I find it very disappointing that there doesn't seem to be any active conversations on a lot of the forums I am interested in. I hope someone reads this. My story is one that you may be familiar with if you look at other message boards where I have let out a few details of my life. It is funny to me, and not in a humorous way, how a lot of people, including myself, seem to post to similar forums. I find it fascinating that people who are in spiritually oriented forums are also in the child abuse, regrets, and, in this case, divorce forums as well. It is all interrelated, from what I can see, and those of you in this forum who haven't looked into the others, could benefit from doing so. My divorce was long, drawn out, and painful. The only way that I have found, over seven years of therapy and self-help books, and discussions, and even medications for depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, ADHD, and numerous others, I have found that, duh, the only true solution is to deal with your own self and try to figure out what you are doing wrong and try to fix it and everything will fall into place. It's hard to do. Especially if you are a selfish, unaware, poorly-parented, and abused person like I am. I have found that the biggest battles are within myself. Yes, my exwife did some terrible things to me. She is still very dishonest, and I fear, driving our nine year-old into the ground. He too is now diagnosed as bipolar (I no longer need the lithium and other meds prescribed for me in the past)and has numerous behavioral problems. Efforts with Family Court, police action, CPS complaints, and many other avenues, have been fruitless; Except to say that my kids are with me every other week, and they have a dad who is college-educated (which means nothing more than an avenue for success, it doesn't make me a better person, but I'm proud I finally did it after 20 years!), and I have gotten a restraining order against her boyfriend who was abusing them. I don't know. I'm rambling, journaling almost here, but my point is, I need help. At times it seems my therapist is not really in tune with me and I suspect I may need a change of pace. What is it that I am missing? I am deeply involved in the minutae of the situation and find it difficult to back off and look at the big picture. My selfishness stops me from being able to adequately filter out what is truly best for my kids in this situation, and what is my own selfish desires. My nine year-old does not want to see me except on weekends. His mother encourages him to be dependent on her by doing things like standing outside the bathroom door when he has to go, giving him a very poor diet, and insisting that he be catered to because he is "sick". At my house I don't play that game. I acknowledge that he is diagnosed as bipolar but I also know that the symptoms she reports at her home do not occur at mine. I won't "coddle" him and a lot of times I don't go out of my way to be his "playmate". She claims he has separation anxiety but then allows him to play violent video games and watch horror movies, which has gone on since he was three or younger, actually. He threw a temper tantrum the other day at her house and called her an idiot and a jerk off and the kids told me she put liquid dish soap in his mouth. I told his pychologist about it and then it was determined, after she spoke to mom about it, that she only put it on her finger and rubbed it on his lips and the therapist, said "it worked". I don't think it was too cool. If he is supposedly mentally ill then how is putting soap in his mouth an answer to treating his "symptoms" (which for childhood bipolar include moodswings, outbursts, and separation anxiety among others)? We had a meeting about his at school behavior yesterday and the principal, and several other staffers, thought what she did was a great idea. One even said that's how she raised her kids. By the way, the exwife draws a SSDI check for our son's "disability". I don't know. What, as painful as it might be to hear, am I doing wrong? What can I do better? I still harbor a lot of animosity towards her from over the years, and I do study spriritualism and I try to be forgiving but a part of me wants to punish her for the crap she's put me and the kids through. She once turned on a dryer and held the door shut because our son was playing in it (when he was four). I called CPS and they told her not to do it again because he might get hurt. She said, "It was only on no heat fluff and it was just like, five seconds". I know we are here to learn lessons, I do beleive that, and I am trying to be forgiving, as I study in Buddhist teachings, but at the same time, I think I have a difficult time separating my childhood from theirs, and I don't really know how to detatch myself enough to beleive that they are here to learn as well. They are children and need my protection, is how I feel about it I guess. Do I blow things out of proportion? Is it my own problem that I think putting soap in his mouth is as wrong as hitting him or other more "severe" forms of abuse? It seems very personal to me. At the school meeting the other day she said, "I'm not going to let him talk to me like that!" Shouldn't the whole point be that we don't want him to be that kind of a person, not whether or not we are personally offended? Aren't parents supposed to be here to teach us to be better people, and not to fear our wrath if you anger us? His therapist said he didn't seem too upset about it, but couldn't that just mean that he's been conditioned to accept her behavior? I feel like I'm not standing up for him and playing the victim card for myself, by allowing myself to be pushed around by the "powers that be" so I can throw myself a pity party? My self-confidence is getting better and I feel like I am more able to stand up to said "powers" but I still have a lingering fear of going through some of the things I did seven years ago again. In the past she filed false spousal abuse charges against me, let a meth addict abuse our kids (who would still be there today if I didn't have a restraining order against him), and even tried to hotwire a car that with in both our names. She only succeeeded in damaging it so I couldn't drive it, but I had to fix it. I couldn't see my kids for two weeks because it was my only source of transportation. When I tried to get a restraining order against her the judge fined me 500.00 and made me pay her 400 and the court 100 for wasting everyone's time with a frivolous action. I then got a lawyer and that was a disaster. I wound up suing him because he tried to over charge me (SAVE YOUR RECEIPTS PEOPLE!). I was too insecure to address the judge and try to explain myself and he was literally screaming at me, "You don't like my orders?" It was a nightmare. I was suicidal. I can see where the serenity prayer and a healthy faith in God would've came in handy there. Am I just a difficult, self-centered, mentally ill man who dosen't understand how to properly parent a child, and therefore cannot possibly understand why I can't have it my own way?. I don't know. I must be doing something wrong. Anyone? Anyone? Please feel free to enlighten me.