I get it, trust me, I really do. The stresses of trying to exercise your “visitation” aka parenting time as a noncustodial father (or mother) is no less stressful than a trip to hell and back with Satan tormenting you the entire time, when the custodial parent is combative, mentally ill, has a substance abuse problem, or simply likes confrontation and drama. In such cases, you’re often better off doing the exchange with Satan himself.
All kidding aside, some people can get physically ill from the stresses involved in trying to exercise parenting time when a such a custodial parent is involved. There is a tremendous amount of stress, anxiety and sometimes panic, especially when there’s a fear of false allegations or false charges being leveled against you by the custodial parent. In fact, some may choose to skip exercise parenting time altogether because of this, especially if they’ve been previously incarcerated on account of false allegations by the custodial mother.
Now think about this; if it’s that stressful on the father, think about how much more so it is on the children involved. That’s why it’s critically important for you to NEVER engage the mother (or father for you noncustodial moms) and argue back. Doing that not only further stresses the children, it also escalates the situation, and it creates hellish childhood memories that will forever be replayed in their minds, over and over again, and even as adults.
Please trust me on that, I came from a background as a child that clearly attests to that. Don’t ever play a part in creating traumatizing memories for your children, as they will remember them for the rest of their lives. In high-conflict situations, the only role you should play is that of a quiet and comforting parent, not the violent and escalating one.
It’s never okay to engage a combative custodial parent. The only exception I can think to that is if they’re putting your children in danger, and only to remove them from that danger and without breaking the law in the process. But rest assured, and as sure as the sun rises and sets, if the cops are called and you’re a father, you’re almost guaranteed to be going to jail unless you have a witness or video. You should never go alone to pick up your children if the aforementioned describes your situation.
Years of tense exchanges will surely wear someone down and can cause disconcertment and ambivalence whereas the opposite should be so for such an occasion. You should (and would normally) be very happy and excited in your anticipation pertaining to getting your child.
So when does it end, or at least change to such an extent that exercising your parenting time no longer becomes a prelude to a panic attack? As your children grow older. The day WILL COME when your child is psychologically capable of rising above the chaos, tension, and conflict that an abusive and drama-loving custodial parent creates and inflicts upon you and them when you are exchanging the children.
The day will also come that your children remember and recall the comfort they found in you and your environment as you deescalated the many exchanges over the years. It may not feel like at the time when you’re in the thick of it, but you are helping your child just by remaining calm in those situations.
The best thing you can do, is to just be there for your children. As they mature and grow into adults themselves, the control that a psychologically abusive and high-conflict custodial parent exerts over them will fade.
This is why it’s so important that you never give up and stop trying to be a father to your children and thereby play a meaningful role in their life. There were times that I drove more than 550 miles after work on a Thursday night, nearly all night, across 4 states (and I worked Friday), so that I could exercise my parenting time with my daughter on a Friday night. I then made the same drive home the following Sunday morning so I could make it to work on Monday.
I made that drive for years. That was over 1100 miles driven over three days. I still must and do drive considerable distances (the same mileage) to see my own daughter, and she’s worth every minute that I spend on the road and more. It usually takes me until Tuesday and sometimes Wednesday of the following week to get fully rested again.
With regard to physical separation from your child, it’s NEVER their fault, and we must do what we can as fathers to ensure that they don’t pay the price for that separation. If the custodial parent has moved your child away from you, or you were forced to move for employment reasons , or to avoid being indicted for felony criminal nonsupport or other reasons, then you as a father (or mother) must make every effort to see your child nonetheless.
Many fathers give up out of physical, but mostly psychological exhaustion when faced with a combative, non-cooperative, and high-conflict custodial mother does everything within her power to keep him from exercising his parenting time, and this must never be. We as fathers should never just allow a mother to push us out of our children’s lives. We are obligated, out of the best interests of and well being for our children, to never stop trying.
And for those fathers who are suicidal and or giving up or on the verge of doing so, I must respectfully ask, “why?” I understand how emotionally draining it is to have to engage a non-cooperative and combative custodial parent, believe me, I do, but how can you ever even consider giving up?
Think about the torment that you face in just trying to see your children, as well as the torment you experience in not seeing them; now magnify that exponentially and add fear and unknown to that, to try and understand what your children are going through in NOT seeing you nor having any contact with you.
I’m convinced that our country is basking in the morally depraved state that it’s in today, because fathers have been pushed out of their children’s lives by both the courts and custodial mothers. And the result of decades of that is the very degenerate society that we live in today.
Again I ask you fathers who have given up or are considering giving up; how can you abandon your efforts to see your child, and through that, leave them ALONE with their mothers? I can’t imagine a world for them without their father, so how can you?
For you dads that this resonates with and speaks to, please reconsider. Your children need you!! You do NOT have to FEEL or BELIEVE it for that statement to be true. It IS TRUE, as every child is born with an inner need and desire to know his or her parents.
To reignite that fire within yourself that will cause you to push forward, consider this; the day IS COMING when your child will be old enough and mature enough to not just express their desire to see you, but also demand their RIGHT to see you. And the more time that passes, the stronger that desire will become.
Moreover, the day will also come when your children will be old enough to push through the barriers, put in place by their custodial parent, that are preventing you from seeing or talking to them. And when that day does come, because IT WILL, where will you be???
To you fathers contemplating suicide because it seems to be the only way out given the situation that you’re in (homeless, jobless, penniless, and perhaps incarcerated); what becomes of the day that your child, after reaching the age whereby they can start out on their own, in a quest to see you, and they discover what you’ve done assuming you’ve followed through with it? Chances are, they’ll spend the rest of their lives sorting through that physiological mess you’ve left for them. And PLEASE know that I don’t say that out in indifference or hatefulness, and I have been where you are.
There’s an adage that says something very well, and that’s beneficial to us all; “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today. ” And if you think in a long term sense about your present situation, and through it, convince yourself that nothing will ever change, you’re unknowingly destroying your hope. And without hope, we as humans have nothing to carry us forward.
Try not to worry beyond today, as there’s no guarantee that tomorrow will ever come anyway. And today, make a promise to your child and to yourself, that you’ll never give up hope nor stop trying to see or talk to them. Because the truth is, and no matter how hopeless today may seem to you, that day WILL come when you’re child will become determined to see you, and such will happen. But you have to be there for that to happen, please decide today, for your child’s sake, that their father will be there when they come looking.