Six months into my nasty divorce battle, I had lost my job. A blessing in disguise because the weeks I had my son, I was able to spend all day with him. They were some of the sweetest, most peaceful days I had spent with him in his short life.
Temporary orders were in place. I had full physical custody and joint legal. The judge, begrudgingly, allowed me to move with my son out of state to live with my family and start a job working from home. I was feeling great. But Alex was not happy. The day we left court with Temp Orders, he vowed to me to never stop fighting. He said he would spend every penny in court and make me sorry. He appealed the Temporary Orders.
I kept in contact with my lawyer across the country and was far removed from all of the daily email battle between our attorney’s. It was so peacful for a while. So quiet.
What’s that cliche phrase?
The calm before the storm.
The only caveat to the Temporary Orders was that the judge ordered me to pay for Alex’s very liberal parent time. I was ordered to pay for flights for my son and his father for Spring Break, Summer, Fall Break, and Thanksgiving or Christmas. A total of 120 days and potentially 6-8 round trip plane tickets for two people a year. It was completely unfair terms since Alex made two times as much money as I did and his earning potential is through the roof.
But, like Scarlett O’Hara says “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow”. So I pushed the fear aside for a few more months.
In June, I received an email from my lawyer about an upcoming court date. I had been told, by my lawyer, that I didn’t need to be there in person. Now he was telling me I did. In two weeks.
I was overwhelmed with finances and my new life in a new state, still living with my parents, and daily threats from my ex for a new judge and an appeal. The threats were starting to take life and become real. Even if the judge upheld the Temporary Orders, I knew Alex would keep fighting. And I would be in litigation in a state across the country. I couldn’t afford that. Or the court ordered parent time flights. Would I have to give up custody?
I called Alex. I knew the only way for a Narcissist to relent was to feel like they won. I planned on giving Alex the decision making power. I told him I was giving up. I let him draw up the custody arrangement he would want and I would sign it. I only asked that he be fair.
He asked for full physical custody and joint legal custody. He wanted to have our son, Brandon, 3 months and then Brandon stays with me 3 months.
I found this interesting. He only cared what it said on paper. He did not actually want Brandon all the time. True Narc fashion.
I know my decision is hard for most people, especially mothers, to understand. My family was sad, mad, and very confused. My lawyers were beyond upset. But to me, to raise my son in litigation wasn’t the life I wanted for him. What good was my “fight” if his life wasn’t quality?
So I simply stopped fighting. I had to give up custody to let him “win”.
Everyone always tell me do what’s in “Brandon’s best interest”. Well, honestly, it’s in his best interest to not have a selfish, sociopathic father. Unfortunately, I cannot change that. No amount of court or motherly love will change that fact.
It is in Brandon’s best interest to have a present, happy, peaceful mother. Alex could never take my motherhood away from me. It wasn’t up for grabs. That wise mine and it was safe.
I can only control me and I did not want my life to be controlled anymore by Alex.
I have a dear sweet friend here in my new state. She has been battling her Narcissistic ex for 6 years. He had custody, she had custody, he always drags her back to court. I don’t know how she does it. It’s a circular battle for her. She is so brave and I applaud her for efforts and she is the most amazing person and mother I’ve ever met. She is truly remarkable and her son is the sweetest and most gentle boy.
I know I could not do that. I am not that kind of person. I would be a worse mother. I would be a worse person.
I have moved on with my life and let go of the guilt of that decision. It was brave and best for me.
One day I’ll be able to teach my son that life is not fair. Hard decisions have to be made and sacrifices have to be given in order for others to be happy. Everyday, when I think about how sad I am that I have to send him back to his dad soon, I also think how proud of myself I am.
I can do hard things.