“You don’t need her permission to be her parent.”
Last night T and I watched “Collateral Beauty” on a recommendation from a friend. The above quote was spoken by Will Smith to his friend and company partner out of disappointment. See his friend wasn’t fighting for his daughter who had openly expressed hatred towards her father for causing her parent’s divorce. This movie was filled with inspirational quotes and thought provoking statements..but this one stood out like a flashing neon light. Why? Because not only did I witness my ex-husband push our oldest son away while we were married, but I have watched this unfold and intensify since our divorce. I don’t think I could ever put into words how I feel when he hurts my boys. It’s a pain that becomes nearly unbearable. My words try to provide some insight hoping that one of these times they will stick and offer an “ah-ha” moment. Unfortunately, this does nothing but assure my ex-husband only more firmly plants his heels into the ground as though this action is somehow him proving he is no longer under my “control.” Without me “making” D visit with his dad, he hardly ever does. I backed off several months ago mostly out of exhaustion and lack of support and reinforcement from my ex-husband. And it became more and more apparent once again, that their relationship is not mine to save. But it does hurt. Their time together has dwindled. My ex-husband has repeatedly said “I’m not going to argue with him.” Somehow he misses the fact that him not assuring some time each week with his son is as good as verbally stating “I don’t care.”
If D is being disrespectful or challenging to parent, I am provided no support. He doesn’t parent. At all. And when I made that remark to him “you just drive off and don’t parent,” he simply pursed his lips, shook his head yes, and drove away.
But there’s a pattern right. My ex-husband does’t fight for much. For money he will. He feels entitled to that – money. And he does put effort into his work..but that results in more money right? Anything else though, he wants easy. Parenting is anything but. And I sure would love a co-parent. Because the more tired I become, the more I feel I default at this parenting gig. No he doesn’t need D’s permission to parent him. But he does need the desire to parent him. And somewhere along the line, after the separation and ultimate divorce, that desire, however small to begin with, burned out in a way that I can’t and probably will never understand.