The Ultimate Betrayal
I mentioned in Losing My Family that my family’s emails were only the beginning of their betrayal. At that point, I thought their refusal to support me in the divorce was the low point. How very wrong I was. It was about to get much, much worse. I was about to experience the ultimate betrayal by the people I’d trusted to love me unconditionally – my parents and my siblings.
Bubba was scheduled to pick the kids up for visitation right before our court date. I had very mixed feelings. I hated to send my kids off with him but I knew with court coming up, he was going to be on his best behavior. I was also more excited that I cared to admit. This was going to be my first real break in over 12 years. I was about to have an entire weekend to myself – where Bubba could NOT call me to come deal with the kids, or to come home and clean the house, or to come home because he couldn’t stand to be without me. I was going to get a real break!
Five minutes before Bubba was scheduled to get the kids, I got a call from my lawyer. They’d received a fax from Bubba’s lawyer. My parents and my siblings had all submitted affidavits stating their belief that I should lose custody of my children! My lawyer advised me to get my friends together – actual people who’d seen me parent my children, who could testify to my mental competence and my ability to mother my children. I had until Monday morning to get it done. My first real break was not going to happen because I had to now deal with knowing that my family had declared war on me and that I had to mobilize my troops.
I wish I could describe how I felt. My lawyer told me that the affidavits were very damning because they were from my own family. What I couldn’t understand is how could they be that damning when they only saw me for a few weeks every year?
My family hadn’t been over to visit us in years because of Bubba’s past behavior toward them. They didn’t see us on a daily or weekly or even monthly basis. They didn’t know what went on in our home. Sure, they saw us immediately after The Incident but we were dealing with severe trauma. It wasn’t how we normally operate. We were all in crisis mode for those weeks that we were there. The children were acting out because they were free to do so. They felt safe because Bubba wasn’t around. The children’s behavior was not stellar and neither was mine.
I was trying to balance my own trauma with meeting their needs. It was overwhelming and I thought my parents were actually helping me with the children by keeping an eye on them while I read and researched and learned about what I’d been through. Also, as older children they didn’t require much supervision. Serenity kept her eye on the boys while they were playing outside. She was old enough that she could’ve been a paid babysitter if she had wanted to get a job. It didn’t enter my mind that my parents would later turn around use all that as ammo in Bubba’s smear campaign.
My friends were able to read the affidavits with a more objective eye than I could. They told me that the affidavits were full of their “feelings” and what they “thought” was happening here. There was absolutely no basis in reality to anything they wrote. It was all conjecture. There were no facts in their affidavits. What really cracked Arcadia up was the horrific grammar used and the absolute absence of sense or logic. I remember her laughing gleefully over their affidavits because they looked like they’d been written by high schoolers in a remedial English composition class.
My friends spent their weekend writing clear, concise, fact-filled affidavits about my ability to parent my children. While my family had attacked my parenting and had conspicuously neglected to offer any opinion about what a wonderful father Bubba was, my friends gave specific examples of what they’d actually witnessed of me as a mother while neglecting to mention Bubba at all.
The fact was that none of them had ever witnessed him parent the children. The closest thing was when Arcadia was spending a lot of time at our house, helping me with a project. Bubba had just been fired again so he was home. In all the time she spent there, he came out of the back room to grab something to eat and go back to his room. She watched as I continued to parent, clean, cook, and take care of everyone while he did whatever he was doing back there.
To this day, I still can’t believe that my own family tried to take my children away from me. Who does that? They didn’t like that I was getting divorced, passed judgment on me, and sought revenge through my kids. They proved that they were vile people. They had gone from passively condoning Bubba’s abuse to actively taking part in it. They’d made their decision. They would have to accept the consequences of their actions.
In the coming months, I learned that they blamed me for making them submit those affidavits. I was about to learn how I managed to get myself into such an abusive marriage in the first place.