking for help this morning in the middle of the master bathroom.

Yes. I am bummed out.

I took my child to dinner last night. She did not want to eat. She wanted to buy a notebook pad from this upscale store for $29. I thought that was ridiculous. Of course, I have learned to not say that. But I did tell her "No, not now."

Her mother bought a calendar from there. My child showed me. It was $25.

I, of course, Googled calendars and printed off a free one.

How is it I work, she doesn't and I save and she spends.
I filed for divorce because of the safety of this child. I am not despised/disdained by the same child I sought to protect.

We went to Barnes and Noble last night. I picked up a book .....

On page 49;
"If your spouse is not open and cooperative regarding divorced co-parenting, every day you spend disconnected from your child is another day that child adjusts to life without you. Although you may call regularly, or visit on alternating weekends, your influence in a child's day-to-day life wanes. It is as though the child takes her love for you and places it on a shelf."

Sad. It is true. I could not explain it . . . but this does.

The book is by someone I NEVER liked.

He, in fact, screamed at his daughter and left it on a phone answering machine. You know who I am talking about now.

When I heard this recording all over the news channels, I thought "How could anyone EVER talk to his daughter this way? He is absolutely an ASSHOLE."

But now I know the frustration. I know how a child can be their parent's avenger. I see it first hand.

Of course the book is by Alec Baldwin. It has so much truth about the legal system and divorce that it is absolutely uncanny how accurate it is and how it expresses the problems of co-parenting. And how judges don't give a shit. Lawyers are damn bastards. And how parents wage a war through the child.

It is a war I am going to sit on the sidelines for.

I remember my wife talking about Larry Byrd years ago, and how he never saw his daughter and what an asshole he was for doing that. I thought so too. But now I know. I know how a child you love turns against you and starts calling you names and does not want to be there because of the mother and how she has started to cast a pall over the father.

I am bummed this morning. I need to get out of this funk by getting outside my head.

I went to a meeting last night. I saw my sponsor. But I was so bummed, I left immediately after the closing prayer.

I have got to get outside my head this morning.

PS - Don't think I am okaying what Baldwin said to his daughter. But I now know he was hurt and torn and felt unappreciated. He lashed out. I now know that. I know how bitter he might have been. You not being in the same place may have the same initial impression I did of him.

PPS - I will get out of this okay and of course, alive.


Cindy said...

How frustrating this must be for you. These days really matter to her. She may be waiting for negative responses from you...she's in pain and might be wanting you to be in pain. Who knows. All you can do is love her and "do the next right thing". Take a pause and a deep breath and do the next right thing. Healing will come in time, meanwhile...she's pretty raw.

Cat said...

I seem to recal my little sister and my father having issues during and after the divorce of my parents - she was the only child left home - she was 14 at the time - she was hurt and feeling abandoned a child in the middle of an adult weave of things, she just wanted to be a kid and to be loved...

I think as a parent I have unknowingly done things through the years that affected my childrens relationship with their father. Their dad is the drinker and he played his own hand in it as well... but this certainly makes you look at your life and how the ripple effect takes place...

My oldest now 16 wrote something I posted on my blog about growing up in an alcoholic home... its pretty insightful...

The good news is - my sister and dad worked many years to reconnect and were successful... so there is much hope to be taken that time will allow you many opportunities to help heal this...

Gin said...

I am so sorry. I can not imagine going through something so difficult. I hope that you are able to find some peace for yourself. I hope your daughter finds some as well. She is going through an extremely confusing time. Take care of yourself.

cw2smom said...

How absolutely sad and heartbreaking! It's got to be so damn difficult for you as a Dad who wants to maintain a good, loving relationship with his daughter in the midst of the breakup of the marriage. Remember that actions always speak louder than words and you are doing the right thing. It may take some time but she's going to see and know the truth. Perhaps some counseling for the two of you together and maybe even seperately to help with communication and parenting issues would be beneficial. It certainly couldn't hurt. Another thing to remember...she's at that physical age of the onset of puberty and hormones, emotions, etc. start running wild and crazy. It's a tough a mom of two girls...I remember the drama, tears and grief. Add in a divorce and it's overload! Blessings and peace! Al Anon Mom

Terre said...

First of all, I know how you feel and what you are going through. I too am struggling with a daughter (13) who is acting rather similar. The folks who have gone through this tell me that she will eventually come to her senses, and will act like she loves me again. So I offer this to you.
I also just want to thank you for your blog - it has helped me understand this program better in the short time I have been involved (4 months).

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for what you're going through! :(
As incredibly difficult as it may be to practice detachment with love, it's a great opportunity.

As the daughter who WAS used as a pawn between angry parents, I can tell you that -although it took time and MY initiative because my dad didn't really know how to reach out- I came around and saw my parents' situation for what it was. Through program, I humanized both of my parents and recognized how they each contributed to and mishandled their situation. It became much easier to sort through what I had been fed and come up with my own conclusions... and realize that I loved them both very much despite their shortcomings (and mine).

Just a thought...
Does your daughter go to AlaTeen? I'm an AlaTeen sponsor, and it makes such an amazing difference in their lives.

Wishing you well,

Anonymous said...

I am also a daughter whose parents divorced when I was 13. My mom spouted a lot of hate about my dad, some of which he had coming he was a SA. But he has a college degree in engineering and understood how important education is.

Mom however, is uneducated and very naive about life in general. As the custodial parent she was not very influential in getting me at age 13 to look into my future and apply to colleges etc. I think she would rather that I stayed uneducated and continued to be emotionally and geographically close to her, regardless of the fact that I would not reach my own true potential. Codependent to the max!

If it weren't for my VERY persistant father constantly, from grades 9-12, calling my high school and my guidance counselor and hounding me about SATs ACTs AP courses and college applications, I probably would still be making minimum wage.

Dad made some real mistakes in his marriage BUT redeemed himself by being a good father and helping his daughters even when we were brainwashed not to listen to him and that he was a bad person. Thanks to dad I got my bachelors and professional degrees.

So don't give up on your daughter even if she is mean and nasty now. She is probably only doing it because she is a hurt and confused child being fed bad information and being used as a tool to get back at you. Plus the hormones are raging.

Anger may be all she can see in the short term until she is out of her mom's house and out on her own. Then the light bulb will come on and she will begin to appreciate all that you have done for her, but I am sorry to say it may take a long while and you will have to be VERY patient.

Keep doing what a good loving father should be doing to raise an independent daughter, it will pay off someday.

Loads of Patience and Love in this area,


PS I awoke to my own potential when I was living ON campus in college, AWAY from my mother and didn't have to play the role of her emotional supporter anymore. File that away for a few years until you need it.

Jen said...

Just want to say Thank-You to Suzanne for the comment (above). So helpful to those of us in this situation!