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Mixed Feelings

Since being invited to attend Christmas dinner in mid-December, we've seen a considerably more of Erik. Part of me is very happy about this, but part of me is uncomfortable, and even a little annoyed. It pains me to feel that way, but I guess it's hard to control how one feels.

I found out what it was that Erik told 'them' in order to move in with them. Some of it is true, if taken out of contest - or rather the context was very skewed to minimise his behaviours and overstate my own, but that is not surprising. He also seems to have forgotten the less desirable reasons he moved in with them, he's forgotten things he said to both his father and me about them being financially better off than us.

Some of it is misunderstanding. We had a conversation a couple of days before he took off where I had said if he didn't like the rules in the house then he could find somewhere else to live - I didn't think he would find somewhere else to live, honestly. He had said to me, 'And what if I did move out?' (in hindsight, this makes sense), and I'd replied, 'You would not survive. You'd probably end up dead.' Now, from my end of this conversation, I was saying he wouldn't survive on the streets, but the story he told them was that I had threatened him about moving out. Yeah, so they thought I was like one of those husbands who tells their beaten down wives, 'I'll find you and I'll kill you!'

Awesome.

Some of it was complete fiction. He told them I'd thrown glasses at him. I can't believe he told them that. How could he tell them I'd thrown glasses at him. I would never do that. Never. When he told me this, I wanted to cry. I didn't, but he knew I wanted to because he said he didn't want to make me cry, so of course, I didn't.

I asked him why, if he really believed he wasn't safe at home, he would talk to me about all sorts of things, like how he'd tried pot, and how he'd sneaked a taste of Bailey's from the fridge one Christmas. He wasn't afraid to tell me these things, because he knew I wouldn't lose my shit. He knew he was safe to tell me stuff like this. Most other parents would scream and lecture and ground etc. I took it in my stride and talked to him about my concerns, but in no way was a threatening because I wanted to keep our relationship open and honest.

He, on the other hand, had no problem lying to me about stealing from me, or hurting the kids. He had told those he'd been 'a bit rough' with the kids on occasion, he didn't tell them he'd thrown Ari across his bedroom on at least two occasions I'm aware of. He thought that wasn't dangerous because he threw Ari on his bed. He wouldn't acknowledge that the force it took to throw the little boy across the room could also have made Ari smash his head against the wall.

I'm trying to let this go. I'm trying to just accept that I was a terrible parent to him when he was little, I smacked him and I threatened him because I couldn't deal properly with his behaviour. I apologised for that over and over, but of course, I can't demand forgiveness.

So, yeah, this is a difficult situation. I have worked hard on my parenting and I can honestly say I've learned how to deal with challenging behaviour in a respectful and patient manner. It all came too late for Erik though, the damage was done, and I will always regret that - regret is not a strong enough word for how I feel about it, but it is all I have.

Still, even though he is obviously comfortable enough to come over to the house several times a week now, I find myself feeling resentful. He lies by omission to them about where he is. He persists in his lies about me. There are other behaviours. He is a guest in the house, but he shows up without notice. He stays and stays, sometimes well beyond what is reasonable. Twice now, Dave and/or I have had to send him on his way because he wouldn't take the hint that we had to go to bed, or do other things. Also, every time he comes over now, he wants Dave to drive him to the bus stop or back to those peoples' place, or to the shopping centre. He forgets he's a guest. He can't treat us so reprehensibly (even if he might have been able to treat me that way, he shouldn't have treated his dad that way) and then just act as if he's part of our household while continuing to let those people think he's afraid of us/me. It's just not okay.

So, yes, happy to have him coming over and visiting, but resentful in the wake of him misleading those people and slandering us, and continuing to do so while visiting us because he doesn't want to break his cover.

This parenting thing is hard.

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