I thought maybe if I blogged about the reasons behind it all, it might help in some way.
Theoretically my parenting is sound, in practice, I never really had a chance. I was only 17 years old when I had my son and 20 when I had my daughter. My ex was 17 years older than me, born to a totally different generation and totally different families. I was a child with raging hormones and parents that couldn't decide on the rules, my Dad gave a little leeway so I could experience life and my mother would have had me locked up in my room. I think because of my age no one took me seriously, my parenting skills, rules and forms of discipline, ignored and disregarded in favour of something else. To me threats are pointless unless you follow through, if you tell a child I am taking your Xbox off you for a week, if you don't stop what you are doing, then that's what you should do. My ex and his mother believe that threatening to take away a toy is enough, said toy never did get taken away, (that said Alex wouldn't really have cared) I also believe that if you put your kid under house arrest that means he should stay in his room until the time is up, not giving in because he decides to scream bloody murder. A week should mean a week! Not an hour, nor do I believe in fake house arrests, because said child is being particularly annoying. There's also little point grounding a child and still allowing them access to the phone, T.V, games consoles and the internet. Everything should be removed, allow them pencils and paper, books and puzzles, that's it!
All my rules and stipulations were ignored, on the few occasions they would humour me, it lasted a matter of hours, most of the time we played by their rules. If I am honest both of the children are ruined. Alex runs amok consistently, he does what he wants when he wants, rarely attends school and speaks to adults in the most appalling way, his attitude is not helped by the fact his father shows wanton favouritism to his daughter who is spoilt rotten. Then because of sibling rivalry she has no shame, and flaunts her goods regularly.
There was and is little I can do, star/merit charts I made up got ignored, rules I put in place pushed to one side and if I dared to discipline them, my ex would belittle my authority by saying something like, "Lay up Rebecca, he's got Aspergers don't forget" or "Stop being so hard on him" and my favourite of all the put downs "What kind of mother are you? Constantly nagging him over the little things" All well and good if it was said after the kids were in bed, or somewhere else playing, instead though he would say it in front of them, Alex had no respect for me at all because of it. He had gotten so used to hearing people excuse his behaviour because of the Aspergers, that he now believes nothing is his fault and he has a free pass to do whatever he likes. Now I am expected to be sympathetic because he is out of control. I don't feel anything of the sort. Why should I? The fundamentals of a child's behaviour are the make up of what's to come, please and thank you, respect your elders and kindness is where everything is built from, then you teach, not to go through other peoples things, table manners, it's wrong to help yourself without asking first etc. etc.
All of the rules and lessons are basic stuff, but to my ex and his mother silly and irrelevant, not so much now though. Children with Aspergers have no social skills, unable to naturally interact with society, they see things in a totally different light. They need to be taught, told and shown how to behave. Alex has a phobia of his peers, opting for either younger or older friends. He learns by example, he is dismissive of women, disrespectful and abusive. He's such an angry young man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. My mother says he is quite formidable, now, standing over 6ft.
I've often wished for a second chance at being a mother, a do over. I feel robbed of it all. I have what it takes to raise a good productive member of society - but I was robbed of that, dismissed because of my age and whilst I did my growing it was unaccepted by my ex and his family who still treated me like the child he married. I recently found out he only married me because I was pregnant and for financial reasons.
My life, my hopes, my dreams, all thrown away because I was young, naive and stupid, 10 minutes of stupidity, followed by a life long commitment. My biggest regret in life is, letting myself get bullied into leaving my children behind, knowing I was desperate to get out of the marriage and away from him, he threatened to fight dirty for the children. I was broke, conned into paying for the solicitor who represented him in court, I had no solicitor. Extra money for a custody battle just wasn't there, to fight. I was living in a room at my mothers, because I couldn't afford a place of my own, not even a three room apartment. Not only that but I would have had to prove that I was mentally fit to have them, about six years earlier I had been put on Zoloft, an antidepressant, mostly because of the way I was treated. In 2005/2006 I forget the exact date, it was documented that I was unable to cope with the kids, I guess essentially saying I was an unfit mother, and not able to care for Alexander, due to my mental health, when in reality it wasn't Alex making me ill. I did it so Alex could get into a very expensive school, for children with autism and ADHD, and other such behavioural issues, to get him in I had to go on record as not being able to cope. In effect I unwittingly signed away my children that day.
At the time I thought I was doing what was best for my son. To be honest at that time, it was the best thing for him, his grades improved, he slowly began to mix with his peers, he was learning to respect others and was thriving in the structured surroundings, timetables, rules, attention and discipline was followed through. For those reasons alone I don't entirely regret allowing my ex, Alexanders social worker and his psychiatrist using my depression as a means to get him into the school. Had I known that I would later find the strength to leave my ex, and that it would have been used against me there's not a chance I would have allowed it.
I kept telling myself after I left that it didn't matter, that as a responsible mother I had done the best thing for my children. Upset and change is not good for a child with Aspergers, in four years I have moved six times and about to move again, Abbygail has severe learning disabilities, her first language is German and she struggles reading and writing that, let alone starting over in a foreign language. It all seemed so logical and valid reasons, not to mention most of their family, Godparents and friends are in Germany, etc. I genuinely believed that it was for the best. I now realise all too late the error of my ways.
Easter 2010 Abby came to stay with us for about 9 days, she broke down into floods of tears, because her Dad makes her do all the house chores, she has a paper round and she has a lot of homework to do, while he sits on his computer, supposedly working, when what he is really doing is playing poker! It all rang too familiar, to how I was treated, my heart broke. Glen and I decided that she should come and live with us, she is a child not a maid or slave, that's no way for a child to live, but she's female therefore it's her job. We didn't want her growing up thinking that it's ok to be treated like that, and asked her if she wanted to live with us, prepared for the ensuing fight that was bound to occur between me and her father. Being with us is what she really wanted. When we asked her she immediately said yes.
I didn't want to con Abby into coming to live with me, no dirty low down tricks. So to equal the playing field for her father, I explained that we would be moving back to England and that she would have to leave all her family and friends behind, that she would only be able to email, phone and occasionally visit. I also explained that she would have to make new friends, in a new school that would totally be in English and that it would be very hard work. Then I told her that the only chores she would have to do were her own, tidying her room, laundry downstairs, putting her own dishes in the dishwasher and a few simple chores, emptying the bin if it was full and she saw it, let the dog out into the garden if she happened to be in the living room at the time. The only other thing that we said was a must, she comes in from school changes out of her uniform, does her homework and then she could go out to play with her friends, and at least two or three pages of a book of her choice, every night before bed.
The problem was her father, when I told him I wanted my daughter to come and live with me, he said over my dead body, with Glen behind me I wasn't afraid of him and told him it wasn't over and that we would be discussing it again. Two days later I got a phone call off Abby she'd changed her mind, school would be too hard, she'd miss her friends and her Dad. I could understand that, I was bitterly disappointed though, then I find out that the truth was, her Dad had told her that if she came to live with me, he would lose the house he was in, using the same blackmail tactics on her that he used on me to get what he wanted.
He then waited until I was out of the country, used his position at work to breach the data protection act and obtain what he thought was my address, legally he shouldn't even have had access to my private information, using the computers to find out how much I was earning. Then he took me to court to fight for sole custody and more child support, when I was working he got money from me, but he told people that he hadn't. First was the custody case, I was shocked all the letters that came to me were in German and I don't read German, I hired a German solicitor money I can ill afford. All I wanted was the right to know what is going on in my children's lives, four times Alex overnighted in hospital and each time I found out days later from my mother, I was happy for him to sign for any emergency treatment they may need, and any minor things like opening a bank account for example, everything else I wanted to know and have a say. As for the child support that hasn't been decided yet, although by the comments on his facebook you'd think it had been. He told everyone that he has 99% custody of the children, not true and he is supposed to inform me of anything important going on, but he hasn't. He also posted on facebook that he has been awarded all the money he wants off me every month (more than I earn when I am on a 45 hour week) that he had also been awarded back payments for all the months I haven't paid and he is saying I never gave him money, he also told everyone that I have to pay compensation for all the anguish and stress I have caused him.
He also made it quite clear to everyone that I don't care about the children. Which couldn't be further from the truth! The point now is where do I go from here?
To be honest I have no idea, I don't profess to know all the answers or to be the worlds best theoretical mother. I do know that I would have done a better job of it than him. His own daughter was saying how embarrassed she feels of him, because he smells bad and has on several occasions called him bone idle. I wish that I could get some satisfaction out of that - his failings as a man and a father, but if I am honest I just pity him, he has the two most precious things in the whole world and he's destroying any chance his son has to succeed and setting his daughter up, to end up marrying a bully. Into thinking it's okay to be nothing but a slave to her husbands every whim. I desperately miss them and I am so worried about them. It's not ok that I am without my children, it's not ok that people think that I don't care and don't want them, because in reality, I cry myself to sleep when I am able to sleep, I feel like my heart is being ripped out of me everyday.
He has managed to do a fantastic job of convincing them that I don't care about them, filling their heads with ridiculous non-sense. I wonder how they'd feel if they knew I was suicidal at the end, or how much their father has hurt me over the past 18 years? Physically and mentally, the thing is I'm not that unscrupulous, I would never try and turn them against their father or stoop to dirty underhand games, one day they will know the truth, until then I have no choice but to keep telling them that I love them.