Expected chaos

Posted: August 5, 2013 in Anger, Christian, Divorce, Evil, Family, God, Kids, Parenting, Remarriage, Spiritual warfare

“In the end what will hurt the most is not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s been no secret to followers of this blog that Bert is a bit of an overachiever when it comes to creating divorce drama.  Over the last month our household has been dealing with one of those moments which would easily have been resolved if Bert and his household would even attempt to communicate normally, but one that was expected given his pattern in the past.  I have waited to begin writing about this situation until it started to clarify itself a bit and now feel we are coming out on the other side and at least have a semblance of understanding of what might really be going on.

The start of this entire episode was that Peter was caught doing something with his younger half-brother over at Bert’s house.  It seems Jan walked in on them and reported the incident to Bert who then proceeded to escalate the situation through his normal tactics of fear and overbearing behavior with his kids until it resulted in involvement of social and law enforcement services because there were false accusations around myself and Greg.   Greg had already been used in a ploy earlier this year when Bert tried to create some additional drama.

During this time our household had been asked to separate so my wife had spent the time she had with her kids for summer vacation at her mom’s while I had my children with me at our house.  In the course of all this, probably due to Bert’s barrage of accusations against about seven or eight other people he suddenly found himself also being asked to not be in his house over night with his children.  Sadly, our initial hope that perhaps this time the authorities would do something about Bert and he inappropriate behaviors and environment in his household seems to be fading away as things have just devolved into confusion and ineptness.

The facts as we know then now, and are dealing with them, is that there was in fact, according to the counselors involved with the kids, some age-appropriate activities that we certainly want to stop, along with situations at Bert’s house that go beyond the age-appropriate level.  The advice of social services was to get most everyone into counselors and this has been done at this point, but what has resulted is that the professionals we were sent to are at complete odds for the most part with social services.  What is more frustrating is that multiple counselors have told us all the same thing:  that social services tend to overreact and make poor recommendations.  So under the advice of several professionals we are proceeding according to the direction of the professionals to move forward rather than to remain stuck in a non-solution proposed by social services. 

I’ll get into some more of the explanation of how confusing this whole process was, in another post.  On this side I want to share some of what I experienced to try to provide help to others who may find themselves caught in a similar nightmare.

There are no statistics I could find about how often blended families find themselves on the receiving end of serious accusations that have no basis in truth.  I was not surprised by this because I’m not sure how you would gather those figures.  In my situation, I was put in contact, via a contact through church, with another man who went through a similar false accusation so I know of at least one, but in our work with divorced people we hear stories all the time of exes making things up for whatever reason.  Just as in this situation, we can usually only speculate about the driver of this being bitterness, revenge, anger or whatever else.  Sadly, too many people place the emphasis on themselves rather than on their children, and the children end up suffering in the process.  In the case with Bert, my wife has tried numerous times to show how he harasses her using the various agencies and creating false investigations, but the system is to messed up to respond.  Perhaps as more of us talk about this challenge faced by divorced people everywhere, changes can be made to the system.

One of the most upsetting things I learned in this process as I consulted an attorney to guide if I should speak with someone or what we might hear, is that since this entire accusation against me was false and therefore there is no evidence and I was informed of that, that is all we will hear.  No one will call me to say an investigation is over.  I was amazed.  The attorney said even with their “access” to the legal system, they would not be told either.  I’m sure some of it has to do with manpower in already understaffed and overworked government agencies.   It is hard enough just doing the work that needs to be done.  Where would they find the time to call and let people know they nothing is going to happen.  Even though it is the nice thing to do. 

At one point in cooperating in this process I was not able to see my wife for over a week and while I was at home with my kids, and they knew most of what was going on since they had to talk to people too, it was still a very isolated existence.  I spoke with friends and family, but it was very disappointing to say that for the most part I feel much as MLK did.  The accusations were bad enough, but the lack of communication or outright unhelpful communication from friends was staggering.  I know Bert has it out for anyone not aligned with him, this was not news to me and certainly did not “hurt” in the common definition of that word.  Even though family and friends knew the accusation was false from the first second, I felt the focus was not on helping me deal with what I was feeling and understanding that, but on placing blame or slinging anger, which frankly was totally unhelpful.  I ended up stopping communication with several people because I would leave the conversation more drained or upset than when I started because I was spending time trying to help them, rather than obtaining the support I had hoped to receive from them at the time.

This is not a foreign situation to anyone who goes through divorce, and I have told my wife and a few others how surprised I was to find myself in the same emotional roller coaster that I had been through during my divorce.  The benefit was that now I know how to handle it, so it was not nearly as long lived, but for a couple days it was easily as intense.  Sitting alone at night, up in my room, with my wife and half my family elsewhere, it was sheer misery.  I had one friend and several church contacts that helped, but otherwise it was really the “silence of my friends” that really smacked on me. 

Through it all it was my faith in God and on leaning on other Christians that allowed me to not lose my composure and ultimately my mind in the last few weeks.  I cannot tell you how many times I dropped to my knees in tears and desparation telling God how I trust him yet not understanding why this trial had come my way.  During this process it was the first time my wife ever heard me tell her, “I know you understand I can take a lot, but even I have my limits, and I’m basicaly there”.  I know that statement must have scared and frightened her because she and her family have regularly commented about that I am her “rock” and maintain control and stability when she is not always able to do that.  Having me in that state certainly must have challenged her.  I certainly learned more than ever before the my “rock” was Jesus and the trust I had in him and his ability to navigate through what I found very uncertain.  Ask yourself the question of “How do I prove I didn’t do something?” and you can understand what I was facing.  Doing something produces evidence.  Not doing something produces nothing.  It certainly did not make sense to me, but I knew God could figure it out and so I leaned on him when my other means of support were lacking.

Looking back had we had the ability to have any conversations that border on normal with Bert and his household none of the last few weeks would have happened and we would have been well into counseling the kids who do need to work through some issues.  Again, for the most part they are lying, covering up and all the things that kids do to avoid getting in trouble.  Instead we have a lot more work for everyone to get through.  More on that next time.

  1. […] relates back to the ongoing counseling of some of the kids from challenges we had this summer (“Expected Chaos” and “Dangers of Ineptness“).  In the interest of open disclosure I will say I am […]

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