I pondered this today as I walked to my kids' school (just in case, he did not pick them up.)
Yes, even after years apart, I still have to do this.
Yesterday, I put a firm boundary down.
Since the school year began 5 months ago, he has never once picked the kids up from school on time. Every week, he has an excuse; usually that he has to "work."
I reminded him yesterday that all parents have to work, including me. The $988 he pays in child support does not allow me to be flexible anymore.
As usual, it is me who is the unreasonable one.
As I walked to make sure he actually showed up, I heard his words in my head again. The same words he has said to me so many times.
"You are a TERRIBLE person."
I know these words are not true. And yet, they still sting.
And I thought, I have never been the one who did not pick my kids up.
I have never been the one who no-showed while my kids waited for me by the door.
I am never the one who cheated, or didn't come home all night.
I have not lied. I have not cheated financially. I have not destructively destroyed my spouse, my-self or my kids.
And yet, I have never told him he is a terrible person.
My priority has always been my kids. Even when it hurt me to put them first. I remembered a quote my friend sent me.
My refusal to see my ex as he is has hurt both me and my kids for a long time.
His view of me is only a reflection of his terrible self.