Every family has a moral duty to teach:
Seeing different perspectives
At the end of this, I will provide an example of what families should be.
I’ve been wanting to voice what I think of my ex-wife’s stepfamily for a very long time. Not out of spite, but because they unquestionably need to hear this. And also because I need it out of my system. I sat on this for 2 years for the sake of learning why they are this way, and for a chance anything will improve.
So much for that…
It’s been a few months now since my perspective on my ex-wife changed for the better.
It’s been a few months since I had a change of heart towards her. It’s been several weeks since she started to even notice. I held off asking her a very important question all this time, because I wanted to see what time and newfound peace would do. A couple days ago, I finally asked her, not through text, but with my voice, “Is there any chance we will ever be a family again?”
This was after several weeks of complete peace, after I showed more patience than ever before, as well as almost-excessive kindness, which she actually acknowledged in this very conversation. Still, take a guess how she responded… She responded with her usual tone of annoyance and impatience and then said, “Okay, I’m just gonna say this upfront: We will NEVER be together again!”
Maybe she was just putting on a show for her boyfriend Ashton, whom she doesn’t even have the decency to tell me she lives with.
No part of her grasped the ‘being a family again’ part. Because of course she didn’t. All she thought I was asking was if I could start sleeping with her again. I’m sure her stepfamily will think that as well when she tells them her version of how this conversation happened.
If you are no longer with someone, and you share one or more kids, and that person asks you, “Is there any chance we will ever be a family again?” there is only one correct answer. The only morally-correct answer is anything within the realm of ‘yes.’ Whether it is a maybe, or an ‘unlikely but possible,’ or just an outright yes, that is the right answer. Raising a steel barrier against any chance your family will be wholesome again is beyond selfish and immature. If you give one damn about your kid(s), you will find a way to make it work with the person you made kids with. If it’s impossible to make it work, such as one of you is in prison or in a coma, then you do the best you can for the circumstances. Period.
Kids need both parents. No exceptions. They need their parents together, and to set the best possible example. Period. You do what is best, whether you are together or not.
This nonsense is not what’s best for our baby. When I try to communicate, and she reacts with annoyance, impatience, and tries to keep it as brief as physically possible, that helps absolutely nothing. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg of her behavior since day 1. Mine wasn’t golden either, but it certainly was never as selfish as that.
Honestly, though, I don’t think it’s entirely, or even mostly, my ex-wife’s fault that she turned out this way. It’s not entirely her fault that her own immaturity will destroy her own ability to have stable relationships, or just general happiness, for the rest of her life. Not only did her own mother leave her father early in her life even though he’s a very decent guy, but she replaced him with an asshole who has a highly dysfunctional family.
The stepfamily raised her more than her blood (with the exception of her mother, of course). After 4 years, it could not possibly be more apparent to me that my ex-wife’s stepfamily failed her in every way. They did not teach her the importance of communication, humility, truthfulness, forgiveness, or seeing different perspectives. Whenever I attempt to get my ex-wife to do literally any of these things, she doesn’t just fail to do them, it’s as if she doesn’t even understand these concepts, or has ever heard of them.
If she had been taught any of these concepts, our marriage would still be intact, and happy. It would have prevented literally everything that went wrong. Think about it: We survived a whole 2 years even though she’s never understood the importance of communication, and even openly is against it (which she admitted right before leaving me).
The other day, I contacted her stepfather’s sister Michelle, who happens to be the only person in that family that I had any respect for. I contacted Michelle about this very subject. I couldn’t help but vent my frustration with her relatives for either sitting and watching my daughter’s future get destroyed, or for actively encouraging it.
Michelle admitted at some point that her family has a communication problem. No shit.
I have contacted my ex-wife’s mother, and in her stepfamily I have contacted her aunt Michelle, grandmother, and uncle. They either blew me off completely when I say I’d like to talk, or when they do talk, we just go in circles. Take the aunt I used to respect as example: All she could manage in talking to me was blaming me for things that never even happened. And when I outright said all of those things either never happened or didn’t happen in that way, she just got offended… As if telling her how deceptive my ex-wife has been is somehow offensive.
I have collected evidence of my interactions with my ex-wife. Every single encounter we have had to the best of my ability, both in person and not in person. I’ve even collected the audio of our court trials. If anyone in that family, anyone at all, would like proof of anything I’m about to say, you name a date that I supposedly did anything horrible and I will be happy to provide the evidence I didn’t. Like a vending machine, just put in the numbers and I will drop what I have documented … and free of charge.
So, here’s the insight Michelle gave me (and I cannot be more grateful to have been provided this insight). She said, verbatim: “Fighting is NOT appropriate. Talking about fighting is NOT appropriate. Threatening to fight is NOT appropriate. No one is talking about removing your parenting time. No more rant emails, no more conflictual drop offs, no more trying to dictate *****’s life… and stop the obtuse vague threats.”
Wow, that’s a lot of emphasis on perceived threatening. I guess I’ll have to cover that subject thoroughly.
If by fighting she means having heated arguments, then yes that has certainly happened before. If she meant literally anything else with the word ‘fight,’ then she has been told egregious lies. As for threats, I have never made any threats toward anyone in my life. Quote me on that. My ex-wife most certainly HAS tried to diminish my parenting time, and she doesn’t even think of it as parenting time, she thinks of it as visitation time (more on that later). My emails have never been ‘ranty,’ my ex-wife just doesn’t have the maturity to read anything honest, whether it’s a 10-word sentence or a 10,000-word letter. We have only had a total of one, just one, conflictual drop-offs, at the beginning of all this, and that was not instigated by me, nor did anything serious happen. And I have never once tried to dictate her life.
My god am I amazed that not only has my ex-wife been spewing these lies (again, I’m very thankful for this insight), but the ONE person in that family I once respected turns out to believe all of these lies … without ever consulting me first about their authenticity. This aunt is a therapist. You’d think she would understand the importance of communication, or at least how to communicate.
Does it mean anything to these people that my ex-wife has taken me to court twice and both times the judge told her, directly to her, that there’s no need to have brought these matters to court? (By the way, both times our judge was female.) The second time, I didn’t even need to make a defense because she failed to open with anything remotely convincing to our judge, even after the judge asked specifically for the worst example of what I’ve done. She can lie to friends and family, but she couldn’t lie in court… After my second victory in court, which was a sweeping victory, I never once gloated or rubbed it in her face. In fact, later that day, even after said victory, I went out of my way to apologize, sincerely, to my ex-wife.
These people will never admit it to themselves, but they know I have a point. Oh, maybe I paid off the judges with tens of thousands of dollars I don’t have. I’m sure they’ve already come up with whatever excuse in their heads to keep denying the obvious. And they will continue to, for many years to come. I HAVE to be a monster in their minds.
Does the fact that no one, in all my life, especially females, have ever been afraid of me … does that mean anything to them? Friends, ex-girlfriends, my mom, or my 2-year-old daughter? My adoptive mom and I, for example, had never gotten along before 2019, with frequent arguments and always failing to see eye-to-eye, and she has still never once feared for her safety with me. My first girlfriend, of an off-and-on 6 years, actually tried to get me to cross boundaries with her, because some girls are into that, and even then I kept myself restrained.
Is it because I’m quiet? Is it because I’m smart? Tall? Colored? Opinionated? Not a coward? All the above? I would love, absolutely love, to know why this family has never given one single damn about trying to get to know me, and now that I’m no longer part of the family, actively desires to side against me in these matters. I would love to know the reason for all this.
I’ve tried asking this to a couple of them, subtly, and all I get is denial. “I don’t feel that way about you.” Oh, really? Then why the hell aren’t you doing more to get her to stop her active campaign of painting this exact picture of me? Do literally ANY of you reply with skepticism whenever she makes bogus claims about me? I really fucking doubt it. Apparently not auntie Michelle or her husband, not Grandma, not Grandpa, especially not cousin Sally, and most certainly not mommy or stepdaddy. These kinds of claims can ruin lives, and in a way, already have. 3 lives, to be exact: her own, mine, and our daughter’s.
They love their gossip, they love their rumors, they love to hate from afar. If they ever come across this post (and I’d be lying if I said I don’t want them to), they’re not going to take my criticism like mature adults who are, you know, no longer in high school. They’re just going to use it for more gossip fuel.
Both times my ex-wife has taken me to court, even though it went nowhere for her (and actually kind of backfired), I still have no doubt she has been deeply emotionally impacted by everything that’s happened between us. For the life of me, I don’t know why this entire subject causes her so much emotional distress, but it nonetheless doesn’t change the fact it does. In court, I could hear it in her voice, and that stung me emotionally. Her mother was in court with her both times, and especially after the second time, when she showed the most distress, I could only imagine how that must have felt for a mother to hear. I’m just the ex-husband and even I couldn’t handle it. Still, after the second time in court, I contacted her mother and asked if she would be present if I try to communicate with her daughter. (I already have a thousand times anyway.) I was attempting to get everyone to finally sit down and directly communicate, and her mother never bothered to respond. It’s been nearly a month now. Still no response. Not even so much as a “thanks, but this is too hard for me to deal with right now.” Even that would have been some communication, instead of the immature pretending that I don’t exist.
If any of these people ever took the time to get to know me, and this might even include my ex-wife, they would find the thought of me being a threat to my ex-wife unthinkable. At the very least, they would know I have no history of criminal or violent activity, which my ex-wife herself has admitted in legal documents. None. Absolutely none. I’ve never been arrested, thrown in jail, or imprisoned. The only time I’ve been to court, apart from being dragged there by my ex-wife, was in 2010 when I was suicidally depressed and I was ordered to be under state custody (as a 19-year-old) until I felt better about living. In other words, the only threat I have ever truly posed to anyone was myself.
I don’t believe in violence. I don’t believe in harming people. Yes, the night my ex-wife left me I pushed the chair she was sitting on, and that startled her (understandably so), but I still didn’t harm a single square-inch of her body. Even that incident shocked me, and after thinking about it a lot, I realized I did it so that she’d know she got to me. I will always believe she was trying to get to me in that moment. I told the full story in this post here. In fact, I told her uncle, that very night, that she was talking to another guy in front of me on purpose, and her uncle pretended he didn’t hear me say that. And she has been incredibly dishonest about what transpired that night, and about how that night impacted her, because even after I moved out of her aunt and uncle’s house, she still came over to my apartment, without anyone else with her, to discuss getting divorced and just basic baby caretaking. She went into my bedroom with the door shut, she never asked if my roommate was home. I can prove this, too, by the way. My roommate was never home except once anyway. So, I’ve been very, very tempted to believe she fabricated being afraid of me when she realized she had no other legitimate-sounding argument to do …. everything she’s done.
I don’t believe in violence and never have because I’ve never understood why people do it, in most contexts. Violence very rarely solves anything, and I still understand that just fine no matter how angry I get. That’s why it doesn’t cross my mind. I think that even if I ever desired to harm people that make me mad, I’d still refrain, because I hate seeing people in pain. I don’t have the stomach for it. My feelings about this subject have been true since I was a small child all the way up to now. So, this dysfunctional family can give in to their primal fears of a colored guy like me all they want, but there is no proof I am a threat to anyone. If an empty criminal record, or testimony from people who’ve known me for decades doesn’t prove anything to them, nothing will. All because I pushed a chair literally once, that somehow proves I’m a wild and out of control person.
As I’ve said before, I shouldn’t expect my ex-wife to be mature because she was raised by 2 generations of immature types. Communication is the most important aspect of human interaction, and these people still act like they don’t even know what communication is. My ex-wife consciously avoids it with literally anyone who remotely disagrees with her. Maybe that’s why none of her stepfamily has the balls to be skeptical of her? Nahh, I can’t give them that much credit. But I’ve talked to her mother’s mother, whom I love, and she’s been open with me about the fact my ex-wife doesn’t talk to her anymore, and she is convinced the reason is because she started to be a little skeptical of my ex’s claims about me.
Does my ex’s stepfamily not realize she is the first of the next generation to reach adulthood and ALREADY her life is a mess? If that family struggles, so immensely, with all of these things – communication and seeing different perspectives, most of all – it really makes me wonder how prepared the other kids of my ex’s generation are for their adulthoods. But then again, my ex was the only stepchild, and she was constantly reminded of that when she was growing up. Even her mother admitted to her, several times throughout the years, that she wonders if it was a mistake marrying her stepfather. I would say no, it wasn’t a mistake, but you most certainly didn’t do anything it takes to make it easier on your firstborn. You sure as hell didn’t try to influence your husband to treat her better.
I came across an old text, from right before my ex-wife and I started dating, where she told me he used to throw things at her in anger. Which just amazes me. Ever since we separated, she’s been pretending she never divulged anything at all about her stepfather. She’s been pretending his actions during her upbringing have nothing to do with how she turned out. And then I come across an old text like that and I think, “No wonder you struggle with so much. He was such an asshole to you and yet you still, DESPERATELY, feel the need to defend him.” If that is not the epitome of daddy issues, or some weird kind of … emotional Stockholm Syndrome, then I don’t know what is. She will struggle emotionally for the rest of her life because she just can’t bring herself to be honest about that man. Personally, I don’t think he is or was a monster, just an asshole. An asshole who got rewarded for it with infinite step-daughterly love.
I’m the first person to be part of that family in any way who’s been openly honest about him.
When she and I were together, I never threw anything at her, like her stepfather did. I never verbally abused her, which she once also told me her stepfather did. Additionally, I never threatened her, I never destroyed her belongings, I never forced her to do anything against her will. In fact, if you listen to my countless audio recordings since we separated, you will notice I still don’t even raise my voice at her even when things heat up. I still have never done any of those things. And yet, she tries so hard to demonize me. It really makes me think I’m just a scapegoat. She’s throwing all the sins, and more, of someone else onto me and she’s shocked it didn’t work.
I’m not a monster. It didn’t work because it shouldn’t have worked.
If my ex-wife ever, literally ever, approaches me with kindness, gentleness, patience, generosity, or the like, I will always reciprocate it. Always. I will reciprocate it 100%. In fact, I have always given back more than she gives. For example, she’s never once offered me additional parenting days, and yet I have sometimes offered her parenting days since the beginning. I will always reciprocate any and every time she is good towards me. But the problem is, she never has been. Remember how I explained she freely came to my apartment without even checking if my roommate was around, which proves she wasn’t ever afraid of me? Well, during that time, shortly after we separated, it was much more than just not being afraid of me. She was tyrannical. She raised her voice at me frequently, made demands of me frequently, and even enjoyed scorning me over real or perceived mistakes I made. The only reason that stopped was because I finally chose to resist, and I said very sternly, “I am [our daughter’s] parent, too! I am her father! You are not the only parent she has!” And ever since then, she’s abstained from using our daughter to be a tyrant, but still, to this day, she has never taken the kindness, gentleness, patience, generosity approach.
Those qualities are beneath her.
Frankly, I don’t know how much of her personality and way of thinking is her fault, or the fault of the immature older adults who raised her. She would have turned out so much better if she had been raised by her actual father, and if her mother and father had stayed together, because her mother isn’t exactly all that bad, either. It should have been her father and his family, and her mother and her family. The stepfamily should never have happened. I’m not saying all stepfamilies in the history of stepfamilies are bad, not even close, but in her particular case, she would have been far, far, FAR better off without them growing up. And since she grew up under them, she will be attached to them for the rest of her life.
Because how you are raised always dictates how you will end up for the rest of your life.
Why do I take this subject so seriously? Because having a broken family is all I’ve ever known. My father abandoned me before I was born, and my mother abandoned me as soon as it was convenient. I lived in a total of 4 different homes before getting adopted by a couple who had no idea what they were doing. So, yes, I am very passionate about this subject, and no, I will never apologize for my criticisms in this post. Nothing matters more than family, so yes, I hold every family to a high fucking standard. You’ll never hear me complain about how people treat friends or acquaintances, because those don’t matter so much. What matters is how family treats family. And that includes sharing wisdom, or taking the time to gain wisdom to share in the first place.
My ex-wife broke up our family because she doesn’t comprehend the importance of communication. She will keep our family broken, for the rest of her life, because she doesn’t know any better. She said so herself. I blame that on the people who raised her. Still though, it clearly doesn’t matter to her that being a complete family is what’s best for our daughter. The only, and I emphasize only thing she will accept is if I disappear. She will never think to herself, “Am I the one making things worse?”
Because she wasn’t raised to think with humility or from different perspectives. She continues to be influenced by the same wisdom-less people.
I refuse to allow our daughter to fall victim to the same damage caused by broken families that started with her grandmother. My ex-wife is a clone of her mother in so many ways. I choose to stand my ground and break this cycle before our daughter becomes a broken mess just like her mother was before I ever met her. And those people can hate me for it all they want; I don’t care.
I will never give up trying to mend the damage she and I both caused. I will never give up wanting what is best for our baby.
My ex and all of her stepfamily could gain a little wisdom from someone who’s suffered 10x more emotional damage than any of them could possibly understand. A little honesty, like how honest I’ve been in this post, is the best place to begin, if they come across this post, which I hope they do…… even though I know it would fall on deaf ears.
As promised, here’s an example of what families should be: There’s a couple, named Lana and Larry, whom I have known since I was 2 years old (my daughter’s current age). They were friends of my first foster family. Lana’s father Frank died years before I was born. Her mother, Lorene, died one day after my ex-wife and I started dating and she came along when I went to Lorene’s memorial. What I heard at the memorial was that Lorene and Frank made a conscious decision to raise their family properly and set the best example for their family for generations to come. I was born 40 years after this couple had Lana, and I am almost 30 now, and I have seen, for as long as I’ve known Lana, that her parents stayed faithful to their decision. They raised their family with wisdom, with devotion, and with stability. Lana’s parents now have 3 generations born after them, and I still see all 3 of these generations remaining wise, devoted to each other, and stable. 70 YEARS LATER, and Lorene and Frank’s decision still has effects today.
For better or for worse, cycles start with parents. So, no, I do not see it as a coincidence that my ex-wife followed in her mother’s footsteps. How people are raised matters. It absolutely matters. My ex-wife, and her stepfamily, could learn so much by spending just one hour with Lana and her husband Larry. I wish Lana and Larry had raised me; I wish it so much.