Custody Battles

custody battleMerry Yuletide and Good Will to All; unless there are custody battles… The holiday season brings with it an increase in the acrimony and pain that, inevitably, results when a relationship splits up. Tough old road when there are no kids involved; when there are kids involved? The pain, anger and general piss-off level blows off the scale. And the only individuals who really lose? The kids.

I love hearing people justify themselves when committing acts that may hurt the ex. The justification is always touted as “love for the kids.” 10 lbs of bullshit stuffed in a 5 lb bag. It is ego that comes first, revenge second, possession is third and the kids fall somewhere down around 4th place. They don’t even make it to the podium.

What’s best for the child…sure. No. It is what is best for the parents.

When a relationship crashes and burns, no one can deny the anger that is involved and that anger lasts or can last a lifetime, depending on the individual. Oh, they may keep it hidden away but given a chance to stick the knife in and give a turn? Their hands are tightly wrapped around that hilt, in nothing less than blood lust. The kids are forgotten in the red haze of revenge.

Usually the Dad gets the raw end of the deal. A good lot of the time, it is the Dad who is the cause of the relationship’s demise but not always. Who did what to whom is a matter for a divorce court, it isn’t something that should be allowed to touch the kids but in 9 times out of 10, the children are used as the weapons of choice. Nobody wants to consider the feelings or the needs of a parent who has done dirty. Nobody gives a crap about the emotions of an ex-partner, as a general rule but the “not giving a crap” translates, whether the adults involved care to admit it or not, to not giving a crap about the children as well. We fool ourselves but worse, damage the children when we do not admit this ugly part of our personalities. We always mount the “What’s best for the kids” podium and just like any politician, lie to everyone involved, including ourselves.

Let’s look at the kids for a few moments, put egos and anger aside.

Here you have wee human beings, created through a Mom and a Dad. Here’s a reality check for you – simply because you have a womb doesn’t mean you are the Mother of All Mothers and menfolk, simply because you possess a penis, that has the ability to ejaculate, does not make you the Father of the Year. Good parents evolve, they evolve BECAUSE they have the ability to set their own ego, wants, needs aside in favour of their children. These little people have had their world torn apart by Mom and Dad. Blaming each other and creating more strife than need be present, turns these little angels into further collateral damage created by the two people who committed to protect them, vis a vis, choosing to allow the pregnancy to continue. Committed. The commitment to each other may have been false but there is no backing away from the commitment made to these innocent victims.

Let’s say that Dad screwed around – sorry guys, but statistically, you do tend to mess around more so than do women although, in all fairness? We do our share as well. Okay, Dad screwed around – Mom finds out and decides to end the marriage/relationship. She is devastated – she’s been betrayed in the worst possible manner and is pissed. “Hell hath no fury” wasn’t written for fun – it’s the truth. Ladies? In that sense of anger, in that sense of betrayal and life torn to shreds – it is paramount to remember that while you would like to see rats gnawing on his penis and his head on a stake? The kids love him, unconditionally. The thought of this may turn your stomach and cause physical pain but it isn’t about you. It is about the kids. You can’t afford to play the victim role when children are on the firing line. You have to suck it up and understand that life can be a real bitch but you have kids and they always have to be your Number 1 priority.

Dads? Your partner is not your possession, you don’t own her. You don’t own your children. She walked out on you? She gave you the boot? Same goes for you – suck it up. Your kids and their happiness, their right to as normal a life as possible should be your only priority. So your ex has a new guy in her life and you see this as some sort of competition (ladies, listen up – this applies to you as well), you feel the need to play the Alpha Male game. It’s sad and outdated. It does not apply to human beings. Yes, these kids may, for any number of reasons, call the new guy “Dad”. Come on…it is three stupid letters. Maybe your ex, in some misplaced idea of loyalty to the new guy or an attempt to force you out, is making the kids call this guy Dad. Maybe he’s a good guy and deserves the title, either way, it is just a word. Kids have this amazing capacity for love; they don’t have a finite amount. They can love you; love their mothers, their aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and the goldfish with the same intensity. It is only as they get older will they begin to apply conditions to love. Sadly, adults teach them to limit themselves to conditional love.

If the two parents cannot reach some sort of intelligent compromise, then for the love of the children, a mediator should be sought. Courts only create more acrimony. A mediator, someone with child psychology background must be brought in to guide both parents but with the kids TRUE best interests at heart. Lawyers and courts do not care about your kids; judges are concerned with the application of the law while lawyers’ main concern is winning. It is a competition to them; you and the children are simply tools to an end.

I’ve been through the custody wars – spent over a decade on that battlefield. And I can tell you that the only people, who really win, are the lawyers. The real victims, the real losers are always, forever and always, the children. Putting the kids first may seem overwhelming, it may seem like “caving” but that is only the perception of adults, waging their own war on each other. That’s the reality, whether we, as adults, want to face it or not. Every custody battle rips our children apart, turns them into weapons.

Is that really in the kids’ best interest? Is turning your little angel(s) into a weapon really putting them first?

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