Category Archives: TDP Your Stories

Accept Help and Keep Fighting by Katrina Darrah

TDP Katrina Darrah

Katrina and two of her three children.

I was a single mom to my four month old baby boy when I met my second husband. I had just got out of an *abusive marriage and was in therapy for PTSD/Anxiety. I was always scared. When I met him, he immediately jumped into the role of dad to my son and protector to me. For the first time in a long time, I felt safe – and that made it easy to fall. We got married after six months of dating and a year-long engagement. I Our marriage wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either.

I got pregnant with my daughter two months after the wedding, and when I was four months into my pregnancy, my son spent a week in hospital where he was diagnosed with a seizure disorder.  Between caring for my son, my morning sickness and my high risk pregnancy, my husband soon realised that he wasn’t the center of attention.  He joined a dating site and met not just one someone, but two! Although, I found out a couple of months later, I made the decision to give him another chance. I really didn’t want my daughter to be without her dad. My husband had some anger issues, but he went to anger management. He became as involved in our church, as I was, and went to a long discipleship training that taught him to be a better husband and dad. Things seemed great.

We decided to try for another baby when our daughter was 7 months. We got pregnant right away but lost this baby. (This was actually the second miscarriage we suffered together). I was devastated but we got pregnant again the next month and I experienced another high risk pregnancy. I was a stay at home mom (aside from being in the air force reserves and working in our church nursery). Balancing two kids and bed-rest was practically impossible. Bed-rest itself was impossible. My husband stepped up more than I could have imagined, but I still did as much as I could manage to do. My water ruptures at 34 weeks 6 days and our son was born the very next day. He spent 3 weeks in the hospital.

In those three weeks my husband came to see him only once after my discharge. He prioritised on everything else over me spending time in the hospital with our sick baby. When our son came home, the struggles continued because our tiny baby had colic and severe reflux. He cried ALL the time, and I was tired and stressed.

For the second time in our marriage, my husband wasn’t the center of attention. I knew something was changing and I suspected he was cheating. I’d ask, he’d chew me out, and then I would drop it and force myself to trust him. He would tell me about how his brother was complaining about how lazy and bitchy his wife was. I asked him if he thought that about me and he said he didn’t. He would tell me I was the perfect wife and he wouldn’t change anything about me. I would ask him to promise me that if he didn’t like something I was doing he would tell me and I promised him that I wouldn’t get mad. At this point, I thought our marriage was as strong as ever.

The next week he had a family dinner for his Sunday school class and I was very hurt when he said he didn’t want me to go. So I took our three kids out to dinner instead. That night, after we both got home and we were sitting on separate couches, he looked me dead in the eye and said, “I don’t love you. I want a divorce. I’m leaving.” And with that, he walked out the door, clothes in hand. He didn’t even say goodbye to the kids. Bawling my eyes out, I called my parents and made arrangements to go home to them the following day, which baby’s dedication at church. I called his mom who came rushing over. She was stunned. We both tried calling him with no answer. After a sleepless night and an emotional morning at church, I loaded the kids for the 9 hour drive home to my parents. On the way home, it hit me that he had left to go to the same girl he had previously cheated with. I was able to confirm this by looking at her facebook page.

From my parents’ home, I started the process of calling lawyers. It was only three weeks before Christmas, so it made it a bit more challenging. I had $82 to my name and no job. I had to have my son in Texas for Christmas with his dad (the first one he would ever spend with him). This meant Christmas alone with my younger two. Their dad didn’t even call, let alone come see them. He would promise money and never follow through. I received bills letters showing that he hadn’t paid our cars in months and they were on the verge of being repossessed.  He hadn’t been paying the mortgage either, and the process of foreclosure had begun. Church members were buying us groceries and paying our bills while I searched for a job. And this is when I decided to move home to Missouri. I gave him a month’s advance notice of my move. Although he only came to see the kids twice for twenty minutes, he was quick to tell everyone I was denying him visits.

After I moved, we got out first court date for temporary orders. He showed up with no lawyer, so a lawyer sat down with him. Since he was expected to do 100% of the travel for access visits, he said he only wanted one Saturday a month for four hours, and he gave the impression that that was all he wanted. A couple of weeks later my lawyer was served – my ex had filed for joint custody, regional restrictions, 50/50 possessions, and costs. I was devastated, but I was also angry. We had already set up a life in Missouri. He hadn’t seen the kids since we left and he had not called them once since HE left before Christmas. We went back to court. We sat down for mediation before we went into court, and I said flat out we weren’t moving back. I offered him standard visitation and to only meet him halfway for extended visits. I said he could visit them anytime he wanted to, and for as long as he wanted, and that we would do opposite holidays etc. He agreed.

I was also awarded all of our possessions.  He agreed that he would take the house debt and the vehicle debt. He was told to move all of my stuff into a storage unit and put the unit in my name. I had moved to Missouri with just some clothes and a few toys. He was to pay for the first month. A few months later, I called the storage unit and after fighting them to get them to tell me where my stuff was, they informed me it has been emptied a month and a half before. I asked him about this and he told me he gave it all to Goodwill – couches, toys, clothes, everything. My entire house-full of stuff was gone. Hospital bracelets, footprints ETC – all the keepsakes were gone. I have filed a police report and I am in the process of taking him to small claims court.

In the meantime, my kids and I are working hard to start our lives over. He doesn’t call them. He doesn’t visit them any more than the court order says unless I bring them to him. He doesn’t send them anything. He quit his $20/hr job for a minimum wage job so that I would only get a TOTAL of $300/month for child support. This doesn’t even cover day-care. I think that the family court system could better help people in my situation by holding parents accountable. There should be legal repercussions for somebody abandoning his family to the extent that they had to rely on others to pay their electricity bill and put food on the table. Parents need to be held accountable for their family and their responsibilities they helped to create.

The best advice I could give to others is to accept help. I am a very independent person, but I had to swallow my pride and accept help in so many ways from other people. Without their help, I never would have made it through. Also, fight for what you and your children deserve. Do what you think is right. Don’t let anybody tell you that you’re wrong for doing what you need to do.

*For more about domestic abuse and violence – please click here.

About Katrina: Katrina is a mother of three – Ryan is 5, Gracynn is 2, and Eli is 1. She has sole physical and legal custody of her oldest son. After four years of not being involved, his father has finally stepped up and practices visitation as often as possible. She has joint custody of the younger two but their Dad only visits as little as he gets away with and has NEVER called them since he left them in December of 2012. While she tries to have a good co-parenting relationship with her younger children’s father, it is a continuous struggle as he is not interested. Katrina is currently on active duty orders with the Air Force Reserves and is waiting for the opportunity to get hired into the position as a civilian. She is also currently enrolled in school full time pursuing her Bachelors in Criminal Justice, and is working towards a career as a Criminal Investigator with the Federal Bureau of Investigations. In addition to full time work and school, she runs two small businesses (one with handcrafted items and one as a distributor of a well known product) to make extra income to provide for her family.

Click on the links to find more of The Double Parent on facebook and Twitter.

TDP – Your Stories is a safe space for readers to share about life as double parent.  I call this space “Your Stories” because I hope many of you will be brave enough to share your stories, questions, inspirations, struggles, tears, triumphs etc so that we all may glean from and contribute to the collective wisdom. Please feel free to comment and if you would like to share your story then please contact me by clicking here.

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I refuse to commit karmic crime by Elisabeth Corey

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Elisabeth and her children.

The universal law of attraction makes it impossible for one traumatized person to attract a partner without trauma. Therefore, for an unrecovered trauma survivor, marriage is not an intimate relationship. Marriage is more like an arrangement between two adults who are not willing to open their hearts to another person. “Let’s live in the same house. We might even have kids. But don’t ask me to love you. I am not capable of that. My heart has been ground up and spit out.” I know that’s not a lovely image, but it’s accurate.

The closest I came to a relationship with moments of true intimacy was my last relationship with my ex-husband and my children’s father. There were moments which were almost vulnerable. There were moments which seemed like an authentic connection might have been made. If children had not appeared on the scene, we might have convinced others (and ourselves) that our relationship was the real deal. But the twins stopped that train in its tracks.

Children provide all the necessary triggers to make a survivor want to throw themselves off a bridge. The pain starts as soon as the child reaches the age of the survivor when the abuse began. And that pain is intense. My ex-husband and I had both suffered severe abuse, so our triggers started very early. I chose a path of recovery. My ex chose a path of self-destruction. He walked out, eventually moving back in with his childhood abusers, and taking his own life.

When I think about our marriage, I realize that we never had a chance. Our relationship was the epitome of enmeshment, co-dependence, addiction and enablement. And the house of cards came crashing down as soon as the two new heartbeats came through the front door. I sometimes wonder how it could have been different. Why didn’t I walk away when he first started showing signs of addiction? Why didn’t I know that kids would be a bad idea? Why didn’t I know he would run away when I told him to take responsibility? Why didn’t I realize that he would walk back in to the lion’s den when he left us?

I could have stopped the madness so many times. But we had an arrangement. We had an agreement. No matter how dysfunctional it became, we were supposed to stand by our promise. Of course, in the end, he didn’t. The pain was too much. Sometimes, I look at the empty chair and ask, “Why didn’t you make another choice?” “Why didn’t you make my choice?” I don’t regret the end of our relationship, but I do regret that my children will never remember their father.

My relationship with my ex-husband was not about intimacy. It was about what not to do. I learned that there is no substitute for vulnerability and openness in relationships. There is no shortcut. The only true path is healing. I don’t know if I will heal enough for an intimate relationship, but I like to think I will. I may not know what to do, but I know what not to do.

In the meantime, I have been working at establishing trust in relationships through a crash course in unconditional love.  The teachers are my children.  I have learned that refusing to open my heart to my children is the greatest karmic crime I can commit.  I realize that my ex-husband made a choice that I was never meant to make.  I am not here to pass my trauma to my children. I am here to break the cycle.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s messy.  Every day, I learn what not to do (usually by doing it first).  The good news is my kids are wired to forgive.  So, we keep moving forward.  We are teaching each other how to be a real family … the kind of family I have always wanted.

About Elisabeth: Elisabeth is a survivor of family-controlled child sex trafficking and ritual sex abuse.  Her education in social work and her personal experiences as a survivor inform her intimate discussion about the biological, psychological, social and spiritual aspects of trauma recovery, which she discusses on her blog and facebook page.  She writes about breaking the cycle of abuse through conscious parenting, navigating intimate relationships as a survivor, balancing the memory recovery process with daily life, coping with self-doubt, and overcoming the physical symptoms of a traumatic childhood.

Click on the links to find more of The Double Parent on facebook and Twitter.

*I have created TDP – Your Stories as a safe space for readers to share about life as  double parent.  I’m calling this space “Your Stories” because I hope many of you will be share your stories, questions, inspiration, struggles, tears, triumphs etc so that we all may glean from and contribute to the collective wisdom. Please feel free to comment and if you would like to share your story then please contact me by clicking here.

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How I became a single-dad by Jason Evans

TDP Jason Evans

Jason and his kids.

From a young age, I’ve been around children a lot. When my parents split up, I went to my mother’s work with her because she didn’t have a baby-sitter. My mom is a Labor and Delivery nurse, and I would hang-out with the nurses in the nursery. Even after I joined the navy, I would still occasionally watch my buddy’s son for him. I soon learned that “for a man” I was very good with children.

When I got out of the navy, I met a woman in San Diego – I was stationed there and she had grown up there. She said that she was moving to New York to meet her real father. Because I am from New York, I told her that if things didn’t work out for me in California I would come to New York to see her. About a month later, she called me and said that she could get a place if I was going to move out there with her and help pay for it. I said yes and we moved to New York. We lived together as friends for a little while and then I got her pregnant. I told my boss at the time that I didn’t love her and I wasn’t ready for this. I chose to stay (which I felt was my only choice) and take care of my daughter. 13 months later, she was pregnant again. When my son was born I named him Jason Jr. (JJ).

When we were together, we were always the ones that our friends came to when they needed help with their kids. I always loved to have a lot of kids around. But I soon realised that I was living with someone I didn’t love. I started to drink. One day, while my family were up north at my mother’s having a baby shower (my son’s) I got arrested for DWI – and another a week later. After that, I quit drinking for a little over a year. Then I started drinking just a little bit now and then. She left for about 8 months after a couple arguments about money and some other things and she left me with the kids. I was quick to find a girlfriend, but one day, in an argument, she hit me and so I asked her to leave. I then called the children’s mother and begged her to come back. A couple of months after that, the work ran out where we were living. I got an offer to work for someone that lived up north, close to where my mother lived up north. So we moved into my mother’s house, and lived there for about a year until we saved enough and found a place of our own. Still not being in love with her, I started to drink heavily and do bad things again. I got another DWI and crashed my car. I should have died but I didn’t have so much as a scratch. This woke me up and made me see what I needed to do. I left. I moved back into my mother’s and went to rehab. When I got out of rehab and started working again, I found a place.

One day, my ex asked me if she could start dating. I said, “I don’t care, but if you’re so worried about your social life, then give me the kids.” She just said ok. So I took the kids and I love having them around so much. I have been granted joint custody with placement and say-so of visitation. I firmly believe everything happens for a reason. I have done more things with my kids in the last 8 months than I have ever done. They are my blessing. I have been clean and sober for just over 9 months now and I am doing great. I take care of my kids all by myself and wouldn’t have it any other way. I inspire to be someone that my children will be proud of throughout  life. There is no bad blood between their mother and me. I never talk badly about her. Everyone has their own problems and I like my life the way it now is. I am now happy to do it by myself, but when the kids are older, I hope I find someone to spend my life with. Thank you for listening

About Jason: Jason Evans is a 34 yr old single father of two. His daughter, Brianna, is 10 and his son, Jason Jr., is 9. He’s been in construction for over 15 years, was in the Navy for 4 years, and was first vice commander of Seneca County New York American legion. He currently resides in upstate New York and admins on facebook at Super Crazy Super Parents.

Click on the links to find more of The Double Parent on facebook and Twitter.

*I have created TDP – Your Stories as a safe space for readers to share about life as  double parent.  I’m calling this space “Your Stories” because I hope many of you will be share your stories, questions, inspiration, struggles, tears, triumphs etc so that we all may glean from and contribute to the collective wisdom. Please feel free to comment and if you would like to share your story then please contact me by clicking here.

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