Posted by fxckfeelings on February 23, 2016Share This Post
Once you’ve been struck by a natural disaster—a snow storm caves in your roof, a tornado takes off your roof, and flood sweeps away your roof and the house it’s attached to—you have no choice but to grit your teeth and start over. Legal disasters, on the other hand, often seem resolvable, thus luring you into putting the rest of your life on hold while fighting for a victory that may never come. So never assume that a legal problem will end, even if right is on your side. If a lawsuit has blown the roof clean off your life, start learning how to begin again instead of waiting for it to eventually blow back into place.
My ex-wife has falsely accused me of physically and sexually abusing her and our children over the course of our entire marriage (over 20 years). The accusations have resulted in a complete cutoff of any contact with my elementary school-aged children. I’m hoping it will be ultimately resolved in the family court system but after two years, I’m losing hope. The loss has been overwhelmingly devastating for me and isn’t getting any better over time. I go to bed, crying and having dreams about my children when I fall asleep. Only to wake up again, crying. I’m not sure how to cope with this anymore. It’s really taken a toll on me. My goal is to figure out how to move forward.
The worst-case scenario for any parent is total cutoff from his or her kids by a bitter ex’s abuse allegations, especially when your only mistake was agreeing to marry a sexy Asshole borderline and start a family. It can easily make one lose faith in themselves, the prospect of seeing their kids again, and humanity in general.
You’ve probably already learned the hard way that the more passionately you protest your wife’s accusations, the more guilty you look and the more damage you do to your case. Of all the things you’ve lost, you still can’t bear to imagine losing your children forever.
At this point, however, given your lack of control over a prolonged legal struggle and your ex’s lack of sanity (but abundance of righteous conviction), it’s dangerous to make yourself responsible for winning, righting a terrible wrong, and being a father again. It’s not fair, but it’s as true as your ex’s allegations aren’t, and if you focus on reuniting with the kids, your helplessness and sense of failure may worsen.
Instead, after two years of uncertain limbo, shift your goal from restoring visitation to building a new life. Your priority isn’t to give up on and/or forget your kids entirely, but to get strong and find purpose in a community and a world outside of your legal nightmare. Then your visitation odds will eventually improve.
Start over by listing your life priorities, apart from seeing the kids. Remember the things that have always mattered, like making a living, getting together with family and friends, taking care of your health, etc. Include dating again after taking time to learn from past mistakes.
In addition, be aware that depression exaggerates self-criticism and hopelessness, so read up on depressive symptoms or consult a shrink to figure out whether depression is crippling your recovery. If it is, familiarize yourself with the many non-medical and medical treatments that might help. See if therapy or other sources of support can teach you to be more realistic and positive.
Yes, you’ve experienced a horrible loss and been laid lower than you ever thought possible. After enduring such a blow, however, every positive step you take makes you a hero and takes you one step closer to seeing your kids again.
“I can’t stop feeling as if my life has been shattered, but I know my interests and capacity for love are undiminished and that I am capable of rebuilding a meaningful life, whether or not I ever get to see my children again.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname