Youngest Daughter’s attempts to make her dad listen to her took another turn at the weekend.
Until she hijacked his Facebook Live lecture the previous week, I’d managed to (mostly) keep her from talking about what was happening on social media. However, the fact that even spilling the beans about what was happening live on Facebook didn’t get her a reaction from him seemed to hurt her more and more as the next week passed.
Over the course of the next week, she saw all three of her siblings get texts from E about seeing them, whilst getting nothing herself, and she became increasingly determined to confront him. She decided she was going to talk to him when he picked the boys up on Saturday.
On Saturday I discovered that Youngest Son had had the following exchange by text with his dad:
Youngest Son: “Can you please give mum some money”
E *no response for days*
Youngest son: “Because I don’t want to see you if you’re not willing to give us enough money for food”
E *no response for four more days*
E: “That’s not the case at all, But I can’t sort that out before tomorrow so I guess we will wait a week. Sorry Youngest Son”
Youngest Son was really hurt by this response. I think he’d genuinely thought that his dad would do the decent thing, or would at least want to see him so much that he’d sent some money. The fact that he did neither was painful for him. He sent me a screenshot of the text and, shocked by the coldness of E’s response, I probably unwisely, told Youngest Son that his dad didn’t deserve to see him. I know that wasn’t the most level headed, or fairest, of things to do, but it was a gut reaction, I could see how hurt Youngest Son was and I wanted him to know that he deserved so much better.
I woke Oldest Son up told him that Youngest Son wasn’t going, and asked him what time his Dad was picking him up. He sleepily replied “prob 11.30 like normal” and checked his phone. Half an hour later he yelled downstairs that his dad wasn’t coming at all.
Whilst all this had been happening Youngest Daughter had been getting increasingly cross and correspondingly determined to speak to her dad face to face. When she realised that he’d ducked out of seeing the boys altogether, she was disgusted by him.
She told me she wanted to put something on Facebook. I told her (as I always do) that I’d rather she didn’t, but that it was her choice. I felt that I’d been stopping her from expressing herself for months and that maybe it might do her good to get it out of her system. Obviously, I was concerned for her, but I understood how she was feeling – what DID she have to do to get his attention? She’d tried to kill herself and he hadn’t responded. All she wanted was his attention and nothing she did was getting that. She was angry, frustrated and hurt and, frankly, I think she deserved the chance to have her say.
She posted a few (quite amusing) comments about him on Facebook that day, tagging him in each and every one. She then decided she was going to ‘go live’ on Facebook herself and tell everyone exactly what she thought of her dad.
What ensued was 40 minutes of heartbreak. As her mum, it was incredibly hard to watch, but I’d promised her I’d let her do it, so I just stared at my screen with a mixture of horror and sympathy, whilst fighting the urge to run upstairs and hug her. I’m sure some people might think it was inappropriate of her to do it. I’m sure some people thought I shouldn’t have allowed it. They might well be right, I wasn’t sure that it was the right thing to do myself. But, in that moment, all I could see was my little girl, hurting and confused, but bravely speaking out.
She swore. A lot. She used the most shocking words she could think of. She was using the worst, angriest language she knew to express how extremely angry with and hurt by E she was. She insulted his appearance, and his hair colour. She moved from mocking him to talking about how desperately hurt and confused she was. She expressed her disgust at the fact he’d had affairs with his students and betrayed me. She talked through her feeling about E trying to make me sell the house and the fact he’d not paid us any money for two months. She talked about her siblings, and me, she talked about her suicide attempt and her mental health problems. She talked and talked and talked until she had no words left.
After she’d done it, she came downstairs and hugged me for about an hour. In the end, despite my concerns, I actually I think it did her good. She’d said what she wanted to say in an environment that she had control of. It wasn’t her dad’s lecture, it was her personal Facebook and I think getting back some control made her feel better. She’d tagged her dad in it, so that everyone who knew him could see it (but she’d excluded E’s parents from seeing it because she didn’t want to hurt them), so I think she felt that she was controlling her message and reaching out to everyone she wanted to know about the unfairness and unpleasantness of E’s behaviour.
Of course, E didn’t watch it. But, by now, I don’t think she was expecting him to. I think she just wanted to speak and be heard.
The next day it was like the clouds began to clear a little for Youngest Daughter. For the first time in months, she asked me to help her clear up her room and she started to think about doing some online art courses. They were baby steps, but important ones. I’m still not sure if putting everything live on social media was the best thing to do, but it seems to have helped Youngest Daughter, and frankly, at the moment, that’s all I care about.