Thursday, June 11, 2009

Fucking fuckstains

So the saga of domestic violence continues.

I tried to give the Kid's dad the benefit of the doubt. We were young, it's been 13 years, perhaps he really has changed.

(I know I know I know)


After the Kid saw his dad (in the presence of the school shrink) I got some pretty belligerent emails demanding that I let him see the Kid again. It was vintage abuser shit. So I said no. The first time I was pretty pissed and not very polite about it, but I have always been consistent in saying that if he wants access to the Kid he has to prove he's no longer a threat. Part of proving that is by paying child support, because economic abuse has always been part of his abusive bag of tricks.

I told the Kid what was going on and that I told his dad no. Kid understands. I told him he's allowed to be mad at me if he needs to. He says "meh- it would be nice to see him but your reasons are perfectly logical". Then the Kid told me that his dad has been harassing the school shrink to get her to let him see Nate without my knowledge. Would have been nice if the shrink had talked to me about that instead of talking to the Kid, but whatever. Now I have NOOOOOOOOOOo doubts that I made the right call by saying no.

His dad could have done a couple of things. He could go to court and try to get a judge to grant him visitation. But the last time that happened the judge told him that he would have to pay the cost of having the visits supervised by a social worker ( a minimum of $40 an hour. He only used that option twice in the span of a year) as well as take monthly drug tests and under go anger management counseling. He would also have to risk a judge issuing a bench warrant for his massive failure to pay child support. Rather than taking either risk and showing that he is willing to do the hard work to be in the Kid's life, he is once again trying to dodge the system. The Kid isn't a person to him, but a wayward piece of property that he must get back under his thumb.

Now it gets tricky. I could go and get the protection order reinstated, but I would have to disclose where I work and where we live to do so. So far I don't think he knows either of those things. He only knows where Kid goes to school, and school is out next week. I am bit worried about the Kid's graduation, as it's a public event and it's totally like his dad to show up and cause damage there. If I had a protection order, then both the school and the police would have the legal means of stopping him, but then he would have our address and our home would no longer be safe. Without the protection order, I have to wait until he does something violent or threatening before the police will step in, but there is only one place and time that he would have the chance.

This is the kind of risk taking mental gymnastics that you have to go through when dealing with an abuser. You weigh your options, which are never quite fair or easy. The Kid deserves to have a dad, but not at the cost of our safety. He deserves to go to his graduation in peace, but I am scared shitless.

This is why the shack in the desert seems so tempting right now.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

For I don't know what reason

old(er) men like to chat with me. I don't know why, but they do.

So today I'm sitting outside at work enjoying a smokey lung treat (back off you anti-smoking crusaders, nicotine is the only reason I haven't turned into a violent outlaw- yet) when random dude walking down the street stops to talk to me. He's probably in his late 50s, white, bearded former hippy looking dude.

Random dude: That's my favorite thing, sitting in the sunshine and having a smoke. But I'm all out.

Me: (because while I may or may not believe in god- I do know that cigarette karma is real!!!!!!!!!!!)Here, have one of mine.

Rd: I'm divorcing my 3rd wife

Me: That sounds like 3 wives too many

Rd: Nooooooooo. I love them all. A warrior never stops loving a woman. I still love all the girls I loved in high school.

Me: I just think some people are the marrying kind and some people aren't. I am not.

Rd: I don't care what you think, or what you know, I just care what you believe. What do you believe is the color of truth in a warrior society?

Me: What does a warrior society mean?

Rd: You can't answer my question with a question! A warrior society is a good society, not like this one. This is a predator society. Answer the question. What is the color of truth!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is turning into the kind of argument that you have with wingnuts and religious fanatics and libertarians, basically anyone who holds that there is only one good answer to everything and it's theirs. It's a disingenuous style of debate and people that use it are almost always douchebags (and wrong).

First, answering his question with ANYTHING other than a question would mean that I subscribe to his view that there is such a thing as a warrior society and that it is a preferable thing to what we have now. Since I don't know what a warrior society is in his mind (and in my mind I'm pretty sure it's paternalistic and old fashioned) I needed him to provide information before I could even think about answering.

Second, I was being polite, friendly and not argumentative. I asked him what he meant while maintaining the demeanor of a well trained shrink. But just asking him to clarify his views pissed him off enough to start yelling. (Ahhhhh the patriarchy does NOT LIKE TO BE QUESTIONED!)

So from this little exchange I'm going to give you all some tips for dealing with disingenuous debaters (works very well on the forced pregnancy shitstains).

1. Stay calm. It's hard, cause dammit sometimes you just want to punch them in the face with a sack full of their own stupidity.

2. Biggest fallacy ever when you're debating someone is that you are going to change their mind. That is not your goal. Sometimes (rarely) it happens, but the real goal is to sway the minds of the listeners. If you're arguing and no one is there to watch, use it for practice. But if you argue with someone only to sway them, you've already lost the fight. You'll take it personally when they don't change their mind and that will make you less focused on finding the flaws in their logic and more focused on trying to find a way to frame your argument so that they can see your point of view. Forget it.

3. Answer questions with questions. Make them clarify exactly what they believe. You will either get them mad enough to storm off by doing this, or they will turn themselves around in their mis-logic until they're confused. For example, a guy once said to me "there is no speaking for the white men anymore!" I countered with "Well the president is a white dude (this was pre-Obama) the supreme court is almost entirely white dudes, congress is mostly white dudes, so are most of the CEOs in this country. Which one of them isn't speaking for you?"

4. Don't let them set the parameters. This is where framing comes in and it is most important. For example, any phrase that sets the moral high ground in their territory like "we can both agree that abortions are bad". Counter with "Why are abortions bad?" the response will be something about killing bayyyyyyyyybies! You can come back with "But abortions save the lives of women, especially 3rd trimester abortions. Are you saying that abortions are bad because they save women's lives?" Or when weirdos on the street ask you about "the color of truth in a warrior society". It's total rubbish and his question has no logical answer, but by answering it I would have to acknowledge things that aren't true.

After I refused to buy into Random dude's worldview of a warrior society without him clarifying exactly what that means, he stormed off saying that I must be a "very sad person". Which means I win. While I am a lover of the personal insults to the package size of your average troll, when someone flounces off because they can't be logical then the game is over. And anyone who saw that just saw a big whiny ass baby go crying home to mama.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The world is falling apart

slowly. Like an old house. At least my world is.

It certainly doesn't start with the Kid's dad, but he has a shit ton to do with it. Right now, I feel just like my 21 year old self. Terrified most of the time. Jumping at shadows and panicky over everything. I have less than a month to figure out how we're going to live on no money and where we're going to live when our lease is up. 21 year old me had the same problem when the Kid's dad left us 6 months behind on bills.

And now I feel the same urge to run. Run as far away as I can. Get away from him, get away from the constant fear. Get to a place where I'm not terrified by every red haired person or car doors slamming or baseball caps. (it makes sense in my head, really). Get somewhere where I can breathe and relax and not worry all the time. What's really funny is, I'm not a worrier. I'm not normally one of those people who wastes energy on what horrible things might happen. But now, I freak out if the Kid is 10 minutes late getting home from school. I can't be around people (even ones that I love and adore like Ruth and CJ) for long because it interrupts my brain's campaign of Constant Vigilance! when I try to be social.

I dream of running away to wide a open desert. Of a little shack on hill where I can see anyone coming for miles and miles. I want to be in a place where the biggest things I have to fear are scorpions and rattlesnakes and sunburn, instead of violence and poverty and homelessness and hunger.

I ran away from all this before. And we did alright for a long time. But damn if 13 years of reality and a busted economy don't make a girl a wee bit more pessimistic at 34 than at 21.