I have never been one for making new year’s resolutions, but as 2011 rolled into 2012 I decided that the new year was as good a time as any to start implementing some serious changes in my life. During one of many meaningful and supportive conversations, my close friend and I realized that what we didn’t need in 2012 was yet another meaningless resolution that would be broken as easily as it would be forgotten. What was needed was a philosophy to live by, a motto that would see us through the trials that we both knew we would face in 2012. Our lives, like the major motion pictures they are surely destined to be, needed a good tagline. We came up with “2012: No Compromise” and I can look back on 2012 and proclaim proudly that it was indeed, a year without compromise.
Without a doubt, 2012 was one of the most difficult years of my life. I had set myself the goal of resetting and not compromising my boundaries with the two people (my ex-husband and his mother) who caused the vast majority of my problems. And 2012 really was a hellish year – my ex-husband hasn’t seen the children since Jan 2012, and at one point, was three months behind on support payments because of his refusal to pay the court ordered support. It took FRO several months, and many letters from me, to get payments up to date. (The fact that I cannot back-date my children’s meals is another post for another day.) Spitefulness and nothing more, saw my ex-husband refuse to sign passport applications for the kids or give them permission to travel to the UK to be flower girls at their aunt’s (my sister) wedding. I took him to court over this, and won. And when I say “I”, I mean that I did it all by myself – I can’t afford a lawyer, and the Legal Aid qualifying limit is ridiculously low. Neither he nor his lawyer bothered to attend court, much to the chagrin of the judge.
So while 2012 was hellish, I look back on it with fondness and with pride. It was the year I finally stood up to bullies. It was the year that fear stopped holding me prisoner (a la Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption). It was the year that I faced my biggest fear – which was of addressing the problems associated with the children’s access visits with their father (my ex-husband) and the resultant push back that I knew would come. My ex pushed back in all the ways I knew he would – he withheld support payments, he harassed me ( I had to change my telephone number and get it unlisted) and I had to call the police several times. He used his lawyer to threaten and intimidate me, even though I had done nothing wrong. (The fact that lawyers do this sort of thing is also another post for another day.) Previously, I had been all about “compromise” and “making things easy” and “going with the flow, as long the kids still get to see their dad” – but I hated myself for it. I had compromised myself so much that the court ordered access order was nothing like the actuality of the access order. I had compromised myself out of a voice and out of opinion. I had compromised myself so much, that the only voice I had left was an automatic yes to any demands that my ex made. I barely recognized myself.
I realized that I was going to be pushed around by my ex and living at his beck and call for the next 10 years if I didn’t put a stop to it to now. I knew my limits. I knew exactly where my boundaries began and ended. I knew myself. I knew that this so-called compromising for an easy life wasn’t living up to its promises, and it certainly wasn’t making life easier for the children. It wasn’t easy, but once I had resolved to no longer compromise with my ex, my year was set in motion. When my limits were tested, I held firm, and reminded myself that this was 2012, The Year of No Compromise. I also reminded myself that every single time I failed to protect or maintain my boundaries, and didn’t set limits, I was essentially giving my ex permission to ignore them. This unspoken permission told my ex that it was okay for him to disrespect me, take me for granted, and ignore my boundaries. (Just as he had done during our marriage!)
I discussed this issue at length with my friend. We both concluded that no-one who is getting away with bad behavior (especially bad behavior which is to their benefit) will change that behavior of their own accord. Why would they? No, my ex would only change his approach, if my behavior caused him to. The only thing that would make him stop pushing my buttons was my buttons losing their ability to be pressed. This realization made me all the more determined to not give up and to never compromise. To do so would reset the clock and I would have to start all over.
I’ve been maintaining my “line that will not be crossed” for a year now. I set that line and I guard it with all I have. That line represents my dignity as a human being. None of the access issues have been resolved – a “dispute resolution” court date is set for the end of January 2013. I’m terrified of going back to court and of having to explain my year of no compromise to a judge. I have no doubt that I have done the right thing and that it is my ex’s own actions which have kept him away from the children for almost 12 months. But he has a lawyer (and plenty of money to pay for one), while I’ll be doing my best Elle Woods impression, and contrary to popular belief, justice doesn’t always prevail in the family courts. It’s January 3, 2013 now and I have finally come up with my motto for this year. It took a while. I needed something that would be a natural progression from the Year of No Compromise. Between my eight year old daughter (sweet little girl that she is) mistaking New Year’s Resolutions for New Year’s Revolutions and my recent magnificent Les Miserables cinematic experience, it struck me that a REVOLUTION was just what I needed in 2013.
I will continue on in my quest to not compromise myself (in any aspect of my life) and I will also aim to turn my situation around. I will overthrow the old order (of being dominated by my ex) and put in place a new system. I will turn my life around. The word “revolution” could not be any more fitting. My 2013, will be the Year of Revolution. And as I take each day and make it revolutionary, this will be my anthem….
“One more day to revolution…
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!”