There’s an old Jabba story that Mother likes to tell. I’m going to share it with you all now, as it speaks volumes about the kind of person Jabba is, was and always will be:
Thanksgiving 1995: Jabba and I had only been together for a few weeks. This was in fact our first “couple” holiday. Jabba wanted to bring some kind of dish to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, as is the custom – particularly when formally having dinner in a stranger’s home for the first time. She decided to pick up a pie from the local Kroger (a regional grocery chain). No big deal. When Mother and my grandmother sliced up the pie to pass it around, they complimented Jabba on it. It wasn’t anything real specific. The exact wording escapes me, but it was something general, along the lines of “this pie is really good, Jabba.” It may have even been more direct and included a “Where did you get it?” Rather than simply saying “thank you” or telling how she found it at Kroger, Jabba took this as an opportunity to distort, twist and re-shape the truth to suit her own ego. “Oh, I made it myself” she explained.
It was blatantly obvious to anyone who saw this pie, or the package it came in that it was store-bought. It came packed in one of those clear deli-style boxes and included a Kroger label, complete with a list of the contents, ingredients, a UPC code and all. Instinctively, I called her out on this.
I looked at her incredulously. “No you didn’t. You bought this at the store.” I even asked her about it later in the day. “Why would you tell my family you made that pie? They don’t care that you didn’t make it fresh”. This was the first, stark example I would have with Jabba and her affinity for bullshit.
Mother and my grandmother saw right through it from day one. But like the rest of my immediate family and friends would do for the duration of our marriage, they looked past it. Not because they thought so highly of Jabba; but because they loved me.
It wasn’t a big deal; just a little white lie. But it served as a precursor of what would come in the months and years ahead. Jabba and bullshit is a love affair that continues to this day, with my last entry being the most recent example.
If that last post feels like I didn’t finish it, it’s because I probably didn’t. Frankly, even thinking about last Thursday’s conversation gets me riled up. I had my freak-out period, calmed down and returned to my two initial conclusions:
Assuming that Jabba is telling the truth: This would mean that The Kid has been seeing a child psychiatrist for a comment he made upwards of four months ago. Furthermore, it would mean that Jabba knowingly allowed The Kid into a situation that she knew would make him uncomfortable – namely seeing me and even the possibility of seeing me with The Auteur. Also, it would mean she put him into this situation without saying one word of it to me. Finally, it would mean that she has footing the bill for the psychiatrist herself, despite the fact that she has been hounding me about starting child support payments and medical reimbursements. If this is the case, then shame on her.
Or the other, more likely scenario: Jabba is lying. The Kid hasn’t seen any psychiatrist and she is that desperate to get a rise out of me or to try to undermine my new life. Were she as concerned about The Kid as she claims, she would have told me immediately about what he said. She would have temporarily ignored her personal beef with me and we would have just talked about him. Alas, she had to fall back on her typical, petty mud-slinging and screaming. Such a level of out-right lying and fabricating facts takes a level of depravity and desperation that I would have – at one time – thought to be beneath even her. If this is the case – as I believe it to be – then shame on her.
This is a pretty black-and-white issue. She is either telling the truth, or she is lying. Shame on her, in either case. Furthermore, if she feels she has lost control and is sinking to such levels of desperation, then I fear what she may try to say, do or accuse me – or one of my loved ones – of doing in the future. My concern now is how and where to go from here. I have some thoughts on that – but nothing I am willing to commit to HTML. Yet.
I got an e-mail from Jabba on Sunday night. Up until now, I’ve been reluctant to talk about it, let alone share it; but a phone conversation I had with her last night has prompted me to finally open up.
The Kid had a meltdown last night. He said some really frightening things and some that I will spare you. It was a gut wrenching night. The issue was his trip to Michigan.
He told me that “I wish my daddy didn’t have a girlfriend because then he’d love me.” He never mentioned The Auteur’s name as he likes her. He doesn’t like the idea of her. He is afraid that you are going to marry her and have a baby and forget about him and not love him. His biggest complaint was that he isn’t get to see Mother, The Old Man and Phred enough while he was in Michigan. He has asked me to speak with you about this. He has asked me to ask you that when he comes to Michigan that he wants to stay at Mother and The Old Man’s with you. It is much the same as what he said while he was up there. He told me that he tried to speak with you about it and that you wouldn’t listen to him so he thinks “he needs help from an adult.”
I ask you to hear him out and follow his lead. This is not about you. This is not about The Auteur. This is about The Kid not being emotionally it psychologically prepared to deal with this right now and you respecting his feelings. The way you handle this can help him accept The Auteur’s role in his life or reject it. Similarly, it will do the same for his feelings for you.
Please speak with him and more importantly listen to him
I was tempted to ignore it altogether; not even dignify it with a response. Fast forward to last night: The Kid and I are talking on the phone when he tells me that Jabba wants to talk to me. He apparently misunderstood her as she just wanted to know if I got the e-mail. I confirmed for The Kid – and Jabba – that I did.
Obviously, this is a topic that Jabba and I needed, and need, to discuss. At the behest of The Auteur, I decided to give Jabba a call Thursday night so we could stop tip-toeing through this. As I mentioned in an earlier entry HERE, I don’t believe that The Kid truly feels the way that Jabba claims he does. As the old saying goes: I haven’t seen it myself; therefore I don’t believe it.
The Hutt reached an absolute new low last night: She told me that The Kid has been seeing a child psychologist and said that he wanted to kill himself. Upon hearing this, I immediately asked for the name and number for this child psychiatrist. She refused to give it to me, stating that she is reluctant to take that “safe place” away from The Kid. Needless to say, I am now exploring my legal rights on this matter.
What was most striking to me was that this alleged bombshell she dropped did not change the course of our discussion. She did not set aside any animosity she has for me in an attempt to get to the heart of this matter. No; instead she reverted to her typical name call and cursing at me. So I took a page out of her book: after warning her several times to stop the name-calling, I told her that I would continue this conversation when she was ready to talk like an adult. I told her “have a good night” and I hung up on her.
Of course, if my son is feeling like this, then I will do everything in my power to help him. But the fact of the matter is that it is highly unusual for a six-year-old to even have suicidal thoughts. Furthermore, there is absolutely no indication in any other aspect of his life that he is anything other than a happy little boy. I have spoken with his school teacher and she has said repeatedly that he is a both happy and precocious. In fact, when she e-mailed The Kid’s report card, she even said he talked about how much fun he had with me over Christmas break. At the time, the comment made me feel really good. Little did I realize just how important that remark would become in just a few short weeks.
People think that getting a divorce decree is the final step in the whole divorce process. I’m coming to the realization that it is just the beginning.
As I posted earlier here, this past Christmas, my divorce and my interactions with The Kid and with Jabba were taken to a whole new level. One would think that once the divorce was finalized, or at least very close to being finalized, that things would start to settle down – adjust to the New Normal if you will.
HERE, I’M GONNA SAY IT: I believe that The Kid was – and continues to be – manipulated by Jabba. I think he was coached and coerced into saying “Dad, i feel like I’m being replaced” and “I’m not here to see the Auteur; I’m here to see Mother and The Old Man”. I saw what a good time he had while he was here with us. I saw first-hand how willing he was to confide in The Auteur; and the fact that he seemed like he would genuinely miss her as he was getting ready to go home.
The Kid’s word continue to haunt both me and my relationship with the Auteur. Even before this Christmas visit, I already had some real concerns with The Kid’s mouth. He’s becoming a smart-ass. He is very sarcastic, particularly for a 6 year old. He is, as mother put it best, “his mother’s son”. The sad reality is that there is very little I can do about this.
some good advice.
THE FOLLOWING POST WAS STARTED ON DECEMBER 27, 2013.
“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”
― Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit
One of my favorite television shows is Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart“. A few years back, Jon Stewart interviewed a writer, Harry Frankfurt, who had penned a journal-turned-book titled On Bullshit. I bring this up for several reasons.
- One: I always laugh when TV people get away with cursing on the air, for whatever reason. On this particular segment, Stewart must have said “bullshit” 50 times. FCC be damned indeed. Yes, I know, it’s immature but dirty words being said when and where they’re not supposed to makes me giggle.
- Two: I thought it sounded funny to hear Jon Stewart talk, literally, about bullshit for 10 minutes.
- Three: because the author brought up several interesting points when differentiating between lying and bullshit – focusing particularly on the ethical ramifications of both.
- Four: And this brings us back to do: Jabba, the queen of Bullshit Mountain, is at it again.
I’m in South Carolina tonight, to take The Kid back to Jabba in the morning following my Christmas visit with him. This Christmas visit was informative, enlightening and educational – along with an absolute roller-coaster of emotions that I will get into.
Things to keep in mind: The Kid spent the entire Christmas visit with the Auteur and I, much to Jabba’s chagrin. Both The Kid and Jabba know unequivocally that The Auteur and I are living together. that should set the tone for things to come.
I e-mailed Jabba when I arrived in South Carolina last week to let her know where I was staying and when we would do “the exchange”. Here’s a snippet:
Rob: I am in town at the ******. I don’t know what you’re schedule is like, but if he’s available, we’d love to have The Kid over for dinner and/or swimming this evening. (this hotel has an indoor pool.
To this point, I had been saying “I”: I am in town, I am leaving tomorrow, etc. The Old Man was traveling with me, but Jabba took the “we” to mean someone else had accompanied me on the road:
Jabba: We’ll be there. I’m not comfortable with him sleeping in the same room as people who aren’t family. I hope that’s not the case. You wouldn’t be comfortable if I had him sleeping in bedrooms or hotels with men you didn’t know and I understand that. I want to be very clear about why I am and am not comfortable with here. I am sure you understand that.
Upon reading this, it had occurred to me. Jabba thought I was traveling with The Auteur.
Rob: Aren’t family? My Dad is here with me. OH. You assumed The Auteur was traveling with me. She’s not.
It didn’t occur to me then, but this electronic exchange would set much of the tone for The Kid’s visit.
Jabba called not only The Kid, but also me, far more on this trip than she has for any of our other visits. on Monday, the 23rd, she called three times alone. Sure, I get it. She’s likely to call more frequently since it is Christmas – or a few days before as it were. Compared to our previous visits, this was excessive. Something was different with Jabba. There was a different feeling – a different tone to things. The mood had changed. There was almost a hint of desperation to things.
By around the 24th or 25th, I had made it clear to Jabba that The Kid and I were not staying at my parents’ house. We were staying at OUR house – ours being The Auteur and mine – which may be referred to in the following text as “The Auteur’s house” for the sake of clarity and conversational continuity. Jabba got on the phone with me a few times, calmly at first; then yelling in subsequent conversations. She decided to take the position that the entire point of The Kid’s Christmas visit was to spend time with his grandparents (my parents). She even got The Kid to say it one night on the phone! But I’ll get to the manipulation later. At this, I reminded her that our divorce settlement says NOTHING about visitation with grandparents, cousins, aunts, or uncles – one either side. All it discusses is visitation for the mother and the father.
The things is, I get it. I really do. Jabba and I divorced and I happened to be the first of us to meet somebody. Were I in her shoes, I’m sure I would probably be feeling very frustrated and uneasy also. At the same time, it’s over. The proverbial, if not literal, ink is drying on our divorce as I type. It’s time for us all to move on with our lives. I intend on 2014 being all about taking life to the next step.
BACK TO THE MANIPULATION: This is what gets me. Jabba is a smart ass. She prides herself on her “bitchiness”. My son is a good kid, but I can already see his personality being shaped and influenced by her. This sucks because he lives with her probably 98% of the year and will have a bigger impact on his shaping his personality than I could ever hope to. And I get it. I really do. He loves his Mom and wants to make her happy. But I can already see the conflict within him – saying something to make her happy while knowing it’s not true. It’s something he will have to deal with in the months and years to come.
I think the bullshit scares me most because of the way it affected me during my previous life. In the 16 years we were together, I began to fib, lie and out-and-out bullshit people: family, friends, loved ones, strangers. That is one of several bad personality traits I picked up in those years. Unfortunately, old habits die hard and I still occasionally fall into old routines – but I am improving. None of this is an overnight transformation.
THE NEW YEAR’S REVOLUTION CONTINUES…
This is the first of rather unusual two-part entry…
With some prodding from my mom, I called Jabba today to inform her that I won’t be picking up The Kid for Thanksgiving. I have been avoiding this conversation and I definitely didn’t want to do it this weekend, as I knew I’d be home alone with The Auteur shooting a movie this weekend. It went surprisingly well; as it was both the longest and most civilized conversation we have had since before I left South Carolina.
Now bear in mind that I’m taking all of the information that follows with a grain of salt, as I am absolutely convinced that Jabba is a sociopath.
- I told her about Thanksgiving, expecting her to go bat-shit crazy. Not only was she okay with it, but she even suggested that The Kid spends his entire Christmas break with me. She said that it was important in that Christmas is the only time The Kid gets to see my extended family. This was an interesting curve ball.
- She still claims that her lawyer has sent the divorce papers on to my lawyer, and that he is apparently holding up the entire process. This may or may not be true. I have expressed some frustrations with the speed at which Greenie has handled things thus far. My question remains: what would he possibly have to gain from dragging things out?
- Furthermore, Jabba claims that her lawyer has been in contact with the judge in regards to our divorce proceedings – and yet, there has been no movement.
- Jabba claims that the insurance company stopped coverage on me effective July 1, 2013 (which they did) but that she is still seeing the deductions on her paycheck – even though i’m not longer covered, mind you – because we are not yet divorced.
- She knows about The Auteur and 1B,
- She speculated, admittedly, that The Kid feels that I love The Auteur and 1B more than him and I have “replaced him” with them. He had definitely, in the past at least, felt this way in the past as he and I have had discussions about it.
- She seemed almost apologetic about “playing hardball” with me, i.e: using visitation with The Kid as a negotiating tactic. I warned her that should she continue to do that, I will go through the lawyers to stop it.
- I told her that if I find out she’s bullshitting me about any of this, I will be upset.
- I informed her that she needs her to inform me when she and The Kid leave South Carolina and that I would put that into our settlement should she fail to cooperate with me.
All in all it was an intense, yet civil, conversation. Could this be the start of the next step in my relationship with Jabba? I’m very skeptical about it ; but the conversation was a pleasant surprise nonetheless. I find myself emotionally drained in the aftermath of it. A LOT of things were said by both of us. Things that we’ve both needed to get off of our chests for a while.
I don’t want to be hostile with her. I really don’t. The two of us have to find a way get along well enough to co-parent The Kid. That’s all I want out of all of this. We may have finally taken a big step toward that finally happening.
Wednesday started out like any other day under the current status quo of The New Normal: I got in from work, talked / Facebook Messaged The Auteur, slept a bit, tried to enjoy some daylight.
In the evening, I called The Boy. And since the STBX refused to take my calls or answer my e-mails, I asked The Boy to put her on the phone.
I reminded her of our rough plans for me to visit The Boy while she was on a work-related trip. I was planning to turn this into a little vacation of my own with The Auteur and 1B in tow.
After some stuttering and stalling, she tells me that I am not allowed to see The Boy until there’s a settlement in place.
I wasn’t really surprised by this course of action on Jabba’s behalf, but to be told you cannot see your child by anyone is truly shocking.
Amazingly enough, I kept my cool. I didn’t go nearly as ballistic as I did the day of the cable bill calamity although this is clearly much, much worse.
I called my lawyer the next day, and had a phone meeting with him on Friday. He’s going to call Jabba’s lawyer before proceeding any further.
What the hell have I become? The Me From One Year Ago would not even recognize the me of today. I’m not saying this to condemn the current me; rather, I’m just stunned sometimes at how much my life, my perspective and my attitude has changed.
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With all due apologies to any native Virginian who may read this post…
The Boy finally calls me back at 10:30 last night, only to tell me that the STBX is taking him to Jellystone Park (A Yogi Bear theme park) in Virginia today. As we conclude our conversation, I politely ask him to put his mother on the phone. He agrees.
I ask her if it would be too much to ask if she could give me a “heads up” when she and The Boy were leaving the state. She gets all defensive, about child support and visitation, etc. At which point I finally ask her, “what’s going on with our court proceedings”. She goes on to tell me that her lawyer is waiting to hear back from my lawyer. The entire reason I even brought up our courtroom drama is because I haven’t spoke with my lawyer since before the July 4th holiday.
I explain to her what happened in court last month – as it was explained to me by my attorney. She tells me flat-out that everything was discussed in court, including the amount for child support payments. In turn, I tell her flat-out that my attorney gave me a radically different story; explaining how her lawyer went on record stating that he had nothing and was not prepared for court that day. To me, that suggests that the STBX has not paid her lawyer, thereby holding up the entire proceeding. I didn’t call her a liar per se, but I made my thoughts very clear without doing so.
All that she has ever been about is money. I told her as much and said that she wouldn’t be happy if I was sending them $1000 each month, which sadly is true. I just want this divorce settled, so I can move on with my life.
The song in the video is really speaking to me right now…
The Boy and I arrive tonight at our hotel in Summerville. I decided to call the STBX to arrange “the exchange” for tomorrow. When I ask what time she wants to get The Boy, she tells me that she’s in Charlotte (a three hour drive from my current location) and their hotel checkout time isn’t until noon.
Now, I probably should not have had to remind her, but I went ahead and explained to the STBX that I had a 6 hour drive back to West Virginia for tomorrow – alone, mind you – that I am still facing; regardless of what time I drop off The Boy. As much as we may hate each other and as much the STBX’s continued existence irritates the shit out of me, the two of us have got to find a way to work together at this whole co-parent thing. Not just for drop-offs and visitation, but for his education, teaching him right and wrong – everything.
- It just sucks…. (brokenchristianheart.wordpress.com)
I was packing the van to bring The Boy back to South Carolina when the STBX called to inform The Boy that his fish had died. He, naturally, was very upset but he handled it very well all things considered.
I understand that the STBX is a chaos freak, and she couldn’t care less how the Boy’s mood affects my drive on this road trip, but to exploit his emotions for her own personal kicks against me is beneath even her. Or so I thought…
- Save Big on Your Next Trip to Myrtle Beach (coupons.answers.com)