Children Should Never Be Used As a Weapon #Parenting

 

 children divorce image

I have shared many stories about my life but rarely any about my childhood. I feel that this being a parenting blog I have to share what I am about to share. My parents got divorced when I was 9 years old.  My mom had custody of me (I am the only child) while my dad had visitation rights. My father would make many plans to pick me up on the weekends and never show or call. I can recall many of times standing by the front door as a child crying with disappointment while my mother was left to deal with my pain. There were times when he did pick me up and spend time with me, those were good times.  One day he picked me up and told me he met someone, so he took me to her home so I could meet her. She was nice to me, I liked her. She was a widow with 2 teenage daughters. Time passed and they married, as soon as they married  she turned into a different person and that is putting it nicely. While visiting my father for the weekend at their home with me standing there she gave my father an ultimatum – to chose his past life which included me or his present life which included her (I was 10 years old). Can you guess what she chose? Her. I was hurt. I wanted to be a part of their lives, I was thrilled that they had a baby together, I finally had a sibling but all that came crashing down.

 me baby a

As my elementary, middle school and high school  years passed I tried calling him. Whenever I did get to speak with him and tried to pursue a relationship it was always the same response – I have to ask my wife.  His side of the family was not really a family to me either because all of those years they never went to bat for me, they never reached out to me I mean after all I did not divorce my father or them, right?  I saw my father a few times at funerals for his side of the family but he would not talk to me, he would just stare at me from across the room. I always wondered what he was thinking. 

 

I reached out here and there to him for years with nothing back.  I always wondered if he ever loved me, did he think about me on my birthday? Did he have any regrets abandoning me? When I gave my life to The Lord  in 2002 I wrote him a letter and told him I forgave him of all the pain over the years and that I wanted to be a part of his life, again no response back. For all I know all the letters and cards I sent him over the years he may have never got, because who knows if she got the mail, I am sure she would not give them to him.

 

Many more years passed, I got married had three children. Four years ago was the last time I spoke with him. My grandmother (his mom) was the only person on that side of the family I stayed in contact with. Her health was declining so we took a road trip to Louisiana to visit her. While at her home my father called and she insisted that we talk. I think he took the call as obligation to his mom and I took it because I was just a kid who wanted to talk to her father.  During this conversation I told him that I wanted to see him. Telling him that I was married and had three children (at the time) and I would like for him to be a part of their lives.  His response, I have to ask my wife.

 me grandma a

Over the years I had built up a barrier to all this because it hurt badly.  I started to think about him less and less because when I did it stung. Somehow I wound up on my father’s sister’s prayer list e-mail chain and I just happened to see that my father was on one of her prayer requests a few weeks ago. Apparently he has heart issues part of his heart is not functioning as well as one of the valves was leaking and on top of it his lungs were filled with fluid. I took the chance and e-mailed his sister expecting no response back but to my surprise she responded with what hospital he was at and she gave me his cell number. I called his cell phone and left a message. Not surprised he did not call me back. During this time I kept praying for him and continued to read his the updates his sister sent. Last night I got another prayer request from her this time it was bad.

 

Please add your fervent prayers for my brother, Joe, who is back in the hospital.  He was rushed by ambulance, because, even being on a bi-pap machine 24/7, he could not breathe!  He has now been “intubated,” (Intubate: To put a tube in, commonly used to refer to the insertion of a breathing tube into the trachea for mechanical ventilation. For example, as a life-saving measure, an emergency room physician might intubate a patient who is not breathing adequately so that the lungs can be ventilated.) A nurse has pronounced that he is on “life-support.”

 

Immediately I e-mailed her back hoping to get more information but when she didn’t my husband called all the local hospitals to see where was admitted.  Thankfully he found the hospital, being on life support he is in ICU so I called and asked to speak to his nurse. They transferred me to his room instead of following through with my request, my step sister picked up – oh boy let the drama begin I thought. I told her I wanted to see my father and that this may be the last time I may ever see him, she agreed that I should come see him. She put me on hold and told me she was going to ask her mom if it would be OK if I came. Here we go again — everyone always has to ask this women for permission! After being on hold for quite sometime, my other rang it was my aunt (my father’s sister – you know the one with the prayer requests) she insisted that I not come visit and that everyone was on edge because of my father and me coming would create drama. I insisted I was not coming for anything other than seeing my father with no drama attached. She said that my stepmother would not allow me in the room alone with him if I came. Great aunt huh, flesh and blood and she did not go to bat for me with his wife. I did not care, I was going to go – this could be it. I had things to tell him, I wanted to know that I love him and that I was praying for him. That he has 5 beautiful grandchildren. As I was getting ready to leave for the hour drive south to the hospital my other step sister called – the one that is as hateful as her mom. She informed me that my father did not want to see me and that as far as she was concerned he only has 3 children (her, her sister and brother) and that if I came to the hospital they would have me kicked out, if by chance I got in she would see to it that personally that I be escorted out of the hospital). After everything that happened I do not think my father would say those words, they sound like my stepmother’s words. I could not bear to hear anymore, I hung up on her and wept. 

 

So now what? That’s it. I chose to close the door and keep it closed. I cannot bear the pain anymore. I am extremely blessed to have a stepfather and a mother that are amazing parents. My stepfather has been the father I really never had.  He has always loved me as his own and my mother has always been the one who encouraged me and as loved me. She has stood by my side during all the pain.

 

Now a mom to 5 little ones I am even more baffled how any parent could just abandon their child. Nothing or no one could keep me away from my children, how could someone allow someone else to dictate that? I may not be the best mother in the world but this experience has taught me a lot even more so as a parent.

 my parents and i

I know this is a lengthy article but if you are a parent that is divorced please do not use your child as a weapon. The child suffers most, leaving scars. it has left scars for 31 years for me.  It is hard enough for children who’s parents are going through a divorce and using the child to hurt the other parent is not the way to go. For the child’s sake work it out and never bad mouth the other parent in front of the child(ren) because trust me that hurts too!

 

My father is dying and I cannot even say good-bye. I feel numb. The pain – there are no words.

 

1/8/15 – update my father passed away 1/7/15. I never got to see him before he passed away – not my choice.


Comments

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    That is so sad. My kids dad & I are divorced and both remarried. Lucky for all of us, we all get along relatively well and the kids are well adjusted.

  2. I’m so sorry to hear of your experience, but it sounds like you have learned a lot of valuable parenting lessons from it. Children should never be treated like that, and for your sake I am glad you never got close with that side of the family as it sounds like they wouldn’t have been there for you anyways.

    • Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

      Yes, she certainly did learn a lesson from her experience. It was the hard way, but it made her stronger.

  3. Oh wow, I read every heartbreaking word, and I’m not sure why, but I did. I was divorce from a very cruel and abusive both mentally & physical man, and my two oldest children also, but not so much because I knew how to push his buttons so he would pick on me & not them. When I finally divorced him (which was when he was arrested for a theft) I saw my chance & took it. I got full custody of the kids and we never saw him again, but we were on the run for ten years. Although we never spoke of him and were very happy after that whenever my son would bring him up and if they were to same something nasty I always told them wrong or right he is still their father and to show respect. When they grew up & became parents they found out what I meant. I have 4 children & it doesn’t matter how they were conceived they were still his children. The two little ones didn’t know him much just knew of him. My oldest son found him & gave the two younger ones the opportunity to meet him because he was dying of throat cancer. My daughter who was an infant when he was still around did for a few minutes, but only out of curosity & my son said NO. He’s a mama’s boy, but it was his own choice. So I don’t want to ramble on. I think you have a beautiful mother & handsome step-father, but I can see the love in that picture. I also know that your dad loved you. Why do you think he said I have to ask my wife? Maybe it was because he didn’t want you to be hurt even more by the situation, and knew she would start something with you and hurt you even more when he wouldn’t stick up for you in front of her. I would definitely look at it that way. That was the love he had for you. Not to bring any more hurt then was already given by him being… or letting her take that much control & your right if ever there was a time for him to speak up it would’ve been on his death bed, but probably couldn’t because of his health. That’s definitely what happened I’m sure of it, but that woman will pay for her evil ways I’m sure once she meets her maker & her stepkids well… you would think one of them would’ve spoke up because they know even if you’re a half-sister you always speak up for blood. My oldest is a half sister (her father died in Nam), but that is NEVER brought up between the siblings… they just don’t feel that way. You have a wonderful family. Five beautiful children, a good husband that even helped you find your dad knowing it could hurt you, and a mother & step-father that stands behind you and are there for you whenever you need them. Be thankful you have them. My parents are gone & I’d give anything to hold them again…and my brother. So give them a big hug and just say thank you. Thank you for being there for me. You’re strong… you’ll be fine. Just know your dad loved you in his own way I’m sure. Hugs and may God bless you and yours. Be HAPPY! HUGS

  4. I’m so sorry for what you are going through… My son’s father and I are divorced and the one thing we promised was never to involve our son in our personal issues, and so far for the past 3 years we’ve gotten along just fine. We are able to do things together with our son.

  5. This is so heartbreaking! It is not right that they keep you away from your own father. And it’s not right that he would abandon you, nor right that she should insist he abandon you.
    Using children as weapons in divorce is a horrible thing, one that I’ve seen happen a lot with my step niece and nephews (2 different families) their real moms use them as weapons against their dad’s who married my sisters. And it has made what could have been beautiful blended families into nightmares. My sisters love the kids and want them in their lives and the mom’s refuse to allow it. It’s not right when families are torn apart by selfishness like this.

  6. Thank you so much for sharing your story!! I’m sorry you had to endure that, but it helped mold you who you are today!

  7. Oh how sad that your father’s wife turned out to be like that but I’m more disappointed in your dad. My parents divorced when I was young and I was lucky enough to have inherited two new parents, making four parents. Both of my step parents were/are amazing and always included everyone in everything we did. My dad and step mom is just as welcome at my moms house as she is at his and when my step dad passed away last year, my dad and step-mom grieved along with all of us. If only all families could live by the rule of never using children as a weapon :(.

  8. I know that is a chapter of your life it is difficult to close now, but you seem to be doing a good job. I lost my Mum when I was younger after a similar scenerio and it has definitely shaped who I am now. Keep you chin up.

  9. I couldn’t agree more. Kids are not objects and shouldn’t ever be used against or for anything. It makes me so sad when this kind of thing happens.

  10. Wow, a very personal post, thank you for sharing this I know it must have been hard. I couldn’t agree with you more, children should always be kept out of these situations. And if you do get dicorced, you are divorcing your spouse, not your kids, I have never understood how people can act that way?

  11. I so understand where you come from on this. I lost the man that was my father 10 years ago. He could not see past his own needs. Myself and my siblings were not needed. When he passed, the woman said he had wanted his family there but she was all he had because she did not tell anyone he was dying until 2 weeks after he was gone. She gave me the story of how she sat beside him with her hand on his heart til it stopped. I just said Exactly what do you want ME to say to make you feel better?? I gave up on that man (who ignored us for more than 35 years). I had other “fathers figures” in my life who really cared. One of my half sisters ( father was married 7 times) still had problems accepting who our father was. I have no words that will help you now, I just hope the last thought your father has will be on what he missed. It takes so much more to be a father than blood. Just remember YOU are a remarkable woman and you have accomplished so much… without him.!

  12. I am so sorry you are going through this. I want to go and punch that stepmother in the face–she is so hateful and cruel and extremely selfish. It is time for you to take care of yourself and close that door–don’t let her have that power over you. You did nothing to deserve this, you were an innocent victim of her selfishness, so please be at peace with the fact that even though your father is dying, he died a long time ago for you. Be at peace and close that door forever.

  13. PS: In order to heal, you need to remove all the barriers. Take yourself off of his sisters prayer list. It will make it easier for you to close that door if you remove all temptations.

  14. Children are a blessing, not something to fight over. My friend has joint custody of her oldest girl and the parents agree it is all about the child, not themselves.

  15. Wow – that is just incredibly sad and I just really have no words for how they acted toward you. Thinking of you!

  16. My parents were divoroced for 3 years when I was in elementary school. I don’t feel they ever used me as a weapon but I am sure it is done too much.

  17. My sister and I were used as pawns and it left us broken adults. I have been divorced and vowed to never do that with my own child and I did not.

  18. Stephanie Keeping says:

    I agree with this. They should not be used as a weapon in divorce. It only hurts them.

  19. I came from a broken home in more ways than one. I can’t imagine putting my children through anything like that. It still hurts, believe it or not.

  20. This is such a sad story, however I am happy to hear that you have a stepfather that treated you wonderfully. I do not understand at all how people can be so incredibly cruel, to shut others out to such an extreme.

  21. Oh wow. This is my story, all over again. I’m so, so, sorry, and I’ll pray for you. Like you, I’m very lucky I have a fabulous “daddy” who raised me and has been here for me every day.

  22. I’m so sad to read the story. We have a family drama too, where my husband’s sister has alienated everyone who ever spoke to her ex, and has gotten her two children to absolutely deplore him. When the oldest turned 18 he changed his last name to his mom’s maiden name. The hurt just doesn’t stop. I feel for him more than I can even put into words because I know he’s a wonderful father and person. There’s nothing you can do to change something like that either.

    I’m very sorry to hear about your dad. Maybe I’m wrong here, but I don’t believe in coincidences. You finding your dad on the prayer list… well, I bet you he knows you wanted to see him. That, even if he couldn’t say or express it, had to have touched him, all things considered. I’ll pray for your heart, and for your dad too! And I’ll even pray for his mean wife. I’m guessing not a lot of people are…

  23. I am so sorry you are going through all of this. I remember being in the middle of my parents divorce and it was really hard on me. I, like you, could never imagine abandoning my kids. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers šŸ™‚

  24. That is so true, but I think it happens too often! Kids always wind up in the middle of a divorce!

  25. You are a really good person to give your father a lot of chances to connect with you even if he’s hurt you so much. I guess, the past is always a part of who your father is and he shouldn’t allow anyone to take it away. I’m glad you had a brilliant stepfather to raise you well as you grew up.

  26. My parents divorced when i was two and my dad had very little to to do with me. On the rare occasions when he did see me I always knew I was only there as a tool to benefit his job or to hurt mom. However mom always used my dad as a way to punish by saying if I continued to act like him she send to live with him or if i didn’t do something right she send me away it was a long battle for years. Final at 18 i just couldn’t take it anymore and cut y dad completely out because when I truly needed him there he wasn’t. It’s sad how parents use kids as weapons.

  27. I agree! It seems like a good way for a child to end up hurt and lonely.

  28. I totally agree with you, children often become weapons in a divorce and it shouldn’t be that way. I’m sorry to hear you had a tough experience, but I’m sure you’re a stronger person for it.

  29. I completely agree. When using a child as weapon during a divorce, this leaves room for the child to feel as if it were their fault.

  30. This is a sad reality to face. I hope to never be in this situation, and it breaks my heart to hear other stories.

  31. I can’t believe someone would even offer that ultimatum. That really became a toxic relationship. The ball is in his court, not yours though.

  32. Our relationship with our parents can be such an important role in forming our self-worth, confidence, and personality. It sounds like you have had to endure a lot of heartache with your Dad. I can relate to some of what you have described. It’s very sad to me that they are missing out on their children.

  33. I’m so sorry that you had to go through this and I hope you can really accept the fact that this is your father’s issue and is not personal against you. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure it will help many other people who have had the same experience and maybe it will keep other parents from putting their children in the middle of a divorce.

  34. Nicole! I am so sorry! I understand where you are coming from being hurt by one of your parents and not knowing how someone can do that to their children now that you have kids of your own. Its baffling for sure and I’ve lived it too. I’m sorry you can’t say goodbye. You’ve given him every opportunity to be apart of your life and he chose something else. You are not at fault.

  35. Michelle Hwee says:

    I definitely agree with you on this topic. It is sensitive but thinking of the child first is most important. They are young and will remember it always. It is definitely a delicate situation.

  36. I always say what goes around comes around. This is a very hateful women. I truly believe that there’s a god up there who sooner or later will make her pay for any hurtful thing she’s done. You are a great person and a wonderful mother. I would never choose a man over my daughter, but some people don’t think the same. I have a 5 yr old daughter who’s father is not in the picture. He has seen her 3 times in the 5 yrs. His wife doesn’t let him. I don’t understand how he doesn’t wonder about her. How she is? What she likes? I’ve never asked for money never deny him a right to see her. I know she’s going to ask me about her dad and i dont want to hurt her feelings. I’ve thought about it a lot and i came to the conclusion that i willl tell her that he lives in another country (Mexico).i’m hoping this will stop some questions for some time.

  37. Thank you for sharing this post, its a shame when children are use as a weapon. When my parents separated briefly my dad stole us since my mother was gonna get custody and it was an intense 3 months but they got over it and we’ve been back together almost 18 years now.

  38. Rebecca Swenor says:

    I really don’t even no what to say to you about this story/ part of your life. It will come back to everyone ten fold. Karma always comes. He will know the mistakes he has made. My good friend is in the same kind of situation. This kind of thing happened with her sperm donor after her mother died and he got remarried. I pray you get inner peace. Thanks for sharing.

  39. I agree with you too. Children are blessings and they should not to used in any divorce. Your story is very emotional.

  40. Iā€™m so sorry to hear of your experience.
    As a foster parents we see what break-up in the family does to children… it is heartbreaking

  41. In my work as an attorney, the cases I hated most were family law cases. The way parents used, abused and abandoned their children was terrible. There were too many stories like yours.

  42. I can’t even imagine the pain he caused you. He has to ask his wife? Uh, no. You’re his daughter and he should WANT to have a relationship with you. It’s very sad that people can be like this and not realize the hurt it causes others.

  43. I am so sorry. Your “father” obviously has no real back bone. If you need the closure, go. You are blood and they cannot kick you out.

  44. I’m so sorry that this happened to you as a child, and that it is still happening to you now. It’s so very sad that your father wasn’t man enough to stand up to this woman – but then again, there are a lot of people in the world who will bow down to their spouse’s demands, whether they are fair and reasonable or not. It’s just very sad that he chose an outsider over his own child, and that no one in his family had the guts to call him out on it and stand up for you.

    I pray that you will find and hold onto peace, knowing that you did all you could to make things right. All you can do is know that you were never the one at fault here.

  45. I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that. I can totally relate. While I was raised by both parents, my mother was a tyrant, and my father was just sort of absent. I turned to alcohol and drugs to help myself feel better, and they just sort of let it happen. Later in my life I realized that they had not done right by me, especially my mother. When I confronted her, her response was, “I said I was sorry, didn’t I?” That’s pretty much verbatim. Long, long, long story short, I don’t speak to either of my parents, and I’ve never been happier. It was too much hourly stress to deal with them and their crap. You have to do what you have to do for yourself. Sperm and an egg don’t make parents. That’s just biology.

  46. Sorry to hear what you have gone through,So I just want to say that him saying that he has to ask his wife is really wrong because as I see it no one can stop you from seeing your children,second if you want to go and see hm just do it I know I would that is you father and no one has the right to keep you from seeing him.

  47. I am so sorry for you and your kids. Children should never be treated this way and I can’t imagine the pain you are feeling.

  48. It’s scary to see how some children are used, I am so sorry to hear what you are going through *hugs* x

  49. Wow, this is terrible. I’m so very sorry that this happened/is happening to you. What a horrible, horrible person your step mother is. If I were you, I would go see him anyway. He is your father, you are his blood and there is no way they can kick you out just because she wants them to!! I hope everything works out for you and you get to see your father.

  50. I am very happy that you can’t understand how others would abandon a child. It is amazing what goes through other’s people’s minds.

  51. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. I can’t fathom how parents can just abandon their children like that. I’m sorry you’re hurting right now, I can’t imagine the pain you’re going through.

  52. For the life of me, I will never understand parents that turn their back on their children!

  53. I’m so sorry for the pain you’re feeling. I have a similar story and I vowed to never be like my parents no matter what. I guess sometimes our parents teach us what not to do and that is the only lesson they are able to give. My grandmother always says people don’t always know how to love, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t. *hugs

  54. As a mom of 4 I can’t imagine asking someone else’s permission to see my own child. I would choose my children over anyone. My ex and i are divorced. My 2 oldest are from my first marriage. I have primary custody. My ex gets the kids 3 weekends a month, we alternate holidays, and every other week in the summer. During Christmas I only HAVE to let him have the boys every other Christmas Day but I know that’s not what the boys want so I try to split their Christmas break time in half so they have equal amount of time with me and their dad over the holidays. It’s the best we can do in the situation. My ex does a lot of things I don’t care for. If there were no kids involved I could care less if I ever saw him again but as a parent I know I have to put their feelings and desires first and mine don’t matter in that situation. I read the whole article and it still baffles me how anyone could do that to their own child. He sounds just as guilty as her though

  55. I am so sorry for everything you have been through. I pray that God will give you peace that only He can give in a situation like this. I’m praying that somehow you will get an opportunity to say goodbye.

  56. I’m lucky my parents never divorced so I did not have to go through such a thing, I can’t imagine how difficult this whole process is!

  57. Lisa Rios says:

    It makes me sad. I am so sorry for what you have faced in your life, though it might have helped you to make yourself stronger. Kids are not an object to use and they should be kept out in these situations. Thanks for sharing your personal story.

  58. I am so sorry to know about this. I hope things get better and I believe they will – in due time.

  59. I don’t have a great relationship with my father either. To put it simply, they put adult situations on our shoulders when we were younger children. I try so hard to avoid doing that to my own children.

  60. Kids should always be left out of the matter, it is never their fault and it is so sad that they are sometimes dragged right into the whole thing

  61. I am so sorry that you have had to endure this load of BS for most of your life. I think it is…I can’t even describe how sickening it is. This other woman should be so ashamed of herself. People and the things they do just amaze me. I divorced my ex husband when my child was only a year old. I have been happily married to my 2nd husband for 23 years and he has a daughter by a previous marriage. We broke our backs to make sure that we all go along and did what was best for our children and you know what we became friends along the way. It is a shame. My son and his wife are divorcing right now and it is very ugly because my son left her. She has made sure that even though he pays his child support he doesn’t get to see his boys and it is killing him. I haven’t seen them since last Christmas either. She is using them as a punishment because my son left her. Those poor little boys. I can only imagine the poison coming out of her mouth about us and they are so young only 4 and 2. I miss those little guys. Someday they will hate her for what she is doing and it will be her own fault.

  62. Lisa Coomer Queen says:

    This is so sad. I totally agree that children should not be used as a weapon. When my first husband and I divorced when were blessed to be the parents of a baby girl. I use to go out of my way to make sure that she spent time with her Daddy. If I hadn’t of forced the issue, I don’t think he would have seen her much. Now, she is 30 and they go for months sometimes a year without contact and my heart still breaks for her.

  63. This is a very sad story and I am sorry you had to live through it. My husband has a daughter with his ex. When they first separated she was all about sharing time. When he went forward with the divorce, she kept his daughter from him. We started dating, and 4 months later he finally got to see her. It has been a long battle.

    My mother is my bio mom, but she married her best friend as my bio father wanted nothing to do with me. When I was born she took me over to his house and he pushed her back in the car. I never know I was adopted until I was 26. Sadly, my adopted dad was also a child molester , for 12 years, and it ruined my life. I found out about my bio dad and reached out to him. We spoke a few times and then he called and left me a message right before Thanksgiving that I should not ever contact him or his family because he just could not bear to tell them about me. I was devastated.

    I have a half brother and sister that have no idea I exist, but I know of them. Now that I live in the same state I have wondered if I should reach out to them. Part of me feels its unfair that he wont tell them about me. Maybe they would want to know me. But, what if my coming forward ruins their life somehow?

    You story gives me something to think about.

    • Chrystal, Do not have any regrets. Since I wrote this post my father passed away. I so wish I could tell him that I love him – it’s never too late for you.

  64. Melissa Smith says:

    This post has me tearing up. How could another woman, a mother herself at that, do that to someone’s daughter. I would definitely not have handled things as well as you did. {hugs}

  65. I’m so heartbroken over this for you. It was hard to read this without getting angry with that woman and even with your father (sorry). As a parent I find it so hard to believe that a parent could abandon their children. My heart hurts for you because all you ever wanted was for him to love you as a father should. I wish there was more I could say but I have no words =( Prayers to your father but especially for you!

  66. That must be so frustrating for you. Thank you for sharing your story, it really inspires me to show my children even more love. Hope everything works out!

  67. I completely agree with you. I’ve always said that children should never become embroiled in adult conflicts.

  68. I am a single mom but was never married to my sons dad. I know that I have tried to establish a good working relationship his dad and his wife but that was a bust. I just try to be the best mom I can be and don’t ever say anything bad about his dad and his dads wife.

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