To The Daughter's paternal grandmother:
You say you're confused. I'll say you're confused.
Or in some kind of mega-denial.
After that last stunt of yours, I know that if you read this, you won't believe it. Everyone's tried to explain this to you, and you still claim not to understand, so here it is:
YOUR SON IS A JERK.
HIS ELDEST DAUGHTER WANTS NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM.
Is that clear enough? I know you are only hearing part of the story, so let's make sure that you have all the facts.
TIMELINE – First, let's make sure we have the timeline set. (All dates are rough estimates)
Spring 2011 – Skype Incident – RAS was on Skype with The Daughter (as she is known on this site), when he needed to leave the house to pick up his wife at the transit station. So, he told The Daughter, who was physically 2,000 miles away, to watch the kids, OVER A VIDEO LINK, while he left his house, got in his car, and drove off. He saw nothing wrong with this. The Daughter was traumatized, watching the other kids panic at being alone, terrified something would happen to the kids while she watched on, helplessly.
While this is far, far from the only issue between the two, it was the triggering event for what came next.
Spring 2011 – Counselor – The Daughter starts seeing the counselor, henceforth, "KT" to deal with the damage caused by the Skype incident and everything else. As I understand it, this marks the second member of his family that has gone to therapy due to RAS.
Spring 2011 – Spring Break Court – RAS's visitation was suspended, and a Guardian Ad Litum (GAL) was ordered. With that, the court case begins. While RAS's contact with The Daughter was suspended, that restriction WAS NOT extended to the rest of your family.
Summer 2011 – GAL – The Daughter met with the GAL, and told her side. The GAL also met with RAS and KT.
Court Case/s – There originally was one case that covered both child support and the parenting plan. While these dragged on, RAS and his lawyer kept doing head scratching things, that kept running up the legal fees for no obvious reason, including splitting the cases and requesting a detailed financial interrogatory. RAS split the case in two, and had his lawyer expedite the child support aspect. While he succeeded in getting his monthly child support reduced from $460 to $109 a month, his attempts to also transfer all his legal expenses on to us failed. Later, in counseling, he stated that he ran up the legal expenses because his lawyer assured him that we would get stuck paying his legal expenses. So it was his attempt to bleed money out of us, money that might have gone to support his daughter, that backfired.
Unlike what her cousin told The Daughter, this case is not the reason why none of her half siblings will go to college or why he lost his house. And even if it were, it was RAS's decision to run up the bills on the child support case, which could have been handled with county administrators, not judges and lawyers that burned up his money, and left him to not have a lawyer for the parenting plan portion of the case.
During time, RAS, The Daughter, and KT were performing group therapy. KT and the Daughter were also doing one-on-one therapy. And RAS, KT, and my Wife were also negotiating the parenting plan.
LATE SPRING / EARLY SUMMER 2012 – Child Support – As mentioned above, the court decided child support, and denied flipping his legal fees on to us. RAS decides to separate from his lawyer, too, and to represent himself for the parenting plan case.
LATE SUMMER 2012 – Earlier the GAL stated that this should be worked out in therapy, not in court. With the help of the counselor, KT, and our lawyer making sure that all parts of the agreement met Washington law, the parenting plan was signed.
Some key aspect of the agreement:
- Visitation would resume when KT determined that The Daughter was ready.
- If she was not going to attend a scheduled visit, it was upon The Daughter to notify RAS in advance.
- RAS would pay part of The Daughter's airfare for visits, but once tickets were purchased, he would have the right to find a cheaper, comparable flight.
Around this time, The Daughter was to spend some time with RAS's family, to try and mend their relationship. Instead, they tried to convince her that she was wrong about RAS and pressure her into seeing him.
SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2012 – During counseling, plans were being made for the first face-to-face meeting between RAS and The Daughter. It was going to be Veteran's Day weekend. 1 hour in KT's office. If things went well between them, they might spend some time together the next day.
OCTOBER 2012 – All RAS had to do was play the game for 1 hour a week, and he was going to get the visitation he wanted.
The visit was canceled.
And his insistence that all communication between The Daughter and her siblings go through him caused an end to the Skype talks between her and them.
WINTER 2012 / 2013 – RAS's participation in counseling ends. KT advises him to get his own counselor, and work on his issues. He never rejoined counseling.
The Daughter continues counseling, and life continues on. RAS pops up on occasion, but then slinks off to the shadows.
NOVEMBER 2014 – The Daughter turns 18. Like last year, and the year before that, and the year before that, not so much as a card from RAS.
FEBRUARY 2015 – You write to KT that you don't understand what the problem is, despite everyone telling what I told you at the start:
YOUR SON IS A JERK.
HIS ELDEST DAUGHTER WANTS NOTHING TO DO WITH HIM.
MARCH 2015 – The Daughter sends you a poem and an explanation regarding her relationship with RAS, and within hours, you comment on Facebook, that she is just like her father.
Was that a complement? "You are just like the man that you cannot stand to be around, talk to, or even think about." Really? She tries desperately to explain it to you. Show opens up to you. And THAT is your response? "You're just like him."
Even if you really don't get what the problem is, you MUST understand that there is a serious problem between them, and that she would not take your comment as anything like a compliment.
So, to recap:
THERE HAVE BEEN NO LAST MINUTE VISIT CANCELATIONS – If they weren't even able to communicate via Skype once a week in counseling, they were not going to have overnight, unsupervised visits. Any last minute texts notifying him that she would not be attended were simply a perfunctory task required under the parenting plan.
If you are being told that the things are being called off last minute, then you are not being told the truth, and I would question the motivation of the person/s doing so.
NOT HELPING YOUR CAUSE – If you want a relationship with your granddaughter, you are REALLY going about it poorly. The Daughter has told you that there is a problem between them. The therapist told you.
This is a real, serious, long term issue. It is not something The Daughter will just "get over". RAS will need to perform some serious soul searching and realize that he's the source of the problem.
THE CHOICE – Your family can continue to do what it has, line up behind RAtSo, view this all as The Daughter's problem, and nothing will change, except that the gulf between you will get wider and wider.
Or, maybe, you can accept that your Golden Boy isn't so golden, and convince him that he needs to do some work on himself, and then, who knows.
What I know is this, if you want to help, do something helpful, like believe your granddaughter. Otherwise, you are just part of the problem, and please stop being part of the problem.