This post was suggested by my various professionals during my journey and a post by David Shubert on iwaserased.com
I have thought about this a lot over the previous years. How to put into words the loss that I feel not seeing my children, having no idea what they are up to, not being asked daddy questions and an infinite amount of other possible situations.
I was ‘lucky’, in that I have found (or they found me?) a wonderful new partner and her son, both of whom adore me. They make me feel whole, and the residual doubt that I had every now and then that I could have been to blame for what happened between my children, their mother and I have been exorcised. I know I am a good partner and a good father to a son who isn’t mine. I certainly must take part of the blame, as no break-up is without fault on both sides, but certainly, the majority lies with my ex-wife and her new partner, whose actions regarding the children I really cannot even begin to understand. And to be frank I don’t think I am even capable of understanding how insidious their campaign against me was and probably still is.
Nevertheless, I am not, and do not feel ‘whole’. I still feel as if part of me is missing. The part of life I am now enjoying with my step-son, taking him to museums, galleries, doing things as a family, teaching him English, smiling with immense pride when he speaks English with my friends, and when he gets a good grade at school, being hung out to dry while playing a computer game – Things that rarely happened with my own children. Every time I go into the city centre, or do something kid-based with my step-son I am triggered by a scene that reminds me of what was, and should have been with my children. I zone out, and cry silently inside for myself and my children.
In a sense, there is an almost permanent blunt pain. Every day I think of my children and what they might be doing, other days my mind drifts off thinking about what could have been. I cannot shut these thoughts off, my subconscious obviously believes it would be a betrayal of my responsibilities as a father – But I have learned to live with these thoughts and feelings. My partner understands this and hugs me when she sees it happen. She understands these thoughts are pure and founded on that most powerful of emotions – love.
I remember the dark days as I was alone, and realised that my relationship with my children was being destroyed before my very eyes. Hardly anyone believed me. They could not understand the society we live in would allow something like this to happen in plain sight, that parents are capable of such evil – ‘I must be exaggerating’ I saw written on their faces. Those that did believe me became my lifeline with the real world. They were and still are always there, ready to pick up the telephone and just talk.
How many times I was told by friends and acquaintances to leave it for the sake of my health and also my finances. The simple solution – just walk away and everything would be good. No it wouldn’t because every parent in this position knows you fight, you fight for your children as long as you can. But up against a legal system that not only doesn’t support you when your ex-partner breaks agreements, but also works against you and effectively writes off single fathers, sooner or later the writing is – in most cases – on the wall. I along with many other good men and women – good parents – became collateral damage of the German legal system.
I feel now with all parents that are being forced to endure this, and who also have to come to terms with the fact that this immense wrong is tolerated both by the democracy we believe in, and the society to which we belong. The only saving grace is that through the support of my friends I was strong enough to survive this, and not let it destroy me, as it has many other parents before me.
I have had to give up on my children – for now. There was no way forward without my ex acknowledging the fact that she was emotionally abusing the children and working with professionals to correct the situation – Something that would never happen, and could not be forced by any means. I remember the day this happened – my lawyer rang and said there was no chance. I cried like a baby in the arms of my partner, because I knew there really was no way forward – only hope for the future.
A living death – once. I am now alive.
The hole in my heart will never allow me to either forget about or give up on my children.
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