Friday, November 28, 2008

I have to laugh

So the nasty grams have been flying back and forth between Sybil and Norm (a.k.a. ME) and in an attempt to be more accommodating we asked her LAST MONTH if she wanted to switch the ‘school break’ drop off time from 5 to 5:30 (so on days when there isn’t school she drops them off at 5 p.m. instead of them coming home after school..) She typically calls around 5 to say she’s running late and drops them off at more like 5:20 so we offered to change it to 5:30 for her.

Now last week- a month later she’s pitches a fit because in the e-mail we made her sound like she’s running late all the time when “in fact she is NEVER late and she calls to change the time not to tell us she’s running late.” Hmmmm sounds like late to me. So we responded- never mind- we were just trying to be nice but you seemed to have missed that.

I shit you not – Wednesday she was supposed to drop the girls off at 5:00 and she dropped them off at 5:20 without even a phone call. We sat around waiting to go to Grandma’s for Thanksgiving dinner until they got there. I just have to laugh because if I don’t, I’ll go mad. She's so awesome.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sybil Saga (part III)

Prior to our discovery of Sybil and Mark’s trouble in paradise, Norm and Sybil attended court ordered co-parenting counseling which went absolutely nowhere since Sybil refused to take any responsibility for her "poor" decisions and less that appropriate behavior. The counselor pulled the plug when Sybil sent a nasty e-mail to her manager stating that the counselor was biased and stated that she did not have the girls best interests in mind when she was making her recommendations. There was no follow through on the rest of the court order which was designed to increase Norm’s placement with his girls since it hinged on Sybil and Norm's co-parent counselor making recommendations. The girls were barely attending school at all due to Sybil’s Munchausen by Proxy characteristics but the county was already heavily involved (with a thick blanket of wool pulled over their eyes) so our hands were pretty much tied. Essentially Norm and I felt there was nothing more we could do unless the county got some balls and threatened to take the girls from Sybil or she was institutionalized.

Our delight with the trouble in paradise faded slowly when we discovered that Sybil and Mark were ‘working it out’. He had moved out in the interim but they were going to therapy and ‘dating’ again. They had two children together so they were both fighting to keep the marriage together for the sake of the kids. Eventually he moved back in and they stuck it out for another year and half and as a result, we threw in the towel.

One beautiful Sunday morning in the Spring of last year we got a phone call- it was Mark's dad. A very wealthy man- the CEO of the company Mark worked for- we had heard all the stories from the girls about “grandpa Mark Sr.” and how he had a dozen collector cars, a lake house, boats and how wonderful he was. Blah blah blah PUKE. He told Norm that Mark and Sybil were finished and how she was attempting to get a restraining order on Mark based completely on lies. He wanted to meet with us to possibly provide information on Sybil that could help us get the girls. Norm informed him that we probably weren’t interested, we had gotten past the defeat, we let it go and had come to terms with the fact that the girls’ fate was no longer in our hands and probably too far gone anyway. Mark and Mark Sr.’s financial and emotional support was a large part of the reason we lost previously so were a bit bitter to say the least. We had a feeling they wanted something from us too but we couldn’t imagine what.

Norm and I chewed on it for about a week. We thought about how much school the girls were missing, how little he had them- roughly 72 hours a month when he was supposed to have almost half placement, how “this time” she wouldn’t have the Mark Empire behind her and she would be at battle with them and us at the same time. It felt like for the first time…the stars were starting to align and they were certainly in our favor. We called Mark Sr. back and agreed to meet with them with more than a little apprehension.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Letting Go

I spent a week out west for a conference which happened to be in the same city where my sister lives so I stayed with her to save the company a few bucks. I ended up staying over the weekend to hang out with her and we convinced my other sister to come out too and make it a girls weekend.

I shared with them my frustrations –which they are all too familiar with – but I shared (aka bitched) none the less about Sybil and Norm and MN and MS. Both my sisters are stepmoms, neither of their situation is even close to half as bad as mine honestly. They’re sympathetic. They’ve never spent a dime on an attorney much less stepped foot in a court room. They’ve had their share of bullsh!t though.

I brought up the conflict avoidance that Norm has and how I really somewhat feel like I’m getting completely intolerant of it. How he won’t stand up to her and it drives me nuts. They are both smart woman- older and wiser to some extent so I listened carefully to their advice. One piece of advice they gave, although I would LOVE to follow- I will not and that was to address the issues with her myself. She has already told Norm that she will no longer read my e-mails for whatever lame ass excuse she concocted. If I were to call her she would just hang up. Essentially, she is scared of me. She doesn’t like it that I state the facts- truly I keep them simple, straight forward and leave all emotion at the door. She is so delusional that she cannot tell the difference between fact and fiction so that’s part of the issue. I can simply e-mail her:

“Hello Sybil,
You had emailed us last week that you would drop of a check for $x on Wednesday and you did not. Please advise when you will be dropping it off. The court order states on page 2 paragraph 1 “ excess funds will be returned to the respondent immediately”. Please comply. Thank you.”

This to her is an attacking harassing e-mail and she will not stand for it any longer and thus will not even read my e-mails. Then she will boldly lie that her bank’s online banking was down on Tuesday so she couldn’t verify the funds were there to write a check and when she called the bank to verify it that the phones were down. Right.

So confronting her myself is really just pretty much out of the question I think.

The second piece of advice they gave was to let it go. She is not my problem, she is his. If he chooses not to deal with her behavior, the consequences will be his. Let go. Let go of the control and let go of the vested interest. The biggest issue with this is that the consequences will not just be his. Our finances are combined so when she does not comply, it affects our finances. I cannot and will not separate my finances to assist in the ‘letting go’ process. That’s ridiculous.

Next, to an extent, we need her to comply with other requests based on the court order etc. Vacations, Doctors appointments, modifications to the schedule need to be approved by her and all those things DIRECTLY impact me. When she does not respond to him in a timely manner she affects me and my son. How does one let go of something that directly impacts them just because it’s (to a certain extent) out of their control???
My mathematical answer to that is to try to remove the part of the equation that is causing a negative impact. To remove Sybil is to remove the girls, a piece of the equation we fought much too hard and much too long to acquire-which leads me back to the beginning. I can feel the insanity starting to creep in, the absence of rational thought. Sybil is contagious and the cure is years away.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Conflict Avoidance

Probably the single most frustrating aspect of my marriage.

Norm is a good man, descent and kind. He’s a great parent, fun, smart, funny, loving, supportive, encouraging, just, fair, stern when needed…you name it. He’s a busy busy guy though. He tends to bite off more than he can chew- so other aspects of his life pay the price. You could say his life lacks a bit of balance. His biggest flaw by far is that he has serious conflict avoidance issues. Mainly and ESPECIALLY when it comes to Sybil. It all started back when they were married.

Here’s a scenario: Sybil fears germs which causes her to scrub the house from top to bottom morning and night. It starts to affect their relationship so Norm says- please Sybil stop. Germs are not that bad. They are not something to be feared. Sybil proceeds to pull out every piece of evidence to prove to Norm how bad germs are. Norm contradicts the evidence with his own. Sybil states his evidence is wrong, hers is right and they argue. Sybil will not back down ever and then proceeds to purchase a $5000 vacuum that sucks up every piece of dust in the house when they are living on a small single income (because Sybil can’t work because she needs to sanitize the house all day.) Norm throws his hands up. This is one of fifty million examples of what occurred in their marriage

Fast forward to 2001 and instead of the argument being about germs it’s about home-schooling MS because her teacher was (supposedly) mean to her, called her names, hit her and pushed her down a flight of stairs. There were of course no witnesses and the teacher has no complaints against her...AT ALL. All the other kids lover her. The investigator found no grounds for charges and it was dropped by child protective services for ‘no basis.’ MS was diagnosed with separation anxiety (with her mother) and was throwing 16 fits when mom would try to take her to school. 40 some days absent later (seriously- I can’t make this shit up) and Sybil gets the bright idea to home-school without even consulting Norm. Sybil barely graduated high school and has ZERO follow through with just about everything. Norm finds out about the home-schooling and he basically just shakes his head and tells Sybil he doesn’t think it’s a good idea. I nudged and said “are you kidding- you’re just going to allow her to do this!” His response “She’s irrational, I can’t argue with her, it won’t get me anywhere.”

I dug out his divorce decree – pointed to where it said “Joint Custody”- pulled out the definition of joint custody in the state statues where it has the section that pertains to school and decision making and said “She is breaking the law. You need to stop this.” He still did nothing- never called her out on her behavior, never told her she was out of line, nothing. At least not for another few years when MS was tested and tested 2 full years behind in school and Sybil was home schooling MN as well because “it’s only fair.” Can’t let MS stay home and play all day and make MN go to school, right? Actually she came up with some bullshit diagnosis on her own- MS had post traumatic stress disorder and MN was associating herself with MS’s condition….uhhhh yeah right whatever.

Fast forward again to today. Sybil proceeds to bash me in an e-mail, lie BOLDFACE about something so easy to verify it’s madness (which we did and we confirm she lied) and blame Norm for not communicating when she’s the one who’s dropping the ball. Norm’s response to her is basically “thank you for doing A, I’ll take care of B, let me know about C and I’ll let you know about D.” NOTHING about calling her out on her behavior and obvious LIES, nothing about ‘Stepmonster is not …, you must be confused.’ No defending himself, nothing. NOTHING

It deeply saddens me and confuses me about this man I love so much………who clearly needs a new set. (He already knows how I feel about this to the fullest extent and refuses to take anything I suggest into consideration which infuriates me even further.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Maybe a lot of background on Sybil (part II)

So where was I, …ah yes trouble in paradise. Now Mark seemed like a decent guy at first but the more supportive- emotionally and financially of Sybil he was, the less we “liked” him despite the fact that everyone who knew of him thought he was just “the nicest guy” …puke. Sybil was so blatantly hosing Norm and his rights as a father, never giving him a chance, leaving him sitting at the drop off point, ignoring his calls, breaking the court order left and right and falsely accusing him of some seriously heinous stuff with no basis what so ever and ZERO evidence. It was Parental Alienation all the way and then some. Mark just went right along with it and occasionally participated. Makes me ill just thinking about it and thinking back I just wanted to smash his face in because I knew he wasn’t psycho like her, he was just pussy whipped or something. I was SO tempted to call him up and meet him out for a beer and ask him WHAT THE F*CK? But I didn’t.

Back during the first custody battle we had a court ordered overnight and the girls ‘ran away’ (we later found out that Sybil gave MS her cell phone and told them to go hide out in the woods and they wouldn’t have to stay over- awesome huh?) So we came over to ‘help look for them.’ Mark and Sybil’s father showed up and ordered us off the property. There was an argument and we left. Amazingly enough the girls turned up less than a half hour later. The next morning Norm’s mother (lives around the corner), Norm and I all woke up to slashed tires, all three cars- all four tires. We were POSITIVE Sybil’s father did it but figured Mark helped. (Sybil’s father has stalked me a bit in the past as well as physically assaulted Norm- so that was right up his alley… he’s a real winner!)

I remember the day we had heard through the grapevine that there was trouble in paradise. Our attorney (who’s children we’ve essentially put through college over the past 6 years) told us there was a police report filed by Sybil against Mark and I just couldn’t help myself. Norm and I were in the neighborhood of the court house (our second home) so we stopped to check it out since it was public record. Reading that report was one of the better moments of my life. She accused him of pushing her into a table. According to the report they got into a fight and he pushed her. She made the statement that ‘he’s been physically and emotionally hurting her for years.” Norm and I read it together smiling with glee like it was Christmas morning and we had gotten a brand new BB gun. The records attendant looked at us a bit odd when we both got up and started dancing. It was basically our golden ticket. A ‘potential’ significant change in circumstances and a window that was cracked open for us to save the girls. It was a second chance.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

In the line of fire

So Sybil called Norm on a warpath mainly because she knows she’s been totally dropping the ball on the contacts/glasses thing, feels only about an ounce of the inadequacy she should be feeling and is, in turn, lashing out at Norm. What a bitch. He is no longer her whipping boy. I just wish he’d defend himself (and me for that matter) with a little more whoop ass.

She then proceeds to pull the old ‘it’s your fault’ card out by stating verbally and via an e-mail that Norms lack of communication is the reason MS hasn’t gotten the contacts yet. Unreal. She is so totally and completely delusional. Norm and I both have e-mailed and called about this only for her to drop the ball over and over. She is too busy working on her next victim to focus on her kids and their health. See right now, them needing health care is an inconvenience. Normally it’s the highlight of her day, especially if it’s something that she can put even the slightest serious spin on. She feeds on the attention of have sick children to the point that it’s very dangerous…but that’s to be ‘outed in detail’ on another day. I’m too tired and ticked off to type about it now.