By Toni Dyer
Oh, the chaos of having a child! Oh, the multi-tasking to be figured out with having two children! Now how do I figure out how to hold three children when I only have two hands? I managed this and I would love to tell you how, as it is such a sweet memory to me. Going to the grocery store in the northern-most part of Minnesota while toting along three children the ages of 5 and under was not a task for the weary. An event such as shopping took calculated timing (“Mom! I have to go number two!!”… I am already worn out because I just got him zipped up into his snowsuit!), it takes alertness, patience, energy, and did I mention patience? There I was unloading my children from the car with the oldest hanging onto my back pocket, my three-year-old holding my hand and in my other hand carrying my littlest in that clunky car seat that always left bruises on the side of my thigh. Soon there would be another precious being to reside in the quarters of my abdomen. I can hardly type about these four beautiful souls without welling up in tears because they are so far from my reach now. Not one to hold my hand or put their arms around my abdomen and return the words, “I love you too.”
My story is long and chaotic with a side-dish of ‘I wish I maybe hadn’t of done that!’ I believe with all my heart that people/parents do the best they know how on any given day with what they have at their disposal. I did the best I knew how. I divorced their dad after 13 years because I felt it was the right thing for me to do at the time. Before that day I was lifted up as an amazing mom. My entire focus was on my children. It’s been eight years since that I made that decision. I made an entire lifetime of new choices and mistakes since then it seems. I had another child out of wedlock after that. I do have her in my custody, and I do not experience any negativity concerning my parenting of her by her father or anyone else I know. It seems there is now an entirely different dimension where I exist as ‘Satan’ and unconsidered for visitation, unworthy of text replies or phone calls.
One year ago I moved from the location where my four older children reside because I lost my home. Initially, I thought I had secured a secondary plan, and my fiance was going to quit his job and move to me, but my plan fell through, and I lost that home as well. He and I decided the best thing to do was to have my youngest and I move to him. It wasn’t a permanent plan; this was a solution to a problem at that time. I don’t want to go into too many details because at that point I begin to feel like I’m making excuses and trying to convince you why it was pertinent that I leave. I didn’t have a choice. I didn’t have anywhere else to go. I didn’t have a single friend or family member for thousands of miles, and my youngest’s dad was checked out at this time.
My ex-husband told the lawyers and mediators that the problems all started when I left. He also expressed to them the kids are traumatized by the sound of my name. I later realized it’s because he is the one saying my name. Consideration for a visitation schedule was not on the table because of how traumatized my ex stated my children are. I know for a fact that this didn’t start because I left. My oldest has been doing all the things alienated children do to the targeted parent since I left his dad eight years ago. The day I moved my ex posted on Facebook that I abandoned my children, he’s glad I’m gone, and to never come back. My children are his friends on Facebook. His posting this wasn’t even the tip of the tippy-tip of the iceberg with the things he has done. His smear campaign was impressive.
I understand that my leaving was very difficult. I have made mistakes as a mom, human, daughter, sister, neighbor, wife… you name it! Do I deserve to be chopped off at the knees for choosing to not live in a shelter with my youngest and instead go to where we were loved? We needed to survive. By the time I left, I was a paper-thin shell of a human after all the conflict between the fathers and losing my oldest. I wish I had been stronger. I wish I had known how.
I didn’t know there was such a thing as Parent Alienation until after I moved here a year ago. When this all began with how my oldest started treating me eight years ago, I thought I had been ‘fired.’ I wasn’t good enough; I wasn’t smart enough or worthy enough anymore. I went to therapy; I cried lakes of tears, I slept entirely too many hours not to have to witness my failures and heartache, I became physically ill and ended up needing medical treatment several times. I even was a guest at a mental facility for one evening, overnight, for allowing the darkness of my heartache to seep out for too many to see. The doctors let me go in the morning with the full understanding that I was overwhelmed by the conflicts by the major people in my life, and this was a cry for help. I still didn’t hear of the words ‘Parent Alienation’. 8 years of battling this feeling and now I have three more that have joined the vendetta against me. I do not blame the children. I hurt for them. My 16-year-old has texted me twice in the last six months only to tell me to F-off and to call me by my first name. I can’t even type this without crying because he was so incredibly close to me. My ex has told everyone we weren’t very close.
I go to bed wishing I could say, ‘Goodnight, sleep with Angels, I love you.’ I wake up every morning with what feels like I’m carrying a 5 lb. brick in my heart because I’m still in disbelief they won’t even speak to me. I write letters that I send to an email I created just for them. I have the password stored in my phone so that just in case I die someone can give it to them, and they can read my love letters to them. There is no sense in sending these letters to them now. I have realized that it doesn’t matter what I do… it will be twisted. Everything I do is skewed into something it isn’t. I can only hope that when they do read my writings, they will understand that it is my truth. I’m not trying to gain attention from them or convince anyone of anything. I would like them to hear my story one day. It is difficult to tell since you are not supposed to speak ill of the other parent. How do you defend yourself when you can’t explain to them all the lies that have been told about you?
I have a Tumblr blog, and I have a blog for each of them that I send things to that I think they would enjoy. I share memes, poetry, artwork… all the content I wish I could share with them today. I also have the names of those blogs on my phone for them. I hope with all my heart that they can see my heart for who it beats for before it stops beating. Only time will tell at this point.
One of the funniest things I sometimes do to cope is that I play Sims and have created Sims for all my children. Isn’t that sad? The only way I can interact with the people I brought into this world is to interact with the Sims that I brought into this world.
I know I’m not alone. Eight years ago I thought I was the only rejected mom in the world. I was embarrassed, ashamed, depressed, defeated. There were days I could hardly function with everything I was battling. I’m still here. There are more days than I care to admit that I was ready not to be able to say those words anymore, but I’m still here. There are more days than not that I wake up wishing I hadn’t woke up because my children believe I am a monster. I cringe at the thought that I must be… how can I go on when the people I love the most think I’m a monster. I rewind all the mistakes I’ve made over and over again in my head torturing myself, wishing I could have done or not done something to have morphed into this unwanted, vile creature they now see me to be.
I am thankful that I did not give up and I encourage you not to give up if you are experiencing the same things. Everything is temporary. I am trying to learn to love myself again and embrace the most beautiful love that I do have in my life. I am learning that I do deserve love. I now believe that because I am unable to say or do anything to change their minds, I must live my life in full love and happiness so that when they decide to glance my way, they won’t see a monster. I don’t deserve to be punished year after year for deciding to leave someone eight years ago.