I had barely known this person, a parenting coordinator, for more than two days. Yet here he was yelling at me. I know people will often use the word “yelling” to describe how they feel another person’s words are coming at them, but this guy was raising his voice to me. He, a professional, interrupted, pretended to listen to me and hear what I was saying, then went and wrote that I was lying and twisted my words.
Every decision he has made has been in favor of my ex. He has continued the financial crippling my ex set out, my ex who has a savings account and stocks and a retirement, not to mention his family’s money that ensures he has to pay not one dime in attorney’s fees. He has a court system enabling him to not just be a deadbeat, but to continue to be an abuser.
I had to be reminded of his abuser status when my older daughter reminded me of the time he pinned me in an elevator, and choked me in a door. He was always either following me to prevent me from escaping his abuse, or shutting me out physically. My daughter reminded me that y youngest daughter would be left in the lurch, abandoned as collateral damage by watching her father abuse her mother, and her mother get too wrapped up in fighting back and trying to find a way out.
Someone asked me how this parenting coordinator would view me. I wanted immediately to ask him, since right off the bat he was hostile towards me. I have one clue in that he said I was disagreeable with my ex’s 6 motions filed back in December. So I’m having an imaginary conversation with this coordinator, where I try to suss out exactly where his aggression comes from, and the list pops up, that specter of misogyny.
Me: So, PC, I am sorry we got off on the wrong foot. Can you tell me exactly what I did wrong and how I can make it better?
PC: When your ex filed all those motions, you were argumentative.
Me: So you expect me to be obsequious and obedient when motions are filed, correct?
PC: Yes, that is correct.
(-that I support his parenting 100% of the time)
Me: Am I allowed to speak up for myself or my children or would you rather me just take what is handed to me?
PC: you need to obey your ex in all things and give him (and me) ALL your money. I really don’t care that he is rich and that this situation is exploitative. I won’t listen to the past where he has spent everyone’s money on the court system instead of your children. I REALLY DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR CHILDREN. I only care about placating him.
Me: Got it. OK, so I absolutely cannot follow examples of women like Elizabeth Warren when she protested Jeff Sessions to Mitch McConnell. I will be ushered out like she was and made to pay for the mistake of speaking up. Is that correct?
PC: Yes, that is correct. If you speak up I will ignore you or I will pretend to believe you but ultimately it is your ex’s word that I uphold because he is the children’s father and I will call you a liar if what he says is different from what you say. I don’t CARE what kind of person he is. Because he has the title of “father” his wishes trump everything.
(-<Ex> is in charge of the entire household: where furniture and pictures go, where my stuff goes and how it is handled, and he will consider my wishes and requests but ultimately he is in charge )
Me: What if this whole thing creates poverty in my household? How do you see that being good for the children?
PC: The more mothers are punished, the more they will keep their mouth shut. Gandhi said “Poverty is the worst form of violence.” Inflicting poverty on you will keep you in place and teach you to not question men any more. I don’t care that he lies- that’s your problem. My job is simply to make sure he gets what he wants, when he wants.
Me: So I am to just silently pay, never protest, never have a voice, never expect you to see the bigger picture of how this hurts my children, and never expect you to recognize my influence in my children’s lives as their mother. Got it.
(-that I make “I” statements 100% of the time, even when speaking of observable behaviors
-that I trust everything he says, no matter if he has lied to me, I am simply to blindly trust what he says)
PC: We will get along just fine if you are obedient, robotic, apologetic, and silent. You must understand I do not care about your children, only the interests of men.
Me: I hear you. Loud and clear. Thank you. I’m sorry I messed up.