Saturday, December 13, 2014

"Persecuted" Man Needs To Accept Personal Responsibility For His Actions

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I know that life is not fair, but why is it that I am persecuted more than others? I am currently unemployed because at my last job they kept changing my weekly hours to accommodate their scheduling needs without regard to my personal schedule. I finally got sick of having to choose between canceling my plans and not getting paid, so I quit, figuring I could collect unemployment on the basis of discrimination because I was the only person whose schedule was ever changed around like this. They say it was because I listed "open to close" as my availability when I applied for the job, which I did, but still! Nobody takes that to mean somebody is willing to live their life around work instead of work around their life! Do you see what I mean about being persecuted? My unemployment was denied, so I am now without an income or a reference from my former employer, making it even more difficult to find work.

Because of my employment situation, I have fallen behind on my child support payments to my ex-girlfriend for our son. My mother has been making the payments for me so "her grandchild" will not have to go without, but then she turns around and tells me that the payments are a "loan that [she] doesn't expect to be repaid". She said she will simply not purchase me any Christmas or birthday presents for the foreseeable future, and that any remaining debt will be subtracted from my inheritance when she passes. Talk about unfair! One minute, my son is "her grandchild" and the next his care is my sole financial responsibility!

On top of all this, my son's mother "Cherri" got married this past summer and is now moving two hours away! It is bad enough that she has sole custody of our son, but now another man gets to play the part of my son's Dad while I am the one stuck paying child support! Cherri's husband makes well over $100,000 a year, so they do not need my money, but they are taking it "on principle". Once again, life is kicking me while I am down.

Further complicating matters is the fact that my current mode of transportation is unreliable and I cannot depend on it to make a 4-hour round trip to see my son every other weekend, so I now only get to see him once a month, when his mother brings him down to visit with my Mom. This situation is not acceptable, but when I took Cherri to court to demand more visitation the judge sided with her, saying if I want increased visitation I should find a way to take advantage of the twice weekly and regular weekend visits I have already been granted. The judge completely ignored the fact that I don't have reliable transportation and therefore it should be Cherri's responsibility to bring our son to me. A boy needs time with his real Dad! Now on top of losing the case I owe my Mom even more money for attorney's fees, which the judge ruled I must pay. Persecuted again!

Icing this cake of persecution, Cherri is now pregnant and my son is excited about "becoming a big brother". I feel like this baby will be the nail in the coffin on my relationship with my son, as he will want to spend more and more time with his "new family" than with me. Like I said, life keeps kicking me when I am down. I would like Cherri to explain to our son that this baby will only be his half-sibling, and not a real brother or sister, just like his step-father is not his real Dad. I suggested this to her, and she had the nerve to laugh in my face! How can I get her to take my concerns seriously? About additional visitation, as well as the other issues?

Dumped On By Life

Dear Dumped On:

I don't usually publish letters as lengthy as yours, but I was afraid if I edited it any further than I already have - or simply did not respond to it - you would feel that I, too, am "persecuting" you by censoring your voice. In all your rambling, however, you forgot to mention one important fact: What is your current living arrangement? Do you live in your mother's basement? Or do you have a girlfriend that pays your rent? Or maybe you live in your current (but unreliable) form of transportation? I am just curious to know how you are managing to stay off of the streets and out of the homeless shelter with no income and no apparent savings while being "persecuted" from all sides. Surely you have some sort of support system in place?

Having a mom who pays your child support so your son does not have to go without (and so you do not lose your visitation) and also pays your attorney's fees hardly seems to me like a form of persecution, so I would suggest you ease up on her. As for your unemployment situation, you are the one who quit your job without securing alternate employment, so this strikes me as your own poor decision making as opposed to persecution by your employer or the unemployment office. The fact that your former employer kept changing your weekly hours is unfortunate, but well within their rights.

I get the impression that you love your son and want to spend time with him, but only when it is convenient for you and then only on your terms. I realize that a four-hour round trip is a long way to travel in unreliable transportation, but there are other ways to communicate and visit with your son. A virtual visit through a webcam is free, and a wonderful way to spend time with your son on a daily basis. Phone calls are also a wonderful way to stay in touch between in-person visits.

As for your attitude towards your son's "new family": it stinks! When Cherri and her husband got married, her husband got an instant family. The fact that you fear your son is seeing this man as an additional Dad reveals to me that the man treats your son well. For this, you should feel grateful, not persecuted. I suggest you make an effort to be a more active presence in your son's life (even if this means getting to know Cherri's new husband, and accepting your son's joy at becoming a big brother) and stop complaining about having to pay child support. Children hear more than you realize, and it would be a shame if your son overheard you complaining about your financial responsibility to him.

Perhaps the reason you feel so persecuted is because it is easier to blame the world for the problems that are of your own making than it is to take ownership of them. Try taking responsibility for your mistakes, straightening out your financial situation (preferably with a paying job, and not more “loans” from your Mom), and making the sacrifices that are required of you to be a good parent. Maybe then Cherri, your mother, and others will start to take your concerns seriously.

-- Tazi-Kat

(No snuggles for you!)

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