A game of Chicken

I wondered how long it would take before my ex felt the need to “share his views” about his mother’s visit on Saturday.  Quite honestly, I’m surprised that he held out for an entire THREE DAYS.  I’d say that is a huge improvement in his self-control department.

I know I’ve said this before, but I’m still surprised at my strong reaction when I see his name on my caller ID.  You know when you are first in a relationship and you get butterflies and feel positively giddy when your boyfriend calls?  Yeah, it’s totally opposite of that.  My stomach immediately turns.  My heartbeat becomes rapid.  My breathing becomes labored.  It’s a full-on panic attack.  Over the stupid ringing of a phone.  You would think that the person on the other line was calling to deliver tragic news, like the kidnapping or death of a loved one.  Okay, so his phone calls are never that bad, but they are never very good.

Naturally, I ignored the call.  You know me.  I needed time to regain composure and prepare for his attack.  I started working on my excuse for not answering (because he always asks) when my phone alerted me to a text.  AND an email.  Well, duh.  He never lets something go with just one phone call.

Earlier this week, I sent the entire family an email explaining the ticket process for the dance recital production.  I will admit, the instructions sent by the dance studio were a bit confusing.  Heck, I work in a facility that sells tickets daily, and even I had to read it a couple of times to understand it.  His text (and email) asked me to call because he wanted tickets but didn’t understand how to get them.  Although I had my suspicions that this was just a rouse, it wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibility that he was confused.  After all, it was just a mere six years ago that I told him where to buy stamps.

I called back and briefly explained the ticket buying process.  Before I could finish my obviously last statement (an assurance that I would follow-up with a reminder about the tickets), he cut me off to launch into the real topic at hand.  “You know, I really meant what I said when I promised not to ask you for any more money.  That’s all behind us now, so we really can start getting along.  I don’t want to fight any more.  But I have to tell you that I am very upset about what took place on Saturday.  I’m not mad at you, and I told myself that I wasn’t going to say anything to you about it, but I just want you to hear my side of things.”

Nah, I don’t wanna, but thanks.  Oh, and it’s not really behind us because you still owe me, like, $1200.  I’ll get over it when that’s paid off.  Or not.  I might never get over anything because you are a schmuck and will never change.

Is what I WANTED to say.  Instead, I just listened.

Back in the days that we were married, he would lay these guilt trips about how I wasn’t fun anymore.  That’s why he went out to bars and things.  Because I wasn’t fun.  And I didn’t keep a clean house.  And I didn’t decorate.  And I, oh nevermind.  Anyway, every so often, I would agree to pawn our children off on my mother, who had already kept them all week while we worked, so that I could be more fun.  After a brutal night of watching him drink, the bar would eventually close and we would head home.  I wished.  He always talked me into taking him to some place that served breakfast during the wee hours of the night (or morning).  I guess that’s what fun people do.  Afterward, he would swear that the greasy food and Coke sobered him up enough to drive home.  I would argue as long as I could stand and then angry eyes would win.  The problem, other than just the risk of death, was that I was trapped.  Literally.  I was his captive audience while he drove around back roads, playing all sorts of country songs that really meant something to him, singing out of key at the top of his lungs.  Rewinding various songs to make sure I heard every word.  “Did you hear that?  Are you sure?  I’m gonna rewind it, so really listen this time.”  More than a few times, I wished for the sweet relief of death to escape the impossible situation.

And that’s how I felt on the phone last night.  Why can’t I just hang up?  I no longer care about his relationship with his mother.  I’m a mother and I’m busy with homework and stomach viruses and soccer practice and cooking dinner.  I don’t have time to listen to country music, I mean, listen to whatever it is that he wants to talk about.

He described the “falling out” they had a few months ago when he posted a picture on Facebook that upset his mother.  It was a picture of his father when he was young lying on the grass with his friend’s mother.  Apparently, there is some debate as to the date and status of his parents’ marriage at the time that the photo was taken.  Whatever.  Not my business, so I will keep my opinion to myself.  [Cough*tacky*cough]  He said that he also told her that she has changed so much with her current husband and her strict religion that she’s not his mother anymore.  Ouch.

Yeah, so apparently, they don’t speak any more.  I had no idea, however,  because I haven’t spoken to his mother in almost a year.  I continue to send schedules to everyone because regardless of the status of current relationships, family is family, and they are all related to the boys.  You know, the innocent ones in this whole on-going drama.

He ranted for what seemed like FOREVER about how I needed to stay out of it and HE would be the one to send schedules to his family in the future.  It’s his family and I should butt out.  I tried to explain that I didn’t mean anything by it, and I didn’t do anything differently than I’ve done since the boys’ birth.  “Stop taking offense.  Didn’t I start this conversation by telling you that I’m not mad at you?  You are always so defensive.”  I know.  Silly me.  I tend to get that way when someone is yelling in my ear.  Oh, excuse me, speaking loudly.

game of chickenIn a nutshell (like you can say that after 1,000 words), she didn’t tell him that she was coming in town to test him and he wouldn’t acknowledge her presence to test her.  It was a game of Chicken, each person waiting to see who would speak first.  Who would acknowledge the other person’s existence, thereby, somehow admitting that they were the cause of whatever was wrong in their dysfunctional relationship?

The awkwardness of the situation for the boys (and me) was irrelevant.  All that mattered was the game.  Who would give up first?

Me, it’s me.  I give up.  It’s been almost a year since I have been in the middle of their drama and after just one weekend, I want out again.  Bock…bock…bock…bock…


  1. To many issues in that family! I mean they ate the Days of Our Lives for real! Sometimes you just can’t help people, they have to want to help themselves! In this case, you should just step back and leave it alone. There problem is not your problem. Besides as the grandmother she should come and see her grand kids. It should be a year of six months of silence. At this point I would have to keep it moving. Keep Conversations with him to a minimum. The world is chaotic already, without having to deal with crazy people within your inner circle, even if they are the father of your kids. Live stronger! Sorry, Lance is crazy too! Stay strong, live better!

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