For the longest time, I think my life was in a sort of holding pattern- at least, when it came to my interactions with other people. As you may or may not recall, the theme that I chose for this year was basically to ease up on the “going within” thing, and start widening the scope a bit, to include more socializing, more friendship, maybe dating. In my enthusiasm to let bygones be bygones, and to start fresh with my new, more evolved mindset, I did something that I am really good at doing, and chose to make a familiar mistake- I let my ex move in with me. This wasn’t a romantic strategy by any means- he was having some trouble getting on his feet (this is ongoing), I was reeling from the loss of a beloved friend and feeling exceptionally tender-hearted and sentimental, and I honestly thought it could be a win for both us and our daughter. She gets more time with her dad, I get more time by myself, and he gets a safe place to stay and unlimited access with his daughter. What could go wrong, right?
Wrong. It wasn’t a total scream fest, at least, not like it was when we lived together and were still trying to stay in a relationship. But what didn’t work were a few key elements that are pretty significant. One was that he is an addict, much like I am- the main difference being that I choose not to use drugs, while he does (I obviously didn’t know he was still using when he moved in, for the record). If you were to ask him about this, he would of course deny it, although I was left in the unfortunate position of finding actual drugs in my home twice while he was here. I don’t care how long it has been, or how strong your recovery is- when you are faced with your drug of choice unexpectedly, you have a very visceral reaction. My stomach clenches and my heart pounds and I just overall felt sick, as I listened to him yammer on about how he didn’t know where it came from and it must have been packed in his stuff, it was old, it was…blah blah blah. Personally, when I got clean, the first thing I did was make sure to be rid of all things related to my drug use. I mean, this is a no brainer, right? So, you know, I should’ve put my foot down then and there, but…being the good control freak codependent that I am, instead, I made some new rules for him to completely ignore. My bad. Obviously, bringing drugs- hard drugs, mind you- into a home where a seven year old lives should be an automatic dismissal, right? Bringing drugs into the home of someone who is in recovery and is kind enough to extend the olive branch to you one more time, you might think twice about that, right? Except you probably aren’t on drugs, and that’s the thing- people who are don’t think the same way people who aren’t do. It’s just part of their lives. I forgot because I’ve been clean for a while now.
So then I missed a court date. I didn’t miss it because I’m irresponsible and forgetful, I missed it because I never received my summons in the mail. The mail that I get here at my house, generally every day. I only found out about the court date I missed because of the phone call I got from the lady at child support- oh yeah, did I mention it was for an ongoing child support case? No? well, that’s kind of important. It’s important because my ex knew about it, and he went, but he “forgot” to mention it to me- me, who somehow never received the notice to appear…so…I’m not saying he stole my mail, but…I’m not saying he didn’t, either. I’m not mad anymore, but at that moment, I felt that deep betrayal I’d experienced in our relationship so many times. I understood that I was dealing with someone who operated in a way that I would never be able to grasp, that I wasn’t capable of predicting, and that I certainly couldn’t help. So I told him it was time to go. I didn’t even ask for rent for the last month, because I knew he needed the money to find a place.
He moved out on April 1st. He still hasn’t found a place to stay. We had another court date, and I won my child support case. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t ask for back support, just current, beginning this month. I have been more than fair, I think. Now here’s the thing- he still wants to see his daughter, and I still want him to. I am grateful that he has to spend time with her at my house because I don’t ever know if he’s using or not and I don’t want him taking off with her if he is. I know he would never intentionally put her in harms way, but when someone is using they may not have the ability to judge what is wise and what is not. So for now, he comes here to see her. This is literally the ONLY TIME I get to do anything on my own if I want to do so.
Saturday, he was supposed to come watch our daughter while I drove out of town to pick up my older daughter. I needed to leave by 9:30 in order to arrive on time. By 9:45, he still hadn’t shown up, so…I didn’t call, I didn’t yell, I didn’t do anything. I just left, and brought our daughter with me. At 9:55, he called me, yelling and blaming me for all his problems in life BECAUSE HE WAS LATE and somehow it was my fault for not waiting? Hmm. Yesterday, I was planning on going out to dinner with my mother and my older daughter, and thought maybe Cammy would rather stay home with her dad than endure another long dinner out. Her dad had been at my house for hours hanging out with her, when, at four, he had to leave to look at an apartment. Fine, that’s great, whatever. The minute he left, I had Cam start getting ready to go with us, just in case. He knew we were eating at 6. At 5:50, he sent a text asking what time were we eating? He was far away and was just leaving…sigh. The good news is, Cam was great at dinner.
Here’s the thing- I used to think I needed to yell, to reprimand, to point out the errors he was making in his life. I thought it might actually make some kind of difference, that he might hear me. I know now that it is a waste of my breath and my time to even try. I know that I am the only person I can depend on here, and at the end of the day, the only one Cam can really depend on. It isn’t my job to point out her father’s failings, it’s my job to just protect her from them, and let her be a kid. And it isn’t even right to hope that she’ll see it for herself one day, which I’ve heard a million times- “She’ll figure it out herself one day, who he really is.” Nope. I hope she never does. I pray that he changes for the better way before then so that she can always hold him in high esteem. That is what I truly want for her, and for him. Do I get mad as fuck sometimes? Oh my god, yes. But like it or not, I am linked with this man for at least many more years, if not forever. So it does not serve anyone if he continues to fail at this.
I don’t need to invest myself in his implosion. I don’t need to be part of it at all. I get to enjoy the rewards of my recovery and my good choices, and I have to navigate this one last stretch of rocky road. I have finally learned how to step back from a situation and set my emotions about it aside, just looking at the facts. Watch someone long enough, and you will learn everything you need to know about them. Too bad I’m an incredibly slow learner…but, maybe that will change now, too. Who knows? What I do know is that there needs to be some structure and safety built into our system, and we haven’t done a good job making the rules we establish work. So I am going to need a lot of strength in the next leg of this journey, and I really hope I can get what I need from it- peace of mind, my daughter’s safety, consistency instead of chaos. Keep your fingers crossed for me!