My ex (whom I will henceforth refer to as MSA) and I had a son together seven years ago. He is now in foster care, although I am working towards getting him back permanently, and see him twice a week. Ironically, the main reason I don’t have him back already is that I kept allowing MSA back into my life, even though she betrayed me many times, and it was through her actions while I was at work years ago that led to us losing our house, which indirectly led to my losing my job. It was also her actions while I was at work that led to my motivation to have our son removed from us initially. (I don’t want to seem like I am not taking personal responsibility. Of course it was my own fault that I was using drugs at that time and I am oversimplifying here, but it was neither my fault that the rent money I gave to her for the landlord right next door got spent on other things, nor was it my fault that we got kicked out because of the people she brought into our home while I was at work.)
But I won’t go into all those details. The point is, 20 months ago, after taking her back into my life so many times that I lost count, I took her back one last time, and looked after her and her daughter, who was 4 months old then, until a month ago. (Don’t worry – I’ll keep this brief.)
Then about a month ago MSA went for a “holiday” in Cape Town. I bought the ticket. On Wednesday evening, while our son was with me, she called to say that she wanted to come and collect her things. I didn’t even know she was back in Johannesburg.
Since I only see our son twice a week, but saw her daughter every day, I spent most of my time for those 19 months doting on her daughter. I was the one who took her to crèche every morning, and collected her every evening. I took her for walks, took her to the shop with me, and bought her toys whenever I could; it was I who encouraged her to walk rather than be carried everywhere; I played games with her every day, and it was to me that she came for help with her puzzles; I taught her new words every day and got excited when she learned and spoke them. (Her mother never seemed to give a damn.) I have made virtually my whole life about that beautiful little girl, even though she is not my biological daughter. I love her very much, just as much as my son. Now she’s gone.
It seems that everything MSA says is a lie. She has no idea, it seems, that she was only using me these last (almost) two years, and that she is manipulating her own daughter. Funny how it’s easy to see things in retrospect: The day she left, she told me “I will probably cry tonight.” At the time that didn’t make sense, but now I realize that she never intended coming back. She has no idea how much harm she has done to our son, and how much she will do to her daughter.
I took back the tablet I gave her for her birthday last year. I am still paying for it every month because it’s on a contract. I should use it because my phone has issues, but I switched it off and am too sad to switch it back on. Her little girl knows how to use it to get to the hundreds of photos and videos on it, and it makes me so sad, I do not have the words to express myself.
I have also been looking after my mother, so she is staying with me. MSA had given me an ultimatum to find a home for my mother, knowing I could not afford to do so. Here’s the odd thing: When she wasn’t around, she never called to ask how my search for a place was going, so I’ve realized that it was just a ruse, a diversion to deceive me into not realizing that her holiday wasn’t a holiday at all and that she never intended coming back.
She never told me the truth – telling the truth is something that she seems unable to do, to the point of lying for the sake of lying, and even though she is a terrible liar and I always know she is lying, I never know the truth. When on the phone with her family members she’d never mention me at all, unless it was to tell some lies about me. One of her favourite lines for many years has been “There’s trouble here”, although that could actually mean, for example, that I had confronted her about her lies, that I didn’t know where she had been that day and why she suddenly had a tattoo of another man’s name on her leg. She seems to have no idea how selfish or narcissistic she is. Having my mother staying with us meant that my mother told me what MSA had got up to while I wasn’t home, so it further exposed her lies.
Last night she came to collect her things. She was in such a hurry, she didn’t even notice that my 55” TV wasn’t there. (It is being repaired.) She also didn’t notice that there is a brand new hot water cylinder in the kitchen, which is now exposed, and some cupboards that were damaged are gone. (The insurance claim must still come through for them to be replaced.) Those were two pretty huge things not to notice. I’m not sure if she was merely flustered, or if it is something else, but it’s not my problem. I just feel sorry for her beautiful little girl, who deserves better.
MSA has never worked in her life, and dropped out of high school at age 13 so she isn’t really capable of having any sort of proper career. She is incapable of supporting herself, let alone a child. She tells me that she is staying with “family” and I don’t believe that. She also says she will give me the address when she is “settled in” so I can bring our son to visit her. (The girl had finally reached the age where the two of them played well together, and I relished every moment when our son visited because the two of them were getting really close. And he misses his sister too. Every time he’s visited lately, he has asked when she is coming back.) Since I suspect that she is lying about where and with whom she is living, I don’t know what that means with regard to our son seeing his mother, or either of us seeing his sister. And I am lost without my little girl. So lost, typing this brings tears to my eyes.
For me right now, my life is completely different. Almost every moment was spent on that little girl, and much of the reason for my happiness is gone. Three years ago, I would have been unable to cope with this emotional turmoil, and would already have been back in active addiction, but that person is dead and gone. MSA killed him. Yet I feel that I have lost more than just that – I have lost the person that I used to be, the happy, carefree, innocent, and perhaps naive person who always saw the good in everybody, who was always ready to forgive. In 6 days I will be 21 months clean, but so what? I will remain clean and am absolutely committed to my sobriety and my son, but I love that little girl and right now I don’t know what to do about the tremendous loss that’s pulling me towards a deep depression.