The Family Mediation from Hell

I haven’t reported lately on my progress with my ex and my daughter and wish I had great news to report.  I haven’t seen Freda since Halloween.  Here’s what I wrote to her shrink about it the next day:

My visit with Freda on Friday night was great but Halloween was a disaster.  She decided on Friday night that she wanted to go to the parade because she found  outfits for us in her room (I bought them a couple of years ago).  We were both going as grim reapers..  She had a skull mask and skeleton outfit and I had a robe with hood.    I think she liked the mask idea because no one would see her.  We were planning to bring Shadow because he had a cute skeleton outfit so we’d all match.   But when we got there she flipped out and wanted to go home because she saw only little kids with parents.  She also started in on Shadow.  I said I’d leave him in the car but that didn’t make a difference.   She insisted it was my idea to go to the parade not hers—not true of course—but I think she lost it  because kids her age were there with friends and she wasn’t.

She said she wanted to go home to Ira, but I initially said no.  When we got back to my house she continued raging, threatened to walk home, called Ira, took the car keys, etc etc.   Finally, when she threatened to call Laura–who was in the hospital with her mother– I took her home.   On the way home, in addition to carrying on about what a horrible person I was,  she talked about how she had no friends, no one would sit with her at lunch.  She’s in a lot of pain about that.  She also said that when Laura heard about the bad visit she’d say “I told you so,”

After that night Freda refused to see me yet again—this has gone on repeatedly for years now.   Today I sat in a room with her stepmother Laura and her father Ira for the first time in three years.  It was excrutiating.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it again.  Laura is like a monolithic force of nature—she just totally denies everything.  She portrays herself as the good mom, the real mom and she’s damned convincing.  They portray me as inconsistent, unable to do what’s in the best interests of Freda.  I shrivel up and start feeling so totally humiliated and like a nonentity that I can barely breathe.  I admitted I had a hard time dealing with Freda alone, which just makes it worse. They insist they support my parenting, but reality is that when they have to step in they make me pay by being angry, making it clear to me and to Freda how ineffectual I am.    I am the family scapegoat, nothing has changed, and meeting with them is horrible.

I will do it one more time.   The mediators really weren’t much help.  They kept on trying to come up with practical things we could do, but until the underlying assumptions change there is nothing to doAnAAF My shrink friend Wendy suggests I ask them if they see my relationship with Freda as part of the family dynamic, or do they see it as only my fault.   If they see themselves as playing a part, I want to know what they see as their part.  If they can’t admit any responsibility I don’t see the point of continuing with mediation.   I will just have to wait for Freda to come around and start making decisions for herself.   Sometimes in life you just have to admit defeat—you have to admit that life sucks, you have no control over anyone—least of all yourself–, and all you can do is wait and pray for things to change.    What are the other options?  Are there any? .