I believe one of the most hurtful things to say to your children is “I’m disappointed in you” but I think it is worse to disappoint your children.
I’ve dragged my kids through a lot; the hardest been making a stand against my ex and saying no this isn’t right, this isn’t acceptable and I am taking no more. It was tough but the reason I did it was because the ex finally stepped over the line and put the kids in his direct line of attack. No one messes with my kids.
All these years later and I’m still trying to make up for letting the boys down by not saying no earlier. I feel I disappointed them by not acting sooner. You can’t change the past, I know that so this isn’t about whinging and complaining about it. I’m not a victim and neither are my children, we are survivors. But that didn’t stop my heart feeling like it was nearly tore out of my chest yesterday when I saw the disgust on the boys faces as their father turned up for their Tuesday visit, drunk and proud of the fact he had spent the day in the pub and was running late because of it.
They were aware he was there as he had phoned my eldest before lunch and invited him to join him. The offer was declined and our son questioned him about going to a hotel as its doors opened for business at 11am on a Tuesday because he couldn’t understand. As my boy told me I tried to cover my horror at his father’s actions and opted for the I can’t answer that question for you either, response.
Anyone who has ever lived with long-term abuse, and escaped it, will know how experiences can be forgotten until a single action or moment triggers a memory, so when he did turn up the boys looked composed but fearful of spending time with him. I would like to say I have long since got over hating him but the change that came over my sons at that moment made me hate him all over again.
One by one they trudged to the door, he isn’t allowed to enter the house, and then they returned to me for a goodbye kiss and cuddle. Fear was gone and their faces looked more like someone who had tasted something sour and, trying not to be rude, couldn’t spit it out. Disappointment and disgust was written all over their young faces. I assured them that if they didn’t want to go they didn’t have to and I would tell their father, but they declined my offer and agreed to stick to the usual plan that if anything goes wrong they had their mobiles and will text me to come and get them. You have to understand that a phone call their father would hear – texting is safer. It disgusts me we have to have this plan but let us just say others denial of his mental health problem left us with no choice.
The 17 year old muttered about how much he disliked the smell of stale beer and the 15 year old couldn’t find his shoes and made a big show about finding a jumper to take in case it was cold at the scheduled pick up time.
My eldest son is 21 and he isn’t obligated to go with this dad anymore but from his full six foot five plus height he bent down to cuddle me and simply said, “I don’t need the lecture mum, I know you are here but I’ve got this.”
“I know you tried your best to protect us mum and you did block a lot of it but some got through that you couldn’t stop.
“I remember and I’m bigger now, I’m even taller than he is so I’ve got this.”
He would make sure his brother were safe, this was his way of letting me know.
I love my kids so much I can’t comprehend why the other person who helped make them can’t even see how he hurts them. Yes, I hate him all over again.