He filed a response.

The Ex retained an attorney at the last minute and filed a “general denial” response to the Petition to Modify the Parent-Child Relationship.

I can’t say that I’m surprised.  He did the same thing for our divorce.

Around 2:30pm yesterday, I started feeling very anxious.  Well, okay, I had been feeling anxious all day, but I hit the panic level of anxious in the afternoon.  I knew without a doubt that an email from my attorney would appear in my in-box to say that he was going to fight it.  My friends assured me that it wouldn’t happen because this really is the best thing for the kids, and I wasn’t asking for too much other than proving stability for a short period of time, and let’s face it, he just can’t afford it.

But I knew differently.  I knew that pride would trump logic.

I started hitting “Send/Receive” every few minutes…seconds.  I had to tear myself away from the computer to pick up my oldest son from school and take him to the orthodontist.  As soon as I sat down in the waiting room, I checked the email on my phone.  There it was.

Just the sight of the email from my attorney titled “Response” was enough to put the knot in my stomach.  When I opened the legal document attached and read the words “filed frivolously or is designed to harass,” I wanted to vomit.

I know that his version of EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS includes a woman scorned that is hell-bent on making his life miserable, namely Me.  He told everyone that would listen that the real reason I repossessed the truck was because of my jealousy of his girlfriend.  It certainly was NOT because my mortgage lender had asked me to write a letter explaining why there were 26 consecutive late payments on a truck in my name before they could move forward with my re-finance.

In his mind, everything that I do is about him.  I know that.  Yet seeing it printed in a legal document was a slap in the face.

I was still trying to move air through my lungs when my phone started ringing and his name appeared on the screen.  What the heck?  Isn’t his attorney supposed to call my attorney or something like that?  Should I answer?  What should I do?  Will it help to hide under this waiting room chair?  I sure feel like it.  Crap.  I might as well bite the bullet and answer it.

He said that he was calling to discuss the situation and asked if this was just some “knee-jerk” reaction of mine, where I filed this because I was angry, but now I’ve calmed down enough that we can discuss it.  (According to him, EVERY decision I make is a knee-jerk reaction.  I have no conscious thought, and if I do, it is only because I have been listening to other people.) 

No, this has been coming for quite some time.  I knew in March when you moved into the house that you weren’t making good decisions.  You couldn’t afford it.  It was irresponsible.  I met with the attorney later that spring, but decided to wait and see how the summer went.  And then you were evicted.

He asked if I was seeking an increase in child support (which is allowed in visitation restructurings) and I said that it was not my intent.  I understand that it would be counterproductive to what I hope to accomplish.  My desire is for him to provide stability for the kids.

His tone changed.  The venom and hostility were replaced by fear and humility.  He wanted to know if we could call the whole thing off and come to an agreement without attorneys.  Why now?  Why not last week before you filed a response?  Before you retained an attorney? 

“I haven’t retained an attorney.”

Seriously?  That’s what you are going with?  The response states that it was “necessary” for you to retain the services of this licensed attorney.

“Oh.  Okay. Well, I mean, I retained an attorney today, but what I’m saying is, let’s just get our money back from the attorneys and figure this thing out.  No sense in lining their pockets for something we can do on our own.”

There is no way to list all of the reasons that he gave during that conversation.  Or the one at the ballpark later in the evening.  I’m still reeling from the realization that he can change his tone/approach so quickly and that his web of lies is so vast that he can no longer keep it straight.

He told me that the recent eviction was the only one that he has had.  So wait, were you lying all the way back in 2008 when you told me that your utilities had been shut off and you received a notice of eviction from the apartment complex?  Was that just information you fed me so that I would release the morality clause and allow you to live with your girlfriend?  Or is this the lie?  I’m so confused.

And really I am.  Not about what step I need to take.  Obviously, I get that I need to continue along this path and hope that things can be worked out in mediation.  I’m just confused about why I always feel so bad after I talk to him.

I do.  I feel like a mean person.  I feel guilty.  (Surprise)  I feel sad.

He knows that.  He uses that.  He told me that “to top things off,” his car truck wouldn’t start, but instead of working on his truck, he was busy wasting his time with attorneys.  “And now I can’t even go to see my son’s baseball game because I don’t have a truck.”  (I had to stop myself from offering to pick him up so that my son would have his father at the game.  THAT would have been a knee-jerk reaction.  I silently reminded myself that it’s not my job anymore.  His girlfriend could bring him to the game, and she did.)

None of this is my responsibility.  The evictions, the money problems, the relationship problems.  He has placed it all in my lap a thousand times since we divorced.  Was it even a month ago that he showed up at my house begging for money?

I have to stay away from him.  I have to keep reminding myself that his pain is not a result of my actions, but of his own.  I have to remind myself that I am not asking too much.  I simply want HIM to fix what HE has broken.  Maintain a permanent residence for his children.  Eliminate drinking during the time that he spends with his kids.

I cannot trust that he will abide by anything that we “work out” without the help of the court system.  It needs to be in writing, signed by a judge.  Otherwise, his selective memory and distorted version will change it with time.

He chose to respond and to fight it.  And now I must do the same.




  1. I sorry I had to stop reading this one, because it truly put me in a irritated mood. Not good when your trying to go to sleep. I’m going to say this and leave it alone. You have nothing to feel sorry for! You are still playing nice with a guy who doesn’t care about you and the things that really matter like his kids. I know you say the drinking has really messed him up, but this is not just about drinking this is about who he really is. He knows how to play you, and now you have to stop the playing and start living. You are STRONG and you have to let the strength shine. That knot in your stomach should be pissing you of by now. His comments about knee jerk reactions should make you mad, because you know the truth. He may not remember because of all the drinks, but you know the truth! Time to stop playing nice. Let me know how it goes! But you should unload on him with both barrels! Knee jerk this you as hole! I’ll pray for you! I’m around if you need me!

    • Hey there – stay strong. You are right in recognizing that he is just trying to do all avenues to get you to respond the way he wants you to- which is why he changes his tune constantly. It worked in the past, right? He’s wondering why it’s not working now, so he just tries to say something else that will get that response that he wants. If you can remove yourself and watch him objectively, it’s rather interesting.
      I agree with you and Julian – that his path of destruction is his choice and his life. It would happen whether he was with you or if it was someone else that was in his life. We each have our own path in life – and you’re making the right choice by turning your’s away from his! Stay the course 🙂 (and do what you can to let go of all guilt!!)

  2. I am going through the same nonsense with my X! Good luck with yours.

  3. I could have written this post. In February I filed a motion to enforce after multiple decree violations. He begged me to let it drop so he could use the money to pay back what he owes me, not towards the attorney and court fines.

    I agreed, but emailed that this would be the last time I would let him off the hook. I wrote that if this occurs again there will be no backing down. He agreed.

    Last night I forwarded that same email to my attorney to add to the motion to enforce she is filing Monday. In January he was facing 25 violations. He’s now up to 60.

    I felt sorry for him then, but I won’t be fooled twice. I also won’t read his emails after Monday and will be blocking his # so he can’t call or text me. My husband will be moderating the email account I have set up just for communications with my ex and will filter out the narc speak for anything relevant.

    I won’t back down this time, but I also won’t subject myself to even the possibility of feeling sorry for him. It’s too draining and I’m tapped out.

    Good luck to all of us fighting to give our kids the best we can.

    • My ex used the same reasoning…if he doesn’t have to pay the attorney, he can afford to pay me back. Really? Why didn’t you just pay me back a few weeks ago before you even knew you would need an attorney. My favorite is when he asks me to take out a loan for him and then says that he will use a portion of it to pay me what he owes me. So you want me to take out a loan and pay interest so that you don’t have to owe me, except that you WILL owe me, and even more, for the loan? I’M NOT EVEN KIDDING. Once he even said, “Hey, I know I owe you $8,000 but if you give me another $3,000 today, I can pay off this one loan I have and then the bank will give me a loan next week and I will pay you back the full $11,000. I’ll even pay you $12,000 to let you know that I appreciate your help.” Wait. what? You owe me A TON in child support and have for a while, but you want me to give you MORE and believe that a bank will loan you money?
      And sadly, despite it all, I feel bad. I feel his desperation in the situation and it scares me for him. I guess it was YEARS of conditioning to respond that way. The good news is that I’m stronger. I no longer go along with his crazy plans because I don’t feel like I can say no. I can finally say no…or just avoid him until he gets the hint of no. I just have to work on the internal reactions that I feel.

  4. I am so glad you wrote that last sentence, you had me worried there. DO NOT FEEL BAD!!! Sorry to yell but my head was spinning and I almost stopped reading the post a few times myself. I used to pull the phone away from my ear so I didn’t have to listen to the crap and start to feel bad. Stay strong. Their 11th hour bullshit is just that: Bullshit. He made his bed….

  5. I want to laugh at the absurdity of this, but I’ve been there myself and it was certainly NOT funny. The panic when his name pops up on my phone and wondering what is it going to be this time? Does he want something? Is he pissed about something? I immediately go into defensive mode. If anyone else in my life made me feel like that, why would I ever answer the phone? I wouldn’t. And now, I’m happy to say that I don’t. If he wants something, email is the ONLY way I’ll communicate with him. Boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. It does get easier. It really does.

    • I’m getting so much better about limiting interaction. Sad to say, this is MUCH better than before. He rarely calls me anymore because I often let it go to voicemail. If he texts, I’m able to choose to ignore it, and quite often do, unless it is simply “What time is the kid’s game?” or “What field are they on?” It used to be SO MUCH WORSE. I used to feel like I had to respond to everything.
      He will still show up at my house if I ignore him for too long, like about money requests. Shoot, if his truck worked, he probably would have shown up Monday evening.
      It’s funny how terrible it all reads, but the reality is that I am so much more in control of things than I used to be. I have established boundaries, and I don’t always get drawn into his crap.
      HOW IS THIS MY LIFE?????

  6. I found your blog through another bloggers post today and just want to wrap you up in a hug and tell you that the stronger you get and the more you forgive yourself and realize you are not to blame, the easier it will become to not feel awful after interactions with him. I have started to tell myself that my ex is emotionless, unable to be empathetic and so why should i invest so much of MY emotional health into my interactions with him? Remind yourself every time you talk to him that HE is unhealthy and of all the issues that cause the unhealthy lifestyle he is stuck living as a consequences of his actions. Stay strong, you can do this!!!!

  7. One thing that helps me is that I can NOT expect an alcoholic/addict to respond in ANY situation normally. When I do, I’m the one who is denying the truth. Hang in, carry on.

    • I think I have come to that point as well. My attorney asked, “What do you think he will do?” I can speculate, but honestly, it depends on the day and his mood. I always wonder why I’m surprised by his actions…

  8. I found your blog a few days ago and can so relate to your experiences. I’ve been wanting to write a blog for a while, but worry about how my kids would respond, because I cannot imagine they would not find out eventually. Since you have teens, is this something you worry about?

    • Your question really made me think. It’s a great question. I hope that you write about it, whether you share it with the public or not. The benefit of the internet is getting to connect with other people that are going through similar things. I really appreciate those people. They are my lifeline. It’s been especially helpful for me in helping with my “stinking thinking,” like feeling guilty for doing the right thing. It’s meant so much to see that people want more for me than that misery.
      If my kids ever find the blog and it hurts them, I would take it down. As simple as that. Regardless of what I get from it or what I might give others, those boys are the most important thing in the world. I hope it never comes to that, and I hope that if they ever do find it that they will be able to see just how much I adore them…even when in pain.
      Email me if you ever want to chat. There is an envelope thingy at the top right of my page. I’m pretty much an open book, so you can always ask me anything.

  9. I am separated and embroiled in a nasty divorce with one of these dear fellows. The last two days have been hell, with threats, blackmail, and accusations… I’m sure most of you know the drill. Thanks to this blog I no longer have that residual “am I crazy?” thing going on that so often happens after having discussions with him. Thank You!! When you have been what i call “brainwashed” for so long (in my case 21 years), it’s very easy to get spun back into that pattern of self-doubt when dealing with the abuser. I’m getting stronger, but it’s not happening near fast enough for this old gal. Protecting my kids is my main goal, and at this point i’m willing to give up my home and financial stability to do it. Hanging onto the house is proving to be to much of an emotional investment, especially since he says he’s being “generous” “allowing” me and the kids to stay here… it IS handy for him, since he’s still “contributing” to the household bills, he can walk in anytime he feels like it. It’s HIS house. I think perhaps that’s going to come to an end and he can have his $1800/month mortgage payment with is precious damn house. The kids and i will be far better off in a 2 bedroom apartment that he doesn’t have the right to enter anytime he has the hankering to create chaos and fear. Keep fighting and stay strong, all of you in our position. Our kids, and our own sanity, is well work the fight.

    • I wish you all the best. I held on to my house thinking that I just couldn’t disrupt the boys lives any more than the divorce has. I’ve learned, however, it’s not the walls that make a house a home. It’s the love. I think that no matter what choice you make, it will be the right one. Your kids have you and that’s all that matters.

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