Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

The Confluence

A confluence is an intersection where two or more objects, often times rivers, come together. In Pittsburg, there are three rivers that do this, hence the Steelers footbal stadium is called “Three Rivers Stadium.” Where these three rivers join together can be quite turbulent. Every so many winters, those of us in the northeast hear of a storm system, rather two or more systems that with the perfect timing come together to produce a super storm of major precipitation. The elements of cold weather and precipitation produce snow in feet, not inches. Another example of a confluence could be a traffic intersection. Imagine the carnage of an intersection with no traffic control, automobiles coming from four different directions, no stop signs or traffic signals. You get the idea… that these intersections can be quite chaotic, full of energy, and often create a lot of stress.

The truth is, you can walk down any street, even be standing next to a co-worker and never know the turbulence that another person is feeling, or what “confluence” they might be dealing with. Over the years, I have been known to carry so much on my shoulders. The truth be told, I thrive on it. I am not saying it is a good thing at all. Certainly it is good for those that I am trying to help, but occasionally there is collateral damage to either those around me, or even to myself.

One branch of my confluence begins with caring for my father, battling a very serious and aggressive cancer. I have always said that I am a better patient because I can deal with things that are thrown my way. But I am helpless when watching others go through their own.

Then another branch is my job. I work for a large company who “merged” several years ago, and its merger effects are beginning to be felt in the form of job reductions. My department is seeing a downsizing of ridiculous proportions and the building I work in is one of the casualties. I am fortunate on one hand, but there will be an unfortunate factor that will rise up again. I have been able to do my daily tasks with my health restrictions because I accepted a role that was within those restrictions. After ten years, I will no longer have that net under me. I will return to a position, where management will struggle with my assignments to comply with the ADA (American With Disabilities Act), and my co-workers unaware of my restrictions, will most likely return to the petty “why does Paul get away with not having to…”. This was an awful environment to work in back then, and I do not look forward to working in it again.

The most prominent though of all the branches of my confluence is my pending divorce. There are no signs of an imminent ending which is unfortunate. Both of us have clearly stated we want it over, yet both attorneys have done nothing to draw us into some stage of mediation. We continue to live in the house together until the divorce is done, though clearly by our positioning in the house, we are separated. There are not many possessions for us to split up, and really not much else to discuss, other than the most important factor, the custody of our children.

It is now eight months since I made the decision to file for divorce. And without getting into the nuts and bolts of everything, which I will continue not to discuss publicly, I will address one thing as I know there are some who are “spying” on my blog. I do not address my ex-to-be as anything less than my daughters’ mother as she is to be respected as such. My children do not hear any conversations criticizing her because I do not entertain those conversations. I am not proud of the situation I am in, but I am disappointed in the actions of some.

You see, in the middle of a wonderful weekend with my daughters, packed with all kinds of activities, one of my daughters reveals that she has overheard “mean” things about me. She was not in the room when these things were being said, but she was within earshot. I do not have any problem with anyone who wants to offer ridicule of me with the limited information they possess, but I do when it is affecting my children. I love my daughters and they love me. You cannot take that away from me, or them. But if you are one of those “spies” that I made reference to, please take this to heart, save your ridicule of me when my daughters cannot possibly hear you. If you want to hurt me, go for it. But I will not continue to let you hurt my daughters. I spend every moment with my daughters that I can, with everything I have going on, letting them know how much I love them, and doing things with them. This weekend so far has been awesome and filled with activity. They are slowly getting used to the idea what it will be like when we are no longer living in the same house, and that both of their parents will remain an active part of their lives, perhaps having double the experiences that they otherwise would have had.

As a raft drifting into the confluence of the three rivers in Pittsburgh, I am dealing with all of the various currents I am facing. Eventually, I will come out in calmer waters. I have charted my course to steer me through those currents and I will get through this.

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2 thoughts on “The Confluence

  1. Beware of the difficulties caused by parental alienation. Parental alienation is a pathological alignment dynamic that is most common when competing adults indoctrinate children by jealously denigrating other targeted parents. When a divorce occurs, child custody, and the dividing of property is assigned by the court based on accusations by competing parents angrily assigning blame and jealously claiming fault of their partner. Adoption creates a similar social dynamic when adoptees are pressured to chose between competing parents.

    • Judith, thank you for the encouraging and kind words. I am a product of a broken family from the time I was three, and saw this behavior first hand. That is what drives me to prevent it this time around, and I am slowly losing ground.

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