I must say Divorce; especially a drawn-out, Acrimonious one – sucks.
I had to take a break from Blogging for a few weeks. I had a lot of real life stuff to deal with this month but, I’ve never been so focused, so energized as I have these last few weeks. This phase of Separation and Year 2 of Recovery; has been the ultimate test for me as I move forward. Thankfully, the move into my own Home with my children has been a saving grace.
While in Treatment for Opiate Addiction last Summer; I had the most incredible Counsellor for the entire 10 Week Program.
She taught me how to handle this situation with grace somehow. During my first 2 weeks there however, I still wasn’t myself. Deeply traumatized and ashamed, I remained in a Fog. I wasn’t really talking about anything other than how grateful I was to not be thinking about Pills every minute of every day. Most days I acted as if I was fine, similar to how I acted while using. I was encouraged to go deeper and talk about what led to my Addiction issues.
For the first time in years, I followed a regiment of Self-Care, Love and Trust that was seamlessly built into my Daily Schedule. I thought that would be enough to keep me Sober. Little did I know at the time that Sobriety from Opiates was just the minimal – to actually get through Addiction; I’d have to face everything and Recover.
As the weeks wore on, things kept coming up so it was hard to ignore the perpetual Conflict and Chaos coming at me from home.
At the time I didn’t realize what was actually happening. The rampant phone calls from my Family back home including my Husband was not out of concern for my wellbeing. I was counselled by 5 Female, Registered Social Workers at the House of Friendship in Kitchener that this behaviour needed to stop. In every single one of my daily planners; one of my goals during Treatment was to set healthy boundaries with them. This could mean only one phone call a week if I wanted although it happened naturally by the end. In my last month away, my Mother said we should stop talking and we did.
To enact Boundaries while away; I wouldn’t call them or I would wait until a certain time to turn on my cell phone (we had cell phone privileges after a 2 week Assessment Period, at night and weekends.) The Counsellors actually extended my Assessment Period out of concern so I wasn’t able to get my cell phone until a few days after the initial date.
They did this because I was clearly exhibiting co-dependant/Enmeshment behaviour that concerned them and I wasn’t focusing on myself and Recovery. I was too worried about everything else; calls from my Husband about Money or my Mother about herself and my Siblings or talking about my own Husband, his Family and my Children. It felt frustrating yet I couldn’t stop myself from the communication during those first few weeks because I worried about my children. The worlds had seemingly collided while I was away and my Mother had replaced me back at home.
Unfortunately, now that I was in Treatment and receiving professional help that I desperately needed my whole life – I started realizing and learning things. For so long, the pills I took allowed me to ignore feelings I needed to deal with in regards to our Relationship. She was constantly crossing Boundaries and doing things that upset me but I didn’t have a choice then. When you are pregnant for a 3rd time and in Treatment for Drug Addiction; you have to keep things easy and simple. It wasn’t the time to work on our Relationship.
I had spent so many years visibly tired, stressed, unhappy, whatever you want to call it as an Outsider but truthfully I was either struggling with Opiate Addiction or a self-imposed, painful Cold-Turkey withdrawal when my Addiction allowed that. Or I was Pregnant, recovering from a pregnancy with a newborn or Pregnant again without recovering from the previous pregnancy. It became a vicious cycle on repeat where I’d desperately try to avoid the drastic lows I’d experience post-baby; that made me want to use in the first place.
It wasn’t my children themselves; nor was it Motherhood. It just felt lonely. At the time; so many of my friends were having kids of their own and the Emotional, Physical and Psychological Support they had from their Families was just different. It felt normal to me however because all my life; I was used to having a Parent not be as emotionally involved as my Friends Parents were. As this was all I’ve ever known, that’s why it felt so normal yet troubling.
That’s all my bullshit though that I’ve had to own, forgive myself for and move forward from because if I don’t; 3 little girls will pay the price and suffer.
If someone like myself lives in the Shame of my mistakes, I may ultimately relapse and go back to using because how else do you move forward?
If I allow people close to me; who constantly use what Emotional Power they had over me to control my life; that too perpetuates the Cycle of Addiction. This is an unfortunate, well-known Cycle, post-Active Addiction. Like I said before; it infects an entire Family. The people who were closest to you during that time, who know every horrible thing you ever did – does not like, does not believe, and does not want to accept the change.
They were so used to dealing with someone else that it’s hard to let go. It really is like a death in some ways – if you don’t accept the Reality in front of you.
I’ve said this before; “you cannot make amends with someone who does not accept its sincerity or if they want to cause you harm.”
Essentially you cannot fix a problem with a problem. You must separate yourself from the situation if it causes further harm and trauma. The Reality of Addiction; especially Substance Abuse is it is a symptom of a greater problem within the psyche.
My homeostasis was so fucked up from the constant highs and lows of Pills, Detox’s, Depression, Anxiety and of course multiple Pregnancies (that were all consensual between 2 people by the way, although I was clearly unwell) in less than 5 years. I also worked full-time in a High Stress Career (also my choice!) which provided our Family with Assets, Net-Worth and Cash Flow for over a Decade. All that while battling with Mental Health issues which ultimately led to an obscene drug habit at the end of 7 years.
Today, I have been Sober for 16 months and feel grateful for the almost life-ending experience my Addiction and Recovery has provided.
What can I say? I was due for a good kick down the ladder because I lived my life recklessly until June 24, 2018. I will never be perfect, I will never say it cannot happen to me again nor do I want to. I just want to live my life with my beautiful daughters and move on respectfully from those I’ve harmed. Those who don’t respect what I’ve been through to get to this point; never respected me in the first place.
They will never see how they have harmed me either and that’s ok. It’s not my job to make them see that but it is my job to protect my Recovery and my Daughters from these Toxic Relationships and Cycles. No one can possibly heal when they have several Family Members chirping more hate that’s reasonable.
My situation has crossed the line from “rightfully upset because of Addiction” to “We are going to rally together and we are going to destroy her.”
The constant plotting and conniving has got to stop. Until you have experienced this type of Abuse and Coercion where your children are at the centre while using your Mental Health and disease against you – you could never know it’s impact.
If I did not tell my story; no one would know how common this happens in Families. Enmeshment within Families can create some of the worst, high-conflict situations especially during Separation and Divorce. One of the questions I am commonly asked; “How did your Husband not know you were an Addict?” is a perfect example of that Enmeshment.
Back then, I was living as a Woman, as a Mother of a “certain expectation” in a “certain Cultural Background” where I took a back seat behind my Husband. He needed to look good, make the money, climb the Corporate Ladder while I bore the children and worked a full-time job. His family was not there to support me in my role as his wife and Mother to the Children in any meaningful way. They would only step in for him and this became obvious 2 years ago when they all became aware I was in trouble.
“Just don’t cause problems.”
– My Father-In Law would often say to me in regards to my Drug Addiction.
But Opiate Addiction is a big fucking problem and I just kept trying to hide, fix or abuse my problem until I couldn’t any more. I put myself in Treatment, I stayed there and I finished. I’m the one who sought Alternative Medicines which has contributed to my 16 months of Sobriety. I’m also the one who continues Structured Care from a Medical Doctor which includes Weekly Urine Screens.
485 days ago, I was a 4 months pregnant, Mother of 2 with a raging, expensive Addiction to Pharmaceutical Opiates which had been prescribed to me at age 27 for Dental Surgery.
I did what I said I’d do – I got better and I “fixed my problem.” Then I went above and beyond to subject myself to further scrutiny so I could be on my own with my Children.
I just did not fix my problems to a certain expectation of the “Family.”
Then I began to put up Boundaries to the people I loved the most and thought they loved me too. It wasn’t long before I slowly started to unravel an almost 2 year campaign on behalf of my Husband, his Family and my own Mother to basically strip me of my children and my assets if I ever tried to leave my marriage. There is no other explanation and I am about to prove my case in Court.
This is the scariest thing I’ve ever had to face but it brings me back to some of the best Counselling I ever received back in March of 2018 before Recovery:
“You need to deal with your Addiction FIRST before anything else.”
Then she looked at my Husband and said; “You are in denial. Know your part and do not involve Family and Friends by gossiping.” I was so deep into my Addiction by then; so my identity was already being promoted (or demoted) to that of a worthless, drug addict backed by her own Mother. My Husband would never protect me as his Wife but rather work towards finding a way to leave the Marriage and leave me with nothing.
While in Treatment, I learned about Boundaries and what needed to be done in order to stay this way. I’d have to deal with my Marriage, Family Enmeshment issues and of course; the decades long conflict I’ve had with my Mother since I was a small child. It has taken me a full year to comprehend the betrayal, coercion and emotional control these people held over me. Now that I’ve asked for a Separation, their behaviour now extends to Financial Abuse. Financial abuse inflicted upon me just for wanting to split Assets that I worked 12 years contributing to.
In April 2019; I invited my Mother to sit down with me and a Social Worker from Children’s Aid so I could officially document a Boundary.
If my Mother did not agree to Counselling provided by Children’s Aid between her and I; there would be no unsupervised visits (meaning without me or a trusted third-party) with my Children.
She could not accept this and continued talking to my Husband on a regular basis.
She encouraged him to steal my phone and send her my messages. He did just that in earnest.
Almost every day, for the past 2 years – they have continued a relationship based upon mutual disappointment, dissatisfaction and contempt for me as a human being. Back at the end of June 2019; My Mother and her Husband (who has never had children of his own so he could never understand) then successfully triangulated my Husband.
They talked him into lying to me about the whereabouts of our children for an entire weekend despite being told by me, no. When I confronted her about this; her excuse was she had invited me to go but because I said “No, my kids and I aren’t coming, and you’ve been told Why several times.” it only made sense to my Mother to just invite my Ex-Husband – who is trying to take everything from me, up to the Cottage with my kids.
By then, the relationship between all of us had broken down beyond repair and my Mother still refused Counselling with me. I respected that but my Husband was also told to end his relationship with them and stop trying to force one with the Kids as it should not be his focus right now. How they all thought it would be a good idea to lie about all of this; blows my mind. If I had made such a “unilateral decision” and done those things; I would have faced consequences no doubt.
My Mother’s impulsive, reckless disregard for me as a person, never mind as her own daughter – is why I have gone “no-contact.”
I did everything I could to find a middle ground until that happened. What’s even more fucked is not only did my Mother collude with my Husband to lie and manipulate my children’s whereabouts to me; so did his own Mother. This form of bullying and isolation was to make me feel like I had no one, that I was the problem.
When I suspected something was wrong the day before my Husband left for a “Weekend with the Girls and his Dad” in another location – his own Mother ganged up on me with him, called me “Paranoid” and saying she knew “what would happen in Court and with Children’s Aid.” She was essentially alluding to the eventual Court battle my Husband has launched against me. I later found out she called into Children’s Aid to lodge a new accusation about me, about Cannabis – 3 months prior to this incident.
My Mother-In Law recorded me during this incident a day before my Husband admitted the truth. She recorded me so she could use my Reaction against me which is so wrong. His entire Family has actively participated in various tactics to upset, intimidate and harm me. Again, they are doing these things to cause an Emotional Reaction from me so they can say I am not emotionally stable.
By calling me Paranoid because she knows I use Cannabis; she’s trying to make me doubt myself to hide the truth she is covering up.
My Husband and our Children were supposed to leave on the Canada Day weekend Friday. On that day, I was going to be driving home a Pregnant Woman in Recovery after her Graduation from Treatment. Around 11 am; my Husband called me to tell me he had lied about everything and that they were going with my Mother and Step-Father to the Cottage.
I almost drove my car into a fucking concrete guardrail on the 401. The betrayal and emotional trauma from this event still shakes me. The Woman I was driving home still remembers my state of shock, disbelief and of course, hurt and anger. During our 5 hour car ride; I cried and shook my head “No” constantly. I could not believe they’d do this and then turn it around to place blame on me.
A perfect example of “Gaslighting:” When someone who has Emotional Power over you; for instance calls you “Paranoid” while they are actually lying, colluding and covering up the very Truth you are speaking of.
Well, that is Emotional & Psychological abuse.
This is Family Enmeshment at its prime; and my Mother In Law participates because she wants her Son to “Win.” She participates because she has to, everyone else in the Family is, so she has to fall in line. Ironically, she detached from her own Parents so my Husband and his Siblings grew up not knowing their Maternal Grandparents.
What they don’t realize is that when someone emotionally abuses the Mother of the very Children they say they are “concerned for” and “trying to protect” – they are abusing the kids too.
Despite all of this, I am still advocating for Joint Custody as I believe our Children deserve their Father in their lives. As I’ve said before; I believe he is a victim in his own right and requires meaningful help away from his Family. If he does not find a way to detach from the Bullshit; the behaviour will continue. It’s very close to how a Drug Addict hits rock bottom and has to go away to Treatment.
You must detach from the People, Places and Things contributing to the situation in order to Recover.
People think because of their Education, Professional Background and “Prominence,” that they are immune to Addiction, Drug Abuse, Mental Illness, etc. not realizing not one person is immune to any of those things. They have their own issues and problems that need focus. People have their own Children to worry about; and Partners too.
My Boundary to them (and my own Mother) was to back-off and let us deal with the end of our marriage without 5-8 toxic opinions.
Let’s just say the exact opposite happened but thankfully; I prepared for that well in advance.
But by far, the biggest disappointment for me: A complete denial of my Sobriety and Recovery in Court papers sworn by my Husband and his lawyer despite concrete proof to the contrary. There have been so many instances of their bullshit; I could never write just one post about it and I don’t know if I ever will. I just want it to end.
I just want us to move on with our lives and for everyone to stop using 3 little girls as Pawns in a Game where no one wins.
In 6.5 months, I have achieved what I set out to accomplish:
End my marriage and get out of it as a whole, Sober Woman to become a Single Mother of 3.
At this rate; by the time I’m legally divorced; I will be almost 2 years sober from Opiates. There are things to be grateful for in all of this. For me; the gift of more time; more recovery, more urine tests and most of all; the gift of Motherhood and giving it all away. There is more work to be done.
To the Women who are reading this; who are in the Early Stages of their own Journey – I am here for you and thank you for sharing your stories with me. Love you all. #stayliftedd