Friday, March 23, 2007

Custody Issues: Parental Authority

Hi, it's Malificent. Sorry to be a pain but I wanted to call to let you know I wanted to pick Cinderella up at 7am tomorrow since the roads are going to be really bad later on the day.

Malificent was concerned over how the pending snow storm would affect road conditions for her regular visitation pick up time of 4pm.
Prince Charming was away on a business trip so She was vying for some authority in his abscence. Trying to dictate a change in visitation without seeking His approval. Thinking I would have no choice but to allow it to happen.
I give her the same response I have given her each and every time she has tried to usurp his authority...

I'm going to have to call Prince Charming and let him know since this is not my decision.

[stunned silence]

Oh, well he's going to have to be reasonable... I mean, I deserve to see my kid!

I understand that. But you also have to understand that it's not my decision to make. I'm not THE parent. I'm not her parent.

She doesn't like being reminded of the Truth. The truth being that she was stripped of all Parental Rights and Authority in a court of law. And that even in my husband's absence she still does not have the authority to tell me Squat.
She doesn't like being reminded of any of it. That her actions cost her Custody of her Daughter. And in many ways her Dignity as a Parent.
At this moment I don't care. I resent being forced into having this conversation with her. I suck at confrontations and continue to be fearful of saying something that might piss her off.
(But oh how I wish I could lay into her just once!)
At the same time I enjoy having the opportunity to respectifully throw her words back at her.
I'm. Not. Cinderella's. Parent.
It's. Not. My. Decision.
Had I been better prepared for Her call I would have been more eloquent. Instead of tripping over my own words as I tried to explain to her why I could neither agree nor approve any change in the visitation schedule. She offered to call Prince Charming herself to ask his permission discuss it. I agreed that was a good choice since that's what she should have done in the first place.

Should I call you back after we speak?

Nah. He will call to let me know what was decided.

(Yep. That pissed her off too.)

Sadly, I cannot take her word for anything. I cannot trust her to have a firm enough grasp on reality and relay the actual details of what Prince Charming and She discuss. The woman lives in her own altered reality. She is happy there.
Prince Charming calls me moments later in a Fury.
Fury being fueled by frustration.
He knows that no matter what he says Malificent is going to do whatever she wants. She has no respect for him as the custodial parent.
If he leaves it for me to decide whether the roads are safe for travel, She is going to resent having to take my word as final. And I am not comfortable being placed in that position.
(Did I mention that I don't like confrontation?)
He is not Home to make this judgement for himself.
His hands are tied and so he gives his consent to picking up Cinderella early to avoid the snow and hopes that Malificent will exercise her own good judgement.
Luckily the roads were fine that morning. So it worked out fine. Cinderella was able to get a little extra time with her Mom. Which is good for Her.

Old habits die hard.
Malificent still siezes every opportunity to regain what she has lost.
Prince Charming is trying to find a balance between respectfully establishing his authority while setting boundaries and keeping the Peace.
And Cinderella sits at the Center of it all.


stepblog said...

Ugh... Well handled by you though. Right there with you on the loathing of confrontation. I lost five pounds and my blog in the past few weeks due to that loathing...

Anonymous said...

That's a heck of a lot of loathing to expend on an earlier pickup time. was there a snowstorm? was her safety concern legit? does everything have to be a control issue? is she so toxic that 9 hours extra with her endangers the kids? Are you sure you couldn't have used 9 free hours without prince or court (yow!) to give yourself a break from all your responsibilities? Save yourself for the big disagreements!