“If you want they can tell you their story,” the Mentalist is really into my idea of writing a Desperate Divorcee Survival Guide. “You talk to me and I will give my opinion. You rewrite it in your blog and tell them what to do. You make my opinion into your own.”
“Yes sounds interesting enough,” I answer pleased to have found at least one viable idea. “In this case she wanted to know what it’s like to co-parent, to drop off your kids at your ex for the weekend. I told her it hurts like hell at first but that you soon seize this time to rediscover yourself, to do hobbies and see friends so that you are resourced and able to be the best possible mama when your kids come back. I told her her kids deserve to have and see a happy mama. In fact I think I am already telling your opinion. No?”
“Very good,” the Mentalist agrees with me. “Advise her to not be possessive over her kids. They must learn to cope with their father too.”
“That’s a hard one,” I think and say out loud. It’s one of the things I am not coping too well with myself. I have lately started referring to my ex as ‘the father of my children’. This way it removes any relation to me, and puts him in context of my kids, and not towards myself. Anyhow… “How can I advise what I have difficulty with myself?”
“Because you have difficulty with it is good to advise someone else,” the Mentalist reassures me. And come to think of it, it might hold some truth. I can totally relate to struggling in this area, and know what works and what definitely doesn’t. “You learn as you go. She must still install her values as you do. Try not to make them choose. He might do that. You can tell them they don’t have to go if they don’t want to. Under Belgium law you can’t force them and he can’t demand if the child is adamant.”
“You know I have heard my lawyer say otherwise,” I tell him of one of my pet peeves when it comes to children and divorce, namely co-parenting with a horrible ex. “He quoted an example where the father was ranting and raving outside, that he would cut off the child’s ears if she, the mother, didn’t send her kid out immediately for his visitation. And even then if the child refused to go, by law it was because the mother hadn’t sufficiently motivated the child to see his dad. This is Belgium, Mentalist, our laws are retarded, mothers are not as protected as they are in other countries.”
“When I had issues with my children this is what the police told me,” the Mentalist retorts, and I roll my eyes, happy to know he can’t see me through the phone. “They cannot force the child. The prosecutor will try but they can’t. A judge will throw the case out if the kids show fear or resentment or just demonstrate mental abuse by a parent who tries to make them loyal to one parent only.”
“I don’t care what you say the law is, I have my own experience and I see other mothers around me,” annoyance is very audible in my voice. I have been trying to get this point across to him for ages now, but to no avail. “We have very little support here in this retarded country. There is the law, and then the twist the lawyer gives to it and the mood of the judge. I haven’t seen any of this.”
“You can’t stop visitation rights just because you are fighting with tour ex,” the Mentalist brings context to the situation. “Best to settle that by cutting them off. May not just walk into your house. Must call before coming and so on.”
“I think your bad luck that you were a foreigner and Katie a native speaker,” I decide to finally give him my take on the story I have heard before. “Politics plays a big role too in these cases.”
“I won the case,” the Mentalist retorts, which baffles me. I must have missed a few episodes.
“See the mother is nothing in this effing country,” I decide to dismiss my confusion and instead to grasp this new element to better state my own case. “In the UK the mother has all rights, but here…”
“As for my little kids I pushed it a few times and won,” the Mentalist repeats again, bringing at least a hint of clarity to my confusion. “When they didn’t want to come I let it go. Yes I guess so. Maybe rat poison would help.”
“Haha,” I laugh off his joke and decide to stick to the hot subject. “Anyway I advised her to try to come to an agreement sooner rather than later and that fighting things out only makes your lawyer richer.”
“Good,” the Mentalist agrees.
Are you handling your divorce less gracefully than you would like? Are you avoiding your decision altogether? Anxiety may be the culprit! Anxiety regularly stops people in their tracks and makes their experience of divorce more painful than delivering. It stops most people entirely, preventing them from realizing their dreams. Anxiety is the number one problem that people face when considering a divorce — and yet few know about it.
Hang in there. Take it one baby step at a time. Think over all the details and plan well before you take action. Then go for it.