Noncustodial Mother’s Day

2007 was the last year that I was able to wake up with my kids. Little did I know, how tough the following years were going to be.

My ex’s parents did not have a care when it came to money or how much they spent. They were going to spend every penny it took to get my children away from me.

As most custodial parents, something was used against me. In my case it was my mental illness. Without adequate representation, I thought that if I could just show the court that I had taken care of my kids at home for 6 years that it would make a difference.

Except, I did not get a say. Within minutes. I was granted 60 +/- overnights a year. Even then, I did not expect the agreement to not be followed.

Over the years, I have repeatedly been taken back to court. If I need to go into the hospital for my mental health, I need to jump through all of the hoops to see my kids again.

This Mother’s Day is especially difficult. My oldest son believes everything that his father says, even if there is evidence to refute it. My youngest has taken the path of least resistance. That means not seeing me. My middle child who will turn 28’this year still sees me. He has always analyzed things around him and is neutral.

In 2007, I never believed that one day they would all be 18. That seemed so far away. I hope that my other two children will come to question their father, yet it may not happen in my lifetime. I love them and I always will. I have learned to appreciate every hug goodbye and every I Love you at the end of a text.

For those struggling today, we are out here and you are not alone. We feel the pain that comes with what you and those alike are going through. You are as much a mom as anyone else.

My Experience with Parental Alienation *May Trigger*

When the dust cleared and the agreement was signed, neither parent was supposed to negatively discuss anything about the other parent. The problem is that when one side has a top attorney and the other side does not have the money to afford an attorney, the terms of the agreement tend to get overlooked.

That is what happened to my children. It began with my ex and his mother. They would say that I was faking my mental illness, that I was not giving their father enough money. And even that I did not love them. When my ex married, the comments became worse. My kids were told that they were not from my culture, my daughter’s body was criticized, I was accused of lying and of not being genuine.

Every time that I went into the hospital for treatment of my mental illness there would be a long breaks between visits.‘I had to get letters from all of my doctors stating that I was not a danger to my children. Then I had to be evaluated by an independent doctor. This process could take as long as 10’months.

Now, my kids are teenagers. One does not speak to me and repeats that I am a selfish individual and a liar. That I do not look out for him. My second child visits and ask questions about my illness to tries to gauge the truth. He has also done some research. My third child has begun to move away from me. She is frustrated that I do not always know how I will feel in advance and believes that I am keeping the truth from her.

The state that my divorce was finalized in does not even have a statute for parental alienation. What I have learned over the past 10 years is that parental alienation begins with the adults surrounding the children. The messages become like a broken record. As the child ages, those messages are internalized and become the child’s beliefs. Once that happens it is hard to adjust their thinking.

I believe that every state should have laws regarding parental alienation and try to prevent it from happening in as many cases as possible. It can ruin a relationship between a parent and a child for life. Keeping each from experiencing the love and affection from each other. Life events go by without acknowledgement and soon kids turn into parents and grandparent is kept from their grandchild. More needs to be done!! Parents should not be shut out of a child’s life because of the other parents negative feelings.

The Struggles of a Non-Custodial Parent

Once again the holiday season is here. For non-custodial parents this is a hard time of year. For some, they may not have been able to see their children for years. For others it may mean an unequal distribution of holiday time with the kids. The custodial parent gets part of each holiday, which equates to lost time with the children.

Some parents are amicable and do what is best for the kids. Other parents are selfish and think that every holiday is theirs and that the non-custodial parent does not “deserve” the time with the children.

Even when the children are grown, they are often guilted into spending the holiday with only one parent. This leaves the other parent out of the holiday experience.

Personally, I have not had an Easter, Mother’s Day, or Christmas dinner with my children for 12 years. For 6 of those years I did not see them on Easter or Christmas at all. Maybe this has made me and other non-custodial parents stronger. The time with the children becomes even more special and holidays are not necessarily the dates on the calendar.

For the non-custodial parents out there: I hope that you get to spend some time around the holidays with your children. Make each visit special.

Trapped *May Trigger*

I feel like I am trapped. I am somewhere on the scale in more than one aspect of my life. I do not want to be alive, yet killing myself would hurt those around me. I want therapy, yet it does not seem to be going well with my therapist at this time.

Even my kids are a conundrum. I worry about their lives, yet I am not there with them during the week. There is only so much that I can do over the phone. I just received an email today from a teacher of my son who has chosen to not communicate with me. He is not doing well. I really want to be able to get makeup work for him and have him do it at my house, yet he will not even come out to the car to say hello to me.

At least I have my diamond paintings and can lose myself in that world for a few hours each night. I also have two sweet cats. One who is laying on my lap and another who gives kisses at night before she goes to sleep.

My husband allowed us to move this past year and I am no longer trapped in a neighborhood full of crime. If I look at the whole picture it is pretty divided. I am not even sure what image it conjures up. Maybe some type of storm where it is raining on one side of the painting with dark gray clouds and a rainbow on the other side. The problem is that I feel like I am right on the thin line down the middle.

The Trials of Being a Noncustodial Parent

I have been a noncustodial parent for over 10 years. In those years I have not had my children for one holiday dinner since they have to be back in the afternoon. There were not the first day of school pictures or even school visitation. When I would try to visit the kids at school I had to being my legal paperwork and a written note from their father.

Now that they are getting older I do not see them for dances or when they get home from school, I am not there to help them with homework. Most of our conversations are over text. I am at the mercy of whatever extra curricular activities that they are signed up for which often eat up a portion of my weekend.

The good news is that I still get to see my kids. I realize there are those parents out there who cannot and that has to be agony. I know that when I had my children this is not how I pictured watching them grow up. In bits and pieces when I have a chance too.

In my case it was my mental illness. I have had to fight to see them since then. It seems as if court is never ending. One day they will be old enough to choose. I am hoping to have that dinner or one more night. The future is promising, yet one child has been convinced that I am a horrible mother and no longer speaks to me.

Hang in there is you are in the same situation and keep fighting for as long as possible. It is an uphill battle, yet there is an end to the hill and the grass is greener on the other side.

A Noncustodial Outcome

I have three kids/teenagers at this point. They spend most of their time in a home where money is plentiful and luxury is the norm. My youngest two still want to come here and spend time with me playing games, making cookies, and watching movies. They make me feel like a parent when they are here.

Then there is my oldest who has not spoken or seen me in 3 years. At this point he does not even call me mom anymore, he calls me by my first name. It hurts that his father and extended family say that I do not care and that I am a bad parent. They say it would just be easier to cut me out of their lives. He has taken that to heart. Even if I am driving the other kids home, he will run into the house .

It is hard to know that he is becoming a young man and that I cannot even talk to him. I hope that one day he changes his mind and calls me. Then again, I may never hear from him. It is hard to know that for now anyway I have lost him.

A Custody Dilemma Due to My Mental Illness

I have stated on here that I have three kids. Right now I am feeling like the story of the three bears. One child does not speak to me at all. The second child is ok with the visitation arrangement and does not want to cause any issues. The last child is having some issues with home and school and wants to move in with me.

Enter the fact the the other parent has full physical custody. That parent believes they are the best because they do not have a mental illness which causes symptoms that have prohibited them from working. That parent would remove the kids from me in a minute. That parent grudgingly brings the kids that do want to come to visit.

Yes, I have PTSD and depression. I lose time and I have trouble leaving the house. I have nightmares that keep me up and cause me to be tired during the day. Apparently, that means that I cannot be a parent.

The last child wants to live here. That child is having some issues and would like to try going to school and living here. At least the child is not into high school yet and the grades will not count toward college. I am worried. Financially, I do not have the funds for the court case. It would be complicated and ugly. I have a feeling both sides would be calling experts. What to do? Emotionally, I want the third child to have a chance. Intellectually, I know that I cannot afford the fight. I am not sure that I could handle it emotionally either.

So here I am. I feel guilty that I cannot do what someone with more income would be able to do. I feel guilty for not working, yet my therapist and I are just trying to get me to leave the house. I feel guilty that there is a situation that will negatively affect this child in the future. I feel like I am watching a train wreck. I know what emotional abuse looks and sounds like. Not only from my own experience, but also from the child maltreatment classes that I took. Emotional abuse is one of the hardest types of abuse to prove. There are no exams and even therapists tends to minimize situations.

Right now I am scared. If this child is anything like me I am scared how far they will go to prove how bad they are feeling. I am scared that the custodial parent will stop the child from seeing me because they feel that I somehow caused this to happen. My genes are defective. Right now all I can do is hope that I get the kids at my next visitation.

A Late Holiday

I had a meeting with my ex and I have the kids today. I am excited to see them, yet I feel weird after not seeing them for two months. I am not there to know their friends or even the little things that they are doing. I just found out today the my son wants to do a certain program in high school.

Being a non custodial parent is hard in that I always feel like the kids can be taken away at any time. They are amazing kids. I just do not feel like a good enough mother to them.

Somehow I got Through

Christmas is a holiday with conflicting memories. I used to have a great time at my Aunt’s house, yet I remember my parents being forced.

This Christmas was the first Christmas that I could not see my kids because I had to go into the hospital. I felt like I was being punished and that I could not even hold it together enough to be able to see them. I had to go inpatient. I needed the staff and the support.

In two days I have a meeting with my ex to see about when I can see the kids again. I hope it will go well. Who knows with my ex.

Christmas at our home was great. I was able to see the cat stick her head into a treat bag. I received some cool art supplies and a bubble light. I was able to spend the day with my husband just relaxing.

I hope to get my kids back soon. I miss them. They at least still talk to me at night.

DBT is going well. I like keeping the diary cards each day and keeping track of my symptoms. Right now we are focusing on mindfulness. After the new year we will begin emotion regulation. I know that I need it and that I am going to need to work really hard to be able to use it.

My sleeping is like it always is. I found I get more sleep without taking sleep medication. I am going to see how it work out for the next few nights.

The holidays are almost over and for the most part they have been good. Let’s see how the beginning of the new year will go.

More Lies and Deceit 

I have already lost one of my children for reasons that I do not understand. Now, I feel like I am losing another. My ex and his wife tell my kids that I do not care, that I am not contributing enough money,’and that I am choosing a life that does not include them.

In reality, my ex is getting the child support ordered by the court. I am transporting them according to the agreement, and I see them as much as possible.

Sometimes I feel like it is a battle that is already lost. My ex has the money to put them in camps and go on vacations. He has them more and they tend to gravitate toward what he says.

I get blamed for the divorce. Yes, I will take credit for what I did, yet he seems to leave out what he was doing. My mental illness is said not to exist on one hand and then to be the cause of everything on the other. I am sure that is confusing.

Inevitably, it is leading to my kids not wanting to have anything to do with me. They have taken their father’s view that I am not good enough and do not do enough. Sometimes I think that the best that I can hope for is for them to look back and realize that I did what I could. I was not perfect, yet I did my best: