I’m downstairs in my office trying to get started on my contribution to this blog as I seethe over my stepdaughter’s selfish behaviour…but she’s 13, she’s just spent her first year living with her mother (yes, her FIRST) and she’s been the subject of a bitter, nasty family court case for five years during which my husband who raised her from the age of 18months to 12 found out she’s not his biological child……but she’s still a selfish little madam who need to be taught how to be a decent human being!
Twisted? You bet. Five years ago I had NO idea people lived such lives. Five years ago almost to the day I was discovering the body of my husband destroyed by his own suicide. Five years ago I met the man I married the next year, the man raising his two children because his ex-wife had decided to bugger off to the other side of the world and leave their children behind with him when he asked for a divorce. Five years ago I moved into a household that included HIS mother because he had had to sell half his house to her in order to save the family home and have someone live in and take care of a baby and a seven-year-old boy…….
I took on his children and his mother, moved out of the city I loved to do it, lost a hell of a lot of my business contacts in the process and landed myself with an enormous debt due to the travelling, exhausted myself becoming a full-time stepmother and for the first six months had a BALL doing it all. Honestly. The children loved me and us together, his mother was delighted and delightful, the house was happy and we were forming exactly the bonds we needed to be a successful blended family….until the ex and HER mother realised.
I didn’t know the term “parental alienation’ until it happened to me, until my SD asked why Grandma (now known as The Grandhag) told her having two mothers would cause her to be taken to a ‘loony bin’ where she’d have to have ‘electro-shock therapy’.
When my husband confronted his ex-mother-in-law (who had been enjoying full weekend visitation once a month organised by him since HER daughter buggered off to please herself), her reply was swift and revealing – she refused to acknowledge him as a father and refused to explain herself.
As the children had been complaining about having to be away every second weekend (the Ex came back after 18 months away, took 50/50, then moved AGAIN to be with a man and took the bare minimum visitation she could to get away with paying $0-36 a YEAR child support for two children), my now fiancé told Grandhag he was done her disrespect for his family, his efforts and with he and his mother doing ALL the work to ferry the children around to HER when they were growing up and wanting to do less traveling out. He felt it was time HER side of the family showed the children THEY were willing to play their part and come to THEIR home, respect THEIR family and demonstrate the kids didn’t have to run to others to be loved but that the ones who love them will play their part too.
Solid parenting 101, right? Kudos to the dad, don’t you think? We had NO idea what a monstrous pair of narcissistic personality-disordered monsters we had nesting in our lives….
Within 24 hours of pulling that weekend visitation, The Grandhag had Legal Aid, a family court case filed for ‘Parental Visitation Rights’ and proceeded to reject every single (very generous) offer for balanced visitation – which included the offer that she come and stay the weekend in OUR home.
For the next five years I learned a whole lot that I wish I had never needed to learn. I learned that you can love a child that isn’t yours fiercely but they will almost always choose their mother regardless of her vile behaviour. I learned women can be truly, truly evil in ways I don’t see men behaving. I learned how rotten the child support and family court systems are – to the CORE – and I learned to fight and fight hard, to defend my family like a tiger possessed.
I learned how women like my husband’s exes fight dirty and how they weave their lies so well, I learned to tell lawyers to fuck off with their practised ways of making money off misery by perpetuating the situation and never really employing any direct fight to end the bullshit. I learned to stand up to bullies and liars, to let go of children whose minds have been too twisted to see the truth and trust they will find their own way.
By the time it was obvious we needed to DNA test my SD (too many medical issues, too much unlike anyone in the family, too many past rumours and the Ex suddenly torturing both children with threats of a ‘deep, dark secret’ which would ruin their relationship with their father), I was ready for a War with these bitches from Hell. I watched my husband collapse in public from the 100% negative results of two private DNA tests, I spent hours and days and weeks and months and years of my life pouring over court papers, research papers, on the phone to CSA etc etc etc.
I backed my man to the hilt and watched his son walk away from him with his middle finger raised just because HE didn’t get what HE wanted, only to fulfil the Grandhag’s promise that she would ‘take your son from you by the time he is 18.’
I brought shamans into my home to expel the evil spirits the children brought in with them every time they came home, I spread protection symbols around my home and property constantly. I despaired with every lie fed to the children that they let slip. I learned to counter each lie as best I could at the risk of pushing the children further into those evil arms.
I cried with my husband and mother-in-law when we had to tell SD her father was not her biological parent and I held that confused child through the night as she cried too…..
I gave thanks every single day that despite everything, not once did EITHER child say to me “you are not my mother’ and not once has SD ever said the same to her Dad, despite being seduced into moving in with her mother – a move calculated to do the most hurt to us and to get CS for the woman whose own marriage collapsed because Stepdaddy didn’t want her children either.
I took perverse pleasure from watching SS, who had been cosseted over in our home and given every chance and every excuse, wreck his final year of school and spend his time at his mother’s demonstrating to HER what he had been in our home: a lazy selfish lump of a nasty spy who played video games all day long. When Hex got an electricity bill of over $1000, I cheered. SS moved out on HER just a week before she bought herself a house (yes, after claiming to the court she couldn’t pay us the outstanding CS she owed!), leaving his own mother to move by herself. Charming. But then at 19 he is really just a wounded 7-year-old boy traumatised by the fact his mother thought it just fine to bugger off and leave him. He will learn the hard way and we cannot save him. Basta cosi.
I dealt with SD having reversed visitation and HEX begin the stupid email/text games to try and continue the drama as she smelled the end of court action. I worked with my husband to develop all the strategies to avoid the woman, avoid the drama, avoid the triggers and STOP FEEDING THE MONSTER.
In 2018 we are finally at the pointy end of all this. We have one more round of stupidity with the ridiculous family court/csa circus and the appalling lack of legislation for Paternity Fraud. I have been asked to join the Advisory Council for Women Against Paternity Fraud (WAPF) and video-taped an interview for its soon-to-be-released (this month!) documentary and I am in talks with my local parliamentary member to push for new legislation to protect men against PF – I want mandatory DNA testing at birth, before any CSA account can be created against a man and before any custodial matter will be accepted to be heard at court.
I won’t rest until Reform is in action. And five years after meeting the man of my dreams I am still here, still in love, triumphant over those who said they would break me, ruin my marriage and destroy my home and family. We have lost people on the way (his sister turned on all of us, his son ran away, his daughter moved out) but we’ve also gained our self-respect and the support of many, many others.
We’ve learned to leave people to their own Karma, but also not to flinch from the Truth or from demanding Justice or from calling BULLSHIT when and where it happens. I’ve learned I have a short temper for tall fools and that I was extremely naïve when I became a step-mother – but the odds were always stacked against me and now I’m on the other side I note all the rookie mistakes were still part of a wider tapestry that weaves itself. For now, I’m just going to enjoy having my home back, my husband back, the truth out there, making officials squirm as they should for the crap they uphold….and the fact that without the BS/shitstorm playing out directly in my home, all my flowers are blooming and the house finally feels like a safe place.