Non-Othello filter is Active
Some years ago, I decided that I would not counter Zelda’s discussion of my behavior with the children; it was bad enough that they had to listen to her version, I didn’t want them to be stuck in “he said/she said,” and have to sit in judgment. Last Autumn, Cinderella asked some pointed questions about those times, and disabused me of any notion that I had done her favors. In fact, it is not overspeaking to say that she spanked my ass for me. The gist of it was, “how the hell are we going to know what’s going on in our lives if we don’t get the whole picture?”
Should I have run in on a daily basis and unloaded my conflict on the kids? No. Should I have let them know that there was another side to what was going on, and try to help them deal with their parents in conflict?
[rubbing backside] Yes. She was right, so right, I was so wrong, won’t do it again, no.
I did it again.
You knew it, admit you knew it. In the dictionary under “backslide” they’ve a link to this journal. Of course, the same is true of “clever”, “gifted”, and “priapic.”
Zelda filed oppostion paperwork to the custody change. In it she noted that I had visited my children six times in three years, that I refused to pay Cinderella’s medical bills, that I am the reason Othello has three years of high school to complete, that I am cutting him off from his friends, filtering his phone calls, and not letting Zelda speak to him on the phone. Further, she stated that he is depressed and considering dropping out of school.
Othello has been saying, over and again, that no one can influence this situation he is in but his parents. It has nothing to do with him, it has everything to do with us. He doesn’t want to hear about it, he just wants it to go away. And, my interpretation of that, “I just want to be a kid, and let adults take care of adult stuff.”
And, to some degree, I permitted this. I forced him to hear about the major events in his situation, because he needs to know what is going on, but I did not look him square in the eye and say, “you’re full of shit. The only one who can definitively change your situation is you, not your parents.”
Bridgette was complaining about his beliefs on the subject, and I was about to note that he would require a spine if he was to be able to say unpleasant things to his mother, but my mouth caught, the words diverted up through my sinuses and hit my forebrain, and I thought for a moment.
I had been about to say, “He hasn’t spine enough, yet, to say things to his mother that he knows she won’t want to hear, even if it’s important to get them said.”
What I thought was, “And so, since he doesn’t want to hear that he needs to make decisions, I haven’t the spine to tell hims so, and am letting him continue to not decide things that are central in his life.”
What I did say was, “We are both spineless. I’ll talk to him when I get home.”
And I did. At some length. Not nagging, not badgering, but very clearly telling him that I felt he was telling himself that he couldn’t do anything, and was using that illusion to pretend he didn’t have to do anything. And, that I felt this would result in his going to TN to visit, his mother telling him he needed to stay there, whereupon he would decide that others were deciding his fate while he was powerless, and go limp.
Which would be tacit support of Zelda, and he would live in TN. Because the court would cheerfully disregard the past if A) Othello is already living someplace, B) is enrolled in school there, and C) supports it, vocally or tacitly. Which means, basically, that Othello has the power to make or break either claim in his custody.
I will say here, these are not merely my opinions. My lawyer has explained the situation to me exhaustively. It all lies in Othello’s hands, whether they are active or still.
He was quiet, chewing on all of that.
I asked him if he cared to call “bullshit” on any of what I said. Nope.
And I told him about Zelda’s counter-affadavit.
He said, “I think I need to talk to Mom.”
“Wait a bit.” I said. He did.
He waited until last night. Zelda’s affadavit came in the mail, Bridgette handed it to him, he read it.
He put the paper down, stood, and walked into a 90 minute conversation with his mother.
He was forceful, clear, direct, and tireless. And, probably ignored.
He addressed all her points and shat upon them. And six times (he counted) the reasons for her behaviors kept running back to, “He F***ed another woman.”
“Mom, what has that got to do with this?”
“Once a goose shows its feathers, a zebra shows its stripes, it can’t change.”
“He isn’t a zebra. You changed. You used to be meek, now your outspoken, independent, and vindictive. But that still doesn’t have anything to do with the custody case.”
“It means he can’t be trusted. He filters my phone calls to you. One day I called four times and you didn’t call back.”
“If you called Cinderella four times and didn’t get a call back, would you think Charming was filtering her calls?”
“No. Charming didn’t f*** another woman.”
The rhythm and tenor of his part of the conversation was familiar to me — I’ve heard it before someplace. And I recognize Zelda not hearing him. I wonder how much of her ignoring him is due to the tone and pattern of his speech.
I rewrote the immediate custody paperwork to include language that requires Zelda to return Othello to Eagle Point, and that gives Othello the power to shorten or eliminate his stay in TN. I am much, much less worried about the case, now.
Apparently, we both have spines, when we choose to.