the parameters by which I measure ‘never giving up’ will always be open to negotiation. And such interests will be made in the best interest of keeping myself well.
That seems a wise strategy. I can say in all blunt honesty that I have long since given up fighting and campaigning, or holding out any hope whatsoever in any sort of interventive or enforcement support for me, in terms of my right to parent. I put in my time down that road, believe me.
For a long time, I thought that continuing to shunt money into these charlatans’ hands and ignoring the fact that they hadn’t the least intent toward seeing the laws and rulings or my and my children’s rights upheld, was me not giving up.
Over the long haul, I had to realize that this was me being played for a fool.
I got cheated and lied to by my own attorneys more than once, no social-services agency ever had any reaction other than to have that “man in the building!” sort of yellow-alert posture about them as soon as I walked in. We are all dangerous stalkers and makers of scenes, of course, and one of us might even start shooting or something. Heck, anybody in the family-wrecking trade knows that. They may have never seen or experienced any such thing, but all the training and seminars and whatnot assure them that the way to treat an abandoned father, is as a high-risk personality no matter what the specifics of his case.
Same with the cops at the courthouse doors while they sweep a guy for weapons, the public defenders, the child-support extortionists, the mediators, all of them. I spent years watching that fear reaction to me just go on auto-pilot as soon as I walked in the door of some office or lobby. It was so predictable that sometimes I couldn’t help looking like I was about to bust out laughing at the brain-dead lot of them, which also of course meant I must be up to something.
There were some specific things that occurred, that finally tipped my scales in terms of priorities. Never mind what, but they finalized for me the patterns I had been seeing since the beginning with two different mothers.
Speaking of patterns, to any man out there even thinking about having a child with a woman who never knew her father: WALK AWAY WHILE YOU STILL CAN.
It is a pathology, a lifelong set of imprints that make it nearly impossible for that person even to tolerate another parent with anything like an equal status to her own in the child’s life. Both these women ran enough red flags that I just refused to see up in my face, all along, even during the pregnancies, that looking back now I realize two things:
- I am grateful to God that either of the children ever even got allowed to live past pregnancy by their mothers, and
- I never had a chance, from the beginning, of EVER being regarded or treated as a real parent, by either of them or by their entire families.
(And a third thing is, I’m quite sure you’re learning: that the mother is seen as the only one who can grant you that status, or revoke it. NO ONE wants to risk whatever is at risk, by over-ruling an alienating mother.)
You say your goal is to co-parent with the ex, and hers to stop you. Where do you think that can possibly lead? Wild horses couldn’t drag her into accepting you as something she believes ought not exist at all. It looks to me like that goal is an impossible dream. Either she is going to raise those kids, or you are. I wouldn’t lay very long odds on the latter outcome.
So what’s it for? a man has to ask himself. Is it for the kids, based on an actually achievable outcome? Or is it never giving up, for never giving up’s sake, and the outcome’s being impossible just sort of motivates the crusader mindset that much better?
So my own version of not giving up, is that I still exist. The body count of men like me suggests a lot of men couldn’t call that an acceptable outcome in itself. One of the mothers’ families even has stories of three dead men in two generations, whose stories of how they died don’t quite add up, all young fathers and all first driven off by the women in the family. Not being #4 myself, a lot of days, has meant I hadn’t given up.
They don’t want us around, brother. We did our part, by getting them pregnant. The plan all along, whether they knew it was or not, was to be single mothers, with all the pathos and self-pity and social-heroine status that comes with it, and all we do is disrupt their plans.
And that makes them dangerous. I say watch your back first, then decide what it is you can live with giving up, because someone who has that kind of power and determination to give up on you and you still won’t go away, is the most dangerous thing in your whole life.
Your kids may already have given up on you. That may never be corrected, or addressed by anyone in any way. That condition is where I am now, and getting settled in with the idea that this may be the way it is from now on. People tell you “when they’re older, they’ll want to be with their dad…”
Bullshit. People say that like they say “sorry for your loss”, but for when the loss is of the living. It’s just what people say.
So sure, I hope for you and me both that we haven’t lost our children forever. But the handwriting on the wall and the weather on the wind, say we probably have. Facing that possibility head-on is going to catch up with you sooner or later. After that, is the remainder of your life, not to give up on.