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Why I'm Glad I Gave My Ex Custody Of Our Son

Posted by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:03 AM
  • 20 Replies
1 mom liked this


Quote:

Why I'm Glad I Gave My Ex Custody Of Our Son


When my ex-husband and I decided to divorce, my close relationship with my son exploded almost overnight. "Luca," then six, turned into a piece of property my ex was determined to acquire. My ex did not go after our daughter, and to this day she fortunately has managed to dodge the crossfire.

Unlike most alienating parents, my ex never really wanted full custody. He wanted me to do the care-taking but let him make the decisions. His intrusiveness, combined with my son's combativeness -- he railed against me, my extended family, and my friends -- were exhausting and demoralizing.

A couple years after the divorce, I mused to a therapist my son was seeing for behavior problems that perhaps it would be better for both children if I let their dad raise them. I worried about the long-term effects of high-conflict divorce. Maybe the absence of fighting would be more valuable to my kids than the absence of their mother.

The therapist, who was aware of my ex's alienating behaviors, practically begged me not to give my ex full custody. "If Luca is having these kinds of problems spending 30% of the time with his dad, imagine what it would be like if he was with him all the time."

So I tried conventional wisdom co-parenting tactics in hopes of easing the conflict. Communicating mostly by e-mail. Setting clear boundaries. Directing my kids to speak to their dad if they complained about him instead of getting in the middle. Doing my utmost not to let my frustration over being treated like my children's au pair bleed out onto them.

I didn't realize then that conventional co-parenting strategies are useless in high-conflict divorce.

When he turned thirteen, Luca's non-compliance and explosive rages grew so intense that I felt I had no choice but to send him to live with his dad -- temporarily.

My ex, now remarried and in a position to take on more childcare responsibilities, petitioned for full custody of Luca. I had remarried as well and my husband, who had been through a six-year-long custody battle of his own, urged me to acquiesce. Given my ex's personality, his bottomless pockets, and my son's animosity towards me, my husband felt I was in a lose-lose situation.

So did my attorney. "Just give Luca's dad what he wants," he advised. "Even if you win, you can't force a teenager to see you."

Now, when faced with the imminent possibility of losing custody of my son, I felt I had to fight. Despite Luca's scorn, I knew he needed me. And there was this, the thought that kept ricocheting through my mind:

What kind of mother loses custody of her child?

The minute I shook hands with the custody evaluator, I worried I was toast. "Irv" seemed smarmy and bored and appeared distracted during our interviews. He told my husband and me how much Luca hated us and how much he loved his dad and his stepmother.

My ex is charming and supremely confident. His wife is an accommodating, don't-make-waves kind of person. My husband doesn't stand on ceremony and can be blunt. He told Irv in no uncertain terms that he didn't understand the case, that Luca had been brainwashed by his dad to hate me. Irv and my husband started arguing.

I was definitely toast now.

I consulted with a psychologist I trusted. When she heard Irv was our evaluator, she urged me to pull out of the evaluation. "I'm in a study group with him," she said. "He's lazy, he makes up his mind without interviewing collaterals, and he doesn't understand parental alienation. If his report ends up in front of your judge, it could be damaging."

So I pulled the plug on the evaluation and settled out of court with my ex-husband. I gave him full physical custody of Luca. I retained shared legal custody but in name only; my ex has sole decision-making power over Luca's education, medical, and mental health care.

Although we never went to trial, my ex told people the judge had taken away my custody because I was a mentally ill, unfit mother.

I slogged through my days, unable to sleep or eat. When I passed Luca's favorite haunts, I saw a shadow where he should have been. It was as if he had died, and a part of me had died with him.

In Gestalt therapy, there is something called the Paradoxical Theory of Change. Meaning, when you stop trying to change something, and accept it for what it is, only then can things change.

And change they did. When I gave my ex full custody, the tug-of-war stopped. Luca and his dad no longer had me to blame. They fought bitterly, Luca's behavior worsened, and my ex sent him to wilderness camp.

When I visited him there, Luca told me what he had known all along but never felt safe enough to say. His dad had been lying to him about me for years. He even convinced Luca to sign a document stating he wanted his dad to have full custody and in return promised he wouldn't send Luca away.

"He tricked me, Mom," Luca said, tears streaming down his face. "He was planning all along to send me away. I don't want him to make all the decisions for me. Can't you get custody back?"

I haven't tried, and I don't plan to. Ironically, having me "out of the picture" has enabled Luca to have a more balanced perspective. We are closer now than we have been since before the divorce. And with Luca at a therapeutic boarding school, we are finally getting the family therapy we need to repair our relationship.

Losing custody of my son was the worst thing that ever happened to me. And it was also one of the best.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pauline-gaines/why-im-glad-i-gave-my-ex-_b_1266563.html


by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:03 AM
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Replies (1-10):
futureshock
by Ruby Member on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:04 AM
3 moms liked this

I hope that soon it isn't such a controversy when women give men custody.  Fathers are just as important as mothers.

Debmomto2girls
by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:08 AM

 But was giving the father cutsody in this case such a great idea?

SuperChicken
by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:09 AM

Is it just me or does it sound like this woman is basically happy she gave up custody of her son so she could say "nananana booboo I knew you'd be miserable!"

Weird reason to be happy you gave up custody, imo. 

afwifeandmommy3
by Bronze Member on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:13 AM
Wow interesting
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BekaBug
by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:16 AM

i dont think she means "happy" like we would typically think. i think she means shes finally accepting of what happened and she can now see the good that came out of it. as she stated her exhad never ending resources and her son would have never seen his fathers true colors and brain washing if she would not have just "given up". damage was already done, she prevented it from going any further to an extant.

i wish the state would give my BFF custody of his dd. her mother is evil and the past month has been pure hell for him. he gives and gives for his dd and she wont let him see her. shes 15 mos, hospitalized and the mom has gotten the cops involved so my BFF can not see her what so ever or receive any info on her. its heart breaking. some dads deserve a chance at raising their children alone, especially if the mom is unfit. imo. not that the author was unfit.


i'm a book reading, thrill seeking, always traveling, can't sit still, stuck in my ways,  pierced and tattooed, co- sleeping,  anti-vaccinating, extended breast feeding, cloth diapering, home schooling, army wife., and mommy to an all natural little girl. and an intact little boy. who's madly in love with my husband and absolutely loves being a stay at home mommy and army wife kind of woman.

futureshock
by Ruby Member on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:18 AM


Quoting BekaBug:

i dont think she means "happy" like we would typically think. i think she means shes finally accepting of what happened and she can now see the good that came out of it. as she stated her exhad never ending resources and her son would have never seen his fathers true colors and brain washing if she would not have just "given up". damage was already done, she prevented it from going any further to an extant.

i wish the state would give my BFF custody of his dd. her mother is evil and the past month has been pure hell for him. he gives and gives for his dd and she wont let him see her. shes 15 mos, hospitalized and the mom has gotten the cops involved so my BFF can not see her what so ever or receive any info on her. its heart breaking. some dads deserve a chance at raising their children alone, especially if the mom is unfit. imo. not that the author was unfit.

Why can't the courts force the mother to let him see his child?

annabl1970
by Platinum Member on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:20 AM
A lot of women don't believe in PAS. Maybe after reading this article some of them will understand, that PAS is NOT imaginary tool of father's rights group. PAS-it's real, it happens, and happens to moms and dads.
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FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:22 AM
2 moms liked this

This man sounds all too familiar.

He did not want his son, he just did not want his ex wife to have him.

This woman is stronger and wiser than some women will be able to see and realize.

Dads are indeed important.  Not this type of dad, however.  

katzmeow726
by on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM

I got that from the article as well.

Quoting SuperChicken:

Is it just me or does it sound like this woman is basically happy she gave up custody of her son so she could say "nananana booboo I knew you'd be miserable!"

Weird reason to be happy you gave up custody, imo. 


sherry132
by Silver Member on Feb. 12, 2012 at 11:27 AM

I have the same feelings with my son. He wanted to live with his dad. Didn't believe his sister (who is five years older) and in fact gave her hell about anything she said negative about their father. His dad made him a million promises. I could write the same article about the shit I went through with my boy and his dad.

So one frustrated exhausted day I just gave up. I told his dad to come get him and told him to pack his stuff. 

I was devastated, but you know what, it's been the best thing to happen to my son. For one, he now sees his dad for who he is. Two, he realizes how good he had it here, and finally, he misses me and wants to see me. He's a totally different child now. He's well mannered and grateful.

The only difference is I maintain full custody. I never signed the papers and have refused because if I ever feel I need to go get him, I will. On that end, I've convinced my ex we didn't need to sign the papers.

But that "happy" feeling isn't one of WooHOO I got rid of the kid! It's more of a happy because he is finally seeing everything for what it is. Every day is too long without my son but I won't just go get him. He has to tell his dad he wants to come back here, and his dad is going to work like hell to work it out with him. His dad has to call me to come get him. Amazingly, my life and my childrens lives have been much more peaceful. 

Quoting SuperChicken:

Is it just me or does it sound like this woman is basically happy she gave up custody of her son so she could say "nananana booboo I knew you'd be miserable!"

Weird reason to be happy you gave up custody, imo. 


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