2005-07-05 - 8:41 a.m.
I cried yesterday.
After the initial shock of hearing Katerina's stinging words and realizing that she indeed has been fueling what I thought was her Grandmother's fire. I never thought I would hear the words I heard from her- and to hear her say "Mommy why don't you believe me?" when I never even ARTICULATED lack of trust in her hurts most of all.
I don't understand how she can claim she was hit daily. I hadn't understood how when Soren was pressed to put a figure on it his estimate is that he was spanked "Ummm... About five times" that any law guardian would condider a half dozen spankings to be abusive. But now I understand that my children are saying one thing to me and another thing to their Father and Grandmother and everyone else.
And I understand a bit more of the CYNICISM of my attorney who said the judge's job is to figure out the truth between two sets of lies. I had found that to be a disturbing characterization... but now hearing Katerina say "I was hit daily and you were there" which I KNOW NOT TO BE TRUE it makes me understand the cynicism and disbelief I have faced when I tell our story.
And the biggest problem for me to face now is my relationship with Katerina.
She is obviously angry or hurt enough to have the feeling her protectionism of being with her father is necessary and justifiable.
And frankly it baffles me.
I am at a loss in how to adress this with her as I have already vowed to never doubt her integrity. So she HAD TO BE TELLING what she thinks is a truth! And what I have to figure out is HOW IT CAN BE THAT SHE HAS that sense of what happened! I KNOW its not based on an actual reality of her being hit daily! I know that. What I don't know is if she could REALLY BELIEVE that if she's been coached.... IT seems inconceivable to me.
I just don't understand it and have to really think this out and do alot of reading !
1:14 pm A recent break for lunch after having spent ALL morning READING my old entries in this journal and reading stuff on line. I at first reacted to Katerina's assertions DEFENSIVELY and looked up all instances of abusive behavior to assess THE TRUTH. You see I have a habit of WRITING about any instance of inappropriate behavior! To be fair, this first started out with a CALENDAR in which I used codes for VERBAL ABUSE, PHYSICAL DISCIPLE, EXCESSIVE PHYSICAL DISIPLINE etc: all Westely's behaviors. Then over time as I realized that I can't CONTROL WESTELY as much as MYSELF my focus ALSO included things like : WAS LATE , BLEW OFF A COMMITMENT, DIDN't FOLLOW THOROUGH on something promised, and I ALSO then started to track MY OWN poor behaviors. Over MORE time I also started tracking OTHER VARIABLES.... including SHARED INTIMACY, CAFFINE INTAKE....etc... SO basically I have a VERY EXTENSIVE BEHAVIORAL DOCUMENTATION AND EVALUATIONS SYSTEM for both MYSELF, and my relationship with WESTELY and he individually. Interestingly the only ones I HAVEN'T actually TRACKED or paid attention to ARE THE KIDS! I never felt the NEED to do so!
So I turned to my various tools and records to look at THE REAL PICTURE OF DATA.
Its quite amazing as I can look at this in CHARTS and GRAPHS...
I mean ONE THING I CAN"T FAIRLY BE ACCUSED OF IS IGNORING AND PRETENDING ABUSE HAS NOT HAPPENED!
The problem is that to date I haven't acually considered SHARING these with anyone. I used them FOR MY OWN PERSONAL GROWTH and for the betterment of my relationship and the whole FAMILY.
But I looked at them today as CONFIRMATION and AFFIRMATION that I have not been crazily ignoring issues.
I also have written down MY RESPONSES to abusive behavior. These include most often: LEFT THE ROOM saying "THat is an unacceptatble way to talk to me (or the name of one of the kids) , TALKED TO KIDS ABOUT THE INAPPROPRIATENESS, and LATER TALKED TO WESTLY ONCE HE WAS CALMED DOWN.
YEARS AGO MY RESPONSES WERE VERY DIFFERENT!! THEN I didn't track but it was most likely that I ARGUED WITH HIM AND I RAISED MY VOICE AND I CORRECTED AND WAS CONDESCENDING IN MY CRITICISM (Even if it WAS valid at the time!) AND I NEVER WOULD LEAVE BUT STUBBORNLY CONTINUE DOING WHATEVER IT WAS THAT HE WAS IRRITATED BY and told him he was OBSESSIVE to have a problem with it.
As my old methods of responding to abusive comments changed from CONFRONTATION in ANGER to one of stating calmly that the behavior was UNACCEPTABLe then leaving the room/ area to give WESTELY space to calm down, the incidents of abusive communication on his part VASTLY diminished to the point of being VERY RARE!
In any case, after that RE-AFFIRMATION of reading this, I then read some things about LYING. I understand people lie out of SELF PROTECTION. And in a way I think if Katerina is SAYING something untrue it is because most likely she BELIEVES it, or it is because she is SO AFRAID of something that she will LIE.
There has been an assumption she is SO AFRAID of WESTELY. So that even if it is not TRUE that all the allegations said actually occurred, that legitimate fear which would be a reason kids lie is ENOUGH of a reason for the law guardian to think the kids need to be with their DAD.
But in thinking about this, I realized that the kids BIGGEST FEAR is indeed the motivator. When it was clear to them that parents ARE ALLOWED to used physical discipline then the story CHANGED from complaints primarily of being spanked to being BEATEN (AS SOREN SAID! INTERESTINGLY KATERINA THEN SAID HE WAS 'LYING AND EXAGGERATING LIKE ALWAYS'. )
When it was clear that something that happened ONCE (HER REALLY BEING HIT IN THE SPANKING OF 8/31/04) might possibly not be enough for her to stay in BUFFALO, then her story CHANGED at some point! When it was made clear that the kids are EITHER AFRAID of WESTLEY or NOT-- and that they can't have it both ways, then they became less fence walkers that said "I don't know" and started to articulate they ARE AFRAID of him and DON'T want to see him again.( AT LEAST KATERINA DID... not sure about SOREN although I have to believe he said that too or the law guardian would have to have appointed a different one for him)
But in all this reading of my own journals I kept thinking the one dominant theme- THAT THE KIDS REALLY HAVE A HUGE FEAR OF LOSING THEIR FATHER. THEY HAVE A HUGE INJURY AND WOUNDING related to the loss of their Father. Maybe time eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
OOOPPSs... I actually fell asleep on that letter e... HA HA... Getting tired. but that is good I am getting more RELAXED too!
What I was leading up to is a fantastic article about honesty in relationships:
ANd I REALLY think that unfortunately the social worker was the only one who had it right. I think the Psycologist and likely the counselor the kids are seeing now, and the law guardian ALL THINK That KATERINA IS NOW SUDDENLY ABLE TO HONESTLY EXPRESS HER FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS WITHOUT FEAR OF INCRIMINATION! I think they hear her talk of being hit daily and they think it SO HEALTHY AND GOOD she talks of those horrible things!
I think the Social Worker alone saw the reality that KATERINA is now LYING to protect the most vulnerable thing in her life: the fragile relationship with her father!
Her sense of self, like Soren, is really DEPENDENT on having BOTH PARENTS.
They are very desperate in their attempts to hold onto their DAD and are clinging to that relationship in ANY WAY THEY CAN-- EVEN IF IT MEANS LYING.
What worries me most of all is something their DAD said on the phone to me when I did talk to him yesterday. After he discounted my concerns about SOREN'S academics, and talked of how good it will be for him to go to Preforming Arts, when he asked when I'd get to visit them again, he said something that was SUPPOSSED to be reassuring to me: HE commented "This is just FOR NOW. If I've learned one thing at AA its to take one day at a time. This is just for now so we'll see what happens"
And all I heard was a LACK of COMMITMENT on his part.
What I later thought was "YOU BASTARD. YOU'RE GOING TO FIGHT AND ATTACK WESTLEY AND I AS UNFIT AND YOU CAN'T EVEN COMMITT to WANTING YOUR KIDS"
I hope that is one point on which I AM WRONG.
THe kids REALLY want him in their life. He HAS BEEN in their life this past year LIKE NO OTHER YEAR OF THEIR LIVES: EVER THAT INCLUDES WHEN WE WERE MARRIED (EXCEPT FOR KATERINA's FIRST YEAR AS HE WAS PRESENT THEN.... but for SOREN he was REMARKABLE NOT PRESENT WHEN HE WAS A BABY)
HE has been a parent. AND their GRANDMOTHER has also been AS MUCH of a parent.
But he also seems like he wouldn't hesitate to give that up. He doesn't seem to RELISH it like I would expect.
But they indeed are CLINGING to him in their lives. I worry about the manipulation of his mother, their GRANDMOTHER, but have to face the fact that my kids are THE MOTIVATOR behind the custody case. They are THE ONE'S who are fueling this battle. And its because their PAIN is still so great! THEIR FEAR is still so great!
I thought I had been aware of their pain and had addressed it. I bought a book called "ALWAYS YOUR DAD" which I read to them about a FAther who came and went in his kids lives while his parents took care of them at their farm while their mother was off working full time in the city. I TRIED to address concerns with them. I tried to facilitate involvement of both their FATHER and GRANDMOTHER and tried to keep them connected. I hope those actions are ones I don't regret some day. In some ways maybe I WAS naive and shouldn't have included their GRANDMOTHER in SO MUCH of our lives as she had such blatant animosity toward me and Westely that maybe her ongoing contact was negative!
I still can't help but think about the difference in attitude I see between SOren and KAterina, and the fact that Katerina is the one who went to GRANDMOM's DAILY after school, when Soren got out later and took the bus home. I do think she contributed toward Katerina's negative attitude toward both Westley and now most definatly me as well.
But I STILL think there is little I can do about THAT manipulation. I do think one day Katerina will grow up and remember how all the adults in her life acted. I think she'll recall the nice things done for her, and recall the REAL painful things done to her. And when that moment happens, I envision her pain at the realization of being MANIPULATED. ANd I can envision her anger and sense of loss of relationship. And I am almost sure that anger will not be at me! I am almost sure too that while she might have SOME anger at WESTELY that at some point it will be ONLY HERS and she'll recognize she's been asked to carry the burden of someone ELSE'S WOUNDS. I think she'll recognize that burden had LITTLE if NOTHING AT ALL To do with WESTLEY. She's being asked to carry the weight of CLARA's Unresolved issues with HER father, that she transferred that anger to the FIRST STRONG MALE PARENTAL FIGURE THAT HAS BEEN ALLOWED INTO HER PROTECTED LIFE. Through her grandchildren having a STEP-Father, that FATHER FIGURE has been one that CLARA can't ignore- EVEN THOUGHT IT IS NOT HERS.
Fundamentally I think the problem is that CLARA CAN NOT SEPERATE HERSELF from her SON nor now her GRANDCHILDREN. She attempts to morph them into HERSELF in a twisted unhealthy way.
I think that unfortunatly my children are caught up in her nerosis... her mentally unhealthy world.
I feel better after the morning of writing and reading. But now, further articulating and identifying issues makes me FEEL BETTER, but I STILL have to figure out the ACTION PLAN of what to do about it all!
But now the baby awoke and the girls are getting bored with their imaginary play. So for now- BACK to my REAL world here!
Leaving the SURREAL (or so it feels!)CLARA's WORLD....
And will think about actions to take. I am not so sure about going PRO SE and may seek another attny. (A Friend tried to talk me out of that. She is convinced it would only be to my detriment!)
But I know I have to continue through to trial. HEARING the words come from Katerina's mouth made me UNDERSTAND that all the more. Because I can't allow her to be manipulated without continuing to TRY to do SOMETHING about it. Her FATHER'S life has been difficult ENOUGH because of that maniulation being something that engulfed him. I can still hear him talk of how EVIL his Stepmother was! (And she was just WONDERFUL to us when I met her! And she has in fact continued to be... so I see a CLEAR pattern here! I can't let Katerina and potentially Soren continue to be exposed to mind control and contamination and such HATRED on a daily basis without doing something!
Oh Gosh I just realized ANOTHER WEIRD THING I think there is ANOTHER CASE of TRANSFERANCE GOING ON HERE!!! MY EX used to say that I actually RESEMBLED his step mother in some ways both physically and the way I talked and some mannerisms. I wouldn't be surprised if I am the brunt of CLARAS pent up frustration and anger AT HER! MY ex's DAD LEFT his mother for the woman that became his step mother. That also explains why during my divorce there were FALSE allegations of an AFFAIR with my now current husband! I DID START SEEING WESTLY BEFORE THE OFFICIAL DIVORCE WAS FINAL, BUT NOT UNTIL AFTER I HAD BEEN OFFICIALLY SEPARATED FOR SOME TIME AND WE WERE ESSENTIALLY WAITING ON THE LEGAL PROCESS TO BE DONE! MY EX HAD HIMSELF MOVED OUT AND REFUSED TO COME HOME BUT ALSO LATER MADE IT SEEM LIKE I LEFT HIM FOR WESTLEY .
I WONDER IF HIS MOTHER AND HE ACTUALLY HAVE BEEN PRESENTING THE DIVORCE TO THE KIDS AS IF THAT WERE THE REALITY!
I WOULDN'T BE SURPRISED! IT WOULD ACCOUNT FOR KATERINA'S ANGER AT ME AND AT WESTELEY!!
I NEED TO ASK HER ABOUT THAT....