Relentless in his provocation. Relentless in his vicious, campaign of harassment and intimidation.
Having Lily concede to stay with him on overnights again, he lost impetus. Nothing to rail at; to hurl his righteous outrage at anymore.
So he pushed for more.
He informed us that Lily should stay with him another night since last weekend she had to attend a birthday party and he ‘let me have her for mother’s day.
I did offer him extra time on Saturday or Sunday afternoon reducing Mother’s Day to a Mothers Morning, but he declined. I suspect he’d made plans with his latest new girlfriend, since having time with her was shy he was late taking Lily to the birthday party.
Yes. Lily had been introduced to another new woman.
I think this is her third – perhaps fourth- but I get her confusion, they all look remarkably similar; blonde, short to mid-length hair, prominent noses. I can understand Lily’s confusion.
Her comment coming home was; ‘Daddy has a new girlfriend every month!”
She seemed buoyant and very happy to see me when she arrived home. Then as usual within an hour the emotional tsunami hit.
I think I’m beginning to understand these meltdowns: when she arrives she’s almost high; She’s giggly and awash with relief, and it takes a while for the emotional fatigue to settle on her little shoulders.
I lay in her bed with her when she’s like that.
She had a lot to say in her little girly whispers Saturday night:
“I miss old daddy”, but this time she adds; “I don’t like new daddy”.
“Daddy said he’s not getting you a mother’s day present because you wouldn’t let me stay a month ago.”
“Daddy says that you make up stories about me not wanting to stay.”
I asked her if she challenged him on this because she and I know it’s not true and she said;
“I don’t say anything because he gets mad at me and we’ll end up in a big fight.’
I told her that’s OK.
I assured her that wherever she is happy it is her choice to be there and if that’s with Daddy and it makes her happy then I will be happy too. She hugged me and told me “I like it here most- with you.”
I said; “If you want to stay and not go to daddy that’s ok too.’
“But daddy will get mad at you!”
I told her “it doesn’t matter to me if daddy gets mad; he can fly around like a dragon breathing fire and if you don’t want to go – you don’t have to”
She said; “but he’ll get mad at me too.”
Despite his declining my offer of extra time, this weekend it was payback and he demanded her for two nights; an idea she wasn’t happy with of course. Most emphatically. I’m wondering if it wasn’t a suggestion of his nasty lawyer to push harder.
Anyway, the manipulation and intimidation of Lily starts.
He takes her for her music lesson, texts me and says she’s happy to stay two nights; which is odd considering as she left she asked me to tell him ‘no’ because she was afraid to.
At the same time as I hear from him, she sends me a text saying “Daddy’s being a little mean.”
Then her phone gets turned off.
When she arrives back home she says again she doesn’t want to stay two nights, although I’ve had another text quoting her saying she wanted to stay all weekend with him.
“I feel like he’s forcing me.” She says.
I say, “Darling anyone who tries to force you to do anything you don’t want to- I will stop them – kids at school, grownups, anyone.” “You can take a little break if you need to like a friendship break when your friends aren’t being kind”
In a very adult tone she tells me: “if only it was that easy..”
“Why is in not easy, darling?”
“Because he’s my father and I can’t get away from him to have a break.”
It’s just so awful. Instead of accepting and respecting her feelings, backing off, and in doing so, regaining a little of her trust, he’s using what he knows best; coercion, intimation and outright bullying.
Friday morning he turns up to drive her to school (apparently he sent an email at 8:30 which is generally 15 minutes before we leave: not often reading emails at that time)
I tell him, with her permission, that she does not want to stay the weekend. He gives me a murderous look and snarls ‘well discuss it over email. I add “she told me she feels like you’re forcing her’.
If looks could kill it be in the ground with maggots in my nostrils.
Lily tells me after school, that he ‘went on about it all the way to school.’ But she held her ground.
I told her I was proud of her and how brave she was, but I’m thinking; she’s eight years old: she should not be having to deal with bullying from her own dad.
If he can’t respect her and her choices and her choices without bullying and coercing her then all unsupervised access will have to be stopped.
In the end Lily won that battle, he backed down and just took her Friday night.
And I’m woken by an email around midnight threatening me over having quarantined the mortgage payments back on the day he decided to withdraw financial support.
So this is the next stick he intends to beat me with?
He’d better be sure it’s a stick he’s reaching for and not a rope long enough to hang himself with.
|Narcissus by Caravaggio|
Pollyanna sent me this link: it switched a light bulb on in my head.