My Girls

Change is excruciatingly slow. The girls are both struggling, but, as usual, in very different ways. GB and I have talked about the divorce since I filed paper work. MK has told her that I am leaving because GB doesn’t  know  how to behave, and other purely nonsense stuff. MK has been better with GB lately and GB has talked about that but still remembers all the previous hateful words. GB regularly talks about what is happening and what might happen. She likes her law guardian and speaks freely to her. She is struggling with Hope and her father, but that is not new. It was one of the of the straws that put me over the edge. GB identifies Hope’s adoption as the point everything went south.

Hope is also feeling the strain. The Dad has kept the girls out of the house a lot. That has been true for over two years. Hope has had a much different reaction then GB. The Dad has been against sharing information with the girls. He was furious when I told GB I was getting a divorce. When Hope first saw the law guardian, she had no idea we were divorcing. I have little opportunity to spend time with her and the last thing I want to do is put Hope in the middle more then she already is. I answer her questions as best I can.

I have repeatedly told both girls that the law guardian is on their side and they can tell her anything without worrying about it. I have also told them a judge will decide what happens next. I have filed for custody of both girls, but I an not naive. With everything that Hope has been through it would be so much better if we, her parents, could work it out. I reluctantly realized it wasn’t possible. By thrusting our non functional family out in the open, I have made Hope’s “now” unbearable. All the old behaviors are back. Hope on a flight or fight trigger is stronger then I am. I have reached out to her therapist, but have gotten only nebulous responses. I insisted that we needed to talk and it is suppose to happen tomorrow.

The house is quiter and calmer without MK. The Dad is still here, but the lawyers  plan to resolve that shortly. I can not see through the now to the future, but I have my focus on each step I take, one step at a time. Any good thoughts or prayers would be appreciated.

Me?

It is hard to know where the pieces of my life fit. I have spent hours with my lawyer and time with my therapist. GB has two therapists, one at school and a private therapist. She seems to be utilizing both of them. She is very vocal about how she is feeling. Of course, the one thing GB wants most, I can’t give her. She wants me to promise her there will be no divorce. I tell her I am sorry, but this is one of those things she doesn’t have control over. I cuddle her and sing softly and wait for her to relax. She relaxes and when she’s ready, she gets up and goes back to living.

I usually sigh and go back to wondering how I got here. I am so proud of finally saying no more- and so ashamed that it took me so long to say it. I truly expected that the last years were an aberration and would end. I wonder how it became my new normal without me noticing it was happening. The person I am divorcing is not the person I have been married to for 35 years. I keep replaying the years, convinced there must have been a point that I could identify as the point everything went wrong.

A lot of going around and around and never getting anywhere. Separating the reality of my life from where I saw my future heading is hard work. Right now, I am wondering if I will ever get through it.

Now and the Missing Years

footprints  Two years ago my life fell apart.

I have always had financial security and the certainty I could make a difference. So many things have happened, but the reality is that I am an economically and emotionally abused woman. That last sentence took me thirty minutes write.  Economic abuse is surprisingly common, even though I had never heard of it until recent weeks.There is a long journey ahead of me.

When my life went south, I assumed it was caused by Hope’s issues. However, I found an outstanding therapist for Hope, who she is still seeing. Hope is profoundly traumatized by her past but working hard with her therapist. The manipulation and boundary issues have not improved. She is still in the same high intensity behavior class she started in four years ago when we adopted her. She has gone from the youngest child in the class to the oldest. Getting a handle on Hope’s problems shed light on how out of whack the balance of power was in my house. Under the guise of protecting me, my husband redistributed power and rewrote reality.

My oldest daughter and her 4 year old son moved out in the middle of December. Our home is quieter, more predictable, and calmer with just the four of us. Maybe if we had become a family of four when the first therapist said it was necessary, it would have made a difference. I don’t know and no longer spend a lot of time thinking about it. I am not sure when in that time my marriage ended, but I know that between November 14, 2014 and November 16, 2014, I realized my marriage was beyond repairing.  I am not sure why it took me so long to recognize it. My oldest daughter has always been abusive and my husband and her have had a symbiotic relationship for as long I can remember. She hasn’t supported herself ever and hasn’t worked for over five years. She usually, not always, does well with Hope. She has gotten nastier with GB over time. When I saw her screaming “I am going to fucking kill you” in GB’s face,  something had to change. When my husband said GB needed to learn not to set MK off, I knew that my future was separate from his.

GB has  had a tough couple of years where she was blamed for a lot of things that were not in her control. She was reclassified by the CSE as intellectually handicapped as well as other health impaired and since September has been in a  class for kids that are state test exempt. She is thriving. She participates in chorus and environmental club with the neurotypical children. She works hard and is well liked by both kids and staff. Since I have acknowledged to myself and GB that we need to change how things are she has been much less reactive. I talk to her about the impending divorce and use the word “divorce”. She is being given inaccurate information by other family members, but she always brings it to me and asks why. She has a therapist that she trusts. She believes I will do everything I can to keep her safe. I will be limiting her contact with toxic people.

Today is the first custody hearing. With my sister’s help, I have a lawyer- a highly recommended lawyer. I had hoped that legal separation would be protection enough, but the events in the last six weeks have convinced divorce is the only solution right for me. Until the divorce is finalized, I am not free to share details here.

The last several years have  seen my support system disappear and I am no longer in touch with many of my friends. Some local friends have become my soon-to-be ex’s friends. He is convincing and I am not willing to spend my energy to make my reality heard. At least, not right now. The girls and I need me fully grounded in the present.

Never AloneThere are hard days and I cry. There are good days and I am optimistic. Most importantly, whether its a good day or a bad day, I know that my future is waiting. So is GB’s.