how can my daughter and I cope with her father's negligence?

[deleted account] ( no moms have responded yet )

I'm sorry this will be lengthy.

I am a 20 year old mother with an almost 4 year old daughter. I have been on and off with her father since I was 14 years old. I try to trace back the blame because I am experiencing some guilt for my portion of why our family failed. Obviously being that young and naive isn't the foundation of a promising relationship, however I am still feeling deflated from my only wish of having a stable family, unlike my own, going out the window.

Before my daughter was born we had a couple setbacks. It was like a chain reaction that began with him, and ends with him to this day. His negligence has always hurt me. He would hurt me, then I would do it right back. I am aware that this is not something shocking considering the age.

I found out I was pregnant on my 16th birthday. Breaking the news was very difficult, especially to my very strange family. (Strict Mormon father and lesbian mother- still married. I don't ask questions anymore.)

Since then I have always said that home is a feeling, not a place. I knew that even though I was really scared, that my only dream was to provide a home for my daughter that she would feel safe, secure, with two consistent, rational and loving parents.

Her father and I were at our best during my pregnancy as he wanted to comfort me and prove to me that he would always be by my side. He was, but only as a friend it seems. He would not look for a job, which confused me. When my daughter was born my parents finally allowed him back to our home and even suggested he stay with us for a while so that we could bond with our child, and he could get on his feet. (he comes from a very poor family.)

He lived with me for a year. He dropped out but I continued going to school. He would watch my daughter while I was there, he would not however, look for a job. My parents, although twisted, had good intentions. They did take partial custody of my daughter and to this day claim her on their taxes but I understand that if they are helping me, I should not complain.

I noticed my baby's father going crazy at my house. And the very very few times I would mention job searching or plans for the future he would get irrriated and only say that he is here to stay, but did not want any further discussion towards financial support. Needless to say he has always been perfectly content with trying to remain content. He has worked harder to achieve a numbing inner-peace than anything in his life. By the time I had graduated and started my first year in college, he still had never taken me on a date, bought me a card, christmas or birthday gift, and nothing for our child of course. I had always done that for him. I suppose it just makes sense to me to show someone you love them through your actions rather than words.

So after a year of sponging off my parents basically, he got kicked out of my house after a ridiculous blow out with my father. My father did not want him smoking weed at my house, and that was basically what the fight was about.

That is when things really started to go down hill. I had been so patient, even defending him when everyone told me I was a fool for believing he cared. I had had enough and started to act out. I broke up with him later that year and a series of bad things happened after that. He finally got a job but due to our break up they had let him go. They say it was because they didn't need him anymore, but I know it was because of him acting crazy on the job. I still feel guilty for this. Shortly after this crazy spell of trying to swallow a jar of pills and running infront of a moving car- he stopped. Suddenly. It took me two months to realize he was talking to someone new, who had a boyfriend. It was messy. I went crazy with jealousy and anger. I regret this as well. I fought for this guy, for no reason. And he "chose" me after a while of lots of thinking. augh. So we were together again, with more baggage than before. It was even worse. He said I had to deserve his love and efforts since I gave up on him. I showed up to his house everyday, called him everyday, did everything while he ignored me. He barely noticed me for about 6-7 months.

I remember the night something very slight changed in him. He had taken 2ci (somewhat like LSD) and tripped so hard I babysat him all night. (I stopped doing all of those things when my daughter was born) Anyway he had some kind of premonition. He was bugging out so bad that he claimed I was melting away from him for good. Now I know the effects of smoking weed regularly are not good. Occasional use I see no harm in. ( I don't enjoy it therefore I don't do it) But he has always been a very heavy smoker. I think this started to do things to his mental health. After that night he told me he felt what it would be like if my daughter and I were gone forever and that he needed to make a change. He was in a permanent state of paranoia, feeling as though reality was a dream and vice versa.

Well, shortly after all this, I was tired and frustrated. Since my daughter was born found a job the month I graduated, worked 4 different places in all, and started taking college courses. My life revoloved around my daughter, and when she went to sleep at night, my main concern was what the hell her father was doing. It was a nightmare.

He had "unintentionally" broken up with me shortly after all this, because I admitted that my feelings were frayed. I had met someone, a less than ideal candidate. But still, it was shiny and new, and I felt special to someone for once.

After my daughter's father found out about this he went crazy again. He got a job, called me everyday, wanted to see our daughter every day, wanted to take us out, wanted to buy us gifts. I had never seen anything like it from him. The timing was terrible. I was infatuated with someone else. This person was not good for me, but i hadn't experienced the attentiveness and butterflies in so long that it was irresistable.

I was honest with my baby's father and with the new guy, but with both of them persisting at every moment, I began to feel overwhelmed. I knew i still had deep feelings and love for my daughter's father, but I wanted my own slice of happiness for once. Things began to get out of hand as I slowly became more confused with how I felt. I had hurt them both. My daughter's father broke into his house and beat him up and got arrested, out of jealousy. When I picked him up from jail my parents who detested this new guy, let him stay with us again. Because of the charges he lost his new job. With the help of my parent's lawyer they were dropped. A huge blow out occured with the three of us, the new guy, him and I. The new guy never wanted to speak to me again. I was heart broken. I felt intruded upon, like he had robbed me of something "special".. I was a bit selfish I guess.

Here is the end. After a month of new guy being forced out of the picture, my baby's father starts acting a little different. I knew it was because I wasn't being so lovey dovey with him. But I had not seen him follow through with any of his promises just yet. It would conflict with my reason to give him my all again after everything until he showed me he could follow through for more than a couple months at a time. He started to pay less attention to my daughter. He would ditch us and became unreliable. He would ask my mother and I to drop him off randomly to go do something, but later I found out it was to be with some girl.

Well, that is who he is with now. I feel like after he didn't have to chase me anymore he didn't care or he got tired. The motivation for being a good father did not come from the right place. He disappeared and I cried for months trying to get ahold of him. My daughter was very confused. She kept asking me where he went, when he would come back, why he wouldn't answer the phone. I could only tell her that he must not be home. She would say, "but I thought he lived in our home now".. it was very short lived. After about 3 months of him not asking about our daughter, or seeing her, told him that I didn't want to see her suffer anymore. The questions from her kept increasing. Things like, "does daddy think i'm a weird little monster or something? how come he doesnt want to take me to the park anymore? I miss him, does he miss me? where did he go?" I finally told her that he is far away and that I'm not sure when he will return, but that grandma, grandpa, auntie and I will never ever leave. she came to the conclusion that "daddy is in outerspace, he needs to come back to earth." metaphorically true. Since I told him and his mother that I didnt want popping in whenever it was convenient for him, his mother agreed, and he hardly retaliated. We do not speak and he hasnt tried to change my mind, only complained. My daughter is suffering though, she has talked about his almost everyday for almost 4 months. am i wrong to keep him away for good? I am too tired to keep initiating him seeing her. I also find it unfair that he has never had my back while I work and go to school and try to be the best mother i can be. i am so tired. I don't know if I am being selfish? Am i being selfish if he doesn't really care? I have so much guilt about what i could have done to prevent this. But i wonder, if he loves her? my family and his mother agree that he should stay away for good so that he doesnt mess with her head. she is very aware and very brilliant for her age, and i wonder if i am just making it harder for her. I don't even want child support from him, I just don't want to hear anymore empty promises anymore. Negligence is fatal.

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