Mediation

I left the house a few minutes early, moved my car so it wasn’t right next to our building and joined the Zoom meeting. The paralegal standing in for my lawyer explained that my lawyer was on a hearing at the moment and would join in a bit. What she expected to take her 30 minutes ended up taking an hour and we found out that even though my husband was the one that filed for divorce and was supposed to tell the mediator what he wanted, first, he’d said to talk to my side first.

Of course he did. It’s a control move. My lawyer decided it wasn’t worth pushing the issue for the mediator’s sake, so she went ahead and started filling her in on my requests (all of which were pretty reasonable for a divorce and left some room to compromise if needed.) I realized I needed the charger for my phone and had to leave the meeting so the kids wouldn’t hear what was going on when I returned to the apartment. Afterward I had some trouble rejoining because zoom was throwing a fit. I did eventually make it back in.

My ex’s offer was basically a small sum of money, lies, and him getting full custody of the kids. My lawyer could apparently tell by my face how angry I was. After we rejected that offer the mediator came back and said he was inflexible on the custody issue and wanted a custody eval for my mental health. He claimed my social media posts said I didn’t want to be a mother. (Those posts stated that I hadn’t wanted to have kids, and had kids because of my religious background, not that I wanted to abdicate my parenting duties.) My lawyer and I agreed to a guardian ad litem as long as he paid for it, since she said the distinction between saying I hadn’t wanted to have kids vs I didn’t want my kids was important.

I guess he was expecting me to fold because he walked back on the custody eval, claiming he didn’t want to put the kids through that. Then he actually sounded like he was going to try a provisional 50/50 custody arrangement. Not a week on, week off the way I’d been thinking but him having 2 days, me having 2 days, and then alternating weekends. I was willing to try. We were working out details, compromising here and there and moving closer to some kind of provisional agreement when the mediator came back saying it was done, negotiations were done he’d changed his mind. Apparently my lawyer insisting I get until July 1st to move out (instead of the June 1st date he wanted) was too much for him and he stopped cooperating entirely.

It was, honestly, exactly what I was expecting. I’d been genuinely surprised he seemed willing to work on a compromise.

Still, I was shaken. I would need to go back into our apartment and had no idea what state he would be in. I’ve long had a suspicion that if he ever reaches a point where he feels like he’s lost control and has nothing left to lose, he’d go from 0 to 60 – acting like the good guy to engaging in lethal violence. And if he snaps and comes after me, he’ll probably just take everyone out – me, the kids, and finally himself. The fact that I’ve been finding other behavior of his predictable makes me worry more. That suggests my instincts are picking up on some genuine piece of his psyche – that somewhere in him he’s capable of deciding if he can’t have his way, he’ll just take us all out.

The night before, anxious about how the mediation would go, I had the morbid thought ‘if I knew it was the last time I’d be able to hear music, what would I choose to listen to?’ and the first song that popped into my head was Enya’s Caribbean Blue. So after the mediation had gone south and I needed to return to the apartment, I put on Caribbean Blue and looped it and walked back inside, wondering if I’d be returning to a cold war or if it would have heated up.

Obviously the fact that I’m here to write this means I didn’t become part of the statistics about intimate partner violence.

My ex had squirreled himself away in the master suite and didn’t come out for a little while. When he did emerge, it was pretty obvious that he was upset. My youngest picked up on it and asked him if he was okay and he brushed it off and said he’d be fine. He didn’t just seem angry – he honestly seemed shocked. Like he believed he knew how the mediation would go and that I’d just give him what he wanted. That he could offer me a little money and I’d just hand off my kids to him. Abdicate my parental responsibilities.

Look, bud, just because I’m honest about my background, my enthusiasm entering motherhood, and what a struggle it has been doesn’t mean I hate my kids or don’t intend to keep doing my best by them.

But, it seems he believes the lies he’s concocted – another thing that worries me. He told me he wouldn’t come after me or do anything to me as long as he didn’t believe I was a bad person, but it sure seems based on the things he said during mediation that he’s convinced himself I’m a bad person.

I was working on this last night but just struggling with writing it out and never finished my thoughts. I think that’s just gonna have to be it for now, though.

7 thoughts on “Mediation

      1. I have a friend that lives in Indy that I can go to in a pinch. I have my sister J and my dad about 6 hours away in TN. Working on how to handle vacating the apartment.

        Liked by 1 person

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