Daily Ranting Storytime


So far, this year has been an odd one. Wrench after wrench has been thrown my way, from the past, things from the future… but speaking of odd…

Someone that I never thought I would have to deal with again, someone that I honestly had forgotten about and had become a footnote in the big book of “Rachel’s Really Traumatic Shit,” reached out to me. Let’s call this individual… Harriet. Here’s a little back story.

When I started dating my oldest daughter Emilie’s father… let’s call him Stewart, I was aware that he had a child with Harriet. During my short friendship with Stewart before we began dating, I was under the impression that he and Harriet had a good co-parenting relationship and that they had a good arrangement as far as support, parenting time, et cetera. He presented it that way and I really had nothing to go on aside from what he said.

Boy, was I wrong. Stewart and Harriet’s relationship was extremely volatile, which was apparent almost immediately once we were together. Even though they had been apart for a while at that point, the rumor mill in our small town is a well-oiled machine, and everytime Stewart heard a rumor of Harriet doing something that he didn’t like, he would “punish” her. Didn’t matter if there was any truth in it. His favourite way to “punish” Harriet was to stop paying his child support and to refuse to take their daughter, who we’ll call Stacy, on his appointed days to take her.

I hated that he did this. It boiled my blood, because Stewart wasn’t “punishing” Harriet, he was punishing their daughter and cheating himself out of time with her. But, with Stewart being the raging, narcissistic, sociopathic asshole that he was/is, he didn’t care. Every time I tried to talk to him about it, and tell him he wasn’t being fair, I was told (with a finger pointed in my face) that it was “his fucking business,” and I had to “mind my own.” Which I had to respect, because I would be “punished” if I didn’t. My punishment was usually denial of any kind of affection whatsoever, and he wouldn’t speak to me sometimes for hours or sometimes for several days. He would only resume speaking/paying attention to me if he felt I had learned my “lesson” or not. Being in love, having low self-esteem and virtually no self-worth at all… I was desperately in love and I wanted to make him happy, so I minded my own. I got caught in a very vicious cycle of abuse that lasted three years.

Harriet didn’t get the memo, I guess. I was told by a very reliable mutual friend that Harriet was saying to anyone that would listen to her that I was the reason behind Stewart’s decision to not be a parent and do his part. In hindsight, I believe a lot of the animosity that she seemed to develop towards me, was caused by things Stewart told her. Probably all of the animosity. He fanned the flames, because it was easier to throw me under the bus and make me into a monster, instead of admitting to himself and everyone else that he was a deadbeat shit bag of a father.

My first face-to-face interaction with Harriet came once Stewart and I had moved in together. He was in the midst of “punishing” her, because he had heard that she’d been caught in her car with her new beau, during an intimate moment. He refused to answer her calls, so she ended up driving down to our townhouse, and banging on the door. I will never forget this interaction, because it was a lugubrious day already and as soon as I had opened the door, you could just feel the anger and the hate rolling off of her. I called Stewart to come to the door, which he did, and they immediately started screaming at each other on the stoop. It was so bad, that multiple neighbours shouted out their windows that they were going to call the RCMP if they didn’t quit it.

One thing about Stewart, was that even though he portrayed himself as this hardcore badass with previous gang affiliation, he was very afraid of the police. So, to prevent police involvement he slammed the door in Harriet’s face, stomped into the kitchen where I was, and proceeded to roundhouse kick our garbage can, reducing it to a pile of plastic shards. I think that was the first time that I was ever really afraid of Stewart.

Things continued that way for a year. When Harriet met her husband, we’ll call him Rick, and my daughter arrived, things got worse. Rick somehow convinced Harriet that I was “unsafe” to be around Stacy, which was both insulting and comedic, because up until that point, anytime Stacy came over, I was generally the one looking after her. After she was dropped off at 7 AM, Stewart would go back to bed and leave her for me to deal with. We hung out until he woke up, which was usually around lunchtime, and for the rest of her visit, he went back and forth outside smoking (he liked to use a gravity bong – he mixed marijuana and tobacco together – it was fucking gross). I made sure that little girl was fed, helped her when she needed help in the washroom, played with her, read to her, and so on. Which was difficult to do, considering I started out with minimal childcare experience and then I was juggling a newborn (Stewart was such a wonderful father that he left me with all the baby duties, too). The one rule that was absolute and unbreakable was that I was not to discipline Stacy. Any discipline was to be doled out by Stewart, and I abided by that rule, because it wasn’t worth being “punished” over.

As things went on, towards the end of mine and Stewart’s relationship… Stacy’s behaviour towards me changed. All of a sudden, she was very mean, she’d talk back. It was very apparent to me that she was jealous of the baby. Stacy did not like sharing her father, and she was very cruel to Emilie. Stewart would just shrug his shoulders, cite sibling rivalry and then go have another smoke. The one instance that always sticks in my mind was we were all sitting in the living room on the floor, when my daughter was about 7 months old, watching cartoons and playing. I don’t remember what Emilie did, but in response to whatever it was, Stacy slapped and pushed her so hard, that her little head cracked off the floor. I was shocked. All Stewart did was tell her not to do it again. No consequences at all, he didn’t even ask if Emilie was okay, and I wasn’t allowed to say or do anything. I just picked up my baby and left. Another instance that comes to mind… was when Stewart stepped outside to have another smoke, he told the girls to be good and to listen to me. Emilie was almost a year old at that point. Stacy waltzed right up to me with her hand on her hip and said “My mommy says I don’t have to listen to anything that you say, or she’ll come here and bloody your nose.”

All I said was “Oh yeah?” and that was it. I spoke to Stewart about it afterwards, and my concerns about her behaviour towards the baby, and apparently because I did that, I was a “bully.” I was a bitch, a cunt and a monster, because standing up for myself and my baby meant I was “bullying” a five-year-old. Once again… it was easier to cast me in that light than admit what an absolute dumpster fire of a father he was. I’m sure he spun a narrative for Harriet that she believed… honestly, at that point I didn’t care much anymore. The cycle of abuse was breaking at that time, and I believe it was around this time was when Stewart met the heroin addict he eventually left me for, and he picked up a crystal meth habit (which I found out after the fact – it explained his erratic behaviour among other things).

Stewart and my relationship came to its very violent finale on July 20, 2014. He threatened my life, and so on and so forth. The police were involved, it was a mess, but that’s a story for another time. When Stewart was out of our apartment, I contacted Harriet on two separate occasions, but only ever got her voicemail. I wanted to discuss with her the future relationship of our daughters, considering they were still sisters at the end of day. I don’t really know what I had hoped to accomplish with contacting her… I didn’t want my baby around Stacy at all, but I guess I had to be able to tell myself that I tried, even though I knew what the outcome was going to be. Harriet never responded, as I knew in my heart she wouldn’t. In the ten years since then, every single time Harriet has seen me and my daughter in public (we seem to run into each other a lot in Walmart), she turned Stacy and herself around and went the other way.

Which was fine by me. My daughter, on the other hand, was distraught for the first few years. She definitely went through the stages of grief, and she did accept it eventually. Fast forward to present day, she now has her baby sister that adores her, and she told me she was happy with that.

But in the funny way that the universe works, I looked at my phone on Wednesday and there is a Facebook Messenger request from Harriet. Apparently, Stacy and my daughter are attending the same school (which they are not – Emilie is still in elementary and Harriet would be in middle school – the only way I gather that they’re “in the same school” is if Stacy is attending the alternate program beside my daughter’s school), and Harriet “doesn’t know how to navigate the situation.”

I almost shot coffee through my nose and urinated my skirt because I laughed so hard. What’s to navigate? The two of them are strangers – Emilie doesn’t even know what Stacy looks like, and wants nothing to do with her. Ignore her like you’ve done for the last ten years. Not that hard. I don’t know what she expects me to say? Or do, for that matter? Am I suppose to remove my daughter from her school to make Stacy more comfortable? I don’t fucking think so.

I’ve been sitting on this message, because I don’t know how to respond. Or if I even should. With how nasty this woman has been to me in the past, and the awful things she’s said about me (this post touches just a hair on the head of her bullshit), I don’t really want to interact with her. It’s already brought up a lot of feelings and forgotten memories of my relationship with Stewart, and it makes me really angry that it has. I know I should “be the bigger person,” but why the fuck do I have to always be the one? I hate that this bitch has interrupted my life again. How dare she, honestly.

I’m probably going to sit on my feelings a little bit more.