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The Only Trigger Left

CastleJJ's picture

As many of you who have been following my story know, I've been in steplife for about 11 years. I met DH when SS was 10 months old. BM and DH dated on/off again in high school and into college, BM falling pregnant with SS at 19. The only thing that has been consistent with BM since then is keeping DH away from SS as much as possible. 

Tonight, I was scrolling through social media and I came across one of those "divorce court" or "support court" type video clips. Watching this BM share her side of things triggered me, reminding me exactly of how BM laid out her case. This BM claimed that she was breastfeeding her child (who was only 9 months old) but was told if she continued, she wouldn't need to grant overnights until the child turned 3. The BM also argued that she denied visitation to the Dad, but only because the BM was living with her parents and the Dad made no effort to come see the child at her parents' home, but that she refused to let him take the child anywhere else for visitation. The BM also said she was weary about having the Dad at her parents because the parents didn't like him and he didn't like them. Then she went on to say that the child had a medical issue (that she never informed Dad about) and only she could manage his care and he required increased monitoring and was more susceptible to illness, which is why Dad couldn't take him elsewhere. The judge granted Dad every Saturday and Sunday visitation from 10 am to 6 pm until age 3, at which time, it could be revisited.

Our BM did this exact thing to DH. DH took her to court for custody and visitation after SS was born. When they went to court during SS' infancy, BM claimed she was breastfeeding and that SS would not take a bottle, despite BM telling DH (which she had forgotten about) that she had bottle fed him since birth because she wasn't comfortable breastfeeding. The judge told BM to grant visitation at her discretion until the next hearing. BM offered one or two few hours visits every few months at her parent's house or at a local park, always staying with SS and DH during the visit. She refused to let DH take SS alone. When they finally got back to court, SS was two, and BM claimed that SS had special needs and only she was trained to care for him. It was another lie. She said that she told DH about medical appointments but he never came (because DH was only informed 15 minutes before every appointment and BM would abuse him verbally when he didn't attend, despite living an hour away). There was no medical record showing a medical diagnosis, but DH couldn't access the records as BM had default sole custody during this time since they were never married and custody wasn't finalized. The judge again offered day visits and it continued. Their final court hearing a few months later resulted in BM saying "DH has barely seen SS in his whole life so how can he get overnights?" to which the judge agreed. That kept DH on day visits until SS was 5. We were never offered a step up plan to overnights and there was no intention to give DH overnights per the courts. 

Now, SS is 11 and the longest visit we have ever gotten is 2 weeks at a time, totaling 6 weeks per year. This summer, BM told us we needed to move our standard summer visitation around (2 two week blocks) just for this summer due to sports (the CO grants her this power). We gave her three options, one being a 3 week stint and a 1 week stint to total our 4 weeks. BM said "No, that SS wasn't comfortable being with us for 3 weeks." 

This type of thing is the only trigger I truly have left in Steplife. I have reached acceptance with everything else and I can mostly find BM's antics annoying instead of triggering. We usually just let everything go and follow the CO. But I can't get past the fact that we have never really had real visitation with SS and every attempt to fight for more time led to maybe an hour increase that would last a year until the next hour increase, only to finally get overnights when BM moved too far away for few hour visits to be feasible. I hate that when BM moved in 2017, we started with one 24-hour period of a month and 3 one week blocks in the summer, only to go up to every other holiday break, split Christmas break and 2 two week blocks in summer the next year, maintaining that schedule ever since. We were never given the standard long distance visitation schedule of majority of summer - that we could live with! This kid is 11 years old now and has had regular court ordered visits since age 2 and we can't increase the time as SS STILL isn't "comfortable?" We know this is a BM issue; another ploy to keep control. We have asked SS about it and he just says "I don't know, my Mom makes those decisions." We both believe he would be fine with us for longer durations. DH and I both agreed we will never go back to court. We spent all of our savings (close to $30k) on that legal battle and the judge said he would never change the current schedule until SS ages out, so we know we are stuck. This is really the last thing that triggers me and takes me down the rabbit hole of all the failed legal proceedings that failed and continue to fail to give DH adequate time with SS. I just hate that in 11 years, we have failed to prove ourselves "worthy" of a meaningful relationship with SS. And all of these double standards we have to endure because BM "is the parent" with decision making and power and we are just bystanders in SS' life.

Comments

dragonfly878's picture

Out of curiousity- does your SS have his own cell phone? I feel like once SS15 got his own phone DH and he would communicate more regularly without BM in the middle...

CastleJJ's picture

He does not. The closest BM and GF came to getting him a cell phone was a GPS tracking kids "smartwatch" that was linked to BM and GF's cell plan. It called, texted, and tracked location. We didn't know SS had one until he arrived with it one day and when we realized what it could do, we turned it off and put it in the front hall closet until pick-up. SS even said that BM and GF sent it because they were "afraid of human trafficking and kidnapping" during our visits, so it would send a text reporting his location to BM and GF every 15 minutes. NOPE - hard pass. We did put DH's phone number in it, so SS could call or message if he wanted to. SS later told us that BM removed DH's contact once SS got home. BM never sent it again after that one visit.

SS does have an old iTouch. I know it only works on wifi and has to stay plugged in 24/7 or it dies instantly. I don't know if he has a texting app on it or not. I look forward to SS having a phone so DH can contact SS more regularly (if BM will actually allow that to happen), but I also dread it because I know BM will be messaging constantly during our visits. The PAS will start happening in our home too once SS gets a phone. 

dragonfly878's picture

I'll bet she holds off as long as possible because she'd be giving up control through access. However- he will want one soon (my SS was 11 when he got one) and your DH will be able to text and establish his own relationship with him without the BM filter.

CastleJJ's picture

SS has said that BM won't give him one until he is 16. I don't know if I see her waiting that long, but I do see her putting measures in place. I see her not telling DH about the phone, refusing to provide the phone number, then either blocking or deleting DH's number from the phone and doing so over and over again to ensure she is the only point of contact between DH and SS. I know this is a possibility because of how she handled DH's contact in the smartwatch. 

dragonfly878's picture

It seems like she's trying to erase him- which she can't. Hopefully at that age your DH can speak directly to SS or- speak with BM's family and/or take her to court for blocking communication. She must really see the two fo you as a threat to go to all of those lengths to attempt to control/block contact.

dragonfly878's picture

Another thought- BM needs to put you and DH down so she can elevate herself to seem more important that she, GF and even SS are. You, DH and your DD are just as worthy and I truly believe that success is the best revenge. 

CastleJJ's picture

I know that this is true. I keep telling myself that success is the best revenge, yet it always feels like we are behind the 8-ball success wise. DH and I do okay financially, still making less than BM and GF. We have a new, smaller house compared to BM and GF's older, larger house. We have a large family network that BM and GF do not. And we have DD who is ours and doing well. I know that DD has really thrown BM and GF for a loop and her existence has pissed BM off. I think BM has psychologically damaged us so bad in the past to make us feel "less than" that no matter how well we do, it feels subpar compared to them. 

Winterglow's picture

As much as I loathe your BM, I actually feel sorry for her. IF she puts up such a struggle to try and eliminate your DH it's because she sees such a change in her son every time he comes home to her. He's happy, smiling and content and she cannot, for the life of her, work out how to do that to him. She hasn't a clue about raising a child, passes him to anyone who will take him off her hands, and cannot comprehend why you both love having him around. It's no surrise that she doesn't want SS to spend more than 2 weeks with you at a time (and she'd cut those weeks short if she could). Psychologically, she's a poison gnome.

You have so much in the way of family, friends, and now your DD that just thinking about you must make her feel the full extent of the barrenness of her life. Well, that's what you get when you invest heavily in alienation and earning money rather than doing the right thing... 

Her jealousy shows at every turn. She's a pathetic loser. 

CastleJJ's picture

Thank you for this Winterglow. It does provide another perspective. I don't think BM sees SS as happy when he is with us, because SS is always a mess when he returns to BM. The second she arrives to pick him up he is anxious, irritable, tearful, etc. I think it's because he knows what he is going back to and he knows BM will interrogate the crap out of him the second he hits the car door. We can't ask SS about his life at BM's because SS has been sworn to secrecy, so whenever we ask, he gets awkward and changes the topic. We aren't the ones using him as a spy or interrogating him, but BM has projected her behavior of doing that onto us and makes SS believe we are the problem. BM calls SS during our visitation and the whole call is a spy report of every single thing that has happened and any eavesdropping he has done on DH and I. When we call SS, we can't ask him about sports, what he did over the weekend, etc. because it all fulls under BM's time and he has to be secretive for BM. 

I know that BM is poison. I know she is projecting all of her issues onto us. And I can't determine if she is jealous or not, but maybe she is. Maybe she is because DH actually made something of himself despite BM thinking he would forever be a loser. Maybe because DH moved on to have another child, making SS (and therefore her) less relevant. Whatever goes through BM's brain, she will always present herself as better, stronger, smarter, wealthier, and more equipped than DH. 

Yesterdays's picture

I agree with Winterglow as well. I think your SS fares much better at your house and I think BM is intimidated by this and jealous and that's why she trys so hard to manipulate things. SS unfortunately is placed in the middle and feels loyalty to his mother who is alienating. It's sad.

It's too bad there are so many parents out there thinking about themselves when they ought to be thinking about what is in the best interest of the child. And that means encouraging a relationship between their child and the other bio parent. There's so many that simply don't do this.

What strikes me with your situation is that it really comes through how much your care for your SS, and your DH .

. BM just seems like she's got a giant chip on her shoulder. The expression "Hurt people hurt people"... I think she's hurting and unfortunately how she acts impacts her sons wellbeing. 

thinkthrice's picture

Yes CRIME is that this scenario continues to repeat itself hundreds of thousands of times, especially in western society where biodad has been reduced to a wallet.  It will never change bc the system profits off this arrangement.

MissK03's picture

Even in my pathetic BMs mind... "your daddd has all that money... AND has miss k!!!" SO and I make decent money but nothing crazy and we live in a expensive state AND they guy is raising 3 kids in todays world! 

BMs husband is retired (20 year federal job) so collecting a pension and working a full time job.. (he's 50) oh and has won multiple lawsuits... But that doesn't count they have multiple houses, Harley's, toy cars, RV... SO SHOULD be paying for EVERYTHING in her mind. 

grannyd's picture

Damn, Castle!

Whenever I read one of your posts, I feel almost light-headed with rage! Oh, how I wish that someday, in some way, that terrible, sick, bitch BM will get her comeuppance. Her pathological spite and the refusal of Family Court to exert the barest modicum of integrity in dealing with your husband and his son is breathtaking in its injustice. 

I continue to hope that your next post will state that the evil harpy has been jailed for some humiliating crime, deserted by her new wife, fired for cause or something equally delicious. Ah well, one can only dream….

Call me callous but some BMs are so malevolent that the karma bus needs to speed the hell up! Diablo

 

MissK03's picture

None of this is a reflection on your character. You have to remember that.. I know it's bothering but family court is so corrupt and hopefully somewhere down the line someone changes it.

I equally get triggered when I hear things BM has tried making me out to be and taking away who I am as a person. This is a huge issue with me... don't make me out to be something I'm totally not.. Unfortunately we have ZERO control about what people say about us.. We can live our best life and not be bothered by it.   

Karma will get these people. 

CastleJJ's picture

I know it's not a reflection of us. I know the court system is corrupt and that DH and BM never being married and being practically teenagers set most of this in motion. There was no way the courts were going to give a 19-year-old boy an infant to take care of and the law gave BM sole custody by default. 

The hardest thing has been dealing with BM. Every time we elevated our success and lifestyle for SS, it was never enough. BM would always "if you get a more suitable apartment, you can have overnights." We would do that, he would have his own room, decorated beautifully, then there would be another excuse. Yet, BM lived in a one bedroom apartment with him for 3 years and it was perfectly acceptable. "If you get a more suitable car for transportation, you can have more time." Did that, then it was something else. And when DH finally met all of BM's "requirements," it was then that because DH couldn't meet them initially and took too long, it's too late. DH calls it the "never ending finish line." Even now, DH and I have a brand new house, 1800 sq feet with 3 beds and 2.5 baths and BM claims it isn't sufficient compared to her 30 year old 2700 sq foot 4 bed, 4 bath home. Like, what difference does the house make if SS has his own room at both places and is adequately provided for? It's always been a competition for her. 

It doesn't bother me if BM wants to spew crap about me to all of her friends. It bothers me when BM belittles us and our life to our faces; when she uses her power to abuse DH and I via email, claiming the courts deemed her the only suitable parent because we are never good enough. That is the only crap that sets me off. 

Rags's picture

Your situation is the NCP BioDad experience. My situation is the CP BM side of it.  Though in your case the BM is the toxic one, and my case it is the SpermClan that is toxic.

My DW was the BM and got defacto full physical and legal custody at birth due to not marrying the Spermidiot.   She had SS when she was 16.  She booted the Spermidiot for cheating when SS was 1yo, just after she graduated from HS.   There was no CO'd visitation.   At that same time she filed a paternity suit against the Spermidiot and received a CS order for $110/mo.  No visitation was awarded due to SS being an infant.  SPermidiot wanted nothing to do with SS or my DW after CS was awarded and she broke up with him.   

She and SS visited with some family a few hours drive from her family home for a couple of weeks after she graduated from HS.  Spermidiot was not allowed on her family's property.  Upon their return to her home, she packed up and she and SS moved out of state for her to start University a couple of months later.   She offerred the Spermidiot time with SS if he wanted to travel to where she was in school.  He claimed to have plane tickets on several occassions, even gave her arrival times. She would take the bus to the airport to meet his flights. He never got off of the plane.

She and I met a few months after she started University.

A year after the first court date where Spermidiot was named as the father and CS was awarded, we had the second hearing. That was a week after we married.  Full physical and legal custody was upheld for DW.  8.5 wks of long distance visitation was awarded for the Spermidiot.  5wks Summer, 1.5wks Fall (in SS's locale of residence and he could not miss school), 1wk Winter (alternating even and odd years whether it ended on Dec 24 or started on Dec 26), 1Wk Spring.  They never took the 1.5Wks in fall. Not once in the 16+ years that that CO was in effect.   

The administrative structure for the visitation schedule was in the CO.  They had to notify DW in writing of any visitation they intended to take 60 days prior to the start of that visitation.  DW was given 10days of visitation with SS in SpermLand during the summer visitation. It could not start until the first of their 5wks was competed and the remaining portion of their 5wks completed after DW's 10 days.  We never took it because SpermGrandHag would withhold SS for that 10 days.  Not a big deal. Just an indicator of her usual toxic bullshit.  There were several periods of a year or more where they refused all visitation.

Never did they go back to court for more time.  They asked, we always said no and pointed out that they did not take all of their COd visitation as it was.  Their usual requests for more time would have impacted SS's school.

One thing that stood out to me is that you said BM moved. Did she move out of the county the original CO was issued in?  If so, and you live in a different state, you may be able  move jurisdiction.  Getting a different Judge may be worth inititing a change of venue if neither you nor BM live in that county.

We never did because the Spermidiot remained in the county where the CO was issued though we could have moved jurisdiction to Texas after SS had been resident in Texas for 6mos. We never did a change of venue though CS would have gone up by +10X.  Visitaiton woudl have also gone up significantly. So, we kept it as a stick to keep them in line. Having to may over $1K/mo in CS scared the shit out of them.

For two years Spermidiot moved out of the State of SpermLand and never informed DW.  Visitation continued since Spermidiot rarely saw SS on visitation and SS spent all of his time with SpermGrandHag.

I am sure the lond distance visitation situation with a highly manipulative and toxic womb donor is difficult.

Your experience is eye opening for me to see what the experience is from the opposite (180*) view from what we experienced.