I know that many people who read or follow my blog do so because of our shared Blended Family struggles. So, I’ll share one that recently provided me with quite a bit of insight. My husband was reading the news and stumbled upon an article called “The Ex Who Wants to Hurt You” by child and adolescent psychiatrist Dr. Mark Banschick with the comment that “she’s the avenger”, referring to his ex-wife. Honestly, I had always referred to her as “the victim” because that is how she manipulates people into helping her (especially financially). But looking further, I completely agree with him because she is willing to damage the children in order to get what she wants regardless of whether or not she’s hurting them.
The Avenger – Any of the above, when taken to an extreme, can result in The Avenger. It’s normal to want revenge when you have been hurt, but for The Avenger, this urge is overwhelming. Your ex will not be satisfied unless you have been put in your place. He or she holds an extremely distorted view of you and your divorce. Avengers may honestly think that if they can’t have the kids, you shouldn’t either, or worse yet — if The Avenger can’t have the kids, nobody should. Avengers’ self-righteousness is palpable, and violence can lie just below the surface. At its worst, Avengers are hell bent on inflicting revenge even if they or the children suffer as a consequence. Tragically for everyone, they simply can’t stand seeing you happy and moving on in a normal way.
Not long ago my stepson came home from his mom’s very upset. She had taken him out that weekend on one of their date nights and asked him if he would come live with her. He’s over the age of 12, and in Texas, that means he can possibly have an influence over where he lives. So she’s pushing to influence him to tell the Judge that he wants to live with her but he doesn’t want to. He loves his dad, his stepfamily, his school, his friends and his life. So, when he told her that he did not want to live with her, she became the victim in front of him and began to shed tears and try to make him feel guilty, telling him that it really hurts her feelings that he doesn’t want her. She made it all about her rather than hearing his heart about his wants. So, he came back home to my husband feeling guilty like a bad child but also upset and angry that she won’t leave him alone. Now, before his last two court ordered visits with her, he’s begged his dad to tell his mom that he doesn’t want to go with her and asked him to let him stay.
Her behavior reminds me of the two prostitutes that appeared before King Solomon (found at 1 Kings 3) where the one woman was ok with the child being divided, even though it would kill him, if that’s what it took for her to get her way. It’s been hard to watch. Like the Hunger Game’s movie. Seeing children involved in a deadly game that they never asked to play a role in. Thankfully, the kids will be adults one day and the avenger parent will lose the ability to use the children as weapons of warfare.
Yes, this blended family walk can be difficult at times. But with God, we will prevail. Things may not always work out the way that we want. We will have both good days and bad days. But we have what the world does not have. Faith, hope, love, and peace that only God can give. Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Yes and Amen.