We have all made mistakes. We all know we will make more. But when I began realizing what the biggest mistake of my life was, it was far too late.
It's hard to go back to the beginning and fully acknowledge where that mistake actually began, but I've looked that direction before, and I know my error. I married at age 19, instead of taking a college scholarship 8 hours away by car. He was out of college. I believed he loved me, but later figured out that he only loved how he looked in my eyes. I was too young, too needy, too abused to know what actual love was. We spent 16 years together, and God gave us a beautiful, perfect son.
But we had 5 horrible years, and then it got worse. When I learned that certain other much younger women had been giving him that reflection of himself that he needed, something ended. I no longer believed that he loved me or really ever had, and I still think I'm right about that.
Since 2000, we've been apart, but only for the first year was I free of his hatefulness. During that first year, he just drank and left us alone. I called him about seeing his little boy, but he rarely showed up. I was so relieved that I didn't have to deal with him--such a weight was off my shoulders. Then began a campaign which has gone on for 8 years. Such was his need to be the "good" one while I was the "evil" one in the divorce, everything became about how I was only out for myself, while he was all about our son's "best interests."
It actually still goes on today. I just recently got an email from him objecting to the "emotional distress" he accuses me of causing my son--and many more baseless accusations--founded on absolutely no truth whatsoever, and all couched in terms of him just being concerned for the boy, all prefaced with fake pleasantries, as though he's really a friend. He either believes that I am a despicable mother (and stupid), who lives to torture her son, or he has a need to portray me this way, to absolve himself of his role in our breakup.
His second custody filing trying to get my son away from me resulted in a full psychiatric evaluation: he was diagnosed as "narcissistic" with significant control issues, and was found to be using our son for his own ends. I was "normal." After we settled in early 2008 with yet another nearly 50-50 agreement, my ex told our son that the "evaluation" came back with the recommendation that our son spend 100% of his time with my ex...but out of the "goodness of his heart," my ex allowed me to spend time with my son...when that statement could not be further than the truth.
I ignore his insulting emails as much as possible, since I've seen so many of them--I've really tried to let them roll off my back. But this time he's trying to implicate the "mediation" provision of the order, requiring a response. Of course, he has already decided that his demands are in our son's "best interests," and whatever I have to say is wrong or bad. Nothing new there--it's precisely the same pattern as the last 8 years.
So, that's my gravest mistake. I never thought it would stay with me for so long...so long after the divorce and his remarriage. It was not a mistake to have my son, he's the most precious thing in my life. But oh, how I wish I had been older, wiser, more mature, more confident.... But since that's all long past, I just need to move forward. Usually I'm unwavering on that path, but some days it's hard. Some days I feel like I'm being dragged back into that place. Heaven help me.