Still here!

It’s been a while.  Haven’t posted as have been busy getting house ready for sale … and must say, got a bit distracted with Cat Evolution!  OMG.  What the hell?  Mid-40s and finding sanity with an app that does nothing to improve me or humanity … or even the feline population of the world.

But it does give my mind a break from reality.  And perhaps that’s just what I need, right now.

AH is still being a bell-end (ie calling every evening when I have the kids, refusing to do anything to get this house ready for sale, contribute to costs for the kids).  I’m tired and exhausted and overwhelmed by the amount of stuff I have to do before I go to my parents for Xmas next Friday.  Too much to do.  Too little time.

Also still questioning myself way too much.  Came across an interesting piece the other day that’s got my mind a whirr:  Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN).  Oddly, I don’t believe I was neglected or emotionally stunted by my parents .. but as I read through this particular article, and did the quiz where I answered most with a ‘yes’, I thought .. ‘holy shit.  That’s me!’.  I need to read more about it as I’d hate to unwittingly be putting that onto my kids …

I resent that I can’t just put time aside for me and self-improvement and relaxation … as, if I don’t have the kids, I have to be decluttering/sanding/cleaning.  AAARRRGGHH!!!!  Drives me nuts that someone else has that luxury!

OK.  Off to bed.  Was just checking in and reminding myself to keep on top of this.

Grateful for:

  1. my offer being accepted and feeling (HOPING!) that new life is a little bit closer;
  2. getting Ms8’s room cleared out and looking FAB!; and
  3. a week to get myself in order.

Boundaries … again!

I will set it out again … for the benefit of the narcissist exes (of which there is only 1) …

“On my time, you may call the children between 4- and 5 pm.  The children are free to call you (so long as not during the midst of a disagreement) before 6:30 pm”.

It’s been in place since October.  It’s worked well to date: I don’t have to deal with seeing his name on my phone.  Kids don’t have to deal with unwanted calls yet know they can call him if they want.

So why the hell would AH call tonight at 17:50?  Ms8 and I drove past him at 16:50 (well, Skank was driving his car … which is odd, as it’s a piece of shit and hers is much better).  He had 50 minutes before seeing us to call.  He had another 10 minutes afterwards.

Yet he didn’t.

He wasn’t driving so, having seen Ms8, he could’ve dialled the instant he saw Ms8 (and he saw her, as he threw his arm out the window and waved and she noticed his car and waved too).

But he didn’t.

He left it…

…For an hour!

I took a leaf out of his book and hung up on him when I answered the first call.  For the second, I asked that he answer whether he’ll buy the wood stain for the lounge so I could get the plasterer/painter in [considering I’ve spent over $200 on sandpaper, a new sander and other bits … and expended over 20 hours of my time getting the house sale-ready, I don’t feel that unreasonable].  He started babbling that it was the weekend …. but that’s his attempt to control what goes on, on my time.  I asked that he respect my boundaries … then hung up on him.

I do feel that, having signed the agreement, his assholeness and bastard behaviour isn’t affecting me as it has in the past.  That phone BS still made me physically shake with frustration, but I can equally see it for what it is … ie, him, trying to control me … yet it’s not eating me internally as it has in the past.

M11 came back from camp today.  He’s had a ball and is exhausted.  He gave me such a beautiful hug.  I’d organised a dinner with neighbours who also had kids on camp so hardly seen him since his return but can’t wait to have a cruisy morning with him tomorrow.

Grateful for:

  1. neighbours and shared dinners;
  2. having M11 back; and
  3. my washing machine not dying.

Boundaries

Said goodbye to M11 this morning as he’s off on school camp for three nights.  Hope the sun shines for him and he has a blast – he was fit to explode last night and this morning with excitement.  Looking forward to just having the other two as he can really stir things up with Ms8 … and, no!  She’s not innocent.  She might just play the game a bit better!

No contact with AH today.  He threw his toys yesterday so I went grey rock.  M11 wanted his soccer tops that were at AH’s for camp.  I said M11 could call to see if AH would drop them round.  AH asked to speak to the others but as it was well past my 4-5pm call time and minutes off the 6:30 cut-off (as it upsets them) … and that they weren’t around so didn’t even know he was on the phone … M11 let him know I didn’t want him to.

Now Mr Narc believes I have put these boundaries in place to hurt him, and he can’t see any other side, as usual.  I’ve read a few articles regarding the need to call kids every evening (there isn’t one) and contact in high conflict separations.  This article spoke volumes:  http://www.biffresponse.com/blog/boundaries-in-separation-and-divorce/ … and was the impetus between my implementing a set time for him to call when we went on holiday back in early October.  Funnily enough, he chose to copy that and instructed that I, too, was only able to call between 4 and 5; despite not having any research to back it up.  His impetus was, as always, spite.

Screenshot_2017-11-14-23-06-00 (1)

It makes his texts utterly ridiculous.  They weren’t hurting.  They have all said they don’t want to speak to us every evening.  He might be hurting but the kids, sure as hell, aren’t!  He also seems to think that I’m not entitled to put boundaries in place in my house.

A typical reaction from a narcissist.  A refusal to acknowledge boundaries.

What a buffoon!

Grateful for:

  1. no contact from AH;
  2. yoga; and
  3. getting some 1-on-1 time with Ms8, singing along to Lorde!

Time flies …

… when you’re doing DIY.   I spent 14 hours this weekend in the lounge: stripping the wallpaper, sanding the window frame and skirting boards; along with getting the GIB off the wall in the kitchen.  I blew up the sander so have had to fork out on another or it would never get done.  It’s looking great and I’m seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.  The guttering has been done (just down-pipes to go; tomorrow).  So, it leaves a massive couple of days in the garden and we’ll be good to go to market.

And to closure.

And to the opportunity to close one door … and slowly, trepidatiously open a new one.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks since I last wrote.  Kids have come back to me today, although was lucky enough to get Ms8 on Saturday to see Lorde.  Oh my!  To have that talent, charisma, energy at 21 …!!  It was probably one of the top 3 gigs I’ve ever been to.  I think I’m even more enamoured as she’s a wonderful role model to young girls (in a world of Ariana’s, Katy’s, Minaj’s … be an Ella, ie keep some of the flesh hidden, ladies!).

The weeks are very long without them.  Despite having a friend stay for 3 days last week, the nights where I had the house to myself were very lonely when it came to bedtime.  I suppose it’s still early days and I’ll get used to it … but, right now, it SUCKS!

AH has been his usual charming self.   I think every phone call has ended up with him hanging up, which should not surprise me after this long.  He’s ramped up his abuse a few times (no, I admit I wasn’t innocent in communications before he sent these two):

Quick overview: on the left, M12 had a sore throat and headache on my Saturday with him; he had a sleepover that night and insisted he was fine for a play he’d arranged for Sunday.  Come Monday (changeover), he said he wasn’t well enough to go to school.  I’d given AH the heads-up on Sunday evening [tried to do it on the phone, but he hung up] yet he still went to work without bothering to check how he was before leaving.  Had warned M12 that it was possible AH would force him to go to school and call if there were issues, just as he had with Ms8 a few weeks back.  He didn’t, surprisingly.  He got back ½-an-hr later than official changeover time so I dropped M12 at his.  He didn’t even bother to stick around to discuss what had happened the previous two days but went to the doctor and found out it was tonsillitis.  I felt like shit as I’d not picked it but M12 really wasn’t in great pain and, despite saying headache on Sat morning, he hadn’t complained.

On the right: I asked AH if I could pick my Nana’s fridge when I got Ms8 for Lorde.  It’s only a little bar fridge that I’d lent him when he moved out.  He decided to try some blackmail: my fridge and duvet covers that Mum made (also lent to him when he moved out), for his late mum’s necklace.  Now this necklace was a gift to me when we hadn’t been going out too long but both felt it was serious.  I still remember him giving it saying it was from his aunt and it might be a bit too chunky as ‘she’s a big woman’.  Now, he insists it was a gift for Ms8 and he wants it back.  There was a time when I’d have ensured it went to her, but after the vile messages that went between us then and for the past few years, I said “I’d do with as it see fit … all over a fridge and duvet covers”.

I’m starting to doubt myself.  I’m questioning whether my recollection of events is right.  He claimed his aunt would verify that the necklace was for Ms8 (how is that possible, when she wasn’t even born until 9 years after I was given it?).  I grab the phone and call her … not caring about what time it was in South Africa …. I wake her and she tells me she’s ill.  I’m angry and I’m sick of the fact that his family stood by and let this shit happen.  They’ve not cared at the abuse he’s thrown at me; not acknowledged how he’s messing with the kids; ignored that I’ve given birth and brought up three fantastic little people; pissed that I’m the only one tidying up this house to improve the sale value for both of us.  She says the necklace is for Ms8 but can’t answer when I point out it was given to me years before she was born.  For such a devout Catholic, she is full of shit.  She’ll need extra time in church on Sunday, that’s for sure!

I hate that I find myself questioning everything.  I think there’s many insecurities there that need to be addressed … I just don’t know where they are or how they came to be so it’s pretty difficult to address them.

And I don’t feel I have the time to give it sufficient attention right now.

So roll on new house and new life … and putting myself first for a change.

Grateful for:

  1. kids being back with me;
  2. nearly being done with the lounge; and
  3. power tools.

Grey rock …

I’d emailed AH last night for confirmation about what was to happen with Ms8 after school today.  I’d made it clear that either he needed to get her, or to make arrangements for someone else to.  He simply shut down communication.

Now I get the grey rock concept.  It sounds great and something I should really take on board.

But he constantly refuses to answer questions.  Is he grey rocking?

Or is it just control and being a prick?

I feel it’s the latter.

He hadn’t responded this morning so I texted him.  Get some waffly email back where it’s clear he’s simply attempting to look good for his lawyer (claims his delusions as ‘facts’) but, because of his work commitments, expects me to stick to the previous agreement for his 1-on-1, ie I get all 3 kids from school and he swans by about 5 pm to collect the 1.

I speak to Ms8’s teacher and the office to let them know the situation.  And email him (copying in my lawyer) to keep him in the loop, as well as set out (AGAIN!) why I won’t be beholden to him anymore.

So let me understand…the Court order has no time and we have not agreed to a time. You have told me what I have to do and that does not work. You are stating that you are going to leave [Ms8] at school for me to collect.  I will not be there so you should take her and not leave her on her own If I receive a call from the school I will take this further. Do not prevent me from collecting her at 5pm, as has always been the case and ensure that you notify me of your whereabouts so that I may collect [Ms8]. 

So full of anger.  And threats.

I’m not sure what he feels he will gain should he “take this further”.  This was brought up two weeks ago and left unresolved.  By him.  He made no effort to discuss or offer a compromise.  It was simply ‘my way, or …’ — well, there was no alternative.  It was just ‘my way’.

After a couple more emails between us, he seems to calm down and sends a more conciliatory message:

Going forward – Ill collect my 1:1 at 4pm on a Thursday…is that ok?  Will you be at home at 4pm?

[yup, fairly typical narc behaviour … but I still hold onto hope that maybe it might just be a baby step in the right direction … and tomorrow might bring another small step … then another … and another].

Anyway, as it’s getting pretty late for him to organise anything, I say I’ll get Ms8 today and change our plans a bit to be at home at 4 pm for him to collect her … BUT I want him to make other plans going forward, ie plays with their friends.

I dont have the free time that you do…I will talk to my boss about getting there for 4pm but for me to match your free time in not always achievable.

Small baby step forward … one snarky comment back …

He seems to have forgotten that we agreed one of us would be there at the end of the school day.  WE agreed that!  It was important for both of us.  He also overlooks that I’ve not said HE must be the one to be there at 3 pm … I’ve even given him options that he could utilise.

Grateful for:

  1. the boys having their first beach of the swim for the season (brrrr!);
  2. [struggling to think of 2 more today as getting more worried about M11’s sadness] …

Heart-breaker

The celebration hasn’t lasted long.  Well, why would it?  It’s not like he’s changed a thing.  He just wants some money paid to him so he can get a new car.  He’s still the same vile prick underneath the “I’ll compromise” exterior.

The reason for my bitterness: tomorrow is his 1-on-1 with Ms8.  She calls him this evening to find out who’s getting her from school [remember, I started this conversation with him nearly two weeks ago.  He stopped communication when I asked what he was putting in place from school pick-up until he finished work].  He tells her, he’ll get her at the usual time.

Hhmmm … no dear!  That was not one of the options available to you.  

The weather’s been good so, after getting M12 to try on some 2nd-hand college uniform tomorrow, I plan to take the boys down to the beach/river for some boogie boarding with a picnic dinner outdoors to (a) make the most of the sun; and (b) get them away from screens.  I should not be forced to change my plans to accommodate him and his inability to get back from work or organise something else.

Ms8 is in tears.  She’s concerned she’s going to be left alone at school (I say I won’t let that happen and will come get her, if he doesn’t).  I tell her that she’ll have to come with us though and that means, if I don’t have my phone on me [which I wouldn’t if at the beach, etc], AH won’t know where we are.  Tears flow again as she worries she won’t get her 1-on-1 with AH.  He’s a joke!

Not getting much done on the house as had friends over for dinner.  Also meant to be getting chattels together for AH to collect but my lawyer hasn’t sent through agreement yet and buggered if he’s getting anything from me until that is signed.

M12 was not in a good place after school:  emotions going completely haywire.  This puberty malarkey is not going to be an easy ride, is it?!  M11 is also struggling with anger so would love for them to both go back to counselling.  M12 was not enthusiastic when I mentioned it … “it’s boring”, I’m told.  Poor tykes!  I feel I’m letting them down, and that stinks!  I wish the sperm donor could see that we need to get on the same page FOR OUR CHILDREN!

Grateful for:

  1. throwing together a vegetarian dinner;
  2. getting another box of kitchen stuff packed and into the garage; and
  3. flucloxacillin.

Celebrating

Time is flying by under the new regime:  mainly as I’m trying to get the house ready to go to market.  De-cluttering [still!], and stripping paint and wallpaper in the lounge, along with breaking up 40 bags of bark for mulch on the garden.

Normally, I feel I’m a positive person.  But, boy, while stripping paint from the lounge windows last week, I actually felt overwhelmed.  It was hard to see the wood for the trees.  Thankfully a friend gave me a couple of hours of her time on Sun and it came into better perspective.  I suppose it didn’t help that the weekend weather had been glorious … and it seemed unfair that I was stuck indoors solely working on improving the place for AH and my benefit.  He could be at the beach or park, or shopping or relaxing … and I can’t do that – not just until the place is ready for sale, but until I’ve found a new home and moved in.  Must keep it in perspective though and just keep chipping away without putting myself under unnecessary pressure.  It will be sold when it can be sold (and if he wants it done quicker, then he needs to pull his finger out of his ass and help!).

Enough about that…

I’m celebrating.  Letter from his lawyer yesterday and he has finally agreed to a 65/35 split of the relationship property.  After over two years of moving goalposts, lies, accusations, and a stubborn refusal to acknowledge my input to the relationship, the kids, the two homes we purchased and to his future earnings, we have agreement!

It should NEVER have taken this long: on 15 March 2016, our respective lawyers bumped into each other at court and discussed the economic disparity.  My lawyer was at 70/30 (based on legal precedent in the local court); AH’s lawyer said she felt 60/40 was appropriate (despite her writing initially for 55/45, which was an insult!).  I offered a 65/35 split on 4 Nov 2016 … so why the hell did she not advise AH to agree earlier?  Greedy bastards!

All that’s done is incurred both of us further legal expenses and more hatred towards each other.  It’s kept both of us in a state of limbo we could’ve moved on from ages ago.  Karma, a*holes.  Karma will come!

Grateful for:

  1. having my kids back;
  2. not being at home for trick or treaters (sorry, but this is NOT a NZ tradition; nor do I want it to become one); and
  3. compromise.  Better late than never.

Great week

It’s an odd feeling tonight as I’ve had the kids for a whole 5 days now (except M12 going for his 1-on-1 last night).

And I’ve had to say a number of times this afternoon: “who are you and what have you done with the other children?”.  They’ve been so awesome.  They’ve done all their after school chores without grief.  They’ve supported each other.  M11 and M12 have both mowed parts of the lawn without complaint.  We picnic’d on the back lawn and all 3 of them contributed to the meal (ie drinks, cutlery, etc).

M11 bit at one stage, showing his jealousy towards Ms8, but it was put out quick and didn’t revisit.

After dinner, boys played on the street with another lad from up the road, and Ms8 and I popped over to a neighbour.  We came back and watched a bit of Dodgeball (right up M12’s comedic street), they laughed at my impression of what the cat was saying, ate ice cream, and chilled.

It’s really been a great Friday.  M11 even said “best week ever” [how easily pleased he is!].

AH didn’t call the kids.  Perhaps someone has made him realise he needs to nip that in the bud, as it’s about satisfying his needs, not the kids’.  Actually, there’s been nothing from him in any format from him today …. still waiting to hear what’s going to happen on his Thursdays but am sure there’s a letter from his lawyer on that to come soon …. so it’s great.

I think his ridiculous behaviour over the past few days (ie refusing to let me see M11’s journal, or to come paint a fence, or to confirm whether Skank or her ex knew about the scabies) has brought me out of my funk.  I’ve spent a few weeks really delving into ME and questioning if I deserve everything that’s come my way.  There’s been a lot of soul-searching.  But, this week, I know it’s not me.  I know he’s nuts.

And perhaps the kids being away from his crazy and his manipulation and his BS for longer periods will be a good thing.

Grateful for:

  1. mowed lawns;
  2. happy kids; and
  3. M12’s laugh while watching Dodgeball.

Flexible

Today is the first day of the new 1-on-1 regime: AH will have M12; next Thurs, I will have M11; the following, AH has Ms8; and repeat…

No timings were discussed at the round-table so I emailed AH last night to let him know I’ll pick up my Thurs child from school so we get as much time as poss to enjoy it.  Did he want to do the same?

“I’m happy for you to start your 1:1 from school pick up. I will pick my 1:1 up between the hours of 3pm to 5pm. Today though, I will collect [M12] from [your house, but again referred to by the name of the road as he cannot say it’s mine] once off the train so ETA will be around 5pm.”

This frustrates me.  There’s no asking if that arrangement would work for me/the kids.  He merely demands and expects me to fall into line.  But it doesn’t work for me …

Presume you’ll put arrangements in place for 3-5pm.

Assume for around 5pm collection from [your road] unless I am able to get through earlier…I which case, I’ll let you know

I am not your babysitter. [Usual Thursday lady] is. Kindly make other arrangements so that I can make the most of my 2:1.

They are your responsibility until I can get through…see you at 5 today. I hope you wont be abandoning the child from 3pm alternative Thursdays. That wont be a good look on your part.

God, he’s foul.  “I have lots of flexibility with my job” he’s repeated ad infinitum.  What happened to wanting “equal time with the children”?

As the days are getting longer and warmer, I’m keen to go with the two kids I’ll have: for a bike ride, a picnic at the beach, an early movie, WHATEVER!  I do not want to have to wait around for 2 hours for him to his ass to get back before that can happen.  Nor should I.  He should be chomping at the bit to get back here to spend dedicated 1-on-1 time with each of his children.

I offer him $20/hour childcare if he can’t get back/organise someone else.  [It’d be free for anyone else but, given the amount of abuse and nastiness he’s thrown at me, he should count himself lucky it’s not more].  He doesn’t reply (no doubt he’s busy whinging to his lawyer and there’ll be a letter in the next few days).

I also asked whether he’d be prepared to paint the front fence and garden edging as part of getting the house sale-ready (probably a 2-3 hour job, max; fairly small in the scheme of work to be done).  A few friends reckoned it’s reasonable that he step up and do something.  I should’ve put money on it.  Simply got a … “NO”.  He’s a joke!

Grateful for:

  1. getting my 3 + 3 extras to the skate park to enjoy the sun;
  2. Winston Peters going with Labour to form our new government (getting rid of our version of the tories who have made the rich, richer and the poor, considerably poorer for the past 9 years); and
  3. bacon.

Ω Ω Ω

FTR: I messenged Skank’s ex about the scabies.  I saw no point asking AH (he’d ignore), Skank (she’d say it was none of my business) but I wanted to be sure he knew and was doing the treatments too so that my kids didn’t catch them again.  He knew NOTHING about it.  Seriously?!  Did AH even tell Skank?!

Ms8 also tells me that Skank stayed with AH overnight ‘for the first time’ [well, honey, the first time while you’ve been in the house, maybe].  Quite a milestone for their relationship and I should commend them for waiting this long.  Yeah – maybe easier to commend them if they hadn’t been getting closer while AH and I were still married.

Never-ending

Well, that’s 3 loads of washing in my machine, and a huge load at the laundromat.  Another 2 (including clothes the kids may/may not have worn recently), all sheets, towels, stuffed toys, blankets, etc, etc.  And the neighbour has now been given a treatment too as her son had some spots appear.  I tell you, AH had better told Skank, Groslch … and Skank’s ex too.  I don’t want to have to go through this again in a hurry!

I’d like to text Skank’s ex and ensure he knows otherwise there’s going to be a never-ending cycle of mites between all 4 houses.  Not sure how he’ll take it, after my letting him know about his daughter’s inappropriate choice of conversations in the presence of my Ms8.  Skank’s ex was a good friend of AH’s so it was interesting that Ms8 asked if I was still friends with Shank’s ex.  ‘Of course I am’.  ‘Him and Daddy still say hi and shake hands when they see each other’, I’m told.  Skank’s ex is a better person than I am clearly … I know he’s pissed off with the whole situation, so to be able to shake the hands of the man who’s now poking his wife is impressive.

Took the boys for much-needed haircuts after school as AH chose not to notice how badly needed they were nor that he’s only picked up the tab 1 time since we split.  Another nice evening – M11 is so very tired but at least in charge of his emotions – we even manage to have our end-of-day card game without anyone being sent to bed.

Normally tomorrow would be changeover so surprised to find myself feeling quite relaxed about the thought of them being with me for 4 more sleeps.  Usually, by tonight, I’m already thinking of the lovely glass of cider I’ll be having the following evening.  M11 commented he still thinks a week is too long … but it’s early days.

Ms8 said at the dinner table that she’d now like to move to the place I wanted to relocate to.  Good God, kids!  Too late!  Mind you, if an affordable house doesn’t appear on the horizon soon, I might not have a choice but to still head up that way.  Maybe a bit of time might make them see that a bit of a longer commute to/from school to a great house, where they each have their own room, wouldn’t be the end of the world they thought it would (or were told it would be by AH).

Grateful for:

  1. AH NOT calling to say goodnight (M11 and Ms8 tell me he’s said he wants to know how their day was and to hear their voices.  I think that’s pathetic: yes, the kids enjoy hearing our voices but THEY don’t want a daily call.  And if it’s not to meet ‘their need’, then it’s simply to meet his.  He needs to acknowledge that);
  2. whipping ass in tonight’s Skip-bo card game; and
  3. pay day.