My oldest son always loved his Dad. From the time he was a tiny little guy, his internal digital clock would alert him of the impending arrival home from work and he would wait with his sticky hands pressed on the glass front doors like an excited puppy. I imagine that if he had a tail, it would have been wagging frantically, along with fog expanding on the glass from panting hot breath.
His Daddy would be home soon and all would be right in the world once again. Well, for my son anyways.
Even after the divorce was final, my son maintained his attachment to his dad. He loved being with him. He was the calm and our home was a chaotic storm. And my son, being a quieter child, liked to escape to that quiet place as often as he could.
Things started changing though. My son went from waking up excited on Saturday mornings because he was going to be with his father overnight to becoming a moody, brooding, unhappy boy and for no open and obvious reason. He wouldn’t talk about it either. It was a very frustrating time.
Finally, we were made aware of what was going on.
My ex-husband started talking crazy to my son a couple years ago. Conspiracy crap. Stuff that is nightmare inducing for a sane adult not to mention a young teen with a very overactive imagination. Then, he started “enlightening” us as well as anyone that was unlucky enough to be near him when he started in on his lunatic meandering prophecies.
The paranoia progressed and unsolicited information was given to my son and anyone else by this point. Lizard aliens living under L.A, the Denver Airport Conspiracy, the end of the world in 2012 and other scary, insane stuff…
Which made my son emotionally check out and flunk out of his classes. He questioned, as I recently found out, what the point of doing well was if, come 2012 civilization would no longer exist. I tried to explain to him that his dad is very ill and none of the things his father was telling him was coming from reliable and sane sources. Intellectually he realized the extent of everything his father is and says. But still, it’s his beloved daddy, and if he says that the end of the world is near then, well, the end of the world must really be near.
Until one day, a few days ago.
My son and I were sitting in my car at a red light. Aside from music playing quietly, we had been driving in silence. Suddenly he says to me as he was staring out his window “I realized the cause of all my nightmares.” And he turns to me, his eyes meeting my peripheral gaze. I noticed a look on his face that I was not familiar with.
I asked him what he was talking about. He responded, “Mom, it’s my Dad. Dad is the cause of everything that has been going on inside me. My nightmares. My anger. My not doing well in school. It is because of everything he has been telling me and I don’t want to see him anymore.” Determined. Strong.
I glanced over at him again, quickly. After all the light had turned green again and I didn’t want to take my eyes off the road for too long. He was serious and sure.
I promised him that I would never force him to go with his dad, particularly because of how worried I was every single time he left with him. It was awful sending my child with his father KNOWING how crazy he is becoming.
And that was that. He has talked to his dad on the phone a couple times. He has been dropped off at a movie by his dad because we couldn’t take him.
Most importantly, he seems happier. My son, who has refused to wear shorter hair for YEARS, finally decided it was time to get his hair cut short. My son, who has been flunking out of school is finally getting his act together and I’m receiving positive reports about him from his teachers. He isn’t fighting with everyone in the house anymore. He is making an effort to get along with his step father.
His nightmares are lifting, dissipating, fading. Because he is finally talking about the horrors that his father was filling his young and impressionable mind with. Taking the burden off his mind and releasing them onto us. Things that are so petrifying that I can now understand why my son was behaving the way he was…defiant, moody, angry and depressed. Due to the ominous news regarding the worlds future, or lack thereof, his knee jerk reaction was to simply emotionally check out of life and display negative behaviors.
I think we are finally headed towards a positive, happy place. I hope its a permanent move. I truly hope that, as long as his visits with his dad are limited to non-existent, that this was what needed to be done.
According to the court, I’m not permitted to insist on a psych evaluation on my ex-husband due to the fact that I’m not family anymore. And he is too far gone to realize that youtube and google and whatever other websites that he is finding his information from are filling him with lies and exaggerations.
We can’t help my ex-husband, who believes that the government is onto him and to not be surprised if we find him dead on his balcony. The only thing we can do is feel sorry for him.
My main priority though? Keeping my children safe from him and his emotional apocalypse. Because the only thing that is going to end by 2012 is his sense of reality and he isn’t taking my children with him into his googled paranoid hell.