Monday, October 25, 2010

The Fight Against Jim

Posted by Denise Kingsley (Pongratz).

I dropped the ball again.

I married very young. I was in love. In a few short years after the birth of two children, I knew I had outgrown him. I knew I would have nothing if I stayed with him. He was unfaithful to boot. When I decided to leave he became obsessed with keeping me. It took me 3 years to get my divorce. I am sure that this part of my story is common.

I dropped the ball by not pursuing him for child support. The laws were different when we divorced in 84. If he was not working, which he conveniently did not, no support was ordered. Once I found out he was working, I started the legal ball rolling only to be buried in paperwork and depositions. I had to make the decision whether to continue the fight,or provide for my children. I chose to stop. I could not afford both.

A second marriage required a move to another state. Instead of trying to prevent the move, he brought me papers that stated he would never have to pay anything. I did not sign them.

I tried again a few years later to get him to provide for his children, Once again he made it impossible and the cost too great for me. I stopped again.

The children are now 30 and 32. I recently found out my ex, their father, was in the hospital near death. He had virtually no contact with the kids and went many years between any communication. He almost died. COPD and pneumonia. He recovered, but does not have much of a life.

A new fire rose in me. How could this man die and never leave anything to his children? Nothing. He taught them nothing, gave them nothing but the pain of being abandoned. For the first time in my life I am financially able to fight him. Lawyer, court, judgment. He did not bother to fight it. He thought nothing would happen after all these years. I won a judgment that is almost impossible to collect. I spin my wheels and make myself physically ill trying to get him to do the right thing. He has once again hired an attorney instead of giving anything to his children. Not even a token. No mention in a will. Nothing. He is trying to get the judgement against him vacated for health reasons. He is and has always been sneaky. I am sure his has been hiding everything he can. I spoke to my attorney and all I can do is to throw more money into the fight. I am at the same position I have always been. Do I fight? How much will THIS fight cost? Is it the money or the principle? I know in my heart it is the principle. I want him to own it! I want him to pay for the pain he caused but I don't know how to do it.

Is it right to let it go and drop the ball again? Does a sick man get a pass now just because he is sick? The children do not want to see him now. Everything he has done since his hospitalization has proven to the kids that he does not care... never has. Actions speak louder than words.

I need to find inner peace. Will that peace come from letting it go and moving on, or should I spend the money and try everything I can to continue the fight?


Cheryl said...

What are you accomplishing by fighting a dying man? He's been nothing all these years. Let him continue to be nothing. Hasn't he controlled your life long enough?

mama_k said...

i'm responding because what i heard from your letter is that you want someone to be different. to apologize, to be sorry. to be a man of integrity and honour (suddenly). to be a father to your children and to be a decent human being. to think of someone other than himself.

unfortunately, his track record speaks for itself. it's not going to happen. as you said, actions speak louder than world. he's on his way out of the world, likely alone, probably miserable. if his epiphany didn't happen on his first brush with death, it's likely not going to happen at all. he is not going to change. that is sad, that is pathetic, but it is not within your control.

letting go is not dropping the ball. it is not giving him a pass. it is, however, moving on - which is what you, your health, and your kids deserve. as hard as it is to accept, you will not get inner peace from him in any shape or form - not from legal battles, or gestures, or inheritances for your kids, or even from him dying. he will not pay and he will not own up. that is not who he is.

it's a shitty life lesson, that there are people who will never have any idea what they've lost...or that there are people who simply don't care to find out. sometimes justice doesn't seem to be served. however, you are the one with your kids in your life. you are NOT going to be alone when you die, and you are never going to let anyone forget how important you think they are. live how he didn't. and please, please don't spend any more money or energy on this person - he is not worth it.

Anonymous said...

In fighting this you will gain nothing. What is he really going to be paying? Your kids aren't going to get the father they deserved. You're hurting yourself by pursuing a lost case.

This was lost from the beginning and you're just digging up old resentment. Try to live your life happy and stop worrying about someone who isn't worth the worry. You will be much happier, and your children will be much happier.

I know it's easier said than done because this man hurt your children...but you need to forgive him. Revenge isn't the solution. It never is. I wish you luck and hope you can find the strength in you to accept what you cannot change.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

A life well lived is the best "revenge"

Anonymous said...

Your kids aren't kids any more, and you say they don't want to see their father. Have you asked them if they want you to continue this fight on their behalf?

If I was in their situation I wouldn't want a red cent of this jerk's money... it would feel tainted to me. Your kids might be completely different, this is just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Let it go. He has been nothing to your kids, and sounds like he is still nothing. He is not worth the effort.

Anonymous said...


Somebody very wise told me, that when we say "they NEED to learn/understand/know xyx", that we need to STOP. That the statement is actually about US and NOT them. So, STOP.

This man was not a decent father to these children. Making him pay .01 or $1M is not going to change it.

I have a friend whose mother is the exact same way. She won't let it go. Her son is nearly 30. His Dad actually has provided some for him. SHE feels it's not enough. She is obsessed with it (although I bet if you asked her she certainly wouldn't agree that she is obsessed!).

I say? She is harboring feelings for him. Feelings are left undone. SHE wants something. Why else would she continue to draw into her life a person she claims she hates and wants nothing to do with?

Anonymous said...

I am a single parent to a nearly 6 year old. His dad provides some, but not even a third of what he should be paying for child support. He also visits, about 6 times per year, for 6 hours each time. Yes, I did mean 36 hours per year.
All that to say I understand how you feel - the anger towards him, the hurt you feel for your children. But this fight is really for you now - your children did fine without his support or his parenting. you did fine without his support. Maybe not great, but good enough, and fine. This fight is really about you I think - you want to justify your choice in husband and father of your kids by showing he is capable of changing, and being that ideal father. You don't need to justify your choice. It may have been a mistake but hindsight is 20/20. You wouldn't have the kids you have without him, whether or not he was present, or provided support. You have a judgement showing he should pay. I think you should stop now, and put the money that you would have put into the lawyer's pockets towards your children's schooling, or towards an investment that your children may benefit from later. give it up and move on with your life. Find some happiness in your personal life and let your kids move on too. All the best to you.

Anonymous said...

Good for you for making a good life for yourself and raising 2 great children!
It sounds like you want resolution for yourself and your children. I'd speak with them and see what they want. If they want financial retribution, go for it. But listen carefully, they may want to salvage some sort of relationship before he dies - even if they do not want that now.
He is getting his punishment being a lousy father. How sad that he is going to die a miserable lonely death. Sadder still that he doesn't seem to care.

Anonymous said...

He doesn't get a pass because he's sick. He gets a pass because you are a good mother who successfully raised two children without him. He doesn't deserve the worry, effort or money that you're putting into this. If your kids are grown and over this, then you should be too. For them. For yourself. Screw him.

Anonymous said...

You have every right to be angry. Every right to call him an ass. But you can't make him be the person he should be. You can't change him. All you can change is the way you act toward him, the way you respond to his complete failure as a father. You can't make him "get it" or feel guilty. Maybe, eventually, he will see the error of his ways, but the harder you push, the more he will dig in his heels. You can't fix stupid, so try to move on, and spend your time, energy, and money on other things that make you happy.