> No More Secrets And Lies: Connecting the Dots

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Connecting the Dots

Whenever a new history is written, the old histories all have to be thrown out. Robbing people of their actual history is the same as robbing them of part of themselves. It's crime!
                             — From 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami


The girls now had to accept this new way of life as the norm. They had to learn it was best (and safer) not to question what they were being told about their father. Lies could no longer be challenged and secrets had to remain hidden. They were now forced to forget what they had previously known about me and had to start living a life in denial.

I was in denial too. I wasn't ready to accept what I saw happening to my family, and I was certain this would all blow over once I sat the girls down and told them the truth. They were smart kids after all, and they would surely understand how they had been manipulated once I made this clear, I thought. I knew who was behind this and I was certain I knew why they were, and I was confident truth would win out and all I'd have to do is show the girls the truth and our lives would be back to normal.

And so I continued to make plans with the girls in mind. I bought them clothes and books and things like I always had, and I made space for them in my new apartment. I was optimistic they would soon be returning to my home and our lives would soon be returning to normal. I wasn't ready to accept this yet. I was in denial.

But months passed and nothing changed, and time rolled on and the less I saw the girls the more their hatred for me seemed to grow. The therapist's dark predictions seemed to be coming true: that my girls were gone from my life and I might as well accept this horrid reality and move on (Madman Days). But I refused to accept it and I wasn't going to move on.

But before long it became clear they weren't coming back. This thought was inescapable, and I knew I had better come to grips with the reality of our situation: that I could no longer see my girls and they could no longer see me. I still wasn't giving up, however; I only hoped they already hadn't.

Same but Different

I had seen this all before. Maybe not to this degree, but I knew that the major players involved then were the same ones that were involved now. This was easy to see, especially since they weren't even trying to hide their efforts to separate my girls from me. And even though I had witnessed Mary's mother and social worker attempt to define who I was to Mary before (Monitored Phone Calls), and even though their intentions were the same now, something was also very different now. Something was very uncharacteristically unfamiliar about the tactics they were using — so different and so unfamiliar that it sent a chill up my spine.

Too many things were just a little too strange and a little too out of character for me to accept this as just another one of their attempts to denigrate me in front of my girls. And it wasn't because the County was now involved. I had seen that before too. This was bigger. Their efforts now were more brazen and bold than before, and I sensed something else was taking place. I sensed this, primarily, because what I was being told about my girls, my job, and my mother wasn't consistent with what I was observing about any of these things. I knew my girls wouldn't have started hating me, even if I had done something to them, and I knew I had done nothing to lose my job or cause my union to refuse to help me. I also knew my mother hadn't sustained fatal injuries from falling on the floor like the nursing home had told us she had. And while the details of each of these events were inconsistent, the events themselves seemed to be connected — almost as if they were planned to occur at the same time. All of them, even my mother's death.

. . .

Again, I was mostly concerned about losing Mary. We had never been separated before, at least not like this. And I had never been out of a job, a home, and a car at the same time either — conditions that made it nearly impossible for me to care for her even if someone hadn't been preventing me from doing so. Something far more sinister seemed to be going on. I had had a perfectly loving relationship with her up to that moment, but once she was separated from me, and once her social worker and mother were back in her life, the rejection occurred quickly and took on a form I never imagined. I knew Mary better than anyone, and I had never seen her act like this.

But I had seen the effects of bad-mouthing before in our family, and now this was different too. Now I saw it taken to a whole new level, as when Josie and Grace came over to my apartment to tell me what they saw happening to Mary at their mom's house (Really Bad Bad-mouthing). And I saw signs of this in the little note Josie left on my living room floor during her Christmas break (Josie and the Dogs). Severe bad-mouthing was now playing a major role in my estrangement from Mary, and she was learning to hate me more and more even though we she never saw me. I now know that this kind of rejection can only occur because your child can't be with you. Your history can't be rewritten as long as your children are still a part of it; and so this was something they had to change.

There were other things.

The Girls' Mother was Acting Strange

I also noticed the girls' mother acting stranger than usual — not because she was trying to take the girls from me. This wasn't strange. What was strange was how she was going about it. I knew all too well how she did this because I'd been watching her do it for years, and protecting my kids from her was always on the forefront of my mind (John Meets Family Court). And in case I didn't notice it, she made sure I did by constantly reminding me that she was always waiting for a chance to take them. She made sure we all knew this. It was a fear the girls and I constantly lived with.

Her goal this time was the same but her methods were different. She had never done things like she was doing now. Even with her intense desire to separate my children from me, there were some places she drew the line. For example, she wouldn't do anything that would hurt her chances in court, and it seemed we were perpetually heading to family court for one reason or another. She knows very well what judges approve of and don't, and one thing they don't approve of is when a parent attempts to restrict another parent's access to his or her children. This is probably the main factor they use in deciding custody. She learned what she could get away with and what she couldn't, and violating court orders was not something she could get away with.

But now this was different too. Now she was openly violating both our parenting plan and our parenting schedule, as was Mary's social worker. Both of these people were working very hard to hide Mary from me and keep information about her from me, and they were both doing this at the same time, for the same reason, and for the same child — almost as if they had coordinated their plans ahead of time. Something was very different now.

All of this helped me get a better picture of why my relationship with my children was suddenly deteriorating. It was all starting to make sense, and I began to understand why the girls' mother was violating court orders for the first time ever. I believe the social work supervisor was giving her permission to do this by modeling this behavior for her, covering for her, and maybe even threatening her as well (which wasn't inconsistent with her past behavior in my family). It was all very bad, very vile, and very obvious.

My Job Loss Was Also Strange, Even for the State Hospital

For the first couple of weeks after I lost my job, I was too busy writing up a wrongful termination case to notice what was happening to Mary. I was feverishly working day and night detailing my job history in a document I was going to present to the EEOC, and I was trying to get all of this finished before I was evicted. When I was finished with it, I took it to the EEOC office in Minneapolis and they accepted my case as worthy of investigating for age and disability discrimination.

And just like I knew losing Mary had nothing to do with my parenting performance, I knew losing my job had nothing to do with my job performance. I had even received a letter from the governor praising my work at the State Hospital. I knew there was another reason my boss was trying to fire me. After all, he had told me I would lose my job if I didn't give Mary to Social Services, but I dismissed this at the time as just a way for him to harass me to get me to quit.

When I saw that Mary's behavior towards me now was more than just one of her temporary outbursts, I began to suspect that losing her and losing my job have something to do with each other. It seemed like more than a mere coincidence that I could lose both Mary and my job at the same time, and that Mary's social worker and mom would be back in her life while these things were happening. And it seemed like much more than a coincidence that my both my boss and Mary's social worker would not only have threatened me for the same thing (either give Mary back to Social Services or face consequences), but that they would exact their penalties of me for not giving in to their threats, at the same time as well. 

And now the same social worker who had threatened me was back in Mary's life doing what she had wanted to do for the longest time — separate Mary from me. I had to wonder how these things weren't connected.

And Mary was Acting Strange

The most troubling (and most "strange") of all these events, however, was Mary's behavior. For starters, soon after she moved out she changed her name. She dropped her last name ("Brosnan") so that her middle name ("Christy") would now be her new last name, at least on Facebook. "Christy" is each girl's middle name and their mother's last name.

She also started hanging out with her mom for the first time in years. And while I welcomed their reunion (because Mary needed a mother in her life), I had to wonder why this was happening now. Why was her mother suddenly befriending her at this time when she had refused to even care for her when I brought her back from the group homes? Why the sudden change of heart? Why was she giving Mary her approval and accepting her back in her life at the same time Mary was rejecting me? And why were these things all taking place at the same time Mary's social worker was back her life?

I knew Mary better than anyone and I knew this wasn't like her. I don't think she was making these decisions on her own. I think someone was manipulating her and maybe even threatening her — at least it seemed like someone here in Mankato was doing this. Someone who wasn't in Oregon…


Daughters said...


Daughters said...

Das macht mich kichern!

Daughters said...

völlig Mist

John Brosnan said...

Why does this make you giggle?

John Brosnan said...

Es ist alles wahr.

John Brosnan said...

Sag mir, was ist eine Lüge.

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