“Why?” Is a question that I hear fathers ask often, and in reference to the draconian tactics of Ohio’s 88 “Child Support” Enforcement Agencies (CSEAs), or as I’d prefer to call them, Ohio’s Child Support Extortion Agencies.
Such is asked because of the manner in which they abuse very good and loving noncustodial fathers and mothers in very vile and destructive manners. Even worse, is that it’s done with absolute impunity, as well as with equal amounts of arrogance and indifference.
The CSEAs and many of their employees care nothing of the noncustodial parents whom are referred to as obligors, and I believe they care even less about the custodial parents (obligees) and the children thereof. They are all of one concern; bleed as much as you can from noncustodial parents, by hook or by crook, and no matter what the costs.
Recent emails I’ve received have caused me to once again ponder the absolute emotionally paralyzing and equally terrifying hell that I found myself wandering in many years ago. A routine called “life” as a single father. One that I was violently thrust into against my will, and whereby the painfully emotional confusion that I found myself in would only multiply, exponentially, for many years to come. Thank God I didn’t know early on how bad things were going to get, or perhaps I wouldn’t be here today writing about that which I do.
I’ve put a lot of what I consider to be very personal and raw emotion on these pages over the years not only because I’m compelled to, but also because I want to. I know that some father, somewhere, especially one who’s contemplating taking his life because ‘the system’ (the ‘child support’ system) drove him to where he is, might find these words and they may be enough to spare another precious and innocent child from becoming fatherless due to a system induced suicide.
With that said, I’m going to share a recent response that I sent to a father who contacted me. What I hope to do is share his entire email with his permission, but that for another day. Like many fathers in emails before his, I saw a reflection of myself in those carefully chosen heartfelt words that he wrote to me. But the big difference is “that was then, and this is now.”
By that, I mean this; his words reminded me of who I was not just as a person, but more importantly as a man, and most importantly, as a father nine longs years ago. Despite nearly a decade having since passed, I will NEVER forget that hell, the daily emotional hell, depression, hopelessness, despair, loneliness, anger, madness, torment and more, that I felt as that thrall that I’d become the moment I was deemed to be a single father.
My email was as follows;
I want to clarify this statement; “With regard to those suicidal thoughts, I’ve been EXACTLY where you are. That said, I don’t need to explain anymore than that, nor do you.” By that, I meant you didn’t have to discuss if you didn’t want to. I’m open to discussing whatever you wish.
Moreover, your last paragraph really moved me for many reasons, and you couldn’t be more right in your assertions. Regarding this, “Big nasty bold letters assigned to induce fear and dread. How can we as humans respond positively to such? I actually get sick in the stomach when I see letters from the CSEA.” I’ll throw “panic attacks” (with no prior history) into that as well, when said letters arrive. Butterflies in the stomach, and more. I know it all. But “dread” sums it all up perfectly, and sadly.
Today? I laugh at the CSEA and their letters. I’ve threatened the Director of the Hamilton County CSEA with contempt. And she responded. We do have some power, but it won’t be found without hope.
My “out” was going to be the Iraq War (#2). Not sure if you read about that, but it’s on the blog somewhere. Never lose hope xxxx as that’s all that’s needed to put one foot before the other on those days when you’re capable of no more. And those WILL pass, trust me on that. You daughter needs a father. Look for studies on mother absenteeism and you’ll find few if any. Search on father absenteeism, and you’ll find countless studies that show the effects (for a lifetime) are as deep and damaging as they are numerous, and on both boys and girls.
I’m not saying that mothers don’t play an incredibly important role in raising children as they obviously do. But that goes two ways (as it does with dads), and such is dependent whether or not she has her child’s best interests at heart. In the case of a manipulative ex, my experiences over the years have clearly shown that many of the same can’t see through their vindictiveness and hatred for dad to have even the slightest chance in acting on her child’s best interests. And in those cases, high-conflict, contention, parental alienation syndrome (PAS) all come into play, and risk damaging the children involved, their psyche and emotions for a lifetime. In such situations, a father’s influence is needed more than ever for those children to have the best shot at life.
Another father reaching out to me whose nothing more than a reflection of myself nine years ago. I will NEVER forget how it felt, ever. And before I proceed, I’d like to take a moment to thank those heroine second wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, and in some cases, those awesome female friends who stand in for, reach out to, date, marry and other wise support those struggling ‘child support’ paying fathers who in some cases wouldn’t exist absent the support those just mentioned provide. Especially, you “second wives.” To say they’re absolutely incredible women is a serious understatement.
I can honestly say, that had I not met my present wife, I wouldn’t have started OCFFR, and nor would I have shared what have over the years. My wife truly ‘rebuilt me’ and restored my faith in all of you terrific women out there.
Back to where I left off; life as a newly single father, a CSEA thrall if you will, who has just been introduced to Ohio’s Domestic Relations Court, Juvenile Court, Ohio’s CSEAs, and civil law is most likely living in utter fear and terror of what’s next, is emotionally and intellectually paralyzed, believes himself to be an abject failure as a person, man and father, and has little or no hope in the future. And sadly, to that last point, he probably hopes and prays to whatever deity he (or she in the case of noncustodial moms) believes in, that he doesn’t live to see much of the future.
The initial shock and dismay one experiences after being emotionally and financially raped by Ohio’s CSEAs and Domestic Relations judges and magistrates is nothing short of mind and life altering. And that to such an extent ones psyche is forever braided with a distorted sense of reality that not only deeply affects who they are as a person, it also forever changes them to such an extent they (for a limited time at least) no longer recognize who they once were.
Allow me to elaborate on that point; anyone who has been through the CSEA hell, along with being a hated outcast that’s otherwise known as a ‘child support’ paying noncustodial parent, knows exactly what I’m talking about. That’s especially true of those who at one time had a lot in terms of material possessions, money, benefits etc. However, please know that such is not meant in any way to diminish the pain and suffering of those who lacked wealth or assets.
Because what we all have in common, and despite one’s social economic status is that we all (noncustodial parents) lost unfettered access to that which was MOST VALUABLE to all of us, our children. Truth be told, and given my difficult childhood, what I was able to attain, what I lost (due to ‘child support’ and divorce) and where I am today, I must admit that I have an affinity for the poor and uneducated.
So how does this all tie together? It’s a s simple as this; I feel the need to once again write about the struggles of single (and remarried) noncustodial, ‘child support’ paying moms and dads. Finding the will to get out of bed and only put one foot before the other for a day, can seem as daunting and frightening as climbing a mountain as one who’s afraid of heights.
Over the years, I’ve learned to listen to that inner voice that tells me, “just write.” Honestly, and if I’ve read what I’ve written slow enough to comprehend it, what’s on this page seems somewhat disorganized and incoherent if I do say so myself. Nonetheless, perhaps I’ll get an email at some point down the road where someone writes something to the effect of, “that’s just what I needed to hear.”
Before closing, I ask that you take the time to read what I’ve written on the About OCFFR page. On that page, I tried to convey, as best I could, the ugly, hateful, profound and devastating effects that Ohio’s Family Courts and 88 county CSEAs have on noncustodial, ‘child support’ paying fathers and mothers.
To answer the question of “Why?” I could write a book on that, but in short, it’s for two reasons; 1. the love of money, and 2. because we live in an unjust world. Listen to me; if you’re a depressed, despondent and hopeless shell of what you once were, and that because some cold and hardhearted judge or magistrate working in conjunction with Ohio’s CSEA has not only bankrupted you financially and emotionally, cost your everything you once had, stripped you of your dignity and worst of all, come between you and your child(ren) please know that you are NOT alone.
I and millions of others have been where you are and in some cases, in even worse places. PLEASE…I implore you for the sake of your children who love and need you, do NOT lose hope. In time, things will get better. In time, you will adjust, in time you’ll see a brighter future for yourself and your children, and in time, you’ll be glad if you’ve taken to heart what I’ve written here.
Finally, don’t ever see yourself as the person that your treated as. You are a good person, you are loved and your life is valuable. And given time, the day will come, if you’ll only allow it to, where you can look yourself in the mirror and not only say those same things, but more importantly, you’ll truly believe them.
Ohio Council for Fathers Rights